Saturday, July 31, 2010

Goal #2 - Life Updates: July

Devin and I spent our Forth of July weekend doing some apartment-improvement projects. Including this one and this one:

(the newly painted blue wall in our living room)
When we re-signed our lease for another thirteen months, we figured that since we'd be staying put for awhile, it was time for a little change. I love our new blue wall (it compliments a larger wall in the same room that was already painted a lighter shade of this blue). The deep blue makes my little antique table (which I rescued from a garage sale for $1.00 and re-painted white) stand out beautifully. Mmmm... ::contented sigh:: The whole project only cost us about $9.00 (as we borrowed all of the tarps, tape, trays, rollers and brushes) and makes such a big difference in the space.

I could blog about this subject for another hour. I used to watch way too much HGTV and TLC and I get really excited about decorating... But will move on for the sake of those of you who just barely care.

Mid-July, after spending a whole day cleaning the apartment and baking cookies, we had some new friends from church over. You know what Mama always said, "You have to be a friend to make friends." And since making a real friend at church is one of my goals, I figured I better start putting forth more of an effort to be a friend myself.

We had a blast with Keith, Kaydee, Barry and Steffani while playing some very funny games. (Ever heard of the 1990's game True Colors? Yeah. Awesome. But be ye warned: feelings can definitely get stepped on during this game. One consumer description I found said, "Do your friends hate you? They will if you play True Colors." All went well for us this time around, however, I have played the game and had friends wind up in tears... sooo... play if you dare.)

The living room looked so neat and tidy after our get-together and when Devin mentioned that it makes for such a peaceful, relaxing place to be when its clean - it really touch my wife's heart. It gave me such a desire to keep our place picked up in order to serve Devin better. If having tidy apartment helps make my husband feel relaxed at home, then I need to make a much greater effort to keep that peaceful atmosphere intact! I'm trying to pick up little things right when I see them, so that stuff doesn't pile up. So far so good. (Which is a BIG deal for me - as any of my family members or prior roommates can attest to.) (I can't take all of the credit though - Devin has been really helpful too. He's just awesome like that.)

Clean living room! (you can see both blue walls in this shot also)
I also got to go on a little trip with my girl friends for my birthday - more on that in a later post!

Friday, July 30, 2010

I spent SIX years in jail...

...and didn’t pass “Go” once during that whole time!

(click here for Devin's version of the story)
Devin and I played Monopoly the other night and for six consecutive rounds I was incapable of keeping my act clean and did not once make it past the “Go to Jail” square.

But, I learned some things during all my time in the slammer:

  • Don’t hang out on Illinois Ave... Shady things happen there. Like rolling every possible combination of six (thus landing directly on the head of a police officer.)
  • When one is constantly going to jail (directly to jail), one does not pass “Go” and does not collect $200, making it neigh impossible to purchase property when a double roll finally gets you out of the clink on good behavior. 
  • Life is not fair - much of it is chance and plain dumb luck (or baffling, statistically unmatched un-luck in my case) 
  • In this game there is only one winner.  If you spend most of your time rotting in the pokey, it ain't gonna be you babe.
  • My husband will come to visit his jailbird wife, but he will not bail me out. Rather, he will spend that money on buying property. On which he will build houses and hotels. With which he will gouge me for every penny, making me wish I were back in jail where the rent was only $50.  

Thursday, July 29, 2010

98 Degrees of Sunrise Devotions

Goal #30: Get up at 6:00am every weekday for two weeks and have breakfast/devotionals on the back porch.

