December 25, 2012

Applique Peace Flags

This is the FIRST applique & embroidery project that I have ever attempted! I am so please with how it turned out! I was inspired by this set of peace flags, that my Mom gave me, and then drastically personalized each flag for this set!

I used iron-on backing for each of the pieces, like in this tutorial. I used blanket stitch and the standard hand applique stitch. Words and Letters were done in back stitch.

The final project proclaiming peace! 

The completed flags before being strung onto their cotton string.
 Preparing the Turning the World Upside Down/May Peace Prevail on Earth flag. 

Shalom Dove Flag

Peace Bike!

Reducing, Reusing. and Recycling promote peace with Earth and Neighbor. 

Completed Alexander Mack seal and Bananagrams peace flag!

Merry Christmas!


When were you the angriest?

I get angry when hate groups use God to justify their actions. Namely, Westboro Baptist and their petitions. 

Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here.

When did you see God at work?

In the day to day movements of life at camp, around the dinner table sharing our highs and lows, in the music of corporate worship, in the willingness of youth to pray and participate, in the faces of volunteers...

Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here.

December 19, 2012

What’s the most ridiculous thing you did?

Make ridiculously gross, unattractive faces with people.
Most people want to look cute for a camera or around regular people but seriously, what's the fun in that?  

Co-create a handshake that involves dancing, leap-frog, shouting, and lunges. 
Because life is too short NOT to do that. 

Wear a shirt as a work. 
It's called fashion, look it up. Also, duality among clothing items? Yes, please. 

Sing. Loud. And probably off-key. 
Basically because every song is my favorite song. 


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

December 18, 2012

When did you struggle?

Life and I get along really well. REALLY well. Only a couple of times have I really wrestled with life this past year.

...that one time I was experiencing reverse culture shock, transitioning to graduation, and thinking about my future...

...that one time I hadn't slept in two days and had a final paper to finish, children to see, presentations, and oh, yeah, classes to attend...

...that one time I missed Thanksgiving at home...

I am thankful that I can count the difficult times of the past year on one hand. Life has been good to me.


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here.

December 17, 2012

Where'd you find the best cup of coffee (or tea or beverage of your choice?)

I have taken to purchasing cups of coffee less often. It's much cheaper to make coffee each morning or just drink what the office provides, which comes out of the bowels of hell. However, the office coffee is growing on me - some days I can drink it black. Apparently, a true sign that I am more adjusted to The Offices.

When I was in college, I either made my own coffee, refueled in the dining hall, or biked down to the local 7-11 for a 12am cup of coffee. I was a HUGE fan of their Almond Joy creamer. I always brought my own travel mug, though. It was a true feat to balance a scalding mug of coffee in my hands as I biked back to campus late at night without spilling a drop.


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here.

What cracked you up?

Life is pretty hilarious all the time for me. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by joy-sharing, good-times-giving people all the time. Literally, all the time. I've mentioned most (if not all) of the wonderful people in my examen posts up to now. So, I am going to share a post that made me laugh until I cried.

"27 Reasons Why Kids are Actually the Worst."


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here.

December 16, 2012

Most bizarre conversation of your year: script it. Use pseudonyms if necessary.

Three BVSers in a car with a Baptist Minister, who is driving us to our destination. The door closes and the car engine starts. The car turns onto the main road. 

Baptist Minister: How do you know that someone is a Christian?

Me: Silence. 
Internally, I'm like:

BM: What is the difference between a Muslim and Christian?

Me: A Muslim prays to Allah and uses Mohammed as their teacher. Christians pray to God, or some form of the Trinity, and use Jesus as their teacher.
Internally, I'm like:

BM: Riiight. [Pause] That belief in Christ is the difference. That's what save us. Scriptures says, that none will come to the Father except through me. There is no other way to get to heaven than through the salvation of Jesus Christ. The belief in Jesus is what guarantees our eternal life.

Me: But in James it says that faith without works is dead. What good is our faith if we don't try to bring the Kingdom of Heaven here?
Internally, I'm like:

BM: Well, yes, but works without faith are also dead. There are a lot of people who claim to do good, without working to win souls for Christ, which is what we're here to do.

Me: Silence.
Internally, I'm like: 

BM: ...I know you all probably have everything figured out in your churches, but I'll let you know that  our services are on Sundays at 11 and Wednesdays at 7.

Me: Thank you.
Internally, I'm like:

BM: It's the least I could do.
When we finally arrive at our destination: 


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

December 14, 2012

What rocked your world, changed your life, shifted the ground beneath your feet?

