Sunday, August 31, 2008

You’re going to CANCUN, MEXICO!!!

The phone rings. I pick up and the automated voice says ‘CONGRATULATIONS! Your application has been chosen and you’ve won an all inclusive trip to Cancun, Mexico!’ It doesn’t tell me WHO is calling. ever.

I keep listening, hoping something will clue me in or remind me of some application I sent in for a trip to Mexico.. Nothing. So, it tells me to press 1 to find out more. I HAD to. I was very aware that it could be a scam, but I needed to know if I was really getting to go to Cancun as I have dear ones very near to Cancun and that would be really exciting because Cancun is much further away than it used to be.

So I press 1. Then this guy picks up. He must be sitting in a room full of LOTS of people and machines. He says, ‘CONGRATULATIONS!’ from some company that I couldn’t understand the name of. So I’m like, ‘who is this that’s calling me?’ So he tells me his name. ha. Then I say, ‘no, what’s the company’ and he rattles it off again, still have no idea what he’s talking about. So he says, ‘isn’t this Mrs. So & So that lives here [about 20 minutes on foot from where I live]?’ and I say, ‘no this is Mrs. Church and I live on North Street.’ And he says, ‘Oh sorry.’ And I’m like, yeah you should be! Getting my hopes up like that! geeez. Some people.

No, I didn’t say that to him. And no I’m not going to Cancun. Maybe next time.

By the way.. I'm just wondering who thinks it's a good idea to play the bagpipes at 12:13AM?? Seriously. I mean I love the way they sound (even at 12:13am) but come on..

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A sure sign that my worlds are colliding in new ways.

Sometimes when I’m painting and I ‘mess up’… (it’s hard to mess up when painting because you can just paint over it.. there’s always a way to fix it, right Bob, right? Our happy accidents??)

I frantically search for the ‘edit, undo’ button.

And then I remember that life doesn’t work that way. :)

“That'll be our little secret.”

- Bob Ross

Friday, August 29, 2008


It has come to pass that we have made a great many resolutions since we have moved here. Suddenly with modified responsibilities, we have lost, to a certain degree, motivation for many things that should be a ‘given’ in daily life.

For example..

We now have a dishwasher (awesome!), but it’s not the greatest dishwasher ever and you have to scrub the dishes before you put them in or they come out with the same gunkiness they had to begin with (we mostly rely on the sanitizing nature of the dishwasher as opposed to that whole ‘washing’ thing). So, instead of letting the dishes sit in the sink for weeks like we used to, you know, to get them good and fuzzy before we spent hours wishing we had done them sooner, we let them sit for a day or two before we spend about an hour wishing we would’ve just done it piece by piece.

And we have resolved to do that. And it lasted about one mealtime.

Another example…

We have this great habit of leaving things about the house instead of putting them away. I get home from work, change into comfy clothes and lay my work clothes on the bed, chair, whatever surface is available. That goes on for a week, until finally on Saturday I spend an hour cleaning the bedroom. And Ian loves his piles. Piles everywhere. And I don’t know what to do with stuff so I just chuck it somewhere to ‘deal with it later’.

We resolved to put our [fill in the blank] away (at least twice) and that actually may have never happened.

Yup, we’re still going…

Remember this? When I resolved to paint every morning? Yeah, well, I’ve been painting, but it has gotten more and more sporadic as the weeks have passed. My only hope is that with being consistently full time at work, I will be a consistent painter, as I was the first week I started this resolution, when I was working full time.

Not to mention when we were going to start working out consistently (at least a dozen times this year).

And that is only the tip of the iceberg. I have been able to maintain a few things that I have consciously decided to do pretty consistently, but that’s about it. The frustrating thing is, I genuinely want to do these things.. really badly. I want to be disciplined. I want to ‘have it all together’ at least at the most basic level. I want to be able to overcome my desire not to do something by realizing the value of doing it. You know?

I also want to tell myself things like ‘oh, you’ll figure it out eventually’ ‘when you have kids it’ll get straightened out’ ‘you’re going through so many transitions all the time, how can you possibly hope for any consistency’, but I know that those are just excuses and ways to put off the truth of the matter. I’ve just got to do it. It’s not going to be any easier tomorrow (and who am I kidding thinking KIDS will make it easier??), in fact it will probably just get harder and more frustrating the longer I find ways to drag it out.

