20x200 on OKL

I am such a huge fan of 20x200, a really great and affordable online art gallery. One Kings Lane is having a sale on gift cards to the site right now. $59 for a $100 gift card. I know I would be thrilled to get one or two of these for Christmas! I might just pick up a couple for myself before the sale ends on December 2. (And if you need a One Kings Lane account, click here to hook a sister up.)

Here are some of my favorites on 20x200 right now. I like to search by artist. It gives you little thumbnails of all the prints available on the site.

Very pretty day on Kite Hill



Perfect for that teenaged boy in your life! Love that inky blue.



I love cheeky art. This one is called Sad Vader.



The best art sucks you in and tells a story. Love this one called Ringside.



Cool? Or maybe a little creepy? Like, I'm thinking that looks a little too LOST smoke monster at first glance.



I really love this one of a volcanic land fissure in Iceland. The natural disaster swallowed up 360 houses in the 70's. Can you imagine living in that house on the end there? I think they probably felt pretty lucky.



Subtle nature shot. Love the color here.



And of course the Christian Chaize that I've been eying for a while now...


24 Hours to go

I'm full of a range of emotions today as we make our final preparations for Ethiopia. While I know it's going to be an amazing journey, I am deeply sad to leave our little Ean. Being away from him for one night is hard let alone 5 and half way around the world! I'm super thankful for the Bailey's and their love for our little guy. I know he'll be in great hands and have a wonderful time.

I'm sure we'll have lots to share after we return. For now, I ask for prayers from all of our dear friends:

- Please pray for safety for our travel and for Ean here at home
- For health and healing (we've all been sick)
- God's clarity and vision for our family in Africa
- For favor with our court appearance
- Connecting with our daughter Evy
- Our time with Tsion's family in Addis
- For sanity during 17+ hours of flying

Hugs and love from the Borja's.

Levels of Being...

Okay, I've done a few posts about "Monsters" and/or Metaphysical beings, and of course the subject of Ghosts comes up more than enough all over the place. So I've been wanting to do a post that features the different levels of being and how each affect the world around us...

All forms of Magickal theory speak of various realms or levels of being, all of which interconnect and affect one another. And all are present at every moment in our lives, even if we don't recognize it. Now, I'm not talking about some alternate universe from a bad SciFi flick, but instead other aspects of the world we live in. Generally, our culture focuses purely on the physical realm and tends to completely ignore the other more subtle realities which surround us, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. Each of these levels are present at every moment of every day of everyone's life. These levels are a part of the totality of each individual human being and it's this habit of material-mindedness which keeps us from perceiving the many-leveled complexity of ourselves and our own reality.

There are many different ways which I have heard of for classifying these different realms/levels. And just to make a note, I don't see any reason why these levels need to necessarily be limited to one "realm" in each category, but to simplicity sake, I'm not getting in to all that... It's also worth noting that while I am going to speak of "higher" and "lower" levels/realms, it's purely metaphor in an effort to help with understanding. Think of the "higher" and "lower" simply as closer to and further from "purity" but as I noted earlier, these are constantly interacting with and present within each other...

There are five main "categories" of levels, and I'm stating it that way purely to allow for beliefs which may include multiple realms on within some of these levels...

The Physical

The densest and "lowest" of the levels, identical to our physical matter as we perceive it with our five every day senses. For us humans, this level corresponds to the body itself, what we see as normal every day...

The Ethereal
This level is second rung on the "ladder"and is the level of life force. Closely linked with the breath and living matter, it's also the framework of subtle energies on which all physical matter is arranged. For human beings this level corresponds to the aura, also called the etheric body, which is the subtle body of vital energy.

The Astral
This level, which is the third "rung," is the level or concrete consciousness. This is the realm of dreams, imagination and mental activity.  In human beings this level corresponds to the astral body, the subtle body of imagination and the personality that is the vehicle for most out-of-body experiences.

The Mental
Forth on the ladder from the bottom, we have the level of abstract consciousness. This is the realm of timeless and spaceless meaning, the laws of mathematics, and the fundamental patterns of the cosmos... In human terms, we're talking about the mental body, the essential and immortal pattern of the self.

The Spiritual
The "highest" level, this is the level of primal unity from which all other levels emanate and to which they all return. This is, for humans, the level with corresponds to the spiritual body, the transcendent core of the self.

Now, the physical level is of course relatively familiar to us today. We understand how and why it works the way it works and few have arguments with the findings of modern day science about this subject. Although there is a general understanding that, from a magickal perspective, the scientific view tends to be rather incomplete. In addition the Spiritual level tends to be at least a concept that the majority of us understand simply because it's the primary focus of today's major religions. However, these intermediate levels -- Ethereal, Astral & Mental -- that remain largely unexplored and misunderstood. These also happen to be the levels which we need to have at least a basic understanding of when we are talking about other "beings," astral travel, divination, and any number of other subjects...  So, lets explore them a little bit...

