chicken fabric art.

This is my newest meaningful art project.

chicken fabric art (1)

It’s a little bit different, isn’t it? But as simple as this project is (just fabric stapled around a canvas), the story behind it is one of my favorites.

Buying fabric is Gabon is always an interesting experience. There is a ton of great, really fun and colorful stuff, but you also need to look closely at the pattern, just to make sure you notice if it has cell phones or dollar signs or pieces of fruit.

A few days before I left Gabon, several of our friends bought me a few going-away gifts, including a few yards of this fabric. I’ll admit, I was a little surprised at the chickens at first, but they explained they had chosen it so I would always remember my children at Hope House. They talked about the way I would come into the medical clinic, always with children that I loved as though they were mine.

I, of course, teared up.

Then Papi Joe, who is a bit of a class clown, said in his limited English, “Kristy is the mama chicken!”

Which made me laugh.

And this makes me remember my kids in Africa, and my friends who do a better job at loving people like Jesus than anyone else I know.

love does.

I’ve never met Bob Goff, but after following him on Twitter, reading his book Love Does, and watching some of the videos he posts on his blog, I think he’s probably one of those guys who is a lot of fun to be around – someone who just lives life all in, who isn’t afraid to be a little ridiculous and encourages you to do whatever you’re passionate about.


If you’ve ever read anything by Donald Miller, the style of this book is somewhat similar. It reads a little bit like a memoir, with a series of stories from Bob’s life and the lessons he learned while living those stories. I highlighted lots of little nuggets as I got started, things that I thought were an interesting and insightful way of looking at something. It wasn’t until I got to the end, though, that I really understand that the whole book is about doing something, about being active not passive, about really being full engaged in life wherever that is. I finished it inspired. I think you will, too.

Here are a few of the parts I highlighted:

“The world can make you think that love can be picked up a garage sale or enveloped in a Hallmark card. But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright. What I learned from Randy about the brand of love Jesus offers is that it’s more about presence than undertaking a project. It’s a brand of love that doesn’t just think about good things, or agree with them, or talk about them. What I learned from Randy reinforced the simple truth that continues to weave itself into the tapestry of every great story: Love does.”

“I want to leak from having been hit by Jesus. From having something crazy happen to me, something that flipped my life upside down. I’ve met people like that, people who leak Jesus. Whenever you’re around them, Jesus keeps coming up with words and with actions. I don’t suppose everybody gets hit by Jesus, but those of us who have talk about Him differently. We start steering funny, we start leaking where we stand. And it’s because we got thrown from our lives in a terrific collision.”

“We’re God’s plan, and we always have been. We aren’t just supposed to be observers, listeners, or have a bunch of opinions. We’re not here to let everyone know what we agree and don’t agree with, because, frankly, who cares? Tell me about the God you love; tell me about what you’re going to do about it, and a plan for your life will be pretty easy to figure out from there. I guess what I’m saying is that most of us don’t get an audible plan for our lives. It’s way better than that. We get to be God’s plan for the whole world by pointing people toward Him.”

a tough week.

Friends, it’s been a tough week.

I’ve traveled a lot lately – all good trips, but I’ve learned that one thing that is guaranteed to stress me out is not having enough time to just be at home, no matter how much I enjoy the thing that takes me away from home.

Last week I had to give notice to one of my house guests. It was the right decision, I know that, because sometimes you just can’t really help people, no matter how much you want to. Still, if I’m being honest, I’m more than a little frustrated that it came to this. I wish it was otherwise. Sometimes it feels like a failure on my part, even though I really don’t think there was anything I could have/should have done differently. There are tons of lessons to be learned here, and maybe one day I’ll share them.

Also last week, on Monday, my beautiful grandmother passed away. She was 96 years old. We had her for a long time and now she’s home and whole with Jesus, and I think probably dancing with my grandfather. I’ve been trying for the last few days to write about her, and maybe someday soon I can, but for now the words aren’t quite coming together in my head.

This past week, even the past month, has taken a lot out of me, and I’m tired. More than that, I’m weary.

I’m down in Virginia Beach this week for training. At first, I wasn’t looking forward to yet another trip, but I think I’ve changed my tune. I’m staying in a hotel, which means I’m getting some much needed alone time. It feels a little luxurious, honestly, to have all of this space to myself, but I’m soaking it up. My suite has a small kitchen, so tonight for dinner I made fajitas (one of my favorite meals) and cream cheese and salsa dip (also something I love, but I don’t make it that often because I love it a little too much, if you know what I mean). I’m eating Cookie Crisp for dessert. I’m watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix and HGTV and it’s wonderful. Tonight I’ll sleep right in the middle of the king size bed all by myself and I won’t have to push a dog out of way to get more space. Tomorrow morning I’ll leave for training for the day and come back and someone else will have cleaned the room.

When I told my mom and sister about the hotel, about looking forward to the break and hours to just do nothing, they predicted I’d be bored. Maybe in a few days I will be, but I doubt it. Right now, I don’t think I ever want to leave.

dining room curtains.

What do you get when you add two Target shower curtains and a single curtain panel?


[Photo source: Ebay (left), Target (right)]

Plus some iron-on hem tape and hot glue (also know as the two of the greatest tools of non-sewers)?


My new dining room curtains!

Some day I really would like to learn to sew, but for now, hem tape and my hot glue gun work wonders!


finishing what i start.

I love thinking about new projects. I like to browse blogs and Pinterest and magazines, noting ideas that I want to try in my own home. I enjoy figuring out how to actually accomplish it – making plans and buying materials.

What I actually seem to have trouble with is actually finishing those projects. There are already a bunch of things that I’ve started and haven’t finished, or projects where I have the supplies and just need to get going. Just a few days ago I thought of a couple new projects, and had to stop myself from going out to buy the supplies for them.

