1.  Give it a good finger poke.SONY DSC

2.  Decide it’s pretty good.
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3.  Face plant.SONY DSC

4.  Live the dream.SONY DSC

5.  Do not share with Mom or Dad.SONY DSC

6.  Do not share with even your cutest friends.

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7.  You are a cupcake princess warrior who shares with no one.

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There is no doubt about it–I love to decorate.

Anyone remember when I hosted the favorite spaces contest?  I loved peeking in on some of your most inspiring nooks and crannies.

I have recently moved from a one bedroom apartment to a 4 bedroom home!  (Well, 3 bedrooms and an office).  And guess what that means for my babykins?  Her own bedroom!  And guess what that means for me?  Decorating!

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Planning and dreaming and Pinteresting little Daphne’s new room has been a journey–a mini spiritual journey.

 If she is anything like her mother, beauty will matter to her.  

If she is anything like her mother, the way colors and textures complement each other to create atmosphere might be a way she sees God in the world.  

If she is anything like her mother, a vibe will hold the potential for creation, and creation will feel important because it is.

Of course she may grow to be just like her father.  In that case, we’ll scrap all this and tape multiplication tables all over the walls. (Love you, Benny!  Aren’t I super funny?)

It’s kind of odd designing a room for a child whose taste you haven’t yet discovered.  So in my mind, decorating her room became a call to share with her some inspiration of things I hope for her.  The journey launched when I really started thinking about what it is I want to say to my daughter.  What do I want her to know?  In five years she might want a Cinderella theme or a puppy dog theme or a Winnie the Pooh theme but right now I get to pick the style of room she falls asleep in every night and drags toys around in during the day…..

I Pinterested as I thought about it.

Check out this charming, beautifully organized space….

blog nursery1

{via thebooandtheboy.com}

I became infatuated with the idea of a teepee or tent and the play that could happen there….

blog nursery3

{via mycakies.com}

My love for vintage was confirmed…..

blog nursery2

{via modernkiddo.com}

I realized simple is wonderful….

blog nursery4{via Sharp Tooth Studio}

And I just plain smiled when I saw this….

blog nursery5{via Billy & Scarlet}

My time of reflecting and pondering Daphne’s room kept coming back to one word.

a.d.v.e.n.t.u.r.e.

Not necessarily with periods between each letter but I felt like that added pizazz to the reveal.

Since Daphne was first born, I’ve found myself mentioning adventure to her quite a bit.  Often when we leave the house I’ll ask, “Do you want to go on an adventure?”  And let me tell you what–she always wants to!  That girl loves to get out and about.

I hope for my daughter the ability to see life as a playground.  I hope she comes to know Christ died for freedom.  That she embraces the attitude of an adventurous spirit.  It takes an active sort of bravery to see the good and assume the best in people, but I hope Daphne finds it to be a most rewarding way to live.

Being pregnant with D and bringing her into the world–adventure.

Life with a baby, a new house, and balancing work, rest, and play–adventure.

Walking with God….all the places he’s led me…..Hope College, Africa, the world of Chicago theatre, becoming a wife–ultra adventure.

I’m not adventurous in the ways of extreme camping or risky stunts, but I think adventure is an attitude.  To me, adventure means there is good to be done out there if you dare to go for it.  It means that yes, there will be trying times of uncertainty but those challenges are not without purpose or hope.  Sometimes adventure is dreaming big and working hard, other times it’s showing grace and playing hard.  And….other times….it’s accepting that life isn’t what you thought it’d be….and saying well…that’s ok…..it’s an adventure!

So, I’m looking around for adventure-y ideas….

blog nursery6

{via jenniferrizzo.com}

blog nursery7

{via aldariart.etsy.com}

blog nursery8

{via ChildrenInspire}

And I can’t wait to reveal the before and afters of her room very soon!  

Thank you, as always for reading.

Keep it foolish!

Does this ever happen to you?

A somewhat minor event in my life will, for whatever reason, be repeatedly brought to my mind.  I have two of these little stories floating around  in my head, and lucky you, you get to hear them!

#1.  This story makes me look rather dumb, but I still think it’s a good one.  After church I was chatting with a friend and the topic of our conversation moved to his wife.  I knew the two of them had three kids and the man’s wife was a registered nurse, but I was curious if she was currently working as an RN or was a stay at home mom.  I asked, “Does your wife work?” to which he responded, without pause or hesitation, “Yes, she works at home.  She works hard every day.”

In print that may read like he was shaming me for posing the question so poorly.  Yeah, I felt pretty unintelligent, but his delivery was nothing but kind and sincere.  Even more so than a shout out to the labor-intensive work of being a stay at home parent (whoop whoop!), what has really stuck with me is the opportunity he took to build up his wife.  He jumped at the chance to praise the work she does, no matter that she wasn’t within earshot.  How powerful and important–I love it.

#2.  Recently a girlfriend of mine preached at our church.  I had the privilege of sitting at just the right angle to see her husband’s profile as she spoke.  The few times I glanced in his direction throughout the sermon, he was simply beaming at her.  You could almost see rays of pride radiating from him.  I had to smile–I found it so encouraging that his support was silent, yet so visible.

As a married person, I frequently pray for my single friends, wanting them to experience this nifty institution called marriage if it’s God’s plan for them.  But single people, will you please pray for the married folk, too?  There are attacks on marriages right and left, and we need help remembering to jump at opportunities to support each other with words (….she works hard every day….) and deed (….supportive smiles from the sidelines).

It’s hard to be married.

And please believe me, I know it’s hard to be single.  I remember.

I guess it’s just hard to be alive.

So everybody just pray for everybody, ya hear?  ;)

There’s the pattering of little feet after we ring our friends’ doorbell;  we’re saying “hi” loudly so the family’s two elementary-aged boys can hear us through the door, and, I’m sure like all good brothers would, there is a short-lived fight over who gets to open the door for us.

The boys are happy to see me and my husband, but the big delight for them comes from saying hi to our little five month old baby who is tucked under an owl hat.

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The boys kind of think she’s the cat’s pajamas and I kind of love it.

At one point during our lovely dinner visit, I had to remove some bird beanie babies from Daphne’s lap so I could pick her up.  The boys’ mom said, “Oh, those are the boys’ favorite toys!”  And because I’m a first time and forever emotional mom, my heart swelled.  Aww….they wanted to share their best toys with my pumpkin.

