Beautiful Work

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands…. Psalm 90:17a

Bartering Brainstorm May 29, 2009

Filed under: Homemaking,Household tips — Andie @ 7:27 pm

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things you could barter:

birthday cake home organization
quilt speech therapy
frozen meals childcare
party planning wedding reception decor
flower arranging grocery shopping
frequent flyer miles filing
coupon finding/printing scrapbooking
gardening family photography

Hope this gets you thinking about ways you could barter and better manage your household and your skills! Here is a helpful article I read on the topic of bartering.


Christian + artist May 26, 2009

Filed under: who we are — Andie @ 1:14 pm


If Leah is Practical Polly, it’s possible that my name should be Impractical Inez. Thankfully for me, I already have a name: Artsie Andie. This week, I’m going to be sharing a bit of the process God has been leading me through in seeking to find out how to live out His call on my life as a Christian Artist.

This combination has not always resided peacefully within me.  I think it started to coexist more happily my senior year of college when a friend told me that I must start taking art classes again. I had stopped several years earlier under the mistaken understanding that my time as a Christian was better spent “serving the Lord” than in the art room. Due to my friend’s encouragement, I began to understand that  being who I am, rather than who I am not, is the way I am called to serve him.

Around that time, I read an article that completely encouraged me written by my current pastor (only God knew at that point I would be moving to Minneapolis!). The article is entitled God is not Boring. It was a sweet reminder of the fact that God is the Creator; To be creative is imitating Him! This article was also part of what helped my analytical husband begin to embrace and enjoy my artwork more fully. He is so supportive of me as an artist now and that gives me freedom to develop this part of my life all the more.

More on the intersection of artist + wham later….


Practical Polly and her friends May 22, 2009

Filed under: Extending Kindness,Hospitality,Keeping inspired,Mothering — Leah @ 6:00 am

Last installment (I promise)!  :-)

Super practical ways to love, by serving, your friends- here they are:

  • Offer to watch her kids while she heads out on her own for a few hours.
  • Bring dinner, for no real reason…besides simply that you love them!
  • Provide date-in-a-box for a friends who just had a baby.
  • When you show up for a play date, bring the other mom’s favorite coffee drink for her.
  • Plan a girl’s night and teach a skill you’d like to share (scrapbooking, sewing, a craft you’ve recently done…)
  • It’s spring!  Head to a nearby plant sale and use some leftover grocery money to pick up a few inexpensive plants for your friends.

More ideas?  Leave us a comment and we’ll add ’em to the post!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!


Practical Polly and her children May 21, 2009

Filed under: Keeping inspired,Mothering — Leah @ 9:27 pm

Here they are: some super-practical ways to love, while serving, yous kids!

  • Because of my personality (and my love for lists), it’s VERY easy for my list of “to-do”s to take over the day and push the kids to the end of the day “if there is time”.  (I know that sounds pathetic, but it’s true.)  So instead of inadvertently ignoring my children I aim to make each day include something that my son likes (you know, boy play…OUTSIDE.) and something my daughter likes (color, color, color, read, read, read).   It’s worked out well for both me (things still get accomplished) and for the kids (they get the one on one Mommy time that they need).
  • I ask the kids each week what is one thing they would like to do that week, or one dinner they’d like to have, or one type of craft they’d like to do- then WE DO IT.  We go to the zoo, or the pet store, or the toy store, or the park “with the spider web thingy”, or their cousins’ house.  We have spaghetti for dinner, or yogurt for lunch, or bananas in our sandwich, or honey on our toast.  We use “the big paints”, we actually get out the scissors, we make binoculars with toilet paper rolls, we outline our own bodies on butcher paper, we haul out the beads…and are okay with the fact that they WILL spill all over the carpet before we are done.

