Monday, December 28, 2009

Life is Full of Good Intentions

I have so many projects that I want to work on this year, that I'm making a New Years Resolution (gasp!) to finish them by the end of 2010. I'll post about them as I go.

Here's the list:

1. Make Christmas stockings for next year

2. Make this really cute bag by Artsy-crafty-babe -

[photo and bag made by Quilting Barbie]

3. Make a cute Christmas tree skirt -

4. Decorate and paint the house (especially our bedroom!) -

[not exactly like the picture above by]

5. Plant a garden and put a fire pit in the backyard (if our lame HOA allows) -

[photo via Eichler For Sale]

6. Make cute pillows for the couches -

[photo via Be Present Be Here]

7. Do some photography to hang around our house and in our bedroom -

[photo via Andy and Elisha in/around Bend]

I think that's all the projects I want to work on [for now]. Unfortunately, some of these endeavors require having many dollars, but we'll see how things go this year and hopefully we'll be able to tackle many of them!

Anyone have suggestions on how to do some of the above on a really tight budget?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

On Quilting

Naturally, I'm a bit rebellious when it comes to anything that I "should" be doing. For example, I should blog about Christmas related stuff. And I should blog about all the awesome things that have happened lately (as mentioned in the previous post). And I should post the new blogs about the books I've been reading lately on my awesome new book blog -

But instead I'm going to blog about all sorts of randomosity.

Like this ridiculously cute quilt from Cluck Cluck Sew -

You can find her awesome tutorial on how to make the adorable quilt above here.

I'm pretty sure I'm mostly in love with the fabric - American Jane, by Moda - but the pattern is pretty cute too. I'm thinking I'll make my next quilt with this pattern. We'll see.

I've decided that cute fabric completely makes (or breaks) whether I like a quilt.

Speaking of quilts, this is the quilt I just finished for Mimi as a Christmas present.

[Note to the Reader: Andy informed me that this post was too negative and self deprecating and that no one really wants to read about all the mistakes I made quilting. So, I've deleted my rambling about the mistakes I made and have decided to post what I learned while making this quilt.]

Elisha's life lessons in quilting:

1. Ironing is not optional, no matter how much I wish it were.
2. Your math teachers were right, you will eventually use math in real life. I just wish they had been wrong.
3. You cannot make a quilt look good if you sew it together like a pillow. [yes Becca - you were right, it was a ridiculous idea]
4. Crazy quilts fit my personality better than traditional patterns
5. Staying up all night quilting = sewing through your finger
6. Borders on the front and back of a quilt make it difficult to put all the layers together
7. Cutting your fabric the right size to begin with makes the end result much prettier
8. Maintaining the same seam allowance is not optional
9. Having a new Bernina sewing machine = priceless!

I'm not sure if I mentioned, but Andy's thoughtful and amazing Christmas present to me this year was a fantastic Bernina sewing machine! I still don't actually have MY sewing machine, but I've been borrowing a lender machine from the Bernina dealer by our house until mine comes in. All I can say is - WOW! It is so beautiful and makes quilting 100% better.

I think I'm spoiled with the best husband in the entire world. He loves me. :)

I'll post pictures of its beauteous-ness when I post pictures of the quilt I made for Chantel for Christmas. Yay for quilting!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

There is Much to Post About Mandi and Ian's wedding (you can find the beautiful pictures and a slideshow on Chris Becerra's blog -

...did someone say Bachelorette Party?

...Mandi's bridal shower which I have fun and awesome photos of!

...the beauteous quilts that I've just finished (no pictures until AFTER Christmas. ::winks mischieviously:: )

...And much more!

Stay tuned for posts of awesome-ness!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Three Years Ago Today...

Inspired by my friend Lauren ( who shares the same wedding date as Andy and I (yay for December 9th!), I've decided to post photos of what Andy and I were doing three years ago. So here's what we were doing on December 9th, 2006.

[All photos are courtesy of AJ's Studio - Thanks guys!]

Being ridiculously silly!

Kissing (of course!)

More kissing

Shoving cake in eachother's faces!


More kissing! (sensing a theme here? ;D )

Hugging our friends:

And yet, more kissing:




Man Dancing

WCS Dancing

Chicken Dancing??

Getting beautified:

Playing video games??!

Rock Band? Seriously boys have more fun. :)

The best part of the day? Celebrating it with the people we love.


Andy and I have officially been married for three years today!! I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. They say the first few years are the hardest and if that is true then Andy and I are going to have the most amazing life together because these last three years have been pure bliss the whole way.

Thank you Andy for being the love of my life, for loving me and living everyday to show me you love me. Thank you for being a man I respect AND love, for making my heart come alive in ways I didn't know it could, for loving God first and showing me His love for me through your actions everyday.

Thank you for being patient, wise, and kind. Thank you for your being you! I love you Andy Catts and I'm looking forward to countless anniversaries to come knowing that every year I'll love you more than the year before.

You - I love. ;)

Three Years of Awesome

It was on this day, three years ago that I said "I do" to my most beautiful and amazing wife. It was a day of bliss, friends, dancing and memories that I will never forget (to be aided by pictures when I'm senile.)

And here I sit, feeling much the same. Each day may present it's own challenges, and those can be many. Nobody said hard economic times and the challenge of figuring out what your life should look like at age 24 was going to be easy. In fact, I feel I can confidently say that education as a whole (a good 17 years of my life) has no real clue how to prepare our youth for what they will face when they are "grown up." But that's OK, it's part of life to figure it out on your own.