Then there was the real highlight of the evening when the six year old boy reveals a handwritten list he wants to show us.  ”These are the babies I pray for” he says.  There are 12 babies on the list and the dad goes on to explain that his boys just love babies–the idea for the prayer list was completely their own.

20140222_AshworthVisit-001

I glanced at the paper–my little honey bunch is right at the top.  :)

And that’s it.  I mean, that’s pretty much all there is to the story.  These two energetic, adorable little boys who love all things Star Wars, video games, and karate, want to pray for and share their favorite beanie babies with my helpless, not-able-to-play-back, little girl.

And it just makes me think….

if there is perhaps no better, more direct way for someone to speak love to me than to be good and loving towards my daughter….

then how must God feel when we are good to each other?  After all, we share this planet with His children.  Light bulb on, I tell ya!

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When considering the “love your neighbor as yourself” Biblical passage, I’ve always taken away that I should love others extravagantly.  Now I’m kinda like…. huh….let’s think about the person receiving the kindness I choose to extend.  It must bring God deep joy when He sees one of His sons or daughters receive good things because he is this person’s father!  Of course His heart is moved to see His child well cared for; he is crazy about this person and did everything on Calvary to win the heart of this person!  He is a Dad!

My neighbor, to me, is my neighbor;  to God, “my neighbor” is His baby.  His child.  Offspring thoughtfully knit in a womb and masterfully designed and loved.

Whether the child is 6 months new, 12 years old, or the stinky old gent at the grocery store, I wanna love every child I see today.  And–I think I’m going to pray for some babies.

To my dear blog followers and friends, hello!  How in the world ARE you?!

First, I want to thank you for reading and following Foolish for Light.

So here’s the deal:

After 9 months of playing music for my tummy….

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…..washing itsy baby socks and taking pictures of it because what else can you do when you are more excited than you’ve ever been??…..

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…..dreaming with this guy about all the fun baby items in the world….

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…..and kicking my feet back while letting everyone take care of the big pregnant lady…..

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…..after 9 months of all that, by the grace of God, my husband and I somehow ended up with THIS:

SONY DSCIf you aren’t smiling you clearly have no soul.  ;)

I Foolishly hope and Foolishly anticipate you will continue to journey beside me as the blog goes off maternity leave.  

(In Backstreet Boys style….the Blog. Is. Back.  ALRIGHT!)

I am SO EXCITED to begin breathing life into Foolish for Light again.  And, even though I paused from the blog, kinda without telling you, I am going to be rather bold and ask for the prodigal son experience here.  Will you please take me back into your life?  Your inbox?  Your Facebook feed?

We have good things in store, my friends!  Giveaways?  10 Minute Snippets?  Silly posts, thoughtful posts, encouragement, and random goodness?  Yes, yes. Yes! {yes} Yeeeeep.

The blog is back, true!  But– not quite the same.  Hmmm?  Because I am not quite the same.

I am a mother now so think gray hair, lots of wisdom, no makeup or sleep or sense of fashion.  ;)  Ouch…that sense of fashion one was too far.  But seriously, I am different than when I penned my last post.  God has refreshed my heart with a desire to be more real.  Less polished.  Less perfect.

Over Christmas I found myself articulating to my sister-in-law that in order to keep blogging with my part-time job and a new baby, I’m going to have to give up some of my perfectionistic tendencies.

Then, in a church meeting last week, my friend Greg mentioned how a person could start a blog with the intent of sharing the gospel and then, after some time, find that while her motives were good in the beginning, now she’s more focused on presentation.  (He didn’t say she, he was speaking hypothetically but God was definitely speaking to me through him!)  Now “she” wants to be careful with every little thing she shares on social media because she wants people to like her.  The blog must look a certain way.  She wants to gain followers.  She wants to be admired.

Has the goal of my blogging become looking cool and clever?   I have to admit in the past I’ve almost felt guilty for not getting the pictures or text of a post just right–I get a little paralyzed wanting to be perfect.  So it makes a girl wonder, why am I doing the things that I do?  So I can sit quietly at home and think, “Yeah, everyone thinks I’m great?” 

It is a small but meaningful victory every time we affirm that our labor and efforts are for His pleasure, not a “great job!” ringing in our ears.  Whether it’s a blog, volunteer work, paid work, or the activity we carry out as fathers, mothers, coworkers, and friends–what’s the why behind what we do?  

A people-pleaser to the core, I learn time and time again that there is great FREEDOM when we give our best for God’s benefit, seeking only His approval (not people’s) and a right relationship with him.  With our eyes fixed on benefitting Jesus, any consequences that end up benefitting ourselves are just gravy.  Yummy, yummy, gluten-free gravy.

So, moving forward, my pictures might not be edited.  Because this blog isn’t really about pictures.

Moving forward, the blog might have lapses of bad spelling because I’m busy, or operating on no sleep.  This blog isn’t really about me looking suave and all educated and stuff.

You might not won’t get perfect from me, but if you choose to hang in there with me on Foolish for Light, you will definitely get me.  I don’t know if that’s good enough for you, but I smile remembering that somehow I am enough for God.

Here’s to keeping the main thing the main thing.  And Lord, I love you.  You know I do.  This is and always has been for You.

Your support means a lot to me.  Consider subscribing?

 

A huge thanks to Autumn, a professional organizer who blogs at Space for Living, for passing along this great trick.  It’s so simple yet effective–it astounds me frequently.

It’ll be one of those tips you read about and go “oh that’s nice” as you click away and are tempted not to ever try it, but think twice, my friend!  It has changed my life!

Almost everyone struggles with keeping a clean and/or organized home.  I find that I often set out with great intentions to make some headway, and 30 minutes later I’m not feeling any further along.  I got lost in a magazine as I was attempting to sort through the ones I wanted to keep or toss, or I found an old craft supply I tell myself I’ll just play with for a minute.  The worst distraction is a pile of old pictures.  Oh no.  Oh oh oh oh no.

Now let me introduce you to my new best friend, the 10 minute pickup.

10 minute timer

  A 10 minute pickup involves setting a timer for 10 minutes and performing 10 and ONLY 10 minutes of focused picking up.