So. I’m going to try to come up with some kind of system for myself to dredge up that motivation on the good days, so it’s not as hard to find on the bad days. I would also love suggestions… :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Return of the Hamburger Things

The hamburger thing is a beautiful meal. It's like hot pocket, but you can customize it. My mom always made these for her picky kids, two Pillsbury crescent rolls laid out flat, filled with ONLY hamburger, then folded over to make the 'pocket'. Being married and also a college student, I loved this meal because it only took like 20 minutes to make for dinner. And it tasted sooooo good! 

When we moved to Scotland, I discovered that 1) I didn't really care for the flavor of the beef - the main ingredient, and 2) I couldn't find Pillsbury rolls anywhere (although, now I'm on the lookout - thanks Kristin!). Since Tesco has some pretty great clearance deals on their meat, we ended up with some beef and had a hankerin for hamburger things, so we started looking to see what kind of pastry we could find. We ended up getting a 'roll it out yourself' puff pastry to attempt the dinner and got the lovely result above. I cooked the meat with seasoned salt and pepper, and next time I'm going to add some onions to make it taste EVEN BETTER (just give my mother a moment to pick herself up off the floor). Ian likes to stick cheese in there with the meat for some extra goodness as well. 

They were delicious - even on day 2! - and we are so grateful for the re-discovery of a quick and easy meal! :)

Now, I just have to learn how to make 'tastes like kraft' macaroni and cheese from scratch, then we'll be all set.. (Yes, my childish taste buds still prefer kraft over 'sophisticated' macaroni & cheeses, unless it's made with velveeta.. mmmm velveeta :)

Quote of the Night...

As we are walking past one of the many street musicians that show up around St Andrews when the weather is nice, Ian says..

'I always give her money.. sometimes..'

followed by the look that makes it hilarious as he realizes what he just said :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Painting - Week 3 - SLACKER!

That's the only way I know how to describe my painting attempts this week. I started one.. mid-week I think.. and never finished it because I hated it and was getting tired of working so detailed. So, I painted over it nice and sloppy this morning, and will hopefully reach a finished painting this week.

Sorry for the poor photography!

And, I started another one, but it's just an under painting at the moment. I'm painting a picture my sister took a few years ago while in the UK that she has been wanting me to paint... for a few years :)

I'm using my new water-soluble oil paints, and am very excited to see how they work.

I know.. kind of a disappointing week, but maybe this will be a good chance for me to demonstrate the many layers of thought and process that go into a painting :) 

I've had some good points of inspiration this week in Scripture and in random works of art I've been looking at online. One of the things I'm going to pursue: BEES! I'm super excited :) I'm expecting my progress on the smaller 'weekly' paintings to slow while I'm working on the larger oil painting, but hopefully I'll still have some good results to show on both each week, unlike this week..

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I like to think. I like to assess. I like to figure out, ‘why?’ about myself and situations. I think that’s why I enjoyed Psychology so much in school, because it was always exploring the ‘whys’ of human behavior.

Sometimes this gets me into trouble. I overanalyze things rather than going with my gut, which occasionally leads me to do more harm than good. Though sometimes, my gut will do just the same.

This part of my nature causes me to generally be very in-tune with myself. I know when something is amiss in my physical or spiritual life. When I get that feeling, I think about it. I try to figure out what it is and where it’s coming from. But, sometimes it takes me a little while to put my finger on it.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been having some issues after we turn out the lights to go to sleep. That is the time of day when I am most susceptible to questioning, giving in, losing battles, getting discouraged, etc. and sometimes it keeps me up at night. Recently, my struggles have come so far that I actually feel physical repercussions of them. I feel weight in my chest, fear gripping me, helplessness, uncertainty, vulnerability. That’s new for me.

Sure I’ve felt all those things before, but not like this. I always felt them within the comfort of external things like: mom and dad downstairs if I need them, my roommate in the other bed if I need to talk, my analyzing brain, my husband right next to me. They could help me solve my problems.

One of the things the Lord has been teaching me this year is to forgo relying on those external things for my help in times of need and to rely fully on him. Not to downplay the importance of those relationships and the way the Lord uses them, but to emphasize that the Lord should be the first one that I run to.

