Friday, September 30, 2011

tell me something good...

Life is good.
Wanna hear about it? Here it go!
(I'll send a packet of my latest note card designs to the first person who can tell me where that's from!)

Good things:
  • getting good grades...I've got A's in both my classes so far. Go me!
  • cool morning's beautiful right now.
  • celebrating the birth of my hubby....Happy Birthday honey!
  • steady work...I'm grateful.
  • working with nice people...the school I'm working at is great.
  • tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes...harvested another big basket yesterday.
  • salsa! my husband makes the most delicious salsa...
  • my sons...I love them more than I can express.
  • talking about God with women who feel the same way I do about Him.
  • being prayed for by those women (thank you ladies...xo)
  • knowing that autumn will soon be least I think it will!
  • a good night's sleep.
  • working for my means so much more when you earn it.
  • talking to another mom at the Homecoming float building extravaganza about making pickles...can't wait to try her technique.
  • knowing that each day I am one step closer to where I'm supposed to be...that is definitely very good.
What's good in your world today?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday in the Word.

Our wedding day...June 2002
* * * * *
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—
but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also
must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. 

Ephesians 5:31-33

* * * * *

I'm feeling an urgency to say CHERISH YOUR SPOUSE.

It's apparent that the enemy of our souls, Satan, does not want unity in our marriages. He wants strife and distance and anger and bitterness and discontent. He wants separation. And divorce. He wants families torn apart...ripped in two...shredded to pieces. He wants sadness and despair and brokenness.

But this is not what God calls us to when we enter into the covenant of marriage. He calls us to love and cherish and uplift and encourage and support. Our vows say for better or worse...for richer or poorer. Marriage is for the good and the bad. It's a union of the heart, soul and's making two people as one. Isn't that beautiful? It is poetic if you really stop and think about it...that God created something so amazing to be shared between a man and a woman; something so personal and intimate...strong and fragile all at the same time. Only God can make such things.

Marriage is beautiful...a gift. And may I gently remind you to treat it as such? Don't take your spouse for granted...they are so very valuable.

Praying today...for you...and for me. For your marriage...and for mine. I pray you see things in a new way today...that God remove any blinders and that you can see clearly...and remember why you fell in love in the first place. I pray those memories warm your heart...and remind you how much you love that man of yours. xo

Thursday, September 22, 2011

the skinny.

I took this a long time ago...

I'm feeling really good lately...feeling like I'm doing "the right thing". I feel like every step I take is leading me in the "right" direction. (I use "quotes" only because what I'm doing is "right" for ME. I'm not saying that it's "right" for everyone. We all have unique callings and need to follow God's lead.)

So I've mentioned a time or two...I finally signed up for college courses again. And as soon as I did it was as if my world suddenly calmed, my confusion about life and where I was in all of it just disappeared and in an instant everything stopped spinning. What I'm doing (going back to school) may not be for everyone...just like other endeavors weren't "the right thing" for me. Things like making a living using my creativity. Been there, done that. And while it was fun and made me a little bit of grocery money, it wasn't "it". I wanted it to be. I really, really wanted to make a living being creative and making things and selling things. didn't work out.

Then I thought I might turn Give a Girl a Fig into a money-maker...sell ad space, network, offer stuff...and for a minute it looked like it might work. But as I put my efforts into that there was a part of me that was still spinning, still confused, still...out of God's will.

Over this past year I took my life into my own hands and made decisions based on fear, confusion and frustration. The more I tried to figure it all out and manipulate it to work how I thought it should the more confused I got. Basically I turned my back on God. Not that I was denying Him...or mad at Him...or didn't love Him...or didn't hear from Him...or follow Him. I did all of those things. I love God. With all my heart. But there was a little part of me (or maybe a big part of me) that said, "Fine, God. I'll just do it myself then. Because YOU are not making it happen fast enough. So, thanks, anyway. I'll take it from here."

As soon as I took matters into my own hands...I took them out of God's.

And He let me. He's like that.

So now it's a year later...almost It's been a year of spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.
A whole year...wasted.

However, because God is perfect and good and loving and creative, He let's nothing go to waste. While I could say this year has been wasted, that wouldn't be completely true. Yes, I wasted a year of my precious time. But God did NOT waste that year of His time. He put all of that time to perfect use. During this past year God utilized all of my confusion, my discontent, my frustration, my hurts, my insecurities, my anger and He turned it all into something useful.

All of it. Every last little bit.

And now in hindsight I can see it. Isn't that always the case?

But that's OK...because now I can move forward knowing, without a doubt, that I am walking in His will. I am sure of it. This doesn't mean I may not stray down my own path now and then. I am ME after all...a bit stubborn, a bit dense, a bit...oh look! a butterfly! get what I'm saying? I may get a little distracted.

