Retreat

Retreat_Daquila-Pardo

We spent the whole day talking about and mediating on the theme of love.

Where I grew up in Ohio, we lived right down a little hill from our church. In fact, it was an eight-block walk to church, which I know because Phil and I attended our church school for eight years and walked that hill every day (except when Dad would drive us on harsh winter mornings).

I loved Immaculate Conception Church and the IC School; they felt like home. And I think that one really important reason they felt so familiar and comfortable to me was that my parents were involved at church, so we were there a lot and knew many of the other families. That feeling of not just going to church but belonging there left a strong impression on me and is something that I have searched for ever since moving away from my hometown.

Matt and I have tried to get involved at each of the few churches we’ve attended over the years. But signing up to help with various ministries just wasn’t leading to those feelings of belonging that we sought. I can remember being mystified one day at our last church when, after attending several meetings and having personal conversations with a woman who led a ministry I was in, I then walked into another meeting and she acted as though she was just meeting me! I was crestfallen.

And it made me rethink things.

So I decided to take a harder look at why this had worked for my parents but wasn’t producing the same effect for us. Beside one obvious difference—which is that my parents had children enrolled at the school, allowing them to meet the other parents and bond over that commonality—I realized there was something else. My parents didn’t just sign up to assist with a ministry, they became leaders. And they didn’t just help with events, they took advantage of spiritual enrichment opportunities like bible studies and retreat weekends, too.

In other words, they were all in. They made themselves both physically available and emotionally vulnerable to the other people of that church. And isn’t that what any good relationship requires? You have to put yourself out there to get to the good stuff.

I’ve wished for a long time that I had a place like “Cheers,” where everybody knew my name. But I had to face the fact that the other characters didn’t call out Norm’s name when he arrived just because he showed up to drink beer. He had to invest…by sitting on that same bar stool day after day, by telling his stories and listening to theirs and by being there for them.

So, that’s the long version of why I went to the women’s retreat at our church earlier this month. Honestly, I almost didn’t go because I wasn’t sure I wanted to give up a whole Saturday for it. But then I remembered my plan to follow my parents’ example and go all in. I met several really wonderful women from my church. And it was truly a lovely day. Literally. We spent the time talking and meditating on this breathtaking bit of scripture about love:

Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated,
it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Cor 12:31-13:13

And yes, I have taken on the lead role in one of our ministries as well. But that’s a story I’ll save for another day…perhaps over a frosty mug.

Product/technique notes:
I dug deep in my stash and created this layout using older products from BasicGrey, K&Company, Making Memories and My Mind’s Eye. I also used Artful Delight’s February sketch and am entering this in their sketch challenge.
Artful Delight February sketch

Gossip girls

GossipGirls_Daquila-Pardo

Sometimes what you need is just a night out with the girls.

I’ve met a really fun group of women just by shopping at my local Archiver’s scrapbook store. Every person in this photo, except me, works or has worked at Archiver’s. We met because of a shared hobby, but when we get together, talking about scrapbooking is not on the agenda!

We all gathered on January 4th to celebrate the new year and to see our friend, Sri, who is pursuing her Master’s at the University of Pennsylvania and was home for the holidays. It was a happy few hours…lots of gabbing and laughing.

Front row: Jacquie, Sri, Jennifer, Deborah
Back row: Heather, Ashley, Virginia, me
Not pictured: Susan

Product/technique notes:
I created this layout to participate in the “Use your stash” challenge at Write. Click. Scrapbook. We have to use at least three older products on a project, and on this layout everything is older. Here’s my list: the background paper is from the English Moss collection by ColorBok; the rest of the patterned paper is from the BasicGrey Hello Luscious 6×6 pad; the paper crimper I used on the larger horizontal strip is ooooold; and the McGill mini file tab punch is also from way back in the day.

I also used this sketch from Creative Scrappers:
Creative Scrappers sketch 243 by Juliana Michaels

Valentine rose

ValentineRose_Daquila-Pardo

I really enjoyed making this Valentine's card for my mommy!

When it came time to make a Valentine’s Day card for my mommy, I pulled out this big rose stamp and started coloring with my Copic markers. As a beginner with Copics, I found this image very fun and satisfying to color. The shading marks provided in the design of the stamp really helped me with making my color-shading decisions, something I continue to struggle with because I lack true art training. But I’m quite happy with how the shading came out on this one, and it was fun!

Now, cutting out this image was another story. Oi! Note to self: Next time you want to use this stamp, do yourself a favor and plan to leave the background intact.

I then created a matching background with Distress Inks and watercolor paper. A lace clear stamp by My Mind’s Eye completed the look.

Time flies when we’re together

TimeFlies_Daquila-Pardo

I always hate to see my baby bro go back home after our holiday visits.

This photo of me and my baby bro just reminds me of how much fun we had when he came to visit us right after Christmas and into the new year. We were at the airport saying our goodbyes, and Matt snapped a few shots of us. I chose this one out of the bunch because I loved Phil’s laughing smile.

The title has a double meaning: how time figuratively flies when we’re hanging out together and because Phil was about to get on a plane and fly home.

Product/technique notes:
I cut that white background shape with my Cameo and backed the openings with My Mind’s Eye Lime Twist: Out of the Blue patterned papers. I also used MME’s January sketch and am entering this in their sketch challenge.
MME January sketch challenge

Hey, I have great news: I won the sketch contest at My Mind’s Eye! The winner gets a collection of his/her choice, so I picked Collectable » Unforgettable. Yay!

Mom’s favorite class ever

FavoriteClass_Daquila-Pardo

Mrs. Daquila (Mom) poses with her kindergarten class of 1972-73 in our Willoughby basement.

I can’t decide who was more fortunate that year—the teacher or the students. In the fall of 1972 Mom’s friends, who had children the same age as Phil and me, devised a brilliant plan: Instead of sending their children to various kindergarten programs around town, they proposed sending them all to our house! Mom was a certified teacher, and her friends knew that she would be wonderful for their children. I don’t know how much cajoling it took to get Mom (and Dad’s) agreement to this plan, but convince them they did!

I have some pretty great memories of little moments from that year, like saying the Pledge of Allegiance and singing “Begin the day with happiness” together each morning. Or getting to sing a solo of “Away in a manger” for our Christmas program (yes, the parents came to our basement for the show). I also remember the day I spilled my drink during snack time and having to skip my snack the next day (I certainly give Mom a ribbing about that rule!).

But can you even imagine what a joy that year was for my mom? First, there’s the honor of being asked by your friends to teach their beloved children. And what mother who’s also a teacher wouldn’t want the chance to keep her own children home for one more school year, while at the same time providing them with a good curriculum surrounded by their friends? If we talked about teaching like the movies talk about gangsters, Mom would have pulled off the biggest heist in history!

Product/technique notes:
I am so happy to have had the chance to try the chalkboard look for the title treatment on this layout, and I’ll do a separate post to describe the technique I used. All the patterned papers came from BasicGrey’s Clippings collection. I used the sketch below from Creative Scrappers and am entering it in their challenge.
Creative Scrappers sketch 241