We made it! We finally made it!
We have been enjoying our new mattress for over a month now. The question people have been asking? Do we still like it? Yes, we do—we both really like it, even though my husband still thinks it’s not quite as firm/supportive as he would like. I’m grateful that it doesn’t hurt my sides, though (I’m a side sleeper, at least some of the time). It has settled a bit, which means it’s a little less like lying down on a pillow now, and it’s a little firmer (and thinner). We have it on top of a slatted bedframe that he custom built for us. Natural futon/mattresses need good air ventilation, but they also need more support than a standard boxspring and mattress set, and a regular bedframe won’t fit in our tiny house, so custom was best! We also wanted extra storage under our bed, so David built it where it is taller than a standard bedframe. And it wasn’t too hard, either. He planned and built it, all in one day. I love it!

But back to the mattress…
{If you haven’t seen my two previous blog posts about what supplies we bought, and where we bought them, and how much we spent, you might want to read those first…}

{How we did it}
We started by setting up a clean area to work; a large kitchen table and three folding tables pushed together. I was going to work on the floor, but it was much nicer to have the ability to sit or stand.

I measured and tore the muslin into two pieces, one for the top of the mattress, one for the bottom; and I measured and cut five pieces for the sides and ends of the mattress. {How to tear fabric to get a straight edge.} I definitely recommend tearing fabric instead of using scissors or a rotary cutter. SO much simpler, and faster. And—dare I say it?—more fun! :) Make sure to give yourself just a tiny bit of extra room (maybe 1/8″ extra), because tearing the fabric will slightly distort the very edge. I ironed the torn edges to smooth them out a bit, and that helped. This took me a couple hours, but that was because I was trying to figure out how to squeeze the side pieces into the yardage I had. It should have only taken me about 30 minutes to an hour.

The top and bottom pieces were 58″ wide (the width I bought it) and ~85″ long. My goal was to make the mattress 54-56″ wide by 80″ long. The five side pieces were 5″ tall (so the mattress would be 4″ tall, finished height, after seam allowances) and the full width of the fabric (58″); I had to sew them together to make them long enough for the sides (more details on how I did that, later).

I laid the bottom piece of muslin down on the tables, and we carefully layered the batts of wool on top of it, one at a time. The wool batts each came rolled like a sleeping bag, and tucked into individual kitchen trash bags. We did our best to keep the edges lined up, and alternated how we laid the batts down, because the edge that was rolled to the outside during shipping tended to be less compressed than the innermost edge. IMG_7538

Then, I laid the piece of muslin that was going to be the top of the mattress on the floor, and measured and, with a fabric marker, marked where I was going to put ties (like ties in a quilt). I spaced them about 12 inches apart [later, we added a lot more ties---one tie every six inches is better]. Then we placed the top piece of muslin over our wool batts, and using our very long mattress needles, we put ties in our mattress. [Note: I did not use the heavy duty thread I bought for this purpose. It started tearing my muslin fabric after the first tie. No bueno. I switched to baby weight natural wool yarn I had leftover from a sock project. Even better would be a cotton yarn, because the wooliness of the yarn tended to grab the interior mattress wool stuffing a bit.] I would start by poking the needle through the top, and try to keep it fairly straight all through the layers, and feel with my hand when it poked through the bottom. IMG_7544 Then, I would pull the needle though, and enough yarn through so I could poke the needle back up through all the layers, leaving a “stitch” at the bottom about 1″ long (any shorter, and you risk tearing through the fabric—speaking from experience), and tying a bow at the top, when I got back up there. IMG_7547

We tied the bows fairly loosely until we had all the ties in place, then we tightened them, uniformly, to compress the batts somewhat. IMG_7549

We had three mattress needles, which made the process much faster. My husband was very helpful; he would keep threading the extra needles, and keep them ready for me to use. It was a little tricky to keep the top and bottom muslin pieces lined up correctly; I did the best I could, eyeballing it, and sometimes holding the top and bottom edges together as best as I could, when I did the ties around the edge. It wasn’t perfect, so when we went to put the sides on the mattress, I had to remove a few (three, I think) of the edge ties to allow the fabric to line up properly, so the tie wouldn’t pull on the fabric and tear it. Not too bad… This part took about 4 hours total, but we were working rather slowly, trying to make sure we did a good job.


