On Mourning

Jesus mourning with Mary and Martha. Photo from lds.org

Jesus mourning with Mary and Martha
Photo from lds.org

Since the election last week, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering, internalizing and processing. I’ve struggled with confusion, with fear, anxiety, anger pain and a lot of sadness. A lot of those feelings have come from witnessing the brutality and hatred directed toward so many people that I love and respect dearly. Normally, I prefer to remain silent about topics like politics and religion because joining those types of conversations causes me great anxiety. But this week I feel compelled to speak up, to share and publicly own what’s in my heart. Please understand that this is a vulnerable thing for me to do, but I share because of some compulsion outside of myself. I’ve tried to ignore it, but I know this is something I need to do. I hope that you’ll understand that what I say is more of a personal epiphany than anything else, so it’s not meant to point fingers. However, in a world where inaction has consequences, I’ve realized that I can’t sit back in the shadows anymore and listen to the war of words around me without taking action. I need to be an active participant, and although this is a small step, it’s how I’d like to start. So here goes.

When I was 8 years old, I made a commitment to God that I would mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. I made a commitment that I would do my best to bear the burdens of those around me. I have tried hard to keep this commitment, but I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always lived up to it as fully as I should. I know hundreds of others who have made the same commitment that I’ve made, and I’ve also seen many of them failing to live up to this commitment (I’m not pointing fingers, merely making an observation). The amount of “get over it already” comments, and “we had to deal with so and so” that I’ve heard in the past 6 days has given me great pause. I’ve seen a lot of it coming from people who I love and respect, and that has gotten me thinking- why is it hard to accept the validity of others’ pain? I have experienced a fair amount of discrimination in my short life, but I also recognize and know that my life has been one of immense privilege, especially in comparison to SO many others. I won’t pretend do understand what it feels like to be a minority right now. Or to be LGBTQ, or Muslim, or disabled, or a victim of sexual assault, or so much more. I have not personally experienced those struggles, but I love and care for many who have. I know that knowing people who have experienced those things doesn’t make me an expert, but what it does make me, is an ally. Or at least it should. Especially if I remember the commitment that I made as an 8-year-old. Although I have cause to mourn myself, I am in an important position to stand by those whose pain runs deep, because I promised I would.

Warning: I’m about to get a little more religious.

I’ve done my best in my life to model my actions after the person I believe is the greatest example of mourning with those who mourn- Jesus Christ. Here’s an example that I’ve been thinking about a lot this week, and I can’t get this one specific thought out of my head. When Lazarus died, Mary and Martha came to Jesus on the road weeping. They were in despair, because their Lord who they believed and had faith could heal their brother, was too late to do so. On top of sadness, I imagine they also felt anger that Christ had taken so long to arrive. I’m pretty sure one of them even told him that if he’d been there sooner, Lazarus wouldn’t have died. When he finally did arrive though, rather than scold them for their grief, he cried with them. He mourned with them and comforted them. He validated their need to FEEL, and to process their grief, even though he knew that Lazarus would be ok in the end. He was the ultimate example of bearing another’s burdens, regardless of the outcome. He could have easily told them to calm down, to get over it, because hey, He knows something they didn’t- He had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead and to end their sorrow, and he was going to do it. But would saying that to them have really ended their sorrow? I don’t think so. The reality is, Lazarus died. That in and of itself was cause to mourn. The miracle Jesus performed didn’t negate the fact that a tragedy HAPPENED. Yes, Lazarus rose from the dead and continued on in this life, but it didn’t erase the grief and pain and heartache that came from his death. The grieving needed to happen, and Mary and Martha needed to be validated in their grief. They didn’t need Christ to tell them to get over it, they needed him to mourn with them, and mourn with them he did.

