Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday. In bullet-points.

  • Going to Yosemite tomorrow.
  • Getting ready today.
  • Laundry.
  • Groceries: snacks, cat food, dog treats.
  • Pack. As lightly as possible. Yeah, right.
  • USPS to mail MY FIRST DOLL ORDER!! WOOHOO! Thank you SO MUCH Jen!
  • Banking.
  • Pay bills. Stat.
  • Show pet-sitter the ropes. And the chicken scratch.
  • Water plants on deck.
  • Litter box. Won't go into detail.
  • More laundry.
  • Youth group? We'll see.
  • Dinner somewhere in the midst of all that.
  • Breakfast burritos for tomorrow morning. Leaving at 6am. Ahem.
  • Dust and vacuum. Hate coming home to a dirty house.
  • Bust out the sweaters...suddenly it's in the 60's. California. It's as crazy as you think.
  • Brush teeth for crying out loud.
  • Get a MOVE ON and stop dallying on blogs! I've got WORK to do!

Have a great day...and pray for me. Bears are not my friend. If I can find Internet access, I just might post from beautiful Yosemite National Park! Woo!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Preparation.

Wednesday is my hubby's birthday. He'll be 25...in his dreams. Months and months ago, before we knew how crazy finances were going to get, I made reservations for us to stay at his favorite place in the whole world...Yosemite.
He's been going to Yosemite since he was...14? 15? And he loves it. When he goes to Yosemite, he doesn't mess around. It's backpacking all the way. For days. Eating bits of dried food and purifying his water straight from the lakes and falls.
Well, all my life I'd never been to Yosemite. So for my 30th birthday (when I was pregnant with Ian unbeknownst to me, which could account for some of the crying...but I'll get to that in a minute...ahem) he bought me my own backpack and took me to Yosemite for my first ever adventure at one of the most beautiful places on earth.
I have to admit, I am not adventurous. At all. I'm afraid of heights...flying...elevators if I allow myself to be...I never could get the hang of balancing the stroller on an escalator...I'm a big chicken. I can't balance across fallen trees or bridges without rails or jump rocks across a stream. A chicken, I tell you. I like my feet firmly planted on stable, non granite-y, non-slippery ground. Flat is good, too.
Well, it was an interesting trip. Beautiful. Enlightening. And a time to test my bravery...or lack thereof. We climbed and hiked. And it was amazing. Until...the descent. It's a long story...so let's just say that I cried all the way down the granite slab to our camp site...a lot. And really hard. Like a little baby. That knew bad words.
But...in spite of me...we made it to our little camp site. And I will admit, once there and set up, it was beautiful. And quiet. Very, very quiet. And it got dark. Very, very dark very, very fast. We ate, quite possibly, the best dinner ever. It consisted of dried minestrone soup that we packed in...and not the typical hiker food that you buy at REI. We bought it at the grocery store and then transferred it to Ziplocs ourselves. Much better that way. Hiker food isn't all that. And because I had it in the fridge, at the last minute I tossed one cob of fresh corn into my pack...and at dinner that night we broke it in half and added one half to each little pot of soup simmering on our individual backpacking stoves.
Wow. Was it ever good.
Eventually, we went to sleep. I was terrified at each little noise that I heard so I tried to make myself go to sleep quickly. And I hoped that I'd STAY asleep and PLEASE don't let me have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Please. Because I am NOT leaving this little two-man tent for nothin'!
Eventually, morning came. I'd made it. I'd survived through the night. And what a relief. It was a gorgeous morning...cool and crisp. Sunny. Beautiful. We ate breakfast...pancakes made with mix and purified stream water and Jimmy Dean sausage that we'd packed in frozen. By the time it was time for breakfast it was perfectly thawed. I'm telling you, we really had this whole hiking food thing down. Breakfast was delicious...and smelled divine. And not just to us. As we're cleaning up breakfast dishes and taking our sweet time packing up our stuff to make the rest of the hike to "the top", we begin to hear crackling in the trees. You know, twigs breaking and such. I turned to look and thought I saw a deer in the trees. But in a split second, I realized that I was not seeing a deer. Not even close. I was seeing A BEAR. And he was close. And he was hungry. And he wanted some of our sausage and pancakes. Or us. I'm not sure. But we certainly weren't going to wait around to find out. You have never seen two people pack up a tent and sleeping bags and whatever else we had with us and FLY up a slab of granite so fast in your life. There was a lot of action in between, but I'll spare you the details of useless air guns and the many, many expletives that were flying out of my mouth. (Hey, this was years ago and before I began my walk with the Lord...we're still working on my sailor mouth!)
Um...yeah...so the bottom line is that we survived. But I, well, let's just say, I was traumatized. For life. And I haven't been back to Yosemite since. It's been over 11 years. But, it's time to get over myself and face my fears...for my family. Chris has been wanting to take the boys to Yosemite for years. But between baseball schedules, business dealings, finances, my FEAR...we haven't gone.
Well, this year, we decided it was time. No matter what. We were going to take the boys to Yosemite. And as a surprise I made us reservations here:

