Category Archives: Creativity

Vacation Musings

I just returned from a relaxing vacation with family. I had plenty of time to let my mind wander. I miss being able to do that regularly. Life has been so busy, so full of tasks that thinking has been squashed out. It was refreshing to pause. I debated about going media-free for the week, but decided better of it. I just dabbled instead.
Here are a few thoughts and realizations from the week.
• When I don’t trust my gut, that inner voice that tells me what to do, I don’t feel in sync with my own life.
• I won’ t look back in 20 years, or even 20 days for that matter, and wish I had spent more time cleaning, working, planning.
• I am a happier person when I can take a moment and make some order of my life.
• I don’t have to be in control of my life, but I do have to be in control of my responses to my circumstances. I need to make deliberate, intentional choices about how to move forward at any given moment.
• When I look backward, I realize I am much stronger than I believe myself to be.
• Faith is a journey, sometimes a hard one, sometimes a boring one, sometimes an exciting one. It’s hard to stay focused when you are in the boring parts.
• If you can stay focused in the boring parts of faith, you may find great reward in the exciting parts and comfort in the hard parts. It can be like eating your veggies to get to dessert. You don’t see the immediate impact of eating the veggies, but in the long-term, you can’t survive on just dessert.
• Life is a balance between seeing things in the micro and the macro. It is challenging to both look at what is best for an individual and what is best for the group – community, family, world – that individual lives within. Especially when what is “best” for the individual and the group is not the same.
• Loss is inevitable. It will happen. It will be painful. And I will survive. And each loss, be it a parent dying or a son moving off to college, hurts tremendously. And each will make me a more compassionate, understanding person if I let it.
• Creating experiences is one of the best things I can do as a parent. It is the thing that will bind us together when life takes us in different directions. It is the thing that will keep each of us grounded when the world seems to be beating us up. It is the soft spot we can land in our mind when we don’t feel like we have a friend in the world.
• Helping my kids develop their faith and nurturing that faith is hard. I see other parents who do an amazing job of this and feel I fall short. I miss opportunities to nudge my sons in the right direction. I miss the mark myself so often it’s hard to imagine they can see how it should be. Faith is hard.
• Personal wellness is a journey, just like faith, it can be hard to see the impact of your actions for a long time. You have to trust that the tiny steps you are taking are making a difference. You have to keep piling good habits on top of each other until they make big steps and big impact. And still it is work. Always will be.
• Letting people go is hard. Watching your life change is hard. Even when you know the changes are good. When you believe things are heading in a good direction, it is still hard to let go.
• I feel a constant tug between feeling appropriately blessed, fortunate or grateful for all that I have, for all the conveniences, wealth, health and acknowledging that sometimes life is tough. The reality that even if my life seems “good” there are still bad days. There are still times I struggle, still things that get me down. This doesn’t make me ungrateful or complacent, it makes me honest. Event the luckiest people have bad days.
• Sometimes I feel like there are no words left I can say. I live in a world that is so obsessed with analyzing every word we speak, every phrase we utter that no one listens to anyone’s heart. I can’t say I feel blessed – that implies God has bestowed something special on me and skipped someone else. I can’t say I have struggled with anything- after all I am one of those who experience “white privilege” so I’ve had no struggles. So much energy is expended making sure our words are not misinterpreted by someone else. And yet, they will be. Regardless of intent.
• My world is obsessed with categorizing and labeling people. You must fit into a box for me to know how to respond to you. We are not people, individuals; we are the categories we fit into. I want to relate to others as individuals, finding the things we have in common, and learning about the things we see differently. Trying to understand each other. There is good and right in all of us if we just get past the labels and categories we could see that. This feels like too big of a problem to tackle fresh off a relaxing vacation.
• I haven’t written much since I took a new job. This job has monopolized my creative energies, taken over my problem solving space, and challenged me in new ways. I miss writing and have to find a way to get my fix. A way to make writing a priority. Maybe all that extra time I’ll have when two kids are gone off to college….


