Sunday, October 30, 2011

This is what I love :)

So, I think like the last five posts have been about decorating our home and being crafty (or rather, not being crafty in my case). However, the most satisfying and worthwhile aspect of my life has nothing to do with working on our home at all; although I'm finding I enjoy that much more than I thought I would! So, I thought I would share the MOST rewarding and, at times, the most frustrating area of my life (aside from Rowan and John) -- college ministry.

John and I started volunteering with Cru here in New Orleans about two years ago and we love it. Cru is an interdenominational Christian org. that focuses on reaching college students - or at least the branch WE work with focuses on reaching college students. God used this organization in such a huge way in our lives when we were in college, and there's no way we wanted to miss the opportunity to be used in the same way in the lives of others. It's hard work, and it feels like we're bumbling our way through a lot of it, but God is faithful, and He is good (that means He's been working in spite of us). :)

Here's a snippet from our latest prayer letter:

Our fall retreat this year was probably my favorite to date. Here’s why. It wasn’t because of the inspiring words of our speaker -- Stuart Dodds, the regional director for Athletes in Action; it wasn’t because of the original worship music played by our very own staff members and volunteers; it wasn’t even because of the peaceful get away that naturally accompanies a fall retreat. This was my favorite retreat by far because of the way that I saw God move.

With John unable to attend because of work, I was on my own with Rowan for the weekend. Now, I love my son, but an entire weekend of having him to myself, in a strange place, keeping strange hours, and desiring in the midst of that to be spending time building into students - well it was a challenge to say the least. However, what I did find was that in the midst of a sleepless night, or while having to escort a noisy 7-month-old out of a night-time meeting, the Lord burdened my heart to pray. And pray I did - for the retreat, for our students, for Stuart, for relationships to be made, and so on.  And not surprisingly, the Lord met me in such a real way during those times. He settled my frustrated heart and gave me joy in what I WAS able to do. The BEST part, though, is that he still provided some of the most uplifting and encouraging conversations that I’ve ever had with our staff and students. 
I had the opportunity to pick Stuart’s wife’s brain about how to balance being a full-time mother and wanting to do full-time ministry. I took a long walk with a sophomore from Tulane who openly shared her life with me and is now coming to our house for discipleship on a weekly basis (John is discipling her boyfriend too!). The Lord even used Rowan to start conversations with students who I normally wouldn’t have had the opportunity to talk to (who doesn’t love a baby?). 
All of this to say that while I felt frustrated with what I seemed unable to do, the Lord reminded me that He is able to accomplish infinitely more than I could ever hope. As my role on the team seems to be in constant baby-induced flux, the Lord has been gracious in providing awesome opportunities to feel purposeful and encouraged in how He is using us. Thank you so much for your prayers and support! I’m so blessed to be able to share this season of our lives with you!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In the Mood!

I wish I had one of the those really cool blogs that gave away free stuff. If I did, I would give everyone a copy of this magazine

It has seriously been just about the best thing ever when it comes to schooling me in color...which I desperately need. I know I want the rooms in our house to be more interesting than they are and (more importantly) more homey and inviting, but since I tend to walk into a blank-canvas room and freeze like a deer in headlights, the actual "transforming" part of the room transformation seems to allude me.

Enter Color Made Easy. Not only has it been full of great visual ideas, but it's given me a check list of to-do's on how to go about decorating our spaces! And boy do I love check lists AND to-dos. :)

So we decided to start with our bedroom and the master bath. "Start how?" you ask. Well, last week I would have asked the same question....and probably never would have bothered to find the answer; I would have been too busy with my deer-in-headlights pose. But not anymore!

According to my new best friend, I apparently can get over my "don't know where to start" issues by simply creating a mood board. Which, to everyone's surprise (including my own) I did!

The mood board, as you know if you've ever watched anything on HGTV, is a collection of photos, prints, fabrics, colors, or really anything that inspires you. This all gets put together in a scrapbook, binder, or in my case, Rowan's bulletin board.  Here's the one that I'm making right now

I'm not the most artistic person in the world, but you get the gist. These are the colors and some ideas that I want to use to create this "mood" in our room.

This is my favorite section of the board, mainly because of the flower and the colors in that picture. Most of the pictures I got out of the Color Made Easy magazine, and then I pulled some things out of my craft bag that I thought would go too. Oh, and I added a sweater that I can't wear anymore (apparently you're not supposed to put some materials in the dryer?). Eventually I'd like to make something out of it for our room, but that's another story for another day.

Anywho, that's where we're at so far. My favorite part about this has been John's response. He got up at 4 am for work the morning after I made this and, although usually I'm incoherent at that hour, I popped my head off my pillow, rolled over and said, "Did you see what I made?" And do you know what he said at 4 in the morning??

"Yeah, I really like it. I think I have some ideas of how we can make it happen."

What?! No joke. And then he started talking about shopping at TJ Maxx. I love him. :)

Also, I snapped some pictures of Rowan while I had my camera out. Enjoy Mom!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Phase I Complete

Ok, so I've taken my declaration one step farther. I have bought things, I have done things, I have taken quizzes, and I'm still interested. This is a big deal for a non-planner, slightly flaky, over-committer (ahem, me). Following a sleepless night full of Rowan's tears, and a morning at the doctor's that had me in tears (you know you're sleep-deprived when a long line at the reception desk makes you cry), I decided to treat myself to an hour of things I like. Namely, Barnes & Noble and Starbucks. Convenient since they're all in one location. Here's what I ended up with.

