Thanks everyone for the feedback! I'll probably change the banner a lot as I am having so much fun playing with it, it's always good to see what people think of my work though. Sometimes the one the stands out is so obvious to others' eyes, and not so much to me! I've also been working on prints for Kate's art show to raise money for people to go down and serve street children in Peru

If you'll be in Birmingham on March, 14, come check it out! And if you won't be able to make the show, but you see something you like between now and the 14th, let me know which photo  you want, what size, and how much you'd like to donate to the cause, and I'll send you the print and give your donation to Kate's show. (email me at elaine.faith.davis@gmail.com)


Graphic designer for a day:

Today, much to the detriment of my work habits, I discovered that the new Picnic software on Flickr has some really cool features. So, I decided to try my hand at designing a banner for my blog. All of these were super easy, but I think they look pretty cool.

What do you think? Which one would you like to see grace the top of the page for a while? (Click on each to see the whole image--all the photos are mine.)


The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (psalm 51:17).

Today we enter into the Lenten season. I am reminded again this year that what this season is about: repentance, a broken spirit over my sin, a re-recognition of my desperate need for Christ. I want to welcome this season of brokenness in my heart, face my sin, and rejoice that by his broken body and spilled blood, I am not only forgiven, but made clean. 

So I'm entering in, spelunking, if you will, in the dark cave that is my sin, my selfishness, my pride, my fear, my lack of love and compassion. 

" . . .  all the fitness He requireth, Is to feel your need of Him."

A place to start in the self-examination and repentance of the Lenten season: By meditating on the verses one day at a time, I hope to use this prayer as a starting point for self-examination and repentance. The words already begin to pierce my hard heart:

Prayers of the Children of God
. . . We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit. Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives, we confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people, we confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves, we confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work, we confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us, we confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty, accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts towards our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt towards those who differ from us, accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, our lack of concern for those who come after us, accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us; Favorably hear us for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of  your salvation, that we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord, bring us with all your saints into the joy of His resurrection.


I want to live a simple life.

I have recently passed two mini-milestones. One was sometime in early January, my one year anniversary of living in Birmingham (love it!). And on Friday, my one year anniversary of working at my current job (not quite as exciting.) Anyway, what I'm getting at, is that though the Lord is constantly teaching me new things, and opening new doors in my life . . . it seems time to move past the title of this blog, ".into.the.new."

Since our early dating days, simplicity has always been something that Keith and I have really valued. To me it represents something a little counter-cultural, simplicity in how we spend our time: in deep relationship with the Lord, each other, and our family and community, being creative and thoughtful, appreciating beauty, leaving room in our hearts and schedules for compassion. And how we spend our money: with prudence, seeking to be obedient and faithful, in ways that don't trample on "the lease of these," and trying to build up things of relational and eternal value rather than material. 

It is hard to live a simple life these days. But we're trying, with a hearty dose of grace and peace.

So, with that said, today marks the dawn of a new blog title, something so small and insignificant, but I wanted you to know the reason behind it. My sweet and talented friend Erin, is helping me design a new banner too, notice the "beta version." Also, hopefully you will see more posting from my partner in this simple life, Keith! So here's to living a simple life.

The Weepies say it better:

Can I get up in the morning, put the kettle on
Make us some coffee, say hey to the sun
Is it enough to write a song, and sing it to the birds
They'd hear just the tune, not understand my love for words

But you would hear me and know...
That I want to live this
I want to live
I want to live a simple life

I dreamed you first, but not so real
And every day since I found you, such moments we steal
Like little fields, we rub our hands
And hold our hearts between them

Move on, move on, time is accelerating
Drive on, all night, traffic lights and one ways
Move on, move on parking violations waiting
Turn off the car, breathe the air, let's stay here

I'll kiss you awake, and we'll have time
To know our neighbors all by name, and every star at night
We'll weave our days together like waves, and particles of light


Adventures in Homemaking Arts

I'm not sure that a year ago would have thought that I'd ever be trying my hand at knitting or bread making, but here I am, and it's a good place to be. I have truly been awakened to the "homemaking arts" by the lovely and talented women of Redeemer, and I'm loving learning and being inspired by them. I'm learning how to take what they offer and make it my own, enjoy it for the sake of creating with my hands, and not out of expectations or comparisons that we women are so prone to pile on ourselves. Perhaps more about that later.

The knitting began when Stephanie offered to teach me and Cory. I was a little impatient and first tried crocheting on my own, and then later took up knitting under Steph's careful guidance. She is a teacher at heart and explained it this way. "See, I think about this knot as the doorknob, and then you go in the door. And then wait, it's an intruder! So you strangle him, push him to the front, and then get outta there." If you are a knitter yourself, you may or may not understand this colorful instruction, but it worked for me! There's something about the rhythm of the needles, and the way the stitches feel, that makes me enjoy knitting a little bit more than crochet at this point. Hopefully I'll someday have something to show for it.

