Archive | January 2013

Hang In There and Serve

Can you believe before week’s end we will begin month two of 2013? How have you been? Seriously, how are you? Has your 2013 started as you hoped, or has it been a not-so-good beginning? (I hope you’ll leave me a comment just to let me know.)

It seems there are some pretty nasty bugs going around – flu, strep, stomach virus, colds, allergies….I’m sorry if you’ve been hit with any of these. Moms of young ones, this week I am praying especially for you. I remember some long weeks when my four were young.  It seemed a bug would be picked up, and it would be shared through the whole family. Sometimes, I’d just get things disinfected, and round two would hit. The worst was when I would get sick, too. Unless your household is a lot different than mine, you know how it goes.  Mom takes care of everyone, but who takes care of Mom?  There were times I could have a really big pity party, and the worse I felt the bigger my ‘party’.

This weekend a friend made a comment that stood out to me.  She said she had a great day being home even though most of the family was sick. WOW! I’m pretty sure I never made that comment when I had a houseful of sick kids. This really got me thinking though. Instead of bemoaning the fact that her weekend was spent taking care of her sick family, she was exhibiting a servant heart.

Matthew 25:35-40 says:

For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,you were doing it to me!’” NLT

When we care and serve our family as if we are doing it to God, our whole perspective changes. You  may be in round two of the stomach virus or flu, but hang in there and serve as unto the Lord!

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Double Wedding Ring Quilt

I by no means am in the elite stitchers group called Quilters.  However, I love quilts.  In days gone by, women made their own quilts out of necessity, and many girls learned basic stitching and piecing by creating sampler blocks.  Fabrics were often leftover scraps from garments or cotton sacks.

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Times have changed, and quilts can be purchased in most variety stores. With the array of colorful fabrics the possibilities for a beautiful quilt are endless.  Many home quilters no longer stitch by hand, but rather by machine.

With a house full of boys, my dream was to make my only daughter a double wedding ring quilt for her wedding present.  With the assistance of a true quilter, my sister in-law Jean, fabric was selected.  I chose 14 different colors and prints to create a scrappy patchwork look so it could be used with any bedroom color scheme.

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The process of cutting the many fabric pieces took much longer than I anticipated, and I wondered if I’d ever get started sewing.

Finally, the day came when I began piecing the arcs together.

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Since my daughter was on the other side of the world teaching school in Russia, I was able to work without her knowing.  However, once again, this piecing took longer than I thought.  Daughter got engaged and is now married, and the quilt is not finished.  I should have started 5 years ago!! I did manage to surprise her though.  I wrapped the assembled quilt top and gave it to her at a bridal shower.

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Only two steps are left: quilting and binding.  Tuesday, I dusted off my quilt frames, sandwiched the back, batting and top and wrapped the quilt onto the frames.

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My sewing room/bedroom is the perfect width for the quilt frames!

I know it will take quite awhile to put in all the tiny hand stitches, but when the final one is in I’ll be sure to post a picture of the completed quilt. In the meantime, if you have an itch to stitch, come on over. I’m sure the fellowship would do us good. Plus, twice as many stitches would be put in.

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To God be the Glory

Counting? What IS all this counting about? Counting One Thousand Gifts in 2013? Counting gifts of blessing from God, but NOT just to count. It is not all about me; rather it is all about GOD from whom all blessings flow. It’s looking closer, intentionally, seeking, expanding  my focus so I may see God in all things and glorify Him.

In her book, Jesus Calling, Sarah Young has compiled personal notes from Jesus for each day of the year. The message for January 19 sums up what this counting is all about.

“Seek my face, and you will find more than you ever dreamed possible.  Let Me displace worry at the center of your being.  I am like a supersaturated cloud, showering Peace into the pool of your mind.  My Nature is to bless.  Your nature is to receive with thanksgiving.  This is a true fit, designed before the foundation of the world.  Glorify Me by receiving My blessings gratefully.

I am the goal of all your searching.  When you seek Me, you find Me and are satisfied.  When lesser goals capture your attention, I fade into the background of your life.  I am still there, watching and waiting; but you function as if you were alone.  actually, My Light shines on every situation you will ever face.  Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all your moments.  Let nothing dampen your search for Me. 

Psalm 17:8; Philippians 4:7; Jeremiah 29:13″

It is usually quite easy to look around and see God’s blessings on the surface. However, I want to go beyond the surface. The tool that helps me is Ann Voskamp’s monthly list of gifts to look for.  With this list I must think outside the box and look beyond the obvious. Matthew 7:7 promises that if I seek I will find. Therefore, I am seeking. Seeking God’s face in things only seen up close, in a reflection or in the shadow.  Seeking God’s face when my life is calm as well as during the most turbulent times. Seeking God’s face so I may give Him all glory and praise.