I'm standing at the foot of this mountain
Wishing so bad that I could touch that sky
But in the time it takes to make my wish
I never take a step and I never try

I wish that I were closer to Jesus
But not enough to get me out of bed
For an early morning prayer before the
Rushes of my life take me instead

-Past the Wishing, Sara Groves

In high school, I used to set the above song as my alarm in the morning in hopes that it would guilt-trip me into getting my lazy rear out of bed to do my devotions. It is a great song with a great message, but it didn't work - my motivation wasn't genuine. I then put morning devotions on my 101 list because it was important to me yes, but also because I thought maybe it would help me to get a good habit started. But I can honestly say that I recently started doing my early morning devotions because I had a desire too - not for guilt and not to check something of my list - but because God has really been doing a work in me and I wanted to spend more time with Him. I didn't even really think about it being on my list until my best friend (when I mentioned to her something I had read in my devotions) asked me if I was doing it for my list. Wow. That is a sad reflection of my recent Christian walk, eh? It was such an uncommon thing for me to be having a morning devotion, that my friend assumed I was doing it because of my list. I have very much enjoyed these mornings and have seen such a difference in my heart attitude throughout the day. Something about seeing a beautiful early morning sky while talking to God and reading His Word is such a refreshing combination.

But hooooo-boy it is hot outside! Even at 6:00am(ish) the Arizona temperatures are already flirting with 100 degrees. The sleep-deprivation has been a struggle too,  I've got to fully make this commitment and go to bed earlier so that I can get up at 6:00am with out feeling drugged for the rest of the day. I started by getting up a little earlier each day to ween myself off of sleep (7:00am became 6:45am, became 6:30am, etc) so maybe I need to do the same on the other end to ween myself off of my night-owl habits. 

Anyway - I am loving this time of quiet, slow mornings and of prayer and reading my Bible. I've been so convicted, encouraged and challenged with so much of what I've been reading. Especially Luke 6:17-49 which rocked me so deeply that I studied it for three days in a row and even that wasn't enough time for me to really take it all in. I keep coming back to it over and over - trying to really let it settle in my heart so that the idea behind "out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks" will start to produce better fruit in my own life. 

I'm not sure how I survived without this time up until this point. I guess I was just too busy to notice what I was missing.

Q4U-  What has God been teaching you lately? I would love to hear about what you're reading and learning.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Sci Fi-Musical-Drama-Action-Romatic Comedy-Slapstick Adventure

When my friend and co-worker Jeff asked me to star in his 48-Hour Film Challenge as a speechless, invisible-gun-toting, action hero/hermit - however could I refuse?

So I joined the crew over at 12a Productions to act in a three-minute film that they had to concept, write, film and edit all in the course of 48-hours. For my part in the fun, I spent the better (hotter) part of twelve hours running around the dusty, deserted streets of the rural Florence, Arizona.

Besides the 48-hour time limit, the film challenge participants had to include a specified prop (a paintbrush) and a line of dialogue ("I'm so hungry.") and draw a film genre out of a hat. 12a Productions drew "Action" (the other genres were Romantic Comedy, Sci-Fi, Drama, Slapstick and Musical.)

Out of thirty-three film, ours won fifth place overall and qualified to go on the the finals! Also, it received a special award for "Best Use of Every Genre" (you'll see why when you watch the film.)

Thanks for including me 12a! I had a blast working with ya'll. Congratulations on your win!

P.S. This is suppose to be funny and over-the-top, so don't feel bad if you laugh at us.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Goal #18 had me in stitches

Goal #18 - Attend five plays, musicals, or symphonies (3 of 5)

I used to act. Theatre once was the center of my life. Have I mentioned that before? Oh. I have? Numberous time? Oh. Well then.

Even though I haven't had the opportunity to be on stage in three+ years, I love, love, love to go to the theatre. Years back, I worked with an incredible community theatre in Tucson called WayPoint Theatre. Because of my fond memories with Waypoint, I especially love getting the chance to support other local community theatre troupes of quality. But I haven't found one I really loved in Phoenix until now.

As an early birthday present, Devin took me to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abriged) performed by Brelby Theatre Company. (My man knows what I love!)


I don't think I've laughed that hard at a theater production in... ever. The acting was fantastic, the dialogue hysterical and the props/blocking/improvisations were perfect for the production. If you ever get the chance to see this play - take it! (Disclaimer: It is definitely a P-13 rated show, so just be forewarned.) Brelby Theatre - great job! I look forward to seeing more of your work.

