Wednesday, May 30, 2012

thoughts while traveling

The other day I was traveling home from my visit with family. While I was driving through the mountains the sun began to set and the fireflies came out. It was so beautiful. I was never a big nature lover as a kid. I have never been terribly outdoorsy. However, the older I get I appreciate nature more and more. Perhaps it's because I'm now an art major and I'm learning to appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. Nothing we make can hold a candle to nature. Nothing we make as artists is not inspired by God's creation in some way, shape, or form.

I just feel more and more in awe of our God when I see how beautiful this place is. I've had dear friends ask me how I can trust a God who lets terrible things happen. I can't explain God's decisions or reasoning (Isaiah 55:8-9--while you're at it, just read the whole chapter. It's beautiful.). I don't want to downplay the suffering that happens in this world or the heartache that people experience. But I believe that God cares and loves. He has experienced true suffering and empathizes and helps us during our struggles. And when I look around at the world and see how delicate and intricate plant life and human life are and how so many little tiny things have to happen inside our bodies to keep us alive or at how diverse our whole world is...well then I see how beautiful it is and it helps me to trust God. I just can't believe that the One who designed, made and sustains us all does not love. He's given us the whole world to enjoy. What a gift!
I got to spend some quality time with my niece and new nephew this past weekend while visiting family. In fact I spent approximately 14 hours sitting between the two of them in the car while driving back and forth. 

I'm pretty sure they get cuter every time I see them. <3

Turn left down Memory Lane and stop when you come to the Asian market...

This past weekend I visited my parents and younger sister for Memorial Day weekend. It was really good to see them again. It was a short visit, and my younger brother couldn't make it, but altogether it was very nice. My dad and younger sister took me to the local Asian market. We have one up here too, but it is tiny compared to this place. I was on the lookout for loose leaf tea and lotus root and was able to find both! Success!

While there I couldn't help but photograph some things that really reminded me of my time in China. It made me miss it a lot. I can't help but get a little sad when I think about it.

 We drank so much of this stuff. It had creamer and sugar already mixed in. So trashy, but so addictive!
 These are very similar to the dishes from our studio dining room. And when you went to the department stores you could buy dishes like these.
 I loved this. It's so typical of Chinese copies. It's supposed to be Winnie the Pooh, but it's an elephant instead. Some things get lost in translation I guess. We saw so many hilarious mis-translations while in China.

I remember my teachers and classmates sitting around drinking tea and eating sunflower seeds. 

It's good to have some wonderful memories of my time there. And it was lovely to have a chance to walk down memory lane when I was at the market. It smelled like old fish just like the markets in Jingdezhen used to. I never thought I'd miss the smell of old fish. :) China was such a special place to me. So down and dirty, but I met some very kind and hospitable people there. In my wildest dreams I'll go visit again someday. With friends and loved ones this time who I can share the trip with. It was lonely not being able to have a really close friend or family member along. It was really lonely coming back and not being able to share that experience first-hand with my nearest and dearest people. But it was a really wonderful experience all the same and I'm grateful I got to go. 


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just thought I'd share...

 ...some gluten-free cookies and a picture of a cute kitty.
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I have a little thing for sunsets..

I just think they're beautiful. This was taken from my balcony. The first 2 are instragram so they have a filter, but that last one is straight from the camera. It was quite pretty.


Two of my roommates and I went out for frozen yogurt at one of the fro-yo shops here in town. It was a fun little treat and I always enjoy outings with the girls. I had to laugh though because we noticed that both my roommates matched their frozen yogurt. You can't tell as well from the photo, but they definitely were matchy. It was cute. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A few of my favorite things...

- new sheets on my bed.
- handmade quilts in my house.
- dishes made by friends in my cabinet.
- getting real mail from a dear friend.
- spending time with friends.
- phone visits with my family.
- sitting on my balcony while the weather is so nice.

Those things make for a nice day. It's a wonderful life, friends. :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

a love letter. of sorts.

May 18, 2012

Dear sweetheart,

I'm doing the classic "cliche Christian girl thing" and writing a love letter to a person I don't know yet. AND posting it on the internet (<<insert horrified gasp>> I would write this down on paper and save it, but I lose things all the time and this way I at least know where this letter is.)! The fact is I really want to write a love letter to someone. Preferably to someone I know, but since I'm single as all get out I'm writing one to the future. Even though I'm single I am still pretty happy. I think God is teaching me something similar to what Paul wrote when he said he had learned to be happy with much or with little and in all other situations. Not that I've reached that point, but I am rather content to be here at this point in my life. God has been very good to me and is blessing and spoiling me. :) However, my dream has always been to be married and have a family and so I am eagerly anticipating meeting you.

I'm not going to sit here and write that I love you and think you're adorable and all that sort of thing, because I don't know you yet. I wish I could write a letter saying exactly what it is about you that I love and appreciate, but I haven't had the chance to learn what those things are yet. So I will say that I can't wait to get to know you. To find out the things that you like; the things that make you unique and special. To have memories of us doing fun things together, and to have little inside jokes that just we understand. I am looking forward to the conversations that we will someday have. I can't wait to catch a glimpse of the world through your eyes and hear your perspective on things. I am looking forward to sharing the things I love to do and the people that I love with you and experiencing the things you like to do and meeting the people that you love as well. I can't wait to be your best friend, your cheer leader, your confidante, your sweetheart and everything else. I can't wait to love you.

I hope that right now you are loved and cared for. I hope that you're happy and full of joy. I hope that you know that God loves you. I hope you're living your life to the fullest and learning new things about God and life and yourself and that you are chasing the things you want for your life. Any time you're ready I'll jump in and join you.

Until that time when I meet you and know who you are I'll keep doing what I'm doing. But I'll be praying for you dear. And I promise that once I know who you are I'll write you a real love letter on paper and hand it to you in person. I won't post anymore letters online. :)

Yours truly,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New dream...

