Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What You Think Is How You Act

I tried writing several different rules this afternoon and the words just keep bringing me back to this topic. I figured that instead of forcing something out just to have it out there, I'd write what I seem to keep coming back to.

Your Thoughts

Every action begins with a thought. Most people believe that their minds are a private place. We convince ourselves that our thoughts don't necessarily equal a physical reaction and that we have no control over where our minds wander. 

However, I'm learning that what you think affects how you act. Your mind is the birthplace for all action. You get out of bed each morning - your mind begins the movement and the reason for movement. You slap someone (hopefully not!) - your mind informed you that you were angry and motived the movement of your hand.

What you think becomes what you do. If you are thinking negatively about your spouse, you'll start treating your spouse negatively. If you are thinking about all the wonderful attributes of your spouse, you'll treat them like they're wonderful.  Remember your senior year of highschool?  The word senioritis applied because all you could think about as being done with school and moving on to the next stage in life. Your mind was elsewhere and therefore you energy was as well.  Your actions reflected this in reduced effort in your studies, general dissatisfaction with your day-to-day activities, frustration with homework, etc.

This mind to action process can be slow sometimes - formed from a collection of thoughts that have been stored over days, months, or years. However, I've never known a thought, if not brought under control, that doesn't eventually come out in your actions.

Consider this - what negative things are you thinking about your spouse?  How do those thoughts affect how you treat your spouse?

For example, your spouse leaves a mess of dishes in the sink. All the time. Every time you pass that sink, you are frustrated and annoyed thinking about how lazy they must be to not bother to put the dishes in the dishwasher. The second you begin to think about how this annoys you, you think about how they don't help fold the laundry, or how they don't pick up their clothes, or empty the trash, or keep you informed of their plans for the evening, or.... the list keeps going on in your brain and by the time you see your spouse you're already annoyed and frustrated with them.

These negative feelings can often be based in legitimate concerns, but dwelling on them and allowing your frustration to build can cause resentment and escalate problems.

Instead of thinking and, therefore, venting/discussing your frustrations, try thinking and talking about your goals and what is important to you. Don't let your thoughts control you so that your reactions are negative. Control your thoughts so that your actions are proactive and uplifting.

Consider replacing negative thoughts with the things you love about them and the things they're good at.

I've heard several women mention that they keep a mental list of the things they love about their husband and when they're upset or frustrated with their man, they pull that list to the front of their brain. Then they review the facts: I am in love with this here man in front of me and these are the reasons why. Reason #1...

I like this idea.

There is a part II to this post, so stay tuned for What You Do Is Who You Are.

Whatever is true,
 whatever is honorable,
 whatever is right,
 whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely,
 whatever is of good repute,
 if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, 
dwell on these things.

Phillippians 4:8

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How To Change Your Life & Marriage Forever

The first step is....well, that might be a little inappropriate, so let's skip to the end result: have a baby. We just found out that we're going to join the world of parenting and have our first child!

I can hardly believe that I'm pregnant. It feels so surreal most of the time, except, of course, when the contents of my stomach become the contents of my toilet bowl. That usually makes it feels less surreal and a lot more physical.

I promise I'll keep blogging about marriage, but I have to admit that I'm sooo excited about our growing  child that I might throw in some tidbits about him or her too.

I can't decide whether I want a boy or girl! My sister thinks it's a girl, my mom thinks it is a girl, my husband won't give an opinion because there is no data to support either side and he's the practical kind of person who doesn't offer opinions without supporting evidence, my friend Jeff thinks it's a boy, my friend Katherine thinks it is a girl, and I think I'm having twins. What do you think??

Can't you just see the puppy replaced with our baby??? I can! ::grins happily::

Monday, July 12, 2010

Why Your Spouse is Your Soul Mate

I'm breaking away from the rules for this post because I feel like it could be a rule, but since it isn't a physical action I don't want to make it an official rule.

Why Your Spouse is Your Soul Mate:

I've seen a lot of women in marriages, especially those who have been married for a long time, who wonder if they married the right person. These questions probably spring from a variety of wells including their own expectations, Hollywood's definitions of a soul-mate, the marriages of their friends, etc. 

We fall in love with the idea of The One that Hollywood tells us is out there and who, if you should happen to meet, is the person you're supposed to be with, regardless of whether you're married to someone else or not. I never believed in soul-mates before Andy. I still don't believe in this Holly-wood style of soul-mate.

What I DO believe:

I believe that Andy is my soul-mate - the one I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. I believe that his heart and mine have joined in some cosmic place to complete the other's. I know that nothing except death can separate us and that we were destined, from before we were born, to love eachother.

And I believe that every person's Soul-Mate is the one that they are married to. When you make your vows on that altar and you promise to love them until death do you part, you have just found your soul-mate.

A soul mate isn't stomach flutters, fire-works, or goo-goo eyes. A soul-mate is the mate of your soul. If I were to give it an exact definition, I would say that your Soul-Mate is the person that God destined you to marry.

An interesting way to look at soul-mates is Elizabeth Gilbert's definition in Eat, Pray, Love:

"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake....  ...A soul mates' purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master..."

— Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)

I left out a section of this quote that says that a soul mate is someone who is supposed to leave at some point because I just don't agree with that at all. But what I do think is that a soul-mate is drastically different than what we've been taught to think it is. It isn't our perfect fit, but it is God's perfect fit for us.