Next, I sewed my end and side fabric strips together. I took two of the strips, and sewed them end to end, to create one long pieces for one of the sides, and did that again for the other side. I took the fifth strip, and cut it in half, and used that to fill in the space on the top and bottom edge of the mattress that the long “side strips” didn’t quite cover. In preparation for handsewing these strips onto the mattress, we ironed a 1/2″ seam allowance on the top and bottom edges of all of the side and edge strips. This part of the process took about 30 minutes to an hour. IMG_7559

After all the strips were readied, I started at the center point (midpoint) on one side of the mattress, and pinned the center seam of one of the long side strips at that point, and continued to pin from that point all the way up to the top of the mattress, and then went back and pinned from the midpoint all the way to the bottom of the mattress. IMG_7570
This way, the strip was more likely to be evenly spaced, and I wouldn’t have a seam on the corners.

The side strips were (intentionally) longer than necessary just for the side, so I folded them carefully at the corners, clipped at the corner, and continued to pin them around the corner, and they were long enough to go about a third of the way across the top (or bottom, respectively) edge.




I did this for both sides. That fifth strip, which I had cut in half, I placed in the center top and bottom edge of the mattress, and pinned in in the space that the side strip wasn’t long enough to cover (about the center third area of the top and bottom edges of the mattress), and seamed each of it’s ends to each of the long side strip ends. That way, there was only one seam on each side of the mattress, and the extra seams are hidden on top and bottom mattress edges. This took about an hour.

(As you can see, the batts were a little too long for the bed (they’re about 90-95″ long). We had to tear off some of the extra before sewing the ends closed.)


It was going to take a long time to handsew all of that, we realized. After I had it pinned together, I was confident that the fabric casing would fit the wool we had stuffed into it (it was large enough, but not too large), so I decided to machine sew as much as we could, to save some time and labor. IMG_7564

It was a rather clumsy way of doing it—one I don’t really recommend—but it worked for our situation. I pinned the strips to the top muslin fabric only, right sides together. My husband helped me by holding the sewing machine in his arms, and walking around the mattress with me, while I held the fabric edges together, and held the pressure foot under my arm, against my side, to make the machine go. We used an extension cord to power the sewing machine, since we were moving around in a rather large area. It was rather comical…but it worked!

After machine sewing the top edge to the side using a 1/2″ seam allowance, I again pinned the strip to the bottom muslin fabric, tucking the 1/2″ seam allowance inside, and pinning it so it would be ready to whip-stitch closed. It took about 2 hours to pin and machine sew the top edges (it would have been much faster to sew it without having all the wool in the way!), and an additional 4-6 hours of work to pin and handsew it closed the rest of the way. Whew! IMG_7580 My husband and I did most of the handsewing, but my sweet neighbor friend, who was back on break from college, came over to visit and see our project, and ended up handsewing at least two feet of the side closed for us. So sweet! IMG_7594



We breathed a huge sigh of relief and felt a huge sense of accomplishment when we finally finished that part! Altogether, we spent about 5 days working on it, although, obviously, it wasn’t our full-time project for all of those days. It took about 10-12 hours, total. Some of that time both of us were working on it, sometimes it was just one of us.

{How I would do it next time}
The main difference would be the construction of the mattress “cover” (the fabric covering the raw wool batts).
First, I would take the strips for the sides and top and bottom edges of the mattress, and attach them to the large bottom muslin piece by machine, FIRST, before putting any of the wool batts on it. I would also attach the top muslin piece of fabric to one of the long side strips of the mattress (so basically, it would look like a very flat box, with the lid attached by a hinge/seam. Only after doing all of that, would I layer all the wool batts into the “box”, and sew the box closed. Finally, I would tie it, after it was completely encased with the fabric. I think this would take off at least 3-4 hours of work. Also, I would tie it maybe even a little more often than we did, to keep the mattress more even, and less likely to shift with use. I think next time, I would tie my mattress like Lina at Butterpies did. Yes, it’s a lot of ties!