Curry Village...cabins. My one request was that if we DO take the boys, that we ease back into the whole Yosemite thing. I was too scared to pack in...especially with my kids. And I was too scared to tent camp...because bears like to join the campers and steal their garlic bread (right Aunt Lisa?!). So...the concession was...we stay in a cabin with walls and our own bathroom. And Chris lovingly agreed
ALL of this to say...we'll be leaving Wednesday morning for a three-day trip to Yosemite. The boys get to miss school and everything. We can't wait...we are SO excited! Yes, even me. Over the next day and half I will be preparing everything for us to go...find an animal sitter, pack pillows and blankets, snacks and drinks, grubby clothes and grubby shoes, and make sure I have a fully charged camera battery. The boys have all already decided to bear the burden of the backpacks so that I can pack my camera! The next photos you see of Yosemite will be MINE!
And now...off to get laundry started and get ready for work this afternoon. And make my lists...lots of lists...
(these are not my photos...click on them to get necessary info)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Uh...excuse me...when did THAT happen?

So...um...when did I get old enough to have a friend who is now a grandma?! Seriously. WHEN?
My friend Dawn and I have been friends for over 20 years. We met when her daughter was a year old. She went everywhere with us. Shelly...she was such a cutie. And so good.
Well, somehow, Shelly became a young woman. All of a sudden she was grown. How is that? How can she be 23 already when I still feel 23? Can you answer me that?
Regardless of MY refusal to grow up, Shelly did. And she met a young man. And they...had a baby. THIS baby...Audrey.
Oh dear, look at that sweet baby. I held her yesterday, the little peanut. She was all swaddled and content. And her hair was so soft...and smelled like newborn...the BEST smell ever. Look at that sweet mouth! I could hardly stand how sweet she was...perfect.

And tired. Very, very tired. After all, it's really hard work being born.
Welcome little miss Audrey...you are perfect and precious.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

choices.

This is the last of last year's dilly beans.
A few weeks ago, I canned four more jars. But I'm afraid...I need more. Note to self: grow more beans next year. LOTS more beans.
I've been thinking a lot about this whole gardening and canning thing lately. And I've come to a conclusion...canning and freezing is not really cost effective unless I grow everything myself. For the cost of a few packets of seeds you can really grow and preserve a lot of food. And that's a good thing. But what if I want to preserve fresh food for the winter that I haven't grown...like corn and beans for example? I have to go and buy it in order to do that. And not only do I have to buy it...then I have to come home, shuck it, remove it from the cob, blanch it and THEN freeze it...all so I can have fresh corn in the winter. Which is fine. And it's a good thing. But then I've paid for MY gas and MY time and the plastic bags I'll use...etc, etc. So all that when I can buy a can of corn for 79 cents on sale?
I don't know...I guess it's because finances have been challenging lately and I can't just go out and buy boxes of fresh, local produce to preserve that I am thinking of all of this. Sometimes you have to make choices based on circumstances. Of course, fresh and local is always the favored option...if life were always ideal, that is. But...sometimes it's not. And sometimes you have to work within your circumstances and do the best with what you've got at the moment. And I figure as long as I am doing the best that I can with what I've got, then that's all I can ask of myself. And when I am in a position to do better...I will. No doubt about it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Etsy Shop Update...



I have added some more Mimi Doll ornaments and friendship dolls to my Etsy Shop. And I've already made some adjustments! I was in the shower a bit ago...where I do a LOT of my thinking...and I got another idea that I wanted to implement. But I realized at my current pricing that this new idea would not be cost effective for the buyer. So...I adjusted the prices. And I feel much better about it all.

Thank you for hanging in with me during this process of opening up my little shop. You've tolerated incessant chatter about shops and clothespins and fabric scraps...not to mention, I haven't shown you a picture of anything BUT all of that since it all began! And I have to admit...I am so obsessed with them that I haven't taken photos of anything BUT them! So...anyway...thank you. And if I ever get around to planting some fall crops...I'll definitely share photos. I hope I'm not too late to plant something! Can you say side-tracked?

Wednesday in the Word.

