Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Against the odds.

While walking to my car this morning I saw this little weed growing out of the asphalt. It was funny to see it growing so well in such a big parking lot especially with the alternating heat and thunderstorms we have been having lately. No one likes weeds but if I could have given it a high-five it for growing against all odds I would have. Good job, tough guy! You inspire me to tough out life's figurative asphalt parking lots, heat waves, thunderstorms, motor vehicles and withering looks from people who don't like you.

Recently lately.

 So school and work have taken over life for awhile. I am SO tired. I'm not balancing this school and work thing very well yet. I feel sick. I think I reacted badly to all the burning wax fumes I've been exposed to in the studio while dipping fake flowers in wax and spruing for our metal casting this weekend. Or it could be all the extra hours I put in at work over the weekend. Or both. Either way, I'm pretty sure if you hooked me up to a brain monitor it would show a flat line. I can deal with the fatigue pretty well, but the brain fog is really stressing me out.

Regardless, it has been a good week. Here are some photos from what I've been up to lately. :)

 Beginnings of an art project. Last week I went to the dollar store and bough $11 of fake flowers, dust masks, a lighter, funnels and measuring cups. Probably the weirdest combination of objects I've ever bought.
 Lots of summer storms. Our grass is starting to look really good again. It was really yellow for awhile.
 The floor of the sculpture room I was working in. I want to do a project based off this.
 Finally got to sit in service again this past weekend. I was either out of town or working with the kids a lot and missed about 3 weeks of sitting in the service. It was so good to be back.
 My friend Katie and me trying out mayonnaise treatments in our hair. It was pretty weird and I don't think I would do it again, but it brought on a lot of laughter so it was all good.

Now I'm off to bed. Tomorrow comes too soon! Wish me luck on all this school and work stuff. Or at least wish me more brain function!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

good news!

I started my sculpture class and it is *awesome!* Yay! It is so good to be back at school. I've missed it. I haven't missed the drama, but I have missed that space. What is it about being in a room that is just concrete walls and floors and some sheetrock walls that is still SO inspiring? It's honestly exactly where I love to be.

I also found out that I lost a bit of financial aid this semester. Ick! Turns out there are consequences to staying in school for more than 6 years. Who would have thought!? No matter. I'm so close to being done. I'll just have to trust that God controls it all and will provide a way for me to finish school. He has been so good to me.

And now I must head off to work. This recent news makes me more grateful to have a job. :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rainy day.

More summer showers. A perfect day to stay home and sleep, make books and drink tea. Or go to work, go thrifting and have a half-off milkshake, which is what I did. Still a good day. Very restful. I'm grateful.

A finished coloring book!

I have never made a coloring book. I am not very good at drawing, but I got a book on drawing cute cartoon animals and had some fun sketching little animals. Plus I had fun binding this little book together. It will end up going to a special little lady. Hopefully she will have some fun with it.

I have been staying up late these past couple of nights binding books. The lighting is terrible for photographing them this late at night, hence the awful photographs. Actually, it has been very rainy all day and very gloomy. So the lighting was terrible during the day too.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Completed books!

Here is a very poor photo of two books I finished today. Now I want to go thrift a leather skirt that I can cut up into a soft leather book cover as I used up the rest of my book cloth. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick.”
--J.R.R. Tolkien

