Monday, February 28, 2011

Consumed: Jim Elliot

I just received this book in the mail today! I haven't read it since I was 13 or 14. I also read the account of his life and death in "Through Gates of Splendor" around the same time. Shortly after reading these books I felt God calling me to surrender everything to Him - even to a fate like theirs. The story of Jim Elliot has impacted my life like no other Christian biography. I cannot wait to recount my early teenage years as I re-read this book! I know that God will use it in a new way in my life! 

"God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus." - Jim Elliot

I pray this for my life as well. I want to live as he did - completely consumed by Jesus Christ.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Guest Blog: Five Thrifting Tips

Hey guys! I have the great pleasure of introducing my first guest blogger here at the blair affairs. (I'm guest posting for her today as well. You can check it out HERE.) Rylie is such a sweet girl who loves Jesus, pretty things, friends, vintage and so on. She has a great post about thrifting in store for us today. But enough with me babbling on!

Hey Rylie, I am so glad that you are my guest here today! Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? You know, the usual - who you are, what you do, where you call home, etc...

Hello, my name is Rylie. I live out in the sticks in Missouri (about 45 minutes outside of St. Louis). I am a student wanting to graduate with a double major in psychology and theology. My all time favorite verse is Proverbs 4:23 which says, “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” I also have a love for reading. Author John Eldredge is my favorite.

Wow. College is going to be intense for you then! You sound like a very driven person. What are some of the things that you are passionate about? Feel free to pull out your soap box for a while. :)

Oh boy. You just opened a big can of worms… In short, my passion is freedom. I intend to be a counselor to girls in the sex trade in Southeast Asia with my cousins over at Ezekiel Rain. I want to be there for these girls and help them not just find physical freedom, but spiritual freedom that only comes through Jesus.

That is so awesome. No wonder you're double majoring in psychology an theology! You should pack me up in your suitcase when you go. I'd love to see that ministry in action.

There are so many lovely DIY project on your blog. What makes you like to DIY, or in other words, do things yourself? Where do you get your creative inspiration?

Why thank you. Crafting is in the family. My mom especially. She has the crazy ability to see the potential and good looks of something while it is still in the smelly, dirty pile at the GW Boutique (aka, Goodwill). Thankfully, she is teaching me her ways… And I’m proud to say, I am slowly catching on.  

Ok, last one. It's very obvious that you are a Christian. Your love for Christ seems to effortlessly seep through onto your blog, so I can't really leave it out of this little questionnaire. How did you get to this point?

THANKYOUTHANKYOU! I just love to hear people say that. I love to blog. I kinda live to blog too. Every time something fun happens, every time I have my camera in my hand I’m thinking, “How can I blog this?” And to hear people say that they see Jesus in that is too awesome. Another one of my favorite verses is Psalms 27:4. It says, “One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.” In everything I do I want to gaze on the beauty of the Lord… And I only hope that while doing so, I invite others to see His beauty as well.

Thanks so much for introducing yourself to us Rylie! Now please take it away.

Five Thrifting Tips

Hey guys! I love to go thrifting. But I am still a beginner myself. So I had my mom, the expert junker, help me out on this one. So here is some “motherly advice” about thrifting.

1). Do not just window shop.

The diamonds are always in the rough. So dig, dig, dig! Roll up those sleeves and get dirty. And don’t be afraid to throw an elbow or two. (wink, wink)

Dress + Belt: GW Boutique, total of $12.

2). Shop early, shop often.

You have to remember thrift shops don’t have a big room in the back with duplicates of everything. This applies in a huge way to Goodwill and Craig’s List. At Goodwill, the whole store can change overnight. On Craig’s list, the good stuff can go really fast. So if you like it, get it.

Chandelier: Craig’s List, $50.

3). Persistence is key.

My mom calls it the “1-8” ratio. You will peruse about seven crappy garage sales before you find the one that makes it all worthwhile.

Vintage frame: Antique Mall, $15.

4). Be aggressive.

As I said before, there isn’t any big back room with extras of everything… Once it is gone it’s gone. At garage sales and flee markets there is no time to think. If you like it, grab it. One too many times someone else has scored on our moment of hesitation.

Typewriter: Antique Mall, $20.

5). Stay ahead of the trends.

