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Friday, January 29, 2010

Girls in Dresses

"But little girl's clothing is so much cuter than boy's clothing," was my cry during my first pregnancy.

I would walk through stores fingering the adorable little dresses wondering if I'd dress a little girl someday. I knew whatever gender God gave us would be wonderful. But secretly I wanted a baby girl before my child birthing years were over. We received two such gifts (and a boy gift, too!!).

Imagine if your little girl never had a dress. A dress to spin in. A dress to make you feel good. And if you're two, a dress to lift up to your face during the church Christmas program!! :) I know it may seem frivolous in today’s scenes of children starving and homeless. But what a great way to make a girl's day just a tad bit brighter by receiving a dress.

I found an organization that is doing just this...giving little girls pillow case dresses. Yes, you read correctly...pillow case. Click here for the website. It explains everything and how to make these wonderful pillow case dress creations.

If you choose to participate, this picture is what may happen. Aren't they beautiful! Look at those smiles!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It Happened At Noon!

This was my first (and only) published writing. I was in 6th grade and it was a timed in-school creative writing assignment. The only reason I know it was timed is because I distinctly remember the teacher telling us how many minutes we had left. I panicked, as any good student would do, and hurried to finish my "piece". I handed it in and figured "that was that".

The next thing I remember, my teacher was announcing to the entire class that my writing was going to be in the school paper. You need to understand that the school paper seemed to be a place that only pertained to high school events. (our tiny school was elementary through highschool) Oh, sure there was the elementary lunch listing but that was about it. This was a big deal. I remember my teacher even hanging it on the bulletin board for a short time.

I wasn't a popular kid. Never was. Still not. I was the the second to the bottom ladder rung. So to have a piece of me out there for all to see...wow!

Without further delay...here is my first and only published piece. Now, y'all remember, I was 6th grade and it is far from perfect. The "room" I keep referring to is my class room at school. And apparently I was in love with exclamation points!!!!!!! :)

It Happened At Noon!

Friday noon, after I got done eating, I came straight back to the room. Everything on the walls was gone! The room was bare, no people or anything! I thought that they might be in the cafeteria, and the posters were taken down! I went to the cafeteria. No one or anything was in sight!

"It must be a fire drill," I told myself.

So I went outside. The playground was empty, no swings, slide, or anything, just land! I ran inside to the girls lockerroom, no one or anything! Just a bare deserted room!

I ran through the halls screaming, "Where is everyone."

I looked down. I saw some sand. I touched it, and WHAM, a green monster was there. I started to run!

I felt something on my back! Someone said, "Wake Up."

Then I walked back to my room!

Do you realize how difficult it was for this teaching at home mom NOT to edit and correct as I was retyping my 6th grade writing? This is word-for-word, coma-for-coma, exclaimation point-for-exclamation point original. 

Moral of the story? If you see sand on the floor, don't touch it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cold Weather = Warm Food

This is a definite favorite of mine. Sorry there isn't a picture to entice your eyes but trust me, it is yum!

BAKED OATMEAL


2 c. oatmeal
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 - 2/3 c. packed brown sugar (depending on desired sweetness)
1 tsp. baking powder
1-2 tsp. cinnamon (again, depending how well you like cinnamon!)
1 egg beaten
3/4 - 1 c. milk (I like mine more moist so I use at least 1 c.)
chopped apples, raisins, blueberries or whatever you like, optional


Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate overnight.
You may use a square pan or casserole dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes, uncovered.
*You may need to bake longer depending on the amount of liquid you put in, the type of pan you use and variables with your oven temp.

In the past, I have used honey and real maple syrup in place of the sugar. It was really tasty but you'll need to bake it much, much longer than 35 minutes.

Enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Love

Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath. What is not to love about this song? The song is based on 1 Corinthians 13...aka the love chapter.



1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)

Love

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hitting Hard Times



Hard times. We all have them. We all should expect them...but it doesn't make it any easier to know that! December and January have been difficult months for me.

