Friday, December 21, 2012

What I Wore to a Christmas Open Mic

The first picture doesn't really show the outfit but it is me at the mic reading a poem of mine. 

 The jacket I bought a long time ago on clearance at Sears

 The blouse came from Karen's Closet a consignment store nearby. $5

 The red jeans have appeared in a recent post. I got them on sale at Macy's. Thought I might see what the red belt looked like with the outfit (got it at Goodwill $2).
And the boots were bought 3 years ago. I found them at a cheap shoe store in the mall in the little girl's section. I cut off the extreme laces that were hanging off them and they are perfect now!

Merry Christmas, y'all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


So just come dance with me
Dance all night long
In a crazy rhythm
And to our own song

Let the world have theirs
And I will have mine
And you are it
And we dance in time.

And we dance harder
And we dance slow
And we laugh at life
And we don't know.

All we know is each other
And our bright bright eyes
And the fact that you are mine
And that we have no disguise.

That the world can hide
And go on being sad
But we don't miss it
They've been had.

We can just be each other's
In our castle made of dreams
When we enter this house
All is as it seems.

Home is where we are
Life is who we are
Happy is what we are.
When we are... together.

-Emily Chumchal Andrews
December 18, 2012 ©

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


There is a certain time of year that I think about the death of a person who was very dear to me. In fact, I don't think I have yet had someone else die that was so very dear to me as him.

His name is Eugene Fowler but I called him "Pal." When my parents moved into the house that we grew up in they did not know that there would be not only a neighbour, in the best sense of the word, but a dear friend. Pal was in his 70's when my parents moved in and my mom was pregnant with me.

Pal had a garden, fed the birds, and mowed his own lawn. He worked on his car, he was amazing. When my parents brought me home he was the first person to hold me. I fed the birds with him, worked in his garden with him, and ate waffle breakfast with him. I named him "Pal" because he was my pal and I can still see myself sitting on the hood of his classic blue car mindlessly chipping off the paint and him saying "Now Peaches, don't do that." He called socks "stockings" and if he didn't like something I did he was not mad he was "cross."

I visited him most every day coming through the back screen door. I would pile all the pillows in his house on the couch and sit high like a queen in front of the Television. I sat far back because, as Pal told me, sitting as close as I tried would "ruin my eyes." He took the gate off of his fence just so that I and my siblings could come back and forth through his yard freely. I remember when someone new moved into his house and they put up a gate. It was a reminder that Pal indeed was gone.

 I climbed his trees and built forts in his yard. I drank his 7Up and ate all his peppermints (especially the chewy ones). I remember his yellow vintage stove and cobalt blue lamps, his living room always seemed so rich. I hid in his wooden side tables and prank called on his phone. He bandaged my cuts, I still remember the drawer that held the Neosporin and Band-Aids. My Pal. His birthday was this month and I suppose that is why I am thinking of him. He was born in 1905. He was dear to me and my family. I will always love you, Pal.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Red Balloon

Most of the time I want to wait until I have perfected my poetry or the title to post it. But often that means that it will never get done. Therefore, I am posting this poem as is. Also, a disclaimer I often feel I have to put is that when a person writes a poem or story or even paints a piece it does not mean that it reflects the place they are in life at this point. It could even be that there is only a shadow of this feeling anywhere in their history. So, enjoy the poem for what it is and not what you think it says about the author. Thank you.

Deflated balloon am I
I am
When life is asunder
And all I can think about is
Why me
And who am I really?
What have I done and what will I ever do?
And my arms hang at my side
And droop as the air
Slowly leaks out of
Its tiny hole.
And there I am red
And on the ground
And no one to hold me.
And lift me high to the sky.

-Emily Chumchal Andrews ©

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What I Wore to a Birthday Party

Bobby and I went to a birthday party last night and until I started doing this "What I Wore" installment I never realized just HOW MUCH dark blue and red I wear. I know those are my faves but I didn't realize what percentage of my closet it took over. I don't do Black Friday but we did go this one (albeit at 1PM or so) and I got these red jeans for $35 and the nautical top for $19 (both at Macy's). My brown flats I snagged at Goodwill for $5. That's right. And my navy belt I snagged at Goodwill for $1. The cardigan was a gift from my little sis. We got Bobby his plaid shirt from JCpenney for $15. There ya go.  I wore it to a birthday party. Happy Birthday Jake!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Girl Crush

So, I don't personally know Zooey Deschanel. So, I cannot say whether she and I would get along. I can't say! But I have this feeling that if we met we would be friends. Ride bikes, High five, dance to records, and bake. Create art, discuss books, and watch old movies while drinking hot chocolate. That is probably part of her charm, probably a million other people feel the same way. But I have to admit I have a definite girl crush on this girl right here.