If you would like a ready made list to help you start looking beyond the surface for God’s blessings click on this LINK.  It will take you to Ann Voskamp’s JoyDare list. Remember, it is not all about what God has done for me, but rather me giving God glory, honor, praise and thanksgiving for the many blessings I may never have noticed before.

To God be the Glory!

Closet Make-over Reveal

It’s done; it’s done!!! AND I love it! Oh! You wonder what this excitement is all about? Well, I’m glad you stopped by for today’s “Show and Tell”.  You see, I love to sew and craft and scrapbook and well, be creative. However, I have not had a very functional space to keep supplies and to make things. That is until now. I (along with some much appreciated help from Hubby) just transformed a bedroom closet into a very organized and functional sewing/crafts/scrapbooking center! Finally, I have everything at my fingertips with workspace included! Oh dear, I’m getting way ahead of myself! Let me just give you a step-by-step of this transformation.

This closet with double bi-fold doors had a wire closet organizer. We removed the organizer and plan on using it in a different closet. This left holes in the wall, so I patched them and repainted the walls and ceiling.  It was important to keep it as light as possible for my workspace.  I did not have to buy paint because I had enough left from a different project.

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Next was shelving and work table.  This was really my only expense! I was able to find formica counters on sale. This was my area to splurge as I wanted a smooth surface to eliminate snagging fabric and also easy cleanup for glue or paint.

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Once the counter was installed, I decided it really needed some kind of additional support in the middle. Years ago, we removed a banister railing from the family room saving the spindles for re-purposing. The spindle fit perfectly! I painted with the same paint used for the walls and then distressed it a bit.  The stool fits perfectly under the counter and is just the right height. I had bought it when the boys were young for our hair cutting stool. They are grown and gone, and now the stool has a new home and use.

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I function best when things are organized, so how did I organize sewing, crafts and scrapbook materials? On the left end of the counter is all my scrapbook supplies. They are easily accessible and I have plenty of counter to work on. Above the tray stackers are my craft items.

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The right end is for sewing. My machine will stay on the counter top so I can easily grab a few minutes here and there to work on a project without having to get it out and put it away. Above the machine, the shelves hold sewing notions, fabric, patterns, books…

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I used a wire pie server and jars to help keep odds and ends corralled. On the top rack are items for sewing and the bottom is craft pens and scissors.  This can easily be moved from one end or the other of the counter depending on the project I’m working on. The jars can also quickly and easily be removed to use the wire server as it was originally intended.

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Oh! I almost forgot – my idea board. I found a fabric remnant in my stash that was just the right size to cover a piece of styrofoam insulation. The foam was cut to fit the wall between the counter and bottom of first shelf support. The blue ties into the bedroom colors, and teamed with white stripes keeps things light. I can use push pins to attach project ideas or supply snippets, or I can clip with mini clothespins onto the jute rope. This work center did need some additional light. I relocated an under counter light that was not being used and attached beneath the first shelf.

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For eye appeal and the finishing touch, I used the doily bunting I made for my daughter’s wedding. I used glue dots to attach bunting to the edge of the shelves. Who would have thought that a closet could be your favorite place to hangout? Well, while the winter weather is here, this is my new go-to space! This project came together quicker than I thought it might, so I’ve already had a few days to use it.  I have been sewing, sewing, sewing.

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Heaven Ponderings and a Sneak Peek

Pastor has been leading us through a study on heaven, and yesterday our text was Revelation 21. This chapter is chalk full of specific descriptions down to the measurements. Though I tried to picture heaven in my mind, I simply could not wrap my mind around it. All I can say is that heaven is going to be AwEsOmE, and I am not using that loosely. Before we got to the structure we read of things that will affect us more personally. The first verses to really grab my attention were Rev. 21:3-4.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev.21:3-4 ESV

I believe these spoke to me because of some of the trials and heartache I’ve seen and felt in my  family.  To begin with, God “will wipe away every tear from our eyes!” My tears often come from frustration and hurt, usually emotional rather than physical.

“Death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning.” Hubby’s parents both died in a span of two years. For each, our mourning began before their last day. Dad S was not well for many years, and we mourned throughout that time as we lost him little by little. We also mourned the fact that the younger grandchildren never knew the grandpa the older ones knew. They did not get to tag along to milk the cows, feed the baby calves, ride the tractor, or go fishing in the farm pond. They did not get the pony rides upon his back, hear him recite poetry that always had a moral lesson, or hear his prayers of blessing. Yes, we have mourned for many years.