December hit me with a "life is not fair" situation. If you have been reading my posts, you know I'm a crier. So, can you guess what my first reaction was? Yup, tears. I'm trying to become friends with my emotional tears...we are acquaintances thus far—still working on the friendship thing. Then, after the tears, I became very angry. Extremely angry. "It's not fair, God!" was my cry. My attitude became downright embarrassing. The Bible verse, "But, Lord, surely he stinkth!" (John 11:39) came to mind often. Do you think God was trying to tell me something? I have since some to grips with the situation even though I'm still not happy with the outcome and think of it as "life's not fair". And, frankly, there are days my attitude "surely stinketh"! But I'm trying and right now, that is what I cling to.

The very end of December and now into January, I was hit with another problem that screams, "What!? You can't be serious!" This solution is not an easy one. In fact, I resigned from my volunteer position at the church (working with pre-teen/teen girls) because this unfair problem is so at the forefront of my mind, I can't even begin to concentrate on my work with these beautiful girls. I felt terrible quitting but the passion and focus for this ministry were both gone. I'm not sure this current problem is going to resolve itself any time soon and it is something that one needs to be proactive.

The "life is not fair" situation is just something I need to learn to deal with. Life is not going to be fair, no matter how much you think it should be! It is basically one of those "put on your big girl panties and deal with it". Sometimes you just need to chalk up those situations as learning experiences and work on areas of ones life that need a little tweeking. God is in control and sometimes one needs to keep on repeating that from time to time.

The "What?! You can't be serious!" problem isn't as easy. It concerns more than just me. It is a problem that has so many twists and turns. It can't be solved by my attitude being adjusted or learning to change a part of myself...although when it is said and done, there probably is something I'll need to work on! It is a huge problem in my life right now. It calls for energy when I have none. And, sadly, it calls for patience. I'm. Not. Patient. Period. I know I need to work on it. But now?! Sigh.

Both of the situations I mentioned require me to lean heavy on God and God's people. It is an extremely humbling experience to ask others to pray about the situations. And at the same time, it is amazing and tear provoking to think of all the prayers going up for us. People are generous. People are caring. People are loving. People are encouraging. People send emails with verses that so totally apply, it is amazing. And people have NOT preached that I do not have enough faith or any number of things that people shouldn't say! I love these people.

I will still love God no matter the outcome. But it doesn't mean I'm not fearful of the outcome...it may be the complete opposite of what I want. That scares me. You see, this situation affects someone I deeply love. But doesn't God know so much more than me? Why is it so hard to relinquish control to God? Isn't it amazing that God really doesn't need us telling Him what is right for us?!

I also need to keep these situations in my life in perspective. Our marriage is fine. Our family's health is fine. My problems are tiny compaired to those in Haiti, those with cancer or serious illness, those in constant pain, those who have buried children or any number of scenarios.

Do I want a quick fix. You bet 'ya. Am I frustrated beyond frustrated? A definite yes! Is God's plan better than mine? 100% yes.

So, I cling to verses as these:

When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation
brought joy to my soul.
~Psalm 94:18-19

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and
not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
~Isaiah 40:29-31
A friend posted this on her facebook status this morning. I think it is very appropriate, don't you?
"Psalm 34:18 (NIV) "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and
saves those who are crushed in spirit."
 ...Message version...
"If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there;
if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath."

How do you handle the hard times/storms when they come along?
How do you support someone who has a stuggle or two in their life?
How has the Spirit led you to encourge someone?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Making It Easy


We all enjoy timing saving short-cuts and hints, right? Well, alrighty then. You've come to the right place today.

