Friday, 30 November 2012

Day 82: Questions to ask at a Dinner Party

We're going out to dinner tonight at a couple from church's house.

I found some funny questions to ask a dinner parties:

What's your favourite bumper sticker? 
If you could have picked your own name, what would it be?
What was your favorite toy when you were a kid?

Some fill-in-the-blanks:
When I painted the ___________ green... 
Tomorrow I absolutely refuse to...... 
My aunt in Tanzania always says....... 
Thursdays breakfast is always...... 
.....,at least that's what I heard down at the factory. 
.....I could never do those things when I was in the secret society. 
When I was driving home from my water aerobics class... 
I found out from my dog's daycare provider that they no longer....
Today my next door neighbour told me that he really needs his _______back.

I don't know that we'll use any of these tonight, but I think it would be fun to try some time.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Day 81: An Outing with Coworkers

We had dinner tonight with Andrew's team at work (2 other guys) and their significant others. It was a super delicious meal at King St. Trio :)  We also went to the Huether Hotel after for some drinks.

Overall we had a great time and had amazing conversation. It's nice to get to know some new people and I'm looking forward to knowing them better.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Day 80: Update on Games Small Group

So I think overall our idea of a Small Group with church people meeting to play games (as well as connect and share lives - we also pray, big surprise!) has been a hit.

We had a fair amount of interest (could be a group of 11 including us) and last Wednesday we had 5 other adults (plus a baby) over at our house for the evening. Unfortunately this week we had only 1 other person...

Realizing that this season is busy for people and sickness prevails, we're not too disappointed. And we still had a fun time tonight! We're hoping that by January people's schedules have come around to meeting every week and that we're having such a good time with each other that to cancel would be the exception and not the rule. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Day 79: Internet Outage

No matter my intentions, the internet was down all day so no post :)

Monday, 26 November 2012

Day 78: Anyway

A good reminder that living intentionally means doing things "anyway". Forgive, be kind, succeed, be honest and sincere, build, be happy, do good, give your best anyway. It's easy to allow circumstances and people stand in your way to accomplishing what you can. I think to lead a happy and fulfilling life, this list will be very helpful.

Weekend Re-cap Day 76/77

Saturday November 26th - Busy Day

Busy is the first word that pops into my mind when thinking about Saturday, followed closely by fun! We had lunch at our friends house in Kitchener with other friends in from Toronto with their baby. It was super nice to meet the little guy!

Then we had a fun afternoon and evening with our 2 1/2 year old niece. The snow from Friday stayed for the weekend and so we went to the park, played on the slides and swings and threw snowballs for Banner. Came home, had hot chocolate and cuddled up to watch The Polar Express. Dinner with a toddler is really fun :) Plenty messy, but fun. Andrew learned all about riling up a toddler after dinner and then trying to have her calm down to cuddle... yeah, that doesn't work. Eventually she calmed down and then her parents showed up to take her home.

Our friends had a house warming party, so we headed out there after our niece left. We had the tour and hung out for a couple hours before succumbing to our exhaustion.

Sunday November 27th - First Day of Church in a New Building

We go to church at Elevation, and we recently moved into a more permanent home sharing a building with St. John's Lutheran church in Waterloo (22 Willow St). If you're looking for a church home, check us out!

View Larger Map

Here's a picture I "borrowed" from the Elevation facebook page:

Friday, 23 November 2012

Day 75: First Snow

On Day 66 I talked about connecting with nature and paying attention to the beauty around us. I haven't given any updates since, and unfortunately it's because I've been so busy with school I haven't had as much time as I would like to soak in my surroundings.

But here is a picture from tonight's snowfall - the first of the year (that I've seen).

Snow on my Holly bush :)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Day 73: Reindeer Head Art

This idea is fairly simple and a lot of fun. Basically, we Google Image searched for a reindeer head silhouette and chose the first one. We printed it out to the desired size for our canvas and cut it out.

For this version (do first if doing both) you trace around the cut out reindeer head and then use white glue to fill the inside in. Sprinkle with glitter. Repeat as needed.