But what if the Lord is what I’m afraid of? What if my understanding of Him has gotten so messed up that He’s not my place of comfort any more? What if my heart feels shriveled and dry and unable to be reassured?

The funny thing is, that’s just it. I don’t question my faith, I question the Lord’s faithfulness. I know that I believe in and love Jesus with my whole heart regardless of whether it feels shriveled or not. I know that. But what if he strikes me down.. what if when I die, I find out he’s not going to save me. He’s not going to save me because I wasn’t good enough, because actually, it does all depend on me.

Stop. Ok, how many times have you heard the gospel?

At least in the hundreds, and I love it every time.

Ok, so tell me how it goes..

We were created to be good, full, beautiful people. To commune wholly with our God and Father. To be close to him, to praise him in his nearness, to see him, sense him, to flawlessly love him. That’s how we were supposed to be. But, we couldn’t do it. In our fleshliness, we wanted what he had. We wanted to see and know and to be praised.

And we fell. The human race fell. We fell into blindness, helplessness, bondage, distance, death, sin. We fell into an uneasiness with a Holy God. We dirtied ourselves, tattered our clothes, starved and neglected ourselves, but still wanted to approach the King.

So he gave us some rules. We had to make up for our mistakes and follow his rules if we still wanted to meet with him. But it was really hard. Impossible. How could one person keep track of so many things? What if the priest made a mistake? Everyone else is relying on him, what if he does it wrong? But we need the Lord.

Then Jesus came. He came and showed us that we were even more in debt than we understood. It wasn’t just about following those rules on the outside, it was about following them on the inside, in our souls. Our very beings needed to know and understand these rules and their significance in order to make up for the mistakes we had made. And that is hopeless. Even more impossible than before.

But. We are not hopeless are we. We don’t have to be in bondage or blind or distant anymore. There is relief. That’s what Jesus did. He followed the rules perfectly with his entire being. He knew what it was to have fleshliness and he overcame it. He was stronger. He never once broke any of the rules. He remained in perfect communion with God from the confines of a fallen world.

And then, he did the unthinkable. He took his perfection and smeared it with our dirt. He wore our tattered clothes, he claimed our starvation and neglect as his own. By his choice. He allowed himself to suffer the blindness, helplessness, bondage, distance, death, sin that he never had to know. He never had to know it because he didn’t deserve it like we did. He didn’t earn a bit of that condemnation. But he took it. He took it all before a Holy God and said, ‘it is mine.’

His perfection wiped us clean. He made the most uneven, unfair, unbelievable trade the world has ever known. He paid our debt knowing fully we could give him nothing in return. It was free. Our debt is paid regardless of how many times we struggle with the same sin. It is paid no matter how much we get confused and fear the same Lord that is our salvation. It is paid no matter what. Forever.

That is what I believe. Jesus took my imperfection and gave me his perfection. I can stand before the King and be me, in all of my grime and muck, because the King’s Son, the true royalty, wants me to be there. He made it possible. He made it so I can know my God the way I was meant to, to be near him, to sense him, to love him. He made it so I can look forward to a day when I will do this flawlessly. When the entirety of creation will do this flawlessly.

And that is beautiful.

Remember? Remember how none of it ever depended on you?

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Let your fears be stilled and feel sweet relief. You cannot be good enough, I promise. You will always fail, just like me. The Lord is not going to strike me down and he’s not going to close the gates of Heaven on me because I wasn’t good enough. He knows I’m not good enough better than I do at one o’clock in the morning when I’m worrying about it. He knows that Jesus was good enough and that I have trusted Jesus to be good enough for me. And that Jesus, he is my life and breath and comfort, and he will bring me through and fill my shriveled heart.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Love is in the air…

If you remember things that you have read in the past, (then you are not like me) you might remember that Ian and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary on a plane flying back to the UK with my brother. With the subsequent busy-ness of the weeks following, we never really celebrated or had much time to think about acknowledging our three years as an old married couple.

We shop at Tesco for our groceries. When you shop at Tesco, if you have a clubcard, you get points every time you buy something (you earn a penny for every pound you spend). Those points add up and then you get sent vouchers every three months that you can use in a number of different ways. You can use them in the store with a direct exchange (so if you have GBP 5.00 of vouchers you can use that to buy yourself a large-ish chicken or 5 tubs of Tesco ice cream, for example), or if you go online there are all kind of special offers you can use them for that sometimes make your pounds go further.

