Monday, January 30, 2012

the color of happiness




Yesterday afternoon after a morning of glorious worship at church and a delicious lunch of crockpot roast and mashed potatoes at home, we went for a hike at a family favorite place, Cochran's Mill.  As we were preparing to go, I was readying myself for a chilly walk through the woods simply because it is January and even though the sun was shining brightly, it can be a few degrees chillier in the woods.  
Much to my surprise, the sunshine warmed me inside and out as we walked through the beautiful creation of the outdoors.  I stopped along the creek to take a photo of the water flowing over the rocks.  I turned around and to my surprise there was a bush full of pink buds.  Oh, the joy of seeing budding flowers again!  Realizing that there could still be a chance for snow in February doesn't even steal the state of happiness that sunshine, longer days, and little colorful splashes bring into life.  
However, even the beauty the God gives us to enjoy here on earth will pale in comparison to being in His presence one day in heaven.  Every day I am given is a reminder that this world is not my home...I'm ever so grateful for this hope that is for any who believe in Jesus as their Savior!    


Sunday, January 29, 2012

progress

I have begun sewing together the squares...and rearranged the colors...and added a row of blocks. :)  The lighting wasn't the best for my photo shoot, but it will do for now.
Last night I sewed all of the little triangle pieces together and pressed the seams.  Tonight I started sewing the rows of little squares.  So far it isn't evident of how well (or the opposite) I did at cutting out my pieces and lining them up with each other.  It has been several years since I have pieced a quilt, so I'm a little rusty.  Time will tell.
It's for our family to enjoy, so I am not going to be too picky along the way...better to finally have an imperfect wall hanging for Christmas than no wall hanging at all. :)  At this pace, it may be done by the time the tree goes up this year!
Although we do not celebrate Santa, my favorite block in the quilt is the bottom center...I paired the Santa faces up with a "Letters to Santa" pattern.  It's adorable.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

it's how you look at it

I am either getting a head start or I'm so behind that I think I'm ahead in making a Christmas quilt.  I purchased Christmas fat quarters (fancy term for a rectangle of material) back in late November finally taking the first step of getting a quilted wall hanging made for the Christmas season.  I have wanted one for a couple of years now, but time just always passes and I think, "Maybe next year."
This is the year!
My awesome sister helped me cut out the blocks while the boys and I were up visiting in Indiana this week.  She had a pattern, "Flies in the Barn", that we used.  Apparently, it is a combination of the patterns, "Shoo-Fly" and "Hole in the Barn Door"...go figure.
Anyway, I'm making a 9 block wall hanging.  I have the blocks' colors picked out and matched up, lights and darks.  Now I am in the middle of deciding how to finish the edges.  I can do either of two things...color coordinate the outside triangles with the inner pieces or go totally random.  I took a few photos tonight of some ideas and haven't made up my mind yet.
Part of me really likes the matchy-matchy look.
Part of me really wants to go random with a little consistency.
However, I think I'll probably choose random with a little symmetry mixed in...
The final decision will be how to arrange a border of strips to put on the finishing touch.  I'm excited to start sewing!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Denial...it's more than a river in Egypt!

Top Ten things I am most in denial about these days...
  • Just how many loads of laundry I need to do just to catch up.
  • And, then, how many loads a day I need to do to stay that way! 
  • How much of a sweet tooth I really have.
  • The many hours I daydream in any given day.
  • My intense longing to travel overseas.
  • Finding it hilarious that my heart is in Alaska...and that I have tried to find a way to spend the entire summer there in spite of my love of hot weather.
  • How many Legos are really in my house.
  • That I turn 40 in May.
  • That I do dream of owning a really awesome camera one day...and know how to use it.
  • My Bucket List never seems to get shorter...as I cross something off, I usually add one or two more things to it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

snowflakes and me

"This is what God the LORD says- 
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
who gives breath to its people, 
and life to those who walk on it:
'I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you 
to be a covenant for the people 
and a light for the Gentiles...'" 
Isaiah 42:5-6
Making snowflakes to decorate our classroom is always a fun craft for us to do together.  The boys really enjoyed it this year...maybe because it is easier for them to handle cutting through thick layers of paper all by themselves to make their "own" snowflakes.  It may be because these are the only snowflakes in our forecast so far this winter.  
Beginning with a white paper circle, we folded it in half.  That half circle was then folded into a tri-fold triangle.  Snip! Snap!  Circles, triangles, squares, slits, hearts, wavy lines...they all make an impact on a snowflake's final form.  It's always exciting to see what the creation will look like once the folds of the paper are undone; revealing the masterpiece for all to see.  That's the best part!
Thinking about it now, my life is a lot like that of a paper snowflake.  God folds, molds, and designs my life into a one of a kind masterpiece.  
All by His design.  
All for His glory.
There is no denying that the cuts of life received while living in a sin cursed world can hurt.  Pieces that are hewn away are missed for a time.  The design does not always make sense.   But then I remember, one fold at a time, my life is being lived out...a lovingly created and uniquely crafted life given to me by my Heavenly Father.  
I am human and along the way...
Mistakes will be made.  Wrong turns taken.  Hearts broken.
The beauty of it all will only be fully revealed in the end.
God is good and along the way...
He reminds me of His love.  His promises are "Yes!" and "Amen!".  He mends, heals, and renews.
I am reminded of the child's song, "He's still working on me...to make me what I ought to be..."
And I hear Him whisper in my ear, "I've got this."   