Distractions are brilliantly minimized when you remind yourself “I only have 10 minutes, then I’m done.  I can do that other thing later.”  Time is truly a powerful boundary, energizer, and motivator when used in a smart way.  When I look at the clock to see I only have a few minutes of cleaning left, it’s like a personal challenge to see how much more I can get done in those precious, opportunity-brimming minutes.  Knowing a timer is ticking keeps a picker-upper on task for a brief but highly focused period, and hearing the timer buzz after 10 minutes provides the often-lacking closure we need to feel good about the time we spent cleaning.

This works because it’s so….doable.

Certainly there are going to be large-scale projects that are going to require more of your time and should be handled with different expectations.  But as far as the day-to-day case of the “man I just wish this place was a little more picked up”s….get your kitchen timers out folks, you’ll thank me later.  :)

10 minute timer messy

{variations to try}

- If you have the time, sure, eventually you can shoot for 20 minutes or longer.  However, part of the beauty is knowing you’re not cleaning for very long,  so I find small increments to be most effective.

- Get young kids involved.  My sister-in-law makes cleaning fun for her kids by pre-selecting some mystery items that are scattered about and in need of putting away.  At the end of the 10 minutes, she tells her kids what the mystery items were, and whoever was the one to put the mystery items away gets a treat or prize.

- Tag team with your significant other.  Twice the work gets done!

I’m long past the days of crossing my arms like a punk and declaring I’m nothing like my parents.  I’m just gonna say it–I am a lot like my parents!

During my last visit home, I recognized myself in my father’s tenderheartedness as his eyes brimmed with emotion while talking about his joy for Ben and my happiness.

mom laughing(Of course, looking at this picture, I’m also reminded of how cool we both are.)

I saw myself in my mother’s gift of hospitality as she had the house perfect for Ben and my arrival and, like always, had the fridge stocked with our favorite foods and drinks.

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Like my dad, I’m a crier.

Like my mom, I’m a gift-giver.

There’s no way I could be a product of my particular parents and also not end up a people-person.

People.  To God, they’re just a smidge lower than the heavenly beings.

People.  Of all His great handiwork, people are what He chose to save.

People. The unique creation formed in God’s very image.  And as I’ve grappled with, “K….what does it mean to be made in God’s image?” something weird has started happening.

I see God in people.

Now, it’s not very often I converse with myself in the mirror and say, “Man you’re lookin’ like God today.”  (Although I do seem to converse with myself a lot in mirrors….and then take pictures of it.  Anyways…..)  More commonly, I notice and dwell on the parts of me that still need so much work–and I scoff.scoffing

(Clearly this is how we all look scoffing, right?  Or perhaps this is just an already-taken picture I  thought might sort of work right here even though what I’m actually doing is lovin’ on my new dress and baby bump.  Can’t say for sure.)

So there’s two extremes, right?  On one end, we’ve got people acting like they are God incarnate and demanding they be treated like royalty.  On the other end, we’ve got Christians who are so focused on their shortcomings and constant sinfulness that they are completely blinded to the good attributes God has borrowed from His own image and gifted to them.

The beautiful, sobering truth applies to both parties.  It’s beautiful that God calls us loved, hand-crafted, and his very own children.  Sobering because we are not capable of obtaining any of those characteristics on our own.

Any good thing in us, and there are many in each of us, exists because the Lord shared part of His image with us.  Intelligence.  Compassion.  Perseverance.  Loyalty.  Any good attribute a person can have, does God not also fully encompass in his character?  A person’s gift or bend may not be perfectly honed, but the goodness exists because God shared part of himself in the human design.

Let me be clear:  my encouragement is not that I think humankind is mostly good, but that God helps individuals like you and I learn to radiate His good qualities.  He made us in His image.  We are capable of great acts of love.

In my friend Stephanie, I see how God has shared a heaping portion of his wisdom.  She is so good at listening to people’s stories and offering insightful, spot-on advice.  She reminds me God is a listener, a coach, and a counselor.

*

My friend Gloria recently shared that she is passionate about being an awesome mom.  She said, “I think about it all the time.”  Hearing her verbalize this and seeing it played out in her life makes my heart glow:  I see a trace of God in her passion for parenting.  That is an attribute that she shares with God, the ultimate Father and caregiver.

*

My sister is such a friend to me, through and through.  She reminds me that God is family, yet also extends friendship.  She reveals in my life how much I need and crave relationship–with God and with others.

*

Kenny is a laid-back, mostly quiet man who is a serious worker for the Lord.  I recently learned that he is the volunteer maintenance man for our church who performs most of the thankless, unseen tasks that keep our church functioning.  Kenny reminds me that Jesus was not flashy and the servant life of a Christian should stem from a desire to give back to the one who has given us so much.

*

My husband is intelligent, calculated, planned, and organized.  (Confirmation that opposites attract!)  While I experience as much emotion in a day as some do in a lifetime, Ben reminds me that the Lord is also decisive, He creates and follows plans, and He is a sturdy rock, unmoved by circumstances and wavering feelings.

And so I turn back to the mirror.

thinking with cameraI even see a little bit of God in….(gulp)….myself.  It honestly kind of freaks me out.

He is after all a creator.  He’s kind.  He loves children.  He’s a storyteller.  And, I personally think that God is even a little emotional–has there ever been a parent more enraged by his children’s waywardness or who has gone to greater, more dramatic heights to bring them home?

I encourage you to close your eyes or turn off your monitor for a minute and just praise God that you are what you are.  Go ahead.  :)  Think about it….where are His fingerprints in you?

Are you creative?

 

Do you have a heart for justice?

 

Are you naturally nurturing?

 

Are you slow to give up?

 

Are you physically strong?

 

Do you have compassion for those around you?

 

Can you easily see the big picture?

 

Are you detail oriented?

 

Jesus was the only person capable of encompassing all of God’s attributes in human form, but we each bear the DNA, the likeness, some traceable similarity to our creative, justice-loving, lamb-tending, persevering, mighty, compassionate, working to tell a big-picture story while intricately involved in every detail God.

We are a divine mishmash of both of our parents’ natures, the nurture we’ve received, and the brush strokes of God.

I think we bring glory to God when we recognize that we are a good part of creation because God says we are, and it’s not US that makes us good, it’s God’s saying so that makes it true.

