Thursday, January 19, 2012


(written last night, Jan 18)

I just got back from a prayer meeting at church.

A prayer meeting focused on "Your Kingdom Come." Praying the realization and spread of God's kingdom all over the world, and right where we are.

As I was going from the different tables, I ended on Asia. Over 5 thousand unreached people groups.

And you were laid on my heart. My friend Anu (read anew).

She is in India right now. Volunteering with a non profit that targets sex trafficking. She has only described one of her experiences to me, but I could hear and feel the weight. I could feel her brokenness at seeing prostitution so deeply ingrained in a village's social structure that even young adolescent girls had been marked. She saw it in the deadness of their eyes. Their lack of hope in their futures. Contrasted with the promise of possibility in the eyes and voices of the pre-pubescent girls.

So, I know that you didn't go to India with the intent of partnering with a specific Christian ministry, but I lift you up and pray that you would be a light in all the seemingly hopeless places you encounter.

That you would be strengthened with His peace, strength, joy, courage and love.

That your strength. Your words. Your thoughts. Your actions. Would draw from the Holy Spirit.

That your eyes would be fixed on the Light, so that you will not be overcome by the darkness around you.

That you would trust in His unfailing and unconditional love when you feel discouraged. You may not see the immediate results you desire, but He is still working. He Is.

I pray, my sister, dear heart, that you would grow in spirit and in truth. That every day you are being fashioned more and more into the godly woman that He has created you to be.

I pray that you will find community to support and to support you. To fellowship with. To laugh and cry with.

I pray most of all that you are rooted in the vine.

I love you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

hair and beads

Not together. Well not technically. What I mean to say is, I don't have beads in my hair. And I don't have beads made of hair. Just so we're perfectly clear.

Warning: There are several pictures of myself on this page. I apologize for the self-centered-ness of these images.

Item 1 on the agenda: Hair.

Hair is a fickle thing. It comes in many shapes, colors, thicknesses and textures. It can make or break an outfit/look.

Sometimes I think mine has a mind of its own. I also like to think that my hair is evidence of my heritage. I have a lot of it (mom) but its texture is relatively fine (dad). It's kind of a medium brown (mixed) but has some blondish natural highlights (dad). It's kinda wavy on the top (dad) but the bottom layers, near the nape of my neck won't hold a curl more than 5 mins (mom). Ok, if I use a whole can liberal amounts of hair spray, the curls will hold through the evening.

No matter where I go, the first thing the hairdresser tells me (in either Chinese or English) is "Wow, you have a lot of hair." I reply with a laugh "Yes, I know," but in the back of my mind I'm thinking "Really? Who do you think washes it every day? Is this supposed to be news to me?" But to say that out loud would be borderline rude and make things awkward. Not to mention I don't want my hairdresser to harbor ill will towards me as she/he brandishes scissors and has total control over my hair.
My hair the last time it was cut. Right
around graduation

Any way. Moving onward. The reason I am bringing up my hair is because I haven't cut it in ages. And when I say ages, I mean it's almost been a year since my follicles have seen a clipper. Sad, and grungy, I know. So I thought it was about time. The last time I got it cut, it was this cute just past shoulder length do and was just perfect for the onset of graduation and summer.

Before hair cut.
Since then I've pretty much been growing out my bangs and not doing anything spectacular with my hair. So when I made a hair appointment for last Friday, I had somewhat low expectations because pretty much anything would be an improvement.

When I went in, my requirements to this cut were:
1) Must be able to pull into a ponytail. I would go insane if I couldn't get my hair out of my face when I wanted to. Or had to use a million and four bobby pins when I played sports.
2.) Low Maintenance. I'm the kind of girl who only pulls out the hairdryer when I want to curl my hair. Hooray for air drying!

The first thing my new hairdresser suggested after talking was a sort of longish bob. Not the most appealing to me. My hair length is kind of like a security blanket. So she suggested a compromise. A bob-ish look but keeping the length and having lots of layers. And she was going to do some major cutting in the back to give my hair volume and take out weight. Which she could do with no problem because I have a wealth of hair (Thank you Jesus).
New haircut. After I've washed and
air dried it myself.

So. What do you think? Impressions?