(If any one lives in the Phoenix area and is looking for some great and affordable theatre - check them out!)
(And if you are in Tucson, go support my buddies over at Waypoint!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wierd Things Happen When There's No Rain

Seriously, people in Arizona get a little batty when anticipating the rainy season during a dessert summer. After enduring throat-parching heat since mid-April and knowing that our next reprieve from the 100+ degree temperatures won't arrive until late October, the bless'ed weeks of monsoon storms during late July are a cherished moment in the life of Arizonians.

Point and Case:

The other night, while working in our at home office, Devin and I heard thunder and what sounded like rain (finally!) Being the rain-deprived Arizona kids that we are, we both got giant grins on our faces and raced out to the back porch to see the rain. When we ran outside and I heard the rain, I tossed up my arms in delight and let out a exuberant “WOO-HOO!” This echoed loudly off the other apartments in our complex. It was at that moment that I realized what I had heard as rain was actually people splashing in the pool just below our patio, mixed with the wind rustling through the trees. There was no rain. Just some crazy lady shouting “Woo-hoo” at the people in the pool below.

But in my defense (wow, now I really do sound crazy), it is truly a monumental event when the first rain of monsoon season hits the parched dessert and it’s inhabitants. I don’t (generally) run around shouting “Woo-hoo” at the top of my lungs in public places, but for the joy that is rain – I made an exception... And learned my lesson in doing so.

I love the "You Know You're In Arizona When..." lists that are scattered across the internet and emblazoned in the hearts of Arizona natives.. Live Survive in Arizona long enough and these expressions will become vital truths in your own life:

You Know You’re In Arizona When...
  • You no longer associate bridges or rivers with water.
  • You can hear the weather forecast of 115 degrees without flinching.
  • The best parking spot is determined by shade... not distance.
  • You run your air conditioner in the middle of winter so you can use your fireplace. (It’s true – I’ve done it!)
  • It's noon in July, kids are on summer vacation and yet all the streets are complete devoid of both cars and people.
  • You can understand the reason for a town named "Why"
  • Due to summer hibernation, Easter weekend is the last time you will see your friends and neighbors until Halloween.
  • You think someone driving while wearing oven mitts is clever.
  • A rainy day puts you in a good mood.
  • The temperature drops below 85 and you feel a bit chilly.
To solidify my point, below are two photographs of me in college. During a late monsoon downpour, my friends and I joyfully played in the rain like five-year-olds until thoroughly soaked. Oh yes... we may have also stole a shopping cart and pushed each other through huge puddles whilst sitting inside said shopping cart... Like I said... weird things happen when there's no rain.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Goal #27: Scrapbooked into Oblivion

Goal #27: Scrapbook three pages and week for six weeks.

I wrote this goal the way I did because I was hoping to pace myself and not become overwhelmed. But as any scrapper knows, once you pull out your mounds of scrapbooking supplies, there is really no sense in putting them away again until you've scrapped yourself into a dazed stupor.

I scrapbooked 30 pages in three days - nine months worth of life in three days. This goal is completed as far as I'm concerned. If I didn't have the latter half of 2009 and all of 2010 still left to scrapbook, I would probably swear off of scrapping for the rest of my life. But I will truck on. Eventually.

The only way I was able to get through nine months worth of memories was by eliminating about 1/3 of the photos I had already printed. I figured I saved myself about 15 pages worth of work. But there was a certain level of guilt in tossing photographs of my loved ones and friends. Buuuut after 30 pages, I got over it.

Funny thing about memories and picture taking - I will take gobs of photos at any and every event and while they are fun to post on Facebook, scrapping that many photos does put into perspective which memories are really worth preserving. When I was in high school and college, my friends monopolized my scrapbooks. Now, it is photos of friends that get narrowed down in order to keep photos of family members. Interesting how your viewpoint on what is important shifts as you grow older.