One of the special offers is dinner vouchers for Bella Italia, an Italian restaurant that we have in town. If you exchange your Tesco vouchers for Bella Italia vouchers, you get to multiply your pound amount by 4!

So we decided to turn our 5 pound voucher into a 20 pound voucher and go out to Bella Italia for dinner to celebrate our three years together. Basically a free meal. Basically amazing. We are rewarded for buying groceries to feed ourselves.. nice.

So we got all gussied up

and headed out to ‘give it a go’ and see if our vouchers would work as seamlessly as it seemed they would. We asked about it right away because we are skeptical of such things since we didn’t read the fine print last time we went out for dinner.. And lo and behold, it was that easy! Yay! So we enjoyed a yummy meal and NEITHER of us ate chicken!! Here we are in great anticipation of our meal. This is like what our food sees when it looks at us (I was trying to be discrete with the camera :)

We both got seafood. We enjoy plentiful helpings of pasta, shrimpy, saucy goodness, as well as some amazing garlic breadsticks (although, every time I eat bread here, I always miss soft bread.. All the bread we’ve encountered with dinner here is ‘crusty’ if you know what I mean. Does anybody know where I can find soft dinner rolls?? Maybe I just need to make them. Where is that little dough boy when you need him..)

Our waitress was wonderful and dinner came out to a grand total of 28.45 including tip. That is pounds. Which means we just spent nearly $60 to eat at a restaurant similar to the Olive Garden, but without unlimited breadsticks and salad. For two of us. See?? See why we don’t eat out!? :) That’s why we’re grateful that we actually only paid 8.45 of that.. again.. nice.

Anyway. It is significant (and I believe very providential) that we ended up at an Olive Garden-esque restaurant because we had our first date EVER at an Olive Garden (after deciding Texas Roadhouse was far too noisy to have the deep discussions we needed to have about life, meaning, and significance… on the first date) and have gone to an Olive Garden to celebrate each anniversary thus far.

We enjoyed great conversation and walked down toward the beach after our lovely dinner. Unfortunately, I wussed out because it was FREEZING yesterday so we never made it all the way to the beach, but we enjoyed the sea air and sounds nonetheless (we love taking deep breaths outside). We got home to home-made brownies, ice cream, and DOPE!! My first ever time making dope by myself without the rest of my family. Whoa.

No, we are not a family of potheads. We do not have such skeletons in our closets. That is not why our parents chose to live so far back in the woods… We have this recipe for chocolate sauce that actually is probably better than dope if I had to guess, because it’s CHOCOLATE!! Yum! My grandpa made it and passed the recipe on to my dad, who passed it on to me a few weeks ago. And, we’ve always known it as dope. No one knows why. Right? Family? Does anyone know why? Regardless, it’s amazing and not like what you’ll expect it to be like, guaranteed. And I will make it for you if you come visit :)

So we enjoyed our brownies while we browsed a selection of movies to rent FROM THE COMFORT OF OUR COUCH! That’s right folks. The iTunes geniuses have made it so you can rent movies from iTunes and you get to keep them for 24 hrs. That is good stuff. We rented a movie called ‘Wristcutters: A Love Story’ from the comedy section. Sounds weird right?? Well, it did not disappoint. It was weird with a capital W-E-I-R-D!! I’m not sure what to think exactly, but I don’t think I would call it a comedy. I thought it approached suicide (constantly referred to as ‘off-ing yourself’ throughout the movie) too casually and didn’t do a good job at addressing some of the issues it could have addressed in a very thought-provoking way. It felt like the movie wanted to be kind of deep and meaning-of-life-ish, but just didn’t quite make it. I don’t know, maybe that’s what they intended. Maybe that’s why it was in the comedy section. I think this review sums it up well, “It's certainly melancholic, occasionally funny, and ultimately life-affirming. But overall, it feels as if writer-director Goran Dukic dropped a rather promising ball.” It seems like a good ‘let’s watch it and discuss’ movie, but definitely not a ‘let’s sit down and laugh and feel like we just had a really good time at the end’ movie.

So we had a good date night. And are still thankful for our three+ years together :)

p.s. Is it harmful to use makeup that might be almost 7 years old? I mean, because I have this friend.. And she was wondering.. because it still looks normal and works normally.. she wanted to know..