It is a weird thing, this crush. I feel like we have so much in common so it seems narcissistic. I have watched and read some interviews with Zooey. I always answer interview questions for myself before I read the person's answers (I've done it forever. I don't know if I just want to be interviewed or if I am unconsciously preparing in some way.) Anyway, when I read  her answers, a large percentage was the same answer. And I have been told I am quirky, so my answers are usually weird. The answers are just enough the same and different to make me think we would have the most awesome time in the world. There is no celebrity who I desire to have autograph anything. If I were to meet a celebrity I would have a conversation, have coffee etc. That is why I wouldn't ever really want to meet her. I would never have that chance. And if I did it would probably be through some contest and she would just have to be nice and friendly and act like I was the greatest person on earth. Essentially, she would be paid to like me and that doesn't count. Wow, until I read what I just wrote I didn't realize how much of a crush I have. The really crazy thing was when people started telling me I remind them of her. I then wanted to deny the crush but I can't help it. I don't LOOK like her. But apparently I remind people of whatever their perception is of her. I take that as a compliment because I really really like my perception of her.This is me:

 This is the celebrity people tell me I LOOK like:

And I have to admit that I do. I've always wanted to meet a celebrity because I feel like they would be interesting. I want to see them as a person. I just wonder. I am not star obsessed because it distances you from your life and you live outside of your life and not in it. You wish and envy and that paralyzes action. Inaction irritates me. 
But my curiosity draws me toward some of them and I ponder what a meeting with them would be like and what goes on in their head. They are so analyzed. How do they remain themselves and do they ever get confused about who they actually are? Or do they have a clearer picture? Just wonder. Just wonder what they think of themselves and me. I love meeting new, interesting people. I'd like to ride bikes with Zooey Deschanel.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two AM Poetry 11/20/12

November 21, 2012

Thoughts awhirl in my head in my bed
Weigh down on me  like lead. 
And if I close my eyes perhaps I can shed
All the weight, all the thoughts like I’m dead. Like I’m dead. 
Sleep! Sleep! Lay down my head
In the depths of the deep deep pillow and shed and shed.
 My thoughts like a snake skin but they are fed. 
By the darkness and weariness and worries  “I need peace now.” I said. 
But the dark does not listen and I've read. I have read.
My thoughts on the pillow they have bled they have bled.
Sopping though it is, red, it is red.
I lay down weary, all the heaviness that is my head.
I lay it in the pillow, my thoughts and heart all in a shred.

-Emily Chumchal  Andrews

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What I Wore to Play the Drums In

I play the drums at my church and when I do I find it best to wear pants or shorts. I've done a really long skirt when I played the D'Jembe once. Anyway, I don't want it to hinder me from being Jazzy and expressive. So, this week I wore my favorite jeans. Lauren Ralph Lauren Straight Leg. I also wore this Gap shirt I found at the Cookie Jar Resale shop for $1 and the navy blue tie someone gave me as a hand- me- down. The shoes I bought with a Christmas gift card at DSW and they are such cute, brown delightfulness!

Monday, November 5, 2012

What I Wore to Cook Dinner In

Yes, I am digging the Supergirl colors and the red lipstick. Hey, I am a Super Woman, A Super Mom, and a Super Wife! 

I am hoping for colder weather so I wore a sweater, but the reality was that it wasn't that cold so I wore shorts to counteract (and it looked cute.)

 I was loving this outfit enough to cook dinner in it.

I love my red shorts which I actually purchased at Forever 21 for about $15. I don't like to admit I shop there sometimes because I am 31 years old, but there can be good finds! The blue sweater you have seen already and I have had it for probably 5 or 6 years. 

 Getting some writing in
 Waiting for the fish to bake
Checking it out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What I Wore for Halloween

I love wearing costumes and costume parties usually only come around once a year. I was so indecisive this year (mostly because I couldn't find the materials needed for the Berenstain Bears or the Three Amigos) that I didn't know what I was going to end up being. The idea mostly stemmed from racking my brain as to what I already owned. I owned the blue sweater and the red skirt and the boots. I had some red linen on hand to make a cape, I could print out the Supergirl logo, and I also had some yellow material that I hot glued onto an existing belt. I volumized my hair, put on some red lipstick and was ready to fly.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What I Wore to the Theater

Last week I went to see the production of To Kill a Mockingbird at Baytown Little Theater. The dress is from Dilliard's. The cropped jacket I bought long again for standard black and white hairdresser dress code. My hair I wanted to be soft and vintage vibe-ish. A Secretary Bow is definitely one of my newest favorite looks.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What I Wore: 1980's Redone

 I have a lot fun with outfits. I don't know that I have ever been considered fashionable. In fact, I've wore some weird things, especially as a teenager, but I owned my looks! I've always been a fan of thrift stores even when it was not by choice (as a kid) that I shopped there. This particular look is a dress I found at Goodwill for $8. It is from the 1980's so I counteracted it with sleek hair. I put an elastic belt mid-waist and completed it with black heels (Nine West found at The Cookie Jar Resale for $6). It has pockets which is a total score! 

1980's Redone

Monday, October 8, 2012

What I Wore to Display An Art Piece

I think I am going to start a new section called What I Wore to this blog. I hope to make it regular but it might be a bit sporadic after all. I find fashion fun. By no means do I know a lot about it, but I like it. I think it should reflect your personality, be comfortable, appropriate, and presentable (in good condition). In fact, that reminds me of a post I wrote  for my Loveshine365 blog (devoted to my store).
I made this skirt from some fabric that I could not pass up at Hancock Fabrics and paired it with white spaghetti strap, red cardigan (thrift store $5) and some dandy red heels.
To Display An Art Piece

I wore it last week to display an art piece that I created for a local church here in Baytown, St. Mark's Methodist. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Now that I am done

There are some people who may have read the blog and thought: "I wanted to know the details of the work not what she thought about while she was doing it." So, I thought I would put down those details. Also, I might write some more thoughts. Before I do, let me say that I really enjoyed being there with all of you the last Sunday of your series! What joy it is to worship with those who are part of the Church as in Christ's bride as we all are even if they are not part of the "church" building that you regularly attend.