Some of the short cuts and hints you may already know, but it has made my life just a tad bit easier so I though I'd share...I'm just that way!
  • Buy ground beef or turkey in such an enormous amount that the butcher or sales person will raise his/her eyebrows at you! I purchase about 5-6# at a time. After you lug it through the door of your home, brown it right away (or soon thereafter). Yup, grab the biggest pot you have and brown away. After draining it, let it cool a little bit. Place the browned meat in a container with a lid. Throw it in the fridge....but don't forget about it. The next day, divide it up in freezer storage bags or if you have a handy-dandy vacuum seal machine use that! Why wait until the next day, you ask...well, I found out that if the meat is cold, it works better in the vacuum seal thingy. The juices don't squirt out at you. Stack the bags flat in the freezer. Pull one out of the freezer when making sloppy joes, tacos or a casserole which calls for browned ground beef/turkey. This saves an enormous amount of time when preparing meals.
  • I have frozen sloppy joes, hot chicken sandwich filling and mashed potatoes. Here is what I do. I get out my regular size muffin tin, spray w/non-stick cooking spray and fill. Stick the tin in the freezer. When the food is frozen, pop it out of the tin and place in freezer storage bags or a freezer container. These make perfect person size portions. And a quick meal when you don't know what else to have for lunch or supper!
  • You just made fresh, homemade, delicious cookies. IF you happen not to eat all of the cookies in two days, you may want to try this. Place a piece of bread...yes, bread...in the container with the cookies. The bread will become hard and the cookies soft!! Yum!! This also works on over-baked cookies that are just too hard. Place the bread in the container right away and you'll have hard bread and soft cookies. If your cookies are not hard, do not put bread in the container...the cookies will get way too soft. Just place the bread in there when the cookies start to become a little hard.
  • Speaking of cookies, if you make cut-out-cookies (i.e. Christmas cut-outs) and you have little helpers wanting to frost and decorate, here is what I did. If you have the time, make the dough one day and place in the fridge (my recipe tells me to so I obey) overnight. The next day, roll out the dough, have the little ones help with the cookie cutters and bake. The NEXT day, decorate. Yup, my nerves could not handle all that "help" in one day. When decorating with little ones or big messy ones, give each a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides). Tell everyone to frost and decorate their cookies in the pan (one cookie at a time of course). This is keep the mess in the pan and off of the table and floor. It is a miracle, I tell 'ya!
  • Spaghetti. Did you know cooked spaghetti can be frozen? Who knew?! I had to make a large quantity for a group of 30. I made waaaay too much! Seriously, way too much. It was eat spaghetti for supper for the next two weeks, throw it out or freeze it. I choose freezing. I placed a family size serving of spaghetti in freezer storage bags. When I was ready to have a meal of spaghetti again, I just went straight from the freezer into a pot of boiling water. The great thing about this was it was ready in a short amount of time! It was already cooked so it just needed heated through. Blam-o, it was done!
  • Making blueberry muffins? Dust the blueberries with a small amount of flour before placing in the batter. I have no idea how this works, but it keeps the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffin. It works, really. I just don't know how! :)
  • Baking pie. Makes your mouth water, right?! If you are like me, I can't see spending money for one of those aluminum/metal things that you place around the edge of the crust while baking. My dad gave me this little tip. Take an aluminum pie tin and cut the bottom out of it...leaving about an inch of the bottom. Invert the pie tin with the hole in the middle on top of the edge of the pie your about to bake. It does the same thing as those expensive ones! I usually put it on the pie right away and take it off about the last 10 minutes or so. It works great and lasts a long time. When it finally gives out, just make yourself a new one.
Now it is your turn. What are your time-savers, short-cuts or hints? I'd love to learn your tricks!

Friday, January 15, 2010

God's Grace

Grace. Do I really understand it? If someone on the street asked me the definition, could I give it in terms everyone would understand?

My definition? Well, Annie from annieblogs defines it so much better over at incourage.me ***. Annie explains grace in a beautifully, real, down-to-earth way that is just lovely. (Click on the highlighted grace to read this great definition!)

Please take time to read Annie's short post. After you come back, take some time to listen to the following video. It is Kathryn Scott's song "Grace Has Called My Name". It is beautiful.

Grace is calling your name, too! Don't forget that. God's love and grace are waiting for you!




***visit incourage.me if you've never been there...great spot for encouragement!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Love UP!