Beautiful.

Sobering.

Rejoice, my friend.  You are a child of God.  Adopted because of His great love and loved just like you are.

Awkward announcement #1:  

Email all your friends a ridiculously silly picture of you discovering one of the unintended perks of your new hard-core vitamins.

magic nails
Awkward announcement #2:  

Use Facebook to lead everyone to believe you’re MUCH further along than you really are.

huge fake tummy

Awkward announcement #3:  

Ask a sincere question and then get sassy out of nowhere.

pregnant lady fat

Awkward announcement #4:  

Simply link to this hilarious YouTube video entitled “Pregnant and I Know It.”  The best parady of “Sexy and I Know It” ever?  Yes.

Awkward announcement #5:  

Send your friends and family practice family photo collages with captions like “Our dream is about to come true” and “Counting down the days until our baby will be playing with this stuffed penguin and we won’t be.”

Penguin Preggars collage

Awkward announcement #6:

Use your blog to explore awkward online birth announcements in which you close by saying…..

I’m pregnant!  :)

Ben and I are expecting a cherub, stuffed penguin, or whatever pops out around September 1st.  There probably couldn’t be two more excited people ever.

Sometimes I’m in a get fancy, spend an hour getting puuurdy kind of mood.

But, today I’ve got the pajama, no make up, just talking about what’s on my mind vibe going on.  Wrapped up in a blanket, this is me right now:

feeling lazy

And in my pajama state of mind, I kind of want to talk about good deals as we get ready for Good Friday.  Welcome to my ramble session about some of my favorite places for free and discounted stuff!

 

With my heart gearing up for Easter, I simply must direct you crafty, artsy folk to this lovely free Easter printable from Jones Design Company.

Each year I struggle with the way Easter seems under-celebrated compared to all the hoorahs we give to Christmas.  These fun printables just might be a step in the right direction for remembering Jesus’ resurrection with beauty and excitement.

 

 Alright, have you heard of Noisetrade?  

If you enjoy music and have a special place in your heart for new, not-mainstream musicians, you really have to check out this site.  You can download an amazing amount of free tunes, and tip the artists based on your budget and enjoyment factor.  You’ll find lesser-known tracks from bands you may already know, too, like fun and NeedToBreathe.  Full-length demos of each track?  Yes, please.

 

Are you following me on Pinterest?

 { follow Stacy; click here! }

If so, you may have already seen my recent pin:  this amazing compilation of businesses that will give you free or seriously discounted goodies near your birthday.  Signing up for birthday deals is my new favorite rainy day activity.  (This deal comes from The Frugal Girls.  Thanks, girls!)

 

If you’re not already checking RetailMeNot or dealcatcher.com before you head out shopping or do some online ordering, you’re probably missing deals.

RetailMeNot  can also send you emails when deals are posted for specific stores if you specify which stores are of interest to you.  Thanks to my thrifty friend Carol for giving me the low down on Deal Catcher!

I’m also pretty fascinated with Gift Card Granny.

This is a website where you can buy other people’s unwanted gift cards for less than the gift card is worth.  For example:  today I spotted an iTunes giftcard worth $15 on sale for $13.  You can really save cash when you know you’re going to make a big purchase:  for example, today you can snag a gift card worth $300 for only $285 to be used at Best Buy.

 

I recently won two small giveaways from blogs I follow.  Crazy, right?  Winning kind of made me step back and go, “Oh, that’s why I like to  give things away on my blog.  Free is really rather fun.”  Congrats again to Kadee who recently won the Foolish for Light book giveaway and stay tuned around these parts for another exciting giveaway I have in the works.  :)

Happy Easter!

Love,

Stacy

P.S.  What’s your favorite place or way to find deals?

 

My grandmother is the reining queen of all things baked and delicious.  This tip comes from her wealth of knowledge–thanks, Grandma!

To preserve the softness and freshness of either homemade or store-bought cookies, simply toss a piece of bread into the cookie jar, baggie, or storage container where you’re keeping the yummies.  Even cookies (or other baked goods) that have already started to get a little stale will benefit from the moisture of the bread.

I realize this concept is very difficult to understand, so I invited my sister to demonstrate how this exactly works:

First you acquire your bread slice.

hold the bread

Then you drop it into your container of cookies.

drop the bread

Then you just double check that the bread made it.

where's the bread?

I know it seems tough, but you can do it!  ;)

how to keep cookies soft

The trick really does work like a charm.  Your cookies will thank you for giving them a long, soft life.

{Hi!}

I was lying in bed the other morning as my husband Ben was beginning to get ready for work.

owl in bed

From the hallway he said something really nice.  It was as simple as, “How are you doing?  You know I just love you so much.”

Saying something warm is not unlike my husband, but my response was a little unlike me.

The next thought in my head as I lay there smiling was–I wonder if there are any errands I can run for him today.

This is not a huge shocker of a story, ladies and gentleman, but let me finish.  When I had this thought enter my head about offering to do errands, I was extremely aware that the thought happened because he had acted lovingly to me first.

We tend to fall into cycles in relationships, and this is especially so in marriages.  We are reactive in nature, and one person’s kindness naturally fuels something positive from the other.  One person’s respect tends to fuel something positive from the other.

Trouble comes when we show love or respect hoping to get a nice gesture in return.  That isn’t really love…that’s something selfish.  We also run into problems when the cycle we’re on isn’t one of treating each other well, but instead we feel we were treated poorly so we respond by treating the other poorly.

In our reactive nature, it’s counterintuitive to respond to what we perceive as unkindness….with kindness.  Yet, it is this choice to love and respect someone when we feel wronged than can change…well…everything.

Ugly cycles of mean behavior fueling mean behavior can suddenly morph into beautiful cycles of redemption and forgiveness when one person recognizes what’s happening and chooses kindness although kindness may not be deserved.  Of course we tend to hope our partner will be the first to break the nasty cycle, when Christ actually asks kindness of us, no matter what our circumstance, for one short, sweet, simple reason:

We Love Because

What a lovely verse!

 Making the choice to love is powerful because it is Christ-like.  It can turn cycles of bitterness upside down.  It can be the light in someone’s dark patch.  It can change someone’s day or world–maybe your own.