For subjects like "beings" and ghosts, the etheric level is in many ways the most important. It has a number of characteristics that need to be kept in mind. First of all, this level is very close to ordinary matter. In exists in space and time, just like matter, and can affect the physical level directly. It's these "etheric forces" (known as chi or ki) which are concentrated and controlled in various forms of Asian martial arts in order to accomplish their more spectacular feats... 

The energies of the etheric level serve as a vehicle for different kinds of consciousness and can be shaped and reshaped by our conscious imagination & will. They can also be concentrated or defused by various methods. When concentrated, they take on a certain degree of apparent solidity and can be felt directly by the nerve endings in humans. They can also exert pressure on physical objects and appear to have physical weight and inertia. In this state they are even sometimes mistaken for solid or semi-solid matter. When defused, on the other hand, etheric energy becomes intangible and almost impossible to detect, unless the necessary disciplines of awareness have been mastered.

The astral level, which is the level of concrete consciousness, is nearly as important as the etheric when trying to understand magick, magickal creatures and even our own existence.  This level is the level of dreams, and because of that it's a level that even though most of us don't understand, it's a level which we each experience on just about a nightly basis.



Whats more it's central to magickal understandings that the Astral shapes the Etheric, just as the Etheric shapes the Physical. A pattern formulated with enough intensity on the astral level will reshape the subtle substance on the etheric level, which then, in turn will tend to reshape the material substance of the physical level. THIS is the basic formula for magick!

In turn, any event which takes place on the physical level echoes patterns already established on the etheric and astral levels, and can be perceived in advance of the physical event by those more in tune with the higher levels. THIS is the basic formula for divination!

Often we divide the astral level into "lower" and "upper" sub-levels for practical purposes. (Again, as before these "upper" & "lower" are metaphoric and not physical) The "lower" aspects to the astral level has more in common with the etheric and physical levels, while the "upper" has more in common with the mental and spiritual levels.

You may think the mental level is one which we are all rather familiar with, however this is only half true. This is the level where natural laws exist as concrete realities. Spaceless and timeless, it provides the fundamental patterns on which all manifestations on the lower levels is based. The patterns are combined and interwoven by the processes of the astral level, which is neither quite in time and space nor quite outside of them (again, think dreams) and then reflected in various complex forms into the etheric level, which is known entirely in space and time as we know them...

While this information may all have just gotten completely lost inside your growing headache, understanding these levels of being is imperative for understanding basic Metaphysical studies, including Magickal and Paranormal studies as well as our simple every day life on deeper levels. What I have covered here is of course only the most basic information, to cover each level in detail would take books and books, and is simply more than I could cover here. What is important is to understand how these levels exist in our own world and how they interact with one another rather than what level contains what beings and how they interact with us at this point... Although to completely understand studies of Magickal beings, Paranormal beings and Magick in general further study is always a good thing. If however, you are happy to take some things on faith, you can save yourself a lifetime of study.

**For more in depth information on these levels, what they contain and how they interact refer to the book Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings

From the Inspiration Folder again...

Looking into my not so distant future is see wallpapered rooms with doors and trim painted to match.

This is so lovely.



image via Chris Court, found on Desire to Inspire.

So Thankful

It's easy to get so wrapped up in preparation for the holidays...the turkey...the shopping...the Christmas tree to overlook the many blessings in our life. This year, I really want to slow down and enjoy the season in its fullness. I'm starting today by reminding myself of all that our family has to be thankful for this year:

- Good Health
- Provision for our Family
- Many amazing memories watching Ean grow
- The sweetest caregiver for our kids we could have ever wanted
- New Friendships and Rekindling old ones
- A new Church Home
- An amazing baby girl waiting for us in Africa
- And above all the grace, love, and provision from our Lord

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Home Goods Rescues Me Again...

It's probably been a week or so since I've sung my praises of Home Goods. High time for another post, I say!

Remember this pretty console/bar that made the blog rounds? I couldn't remember all the places that sell it, but Maison Luxe used to (says Cassandra). Price is $775. Sort of expensive, but a total show-stopper, I think.



Guess what I picked up for a client this week at Home Goods? $149, baby!



Just a little white paint and a steady hand (or some painters tape), and I think we just saved $700. I have plans to mirror the shelves too.

Trim at Joanns

I recently worked with my sister to redecorate her office/guest room on a budget. We did lots of shopping at thrift stores, IKEA and craft stores. We got all the fabrics for the room at Joanns!

Check out some of the amazing trims available at Joanns right now! I was seriously impressed - a major improvement from the last time I shopped their trims section.

Evelyn likes the zebra trim as much as I do!