photo title: "In Progress." They represent us...a work in progress. Some of us clothed and shiny...covering what's underneath. Others feeling naked and exposed. Either way, God has got you in the palm of His hand. You are HIS work in progress.
Isaiah 32:2
2 Each man will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
I watch quite a bit of christian programming. You know the ones...footage of starving children, children with no clean water to drink and no shoes. I watch those shows. And on occasion I send money. Not to all of them, just a few choice ones that I believe minister with integrity. Well, this morning I was watching one of my favorites and they feature Beth Moore (she has a blog!) every Wednesday morning. Today she shared this scripture. And it spoke to me...in a few ways.
First it spoke of God's shelter and refuge and LIFE He's provided for ME. Oh...if you only KNEW the depths of which He's been so good to me. Sometimes you just can't explain...you just don't have the words to describe God's goodness. Sometimes, you just have to KNOW it and BELIEVE it and RECEIVE it. You know?
Second, it confirmed for me what I believe God has been impressing on me over the last many months. And that is...to be a blessing to others. To get outside of my SELF and be there for others. Stop worrying so much what someone is doing for me...or saying to me...and bless someone ELSE. It's simple...
Smile at someone. Pat them on the back. Look them in the eye and ask how they are and then wait for the answer. Send someone a handwritten note in the mail. Tell a friend she looks pretty or that you notice how hard she's been working lately. Tell her she's a good mom or that you think she's funny.
Maybe it's the homeless woman you see walking around downtown at least once a week. You know the one, she looks a little worse for the wear (and that's putting it nicely) and when you pass by, although you get a pang in your heart your mind passes judgment instead? Yeah, her. Maybe next time you see her you could pull over, get out of the car, get that little bag of toiletries you set aside for her out of the trunk and walk right up to her, look her in the eyes, introduce yourself, hand her the bag and just talk with her a minute or two. Validate her existence...as a person and as a woman.
This reminds me of an experience I had a year or so ago. There is such a woman here in my town. She rides a motocross bike and wears all black, all the time. She hauls one of those bike trailers families use to haul little kids on bike trips. They're usually yellow. But hers, after much use and no shelter, is close to black, like the rest of her belongings. One day I was at the christian bookstore...the one I work at now, but at that time I was just a shopper. When I first got there I noticed she was there...looking at CD's. I walked past to get to the book area and although she was far away, I could smell her. A mixture of sweat and urine. It was offensive. And it was all I could focus on. But then all of a sudden I had this...pang. This...jolt...inside of me. And I knew what it meant. It meant that God was going to have me DO something for her. I didn't know what. But I knew that God was going to make me acknowledge her presence. And I have to be honest. I did not want to. And I especially did not want to go too near to her. I was so afraid He was going to make me hug her...I know this all sounds awful. But...it's the truth. It's how it went.
Well, I shop and shop and get what I had come in for. All the while she is on my mind. And I can't get her smell out of my nostrils. And I still don't know what it is God wants me to do. I get to the checkout counter and the young lady is tallying up my items when this pretty blue pocket bible catches my eye. And God tells me to buy it...for her.
So...relieved that I don't have to get too near to her, I gladly choose a bible to give to her. But...I decide to buy her the black one. Not because I think she likes black. But because I figure it would be the best one for her because it won't show dirt. I grab the little black bible, place it on the counter when I get another JOLT. And God clearly says, "I TOLD you to give her the BLUE one. She likes pretty things, too."
I was so convicted. I immediately put the black one back and replaced it with the pretty blue suede one. She was still shopping. So as I left the store I placed the bible on her dirty cart that was parked on the sidewalk out front and went to my car as fast as I could.
The moral of the story...I'm thinking that maybe God wanted her to be recognized as a woman. Not as a vagrant. Or a beggar. But as a person. And as a woman. As His child...who He loves just as much as He loves me. In His eyes, we are the same. Equal. And I am called to love her. To bless her...not avoid her. To pray for her...not judge her. To treat her like a sister...not an enemy. I'm no better than she is. But I sure am blessed. And it's my responsibility to pass that blessing along...in whatever ways I can. To be a shelter...a refuge...water for the thirsty.
God, I pray you help me to see people through Your eyes. Help me to be a blessing...an encourager...a light in this darkness. Amen.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Give a Girl a Fig @ Etsy!

It's official...Give a Girl a Fig at Etsy.com is up and running and OPEN!

Thank you for your patience...I finally got some Mimi Dolls listed! And they are ready for their new homes. I'll be adding more daily....so check back regularly.

Head on over to Give a Girl a Fig at Etsy.com...there's a Mimi Doll (or two or three!) calling your name. xoxo

Monday, September 21, 2009

And the WINNER is...

Happy Monday! I've been so excited to do the drawing for this little giveaway...it's not much, but hopefully these Mimi Dolls will bring a smile to your face.
So this is how it went...this morning I wrote all entrants names on strips of paper. Then I folded them up and put them in a bowl. Ian was getting ready for school so I said, "Hey Ian! I'm having a giveaway on my blog! Come draw the name..." So he did. Gladly. He even turned his head to the left so as not to cheat...such a good boy. He knows the routine.
So...he turned his head...

...and he drew the name.

And the WINNER is....

IT'S ME...MAVIS!! Congratulations!
Please send me your name and address and I will get your sweet little Mimi Dolls into the mail!
Thank you to everyone who participated. Giveaways are always so much fun. I love giving gifts! And really, it's even more fun when it's something I've made...dolls, jams, pickles...whatever. It just seems to mean a little more when you've made it yourself. Especially when the recipient really likes it!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As far as Give a Girl a Fig @ Etsy.com...the Grand Opening will be tomorrow rather than today. This whole weekend got away from me between ball games and house stuff and laundry and groceries...so I am not completely ready. Not to mention I got called in to work a seven hour shift from 10-5 today...and I'm grateful, but it sure puts a damper on my creative time! Kidding...but you know what I mean. And then tonight I have a meeting for the Christmas boutique at 7...so it's going to be a long day.
Anyway....Give a Girl a Fig will open tomorrow...and I am so excited! (And a little nervous, truth be told... :) Oh! And I made a new design last night that I just got such a kick out of...she's so cute! I'll give you a hint...wings. That's all I'm sayin'...
Have a great day everyone! And It's Me...Mavis...send me your address so these sweet little girls can come to their new home!! Thanks again...you guys are so much fun.
(ps...if the winner does not claim the prize within 24 hours, I will draw a new winner.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quiet Sunday.