These ideas are much better explained in the book Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs; I am thrilled to be giving away a copy. 

win love and respect

This blog post only scratches the surface at the type of insight you’ll gain from Love and Respect which does a pretty brilliant job of outlining what men and women want and need in marriage.  Win it for yourself or gift it to your engaged or married friends.

 

The winner will be notified March 23rd.  Good luck!


It has been quite some time since I featured a

{1) Minute Snippet

and I’m excited to bring it back!

Caution:  you might judge me for this post.

You’ll either think me terribly savvy or terribly lacking in hygiene.  I’ll leave that judgement call up to you–

What is it?

all I’m going to say is I have the thrifty cure for slightly greasy hair that needs a little love when time or circumstances don’t allow for a wash.

Isn’t the suspense killer?

It's baby powder
It’s baby powder!

How to de-grease yo-self

Pat a little baby powder into your hands and remove any excess if you poured too much.  You want to start with just  a little bit until you begin to get the feel for how much is needed.

Pat your hand on your head near your hair’s roots.  On dark hair, you will see the powder at first, but don’t worry.  As long as you didn’t go hog wild, it’ll be invisible in no time as you continue to work it in with your fingers.

Add as much as you need wherever greasy hair is visible.  You can’t go wrong as long as you don’t use too much powder.

Say goodbye

I promise, I really do take showers!  

Just think:  baby powder will last longer and cost less than dry shampoo while achieving the same affect in the same way.  Both utilize a starch to soak up or dry moisture and grease.

Ideas to try:

-  I most often use this trick before I go to the gym.  I’m a little bit vein and don’t like to look like I had a sweaty work-out before I even had a sweaty work out.  {But let’s be honest….it’s been awhile since my workouts have been all that sweaty}
-  Yes, your head will smell a little like baby powder.  If this bothers you, try Johnson’s Lavender and Chamomile for an alternative {and lovely} scent.
-  Throw a travel size bottle in your car or cosmetic bag.
-  You can find baby powder, especially off-brand varieties, at almost any dollar store.
-  Never buy dry shampoo again!

Have you done it?  Would you be willing to try it?


mittens from sweater

It’s a good thing I don’t have a say in nominating Nobel prize winners because I would make sure whoever thought of making cute mittens from an old sweater was in the running.

I saw this craft several different places on Pinterest and couldn’t help but think, “Can someone who isn’t really that good at sewing make these or will I cut up a completely donate-able sweater just to find out this craft requires skill?”

I am happy to report, these really don’t require much skill!

AND they turn out really cute!  Not perfect mind you, but rather charming and dare I say, they even seem quite durable.  Keep in mind the mittens will only be as thick as the sweater is thick; after making these from a J.Crew sweater, my husband and I agreed they are a better Midwest fall mitten than a winter one.

1.

The trickiest part:  getting a good mitten pattern.  Martha Stewart says to hold your thumb at a 30 degree angle and trace your hand on a piece of paper, adding a half inch.  I was nervous about how that pattern looked, so since I was making these for my husband, I grabbed a pair of mittens he owns and pinned them to the old sweater.  Then I cut around the mittens leaving a little less than a half inch border.

2.pin mitten

Once you’ve cut your mitten shape, line up each side of the mitten so the “right sides” or the nice sides are facing inward and touching each other.  Pin as shown.

Note:  I wanted to make the wrist part of my glove kind of long so it could be folded to display the cute ribbing of the sweater(seen in the final picture in this post.)  You can play around with and decide how high up your arm you want your mitten to go.

3.

Sew around the perimeter of your mitten using a sewing machine or by hand if neccessary.  I chose a stitch that seemed like it would be more durable than just your standard stitch.  Lift up the presser foot (with your needle in the fabric) and pivot your fabric to help with turns.

sew mitten

If you’re worried about the gloves coming apart, you can sew around the perimeter a second time.

4.

Flip your mitten inside out.  Now the nice sides are facing out and you have made yourself an adorable mitten in about 30 minutes!  Repeat for hand number 2 and enjoy.  :)

mitten thumbs up

 

It is undeniable–we were made by someone creative who allows us, even encourages us, to create.

I want to share with you a simple, lovely gift idea I came up with awhile back.  It allows you, the gift-maker, to create, and the young lass you gift it to will surely enjoy hours of creating, too.

how to make pencil bouquetsWhat young artist wouldn’t love colored pencils with coordinating paper flowers?

{Supply List}

1 box colored pencils (I got mine from the dollar store)

3-5 inch scraps of paper that coordinate with the colored pencils

a pencil cup (again, I got mine from the dollar store)

hot glue and hot glue gun

scissors

about 5 inches of twine or ribbon for each colored pencil

First you want to choose paper for each of your flowers.  Blue pencil needs blue paper, yellow needs yellow, ect.  The paper only needs to be a few inches inches wide, so this is a nice project for using scraps.

Let Emily teach you how to make the super easy paper flowers.  You can do this!

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Cut pieces of twine to be about five inches long and grab your first pencil.

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Add a dab of hot glue and stick one end of twine in it.

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Wrap the twine around and round, then secure the other end down with another dab of glue.  You may need to use the end of a pencil to smoosh the end into the glue.  It is, after all, hot glue.

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Dab a good amount of hot glue on the very end of the pencil and secure your paper flower.

pencil craft add flower

Toss each pencil in a pencil cup to make a bouquet.SONY DSC

Gift to someone who loves to draw or color–I would recommend age 4 and older since the pencil flowers are not super-duper durable.

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Start working on Christmas gifts for next year??

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Perhaps pin it for that time you need a simple, thoughtful gift. :)

{enjoy!}

I actively avoid cliche.

I do not enjoy doing things like most people do them.

I value unique more than the average person;  I’d rather not do a thing than do it like everyone else.

For these reasons, I have struggled with writing a “Happy New Year post.”  The holiday comes each year–has it all been said before?  Resolutions….getting organized….starting fresh….

Does anyone honestly want to know what my New Years resolution is?  Does anyone really keep New Years resolutions?

I don’t really care to add to the noise with a rant on new beginnings that 2013 promises to bring.

So I’m sounding kind of cynical and negative, right?  Actually, I’m feeling the opposite.