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Here's Sumpin Funny

Ian puckered out his lips real far... and then attempted to head-butt me.

'Lip Sumo Wrestling' he says..

oh boy.

Can you tell we haven't had much to report lately?? :)


Monday, August 18, 2008

I just cut a chicken in half

yup. gross. really really gross.

see, it is these moments when i consider being a vegetarian.

then. i think about the goodness that will come from that cut in half chicken. and i remember how beans make me gag.

and i think. maybe next time...


Painting Week 2

Here's the product of last week.. I must say, it kind of surprised me. It's a little out of the ordinary for what I've been doing as of late.

It's based on this thought by Elizabeth Elliott in The Path of Lonliness

"The death of the seed that falls into the ground produces a new cycle of life - the fresh little shoot, the full stalk, the bud, the flower... The fruit dies to allow the seed to fall once again into the ground. The seed dies and there is a new beginning. Nothing is ever wasted. In God's economy, whether He is making a flower or a human soul, nothing ever comes to nothing."

"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you."
Psalm 63:3

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My husband is a Hero…

We were sitting down chatting a few days ago when all of a sudden Ian says, “You know Corrie… I’m kind of like Peter Petrelli.” After I finished laughing I asked him why he thought that. And he proceeded to explain to me in a ‘Heroes’ context something that we have known for a long time. Ian is a mimic. If he spends any amount of time with a person, he takes on their modes of expression. It may be a gesture, the way they nod their head, the way they say a certain word, or the faces they make during regular conversation.

He proceeded to outline some of the recent things he has been unconsciously (note: he doesn’t do this on purpose) mimicking and then explained how somewhere in his brain, he knows when he’s doing it. And he thinks of the person he got it from.

If you are familiar with ‘Heroes’ at all, I think you’ll agree that there are some definite parallels in this behavior. I mean, I’m seeing great potential for the next ‘Heroes’ character…

Friday, August 15, 2008

I am a member of my generation…

This story is not for the faint of heart. It is icky. And, for your sake, there are no pictures.

So we’ve lived here almost a year. And we’ve had trouble with our washing machine almost the entire time we’ve lived here. I just thought it had issues. But. Well. It turns out it’s me with the issues.

The problem was the cycles would never completely finish. I couldn’t figure out why and I read and read to try to find a reason. Nothing. So I developed a technique. I’d pick my cycle, run it til it stopped, then do another shorter cycle til it stopped. Then I would continue on with a rinse cycle, which occasionally went all the way followed by a couple drain cycles and a couple spin cycles. So. Needless to say, it was quite the event to do laundry and by the time it was done it usually smelled a little funky rather than like fresh, clean laundry, which I assumed was because it spent so much time in the barrel.

I was getting really frustrated with this process as it seemed to be getting worse and worse and was considering giving the maintenance guys a call. I decided before I took such drastic measures, I’d read back through the guide to the machine to make sure I had done everything possible before I called.

So I’m reading and I see this ‘maintenance guide’ section that talks about cleaning out the filter (here we go..) once a month. I think ‘hmm.. the filter. I don’t think I’ve done anything with the filter..’ So I decide to go have a look. It mentions some water might trickle out, so to be ready to catch it. I brace myself for the trickle, but it was more like Niagara Falls polluted with large balls of lint and hair. After I got over my disgust, I grabbed a large bowl, which proceeded to get COMPLETELY full of grungy water from my washing machine. I finally get to the point where I can take out the filter and find an even more disgusting sight – packed, I mean packed, full of slimy, blue, fuzz and hair, some of which has been in there for nearly a year.

I consider trying to get it out with my bare hands, but decide that will involve too much gagging. So I grabbed a knife and went at it until it was clean. Well then I had to take my knife to prod into where the filter goes to get the rest of the clogging out of there. It might have been the grossest thing I’ve ever done. And to give my husband credit – I know he would’ve done it because he’s done far grosser things, but he was studying and I didn’t want to bother him :)

I put the filter back in, put the cover back on, and ran a ‘please clean it!’ cycle of just detergent and hot water. It has worked like a charm ever since. So.. um.. I’ll be cleaning the filter out from now on.. every month.

