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Retreat success.

8 Sep

There are a few words I could use to describe how I’m currently feeling:

sleepy, exhausted, delirious, dog-tired, worn out, tuckered, and happily fulfilled.

It was a crazy weekend.  It was overnight-confirmation-retreat weekend.  Seven youth from ROG went along with me to Good Earth Village camp to meet up with six of jD’s youth from his two churches.  Together we were 13 which, wouldn’t you know, is the perfect number with which to reenact the famous Last Supper painting:


The topic of the retreat revolved around the two Lutheran sacraments – baptism and communion – along with some intentional conversation about grace.  We communed together, baptized a gnome [ … for real.  Kind of.  His parents named him Norman James.], team-built, played life size Jenga, did skits [the creativity of the skits blew me away – the awesomeness of these kids continually exceeds my expectations], and had boatloads of fun.  jD’s kids had fun.  My kids had fun.  We all had fun.  Our churches will have to plan to do more things together throughout the year; it worked out so well.

We shared highs and lows with each other before we left camp.  Every single high from every single confirmation kid was along these lines: My high is making new friends and being here.  At the same time, every single low from every single confirmation kid was along these lines: My low is that we can’t stay another night and we have to go home.

I’ll call that retreat success.  In addition to having fun, we also hope they left with a definition of grace seared in their brains.  Something like … the unconditional love of God that is free, forever, and for all.  That would be good.

With what I’m about to say next, I want you to listen really super closely because I never say things like this.  Ready?  I love confirmation. [Okay.  That was a joke.  I actually say it all the flippin’ time.]   I love my confirmation youth.  I love middle schoolers.  Weekends like this – kids like this – that’s why I love this job.

A quilt for a baby girl.

30 Jul

This quilt went out the door and in the mail today.  It’s a quilt for a girl about to be born into a house filled with boys.  She will have four very proud and protective brothers to watch out for her!  Because she’s the first girl, I figured there was no route to go but pink all the way.  Pink, pink, pink.

I followed a pattern for this one and added appliqued circles to my list of techniques tried.  I’m pretty content with how it turned out.  I hope the soon-to-be-born baby girl banana enjoys its warmth and sprinkling of love from her Auntie Lindsay!




A happy sewing room.

13 Jun

Blog break!  [I feel like a need a song to sing.  Blog break!  Blog break!  Blog break!]

I’m at work on the last day of what feels like the longest week ever.  After being at Synod Assembly last Friday and Saturday, it quite literally has been an eleven day work week.  And so I declare a blog break to tell you about my happy sewing room.

I cleaned it last night.  I technically cleaned it in preparation for my mom and sister [who arrive tomorrow so we can fly out of MSP on Saturday]; the futon lives in my sewing room and someone will need to sleep on it.  That wouldn’t have been possible filled with stacks of fabric and odd sewing supplies.

It’s now a happy place to which I’m ready to return.  I have a couple more baby quilts for friends to complete before the summer is out and I have a silent auction baby quilt to make.

A what?  A silent auction baby quilt.  Jenna, my friend and Luther College fellow alum, chairs a Twin Cities Luther alum event – one that raises money for Luther scholarships.  She emailed and asked if, as a Luther alum, I’d be willing to contribute something to the silent auction.  Oh, for nice.  I was honored and certainly willing.  Give me an excuse to make a baby quilt and I’m there.  I’m ready to start finding new patterns and fabric!  I’m ready to make my sewing room messy again with creativity.


Friday Favorites.

7 Jun

There is lots to love this week, people.  Lots to love.

Let’s start here.  The 13 Creepiest Things A Child Has Ever Said to a Parent.  I came across this one morning and laughed the ENTIRE day about it.  I guess creepy translates to hilarious in my brain.

Continuing, I love Joss Whedon.  I couldn’t even tell you what exactly it is but that he is something akin to my perfect man.  Hilarious.  Red-headed.  You know.  Not only is he the man behind Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, he is coming out with a new movie, Much Ado About Nothing.  I will see it when it makes its way to small-town America but for this moment, read how he invited his own friends to be extras on the film.  He is so swell.

On another Joss note, he gave a commencement address.  It was awesome.  Here’s a taste –

Identity is something that you are constantly earning.  It is a process that you must be active in.

And how about this – my favorite pins:

Happy Friday, friends. 


Friday Favorites.

31 May

The “keeping my chin up” edition.

It’s been a rough week here.

Burned out.

No motivation.


Le sigh.

In the midst of it, these are happy things:

I certainly don’t need a garland of pool noodles, but, gosh, do I want to make one.  Or five.  [Sara, are you with me on this one?]

The Bachelorette began this past week and I got a tv antenna installed just in time to tune in every Monday.  The Bachelorette not your thing?  Fair enough.  It doesn’t need to be everyone’s guilty pleasure.  But maybe you want to watch The Baby Bachelor?  [Thanks to Emma for directing that one to me.]

