How to Create a Fabric Covered Headboard

Build a fabric headboard of your own with the off-the shelf- materials found at a local home center. Increase the cozy factor of the bedroom by covering it in less than 3 yards of frabic of your choice with plush padding. Customization doesn’t have to mean pricey.  If you don’t feel like creating your own fabric pattern, browse the remnant bin at your local crafts store to piece together the perfect upholstered headboard.

Fabric-headboard-idea-from-Better-Homes-and-Gardens

Materials (for a queen-size headboard):

  • Two 32-inch-wide hollow-core wood doors without hardware
  • Tape measure
  • Straightedge
  • Circular saw
  • Sawhorses or worktable
  • 1-1/2-inch wood screws
  • Two 1×64-inch furring strips
  • Cordless drill
  • Repositionable spray adhesive
  • 4 yards 1- to 2-inch-thick batting
  • 2-1/2 yards upholstery-weight fabric
  • Stapler and 3/8-inch-long staples
  • 18 feet 1-inch-wide wood trim
  • Finish nails
  • Nail set and wood filler
1. Measure desired height for your headboard on both doors. Our headboard is 66 inches tall. Mark cut lines.

2. Saw at cut lines to desired size.

3. Line up sawed-off doors, noting location of interior wood framing.

4. Drive six to eight screws through furring strips into wood framing along the bottom edges. Repeat along the headboard’s top edge to link the two pieces.

5. Cut fabric and batting 10-14 inches longer than the headboard’s width. Spray upper portion of the headboard with adhesive (lower portion of headboard will not be upholstered; your bed will hide the wood). Working with a partner, gently lay first layer of batting in place. Spray on more adhesive and lay on second layer of batting. Press into position. Lay fabric and straighten.

6. Working with a partner, smooth fabric and stretch tightly. Tack fabric and batting in a few spots on the back.

7. Flip over headboard and staple fabric and batting every 3 inches. At corners, remove excess batting. Fold fabric as if wrapping a package and staple in place.

8. Nail on a frame of decorative trim to top and two sides (bottom edge does not need trim). Countersink nails, fill with wood filler, and touch up with paint.

Accepting Other Peoples Differences

We are all the products of our own individual upbringing and experiences so it is completely natural that we will all have differences in opinions on a wide range of issues.

The world would be a very dull place if we were all the same and it’s the incredible diversity amongst people throughout the world that makes it such a fascinating place.

 diversity

The World is Getting Smaller

Cheaper air travel and the internet has made the world seem a much smaller place and we are increasingly brought into contact with people from many different ethnicities religious backgrounds, languages, cultures and belief systems. You can see this every day on TV, on the news, in newspapers, out and about in society etc. To feel comfortable about people whom we encounter means that we must feel comfortable about ourselves and this means accepting ourselves for what we are.

 Prejudices

Unfortunately, many people put up barriers to protect themselves instead of opening themselves up to others. This, in turn, leads to a mistrust of others regardless of colour, religion, gender or any other stereotypical excuse given as to why we fear others and, on a global scale, this is often borne out in the wars that we see around the world and in an increase in terrorist activities. We all know that these kinds of responses only really fuel further mistrust yet, even in our own immediate environments such as the workplace or even in our local pub, we all tend to congregate in our little groups without giving much thought to others around us.

Benefits of Being Open to Others

When we get to learn about others and respect our similarities and our differences, we get to learn so much more about the world and about ourselves and this helps us to grow spiritually, instead of stagnating. It also opens the doors to many other opportunities, be they friendships, work prospects, travel possibilities or a wider understanding of the world in which we live.

How to Become More Tolerant and Accept Others Openly

Many people who are fearful of others are not so because they have any sense of resentment towards them but because they’re not sure how to go about communicating with them and also because they fear that their own little ‘cocoon of protection’ might be threatened. In other words, they make the mistake of believing that others’ viewpoints and opinions might open them up to the risk that their own opinions may be deemed worthless. This is simply not true. What is important is that everybody is entitled to a viewpoint or opinion and we should respect that right even if we don’t necessarily agree with it.

Tolerance is the key but you can still maintain your own identity and still have valid viewpoints. Remember, even identical twins have their own individual experiences and opinions and you probably don’t agree with everything your parents or children say but does that necessarily compromise you?

There are many things we can do to move towards accepting other people’s opinions and respecting our differences. At a very basic level, we should treat others with the same degree of respect as we would like to be treated ourselves. We should embrace our differences, not be afraid of them and we should never judge a person on our first impression which is often about how he or she looks. Taking the time to get to know the person within is a far better indicator than pre-judging them on appearances alone.

