27 November 2014

thankful for...

photo taken in Tønsberg, Norway

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!

This year I am giving thanks for....

A warm home and garden produce

My husband and the ways we’ve grown together over the past couple years

Pottery, painting, sewing, knitting, and creativity

Friends, new and old, near and far

Legacy Ministries

The chance to visit my sister this Fall and see her college world 

Students who remind me why I want to be a teacher

My family and how they love, support, and encourage me

The ability to bike to work

All the birds along the river that make my ride to work more enjoyable (the other day I saw two bald eagles on my way home!)

Opportunities to travel, experience different cultures, and meet new people

God, prayer, and our church family

The inspiring beauty of nature


What are you especially thankful for this year?


16 November 2014

cabin weekend with parents: 2nd edition.

A cold spell hit Wichita this week. On Wednesday I biked to work. I knew it would be cold, but wasn't really thinking and I just went for it.  Oh man, was it frigid and windy! I heard later that the wind chill was at -1 degree. I took a long, hot shower afterwards to warm up and then drank a cup of steaming hot tea.  Today I woke up and saw pure white as I glanced at the window. I can't deny the beauty and peacefulness of snowflakes drifting down from the sky, but I am so glad that all this cold weather hit our area after our annual cabin trip with my parents.
Over veteran’s day weekend Josh and I met up with my parents in Lake of the Ozarks State Park.  We had beautiful, sunny weather, which made the hiking just glorious. This was pretty much a repeat of last year’s trip; same cabin, more hiking, more good food, and definitely quality time together. We had a prayer service on Sunday morning and sang Taize songs and hymns together. This year we even went to a movie; we saw Interstellar. It was interesting and aroused a lot of discussion. Have you seen it?
A highlight of the trip for me (other than hanging out with my parents and Josh) was our hike on Sunday. We were walking past open fields of tall grass and up and down rocky hills. We stopped at a natural spring to cook our quesedillas and eat on the flat rocks. Somewhere along the trail I was filled with awe and peace. I felt so refreshed, energized, and grateful for the beauty of creation.
Another highlight, oddly enough was discovering wild persimmon trees along the road that runs through the State Park. One morning while walking, I noticed the orange fruit hanging on a bare tree. We saw evidence of a deer nibbling on the fruit and we decided to try it too. We were hit with instant cotton mouth! I love persimmons, but it seems hard to get them at the exact right ripeness when they won’t attach your mouth with dryness. Nevertheless, I was delighted to identify the plant and to see that fruit is growing in the forest.
I tried some new recipes I found through the internet and wanted to share them with you. Sometimes I need a little inspiration for camping cooking and I’ve found good recipes at dirtygourment.com. 

Lunch: quinoa and kale salad with quesedillas-- We bought pre-made guacamole to add to our quesedillas. If you have backpacking stove and skillet these are easy to make on the trail. 

Dinner: skillet lasagna--We started with homemade marinara sauce, which was delicious! Make sure to cook all the veggies first. We skipped that step and it was a mistake. Cooking a lasagna in a skillet works well when the vegetables are hot; the cooking is really just to melt the cheese. 

Snack: banana granola bars-- These didn’t really stay together like bars, but ended up more like granola. Still, this was delicious and I recommend the recipe.  
I love those parents of mine and am always thankful to spend time with them.

03 November 2014

the winsome press.

I’m so excited to tell you about my new creative project, The Winsome Press. This is a new thing that my friend Kelly and I have been working on for some time now. It started last Spring when we both wanted some motivation to make more art. We started giving ourselves weekly project ideas, which later morphed into a decision to focus on getting better at painting with watercolors. Over the summer we both practiced watercolor painting and it was fun! We learned some things and enjoyed being more creative. Somewhere along the way we were asked to participate in a craft fair here in Wichita and we decided to start an etsy shop. So now we have The Winsome Press. This is a way for Kelly and me to paint and be creative, and also to share our creativity with you! You can take a look at our etsy shop here
I had a fun time kicking off our new business at Craftacular, a handmade market, in Wichita a couple weekends ago. I was unsure how this would go. Would it be worth all the effort? Would anyone buy anything? Josh helped me with the set-up and display quite a bit; during the first hour we debated over where I should stand and how much I should talk to people. Do people want to chit-chat while they’re shopping? The first hour was a bit slow, but eventually more and more people stopped to look at our art. And finally, someone bought something! I told myself before the show that if one item sold I would be happy.  That first purchase boosted my spirits and I felt more confident to greet and talk to people that walked past or stopped to look at my booth. I ended up having a great time chatting with shoppers and other vendors. I was especially blessed by visits from family and friends who came by the craft fair. 
It was a good experience to participate in a craft fair, but now Kelly and I are focusing our attention on the online marketplace. We look forward to sharing more about our creative process with you here on my blog in the weeks to come. And if you’re interested, check out our etsy shop!