My next project is a wool mattress cover (yes, I really want to protect the investment we made in our mattress!). Right now we’re using a regular mattress cover, which I know is not totally natural, but it’s better than nothing! And before next winter, I’m hoping to make a wool comforter with those same wool batts that went into our mattress. Surrounded by warm, breathable wool. *happy sigh*

Before you go out and buy all the stuff to make your own mattress, you may want to know…
Natural mattress are a little different than your regular spring mattress. They require a little more tlc, but I think it’s well worth it! I spend enough hours in bed that I want to make sure those hours are benefiting my health as much as possible—I’d rather not be snuggled up with harmful chemicals and other unnatural substances for hours on end!

These sites have some great suggestions and tips on caring for, and maintaining your all-natural mattress:

Want even more ideas, or want a more “mattress” looking mattress (less like a futon)? Check out this great pinterest board by Jill Shaw.

Are there any of you who have sewn your own mattress? Did you find a better way to make one? I’d love to hear your experiences, or your ideas.

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

I found these “Questions to ask at the start of a New Year” on a friend’s blog. They weren’t the typical “New Year’s Resolutions” or silly questions or surveys, so I saved them to review and look at and ponder throughout the year—not just at the beginning! I haven’t gone through all of them yet; I’ve taken just one or two here and there to consider.

Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year
What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

In addition to these ten questions, here are twenty-one more to help you “Consider your ways.” Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question each day for a month.
What’s the most important decision you need to make this year?
What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what’s one way you could simplify in that area?
What’s the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?
What habit would you most like to establish this year?
Who do you most want to encourage this year?
What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?
What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?
What’s one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?
What’s one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?
What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?
What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?
What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?
In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?
What’s the most important trip you want to take this year?
What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?
To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?
What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?
What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?
If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?
What’s the most important new item you want to buy this year?
In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

We have nearly all our supplies! It’s been a couple weeks now since we ordered everything, and we keep getting little packages in the mail. We just have to go pick up our wool at the post office. My husband and I have been going back and forth about how large this package will be—or if it will be multiple packages. This is 30 lbs of wool, after all!

Here is how the cost has worked out so far:
Organic Cotton Muslin (58″ wide and slightly heavier than regular muslin)- $46.32, plus $7.34 shipping
3″ thick virgin wool batts (58″ x 98″, 3 lbs) – $350 (10 batts @ $35 each), plus $76.50 shipping
Set of 3 Mattress needles- $5.00, plus $2.00 shipping
Button thread (heavy duty cotton thread, 500 yards)- $5.00, plus $3.00 shipping

Supply total:

While you certainly can’t buy an all-wool mattress with an organic cotton cover for that price, it remains to be seen how many hours of labor this takes to make. ;) We shall see…

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·


14 Mar 2014

David and I are dreamers.

Yes, both of us. Which results in a wonderfully interesting, and sometimes, rather unconventional, and adventurous life! For example, for our living situation, we decided on living in a travel trailer, rather than renting an apartment. Less space, yes, but it’s our own little space, and it enables us to save more for a home of our own (someday, Lord willing). We’ve loved our “tiny house”, and we’ve also learned a lot. We have discovered that it doesn’t take nearly as much space as we thought to live rather comfortably. We haven’t had more than a few people over at once (hospitality can take a little more creativity when your living space is small), and we do use outside laundry facilities, but other than that, we can do pretty much everything we need to in our home.

We are interested in living simply. And naturally.

Along these lines, we’ve researched (as I’ve mentioned before on this blog) alternative energy sources (wind, solar, petal- or other powered tools), composting, composting toilets, organic gardening, and healthy alternatives to traditional construction materials (specifically for homes).

Our latest area of research—and soon, development—is a Pennington-produced all-wool mattress. No, we’re not planning to sell or market it. We’re just making one for us. We researched it quite a bit online, first, before deciding this was a project we wanted to try.