For this version we used the TEMPORARY spray adhesive, and sprayed the reindeer head. Centered it on the canvas and ensured every piece of the deer head was well adhered. Then I used regular spray adhesive and sprayed the entire canvas and glittered the entire canvas. After two coats, remove the reindeer head (using a small metal crafting spatula if possible).

Let me know if you have any questions or if my directions could be more clear.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Day 72: Reindeer Pillow

The pillow comes from the Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts magazine but could easily be made with any reindeer silhouette found with a Google image search.

We made a number of modifications to the pattern to make it easier - and just for fun.  The first step is to trace the reindeer at full size facing two directions using a water-soluble pen or a pencil. Then cut them out and spray them with water to remove the pen.

We cut out 2 pieces of red wool (sized ~9"x14"). We then used temporary spray adhesive (sprayed onto the backs of the dried reindeer) to temporarily center the reindeer onto one piece of the red wool.

Instead of sewing the reindeer onto the wool, we used my mom's felting machine to merge the reindeer into the wool.

Once the top was done, we triple-stitched the top, bottom, and one side of the pillow (right sides facing out). As well we used white trim (with balls attached) instead of using individual felted balls. We attached the trim with the sewing machine to the side we initially sewed.

Then we stuffed the pillow and used the triple-stitch to close up the last side. Then we hand-sewed on the last piece of trim (easier than trying to fight with the sewing machine).

Monday, 19 November 2012

Day 71: Driving

I've been driving a lot lately and I was thinking about how I could spend that time. I know people that listen to audiobooks etc.

But what should I do?

In church on Sunday the minister mentioned Brother Lawrence and his routine to stay in the presence of God. Below are a couple excerpts from Brother Lawrences' The Practice of the Presence of God.

"At other times I beheld Him [God] in my heart as my Father, as my God. I worshipped Him the oftenest I could, keeping my mind in His holy presence and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I made this my business, not only at the appointed times of prayer but all the time; every hour, every minute, even in the height of my work, I drove from my mind everything that interrupted my thoughts of God."

"I have ceased all forms of devotion and set prayers except those to which my state requires. I make it my priority to persevere in His holy presence, wherein I maintain a simple attention and a fond regard for God, which I may call an actual presence of God. Or, to put it another way, it is an habitual, silent, and private conversation of the soul with God. This gives me much joy and contentment. In short, I am sure, beyond all doubt, that my soul has been with God above these past thirty years. I pass over many things that I may not be tedious to you."

It's my understanding that Brother Lawrence learned to be in the presence of God while doing what he considered to be a mundane task (which he was required to do very often) - kitchen duty. So I'm hoping that I'll be half as successful keeping myself in the presence of God during my rides in the car.

Weekend Re-cap Day 69/70

Saturday November 17th - Christmas Crafting

I had a great time crafting with my mom and sister this weekend. We accomplished a lot. I'll go into the details of the crafts later this week.

Sunday November 18th - First Day of Christmas Shopping

My mom and I did some preliminary shopping (mostly browsing) in St. Jacob's - a quaint little village with great shops.

One of the stores I really like is relatively new: Xclusive Elements. They have a great selection of larger gifts as well as a lot of potential stocking stuffers, good for guys or girls :)

Friday, 16 November 2012

Day 68: A Quote

A simple practice of intentionality: When I do it, my life is different. More purposeful, more conscioursly lived, more content with any action. ~Leo Babauta

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Day 67: Creativity is Not a Competition

I really love when people appreciate the products of my creative outlets, whatever they may be. But the thing that makes me SO SAD when talking to some people is that they say they could never make it, that they're not creative.

I can recognize that some people are more logical and others more creative. But I believe there are creative outlets for everyone and that creativity is not a competition. Often skills need to be developed and the same is true in art. Everyone is on their own journey to becoming and expressing their inner artist. And every inner artist is different.