18 October 2014

around here.

Here's what's been going on around here this fall.
It's apple season and my housemates have gone apple crazy. Josh, Lauren, and Daniel have been making applesauce on and off for weeks. We have tubs on tubs of the stuff in our garage freezer and Lauren and Daniel are bringing back more apples from an orchard today! We hope to have enough applesauce to eat all winter, spring, and summer. It's wonderful!
Josh is a bread baker. Look at this loaf! The night Josh made this loaf we happened to do "highs and lows" (aka "pows and wows"). This beautiful and tasty loaf of bread was my high for the day.
We have a cat. Josh has been advocating for getting a pet cat for a while now. We tried to get a kitty last spring, but it didn’t really work out. When we told our woeful story to Josh’s cousin April over the summer she offered to give us one of her cats. Her two cats were not getting along, so towards the end of August she drove from Ohio to Kansas with one of her kitties. Now we have Amèlie! The transition was pretty tough. Amèlie hid under the couch for the first three weeks, but now she lounges all over the house and makes us laugh by playing with twisty ties. She has the softest fur! We love her.
I'm enjoying this tasty coffee roasted right down the street from where Layla goes to school.

Last weekend I was with my parents and sister in Chicagoland, walking along Lake Michigan and watching Trinity International University Sports. I sure do love my family.
I am getting ready for a craft fair next Saturday, hence the messy desk. There's lots to do and make, but it's lots of fun. I'll share more on this later.

What's new with you? Do any of you have a newfound skill or a new pet?

Happy Saturday!

09 September 2014

Family Reunion on Whidbey Island


I got to spend my last week and half or so of summer on Whidbey Island (and a couple days in Seattle) with a crazy and wonderful group of about 18 Klines and 9 Ivanyis. This was a family reunion for Josh’s mom’s side of the family (the Klines). Josh’s grandparents, Bruce and Kay, have a strong connection with the Ivanyi family from Hungary, so nine Ivanyis joined us as well. Whidbey is an island in Puget Sound; a couple hours in the car and a short ferry ride from Seattle and you're on Whidbey. One evening our cousin Karly led us in “Pows and Wows”- a way of sharing our highs and lows of the week. All 27 of us shared a pow and wow of our week; after each persons’ pow we said “kerpow” in a sad voice and after each wow we shook our hands in the air and said “wooo.” It was a silly and fun, but also real way to connect and share how we were feeling. Since positivity is one of my top five strengths, I will first share my pows from the week and then end on a happy note with my wows.

Pows:

My Great Grandma Z died this summer, which is a big pow in itself. The pow this week was that I missed Grandma Z’s memorial service while I was in Seattle. I already had my plane ticket for the family reunion when found out the date of Grandma Z’s memorial service. I decided to stick to my original travel plans because I did not want to miss out on quality time with Josh’s family. Nevertheless, I was sad to not be with my extended family to process Grandma Z’s death and to celebration her life. Her memorial service was on Saturday and the sadness hit me hard on Sunday. Grandma Z (who I also called "Pally") was really special to me. We wrote letters back and forth for most of my life (at least after the age when I could write letters) and I also felt loved and encouraged by her even though we were miles apart. It was quite a bummer to miss her memorial service, but talking with family over the phone has helped me to process. I also read some of my letters from her, which was a comfort.
This is Grandma Z. at her 90th birthday party.