Now, I’m not comparing Lazarus’ death to what’s going on today, nor am I saying that some miracle is going to happen and we’re all going to be saved from the disasters and heartache that surround us every day. I don’t have any idea whether things are going to get better, or worse. What I do know, is that I am bringing a daughter into a world that have a lot of anxiety about, and I am terrified of the things that she will have to experience and endure in her lifetime. But I want her to learn from me, that love wins over hate. I want her to learn from me that it’s ok for others to hurt, and we don’t have to tell them to get over it just because we don’t understand it. I want her to learn from me to stand up for the people she cares about, and lend her voice to the voiceless. I want her to understand, if and when she decides to make the same commitment that I did at 8 years old, what it truly means to bear another’s burdens, because she’s watched me do it. I want her to know that it’s okay for her to feel angry, sad, afraid, frustrated, hurt and upset, and I want to help her learn how to work through those emotions so they don’t control her. I also want her to know that it’s okay to feel excited, happy, exuberant, triumphant, proud, joyful and powerful. I want her to be unapologetic about who she is, and accept others for being unapologetic about who they are. I want her to sit with the lonely child at lunch, and speak up to the bully who makes fun of her friend for wearing the wrong clothes, or having a different skin color or culture. I want her to be passionate about things that make her feel alive, and I want her to have integrity to do the right thing. I can’t expect her to do any of these things, if I don’t set the example though. I can’t trust that she will learn these traits from anyone else. 

I have witnessed and experienced so much pain and heartache this year- whether it’s because of the recent election, family tragedies, natural disasters, or a myriad of other tragic and devastating circumstances and events. The pain is real, the anguish is real. I feel it, and I know so many others feel it even more deeply than I. I don’t know how long it will take for me to fully comprehend recent events, and I can’t even begin to put a timeline on how long it should take for you. We may find that we’re ok next week. It might take 4 years. It may take forever. Or some of you may be over it already. And that’s ok. It’s all ok. Because we have a right to mourn, or not. We have a right to express our fear, anger, frustration and sadness in whatever way we need to, or to not express it at all. You see, it’s not my prerogative to decide how you, or anyone else, should process what’s happening in this world. We’re all different, and our experiences are all different. Circumstances are all different. Different isn’t bad. 

All different means, is that I don’t know what you’re going through, and you don’t know what I’m going through, so rather than condemning, judging and dismissing others because we don’t understand them, let’s mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort. Let’s listen without condemning. Let’s really hear people. Let’s validate their pain, and tell them their stories are important. Let’s show them that we care by supporting their causes, their needs and their safety. Let’s get involved in local politics and issues. Let’s write letters to our legislators, and show up to PTA meetings. Let’s speak up when we see something wrong happening, whether it’s happening to someone we know or not. Let’s look out for one another, and let’s put our money where our mouth is (if and when we have the ability to do so). Let’s remember that this world isn’t black or white- it’s hundreds of thousands of shades of the rainbow, and sometimes my magenta looks a lot like your razzle-dazzle-rose. We don’t all see through the same lens, and that’s what makes the world beautiful. We need each other. We need to build each other up rather than tearing each other down. Let’s not use politics as an excuse to discriminate, violate or condemn our brothers and sisters. Instead, let’s use love to guide our actions.

So, for my daughter, who’s name reminds me to believe there is still good in the world, I am choosing to speak up. I don’t want to remain silent, I want to actively be a shoulder to lean on, someone to cry with. I’m not sure yet what that looks like, and I’d love ideas if you have them. Please tell me how I can comfort, and mourn with you. 

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P.S. If you’d like a refresher on the commitment I made as an 8-year-old, you can find it in Mosiah 18:8-9. Here’s the excerpt that I’ve been pondering this week:

 8 …And now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

 9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death… 

Protein-packed stuffed bell peppers

Made these today and they turned out deliciously! After a few requests for the recipe, I’m posting it here!

 
Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (I used the red kind, but any kind will work!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can stewed diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup sliced olives
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cheese for garnish (I used goat cheese, but you can use any kind!)

Directions:

  1. First, get the quinoa cooking. Combine the quinoa and water in a small pot and turn on to medium heat until it boils, then simmer until all the water is soaked up.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, brown the ground turkey. I like to rinse it in very hot water after I cook it to get rid of the remaining fat, but this step is optional, especially if you’re using lean ground turkey.
  3. While the turkey is cooking, begin on the rest of the filling. Combine the black beans, stewed tomatoes, olives, cumin, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Chop the cilantro and add that in too.
  4. Next, cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. (You can also just cut the tops off if you want a bigger cup to fill!) save a small piece of one pepper to chop and add into the filling mix.
  5. Once quinoa and turkey are cooked, combine them in the bowl with the rest of the filling mix.
  6. Next, line a baking sheet with foil and lay the pepper halves out. Spoon the mixture into the pepper halves and sprinkle the tops with cheese.
  7. Bake at 350* for 30-40 minutes

Enjoy!!

