Thursday, May 30, 2013

Guide My Steps

Recently I've been thinking about the missions trip I went on a few summers back.  My team and I lived in beautiful Costa Rica for five weeks.  Four hours a day were spent on campus at the Universidad engaging in spiritual conversation with students.  That's Christianese for getting to know people on a deeper level, asking them what they think about life, God, and spirituality, and with their permission sharing what we believe and what God's done in our lives.  We also did weekly community service projects including loving on orphans and feeding the homeless.  On the side we built an incredibly tight-knit Christian community that fostered immense spiritual growth.  

I had almost forgotten that I originally applied for Summer Project in Italy.  Due to the popularity of that project, it filled up before my application was even processed.  I had to resort to one of my back-up locations.

 I was thinking about how Costa was such a better fit for me!  I have an interest in Latin American culture, and a background in Spanish.  Plus, working with people in poverty is a passion of my heart.  The city of San Jose opened my eyes to what poverty can really look like.  Aside from this, I built key relationships with students that echoed into my next year at Washington State University.  My summer would have looked so different in affluent Italy than it did in the third-world Costa Rican jungle.

It is comforting to remember that God is going to direct my steps.  Even when I have no clue what do to and just move in a direction, he guides me to where I'm supposed to be.  I love that he knew my heart, even better than I did.  In the midst of painful rejection and confusion he lead me to what was best for me.

I have to believe that as I take my next steps into the future--uncertain as they may be--that God is going to continue to be faithful.  Even if I am unsure about where he's leading me, he will guide me.  He has a plan for me, and I don't have to know it perfectly.  I just have to follow him, move ahead, and trust that his strength is bigger than my weakness.  His plan is greater than my inability to decipher his will.  

Cougs for Costa!  (People from my college that went on the trip)

Hanging out with these cuties at the orphanage.

Having lunch with some students on campus.

Perezoso which is Spanish for lazy and sloth.

The jungle.

                                               Bird's eye view of a residential area.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Our Crazy Orange Dresser

For awhile now I have been wanting to makeover a thrift-store dresser.  Since we got married we've been using those cheap-o plastic drawers to store our clothes that couldn't be hung.  It worked for a little bit.  But soon those old, falling apart, drawers became more frustration than they were worth.  We headed to Palouse Treasures--a thrifty fave of ours--and plucked ourselves an upgrade.  It cost us $30 which I honestly think was a little over priced.  Still, we would have probably spent that just to replace our plastic drawers.  It was pretty ugly and cheaply made.  We saw bigger, sturdier dressers, but they meant coughing up more cash.  We decided that this one was just the quality we were going for:  it's better than what we had before, but light enough to accommodate for our frequent apartment-hopping.  We don't expect it to last forever, just to make life a little easier until we can replace it when we have our college-graduate salary jobs.  

I didn't get a true "before" picture.  Hubs was just too eager to tear those drawers out and get to work. As you can see it's got a fake grainy pattern which is almost like very thick sticker that you could peel off.  Under this is what looks like particle board.  

Enter Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  Ok, so *warning* this stuff is a bit pricey.  In my opinion, though, it is completely worth it!  We ended up taking some of the cost from my personal fund (a section of our budget that I get to blow) since part of the appeal is just a way for me to have fun doing a project. Chalk Paint is amazing!  I have NEVER painted anything before, and it was so easy.  You don't have to use primer, a little goes a long way, and it leaves a lovely smooth finish.  

Here is the finished product.  Is bright orange too crazy for you?  We love it!  I think it makes the plain-ish dresser look modern and fun.  I left the original drawer pulls on because I think it adds just a little vintage touch.  As soon as it was finished Philip said, "It doesn't look like a cheap thrift-store dresser anymore.  Now it looks like we bought it for a lot of money  at an antique store."  And I was like, "That's the point!"  

Here it is in our bedroom.

I topped it with a lamp and mirror we got as wedding gifts.  That "vase" is a bottle I embellished with some twine.  The print is a score I found on Etsy.  It is one of the four vintage encyclopedia pages:  various trees, birds, and flowers.