1) I searched for the door for quite awhile looking on Craigslist and also at Antique and thrift stores. You are  actually most likely to get a good deal at an Antique store. I created the headboard for my bedroom out of an old door which I found at an antique shop - Goose Creek Emporium. It was being used to display other items on. I found the door for this project at Vera's Antiques. It is a little green house on N. Main between James and Sterling in Baytown. You usually have to ask about doors because they are generally in a back room somewhere because too many old doors are too hard to display. So, we went to a back room and looked through the doors. You should knock on them to see if they are solid wood. If it is not then it won't withstand everything you need to do to restore it and it also cannot be cut if it is not solid wood.
The door was purchased for $20. Also, keep in mind to ask them for the price you want. They are very likely to give it to you.

2) Next, all of the hardware needed to be removed. All you need is a drill with a Phillips screwdriver. Put it on reverse, remove all the screws.

3) Because this door had so many layers of paint, sanding alone was not going to do the job of removing the paint. Albeit we did not even know that there were that many layers when we started! We were going to need some paint stripper. You can buy paint stripper that has less fumes and works slowly or paint stripper that is is more audacious. Wear gloves, goggles, and a mask. Seriously. Make sure to sand before you use the paint stripper because this loosens up the paint and allows the paste to work into it. Kind of like srubbing your face and then putting lotion in. The paint stripper we bought was very strong. You apply it thickly and let it sit for no more than 15 minutes (however, always carefully read instructions, time can vary). Because we were outside the time needed to be less than 15 minutes because wind and sun could dry the paint stripper and when it dries it does not scrape off as well. Only apply it to small areas for the same reason. You can use a paint scraper
to remove the paint. Don't be discouraged if the paint does not come off the first time. I had to apply the paint stripper 4 times and then an orbital sander was required to get off the last thin layer of paint. When removing with sandpaper use a 60 grit or so.

4) Next the surface needed to be smoothed out. This was done with an orbital sander as well. To smooth go over the surface with grits that are increasingly higher in number. Use 100 then 120, then maybe a 150 or 200 to finish it off. Do not press the orbital sander into the surface let it do its own work.

5) Next, I put wood putty in the holes that hardware had left. Fill it and let it overflow the hole a little bit and then run the scraper across in one direction to take off excess. It is okay if it is some of the putty is not even with the surface. Later on you can sand it down to level it to the surface. That is what I did.

6) I wiped the door down with a damp rag so that there would be not dust that could clump the paint up. Then I drew and outline of the tree with a pencil and used it as a guide to paint the tree.

7) Inspiration (this happened after the door was found but I didn't know if I should list it in that order :) : We wanted something to symbolize growth which a tree does and so I had that as a starting point for my inspiration. I had also recently been to an exhibit at the Menil in Houston that displayed some of Cy Twombly's work and it inspired me as well. For me to get a vision of what I want I have to stare at the surface I will be working on and then walk away. I have to be careful to not force myself to come up with something or else the pressure will never allow something to come to me. I thought about trees and scripture and things I thought were beautiful and then I just tried to think of nothing. Then a picture appeared in my mind. It sounds so weird when I write it down but that is how it goes for me. Each person is different but I think it is important to ask all sorts of questions, brainstorm and then just release it all. I think that is when inspiration comes. Anyway, I painted what I thought on a wood scrap I found in my garage and then took away here and there and played with color.

8) Transferring that idea to the door was difficult because I had not considered that the door was much higher. It was a rectangle and not a square. I had to stare at the door again to figure out how I was going to modify my idea. I had to walk away again. I actually took the door home for this part of the process because I needed to have it day and night so I could add some here and there. Unfortunately I cannot tell you what colors I used because I mixed so many different colors up that I don't know. It was different ratios and mixtures of brown, yellow, blue, and white because it was blues, browns, and greens.
I tried to use the same colors in each section of the painting but different strokes and different layering. The bottom is water and so smooth wavy strokes were used. The leaves are semi-stiff brush dipped in paint and smashed onto the surface. The sky was a circular stroke. Covering an entire door in color was intimidating but I was so satisfied with the end result. I also had to clean up the plastic and paints when I felt it was right so that I would not be tempted to continually add (and therefore take away!). Thanks so much for going through this process with me.

May the peace of God rule in your hearts and be thankful.

Finished Door

Sunday, September 30, 2012

BEAUTIFUL THINGS-Painting the Door

My thoughts painting the door were that it is like Jesus clothing us with His righteousness. It is not a covering up of who we are which is what we try to do when we paint ourselves. We choose colors that others approve of and layer it on so thickly that no one can see who we are or who God is through us. 

My plan in stripping it down to the bare wood is so that when I painted right on top of it not only would it be smoother but the grains would show up especially through the tree area.