I wasn’t a complete stranger to the idea of mattresses made from all-natural fibers; my family owns a few all-cotton mattresses. And while they worked quite well for years, they did compact and compress, which got uncomfortable eventually. According to my research, wool would last longer, would compact less (or at least less quickly) and was springier/more comfortable, and more light-weight. My family’s all-cotton twin mattresses are heavy! A wool mattress, according to my off-the-beaten-path research (i.e. this isn’t standard practice with the commercially-available mattresses), could also be disassembled after several years of use (after which time, the wool would have become more compacted/settled, and less comfortable) and could be re-carded (basically fluffed and combed), and reassembled with a little additional wool fiber, and your mattress would be ready to go again! A reusable mattress? Sounds good to me! Wool is also mold and mildew resistant (important qualities in Texas!), and has the delightful quality of being warm in the winter, and cool in the summer.

I spent hours researching the various ways the commercially available wool mattresses are made, and also those who had done it for themselves (and all of their ideas, and methods). I was a bit wary of making it from wool fluff (raw wool stuffing or fiber). How would I ensure that I got it even and that it wouldn’t turn out lumpy?? Especially with a larger (full/double or queen) size mattress? I thought several layers of wool batting would be an easier alternative, especially for the first attempt at mattress-making, but it was all far too expensive, and too thin. Thankfully, I happened upon a post by Lina at Butterpies, and low and behold, she had made a wool mattress exactly like I was picturing! And—thank you, thank you, Lina—she posted her source for the 3″ thick wool batting! She also posted how many batts she bought, and how thick her finished mattress ended up being, which was a great help when I was calculating what we needed for ours. While I was at it (and since I was already paying shipping), I bought two extra wool batts to make a comforter/duvet for our bed. :) Warm, snuggly, fluffy… *happy sigh*

I found organic muslin fabric at OrganicCottonPlus.com in the exact width I wanted (no need to piecing it together, no need to cut extra off the sides). I found mattress needles (these are some serious needles—they are 10″ long!) on ebay, and button thread (heavy duty cotton upholstry weight thread) on amazon.com. We’re just waiting for the postal service to do their part, and we’ll be ready to get this project started!

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

The Bunk Room

13 Mar 2014

At long last, the bunk room is finished, and we are quite happy with the results! {Actually, we still need to add trim, but we’re calling it “done” in the sense that it is usable space now.}

We were able to work in a design feature that David has long dreamed about—a room with white board (marker board) walls! :) It is fun to be able to sketch out ideas directly on our walls! It will be great for sewing scheming, and writing notes to myself, such as measurements and seam allowances, or helping me remember what I did last with my sewing project.

We replaced the flooring (which had been a combination of linoleum and carpet) with some gently-used carpet from my grandparents. Yay for re-purposing!

We even have a new “wooden crate” closet—custom-built to fit into our little room. David originally tried to reuse some of the wood framing and paneling we had leftover from the four bunks and the original closet we removed, but it just didn’t work. They weren’t long enough, and they were too wide, or things like that. He was able to reuse the hanging rod, though! :) We changed the location of the closet, made it taller, and upgraded to two hanging bars—which more than doubled our hanging space! He even added a little bar on the side for me to store my scarves and wraps!
photo copy

This room went from being the most crowded room in the house to the brightest and most roomy. It’s wonderful! Now I have a place to sew and David has a place to work on projects so our kitchen table is more available for meals. Yay! photo(1)
We even have a little “milk” fridge in there for all our cultured dairy. I haven’t spent quite as much time in there as I thought I would—at least not yet. I guess we’ve just gotten accustomed to living in less of our house and working on things in the kitchen. For me, staying in the kitchen is a good excuse to be closer to David. ;)

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

cultured butter_blenderWhile over at the Cronin house, there have been all sorts of tangy and delicious vegetable ferments, and fizzy-sweet ginger drinks merrily bubbling, here in our little home, we’ve been culturing raw milk! In the past two weeks, I’ve made raw (completely unheated) yogurt, raw kefir, sour cream, and cultured butter, and real, old-fashioned homemade ice cream. I’m still trying to perfect my cottage cheese (which turned out more like farmer’s cheese), but my husband liked it, so I’m happy!