When we begin to see our spouse as the person that God destined us to be with, our attitude toward marriage can begin to change. When you view your spouse as the only One you are meant to be with, you begin to love them for exactly who they are and not who you think your soul-mate should be.

If you believed with every ounce of your being that you were undeniably and irrevocably married to your Soul-Mate, how would it change your life and the way you do the every day things?

Would you stop thinking about leaving? Would you start thinking about loving your Soul-Mate more? Would you devote more time and attention to them? Would you even allow the thought of being attracted to someone else to enter your mind? Would you stop trying to make them please you? Would you begin to love them exactly as God created them to be? 

Would fights be less destructive because there would never be a threat of walking out? Would arguments be more peaceful because you both are trying to resolve them gently so that your life together is more peaceful?  Would grudges disappear? Would love increase?

I think it might.

My Soul Mate:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Our Marriage Rules to Live By: Rule #2

Hey Y'all (I picked that delicious phrase up from the St. Paul Rodeo this weekend).  Ready for Rule #2?

You betcha. Let's get this buckin' bronco a'rollin.  Alright, so maybe I'm not a cowgirl afterall. But, this weekend certainly made me tempted to try barrel racing and that one event where you lasso baby cows.  I'm serious. I would rock at it. The winner of the event only makes like.... $37,000 per event... which is only a minor incentive.

At any rate, our second rule has nothing to do with the rodeo, although I should definitely come up with an analogy of marriage based on the rodeo... Maybe something like  - if you jump on a angry bronco and he spears you or steps on you, it's your own idiotic fault. Which should tell you that in marriage....

I'll work on that analogy. It will come to me.

2. Do Not Lie

This should seem like a pretty easy one, right?  We're not all pathological liars. We don't answer questions like "What do you do for fun?" with outlandish responses like:

"I ride lions in africa on the weekends. And then on the weekdays I heliboard down mountains all over the world. In the evenings I write best-selling novels about my near death encounter with sharks in the Oregon ocean."

"Wait, do sharks even live in Oregon?"

"Of course they do. They're angry ol'e fellows too. They bit my leg off."

"They did? Then what's that [points at leg]?"

"Oh that? That's my amazing prosthetic. You can't even tell that it isn't real. Cool, huh?

Right. Unless you've been diagnosed as a pathological liar, most people try to be mostly honest. We tell the truth - most of the time. But in a way, I think people in marriage struggle with lying more than our single-counterparts.  Think about your day - how many times do you lie to your spouse in the following ways:

"What do you want to do tonight?"

"I don't know."

"Are you mad at me?"


"What are you thinking about?"


"What's wrong?"


"Does this make me look fat?


Okay, so the last one was a joke. Hopefully. :D

When we realize that we are telling eachother these lies which don't even seem like lies, we can communicate about them instead of shutting down with non-answers or lies. In some cases, we lie because we don't want to hurt the other person's feelings or we don't want to get in a fight or we don't want to admit that maybe we don't even have a good reason for being irritated. No matter what our reason was, our answer is untrue (unless, of course, it isn't untrue and you really aren't thinking about anything...).

Maybe our truthful answers might sound something more like this:

"What do you want to do tonight?"

"I really want you to take me on a fancy date, but I don't want to look needy and I know we're tight on money. So maybe you could just rub my feet instead?"


"I really want to just relax at home, but I don't want you to feel like I don't want to spend time with you. I've had a hard day at work and I don't really want to go anywhere tonight, but I don't want you to be disappointed with me."

"Are you mad at me?"

"Yes. I'm raging furious mad, but I can't remember why now. I remember it was really important and you did something that really made me mad. But now that I can't remember what it was, but I'm just going to be mad and not tell you why. Then it will look like what I'm being mad about is really important."


"No. I'm not mad. But I'm hurt and I don't know how to put my feelings into words. Maybe we could talk about this later when I've processed it a little more?"

"What are you thinking about?"

"I was thinking about how annoying it is when my sunburn starts peeling. Am I growing freckles?"


"I was thinking about selling my i-phone and buying the newer cooler version."

"What's wrong?"

"Everything. I feel like everything is wrong. Are we drifting apart? Do you still love me? Our house is a mess. I'm tired of working. I want to have more free time. I don't want to do laundry. I'm tired of worrying about money. Our dog is acting lethargic - do you think she's sick? I'm really hungry - I haven't eaten all day. Why? I don't know, I just got so busy I forgot to...  I want to travel. I feel like my dreams are being bombarded by reality. Will we ever do anything with our lives? Are we doing what we're supposed to be doing?"


"Wrong? Hmmm... I guess I have a headache and I'm kind of annoyed about this situation at work. That's it. I guess I'm just tired..."

"Does this make me look fat?

"No comment. This question can only go from bad to worse."

My guess as to why we lie is that it is too complicated and difficult to tell the truth or perhaps it is that at the moment we're being asked the question, we don't honestly know the answer.

Whatever the reason, when we lie, we're shutting down communication and we're closing off our hearts and minds from our spouse.  If the way you fall in love is to share your heart and mind with one another, it would seem to follow that the way you stay in love is to continue to do so.

My challenge is to tell the truth in love to your spouse at all times. If you can't do it in love, then tell your spouse that you want to talk about it, but that you aren't ready to do so yet.  There is nothing wrong with postponing an answer until you are ready to share. However, remember that sharing your heart and feelings is how you stay close to your spouse when things are difficult.  If you bottle everything up inside, you may be deceiving your spouse which is hardly different than lying.