This photo is from last month at the beach...Ian and my friend Sandra's daughter, E. It's one of my favorites. It encompasses these two perfectly. They're such good friends...and get along so well...they're imaginations run wild and on the same page. They're a kick to observe...

Yesterday was busy and full and fun. The baseball tournament was nice...not too hot...and someone brought an EZ-Up for shade. Thank goodness because I left mine at home! A lot of good that does me, eh? We got there at 11am and left at 7:30pm. LONG day. But fun.
We headed home and stopped off at my brother's to celebrate Q's birthday with cake and ice cream....and, of course, presents! We stayed a little while and then needed to get home so Seth could shower and get to bed so he could get up early today and do it all over again. He and Chris got up at 6am to go back for the second day of the tourney.
I opted out today.
Instead, I am enjoying a quiet, slow morning. Quiet. Prayer journal. Bible reading. Sipping coffee. Reading blogs. And did I mention quiet? Nice. Soon I'll hop in the shower and get ready for church. Then I'll head back home...and...yes...make more dolls. Then I'll need to start working on my pillow cover designs. That means putting away the paints and brushes and glue guns and replacing that mess with another...the sewing machine and cutting mats and stray threads. Creativity. Love it.
My only wish is that I had a designated place to do all of this, other than my dining table. Because living in such a small house, we only have one dining table. It's where we do everything...meals, homework, crafts, projects, bills...all of it. So it's not the most convenient to leave my projects set up and at the ready to work when I want to...you know?
But that's OK. It is what it is...and I am grateful that we have what we have.
Oh dear...and look at that. One minute I have all the time in the world. The next minute I'm running behind! Time to shower and get a move on. But I have a feeling I'll be back later. xo

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday ramblings...

It's early. Haven't had enough coffee. It's a bullet-point kinda morning.

  • Um. Why is everyone up so early? It's SATURDAY?
  • Quintin (my nephew who is the same age as Ian) spent the night last night. They got up early and are watching an old Jimmy Stewart western...and liking it!
  • Today is busy. Dropping little brothers off at Uncle Mike's house while I go to a meeting at 8:30am. They'll stay all day and go rock climbing for Q's birthday party.
  • I need to get home by 10:30am to take Seth to his baseball tournament. Don't forget to pick up his teammate!
  • Watch tournament. All day. In the heat.
  • Come back to town by 6:30 for Quintin's birthday celebration. Cake and presents.
  • Go home.
  • Make more dolls. (I am going to have a well-stocked shop AND be ready for the boutique. Once I get these dolls in good supply, I will begin making some decorative pillow covers...and if I think I have a mess now? Oh boy.)
  • That photo of the gourd was the last one...the beautiful vine is now history. Compost. Recycled. Gone. And it's left a void. I miss that crazy thing!

    Happy Saturday!

    And don't forget to enter the Mimi Doll GIVEAWAY here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mimi Dolls...and a GIVEAWAY!

I have been working away...gluing and cutting and painting (and of course, taking photos!)...making Mimi Dolls and getting ready for my Etsy shop Grand RE-opening!
I am so excited.
I am really enjoying these little dolls...and I think you will, too.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Now, because it's Friday. And because I am having so much fun with these sweet Mimi Dolls. And because I appreciate all of you so much...for being encouraging and kind and understanding. And for liking me even though I buy Pop-Tarts every day...er...I mean every once in a while...
I am having a...
GIVEAWAY!!
I am giving away TWO Mimi Dolls to one sweet reader.
(They are very social, don't ya know? They need a friend.)
All you have to do is leave a comment and let me know this...when you were a little girl, did you play with baby dolls? Or were you a Barbie girl? Maybe you preferred the Sunshine Family, like me. Or maybe you weren't into dolls at all...maybe you were more at home jumping bikes off of ramps and digging around in the creek looking for polliwogs. Whatever your fancy...leave me a comment and let me know and you will automatically be entered in the giveaway. (And for the record...I did all of the above! And let's just say, bike ramp jumping was not my thing. And I have the scar on my elbow to prove it!)
All entries must be in by midnight Sunday night. The winner will be chosen by random drawing and announced Monday, at the time of the GRAND RE-OPENING!
Everyone is welcome to enter! Whether you've commented a hundred times or if this is the first time you've joined in the conversation...enter. All are welcome!
Now, I'm off to get paint on my fingers! xo

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Of ALL the places...

She had to choose this flower pot.

Look at that mess! My poor, poor plants. Is this necessary? Seriously. Do you know how much DIRT we have in our yard? Let's just say, it's not landscaped. Nor has it ever been. It's ALL DIRT. She could "bathe" anywhere...anywhere. But she chose this pot. This little pot that once housed a pretty ivy geranium.