Great example: my mom has had a forever love of old vintage frames. She could go to any junkin store and find a plethora of frames that would cost next to nothing… BUT, in recent months Pottery Barn has started selling frames for $129.00. So now that PB has drawn attention to their ‘yumminess,’ you can’t find them… And when you do they are ridiculously over priced.

Hope this helps! Happy Junkin! :)

-Rylie from

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Running with Purpose

I love to run.

I've always been a runner. Flash back with me to little 5nd grade Jenny (as I was called back then), and you will find me playing soccer, racing all the boys on my team. I was able beat most of them. You could often hear me say, "I'll race you there!" Fast forward to high school. Little 10th and 11th grade Jen (as I am now known) ran track for the local high school. Most of the girls on my team were at practice so that they could look good in their swim suits, and most of the guys were just staying shape for football. Me? I was there to run. I came to each practice and each meet to get better, run faster, have more endurance. Why? Because I loved to run! This love has carried over into adulthood as well. In college I ran almost every morning. It was exciting to push myself to new heights, going more miles, faster.

But this past year I haven't run nearly as much, almost not at all. Sure, I can blame it on wedding planning, being a busy newly-wed, having a full time job, a super cold winter, etc. Truthfully, I'm just not motivated. I have become way too distracted and lost focus of the reason I run in the first place. Today I went on a run for the first time in....well, let's just say its been a really long time. I will probably be sore tomorrow, but that's just part of it. To be a good runner I have to be disciplined. I have to put a lot of time into it. I need to be purposeful.

My spiritual life is no different.

I have been reading through 1 Corinthians. Today I read the verse below - the exact same day I was planning on getting back into running again. Coincidence? I think not. 

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but that only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Ever athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. "
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
I must admit that I haven't been focused solely on my Prize. I have let other distractions, earthy pleasures and life's clutter cloud my vision. How much better of a runner might I be if I choose to run with more purpose? What might come of more discipline in my spiritual walk? One of my greatest fears is a wasted life. Even so, it seems that I have forgotten to strive for Christ with great purpose. Sure, I'm running. I read my Bible, pray, worship, but what is the caliber of my run? Do I run with leisure or with everything I've got?

I was also reminded of this verse:

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run the race with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before them, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated on the right hand of the throne of God."
- Hebrews 12:1-2
There are things I need to lay aside to run better. My desire is to be in a passionate pursuit of my Savior. I'm so glad that I have been reminded of the steps I need to take in order to get there.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

chipped paint & book pages

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved to change things up. My sister and I used to sit and ponder on how to have a new "theme" for our room The best one we ever came up with was an island theme. We had leis, coconuts, and all kinds of beachy looking decorations (most of which we made ourselves). Our bunk bed was the boat, complete with a "welcome aboard" life saver. Even though our room was awesome, we still wanted to change it after a year or two. Why? For some different scenery of course!

I'm still the same way. My poor hubs never knows what might have changed while he's been at work. I love to move things, simply for the sake of change. I like change. A lot. A whole lot.

Anyway, the whole point of this is to show you guys some recent changes.

I found this darling cart for $10 at an antique store. I had been dying to change up the corner near the TV and I knew this would be the perfect fit!

This is a collection of a few of my favorite things: books, flowers, burlap, a quilt & a chalk board!

Yay for chipped paint. I heart it.

Here's another project I did for my sisters' room  back home - book page canvases.

M is for Michelle

K is for Kathrine

That's all for now folks. However, Spring is just around the corner and there are some lovely Spring decorating ideas floating around in my head. One I'm thinking about has to do with a bird's this one I saw on Miss Mustard Seed's blog.

Now all I have to do is wait for Spring to come so that I have an excuse to change up somethings around the house. Who needs Spring cleaning when there is Spring decorating? Ok maybe my house needs it. I'll do both then...maybe.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Canyons of Providence: The Fam Weekend

Since my Dad left for India on Friday, my dearest Mother decided to pack up the kiddos (not in suitcases, I promise) and come and see us for the weekend. We have a 2 bedroom townhouse, which is totally not big enough for everyone. Still, I was more than willing to sacrifice to see them! I don't get to spend nearly as much time with them as I would like. Fortunately for my sanity, Jonathan's grandmother sweetly volunteered to house some of the crew for a few days. They arrived at our humble abode Friday night and we had such a fun time eating pizza and catching up.