Getting to truly know a new person who we may feel is quite different to us can be a very rewarding experience. It’s true that when we’re looking to make friends or start relationships that we tend to gravitate towards people we believe are similar in outlook to ourselves but in restricting ourselves to that mindset, we can often miss out on many interesting experiences.

Be Prepared to Listen

Communication isn’t simply about talking. In fact, some of the best communicators on the world stage tend to be less ‘vocal’ than we might think they’d need to be to be effective communicators. Take Kofi Annan at the UN for instance. He holds one of the world’s most powerful positions when it comes to mediating between powerful people from different countries often with major differences in opinion but he’s good at what he does as he’s a good listener and, in effective communication, it’s listening that’s often the key.

 Take time to listen to other’s opinions and acknowledge them and also be confident to express your own. Listening to other’s opinions doesn’t mean you have to deviate from your own firmly held viewpoint, although a diverse opinion to your own can sometimes make you think about things in a different light. This is all part of a maturing of the mind. It’s not about convincing others that you are right or about them convincing you that they’re right but simply a matter of being understood and an acceptance that you might agree to disagree.

If people become more tolerant towards others and take time to get to know some of those with whom they were unfamiliar with previously, it would lead to a far more peaceful and understanding world and, ultimately when considering your own self-growth, an acceptance of other people’s differences is a sure-fire way of gaining a more complete acceptance of yourself.

He said he was leaving. She ignored him.

Let’s say you have what you believe to be a healthy marriage. You’re still friends and lovers after spending more than half of your lives together. The dreams you set out to achieve in your 20s — gazing into each other’s eyes in candlelit city bistros, when you were single and skinny — have for the most part come true.

O-Conell-and-Evey-movie-couples-16197664-1780-1167Two decades later you have the 20 acres of land, the farmhouse, the children, the dogs and horses. You’re the parents you said you would be, full of love and guidance. You’ve done it all: Disneyland, camping, Hawaii, Mexico, city living, stargazing.

Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy.”

But wait. This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say, “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.

Here’s a visual: Child throws a temper tantrum. Tries to hit his mother. But the mother doesn’t hit back, lecture or punish. Instead, she ducks. Then she tries to go about her business as if the tantrum isn’t happening. She doesn’t “reward” the tantrum. She simply doesn’t take the tantrum personally because, after all, it’s not about her.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying my husband was throwing a child’s tantrum. No. He was in the grip of something else — a profound and far more troubling meltdown that comes not in childhood but in midlife, when we perceive that our personal trajectory is no longer arcing reliably upward as it once did. But I decided to respond the same way I’d responded to my children’s tantrums. And I kept responding to it that way. For four months.

“I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did.”

His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, “I don’t buy it.” Because I didn’t.

He drew back in surprise. Apparently he’d expected me to burst into tears, to rage at him, to threaten him with a custody battle. Or beg him to change his mind.

So he turned mean. “I don’t like what you’ve become.”

Gut-wrenching pause. How could he say such a thing? That’s when I really wanted to fight. To rage. To cry. But I didn’t.

Instead, a shroud of calm enveloped me, and I repeated those words: “I don’t buy it.”

You see, I’d recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself. I’d committed to “the End of Suffering.” I’d finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control. I’d seen the insanity of that equation and decided to take responsibility for my own happiness. And I mean all of it.

My husband hadn’t yet come to this understanding with himself. He had enjoyed many years of hard work, and its rewards had supported our family of four all along. But his new endeavor hadn’t been going so well, and his ability to be the breadwinner was in rapid decline. He’d been miserable about this, felt useless, was losing himself emotionally and letting himself go physically. And now he wanted out of our marriage; to be done with our family.

But I wasn’t buying it.

I said: “It’s not age-appropriate to expect children to be concerned with their parents’ happiness. Not unless you want to create co-dependents who’ll spend their lives in bad relationships and therapy. There are times in every relationship when the parties involved need a break. What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

“Huh?” he said.

“Go trekking in Nepal. Build a yurt in the back meadow. Turn the garage studio into a man-cave. Get that drum set you’ve always wanted. Anything but hurting the children and me with a reckless move like the one you’re talking about.”

Then I repeated my line, “What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

“Huh?”

“How can we have a responsible distance?”

“I don’t want distance,” he said. “I want to move out.”

My mind raced. Was it another woman? Drugs? Unconscionable secrets? But I stopped myself. I would not suffer.

Instead, I went to my desk, Googled “responsible separation,” and came up with a list. It included things like: Who’s allowed to use what credit cards? Who are the children allowed to see you with in town? Who’s allowed keys to what?

I looked through the list and passed it on to him.

His response: “Keys? We don’t even have keys to our house.”