It took me awhile to get the courage to let our wonderful raw milk “sit out and spoil”, in the words of one of my siblings. My husband teased me, “It’s as everything we learned about food safety for milk can be set aside. Just let it spoil, and it will be healthier for you!”
Strange as it may sound, raw milk (uncontaminated raw milk) generally doesn’t go bad or spoil. Raw milk has the wonderful property of good bacteria still present in it’s milky-creamy-smoothness that keeps it from “spoiling” or “rotting”, and instead, they cause it to change from “fresh milk” to “soured” or “cultured” milk. Or cream. Or cheese—or other things, depending on how long you let it sit, at what temperatures you leave it, and whether or not you add other bacteria or cultures, or substances (such as yogurt bacteria, kefir grains, or mesophylic cultures). It’s a wonderful part of how God made dairy!

GNOWFGLINS.com has been a wonderful resource as I’ve pursued more knowledge about culturing dairy, as have my friends on Facebook (isn’t it a great place to ask questions, sometimes?!), and various blogs around the internet.

I still want to learn to make our favorite raw cheeses, but I think I’ll have to wait until next month at least to take that challenge. Although I don’t like eating a lot of dairy, a little cheese can go a long way towards dressing up a salad, or soup!

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Right now I am…

29 Jan 2014

Seeing… my husband working on a project/program across the room.
Hearing… our essential oil diffuser and the space heater running, and typing. Lots of typing.
Smelling… oregano essential oil.
Tasting… nothing. But my mouth is watering, thinking of the pineapple cranberry chutney that’s sitting on the fridge.
Needing… to mail a package across the country to someone having a birthday next week.
Wanting… to have hot soup and rosemary potato bread for lunch.
Regretting… time spent on frivolous things. Pondering what I need to change in my life (and remove from my life) to spend more time in God’s Word, and in prayer, and serving others.
Feeling… my feet getting cold in spite of my fuzzy slippers.
Wishing… That I knew what to do about several things/opportunities that have come up in my life lately.
Thinking… about my to-do list.
Laughing… at some of the things my (no-longer) little brother says when he comes over to our house.
Recovering… from being rather tired lately, off and on.
Believing… that God shall supply all our needs, and that it will be a wonderful adventure to see how He leads us this year!
Anticipating… needing to get off the computer and grind grain and make bread!!
Praying… for strength to be a steady do-er. for mercy for dear friends and family who are going through hard things. for more love—for others, and for Him.
Reading… Leviticus, and Paul’s epistles to Timothy. Oh, and my NNR Textbook. (Actually, that last item was from last week.)
Singing… “For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day!” (We read this passage in our Bible reading this morning.)
Preparing… for tonight with “our kids” (Bible study), two parents’ birthdays, and several upcoming events.
Remembering… that I really need to get into exercising daily—and wondering how best to do that when it’s 20 degrees outside. ;)
Trying… to stay warm. And mostly succeeding.
Questioning… if I should do more midwifery or not.
Fearing… that I am not sufficient. (And realizing I’m not. God is. I’m not. So I can trust in Him.)
Loving… my wonderful husband and this adventure we’ve undertaken. :)
Googling… “hold fast the form of sound words, which thou has heard of me” (Paul to Timothy)
Choosing… joy, and to trust God, and keep seeking His will in all these various situations/opportunities.
Working… on a resume’ for someone.
Emailing… my mother-in-law.
Texting… two newly-pregnant friends. :D
because there is so much for which to praise Him!

No, this really doesn’t count as a blog post, but… :)

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·


It has been over a year since I posted. And what a year it has been!

At that time (November of 2012), two of my friends had just gotten married the week before, and after getting back from their out-of-state wedding, I was baking cookies for their Texas wedding reception—–little dreaming that, in less than a year, I would be married, too.

Warning: What follows is a year-at-a-glance, and thus, is a very long post. If you prefer, you can skim and read the bold phrases, and get a general idea of what happened. :)

This year (2013) began very joyously with David proposing to me on Valentine’s Day—he even managed to make it a surprise! He asked me to enter into a betrothal covenant with him, and asked me to marry him. To which I said, “I would love too!”


A few weeks later, on the 23rd of March, we had our private betrothal ceremony.


David and I exchanged vows (which we had prayerfully written) and silver betrothal rings, to symbolize the commitment and the covenant we were making with each other. We had a time of our families speaking blessings, a time of reading Scripture, worshiping the Lord, and a shared meal.

