Sunday, January 31, 2010

The T-Shirt Quilt: The saga begins

Steve and I had a lot of t-shirts taking up space in our dresser drawers. They couldn't exactly join the Pile-Of-Goodwill-Clothes-That-Never-Gets-Taken because the majority of these shirts contained nostalgic value. So, just in case I didn't have enough projects to work on, Saturday marked the beginning of a T-Shirt Quilt.

I found some directions online but ended up just doing my own thing. I cut a 12x12 template out of cardboard and used it to trace squares on the t-shirts. Some of the shirts had designs on the front and back, so that was great for getting extra squares. I ended up with 20 squares - enough to make a decently-sized quilt. Then I sewed 1 3/4" strips of muslin to the edges to make a sashing and...there you go. I'm most definitely not (and shall I repeat not) a quilter, but this is a fun project that doesn't require too much accuracy. Now all that remains is to put the batting and backing on, tie the quilt, and bind it.

All that remains. Oof.

Differences (and unpleasantness in the morning)

I'm up quite a bit earlier than I would have appreciated this Sunday morning, thanks to Steve going to work at 6:42am...and being unable to go back to sleep due to another round of up-chucking. It's so confusing. I am eating well before bed, sleeping well, eating something bland right when I wake up in the morning, relaxing and taking it easy even when I do have to get up earlier, not taking my vitamins on an empty stomach, waiting for things to settle before drinking a lot of water, drinking ginger or peppermint tea once things have settled, etc. I feel like I've tried every possible solution to every conglomeration of circumstances that could make me feel nauseous. This morning makes no sense whatsoever. None, zero, zip. I give up on figuring things out. Maybe the solution is just throwing up and moving on with my day. That's what usually happens anyway.

This baby had better be cute.

I wasn't planning on writing about disgusting things this morning. In fact, I was hoping to ramble on for a bit about some things that God has been bringing to mind that have been good for growing. When I was contemplating the type of person whom I desired to marry, I focused a lot on similarities: we needed to have the same yearning for God, read the same books, like the same music, have the same appreciation for grammar and punctuation, eat the same kind of food...the list went on and on. In getting to know Steve, I was delighted and often overwhelmed by our similarities. Our personalities are so similar that I joked that we were going to have to take turns being melancholy to make sure that one of us was available to pull the other out.

Now that we've been married for a whopping six months (it feels like there wasn't a time when we were not married, strangely enough), the similarities continue to be delightful - and the differences become more and more pronounced. Sure, there are little things like how much he loves cheese and how much I hate it. And there are really big things, like our love languages. One of the most helpful books we read pre-marriage was Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages. Granted, the pop psychology tone got a little annoying, but the principles were valuable in understanding the different ways that we express and receive love (and, by God's grace, we are able to use that information to obey His commands to love each other, respect each other, show honor, and so on). It is obvious that my love languages are quality time and acts of service. Steve's tend to be words of affirmation and physical touch. These differences generally work together well. I'm able to sit with him for hours reading, or watching a movie, or just doing nothing. We don't have to be talking to each other...I just want him to be there. Acts of service can be useful when I honestly take delight in getting up early and making him lunch before work. I know that he is saying "I love you" when he tells me "thank you" or reaches for my hand. These differences are swell when we remember that we are different. Sometimes I need more quality time, and all of the expressions of adoration just won't cut it. Sometimes he needs me to quit running around the house like a frantic dachshund trying to "get everything done," and just tell him how much I love him. God's grace is so evident when we are able to remember these differences in the first place and especially when we don't and need to pick up the pieces and begin again.

Another difference that God used to smack me back into reality came to a head yesterday. It has to do with Getting Things Done. I couldn't fathom how Steve was able to calmly continue to browse online stores for coffee and furniture and books when he knew he had a message to finish pulling together. It blew my could he do this when he only had a few hours left? I was getting more and more frustrated when we finally had a little chat and things became more clear. We have different gifts and we use them differently. Steve has this incredible ability to mentally process things and then do the work of typing it all up in a relatively short period of time. He doesn't have to freak out because he knows that he can do it. It reminded me of my sewing. People were aghast when it was four weeks before my wedding and I hadn't started sewing my dress yet. But I knew that I could do it. I wasn't stressed. The tricksy part is that these gifts are nothing that we have "earned" or struggled to achieve, so we don't even think about them. Steve doesn't think to explain to me how he gets things done, and I am all too often the same way. Patiently understanding these things, however, is something that we continue to learn.

Okay, enough rambling. Have a splendid day enjoying Christ!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Busy Thursday

Thursdays are my busiest day of the week. Besides a few hours of work in the morning/early afternoon, there is the weekly Bible Club that Alissa, Tracy and I teach over at the Merna library. While I know that I want to do it, and I enjoy preparing for it, I always lose my steam right before 4pm rolls around and I know that we need to go. Wouldn't a nap be a much nicer thing to do, as opposed to corralling children for an hour.

(Big "waaah," Amelia. You're not corralling're teaching them. And it's not just anything that is being taught. It's the Word of God.)

The best thing about Thursday afternoons is that once we finally arrive, Club is so much fun. The kids are really eager to learn and have fun (especially when Silly Dragon comes out to help them with the weekly verse memorization) and they are particularly attentive during the lesson - thanks to Mom's loan of her incredible Betty Luken felt set. After it's all over, I'm ready to start working on next week's lesson. Hooray! (Well, next week is Cain and Abel. That one may be difficult. Oh well.)