I redbox’ed Promised Land last night.  Two of my favorites – Matt Damon & John Krasinski – together in one film.  Promised land indeed.

As my mom, sister, and I travel to Alaska in a couple weeks, we’ll be going on the fringe of rainy season.  Bring a rain jacket, my brother advised.  Well, I don’t own an appropriate rain jacket and so I ordered one.  I was going to order a calm blue one from LLBean but they were out of stock.  My next favorite color?  BRIGHT yellow.  I’m going to look like a rubber ducky but it will make any gloomy, rainy day brighter.

In the midst of a crazy not-so-good week, there were bright spots.  A phone conversation with a friend in Tennessee, running into a Dawson friend briefly while walking my dog between here and the cemetery, a skype date with friends in Montana, and a sermon writing afternoon with jD and [five minutes with] Paige.

And here’s to hoping the overall emotions of next week only go up.

Letterpress, part 2.

20 May

A week ago, I went back to St.Paul for the second session of my letterpress class.  It was time to set type and print postcards.  I was ready.

I decided on something a little more versatile than shut the front door.  I went with hello. how are you today?  In Kennerley Old Style.  Size 18.


I set the type upside down and left to right.  I used furniture and quoins to set it in the frame.  The dear instructor, Mary, told me I had a great geometrical eye.  [And I don’t just say that to anyone, she said.]


And then it was my turn to print a whole lot of postcards.  Maybe you’ll get one in the mail someday.  When you do, it might look like it was just made on a computer.  But run your fingers lightly over that print.  It’s letterpress, baby.


Letterpress, part 1.

8 May

Dingbats, furniture, and ink, oh my.

I drove three hours for a 2.5 hour class on Monday night.  And it was worth it.

I signed up through St. Paul Community Ed to take Beginners Letterpress.  I’ve been oogling over letterpress classes for years; the one at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts is super expensive.  This two-session community ed class was $37.  Score.

The woman who teaches the class is delightfully eccentric.  Her studio is in her home and so I joined five other female students in what appeared to be her dining room.  [It was an interesting, old home.  I’m not sure where the refrigerator was and there appeared to be no television or sitting area in general.  But I give her credit for having a room full of paper.]  She gave us the brief introduction and told us to choose a dingbat.


A dingbat is an image, as opposed to letters which are typefaces.  Out of the hundreds of options, I chose a pig.  Next, you take your dingbat [which looks like a stamp on a metal or wood piece] and using metal pieces called furniture, one sets it in a frame.   I know I’m making no sense.  I don’t have a photo either.  You’re just bound to be confused.

We took turns at the letterpress machine.  As you pull a lever, the press inks your dingbat and pulls whatever you’re printing on towards the inked dingbat and -viola- it’s printed with 600 pounds of pressure.  It’s pretty intense.  And this is just a baby press.  Next week, as I understand it, we use the big daddy.


So this past Monday we used our dingbat to print six notecards.  Next Monday we will set four inches of type in 18-point and print 27 postcards.  The postcards and type we set can say anything so that’s my challenge this week.  To choose the most witty, fun, and awesome saying that will be no more than four inches.  Thus far in the running is shut the front door and – that’s actually it.  That’s all I got so far.  This is where you come in.  What should I print on my postcards?  If you help me, I promise to send you one hand-pressed postcard.  You have until next Monday.


27 Mar

This post begins with the connection between Rachel Held Evans and Henri Nouwen.

That sentence might make you say who?  Rachel Held Evans is the theologian and author of the book I quoted just a while ago on the blog.  Henri Nouwen was a theologian and priest; an author of many, many books, one of which I too just quoted a bit ago here.  I follow Rachel on twitter and read her blog.  I have more than a couple Nouwen books on my shelves and I pull them out from time to time; I find them full of enriching nuggets of faith and comfort.

This week, these two separate worlds collided in a super meaningful way.  I clicked on a tweet from Rachel with a link to her recent blog post; she’s been facilitating a discussion on gay marriage on her blog and using two separate books to guide the conversation. Both books are by gay men of faith but while one has chosen celibacy, the other believes a relationship with another man could be blessed by God.  [Curious more?  Here is the post of which I speak.]

Here is where my mind was blown: one of the books Rachel uses speaks of dear Mr. Nouwen at length.  I did not know that Nouwen was gay; heck, I didn’t even know that he was a priest before I began to eavesdrop on this conversation.  I knew that I loved his writing and that was about it.  But now, as it turns out, I love it more because I can relate to the places from which it comes.

Henri Nouwen was lonely.  He wrestled intensely with loneliness, persistent cravings for affection and attention, immobilizing fears of rejection, and a restless desire to find a home where he could feel safe and cared for. [p. 87]  To quote Rachel who quotes the book which quotes Philip Yancey –

Nouwen, who later in life confessed that he had known since he was six years old that he was attracted to members of his own sex, would, in lectures and books, “speak of the strength he gained from living in community, then drive to a friend’s house, wake him up at two in the morning, and, sobbing, ask to be held.”

