Friday, March 23, 2012

raffia ribbon

When it comes to painting, my husband and I have a system.

Since we've managed to paint every single room in our house (sans the basement, but I'm sure its day will come), we've got it worked out.  Not that either of us love the painting process, but we do love the finished product.  Chris is the muscle.  He paints all of the large spaces that my noodle arms can't handle.  I'm the perfectionist.  I do the edging with focus and intensity.

My secret?  Patience.  And a very small brush.

We've tried the blue painter's tape and the green frog tape, but they never seem to create clean lines as well as their packaging says they will (*cough* perfectionist *cough*).  So, I get up in the crevices and corners of the ceilings and floors and inch my way along until the job is done.  Every wall of painted space in our home has involved my husband's muscle and my little brushes.

This month, we started the last phase of our guest bathroom remodel.  We kept the pink bathtub, some of the pink and white tiling, and the toilet.  We replaced the floor, and are now working on re-doing the walls and replacing the sink and fixtures.

Just in time for a visit from mom.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

spa team

Shortly after we moved to Medina, I joined our church's Spa Team.

Can I just say?  I love that our church, any church, would have a ministry of this kind! What a beautiful opportunity to show love through hands-on connection.  We are a spirited group of women made up of cosmetologists, a massage therapist, an esthetician (me), and a few other gals who assist with treatments and sit with the ladies waiting for treatments.  

My first outreach event was to the widows of our church, and since then I have been on outreaches to a nursing home, a non-profit coffeehouse (we serve here once a quarter), a women's transitional home, a cancer support group, our youth group girls (this was me doing an all-night facial marathon = 22 facials in a row!), and a pregnancy resource center.  This summer, our team will be traveling to West Virginia to serve women in coal mining country.

Cups Cafe owner, Tim Van Arsdale, enjoyed pedicure time with his daughter at our last coffeehouse outreach:

Clearly, real men wear pink.

Last Saturday, we went to Oaks Family Care Center in Brunswick. This organization provides a number of services, including parenting classes & support groups, counseling, a garage turned in to a store with donated baby items and furniture, plus childcare services and more.. all free of charge.  We met Betty & Stan Barlow, the interim Executive Directors, who have poured themselves in to this ministry for over a decade, and are as sweet as can be.

We gave over a dozen haircuts, manicures, pedicures, and facials that morning, including moms, teenage girls, and one unsuspecting little boy, who was not happy about having his hair cut for the first time.

It was a gorgeous Spring morning, filled with baby stories and blessings.  And M&Ms.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

78 degrees

I'm a little bitter we didn't get any real lingering foot-high snow this year.  But, thanks to that glass of pinot grigio sipped outside in our gazebo, accompanied by fresh cut fruit and a plate of shrimp & veggie stir fry (served over coconut rice), I'm moving on.

Welcome, Spring.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Mother Teresa is a woman I have always admired.

Over 45 years of her life was spent serving others in destitution.  She cared for the orphaned and dying, and touched those that society deemed "untouchable."  Her life story is remarkable, but the other thing I adore about her is her honesty.  She wrote about her heart for ministry and crying out for a world to know peace through love, and she wrote about her personal experiences with darkness of the soul, discouragement and doubt.  She lived in the lowest of places, yet achieved some of the highest honors.  

Not everyone would or could choose to live as this dear woman chose to live, but in whatever life station or economic status we find ourselves, we can do something.

Last Thursday, we did something.

We woke up before the sun, helped set-up a food pantry called Feeding Medina County, and served basic staples to local families in poverty.  I was assigned to the bread table, and had fun helping find the exact kind of bread that each person favored.  The table was heaping with a variety of loaves and rolls, and we had two huge boxes on the side to dig through as well.  Pizza bread, sourdough, bagels, and rye bread were the most requested, and boy, how each recipient lit up when I found what they liked.  This food distribution event assembles once a month, and is a giving opportunity worth waking up early for.

On Friday, we did something else.  The "30 Hour Famine."

For a month, our church's junior and senior high youth group collected funds for this purpose (over $5000 total!), in hopes of raising awareness about world hunger.  Our money will be used to serve needy children in Africa through the organization, World Vision.  It was incredible to see the way our young people embraced this challenge, soliciting friends and family members, teachers at their school, and going door-to-door asking neighbors for help.  Friday was the culmination of our efforts, as we gathered for an evening of music & worship.  During the thirty hours prior or following this event, every teenager and leader fasted from something.

This is how I spent the night before my fast.

Then I gave up the main meals of my day on Friday, and came to the event hungry.  I sang on one of the worship teams that night, and had the privilege of experiencing a room full of young people focused on praying for people all around the world who are suffering, and thanking our Creator for His great provision.  It was a powerful evening of sincerity, passion, and raw emotion.  I even found myself laying face-down prostrate at one point, a position I have felt too awkward to try before.  Christ has called us to be like children, regardless of our hang-ups.  On this night, we were children praying for children, and children dancing like children.