An edition of Better Homes and Gardens solely dedicated to Holiday Crafts (I figured this was a must-have Suzy item).

Now, I'm not looking to have the ULTIMATE Halloween open house or for 232 ways to wow a crowd (I don't even know where I would get a crowd, let alone one patient enough to wait around to be wowed 232 times), but it did have some pretty deliciously simple looking recipes. Anything with beef in the name is considered a five-star meal in my home (John).

See my previous confession concerning my eye for color and design. :)

And finally, a frilly magazine full of pretty things to make my house frilly and pretty as well. We'll see. I'm actually excited about this one. Although, the fact that I'm reading something with the phrase "high tea" and "teacup lamp" on the cover makes me slightly uneasy....

Also, I scoured the shelves and finally found this book

which I'm in love with. I was equally in love with Book One, which is all about your baby from birth to four months. This one follows that up with info and advice for 5-12 monthers. Love, love, love.

As to my magazines, I haven't had a chance to dig into them yet but I have a plan - paper portfolio and pinterest (thank you to every single person who recommended this - literally every single person who I've talked to in the last 24 hrs. recommended this). So we'll see how it goes. I'm cheerfully optimistic.

And no worries Mom, Rowan slept like an angel last night. :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Declaration

I'm having serious DIY cravings. Let me be clear about this. If you read the post about why I'm excited to be having a girl you will recall that, while enthusiastic about others' craftiness, I'm somewhat lacking in that area myself. Well, I spent a significant amount of time today pouring over this site (it's really cool if you get a chance) and, call it the nesting instinct, I find myself want to make something....or at least clean something. Now, there's plenty of opportunity for cleaning around here (at least one person in our house has been sick almost every day for the past month...we have a lot of catching up to do). BUT I'm at a loss as to where to start MAKING. From what I can glean from the afore mentioned site and others, this is what it seems to take to be crafty or DIY savvy...

  • Get in touch with the thrift shopper in you. Apparently I need to be significantly more familiar with our local Goodwill and TJ Maxx.
  • Have an eye for design and color (not my thing...I have a hard time matching my clothes in the morning).
  • Own and know how to use the following: a staple gun, a glue gun, a sewing machine, primer, and the right side of your brain.
These are just a few thing that I have learned so far. Unfortunately, this has all lead me to realize, once again, that I was not blessed with Suzy Home Maker gene. I enjoy eating, but I don't LOVE to cook. I appreciate a beautifully decorated house, but my heart doesn't skip a beat when I enter a fabric store. Apple pies and DIY projects have just never been my thing. 

So am I destined for a life of colorless walls and store-bought Halloween costumes? I think not! Hear this John DeLuca and all of cyberworld. I WILL channel my inner Suzy if it's the last thing I do! It may take months or even years, it may take blood sweat and tears, and it may just take me running to Goodwill or Target every once in awhile (did I mention that I'm not much of a shopper -- how am I having a girl?!), but I WILL make something! And I will like it!

ps...if anyone has craft or DIY sites that they love, feel free to share. I'm gonna need all the help I can get!

It's a GIRL!

A few reasons I am excited to have a baby girl (eeee!) :

1. I have always wanted to explore my crafty side, and for some reason it seems easier to do with girls. I'm not sure what I'll find when that exploration begins.....I'm not anticipating much :)

2. There is now an equal level of testosterone and estrogen in my home, something I have never before experienced.

3. Hair and nails. 'Nuff said.

4. I am significantly more clueless when it comes to girls (which seems odd since I am one?) and am looking forward to yet another challenge in child rearing.

5. John is even more clueless than I am. For some reason I find this incredibly attractive.

6. Getting to decorate a girl's room, and getting to use some of my old stuff. SO FUN!

7. Although I myself am not a huge fan of pink, there is so much of it out there! And it's so cute!

8. OWLS......This might seem strange, but trust me, it's cool.

9. The grandmas. I think they are more excited then I am.

10. Rowan gets to have a baby sister. Exactly as the Lord planned.

Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


It is 5pm. I'm just getting a break in my day, which started at 3 this morning thanks to a leaky diaper. I am tired.

It's Monday. Supposedly the second day of ministry in my work week. But everything has been rescheduled due to my little Rowan.

Also, it's October. However, it's apparently difficult for me to get into the spirit of fall when it's 85 degrees outside. Is it possible to skip right to Christmas?

I hesitate to end my almost two-month blogging respite today since I feel the negativity seeping out of me like something from a bad horror movie. It's seriously a little scary, and I have a feeling it's going to infiltrate the entirety of this post. Awesome.

Insert dramatic sigh, tinged with french accent. Ahh but, so is life. Tiring, sporadic, flaky (that's probably me more than life) and sometimes draining. 

I promise I was going to try and think of something positive to say before the end of this, but baby has decided to wake up an hour early from his nap (for the second time today). Positivity will have to wait, along with my free time. Until then, here is a video that will hopefully leave you with a smile rather than a concern for my mental and spiritual health (Mom). Thank you God for making babies so cute. :)

Here Rowan teaches us how to fake smile for the camera. :)