Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Many years ago, in college, I took a series of courses about Africa. They began as courses that fulfilled several requirements and therefore allowed me to keep my schedule open. They grew into me confessing to my professor that I would never make an A in his class, but I needed his lectures so please don't kick me out. My eyes were opened to a history so deep and tragic and beautiful and amazing and awful and complex and real that I could not look away. I began to develop a desire to go. When a relationship began to crumble and a roommate had a crazy connection to the missionaries that visited my church when I was younger, I made a plan. Isn't life like that? We get desires, pure heart desires, but then we forget we live HIS plan and not ours. I devised a plan where after graduation I would go visit my roommate's aunt who was serving as an English teacher in Tanzania. I signed up for an extra Africa class and planned on getting my professors input in my preparations as he often lives in Tanzania himself. I would then come home and fund raise and officially join a ministry as a missionary on my own. Good plan, right? It was all great and on track until a series of choices led me to wake up one day in August of my Senior year of college pregnant and with no plan of my own. I thought losing Africa was God being just. I thought it was him disciplining me. I moved on, became a Mama, was rescued by my husband and you can read the rest on this blog if you don't get carpal tunnel from clicking "Previous" many hundreds of times. The truth is, God is just. He IS  justice. Losing Africa was not a punishment but part of his amazing wonderful glorious plan for me. Ten years later and he has revealed an amazing opportunity. One I simply could not pass up.

I have become an Ambassador for The Noonday Collection. Through this incredible organization I get to partner directly with artisans all over the world. Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda. This heart of Africa I get to now pour my heart into. These people with a history so big: I get to learn their individual life  stories, and wear their story. Noonday works with artisans and co-ops and organizations that bring the beautiful out of the ashes and turn broken lives into productive artist lives. The men and women who make the jewelry and shoes and accessories I am privileged  to wear have hope where there was once despair. One of my favorite artisan groups is called The Beza Entoto Outreach. There, a group of HIV positive artisans in Ethiopia make amazing jewelry out of beads that have been created out of artillery shells and weapons that farmers find in their fields. I am blown away every time I wear my Bethe Rope necklace. It is such a beautiful reminder to me. God took my plans, and my mess, and reformed it into the amazing life I now lead. This jewelry, reformed from objects of war and hatred and evil are reformed into beauty. These artisans are reclaimed through their work. New creatures with hope and joy and beauty.

I am honored, and terrified. But God writes my plan now. I can not wait to see where this goes.  Will you take a moment and come on over to my website? Browse around and consider how you might partner with me to bring these stories to life in our communities. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A quick project

I have some BIG changes in my life on the way. I'm not ready to post about that yet, but I will tell you it involves jewelry... LOTS of beautiful jewelry. I need a display for it and saw versions of this cork frame from friends and on websites. I can pin earrings to the cork and it still looks beautiful.  This is my version of a couple of them and how I did it:

Project: framed cork jewelry display
Open back frames
Foam core
Cork squares or sheets
Hot glue
Fabric ( I used good quality tea dyed muslin)

Using exacto knife, scissors or rotary cutter cut cork to size of frame opening, cut foam core to size of glass for frame. Cut fabric a couple inches wider on each side. Lay down fabric, place cork down, then foam core. Wrap fabric to the back and secure with painters tape.

Make a hot glue seam around frame opening and place fabric bundle into opening, making sure cork fits into frame opening and makes a snug fit so it looks nice and smooth in the front. Cut away extra material on the back and remove tape. Fold down sides of fabric and secure with hot glue.

If you want, cut a piece of fabric just bigger then the mess on the back of the frame and hot glue it down. Mine got prettied up with lace from my box of fabric scraps my Gramma left for me.

                               {I love that I get to have a little piece of her in this new endeavor.}

Your frame is ready, enjoy! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013


When we bought our house my biggest holdback was the front entrance, or lack of one. Our house faces an elementary school and sometimes busy two lane road. To compensate for this the builder made the homes to have alley driveways. While this gave us a great sized backyard, tons of privacy ( the alley backs up to a wooded green space- not other houses) it also took away something super important to me: a welcoming front entry for my guests. I LOVE having people over so this has been a huge adjustment for me. Another complication to our back door entrance is that to optimize patio space we had a gate to the fenced yard put in at right angles from the garage. We needed the entire yard fenced so that our kids can play safely. So now when people come over they have to park behind our house and decide if its ok to come in the gate. Ugh. Not a great situation for someone who loves hosting as much as I do. 
My awesome hubby spent some time with me at the construction store this weekend and we came up with a couple of solutions- what do you think? 
This my friends is a DOORBELL! Did you know you can buy them for 15$? The inside part just plugs into an outlet. I bought two of the plaques ( the second ill show you in a second). Then I spray painted both this fun blue that matches our outdoor furniture. The doorbell button for outside I just hot glued on and put a frame around for stability. In theory the black painted part above the bell is chalkboard paint. I think mines gotten too old but I'm going to try writing on it after it cures. Now my guests can say " I'm here!" Without the weird. 
Another issue we have is that every fence is identical on our block.  There are house numbers on the back of the house above our garage door but NO ONE sees them. The second plaque got a set of numbers and voila! That's my house! Hopefully this warms things up a bit. Come on over!