Can you say "indignant"?

"What? What did I do?"

It is a GOOD thing she had this waiting for me...or...or...


Well, no need to get ugly.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Hosea 6:3
3 Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises, he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth."
{I have to say...this little snippet of Hosea is the one bit of encouragement in a long book of rebuke and warning. So be forewarned should you decide to go read the book of Hosea. Which I do recommend, by the way. Just be ready!}
For the past couple of days, I have known, deep in my heart, that God wanted me to get down on my knees and pray. Not sitting in my chair. Not in my writing in my journal. Not driving to work. He wanted me to get on my knees, in the quiet, and just talk with Him. Honestly, God has been telling me to humble myself and get down on my knees for...months? I don't know. It's been a long time. And for whatever reason...anger? frustration? lack of faith?...I just wouldn't do it. Couldn't do it. Not out of blatant disobedience. More out of fear. Fear that my prayers would go unanswered? Maybe. Even though I know better. God ALWAYS answers prayer. It's just that sometimes that answer is "no". Or "not yet".
Or maybe it was fear that God would really get a hold of my heart and realign it...if you know what I mean.
Well, just about 10 minutes ago...after the kids went to school and Chris went to the shop and the house was quiet...I did it. I got down on my knees. And tears immediately flowed. No words. Just tears. And a heart cry that only God can hear. And He heard me. He knew the condition of my heart...and He required no words. Which was a good thing, because at that moment I had none. I was speechless before God. And He heard what I couldn't say. He is so good.
When you walk with God, you know when changes are taking place. You don't always know what exactly is happening...or what exactly He is doing. But you know when He is working on you. You know when He's got a hold of your heart and when He's digging into each little room...some of them locked up tight...and He's doing some rearranging. And maybe even some cleaning. More than likely...He's encouraging you to get rid of some old stuff that you just don't need anymore. Sometimes stuff just takes up space. And when Jesus is in your heart...and He's trying to fit in amongst all the other "stuff" we've accumulated...there's just not enough room for both. Jesus wants to fill our whole hearts. He wants to fill us with good things. And to do that, He needs to help us get rid of the old things...to make room for Him. It's a good thing. And a really hard thing. But in the end...when you look back and see how He's moved in your life...you will see the big picture. And you will realize that He only had your best interest at heart from the start.
Thank you, God for loving me just the way I am. But loving me TOO MUCH to let me stay this way. Help me today...be with me...guide my steps.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thank you.


THANK YOU.
Thank you SO MUCH for all of your sweet, kind and encouraging comments about the dolls I've been making. It has been SO much fun and such a great creative release. I forgot how good it felt to have glue on my fingers! And...to top it all off...I made my first sale yesterday!
My aunt lives here in town. And she reads my blog. I got a call from her yesterday on my cell phone. I could see that it was her so I answered, "Hello?" And all I hear on the other end is, "I want five." I knew just what she meant. "You must have read my blog!"
She came by after work and picked her five Mimi Dolls, as they've been named (I'll explain that in another post...it's pretty cute)...and I made my first sale!!
Thank you Aunt Lisa! And thank you for the encouragement...it means a lot.
And thank you to those of you who have given me compliments and have encouraged me to sell them here. Stay tuned for the re-opening of my Etsy shop. I am really excited! And much of it is because of you and your kindness. xo

Monday, September 14, 2009

I can't help myself.

I'm afraid these little dolls have got my undivided attention. So if you're done looking at pictures of wooden dolls with scraps as clothing, move along. I'm not sure how long this obsession is going to last. It could be a while.

They are so FUN to make. I feel like a little girl...

I've got hot glue strings everywhere and I am so into making these little dolls that I burned my lunch! But I ate it anyway because I didn't want to take any more time away from making dolls to make a new one!

And then...I remembered I had these little parasols. And I just couldn't help myself.

Several people have commented that they look like "pew" dolls...or "church" dolls...little dolls to keep young hands occupied during church service. What an adorable way for them to be used! When I first began making them I figured I'd make them into ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree...or on a lamp switch...or the knob of an armoire. And I still see some of them in that way. But I think for the boutique I'll package three or so together as "pew dolls"...as stocking stuffers for little girls. How sweet!

(Thank you for those ideas Amy and Contesse...I wouldn't have thought of that!)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

All in the details...

Sweet clothespin dolls in a vintage creamer (that I got at a yard sale for a quarter, by the way). These little ladies are too fun to make. And finally dressed, poor dears. I am still deciding whether or not I think they're boutique worthy. But until then, I'm going to keep on painting and cutting and gluing...and do my best not to think about the fact that our dinner table is buried under a heap of craft supplies!

Getting crafty.

I agreed to be a part of a Christmas boutique.
There's something about holding a paintbrush. And getting glue on my fingers. It makes me feel like...me.
There's something about rummaging through scraps and ribbons and beads and buttons that makes me feel good. Comfortable.

It's been a while since I've been creative...in this way, anyway. Since I've actually made something. Writing and taking pictures is creative. But this is different.