I remained stoic. I could see pain in his eyes. Pain I recognized.

“Oh, I see what you’re doing,” he said. “You’re going to make me go into therapy. You’re not going to let me move out. You’re going to use the kids against me.”

“I never said that. I just asked: What can we do to give you the distance you need … ”

“Stop saying that!”

Well, he didn’t move out.

Instead, he spent the summer being unreliable. He stopped coming home at his usual 6 o’clock. He would stay out late and not call. He blew off our entire Fourth of July — the parade, the barbecue, the fireworks — to go to someone else’s party. When he was at home, he was distant. He wouldn’t look me in the eye. He didn’t even wish me “Happy Birthday.”

But I didn’t play into it. I walked my line. I told the kids: “Daddy’s having a hard time, as adults often do. But we’re a family, no matter what.” I was not going to suffer. And neither were they.

My trusted friends were irate on my behalf. “How can you just stand by and accept this behavior? Kick him out! Get a lawyer!”

I walked my line with them, too. This man was hurting, yet his problem wasn’t mine to solve. In fact, I needed to get out of his way so he could solve it.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m a pushover. I’m weak and scared and would put up with anything to keep the family together. I’m probably one of those women who would endure physical abuse. But I can assure you, I’m not. I load 1,500-pound horses into trailers and gallop through the high country of Montana all summer. I went through Pitocin-induced natural childbirth. And a Caesarean section without follow-up drugs. I am handy with a chain saw.

I simply had come to understand that I was not at the root of my husband’s problem. He was. If he could turn his problem into a marital fight, he could make it about us. I needed to get out of the way so that wouldn’t happen.

Privately, I decided to give him time. Six months.

I had good days and I had bad days. On the good days, I took the high road. I ignored his lashing out, his merciless jabs. On bad days, I would fester in the August sun while the kids ran through sprinklers, raging at him in my mind. But I never wavered. Although it may sound ridiculous to say, “Don’t take it personally” when your husband tells you he no longer loves you, sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do.

Instead of issuing ultimatums, yelling, crying, or begging, I presented him with options. I created a summer of fun for our family and welcomed him to share in it, or not — it was up to him. If he chose not to come along, we would miss him, but we would be just fine, thank you very much. And we were.

And, yeah, you can bet I wanted to sit him down and persuade him to stay. To love me. To fight for what we’ve created. You can bet I wanted to.

But I didn’t.

I barbecued. Made lemonade. Set the table for four. Loved him from afar.

And one day, there he was, home from work early, mowing the lawn. A man doesn’t mow his lawn if he’s going to leave it. Not this man. Then he fixed a door that had been broken for eight years. He made a comment about our front porch needing paint. Our front porch. He mentioned needing wood for next winter. The future. Little by little, he started talking about the future.

It was Thanksgiving dinner that sealed it. My husband bowed his head humbly and said, “I’m thankful for my family.”

He was back.

And I saw what had been missing: pride. He’d lost pride in himself. Maybe that’s what happens when our egos take a hit in midlife and we realize we’re not as young and golden anymore.

When life’s knocked us around. And our childhood myths reveal themselves to be just that. The truth feels like the biggest sucker-punch of them all: It’s not a spouse, or land, or a job, or money that brings us happiness. Those achievements, those relationships, can enhance our happiness, yes, but happiness has to start from within. Relying on any other equation can be lethal.

My husband had become lost in the myth. But he found his way out. We’ve since had the hard conversations. In fact, he encouraged me to write about our ordeal. To help other couples who arrive at this juncture in life. People who feel scared and stuck. Who believe their temporary feelings are permanent. Who see an easy out and think they can escape.

My husband tried to strike a deal. Blame me for his pain. Unload his feelings of personal disgrace onto me.

But I ducked. And I waited. And it worked.

 

This essay originally appeared in The New York Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved. 

Editor’s note: On May 30, 2014, the author wrote an update to this essay on her blog.

[I]t was never about staying together. It was about taking care of yourself in a time when society says that you should suffer greatly, fight, splay yourself supplicant. I refused to do that. I felt that it was his crisis, and my job was to focus on what I could control and let go of the rest, which included the outcome of my marriage. I gave myself a stopping point. And eventually we stopped. And now we are divorced. Amicably. We are on to new chapters. All the players are thriving. And I’ve been given the opportunity to re-live the messages in my book/essay from a new angle. They still apply and they are still lifelines. And I can say that I know, without a doubt, that happiness is within. I’ll leave it at that. [Laura Munson]

 

My Mantra for Self Care

serenity-and-massage

I haven’t written a blog for the last 2 weeks and I try not to pressure myself to come up with one. I have been swamped with back to back events that I have planned and designed. I’m also giving more attention in helping my son improve his study habits. Although he is not officially diagnosed with ADHD, we have been going to a support group how to help him with his weaknesses. And of course, the huge part of my schedule is being present for Austria’s daily therapy and setting up play dates to improve her social skills. To top it all, I’m in the middle of coming up with a business plan! Is it exhausting? Yes!