When God clothes us it is perfect, it is who we are meant to be and He never makes a mistake. We are who we are and God loves that. It is a lesson I find Him showing me over and over. I am not the best student. I let myself be myself but then, after, I worry that people think I am unqualified, nerdy, etc. because of something I said or did. That is the part that God has to work on with me. Emily, "Luke 12:25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his  span of life?" 

And when we are clothed in his righteousness we are ready for display. The display of God and His glory to those who most need it.

Psalm 132:9
Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.

Revelation 1:5,6
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Isaiah 61:10
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

The outline of the painting I am going to do on the door is nothing like the end result will be. I think that we often cannot see exactly what God is going for and it scares us. But He is an artist that makes beautiful work and so should be trusted.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just a thought

I'm kind of quirky. But I hope it is more on the side of eccentric and unconventional and not freaky or weird. Because sometimes I wonder if people get me.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

BEAUTIFUL THINGS-Filling the Holes

Once the door was scraped and sanded smooth the holes that were left in it needed to be filled. One by one I filled them with wood putty so that the entire door would be solid. It prompted me to consider how the only thing that can fill us is God and that we desire so greatly to be filled and so often look elsewhere.

Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.

Luke 1:53
He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.

Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 3:14-19
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[c] 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Philippians 1:9-11
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Son Loves the Color Pink

My son loves the color pink. It isn't necessarily his favorite color but he doesn't have one right now. He moves from color to color. But there was a short period of time where if the choice was between a "boy" color or pink he chose pink. The thing is, I don't really remember God assigning gender to colors. He made a beautiful creation with beautiful colors and pink is one of them. If my son loves it then I am glad to oblige his taste. 

Some people worry about boys liking pink or wearing their mom's heels. They worry about the interest in their mom's makeup or playing dress up. Some even go so far as worrying when a boy plays with a plastic kitchen set. I used to work at a daycare where a worker would tell the boys to stop playing at the kitchen, it was a girl's toy. Since when is fire only for girls? I guess it needs to be a really big fire to qualify as boy's play. 

When my son was going through his pink stage and had a pink cup someone asked my husband if I "made him like pink." It isn't a secret that I have some feminist leanings, although I don't enjoy the connotations that come with that word. I would rather just say I am pro-intelligence and anti-stupidity. 

What really gets me is we get it from both sides. 

Men tag women as "illogical, weak, gossips." And even if they don't label us like that, it is still clear that they think themselves superior...and women do too. Not only that but it is okay to imitate boys as girls, it is cute because we are trying to better ourselves, I suppose. But if a boy even declares he likes pink, some men are ready to whip it out of them right then and there.

In a news article in the New York Times there was this quote: "...girls gain status by moving into “boy” space, while boys are tainted by the slightest whiff of femininity. “There’s a lot more privilege to being a man in our society,” says Diane Ehrensaft, a psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco...“When a boy wants to act like a girl, it subconsciously shakes our foundation, because why would someone want to be the lesser gender?”

I've said this same thing before. So, it was nice to hear it from someone else. Why would someone want to be the lesser gender? Who the hell made the criteria for each gender? I'm sorry, God didn't lay it out so I don't see where the validity is. Most girls act this or that way? I never did. Most boys act this or that way? You have to choose, get beat up or act a certain way. My two-year old understands the way a lot of things work already, it doesn't take that long to realize what is expected of you. Why can't we focus on more important things and the world would have so much more beauty and less ugliness if weren't all so insecure.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

An observation

There was some Disney movie on the other night when I was working out and as I started to listen to the lyrics to the song the girl was singing I was sort of bothered by them. I could understand if she meant to say that you shouldn't rely on what others think of you. It was more the usage of "bless, justify, and save" that bothered me. Also the fact that you should look to yourself. If yourself is messed up, how is that going to save you?

 "You can bless yourself
There's no need for someone else
There's no one to blame
There's no one to save you but yourself
I can bless myself
There's no need for someone's help
There's no one to blame
There's no one to save you but yourself
I can justify all the mistakes in my life
It's taught me to be, it's givin' me me
And I'll survive
'Cause I have blessed myself.
I will survive
'Cause I have blessed myself." (Lucy Hale)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

BEAUTIFUL THINGS, Scraping The Paint

My son Elijah has a book he likes us to read called "If Only I Had a Green Nose." The story is about a woodworker named Eli and the Wemmicks. Wemmicks are the wooden people that Eli has created and given life.

There is a particular Wemmick named Puchinello who has recently met Eli and started to talk with him daily. Eli has told him how specially he was created and that he created each Wemmick "different on purpose." Puchinello has observed that a large number of Wemmicks are painting their noses green and soon learns that green noses are all the rage. Puchinello is curious as to why people would want to paint their noses green. He never intends to be a part of the trend, but others start making fun of him and a couple of his friends have already colored their noses green. Soon Puchinello gives it a try and he realizes that it makes him feel very special to be "with it." That is, until he isn't. The color soon changes from green to red, then blue, then pink, then yellow, then orange. He realizes he cannot keep up with the trends and he is tired of trying. However, he is still stuck with six layers of paint on his nose.

In the end, he goes to Eli and asks for forgiveness. He has layers of paint on his nose that he cannot get off by himself.

