Thursday, September 29, 2011

A "little" sewing project

I sewed myself a bridemaid's dress last week.

(How simple to say, and how little that reveals about how much it was on my mind, every single minute until I got it done.)

It all started out with a dislike of every bridesmaid's dress in every dress shop in town, and a gorgeous pattern that captivated my imagination.

Vogue V1162
A masterpiece, no?

But Rebekah wouldn't be Rebekah if she didn't have to branch out and do her own thing, now would she?

Salient points that dictated my alterations of the dress:
1) The dress must be orange.
2) The dress must be floor length.
3) The dress must FIT.
4) The flower-sleeve part must be a versatile accessory that I can pair with all kinds of other outfits.

First order of business: design the bolero jacket that would feature those sleeves. Using and adapting the pattern pieces from the dress and from a bolero jacket pattern, plus creating some pieces of my own, I cut one out and sewed it from some navy blue scrap fabric.
My room became a grand central station of sewing patterns, fabric, machine, and notions. It's a wonder I was able to keep all the pieces straight!

Then I didn't like the design, prompting a redesign, which I still didn't like, but I had already cut it out of the "real" fabric and sewed the framing pieces together, prompting a minor trim of the pattern pieces. Good enough.

Then I had to make my own pattern pieces from a dress I bought at a yard sale that fits me quite perfectly. My thanks go to my friend Cora who showed me how to do this and suggested I obtain a copy of the book Patterns from Finished Clothes by Tracy Doyle.

Armed with my Dritz sewing board and a roll of parchment paper, I set to work.
The method involves pinning the fabric down to the board and using a tracing wheel to go over the seams, leaving holes in the paper where the pattern piece edges are. You then go over these holes with a pencil or marker, add seam allowances, and voila! You have pattern pieces!
 Pattern pieces made, I then proceeded to cutting out, then to sewing.
Notice the large coffee mug. I only got 5 hours of sleep or less for a week, but time was still running short. I had only just finished installing the invisible zipper when it was time to leave for the wedding. So I packed it all up in Matilda's trusty trunk, sewing machine, fabric, pattern pieces, and all, and headed to my cousin's house where I would spend the weekend.

The wedding would be on Saturday; I arrived Thursday night. I got to work as soon as possible and sewed until 2 am. Friday I was still cutting out facing pieces and fusing interfacing to them. Of course it would happen that I accidentally fused one of them to the towel instead of the pattern piece. Oops! Fortunately I was able to tear it off the towel while it was still damp, and happily, it still stuck to the dress fabric when I re-ironed it the right way.

Friday night at the rehearsal dinner, the dress was still not finished. I returned to the house and got to work, accompanied this time by my amazing sister, who is the most talented seamstress EVER! She sewed until 5:00 in the morning. I sewed all night. In the morning, we worked together to put the finishing touches onto the dress.

This is the morning of the wedding. The wedding takes place at 10:00 am. This is probably 8:00 am.

Victory is in sight! Possibility is attainable! But it never would have been possible if it weren't for the efforts of my amazing, selfless, expert sister. THANK YOU, ROSIE!!!!

Just moments before the wedding, I took my last stitch, donned the dress, and headed out to the chapel. Ahhhh, sweet success.

You wouldn't know these were the same two girls who were busily humming away on that sewing machine just that morning, would you? (Funny how we just happened to match, too!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Prayer Letter

Dear friends, prayer warriors, and supporters,

Truly "This is the LORD's doing, and it is marvelous in my eyes." (Psa. 118:23)

The Lord has opened up the door for me to go to Spain! In November, after 3 years of waiting on God's leading, I will be heading to Madrid to do a 3-month internship with a ministry called Betel. Then I will travel to Birmingham, England, where will spend 3 more months at Betel's international headquarters, returning home in May. This short-term opportunity will lead to a long-term possibility if God should so direct, which I would pursue upon completion of my trip.

Betel is a ministry that works with drug addicts, introducing them to Christ, getting them off their drugs, separating them from their friends, giving them a very structured home environment, and training them to work. I will be going on this trip as a learner and a servant. I will be living with the Betelitos, abiding by their same rules, and having their same schedule. I will go to work with them, go to church with them, and just accompany them through their daily lives. My goal will be to shine the light of Christ to them and show them God's unconditional love, communicating the Gospel with both my words and actions. For those interested, more information about Betel can be found on their website at

It has been a delight to see God fulfilling the desire of my heart in allowing me to go back to the mission field. Through the past three years since I came back from Spain, I have learned to follow, not lead, the Good Shepherd into the paths He has for my life. How do I do that? Simply by getting to the place where God alone fills all my vision. As I pursue Him, seeing nothing but Him, I am inevitably led where He wants me to go. It's like when you follow closely behind a semi-truck on the highway. You can't really see the road ahead or much of anything else except for the back of the truck, but you’re definitely going somewhere. While I wouldn’t advise anyone to drive that way, I can wholeheartedly recommend this life of faith, knowing that God will protect and guide me as I follow hot on his track.