In the bread making realm . . . I've never considered myself much of a baker, as much as I love to cook. Then one day I was in Publix and saw this bread mix, which just requires you to add water, so I figured it was a good place to start (And I'll give Melissa the credit for planting the idea in my head.) I still got to experience the joy of kneading, letting it rise, etc., and it turned out really good! Added bonus, Keith LOVED it! So, I was hooked. A rabbit trail starting with Stephanie's blog lead me to this rustic baguette recipe, and I've tried it three times! The first time it was way too dense and salty, the second time it was pretty awesome, the third was kinda in between--great flavor, but a little denser of a crust than I was looking for. I think I may be addicted, and I wont stop until I get a light, airy crumb and a crisp, shiny crust the crackles when you press on it. Best part? I get to enjoy my favorite breakfast of all time every day with the added satisfaction of knowing it is the fruit of my labor.

(check out my new table cloth)


.I Heart Polaroids.

I may or may not be very late in discovering this, but through a friend of a friend's blog, I found this fabulous contraption that turns your ordinary old digital photos into lovely, quirky-colored, classic polaroids! How cool!? Here are a few of my fav's. 


3 Things to consider in light of He's Just Not That Into You

Sorry to those who haven't seen this movie, but it's been a long time since a movie has made me so disgusted. I must release the bitterness in the form of some contrary insights to this movie that hails itself as sound relationship advice for women the world over.
  1. Did we ever stop to consider whether she was all that into him? Even once? No! In the main relationship between Gigi and Alex, Gigi was quick to make it clear that she in was not into Alex, didn't find him attractive, and obviously saw him in a completely platonic light until, oh my golly!--He's into her! Immediately upon this revelation that a guy is finally into her, she falls madly for him, and still ends up making a fool out of herself until he gets his act together and it dawns on him that he is, in fact into her. Oh wait, I thought that guys always knew what they wanted, 100% of the time. What? Think again if you think this theory is empowering women.
  2. On that point, what we are supposed to take away from this movie is that when a guy is "into you," he will know 100% from the moment he sees you, behave perfectly, fawn over you, and never ever hurt your feelings. Because that's what you deserve gosh darn it! This is the exact "advice" that leads to so much confusion caused by unrealistic and selfish expectations in marriage, if you ask me. First of all ladies, men are not perfect, and neither are we. When we love each other with the love of Christ, and put our expectations on his love and promises rather than on the shoulders of a guy, we will learn to have grace for one another. Thanks be to God in his mercy that we don't get what we actually deserve! I think that we would save ourselves a lot of grief if we didn't go into relationships with a worldly sense of entitlement. (Not that there aren't times when a guy is just being a complete @#$%, a description which would accurately describe pretty much ALL of them men in this movie, on whom you legitimately should not waste your time, emotional energy, or self-worth.)
  3. There are few things in this world that make me more burdened and aware of our depravity than broken marriage and betrayal in marriage. And it makes me literally sick to watch something that even borders on glorifying betrayal and making committed marriage look dull and 2nd rate in comparison.
I know, I know. There are some things in the movie that women "need" to realize. If he's not calling you, he's probably not thinking about you, and if he's not thinking about you, he's definitely not into you. Sound advice. But there are no answers, solutions, formulas, etc. to getting relationships between fallen men and fallen women right. We must look to Christ and His Word, fix our eyes on Him, cleave to the Rock, beg to be filled with His Spirit and His love. Or we will fail. That's it.


Contrasting ways to begin a day:

(from flickr user: minkoff)
Option one: Sleep too late, whining about how you don't want to go to work during the intervals in which you are hitting the snooze button. Throw something frumpy on because it's "comfortable" after rushing through a shower and failing to dry your hair. Eat breakfast in the car. Arrive to dreaded work late, tired, and bitter. Avoid talking to people, but when you must, be sure to mention to them just how tired and bitter you are.

Option two: Awake early, but not too early. Make yourself a breakfast delightful to the eyes and palate, which consequently reminds you of Spain, of toasted homemade bread, butter, and plum jam accompanied by french pressed coffee. Read Acts as you chip away at the block of reading you have fallen behind in by too often choosing option one. Take a shower, shave your legs, dry your hair, and wear a skirt. Arrive at work on time, and cheerfully greet your coworkers as you make your way to your cubicle, coffee from home in hand.

Today I chose option two


Because I know you're all dying to know . . .

(Image from explodingdog.com. I should blog about that site, it's cool.)

I unfortunately was camera-less this weekend (I was loaning mine to a friend), but I thought I'd do my best to document our first Valentine's Day when Keith and I were a) in love, b) on the same continent, and c) able to celebrate. We, in our first year of marriage tenderness, take the simple route when it comes to holidays. Just for the sake of simplicity, which is dear to our hearts, and it's nice, developing traditions in our time. The ingredients for a sweet and simple valentine's day in the cozy Davis home go like this:

1. Play soccer with your friends for hours in the afternoon so you are good and tired. Good tired, hungry, and looking forward to an evening of coziness.

2. Whip out the mini gas grill your parents gave you for the first time, apply deliciously marinated steak, and let your husband experience the manly thrill of being the master of the grill. (And it's a nice touch if it's the first time you've had steak at home together.)