There's something about taking a bunch of unlikely objects and bits and pieces and turning them into something that you see in your head. Or...at least real close.
These are prototypes. The more I thought about this boutique...and the more I thought about having to produce...the more I procrastinated. And made excuses. And talked myself out of it...all in my head...in a matter of 4 seconds. The mind is a crazy thing, isn't it? My perfectionism was rearing it's ugly head and making snide comments to me...a lot. I finally blocked it out by telling myself that these little sweeties were just prototypes. Samples. Trial runs. And suddenly, that creativity that I have been craving began to flow...well, more like a trickle. But you have to start somewhere, right?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Call me "Stretch".

On Friday I bought two large London broil. On Saturday, I marinated them in soy sauce, oil, garlic, ginger, parsley and dried onion. Overnight. On Sunday, after a productive day of garage organizing, Chris grilled these beauties...to perfection, I might add. I had him grill one for dinner that night...and one for use later in the week.
On Sunday we ate one of the slabs with that zucchini you see grilling up there, some flavored rice and some homemade onion rings you see down there.
I should really call them onion strings because they're really light. Luckily, we like them light because I can't get a good batter on an onion to save my life. No matter what I try, they come out light. And we all love them just the same. They're healthy. Yeah. That's what it is. They're healthy.
Well, Seth had a friend over for dinner. A 14 year-old male friend. And if you know 14 year-olds, especially males, you know that a large appetite comes with the package. So we pretty much polished off every bit of food we prepared. Every bit. And licked our fingers. The only thing I had left was quite a bit of rice. So I stuck it in the fridge and hoped to use it up later.
So Monday was a holiday. And I worked (for time and a half...nice!) from 1-5.
When I got home we took half of the leftover London broil, sliced it thinly, layered it on Hoagie rolls with spicy mayo, jack cheese and roasted chiles and broiled them until melted. As a side we had FROZEN FRENCH FRIES...yes, you read it right. Frozen. From Idaho. In plastic. Just making sure we're on the same page here, friends. We're doing what we can...right? And then being thankful for convenience when necessary!! Amen!
Anyway..it was a tasty, and easy, dinner.
Tuesday night was DIY night in the kitchen. Seth had baseball practice. Chris had a meeting at church. Both boys had youth group. Everyone needed to grab what they could, when they could. I was off the hook. I think the majority of us had bagels and cream cheese. And no, I didn't make either one. Again, keepin' it real.
So here comes Wednesday. I worked from 1-5. This could make dinner prep a little dicey...but thank goodness for leftover London broil and TV food hosts like Robin Miller who shows us ways to cook once and eat twice...or three times in our case. Last night was a good dinner night. And it was, essentially, leftovers. I had leftover steak and leftover rice. And I was determined to use it up. After looking at what I had in the fridge I decided that we would have steak quesadillas with a fajita flare and a Spanish style rice.
I sauteed bell pepper and onion until tender, chopped the steak into little pieces, grated a LOT of jack cheese and went to town assembling our dinner. While the rice was warming up with some onion, salsa, chile powder and frozen peas and carrots added in I cooked the quesadillas. And oh my...were they ever GOOD. So cheesy and yummy and filling. And the rice? It was really good. I wasn't sure how that one was going to come out...but we were all pleasantly surprised. With a side of grapes and orange slices we had a complete, nutritious and GOOD meal. And really...in no time at all. I don't know that I'd say "30 minutes or less"...but it was quick enough!
So, even though I bought fries that have traveled more than I have. And bagels that were neatly wrapped in plastic. And a few other things that were convenient and I'm grateful FOR that...I was still able to make a difference in that nothing went to waste. I used it up. All of it. And I call that doing my part and making a difference...in ways that work for me and my family. We got three meals out of $12 worth of meat. Four if you count my lunch yesterday...and five if you count Chris' lunch today. I'm telling you...I'm tempted to change my name to Stretch. Or Cheap-O, I haven't decided yet.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Genesis 1
The Beginning
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Emphasis is mine. I can't get over the fact that "the spirit of God was hovering over the waters." I imagine this in my head...and to me, if He was, then He still is. And I imagine that if He is hovering over the waters then He is also hovering over the land. And if He is hovering over the land, then He has to be hovering over us. And if He's hovering over us, then he has to be hovering over ME. And YOU. He is omnipresent...present everywhere at the same time.
dictionary.com defines hovering, or hover, like this:
hov⋅er 
–verb (used without object)
1. to hang fluttering or suspended in the air
2. to keep lingering about; wait near at hand. (emphasis mine)
3. to remain in an uncertain or irresolute state; waver: to hover between life and death.
There is not a place on earth that God is not present. That He is not protecting...guiding...seeing...hearing...loving...hovering. There is not a place on earth that God is not "lingering about" and waiting "near at hand" for us to turn to Him. Not one single place.
Thank you, God for hovering over me, for watching over me like a protective mother...protecting me...guiding me....allowing me to fall and then helping me back up. Thank you for giving me the gift of free will, and loving me enough to not let me abuse that gift. Thank you for teaching me to have YOUR will...Your will be done. You lead, I will follow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thank goodness for 3 day weekends...