For a couple of hours, there was nothing beneath my feet apart from the metal and plastic layers of an airplane separating me from the sky, as I flew 710 miles from Dulles to O'Hare this past August. 

My whole world has shifted this year. I graduated from college. I've started BVS. I've closed one chapter and opened another. My time is spent planning for an amazing summer of service, instead of plowing through a Sociology paper or pouring over a textbook about Community. I'm in a new place with (mostly) new faces and a whole new routine. I'm learning how to navigate the post-college (volunteer year) young adult world and it's all new territory for me! My life is shifting and changing around me - taking new forms in new seasons. I feel that the ground beneath my feet will be shifting sands for a couple of years and I'm trying to come to terms with that.


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

December 12, 2012

Who has been your teacher this year - officially or unofficially?

Dr. H. 
People are so fascinating. Focus on what you're passionate about. Circumstances are more flexible than you may realize. Dancing or watching someone dance before a test relieves stress (and improves tests scores). Mornings are worth it. Everything will be okay. 


Don't tell a child that God loves them until you are ready to love them. Voice matching is a valuable tool. Life is precious, unique, and beautiful - be excited about that all the time! I love mornings. Each week of camp is a glimpse into the Kingdom of God. Theme days are the best days. Bedtime stories are the best way to fall asleep at night. Childhood handshakes aren't dead.


Almost everything is better together. Shouting doesn't mean we're really angry. Life lived together is absolutely hilarious. My Virginia is clearly visible in this foreign land. I really love making curry. Rose Tyler will grow on you. Couches aren't worth moving, unless you find life hilarious. Then it's absolutely worth it.


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

December 11, 2012

When did you take the easy way?

Not Easy. 
...not sleeping for 36+ hours straight to finish my Senior Hell week. 
...moving away from home. 
...missing Thanksgiving with my family. 
...going to a new camp. 

...leaving my dishes until the next day.


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

December 9, 2012

What was your favorite blog post...that you read or wrote?

Well, seeing as I didn't do as much blogging this past year as in years past I present a couple of the blogs I enjoyed reading. I'm skirting around the post issue and suggesting some blogs in their entirety for you to chew on!
I can't rave about this website enough. This is one of the only blogs that I've read consistently throughout the past year. It features a number of Christian authors, including Tony Campolo, Brian McLaren, and Shane Claiborne.

Zero Waste Home
This household is doing WORK. They have a serious commitment to living right with the Earth. Their motto is "Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot - (Only in the that order!)" Can you dig it!?

Inspiring, challenging little blog about current events, pop culture, feminism, and race issues. In their own words, "We smash the patriarchy and the gender binary here."

A hip, young, 20-something blogging about her adventures and misadventures as a foster parent in NYC. Inspiring me to be a foster parent since 2010. 

If you haven't seen this. It's never to late too soak in the feminist theory that Gosling is spouting. mmMMmm. 


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

December 8, 2012

Where did you spend your money?

...On Concert Tickets 
$The Head and the Heart
Down in the Valley? Swoon!
$The Avett Bros.

...On Plane Tickets
$Chicago, IL to Home, VA
Hello, volunteer year!

...On Gas
$Home to Camp
For not having to commute to work this summer, I did make this trek a lot! 
$Home to Intentional Communities (West Virginia, NOVA, Newport News, & Louisa)
Independent study - what, what!

...On Clothes
I've kind of become addicted to this t-shirt store. They're T's are really classy and produced in nearby Chicago!
Home of my Halloween costume and some of my favorite clothes. 
Business clothes? I think, yes. 

...On Crafting
$Hobby Lobby
Fabric, embroidery tools, needles, etc. = First Applique Project


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

Baked Apple Oatmeal

I have a deep love for oatmeal. It's my favorite breakfast food. Oatmeal, granola, baked oatmeal...mmMMmm! I usually make Baked Banana Oatmeal, but we didn't have any bananas - only apples! So, I decided to jazz up the basic recipe that I use.

3 cups rolled oats
1 apple (peeled and chopped)
1 Egg
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 applesauce
1/3 cup apple butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 handful of raisins
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

EDIT (1/28/13): I've started making this without milk, eggs, or oil and voila it becomes vegan! Just increase apple butter to 1/2 cup instead of 1/3.

Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees
1. In a medium bowl mix together oil, brown sugar, egg, applesauce, apple butter, cinnamon, vanilla, apple, walnuts, and raisins.
2. Add oats, milk, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes. 
3. Pour mixture into a greased 8 inch square baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let sit for about 3 minutes and serve warm. 

I love eating baked oatmeal with greek yogurt, but you can also serve with milk or syrup. 

What astonished you?

...the peace I felt about closing one chapter of my life and opening another...
...the Spirit guiding me to adventures I couldn't have even imagined... how to navigate togetherness... mashed potatoes are made... much I appreciate an established a circadian rhythm... itch to travel abroad again...
...reverse culture shock isn't what I expected...
...I enjoy shaving, again...


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

December 6, 2012

When did you celebrate?

Graduating from college was a pretty fundamental part of this year and it brought a LOT of celebration: Senior Week Ball, Graduation Day, my graduation party, & 4-Square camping trip. It was a week-long celebration of an amazing four years of my life. 

Senior Week Dance (via Danielle)
(via Jesse)
(via Jesse)

Then I got to come back to my first homecoming as an alumni! Holler!

(via Carina B.)


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

What were your favorite songs?

Down in the Valley | The Head and the Heart 

Awake my Soul | Mumford and Sons

A Father's First Spring | The Avett Bros. 

Oh My God | Kassidy


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

What was the best book you read?

A Year of Biblical Womanhood
By Rachel Held Evans 


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

December 3, 2012

Where did you visit this year?

For my last semester of college, I decided to do an independent study on intentional communities. Part of my research was reading up on intentional communities and another part was visiting them in the flesh! I chose four communities that weren't too far from college and took a couple road-trips to go see them.

Intentional Community: a relatively small group of people who have created a whole way of life for the attainment of a certain set of goals. Some examples include, communes, cohousing, monasteries, and ecovillages.

The communities I visited...
...were committed to service, grounded in Christ, faithful stewards of the Earth, based in Appalachia, and who welcome everyone home each day.
...had celebrated 45 years together, shared clothes and ideas, created hammocks and tofu, danced and celebrated after work is done.
....were discerning their next steps, committed to living in Christ, passionate servants of Jesus, rooted in monastic rhythms, and practice hospitality.
...were wrestling with questions together, finding their friends next doors, watching movies on the lawn, sharing lawnmowers and celebrating together. 

This paper took me on figurative and literal journeys through intentional communities past and present. This project sprouted from my desire to live intentionally with others after I graduated from college. Luckily, I have the opportunity to live in an intentional community (now!). I'm digging it now and hope to live intentionally for quite awhile. 

I've uploaded a PDF of my paper. You can read it here


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

December 2, 2012

What was the most delicious meal you ate?

One of the unique and memorable things about BVS Orientation is cooking for a large group of people on a very specific budget. There’s about $1.00 per person, so the breadth and variety of food can be limited. You can eat WELL on a LOW budget.

About two and half weeks into BVS Orientation with soup, potatoes, and beans we were invited to a former BVSers house. The couple hosted us for dinner after a big day of working in the community, so we were famished from a big day and excited for a meal out.

The couple served vegetarian lasagna (saints!), salad, grain bread, AND brownies with ice cream. It sounds like a pretty basic and simple meal, but after a couple weeks of basic (and limited) food – it was an absolutely decadent meal.


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

When were you most grateful?

I feel waves of gratitude wash over me when I think about…

My family. Their support, their love, their signatures on a Thanksgiving card I received because I missed my first family Thanksgiving, kisses on the cheek, great hugs, lawn chairs at track meets, encouraging words, and the most giving human beings I have ever met.

My college roommate Danielle. I miss this girl. She made my last two years of college hilarious and unforgettable. I miss her shenanigans, our dramatic shouting, falling asleep with static on, stressing together, dreaming big, baking, eating sugar coated sugar together, and talking to each other before we fall asleep.

My time at Bridgewater. Time well spent by staying up late, worshiping in the Chapel, flipping bikes, laughing with friends, attending convos, studying abroad, being on IYC and putting on Roundtable, becoming ODAC champion, eating Uncle Bill's pancakes, working with Claudia, meeting the eyes of my BFF for the first time, living in the Soc. Lab, running to Wild Wood, crying in Professor's offices, creating beautiful relationships and getting that diploma!

A summer at Camp Bethel. Making wonderful and encouraging friends, loving campers, chasing pigs, dancing over bridges, singing until I’m hoarse, The Handshake, having bible study under the Big Oak, laughing until I cried, swimming with my clothes on, and practicing faith every single moment. God knows me better than I know myself and I am still mystified at God’s leading despite my own fears and inhibitions.