The truth will set you free. It will help your marriage grow together in the midst of the trials and frustrations. It will help you know your spouse when it is so easy to live only as separate room-mates instead of one soul. It will release you from the chains of unspoken feelings which can begin to choke you and, therefore, your marriage all too easily.

"Do not lie.

Do not deceive one another."
Leviticus 19:11

This amazing photo was taken by our good friend, Nate Yaro, at our fourth of July celebration this weekend. You can check out his photography here and his daily blog about what God is teaching him here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our Marriage Rules to Live By: Rule #1

Somehow Andy and I created an unspoken agreement to always follow a set of undefined rules in our marriage. We never really sat down and said, "Okay, here's our rules. You better not break them." It was more of a mutual understanding that we reached without ever really having a conversation. And yet, the rules are still applied in our marriage to this day although they've never been officially discussed.

When I've analyzed other marriages, I find that most problems usually come down to one or both partners breaking some or all of The Rules. Not that all marriages will have the same rules, but these are things that work for us. The decision to live by our rules has saved our marriage from a lot of pain and frustration. Talk to your partner about your marriage rules. What things can you do to help your marriage become more peaceful and loving?

1. Fight Clean -

  • Assume the best of your spouse. If you feel like their intentions were negative or hurtful, assume they weren't. Never start a fight from the assumption that your spouse did something intentional to hurt you. Changing the way you think is a BIG step in preventing problems from ever arising.  If your partner does something that hurts you, discuss it but from the perspective of believing that your spouse would NEVER do something to intentionally hurt you believing that his/her desire is to make you feel loved to the best of his/her ability.

  • Never EVER say anything mean, derogative, or insulting to your spouse. Even if you are angry and you want to. Don't do it. You can disagree and argue without throwing in pointless and mean comments. Name calling is never okay.

  • Don't bring up the past.  "You never help me do X," or "You always act this way when X," or "I can't believe you did X again."  If the goal in marriage is to get along and be happy together, why are you throwing your spouse's past mistakes around like you've entered a poo-slinging contest?  The goal isn't to see who has more poo to fling, it is to clean the poo up and use it to fertilize the soil. If you view past mistakes as ammo against your spouse, you need to fix your mindset - not your spouse. We all make mistakes. You've made mistakes. Your spouse has made mistakes. It doesn't matter who has made more mistakes or whose mistakes are stinkier. Just put your back into it, shovel the stinky poo up, and leave it. Harping on another's person mistakes only creates distance and coats you both in your own failures. Forgive and move on. It doesn't mean it didn't happen; it just means that no fault, failure, or ugly problem is more important than showing love to your spouse. It just isn't.

  •  Try not to raise your voice.  I almost said "Don't raise your voice" because it should be a rule, but unfortunately it is a rule that is all too easy to break, which is why I said "Try not to raise your voice."  Andy has never raised his voice at me. Ever. I can't say I've reached that same level of calm and control, but I'm certainly getting better. It's hard to raise your voice angrily at someone who won't get loud-mouthed back.   What I can claim is a definitive rule - Never yell at your spouse. Yelling matches solve nothing and create lots of hurt feelings. This is a lesson in self-control for those of us who struggle with controlling their anger and frustration. However, it can be done, so learn to take your tone and simmer it down to a reasonable conversational level. This will help fights end much more quickly than the ones that are laden with screaming and yelling.

  • Remember that NO fight is more important than your marriage. Even if you're right. Even if you're wrong. Even if there is no right or wrong.  There. Is. No. Fight. More. Important. Than. Your. Marriage.  Let me say it again: there is absolutely no fight that is more important than your marriage or your spouse.  [Note: I'm not talking about cheating or abuse in this section. If you are being abused, get somewhere safe.]  Can you honestly name one problem that is more important than the long term health of your marriage?  If you can, then you don't value the health of your marriage enough. There is no argument worth having if it will cause long-term animosity between you and your spouse. When both people enter arguments believing that winning the argument is not more important than loving their spouse, the conversations are respectful and loving - filled with listening, discussing, and working together to find a solution that is amenable to both people. If, in an argument, you realize that mutual agreement can't be reached, choose to postpone making a decision while you both think and pray about the answer or choose to humble yourself and let the other person "win."  Going to your parents for Christmas or her parents? Going to buy a house or travel the world? Going to play video games or sit and cuddle? Going to do the dishes or going out with friends? Going to buy a new car or going to save money? She never picks up her clothes? He never puts away his video game cords? She likes to keep the house warm? He likes it cold? None of these decisions are more important than caring for and loving your spouse.
When fighting and/or arguing remember these principles:

Love is Patient. Love is Kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no records of wrong. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perserveres.

I'll be posting the rest of our Rules To Live By periodically over the next week or two!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How To: Have Fun at Home with Your Spouse

Aren't you all so very excited to listen to my three long years of married wisdom?  See, my wisdom told me that you would be, which is why I'm going to enlighten you with a post chock-full of all the interesting things you always wanted to know. [BTW, the expression chock-full came from people saying choke-full which I think is an appropriate sentiment of my pompous statements].

Blah Blah Blah.

See aren't you impressed? I know so much about marriage it's unbelievable. Be inspired.

Okay, seriously though, I am excited about today's post since I think that it will be something that lots of couples can do and enjoy.