I just counted how many pages I still have left to finish up 2009. Thirty more to go. Heaven help me, but I'm halfway there!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Five simple ways to simplify possessions

The other day, I was talking with my friend Laura who was feeling extremely overwhelmed with how much stuff she had to pack before her impending move to Portland with her new hubby. I told her (half-joking) that she should just donate whatever she didn’t have time to pack. Well, she did it! Way to go friend!

It is interesting how, when faced with the task of packing, unpacking and reorganizing everything you own, the value of ones possession really gets put into perspective. When I was moving my stuff into was would be Devin and my apartment, I was faced with this challenge. This was to be my eighth move in five and a half years and I was fed up with moving boxes and boxes of things I didn’t really need.

At this time, the question was raised in my own mind: If my desire to not pack these items outweighs my need for them, then why do I even have them in the first place? It was a real eye-opener to me about the value (or lack there of) of many of the things I own.

After my purge earlier this month and my conversation with Laura, I was inspired to construct the following list.

Five Simple Ways to Simplify Possessions

1) Each season, as you are storing away your tank tops or sweaters, ask yourself, “Did I even wear this during the past season?” If you haven’t worn it in that many months, you’re probably not going to wear it again. Donate it rather than taking the time and space to pack it up again. 

2) If, after downsizing your wardrobe, you are taunted by all the empty hangers begging you to buy more clothes you don’t need – store the hangers out of site and spread your clothes out along the closet rod. Once your closet doesn’t appear to be lacking clothes, you might be less tempted to buy more.

3) When purging your closets, storage areas, etc during a “Spring Clean” you’re bound to have a few items that your not sure if you should keep or not. Put all of these items in a box – duct tape it shut and label it with a date in the near distant future (six months, a year). If you have not torn open the box in that amount of time, you likely don’t need what is inside and it can be tossed or donated.

4) If you are overwhelmed with all the areas of your home that might need to be de-cluttered, start with one small area – one kitchen drawer, one shoe box, one shelf. Try and set a goal for de-cluttering one of these areas during a certain time period (i.e. One area per week.)

5) This next one is my favorite: A master plan that I devised and hope to incorporate into my life when we have kids: Have a large sack or garbage bag set aside for the following scenario: If the kids don’t pick up their toys when asked, confiscate the item and place it in “the big black bag.” If the child wishes the item returned, he/she must “buy” it back through extra chores (wash the car, pick weeds, etc). Every two months or so, donate the contents of the bag to charity. The kiddos will have more motivation to “earn” their possession back if they know they’ll soon be donated. Or, if the child doesn’t show incentive to get back the item, that will be a clear indicator that they didn’t need that thing in the first place. It would be a great teaching opportunity for the child in regards to stewardship, contentment, valuing what we do have and living simply.

Q4U: What helpful tips do you have on simplifying and de-cluttering possessions?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Dark Lie of "Happiness" (Part 2)

In part one of this post, I talked about how the pursuit of stuff doesn't bring about happiness, rather, it suppresses it. In this post, I'd like to talk about another influence that the cultural mentality of "more, more, more" affects and that is our time. As we pursue more stuff, it inevitably will affect how we spend our time, as we will spend more of it working hard to acquire more stuff.

Remember those sociology studies on happiness? Do you know what always ranks in the top as far what makes a society truly happy? Community and relationships. It is no wonder then that when we devote our time to the pursuit of stuff, rather than the pursuit of people, our happiness is negatively affected. The most affluent societies are also the busiest and the unhappiest. Yet, looking at many of the poorer nations, sociology studies find that when the pursuit of stuff is not an option, the most important thing in those societies becomes community and relationships - because that is all they have! They value relationships and they are happier for it.

I don't think I need to convince anyone reading this that those of us in the western world are far too busy. We have bought into the cultural lies that we have to work more, do more, spend more and be more in order to be happy. Living this way however, leaves only remnants of life available, able or willing to be used to glorify God.

We are too busy with our more, more, more lives to have time to live the gospel. We are going a million miles a minute with strict schedules to keep and don't have time to stop and go the extra mile with someone or to visit people in their pain and distress. When the Church gets caught up in this more, more, more way of life, our witness suffers terribly - but sadly, we're too busy to notice.