The good news is, not much has changed in our marriage since that first day. I love my wife more and more each second that passes, and every time I see her smiling face, I can't help but smile. She is my constant companion, and she will follow me anywhere, even if it means braving sub-freezing temperatures all day for a canned food drive, after working a full week!

Some say that the first three years are the hardest years of a marriage. If they are the most difficult, then I am really looking forward to the future! I am so blessed by God through Elisha - we get along so well, we know each other beyond words, and we really never fight. I know, right? You're thinking that it is impossible - but it's true. I can't explain what a blessing that is. Sure, we have our disagreements, but we always work together to solve them.

So, as I usually do, I'm just rambling on and on about something, but I'll get to the heart of it. Thank you Father for the wonderful gift that is my wife. There is no one better in the world for me, and I have only excitement for the rest of our lives that we get to spend together.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

On Fishing

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. ~Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Blog for Becca (finally!)

Dear Becca,

You have kindly pestered me for months for a bl0g, and I even though I proposed "best-friendship" to you (equipped with BFF necklaces and all), you still require more evidence of my commitment to our friendship. Therefore, I'm finally writing you a blog - all for you and all about you. Happy now?

I suppose I should write things like "Becca is so great" in this blog, but I won't because that would be pointless as you already know how great you are. :P

I do however want to tell you that your photography rocks (which may have a smidge to do with the person who was your awesome photography guru). Do you like how I just complimented you and me all in one sentence? Smooth.... Although, these days you rock all by yourself and do not need a guru since you've become your own guru of awesome. Kudos.

Becca, I am glad we're friends.

Yours Truly,

Mrs. E. Catts

I read too much to blog...

...but I created a new blog anyway. At least this blog is only about reading, so maybe I'll blog more afterall! We'll see!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The 8th World Wonder - The Public Library

Have I mentioned that I love the library?

For those of you who are ignorant, as I once was, let me enlighten you to the beauties of the public library.

First off, it is a room, or series of room-like structures, filled with books. BOOKS people - pretty much the most amazing, awesome, awe-inspiring, incredible, stupendous, and perfect inanimate objects to ever grace the earth. And it is a building filled with them.

Secondly, every book in the room can be taken home with you - for FREE. I'm starting to believe that impossibly wonderful things are actually possible. While there are unfortunate drawbacks (you have to return the books), you can actually extend your enjoyment almost indefinitely by renewing and rechecking out books that you love. If however, you're lazy normal and you don't want to waste time renewing the same book over and over again - no problem. You can just keep it and they'll just charge you for the cost of the book. Seriously - you get to try the product out before you decide if you want to keep it! How many places let you do that? Not satisfied - no worries. Just bring the book back within your allotted 2-3 weeks and you won't be charged a penny.

Thirdly, if they don't have the book(s) you want, they will go out and scavenge for them and bring these shining beautiful books back to the nearest and most convenient library to you, where you can check them out, once again ladies and gentlemen, for free. :D

Finally, not only are books, movies, magazines, and other random media free for your perusing, but they have free passes to local educational entertainment such as :

1. The Portland Art Museum
2. The Children's Museum
3. The Japanese Gardens
5. etc

I'm not kidding. You can get FREE passes to any of the above and more by doing nothing more complicated than calling your local library and reserving them for the day you want to go. I may sound like an advertisement for the library, but guys, it sells itself. Can I dare believe some place so amazing actually exists? Yes, I can - because it does.

In short, I heart the public library. If the government is going to take my money and put it toward something, I'm not going to complain if it goes to the library. That, my friends, is actually a worthwhile investment of my money (and yours!).

Finding peace, and trying to understand the world

Just what is it about complacency that makes my life more difficult? One would tend to think that when things are going your way, when they are as you expect, that life would be so much better. After all, there's nothing unexpected or untoward to complain about - things are just peachy! And while my life definitely isn't perfect at this point, it is certainly great - I have a fabulous wife, house and a decent job that pays the bills.

Why is it, then that I find myself wondering more and more about my disposition and my perspective on life? I'm reading through the Psalms right now, and I can't help but feel like we would be so much closer to God if we just had more struggles in our life, if things weren't quite so easy. Then we wouldn't think that we had it all together, we'd realize that God is in control of everything, and that He is directing each and every step we take.

Hard times make us rely on God. Hard times make us look at every event, big and small, and attribute it to God's greater plan - for what else could it be? As humans, we have nothing else to explain it (unless you go with random chance.) Disaster in my life? God's going to use it for good - that's who He is, and that's what He does! But when everything is going well, we trudge along and minor inconveniences (such as lousy drivers on the freeway) annoy us to no end.

I think my faith will be much stronger the day I can say I am as devoted, attentive and reliant on God when things are going well as when they are going poorly.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The pursuit of Wisdom

January 22nd -

"I now understand why I've fallen for SO many stupid guys:

1) no good guys exist."

While pretending to unpack the office today, I found my journals. It was an amusing afternoon reading through my thoughts as a 13 year old girl to present day. Somewhere between then and now, I wrote the above jaded statement about men. Fortunately, for my heart and mankind's reputation, Andy appeared in my life (and my journal some pages later). At which point, I found this scribbled happily at the beginning of multitudes of pages gushing with sappy lovey-dovey stuff:

"So I met my husband-to-be and unless God tells me I'm crazy - wow."

Wow. All I can say is that I'm thankful that God truly does mold us, change us, and help us to grow as individuals. I can't begin to describe how idiotic I was when I was younger. I'm just glad that God doesn't leave us how we are. Although the process can be painful and frustrating, I'm thankful I'm no longer who I was. I now know that I can/will be glad of any pain that I will have to endure in the years to come if it will make me a wiser and more loving woman of God.