I love the movie Up. Okay, so maybe the scenes of the mean dogs freak me out in a nightmare-about-the-time-a-real-psycho-dog-bit-me kind of way. But those scenes are few and far between. It is funny. It is adorable. And it makes me cry like a baby wanting his or her bottle! Pathetic, I know. Trust me, I know.

What makes me sob is the love story. I know, it is a cartoon. I do know. But you must also be told I'm a crier. Just ask my family...but I digress. Marriages are not perfect. I do know. Trust me. But dog-gone-it....I want to be loved and missed like Carl and Ellie express...okay, the animators express so beautifully. Plus I want to change one of my kids names to Ellie.....which one will it be...hmmmm... Ellie is just so cute!

I won't spoil anything for you (although I'm dying to tell you everything!!). I'll let you read what Family Life says about marriage portrayal and the Pixar Film people. Read the full article at the link above. (I've summarized the Up part for you...you can thank me later.)

And before you think this is a love-fest for Pixar. It isn't. The owners/operators/employees are human like we are and mess up just like us. I know companies do things people do not approve of so don't send me nasty letters! :)

My comments are in red....just so you know not to blame this Dave fella who wrote the article!! :)

In Pixar Films, True Adventure Is Found in Relationships
Dave Boehi
January 11, 2010

.........Recently I rewatched all of the Pixar films released in the last decade, and in the process I spotted another secret of the studio’s success: These guys understand human connection—the family relationships and friendships that define us. If one message comes through loud and clear in every Pixar movie, it is this: Each of us is created not for independence but for interdependence....................

...........Last year’s Pixar film, Up, was probably its strongest statement yet on the value of relationships. It begins with an extended and emotional sequence about a married couple going through life together. In one sense it is depressing: Carl and Ellie long for adventure, and then for children, but their hopes and dreams are crushed by infertility, by financial challenges, Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert!! and finally by Ellie’s death. Yet at the same time it celebrates marriage: Their love for each other brings deep joy to their lives.

As the story progresses, Carl clings to memories of Ellie by clinging to their house, even as the neighborhood gives way to modern high-rise buildings. He finally leaves on the trip to South America that he and Ellie dreamed about, only to discover a stowaway in a young boy named Russell. And by the end of the film Carl realizes that real adventure is found in his relationships. As his final note from Ellie says, “Thanks for the adventure—now go have a new one!” yup, sob-city at this point of the movie!

You can tell that the filmmakers at Pixar have families of their own, because their experience is reflected in their stories. Just watch the overprotective father in Finding Nemo, so afraid to lose his son that he keeps him from experiencing life. Or study the portrayal of the toddler “Boo” in Monsters, Inc. Can you think of another movie that has done a better job of capturing the essence of a two-year-old child? I cried during this part of Monsters, Inc....don't judge me....Boo is going away for like, for-ev-a!!! I get misty just thinking about it....where is that tissue when you need one....

Or consider the heartbreaking sequence “When Somebody Loved Me” in Toy Story 2, And, cried here too... about a girl growing into adolescence and forgetting about her favorite toy. You can feel the ache of parents who can’t believe their children have grown up so quickly.

I’m glad that the folks at Pixar have their priorities clear. Movies will always be about adventure, about self-discovery, about mystery, about the “human condition.” But the heart of life is our family relationships.

Monday, January 11, 2010

God's Love



“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
~Romans 8:38 (New Living Translation)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Some Good Things Part II

Thanks for meeting me back here again to find some really cool blogs and people! So, without delay.......

This amazing young woman is from our church. She is simply amazing! Meet Libbey. Even though she is in constant pain, there is a smile on her face. Her mom has stated that people think Libbey is okay since she is smiling....but she isn't. Libbey has a severe case of scoliosis. I could go on and on about Libbey but go on over and take a gander. Say a prayer while you are there, too. Here is her blog and here is part 1 and here is part 2 of an interview my writer daughter did with Libbey. Remember, come on back.....promise?!