A smaller pow is that Josh left Seattle a couple days earlier than me to go on a 10 day tour with his band, The Radio Soul. I missed having him around in Seattle and I missed him the following week in Wichita. My other, even smaller pow is that I spent a lot of time in the back seat of the van as we drove around Whidbey Island and to different places around Seattle. I tend to get carsick, so that was not super fun. It feels a bit silly sharing these little pows, but I think it gives you a more accurate picture of my experience.

Wows:

Just being on the island was a big highlight for me.  I loved spending a large chunk of each day outside. Some of my favorite activities were waking up and walking along the bluff before breakfast, moonlit walks along the beach, an invigorating bike ride, making a sun shelter on the beach from driftwood and a blanket, hikes along the bluffs, playing botchy ball one evening with 20 people from our group, and hanging out in the open field in the afternoons (kicking the soccer ball around with Josh and Elise and doing a no-handed cartwheel, which I haven’t even tried to do in years!)
We had a morning prayer service each morning with hymns, Taize songs, scripture reading and prayers of the people. I loved the time to connect with God and with everyone in prayer. This helped me feel more like a part of the Kline family.
I loved getting to know some of the Ivanyis better. Josh and I met many of them last year when we went to Budapest, so it was nice to spend more quality time with them. I spent a lot of time playing with little Sari who is three years old and babbles on and on in Hungarian. I had only a few Hungarian words that I could say to her:  béka frog), szia (hi and bye),  jó éjszakát (goodnight). We had a good time together though; we played hide and seek, I spun her around, and we’d take her stuffed frogs for horse rides on our backs. Gabor Ivanyi and his wife Moni stayed at the Cranstons’ house with us for two days after Whidbey, so I got to spend a lot of time with them. They are quite good at English, so we could have interesting conversations and joke around together. They are both hilarious and very good natured. Gabor cracked me up on the first day when we were introducing ourselves. All the men in the Ivanyi family were asked to introduce their immediate family; Gabor stood up and said “I am my wife’s husband.”  In Seattle Gabor and Moni taught us some Hungarian card games and they told us that we must visit them in Szeged, Hungary. 
Josh actually flew out to Seattle a week before I did, so one of my wows of the week was getting to spend time with him again! That week was the longest amount of time that we’ve been apart since we got married and it was hard for me. I was glad to be in his presence again. 
Putting rocks on each other's faces turned out to be very relaxing.

My final wow was doing yoga, led by our cousin April. I’ve fallen out of my yoga habit this summer and it was nourishing to my body and soul to do yoga again. One morning a group of us did yoga in the living room at our place on Whidbey Island and then back in Seattle April, Karly, Elise and I did yoga in Karly’s backyard by the light of the full moon. So peaceful and inspiring!
So that was my week on Whidbey with all the ups and downs. It was a beautiful week!

30 June 2014

summer so far.

So far our summer has consisted of:

Lots of Legacy work to prepare for camp (for me) and lots of gardening with GardenWorks (for Josh.)

A visit from my family.

Elise's birthday celebration with a surprise party, homemade pizza and cake, croquet, and contra dancing.

Legacy Camp. This was challenging, but wonderful. I taught a paper crafts class and a film photography class; I also led a small group where I got to connect with a group of four high school girls.

A visit to friends on the East Coast. Josh, Mikey and I stopped in Virginia to see Michael and Kelly, then headed down to North Carolina together to see Niquita and Jordan.

Hanging out in Greenville with family and friends.

We're busy, but enjoying summer. Hope you are too!

............................................................................................................

A quick reminder that my etsy shop is going out of business! I am extending my final sale to July 4. Read here to find out why I'm closing down shop and to see what's next for me.  Thanks for all your support! 

31 May 2014

final peachy press sale + exciting summer things!

Well, folks, I am closing down my Peachy Press etsy shop in order to focus my time on exciting new endeavors (a new business partnership and an awesome summer internship).  In order to clear out, I am having a final peachy press sale. Here are the details:

>All the profit from this closing sale will support me in my summer internship (read on for more details about this). This is a small fundraising effort, but you will see that the prices of my products are the same (except for some out of season and, therefore, reduced priced items). Shop here!

>My shop will be open and stocked with paper goodies until July 1, 2014. At that time, I will be “closing down” my shop, but really Peachy Press will probably just be sitting idle on Etsy. 

