"The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit,
the greater your capacity to create."

~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Boxful of Books

Yesterday, the family cookbooks arrived from the publisher - just in time for our family reunion this coming weekend! Mom and I spent MONTHS typing and editing the recipes from my late grandmother's recipe box. The end result is lovely and well worth the effort.

The shipment came in 3 boxes, each weighing about 35 pounds. As I was carrying each individual box up the three flights of stairs to my apartment and struggling under the weight of them, I realized that this was approximately how much weight I have lost this year (33 pounds as of last week). What a shock!

Postscript: Thanks to my home teacher for carrying up the third and final box for me!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Steampunk-ish

I'm hosting a "steampunk" themed ATC swap on Paper Traders. This is one of the cards I made that didn't make the cut for my swap... so I'm going to put it in for the monthly winner-take-all lottery. The fan blades on this card rotate - kinda fun!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

June Birdsong


These are the pages I made for Barbara's tip-in journal on Paper Traders. She wanted a monthly art quote and I had June so I tried to make a page that fit the season. It's simple but, in my opinion, very pretty and right along the lines of what she had asked for. The color in the scans is a bit off, though. I also made a sign in tag for her, shown below:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Plugged In

One of my truly awesome friends gave me an i-Pod Touch! I am so excited because I am a really big music person but the expense of an MP3 player just wasn't in my budget. Last night, about 10pm, I downloaded i-Tunes and, as a part of the install, it began to convert all of my WMA files to MP3 format... I let it run overnight and, this morning - about 8 hours later - it is still running and only slightly more than half way done! Needless to say, I had a LOT of music saved on my computer - and that is probably not even half of what I own as transferring from CDs has been a time-consuming effort. Boy, it will be worth it when I'm done, though. SO EXCITED!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

One Day Down... Four More to Go!

Okay, so I really shouldn't be allowed to blog when I am half awake and feeling crabby =) I'll admit that this Monday wasn't really too bad, despite the headache that never quite went away. I'm home, in my jammies, watching sitcoms, and brainstorming on some art projects... it's all good!

Is it Monday already?

Getting up on any morning is always a challenge for me - I am a night person, not a morning person by any means. Mondays are especially challenging but today I am really dragging. I woke up with a terrible headache and my face is all puffy for some reason, especially around the eyes. I had to force myself to go to bed last night even though I wasn't really tired; it took forever for me to finally fall asleep, and then I tossed and turned most of the night.

I'm so tired of being tired all the time but there is no way I can go to sleep as early as I should to get the number of hours my body needs and still be able to wake up in time for work each day. Sigh! I guess I should have a job where I could work a swing shift... but then there'd never be time left in my day for anything other than work and sleep - what kind of life is that?

Okay... enough complaining, I'm crawling back in bed to steal another 10 minutes of rest and then I will have to get in the shower and get this day underway - ugh!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Singles Conference


This weekend, I attended a church-sponsored Singles Conference up in the Denver area. When I first heard about the event, I wrote out a check for my pre-registration and mailed it in before I could talk myself out of going. I rarely attend the singles activities here because, well, I never meet anyone that I connect with... I'm not just talking about men, but women too. I feel so disconnected from the others - there aren't many people close to me in age and no one that I have found anything in common with (besides being single, of course). The really ironic thing about all this is that, in San Diego, I was the Stake Single Adult Representative for five years and was responsible for organizing the entire program, meetings, activities, newsletter, etc. As such, I understand the challenges with getting the support and attendance necessary to make everything a success.

So, anyway, I drove the hour-long trip up on Friday night to attend the temple with some other singles. Then, afterward, we met up with some other singles for board games and refreshments. On Saturday morning, I had to get up extra early to get ready in time to drive back up to Denver for the day. We had a short opening meeting (for which I was asked to give the invocation - opening prayer - on the spur of the moment), followed by several really good workshops, lunch, and then off to the temple again - this time to do service work on the grounds. Some of us did mulching, weeding, and planting; others, myself included, repainted some of the iron fencing around the perimeter of the grounds. I wasn't dressed for painting and, despite all cautions, managed to get it on both of my blouses AND the only pair of jeans I own that still fit decently. So, if anyone has a good idea for getting paint out of clothing, please let me know! After working at the temple, we were supposed to play lawn games but the rain had other ideas so we moved everything inside for more board games, followed by dinner, and a dance.

All in all, it was a fun yet busy weekend. I had an enjoyable time and met some nice people (but not my eternal companion). Apparently, I didn't drink enough water during the day and, especially after working outdoors, found myself quite tired and dehydrated this morning. I'm feeling better this evening but am not thrilled that the weekend is almost over and I have to go back to work in the morning. There's just never enough time, is there?