Lately I am really missing China. Lately I am feeling a bit blue. A bit stuck. Like I'm kind of alone. And that since I'm feeling kind of alone I'd like to skip town and have an adventure. Not to be whiny (but a little bit), I am quite happy being single and there is no one that I am interested in or vice versa, but sometimes feeling detached is hard. I'm not committed to anyone, and no one is committed to me. And since I am completely unattached and likely to stay so for some time, I feel that I want to travel again. I mean, if I am going to be detached when I graduate I might as well be detached in another country as well as here in the USA. Right? And ceramics makes sense in other countries. I already get the "what are you going to do with that?" questions when I tell people I am studying ceramics. In other places it is a trade. It isn't such an impractical, crazy, even irresponsible choice in those places. China meant a lot to me. So much. It was one of the hardest experiences of my life. It made me practice being the kind of person I truly want to be. It opened my eyes to a different way of life. And different culture. I have rarely felt God's presence as strongly as I did when I was in China. It was very hard, but also an amazing part of my life. Just when I think I'm over it I start to miss it a lot and get a bit emotional thinking about it. I am considering looking into teaching abroad positions once I finish school. Hopefully in Asian countries. South Korea seems to have a lot to offer, but China would be great too. I loved learning Chinese so much and I think I could get placed in a pottery town so I could teach English, pay off some loans, and be immersed in a culture I learned to appreciate and perhaps get to know a language and continue working in clay. If I did that for a year and paid off some loans I would be in a better position to come home and set up a studio. Win, win, win, win, win. It just has the potential to be very very very lonely. It is something to pray about and research. Till then, here are some photos of places that hold many special memories for me.

 Chen Lu
 Overlooking Chen Lu with friends.
San Qing mountains
 Jingdezhen...the town with the ceramic light posts. This is one of my favorite photos from there.

 The dorms. Where the water was turned off at 10:30 pm, the hallway lights usually wouldn't come on and feral cats fought in the hallways at night.
The studio. Well, the gate to the studio anyway.
 Street markets...
 Big pots...
 Amazing craftsmen....

Another thing I miss about being in China...I felt that I was being mentally stimulated all the time. Facebook and other websites didn't work, so almost all my interactions were face-to-face and I was surrounded by new sights, languages, and situations. It was so very different from anything I was used to. I remember coming home and being annoyed by cell phones and facebook. I miss that feeling of something new every day.
It is now 2 am and I feel that much of this nostalgia and anxiety of the unknown future is related to tiredness on my part. So I suppose I will end here. Good night! 


 I've been sewing text blocks together lately. I need to cut some book board to finish binding them into books. Since I don't have a book making supply store nearby I am using the backs of old sketchbooks as book board. I'm pretty sure it's just a cheaper version of the real thing. Also, I'm using ribbon from the dollar spot at Target in place of twill tape. I think it's more fun.

My sculpture class starts next week. 30 hours of class a week plus regular work on top. That lasts for three weeks and then I have orientation for the international students that I am helping with. Then after that my classes start for the semester. I am starting to get nervous! I'm trying to stay positive that it will be the best semester yet! I usually love fall semesters. And this is finally my last fall semester. Perhaps ever! I hope. Of course, that leaves the question: "what comes after college?" Well, that is a whole new thing to think and worry about. But not yet. It will at least have to stay on the back burner of my mind until that time gets closer.

Making a coloring book.

Coming soon to a kid near you! I realized after drawing it that pandas don't leave you much to color in. I drew a bow on its head to have something fun to color. I also decided it was a good opportunity to put as much information about China/Chinese into that page as possible. Learning and having fun should coincide, right?

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Getting fro-yo in honor of National Ice Cream Day!

Important Decisions

Maybe one of the most important decisions we make is not merely where to go to school, what job to have, which person to marry, where to live...etc. Maybe one of the most important decisions we can make is to be joyful and happy in the here and now with whatever God has given us. When during all those little moments of life we practice being who we want to be by gratefully receiving what life gives us; the sweet, the hard and the confusing situations we frequently find ourselves in.

We define ourselves and our lives through big life events. For example, through our significant other, job, education, etc. It is more likely that the daily, monotonous events define who we are. How do we deal with a disgruntled friend, or child? How do we get through a day when we woke up on the wrong side of the bed? We grumble about not being in control of our lives, but we do control how we react to a situation we are given. So I want to choose to be grateful, joyful and hopeful in this life that God has given me. I want to  be patient to see how things play out in the long run. I want to trust that God truly does work all things together for my good. I just don't want to look back and wish that I had chosen to enjoy more of it.

Friday, July 13, 2012


 brother and sister...shared birthday celebration.