We mustn't take a passive approach on the way culture influences this part of our lives. We have to intentionally counteract it.

"If we let culture just happen to us, we'll end up exhausted, addicted and broke, with a house full of junk and no time." - Mary Pipher

But if Christians began living differently in the area of time and finances - according to all those sociology studies (and ::ahem:: the Bible) - not only would we be less stressed and have more time to serve others, we would be happier! What an irresistible witness for Christ that would be! Authentically happy Christians! People would see our happiness and contentment and want to experience it for themselves. What a marvelous open door for the gospel to be shared.

Some of us (me!) might not be real gifted in the area of evangelism. We might have a hard time finding words that can sway people to believing in Christ. If so, then we should let our lives and our level of happiness be a witness for us.

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" - Matthew 5:16

Let us allow the way we spend our time and money be radically different than what the world says is normal. This life-witness could very likely speak louder to the culture around you then a stirring sermon.

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." - Ephesians 5:15-16

Q4U-  How have you, or how could you start, living in a way that brings about authentic happiness as a witness to those around you?

Post inspired by the Focus on the Family broadcast, Living with the End in Mind part 2, aired July 13, 2010. Listen to this broadcast here

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Dark Lie of "Happiness" (Part 1)

You know what's great about living frugally? I'm getting used to it. And I don't feel deprived what-so-ever. I love the challenge and I love the feeling of contentment and I love knowing that I'm being a better steward of the financial blessings God has given us. I love living with simplicity as a cornerstone. It is awesome. I highly recommend it.

But I'm learning contentment. And as with any lesson, there are times when it clicks and times when it is hard to adhere to the things you are learning. There are times when I feel good about my progress and times when God drops a clear reminder into my lap that I'm still learning.

One such reminder came about as I was listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast last night. The discussion was on living simply - with balance and with margin in you time and finances. It was so incredibly good - listen to the pod cast here if you are interested (titled: Living with the End in Mind Part 1). The point that stood out to me was the fact that study after study has shown that stuff doesn't make people happy. Duh, right? I think we all intuitively know this is true, yet we are in constant pursuit of stuff. We spend our time making money to buy more stuff. We spend more money to protect and maintain our stuff. We worry about our stuff and how we are going to get more stuff. And it never makes us happy. Instead, it makes us over-worked, over-committed, over-stressed and over-exhausted.

"People think they need more and more to be happy, but if you look at the 'happiness studies' - the sociology of happiness around the globe... the western world never finishes at the top in terms of happy nations. In all of these sociological studies, when looking at how happy a nation is... the desire for material acquisition always functions as a happiness suppressant." - Dr. Richard Swenson [1] 

The desire for material acquisition always functions as a happiness suppressant.

My goodness, friends - what are we doing? How have we bought so deeply into the lie that stuff can make us happy? Even secular studies show us again and again how backwards that mentality is and the Bible has been telling us that truth for generations.

I'm not saying that having stuff is wrong - there are plenty of stories in the Bible of people who God blessed with stuff. But if having stuff becomes our pursuit - what most readily defines our lives and the way we spend our time and money - then we have bought into a dark lie that is stealing life from us and robbing us from the purpose, contentment, fulfillment and holiness that God meant for us to have.

"Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content."
- 1 Timothy 6:6-8

[1] Dr. Richard Swenson, Focus on the Family's broadcast Living with a End in Mind Part 1, aired July 12, 2010.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Goal #28: Postcard Memories

Aaaaaand - nine months after the blessed event, I have finally finished the photo album from our honeymoon. Goal #28 - done! All I really had do to was slide the photos in the slots and write the captions (I didn't have the patience to add more to my "photos to scrapbook" pile). Somehow though,  it still took me nine months to get around to completing it it. Oy.

Something we did to make our honeymoon album a little more personal was that we grabbed a postcard to represent each day of our trip and wrote a quick little summary about what we did that day on the back. This was Devin's idea and, I think, and great one. If you have a longer vacation that you want to remember, but don't have time to scrapbook or journal about each day, this is a great way to remember it! It's also a great way to bring back souvenirs because postcards are inexpensive and pack easily.