How To: Have Fun at Home with Your Spouse

So Andy and I have discovered that the economony sucks (You too? Really? Oh, I knooow. I can't believe it either). We've also discovered that it would suck a lot less if we had money to spend because everyone is trying to offer deals since the rest of the world isn't spending money either. Winning the lottery would help, but, unfortunately, winning the lottery isn't an option if you don't buy lottery tickets... I can't believe it either, but apparently you have to actually buy a lottery ticket to win. Ridiculous, I know.

So my lovely husband and I have been successfully (and sometimes unsuccessfully) trying to find ways to entertain ourselves at home in rainy (did I mention it was RAINY in June?) Oregon.  Here's some of the things we've come up with:

1. Cuddling and Talking - After a while of being married, I think we all tend to get into activity ruts. Conversations go something like this:

Elisha: "What do you want to do tonight?"

Andy: "I don't know. I don't really feel like making any decisions. Work was really long today."

Elisha: "Oh, I'm sorry. Well, why don't we watch [insert favorite girly movie here]?"

Andy: "Yah. That sounds great. I'll think I'll go blow people up instead on [insert favorite video game here]."

Okay, so this conversation varies and we often throw around ideas like playing a board game or baking dessert, but sometimes after a long day working and cooking and cleaning, the few hours that you have left in the evening just don't seem like enough time to do much of anything. It is too easy to fall back on movies, tv, and video games. So, in our exhausted states, we've been trying to do less TV and replace it with more relational activities - like cuddling. :D

I'll admit that my girly side loves cuddling and talking. Andy's manly side has a harder time just sitting and doing nothing, but once we get started on a good topic, we can talk for hours. It makes me feel like we're dating again when we're just sitting and shooting the breeze together.

So the first activity, which doesn't sound like an activity at all, is to sit and come up with interesting topics to talk about together. Be intentional and discuss things your know your spouse is interested in and likes talking about. However, beware of Elisha's conversation-starting mistakes:

Wife:  "Honey, let's sit and cuddle and talk."

Husband: "Okay, what do you want to talk about?"

Wife: "Umm.... my quilting class?"

Husband: "Interesting... Want to play my new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle video game with me instead?"

You might laugh, but this is an almost exact replica of a conversation that Andy and I had this week. In the end, we did play TMNT together and had a blast going back to the good ole days of arcade-style games. And then we cuddled in bed and talked about my quilting class. ;) So maybe it wasn't a mistake because we ended up having fun together, but it was probably a bad way to start a long romantic conversation.

2. Go For A Walk - Just do it. Even if it is raining. It can be a lot of fun to walk in the rain. Wear a raincoat, put on your galoshes, and just go for it. Maybe even jump in a puddle together.

3. Bake Something - Cooking is not my favorite thing. To be honest, I don't really like it. But I have a lot of fun with Andy while donning an apron, turning on some good dance music, and baking up a storm. This is not a good idea if you don't want your waist size to enlarge, but then again, cookies make good gifts, so give them away!

4. Invite Friends Over - Friends always make everything fun! Invite friends over for food or games or food and games. It is always a fantastic way to spend your evening laughing and talking with your favorite people (or new people!).

5. Start a Home Project (and finish it) - I know this sometimes sounds like more work, but doing projects together can be so much fun with the right attitude. Paint a bathroom, change the oil in your car together, or find some other hobby/project that you can both work on together. Even if it isn't something that inspires you and gets you excited, it is good to work with your spouse and do things together.  Some of Andy's and I best times have come when we're working on some project or doing something I don't enjoy.

In the same vein, sometimes just hanging out with your spouse while they work on some project of their own is fun. Andy sits and keeps me company while I'm quilting, so I guess it's only fair that I keep him company while he works on his motorcyle. This isn't quite as exciting as working together, but I love having Andy around when I'm quilting and I know he feels similarly about me being around when he works on his bike. Maybe grab a book and just read while he/she works on their project. Having Andy in the same room while I work on my projects makes me feel valued and happy - it says to me that he loves me enough to simply chill with me even if we're doing separate activities that he's not interested in.

Okay, that's all my brilliant (or not so brilliant) ideas. I'd love to hear what other people do at home to entertain themselves and bond with their spouse, so please comment with your ideas!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mucho de la blogs!

Now that we've decided to focus our blog on marriage and more specifically on our marriage, I've created a new blog for my quilting endeavors! As if I really needed another blog!

You can keep up with my quilting life at:


And just in case you've forgotten, you can also follow along with my reading adventures at:


We'll be posting marriage related stuff soon!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A change in direction

Every once in a while I evaluate why I'm blogging. Most of the time I think I just enjoy the act of writing. I used to keep a journal, now I keep a blog. It really hasn't been a huge transition for me except that my posts aren't quite as personal as my journal entries. 

Personal things are things you don't share with anyone, right?  Personal things are things you keep to yourself... or at least that's the view that I've had in the past. I think I'm nervous to show who I am on my blog - the icky, the grouchy, the helpless, the fickle, etc. I'm only willing to show the things I like to do and things that don't affect me on a deep personal level. I've made a few exceptions here and there, but have always shifted to lighter subjects directly afterward.

After analyzing this, I've realized that I don't want to share only the artificial things, but I'm not sure I'm ready to share the inner-workings of my soul.  After discussing this with Andy, we've decided that we want to share about marriage. We want to share the joys of marriage and the struggles. We're hoping that our experiences will encourage others in their own marriages and/or present a story of an honest marriage that is seeking to love eachother and the Lord more everyday.

