Wednesday, September 29, 2010

what do you choose to see?

When I am waiting to drift off to sleep, I find myself imagining...

Imagining the sound of the boys' bedroom door slamming and feet softly padding down the hallway and into our room. Looking up from my pillow, I'd see Christian standing in front of me with his thumb in his mouth and his free hand gripping his blue blankie close. I always made room for him to snuggle close to me, the top of his soft hair brushing against my lips.

If I imagine hard enough, can I bring back even a portion of the before-Christian-died feelings?

I hadn't realized I had these feelings of a whole heart,
completeness, and rest until they were gone.

Since then, my heart has been both broken and enlarged. Broken from the big piece that Christian took with him when he went to his eternal home. Enlarged from the exercise through tears, searching, studying, and learning the truth of the person of God-- WHO HE IS.

"I will run the way of thy commandments,
when thou shalt enlarge my heart."

With this exercising has come strength. With strength, endurance. And with endurance, the confidence that God will help me finish the race set before me!

I can't bring those old feelings back, no matter how hard I imagine. In fact, I can't even relate to them anymore. I am no longer the person that I was, untouched by real pain and sorrow.

God is a zealous Pruner,
For He knows
Who, falsely tender, spares the knife
But spoils the rose.

-The Pruner, by John Oxenham

No matter what our hurts are, we all have a choice.

I can choose to keep feeling sorry for myself and fall further down into despair. OR I can choose to take the hurt in my heart and turn it around! The pain that is now a very real part of me is a reminder of how far God has brought me from my old self.

Even my old Christian self.

I choose to acknowledge that He has done a mighty thing in growing me, in delivering me from my fears, and in changing my focus from the here and now to the eternal.

When I focus on the Cross, everything else gets put in its proper place. Daily I see the grace of God and am reminded of the fleetingness of life here on earth. That is the blessing I choose to see.

I am different now.

Whatever your difficulty or situation, what do you choose to see? Will you let it make you bitter or make you better?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sweet Shot: Piper

My sister Bobo and her husband have a dog.

Hello, Piper!

You're waiting for a treat, aren't you?

It's hard to resist giving her a little something. Maybe that's why she's such a chubster.

She is spoiled rotten. The neighbors will give her treats, walk her, and even bathe her! (Why can't I have neighbors like that?!) I wouldn't be surprised if they also have a monogrammed doggie bed at their house just for her.

Do you have pets? Inside or outside? Do your neighbors love 'em or hate 'em?

I'm adding these Sweet Shots to Darcy's growing list.

Sweet Shot Day

Friday, September 24, 2010

clothespins, stinky string and circles

The title pretty much sums up what I've been elbow deep in today.

(I am refraining from making some joke about being in deep doo doo because I am sure that would be unladylike and make me lose a few friends... or would I gain a few friends?)

As I was cutting out a bzillion circles, I kept wondering what the awful smell was. Did some rodent die and rot in the corner of my new room? *gasp* Did one of our hamsters meet their demise?!

Nope. It was just this STINKY(!!!) hemp string.

I'm decorating for my friend Dixie's baby shower. She is prego with her 10th child! :)

and BOY!

With the circles and clothespins, I made these super-cute decorations for the windows and walls.

The focal point is the clothesline with the "Little Brother" shirt and his name...

Well, I thought it was going to be his name.

When my friend Laura came over to help me get my house in order, she saw my adorable sign and told me that "Peter" is not going to be his name. They changed their mind.

So I did what any good friend would do and fixed my mistake.

Brilliant, no?

This way, all of my bases are covered! Because they are sure to change their minds several times before the baby is born next month. With one of their children, he didn't have an official name for weeks after he was born.

Did you already have names picked out before you gave birth? Or did you take your time in naming? If you don't have kids, what are your thoughts on the whole naming thing?

Monday, September 20, 2010

the blue of heaven

The blue of heaven is larger than the clouds.
~Mrs. E.B. Browning

I found encouragement in my own desert here.