All the while this was going on, I just kept thinking ‘this is the 21st century! I’m educated, I can work with technology, it is just shameful that I couldn’t figure out my own washing machine! I’m not even fit to be a part of my own generation!’

Then as I was telling Ian this story, it dawned on me that I actually fit in very well with my generation. ‘what – you mean I can’t just push a button and make it work?? You mean I have to DO something???’ :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lammas Market

One of the traditions of St Andrews is the Lammas Market. It sounds very mysterious and like it should involve animals, right? Well it turns out it’s just like the county fair, minus the animals, squished into the streets of St Andrews between the hundreds-of-years-old buildings

And it. Is. Crazy!

First they filled Market Street. All those crazy rides everyone with any sense is afraid to get on because they’re being held up with old blocks of wood (not joking!). Trailer after trailer offering you the best chips (fries) or candy floss (cotton candy) you could ever imagine. Announcers promising you you’ll win if you just fork over a few pounds.

I, of course, loved it :) Ian was less than impressed. It is so so so loud, but it just reminded me of home (always read ‘home’ as ‘where I grew up’ in this context, some people are picky about what you should call home. Yes home is Scotland at the moment, but home will always be Indiana.. anyway..). Going to the state fair or the county fair (or any fair that may come along to rural Indiana throughout the year, because if it was close, I probably went to it.. even after I was old enough to make that decision for myself :) I love fairs!) and riding rides that made me pee my pants a little after drinking freshly squeezed lemonade and eating candy and kettle corn. Then getting to peruse all of the tantalizing trinkets to see which beauties I could afford to buy :) And probably screaming about something, causing my parents to wonder why they even try to have family outings. But see, aren’t you glad I have these memories :)

Much to my surprise, Market Street was just the beginning. It expanded to South Street. It looks like we live in a different place altogether! Now, not only are there tons of rides, a ridiculous number of food vendors, and announcers promising you’ll win even if you lose, but there are market tents selling clothes, house wares, backpacks, fabrics, and on and on. It takes me twice as long just to walk to work because it’s so crowded. I have to admit that while I love fairs, I think I’d prefer to not live in them.

It still makes me smile every time I walk through. There are so many people.. the ridiculous teenagers that think not only that they are invincible, but that no one can see them.. the flamboyant ones that look like they probably have relatives in Texas (no offense, Texans).. the poor moms spending pound after pound to create memories like mine for their kiddos.. the kiddos screaming their heads off because they couldn’t have another go..

It’s a crazy mass of experience. And it’s fun :)

We did almost go on the ferris wheel.. until we saw how much it costs...

2 pounds 50! Seriously?!?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Birthday/Anniversary!!

I completely forgot to mention two momentous occasions that happened while we were in the States! First, Ian celebrated his quarter life crisis back in June with a cookie monster cake, but I got to celebrate my crisis one year BEFORE my quarter life crisis on July 6th! I am officially 24 years old. Every year when I talk to my sister about my birthday I always say ‘I remember when you turned [insert number]! You seemed so OLD!!’ Followed by ‘I just don’t feel that old!’ I am consistently older than I feel. I think that started when I moved into the 20s. I just don’t feel as mature and grown up as a 24 year old should be :)

And, even better, we celebrated our third anniversary! Three whole years! A bunch of people asked us if it felt like it had been three years. I think it does actually. A lot has happened to us in the last three years, and I don’t think that much could’ve happened if we’d be married for less than three years :)

We continually thank the Lord for bringing us together the way He did. For allowing us to love each other so fully, and being able to forgive each other when we have the days when the love is harder to find. Hooray for three years – we’re excited to look ahead to our fourth year and are praying for much growth and goodness!

So here we are.. a quarter lifer and an almost quarter lifer, with three years tucked away together.

Quote of the Night.. (last night)

Ian: We epistemologists have been thinking about this since 1963 and-

Corrie: Wait, what do you mean 'we' epistemologists?? You weren't even born yet!

Ian: No, but I was working on it...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The paintings – Week 1

This is actually a picture of two paintings (um.. yes we can see that). That’s because I think I'm making a series of some sort. It’s just taking shape and I’m not quite sure how it will all end up but nevertheless, here we are. The first I painted about a month ago and it is based on the idea of the pouring out of the Spirit, like Pentecost or Baptism (funny story, I actually never wrote down the verse it was based on, so I just have the concept.. oh well, I'll have to pick one).