(Betrothal is a binding commitment to marry, after which the bride- & groom-to-be are viewed as husband and wife, but they are not yet “married”, and they don’t live together, until after their wedding ceremony. An example of this can be found in the story of Mary and Joseph, in the Bible.) If you’re a little confused, don’t feel bad. I had only heard of betrothal when David first mentioned it to me, two weeks into our relationship, and had very little idea what it meant or entailed!)

Since David and I lived an hour from each other, we didn’t see each other every day, but we made up for that with phone calls, emails, and many handwritten letters. Some of my most special memories of our betrothal were the times of prayer and studying the Bible we had together, over the phone, and when we shared with each other what God was teaching us. Shortly after David and I were betrothed, I started going and helping David and his family (and other friends from our church) at “Wednesday nights” where they have been teaching the 8-12 year olds for years at a church in their town. We have a wonderful time praying, studying the Bible, and playing and interacting with the kids before and after class. It does get a little loud and noisy and rambunctious at times, but I have greatly enjoyed this opportunity to love on these special kids, and learn how to better teach the Bible and share the gospel.

In July, David and his younger sister, Sara, and Jordan and I took a sibling trip to serve for a week at a Bible camp in Arkansas.


David took Jordan and Jared with him a couple of years ago, and now it was Sara’s and my turn! As in previous years, David was in charge of teaching the teens, and Jordan, Sara, and I helped him———and I absolutely loved it. We had a great group of young people———most of whom stayed very involved in the discussions and paid attention to the Bible studies. We focused on studying the nature and character of God, because that is the starting point for everything. Our week at camp certainly wasn’t all work, though. The first evening, after we arrived, and had free time, David took all of us to watch a local fireworks display———and he and I tossed around a few wedding plans and ideas while we waited for the fireworks to being. Sara and Jordan would say David and I spent more time looking at each other than at the fireworks, but that wasn’t really the case. During the afternoon break each day at camp, we were able to swim and canoe while keeping an eye on the kids, and in the evenings, we went for walks and just enjoyed time together, or with the other people at camp. Sara and I were roommates———which was quite the treat. We’d never gotten to spend that much time together in one week! A couple days after getting back from camp, wedding planning commenced in earnest, and by the end of the month, we had decided on a wedding date———yes, finally!


August, September and October were filled with wedding planning and preparations, attending more births, a quick day-trip to Oklahoma to go canoeing with David’s family, and just the everyday stuff of life, too.


I had decided, back in April, to sew my wedding dress myself, and I had purchased the fabric then. I cut it out and sewed the lining back in June/July, but it wasn’t until August that I set to work in earnest to finish it. My goal was absolutely no late-night sewing at the last minute———and I almost succeeded. I did finish my mom’s blouse the night before the wedding. *sigh* At least my wedding dress and David’s shirt, vest, and cravat (I sewed all of those, too), were ready weeks ahead of time!

Going into wedding planning, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from David. From all that I’d heard, it was typical for the girl to do most of the work involved in planning for a wedding———that, or a wedding coordinator. That was not David’s idea of his role, however. ;) I’m so thankful for how involved he was, even while busy with work and other things. He did so much to lighten my load, and help me make decisions that were best for everyone. There were only a couple points where it was momentarily a little stressful (for me); the rest of the time we both thoroughly enjoyed the journey! A simple, outdoor wedding with as many family and friends present as possible, with a modest budget, was what we both wanted. However, the most important thing to both of us was that the focus of our wedding would be on God, and that it would be a reminder of why He created marriage, and what our marriage should be a picture of—the covenant love between Christ and His Bride, the Church. We spent time in prayer over every decision, and did our best to remember to pray every time we sat down to wedding plan. We wanted this wedding to be all about Him. As I shared with David, my earnest desire was for people to NOT walk away thinking about us…but instead, to walk away thinking about Christ, and on how amazing and wonderful and awesome He is!


During the ceremony, David briefly shared what God had taught us as He brought us together, and what He was still teaching us on this journey. Because we had decided on an outdoor wedding, we had prayed about having a back-up plan (such as a tent), or an alternate location in case of rain, but God gave us peace that He would answer our earnest prayers for a clear, calm day. We trusted Him to provide, and He did!