Eli tells him that he will always help Puchinello "be who I made you to be." He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a piece of sandpaper and tells him "but it is going to take some time." And the following words are the last in the story: "And so Puchinello and his friends followed their maker into his workshop where he spent the rest of the day removing the paint. It hurt to be sanded, but it was worth it to be normal again."

This is the story I thought about as I scraped at the layers of paint both this morning and yesterday afternoon. The top layer was red and underneath was green, then yellow, and then a greyish blue. The door has so many layers of paint it took preparatory sanding, paint stripper, and scraping to even view a tiny bit of the door's original beauty. It took two more coats of stripper and scraping to get to the grey-blue layer. The next step is to begin sanding.  A long process, but one necessary to bring the door back to a state where it can be regenerated. And note this, because of all those layers, there will be scratches and scrapes that occur in the process of removing. Those scrapes will need to be healed.

By His stripes we are healed. Sin is a mess and we make a hard shell for ourselves because more than anything else we are afraid of exposure, vulnerability, and that being the person God created us to be might not be enough. We are afraid of the laughter of others who don't care for us and we scorn the beautiful image of God who loves us and who literally was "stripped" for us.

Restoration is rough and it is a process, it is not instantaneous. That is lot to chew on for me, what about you?

Some verses I thought about as I restored and as I wrote:

"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." -Isaiah 53:3-5

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost... " -Titus 3:5

"Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."

 -Matthew 23:26-28

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” -Philippians 2:12-16a

Sunday, September 2, 2012

BEAUTIFUL THINGS- Before I Begin the Process

These are my first thoughts before I begin the process of making an old thing into something new.

I am not God, what will this teach me about Him?

God restores us.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Knock and the door shall be open to you.

Love and peace,


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Poetry: In a Crowd

This was written today

In a Crowd

Murmur of voices
The indistinct babble
Of a brook.
And here I am
A part of it
Floating in the water
My hair thrashes and
Moves with with the current.
The lovely tree
Dips its branches
To the edge
We shake hands softly
And the leaves pull back
And tremble.
I cannot help
But ponder
After we have brushed fingers
The connection of my life
With all others
and the life we all breathe

-Emily Chumchal Andrews

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Look! Another Blog About Chick-Fil-A?

So, this post is not exactly about Chick-Fil-A, but after reading numerous posts about them the past couple of weeks I finally had enough. Enough of what? A subject I feel very passionate about and that is the killing, perhaps "torture" is a better word, of the English language! What this post is really about is the importance of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and editing.

As I have read comments in the sections of numerous articles both bashing or applauding Chick-Fil-A I have seen many people call them "racists." It is very hard to read the rest of their argument because I cannot get over the fact that they have called someone a racists whom they mean to call a "bigot."

 I have seen arguments about any number of controversial topics raging on blog posts, Facebook, news articles, and even Youtube and I skip over comments that don't have any capitalization. I stop reading comments after too much misspelling because I can't believe that all of the words were typos. When commenters don't have the sense to edit either hateful speech and bitter words that are directed at a person and not about the subject, why would I believe they have anything intelligent to say? Perhaps they do, but I cannot force myself to plow through the muddle of language to get at what they are trying to say. I don't have a problem with views different than my own, I will gladly read arguments against my views. In fact, I appreciate and applaud well thought out and well rendered debate. I have a feeling that this is true with many other people. Thankfully, just as Dan Cathy is free to make his own comments (because this is America), people who have nothing worthwhile to say have the right to comment if they have a Facebook account. I mean what I just said, I am thankful for free speech despite the side effects.

My main concern is this, I would like people to take into consideration that if you have something to say, say it well. People will be more likely to listen. You can be quiet and hold someone's attention when you sound as if you have educated yourself on the subject, when you wield the English language with power. You can be loud and others will turn you off if your words are full of explicit language, misused words, and abuse. You might as well be an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon. Also, if you don't have a valid point, stop commenting. Why do those who have nothing of value to say keep commenting? I've yet to see one redeem themselves.

And there it is. I've said it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Sometimes the beauty of my little boy is overwhelming. When his cheek pressed against mine this morning it was so soft. I was gardening, he came behind me, threw his arms around my neck and giggled. My smile was to each end of my face and suddenly tears welled up in my eyes. I thought of what a tragedy it is to have something so beautiful taken away prematurely. The pain of that thought! So I grabbed him and held him and kissed him. That soft cheek and giggle and smile with his dimple.I guess my tears were tears of joy and relief that he was there to hold. Moreover, thankfulness for my little blessing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012



Today I thought about my son learning to talk more clearly as days progress and I realized that one of the most sad things I can think about happening when my little boy begins to speak is that he will learn to tell untruths and half-truths.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Adventure Into Steampunk; Upcycle File Cabinet

So, I didn't even know it had a name. My admiration for metal, fantastical Victorian drawings, old mixed with new, bronze. Apparently, I like Steampunk. Or, at least, I dream of decorating parts of my house that way, and incorporating elements of it into my wardrobe. I was not introduced to the proper name until I had conjured ideas in my head for certain areas of my house and searched for pictures to see if I could find items to make it a realization. I kept running into the word "Steampunk" when I would find pictures I admired. I had never heard of it before.