It's definitely different than anything I've had before. I like it. And it allows me to see what a bob-ish cut would look like on me when I just tie up the longer lengths. It's also a lot lighter. I have heavy hair so cutting some underneath the top layers really lightens the load. And now, my ponytail doesn't offer a force of momentum when I change directions. I am kind of still adjusting to it, so sometimes I think it looks like a glorified mullet, but I try not to think about that. The first time my mom saw it on Skype, she asked me "Why is your hair so poofy?" This was evidence realized of my fear of a short haircut making me resemble a Q-tip. Oh well. I guess it's not too poofy for the most part. Plus she said this cut "grows out very gracefully," so to me, that just means I can go for a while without another cut. Hooray!

Grey and white crystals

Item 2 on the agenda: Beads.

I went to the salon right after work, so I was still in my work attire. That day, I happened to be wearing two crystal string necklaces tied in a knot. The second I get my jacket off, my hairdresser latches on to them. Complimenting and gushing over them. Once she found out I made them, she was uber ecstatic. She asked to try mine on and said things like "Oooh, next time you come you have to bring a couple of these; I'm serious!" and "Different colors?! I would have to get a couple!" and "If you sell them at all." We talked about them a little more, discussing all the possibilities of how you could wear them or what you could wear them with because they would compliment almost any outfit.

Which got me thinking. Why not? I could totally make more, but I wanted to get a feel for whether or not people would buy them. What do you think? Would you buy this? They would probably cost around $20-$25/strand because of the high volume of crystals.

Any good/bad experiences with haircuts? Anxieties? Joys?
Would you buy some deliciously sparkly crystals to go with a new do? Or a tried and true do?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

craft: Decoupage Box

According to Merriam-Webster,

Decoupage = "the art of decorating surfaces by applying cutouts (as of paper) and then coating with usually several layers of finish (as lacquer or varnish)".

I included this definition because for a long time, I was slightly puzzled by this word. See, I've read several craft-related blogs, and many of them discuss decoupaging this or decoupaging that. And in my head, after reading the tutorial and step by step instructions, decoupaging just seemed like a fancy word for gluing. Because very few of the tutorials used laquer. Or varnish. Most used Mod Podge. But I guess Mod Podge counts as a finish. Right? I'll just go with it. Decoupage sounds cooler than gluing anyway.

Over the last week I have done a couple of crafty activities, two of them involving my trusty Mod Podge and decoupage (tehee- they rhyme), and others involving a rather aged sewing machine that my aunt gave me because she "hasn't touched in 14 years, so you can go ahead and have it". Stories about that later.

Back to decoupage (how many times can I say it in one post?)

Actually, let me back up. And give a short short background piece of information. Room was a mess. Why? I had crafty articles strewn all over the floor. It was making me crazy. Solution? Shelf. Boxes. Organizing. My zen has returned. Yin Yang has been balanced in my room. Ok that might be a bit much, but seriously, I feel much more calm when I walk into my room. And I know where to go find things. Call me crazy, but labeled boxes give me a sense of satisfaction.

I have no 'before' pictures because I was too frazzled. And just wanted to make it go away. Actually, I have very few 'before' pictures for this craft session. Sorry, I'll try to do better.

Ok NOW back to decoupage.

My 'before' picture. Thanks to the lighting, the brown smudge
isn't really visible. Can you find it?
Since I was organizing, I decided to put my box of stationary in an easily accessible place. I love snail mail, and I like sending it every now and then so I have a large boot box of envelopes, cards (a dangerous store aisle for me), stickers and stamps. It was formally in my closet. Where I reached for it only out of necessity. So I decided to move it out onto my new shelf so that it was easy to get to. But. It was a boot box. No offense to the box, but not it was not the most attactive thing. And there was a mysterious brown mark on it (insert uncertain umm). I have to admit, I like attractive things. Helps my zen.

So my solution was... you guessed it. Decoupage. Hooray!

My ingredients. Slightly misleading
because I decided to use regular glue
after I took this picture. Sorry.
I got some scrapbook paper from a pad of it I got on sale before Christmas, and picked out two sheets. I wasn't sure if it was going to work, so I only did the cover of the box. I didn't really measure anything, just sort of eyeballed it. I probably should have planned ahead more, but hey, where's the adventure in that? (ok, but planning really would be better)

I didn't use Mod Podge because I wanted to try a glue mixture I had read about. Ready for this complex recipe? Glue + Water. You can mix to your dream consistency. I just used Elmer's glue and mixed it with some water. I think it was a little too watery, but it ended up working out alright.