We were as we were called to be. 

"Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work." - Mother Teresa

Thursday, March 15, 2012

cupcakes & roller skates

"Embrace the pink," Melanie, is so dear to me.

She turned 30 last week.

I started my Saturday celebrating her, ended my Saturday celebrating her, and spent every moment in-between celebrating her.

It was a good day.

Mel wanted something sweet and something sassy for the start of her new life decade, so a group of us ladies met at Main Street Cupcakes for fancy finger foods, presents, and pink champagne cupcakes.  The room was small, so we got cozy, and filled the place with laughter.  

"Thirty, Flirty & Thriving" was our mantra, as we watched Jennifer Garner's cult comedy, "13 Going on 30," at the birthday girl's house after brunch, and waited for our party bus to arrive.  

The party bus was a borrowed preschool van from The Learning Garden.  It sat fourteen bodies comfortably.. fourteen preschool bodies.  With balloons and streamers lining the windows, we cozied up once again, and made our way to Akron for the sassy portion of our evening.  Roller derby.

Not quite as trash-tastic as hubby's and my inaugural bout in Tallmadge last summer, but the girls from Rubber City did well to ease the gals from our church in to the world of professional female aggression ala roller skates.  I'm pretty sure their clever pseudonyms, booty shorts and ripped stockings helped.

After our bus ride home, a few of us capped off the evening at Applebee's with appetizers and ice cream.

Sweet, sassy, and deep-fried.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

wedding fever

© photo credit: Anna Norton

On the Sunday after Valentine's Day, I joined a few girlfriends for a bridal show at a local mall.  For those of you who know me, I haven't enjoyed mall shopping since I was in junior high.  But, for this bride, I will do just about anything.

Over the past year, we've had a dozen couples get married in our church, half of whom were young people from our youth leadership team.  My husband officiated Ben & Janelle's wedding, and we attended a few of the others.

This year, Anna & Steven and Skylar & Tanya are joining the club.

Anna is a spirited young lady, who calls us "Aunt & Uncle."  She was one of the ones who tried to convince herself not to like us, for fear that we wouldn't be staying in Ohio for very long.  This feeble effort lasted all of a month, before she was scrubbing the dining room floor in our new house, and painting love notes on our walls.  Anna has aways dreamed of a fairytale wedding, and marrying her prince charming.  We are honored to be a part of her dream come true, even if her prince charming plays video games and has a thing for Japanese anime.

Oh yeah, Anna does, too.

Anna also adores anything classic or vintage, and is dressing her bridal party in calypso colors with an outdoor garden theme.  I know this because she asked me to be a bridesmaid.  What?  Yay!

The bridal event at the mall was quaint, but the real madness happened at the fashion show, hosted by David's Bridal.  You would've thought it was an episode of "Oprah's Favorite Things" the way the audience members were jumping up and down.  I mean, I don't blame them, there were some good prizes to be had.  It's the squealing and screaming and all things wedding that I haven't been absorbed in for many years.

It's all coming back to me now.  

Sunday, March 4, 2012


A soft snow is falling outside our front door right now, and creating the most tranquil twilight.  I wish I could bottle the calm and keep it on my nightstand for when I'm feeling uncertain.

In church this morning, we prayed for Chardon, and we prayed for all of the other families in this part of the country who are being terrorized by tornadoes.  Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana have all been hit, including the relatives of people we know.  If only we could clone ourselves and help with disaster relief.

Amanda stayed at our house last night.  Some of her extended family live in Alabama.  Thankfully, they made it through the storm with all of their houses in tact.  Amanda told us this morning that she slept well and felt an incredible peace in our home.

I am so grateful, and wish that peace for everyone.

Friday, March 2, 2012


© photo credit:

This was a busy week for news outlets, as they reported the tragedy that happened an hour away from us.

On Monday, a young man walked in to Chardon High School, and opened fire in the cafeteria.  There doesn't seem to be a good explanation for why T.J. Lane randomly killed three students and injured others.  Some say he came from a troubled family, but for someone so young to do what he did, I'm at a loss.  Dear boy, what a hard road you have ahead of you.

Danny Parmertor was the cousin of my friend, Ryan.

When I learned about the shooting, I recalled the first massacres like this one that affected me emotionally.  It was 1999 Columbine and 2007 Virginia Tech.  With each of them, I had the same sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  The kind that makes my heart hurt like a mother's heart, and ache for the youth of our nation.

The good news is that our youth are strong, as was displayed by the students of Chardon High School, walking back on their campus today, arm-in-arm.  

Last Wednesday night, the youth of our church joined the adults of our church to pray for each other's generation and for the Chardon community.  Tears were shed and fear was realized, along with compassion and words of declaration, challenge and resolve.    

There is still hope.