Tuesday, January 28, 2014

the art of the compliment

Most people love to receive compliments.  The world could use more of them.

Some people might feel lost when trying to form the right words or maybe complimenting doesn't come naturally to them.  Either way, these are things that I learned in class this semester that made sense to me and that I hope will help you.

//  Be sincere.  (This seems like a no-brainer, but how many times have you told someone that you liked their shirt, hat, coat, etc. when really you were just looking for something to say?)
//  Many small compliments are better than one big one. 
//  Be specific.  This can be hard to do, but the deep thought that may be required is part of what makes a compliment meaningful. It's the thought that counts. (If you're picking out a character trait, describe a time that person showed that trait.  If you're saying you like something they're wearing or made, tell what you like about it.  Etc.)
//  Avoid intensifiers like really.  Surprisingly, taking out that one word often brings more power to the words that you do use.  
//  Don't compliment when you're asking for something (manipulation) or when you're criticizing.

And if you're receiving a compliment, all you need to say is thank you. Compliments are like gifts.  All you need to do is accept them.  No disagreeing, downgrading, or rejecting allowed.  Saying thank you accepts the gift.

Complimenting someone takes thought, humility, and courage.  Not easy.  But so worth it.

May we all be on the lookout for times to warm the hearts of our loved ones with words.  And may we have the courage to speak those words- even the imperfect ones.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

bind my wandering heart to Thee

This project was inspired by pinterest.  I had seen similar projects before, but never had the time to make one for myself.  And I thought I would never get the font right.  (Turns out, it doesn't need to be perfect to look great.) It ended up taking a little more time than I thought just because the wood glue had to dry, but overall, I'm really happy with the way this turned out!

For this project, I used wood glue, tapered shims, cardboard, paint, and heavy books. (I ended up spending a total of four dollars. That was only to buy the shims because I had the rest of the supplies around the house.)

First, I glued two of the tapered shims together to make the pieces equally wide.  (This would have been a lot easier if I had used regular pieces of wood, but that would have made the project cost quite a bit more.)  For each pair, I rested a heavy book on it for about half an hour to make sure that it would stay together.

Once I had all of the pieces I would need glued together, I arranged them on a piece of cardboard and used that as a foundation for the piece.  I glued the wood strips to the cardboard.

Then I started the drawing! I used this picture as a guide for the font, but I freehanded the drawing.  I'm no expert artist, so I was surprised at how easy this font was to duplicate.  Don't be afraid.

I drew the outline in pencil first so I could erase.  Once I was sure I had the font the way I wanted it, I used a small paint brush to fill in the letters.  Again, this sounded scary to me, but trust me, it was so easy.  Take your time and you will be fine.

Once everything was dried, the cardboard I used for the foundation started to warp, so I ended up gluing two pieces to the back vertically to correct it.

As you can see, this ended up hanging above my bed at home.  For me, it's been the perfect way to beautifully display a reminder of where my focus should be.  I hope you're just as pleased with the way yours turns out!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

loving yourself

I'm processing through what I've assumed to be true about following Jesus and I'm finding that there might be more than I thought to some things.

I've heard/read/listened to so many lessons about humility and self-sacrifice and putting others first.  I think these are great things! Jesus lived a life of service for sure.  But the way I've interpreted this before is that I should focus on other people.  Love them and do things for them until I can't give any more.  That. is. exhausting.

And then this week I read Matthew 22:37-39.  Jesus was talking to his disciples and told them, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (ESV emphasis mine)

As yourself.  Love others the way that I love myself.  

I don't need to only focus on other people.  God knows that I need attention too.  Not in an arrogant, narcissistic, me me me way, but in an intentional, refreshing, making me better way.  I've focused on loving myself by journaling and taking care of my body and taking pride in who I am.  There are some times in the past where I would have looked at this week and called myself self-centered because of how much I've thought about this.  Whatever.

After taking time to invest in myself, I feel better equipped to love others.  I'm no expert, but I think that might have been God's intention when He told us to love others well and to love ourselves well. 

If you want, you can join me in writing letters to yourself.  This probably sounds super cheesy to some of you.  But take time to think about the things you admire in yourself.  God has given everyone incredibly unique gifts and they all deserve attention.  Thank Him for those gifts and encourage yourself to use them for good things! 

You are valuable and worthy of love, admiration, and respect- especially from yourself. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

precious family time

I've looked at the time other families spend together and thought, "Aw, that's so nice.  I wish my family was like that. That's precious family time."

When it came to my family, I complained when we had the chance to spend time together. Or I was on my phone.  Or I didn't care.  Mostly I didn't care. Bad attitude.

This winter break, even if my family was doing things that weren't my favorite, if we were all present, I tried to think of it as precious family time.  Because it was.

I'm thankful for the time I've gotten to spend this break shopping, puzzling, watching the Bachelor, and adventuring with my family.  The effort I've made to be fully present in my time with them has been so worth it.  Thanks for putting up with my terrible attitude family.  You're my kind of people.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

quick crochet blanket

I made this blanket in one day.

Granted, I worked on it about all day.  But still, I think a day is pretty good.  All of the other blankets I've made have taken me at least a month to make.  


To view the complete post, visit my updated blog at 

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 6, 2014

small things with great love

A few days ago, I stumbled upon The Love Parcel.  The idea is that you make some kind of mini package filled with anything you want- many have vintage trinkets, artwork, or handwritten notes.  Then you send it to Miranda, the creator of the project, and she uses a combination of her own creations and other people's packages to send you a response!

I'm a sucker for snail mail.

This was a great excuse to try whatever artsy things I wanted and to make things that didn't have a purpose except to be beautiful.  I painted and drew and sewed and crocheted and found vintage treasures, which were all perfect things to do over winter break, when it's too cold to do anything outside.

At least for me, the cherry on top of this whole thing is the positivity and creativity that The Love Parcel promotes.  Gives me warm fuzzies to look at the pictures that are posted of packages from people all over the world.

For more information, look at The Love Parcel website or instagram and let me know if you send a package of your own!

To see what I received back, hop over to my instagram feed.  As I was opening the package, my boyfriend commented, "She knows you well!" ....but Miranda doesn't know me at all.  I love that.  Miranda, thanks for making my day!