I went somewhere very pretty today! A friend and I went to visit a local nursery (the plant kind) and I saw some BEAUTIFUL plants! My friend is a bit garden savvy and had plans to grow her own vegetables and herbs. I'm not much of a green thumb (I'm not one at all actually) but I kind of fell in love with their succulents. My great-grandmother grew them and at one point gave some to my mom. They are resilient little plants and I was surprised at how pretty I now think they are.

 This little guy came home with me! He's so puffy and cute.

My friend and I agreed that we think plants are therapeutic. From what she told me the nursery didn't have as many plants as they usually do, so we'll have to go back another time when they have more plants in stock.  Even with the more limited amount of plants I loved seeing the variety and beauty that was there. All I could think (especially after we'd found the curry awesome!) was how amazing God is to create such diverse, beautiful, healthy plants. In one place there were so many different colors, textures, and scents. It was so fun to wander around and smell the plants and see how pretty they were. Stuff like this is such a gift!

The nursery also had lots of beautiful vegetables, flowers and herbs. And even a disappearing peacock! They had a curry plant that smelled so wonderful! And lavender plants that smelled 10 times better than any essential lavender oil I've smelled. If I knew how to care for those plants I would have bought a whole bunch of them, but I am afraid I would kill them. So I think I'm going to start researching herb gardens and succulents and start my own little garden. I'm thinking a little balcony garden with lavender, mint, lemon balm, curry (it smelled SO good!) and succulents growing would be so nice. I could make little ceramic pots for all of them to live in!

It's the perfect idea! New dream: herb and succulent garden on my balcony. It's going to happen. :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

One last piece.

Just one more...a teapot. Probably the best one I've made so far. Teapots are hard. There are so many pieces to make and assemble. Spouts are hard.

But I think I'm finally heading in a better direction with this ceramic stuff. At least I'm happier with my work's development here at the end of this semester than in past semesters. :) I just hope that someday I'll reach the point where I know what I'm doing and can make good work.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I may be biased...

but I think I live in one of the prettiest places. :) For a state that catches a lot of flack it is so beautiful. The other day I went to Barnes & Noble and Target just because I felt like getting out of the house. It was rainy and gray, but looking around the area the shopping complex is located in I was struck by how beautiful it is. Most of the time when you go to a shopping center you are in an urban place. I love that when I go to the store I still see big open spaces and fields and mountains. Sometimes there are even deer out in the fields by the Walmart.

Before the semester ended I walked up to the President's house with a friend and viewed the city from the over look. From such a quiet spot you can look down the mountain and see all the traffic and lights from the city and the surrounding area. It was beautiful. I love feeling that in this mountainous, rural state you find pockets of "civilization" that are little energy hubs. There is so much life and so much action happening and it's all set in this serene, beautiful place. And I can see both at the same time.

Yes, I love my town and I love this state. I'm glad I get to call it home for awhile. :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

From the final critique

Just a little peek at some of what I put into my final critique for the semester. I am happy to say I got away from shocking blue glaze, but somehow got into strange amber-olive-poopy brown glaze. Depending on which kiln in was fired in it came out differently. So next semester I have my work cut out for me in trying to figure out colors that work for me.
creamer and sugar
cup trio
cup trio again
little bottles
basket vase...or cutlery holder for your next picnic...whichever you want.
And finally, the chocolate milk flask. :)


Another semester is over. I've lost more of my friends to this epidemic called "graduation." I'm proud of them and I'm happy for them. And I'm sad for me (selfishly) because I love them and will miss them.

Bummer, dude.

Trying to be a good steward.

Life is this delicate balancing act where we learn to hold to the things that matter most as tightly as we can and as loosely as we can. The danger lies in not appreciating the precious blessings we have been given or in holding them so tightly we don't acknowledge that all things belong to God. We put trust in them instead of the One who made them and shares them with us. The goal is to value and care for them while being ready to give them back to God whenever He asks. I guess that's what good stewardship is. And it applies to all areas of our, friends, the ones we love and the ones we struggle to love, possessions, opportunities...all of it.

I think this concept would be a lot easier if emotions didn't play a role in these things. :)


(This was supposed to post a couple of months ago...but for some reason didn't. So it's not current. )

Yesterday I decided to throw caution and "responsibility" to the wind. I left school early (5 pm) and went out to Michaels and Books a Million with two friends. After that I went out to a Bible study with two more friends. After visiting at Bible study I stopped at the studio which turned into an impromptu Kroger run with my Chinese friend there and then ended in a long chat with one of our newest grad students. After I finally got home I did my Chinese homework and then visited with one of my roommates till about 3 am. Can I just say that that is probably the most one-on-one visiting I've done all semester? I see people in groups frequently, but I rarely get to go out with one or two friends to do anything. It was SO nice. Except I knew I would be tired all day today because of my lack of sleep.
(coffee with friends)
Turns out I wasn't because I slept through my alarm and missed my Chinese class. Oops! Once I woke up and realized what I did I decided that I just didn't care. I made breakfast, ate it in bed and did a Bible study and it felt so nice.

I give up eating regularly, sleeping regularly, spending time with my friends, spending time with Jesus, working out, etc., to do school. It consumes me and I always feel like I'm behind or not doing a good enough job. I feel worried that if I don't make great grades it will reflect on me badly and make me seem really lazy or apathetic. However in my frenzy to "succeed" at school and not come anywhere near the lines of failure academically I feel like I'm failing in my personal life to have a balanced, normal and healthy lifestyle. My room is a disaster. The only meal I ate yesterday was lunch. Today I rested, ate, visited with friends, got to participate in an outreach event on campus, and it was so very nice.

I've got to figure out this balance thing.