Three things to make before Spring

1.) The Geranium Baby/Little girl dress
Because what is sweeter than baby girl dresses? And since I don’t have a baby girl of my own to dress in adorable clothing, I figured making one of these dresses would fulfill that little longing deep in my soul. I searched and searched for baby girl dress patterns online and this is most what I was looking for. I don’t love the little v part of the neckline, so I would make omit that, but everything else appeals to me– the simpleness, the waistline, the gathers, the option for ruffle sleeves. And yes, I will be giving it to a sweet baby girl in my life.
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(image via Made By Rae)

2.) A Braided Rag Rug
I could use a rug in my living room and all the rugs that I really like in-store or online are pretty spendy. Since I like the look of rag rugs, I thought this would be a good alternative. I think I will pick a lighter gray fabric, a bold gold fabric and a print of some sort to make up the three strands of the braid. The only thing I am worried about is the sturdiness of it since people will be walking on it. And it might break my heart a little bit if it got dirty or spilled on since it’s a handmade piece, but I will just have to make peace with that reality.

(image via ModaBakeShop)

3.) The Washi Dress
So I have never really done garment sewing, so this could be a bit of a disaster, but I do plan to get help from my mom and other trusted seamstresses. Like the baby girl Geranium dress, I found this pattern after much searching. And coincidentally, it is also a Made by Rae pattern! I was looking for something flattering to my body shape, something simple in appearance and craftsmanship. This could end up not being flattering, and hard to make, but I want to try it. The Washi dress on the girl below looks like a similar size/body type to me, so I am hoping that’s what it would roughly look like on me. Fingers crossed ;)

dear stella washi dress
(image via Skirt as Top)

For the love of reading

Over the past few years, my husband and I have developed quite a passion for reading. Neither of us grew up in homes that really fostered a love for reading, so we both feel it’s kind of unusual that we find ourselves in this position. Maybe it’s a mix of having a lot of really smart friends who read a lot and their love has rubbed off on us combined with getting a taste of some really good writing that left us hungry for more.

I think Donald Miller’s books introduced us both to this fresh, honest writing style that we both really connected with. And I think we realized that the world of books is vast. We are always adding to our book lists (or the goodreads app) and telling each other about what we are reading.
Blue-Like-Jazz-e1335535652212I feel like I missed out on a lot of great girlhood books, so that is something that I am very interested in right now. The interest in girlhood books may also be due to the fact that I am officially a mother to boys, so even though I am 31yrs old, this may be my only chance to indulge in this kind of reading. This year I read Anne of Green Gables, and I bought the Little House on the Prairie Series. I still want to read Christy, Heidi, A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Anna Bond of Rifle, recently designed the book covers of some of just the books I am talking about, and they are gorgeously designed to boot! Christmas gift, hint, hint!
rifle booksSince my children were born I have been very interested in children’s books–in finding out about the good authors and which books make my three year old tick. So far he really loves books by authors Mo Willems, Oliver Jeffers and Holly Hobbie to name a few. I often find him just looking through books by himself. We have tried to incorporate the library into our weekly rhythm which has been really nice and free! I recently borrowed The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease from the library. It is a great resource of information about the great books to read aloud as well as tools to ignite a love of reading in little ones.
readaloudAfter hearing lots about this book, I ordered and old edition of The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise-Bauer off of half.com last year and I think that’s what got me really passionate about the importance of children reading. The book in a nut-shell is about classically educating kids at home. Whether or not my kids will be educated at home or in a school is still a bit unknown, but I do know that Darren and I will always be our kids biggest influence and greatest educators.
Well-Trained MindClassical education is divided up into three stages called the Trivium which starts with the grammar stage, followed by the logic stage and finishes with the rhetoric stage ending the last year of high school. The first stage of education according to the classical method, the grammar stage, emphasizes reading everything and anything. The goal is to fill and expand the mind while it is young and sponge-like! So that has been a goal of mine with my three year old. We pick out fiction and non-fiction, books about holidays and different cultures and crazy books that expand his imagination. It really has been a joy and I am excited to continue on this journey with him and in my own reading journey.

write because you have something to say

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald.
 
Tsh Oxenreider posted that quote on instagram not that long ago and it stuck with me. Many days, I am here at home with my boys and I have a lot of time to think about things. I love that. I am a thinker, and I like having time to think and make connections. But often times I feel like I don’t have an outlet for these connections and conclusions that I come to.