...because Rosie sure needed some rest!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Boys rule.

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That's what little boys are made of !
I have to say...I do love my boys. So much sometimes it hurts. There's not a day that goes by that I don't thank God for entrusting them to me...to us. What a blessing. There's not a day that goes by that I am not amazed by their gifts and their talents. There's not a day that goes by that I don't notice something they do that is so unique to each of them. They are completely unique...of course because God created them that way. But they are also completely unique from each other. Even down to the foods they prefer. Two boys, from two parents, yet totally unique and amazing.
Seth. My oldest. My firstborn. This photo encompasses HIM and his favorite things...music, baseball, long boarding.
See that stack of music equipment on the right? See that big speaker in the middle? He built that...with the help of his dad. He took apart an old radio that Chris had lying around, saved the usable parts, and turned them into something useful and very cool. He rearranged his whole room yesterday, with the help of his industrious younger brother, just to make room for this amazing stack of electrical goodness. I mean, honestly, I don't get it. But to a musician? Get out... He is a gifted musician, like his father. Bass guitar, guitar, trumpet...and most recently, a mandolin someone gave him for free. He's a natural...
Yesterday, he obliged me for a time and let me snap some photos. It helped, I'm sure, that I was laying on the floor and taking them from weird angles. Black and white made it more interesting too. Anything out of the ordinary, right? I had to zoom in on his hands...and his arms. Such a young man...where does the time go?
Speaking of hands...here are Ian's. So mechanically inclined, like his father.


My second born. He is the one who takes things apart to see how they work. And then can put them back together! His mind sees things in a mechanical way...he can look at something and figure out how it works...and then how it could work even better with a few improvements here or there. It amazes me, the things that go through his mind.

He built this speaker yesterday, with the help of his father. It's very cool...and it WORKS. He's got the best imagination and can make something from nothing. Every day he amazes me...every day.
They are both incredibly smart. And talented.They are sensitive...and thoughtful. Sometimes, I wonder if I brought the wrong babies home from the hospital! Not really...I know I got the right ones. Absolutely. The perfect ones...for me. Thank you God for my sweet sons. Bless them and care for them. Help me to be the mom they need. Help me to guide them in the way that You would have them go. Help me to be an encourager...to build them up and not tear them down. Thank you God for entrusting them to me. Amen.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I bought Pop-Tarts the other day.

The heading to this post has nothing to do with anything really, other than "coming clean". My sweet friend, D, over at this is my life just posted about the realities for some of us and this whole sustainable living thing we're learning about and working toward and trying to live up to and figure out. She put it quite well...and made me laugh in the process.
As far as sustainable living goes, there's an awful lot out there that we can be doing...canning, gardening, chicken keeping, detergent making, soap making, thrift store shopping, or not shopping at all. Buying local, eating local, eating in season...not eating at all? Solar power, water power, hybrid, electric...oy! It can get overwhelming! And if there's a way to do it...there's a blog to show you HOW.
Don't get me wrong...I love blogs. And blogging. Blogging is a lot of fun and I have met some amazing women because of it. (You ladies are all so awesome...for real) but blogging can also be dangerous. It's like information overload at times. And when I'm reading that so and so is doing this and that...and then I realize that I'm not...because I just bought a pack of frozen fish sticks...distributed in Iowa or something...because I had to work that day and we were hungry now and I didn't plan ahead with my trusty Crock-pot, which I love by the way, but sometimes we're not on speaking terms. So I buy the fish sticks and then I'm feeling guilty anyway so I may as well just buy detergent because I didn't make time to make my own and I'm at the store and it's a really good price and I have about seven loads of laundry...and then I notice the Pop-Tarts were marked down and really, what's a little HFCS in the big picture? Right? Partially hydrogenated oil anyone? Gracious...
Can I just be real here for a minute? Sometimes...you just need to eat a Pop-Tart. Or at least I do. Preferably frosted strawberry...but I'm not picky. Or maybe a Hostess cupcake. Or a...oh never mind.
On a completely different note....today was a good day. We finally CLEANED THE GARAGE!! Yes...that's me shouting from the mountain tops that our garage...our little tiny one-car garage...is clean and organized. And it feels soooo good. We were going to go to the beach but we really needed to take advantage of this time...these three days...and finish some things around the house. We've let it go for far too long...the garage sale and the cleaning of the shed and the garage was way overdue. It was time... And now it's done. Yes.
Then we grilled marinated London broil and zucchini and then I made homemade onion rings on the side. It was all very delicious.
Then...I cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor...finally.
And now...I'm going to wash my self up and GO TO BED.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday...

Originally we had plans to be gone for the weekend. But those plans changed...and I am so glad. I don't think there's anything better than a long Saturday puttering around the house.
And puttering I will be. There's bedding to be washed and a bathroom to clean and bedrooms to dust and London broil to marinate and a floor to be mopped and blogs to read (like how I threw that in there...like it's a MUST?) and a car to gas up and picnic items to gather for tomorrow's trip to the beach...lots to do. But none of it pressing...just regular house stuff that I can do while listening to The Food Network in the background. Nice. Not to mention...the weather is beautiful today. Cool breeze...finally. And it's supposed to be like this all week. I'm so glad...what a nice reprieve from the triple digits we've been having.
So that's my exciting weekend. What have YOU got planned?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Oh dear...