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Glitter Rudolph Sign! {Giveaway Month}


This is week 4 of our handmade giveaway month! Our first week we partnered with Drill Bits and Oven Mitts and gave away a beautiful, vintage reclaimed wood holiday sign. The second week, we gave away a gorgeous cable crocheted headband, as well as 2 pdf patterns for headbands from our boutique. Last week, we gave away a luxurious, all natural, organic-themed goodie bag with seven fabulous, self- pampering items.

Glitter Reindeer Sign {Home Sweet Homebodies}

This week, we’re giving away a vintage-inspired, wooden Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sign, handmade by Cara! This sign would be an awesome way to add some farmhouse chic “bling” to your decorating this year, and it fits in easily with the decor you already have. Enter the giveaway below- be sure to read the rules at the bottom. (After you enter by submitting your email address to subscribe to blog posts, more entry options will be unlocked.) We would love it if you shared this Glitter Rudolph sign giveaway with your friends.

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Sign up for email updates and be entered to win this gorgeous, handmade sign. Earn additional entries for each of the following: "liking", sharing on Facebook, following and sharing on Pinterest, Twitter, Google +, and Instagram. (Leave a comment to let us know you followed on Instagram). This giveaway is not affiliated with or sponsored by Facebook. All entries will be verified. Must like on Facebook to win. We will cover shipping costs to winners in the lower 48 states.  Winner will be announced on our Facebook page on Tuesday, December 8th.
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We will also be listing limited quantities of this darling Glitter Rudolph Sign in our Etsy shop in the next day or so, so if you’ve got to have it, check out the shop!
Glitter Rudolf sign giveaway

We have enjoyed getting into the holiday spirit this month with our “month of giveaways” and we hope you’ve enjoyed it too. As we enter the Christmas season, we want to remind each of you (and ourselves) of the true meaning of the season- that is, love. It is always better to give than to receive. There’s nothing like warming your heart by giving of yourself to someone else. We hope each of you will feel the joy of the season by giving this year- whether that means giving items, money, time, talents, an open heart, forgiveness, or a smile.

The Homebodies

DIY Fall Porch & Door Decor

DIY Fall Porch & Door Decor

Fall is probably my favorite time of year. It’s just starting to get a little cooler, the rain starts coming down and you can start wearing your boots and sweaters. The air smells a little sweeter, the trees look like they are on fire and everything is pumpkin flavored! I love it.

This year, for the first time ever, we decided to decorate for fall, and it got me REALLY excited. I’m not a big halloween person though, so the ghosts and witches and bats and creepy crawlies will never have a place in my home. That being said, I do love pumpkins! So we decided to do a pumpkin autumn theme. We got some pretty glass pumpkins and amazing fall candles, but I also wanted to dress up our entrance to our basement apartment without spending a lot of money, especially since it would be sitting outside. The great thing about autumn decor is that it lasts from September, all the way past Thanksgiving. Score!

So for my autumn porch display, I got a few pumpkins of various sizes from Trader Joe’s (love that place!), and then I had some loose autumn leaves that I got from the Dollar Store (50 for $1!) which I glued together to add some dimension, and then used a piece of twine to tie the leaves to the stems of larger pumpkins.

I also made this adorable Welcome sign to hang from the largest pumpkin. I took a small piece of wood and wrapped a piece of burlap ribbon around it, added a few autumn leaves, and covered some foam dollar store letters in glitter for the “W-E-L-C-O-M-E”. I think it turned out super cute!

I also wanted to put a new wreath on my front door, and I had a foam wreath form that left over from trying to make a christmas ornament wreath with last Christmas, (it was a tragic #pinterestfail), but I found this tutorial from Popsugar Smart Living on how to make a cute fall wreath with a paper grocery bag, so I cut up a Trader Joe’s bag and used some more Dollar Store leaves to make this little number (not a great photo, sorry!).

Fall Paper Bag Wreath

Now my front entry is very festive, and all for very cheap! I hope this post inspires you to make something pretty for your porch this fall!

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Super Easy Lemon Butter Salmon with Green Beans

Super Easy Lemon Butter Salmon with Green Beans

Super Easy Lemon Butter Salmon with Green Beans

Need a quick and easy, HEALTHY meal? Take five minutes and put together this salmon dinner! Your tastebuds will thank you.