James 1:5
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

I think this verse is a double edged sword. I've seen the things that have caused the most growth in my life and I realize that when God gives you wisdom, it comes through humbling experiences.

James 3:13
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."

Proverbs 11:2
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."

While reading through my journals I was torn between a desire to burn the evidence of my stupidity and grabbing labeling materials and marking them all as "Evidence of God's Grace and Loving Kindness."

It's funny because I'm confident that in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, I'll look back and see God's grace in my life all over again and recognize that God has given me more wisdom than I had before and that through the difficult things in my life, He'll have answered the one prayer that is consistent throughout every page of my journal - "Change my heart, Oh God. Make me more like You. Fill me with wisdom and understanding. Lead me in paths of righteousness."

Truly this hymn is the banner that covers my life:

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Morning ponderings on Psalm 106 (NASB)

Each morning as I wolf down my cereal & toast, I like to have something to read. Given that somehow I run from the beginning of my day to the end, I have made it a point to read the Word during breakfast. It's almost guaranteed. Even though I'm rushed and hurried, God somehow always manages to impress something upon me in the short time that I get to share with Him. Sometimes it's something small, sometimes it's something bigger. I want to try and voice these out, and with my new commitment to blogging more (wait, that's not a new commitment...) I think I can safely share it here. Hopefully it resonates with you...or at least makes you think.

Psalm 106 is basically a rough history of the nation of Israel, all crammed into one chapter. Yowza. Hundreds of years, millions of people. You'd think it would take more than that, but no. And what is it summed up by in the sub-title? "Israel's Rebelliousness and the LORD'S Deliverances." Dang. That kinda sucks for Israel when you think about it. Years and years of history, and what are they remembered for? Rebelliousness. Gotta work on that Israel.

However, the real meat of it is right there in the same sentence. First portion: Israel (People in general) screw up. A lot. Second Portion: God is always there to fix it. Not just once - He doesn't just toss us after the first screwup. That's Deliverances ladies and gentlemen - plural. And the same applies to us.

The majority of Psalm 106 plays like a broken record: Israel forgets God, Israel becomes oppressed, God saves Israel. And what struck me about this is that we're the same way. It's easy to look at the Old Testament and dismiss it as boring, old stories. I know I did that for a long time. The New Testament was much more interesting - it had Jesus, and Paul and all kinds of good stuff. But the OT? Wasn't that just rules, regulations and some stuff in Song of Solomon that you weren't really supposed to read (or understand) until you were married?

After having much of the OT summed up for me in Psalm 106, I came to a conclusion. The OT isn't boring (it is old.) What God is providing for us through the OT is twofold: a warning and a promise. The warning is to not repeat history - God gave everything He had to the Israelites, and they just didn't get it. The promise is of salvation through Jesus' death and resurrection on the cross. We already have the promise - in our hands, tangible and living.

So far, I haven't even quoted any scripture, but now we're there. Because while we often dismiss much of the OT as "old" - it still applies to everyday life, and Psalm 106 especially. So let's get into it:

Psalm 106: 19-25

19 They made a calf in Horeb
And worshiped a molten image.
20 Thus they exchanged their glory
For the image of an ox that eats grass.
21 They forgot God their Savior,
Who had done great things in Egypt,
22 Wonders in the land of Ham
And awesome things by the Red Sea.
23 Therefore He said that He would destroy them,
Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him,
To turn away His wrath from destroying them.
24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
They did not believe in His word,
25 But grumbled in their tents;
They did not listen to the voice of the LORD.

Here we see one snapshot - Israel has just gotten out of Egypt - God saved them from intense slavery and the murder of their male children. Kind of a big deal, no? And what do they do? They made a gold cow. Yeah. A cow. That eats grass, farts methane to destroy the ozone layer, and provides tasty steaks. They "forgot God their Savior." How often do we do that? How often do we forget the awesome saving power of our Lord, and throw it all away for the things of this world? Maybe it's not a cow - but it's probably other worldly things. Idols aren't just statues made of gold - it's anything that holds a place in our hearts before God.

This comes into play later in Psalm 106, specifically verses 35-39:

35 But they mingled with the nations
And learned their practices,
36 And served their idols,
Which became a snare to them.
37 They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons,
38 And shed innocent blood,
The blood of their sons and their daughters,
Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;
And the land was polluted with the blood.
39 Thus they became unclean in their practices,
And played the harlot in their deeds.

Are we doing this? Are we becoming more worldly in our actions? I know I'm guilty. I know I allow myself to say, do, hear and see things that I shouldn't. Every time, it's a compromise, letting myself be snared by the world. I pray that I will change my ways - to stay clean. Even though I know God forgives me every time I screw up.

What happens next? God promises His wrath (something I never want to face, but thanks to Jesus, never have to) upon Israel. Moses intervenes, begging for forgiveness. God relents, and is still planning on giving them the land of Canaan, a land "flowing with milk and honey." Sounds nice, doesn't it? I don't think I'd complain. However, what is Israel's response? They rejected the land, didn't believe in God, and didn't listen. What a thank-you, Hallmark should take notes.

Again, how does this apply to us? How often do we trust in our own understanding, and push God aside? How often do we look at small things in our life and dismiss all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us? I know I allow it to happen more than I should. This fallen world, Satan and his demons, want us to be dragged down until we can't see the light and hope that is God above. I challenge you readers (and myself) to stand above this, rejoicing in the salvation that God has provided for us - along with the tons of good things that He has provided.