I think people get geeked for the New Year because it’s a fresh start.  It’s exciting to think we’ll make changes to our lifestyles.  It feels comforting to put the past behind us and open ourselves up to something new.

It seems to me that what’s offered to us every New Year is actually available to us every day.

Whether resolutions stick or are abandoned, Jesus Christ lived and died to provide a fresh start for the sinners He loves.  Any moment of the year can be a moment we choose to make changes–you could also call it repenting, turning away from wrong, seeking right.  All year long, there is an open invitation to put the past behind us when we accept God’s forgiveness and let His gift of grace change us.   Something new emerges when we experience sins of scarlet turn white as snow.

We’re a week into January, and maybe your new year is off to a perfect start.  Even if it is, at some point this year, we are bound to fall short–yes?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with embracing the newness and freshness of these first days of a new year.  But knowing our human track record of shortcomings, forgetfulness, and deviation, this January I’m a bit more excited about the future grace in 2013.

The God of the beginning and God of the end is somehow already all over this New Year.  For the first time in a long time, I am making a resolution this year that I have every intention of keeping.

But at the end of the day, my efforts to perform hardly compare with the gift of forgiveness, given by Jesus, which even my greatest efforts could never achieve for me.

  There’s no special magic reserved for the 1st of the year, and I find it rather amazing that despite our obvious inability to conquer and tame our sin, (though we can improve, of course) our sin has been conquered once, by One, and for all.

Through the triumphs and trials, may God be praised in 2013!  With a special heart for redeeming the broken, He is making old things new.  And to that I say…

Happy New Year!

….or can he?  Can she?

As much as I might like to try an all eggnog diet, I think my holiday entertaining and consumption will probably involve a little bit of variety.

If you’re still looking for some holiday snack and meal ideas, take a peek at a few of my favorites.   These recipes are EASY, inexpensive, and they’re crowd pleasers.  I wouldn’t lead you astray–anyone can whip these into shape quickly, leaving plenty of time to let your husband do the dishes relax with the fam and drink egg nog celebrate stress-free.

These recipes may not neccesarily scream holiday, but sometimes you just need a super-yummy, super-easy addition to round out a holiday meal.

{Scroll down for these A+ recipes with pictures and practical tips for perfect results}

  •  Spinach and artichoke dip

  • Twice baked potatoes

  • Egg drop soup

  • Quesadillas

Spinach and artichoke dip

Why you should make it:  There won’t be any left.  I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love this easy-to-serve appetizer.  It’s a recipe from my mom.  Thanks, Mom!

Ingredients:

1 pkg cream cheese

1 can (14oz) artichoke hearts, chopped

1/2 Cup Mayo

1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese (or whatever cheese you have handy)

garlic to taste (I use about a teaspoon)

1 package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (optional)

1.  Mix all ingredients by hand or with an electric mixer.  It doesn’t have to be mixed super well, so I mix by hand.  If you opt to use spinach, you should add about 2 extra Tablespoons of mayo.

2.  Put in a 9 inch baking pan

3.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until very lightly browned.  Serve warm.  It’s not nearly as good cool.  Yummy served with pretzels, crackers, pita chips, and the like…

***

Twice baked potatoes

What my dad said about them during his visit last weekend:  ”Those are so good.  Those are SO GOOD!”  And they are.

Ingredients

4 large baking potatoes

1/2 Cup ranch dressing

1/2 Cup shredded Cheddar cheese (or whatever you have handy), divided

2 oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 Cup chives (or diced onion works just fine)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prick potatoes with a fork and place on a baking sheet.  Bake 1 hour or until tender.  Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.

2.  Place potatoes on a cutting board.  Cut a one-inch strip horizontally off the top of each, like this:

potatoes sliced

Then scoop out most of the pulp from each tater and toss it all into a mixing bowl and set shells aside, like this:

scoop potatoe

3.  Add dressing, all but 1 Tablespoon of the Cheddar, plus cream cheese and chives to pulp in bowl.  Beat with electric mixer or by hand.  I personally don’t mind having the mixture be a little chunky.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Fill potatoe shells with potatoe mixture;  sprinkle with remaing Tablespoon Cheddar.

cheese sprinkled potatoes

Place on baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until tops begin to brown.

Sprinkle with additional chives if desired and enjoy!

beautiful cooked potatoe

***

Eggdrop soup

Why you should make it:  The recipe is so easy yet seems so fancy.  This one comes from my grandma–thank you Grams!  This recipe is gluten free.

Ingredients

4 Cups chicken broth

2 eggs, well beaten

2/3 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoon green onion (or any kind of onion)

1/8 teaspoon white pepper (I substitute black)

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (I substitute olive oil)

1.  Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan and add salt.

2.  Mix cornstarch with 2 Tablespoon cold water and add to the soup.  Stir steadily until thickened, then turn off the heat.

3.  Add the egg slowly to the hot soup and stir constantly in a circular motion so the egg forms thin shreds.  I make a whisking motion with a fork in one hand while I pour in the egg with the other hand.

4.  Add minced onion and oil.  Serve hot and SLURP it up!

***

Quesadillas

Why you should make them:  They are SO simple and who doesn’t love CHEESE?!  You can use a griddle to cook multiple quesadillas at once.  I like to go around to my guests and “take order” of what they’d like on a notepad, then I custom make each ‘dilla just as they like.  Corn tortillas make for gluten free, others can have flour tortillas.

Ingredients

Corn and/or flour tortillas

Cheese, primarily shredded, but sliced cheese can work, too

Optional onion, cooked chicken, ham, or turkey…get creative :)

1.  Set your oven range to medium low heat.  Lightly butter one side of your tortilla and place butter-side down.

quesadilla 1

2.  Load it up with cheese, onion, meat, or whatever you like.  Try not to get cheese on the hot surface as it’ll burn and smell bad.

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cheesy

Sometimes when I’m running low on shredded cheese, I start with a slice of cheese.  You can really use whatever you have handy.  Experiment with onion and meats!

3.  When you’re done adding the middle goodies, butter another tortilla and place it on top, butter side up so when you flip the quesadilla, it’ll be butter side down.  Flip the ‘dilla using a spatula after cheese has begun to melt and the bottom tortilla is getting a little crispy, about three minutes.

let it fry

4.  Let the beautiful quesadilla fry another three minutes or so and remove from heat when the bottom tortilla is crispy good.

quesadilla doneServe with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.  ’Ole!