>If you contact me through Etsy or email me, assuming that I have the time, I would be glad to do custom orders! 

>Be on the lookout for my next small, handmade business venture. My dear friend Kelly and I have some exciting things in the works!
This is me with a neighborhood friend at the GardenWorks farm stand last August.

Now, onto my internship with Legacy Ministries. Well, let me back up a bit. Last time I wrote about Legacy, I shared my experiences with GardenWorks, Legacy Stars, and visiting the guys at Salvation Army. It was fun for me to re-read what I wrote in October, because my involvement with Legacy has grown so much and my investment in these people and this place has deepened. I want to tell you even more about what God is doing here in Wichita and, more specifically, what I’ve been up to this past semester, as well as what I will be doing this summer as part of the Art Corps. 
One of our high-schoolers showing off her work at Girl's Group.

In the winter we started a new activity at the Legacy House for high school aged girls. For lack of creativity we called it Girl’s Group; we met weekly to chat, to write and to create projects that gave us the opportunity to reflect on our life experiences and identities. We had four girls from a nearby high school and I was one of the four leaders. Coming straight from work to Girl’s Group I often felt frazzled and flustered, but the environment was always calm, welcoming and restful. Losing myself in a project made me feel at peace and resurfacing to share what I made and to see what others created always inspired and affirmed me. One of the girls in the group said, “this is my most relaxed event of the week.” Our time together was safe and living-giving. We are now on break for the summer, but I hope this part of Legacy continues next school year. 
The tip-top of the Legacy House.

Since October I have also been going to the Salvation Army facility each Sunday night to spend time with the guys living there. Along with a few other volunteers from our church I’ve been visiting Unit 1, which is the older high school aged guys. We usually play games, bake something or make plastic bracelets while catching up on the past week. These guys are facing serious struggles and it breaks my heart to hear their prayer requests. On the other hand, it’s amazing to see their growth over the past year. I’ve seen some guys really come out of their shell. Many guys who are new at the Salvation Army are not excited to talk to us on Sunday nights or try our art projects, but the more we come the more they warm up to us. I’ve seen a guy be transformed from a bitter and somewhat violent boy into a sweet and friendly person when cuddling with the Legacy House’s pet bunny Gizmo. I can’t say it’s all fun and uplifting. Last Sunday I got to the Salvation Army to find out that one of our guys was sent back to jail. I don’t know why he’s back there, but I can only rest in knowing that God is with him. These guys are part of the reason why I am so excited to be a part of Legacy Ministries. Legacy’s vision is to see Christ transform lives through creativity and community. Giving these guys the opportunity to discover their own creative skills can be healing and empowering for all involved.
Some art I made with Elise Cranston and Tyler Merrill for an Art Corps project.

Actually, this is what I hope to do this summer through Legacy Camps. I am working on the Art Corps, which is the team of interns that will prepare for and work at the summer camps for at-risk and underprivileged youth in Wichita. These camps will serve boys from the Salvation Army, kids from the Legacy House neighborhood, and kids from our church community. All the campers will get to take classes geared toward creative expression (art, music, drama, film, baking, etc.) throughout the summer. We will have a big week long camp where kids will come from 9am-4pm everyday; they’ll take classes, participate in small groups and get the chance to listen to various speakers share the Word of God. Then we will have six weeks of Legacy Academy, which will give kids the chance to come to camp twice a week and take two classes on subjects that interest them during those six weeks. At past Legacy Camps, which are normally just a week long, kids have begged to have more than just a week at Legacy Camp, so this is our creative solution that allows the learning and relationships that happen in the camps to go deeper. I am excited to build relationships with our campers and to see what God has in store for the Legacy community this summer. 

Anyways, I just wanted to let you all know how I am spending my summer and remind you that if you’re interested in buying something I’ve made, your purchase will help me buy food and pay the bills this summer as I work with Legacy. If you are curious to know more about Legacy, please leave a comment or email me! I’d love to talk with you about my ministry to the inner city youth of Wichita. Hopefully, amidst the craziness of Leagcy Camps, I will get a chance to update you about the goings-on here in Wichita!