About Recommitting

I’ve got a long list of blogs I read. I don’t read them every day but I usually try to check in at least once a week. Some of the bloggers are authors or speakers I admire;  others are pastors, writers, mamas and dads.  Each one has a different perspective and that is something I crave.

I recently saw this quote attributed to Mark Twain:  “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of man and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  I immediately shared this on Facebook and had an interesting dialogue with a friend.  He asked for an explanation of what I thought this meant.  My take, as someone who has traveled extensively domestically but only once internationally, was that travel opens your mind.  It puts you in situations and with people who are wholly unlike you and those you came from.  It can be scary but enlightening and life-altering in many different ways.  While he understood this, he also pointed out to me that sometimes it’s not a choice for people to travel.  And he’s right, for a whole variety of reasons – financial, familial, etc.  And that got me thinking that the broadening of our experience comes not only through physical travel to different places but also through travel of the mind.  I know that sounds a bit crunchy granola but bear with me here.

I work at a large university.  This semester, I participated in one of several small group discussions over a period of about six weeks;  mine was focused on the topic of faith & spirituality in the university and our community.  It brought together a group of about 15 staff and students, all of different ages, hailing from different hometowns across the country, all with very different views on faith and spirituality.  Our facilitators very gracefully led us through some deep discussions about our feelings, perspectives and how that all impacts the broader community.  The ultimate goal is to create a conversation that respects the differences of others and helps create an environment where folks more readily care and look out for one another.  That seems simple as I type it but I think you can see where this might be a Sisyphean task in some instances, especially depending on the topic being discussed.

In thinking about my friend’s comment in light of this, I realized that “travel” isn’t limited to physicality.  I travel in my mind with every book I read.  I travel in every documentary or news story that captures my attention.  All these things and so many more mold and shape my viewpoints on things in tandem with other factors such as my faith, how I was raised, where I “come from” and more.  My viewpoints on things are constantly evolving and growing and I hope that never ceases.

Which brings me, finally (!) full-circle back  to my lengthy blogroll.  As I read through them and ponder them throughout the week, I have found one common thread:  I am totally bummed out by bloggers who don’t blog.  Especially those whose voice and perspective, perhaps different from my own, I really cherish.

While I don’t lump myself into the “cherished blogger” category by any stretch, I realized this week that I need to recommit to my little space here.  I need to recommit to the tens of you who read it.  I need to recommit to those who come looking for a perspective different than their own.  And moreover, I need to recommit for myself because I really, truly enjoy writing.

In the Land of Decoupage

I know I need to get back on track with posting. I’ve had a rough time of it for various reasons lately.  I’m still struggling – some days are better than others, for sure.  But at seven months into this adventure, I had been sure things would be different than they are…and that takes some reconciling in my mind and soul.  I had several down weekends where I simply didn’t feel like doing anything.  But if there is anything for sure in my life, it’s that I don’t like to let myself wallow for too long.  Life’s too short for that!

I set my mind on finishing up a table I was refinishing for my living room a couple weekends ago.  I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

I had originally just stained and polyurethaned it but I was never really happy with it.  When I found a cool tutorial on decoupaging with book pages, I knew what my plan was.  I posted a note on Facebook, asking my friends to tell me their favorite words and had a great response.  I found a dictionary at a thrift store for $2 and was on my way!  I painted the shelves red and then tore out my friends’ favorite words from the dictionary, arranged and decoupaged them onto the back area of each shelve.  Voila!  I am so please with how this one came out.  And I’m more than a little hooked on decoupaging – and the idea of decoupaging with book pages.

This weekend I went on some adventures.  I visited a pizza place in the next town over that National Geographic claims is the best pizza in the world.  My response?  It was pretty good.  (Take that with a grain of salt, however, as I am NOT what you’d call a pizza connoisseur  – by any stretch.)  I tried out a local barbecue place that was absolutely fantastic.  I conquered a mammoth to do list.  And I finished up my final two furniture projects (for the moment, at least!)

This was a nightstand I bought at a thrift shop back in February.  I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with it, so it took me a bit of time.  It has a retro, shabby chic kind of look about it. And I learned a lot about decoupaging furniture with fabric….

This was another table I picked up at the same thrift store.  There was really nothing to it – just bare plywood with some rusty metal legs.  I sanded the legs and sprayed them with a hammered copper and then decoupaged some map paper on the top.  I polyurethaned it and added some rubber “feet” to the bottom over the weekend (so the metal wouldn’t damage the flooring, wherever this ends up.)

I’m happy with how they  turned out.  They are not perfect, by any means, but I’m learning a lot as I work with the different media and I know what I’ll do differently with projects like these in the future.  Now the question is what do I do with them?  My place is very small and I really have no need for either.  I’ve been thinking of setting up an Etsy shop but the easier option may be to simply use Craigslist.  We shall see.