For our album, I copied the back sides of the postcards and placed both sides next to each other in the album so that they could be read without removing the postcard:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wee LuV GraTe Food (especially when it's FREE)

We just returned from celebrating Chic-fil-A's 2010 Cow Appreciation Day (the unofficial nationally recognized holiday). We dressed in our homemade cow attire from head to hoof and each enjoyed a free combo meal!

It was fun (and physically rewarding) to be a Chic-fil-A crazy. The manager even rang a cow bell for us to acknowledge our full COWstumes. Devin was a little embarrassed as we were getting out of the car. He was hoping that we were not the only ones in costume - but with a free meal as the offering, their were lots of other crazies out there proving that they weren't too chikin to dress up as Cowz.

Nothin' like getting gussied up as a heifer to go out on a date with your man!

Edit: I shared this post on the Eat Mor Chikin Cowz Facebook page and we were chosen as the "Human of the Week." The Cowz had us as their profile picture all week long! How much fun is that? (We didn't win a prize or anything - just fun bragging rights and national "recognition." And more proof that we are indeed Chic-fil-A crazies.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Goals #22 & #23 - Clearing the Clutter

Goal #22 - Clean/organize the guestroom closet 
Goal #23 - Clean/organize the bedroom closet

These two goals took waaaaaay too long to complete. I got into a cleaning frenzy around the beginning of April and drastically cleaned and organized every square foot of our apartment (including our closets). It felt so good and I was so proud at how much stuff I excavated. However, the pride-fest ended there because it wasn't until about three months later that I actually got rid of all of the items I removed. Piles and bags of stuff sat in our living room that entire time. Yuck. Needless to say, we didn't invite over much company during that time. To add to our lengthy clean out, it took us an addition three weeks to get the bed out of the office/guestroom and replace it with a storage bench (which my handy hubby found at Goodwill and modernize for us).

But now, I can finally say that the closets, dressers, bookcase, and all the storage bins under the beds have been purged and organized. I can not post "before & after" photos for you, because even after removing bags and bags of stuff - it still appears (to the unknowing eye) almost the same. But to prove that I did get rid of things, here is all the stuff we donated (not including the three garbage bags of junk that got tossed).

Below is the step-by-step transformation of the creepy Goodwill toy box that Devin transformed into a stylish storage bench for our office. Can I just brag on my husband and say how AWESOME it is that he is so handy and artistic? What a dreamy combination!

There were random, wooden cut-outs covering this box on all sides. I mean, have you ever seen a donkey, a clown, a sailor, sailboat and a guy in a sombrero all together on one object? Um. No thank you.

Weird objects removed, sanded and primed.

My sweet husband (shirtless due to 100+ degree temperatures) hand-drawing the design onto the box. It was painstaking (it took him over six hours to draw and paint the design). It definitely warranted a back rub from his very grateful wife.

Finished project - beautiful!

Q4U-  What is the longest it has ever taken you to complete a home improvement project?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Goal #44- Dates with Devin (7 of 20)

Enjoy complimentary concerts at churches and schools. Check your local newspaper for a listing of these and other free events. - Dates on a Dime

If you love an upbeat acoustic guitar matched with an angelic, folksy voice, then you must check out J.J. Heller. She used to play at my old university during our chapels and in our coffee shop and was always a favorite. Being a huge fan of her and her music myself, I was thrilled that she is finally being played on the radio (she is taking off and it makes me so excited! You go girl!). J.J.'s music is so beautiful and the lyrics just pierce the heart. Seriously, I have four of her CDs and there is a least one song on each album that will make me choke up every time I hear it.

Family Life Radio hosted a free J.J. Heller concert last Friday as a part of their "listener appreciation tour." Devin and I (both J.J. fans) were some of the first in line when the doors opened.