Mom S was a fighter, but cancer got the best of her. She always enjoyed the beach, and would have enjoyed the ocean scene at her granddaughter’s beach wedding. Grandchildren brought her much joy; I can only imagine the twinkle in her eyes and her laughter if only she would have been able to meet her great grandson. The younger grandchildren will never experience Scrabble with Grandma. She usually beat us all, soundly! When she canned peaches that September, we did not think she would be gone in a few short weeks. Cancer – it can be so cruel. As long as she was able, Mom S enjoyed the sunrise view out her kitchen window. This was the view the morning God called her home.

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Heaven -there will be  no more pain. Mom B has suffered pain – intense, burning pain. Nearly ten years of it which doctors seem to have no cure. Pain – more than an ache or discomfort; pain – agony and torment. What a glorious place heaven will be, no more pain!

In heaven, these things will all pass away.  They will not be there!!

“He (God) will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev.21:4 ESV

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P.S. Here’s a sneak peek of my closet transformation. I’m putting on the finishing touches! Full review coming soon.

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Windy Day

Wow! What a windy afternoon both outside and in! The temps may have been up to the 60s, but the winds were not far behind with their gusts around 50. Those gusts blew right into the school making some students a bit stir crazy. During center time, I really was beginning to think I had a cluster of tornadoes in the room! They were so full of energy.

Unfortunately, the kids weren’t the only ones affected by this wind. It is messing with the technology currents too.  Really! You see, I was texting my daughter, and when I hit “SEND” the wind whirled the letters around making a mess of my message.  As I re-read what I sent I saw that it was most definitely not what I had typed. Here are just a few of the changed words in my message: ‘new’ changed to ‘dig’, ‘had’ changed to ‘ad’, ‘orneries’ changed to ‘orneriness’, and ‘separated’ changed to ‘deprecated’! I truly was surprised she figured out what I was saying.

This wind is messing with me, too.  I have so many exciting projects I’d like to work on that I’m having a heard time prioritizing them.  I have actually been making a little progress in three areas this week. 1.) I have been making a quilt which has been a slow process for me. It has taken me much longer than it should, but I am just about ready to sandwich the batting between the back fabric and quilt top. Who wants to come for a quilting bee? I will give a full account of this at a later date. 2.) Hubby and I are making some changes in our farm accounting and management. I successfully upgraded our software and am now figuring out how to implement some of the record tracking Hubby has requested. 3.) I began my first 2013 organization project – a closet transformation.

Just about every January, I get this strong urge to get organized and fix things.  2013 is no different. In my old farm house, closet and storage space has not been abundant. However, now that my children are grown and have their own homes, I have 3 nearly empty closets! I have always loved to make things, whether sewing or crafting, but had to drag supplies out to the dining table to work. Because of the hassle, I have not done as much in the past several years as I’d like. Well, a dream plan has emerged. I am turning a bedroom into my sewing/ craft room. Of course, it still needs to be able to be a bedroom for guests so…. I am making a closet transformation. This is my progress….

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I know. It doesn’t look like much, but I do have it all emptied out and the holes patched from the wire closet organizer! Hopefully, by next weekend I will be able to give you an update.  In fact, my goal is to have the job complete!!

Although the wind may be blowing outside and in, find a few quite moments to catch your breath, regroup, and be still. You’ll be glad you did. It is amazing how 5 or 10 quiet minutes can re-energize and re-focus.

“Be still, and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10a

On the Horizon

Sunrise
Beautiful array of colors melting into one another.
Muted purples- amethyst, magenta, periwinkle
Pastel pinks- roseate, blush, coral
Creamy yellows- canary, blond, primrose
Spilling into radiant oranges- tangerine, apricot, bittersweet
Vibrant starburst pierces pallet sending rays through the sky
Causing thousands of tiny sparkly sunbeams to happy dance in my car.

And my heart begins to sing the old hymn “For The Beauty of the Earth” by Folliott S. Pierpoint.

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our  hymn of grateful praise.

As my horizons broaden throughout the day the canvas takes knew form.

Boys and girls, little tykes
Wiggles, Squiggles, Restlessness
Ready to be up from desk
Brown hair, curled hair, newly buzzed hair too
Brown eyes, green eyes,  and baby blues
Ornery twinkle, mischievous smile, angelic faces
Laughter and unexpected hugs
Rays of sunshine warm my soul.

And my heart continues to sing the old hymn.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our  hymn of grateful praise.

As my day draws to close, the horizon is transformed yet again.

Sunset
Beauteous coloration wash the boundary where land meets sky
And darkness prepares to engulf
Silhouettes- windmill, cows and gnarly tree
And night becomes alive
Dashing coyote, scampering bunny, swooping great horned owl
Midnight blue, deep smokey purple and a wisp of orange
The sinking, setting sun

And I continue to sing.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our  hymn of grateful  praise.