In need of children's clothing made by an excellent seamstress? Look no further! Adorable Blessings is the place you've been looking for. Go on....hop on over and look at the great selection and most adorable outfits! The bibs and burp clothes I have seen up close and they are high quality & highly absorbable. And did I mention how cute everything is over there???

Welcome back....did I tell you or did I tell you what an amazing woman Libbey is and how cute Adorable Blessings select is or what!

Another amazing woman is Shannon. Shannon has written 9 or 10 books and she is in her mid 20's. I know, amazing! She was also my writer daughter's writing mentor through Christian Writers' Guild. We have had the pleasure of meeting Shannon twice. She is a wonderful person! Shannon writes books for teens. And what she has to say to them about God and themselves is spot on target! I am in love with her first book, Divine Dance. I believe it is now in its 3rd or 4th printing. Yes, even I, an old person, loves that book! Her series of Being a Girl.... is also wonderful. This is her website and this is her blog. You have GOT to meet her! But remember your promise to come back!! :)

Yesterday, a good friend showed me this wonderful post!! I so, so, so, so (I think you get the idea) needed to hear this! Years ago, we had a church retreat and the speaker taught us Amen=So Be It. But this article really hit home today and made it very practical. I pray it helps you out today, too! If you don't click on any other link in this post, please, please, please click on this one and make time to read it. Seriously. Truely. (oh, and come on back here when you are done!!) .................did you read it??? I didn't lie to you did I!!!

Well, I even though there are many more blogs I could tell you about, I'm stopping here....for now! I'm sure I'll share more with you later. Until then, go make some bloggy friends (your real life friends won't be jealous) and be blessed by the postings!! :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Some Good Things

Someone has just shared with you the greatest news....what is the very first thing you do? You just found out the greatest way to slice onions.....what do you do with this discovery? Do you keep this information all to yourself?? NO! You share it with others who you know will be just as excited as yourself. (unless you were told to keep it a secret...then don't share!)

I bet you are asking yourself, "Self, what is this wonderful news that will be shared?" Well, I'll tell you. Although I did not discover a cure for cancer or anything super cool like that, I am going to share with you some really good blogs & really great people I have found on the web. (if your blog isn't listed I have either (a) had a severe bout of getting old and just plain forgot or (2) haven't happened upon your awesome blog yet....so don't feel bad!!)

First, I will start with my daughter's blog. Go ahead, go visit it...I'll wait....but before you go, promise you'll come back. Now shoo......read, enjoy and come back! ................are you back? I know, isn't she just cute! She has me hooked on the Meg story and even though I am her mom, she won't let me read ahead...I have to read it with the rest of you. I even tried the "mom card" and she hasn't fallen for that. Sigh. But I still love her.

Next is her other blog she started with two friends she met at a writers' conference. I'm proud of all three. Taking on this world with modest fashion and beauty (inner and outer)...written for the young woman by three amazing young women. Okay, now go but again, promise to come back! Didn't I tell ya?! How cute are they?!

I'd like to introduce, if you haven't met already, Holy Experience. Oh. My. When I've had a very stressful day, I love to hop over and crank up the speakers. That music, for one, is so soothing to my soul. And her words are like salve. So, go on over and relax! And I'm sure you know the drill by now....promise to come back here...

Need a good laugh? I wish I could write humorously as these two! They tell it like I think it! Please meet Annie and Jenny B Jones. Writer Daughter met Annie at She Speaks this past summer. According to my daughter, Annie is the best! Jenny, I don't know...but I'd like to meet both her and Annie for desert some day. Because this is my blog, I picked out my favorite posts from them and here they are.... Annie's (watch this video!) and another one.  Jenny's and another one of Jenny's. I'm trusting you to come back so go on, what are you waiting for? Go get your laugh on!

Now, that you have fulfilled your promise and came back after perusing some great blogs....promise you'll come back in a few days to learn of more great blogs! I've only just begun to introduce you to some really great people! I know you'll all become fast friends!!

So, meet me back here in a few days....promise?