Pink box pleats would be so cute on a glider slipcover for a little girls nursery.



Faux croc - maybe a little mini rug binding project?



Black and white stripes make almost anything a little better in my book



Gold!



Classic Greek key



I bought the entire spool of this leopard trim. It was on mega clearance.



Two different python patterns:





I ended up buying several yards of this rainbow ribbon. It's sort of like an abstract painting of polkadots and I love it! (sorry that the photo is out of focus)



How pretty would this folksy (almost suzani?) trim be on simple white linen curtains from IKEA...



I bought some of this sort of tribal-like trim too. Love the colors:



Do you have any fun trim in your house? Send me a photo!

**PS Some of you asked about my nail polish. Sorry you have to look at my chipped nails in almost every picture! The polish is actually a really inexpensive one - Revlon's Orange Flip. I've had it for a while, but I use it all the time. It's a really wearable but fun orangey red.

If you can't find the Revlon shade, Essie's Clam Bake is another orangey red. Also, I think either Madewell or JCrew sells a great shade in-stores.

xx

Makes you Wonder

They Know that Mercury is a deadly poison that does horrible things to us and our offspring, so why do they put it in our teeth (fillings), and vaccines. They know Fluoride is one of the most toxic substances on the planet, yet they put it in our drinking water, they know that High Fructose Corn syrup is a bane to human existence, yet they put it in every freakin thing they possibly can. They know that Pasteurized Milk is indigestible and full of unhealthy crap like Growth hormones (like the ones in Chickens that put Breasts on 8 year old BOYS), and they make the Healthy Raw milk Illegal.... They know that most of the pharmaceutical drugs out there only mask symptoms and many with horrible side effects, and ones like the Proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, Nexium etc.) actually cause the conditions that they alleviate, being the ideal "cash cow" for big Pharma.  They turned the "Food Pyramid"  upside down causing a wide range of human health problems just so they could push more Grain down our throats (to be washed down with some nice High Fructose Corn Syrup drink).  Makes you wonder if the FDA exists to keep the Pharmaceutical and Medical Industries healthy by making us all sicker.  Well it doesn't really make me wonder...it's a Given.  Keep that good ol cash rollin by keeping the population in Misery, then pretend to Help them by masking symptoms and drawing out the diseases you are causing to ripe and painful old age.  God Bless Capitalism and the FDA.

Communication

I'd venture to guess that more Marriages have broken up, more wars have been fought, and more general suffering has been wrought on Humankind because of the lack of Real Communication, than of just about any other cause.  If Christians would actually sit down with Muslims and have an honest conversation...if children could actually speak to their parents truthfully, and if folks would be honest with their significant others about their feelings..... this would be a much more beautiful and harmonious world to live in.
Growing up in my family, like I imagine many other families (Like I believed All families were until I got older) there was an unspoken Law. "Thou shalt Not Communicate your Thoughts or Feelings Honestly." So like many of you out there I was raised to be a "People Pleaser".  Refer to this lovely story here about that.The Masked Man. So life becomes a constant act of making other people Happy, not stepping on any toes....giving up who we are so that others won't in any way be offended.  This creates an ILLUSION of Peace, which I believe is why most folks become lost in this little sham. But there are some distinct Problems with this approach to the world.  First, in trying always to please others, we lose connection to who we really are, we lose connection to our own souls, and therefore to our own sacred purpose on this Earth. This unhappy state also has some nasty Bi-products because when we are disconnected from our Truth we become fearful...it's like we are always walking forward in a dark room, because we have lost our true compass. Fear becomes our motivator, instead of Love.  We become superficial Mask wearers.  But also through our lack of honest communication, those whose fears we are tip toeing around (which is what it really comes down to) gain nothing from their connection to us...we only further bolster their ILLUSION. 
Let's talk about parents and their kids...and how the whole process was set up.  Kids are an extension of both parents consciousness...they are the next step in their parents evolution...so to speak (Check out the book Celestine Prophesy for a good slant on this)... So our kids who are to be our Teachers, first we teach what we know.... This generally doesn't take all that many years and before long our kids start seeing that there is an awful lot we just don't know.... and a lot of it, they do.  Now we've done our job (or not) of nurturing them along, and now it is their job to Teach us.  Well the ego is a pretty powerful thing and a lot of parents refuse to give up the "Teacher" role, even when they really don't have a lot to offer that is new to the kid.  This is where we must learn to give up our ego, and let our children communicate what they know, so we can evolve...so we can learn.  Because there is no better school than our children....they are genetically pre-disposed to have precisely the information we need for our next evolutionary step.  And I'm not just talking about a bunch of facts....I'm talking about Life Lessons.  Maybe what they have to offer is an opportunity to stop judging based upon fear, or maybe it's an opportunity to relinquish our ego's for a brief moment and admit we don't know it all, and maybe they actually have something useful for us.  Our parents are here for us....and we are her for them....but if we are not honest in our communication, we throw a wrench into all of our evolutionary processes.... we "Dummy Up".
And think about Relationships.... So many folks want to get into a romantic relationship so badly that they'll tell that other person whatever they want to hear, be whoever that other person wants them to be..... And then they wonder who ...three years later....the asshole is that they are Married to... He he. DUH!   BE REAL. You know we are so busy tip toeing around other peoples fears and pains....but it is only through facing our fears and pains, that we grow and evolve.   Maintaining the ILLUSION of Peace so we don't have to face those aspects of ourselves that we fear.... makes us stagnant....rots our souls.
So be real, be yourself, speak honestly from your heart.... and if someone is offended by your truth.... they don't really care about YOU...who you are.  Don't give up your souls, for the ego's of others.... Don't do it.