Well, it's official. You can't train a chicken.
These girls do what they want, when they want. And they make NO apologies. Not one. As a matter of fact...not only do they do what they want, when they want, but if you disturb them while they're doing it, they give you dirty looks you wouldn't believe. Looks that make you wonder why there's never been a horror film involving chickens.
The girls have decided that they're NEW favorite bathing spot is in the barrel that contains my Meyer lemon and, well, at one time anyway, a handful of strawberry plants that we got exactly two strawberries from. They were both really good, too. Too bad there weren't more...ahem.

Did you take note in the photo the chicken wire? Um. Yeah. Good thing we put that there. They went under it, over it, on top of it...yeah. Chickens. Good thing they're so cute because if not....well, we won't go there.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Psalm 112:7

7 He will have no fear of bad news;

his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Everything has a purpose.

This is a little "chicken salad" I put together for the girls...some beans from the garden, their seeds were really big so I chose not to cook them...some apple that sat too long on the shelf in the fridge...and not pictured is a piece of toast that got a little too toasty.

Between the chickens and the compost pile nothing goes to waste around here! Or at least it shouldn't. I am not super diligent in my composting. But I am doing better and better. As with everything else, there's a learning curve. Not to mention, the birdhouse gourd vine has overtaken the pile...it's covered! So I need to find it again...and continue adding scraps so I can have some good compost next spring. It'll be here before we know it!

So I was taking my shower and thinking about the chickens and the garden and this little glass of scraps and life and how God and His creation are so amazing. Nothing goes to waste. Everything...and I do mean everything...has a purpose. He uses it ALL. Even the ugly scraps. Even the "stuff" that we think is garbage...a waste...unusable...God will use it. And not only will He USE it...He will make it BEAUTIFUL.

I know. I know it seems impossible. But...as the bible says, "with God all things are possible". Not some things. Not certain things. Not things that are good and acceptable. ALL things. God can do anything. A-ny-thing. The problem...or the obstacle...is me. I am the one that hangs on to hurts...or sins I've committed...things that I've done in life that I am not proud of...anger, depression...I hold on to them. Almost like a security blanket. I keep them hidden in a place only I know about... close...nearby...at the ready...just in case I need to drag them out and drag them along to my pity party. I keep them handy for when I need them to further condemn myself. To hold them up in front of my face...like a mirror to prove that I am unusable... garbage.

But then here comes God...the ultimate Gardener. The ultimate Composter. The ultimate Recycler. He takes all of my garbage...if I let Him...and He turns it into something useful. And even something beautiful. He takes away the condemnation. And the pain. He takes it away and fills that space with Himself. With His love. His spirit. And the more I allow Him to fill me up, the less room there is for the waste. And the more prepared I am to move in His will...and to live my life for His purpose.

Isaiah 43:18-19

18 "Forget the former things;

do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Boundary issues.

See that vine along the fence there? That's the birdhouse gourd vine. It's planted just to the right of the tomato plants...underneath it's highest point is the ladder it uses to climb up.
As you can see, it spreads. A lot. It goes about 8 feet to the left of the ladder and about 8 feet to the right. It has covered my mulch pile. It has grown along the support on the left that was intended for peas and cucumbers and beans. It has completely taken over the pole beans..and the poles!...that were planted nearby. I must admit...a birdhouse gourd probably isn't the best idea for a small backyard garden. I doubt that the square foot gardening guy would have included this baby in his plans. But if you remember, there was a point at the beginning of this whole crazy gardening thing that I decided to just have fun with it all. And to experiment. And learn. So that's what I did. And the birdhouse gourd was a part of that. And it was worth it...what a fun plant to grow!
Not only is the vine amazing. It also produces these silly shaped gourds!
This is our fourth gourd. And it's very possible that this is going to be our last gourd...of the year, anyway. The vine is slowly being taken over by that darn powdery mildew. I've kept it at bay but I'm thinking it's time to pull the vine, anyway, and make room for some fall plantings. I'm wanting to try some greens...another round of beans...maybe some peas...onions and garlic for next summer...maybe some beets and radishes, maybe I can squeeze some in before it gets too cold. I may even try some broccoli. I try to stick with foods we like to eat.
But...I have to say...it's good to grow new things because there's something about growing it yourself that makes it taste that much better. Plus, when you grow it, you want to eat it and not let it go to waste. Take our peppers, for instance. We grew banana peppers and Anaheim peppers this year. We were going to roast them and freeze them for paninis. Well...we ended up grilling some the other night and it turned out we liked them just lke that...grilled with a little olive oil and Kosher salt...as a side dish! You never know what you're going to like until you try it...right?
So...I'm thinking that I'll try a few fall plantings to broaden our food horizons. Parsnips? Turnips? Kale? Chard? Why not? And if we don't like it...then we just won't grow it next year. Pretty simple.