Sounds like we've got a pretty difficult road ahead of us. But if there is one thing to take from Psalm 106, it's the promise of God's greatest gift in Jesus. For the psalm ends with:

43 Many times He would deliver them;
They, however, were rebellious in their counsel,
And so sank down in their iniquity.
44 Nevertheless He looked upon their distress
When He heard their cry;
45 And He remembered His covenant for their sake,
And relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.
46 He also made them objects of compassion
In the presence of all their captors.
47 Save us, O LORD our God,
And gather us from among the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name
And glory in Your praise.

God delivers us from our iniquity. God looks upon our distresses, when we cry out - and God remembers his promise. We are forgiven, we are redeemed, we are saved. And at the end of the day, we should echo the psalmist in verse 48:

48 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting.
And let all the people say, "Amen."
Praise the LORD!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Things I enjoy (also known as things that keep me sane)

Apparently my wife has started to blog a lot more, given the recent spasm of posts. While life isn't a competition, I am definitely feeling the need to step it up and begin providing our small reader base a reason to read the blog more. I think it might also help me to mull over my own thoughts in written form - something I've never been very good at. There have been times in my life where I kept a journal of sorts, and my propensity to write in it always seemed to dry up quickly.

Rather than learn from my mistakes and recognize that writing/blogging my thoughts just isn't for me, I'm going to keep banging my head against the wall and try to convince myself that this can and will become a regular thing. I may even rely on you, the loyal fanbase, to pester me with questions such as "why haven't you blogged lately?" and "I really wish the internet was full of details about Andy and Elisha's life so I didn't have to ask them personally." (I realize the last statement was not a question.)

So, um, here's another blog post. Not forced, for real. This time anyway.

Some things I have enjoyed lately:

1.) Seeing my lovely wife after 4 days of being gone.

2.) Backpacking the Jefferson Wilderness (post soon to come with pictures)

3.) Not Always Right (Hilarious website

4.) Finding new, interesting and great ways to look at passages of scripture that you've read a dozen times. I think this will always happen - God's Word being alive is certainly true. (Exodus was the scripture, by the way.)

Some things I have not enjoyed lately:

1.) Growing older to the point that I wake up in the middle of the night to use the 'loo. WTF bladder?! 4AM is not a good time for this. Wait another freakin' 2 hours and 45 minutes so I can get more uninterrupted sleep. I'm not even 25 yet. I really, really really don't want this to get worse, but I know it's going to. Old people, don't chime in about my future doom and how bad it will be. I realize it is imminent.

2.) Knowing that I need to eat less/eat healthier/exercise more. Curse my efficient body. So good at retaining, so bad at releasing. Oh, and screw you everything-that-tastes-good-but-is-fattening.

3.) Knowing that I'll probably suck at blogging more, but trying anyway.


"Who has never killed an hour? Not casually or without thought, but carefully: a premeditated murder of minutes. The violence comes from a combination of giving up, not caring, and a resignation that getting past it is all you can hope to accomplish. So you kill the hour. You do not work, you do not read, you do not daydream. If you sleep it is not because you need to sleep. And when at last it is over, there is no evidence: no weapon, no blood, and no body. The only clue might be the shadows beneath your eyes or a terribly thin line near the corner of your mouth indicating something has been suffered, that in the privacy of your life you have lost something and the loss is too empty to share."

Monday, September 14, 2009


Did I mention that I dyed my hair blonde?!

Love N Dancing

Love N Dancing. Not "Love & Dancing," but just Love N Dancing. Lame name and pretty much a lame movie, with one redeeming quality - it's a movie entirely about West Coast Swing dancing.

I somewhat suspected the movie to claim that the dance was "West Coast Swing" when, in reality, it was some stupid combination of Lindy aeriels and moves (ie. when Benji Schwimmer competed in So You Think You Can Dance the first year and they gave him a "WCS routine" which was really a Lindy/jitterbug/random aeriels routine.... grrrrr...). However, I was pleasantly surprised to find several WCS pros (Jordan & Tatiana ::sighs dreamily::, Benji Schwimmer & Heidi Groskreutz, and Kyle Redd & Sarah Van Drake, etc) dancing away on my screen with their usual talent and skill.

I made it through the movie solely because there was real WCS dancing that composed 80% of the entire movie. The acting was just interesting enough that it didn't pollute my enjoyment of the dancing, but horrible enough that if the dancing hadn't been included, I wouldn't have made it through the first 15 minutes.

My recommendation: Don't watch this movie unless -

1) you ran out of WCS competition videos to watch
2) you want to laugh at bad acting and directing
3) you are stalking Jordan and Tatiana
4) you are stalking Benji Schwimmer and Heidi Groskreutz
5) you are a WCS pro stalker in general
6) you have nothing better to do, you are bored out of your mind, and you don't mind suffering through a bad script for a story about a girl who discovers the wonder of WCS.

So there you are. Go watch it or not.

[the end]

Mission Impossible: Organize

This morning my brain = tired. Which is what happens when you stay out until 3AM every morning and wake up at 8AM that same morning. Generally speaking I like to go to bed when the hour is in the PM and wake up when it again reaches the PM. Skipping the AM altogether is quite suitable to me.

Now that I've sufficiently warned you that this post may be filled with typos and runon sentences and things that generally don't make sense (due of course to the lack of sleep mentioned above), we can move on to discussing Operation: Organize, Revitalize, and Design.