The second was painted last week and is based on this verse: The earth is the Lord's and all its fullness.

So I think if this becomes a series, the second one will actually be the first.

I wanted to mention to some of the symbolism I use in paintings. Right now I'm obsessed with birds. They have been my outlet for the past 10 months or so. They have always appealed to me in their freedom to just up and go, in and of themselves, any time they want to. Almost all the paintings I've done over the last year include birds. And I don't think I'm done with them yet :)

The birds could represent the Holy Spirit, as I tend to think they do in the first painting, or the idea of sky, flight, things in the air, as the bird feet do in the second painting (though there is some irony in that I put feet up there rather than wings.. bring to it what you will). I also usually have some kind of 'flowing' happening. It's in the background of the first one and represents water - pouring out of the Spirit, and it just hints toward sky and earth in the second. And, there are almost always those skinny little rectangles, which are my representation of people. There are, of course, many other symbolic items, but those are some examples.

I know some of you love that I just did that because it's hard to figure out art like mine, and some of you think I totally ruined your viewing experience because you love figuring it out, so your welcome and I'm sorry.

Until next week!

Do we need to make some changes??

A couple things here.

First, I changed our blog. I wanted something summery and I had that great strawberry pic from the fruit farm that is SO beautiful. But, the rest of it, I’m not sure I’m sold on it. The thing is.. I know nothing about html, code, web design, nothing. That is not an area of design I have crossed into because I’m busy enough as it is. BUT, it’s kind of a bummer because I only really know how to change the colors :) So, I think I need some help. Suggestions? Colors, patterns? I don’t know.

Second. Get ready.

I’m thinking about bidding farewell to my cute little nose ring. I don’t know! I mean, I like it, but I’m just not loving it anymore and I keep getting these urges to just take it out. I want to be able to wear it at my own choosing like I can with my earrings, but if I leave it out too long it’s super hard to get back in.. and it hurts. So again.. suggestions? Should I keep it? Is it time to move on? I mean I’ve had it for almost 2 years, but everyone always said, ‘you’ll be such a cute/cool mom with a nose ring’ And, I’m not a mom yet, so maybe I should wait :) (I’m totally laughing at myself right now.. I hope you are too.)

I don’t know.

(Sorry for the melodramatic close up.. I had to get a good one of the nose :)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Another Visitor!

Last Monday evening, one of my dear friends from Taylor came for a visit. You may remember Alyssa, as we stayed with her and another dear friend, Becky, while we were in Germany. Well, she decided she’d like to come get a taste of Scotland, so we spent a great week together :)

Sadly, I had to work most of the days she was with us, but I did get one surprise day off, which was great fun. So, the day I had off we went around to the castle and cathedral and climbed St. Rule’s tower. We did a bit of shopping and then we walked a couple of miles to a local fruit farm to get some strawberries. We got to pick them ourselves! It was so fun and they were so beautiful!

This picture was taken on the walk to the farm - HUGE wheat fields

Calico pigs.. Never thought I'd see the day

Yay for picking strawberries!

There were also chicken and sheep on this farm (sheep not pictured)

And then there was.. um.. this one. Which just makes me laugh

Yay for contrast!

And then, we got to turn our strawberries into THIS (home made)! 
(quite possibly the best strawberry shortcake ever, according to Ian and Alyssa :)

Friday Ian and Alyssa went to Edinburgh and got to walk, look, climb, and taste. Then Saturday we got to spend together again and we hiked the first part of the Coastal Path – which is SO pretty in summertime!

Can you see the alligator?

We caught a bus to Anstruther for our beloved fish & chips (although I got mine grilled this time instead of fried :), then walked to a little village called Pittenweem. They are putting on an arts festival this week, so being the artists and art appreciators that we are, we decided to check it out. We got to make prints by carving into Styrofoam and then using ink to print our images onto paper. A simplified version of printmaking that was surprisingly effective – this is something I may pursue :) They were pretty amazing – especially the one made by my creative husband. I’ll have to post pictures sometime :)

We wandered through the venues (actually homes and garages that are open for the week displaying the art) until it began to rain when we decided we were ready to head back. I’m considering trying to secure a place for my art in next year’s festival if I can get myself organized enough and meet someone who’s house I can use. If you know anyone in the area…

We had a great week with Alyssa and only wished it could’ve been longer (I think we’ll always wish that), but we bade her farewell back to Germany on Sunday morning.

