March 31, 2013

A Re-Worn Easter Dress

For Easter this year, I didn't buy or receive a brand new Easter dress to wear on Easter Sunday. Instead, I searched through my closet on the morning of Easter to pull out a dress - because it was finally warm enough to wear a dress! Honestly, it was a toasty 43 degrees as I walked to church this morning. :) I donned a dress that I really love and have worn a couple of times (to a friend's wedding and my college graduation). 

Easter 2013 // via Rachel 

Why do we have to have an Easter Dress, Homecoming Dress(es), Graduation Dress(es), Prom Dress(es), Dress for a Friend’s Wedding(X each wedding), etc, etc, etc?? What is with the ethos of one-wear and done? Some of these dresses might get another wear or two throughout the years, but they’re likely to get replaced by other newer dresses more in line with the fast flow of fashion. 

As I was sitting in church today, re-wearing my blue/green watercolor dress with periwinkle sweater, I was thinking about THE EVENT – the ultimate one and done dress – The Wedding Dress. I thought, what if I just wore a white dress that I already had and really liked? Or if I bought it second hand? Many women do this and there are plenty of sites that can connect people to second hand wedding dresses. (Goodwill is a good economical place to start!) Why not just get a really nice dress - that you're going to wear over and over again? This and other non-traditional themes are common at Off Beat Bride. (Disclaimer: I'm not doing any planning, just referencing.) Below the bride is wearing a purple wedding dress that she can get more use out of beyond her wedding day! How smart!

Screen Cap // Off Beat Bride

What happened to the days of having a one set of work clothes and one set of "nice" clothes? It's so much more sustainable and environmentally friendly, with less chances for capitalist consumption. There's something endearing and inspiring about faith movements with simple dress that don't "conform to the patterns of this world." (Romans 12:2) Modest, plain dress used to be a virtue of being a member of the Church of the Brethren. At one time, dress ties weren't allowed and neither were buttons, because they were too fancy and worldly. By succumbing to the whims of fast fashion, I have become worldly and forgotten the simple values of Jesus, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?" (Matthew 6:25)

Traditional Brethren Dress //

I am so much more than the clothes that I wear. Quaker Jane has a great collection and range of modest, simple dress options. She includes many different faith backgrounds and the many different ways that women express their faith through plain or simple dress. 

There should be no shame in wearing an outfit into the ground! Kristy Powell, at One Dress Protest, wore ONE DRESS for 365 DAYS in protest. In Kristy’s words, “One Dress Protest is meant to be both a statement and an action to express my disapproval of and objection to the ways that fashion undervalues, denigrates, objectifies and oftentimes insults women. One Dress Protest is, at its heart, a conscious attempt to stand up, openly question and explore some of the ways this happens in my own life.”

My first thought when checking out her blog was, “People must have thought she was crazy…or gross…or crazy gross for wearing ONE DRESS all year!” But…if that’s really all the worst that could come out of it…then what’s the big deal? There is so much to gain and explore in the ways of truly practicing sustainability. As I was reading her blog, I just kept nodding and internally screaming, “Yes! Yes!” This really spoke to me…
“Since January I feel like I’ve taken huge steps to liberate myself from the constrictive prison of self-abnegating ideas of beauty, such as the belief that I need to look a particular way or keep up with the latest fashions to feel as I have worth in society. I’ve confronted the prison of my identity as a woman, and how it is a blatant fallacy to believe that my womanhood can somehow be affirmed by the status symbols of the clothes I wear. And perhaps most importantly, I’ve woken up to the prison of environmental unconsciousness, where in my striving to be beautiful through the clothes I used to adorn my body I really just became comatose to the environmental impacts of my fashion consumption., August 24, 2011
 …and you know what…she’s a Christian and this protest is intertwined with her Christian values. She wore that little black dress on Easter Sunday. The same dress she had been wearing for the previous four months. What a beautiful obvious reminder that God doesn't require new, clean clothes of us, regardless of what society may tell you (or your church culture for that matter!).

I've got some serious thinking to do about my wardrobe and it's environmental impact. How I manifest my relationship with God says a lot more about me than what's hanging on my back...

//The idea of being Pecuilar has been bouncing around in my head for several weeks now. It's something I want to explore more intentionally. The Church of the Brethren used to be known as "Peculiar People" and I just LOVE that. I want to further live into the peculiar, beautiful, intentional life that God is calling me into.// 

Before I can throw anything else into this post, 

March 30, 2013

Huge Easter Eggs!

I found these large Easter eggs "hiding" while I went for a walk yesterday. Imagine the stuff you could hide into these things. May giant new life spring forth tomorrow...