Some days I'll post about the things going on in our marriage - the wonderful, the difficult, and the just plain normal. Other days, I'll post How-To's: the things we've learned to do in our marriage that makes fighting more peaceful or divying responsibilities less complicated. I'm also thinking of having guest bloggers from every stage of life post about their marriage experiences.

The goal of this change of direction in our blog is to encourage those of us who are married, someday will be married, and anyone who is in the life of someone who is married. Marriage affects us all.  Our marriages now will affect the lives, character, and marriages of the future. I believe that marriage is so much more than simply waking up next to someone everyday for the next 80+ years.  I believe it is so much more than just "getting by." I believe it is a holy calling to present an example of Christ to the world - to show, in our love for our spouse, the love of Christ for his church.  As such, I think it is worth discussing and sharing.

So look forward to lots of blog posts about marriage!

[Side Note: I think it is great that we named our blog - AndyandElisha. It is so fitting to smush our names together into one long name when discussing marriage. We're no longer Andy AND Elisha, but AndyandElisha. We're one unit. One enitity.]

If you are interested in guest blogging about marriage, please email me your ideas for a topic you are interested in at: elishacatts(at)gmail(dot)com.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Morrocan Sweet Apricot Chicken

What is a husband to do when his wife desires apricot chicken from the "local" Moroccan restaurant, but said husband has no money to buy said chicken? Why, he gets creative in the kitchen. And makes some home-brew apricot chicken that I would say rivals the original. I don't write down most of my crazy kitchen experiments, but this one I'm committing to memory.

P.S. - don't bother looking for pictures, we ate it all before that was even a remote possibility.

Inspired by Marrakesh, DELICIOUS:

- 2.5lbs boneless/skinless chicken THIGHS
- 2 cans (14oz?) Apricot halves in heavy syrup (drain the syrup)
- 1 12oz can Apricot Nectar (Kerns)
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1.5 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 lrg onion, sliced into strips
- ground cumin
- garlic salt
- sliced almonds
- corn starch

-cous cous as a side dish

Preheat oven to 400*

- Place chicken thighs and onion strips in greased 9x13 pan.
- Rub the chicken with the garlic salt & cumin (to taste, just a nice light covering.)
- Mix together apricot halves, nectar, honey and minced garlic.
- Pour the mixture over the chicken
- Top with sliced almonds
- Place in oven for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, drain the majority of the juice and place in a saucepan. Return the chicken to the oven.
- Mix together 1.5tbsp corn starch and 4 tbsp COLD water. Pour into saucepan.
- Stir sauce together until thick (a few minutes.)
- Pour some sauce over the top of the chicken and serve. Sauce is also good on top of the cous cous.

Lap Quilt

This is the deal with quilting: You start a project. Then you go to quilt class and you start another project. But you see this beautiful fabric that you can't resist, so you start just one more project. And before you realize it, your quilts that don't have due dates never get finished and you have added another unfinished object, aka UFO, to your list.

Which is why this quilt has been sitting in my "to be finished" box for months. I started it with the intention of giving it to a friend, but as I worked on it, I decided that it just didn't fit their personality and that I simply did not like it AT ALL.

I can't, in good conscience, give a quilt that I dislike as a gift. So it sat...and sat...and sat...

Determined not to fall in the trap of my fellow quilters (from my quilt class) who have upwards of 100 unfinished quilts each, I was determined to get myself in gear and finish this quilt - for better or, most likely, worse.  Since I didn't want to waste any more resources (batting, binding, backing), I opted to make this large quilt a very small lapsize duvet cover. It seems a little pointless to make a duvet for a blanket that small, but I just happened to have a small lapsize blanket that was BRIGHT orange from my wondrous college days at OSU and was the perfect fit for this quilt. Thus bright orange blanket now looks like this:

And if I ever need my college colors back for a football game, I can simply pull it out of the duvet cover and bring it along.

At least it is one less UFO that is sitting in my to-be-finished box. :D Now I have only three UFOs waiting to be finished...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

MT Swap quilt!

I got my MT Swap quilt and it is sooo cute!!

See pictures:

Isn't the hand-stitching beautiful?

I'm trying to decide where to display it and I love it so much that I want to put it somewhere everyone will see, which is why I'm thinking of using it here:

Unfortunately, I don't want to cover it up with the candle thing and I can't figure out else in my house to put it where it will be visible.


Thanks to my amazing swap partner at http://plannedpurlhood.com/ who is actually an Oregon resident as well! Yay for Oregon women who like Modern Quilting. :D

I love the fabric!! Isn't it gorgeous?!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quilt Class & My Soap Box

Quilting seems to be a hobby whose participants are mostly women over the age of 40. No men tend to frequent quilting classes and very few young women find themselves involved in the quilting world. My quilting class yesterday was like cozying up on an outdated floral-print couch at your grandmother's house while your grandmother bustles around making tea, listening to your problems, cleaning the house, and being generally productive.  While you sit there sharing your woes, this busy little woman is accomplishing the world and still making you feel listened to and appreciated.


Yesterday I realized our generation is losing the graceful art of being productive and entertained... of being busy but calm... of being efficient but relaxed. 