The Spiritual Gifts of Healing, Tongues, Prophecy, and Discerning of Spirits

Well, it is another second Sunday, which means it was my turn to teach in church today. My lesson was on "The Spiritual Gifts of Healing, Tongues, Prophecy, and Discerning of Spirits." Although the lesson focused on these four specific gifts, there are many different spiritual gifts with which we have each been blessed. Our gifts and talents are as unique as we are and we need to spiritually prepare ourselves to receive the gifts our Father would bless us with; we can also develop gifts that we may not find inherent in ourselves. Below are a few of the supporting quotes and stories that I shared as a part of my lesson:


On Receiving Spiritual Gifts…
Marvin J. Ashton, “There Are Many Gifts,” Ensign, Nov 1987:
One of the great tragedies of life, it seems to me, is when a person classifies himself as someone who has no talents or gifts. When, in disgust or discouragement, we allow ourselves to reach depressive levels of despair because of our demeaning self-appraisal, it is a sad day for us and a sad day in the eyes of God. For us to conclude that we have no gifts when we judge ourselves by stature, intelligence, grade-point average, wealth, power, position, or external appearance is not only unfair but unreasonable.
From D&C 46:11-12, we have this truth: “For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.”
God has given each of us one or more special talents. Socrates made the famous statement, “The unexamined life is not worth living” (“Apology,” The Dialogues of Plato, trans. Benjamin Jowett, Chicago Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1952, p. 210). It is up to each of us to search for and build upon the gifts which God has given. We must remember that each of us is made in the image of God, that there are no unimportant persons.
We must remember that to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. It is our right and responsibility to accept our gifts and to share them. God’s gifts and powers are available to all of us.
God does live. He does bless us with gifts. As we develop and share our God-given gifts and benefit from the gifts of those around us, the world can be a better place and God’s work will move forward at a more rapid pace.

On Sharing Sacred Experiences...
Maureen Ebert Leavitt, “Privacy and a Sense of Self,” Ensign, Aug 1978:
We… need a place for private thoughts within our minds. We need to learn to keep confidences with our Heavenly Father and to respect the rights of others to hold some things sacred.
I have participated in various kinds of leadership seminars and discussion groups designed to teach us to communicate honestly with one another in a sensitive way. Even though everyone carefully avoided negative comments, I still felt that there was present an uncomfortable pressure to reveal innermost emotions. It became embarrassing to admit that certain feelings were special and I didn’t want to share them. Leaving the room after one such session, I wondered how many regretted their fleeting confidences, shared in an atmosphere that loosened their tongues without quickening their minds.
But silence is sometimes better. Sometimes it’s better to hold special experiences inside, within our own personal temple. Sometimes it’s better not to repeat the intimate conversation you had with your companion, even if he didn’t warn you not to tell anyone else. Sometimes it’s better not to share the details of a blessing. Sometimes it’s better to keep our thoughts to ourselves.
Why this sacredness, this privacy, in the area of thoughts too? “There are some things just too sacred to discuss,” explained Elder Boyd K. Packer in April 1971 conference. “It is not that they are secret, but they are sacred; not to be discussed, but to be harbored and to be protected and regarded with the deepest of reverence.” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Spirit Beareth Record,” Ensign, April 1971)
This does not mean that sacred experiences should not be shared; on the contrary, some deeply personal testimonies of the Savior have been given for the world to hear. We… can know when and if to share something close to our heart. If we are to share it, we need to check with the Lord before we speak, and he can prompt us by the Holy Ghost. And as we learn to preserve our own privacy and respect the privacy of others, we may find that we actually have more to share – more time, more understanding, and more commitment.

On Healing Blessings...
President Kimball has said:
“If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith.
“Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life and godhood.
“Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery.” (Faith Precedes the Miracle)
People are not always healed after a priesthood administration, but Heavenly Father will answer our prayers in the way that is best for us. He knows that some people can become stronger by learning to live with their disability or sickness. Others may not be healed because it is not Heavenly Father’s will. “And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed” (D&C 42:48). Priesthood blessings comfort the sick and show Heavenly Father’s love for His children.

On the Gift of Discernment…
David A. Bednar, “Quick to Observe,” Ensign, Dec 2006:
I repeat again for emphasis the truth that discernment is a light of protection and direction in a world that grows increasingly dark. You and I can press forward safely and successfully through the mist of darkness and have a clear sense of spiritual direction. Discernment is so much more than recognizing right from wrong. It helps us distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, the important from the unimportant, and the necessary from that which is merely nice.
The gift of discernment opens to us vistas that stretch far beyond what can be seen with natural eyes or heard with natural ears. Discerning is seeing with spiritual eyes and feeling with the heart – seeing and feeling the falsehood of an idea or the goodness in another person. Discerning is hearing with spiritual ears and feeling with the heart – hearing and feeling the unspoken concern in a statement or the truthfulness of a testimony or doctrine.
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught: “You recognize the promptings of the Spirit by the fruits of the Spirit – that which enlighteneth, that which buildeth up, that which is positive and affirmative and uplifting and leads us to better thoughts and better words and better deeds is of the Spirit of God. That which tears us down, which leads us into forbidden paths – that is of the adversary… How do we recognize the promptings of the Spirit? You put it to that test. If it invites to do good, it is of God. If it inviteth to do evil, it is of the devil… If you are doing the right thing and if you are living the right way, you will know in your heart what the Spirit is saying to you.”

