Thursday, June 28, 2012

how to: remove rub-on decals from furniture

Hi, folks! Once we returned from vacation and moved into my parents'
house (where we'll be staying for the duration of our sabbatical), one of the
first things that happened was my son permanantly applying a rub-on
decal to the kitchen table. Aack! As you can see from the photo above,
he did a bit of scraping before I caught wind of the event. This thing was
not going to budge. I managed to stop him before he started whipping out
metal-tipped instruments to gauge out the top layer of wood on my mom's table.
Then I did some research. Here's what I found:
To remove rub-on decals from furniture, first apply white vinegar.
Use a blowdrier to warm the decal. The heat should be set on high
so that it warms up quickly. You'll notice the vinegar puddle shrinking.
Scrape the edges of the decal with a credit card or driver's license.
This may scratch a bit, but it is more gentle than any pointy object.
Dab, heat, and scrape repeatedly until the decal is removed.
You'll notice that I moved to the corner of my card to aim at the last stubborn bits.
Use a dry paper towel to wipe off any remaining adhesive.
Buff the surface to smooth out any scratch marks.
And there you go! I can still see the spot because it's a bit more
scratchy than before (and because I know about it).
It's similar to other parts of the table, though. And way better than
if we'd gone at it with nail polish remover or a scrubby sponge!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

home again, home again, jiggity jig

After a beautiful time away (more to come on that!), and a 3-day road trip
back through the redwood forest and the central California coast, we arrived
to Tucson in the wee hours of the morning yesterday. This photo takes place
in front of one of the massive trees we drove past. Just standin' there on the
side of the road!! The road, in fact, was nestled into this magical forest glade,

where moss or clovers were clinging to every surface. Moments from this spot,
the trees gave way to reveal the ocean, and then back into the woods again.

That was just day one! Anyway, we absorbed a great deal of beauty
and were greeted by rain upon our return, which reminded us of the
beauty of our home in spite of this month's 100+ degree weather.
I'm grateful for the trip, and it's good to be home.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

perfect system: briefcase!

Last spring, I found this fabulous desk-in-a-briefcase at the thrift store by our house.
As you can see, it has pockets and a blotter/writing surface inside.
The lid contains an expandable file which shuts with a snap or,
with a twist, can be completely removed.
Lift the desktop to reveal the storage compartment.

Isn't this fun?!?

At the time, I was short on cash. So I left it behind,
but I really liked it. My loving husband gave me the ten dollars
to go back and pick it up (fully aware as he is that I need another container/bag
about as much as I need another hole in my head), and then
the cashier only charged me five dollars for it when I got to the register! Yay!

Once school got out, we kicked off what we called the
Summer School Enrichment Program
where every weekday we would go somewhere fun
with the briefcase (full of paper, pencils, math worksheets, etc.).
Eric or I would come up with assignments
to help the kids gird up their academic weak spots or jump into
some area of interest. We usually focused on writing and math
each day. There were often Izze sodas involved.

So far this summer, the briefcase has been closed.
I brought it with us on vacation, but we've been doing very vacationy
sorts of things instead. Summer School will have to wait 'til we get home.
The closest we've gotten is some occasional handwriting practice
in these cute workbooks I found on Amazon that have inspiring quotes
and jokes to practice on. The kids love them!

Do you have a perfect system? What is it? How does it work?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

on song

We're absorbing a lovely dose of rain this week in the Northwest,
restoring our spirits for an impending return to the desert heat.

One of the ideas that emerged from the recent sermon series on Hebrews
at The Village was that of knowing our calling so we would not drift away
from Christ & the true gospel. The idea here was not the general calling of
people who follow Christ, although the Bible certainly says a lot about this.
What we were looking to do was to know our individual callings, as found
in answer to such questions as the following: what are my spiritual gifts?
what was it about God that I most loved when I first met Him? how did He
awaken my heart? what am I doing when I feel most connected to God?

If our salvation is the source of our calling, as Paul's was, then we should listen
back to the initial call of Christ we heard and find our vocation. From that we can
tell our story and proclaim the truth about God's grace to us.

Hebrews 2:1, "We must pay the most careful
attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away."

Our task as a church was to help each other diagnose this root of salvation
and what it might look like to live it out, turning away from disbelief.
This led to a string of exciting conversations for me, as I had opportunity
to explore my own life and the beauty to which God was inviting my friends.

The interesting thing that surfaced in many of these conversations, and in
conversations in different contexts as well, is how many people have
experienced passion for God through music -- as children or teenagers,
in groups or alone, through dancing or singing or playing an instrument.
Most of the friends I talked with about this were unsure of how to proceed
with this aspect of their calling. Many of them had completely discarded or
sidelined it. They don't seem to be in a place to perform in public settings or
to be part of leading music on a large scale. Does their musical
past lead to the present? Is it something to offer other people, or did
God give it to them primarily for connecting with Him in an intimate way?
These are questions I have been asking as the leader of bands at
The Village. I wonder what my role might be in helping people integrate
the musical part of their vocation into their lives and maybe more into
the community at large.

Friday, June 15, 2012

week 2

Eric and Ashton have been feeling crummy all week.

We finally went to urgent care yesterday to find out that Eric

has strep throat!! Looks like Ashton might have the same thing --

they said that kids often test negative at first and then show up

positive the next day. After 12 hours on antibiotics, they're looking

much perkier. In spite of the malaise, it's been a restful week of

beauty. The weather is similar Tucson in February (just greener!).

I'm currently reading King's Cross by Tim Keller and the 2nd book of the

Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. We've been getting remarkably

little done on book writing and other accomplishments, which we're okay with --

I think this part of the summer is about recovery & reorientation.

So, we've watched movies (saw Madagascar 3 in the theater -- it was hi-lar-ious),

played basketball, sat in coffee shops, gone thrifting, and taken long naps. Yum!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

neighborhood walk

Heartbreaking, isn't it? So much beauty.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

and away we go!

After 2 solid days of driving, we made it safely to Corvallis, Oregon.

Highlights of our trip so far are... well, arriving! Oregon is beautiful.

It's a full 25 degrees cooler here than in Tucson -- we can hardly believe

it's June. The family who lent us their home has also overwhelmed us

with a profuse demonstration of kindness to strangers...

it's a refreshing drink from the waterfall that is life in the kingdom of God.