J.J. and her husband Dave (who sings back-up and plays the guitar) are so funny on stage. They lovingly quip back and forth and Dave will cut into the middle of a song with some comedic comment such as, "That line that you all just "awww'd" at - yeah, I... I wrote that." (He'll say this with a sheepish, humble smile) They are the perfect duo and sound a-mazing together. I hope you'll check them out!

* There was a love offering taken for J.J. and Dave, which we contributed to, so this date wasn't technically free. But for great live music like that - we got a killer bargain.

Photos © Devin Hanson Photograph 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Goal #82 - Designing for Fun

Goal #82: Design something new, for fun, every week for two months.

I spend forty-hours-a-week designing for my day job and I'll be honest, it can be really un-fun a lot of the time. Some days it's hard to remember why I wanted to become a graphic artist in the first place. Creativity is something I have always had a passion for, but amidst the daily grind the excitement was dwindling. I needed to enjoy designing again; to be reminded of how much truly I love being a graphic artist. So, I assigned myself two-months worth of projects to design just for the love of creativity.
I drew this digital portrait as a gift for my friends Ryan and Sarah Shoemaker, who just had their first child - the lovely Brinlee Alexandra Shoemaker.

A piece of art (the final piece was printed and mounted on canvas) for my best friend and her husband for their three-year wedding anniversary. 

What our wedding invites would have looked like had I been smart enough to design them myself. I will also be able to use this design for Goal #80: Create samples of invitations, announcements and cards.

This is the third t-shirt design I have done for Valley Christian H.S. It is always a blast to work with  these students as they are very in-touch with the latest design trends.

Devin and I wanted to do a fun photo of the two of us for an upcoming project we are working on. We concepted, photographed and digitally composed this shot together. I love that we can be creative together. I married the right man for sure!

If my life was represented by a Google Doodle...

An illustration of Royal Flush (I wanted to do something different for each, so these would not be in the same deck)

My last self-assigned project (and possibly my favorite) was a book cover for one of my favorite books, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend that you do. Just be prepared for your heart be very involved during this read.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Haunted by an Eco-centric Brother-in-Law

Goal #35 - Start a recycle bin at home

There really isn't a good excuse for not having a recycling bin. Especially now that our complex has added some semi-convenient recycling dumpers near our apartment. But it was a nightmare in which my brother-in-law Derek starred as a recycling-Nazi that got me to actually establish a recycling bin at home.

Derek, I discovered last night while hanging out for July Forth, will dig through the trash after a party and collect all of the red plastic cups in order to recycle them. I had no idea he was this dedicated and all of us wanted to know why on earth he didn't just put out the recycling bin and ask guests to throw away their cups in this more eco-friendly receptacle. He smiled sheepishly, but gave no reasonable answer.

It was the above disclosure that spurred the dream in which Derek made me dig through three large bags of trash, while harshly criticizing me on my lack of recycling knowledge and making me separate the garbage into four categories of recyclable refuse. None of his methods made sense outside of the dream, so I will not be looking to this aspiration of my brother-in-law for recycling how-to. But... I did just remember that I tossed a milk jug into the trash yesterday... I better go dig that one out before I'm haunted again by the eco-Nazi.  

* I adore my brother-in-law and the harsh eco-Nazi in my dream is not a reflection of his actual character. ;-)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Halfway Through 2010

Well friends, we are officially (as of today at noon) halfway through the year 2010. Does this stun anyone else? Where did the time go??

Makes me think of a quote I read on a billboard once (please ignore the fact that the billboard was advertising beer) “You only live once. Make sure it’s enough.”

Regardless of its origin, that statement is very true. We are on this earth for such a short time and we get one chance to live life in the best way we can. We have struggles and conflicts, joys and triumphs, we have missed opportunities and ones we've made the most of. There is so much to gain and loose in this life - I pray that we are all choosing things that will bring true abundant life.

Life is indeed a vapor - let's make every day count.

Happy Half-way Day! 

Q4U-  What was your favorite part of 2010 so far? What did you learn? What are your hopes for the next half of 2010?