Saturday morning I awoke to a knock on the door. It startled me at first, but then I remembered..."Oh yeah, my family is here." I opened the door and my Mom and my littlest siblings galloped into our house. All I can say is that I've never been happier that we own a PS3 and have cable. My brothers were occupied by Jonathan's games and my sisters were glued to the Disney channel during our down moments. (They don't have cable or a PS3...thus the fascination with ours.) After some coffee and a bagel with cream cheese, we ventured out for a trip to Providence Canyon State Park. Fun times.

This is my irritated face. I thought we'd never make it to the park. First, my mom almost ran out of gas on the way...and we were out in the middle of Timbuktu with no gas stations or sign of civilization in sight. My little brother said, "this would never have happened if Dad was here." So true bro. Fortunately, a nice person saw us on the side of the road and said the blessed words, "there's a town 5 miles ahead." Then, my phone went dead after 1/2 hours of using GPS. Then I had to resort to our old one, which hasn't been updated in over a year. Apparently it didn't know about roads in Timbuktu. It was quite an adventure to say the least, but we made it at last!

It was a pretty neat sight.

Lunch ensued upon arrival...we were starving.

It was a PERFECT day for hiking.

Once we reached the canyon floor is was very muddy. Supposedly  it is because the floor is so close to the water table or something.

The sibs...minus my brother Matt.

My poor sis didn't bring any closed in shoes besides her Sperry's, so she had to wear an old stinky pair of flats I found in the back of my closets. Those shoes have been to India and the Philippines. Their last venture was here. At least they saw daylight one more time before a wonderful future in the trash!

You weren't suppose to climb...but...we did anyway.

All hail Luke, the conquering hero!

It was really quite a sight.

I couldn't believe how warm it was! My legs were able to see the light of day for the first time in months!

Luke liked showing off his mad jumping skills.

It sure was an adventurous afternoon! Not only did it keep the kiddos entertained, but I had an excuse to do something out of the ordinary. I highly recommend this state park to anyone who likes hiking and adventure! 

Sunday, I had the privilege of worshiping with my church family and my mom, brothers and sisters! They were able to see us lead worship at our church, which was very exciting for me. They've heard me sing and play my entire life, but not with my husband in a worship setting. We love to lead worship together, so I was glad that my family was able to see us "in our element" so to speak. It was a great Sunday to say the least! 

Alas, all good weekends must come to an end. We saw them drive off after Sunday lunch. Until next time dear ones!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Going. Going. Gone overseas.

My Dad is leaving for India today for a two week mission trip, along with several other people at my home church. I am so excited to see what God is going to do in and through him! My dad was born in Indonesia as a missionary kid. They lived in a two room house (at most...I can't exactly remember) with dirt floors. For fun, he climbed banana trees. They returned to the states when he was 9 because of some health issues with my grandfather. He hasn't been back overseas since.

I can't imagine how that is going to feel when he steps off the plane into a world so similar, yet so different, to all that he knew for the first 9 years of his life. Even still, I can't imagine what God is going to work in him. I have a great sense that it is finally time for God to reveal himself, and His will to my dad. (If I could only describe all that he's been through the past 10 years.) I believe with all my heart that he will do whatever God calls him to do.

My heart yearns to see Him move in a mighty way, so please pray that He will do so. Prayer is a powerful thing.

Also, my Dad is leaving for India tomorrow....and I am not. I went to the same area two years ago, so it has a special place in my heart. I long for it. I am eager to see the faces of those precious people that are so etched in my memory, but more than likely that day will not be until we reach least I know I will see some of them. A few weeks before we came, several men had killed all of the Christians in area we were in at the time. (We didn't find this out until the day we left.) So the people that gave their lives to Christ those weeks were literally saying that they were willing to die for their faith, for Christ. I will never forget them.

I saw poverty like never before.

I saw a joy greater than I could comprehend.

I saw need in the eyes of so many people.

I saw many remote villages.

I saw faith in the midst of suffering.

I saw a miracle happen here.

I saw this woman give her life to Christ - no one else in her village did.
"Though none go with me, I still will follow"

I saw light come into this woman's eyes when I told her what Jesus did for her out of love.

I loved these precious children.

I saw this girl begging for money on the side of the road and it broke my heart.

I know my Dad will return different. And I'm excited about it!

Hopfully I will be going back to India this fall. There is a group from my area that will be doing some church plants, and I pray that my husband and I will be able to go with them!


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