Sunday, September 04, 2011

Doorframes and Gates

True confession: I'm not a super uptight mama. For all my cloth diapering, baby wearing, and breastfeeding, I counter it by not worrying too much about other things. I don't care if my dogs lick Gav's face. I don't care if my house is clean or the dishes are done before I go to bed at night. I don't care that the laundry pile in my master bathroom is three feet high. I don't care if the nursery workers let Gavrel cry for the last ten minutes of service because they don't want to pull me out of the closing worship set. Sure, there are things that I stick to - but few that I obsess over.

One thing I take extremely seriously, though, is my responsibility to raise a godly son. That's a big charge, and sometimes it can seem daunting. Luckily, I'm starting from the beginning and can lay some strong foundations.

We've all read the quintessential "Parenting 101" verses in Deuteronomy 6:6-9:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
So I ask myself regularly, am I doing these things? At (almost) five months old, here are some ways I impress the Word of God on Gavrel:
  1. I play worship music at home and listen to the Christian radio station in the car.
  2. I sing hymns at bedtime.
  3. We read Bible stories during the day out of our Jesus Storybook Bible.
  4. Jon and I both pray over him as the last thing before we lay him in bed at night.
But as I've revisited Deuteronomy 6 recently, I realized there as something obvious I was missing: "write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Ok, I don't have gates, and the doorframes in our apartment are less than attention-grabbing, but I have walls!

I know you have all seen the vinyl wall decals that are really popular right now. They usually have cute words or sayings in stylized lettering. They're a great way to add some temporary color and texture to a wall when you can't paint (or even when you can, I suppose - I just can't). Instead of a cutesy saying, I could put Bible verses on my walls!

As I started looking for verse decals, I quickly discovered that most of the ones I could find readily were the same few verses over and over again. Few of them were cheap. I could custom order a decal online, but the shortest verse I wanted was going to be $50, minimum. This was going to be harder than I thought. This is important, but I definitely don't have $50 to spend on a sticker!

So I made my own. I typed up two of the verses I wanted, deciding to start with those and see how it went. Jon printed them on large paper for me at work, and I went out and bought my tools:
  • Craft Knife - I opted to pay $1 more for a knife with a smaller blade that swivels in it's setting. The package said "for small shapes, curves, and circles." I needed all of the above.
  • Contact Paper - I was disappointed in the selection of colors in regular shelf-liner style contact paper, so I bought one roll of regular stuff and found a roll of actual wall vinyl in a craft store. The only thing I worried about was that the vinyl was made for use with a special die-cut machine that specifically does this kind of thing - not for cutting by hand. After taking my stroller out of the trunk eight times in three hours looking for regular
    contact paper, I opted to just try it and see which I liked better. If I decided to do any more, I could be informed in my material choice next time.
  • Cutting Mat - I didn't know if this was really necessary, since I could have use some cardboard instead, but it was much easier and sturdier and I'm glad I got it in retrospect.
Other things I gathered at home were: tape measure, pencil, masking tape, and scotch tape.

I laid the print-outs over the contact paper/vinyl, taped it in place across the back, and proceeded to cut out each individual letter of two verses over the next two days. Then I measured and taped off lines where I wanted the verses to go. As I had time over the next three days, I gradually peeled off each letter and positioned it along the tape lines until every letter was up. I managed not to tear a single letter in the process! Though I did have to re-position a few.

Here are the results:

Overall, you can tell they aren't professional but I'm still pleased with
how they came out. They accomplish their intended purpose, and there was a lot of love that went into them. I'm already planning another verse to put over our bed, and possibly a few in the bathrooms, too.

And for those of you wondering, here are my conclusions on the two materials I used: The vinyl was a little bit easier to cut out, but the contact paper was significantly easier to stick up (and unstick and restick when necessary). Next time, I think I will opt for contact paper, even if I have to dig up the right colors online.

Other tips: The swivel knife was totally worth it. Sans-serif fonts are easier to cut out. Non-italic letters are easier to line up.

How do you impress the Word of God on your children?


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