This is currently the quilting/computer room:

[yes, I do quilt on the floor]

I'm hoping to get it to the point where it looks something more like this:

I like the organization of the above photo, but I will definitely be removing all touches and traces of all things remotely "girly" (minus the obvious quilting supplies).

I'd love to get some ideas/suggestions/recommendations from everyone about different techniques that have helped them organize, fun crafty ways to make the room "pop", and any other advice or suggestions that might help a girl decorate her sewing room with a modern, ungirly, and fun theme.

1.....2.....3... Go!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I made it past my 100th post and didn't even know it! This is officially my 106th post. I know it would have been cooler if I had remembered to make some special post about the 100th post, but this one will just have to do! Here's to a hundred (and six) more posts to be written!

On Community

Regarding the below post, if anyone is interested in reading about the adventure of two families who have already begun a living-together-in-community-household, my cousin Brittany and her husband, Dan, have already begun to enter the world of "having all things in common." You can follow their adventures at their household blog -

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Please hold your breath while I impart to you fellow bloggy friends the good news!

Our dear friend Mandi will be moving in with us!! While many of you just read this sentence and wondered how a happily married couple could possible consider having a new room mate as good news, please let me provide some illumination.

First, Andy and I are incredibly social people. We like love having people stay at our house for extended periods of time. On top of this, Mandi is one our favorite people in the whole world and we adore spending time with her. So we're thrilled that we'll have a new member of our family for the next 9 months until she gets married.

Finally, even after she moves out when she gets married June 2010, we're still considering filling our house with people. We are becoming strong proponents of community and we've always wanted our home to be a place where the people in our community feel welcome and at home. We are beginning to believe, more and more, that God created us to be in community with other believers. Not just the "go to church on Sunday and Bible study once a week" style of community, but the living/eating/sleeping/sharing type of community that happens in a family. When we look at the early church we see so much of this type of church community, and we wonder whether we've lost some of the blessings that God intended for the church by separating ourselves into our own private little homes.

We're excited about experimenting in this "home-style" version of community. :D

Yay for Mandi!

Blogging more

I will blog more. I will blog more. I will blog more. I will blog more. I will blog more. I will blog more.

Maybe if I repeat this little mantra in my blog, I'll actually end up blogging more.

Although, if I actually do end up blogging more it will probably be because wedding season is over and our life is returning back to a somewhat human pace again.

So let's raise our glasses (and our determination) to blogging more!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Joys of Fabric

Quilting - oh how I love thee! I especially love this quilt -

Isn't it adorable? I just bought the fabric to make a quilt that will end up being similar, except I'll be using bright fuschia (not pink, ladies and gentlemen, but FUSCHIA) to replace the green. While I don't really enjoy FUSCHIA as a color, my little sister Chantel adores it and this quilt is going to be her Christmas present this year. So I'm simply going to figuratively close my eyes to the color and pretend it is green while I quilt it all together. Here's a picture of the fabric pre-quilting!

Also, I've been dying to post photos of the quilting process, but I'm a little reluctant to because most of them will end up as Christmas presents this year and most of the people who actually read my blog will be the recipients of my quilting efforts.... I'll post as much as I can without revealing too much! For example - this is a ________ (insert offending color name here) that I've been working on recently.

Initially, I was just using scraps from my Super-Awesome-Garage-Sale-Find to practice a new quilting technique. For about 3 months I did not permit myself to spend lots of money on new quilting fabric which meant my quilting fingers needed an outlet and this quilt is the product of said quilting-finger-itchiness. Now I'm running out of my scraps in this color scheme and I'm at a loss about what to do with it. My options, as I see them, are:

1. Make a really cute baby girl quilt and WAIT (one of my greatest flaws = impatience) until someone I know has a baby girl....
2. Add really REALLY large borders and make it a twin size bed quilt. However, who really wants a pink quilt???! Seriously, it's offensive.
3. Add strips of fabric in between the strips of quilted-ness and make it a strippy type of quilt... Still, my largest problem remains, who wants a pink quilt?! Ugh.

I've been informed recently that there are girls out there who like pink (and even some boys!) and that, perhaps, someone may appreciate a PINK quilt, but I'm still struggling to accept that someone might like this color scheme. However, since I have put so much effort into this offensive quilt (it literally has taken more time than all my other quilts put together!) and I really don't want it sitting around the house polluting my quilting space with it's offensive pink pollutants, I'm determined to give it away to some unlucky person. I'm thinking maybe giving it to Andy's grandmother, Mimi (if members of the Catts family are reading this, do you know if Mimi actually likes that one unmentionable color??).

On another side note related to quilting, you may have noticed a brief comment about my: Super-Awesome-Garage-Sale-Find! When you read this, you must have wondered - "What on earth did Elisha find at a garage sale?! It must have been amazing to receive it's own title as the Super-Awesome-Garage-Sale-Find!" Well, my friends, family, and random blog stumblers, this is the story of my Super-Awesome-Garage-Sale-Find:

Once upon a time, some brilliant genius invented the Happy Valley Garage Sales (HVGS). For those of you who are from some foreign land and are unfamiliar with the wonderosity of the the HVGS, it is a gathering of many home-dwellers in the Happy Valley area who open up their garage doors and sell furnishings and nicknacks from the comfort of their driveway. Simply put, one can spend days wandering this garage sale extravanganza and still find deals that will make any garage-shopper filled with glee. While doing said wandering, I discovered a discreet bin of fabric. I perused the fabric thinking to myself, "My! what beautiful fabric options to choose from!" However, the garage sale lady wanted $5 per tiny sack of fabric and that was simply too expensive for scraps I may or may not use. I nearly left the garage sale saddened by the fact that I didn't have such a great store of scraps in my own home to make scrappy quilts with, but instead, I mustered up my courage, fully prepared for a great disappointment, and asked how much the garage-seller wanted for ALL the scraps. Expecting her to quote a number around $100+, I braced myself for her answer. "$7" she said simply. I was stunned. I'm pretty sure my jaw fell to the ground in a cartoon-like fashion. I nearly offered her $10 to make myself feel like I wasn't cheating such a nice old lady (calling her a saint might be more appropriate), but wisely, my garage-shopping instinct kicked in, and I proudly told her I would take it all. While my insides were jumping up and down, I kept my calm exterior as we packed bag after bag after bag after bag of quilting scraps. While I stumbled back to my mom (my garage-shopping partner in crime) with all my loot, her face widened as she remebered the sign that said "$5" for each tiny bag. I'm pretty sure she thought I had just thrown all my money out the window for hundreds of tiny pieces of fabric. I'm also pretty sure she thought I had lost my mind. Until, somehow in the state of my delirious happiness, I managed to inform her that all this beautious fabric was achieved for the low price of $7.

And that, my friends, is the Super-Awesome-Garage-Sale-Find of the century. ::sigh happily:: The End.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

evening musings

I think the real reason I don't blog that often is my life seems boring and rather uninteresting to the teeming masses that populate the internets. But every once in a while, I happen upon a subject that I want to pontificate upon more than usual. As in, usually I just sum it up in a facebook status update, and leave it at that. But I need to say more, and making a bajillion status updates as this continually crosses my mind just doesn't seem like the right way to do this, so I'll put it here.

simply put, I've been pondering one thing:

How do people live without the love of Jesus??

The answer I've come to is that they don't ever actually live...they exist. And rather poorly, I might add. Working in the job that I have, I see a lot of squalor, depravity and the very needy, in more ways than one. This comes in many ways - drug and alcohol addiction, situations that cause poverty, decisions that cause poverty, and a myriad of other things. But the number one thing I see, every single day, is the need for love.

Of course, this can come across like some hippy post, and I know I'm going to have some people saying "But Andy, you're a right-wing, gun-toting, rush-limbaugh listening capitalist! What's this?" This is different. This is not the need for our pathetic human joke that we call love. This is the deep need, yearning and outcry of the human race for something beyond ourselves, a love that cannot be found on this earth.

The love of Jesus, of the Father, and the Holy Spirit is so much different than anything that can be found here. I don't think words can really express this, but I'm going to give it a shot. What I see in people, every day, is the need to feel worthy, to feel wanted, to feel needed, to feel appreciated, to be taken care of, to be understood, to be held when they need to break down and cry, to be absolutely loved and adored for exactly who they are, problems, screwups and all.

This is what the world as we know it cannot provide. At times, the love of God shines through people - when we love others by doing all of these things for them. But we cannot find is someone who will do all of these things for us, 110% of the time, no matter what we are doing. And that is what sets God apart - He loves us, no matter what, every second of every day. Even if we're cursing His name, or denying His existence.

All I can think of anymore is how my heart is breaking for the world - for those who don't know Jesus, for those who find themselves feeling a yearning for this love beyond anything else they've ever wanted - beyond the need for food, for water, for air, for life. The actions of people on this earth merely support this theory - our entire purpose in life, if not for Christ, is for substituting the things of this world in an attempt to fill this desire. And it never works.

Surrounded by the world, I am struck with a desire to help people find Jesus, to find the final answer in the question that is life. I cannot describe how my heart is breaking for young men and women especially. I see a group that has been told over and over again, by their parents, by their teachers, and by their peers that life is nothing but a great quest for pleasure, for "what feels good." Yes, on the surface that sounds well and good - of course you should want good things for yourself! But oh, how different the "good" things of this world are from the good things found in Christ Jesus.

Pleasure in this world only becomes pain as our generation is realizing that finding a girl, finding a guy, having money, having this car or that house is only temporary. For that house will crumble, the car will be outdated, and odds are good that your relationship with that special someone has deteriorated to a point where you don't even recognize them for who they used to be.

This has all been racing through my mind as I think of some of the people I have met in the last few weeks, especially young women. When I see their predicaments, I feel as if it has penetrated my own heart. I think of my wife, my sister, or my frinds in that situation and it is horrible. Women of the world need a loving Father - one that they can only find in God. I realize I'm rambling on, but well, it's what's on my mind.

All said, I want to help. I don't know how to help, and that's the end result of all these musings - what can I do? How can I, how can we, reach the world with the love of Jesus? We face a daunting task, as the majority of the world wants nothing to do with God, as they have all heard it before, and we Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites, and a place to run when times are tough (because churches are such suckers, and will give free handouts to the needy.)

But what could be different? We've got Big Brother and Big Sister programs, how about a "Great Father" program? There has to be a way to help heal the hearts of women who have been hurt by men, who can't imagine that there are guys out there who love them (not romantically) for who they are - not what they look like. Because so many women have given up everything in hopes of finding this love in the world, and are now desperate and broken.

Can a band of men get together - those guys who raised their daughters right, who told them they looked beautiful every day, who tucked them in at night, who helped them find a dress for the dance, who encouraged them to be themselves every second of every day - and that no boy was worth them if they didn't love them in the same way? And beyond that, the men who love Jesus - and use him as an role-model? Can these guys get together and show women that men can think beyond short skirts and skin?