March 29, 2013

An Adventure in Making Scones

Do you ever just have those moments where you say, "I REALLY want a scone. Better yet, I REALLY want to learn how to make scones!" You don't!? Well, this thought consumed me yesterday. While I was at work, all I could think about was scones, scones, scones. Seriously.

I looked up a couple recipes via Martha Stewart and Pinterest. I found they don't have too many ingredients and don't take too long to prepare and cook. This looked like my kind of baked good! I scribbled down a list of additional ingredients that we didn't have at home...butter, eggs, and heavy cream. Then after work, I made my way to Jewel Osco to use my leftover weekly allowance of food money - $10 whole dollars!

As soon as I walked in I found BLACKBERRIES - on sale - 2 for $4. That's good, right? They weren't on my original list, but I had spotted them in a recipe and decided I'd make blackberry scones, instead of just plain cream ones. I found all the additional ingredients easily and checked out for only $8! I loaded them into my arms, because I forgot a re-usable bag, and was not about to get a plastic one.

I made my way to the kitchen. Turned the oven to 400 and started measuring out my dry ingredients. I poured in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar!

 Then I mixed in the eggs and cream - stirred some more and added the blackberries. 

 Then I pressed the dough together and shaped it into a circle. But it was when I got to this stage that I realized I had forgotten one ingredient...

I had completely forgotten the butter! It had called for 6 Tablespoons of "grated" butter. As in, I was supposed to grate the butter against a grater. I was a little disappointed I didn't get to do that...but it was too late I decided. 

So, I cut the dough into 6 pieces and placed it in the oven to cook for about 14 minutes. Our oven is a gas oven and things never quite cook the way they should. So, it took about 8 more minutes longer than the recipe had said. But they turned out beautifully! 

A finished (butterless) scone - topped with Greek yogurt.
Paula Dean would be upset, but they tasted just wonderful even without the butter. 
Thank goodness. That would have been disappointing!  

'Til next time, 

March 27, 2013

Praying through Hymns | Canticle of the Turning

I was sitting in Chapel today and was reminded of my feelings toward hymns. Sometimes my mouth hurts at the end of a hymn because they are sung so slowly. Other times the spirit swirls around us the piano cuts out and only lifted voices are heard. HMM. I love singing with my fellow Brethren.

In the realm of pop-y, main stream Christian music I think hymns oft get overlooked. And I'm just not feeling the rapped version of Nothing but the Blood - it's not doing it for me. Neither is the Christian Side Hug, but that's a different topic all together.  I too went through a phase where I was just OVER hymns...but I think it had more to do with hymns sounding luke-warm or without passion- rather than new life, joy, and true praise of God.

A facebook friend posted a link to the Goshen College Choir singing "Canticle of the Turning." OH. MY. GOSH. 1) I LOVE this song and 2) Their clip is short but oh, so beautiful!

I first heard the "Canticle of the Turning" at a Mennonite church last year during Easter...and subsequently fell in love. Then, I heard it a couple months later at a Brethren church. These anabaptist traditions got it going on!

In an effort to take the lyricism of hymns more to heart and render them more to God's praise, I am going to blog a few of my favorite hymns for my own personal reflection. This week, as part of my praying through it's lyrics, I listened to the song several times and did a crayon-ing of some of the images from the song.

Canticle of the Turning
Written by Rory Cooney | To the Tune of "Star of the County Down" 

 My soul cries out with a joyful shout
that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on your servant's plight,
and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?

My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
and the world is about to turn!

Though I am small, my God, my all,
you work great things in me,
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past
to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
and to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight,
for the world is about to turn.

From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
ev'ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
There are tables spread, ev'ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.

Though the nations rage from age to age,
we remember who holds us fast:
God's mercy must deliver us
from the conqueror's crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard
is the promise which holds us bound,
'Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God,
who is turning the world around.


March 25, 2013

Anywhere beside you is the place that I call home...

"My House" | Kacey Musgraves

March Madness in Pictures

March has been a CRAAAZY month of travel for me! All in all, I will be in the office for a total of 5 days - because so many of my work days have taken place across the country!