 I am now not even sure that my taste and ideas completely match with hardcore Steampunkians, so I am a little timid to use the label. I have a feeling my style is also "Industrial." Either way, I worked on this side entryway to our house. My main project was the file cabinet. Which was originally a beat up grey cabinet that somebody used in their garage.

I found it on Craigslist for $10. Cleaned it up, painted it bronze. I then bought original glass typewriter keys and glued them underneath the handle. You cannot see it in the picture but the cabinet is on four sturdy wheels.The decorations came from two different thrift stores near my house. On the left is a bronze clock that looks like the wheel of a ship and has a map for the face. In the middle is a man on a bicycle made from nails and bolts. Lastly, is an old exterior light fixture. I liked the shape of it and figured it could hold pens or something else. Above is a print that I bought from from this shop (highly recommend taking a look). And I framed it with a frame I found at the same thrift store I got the bicycle man at. I found the key holder at the store where I got the clock and light and bought it for $1 and painted it yellow.

Altogether, I am pleased with the outcome! Hope you enjoyed looking.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baytown Little Theater-A Chorus Line 2-28-12

Recently, I was in a play title "A Chorus Line" at my local theater-The Baytown Little Theater. I have written a previous post lamenting the the lack of things to do in Baytown versus the array of things do in Houston. However, if there is nothing more in Baytown to do than the BLT they have certainly made up for it there.

When I arrived for the audition it had been quite some time since I had been in any sort of production. Even at the camp that I directed, I was the Camp Director and so I was not involved in anything but the direction of some of the skits. So, I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect, I didn't know how to dress, I didn't know anyone. I like to put myself in situations that make me nervous because they help me grow. However, I am also a chronic worrier and so leading up to a situation is the worst. I am also a self-examiner so after the fact I can be hard on myself too.

It is very possible in theater that everyone there can ignore you  because either they know each other or, oddly, many theater types are actually reserved. They can be people who are lively and animated on stage but introspective offstage. I was very obviously a newcomer, but I was enthusiastically greeted by the ladies handing out the audition forms and then greeted by one of the long-time actresses at the Baytown Little Theater. The fact that anyone reached out to me recommended this theater from the start.

As I was cast in the play, rehearsed, and eventually performed the play, my love for the Baytown Little Theater and the people there grew.

My favorite part of the experience was learning the choreography for A Chorus Line. A Chorus Line is a play about professional dancers who are auditioning for a spot in a chorus line. It is about their struggles growing up, love, and how we all desire to know our place in life and that our place is something meaningful and lasting. In a sense it is also about how acting and dancing, the stage in general, is a place where people who don't fit can fit somewhere, can lose themselves in the beauty of that art. But how fame is difficult and fleeting and knowing ourselves is important to moving on with life. People are important to who we are. Community is important. Not feeling alone.

Many plays have these themes running through them and that is why they strain our heart with empathy. Why we find them sadly beautiful. It is one of many reasons that I love the theater and being a part of it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Maiden Name Is- A Short Story

A note to the Reader: By publishing these stories on my blog I am sharing a part of me that is very intimate because it is something I created and worked on. I am aware that the quality is not always the best, but short stories are more new for me than poetry. I wrote this one about five years ago and a few others (one that I have published on my blog recently) and I have not written any since. I would like to and I hope putting these out there will spur me on to it. But I hope that they will be enjoyed and that I can start finding my voice again to continue to write more. Thanks. 


                                                   My Maiden Name Is
                                                     By  Emily Chumchal Andrews