I walked into quilting class at Quilting Delights unsure of what to expect. Would I feel alone? Would I be ostracized for being so new at quilting? Would I feel like a child in a room of adults - seen and not heard?  Instead of feeling any of these things, the experience was like walking into my grandmother's living room and finding myself put to work and feeling happy that I was helping.  It was as if I belonged in that room of women 20 to 40 years older than I.  As we sat around sewing, we laughed, talked, joked, and simply enjoyed eachother's company.  I soon realized that these women had discovered one of the secrets of happiness.

As I sat there, intently sewing my fabric together, I pondered why my generation feels so different. What changed? When did we decide that work and happiness are mutually exclusive?  I realized that something happened in my generation that has never happened before and which has changed the social makeup of our world - the introduction of technological media.

I appreciate TV. I appreciate the internet. I appreciate facebook. I obviously appreciate blogs.  And yet, when I stop and think about it, if I removed all of these from my life, what would I do in my free time?

And my answer is:

I would be productive.

I would quilt. I would read. I would cook. I would garden. I would paint. I would draw. I would play the piano. I would play the guitar. I would clean. I would do laundry (God forbid!). I would go for walks. I would interact with my neighbors. I would interact with my friends. I would pray. I would read my bible. I might even listen to God instead of tuning Him out while I watch a movie or stumble though the internet or check my facebook or...

When I take away all these things, I find that I start becoming the kind of person I want to be. 

I want to pass on the skills and knowledge I have to my future children and I can't do that if we watch tv at night instead of sewing together or playing games as a family or cooking or singing or dancing or reading or gardening... Our generation is going to lose (if it hasn't already) the skills and talents of the generations that have gone before if we keep turning to modern technology to entertain us. We will lose the art of entertainment and simultaneous productivity if we separate entertainment as activities in which others entertain us and productivity as that which is required to get by.

And now, I realize why no one in my generation quilts. Our generation was too busy watching TV to learn the skills of our parents and grandparents. We were too busy playing SEGA and Nintendo and Playstation. Instead of sitting around as a family and playing games, we were sitting and watching a movie.

I strongly believe the lack of quilters in my generation is due directly to the introduction of TV, video games, and the internet. Perhaps the women's rights revolution contributed in part, but I think that has less impact than the rise of technology as my generation's primary form of entertainment.

But, as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord [and find joy in being productive. :D ]


Anyway, now that I've ranted. I'll share some of the photos that Becca took at quilt class!

Me Quilting!

Becca's mom, Pam, cutting her squares to size.

Becca's AMAZING mad skillz! She finished most of her quilt face in one day!

This photo isn't from our qulit class, but it is the pattern that we'll be doing for the August class that Pam is teaching! Go Pam! Isn't Pam's quilt so pretty?! I love the colors that she choose for the quilt!

I also signed up for the July class and I'm so excited about the pattern that month! I'll post pictures of it next month!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New Dining Room Table!

Isn't it pretty?!

Why yes it is. And you want to know whose table it is? Well, let me put your mind at ease - it's now ours.

Macy sells this lovely table with six chairs for $1573.  When Andy and I started looking for tables about a year ago, I begged him to let me buy this table from Macy's at the Annual Sale for $1200.  He disuaded me telling me that we should get a table that was more affordable and that we didn't need this particular table. I reluctantly agreed, albeit somewhat disappointed, knowing that we didn't have the money to buy it.

And then, yesterday, we came home with this table. Only we didn't pay $1573 or $1200 - we paid the whopping price of $350.

[FYI - Our table is a pretty cherry wood color]

You may be asking yourself, "How did Andy and Elisha find such a beautiful table for such an inexpensive price?"

Behold, I will reveal our secret:


We discovered this gem on craigslist for ridiculously cheap and decided that since Mandy and Ian will be moving out (sad...) and will be taking their beautiful table with them (also sad...), we would need a new table to put in our dining room. And voile - here it is.

We heart it. ♥

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Spring has sprung and apparently so has decorating enthusiasm. Now that I'm full of this abundant and unexpected urge to nest and make my house homey, I've been daydreaming about what to do. Here are some of my thoughts:

For the downstairs bathroom, I fell completely in love with this idea I saw at Clyde Commons in downtown Portland:

We went out on a double-date a few weeks ago with our lovely friends, Craig and Lauren wherein I happily discovered this inventive wallpaper idea. [BTW, I wouldn't recommend this restaurant for it's food or its learn-to-be-skinny portions, but it does have a super eclectic Portland-y atmosphere which is awesome].

Unlike Clyde Commons, I only want to do one wall of our bathroom in this fashion, so I'm trying to decide what colors to do the rest of the bathroom.

I was thinking this color might be nice:

Or this:

Or this:

And finally, this:

Go ahead and vote for your favorite!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Beauty all around us...

Isn't this a stunning photo?

I didn't take it, though I wish I had. I simply stumbled  upon it while surfing the web via StumbleUpon. I thought it was a photo worth sharing.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In Order to Fatten My Friends

Yes, I think as being a self-proclaimed food lover and semi-rotund individual, I must equalize myself not through dieting or exercise, but by converting all of my friends to the dark (and tasty) side. Therefore I have whipped up some new culinary delights to wow your tastebuds and enlarge your waistlines. Beware, they're good. Like, cream of the crop good. You have been warned. (also note, these dishes were not intended to go together...they just happened in the same week.)