This is one of my favorite recipes for any time of year because it is FAST, HEALTHY and seriously DELICOUS! Oh, and I forgot to mention, SO EASY (and husband approved)! Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients: 

1 salmon fillet per person (I get the bag of frozen Atlantic salmon from Costco)

1 handful of frozen green beans per person

1 lemon

1/2 tbsp butter (straight from the refrigerator)

Rosemary

Salt

Pepper

Tin Foil

 

Instructions:

  1. Tear off a 12 inch piece of tin foil, lay it on the counter.
  2. Arrange a handful of frozen green beans to one side of the foil and place the frozen salmon fillet on top of the beans.
  3. Add your preferred spices to the salmon. I like to season it with rosemary, a little salt and pepper and a little bit of garlic powder, but it doesn’t need a whole lot!
  4. Slice up the lemon and lay the slices on top of the salmon, and add about a 1/2 tbsp. slice of butter on top.

    Layer 1: green beans, Layer 2: salmon, Layer 3: spices, Layer 4: lemon, Layer 5: butter

    Layer 1: green beans, Layer 2: salmon, Layer 3: spices, Layer 4: lemon, Layer 5: butter

  5. Fold the foil over the top to make a packet, and fold over the edges as shown below. Sometimes I add an extra layer of foil if it is thinner foil.Salmon wrapped in foil
  6. Time to cook! I have done this in two different ways. You can bake it in the oven at 350 for 25 minutes or so, OR you can stick it on your grill on low for about 20-25 minutes. I like to cook it on the grill in the summertime so I don’t have to heat up my oven.
  7. Enjoy! Each packet serves 1-2 people depending on the size of your appetite and the size of the salmon fillet. YUM!

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Enjoy!

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DIY $30 Office Gallery Wall

DIY Office Gallery Wall

So I started a new job about a year and a half ago, and was lucky enough to be moved into a window office a few months into the job (woohoo!), but even with the window, the walls were pretty lonely and bare. I went to Hobby Lobby at least 4 times to find decorations to make my office feel a little less sad, but being the frugal and crafty girl that I am, I couldn’t ever actually bring myself buy anything because I knew I could make something more personal for WAY cheaper. This went on for several months, UNTIL I finally bit the bullet and spent a good weekend crafting up a storm. What resulted was a magnificent (if I do say so myself) gallery wall that I get to stare at every day! The best part? It cost less than $30 to make each piece! (Thank you dollar store!)

Gallery Wall view

Isn’t that a cute view?

The first piece I had accumulated was the clock. It was the only thing I actually bought as-is, because I had found it for cheap when I first started the job. For a while it was the only thing on the wall though and it was a little depressing to stare at. So I used it for some inspiration and created a few pieces that could compliment it.

I felt like I needed a circle piece to balance the circle clock, so I created this little sunburst mirror (check out the tutorial here) with a dollar store mirror, clothes pins, some scrap fabric and pretty craft paper.

DIY $2 Sunburst Mirror

To go with the sunburst, I created this glitter deer silhouette with a small 5×7 flat canvas. I traced the silhouette with a pencil right onto the canvas, filled it in with glue, dumped on the gold glitter and let it dry. Super easy! I glued a piece of twine on the back for easy hanging also, since it didn’t have a frame.

Glitter Reindeer

My favorite piece on the whole wall is the center canvas. I wanted to create something that would spark creativity, but not be cheesy. I spent weeks looking up quotes about creativity, but rather than inspiring me, I felt like they were all pretty cheesy. Finally I saw a simple sign that read, “Creativity Takes Courage.” I love that quote! It really spoke to me because for me, sometimes creating something new feels very vulnerable. It’s easy to wonder and worry that other people are going to think or say it’s ugly or strange, and so I feel self-conscious about it. This project took many layers to complete. I started by painting random colors all over the canvas, and it didn’t look good. So I covered it with masking tape zig zags and spray painted it black. I pulled off the tape and still wasn’t pleased, so I added some gold texture. At this point, I was pretty sure I had ruined it, but I persevered. I had some foam letter stickers in random colors from the dollar store and I stuck them on the canvas to make the quote, figuring it would give me some inspiration, and then I decided to lightly brush white paint over the whole thing, including the foam letters. I was going to take them off, but I actually ended up liking the texture of the letters poking out, and the random colors of the letters that didn’t follow any sort of pattern. Finally, it was complete. Was it perfect? NO. But did I love it? YES.