I go in phases when I feel like I have something to say. Right now, I feel like sharing some thoughts but I know I won’t always feel like that. When I did blog more regularly at one time in my life, it stressed me out to think about content for my blog….like I had to have something to say. But I think the best blogs are the ones out there from people who think deeply about things and write honest reflections about what is going on in their lives. They aren’t saying things just to say them, they are saying them because they have something to say.

So, when I have time and energy, I am going to start saying some things in this space that I feel are worth sharing. Sometimes I feel mighty ambivalent about sharing stuff on the internet because for 1.) I don’t really know who my audience is, so it feels a bit impersonal, 2.) what’s the difference between me sharing here or writing in a journal…do people even care about what I have to say and 3.) words often cheapen deep, soul-satisfying truths that I have come to experience. When certain thoughts or conclusions have labels or words attached to them, they become less expansive.
 
But I do want to start writing. I have a whole list of topics on my phone that I would like to write about! So I am going to try to make that happen.

Empty Book Shelf Challenge – Darren Book #2

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Title: What We Talk About When We Talk About God

Author: Rob Bell

What’s it about: Bell looks at how the world has historically talked about God and how Christians have historically talked about God and says, let’s reevaluate and make sure we’re talking about who God really is.

Why did I read it: I’ve followed Rob Bell for many years and read most of his books, so it seemed natural to read his latest work. Also, I felt his last book was a bit off track and I wanted to see what direction he would go. I really like where he went with this one.

Favorite idea: In one of the chapters he talks about how big the universe is and how small the universe is (he really gets into the science of all that and my mind was totally blown) and how God is present in all parts of it. Similarly he wraps up the book talking about how God is everywhere and in everything. That is really beautiful to me and something I need to be reminded of.

Bad Days and Miracles

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On January 31st Rachel and I welcomed our second son into the world, Oliver Bruce Johnson. Bringing a child into the world is beautiful, miraculous, joyous, and mysterious. But newborns are challenging and we’ve experienced more than we bargained for. Rachel had some complications during the delivery, which I won’t go into now, but it’s left us experiencing an array of contrasts over the past week or so. There has been profound joy side by side with suffering. Pain, frustration, exhaustion, anger, longing, sadness, anxiety have all been swirling around in our hearts and minds. We’ve had bad days, yesterday was particularly challenging and yet despite all that, God has been faithful and held our spirits aloft. We’ve been trying to take each day one at a time and there are so many reminders of God’s love; sun shinning into apartment, Rachel’s mom helping out, friends and family visiting, friends bring meals, good food, good coffee, the Olympics, frangipane, laughter, music… all miracles. And the greatest of miracles: our children. Archie our first and Oliver our newborn certainly test our patience at times, though never cease to bring us joy, lighting up even the darkest of moments. God is good, in the midst of suffering, God is good.

Empty Book Shelf Challenge – Darren Book #1

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Title: The Casual Vacancy

Author: J.K. Rowling

What’s it about: It’s basically about small town politics and the lives of the people involved. A seemingly boring topic that Rowling makes very interesting. I didn’t love the book because of it’s dark nature, but it features all the best things about Rowling’s writing.

Why did I read it: I couple years ago a read the Harry Potter series for the first time and loved it and loved it Rowling’s writing, so I thought I’d give her first non-Harry Potter book a shot.

Favorite idea: This books is pretty bleak, but it does have some redemptive qualities. It definitely reminded me of how much we need to love and to be Christ to the marginalized.

See the previous post to learn more about the Empty Book Shelf Challenge.

Books!

Last year Rachel and I started keeping track of the books we read. It was nice because throughout the year it can be hard to remember what you have and have not read. I sadly only read four books last year, Rachel read like a million. Anyway, I thought this year it would be fun to share what we’ve been reading on the blog and I came across a fun way of doing so. Jon Acuff of Stuff Christians Like fame started the “Empty Book Shelf” challenge. The idea is that you empty a book shelf and fill it with the books you read. Additionally he’s posting a little review of each book in the following format:

Title:

Author:

What’s it about:

Why did I read it:

Favorite idea:

I don’t think we’ll do the bookshelf part because we get some of our books from the library, plus we lack adequate shelf space. But we will do the review format and maybe snap a picture of the book. I already have two books under my belt, which is awesome for me. I’ll post my first one tonight as long as Rachel doesn’t go into labor… could be any time now!