#1: Sweet Thai Yellow Curry

1 14~oz can coconut milk
1 14~oz can chicken broth
1 large onion
2 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp yellow curry powder
2 tbsp canola/vegetable oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 bunch green onions

1.5lbs (or more) of the meat of your choice - chicken, shrimp, fish works well
Salt & Red pepper flakes to taste
Serve over Jasmine rice or cous-cous

Step 1: Dice your green onions into rounds, and your large onion into strips (think fajitas.)
Step 2: Pour canola oil into a large skillet, heat and add the onion strips. Saute until lightly browned.
Step 3: Add curry paste, mix with onions and stir for about 30 seconds.
Step 4: Pour in chicken broth & coconut milk. Add all other spices and ingredients except the meat.
Step 5: Cook for 5 minutes on medium, stirring ingredients in and tasting curry for the proper flavor (this is where you add the "to taste" items.
Step 6: Add meat (cut into bite-size strips) and continue cooking until meat is fully cooked.
Step 7: Enjoy served over rice or cous-cous! (Cous-cous is particularly good with sauteed onions & carrots with some dried cranberries thrown in.)

#2 The Best Freakin' Cinnamon Rolls...ever. Cream-Cheese Infused, you heard right...
4 cups flour (plus extra for kneading!)
2 cups water (heat to 105-115* F, use a thermometer!)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1 8oz pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon extract

1/4c sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Brown sugar
Whipping cream

Step 1: Heat the 2 cups water to 105-115* F. Add 1 tbsp sugar and the 1 tsp yeast, stir together AFTER HEATING.
Step 2: Mix dry dough ingredients together.
Step 3: Add liquid mix to dry mix, stir together, cover and set aside for 1-2 hours (until doubled in size.)
Step 4: Soften cream cheese in microwave and add vanilla & cinnamon extracts. stir together until a frosting-like consistency is achieved.
Step 5: After dough has risen, pour onto floured surface. Flour your hands and add some to the dough until it is no longer sticky to handle.
Step 6: Roll dough out with floured rolling pin - 1/4" thick and about 16"x12" is what you're looking for.
Step 7: Spread cream cheese mixture on the rolled out dough evenly.
Step 8: Fold dough back on itself - 3 times lengthwise like an envelope, then back to make a square.
Step 9: Roll dough back out until it is 16"12" and 1/4" thick or so. You may have to continue adding a little flour to prevent it from sticking.
Step 10: Mix the 1/4c sugar & 1tbsp cinnamon and spread on dough.
Step 11: Tightly roll dough (as tightly as you can) into a log.
Step 12: With a SHARP knife, cut into 1/2" rounds.
Step 13: Place rounds in a greased 9x13" pan
Step 14: Bake for 350* for 15 minutes and check. If browned on the top, prepare the topping. If not browned, return to oven until lightly browned on top.
Topping: Mix whipping cream & brown sugar (approximately 1part whipping cream to 2 parts brown sugar) to make a gooey syrup. Consistently should be roughly that of liquid soap.
Step 15: Pour topping over rolls and bake for another 5 minutes.

You don't know how delicious and fattening these suckers are. Reader beware...you'll be dreaming of these.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Le Pouf!

This tutorial from Design Sponge is so cool that I thought I would share it with everyone! I'm now excitedly planning on making my very own "pouf."

Tutorial: Making a Pouf

Here's a photo of the pouf from Design Sponge's website:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

MT Quilt Swap, Finished!

I finished my quilt for the Modify Tradition Quilt Swap!! I made it a little bigger than the guidelines, which call for a quilt the size of a large place mat, and I'm happy I did.  I couldn't figure out what on earth you would use a mini quilt for and I just got so frustrated with the rules that I nearly made a complete full size quilt.

As I was unaware of the rules when I signed up for the quilt, I didn't realize that we were swapping MINI quilts. What am I going to do with a doll-sized quilt? Give it to me cat?

At any rate, I decided to make mine similar in fashion to a baby quilt. This way, at least, if my swap-ee is like "What the deuce should I do with this shoddy example of quilting?" she can just give the quilt to someone she knows who is having a baby girl or wait until she has a baby.

When you're cuddling in a blanket, you aren't judging the quilting know-how of the quilter.  On the other hand, when your quilt is the size of a computer screen, you see all it's faults and flaws. Not to mention, my quilting isn't up to the standard of wall-hangings yet (I did sign up as a beginner) and, therefore, I think it would be irrational of me to attempt one... yet.

So, with that said, here are the photos of the quilt:

The full quilt:

A detailed look:

I decided to go with a unique way of binding the quilt that I actually made up on the spot [dangerous - as the last time I made a quilting technique up on the spot it pretty much failed miserably]. Instead of sewing the binding to the edge of the quilt and hand-sewing it to the back, I simply cut my backing a little longer than my quilt face. Then I folded the edges over the front and machine quilted the folded backing on the face of the quilt. I kind of like the effect and it was a lot less time consuming than the normal process.

Andy snapped a photo of me ironing my current quilt in process. I like the photo, but I'm pretty unhappy with the quilt and I'm tempted to scrap the whole thing. Happily though, Andy captured this very Elisha moment.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Becca!! And Sisters!

Becca is one of my closest friends and an amazing photographer. And as such, there was no one else on my list who I could even think to want to do our sister-shoot for my mom's Mother's Day gift.