About a year ago I went to a small Bed and Breakfast with my husband, Andrew. We went to "get away from it all" and have a nice romantic weekend, just the two of us. The Bed and Breakfast was a blue cottage with white shutters, nestled in among ten weeping willow trees. I counted them. The perfect porch wrapped around the entire house so that wherever you were seated you could enjoy a new part of the clean, country landscape.
    When we arrived at the inn, we weren't exactly sure where the check-in was because it was dark, we were late, and a friend had set it all up for us; we only knew how to get there. We found a note for us there in the inn,welcoming us and letting us know where everything was, including where to check-in the next morning. I don't know what it was about that inn, but I think it was made for reflection. I don't know where Mrs. Griffin lives now; we have never gone back there. Maybe she is still working at her Bed and Breakfast and still asking questions that penetrate you like her eyes. Her eyes are soft and wise and brown-green and they help you grow by just looking into them and answering the questions there honestly.
    The first time I met Mrs. Griffin she was sitting by her husband, Mr. Griffin. Both of them were rocking in two white rocking chairs, both in perfect cadence. Mr., smoking his pipe and Mrs., busy with her ledger books. They smiled when we came in the next morning, Andrew and I, not in perfect rhythm like them.
"What can we do for you?" She said.
I told her that we were the couple staying in the cottage. We would be here for a week.
"Are you now? What is the name?"
"Griffin" Andrew replied.
"Griffin, why that's my name." She said.
Andrew, politely interested, asked: "Really?"
"Well, I borrowed it from him" Mrs. Griffin nodded toward her rocking chair twin.
I laughed, I liked her: "Oh, yes, I borrowed Griffin from him" and I nodded at Andrew.
Mrs. Griffin leaned in toward me with a twinkle in her brown eyes. "So, then what is your real name?"
Surprisingly, that question didn't catch me off guard at all, I answered as if I expected it. "Navratil."
It seems like such a simple exchange and I guess it was. She said it sure was a different name, my maiden name, and I told her it was Czechoslovakian. I didn't think very much about the conversation the rest of that day.
    Andrew and I planned to take it easy the first day that we were there and not try to do any touristy busy things right away. I was glad because work was draining me. In addition, I was taking a few classes at the local community college and trying to be a good wife and daughter. We tried to see both of our families at least three times a month, preferably once a week. We were a young couple, no kids, and so, I guess, we had a lot of time. His parents were especially pushy about us coming over. Christmas was coming up and both families expected us there on Christmas day. Not only that, we are anticipated to go to each of our Grandmother's houses on Christmas day. I started to hate Christmas after I got married, but I went to the parties with a smile on my face anyway.
"Andrew, do you want to play a game of Checkers?" I called out.
"Sure, honey, but what about making it chess instead?"
"Well, I guess so, yeah, chess would be I'll set up the chess board." I started to pull it out from the shelf. Of course, it's at the bottom.
"Okay, I'll be right there, just a minute, I'm checking our e-mail." Andrew announced.
"How are you doing that?"
"Our cell phone has internet options."
"Internet options."
"Yeah, isn't that great?"
I stood by the bed where he was. "It's extra money."
"Hey, it's a vacation we can spend a little extra."
A little extra that we could spend on a nice dinner
"Yeah, it's a vacation and so why are you checking messages? We are supposed to be spending time with each other."
"You took a long bath while I just sat here by myself." He took enough time to look up and glance purposefully at my hair.
"I was relaxing. That is how you relax on a vacation."
"This is how I relax on a vacation."
"Fine. You want to play chess now?"
Was he kidding? My hands curled into tightness.
"What? Are you kidding? I don't feel like playing chess now."
"Why don't you want to play chess anymore? You aren't done pouting? Never mind then, damn it."
Crap! This was such a stupid idea. Now instead of fighting at home we can spend a lot of money and fight 200 miles from home.
I turned my back on him, with my instinct keeping his reaction in sight. He was always so biting. I wasn't a child either. "Why do you have to be so sarcastic with me? Do you think that it's going to make things better? Do you?"
He tossed the cell phone on the bed. "You were sarcastic with me." He said.
"No, I wasn't." I balked.
"Look, I forgive you for getting so angry."
"What? You forgive me? I didn't say I was sorry." I was facing him now, red-hot.
"Well, that's just how the Griffin's are. If you say something sarcastic then don't expect me to just sit back and take it."
"So, you are excused because it's in you blood?"
"I didn't say that. Whatever. I'm sorry." He pulled me close to him. "I still shouldn't have been so sarcastic, you will get used to it though, you're a Griffin now too."
He kissed me on the forehead and everything was supposed to be better. I grabbed my coat and headed outside. A walk had a way of making things better.
    His comment made me think about Mrs. Griffin, the innkeeper. She had used the word borrowed for my married name. I know it was just friendly banter, but still. Using the name Griffin was weird for me. Whenever his family said I was 'a Griffin now,' I kind of smiled weakly. I felt like I was betraying the Navratil's when they said that. For twenty-one years I was a Navratil. I would always be one too, I determined. The Navratil's are not sarcastic, we are creative. I decided that the next day I would find Mrs. Griffin and talk with her. It would be nice to have some company and also to avoid another fight with Andrew. I didn't want to fight. I loved him and this was a vacation.
    She was in her garden when I found her the next day. As I approached she wiped her hands on her worn gardening pants and and said: "Hello there, how are you and your husband enjoying your stay?"
"Oh, just fine, everything is beautiful here."
"Yes, it is. Mr. Griffin and I love it."
I was afraid that I would not be able to fill the silence that came next, but Mrs. Griffin was comfortable with it and she soon filled it. She was that kind of person, somehow you felt at ease right away and as if you could begin by telling her your whole life's story, starting with all the bad parts.
"You want to sit down here? I think Allen just made some fresh lemonade. I'll go see, Honey, you just stay there."
    She came back with two glasses. Sipping leisurely we sat and enjoyed the refreshment. I asked her: "What did you mean when you asked me what my real name was?" I didn't even know if was still on my mind until it was the first thing I said.
"Well, I guess I just wanted to know, that's all. What do you think your real name is?" She replied.
She hadn't really answered my question. "My maiden name is Navratil."
"Navratil. Now where did that name come from?"
"It's Czech."
"Yes, that's right, I remember you mentioned that when you first came. I bet there is a lot of history connected to it." She smiled at me and I continued.
"My grandfather came here to America in the early 1900's. It means to 'come back' or 'return.'"
"You know a lot more about your name than most. My maiden name was Eloise Mullan. 'Mullan' is Irish and means 'bald.'" She laughed and I did too. It felt good to laugh.
"Andrew wonders why I was so eager to take his last name when we were dating and why, now, I like it when people call me by my maiden name."
"Sounds legitimate to me. Why do you feel like that?"
"I don't know." I squirmed. The back of the chair seemed hard all of the sudden.
"There are a lot of unknowns in this life, Love. Maybe you should figure it out."
Mrs. Griffin was right, of course. I felt as if I should have something very intelligent to say about women and equality and individuality, but in the end, I knew that though I believed all those things they didn't pertain to the situation. What was relevant was my relationship with Andrew.
She had spoken truth and it was there for me to take. We sat there for quite awhile,sipping our drinks and watching Mr. Griffin till the garden.
    I wanted to know if she missed her maiden name. I wondered why she took his name. What impressed me most about her was that the two of them were so content. I resented the fact that I took my name from Andrew and that he was who I was identified by, not myself. I guess that was mostly it, in truth. I never felt like I was identified by myself, always someone else and, sometimes, I didn't even know who I was. Shouldn't a person know that?
"Don't you resent being identified by Mr. Griffin?"
"I am not identified by Allen, I am identified with him." She stated simply.
"Well" I started "When I receive letters addressed to 'Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Griffin,' I cringe. If I am going to carry his last name, I want, at least, to be distinguished by my own first name and not completely lost in his."
"What is your first name?" She looked at me and I realized I had never mentioned it.
"Cassandra." My name sat like a weight. I looked at her and just sat there for many moments. "Thank you, Eloise." I said. Nothing more was needed.
    Andrew and I left after our week there and the Griffin's sat rocking in their chairs just the same as when we met them. That is how we left them.
   When Andrew and I arrived at home we had dinner, a disagreement and afterward we picked up that game of Chess we had never played.
  The king and queen move in such different ways, but both are essential to the game. You have to capture the king to win,  but the queen, she's so strong. I don't underestimate her. Not anymore.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Floating Bookshelves; Make Bookshelves Out of Books