God is present in the people that I meet, live, worship, and dream with. Everyday I am grateful for that. 


Inspiration to do this series came from Dana. You can find the whole 2012 Examen Blog Prompt list here

October 27, 2012

Halloween 2012: Cooking like an Adult, Dressing like a Kid

The BVS house Halloween Party was this past weekend. Our theme was "Which Witch are you?" So all of my housemates and I dressed as Witches! 

One of my favorite Halloween treats seemed appropriate: Witch's Fingers! 
I had never made these before but a family friend from home passed along the recipe that she used. Martha Stewart! Martha's recipes are extravagant and time consuming. The ingredients for these weren't extravagant  - we actually had everything in the cupboards! Score! The dough has to rise for an hour, but that's typical of breads, isn't it? 

The Witch's Fingers turned out really well! Everyone LOVED them! Can't lie - I felt super excited about making a grown-up Halloween dish and it going over well. Cooking is a new avenue in life that I am navigating. And more or less, I am enjoying it!

Another cool thing about growing up? Better hand eye coordination. Carving pumpkins is finally getting fun for me. I don't always look forward to it because they never turn out that great. This year, I was proud of the BVS pumpkin that I carved. Tricia carved a classy flower pumpkin, too! 
For my costume, I decided to dress as Wendy from Casper Meets Wendy! I do love Hilary Duff. Sorrynotsorry. It wasn't too hard to re-create. Just needed some red and black. If you know me and my closet - having red anything isn't too much of a struggle. I did knit the hat that I'm wearing in THREE DAYS. No. Big. Deal. I printed out a little Casper face and attached it to a  white pillow! He was really cute. The life of the party really. 

Totally twinsies, right!? (via)
This is what I love about Halloween. Good junk food and costumes! Friendly Ghosts are what I'm all about! Holler!


PS - More about our House Halloween coming next week on the house blog

October 22, 2012

Reflection on Journaling

"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart..."
Jeremiah 29:11-13, NRSV

I am always humbly surprised by the ability of journaling to make me feel inifinitely better about life. I don't know why it surprises me. It's become evident to me on several occasions (ie. camp counseling) that my mental health benefits from daily journaling.

I am able to face the day when I offer up yesterday to my journal. Then I realize that I'm not offering up my yesterday to my journal, although it physically feels that way when I have a cramp in my hand from writing so furiously. Rather, I am giving God my yesterday. I am saying, "God, please free me of yesterday. Free me of the doubt and insecurities I have about myself, life, and You. Help me to face each moment and day anew."

In the same way, it helps me to be more mindful of offering each moment to God. I feel a peace knowing that my future is in God's hand, too. Journaling is a reminder of that - in fact, it helps me to see how God has worked in my past for the betterment of my future. I've read past journal entries that help me see the movement of God in my life - how God responds to the yearnings of my heart.

When I journal I think it's an opprotunity for the Divine to move in my life. I mean the opportunity is always there, but I'm not always attune to it or giving myself space to feel that movement. When I journal I stop keeping everything in my head - bouncing around, clogging creative thought. By writing it down I am free to be and respond to the present.

What helps you encounter the Divine daily? What do you do to remain emotionally and mentally healthy?


October 17, 2012

At Peace

I'm not at peace with life at every moment.
But there is a calm
that comes
when in certain moments I realize
I am at peace.
With life
God's plan
the here
the now
And everything feels as it should be
They are the moments
When I find comfort in everything
And I understand the world a little better
I'm not hoping, wishing, praying, seeking,
for something that I don't have
Physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally -
I am fulfilled.


August 18, 2012

Greetings from Gate 5

Long time no see. How've you been? I'm doing well. 

Right now, I’m sitting in a regional airport FOUR HOURS early for my flight and soaking in my last few mountain views for awhile. I’ve traveled via plane for several years – so much so the magic of flying has died for me. Devastating? I know! After packing my bags I printed off my flight information to take to the airport. I looked at the “Checked Bag” pricing information, but for some reason DID NOT look at the FLIGHT TIMES. Who does that? Seriously. I had it in my head that my flight was at 10:30am and somehow my eyes didn’t see fit to give that information a once over. So, I woke up early and arrived a few hours early for my first flight.

Upon arrival, my conversation with the attendant went something like this.
Attendant: “For 75$ we can move you to the earlier flight at 11am.”
Me: “No, thank you.” I’ll just hang around the airport for 4 hours for FREE.