After only a little arm twisting, [I mean, seriously, I would not be excited about doing a shoot with me as the subject. I am undeniably a camera control freak. No joke.] Becca agreed to be tortured and take photos of Taleah, Chantel, & I.

It was a blast (after I stopped trying to look at every photo that Becca took and I desisted from trying to steal borrow Becca's camera every minute or two). If you could hire any photographer in the Portland area, I would definitely forcibly coerce recommend that you choose Becca. She has a crisp and refreshing style and has a natural gift at photography. Not to mention, she is super fun and easy to relax with - which makes having your photo taken feel so natural.

Anyway, enough raving. The pictures speak for themselves.

Thanks Becca! You can check out her website here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Little Things We Do

Go check out my guest blog on photography featured on my dear friend Lauren's blog - The Little Things We Do .

[FYI- click on the photo to take you directly to the my fantastic words of wisdom]

Friday, May 7, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday

My lovely friend, Lauren [who has an awesome blog at http://thelittlethingswedo.blogspot.com/], does these fun "Fill in the Blank Friday" posts every - you guessed it - Friday

I haven't posted one of these before, but since it is about my absolute favorite subject (well, right after how wonderful my husband is), I figured I might as well play along.

So here we go:

1.  My favorite book growing up was: The Mark of the Lion series, by Francine Rivers. It is probably the only book I've read more than twice. Actually, I'm pretty sure I read it every other week throughout my entire adolescence.

2.  The funniest book I've ever read was: I haven't really read that many "funny" books, but the Anne of Green Gables series completely captivated me and etched a perma-smile on my face whenever I read it. I found myself frequently finding a long-suffering family member and holding them prisoner while I shared amusing quotes and sections from the books.

3.  The one book that has truly changed my life is: Obviously, the Bible. However, if I choose another book I think I would choose Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge or Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers.

4.  If you're looking for a real "tear jerker" you should probably read: My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult. I bawled. Snotty yucky bawling.

5.  If I could meet any author living or dead I would want to meet: LM Montgomery - Her writing makes me feel like we're soul-sisters.

6.  The next book on my "to read" list is: The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa

7.  If I was snowed into  remote cabin in the woods and could only choose three books to bring with me I'd bring: Eeek! I can't pick just three... Maybe three series??? Or three hundred??  Okay, I'll try to narrow it down.  The Anne of Green Gables series, Redeeming Love, & Ella Enchanted. Ugh. I'm literally forcing myself not to make a ridiculous long list of all the books that I would stack around this imaginary cabin.

If you'd like to play along, just fill in the blanks on your own blog (or in the comment section!) and then link back here using by leaving a comment.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quilting Swap!

So I'm doing my first quilting swap and I have to admit I'm a little nervous about it. Thus far, all the quilts I've made have ended up in the hands of family members and not under the critical eye of fellow quilters! eek!

One of the things I love most about quilting is the creativity and diversity amongst quilters! I'm always so inspired when I see what other quilters have created with only fabric and thread.

Below are a few photos of quilts (made by more talented hands than mine) that I am inspired by.

I love One Block Wonder Quilts -


Yay for bright colors!



I heart circles!


I've recently been obssessed with mixing grey with bright colors! So fun!





Note to my wonderful swap partner - I love bright colors in my quilts, but I also love the subtlety of soft colors together. I love wonky quilts and I love structured quilts. Unfortunately, this means that I don't have much direction to give you when it comes to designing a quilt. However, I can tell you the things I definitely do not love.

I do not love pink. Even though you see it in the pictures above and I can appreciate it when others use it, I simply cannot even begin to think about cuddling up with a quilt that has pink in it. :( 

I do not love batiks.

I do not love anything that looks like tie-dye.

That's it! I can't wait to see what you come up with

I promise I'll post pictures of the quilt I'm making and the quilt I receive!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mawwage is what brings us together today...

A little late is better than never.

Which is why you'll be seeing photos of the beloved Mandi & Ian's December wedding events below.

Mandi & Ian are the lovely people who are brave enough to set up camp and make their home upstairs. They're my favorite. :)

Mandi is the kind of girl that everyone loves and no one dislikes. You just can't. It's impossible. I tried. And failed.

Ian is her stubborn, yet genius, husband who was a goner from the first moment they met. They're madly in love.

Together, they make a perfect couple, and perfect housemates, and we love living with them.

Andy and I at their rehearsal dinner -

Ian's parents - Mr. & Mrs. Stan Oberst

The NEW Mr. & Mrs. Ian Oberst -

Matthew Crews analyzing the algorithms of life. And women. Or maybe woman.

Said woman (a.k.a Hillary) sniffing... lip gloss??

Our token bachelor - Lane - who (for all you amazing single women out there) is an amazing guy. And who I'm going to find a woman for. Soon. I just haven't met any single women who are good enough yet. Please send applications via email. ::winks::

My amazing in-laws. You can't have them. They're mine. [And our Virginian friend, Heather, who is making weird faces off to the right. Heather - come back to Portland! We miss you!]

The Wedding Day:

Nice hair Mandi. ;)

Apparently Mandi was shocked and appalled at how much sparkling cider we brought. Bubbly-making. :)

She's so pretty!

Heather. I ♥ her.

Hillary - looking like a super model. As usual.

Our fabu hair dresser! Thanks Casey! Urban Colorz Salon

The below photo thanks to Chris Becerra photography - here's a pic of all the girls all dolled up.

Mandy, Me!, Mandi, & Hillary