But I believe that the next time this happens (IF it happens! thinking positive here!)...the next time I'm feeling dizzy and confused and stuck...that I will stop and remember God's plan for me, realize I've taken a detour He did not set before me and get back on the path He's paved for me.

As for the past year and all He's taught me and shown me...I still want to share. And I will...when He wants me to.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday in the Word


Isaiah 12:4-6

4 In that day you will say:

   “Give praise to the LORD, call on his name;
   make known among the nations what he has done,
   and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
   let this be known to all the world.
6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
   for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

I may have shared this before...but it's worth sharing again...

Give praise...sing...shout aloud...let it be known to all the world that God is good...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Even the pets are asking...

Are you ever going to blog again?

Yes. I am. It's just going to be a little less regularly. Between working part-time and going to school one night  a week and doing hours and HOURS of homework...not to mention running these kids around, planning meals, doing laundry, feeding those pathetic little animals up there, buying groceries, dusting, vacuuming and mopping the occasional time here is a bit limited. 

My time for photo taking is limited, too. And I find that when I don't have photos to share, I don't write. I rely on my photos to give me a jumping off point for posts. photos, no words. (Hmmm...I may be onto something. Maybe I need to use photos as writing prompts for my Creative Writing class? I am having the worst time writing what I'm told to write. Stubborn.)

So I'm still here. But I guess most of my words are going toward homework assignments. And trust me, you do NOT want to read those. Borrrrr-ingggggg.

Bear with me while I forge through this time of change in my life, will ya? I have to say, I'm really excited about, work, working with kids. It's a lot of work...and making me sleep really well at night. I am feeling so much more accomplished each day knowing that I am one step closer to my goal. A goal that I've put off for far too long. But that's OK...better late than never. And really, this may actually be perfect timing.And maybe someday, when I'm teaching in my own classroom, knowing in my heart that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be, I'll look back and be able to see that none of my time was wasted. And that every moment had a purpose...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

a dream.

photo credit
4 years ago, almost to the day, I had a vivid dream. I dream a lot. But I don't always remember them nor are they always vivid. But this particular dream was very much so that I can still see it in my mind's eye to this day.

I was laying in a bed trying to go to sleep. Everything was dark except for directly around the bed which was only dimly lit.I was laying on my side when all of a sudden a sheep jumped up onto the bed and lay down next to me. I was disgusted because the sheep was filthy...hay and dirt and leaves and such all matted into its wool and it was getting in my bed and on my sheets. I tried to push it away to keep it from touching me but each time it pressed in closer. I'd'd press in. I'd'd press in.

The more I tried to push it away the closer it wanted to be.

Reluctantly I let this sheep lay next to me but I tried not to touch it. But after a while I realized that all this sheep wanted was to be close to me. It meant no harm. It didn't know it was so dirty. It didn't know it was making a mess. It just wanted to be near me.

Hesitantly I draped my arm over this sheep and was surprised at how soft it was. I allowed it to snuggle in close to me and as I did that the hay and the dirt and mud and grime disappeared. It was no longer what I saw. What I saw was a soft, gentle sheep that needed me.

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
   Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. -John 21:17

Monday, September 12, 2011

focusing on the good.

go see for yourself
It's Monday. And I'm actually getting ready to go to work at my son's jr. high...subbing for one of the secretaries. But I wanted to take a moment to say hello and list out a few good's one of those days that I need a reminder or two to be positive.
  • getting more sub brings me hope and lets me know I'm on the right track.
  • dinner planned and ready to go...grilled burgers and corn on the cob. Gotta take advantage of what's left of summer!
  • harvesting 12 lbs of tomatoes from the garden. I know!
  • a freshly ironed white linen blouse.
  • being a week ahead of Creative Writing homework.
  • cool mornings.
  • getting organized..autumn is in the air.
  • good friends...near and far...I'm blessed.
  • the opportunity to go back to school and get my degree.
  • the Crock's gonna be my best friend for the next year or so!
Better wrap this up...time to get ready to go to work!

Happy Monday...what's good in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday in the Word


Psalm 63:1

A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.
  You, God, are my God,
   earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
   my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
   where there is no water.

Still feeling a little dry...tis the season I suppose. God is near...I hear Him...I feel Him...I love Him...

I was feeling like life was at a stand still...I was feeling stuck.

Unsure. Confused. Distant.

I blamed summer. And heat. I blamed at home, dirty floors, no schedule. Then I made excuses. And more excuses. I even talked myself out of a commitment I made over a year ago...finishing college and earning my degree once and for all.

The silence and confusion was really getting to me. I kept asking, "God...what do you want me to DO?"

No answer. Quiet. The silent treatment. any stubborn child of God would do, (don't give me that look...) I took matters into my own hands. And I messed it all up.

When I went back to school in 2009 (yes. it's been that long ago. crazy isn't it?) I had a plan. A really good plan. And I know that the plan was stirred up in me by God...He knows the plans He has for me. As soon as I signed up for classes and began working toward my degree for real (I began my college career about 25 years ago...yeah.) it seemed like everything else fell into place. Everything made sense. I knew what I was working toward...and it was going smoothly. I was making real progress. And it felt really good.