This was after she offered to move me to first class for $125 so that my two checked bags, which were each about a pound overweight, would be free. Again. “No, thank you.” I will remove the extra poundage and pay the regular checked bag fee.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m sitting in Gate 5 enjoying this view of green trees, blue mountains, and beautiful skies for a few hours before heading to Elgin. Oh, and the elementary aged brothers racing up the down escalator and attempting to run down the up escalator. Their laughter is so warming my heart right now.

This is what a Regional Airport Gate looks like when you arrive 4 hours early for your flight. 

Packing for Elgin seemed like such a daunting task.

First, it required new clothes. I’m going to be working in an office where jeans and a t-shirt is not the everyday norm, much like my college wardrobe. So, Mama and I did a bit of shopping at Goodwill for something called a blouse and I picked up a few dress pants at Kohl’s.

Second, I’m going to a cold(er) area of the country. Sweaters and sweats take up so much room in a suitcase! Mama was NOT offering to ship me anything! She sent me so many packages in India and a couple when I was at Camp this summer!

Third, I had to make some sacrifices. I couldn’t fit EVERYTHING into two checked bags, a carry-on and a backpack. Let’s be honest…third world problem much? Yeah, I think so. Here are some notable things that I sacrificed…it’s really not much.
Cowboy Boots (I had to pull them out of my suitcase because…I just didn’t have room.)
Teva Flip flops (more like forgotten)
Favorite Cotton T-Shirt Bedding (Because it’s provided)  
A few Bridgewater sweatshirts (I did bring two though)
Not Sacrificed
Teddy Bear (“Katie, you’re 22…” And so is my bear, get over it.)
Flannel Blanket, my college roommate made me
Brethren Woods Pillow (Handmade circa NYC 2006)

Gosh, I was unrelenting on the sentimental stuff! Once I get there…I’m sure I’ll realize I should have sacrificed or given up more. I mean, I feel like I made cuts...I didn't bring EVERY t-shirt I own or every pair of shoes or every jacket and cute sweater. I sorted out the best and the most favorite...but somehow it still feels like so much and yet not enough. Learning how to live with less is going to be a lifelong process and skill. 

Thank you, Mama, for helping me pack less than 10 hours before we would leave for the airport. You are THE best! 

Until Elgin! :)


June 1, 2012

An Old Book Transformed into a Scrapbooking Journal

Writing down my thoughts and feelings has always been a very therapeutic experience for me. When I was a Camp Counselor two summers ago, I took every break as an opportunity to journal. Taking time to journal would purge my mind of thoughts, feelings, ideas and would allow me to return refreshed to my campers. At the same time, I was writing down memories and experiences that I would want to cherish forever, especially because it was my first full summer as a counselor. 

For my 2010 journal, I journaled LOTS. I also added small little pieces of my summer into that journal -anything small or memorable. Notes from the Prayer Line, tootsie pop wrappers (we'd won cleanest cabin!), movie ticket stubs, mail, pictures of each week, etc. etc. etc. I taped in all of those extra little things, because I was NOT going to carry around a bottle of glue in my backpack. That spells disaster.

Camp Counselor Journal circa Summer of 2010

This summer, I'm camp counseling again! However, I won't have the equivalent break time to journal as extensively as I did before. I still wanted to journal and keep track of my experiences, so I decided to make a scrapbooky type of journal. I can include snippets of daily life, mail, drawings, notes, small crafts, pieces of nature, scripture, etc. etc. etc. So, more scrapbooking and taping but with a smaller word count. 

I started with an old book filled with Elizabethan Dramas (Marlowe and Shakespeare). We weren't reading it and it came from a yard sale, plus it was hardcover and had a nice look about it. I took out about half of the sections to make room for all of the things I was going to add. It happened to get pretty thick regardless.

I glued something every 3 or 4 spreads to allow for more scraps and things to be added as the summer progresses. 

Here's the first entry.
I'm not there, yet, so not much has been added.

I included envelopes every so often, so that I could just slip things into them. Currently, they're holding a piece of paper so that I can journal a good bit if I have time. Then I can glue it or slip it back into the envelope. 

A brown paper bag to hold goodies or words. 

This is about Katie the First, not Edward the Second. Sorry Christopher Marlowe. 

I'm excited to fill this book up with all the best moments of camp. It will give me the chance to journal in a whole new way! :) 


PS - What are your summer plans? What are you most excited to see or experience?