adventures in trying to be martha stewart.

I consider myself to be a creative person. I have (what I think are) brilliant* ideas and a knack for looking at someone else's trash and seeing what I could make out of it (I am pretty sure this "talent" comes from not wanting to spend money on anything). The difference between me and people who actually have craft blogs and end up on The Martha Stewart Show is that sometimes my ideas get lost in the execution. I wish that I could just tell my ideas to a robot that would draw/make them. Nerd alert.

Last year when we were in Egypt, I got really inspired and decided that I was going to go home and design a children's clothing line for the "distant day" that we would have children. Two things happened after that: 1. I went to Haiti and came back with a disease that crippled me for months. 2. I realized I didn't know how to draw or sew.  Then something else happened: I found out I was pregnant. and I was WAY behind on my children's clothing line (read: hadn't started it).

I got an amazing sewing machine as a Christmas/Birthday gift and have been trying to figure out how to sew ever since. It's been going pretty well...all things considered. Recently I have focused my sewing projects on a little baby that is going to show up around here pretty darn soon.As Steve put it, "she should look (dress) like she belongs to us". Well said, Mr. Daddio Schallert. So, I have been trying to make her some clothes so she fits in with her incredibly trendy** parents.  It is certainly not a clothing line...more like a bunch of fabric scraps that I found in the Boutique (free thrift store on the YWAM base) sewn together sloppily. But these sloppy fabric scraps were sewn from the heart ; )

My most recent attempts at Trendy Baby 2011 are:

 I saw a tutorial for this online and modified it according to what I had laying around in the ol' craft closet. In the end I used a (pre-made) bloomer,  a flowery fabric scrap and one of Steve's old t-shirts (for the straps).

I saw a few tutorials for similar hats online and after reading through them sort of just "winged it" and modified as I went along. I don't have a printer at home so I had to draw my own pattern (not my strong point). My pattern was about 4 inches too short so it turned out really small, but I am hoping it fits tiny baby's head for the first few weeks (or at least days). I also don't own a pair of pinking shears (yet) or even a pair of moderately sharp scissors (I am pretty sure the ones I have are rusty...eek) which is to blame for the extremely ragged edges (and the 15 minutes it takes me to cut anything out).

*Ok, they are not that brilliant.
**Yeah, not really. We live on an island so we are sort of out of the fashion loop.


Celebrations, cake and magic points.

 Just in the past week we have celebrated our anniversary, (pre) Father's Day, Steve's birthday (and Steve's dad's birthday too...from afar! They are born on the same day.)
All of this back-to-back celebrating has given us the opportunity to slow down and take time to just BE with each other and with good friends. Here's a recap.

Steve's Father's Day card was written in "kicks" from baby. It had a kick decoder and the photo above is Steve trying to figure out the message.
The final message.

I usually try to be creative with gifts, but this year necessity won out and I got Steve socks for his birthday. SOCKS. I wanted to make up for the snore-fest gift by giving him a really fun day. In my "super fun day planning", I hit a wall. Hard (seriously, preggo-brain). So I made Steve a "menu for celebration" (yeah, I really called it that) so that he could pick the things that he wanted to do/I didn't have to commit to any plans that might flop. One of the things that he picked was brunch at one of our favorite local restaurants, Lava Java. The food is great at Lava Java. The coffee is great at Lava Java. The iced ginger tea is great at Lava Java. But the best thing about Lava Java is that every time we go there they give us free stuff. We have this magical "Lava Java Points" card that they swipe whenever we go. For the sake of the magic it is important to note that we do not go to Lava Java very often. Here's how the points card works (apparently):
We go to Lava Java and eat delicious food.
They swipe our magic card so that we can accrue points toward free coffees.
A certain number of coffee points equals a free meal.
Without ever accruing points, our magical points card tells Lava Java that we have earned free meals and free drinks.
We get free meals.
We get free birthday brunch.

  At the end of the day I wanted to surprise Steve for his birthday (not an easy feat) so I decided to "make it easy on myself", "keep it simple" and just invite a few friends over for cake on Monday night. On Sunday I told Steve that I had some top-secret stuff to do and that I would drop him off at the coffee shop to read (one of his favorite past times) and pick him up in 1-2 hours. Six hours later I was still baking. So much for keeping it simple. I made banana bread (above) and three cakes. I managed to surprise him and the cakes were actually pretty good (and they looked good too...because that's what counts, right?)! Because we have a million avocados in our backyard, I decided to try out a recipe for Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake (we are not vegans, in case you are wondering) that my friend Kirsten had passed on to me from Joy the Baker. It was surprisingly delicious. I love the way the bright green icing looks on the dark chocolate cake. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos but here is a video. **Please note: the avocado cake looks sort of gross when filmed in sepia tones.**

Thank you to all of our dear friends who came and celebrated with us!


Photo recap of the last three years.

Today Steve and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. After working at the Kona campus:
I took a nap
Steve and I watched Fantasy Factory
We strolled around downtown Kona
Sat by the ocean
Visited the church where we got hitched
Had a delicious dinner from a restaurant that picks your food from their garden when you order it. 
It was a perfect day.
Here is a recap of our last three years.

We moved to Hawaii to volunteer with photogenX
Two weeks later we were engaged.
Two months later we were married. 
Two weeks after that we headed to Afghanistan and then to Memphis, Tennessee where Jon & Mary Catherine graciously hosted us.


We met some of nearest and dearest friends while staffing the photogenX Discipleship Training School. (They made us this banner for our first anniversary) 
We traveled to Panama, South Africa and Egypt.


South Africa.