Now, as far as we can tell, it’s life as usual until the next person comes a-knockin’…


So I learned about something new called flaughing... And I learned about it here. And then I learned that I need to watch the video again, because I didn't get very good results. BUT, I'm pretty sure my flaughing will provide you with some genuine laughing, so it's all worth in the end.. right?

I'd say I need to practice. A lot.

Oh, and I also learned, my mouth is kind of a lot bigger than I thought it was..

(If you click on it you can see it bigger and with captions)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Self-Portrait aka 'Adaptation'

I had this idea…

I’ve noticed that because I am currently so busy, it’s hard for me to prioritize things that are not forced to be a priority (ummm.. hello life). Designing tends to take over, and between that and my research on life (i.e. following various blogs written by people who are interested in life and the many things there are to know about it) I end up spending a large amount of my day staring into the depths of various computer screens.

Since we moved, I have struggled to find routine and consistency during each day (note: I also graduated from college as a self-employed person right before we moved, and so lost all semblance of the structured day that had been my life for 16 years of schooling). For some people that would be great, but I have found that it makes me very lazy and distracted. I get to a point where I can’t focus long enough to remember what I need to do, so I don’t think I have anything to do, so I waste time and proceed to freak out about how much I have to do when I finally remember. That can become a vicious cycle, let me tell you.

I started to become very scatterbrained and had trouble remembering things. I also started to really yearn for my paintbrushes. And when I say yearn, I mean I physically ached to have that creative outlet. Designing is good in many ways, but I need something I can hold on to, something I can express myself through. I can’t get that from a computer.

We had a little desk for me to use, but it was so tiny I had a really hard time working on it. That made painting very unappealing. And since we’re renting, I’m paranoid about working on any other surface because none of them are ours.

Once I started working during the day, my motivation got better as I began to see that if I didn’t keep track of myself, I would never get anything done because I didn’t have as much free time. Then, right before we left for our trip to the states, I got an email saying someone had a desk they were giving away!

We got it right after we got back and I set it up as soon as I had a chance. I was so excited to use it… unfortunately, I had so many evening projects going and was working full time in the day and we had a couple GREAT visitors to occupy us, so I didn’t get to enjoy it…

BUT I came up with this GENIUS realization.

I don’t go to work until 9am. We usually go to bed at midnight or later. What if..

What if we went to bed EARLIER so I could get up EARLIER and paint for an hour before I get ready for work! That would work right?!

So, I have committed myself to getting up at 7 every morning to spend some time with the Bible and my paintbrushes so that I can get back to my life as an artist. I started on Monday and so far I am 3 for 4 :)

The other great thing about this genius idea is that I actually WANT to paint, so I am motivated to get myself out of bed at 7. But, I am more than willing to recognize the importance of sleep and the difficulty I have maintaining myself through a day job, an evening job, a husband, housework, a social life, etc (thank goodness I don’t have a million little kids running around too!). I get off balance pretty easily, so this is not a stringent commitment because it doesn’t need to be right now. If I get to the point of not wanting to paint because of lack of inspiration, for example, I’ll force myself to do it like one would with any discipline. But for now, it is a healthy fulfilling of a need in my life. One that I believe the Lord has called me to nurture.

So, what I would like to do is post my paintings! That way, I have some accountability to keep on a-goin. I’m thinking I’ll probably post about one a week, seeing as it’s Thursday and I’m nearing completion on the one I started Monday. So, look for them. And if you don’t see one for a while PLEASE, with all my heart, I am begging you, ask me about it. Leave a comment, send an email, whatever.

Thanks guys! I’m excited! :)

(Now I just have to find a way to get myself on some kind of exercise plan so I don’t waste away from all this sitting still..)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

quote of the night...

from Ian's mouth..

"It's weirdin' me out.. I mean it's one thing when people are having babies. It's another thing when they're having people..."

Thank you for your wonderful plum image!

Plums. My new favorite fruit.

I didn't like them when I was little, so I assumed I still didn't like them... until a fateful weekend in Aberdeen when I was offered one by dear Kate Ellis. Now I am a plum addict. I have eaten one everyday for the last week. 


Seriously. You should go eat one. Now.