I could go on and on, but it's late, and I know that it's starting to get jumbled. As I continue to write, more and more pops into my head. But I'll leave those for another musing, another time. But the question foremost in my mind is, how? I know that god is the only one that can answer that question. I want to help. I want to reach these people, to show them the mighty, awesome and amazing love that God is - beyond all that we know on earth.

And what I know, is that our current methods aren't working. We're timid, we're afraid, and we think that just "telling people about Jesus" is the answer. We need to truly reach out - beyond words, into action. Showing people the love of Jesus, and not just by wearing a cross necklace, not joining in on a dirty joke or whatever. We need to do our best to love like Jesus - heart, mind and soul, all reservations aside.

ideas are welcome. please send them my way.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I've been dreaming about decorating our house and I've actually been planning it all out before I go on a money spending binge (which I'm trying really REALLY hard not to do) and I've refined some of my ideas since I've started pondering how we should decorate and fill our newly purchased home.

I haven't found one photo that perfectly captures what I've been looking for, but these two photos are the best options that I've come up with thus far:

This is CLOSE to the color I want to paint the walls in our bedroom:


My idea is to paint the walls a really bright color and then decorate all in black and white with tiny accents in that are in the same color as the wall.

This is similar to what I've been thinking:


However, instead of a boring white wall, I'm going to paint it bright teal like the pictures above.

Also, I'd love a non-couch version of this couch piece that Andy and I found at Macy's to put at the foot of the bed. So cute!

That's all for now folks!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

15 updates on our life

The problem I have with blogging is that once I stop blogging (even for a short period of time), I feel like I have to give a detailed account of everything we've done since the last time I blogged - which is a rather daunting task since endless craziness has happened in the interim. And honestly, who really wants a detailed boring account of what has happened over the last few months (besides you mom ;D ). So to appease my nagging need to update everyone and to make it as minimally boring as possible, I'll update you in a list and if you want a detailed post about anything below, ask and you shall recieve.

1. We found Siku a doggie friend named Sadie and we love her. She's a sheltie.
2. We bought Elisha a pretty motorcycle and she crashed it. Twice.
3. Elisha now has stitches in her eyebrow from effect of event #2 and it makes her eyebrows uneven - grrrr.
4. We still haven't finished unpacking and decorating the house. Although I do have ideas which I will post later!
5. We both work a lot.
6. In support of event #5, wedding season is in full blow. However, we're avoiding it as much as possible, so if you want a glimpse of our recent shoots, you'll need to check out our lovely assistant/intern/friend's (Becca) blog - While the photos posted are entirely hers (isn't she awesome?!), they were all weddings that she has shot with us over the last few weeks.
7. We disappeared to Canada for 8 blissful days of sailing and mentally, I haven't returned yet.
8. I'm almost finished with my third quilt! I really need to take a photo of the last quilt I finished and show you. But that requires using a camera - and I'm tired of working. Sorry!
9. We sold the BMW. ::frowns::
10. But we bought a pretty new honda... I think that's what it is...
11. I love my baby grand piano.
12. I've been on a Mercedes Lackey reading binge. I believe I've read about 20 of her novels in the last 3 weeks.
13. I miss Mandi!!! Come home!!
14. Mandi and Ian got engaged!! Yay!! We will be promptly headed out to go wedding dress shopping when she returns.
15. Finally (although I'm sure there is more to write about that I've simply forgotten), the reason for this blog post is attributed to my darling and decor-inspiring friend, Lauren, who began her own personal/DIY blog which made me excited about blogging again. Thanks Lauren!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sometimes, the best things in life aren't free

While free is a very, very good price, sometimes it's just not worth it. Sometimes, spending the money is the way to go. Something I enjoy is surprising Elisha with the things she loves, and something she's wanted for a very long time is a baby grand piano. Hooh. That's a tough one to just pull out of the 'ol back pocket.

However, sometimes I forget about the amazingness of our awesome heavenly Father and how He loves to bless us in ways we can't imagine. So, Monday morning as I'm perusing craigslist (as I am wont to do...) I find a good price on a nice piano. Hmm. I go to the dealer's website and find an even BETTER deal on a perfect, used mahogany finish baby grand. My interest is piqued.

Skiving off work an hour early, I rush to downtown Portland to check it out, and it is beautiful indeed. Now, it has nothing on the $90,000 Steinways and $190,000 Bosendorfers (What the crap, pianos that cost more than a house!) that were in the store, but it is beautiful, and I know she'll love it. I say I'll take it. Delivery included? Fabulous. You say it can be delivered on Friday, while she's out garage-saling with her mom? Couldn't be better.

I really have to give some props to God on this one - it's a double blessing. Not just one person, but two (if you include Elisha's mom, 3) people got to experience great joy because of this. It's been Elisha's dream to have a baby grand since, I don't know, forever. And she thought it was 5+ years coming because of money. It was like Christmas for me on Friday morning, the anticipation of surprising her with it when she came home. I don't often get to do this, because she's so darn perceptive...

The surprise was totally worth it. Squeals of joy followed by exclamations of "no way!" and more squealing were heard, along with much piano playing, as I had thought it wise to purchase her favorite music (Les Mis, Phantom & Wicked) and have it displayed on the piano. Suffice to say, there is a video of the event, and it should be on facebook sometime in the next few days.

Reflecting the next morning, all I can say is "thank you Lord!!" for the joys and blessings that He bestows upon us. We don't deserve them, as is sure. But I love the way He loves us.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Victory! (And another year of life for NBC/ABC execs...)