Sweet Shot Day

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sweet Shot: something about brothers

Happiness is having someone to laugh with...

Or sometimes just at.

Either will do!

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren
to dwell together in unity!

I pray that their friendship and love for one another will last forever.

Even with the occasional fist-fight thrown in for good measure.

Sweet Shot Day

Sunday, September 12, 2010

paper encouragement

I have a box on my living room floor.

It has treasure in it.

It's a different sort of treasure.

It does not gleam like gold, neither does it sparkle like diamonds.

While you can carry it, there is no earthly means of measuring the weight or value that it brings.

This is my box of paper encouragement. Two precious years worth.

It's not just paper, not just a stack of cards in that wooden box...

These are heart words that I can hold in my hand.

From neighbors down the street, states on both coasts and countries far away, they have lifted my spirits and encouraged my soul during the most trying time of my life.

THANK YOU for that, my caring friends! When I look at the chest of cards, I am overwhelmed by your love and kindness. You will never know just how much your cards and letters have meant to me.

I know people complain about the rising cost of postage stamps, but don't underestimate the power of that stamp. You can send a hug across the whole wide world with that little square!

And it's a hug you can touch and hold over and over again.

I sent out my own handful of paper encouragement today.

They are more than just words of appreciation for a close friend, more than just comforting words to hearts broken by grief, more than a reminder to the lonely that a friend is thinking of them... it's a prayed-over piece of me reaching out to precious souls that I love.

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

September 12th is the National Day of Encouragement. Look around you, open your eyes and find someone that you can lift up in prayer and with words of compassion and friendship.

Heartfelt words and a little stamp can go a very long way, my friends.

Where will you send your paper encouragement?

*I received a complimentary pack of cards from DaySpring and {in}courage, some of which you can see in that picture up there. Their new Hope and Encouragement line of cards is AMAZING(!!!) and available now at stores like Family Christian and Lifeway. When I would read each card, so many of them were simply perfect for the friends I had in mind!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Home Ec #2 and #3 and Man Bags

I've been doing a bit of sewing around here for my Online Home Ec class. My first project was fun (except for those horrid napkins!) but these two projects were even better.

Can you tell what this is?

I love the combination of this black and purple fabric with the dotted fabric. The purple shows up white in pictures but it really is a beautiful light shade of purple. If I were to make this bag again, I would make the top band of fabric much wider. It seems a little odd with its current proportions.

Ruthanne even has a limited edition camera slip cover in her Etsy shop made of the same material. Great minds think alike!

{Okay, so I'm really just a copycat... first we have the same bag, and now this material. See? It's me with my bag here after she got hers first here. Don't be scared, Ruthanne, just be flattered, okay?}

The word you are looking for is GIFT BAG! (Right???)

The reason why the bag looks so sad is because it is sitting on the most uncomfortable chair ever. Let's have a moment of silence for its sadness if only for a second...


Next up we have two bags that I made for my boys. Please notice the X-joints on the handles that give the bags extra strength and durability.

(Why do I feel like I'm trying to promote drugs with that statement?)

Noah picked out this Scooby-Doo fabric.

While Austin chose the vintage airplanes.

Note from Austin and Noah: These are NOT purses! Boys don't carry purses. That is why we are holding them close to the floor and mom is forbidden to take a photograph of them slung over our shoulder like a purse. Because they are NOT purses. That is all.

Since I feel compelled to end all of my posts with some sort of question, here is today's question:

Would your man ever carry a "man-bag"?

No way would David ever carry one of those, although he is a great husband to hold my purse for me on occasion. :) He also preferred more manly diaper bags when our boys were little... no teddy bears or fru-fru bags allowed! I know they have a lot more stylish options available now than they used to, but back in the day it was hard to find plain and simple bags. We would often search for messenger bags to use as diaper bags.

What say you?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

the ugliest pants in the world

It takes guts to stake such a BIG claim in that title, doesn't it?