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Filed under Creativity, Faith, Family

What a Difference a Weekend Makes

I think calling myself out her on the blog was motivating. This weekend I got in gear and did what decorating we plan to do this year. I think it turned out lovely, just enough. My biggest anxiety this year was about the fact that I will have to take it all down and pack it up in a few short weeks. I know, lame. I will say I’ve heard lots of others say they just can’t get in the spirit this year. Don’t know what’s up with that. Either way, I think I really need to sort through all my decorations and reorganize things before I put it away this year. Ugh. I don’t enjoy that part.

But I’m just not going to think about that right now. I’m going to enjoy for now.

Baskets of ornaments are always festive.


I didn’t pull out any of our traditional ornaments for the tree. We bought some new teal balls and pulled the purple ones out of the ornament bin. I wanted garland, but wasn’t finding anything I liked. Until I stumbled on this.


I just love it! It’s actually yarn with pom poms! How fun is that? Simple and a little funky.

I have lots of nativities. I only put out three this year. This traditional one.


This one is the my oldest. It’s been through a lot. And I love it.


I worked a little magic on the frame from this post. I think it turned out pretty cute.


I really love the aqua/teal. It makes me happy.


And of course, I did some fun things on the mantel!


I love the one red ornament.


The only down side….I have this to clean up!


The whole dining room table covered in stuff. Ugh! The remnants of my creativity.

And I might have a slight addiction to ribbon…


There are worse things to be addicted to:).


Filed under Creativity, Decor, Holidays

A Pinterest Christmas

Are you having a Pinterest Christmas? You know, where you get fabulous ideas and implement them all and they turn out exactly like the picture and the angels sing the hallelujah chorus right there in your house? Here’s my Pinterest Christmas.

A beautiful decoration for the front porch!

 Whip up some ribbon trees for the sideboard.

Ribbon Trees

Throw a beautiful printable in a lovely frame.

Free Chalkboard Christmas Printables

Add a little pretty to the mantel.

how to decorate a mantel

Ahh, the beauty of Christmas so elegantly displayed in my home. Warms the heart doesn’t it?

It would.

If I had done any of those things!


Not one.

Those are some really talented ladies! You should click on the pictures and visit their blogs:).

But this is my handiwork this year.

My tree. It’s looked like this for over  a week.

The mantel. I think I captured the minimalist movement quite well don’t you?


How about my dining room table centerpiece? You’re so jealous!


I did manage to change out the fabric on my board {thanks Mom for helping me pick it out!}


I do love the fabric and it’s a perfect shade of red – to match my walls!


I have gathered some things. I’m working on changing the colors for this year. When I painted my dining room/kitchen an orangey-red, I wasn’t thinking about Christmas. But I really love this teal/aqua color and would like to incorporate it. So that’s the direction I’m going. But I’m just not getting a vision. And so, this is what I have.


Do you ever feel overwhelmed by Pinterest? By Christmas? By peer pressure? Even grown ups have peer pressure. It’s called “keeping up with the Jones’!”

Guess I better get going. I’ve got a lot of work to do to get this house in shape for Christmas!


Filed under Creativity, Decor, Holidays

Instagram – ’cause I needed another social media outlet!

They FINALLY came out with an app for Android. So, ya, I joined Instagram. And I’m slowly getting hooked. I like the filters for playing with pics on my camera. The part I didn’t anticipate is the community aspect; likes and comments on your photos, followers and following. And then there’s the hashtags. A lot to learn but, hey why not! So I’m linking up for my first INSTAfriday. Hope you enjoy!

Last weekend started with a cold drink and a good read – outside! Love this weather!

Found a project to work on at the thrift store. I think it may be the new light for our entry way…we shall see!

I played a little tennis with Middle Son. We went after dark and found this sweet little bunny on the courts. I’ve never seen that tiny of a bunny! Mama was watching closely; I think she couldn’t wait for us to leave:). I’m pleased to say none of our stray balls hit the poor thing.

Hubby and I got to attend a scholarship reception for Oldest Son. He’s so stinkin’ smart! Proud of that boy.

We are now entertained with the music of the marimba in our family room. I actually love the sound!

We got a new fire pit and Youngest Son assembled it for us! Now we just need to make time to light a fire in it:).