I’ve always been a creative girl, but I have always also compared myself to great artists and lamented my perceived lack of skill. (Honestly, after I made all this stuff, it took me weeks to actually bring it into my office, and it has taken me 5 months to post it on the blog). The funny thing, is that in this job, I am responsible for all of the creative elements of marketing my company. I design the print and web advertisements and all of the magazines and brochures for the different programs. In my job, I have no fear of what others think of my creative work, in fact I thrive on the critiques of my colleagues and supervisors. I have recently wondered why I am confident in my creativity for work, and not my creativity for play. I’m still baffled, and it’s still hard to share my creations, but I’m working on it. Every day I look at this quote on my wall and it reminds me that I can do anything!  Creativity takes courage. And I can be courageous!

Creativity takes courage

After my creativity epiphany, I figured that it would be nice to have something that reminded me of home on the wall, so I made this Oregon state outline on an 8×10 canvas by spray painting it, tracing an outline of Oregon with glue and adding pink glitter. I did a few layers to make it a really thick line, and it makes me happy whenever I see it :)

Glitter Oregon

The next thing I made was a flower letter “C” by cutting out the letter on a cereal box, and then hot gluing dollar store flowers all over it. I hung it with a piece of twine too.

Flower "C"

Finally, I made this cute hanging planter out of recycled materials! I totally forgot to take pictures of the process, but it was super simple. I had a bunch of containers that some mushrooms came in, so I cut the end off of one side and stuck a piece of floral foam inside it to hold some dollar store flowers. I also rolled up a bunch of magazine pages and glued them all around the base and added the twine to hang it, and viola!

Recycled hanging basket

 

I had so much fun making all the things, and it was really good for me to create something lovely that I could look at every day to remind myself to 1) be creative and 2) have courage. I really love my little gallery wall, and my office feels a little less like a dreary prison cell now. (Okay, that was dramatic, but you get the picture!)

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$2 DIY Sunburst Mirror

This year, sunburst mirrors have become really popular, and I really wanted one to hang on my office wall but as a new professional, I couldn’t bring myself to buy one when I knew I could make it for $2. So I decided to hit up the local Dollar Store to find the supplies I needed, and I dreamed up my very own sunburst mirror, that I think is pretty cute!

DIY $2 Sunburst mirror

Materials needed:

Scissors, Liquid glue, Craft paper, Clothes Pins

Not pictured: Dollar store circle mirror (found by the candles/crafts), scrap fabric, cardboard.

I started by cutting a circle out of cardboard that was about an inch larger all around than my mirror. (I actually traced a salad plate to get the circle, and cut it out with large scissors. It wasn’t perfect, but that wasn’t important!)

Cardboard circle

After cutting the circle, I covered it with the fabric and hot glued it to secure it tightly so it didn’t crinkle awkwardly.

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Then I cut strips of pretty paper the width of the clothes pins and glued them to the pins.

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Once the pins were dry, I arranged them around the cardboard circle.

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I also hot glued a piece of twine to the back to make an easy hook to hang it with.

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And then placed the mirror in the center with hot glue to keep it in place. I think it turned out cute! And it looks really nice on my wall :)

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Stay posted to see my whole DIY Office Gallery Wall!

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DIY Coat Rack for less than $30

We have a problem. It’s called not enough hooks to hang things on. This problem manifested itself recently when I received several new purses as gifts, and my hanging spot became a chair. And then I stopped hanging up my coat in the coat closet because it was too far away. And then our entry way turned into a pile of purses and coats and gym bags and our primary bag and I just can’t handle that kind of clutter. We decided that something must be done, so we got on the internet and looked for a free standing coat tree rack (we’re in a rental, so anything wall-mounted just wouldn’t work). We did a lot of searching, because we wanted something sturdy but inexpensive because let’s face it, we just need to hang our stuff up so it doesn’t look like we’re hoarders.
The more we looked for one to buy, the more we realized that we can make our own dang coat rack and it would look cooler and be cheaper to make! So we decided to make our own. I was inspired by the design of this one from Anthropologie (but not the price.. yikes!). So we went to Home Depot.
We bought: A 2x2x8 pine pole for $8, 4 L-shaped supports for just over $1 each, and two sets of hooks that were I think around $2 for a pair.
Other supplies needed: A hand saw and some sandpaper (although we could have had the pole cut at Home Depot if we had thought of it)
I forgot to take pictures of the actual process, but I think it took us about 30 minutes to finish, including hand-sawing the pole.
It’s the perfect spot for our jackets and my purses!
I really like how the industrial supports came together with the plain pine wood of the pole. 
This was such an easy DIY and it was fun for my husband and I to make together too :)
(I’m playing with the idea of making more of them to sell.. maybe! Stay tuned)