Let me tell you, it's all about guts and glory around here.

It takes courage, boldness and a slight case of color-blindness to wear these bad boys:

He claims that he wears them because they are comfortable. But even if they weren't comfortable, he says he would wear them to honor me. Yup, ME.

I am ashamed to admit this publicly.

Deeply ashamed...

I bought them for him as a gift.

I promise that when I bought them they were neatly folded up to where all you could see was the black part with the word "xbox" on it. No nasty neon green was visible!

Y'all do believe me, right?

If your beloved bought you something ugly as a gift, would you still wear it or are you a return-er? Would you only wear it at home or would you also wear it in public?

{These pants are just too ugly to link up to Darcy's Sweet Shot Tuesday. This one rotten apple will surely spoil the whole barrel!}

Friday, September 3, 2010

friday night is all about fun fun fun!

My fabulously fun Friday night began with a delicious chicken salad that my kids did not want to touch, smell or look at.

It was a tough act to follow. We managed to keep our spirits high with several rousing rounds of Uno.

I am proud of my boys for maintaining their cheerful dispositions in spite of being trampled by the Queen-of-Cards.

(That would be me, in case you were wondering.)

(My boys don't know that you are supposed to keep score in Uno. We prefer the shortened version where you just play however many hands you feel like and don't worry about the high numbered cards. Don't spill the beans, okay?)

Then I dug out ornaments that I bought in *cough* 2007 *cough* and printed out pictures to put in them.

I propped the ornaments on the couch that matches the blue chair to take this picture. I fell in love with the design of the fabric, even though it is questionable to have a mostly white piece of furniture in my house.

Oh my, we are really getting wild and crazy now! I must remember that this blog is rated G/PG-ish.

Since I had my printer hooked up to my laptop and all, I tweaked a very orange photo and made it presentable.

I think this picture turned out very well, don't you?

It was taken on our trip to Niagara Falls... August 21, 2008. *sigh*

What a blessing to have these photos. God already knew how precious they would be to me down the road.

{awkward transition back to my blog post... my thoughts drive me crazy sometimes with their randomness and constant ups and downs. such is my life, y'all.}

To top off my Friday night, nothing beats cutting coupons!

I do enjoy the mindlessness of it. It's relaxing in a strange sort of way, kinda like typing... the clickety-clack of the keys makes me feel serene.

So how is your weekend? Wild and crazy or plain-family-friendly-yet-fulfilling like mine?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

(not musical) chairs

We have a plethora of chairs in this house. The first one I would like you to meet is my blue chair.

Hello, beautiful!

I love it, y'all!

Although it's not quite as comfy as a la-z-boy (did I spell that right?*), it is soft and pretty and pretty and pretty.

Did I mention that it's pretty?

This is my first real piece of girly furniture ever. I was able to pick what *I* wanted without having to consult anyone else or worry if it was too feminine or flowery or whatever. Woot woot!

It's a far cry from the maroon pleather couch set that we had when we were first married.

Does that make you cringe just thinking about it? What if I told you that the aforementioned maroon pleather set was accompanied by a fine set of smoked glass and brass trimmed coffee and end tables? Does it make you love the pleather set more or love it less?

We sure have come a LONG way in the past 14 years. Too bad I don't have a pic of that pleather set... or maybe that's a good thing.

Looks can be deceiving when it comes to chairs. Take this chair for example.

It looks nice and functional. But what good is a chair if it is without a doubt the.most.uncomfortable.chair.on.the.planet?

Finally, we have this sad sad sad sad sad piece.

You can tell by the magnitude of its ugliness that it is the most comfortable chair in the house. Why must it be so ghastly to merit exile?

Do you have a favorite chair? Do you like it because it is pretty or because it is comfortable? Do you want to come over and take this ugly chair off my hands? (just don't tell David.)

* The irony of this is that I didn't catch my typo of asking "did I spell that write?" until right before I hit publish!