Saturday we went to the Old Shawnee Days Parade. It was a good time, but I learned parades are a lot different when you don’t have little kids with you!

Hubby and I went to the Eddie Money Concert. It was a gorgeous night to be outside. The music was ok. The company was great!

We’re preparing for college orientation with Oldest Son. Soooo much to think about. So much to tell him to help him be successful!

Found this sweet girl in my bed in the morning.

My boys found their Yu-gi-oh cards when they cleaned their rooms. Do you remember these? They are making a comeback in our house. So funny!

This was the sunrise yesterday as we headed to college orientation. Almost made it worth getting up so ridiculously early!

That was really more than a week, but I’m still figuring things out.  Feel free to follow me on Instagram – @judys_perspective! It’s a little bit addictive:)!

I’m linking up here – I think anyway, if I did this right:)!


Filed under Creativity, Instagram, Photography

Graduation Decorating Highlights

Most of the graduation festivities are over (not all!) and I’ve had a little time to decompress. I thought this would be a good time to share some of the creative things we did. I really made a concerted effort to rein in all the ideas I had gathered through the years and spied on Pinterest. There are so many ideas out there – really great ideas! Things I would love to do. But a) I work full-time and have a limited amount of time to create, b) I have boys who aren’t into frills, and c) its high school graduation, not a wedding or coronation of the queen! I’m really happy with the way things went. I think it was successful for several reasons.

  1. I started early.  Of course, I was working off of a spreadsheet shared by a friend. I started looking at this last August thinking about what elements we wanted to include. What was important to me and to Oldest Son. Based on this list, I began tackling pieces right away. I ordered a book of his senior pictures last fall when I had a coupon. I order poster prints months before graduation. Those pieces really helped lessen the stress as graduation got closer.
  2. I picked the most impactful ideas. Like I said, there are so many excellent ideas out there that you really have to pick and choose. If I had a girl, it might have been a different story, but having boys it was easy to eliminate some ideas right away. I tried to focus in on things that would be simple and have a big impact. And of course, things that could be tweaked and used again in a couple of years:).
  3. I let go of needing to have everything and have it be perfect. It became very easy to remember that this was really about Oldest Son and acknowledging this milestone in his life. It wasn’t about me or my home. Keeping that in mind helped a lot. What would help mark this milestone for him?
  4. I asked for help. I asked friends to make food, asked my niece to do the slide show, Mom to help with bunting, etc. I know how much I enjoy helping others with an event like this and I chose to give my friends that opportunity too. (I hope they saw it that way anyway:)!) It lightened my load and let others feel a part of the day.

They seem like simple enough ideas, but for a somewhat controlling, perfectionist who has been known to take on way more than she can accomplish it was a challenge.

Now for some eye candy, here are a few of the ideas we implemented.

Orange snacks – the school colors are orange and black and this is what Oldest Son chose for his reception as well. So we filled containers with orange snacks – circus peanuts, candy corn, cheese popcorn, cheese crackers, etc. It was fun, colorful and easy to do. (Pardon the picture, it doesn’t do justice and makes me realize I really should have ironed that tablecloth, but it’s what I have:).)

Bunting – I’ve seen this all over blogland and love it! To keep it from getting too girly, I went with lots of black. I even found fabric with music on it -which is totally him. It’s super simple to make and I got a lot of satisfaction from tearing the fabric:). And bonus – maybe I can use it to decorate for Halloween too!

Wreath – for the front door. I wanted something to welcome people and have seen fabric wrapped wreathes. I took this idea and translated it to graduation. The letters are wooden letters I painted to give it some punch. The fabrics are left from the bunting. Super easy and a great touch of color.

Collage posters – I created these collages in Picasa then ordered poster prints from Shutterfly. They were super simple to do and made a great impact. Plus, I didn’t have the pressure to finish his scrapbook! (See, I really am letting go!)


Photo guest book – I did this through Shutterfly as well – with a coupon. I pulled together some of our favorite pictures from different aspects of his life – band, scouts, family, youth group, etc. Then we put out colorful sharpies and let people sign the book. An easy, fun way to mark who attended.