Busy Thursday continued with an hour at Jazzercise. I like going to exercise at a class because a) I paid for it and I have to go, and b) well...I have to go. I'm modifying the higher intensity moves so that I can exercise safely while in this "delicate condition," but the workout is still satisfying.

Then I came home and Steve had made hamburgers and had the Monopoly board all ready and raring to go. So we played for a good long while and Dave went bankrupt multiple times and I spent most of the game in jail or by landing on meaningless squares (like Free Parking when there wasn't any money in the center) and Steve won. Of course.
I thought his Waffle House on Baltic Ave. was relatively clever.

I made a terrible chocolate cake. We watched Charade ("I hope we have all boys. We can name them all after you."). We went to bed. It was a good day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baby Talk

I went to the doctor yesterday for my 17 week appointment. Once I got over the initial fear and trepidation of what They were going to do to me or what They were going to look at or poke or talk about, I find that I look forward to these monthly visits because we get to peek briefly at the wee munchkin on the ultrasound, and I'm reminded that this really is happening. It's not just continuing to give mental assent to believing in a physical reality. There really is a baby in there. Yesterday we watched him/her kick, observed his/her tubby wittle tummy, and commented on the size of this child's noggin. Whether he/she is a He or a She is yet to be determined, however. The wee munchkin may have Steve's brain, but it has my modest tendencies.

While it is exciting to see the baby and be reassured of his/her good growth and health, the visits seem a little hurried and irreverent for something so amazing. I am blessed with a doctor who doesn't suggest weird things, or threaten to kill both of us with her whacked-out procedures, and I'm very grateful for that. At the same time, a lot of my hype for each visit comes to a crashing halt when, after filling up on information from books and websites during the month, our conversation consists of: Everything's splendid; The baby looks perfect; Yes, this is covered by insurance; Don't come back for another month; Goodbye. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not very assertive, or don't care to ask questions, but maybe there isn't a need to at this point. Oh well.

It's crazy to think that we're already 17 weeks into this adventure. After looking at pictures in A Child is Born last night, I showed Steve the difference between the first pictures we saw at six weeks when it looked (according to him) like a giant salamander and the ones for a baby of 17 weeks when it looks like a human being. According to one source, the baby is 5.5" long...and they compared it to an onion. That's all well and good, but I'd rather thing that it is the length of my palm. So wondrously sweet.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The...ahem...Attractive Bedroom

I laughed when this appeared in my Gmail inbox. Apparently making a bedroom "sexy" is just a matter of decorating it in a tasteful way. Wasn't that what Edith Schaeffer talked about in The Hidden Art of Homemaking? It's nothing new.

Steve worked on Saturday and I was faced with the dilemma of figuring out what to do with all of the glorious hours of unoccupied time (and no, laundry and dishes were not part of the equation). As I was brushing my teeth that morning, inspiration struck. I grabbed my cell phone, rang up Clara, and said, "Hey, do you want to help me make a sexy bedroom?" With $10 in quarters as my budget (thank you, tip jar), we headed out to see what we could do.

We found dark brown sheer curtains for much less than it would have cost to make them and I made tie-backs from fabric that coordinates with our duvet. Then we printed a bunch of pictures to put in the multitude of frames Steve and I got as wedding gifts and Clara helped me hang them on the walls. A string of Christmas lights, a hat rack, and decluttering the tops of the dressers and voila! I felt like I was in a new room. It was a fun, cheap, and quick project that not only made crafty little me feel productive, but also made Steve happy.

(I wish I had Before pictures, but I don't. Just believe that it's a definite improvement.)

I suppose it's only fair for Kitter to have his picture taken since it was his birthday last Friday.

Grace and Every Day Life

The weather has been frightfully dreary this week. The skies are grey, the wind is blowing like mad, and it is cold, cold, cold. I was sensing yesterday that my spiritual walk matched the dreariness of the day. The lies kept whispering in my mind: you're not spiritual enough; you don't love God enough; your priorities are all out of whack. I was beginning to think that the best thing to do would be to become a hermit and spend every day doing nothing but "spiritual" things. At least I would feel better that way. I was sick of fighting against the lies.

But God knew even more my need for a gentle reminder of His infinite love and grace. Last night we met for our family worship time at Clevi's house and the thesis for the evening was "God gives us grace and peace." The songs were centered around that theme, the responsive reading, the message, everything. It was exactly what I needed to have preached at me over and over and over again...and not just me preaching to myself, but the Word of God penetrating my proud and self-centered heart. Yes, His grace was irresistibly extended to me for my salvation and it continues irresistibly into my sanctification. That means into my Every Day Life - from getting out of bed and trying not to throw up, to going to work, to cooking dinner, to being a wife. It is as wondrously free in the Every Day Life as it was for salvation - and all because of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2

Praise the Savior, ye that know him!

(Oh! Here comes the sun. *hums* Do, do, do-do.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It all began last night....

Well, to be quite accurate, it all began last week when I went to the library and came home with a pile of books and we started reading chapters from Winnie the Pooh and A House at Pooh Corner out loud. (I started the wave by reading "In Which Kanga and Roo Come to the Forest and Piglet Has a Bath," but then Steve took over and has been the more diligent of us two in bringing Pooh to life in the spare moments of the day.)

Then, last night, Steve read this:
It was going to be one of Rabbit's busy days. As soon as he woke up he felt important, as if everything depended on him. It was just the day for Organizing Something, or for Writing a Notice Signed Rabbit, or for Seeing What Everybody Else Thought About It.

"It's Amelia," said he.

Hence, the name of this blog.