Here is the pattern on our bedding just to give you an idea of how it fits in with the rest of our decor.  Our comforter is a light color with some subtle splashes of orange.  I think that's what makes such a  bold color work.  

What do you think?  Would you ever incorporate such crazy colors into your home?  Have you done any projects lately?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Confessions of a Skinny Girl

In our culture, if you said to someone, "You're so fat," you would be chastised -as you well should be. But if you said to another lady, "You're so skinny," no one would give it a second thought.  This is just one of the many words that has reverberated through my mind trying to adhere to my identity: "Skinny.  Twig.  Stick.  Bony."  Growing up, none of my peers--or even their parents--felt any remorse calling me these things.

I have what you might call a "fast metabolism."  I've often had to pull that phrase out in order to defend myself.  No matter what I eat, no matter what my exercise habits, at 5'8" I tend to hover between 110 and 120 pounds.  I have never caused myself to throw up, nor have I ever denied myself food (I have enough trouble denying myself cheetos and oreos).  I just don't gain weight.  In fact, I at times I struggle to maintain a healthy weight.

In America, being thin is idolized.  Our society is weight-obsessed.  Fad diets are a dime a dozen.  The media portrays healthy, beautiful women as too big.  How does a girl that is naturally thin navigate this world?  Truth be told, I've struggled with insecurity about my body much of my life.

You might think that in a culture that is hyper-sensitive about weight,  a body like mine might be celebrated.  That hasn't really been my experience, especially growing up.  Instead I got nicknames like "Twiggy," "Cheesestick," and "Whalie," (for the sake of irony).  I've had boys say they wouldn't date me because I was "Too bony."  And somehow "What if Chelsea gained 100 pounds?" made the "What If" section of the student-printed newspaper every year.

Through the God that says "You are fearfully and wonderfully made," and a husband that revels my pale skin, subtle curves, and freckles, that has changed.  I have come to see myself as beautiful.  I no longer wish to go up a couple dress sizes (or bra sizes).  I know that my true beauty radiates from my heart that was intentionally crafted by my Creator.  But that what's on the outside is also good.

If you are a skinny-mini like me, learn to accept yourself for who you are.  To be fair, there are some advantages.  Like we can eat that second piece of pie on Thanksgiving and know for certain it's not going straight to our hips--though it might be clogging our arteries.  We can pull off most fashion trends.  Dressing modestly is easy as we never have to worry about being too cleavage-y or that dress making our butts look big.  You and I are lovely just the way we are.

If you know/meet someone like me remember that it's not all it's cracked up to be.  I have to fight to keep weight on.  Let's face it, eating lean proteins and green veggies makes me look my best just like they make you look yours.  I still have body image issues.  I've struggled to believe that being shaped like a pencil can truly be beautiful.  I've been teased about my looks, too.  Don't wish to be me.

Most of all please don't call me "skinny."  "Thin" is a positive word.  "Fit" is a positive word.  "Skinny" is no better than "fat."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to give your girlish frock some street cred...

When shopping for clothes, I automatically find myself reaching for lace, pearls, glitter and all things girlie.  But there's a part of me that just wants to be a BA (you probably lose BA points if you have to use an abbreviation rather than the actual cuss word).  I love feminine dresses, skirts, and accessories, but like the edgy, hardcore, urban look as well.  I think it's just different parts of my personality coming through.  I've been told that I'm sweet and gentle, but when it comes down to it I am tough.  To embody that I pulled out one of the girliest things I own--a pastel-colored lacy dress--and attempted to give it some street cred.

Add an Army-inspired jacket.  Leather, or denim would probably suffice.  A geometric print necklace, and tights in the color black couldn't hurt either.

Lace up your combat boots, and you're ready to go.

Of course, making an intense pouty face will only add to the intimidating vibe you are putting off. 

Here's what my hubby was doing in between snapping shots of me trying to look tough: drinking more sugary liquid than humans were ever meant to consume.  He has got a serious drinking problem (no, not THAT kind).

How do you pair sweet and sassy items from your wardrobe?

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