In the Present


I've been struggling a lot lately with all of the uncertainty in our life right now. For a Type A gal - it's a mess! Fear has been eating my lunch. And, I guess that God knew in advance how much uncertainty there would be going through this adoption process to push me to the edge and closer to Him.

As we hit the 2 week mark before our first trip to Ethiopia to meet our baby girl, Carlos shared a few scriptures with me and encouraged me that we really have to be present wherever God has us. For today, what I know for certain, is that we've been called to adopt this baby girl. I guess God knew all along that I'd eventually accept that all I need is a map for today. The rest is up to Him.

So, here I am today Lord, ready to take this step of faith to open my eyes and ears to Your vision for our family in Africa. I pray that you will prepare our hearts to receive ALL of your blessings and direction during our days in Ethiopia. Direct our steps, Father.

Dining Chair SOS

A friend just emailed me with an urgent request. They recently moved to a new apartment and sold their old dining set. Here's what their new place looks like:



They purchased their new table from Housing Works (a really great thrift store here in NYC). It is round and has cute spindle legs and will either get painted or refinished.





Here's where the urgent request comes in. My friend is hosting Thanksgiving dinner and needs a set of dining chairs ASAP and doesn't want to get something off Craigslist (which can be expensive and a pain without a car here).

I thought you guys would be interested in my suggestions for relatively inexpensive and readily available dining chairs that swing a little modern to go with a vintage table. So here's the list, from most to least expensive. Nothing is over $200 per chair:

These Tolix chairs from Pottery Barn (available in gunmetal gray, red or white) come out to $179 each when you buy a set of four. Or they are $199 when purchased seperately.



Talk about a classic--and the ultimate in kid-proof!



This great orange velvet chair from Pier 1 is a great price at $170. I love that it's modern but also pretty formal.



Ballard Parsons chair in off-white duck for $129. There are other less expensive Parsons-style chairs out there, but none have the traditional upholstered legs that I love.



Kmart is absolutely teaming with great chair knockoffs right now! At just over $95 per chair, this set of Eames syle chairs looks like a great deal!



There's a similar set that comes in acrylic too! $145 each.



Bertoia!



I absolutely LOVE this pair of chairs from Overstock ($265 for two). Doesn't the brown and cream fabric look suzani-inspired?



World Market just came out with these awesome French bistro chairs ($260 for a set of two). I think these would be amazing painted a bright color or white or black. Really any version of these chairs is going to be great (other than the unfortunately current state).



As a side note, this $199 bench looks so cool. It's upholstery in a woven kilim-like zebra pattern:



$100 at IKEA buys you a really cool chrome and acrylic chair.



I have an obssession with klismos chairs and I think these from West Elm are a really cool, modern spin on the classic style.



Just $79 per chair, available in many colors. I'm partial to the yellow and the red.



This $60 chair from IKEA is a great, basic buy, especially if your dining table is going to be colorful. Or if you use a colorful dining room rug.



If it's blue and lacquered, what's not to love? These chairs from Target are just $40 each!!



Do you have any favorites to share?

Pretty Tree Skirt

My friend Emily tipped me off to this beautifully simple tree skirt from Garnet Hill. Isn't it pretty? I think it would be easy to recreate with some high-quality wool felt and a little time.
The buttons are my favorite. They remind me of my wedding dress.


If you love it like I do and don't have the time to DIY, I would buy soon. The skirt was featured in Real Simple so every time Garnet Hill offers it, they sell out incredibly fast.

Canopy Beds

I'm guest blogging over at Simply Seleta today and chatting about canopy beds. I spied this pretty canopy recently at FAO Schwartz:


And this gorgeous canopied bed belongs to one of my all time favorite girls rooms:


Palmer Weiss
So stop on over to Seleta's and say hello! Maybe tell me your favorite canopy style while you're at it.