Yes, we compare ourselves to others. We do this in many aspects of our lives, and in very few is this helpful. So I want to encourage everyone to embrace creativity, give something new a try.  For those people who are artsy and crafty, try something outside your normal box. And for those people that just aren't creative, maybe sign up for a class to learn composition, or pottery, or cupcake decorating. Pick something and give it a try - be brave!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Day 66: Connecting With Nature

Do you look outside your window when you drive? Make a point to stop and enjoy the scenery when you walk the dog? We live near the country and often I'm rushing because we've left late and I don't look out the window - I'm staring at the car in front of me, wishing it would go a little bit faster and missing a beautiful view.

My mini-mission for the next few weeks - pay attention to the wonderful things found in the nature around me. I'll keep you posted and try to capture a few pictures.

Here's a close-up of a really cool tree I saw recently:

And here's the lion in the redwood again:

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Day 65: Loosing Sleep is Not a Sacrifice

Maybe I should say it isn't REALLY a sacrifice. Not when compared to real sacrifices. Getting 8 hours of sleep a day is actually a gift. Maybe it's even a first world problem. In developing countries there are people work/away from home for over 14 hours a day to make ends meet, so chances are pretty high they're not going to get 8 full hours of sleep.

So when living intentionally leads to "sleep deprivation" and "sacrificing our sleep" to help others, I think it's okay. For our health, it's probably a good idea to aim for 8 hours on a regular basis, but we know we can function with less and it's such a small thing.

We drove with our friends to the airport to go through Customs and Immigration and to catch their flight to Bogota (their refugee claim was denied). We left home at 3am... and if you know us, you know that 7am is a stretch for us. But it was worth it so that we could pour every ounce of love into them before they left.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Day 64: The Process of Making a Quilt

The process of making a quilt really lends itself to intentional acts. There is plenty of time while sewing, ironing, and even cutting, to reflect on the people you're making the quilt for.

I always wonder and hope if they will appreciate the time and effort that went into creating it (it's always a lot, no matter the size of the quilt). I hope they like the colours I chose and that seeing it reminds them of me (or in this case the whole church) and that it will put a smile on their face when they might be feeling down.

Seems like a lot of pressure for a quilt... but the strength of the quilt can handle it. They're a strong art-form, meant to be used over and over, while still looking beautiful. It's made to absorb smiles and tears.

The quilting process also allows time to think about the people themselves that you're making the quilt for. Just think and remember.

I am very proud of the quilt we made for them, especially in such a short time. Thanks to my mom for the quilting and to Kelly for the help she gave me with the cutting :)

Sorry, if I seem to be posting the same topic over and over. It's just the way life has been lately.

Weekend Re-cap Day 62/63

Saturday, November 10th - Another Wedding :)

I must say I love weddings. They're a great reminder for me of the reasons I married Andrew, as well as the commitment we made to each other. Not that I really need reminding, but I feel as if I almost learn something  new about commitment at each wedding.

Their vows differed from ours (and I should have immediately written them down so I'd remember), but I really loved the wording. Small paraphrase: "I take you to be my friend, my love..." I just thought they were sweet :)

I'm also at the point (4 years into our marriage) that I realize the wedding is important because the friends and family also commit to helping you with your marriage. My advice to all married people - take their help, it can (should) only make your marriage stronger (this assumes you have nice family and friends, whose motives are to help your marriage). You don't necessarily want to share all your personal secrets as a couple, but if things are rocky or stressful, people can and will support you.

Sunday, November 11th - Remembrance Day

I explained on Friday how I feel about Remembrance Day, click here. So, it definitely involved some reflecting and some tears.

As a church, we also said goodbye to our friends whose refugee claim was denied and are returning back to Colombia early tomorrow morning. It was hard, really hard.

I gave them the quilt and memory book that was made for them, and they were really appreciative.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Day 61: Preparing for Remembrance Day

I like Remembrance Day. I know for some people it's very contentious. And I recognize why it would be. For me, it's not about glorifying war or worshipping war heroes, it's about recognizing that our military has acted on behalf of Canada (whether the public agrees to the mission or not) to protect us and citizens in other countries and in doing so, some have lost their lives.