Quick note for Moms of Multiples (aka: twins, triplets, or more): Yes, it’s true.  It’s a wee bit harder to have multiple toddlers discovering the joys of markers for the first time than just one.  The mess will be twice as big when the playdoh hits the floor and paint will seem to fly twice as far.  And of course the children will feed off each others naughty ideas…twice as fast.   BUT (yes, there is a but….), it is also twice the fun.   It’s sounds corney, but it’s really true!  The privilege of raising my twins is something I would never trade away.  Watching two little people discover life together is an amazing and wonderful opportunity.  It does cause you to ease up a bit and relax your expectations for the day (or the week….).  What your friend with children two different ages may be able to do in a day, might not be possible for you.  So, breath deep, take it one day at a time, love your kids, and seek out the best way to be their mother.  God has given them to YOU, becuase you are the perfect mother for them.  THE PERFECT one.  Although it’s a handful at times (okay, let’s face it- most of the time), YOU CAN DO IT!  You can do it when you lean on the strength, wisdom, patience, and grace that God pours out to use each and every day.  So, hang in there Mom of Multiples.  You’ll make it after all.  :-)


Practical Polly and her husband May 19, 2009

Filed under: Homemaking,Keeping inspired,Wife-ing — Leah @ 6:00 am

Okay ladies!  Here are some super-practical ideas for loving, while you’re serving, your husband!

  • You know that favorite dinner of your husbands that you really can’t stand?  That dinner that his mom made when he was growing up?  That dinner that you just aren’t really that fond of?  That dinner that you’d rather kick off the menu permanently?  That dinner whose main ingredient is something you’re allergic to?  (okay, maybe that’s going too far)…well, make it!  Make it with joy, make it on a fairly regular basis, and strive to make it that way HE wants it.
  • Ask your husband what part of the house he would like to see cleaned more/most often.  Then (can you guess?)…clean it!  Clean it with joy, clean it on a more regular basis that you do now, and strive to clean it the way HE wants it.
  • What about your bedroom?  Is it a wee bit too flowery or shimmery for your man?  Tone it down a bit with some natural elements (bamboo, wicker, rattan…anything wood-ish and in it’s natural color).  Add a few plants…non flowering ones of course!  And don’t worry, even bamboo can be romantic in candle light.  :-)
  • What kind of dates do you go on?  If your husband is a sporty type dude, why not go to a ball game next time you head out.  Too expensive?  Go to a local college game or even a high school game.  They are often very cheap – and although you may think it’s “lame”- he’ll love that it’s live and right in front of him.

What do you already do?  Have more ideas to try?  Leave it in a comment…you know we’d ALL love to hear ’em.  :-)


Practical Polly May 18, 2009

Filed under: Keeping inspired — Leah @ 6:00 am

Here at Beautiful Work, we’re test-driving a new writer format this summer.  Each week one of us will write 3-5 posts on a topic we feel passionate about, have expertise in, or just want to share with you!

On that note, being the super-practical gal that I am…what better to write on this week than some super-practical ways to love and serve those people you love most: your family!  I confess that often I find myself too busy with the day-to-day needs of my husband, home, and kids to remember that I am also called to LOVE them in the midst of serving them.

So for installment No. 1 here are some super-practical ways you can love and take care of yourself.   After all, as my hubby says: “If mama ain’t happy- ain’t nobody happy.”  :-)

  • Set a basket next to your favorite chair with your bible, notebook, pen, glasses, current novel, iPod,  etc.  Make it as easy as possible for you to take some time for yourself each day-put it all in one place!
  • In effort to keep within our budget, if I’m the only one that likes a certain item it simply doesn’t get bought.  So we’ve started keeping one figure friendly snack in the house that’s just reserved just for me.  But remember, keep it stowed away or be ready to share!
  • Treat yourself to a date.  A cheap date.  Hit up coffee or frozen yogurt.  Do it alone, with your spouse, or a good friend.
  • Give yourself a pedicure.  It’s time well spent, and money well saved!!  What woman doesn’t like seeing pretty feet when she looks down!??
  • Make time to exercise!  You’ll feel better, look better, and have way more energy than the days you don’t.
  • Find a hobby if you don’t have one already.  Sewing, cooking, hiking, reading, puzzles, games, scrap booking, crafts, collages, design, biking, painting, writing…we’re all gifted in different ways- so share your talents with others if you can!

FYSS May 16, 2009

Filed under: Free Your Space — Gretchen @ 8:07 pm

Sorry about the late post!!  For this free your space I want to encourage everyone to clean out their pantries!!!  I usually go through and try to throw out old cornstarch or baking soda that might need replacing.  These unpredictable spring days (for those of us in the North :) that bring cold winds and rain storms are great for using up cans of soup.  This is to make room for all the summer stuff.  I usually stock up on canned beans for salads, tuna, and bbq fixings for the summer.