I just want to express how truly excited I am that both NBC and ABC have made stellar decisions, albeit a little late. Despite their almost-epic-fail of not choosing to re-up Chuck(NBC) and Castle (ABC) at the beginning, they have restored my faith in humanity for one more year. While not avid tv-watchers (we don't even have cable/satellite/antenna) Elisha and I are rabid fans of Chuck (best tv show ever) and Castle. Thank you internet, for providing me with the TV shows to watch at my own leisure at no cost. If you haven't watched them, you should. And if you have watched them, you should be rejoicing about the next year of awesomeness that we will be able to partake in.

Nathan Fillion is awesome.

Oh, and by the way...Fox execs, I'm coming for you. Because you killed Firefly. I know this is in the past, but didn't you know there's no statute of limitations for murder?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Motorcycles, Mortgages & Mutts

It's been a while since I've penned some thoughts and observations on this blog, but I implore you, hear my fabulous excuses, which will also suffice for updates on our life (to be explained.)

1.) We bought a house.

2.) Did I mention that we bought a house? That is a lot of work folks. Moving, decorating, getting another job so that the mortgage can be paid, all those sorts of things add up!

Okay, so that's it as far as excuses go, but for those of you that have gone through the process, you know it's about as simple and painless as differential equations. Despite all this, we are extremely excited, as it is our first home and we got a stellar deal, and we're loving it! We're now residents of Damascus, OR (Oddly enough, it's where my parent's first house was...) and the proud owners of a 2,452 sq. foot home. Yeah, we don't really know what to do with all the space since we've upgraded from an 800 sq. foot apartment!

So the last few weeks (we closed April 27th) have been a whirlwind of activity, moving and organizing and throwing away those things that you haven't used since you last moved...and God has been generous. Things are a little crazy, but He's never stopped blessing our efforts and showing us just how amazing He really is. In light of the new place, Elisha has decided to upgrade to a full-time job at the bridal store, and has been hired/promoted as the manager of the alterations shop. We're excited, as it means another steady paycheck, but it also means less free time together. Sad. More on this later as we see how it's really going.

I mentioned other things in my title, and I suppose I must hit on them as well. Motorcycling season is hitting full swing, as the weather 'round these parts is hitting well above 70* each day (whoo hoo!) Lane and I have been taking advantage of this and hitting up the backroads for fun. We also coerced Matt into buying a bike, so now the crew is up to 4. We're looking forward to many rides this season, as all 4 of us will be in P-Town all summer long. All this to say, I am extremely excited about my current lack of "chicken strips." (see ref: Chicken Strips)

This means I have pushed my motorcycle to the limits of it's abilities as far as tire-contact goes, which is a pretty big feat for me. It's also kinda freaky, seeing as I'm at the point of needing those fancy titanium knee-pucks so I can drop my weight off the bike even more. Crazy.

On a complete subject change, I think God is really continually teaching me patience. Because holy toledo I wanted to strangle Siku this morning. How a dog is able to do what he did is beyond me. Since Elisha is now working, I decided it would be nicer to take him to work with me than to leave him at home in the backyard. Wrong. He decided, through what method I don't know, to use this as an opportunity to drive me bonkers. Training forgotten, he proceed to take not one, not two, but THREE ginormous dumps inside the building within the span of an hour. Luckily no one else was present to witness this, but it is not really nice to spend your first hour of work cleaning up poop. Oh, and I gave him 3 separate opportunities to poop today as well. Did he poop outside? No, oh no. He ate some grass and looked at me funny. However, God is gracious and he is now being the perfect dog, resting behind my chair as I type this. Lord, give me patience.

That's all for now kids, I'll be back soon. I hope. Amidst my house-things, motorcycle season and dog pooper-scooper duties, I might just be too busy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Past, Present & Future

Recently, I've gotten a picture of these three time periods through pictures. All things considered, I'm really looking forward to the next few months as we progress into summer. I've enjoyed (to some degree) Oregon's weird and wacky winter, as we've gotten hordes of snow (yes, hordes - the snow was mongolianlike in it's ferocity and size) compared to what we normally get - it's April and it's still dumping buckets on Mt. Hood. However, I recently got a taste of summer when the weather turned to 70*+ for a scant few days, and it gave me a chance to reflect.


I was digging through old pictures and found these. Dang, our puppy has grown a ridiculous amount in the last 4 months. These pictures are of the first time we took him up to the snow last December. He's now big and no longer cold (he was shivering that day.)

And then I got to pictures of the present - Lane and I got to go on our first "real" (read: not freezing cold) motorcycle ride this year. We've been out a few days, including a good trip with Ian in Corvallis, but I was still numb by the time I got home. This time, it was warm and enjoyable - plus, when you're comfortable, it's easier to push the limits. We doodled around Clackamas, then headed up Highway 224 into the mountains, turning around at Ripplebrook Ranger Station.

And as far as the future goes, we have so much to look forward to. Barbecue (yes, in the good weather I enjoyed a dinner progression of bbq'd chicken, bbq'd ribs and bbq'd steak. heck yes!) I look forward to more of this favorite pastime of mine (food) slathered in Bullseye and smelling good, accompanied by some corn on the cob (when it gets cheaper, holy schmoly $1.25 an ear in the grocery store now.) We're also getting ever closer to closing on the new house (continue praying that it goes through) along with more motorcycling and more fun with friends. I can't wait for spring to shoo and summer to come in!