Sometimes it’s fun to write without a mission.  To talk without trying to end up at any particular point.

Welcome to five completely random things I wanted to say…just because I wanted to say them.  :)

1.

This is one of my best friends.  I got to visit her in Indianapolis, Indiana which turns out to be a really neat city, complete with an amazing canal through downtown. Charming gondolas?  Yep.

In other news, the sweater I’m wearing in the photo above was recently stolen from our apartment complex laundry room.  If you see anyone wearing it, send it back to me pronto.  :)

2.

I’m going to be doing a little sign language and dancing as part of my church’s worship service this Sunday.  It’s been years and years since I’ve danced.

Wait. Not true.

My last gig was learning Thriller for a Tipping Point Theatre fundraiser.  Just a titch different in style.  ;)

3.

My kissy fish lip face.

4.

The latest addition to my extended family.  The fifth niece is born!

5.

I used to be boring.

Then I started making mustache stationary.

{Well golly, that was fun!}

Things have been a little slow around the blog lately.  I hope you too are making time to rest, even if it’s rest from something you love.

No one else will work peace, rest, and something just-plain-fun into your holiday schedule unless you do.  :)

I keep thinking it’s too late to share this story.

That it should be a story I share next summer because the story happened in the summer.

Yet, it’s so mild in Chicago right now, I think I’ve changed my mind about holding onto the story for the summery months.  I’ve only seen a few scattered snowflakes this year and it’s mid-November.  Seriously?  It feels kind of wrong.  And yet SO RIGHT.

So, before it gets too cold to reminisce of the summer, let me tell you:  a funny thing happened at Vacation Bible School this year.

At my church, I got to be part of teaching the VBS children the Bible story each day.

I was particularly moved the day my co-leader and I taught about the gentile Centurian.

Do you know the story from Luke 7?

Jesus entered Capurnum, where there was a gentile Centurian solider whose beloved servant was sick and about to die.

Luke 7 says “The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.”

When the gang came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, and Jesus decided to go with them to visit the sick servant.

Jesus was approaching the home of the sick servant when the Centurian sent his friends with a new message for Jesus:  “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you.”

I love Ted’s commentary on this Scripture which can be found on HubPages in his article Bible Story:  Jesus and the Centurian’s Servant.  He says, “Jewish law would make Jesus ‘unclean’ for entering the home of a gentile. Implied is the (Centurian’s) humble courtesy of helping Jesus avoid this ritual uncleanness.”

And then the Centurian delivers the real kicker to Jesus:

“But say the word, and my servant will be healed. “

In other words, Ted writes, “you don’t even need to touch him; your voice will carry the healing to him. And your person will not be stained by my uncleanness.”

 Luke 7 continues: When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” (That is, even among the Jews, and this man is a Gentile.  Words in parenthesis are my clarification, not Scripture).

Then the men who had been sent returned to the house….

and found the servant well.

Sometimes I read scripture too fast.  Did you catch that Jesus was amazed by this guy’s faith?  Now there are a million occasions for people to be amazed by Jesus, but the idea of Jesus being amazed by a person’s unwavering faith really gets to me.

So, back to Vacation Bible School.

After taking a blow to the head playing outdoors, I witnessed a boy come inside and cry in a folding chair with an ice-pack on his forehead for quite some time.

He was obviously trying to be brave, working to hold back and quickly wipe away tears, but he couldn’t hide the pain.  Eventually a parent was contacted and the boy went home early.

I’m not going to lie, this kid was adorable, and it’s hard to see cute kids cry!  I felt sad, deeply sad, at the thought of him missing what the Lord might have for him to learn at VBS.  I felt sad knowing he was hurting so badly.  I wanted this week to be such a good experience for him.

That evening I was sitting at home thinking and something clicked.  The faith of the Centurian soldier.  Say the word, Lord, and he will be healed.  Jesus….amazed by someone’s pure faith.

And I prayed.

I prayed as boldly as I know how.  I prayed with as much confidence as I know how to muster.  I asked that this boy be healed.  And as I was praying, I was careful not to test God.  I said, “You don’t have anything to prove to me, Lord.  This isn’t about me getting what I want or feeling like I need to see a miracle.  I come to you believing that, plain and simple, you are the God of miracles.  You are the God of healing, both physical and relational, and probably a million other types of healing.  Hear your daughter….I ask to see this child at VBS tomorrow, Lord.

When I checked my email the next morning before heading to church, a message from the VBS director was waiting in my inbox.  This child has suffered a concussion and is on bed rest. 

Concussion?  Bed rest?  My heart absolutely sank.  I will admit, I probably doubted.  I thought, “Oh no–now what do I do if my faith wasn’t enough?”  Quickly I re-focused.  “No, this is not about me.  This is about God doing what he wants to do, and me trusting that He can do something amazing just by saying the words.”

  I left our apartment whispering, “I trust you Lord.  My faith is not going to waiver because of this news.  I’m still asking to see this boy today at VBS.”

During VBS set-up that morning, I felt like my eyes were glued open.  I was looking for this child.  I was expecting God’s faithfulness, wanting to believe I’d see this child today and trying not to think about what would happen if I didn’t.

Before kicking off the day’s activities, the VBS volunteers circled up to pray.  With eyes closed, we offered the day to the Lord.  With a concluding “Amen” we opened our eyes, and who is standing almost directly across from me in the circle of VBS volunteers?  Yes.  The child with a concussion who is supposed to be on bed rest.  Yes.  He has an enormous smile on his face.

Eyes welled with tears, I listened to him explain that he was feeling so well, his mom decided to let him come to VBS for the first half of the morning.

I know some will read this story and think, “Save that for Chicken Soup for the Soul” or “ever heard of a coincidence?” or “it probably was a very minor concussion.”

And you know what?  I’m fine with you having any of those responses.  You can have any ol’ opinion you want.

For me, this story is a personal one; I know my response.

I am humbled by the reminder that God wants to have a real relationship with me.  He wants to give good things to me.  He wants to take bad things off my back and off my heart.  Because I have a relationship with Jesus, I see this answer to prayer as a sweet part of our ongoing getting-to-know-each-other. It’s such a precious moment when the body is flooded with grace, peace, and goosebumps–almost like I’m tasting again for the first time that God is so real.