Week One - BVS Mid-Year Retreat
Dickson Valley, IL
80 Miles

Week Two A - On-Site
Seattle, WA
3420 Miles

Week Two B - Regional Youth Conference
McPherson, KS 
1372 Miles

Week Three - Bridgewater College and Roundtable
Bridgewater, VA
1132 Miles

MARCH - Total Miles
Total Miles Traveled: 6,004
Miles by Car: 1,452
Miles by Plane: 4,552
Plane Trips: 4


2013 - Total Miles 
Total Miles Traveled: 15,668
Miles by Car: 4,798
Miles by Plane: 10,870
Plane Trips: 11

March 10, 2013

Games: Contact

I learned how to play this game at a BVS mid-year retreat and I LOVE IT. We literally played during every single free time we had AND on the way home in the van. Literally, obsessed.

What you need: at least 3 people

How to play: 
1. One person (Main Word Person) has to think of a word. This becomes the main word that everyone else has to figure out.
2. The Main Word Person tells the group what letter the word starts with.
3. Then everyone else (we'll call them the Main Word Guessers) try to figure out the word, by saying clues about the word they think the word might be. (This sound confusing and is explained further below).
4. Then the Main Word Person responds with what they think the Guesser is thinking of. They have three tries to get it right. If, while the Main Word Person is trying to figure out the Guesser's word, another Guesser thinks that they know what word that initial Guesser is thinking of they say, "Contact!"
5. If the Main Word Person cant figure out the word that the Guesser is thinking of and someone has called "Contact!" The Main Word Person counts down and the Initial Guesser and anyone else who said "Contact!" say they're word at the same time.
6. If another person says the same word as the Initial Guesser, the Main Word Person has to reveal the next letter of the word. Then you continue guessing. If no one get's it right, then there is no letter gain and everyone continues guessing.
7. If a Guesser says a clue or the definition of the actual word, then they've won. That person get's to choose the next word.

Example of Play:
Main Word Person: It starts with an M.
Guesser A: Is it a type of animal that has fur and produces milk?
Main Word Person: No, it is not a Mammal.
Guesser A: Is it something that you can do with your mouth? 
Main Word Person: No, it is not Mew. 
Guesser A: Nope.  
Guesser B: Contact! 
Main Word Person: No, it is not...mumble...?
Guesser A: Nope. 
Main Word Person: is not, milk?
Guesser A: Nope. Count us down.
Main Word Person: 3...2...1...
All those who called Contact and Guesser A: Masticate!
Main Word Person: Oooh! Okay, the next letter is E.  
Guesser B: Is it something that you can do to calm yourself?
Main Word Person: Yes, it is Meditate.  

The Doctor and his Blue Box

Are you a Doctor Who fan? My housemates and I started watching with the 9th Doctor back in the fall and we just got onto the 11th. It's a great series and my little sister is also a huge Whovian. So, I decided to embroider the Tardis, the Doctor's time traveling machine, onto a T-shirt for my sister.

I am a novice, unconventional embroider-er. Is that even a thing? So, I scoured the internet and Pinterest for templates and how-to's. I printed off THIS TEMPLATE as a guide for the box. I free-handed the timey-wimey swirls.

Also, I finished this ON Christmas Eve. I was kind of working on a couple embroidery projects in the Fall. Note: Peace Flags. I haven't done many needle-point projects since I finished this. 

She was pretty pleased. Isn't she just precious with her 11th Doctor's jacket and sonic screwdriver? 

March 9, 2013

Having it all figured out...

My 2 year plan changes every time I sit down to think about it. (A five year plan is over-shooting it just a bit, don'tcha think?) This excites me and unnerves me all at the same time. I'm not to a point where I NEED or HAVE to figure out what comes next, because I don't have an unplanned life next until the Fall of 2014. That's almost 16 full months of a plan! It is such a luxury to even be able to dream about potential plans.

One day, I think about getting a Masters of Social Work degree. Then I was thinking about this and I'm not sure I'm ready for structured institutional education again. On the other hand, I recently sat in on a class at Bethany Seminary and felt myself aching for academia again. However, I'm not ALL there, yet.

Another day, I search through for exciting seasonal jobs in Maine or California or anywhere, really! Probably none of which I am that qualified for. Student Loans...I will come at you, but not by becoming a cog in the capitalist wheel...if I can help it. Honestly, if I could be fully employed after this BVS venture - that in itself would be rewarding.

Maybe the reason I can't land on any one because it's not time to think about 16 months from now. Shoot. It's not even quite time to think about 3 months from now. The next 16 months are going to be an AMAZING adventure. I have this and this to look forward to. I am truly blessed, y'all.

The horizon looks great, but so does my current view. 

2013 Trips & Miles UpdateTotal Miles Traveled: 10,333
Miles by Car: 4,015
Miles by Plane: 6,318
Plane Trips: 7
Most Recent Trip:  BVS Retreat - Elgin to Dickson Valley Retreat Center