3. Invite your awesome 7 year old neighbor come up for an impromptu dance party when she hears your wedding-dance mix blasting from your open door and sees the two of you boogying on the stairs.  Proceed to dance through the soundtrack of Mama Mia, which she has brought just for the occasion.

4. Sweetly tell her to go home when dinner's ready :)

5. Gather all of the chunky non-table-intended candles you have from around the house and assemble a candle-lit setting complete with a new (my first) table cloth.

6. Thank God for your sweet and perfect-for-you mate who He has given you to enjoy and to grow you and soften you. Enjoy your tasty dinner which you have made together!

7. Cozy up on your red couch and watch a silly but sweet romantic comedy. (Our pick was Nick and Norah's Never-ending Playlist, which we enjoyed, but I think I'll refrain from recommending it.)

8. Somewhere during the course of the evening succeed in making awesome bread, especially if the first time you tried it, it was just okay, and you learned from your mistakes. This will make you wildly happy and your husband will be wonderfully supportive in celebrating your victory with you. 
. . . 
It was really nice. 

(I'll post about the bread, and some other projects, when I get my camera back!)


Words Become Worlds

I'm listening to Speaking of Faith while I work, as I often do. The program I've chosen today is about the Ojibwe language of a fairly isolated group of Native Americans in the Great Lakes region. I found the way the speaker described his peoples' "creation myth" beautifully astonishing, a thread connecting his origin to mine, and a brilliant testimony to the preeminence of Christ, The Word Who was with God, who spoke, and breathed us all into being.
"The same idea that words give life, is also something you find in Ojibwe culture. In one part of the creation story, we were made out of fairly inert materials, and we had no life until touched by sort of the breath of the Creator. We were blown on, and then came to life. And this link, of course, between language and breath, speech and breath, is very much alive"


Learned: One More Reason to Enjoy Chocolate

"Two tablespoons of cocoa contain more antioxidants than 1 cup of blueberries, 1 1/2 glasses of red wine, or 4 cups of green tea."
Happy Valentine's Week!


.Reflections on Birmingham.

Again with the apologies for not posting so much recently. I'm just going with the flow, and the blog flow as of late has been, well, a trickle. And like I said, I'm okay with that. I just hope you won't abandon me for neglect. I promise there are great things on the horizon.

Supplemented by the glorious weather this weekend, my thoughts and heart have been filled with awe and thanks for this place. Birmingham has contained such an unexpected wellspring of rich, fulfilling community; inspiring creativity; thought catalyzing continuing threads of conversation; hearty laughter. Our life is full. Full of life. Full of shared life. Full of friends who smell like home and feel like family. In a recent email my grandmother said, "Life is an adventure if we are just open to it." She is a wise, adventurous woman. I'm loving this gentle and graceful lesson that adventure does not only lie in far off places (far off places, daring sword-fights, a prince in disguise! *couldn't help it) or off-beat paths, but in simple life lived intertwined with the adventure that is relationship--with spouse, friends, church, community, Savior. Abundance is found in Him.


.Meet Guiomar.

Meet Guiomar. She is my friend, and she is awesome. Some things you should know about Guiomar: She is Spanish. She is hilarious. A couple years ago we went to Molly Malone's (A Spanish Irish pub of course) on her birthday she drank one small glass of Bailey's and it put her over the top. She began reciting proverbs in English, very thoughtfully and methodically, though at the time she knew very little English, and perhaps comprehended even less. Sigh, I love cross-cultural opportunity for awkwardness and hilarity. The following is the result of said moment: enjoy. *
"If the people sink . . . you will have no satisfaction." 

"If you have a calf . . . think, where are you now?"

"Look at the picture . . . look at the round. Look at you, look at me, look all over, and look at your life and the first second could be this moment."

"If the blue sky begings to shine the blue shine goes very fast . . . if the world begins to cry, the babies begin to shine."

*disclaimer: Her English is much improved these days, as she is studying in Ireland and has visited the US.



This week I have 3 hour rehearsals almost every night for Carmina Burana, and performances on Friday and Saturday night (FYI: the rehearsal on Thursday at 7:00 is open to the public and free). Last night was our first rehearsal with Maestro Jason Brown (two great qualities to have in a conductor: floppy hair and a british accent), and it was intense. This piece is demanding and exhausting, but worth it. I really wish I could figure out how to not carry so much tension in my shoulders because after 3 hours of standing in a proper singing posture and holding my music folder, I thought I was going to die. Hubs to the rescue with a great shoulder massage. But really, any ideas about how to relax tense shoulders?

Last night I think I finally gleaned what's behind the work, which features songs about the harshness of fate, fortune, spring time, drinking, and sex. Not exactly inspiring stuff. But it's basically about how if all you have to believe in is that fate will deal with us harshly and randomly, then why not spend your life on folly, drinking, and "love," only to be crushed by fate in the end. It's depressing, exhausting, and empty--but it can illuminate the grace we have in Christ and point us to him. That's how I'll be thinking about it. You can check out the translation here.

My blogging momentum has definitely been slowing down as of late, and I'm okay with that. I hope you'll still stick with me. A lot of great things have been going on. Which I' may or may not get to blogging about eventually :)