In fact, God provided perfectly for every detail of our wedding day. Our wedding was held at the property of a church friend (they have lovely, huge oak trees, and there are beautiful fields and trees on the surrounding acres). If we were going to serve cake or desserts at our wedding, my desire was that they not be made from white flour and white sugar, but that they would be delicious and healthy.


Here too, God blessed! One of the mothers in our church made delicious gluten-free carrot cake and cupcakes with incredible icing for us. A dear neighbor and her girls made tea and served that and trail mix at the reception.


One dream of mine has long been that my father would be the one to officiate at my wedding———God worked that out too. :)


All of David and my siblings sing and play instruments, so they provided the music for the wedding and reception, which was so special! Beautiful photography and videography was provided by more dear friends.

The sound system and chairs were lent to us by our churches. And those two friends who got married last year? They were our wedding coordinators———and did an awesome job, let me tell you!


Other friends served as ushers, decorators, reception servers, and much more———even our families took care of details on the day of the wedding.


We had an absolutely wonderful, and stress-free day, thanks to the generosity and the hard work of family and our friends.


Every time we think back on our wedding day, David and I both agree that it was incredibly special, and that it couldn’t have been any better. It was certainly a very unconventional wedding, but it was perfect, and it very much fit who we are.





The day after the wedding, David took me up to Beaver’s Bend, OK, for a lovely little honeymoon. We had a lodge room provided for us right off the lake, with a perfect view of the water and surrounding trees and forest. We got to enjoy watching a storm blow across the lake, and capture some gloriously vibrant sunrises———yes, we took our cameras. We walked in the woods, went down to the water, skipped rocks, tried one of the local restaurants (they had delicious food), and even managed to take a little 2-hour canoe ride down one of the rivers fed by the lake. It was a delightful few days!

Once back in Texas, we settled down into our cozy little two-bedroom travel trailer. Yes, we’re living in a “tiny house” and we really enjoy it! When David and I talk with each other about our “someday” house that we’d like to save for, and eventually build, it’s not more space we dream of, but a more energy-efficient home, and one in which we could reduce our monthly bills even further———we’ve researched solar power, rainwater catchment, water purification that is simple and sustainable and doesn’t require electricity, and even composting toilets.

After barely settling down to newly-married life, the holydays were upon us! Now that we’re married, the Thanksgiving festivities lasted two days. We spent one day with the Cronins and their extended family (which included eating, of course, but also Frisbee and more at the park), and the next day we spent with the Penningtons and their extended family (which featured eating, a great soccer game, and a very special time of praise and worship at the end of the evening).

This December, we weathered the ice storm and sub-freezing temperatures that hit North Texas. When the electricity went out very early on Friday morning, were extra grateful for our next-door neighbors (my “original” family), and their wonderful hospitality and the wood stove. We spent the weekend over at their house, and had great family time, cooked on the wood stove, did some knitting and sewing, played chess and board games, did Bible studies, and had praise and worship time complete with instruments.

Amidst all the busyness of this year, David and I definitely learned more about what it means and looks like to truly, selflessly love another person———and as God is teaching us how to love each other in an unconditional way, it has also greatly helped us to better understand God’s love towards us.

“And this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins… and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 4:10, 2:2

True love is serving someone else instead of ourselves—and without expecting anything in return. Which is why the Bible describes love as “charity”. Love is not receiving; it is giving.


“This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes…” -Psalms 118:23

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Fall has Flown…

17 Nov 2012

This fall was wonderfully crazily busy!

Sewing, traveling, organizing, clearing out things I no longer need, and gardening were all part of the fall. I took a break from delivering babies, but got new, and wonderful clients. Soon it will be time for lots of babies again—along with the holidays!

I drafted a pattern for a medium-weight knit fabric wrap with long sleeves and sewed it, greatly modified a bodice pattern and sewed a nice wool dress, drafted a pattern for a wool vest for my 13 year-old brother. I traveled to NE, and visited friends in KS and OK on the way to and from. I helped a friend work on her wedding dress.

I perfected a tortilla recipe that uses only flour, water, and salt, and it’s soaked, and tastes almost the same as our old favorite recipe which had (as additional ingredients) baking powder, and oil. Our new recipe is much cheaper, and simpler, and is mixed up ahead of time—thus cutting the preparation time in half, or less!

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·