One of my favorite rooms in our house is our library. 

It is filled with books, cozy, and a reflection of our personality.

I believe strongly in continually learning no matter how old you are and books are just waiting to be read and all their information soaked up. 

The owl rug has a whole post dedicated to its creation. 

The walls are wood paneling that are covered with three coats of Kilz and two coats of Behr Silver Dust. I cleaned and covered the couch. Put up a great statement about our family in wood letters that I painted and hung.

 But the individual project I am most proud of is the floating bookshelves I made above the couch. I plan on making another row as soon as the novelty of pulling books down wears off for Elijah. 

Here is a picture of our library.

Our Library

I can take the credit for the design of our library but not the idea of the floating bookshelves. I found a how-to video after long searching for some cool floating shelves to put above the couch. Although, I felt guilty cutting and gluing books at first, I consoled myself with the idea that these particular books may never have had a home if I had not rescued them. Plus, I am displaying great literature on my wall.  I have a copy of each of the books I used for a shelf in my library and have read most all of them.

Here is the video I used to make the shelves:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

John and Mary- A Short Story

                                                          John and Mary
                                                      By Emily Chumchal Andrews

John and Mary always fought for reasons that seemed different but were actually the same. He would ask her where she was going and she took it to mean 'where had she been'. She would say his mom had called and he would take it to mean she 'called too much'. They fought about who should drive and who drove right. They fought about who was the most tired after work and why that meant the other should wash the dinner dishes.

John was of average height, brown hair, blue eyes. He worked as an engineer behind a desk all day from eight to five o' clock. He had been born to a mother and father both of average height and blue eyes who loved him like a mother and father should. His family always had enough to do things but never to do spectacular things. He made B's in elementary, middle, and high school. In college, the grades were more varied and then he met Mary.

Mary, too, had brown hair, but it was curly. She was conceived in love and born to parents who vowed to protect their young, delicate daughter. Mary was a sweet girl as a baby and stayed so all through elementary, middle, and high school. She did not go to college, but had friends who did and those friends had friends and one of those friends was John.

John and Mary's family and friends are very encouraging people. They encouraged the couple to have a big wedding even when John and Mary had considered a small, romantic ceremony. Both family and friends were also very practical: "Some people may be offended if they aren't invited, unlike us of course!"

When John found a job as a teacher after college his dad encouraged him to find another job. A man should be ashamed who would provide so little for his family. Mary's dad agreed with John's dad. He expected his daughter to be well provided for-she shouldn't need to work.

John and Mary got married. John found his job and has been there ever since; he talks about starting his own business one day. A coffee shop or music store, some business where he is the boss, but he has only talked about it. Mary got pregnant and has been a homemaker ever since, she talks about going to school one day and getting a degree like John has. A Bachelor's degree or perhaps a Master's. All she has done is talk about it as well.

After a year of marriage the couple had supposed was blissful, they found through well-meaning disclosure that they were, apparently, lonely. The families and friends of John and Mary encouraged them to start thinking about a baby. "Wouldn't that be a nice addition?" they would coo. Their encouragement was always in the form of a question, such as: "So, when are we going to hear the pitter-patter of little feet?" and "When are you going to make me a grandpa?" or the most encouraging: "Are you two not able to have children?"

John and Mary finally had two kids and named them Dick and, the youngest, Jane. They decided that it is about time for them to buy a house. All of their friends say it is about time and all of their family has told them that an apartment is too small for a growing boy and girl. John and Mary hope to save enough for a house within a couple of years so that they can be  completely happy. Maybe if they have more space they won't fight about little things that seem like big things.

-Emily Chumchal Andrews

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