If they had a day that honoured fallen police officers and firefighters I'd be happy for that too. In my opinion, people who "work for the public" deserve our support and those that loose their life in service deserve our respect.

For me it's also about remembering ALL the non-soldiers that were killed in war after war. Those people who were simply in the way, or who were considered "not the right people". And this count would far out-number the fallen soldiers...

So, as Remembrance Day approaches, I think of the lost lives and of ways to encourage our politicians to find solutions that don't include war.

My hope is that all Canadians spend at least a moment or two on Sunday remembering the fallen and looking to a better future without war.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Day 60: Put Yourself Out There

Be vulnerable. Share yourself with people and connect. This is not something that comes easily to most people, and certainly not to me. I work at it. Sharing myself with my husband, our family and friends can be hard and sometimes you can face a rejection of sorts. Keep powering through and you will make real connections with great people.

Has anyone ever been pleasantly surprised when they shared an aspect of themselves with someone who responded especially well?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Day 59: Planning a Holiday Party

I can't believe we're thinking about the upcoming holiday season already... but at the same time I'm glad. Gives us something positive to focus on :)

My friend and I are beginning the planning for a holiday party for friends from our residence at university. If anyone from SPUC is around mid-December let me know!

If I'm lucky this means I will get to work on a number of crafts!!! I'll have to bring out the construction paper garland brilliance :)

Monday, 5 November 2012

Day 57: Memory Book

Somewhat unexpectedly, a few weeks ago, I became "in charge" of collecting stuff for a Memory Book for the same family I made the Signature Quilt for. This meant collecting photos of the family as well as photos of families in our church and index cards with messages for the family.

It also meant that someone had to put the Memory Book together. I really didn't think I would have time to do it (especially by myself) and so I enlisted help from others in the church.  Three women volunteered and we had a great night putting the book together.

Initially, it was supposed to just be a matter of sliding photos and cards into a semi-traditional photo album with plastic slots. However, I couldn't find one big enough, so we made a "simple" scrapbook.

Side note: I bought the album today at Michael's and they were having a "Buy One Album, Get the Other for 1 Cent" event! I've never ever seen an album so cheap before :) It was amazing!!!

In under 3 and a 1/2 hours, the four of us had created 32 pages for the Memory Book! We just need to remove the stock photo on the front and put in a picture of the whole congregation (taken at the church picnic in June).

I am super happy with the way it turned out! We were even able to add embellishments and everything looks really coordinated. Thanks to the ladies that made this possible!

Weekend Re-cap Day 55/56

So... surprise! Andrew and I were away in California for a few days last week (Wed-Sun). So here is our weekend update:

Saturday November 3rd - Big Basin State Park

Inside a hollow redwood (can see out the top of the huge tree)

On top of a fallen redwood

How many rings is that???

Banana slug!

Root system of a fallen redwood

Lion shaped "wart" on a redwood

Sunday November 4th - Shopping and Flying Home

Most of our day was spent flying back to Ontario, but we did stop at Best Buy and we bought a late anniversary present - a 50mm lens for our camera. Below is the shot Andrew snapped quickly to check if the lens was the right fit!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Day 54: A Quote

Living intentionally has definitely been an adventure, and routine has been thrown out the window!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Day 53: Working with a Partner

So I've been working on some projects and trying to make choices that will intentionally make stronger connections with the people around me.

This week I learned an important lesson. Sometimes, you need a partner. Someone who understands what you're doing and can help lessen the load. Because although I'm more than happy to be doing the things I am for and with people, it can be tiring.

For the quilt top, both my mom and Andrew were super helpful.  My sewing machine (upper tension) broke and so we had to head to my parents' house early. This meant Andrew stopping work a bit early to help me pack up the quilt top row by row, section by section. He also helped me lay it back out once we were at my parents' house. This saved me a ton of time, and a bit of stress :P

My mom was a trooper and did the sewing while I ran up and down the stairs to bring her the sections of the quilt and did the ironing. This meant that for 3 1/2 hours, she sewed and I ran... we were both tired by the end!

So my suggestion, find people willing to help you in your efforts!