So, this is my public decoration of a few items that are in the works. I’m hoping that putting them out here will give me accountability to get these things finished before doing anything new. That means you should see posts about some of these things before something that isn’t on this list.

  • Make duvet for master bedroom
  • Create a gallery wall in the dining room
  • Create a memo board to hang over my desk
  • Create chicken fabric art (there’s a really cool story about this one)
  • Make a shutter memo board
  • Convert upstairs tub into a shower
  • Make dining room curtains
  • plus a few other Christmas gifts I can’t talk about here

new recipes, part 5.


[Sources: 1 - Our Best Bites, 2 - Inspired by Charm, 3 - My Blessed Life, 4 - Inspired by Charm]

Baked Pasta and Broccoli with Ham and Cheesy-Creamy Cauliflower Sauce – This was good, and I love that it was full of healthy things like broccoli and cauliflower. Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that just really doesn’t have a lot of flavor to me, so I really like the idea of using it in a puree. That said, it didn’t take quite some time and made a huge mess of my kitchen, so I think this is one of those recipes that I’ll save for special occasions.

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies – I love to eat cookies, but I have to be in the right mood to want to actually bake cookies. I pinned a couple of recipes recently that have inspired me, including this one and the one below. These were really good! Plain oatmeal cookies are a little bland for me, but I love the added combination of dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Parmesan Potato Wedges – Easy and tasty. I pretty much eye-balled everything, and I cut the potatoes in chunks instead of wedges. Still, it’s an easy side dish, and definitely something I would make in the future. As a bonus, this is one of the few new recipes I’ve tried that I think my dad would like, and maybe even my brother, too.

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies – Oh my word. These were seriously amazing. Not super easy, very messy, but oh so worth it – I got a ton of compliments! If you decide to make them, here are a couple things you should know. First, these really spread out – so much so that I ended up with some oddly-shaped, smushed-together cookies. I’m actually thinking next time I might try smaller cookies and cut the caramels in half. Second, the parchment paper is really helpful. I did it both with and without, and it was definitely easier with.

compassion, justice, and the christian life.

This is book 3 of the 5 non-fiction books I wanted to read this year. I think this year I just might actually complete this goal.

compassion justice and the christian life cover

I actually read Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life by Robert Lupton because a friend loaned it to me. You know how when someone loans you a book you feel like you have to read it, because they’re going to ask you how you liked it? I was surprised, though, because once I got started with this, I really enjoyed it. I thought about the way I help the poor, right and wrong, about what kind of things lead to long-term change and what hinder it. I also had to face some real truths about the way I interact with those I’m helping:

“There is blessedness in this kind of giving, to be sure. But there is also power in it – which can be dangerous. Giving allows me to retain control. Retaining the helping position protects me from the humiliation of appearing to need help. And even more sobering, I condemn those who I would help to the permanent, prideless role of recipient. When my motivation is to change people, I inadvertently communicate: Something is wrong with you, but (quite subtly) I am okay. If our relationship is defined as healer/patient, then I must remain well and they must remain sick in order for our interaction to continue.”

Over the last few years, and the last few months especially, I’ve become more and more convinced that social justice is absolutely essential to sharing the gospel. How can we tell someone that we care about their soul, but ignore the fact that they don’t have enough food or a roof over their heads? Evangelism and acts of compassion and fighting for justice are not separate things. Jesus came to mend and redeem our relationship with God, but he also healed the sick, wept with the hurting, and befriended the lonely – not a sidebar to his ministry, but it is by these things that people see God.

“The problem, of course, is that it leads toward viewing others as souls instead of people. And when we opt for rescuing souls over loving neighbors, compassionate acts can soon degenerate into evangelism techniques; pressing human needs depreciate in importance, and the spirit becomes the only thing worth caring about. Thus, the powerful leaven of unconditional, sacrificial love is diminished in society and the wounded are left lying beside the road. When we skip over the Great Commandment on the way to fulfilling the Great Commission, we do great harm to the authenticity of the faith.”

This book was an extremely quick read for me, and if you’re at all interested in learning how to really care for the poor, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

house guests.

When I was house-hunting last November, I was looking for a few specific things. I wanted something small, with maybe two or three bedrooms (even if I could have afforded a big place, I didn’t want to clean it or pay to heat it). I wanted a yard for the dogs. I wanted it to be within walking distance of downtown Frederick, though after looking at a few row houses, I decided I really didn’t like the narrow footprint (especially the yards). And most important, I wanted a place that needed a little bit of work, that I could fix up and make my own.

I looked at quite a few houses. Many of them had most of my requirements, but only one had everything I wanted. And, as an added blessing, it came with five bedrooms, even though it was still small. I love living here. Still, I knew from the start that God did not provide everything I wanted in a house, plus a bunch of extra bedrooms, for just me and Dakota and Harvey.

So, over the last few months as I’ve slowly fixed this place up and settled into life here in Frederick, I’ve prayed that God would show me who would fill these bedrooms. He has been answering that prayer over the last couple months – T and her daughter K moved into the upstairs bedrooms in July, and sometime in the next week, M and her daughters A & B are moving into the second downstairs bedroom. Both families needed a place to stay for a little while.

I want to be very careful not to share the details of their stories, because they are not my stories to share. At the same time, I’m learning quite a bit about living with others, the best way to help people who find themselves in difficult situations, and also ways that really don’t help. It’s been a fantastic learning experience, to be sure, and in case there are topics that I think are appropriate to post here, I wanted to lay the foundation.

God is doing great things! I told a few friends recently that I felt like I was right in the middle of white water rapids. It’s a thrilling ride and the view is changing rapidly (even from day to day), but I trust my guide.