On Following the Prophets’ Guidance…
Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Lord’s Side,” Ensign, Mar 1993:
The statements of the prophets are not given to compel, coerce, dictate, control, or infringe on any person’s right to choose. Church leaders are guided by the Lord’s injunction: “No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.” (D&C 121:41-42.) The prophets and other Church leaders never have misled the members on a principle of righteousness. Every principle is for our benefit. However, if we choose to ignore the prophets, we choose the consequences that follow. We have the God-given agency to either follow the prophets or not, but we cannot choose the consequences of exercising that agency. They will follow with absolute certainty. If we ignore the prophets, we become like the people the Savior chastised when he said, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

quick ATC

Just a quick post of an ATC I made last weekend that I forgot to upload. The photo is a little fuzzy because the large pearl button is pushing the card away from the scanner. I just threw this card together in a hurry when I was trying to rush to that swap last weekend (the one I never made it to).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thank you, Officer Hill!

Sooo... on my way to work this morning, I was stopped by one of Colorado Springs' finest. It's awful to look up in your rearview mirror and see those flashing blue and red lights! I knew he saw me push through the yellow light at that intersection but I honestly thought it was better to hurry through rather than slam on my brakes (and risk being rearended). The totally handsome and smiling officer was nice enough to let me off with a warning - whew! I can't afford to pay the fine but I wouldn't mind running into the gorgeous Officer Hill again under better circumstances =)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Altered Box completed

Finally, here is the photo I promised of the box I altered. The above photo is the outside lid and the photo below is the inside lid. This puzzle section was a great find at Goodwill - I have several different angels from this puzzle, which I shared with my mom. One of my favorite little things is the birdie attached with a wire so he's literally flying above the box. Also, if you look closely, you'll see some text showing through the background tissue - I had something entirely different planned when I started, but this project just evolved into something else and I actually really like how the text peeks out here and there. I love it when art takes a creative turn on its own =)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I live for weekends

I'm probably just like everyone else - dragging my way through the week, anticipating having two whole days off to do the stuff that I want to do. They always seem to go by too fast. For me, working on art is almost always on the top of my list... I even squeeze my other errands in during the workweek just so I can stay home in my jammies and do art.

This weekend, I altered a wooden box for a swap on Paper Traders. My camera batteries are dead so I can't post a photo just yet but will get one up soon. I started it on Friday night and stayed up to the early morning hours because I was on a roll! Eventually, I forced myself to go to bed but, after not enough hours of sleep, I was up again finishing the box. I also worked on some domino charms for my RAK project... that was a funny adventure because I managed - not one, not twice, but THREE times - to superglue my fingers together (and once to the table - LOL!)

Yesterday, I did manage to leave the house for a few hours... I met my friend Stephanie and her daughter for some ice cream (I had sorbet - I'm lactose intolerant) at Cold Stone. Her birthday was last week and it was a fun treat for all of us =) I had planned to go to an ATC swap downtown but didn't really have enough time to get down there before they were supposed to close - hopefully they'll do another one soon. I haven't met many local artists but maybe I can connect with some others soon.

Earlier this week, one of my clients and I got to talking about art and he mentioned a store up in Fort Collins that he thought I would really like. I haven't made it up there yet but am hoping to stop by next month when I will be driving home from visiting my family. I checked out the store's website and it looks like it's just the sort of place I've been searching for - a store actually tailored to the mixed-media/altered art genre - too bad it's so far away! http://www.theartistsnook.net/

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Great Escape by Holly Hinkle

On my way home from work today, I stopped by a downtown boutique that was displaying art by a local mixed media artist, Holly Hinkle. I thought her work was absolutely lovely! It's on display all month at Terra Verde on Tejon, if you live in the area and want to stop by:
http://edificegallery.com/index.php?option=com_events&task=view_detail&agid=32&year=2009&month=06&day=05&Itemid=48&catids=24

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Quilties!



These are my first attempt at "quilties" for a swap on Paper Traders. I know the machine stitching is a bit rough - as I intended it to be - but my exacting self is cringing at it now! It was a fun project, although I found it challenging to combine the paper with the fabric. It was a good experience for me to try something new and I hope the recipients will like the results.