Mantle – I was excited to decorate my new mantel for the occasion too! I chose to include some things I plan on keeping up there as well as some things just for graduation. I like the way it turned out.

So there you have it. The highlights of our graduation decorating. It was fun, simple and easy to manage. Just what I needed!

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Filed under Creativity, Decor, Senior Year

Taking a Little Leap

I’ve been playing with photography for the last year or so. Really enjoying learning more about my camera and finding my own style of photography. Taking pictures has become one of the things that feeds my soul. Capturing something from a unique angle or perspective; something that moves me, that’s what I love.

I’ve taken engagement, wedding and senior pictures. One time each. Not a pro yet. But an avid hobbyist. I’ve gotten positive feedback from the friends who have seen my work. And lately I’ve been asked to photograph some specific events or take pictures for a specific need. I think that’s a vote of confidence in my work. I’ve gone back and forth about whether this is the time in my life when I can pursue this interest more fully. Each time I’ve contemplated setting it aside another opportunity pops up. Doors have been closing and opening like crazy! I’m taking this as a sign that its time to jump in and see where it takes me.

So I decided to follow my gut on this one. To take a little risk.

The package came in the mail. 

I couldn’t wait to open it.

I love packages and this one was extra exciting!

Funny that it says that because I really did want to go schedule a meeting! Just so I could show off my new business cards.

I’m so excited! They make me happy. Not even nervous. Just ready to get this party started:)!

I picked seven photos I love to go on the back of my cards. They turned out fabulous!

My next steps are around marketing my business. I have a plan and I’ll be working it diligently. I will continue to post some of my favorite pictures on my photo blog, From My Perspective, so you can follow me there.

But the greatest tool I have is YOU! My network. So many of you have been supportive of my work and I appreciate the vote of confidence so much! Now I need your help! I need friends to make referrals for me. Is that too much to ask? How about you take a look at my work here and on my other blog and if you like what you see, tell a friend? I would be ever so grateful!


Filed under Creativity, Photography


I’ve been drooling over the mantels I’ve seen on Pinterest. I just love the options they give for decorating. There are so many cute ideas and I wanted one of my own. We have a fire-place in the family room that I love, but we really don’t hang out there very often. I needed a place for seasonal decor in my dining room. Two needs (ok, wants); one solution. I thought about searching flea markets for the perfect one – an old one to repurpose. But, then graduation was fast approaching and I wanted it done before that. I knew who to call.

I sent 3 pictures and some dimensions to my dad along with a request from his only daughter. Please, Dad, can you make me one of these…before graduation?

He had a few questions.

And then when they came to visit, I had a mantel! I just needed to do the finish paint. Dad had put a base coat of flat latex in dark brown over the whole mantel. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of it in process or painted brown. I was, after all, trying to complete a ridiculously long to-do-before-graduation list. I didn’t even take any pictures in the process. I did the painting between finishing the concrete patio and laying the sod. I had a narrow window of time to get it done. I painted it on Thursday and the party was Saturday! Thank goodness, the technique I found on Pinterest worked BEAUTIFULLY!

Thanks to Ann at Make the Best of Things for the great information and ideas on painting with Elmer’s glue. It was so fun to do! I tried it out first on a stool I had base painted forever ago. I laid the glue on thick, really thick, then painted over it. I’m glad I tried it out on this first, because I didn’t like the effect I got. It was more streaky than crackled. I read through Ann’s notes again and decided to water the glue down for a second try. That was the key!

For my finished product I watered the glue down – about 2 parts glue to 1 part water – and brushed that on the mantel a section at a time. I did the top, then the crown moulding, then the straight parts, then the bottom. I was working outside and it was a pretty windy day. I pretty much put the paint over the glue as soon as I finished the glue coat. Then I watched it work. And it worked great! As the paint and glue dry, it crackles and looks aged.

I couldn’t be happier with the finished product! It is exactly what I pictured. How often does that happen!! And it was hung on the wall and decorated before the graduation party! Yay!


Filed under Creativity, Decor, Home Improvement