Now granted, I am fully aware that I am not a celibate gay priest [really?  really.], nor am I in the least  marginalized because of my sexual orientation, but gosh, to some degree, I can relate to that.

I have begun the very healthy and wise practice of seeing a counselor.  We’ve only met twice but I can see why people do this.  It will be fruitful.  Just this last time we met, I was talking about something or other and her response to me was, It sounds like you’re lonely.  Bingo.

I’m still not super sure what to do about that besides – for some insane reason – choosing to be super vulnerable with the world and spill it on the blog.  [As if you didn’t already know.]  Knowing what I do about Henri Nouwen and as I google search and order his biography to learn more, I find myself drawn to his writing in deeper ways.  There are perhaps some other life changes looming on my horizon, too. I realize that I need to facilitate the move from being lonely; I think I’m working on it.  We’ll see where life takes me; hopefully in the direction of community, new friends, and a world of less lonely.

Napkin cards: a tutorial.

10 Mar

[Napkin cards: a tutorial.]  I’m well aware I missed a Friday of favorites.  I’ll be back with double the fun next Friday.  For now, forgive me if I teach you how to make cards out of napkins with supplies you already have at your house?

Judy is a friend of Marilyn’s, the administrative assistant, and she’ll pop by at every major [and minor] holiday with treats and cards for us.  Judy makes her cards out of  napkins.  NAPKINS.  For a year now, I’ve been wondering how in the world she does it and where I could get the special supplies.

Judy brought me a napkin card kit and lovely directions last Thursday.  Turns out I don’t need to rush off to the store to buy anything special.  And if you’re anything like me, sometimes napkins are too pretty to actually wipe your mug with; here’s your solution to making paper napkins multi-functional and awesome.


Gather your supplies.  You will need the napkins of your choosing [mine are clearance Hanukkah napkins from last year], saran wrap [Judy emphasizes that the cheap, off-brand stuff works best!], card stock, and an iron.  That’s it.


Begin by peeling the layers of your napkin apart.  Napkins come two- and three-ply.  We just need the one layer with the pretty stuff.  Peel the other layers away but keep them on hand – they’ll help protect your iron later on.


To the ironing board we go.  Make sure your surface is protected and make a sandwich – napkin, saran wrap, cardstock.  [Above are the bottom two layers of my sandwich – napkin wrong side up and smoothed saran wrap.  The cardstock goes on top!] The saran wrap – when melted by the iron – will be the adhesive that holds the napkin [the outside of your card] to the cardstock [the inside of your card].  Cover the cardstock and any bits of saran wrap that are peeking out with the extra napkins layers.  Make sure your iron makes no direct contact with the saran wrap!  That would be one sticky mess.

Iron away using medium heat and no steam.  Iron, iron, iron.  Whistle while you iron.  Sing a song.  Just don’t scorch your cardstock and take care around the corners and edges to make sure they stick together.


Check to see if everything is adhered where it needs to be adhered.  Trim the excess napkin/saran wrap/cardstock away.  Fold in half.  Welcome to the world, a card made from napkins.  Write a note on the inside or add some stamps/stickers to the outside.  Just remember – it’s for greeting now.  Not eating.


I made a couple napkin cards and then, as I stood in my craft room surrounded by fabric, wondered why I couldn’t make a fabric card.  Hmm.  Turns out saran wrap will not adhere to fabric but heat&bond you have in the cabinet will.  I made a couple fabric cards and added a sewn boarder.  It’s a little something – something different.  Next, I think I may experiment making them into books.  Oh, the possibilities of paper and fabric together!


I give thanks.

17 Feb

[I give thanks.] A post written in the rhythm of @UnvirtuousAbbey without the awesome humor and retweets. Read mine and then add your own. What do you give thanks for this day?

For a mandoline to quickly and uniformly slice sweet potatoes for the week, I give thanks. It’s like the guillotine. For yams.

For members who one day are seemingly against anything I say and the next day are the ones volunteering to pray and bringing bars of soap for our LWR care kits, I give thanks.

For completely sincere, supportive, and loving emails from a sincere, supportive, and loving friend, I give thanks. [That’s all you, broken mothership.]

For dark chocolate sea salt popcorn, I give thanks. For the P90x cardio dvd to offset the dark chocolate sea salt popcorn, I also give thanks.

For internet that finally works without powering down the router at church every six to eight hours, I give immense thanks.

For a double dose of The Bachelor this week, I will give thanks. [No judging. Sometimes the prospect of trashy tv gets me through my day.]

For Hannah who made me a tissue paper flower and helped me set up for worship, I give thanks. [Hannah -6ish years old- made tissue paper flowers with her grandma. Her grandma asked, “Who do you want to give this to?” certain the answer would be her mother. Unprompted, her response was Pastor Lindsay. I melt.]


Your turn.

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