We traveled to Haiti where I contracted a disease that Steve and I refer to as "the evil monster of doom disease" in hindsight. It was a physically traumatic year and honestly I don't remember a lot of it. 
Steve traveled to Pakistan and I got to visit my family on the east coast.
 The Schallert's came to Hawaii to spend Christmas with us.
The Schallerts.
On the first day of the new year we found out that we were going to have a baby!
We traveled to South Africa (We like it there).  

South Africa.

It has been an incredible three years and I am convinced that I am the luckiest wife on earth. Here's to many, many more.


rah, rah, rah.

It has been a delightfully lazy (and very rainy) Saturday to end a busy week. My logic at 10am this morning when I wanted to crawl back into bed for a nap was, "I'm tired because it's Saturday." Steve wisely pointed out that I am probably actually tired because I am in my third trimester of pregnancy and growing a human takes a lot of energy. Duh, how come I didn't think of that? After he stated this, I smugly nodded my head and gave myself a mental pat-on-the-back for being a baby factory. Did I nap? Absolutely not. I did, however, do laundry, complete half of a workout called "Bikini Body Camp" (only half because half of it is done on your back and believe it or not, Bikini Body camp is not geared toward the preggos), cleaned the house and gathered avocados from the yard. Because I have what Tom Rath classifies as an "achiever personality". I have a million mental checklists in my brain at all times with really important "to-do's" on them like, "make a to-do list", "organize socks", "make cute stuff" (I am not exaggerating here). Lately I have been forgetting to put the stuff that is actually important on the list but I have decided to go easy on myself and just blame the absentmindedness on the "pregnancy-brain".

I read facebook updates that remind me that it is Summertime on the mainland and that a lot of people "can't wait for vacay!" or are "heading to the beach for three whole days!" I haven't even been committed enough to make a five minute trip to wade in the sparkling blue Pacific. "Go to the beach" shouldn't be a hard one to check off the list but it is. And I will tell you why.

1. Going back to that whole "achiever" personality thing... I don't last long laying at the beach. 20 minutes go by and I am checking the clock and pulling out the post-it notes to jot down all of the things that I have thought of to be more valuable than lazing around. (What? You don't bring post-it notes to the beach?)

2. Sometimes I forget that I have gained an extra 23 pounds (there, I said it. It's out there as if it weren't obvious) and have a mega baby-belly and I can do all the "Bikini Body Camp-ing" that I want but the truth of the matter is that the bathing suit that I have had since I was 19 doesn't exactly do wonders for the bod anymore (read: it doesn't fit).

3. I am married to Mr. Stephan "SPF 99+" Schallert. I have the utmost respect for a man that takes such good care of his skin, but he and the scorching Hawaii sun aren't exactly a winning pair.

4. Shark chompings. That's what I call shark attacks...and there was one at a beach just a few minutes away a few weeks ago.

So, there you have it. All of my excuses for not kicking back, soaking in the sun and enjoying our time on this island in the Pacific. All this complaining has made me super tired...time to attempt a nap (but those post-its won't be far away).


Ten Thousand Homes

Ten Thousand Homes is an organization that builds houses and creates "home" for some of South Africa's orphans and vulnerable children. Steve and I, along with the photogenX Around the World Track team, recently had the honor of joining them in their work for a short six weeks. Our team put together a new promo video for their ministry. Thanks for watching! [p.s. background music by Steve. Swoon.]


Muwaji's Law

 In certain indigenous cultures in Brazil culture and tradition are sometimes valued more than life itself. Every year hundreds of indigenous children are rejected, abandoned in the forest or even buried alive for various reasons such as, being born a twin or a triplet, having a mental or physical deficiency, being born out of wedlock or just being considered to be a bearer of bad luck. Infanticide has been disguised as "cultural respect".

In 2007 a team from photogenX visited one of these indigenous tribes in the Amazon and listened to the stories of grieving mothers who had been pressured to bury their own children alive because of cultural stigmas. They listened to fathers explain that they wanted to keep their children alive but their voices had been muffled by the tribes desires to maintain respect for their cultural customs. Many parents in the tribes commit suicide rather than kill their own children. PhotogenX knew that they had to do something to amplify the cries of the families who were trying desperately to keep their families alive. They made a book with photos of the beautiful indigenous people in the tribes. The book celebrates human life and puts a face to the issue of infanticide.

A few years later Hollywood filmmaker, David Cunningham, made a documentary in cooperation with ten indigenous tribes. Many of those who act in the film were survivors of infanticide or had rescued a child. The film tells the story of Hakani, a young girl who had some developmental deficiencies and was eventually buried alive by family members after her parents, who couldn't bear to kill her, committed suicide. She was rescued by her brother and brought to YWAM missionary couple who had been living and working with a nearby tribe for over 20 years. Hakani was 5 years old at the time but only weighed 15 pounds and was only 27 inches long. Within six months of care and medical attention, Hakani (whose name means, "smile")  doubled her weight and length, started to walk, talk and interact with others. She is now 14 years old, has developed normally and has a smile that lights up the Kona YWAM campus.

The film helped bring global attention to the issue of infanticide in the Amazon basin. In spite of some opposition worldwide, the film helped to launch a national movement for the approval for a law to protect indigenous families.

 The bill 1057 known as “Muwaji Law”(named after the first mother from the Suruwaha tribe who fought for her disabled daughters life), was approved at the Human Rights Committee at the National Congress YESTERDAY in Brazil. Muwaji's Law seeks to protect indigenous children from being rejected, abandoned and buried alive. 

Visit the Hakani website to learn more
Read the Grassroots News report here

© 2010 unless otherwise stated all photos are copyright diane schallert and may not be used without permission. thanks.

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