With the roles that I have, spinning 10 plates at the same time is stressful. When my children’s needs began to be more challenging, I realized I needed to have a plan how to take care of myself too to combat and manage my ‘go, go’ lifestyle. If you are a full time mom, it is very important to care for yourself. Do not feel guilty for taking a ‘me’ time. You deserve it.

The best thing you can give to your child everyday is being a happy mom.  I have been adopting ‘S.E.L.F.’ from Kathleen Hall to keep my sanity with my crazy schedule. This always works for me because it’s easy to remember and it is not complicated!

S-erenity

Even a few minutes of meditation or listening to music can lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormones, says Hall. Sit silently in a comfortable place and take deep, cleansing breaths to the count of four. I do this in between my children’s activities. On your downtown, listen to calming music or nature sounds, which are scientifically proven to reduce stress. I also listen to New Age or inspirational songs while doing my chores. I live near the beach so whenever I have time, I go and just listen to the waves or watch the sun go down and be amazed of the horizon. S is also Spirituality for me. I do my best to read a short scripture, a Psalm or Proverbs for encouragement that I need daily!

E-xercise

Endorphins from exercise are known relaxants. As adhering to a gym schedule can be tough for working moms, Hall recommends investing in a treadmill and placing it near a TV, so workouts feel fun. If you are a fulltime mom, walking or running outside your home is preferable during your weekend schedule. Or make exercise a family affair by putting up a basketball hoop or badminton net in the backyard. Since I don’t have a yard, we just go to the nearest recreational park and play ball with my kids. I do my best to walk them to school if I’m not in a hurry!

L-ove

Sharing your stress and concerns helps the mind and body relax and renew. Hall recommends keeping at least three commiserating ‘besties’ on speed dial, or meeting up with a friend or co-worker at least once a week for a healthy meal or coffee. I have 5, not 3 women in my life that I call my ’lifeline’. When I have something that bothers me and weighs me down, I know they will pick up their phones for me anytime of the day. Most of all, the best person who can give you love is your husband. At the end of the day, do your best to connect before going to bed.

F-ood

Yes, it can be your friend. Food regulates mood, sleep and health and stress, if you eat right. Don’t skimp on breakfast, says Hall. A good, protein-rich one increases metabolism and decreases hunger later on. Stave off stress with moderate portions of mood-regulating foods like those containing serotonin- boosting vitamin B6 (bananas, sweet potatoes, turkey, salmon) and omega-3s (nuts, fish and or supplements).  Since I’m vegan, I use tofu to substitute my protein intake and I eat a lot of legumes and spinach. If you are a working mom and always on the go, try to at least drink a fresh squeezed a combination of fruit and vegetables daily.

 

The Church and Mental Illness

Woman-Praying

Mental illness is still murky territory for those who experience it, their families, and their church.

For many Christians experiencing mental illness, the church can be both a place of welcome and alienation. Just as society has struggled with how to deal with those with mental illness, Christian churches have found the area equally challenging. As a church we’re just beginning to address the issues on a church-wide and institutional level.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one in four Americans has a mental disorder. Of those, one in 17 has a serious mental illness such as major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or borderline personality disorder.

The prevalence of mental disorder across the globe is also rising. I was one of the many who was ‘officially’ diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in the Philippines 15 years ago. I do believe that more people with Christian faith background may have fallen to some form of mental illness in Asia and other countries.

So the people next to you in the church may have a mental illness or have family members who have mental illness. By virtue of Baptism, we’re all equal members of the church, and we need to be mindful of that.

Awareness

As research has shown that mental disorders aren’t just moods to be shaken off or, in severe cases, uncorrectable issues requiring time in a mental institution, the stigma once attached to them has slowly been eroding.

I felt a lot of shame in the beginning having a mental disability because I served as a full time staff in the church when I was single. It wasn’t even known to people I served just because I was still learning about this disorder. But I dealt with a lot of guilt, anxiety, and fear over my faith. It was a ‘sin’ if I thought anything that was considered negative especially when I was little bit fragile emotionally. I felt the confusing suicidal thoughts even if there is no reason at all.

I do believe that the church has an opportunity to send a lot of positive messages about mental illness, but changes are still very slow.