Basically, I brushed glue onto both the lid and the paper and then put them together (is it weird that the song from the old version of Parent Trap just came to mind? Just think of paper and box singing this tune).

Air Dry!
So after gluing and pasting and gluing and pasting and wiping up drips, I set it on a cardboard box to dry. Then? Voila. New. Pretty. I like.

Now, all I have to do is decoupage the bottom to match top. Because there is still a logo on the side of the box. I'll get there. At least the cover is looking swell. What would you like to decoupage? Would you like to have a decoupage party? Let me know and we can set one up! Nothing like bonding over glue (haha, get it?)!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Go now and rest for you are weary with sorrow and much toil. Tonight you will sleep in peace."

Do you know where that quote comes from? Perhaps I'll enlighten you in the next post (guesses welcome in the comment section- no cheating via google).

Any way. I really like that sequence of words. Doesn't it just make you want to sigh and relax? Instant relief. You don't even have to be doing anything strenuous. Enter self. Sitting, typing, drinking tea. And still, ahhhh. I can peace out in peace. Just kidding. Haven't finished typing.

So why am I going on and on about this quote at the beginning of my Christmas post? Well, because I think it suits the reason for the season. The big picture born in a little manger. Can I get an Amen?

Barkley. Sleeping in peace
Because of Jesus, we can sleep in peace. We can unload pain, brokenness, guilt, shame, fear and sin (Someone else is carrying it for you). I don't know about you, but if I were there that night and had any inkling what the birth of Emmanuel meant, it wouldn't be no silent night (insert happy dance and much shouting singing, laughing and more dancing).

On a complete tangent (sorry this is just how my brain works sometimes). Have you noticed how Western Christmas music for the most part is very... solemn and reverence inducing? This is not bad, but I've been pondering it since having some conversations with my Colombian co-worker who mentioned being used to celebratory, more up tempo music. Why not? I mean it's only a world altering event. A couple cheers and jigs wouldn't be uncalled for. Anyhoo. Just an observation.

I now return you to your regular scheduled posting.

This was my first Christmas in my entire life (pretty sure about this) that I spent away from my nuclear family (read: My very good reason for this separation is called the Pacific Ocean. Or Atlantic. Or Arctic. Whichever way you prefer to fly. So, instead I headed up to my very amazing aunt and uncle's place in the middle of  a couple of acres of land. My uncle was kind enough to light up a fire in the fireplace every day I was there (sooo good since I'm basically perpetually cold).

Christmas breakfast. Don't drool on your computer.
I know the grits and fried egg look suspiciously alike,
but the top one is the egg (yes, I wanted a second helping

of grits--who wouldn't?).
Aunt opening presents!
Christmas morning, I woke up at about 8:30. Not from excitement per se, but just from the fact that since I've started working, I can't seem to sleep later than 9 (yes, very frustrating). My uncle fixed me up some scrumptious sausage and egg and GRITS (enter drool) and some store bought muffins. After we ate, we moseyed on over to the presents. My aunt and I stacked and sorted and then the flurry of torn wrapping paper commenced. Yay.

But, we didn't have long to play with our new gifts as we had to get going on Christmas dinner. Oh baby let me tell you. We cooked up a STORM. Turkey. Homemade dressing. Mashed potato casserole. Green bean casserole (more drool). Dressing. Don't worry, we had time to change out of our PJs before the guests started arriving (extra plus!).

Other uncle carving turkey!
The peeps. My aunt and uncle don't have any kids of their own, but have accumulated one or two honorary children in their time. So there was me and another honorary daughter, my aunt and uncle hosts, my other aunt and uncle and their son and his girlfriend, and a neighboring couple. Just enough to be festive but not overwhelming.

I even got some quality Gchat Video time with my family! And the boyfriend was able to stop by from his family gathering for a couple hours!

This was when the bow-tying sessions started. Abraham got a bow-tie for Christmas and my uncle wanted Abraham to teach him how to tie a bow-tie. He hadn't tied one in a long time, apparently. I enjoyed watching.
Note the confused expression.

All to say, it was a good Christmas. No medical emergencies. No fires. Except the one in the fireplace. Just enough activity to keep us on our toes but not stressed out. Heaps of food. Loads of laughter and love.

The Christmas party. Wearing our hats from our poppers!

What a great time of being able to bask in the gifts of family and friends.

And at the end of the day? I peaced out in peace. With a very full tummy and heart.

How about you? Anything fun? Traditions? New experiences?