When I got to see my family last weekend we had a little early birthday celebration for Adam and Holly. They are 4 years and 3 days apart. I'm glad we got to have a little birthday party. It was good to see everyone. I wish my Mom could have been there. We had cake at the house and then went for ice cream in Sharpsburg, MD. The java chunk ice cream was a-okay. :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Stolen from my sister's facebook.

I don't think we've had a photo together in years.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sharpsburg, MD

I love the mystery of old houses.
What special memories are held in an old home?
If eyes are the window to the soul, then windows are certainly the eyes of homes...and I really wished I could peek inside this window to see into the soul of this house. It seems wistful, but very pretty too.

"In 6 days You created the whole world, but You've been working on heaven 2,000 years!" --Keith Green

Keith Green wrote a song called 'I Can't Wait To Get To Heaven.' The heading of this post is a line from the song. It talks about how beautiful this world is and how it was created in only 6 days. How amazing is heaven going to be since Christ has been preparing it as a home since He returned after the resurrection!? 

I live in a place that catches a lot of flack, but it is so beautiful. As I was driving home yesterday I stopped at a rest area and took a photo. I love these mountains!

When I was in China I had a chance to visit the San Qing mountains. They were breathtaking (maybe that had something to do with frigid temperatures and the 1083403847203847302473087 stairs we had to climb. Twice. But part of it was the beauty we saw too.)!

It's funny. Going to China made me both more patriotic, or at least proud of my state, and less attached to my country. It's a big world. People are people wherever you go and God loves them all like crazy. He made all countries, not just America. And though I love where I live, I wouldn't dare say it is better than any other place that God made or that being American is better than any other nationality. But living in Jingdezhen and visiting the mountains made me more appreciative of where I live and the people I love. Because although Jingdezhen is a special town, and although the mountains I saw in China were far more grand than the ones I live in, the ones back home are...well, home.

And seeing how beautiful my world is I do appreciate the words in Keith Green's song because they make me stop and wonder what God is building up in heaven. If this world is so amazing and so gorgeous, then I can't even imagine what we will see there.


 Niece, Olive.
 Nephew, Silas.
Younger sister, Holly.

This past weekend I got to visit with my older sister, brother-in-law and my niece and nephew. Those kids become more delightful each time I see them. It was good to get out of town and see family. 
My younger sister ended up being able to come visit me for a week. So I got to see lots of family this week! Yay! I wish she could stay with me more!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I love this song!


My classmates and I all had to sing (and dance to) this song during the Chinese New Year. I was not a fan at first, but now it holds a lot of sweet memories and I kind of love it.

Lately I am missing Chinese language class a lot! I really wish I could continue studying the language, but I really need to graduate at some point and that would set me back a bit. I am very grateful for the experience though. It was one of the best classes I have ever taken, if not THE best.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Missing the studio.

 Lately I am wishing so much to throw on a dress, run to the studio, sit at a wheel and make pots. And drink tea. I've tried some hand building here at home and it is difficult! As tiring and stressful as the studio can sometimes be, it is so easy to be there. I love it. I love being able to go there and work. It is nice to wear a little clay each day. It gets everywhere (which is why it is hard to work with it in my apartment). I drink a lot of tea at the studio. I rarely take the time to make tea at home. I should though. It's comforting to drink tea.

I made a new book. I liked it. I gave it away without photographing it. You'll have to take my word for it that it was cute. I've cut pages for two new ones and I bought some new glue that will hopefully be better than what I have been using. I also bought some leather scraps to try to use in place of book cloth. It should be fun to experiment with.

I am caught in such a funky rut these days. I'm trying to remember God's truth and be grateful, but it is still a struggle sometimes. It makes me want to spend every day by myself making books in bed while listening to Adele, which is not only impractical but unhealthy as well. Despite my anti-social feelings of late I have had the opportunity this weekend to visit with several friends, old and new, which was so fun and encouraging. Life is so good and so blessed.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic-on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You  must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at this feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

--C. S. Lewis