A New or Not-so-new Thing | Blog 9.0 | A tale of many blogs

I’ve blogged extremely sporadically for years. Back in the early days of blogging when everything had to be hand-coded if you wanted to customize one of the few themes available, I had a blog called Emerging Ecclesiology. Which auto correct thinks should be “Emerging Anesthesiology” but I digress. I engaged in questions of theology and culture, the emerging church, and what ecclesiology (a theology of church, not as sleep-inducing generally as anesthesiology, if you’re interested in that sort of thing, otherwise, auto correct may have a point) looks like for a post-modern church.

That was about 17 years ago if I recall correctly, I was 23 and fresh out of seminary and bursting with ideas. I was teaching world religions at a community college west of Los Angeles, teaching assisting with some classes at Fuller where I had just graduated, and developing a college ministry program at a local church. Writing that reminds me that I used to have energy, now just looking at that sentence makes me tired.

Eventually I wanted to turn to more of an emphasis on general theology and spirituality so I renamed the blog Deep Soil and indulged in beautiful headers of trees and forests. Somewhere around this time (age 25 by now), I met my now husband on my blog. That’s right, I met my husband on the internet without internet dating and before blogs where a thing. I had to explain our origin story starting with “what’s a blog” to about 50% of the people I tried to tell it to.

I moved to Tennessee and took a full-time youth ministry position. That and planning a wedding, getting married, remodeling a house, husband getting ordained, then moving again a year later and both of us starting new jobs, a local church for him, a diocesan position in youth ministry for me, and blogging kind of fell by the way-side. Oh somehow in the middle of this, I wrote and published a book of youth ministry lessons on the book of Ezekiel. Why Ezekiel for my first book? Because I like to jump in the deep end and see how long I can tread water. This can be a good thing and very very bad thing, but it’s what it is. Now as I approach my 40th year, I sometimes remember to look before I leap. Sometimes.

We built a house north of Nashville, my diocesan position got cut after two years because of money problems, and I launched into free-lance photography, simultaneously starting two new blogs, one called Wayfaring Artist, which still exists in some ways on this site  as I moved the posts over here when I closed that down, and one called Daily Ikon which was a photo blog turned photography business. Those blogs lasted me through the birth of my first child (he’s now 8), after which I had to dial back the photography thing because it wasn’t paying enough to justify child care. Then in November of 2011 I finished my first National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo), and decided I wanted to do something with the novel I had written. So I launched edits, and blog tour and started this site, A.E. Howard Writes to go with the “branding” of my author name. Initially I only used this blog feature for announcements, as I optimistically and unrealistically thought I could write a book a year and there would be things to update. I’ve done some short stories and novellas but haven’t published another novel as of yet.

Somewhere in there I tried briefly to revive Deep Soil, and at one point had (or maybe have, I need to check, lol) a blog called Anna’s Grace Notes, and now I’ve started a blog for my aquarium and vivarium business over on Engaging Ecosystems

So by relaunching now, that brings me to blog number nine I believe. Part of my problem is I kept thinking that I had to have separate branding for everything I did, and I’m getting to where I’m rejecting that notion. Now, what I want to write about here (more in a second), is very different then technical posts on how to build a dart frog ecosystem, so I am going to keep those separate, but that’s it. I’m not removing the artsy maker posts just below this that I briefly dabbled in trying to make a go of. I still make and build and design all sorts of things but I do that for me, not for content to share.

One constant theme in all these is a search for beauty in everyday life, hence the name “daily ikon” for instance, or some of my taglines “beauty in the daily” and so on. It has been a constant theme to learn to live everyday life with appreciation and gusto even because if we only wait for the big things, the milestones, the events, we miss the majority of our own life–the one built from seconds and minutes, from children’s smiles, hot coffee, and spring flowers. If we miss the ordinary, we can’t truly appreciate the extraordinary anyway, so it’s important to make the most of the daily.

So that brings me to this blog, now in the middle of 2019. I’m working on a non-fiction project that I don’t know exactly what it will be yet. As I get parts of it done and polished I’ll post them here. I’m exploring ideas related to empathy, right relationships, theology, and what’s wrong with American Christianity. Yeah, tiny little topics, I’m sure I’ll have it sorted and polished in no time flat.

I’ve been reading a lot, so I thought I could also share some feedback and reviews from my current reading list as I go along as well.

And I’ve got about 4 different fiction projects in the works, I can’t make any promises as to when they will be finished. Books 2 and 3 of my middle grade Keeper of the Keys trilogy, a full novel from the novella I contributed to Wonderstorms, and a new project that will most likely include frogs. Which gives me my latest tagline for this site: Faith. Frogs. Fiction.

I’ve suffered for some years now from a chronic illness, namely untreated and then under-treated hypothyroidism that really wrecked my ability to much more than survive. I’ve learned a lot from being so restricted, more that I can share in other posts, but the biggest take-away is that I am not what I produce. I am happy when I can write thought, and now that I’m closer to getting the proper dosage of meds and all worked out, I can tackle some of these projects and even start bringing them out into the light, even if I don’t have any time frame that I can promise on them.

So that’s where we’re at as of today. Thanks for coming along on the journey, and welcome! Or welcome back, as the case may be

Fine motor skills activity: egg carton buttons

   
 So I saw this idea on Pinterest and decided to try it + make my own tutorial. It’s pretty easy, but a few points will make it easier!So you need:

  • an egg carton
  • two pipe cleaners
  • six buttons
  • wide grosgrain ribbon
  • wire cutters
  • candle lighter, preferably the kind that don’t blow out in the wind, they put out a very focused flame with a tiny point.

Step ONE: Cut each pipe cleaner into 3 parts. Bend in the middle and thread both ends through the holes in the button, then pull it down. If you try to do one then the other, it’s hard. Don’t ask me how I know, lol!

Step TWO: Poke two small holes in the bottom of the egg cups on one side of the carton. Thread the ends of the pipe cleaner through the holes and twist. Make sure there’s a little give on the button on the top so it’s not hard to get the ribbon buttoned onto it.

Step Three: I didn’t take a pic of this because I can’t simultaneously burn ribbon and snap pics with my cell phone. I really need another hand! So, cut your ribbon slightly longer than your carton. Burn both ends by quickly running the flame over the cut edge. Cut button holes by snipping the ribbon lengthwise about the same length as the button. Fold the ribbon lengthwise and quickly burn the cut edge before you try to button it on the button! If you attempt to button it to test your cut first, you’ll see immediate fraying. Ask me how I know ;-). Cut it too small if in doubt, you can always snip a bit more and burn again.

And that, folks, is all for today!

  

Children’s art display

 
  I’ve been wanting a way for the kids to display their artwork, so when I scored this big empty frame with basically a built in shelf, I knew I finally had what I needed.
  I mod podged coffee filters onto the frame because it was damaged. Then I painted the coffee filters.   

Then I stapled a bunch of twine to the back, criss-crossing it until I liked the design and then Eli made me add more :-)

 Added some mini clothespins and we were in business!

  It’s hanging on two command hooks because it’s not heavy and this way if they pull it off the wall there’s no nails to go flying. I used hooks instead of strips because a) I wasn’t sure if they’d just pull the coffee filters off the back and b) I’m out of strips, I had hooks, and I’m not terribly patient 😉 

 
Rawr!!