Please pray for me as I go! I greatly desire your prayers and value their importance. I would love to know who is praying for me so that I can keep you informed with specific prayer requests. Please leave a comment or email me if you would like to join my prayer team. Also, if you would like to receive my email updates, please give me your email address. I hope to stay in touch!

In Christ,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Birthday

My birthday fell on one of the days of my training, and it just so happened we were on "culture day" that day. It all felt like one big birthday party! I had so much fun.

I can't fail to thank God for remembering my birthday this year. When I was praying about whether or not to go to this training and take this step, I nonchalantly mentioned to my mom that I would be gone on my birthday if I went. The next day she came to me and said that she was praying about it, and remembered how I would be gone on my birthday. God said to her, "That's my birthday present to her." When she said this to me, I started to cry. I felt so loved, so cherished, so remembered by God--I mean, who else has a God who remembers their birthday and does something special particularly for them on it? It was like He thought of the birthday gift that would please me the most and surprised me with it. What better thing could I ask than to get to go back into missions? Thank you, Lord, for remembering my birthday. Your gift was amazing.

The first cool event of the day was our "culture shock" break. Our instructors brought out several trays of goodies, one by one, and each time, there was a surprise factor in the food item.

•  Pink cupcake--really a sausage patty topped with tinted mashed potatoes. Aaaah! You expect that pink stuff to be sweet!
•  Saltine Cracker--it looks like it's spread with butter and chocolate sauce, but that's no chocolate! Ever heard of Marmite? Actually it was pretty good. I had seconds.
•  The white and brown spiral things--They looked like chocolate and vanilla sugary treats, but again, surprise! The brown color is black beans and the white color comes from rice paste.
•  Fries--Not your regular McDonald's variety: these were shrimp flavored.
•  Drink--This one I had had before, and I heartily approve: Sweetened black tea with mint. Mmmmm!

Anything that involves eating is fine with me, and I have very adventurous taste buds, so I was one happy birthday girl! Let's just say I've never had birthday meals like that before!

Then, at lunch was the culture game. We each received an envelope giving us instructions and informing us what role we were going to play during the meal. The meal was a typical food from a certain country in the middle east, one where people usually eat with their hands. One person would be a national who was hosting the meal, another would be a clueless American who wasn't sensitive to cultural customs, one would be an American who tried to follow the host's customs, and two were merely observers (who also got to eat).

My envelope contained directions for me to be the hostess of the meal, so everyone was following my lead! Aaah! I barely knew what I was doing! Using the right hand only, I was supposed to take a small handful of food, form it into a ball, and pop it into my mouth. I was supposed to eat only from the part of the bowl that was right in front of me, leaving a "wall" of food in between mine and my neighbor's section. The food was really delicious, but I was quite a bit messier than I liked to be as the hostess! Popping that ball into my mouth was easier said than done. The rice didn't want to stick together, no matter how firmly I tried to ball it up, so the ball of food kept falling to bits in between my hand and my mouth. Funny how the rice had no trouble sticking all over my hand.


(We didn't do so great at the "walls," did we?) 

Then for dinner, we had pizza--I guess we needed American culture in there somewhere, right? ;-) Afterward they surprised me with birthday cake! It had 12 trick candles on it, and they made so much smoke with re-lighting themselves that we set off the fire alarm in the building! Oops! That made for another adventure!

All in all, it was a very fun day, and I will have a wonderful memory of it for years to come.

Bonus picture: this used to be a water tower. Now there are living quarters in the top level where all the windows are. Very Rapunzel-esque, no?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Next Steps

I just spent a week in Pennsylvania staying at a castle!

This castle happened to be the headquarters of the mission board where I spent a week of orientation, taking classes to prepare for an upcoming short-term missions opportunity.

Yes, that's right! God has opened up the door for me to go back into missions! Praise be unto His name! :-)

Here is one of the rooms inside the castle:
My bedroom:

A bay window:
Details will be forthcoming about my trip, but I will be going to Spain and England, spending 3 months in each country, and working with a ministry called Betel. Lord willing, I'll be gone from November through early May.

I can't wait!