It’s kind of amazing to think about it….there’s nothing in God that wouldn’t make Him thrilled to answer our prayers.  (He doesn’t always, if they’re not best for us, but nonetheless He is on our side.)  The deep longings of our heart are extremely important to him.

In revisiting this story again today, I’m reminded that God is in a constant place of wanting to reveal himself to us.  Jesus’ birth was part of moving us closer to God.  His teachings and death were huge parts of it.  And now the Spirit in us and around us is the continuation of God’s dream to have us close by.  He even uses us and our stories of experiencing God’s presence to reveal Himself to others.

God is more powerful than I normally allow him to show himself in my life, and I grieve that thought.  To think of all the times my disbelief and shabby display of faith have hampered the Lord’s work of calling people to Him.  Yuck.

Yet despite my less faithful times, God is loving.  Just as the Bible chronicles the slow, patient story of God revealing His heart to humanity in bite-sized chunks, God is patient and kind with us now.  He doesn’t pressure or force, but in due time we just can’t see answers to prayer as coincidences anymore:  because we know and trust His voice, answers to prayer are evidence that God is still in the business of co-mingling with people.

He showed me a little part of Himself during VBS that I feel blessed to have seen.

He was a listener and He is a listener.  He was a healer and He is a healer.

A funny thing happened that summer day– I saw a bit of God mingling among a low, wretched, tired VBS volunteer.

I felt him say, in a flood of peace, grace, and goosebumps, “Oh sweet child of mine, I heard that prayer of faith.  I always do.”

Well, I have spent a good few minutes crying this morning.

Happy tears.  :)

May the Lord have all the glory that I’m able to invite you to my next theatre production.

A few years ago, I never would have thought this was possible.  Take a quiet moment to identify a fear you’re clenching on to…. and then read and be encouraged at what the Lord, in his power and patience,  can do.

{If you’re interested in skipping ahead to the details of buying tickets for my next show, please scroll down to find everything you need.}

* * *

My story….

Acting for me has been a very God-centered journey.  The very short story:  I went to a small high school where I was the star of the acting department.  I went to college and wasn’t!!  I got discouraged and felt like a disadvantaged underdog who was not as experienced or trained as everyone else.  In college I gave up on my dream of majoring in theatre, made theatre my minor, and majored in sociology.

During my first year of marriage to Ben, he’d ask me every so often, “Why aren’t you doing any auditioning?” to which I would answer with something ridiculous trying to cover up the fact that I was afraid of not being good enough.  The Lord, however, did not give up on me.  I have this deeply rooted connection to the performing arts that God is seemingly not letting me abandon.  I’ve come to recognize that fear of failure was spurring me to do nothing with my love for the performing arts–a love that I have known for a long time is something that God gave me.  I’ve tried to walk away from it but He keeps nudging me back towards art.

God has been so faithful and patient with me!  My insecurities have led me to the cross where I’ve had to stare into the face of Jesus and decide:  do I believe that I am loved, accepted, and enough because Jesus the Christ says so, or do I reject this acceptance–this position I’ve been adopted into?

I accept!

Truly living into this identity is a freeing and wild ride.  With a lot of encouragement from Ben (who has a great way of nudging me back to what God says, reminding me who I really am) I have stepped into Chicago theatre auditions with a sense of trust and dare I say fearlessness.  If I don’t get a part–that’s ok, that’s part of pursuing theatre.  The biggest obstacle was believing that the Lord would somehow, in some way, bless my efforts to trust that I was made for a purpose and that theatre is part of the purpose.   I began seriously auditioning about 8 months ago and have been cast in three shows to date!  This is more than I hoped for or imagined.

Yes, I’m crying right now.

Ok, now I’m balling.  :)

* * *

My current show….

I’m currently in a new play called 13 to 30 that has evolved from a concept created by Second-City trained actor David Wrigley.  After David cast a small ensemble for this play, we worked as a team to polish and add to his research and work.  The play parallels the life of a modern day boy (from age 13 to 30) with the life of Jesus from those same ages.  It’s an authentic journey, and the play has opened my eyes up to a world of new questions and ideas.

I really love the content and I’m eager to share this invite with you because I think you’ll enjoy it, too.

There is a little adult language and a few sexual references, so it’s definitely not something you want to bring your children to.  I think you’ll find these brief moments of adult material very much in line with the honest spirit of the play, and I would call the spirit one of exploration.  A young boy is earnestly wanting to know what it means for him in his young life to do what Jesus would do.  Not in a theoretical, haughty-taughty way, but in a real, practical, honest way.

The play is being performed at Gorilla Tango Theatre and for some reason, a lot of burlesque shows rent this space.  You won’t see anything like that in 13 to 30, but  I think it’s awesome that as a group of professional Christian performers (which is quite a rare thing!), we’re bringing the light of Christ into a dark place.

Oh yeah, and the show is funny!

Tickets are $15, and 10% of proceeds are going to Charity Water which works to bring clean drinking water to all corners of the world.So is 13 to 30 not a perfect date night?

A one-hour Thursday night getaway, you’re supporting local professional Christian artists, supporting a charity, laughing a lot, gaining a new perspective, perhaps grabbing a bite to eat afterwards and chatting about the ideas in the show, supporting Stacy Ashworth…….I’m so seeing you there.

For more information about the show please visit

Only 5 Performances! {Buy your tickets here!}

Performances are:

Thursday 11/8/2012 7:30pm

Thursday 11/15/2012 7:30pm

Thursday 11/29/2012 7:30pm

Thursday 12/6/2012 7:30pm

Thursday 12/13/2012 7:30pm

Thank you for your support and love!  I hope to see you at the theatre.  For new readers, I also welcome you to subscribe to FoolishForLight.com–it’s an easy way to keep up with me and drink in a little weekly encouragement.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

{hello}

It doesn't always make sense-the way we live. We decide that's ok. People don't have to get it.

Welcome to Foolish for Light, a place for exploring the counter-intuitive life of a light-chaser.

{foolish?}

Foolish for Light is a place for anyone willing to challenge the way things have to be done. I'm kind of perfectly fine being called foolish as I chase the Light of the world. You?