Then in 2010 you may remember that I went on a trip to Belgium. And in order to prepare for the trip and also recover from the trip I took an 8-week break from my courses.

That break turned into a year.

I have to admit, I was very down on myself for letting a whole year slip by. A whole year. To say "slip by" is really sugar-coating it. That year didn't "slip by"...I wasted it.

(But...God wastes NOTHING. He used that year, even though I didn't. And I see it now...and yes, I'll share in another post.)

Yes...God was quiet. He was. But not because He was giving me the silent treatment. He was quiet because He'd already told me what to do. And like any parent, I imagine He didn't feel it necessary to tell me again.

Life doesn't have to be dry...there is always water...sometimes we just need to go out and get it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

ode to summer..

Please tell me it isn't really September already? I can't believe how quickly time is slipping by.

It seems like just last week I was whining about summer coming, droning on and on about how 'me and heat just don't get along.' I think I may have thrown in a few, and please use your best British accent as you read this... "woe is me...what will I do with the children all.summer.long?" Did you do it? And did you picture me with the back of my hand on my forehead as I draped exhaustedly across a chaise?

Good. Because that's exactly how it happened.


I've got to admit, this past summer was actually, dare I say, quite nice. The weather was moderate, which is unusual for my area. But it was was tolerable. And would you believe I actually (secretly and very quietly) wished for a few hotter days so my beautiful tomatoes would ripen? I did. I know. Me. Wishing for heat. Something crazy was definitely going on here.

I blame the tomatoes. They make me do crazy things. Things like wish for heat and make tomato sauce from scratch. Yep. You read that right. I made my own tomato sauce. I looked online and in some cook books for inspiration and then I did whatever the heck I wanted. What can I say? It's how I roll.

I had a ton of tomatoes...beautiful, ripe, delicious tomatoes. And we couldn't eat them fast enough. So after much gearing up and positive self-talk (I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And gosh darnit, people like me.) I went for it. I blanched a bunch of tomatoes...removed their skins (and gave them to the chickens...happy girls, for sure)...chopped the tomatoes into small chunks...seasoned them with garlic and onion (that we also grew) and Italian seasoning...I added some sugar and some salt and some fresh basil from the stand down the road. Then simmered it all for an hour or so.

It was great...I felt like I actually knew what I was doing. I felt natural and together. It was awesome.

When the sauce was done and the tomatoes were all saucy and the flavors all melded together I looked at my beautiful creation, admiring its fresh, homegrown goodness...and I had no idea what to DO with it.

Not a clue.

So I let it sit a while.

And then I froze it.

Then get this...later in the week I made some spaghetti sauce...using canned goods. My husband looked at me like I was crazy and barked, "What's this? Didn't you just just make real tomato sauce?"

*Cricket cricket*

It wasn't until yesterday that I finally worked up the nerve to actually use it. I added it to a Crock Pot full of chicken tenders and made something akin to cacciatore. And can I just say...the sauce was GOOD. It was different. It was better than anything I've ever made using tomatoes from a can. I'm ruined. I thought we grew a lot of tomatoes this season. Just wait until next year.

Summer, summer, summer. I was just beginning to enjoy it. And's almost over. (Am I ever happy?!)

Yes, summer is coming to an end alright. The kids are back in school, the mornings are cooling off, football is on...sure signs that Fall is in the air. And I really need to pinch myself as I say this...but I think this may be the first summer ever that I might be a little bit sad to see it go. (Who AM I? I know!)

Don't get me wrong. I still don't like the heat. But my tomatoes for that reason alone I will miss summer.

A little.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I need a calendar.

Flickr...oh the goodness of Flickr.

This week has been a blur. I have had plans each day, made lists and everything...of things I wanted {needed} to get done...but then something else came up, someone called, an appointment was remembered, and each day took a different turn than I'd planned. Then, suddenly, it would be 11pm and the lists were left incomplete.

I need a calendar. I've been double-booking. It's kind of funny...I'm super picky about my calendar, or date book really, not like a wall calendar. I prefer the notebook style of calendar...with big squares that I can write stuff in...dates, appointments, birthdays, plans, homework assignments. And if I can't find what I'm looking for I go without until I find what works for me. Even if that means jotting down appointments and such on sticky notes and bill envelopes and the backs of receipts. No wonder I can't keep things straight.

To make the whole calendar thing more challenging...I am cheap. I don't want to pay a ton of money for a date book. Matter of fact, the last one I got I actually found at the 99 Cent Store and it was perfect. Sometimes I fantasize about making my own...printing things out, using recycled materials, stapling it and sewing it and adding pockets made of old envelopes.

Hmm...matter of fact...that is NOT a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all...