I see some churches now who take more of a holistic approach to mental illness. A “synergy between religion and psychology” where there is an awareness of the biological, social, psychological, and spiritual aspects of a person suffering mental illness. I am very fortunate to be in a ministry that supports this approach.

Suicide is the biggest area of attitude change for the Christian Churches. It still describes it as “gravely contrary to the just love of self”. “Suicide is not a sin anymore,” says Nancy Kehoe, a psychologist in Cambridge – who in her recent book, Wrestling with Our Inner Angels, talks about working with suicidal patients. “Other religious traditions have not taken that approach yet.”

A Real Disability

Mental illness outreach within the Christian Churches has often emerged from other disabilities work.

Kehoe thinks there’s been a vast improvement in the “sensitivity and sophistication” of understanding mental illness, but that church outreach in that area has taken more time compared to the outreach to those dealing with physical disabilities.

Recent Baylor University studies reflect this attitude. A 2008 study showed that almost one-third of a group of 293 Christians who approached their various churches about mental illness were told that they or their family member didn’t really have a mental disorder. Depression and anxiety were the maladies most often dismissed by church.

Repeated studies have also shown that it is the church leaders and pastors to whom people most frequently turn when they are first in mental distress, not mental health professionals.

We should recognize that churches are a natural ally. Churches understand compassion. Churches understand justice.

Share the load

If I hadn’t found the church welcoming, I probably would have turned to another religion for support or become lost without spiritual guidance.

Most Christians with mental disorders have a deep faith because of the nature of the illness. It’s such a catastrophe in one’s life that it literally drives you to your knees in reaching out to a higher power, to Christ.

I came closest to leaving the church when I was experiencing challenging times in my life. My addiction to alcohol that has been long gone transferred to another form of addiction. The women’s ministry counselor that I trusted advised me to attend another 12 Steps program. I definitely struggled with that balance between wanting to stay close to God but having to stay away from God, because I felt like I do not meet His expectations. I do not deserve to be called a Christian.

In my early years of being a Christian, a couple of ministers who weren’t aware of my illness singled me out that I was an emotional roller coaster. I was put down because of how I processed my thoughts and emotions. I realized that I needed to forgive the church because the church has always been there for me. I understand that the church is not perfect and consequently hurt every Christian because it’s human.

For me my Christian faith helped me reach stability in my struggle with mental illness. If it weren’t for my faith I don’t think I’d be here today. It took a long time, but the more I prayed the better I felt. The more I went to God and surrendered my overwhelming thoughts, the more I felt peace.

God has worked miracles in my life. I believe that God heals us, too, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to take your medication. I suffer from bipolar disorder and I credit my recovery to God, to my spiritual leaders and the help of Lithium and Prozac. :)

Understanding and Compassion

Outreach to those experiencing mental illness does not need to be as extensive as starting your own social service agency. Many within the church say that while the mentally ill often need a range of services-including access to medicine and counseling-churches can begin by simply making those with mental illness feel welcome. It is not anymore about having a bad attitude or unpleasant character that you need to repent of overcoming.

If only our churches knew how simple it is to be the support that people just hunger for. For so many people with mental illness, what would be most therapeutic in their lives would be relationships and friendships.

To support a friend with cancer you don’t have to be an oncologist. To support a friend with mental illness, you don’t have to be a psychiatrist.

I’d say the majority of church leaders don’t understand what mental illness is about, and they can’t identify it when it comes to their door.

Christian Church Conferences provides to church leaders, pastors, ministers training for areas like marriage, family and bereavement counseling but don’t get into “the big guns” of mental illness. I’d like to see churches host support and outreach groups not only through NAMI and other outside organizations but on their own.

I do believe that if churches do mental health ministries, they can help to keep people from falling through the cracks. People with mental illness are much sicker than they need to be, and we as Christians need to care.

People tend to believe that God is punishing them and struggle with why they were singled out for this illness. There were times I almost just gave up on Christianity. I read God’s promises in the bible but I didn’t believe it, and I couldn’t find any joy in it anymore.

I went through years of overcoming the “Why me?” struggle. My turning point came when I was in a support group hosted by NAMI and hearing the people how they are overcoming with their illness. God answered my “Why me?” with “Why not you?” It became a vision that I am a vessel to be used in sharing God’s hope and grace to people who are suffering from mental illness especially if they are battling it on their own.

I’ve seen that it is really true, that this experience can be a grace experience. Our childhood relationship with God crumbles, but we can find him anew, as an adult on a much deeper level, in a much more profound way.

Unlike many people, those with mental illness can see “the depths and heights of humanity, the soaring glory of the possible and the deep melancholy of life. And that is a gift.

We can find “beautiful in the brokenness.”

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