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

when peace...

...like a river, attendeth my way...

I was inspired to think outside the box on peace the other day.
There are times in life when I struggle with peace.  Not with having peace...but almost having too much of it.  In a time of calm in my life, I can become complacent...
uninspired...
empty.
Sometimes I find myself doing daily life on my own because I am not "needing" anything, so to speak.
Now, I know better.  I read my Bible.  I pray.  Nothing moves me.  I miss the God moments in times like these.
I have been in a calm as of late.  It leaves me longing for something more.  I feel empty...and alone.  I pray and read because I know I want to and need to, but nothing moves me upward.
Then, working out last Friday night (yes, I went to the Y on a Friday evening...I needed to clear my mind), a Rich Mullins song, "Hold Me Jesus", rang loud and clear through my earphones.  "You have been King of my glory...won't You be my Prince of Peace."  Jesus wants to be my all in all in times of peace.  He's here.  He knows me and my heart.  The longing I have is for Him and, in His awesomeness, He's teaching me how to rely on Him...seek Him...need Him...in times of peace.  
A God moment in the midst of the calm.  Priceless!

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say...It is well, it is well, with my soul!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections 2011

Browsing today, I found a fun photo meme that I could not pass up.  Ashley at Ramblings and Photos gives a list of 25 prompts to find a matching photo for from 2011.  Loved browsing through memories finding my photos!  2011 was awesome...I cannot wait for more of 2012!

Me...hiking Matanuska Glacier in Alaska!

Love You...Christmas Parade with Nana & Pawpaw

Still laughing...my niece and her pet chicken.

Winter Wonderland...snow on Silver Lake in June.

Birthday...celebrating my birthday in Phoenix, AZ.

Friends...my bestest and her kiddos

Friends...best buds

I was inspired...my best friend taught Alex & me to ski.

Spring Fever...nothing says spring like Georgia Blues!

Vacation!...out West to AZ, CA, & NV


Summer Days...nothing's better than Bible Memory Camp!

A Day In My Life...always cooking something up!

All Smiles

Autumn Harvest

Family

Let's Celebrate!...4th of July in Michigan


Let's Do It Again!

I Miss You!

Beautiful...is my friend, inside and out

Dress UP

Macro...my fav macro shot (one of them anyway)

Holidays...Merry Christmas!

My Favorite of 2011

Don't Ever Change...stay sweet, my boys

Just Because...

Hopes & Dreams



Thanks, Ashley, for the photo meme!

Looking Ahead

In all my prayers for all of you, 
I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:4-6


Scroll down toward the bottom of this blog and you will find a new countdown.
It's counting the days until a plane, carrying my luggage and me, will, Lord willing, once again head North to Alaska.
This time around is no less exciting than the very first trip in 2008.
In fact, it may just be even more exciting.
How? one may ask...
I have been there.  I have seen God begin a good work.  I believe He will complete it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Hokie O Swamp

Sometime in the past week, I was in conversation about our trip to the Okefenokee Swamp with the fam.  We lovingly refer to it as the "Hokie O Swamp" because that is what Alex (then 2 yrs old) called it at the time. The boys were so little, they maybe only know and remember the trip by hearing about it and seeing photos of our weekend in the swamp.  Nowhere has this trip been recorded, except in our memories...this is my version.  There are others. :)
In August 2005, we spent a weekend at the Stephen C. Foster State Park in South Georgia, an entrance into the Okefenokee Swamp.  (As a note to someone thinking of visiting the swamp, please consider another month for your visit.  It was blazing hot!  And, I love hot, but this was a crazy hot kind of thing.)  Our family of four, plus my brother-in-law and his wife, were down for the weekend.  We rented two motor boats, purchased $3 straw hats in the gift shop, and headed out onto the black waters filled with crocodiles...in the middle of the afternoon.
The beauty of the swamp is its creepiness.  I felt as if there were beady little eyes of all sized critters just waiting for an opportunity to seize a victim an innocent visitor to their homeland.  The trees, the spiderwebs housing the mammoth sized spiders, the bird calls, the silently moving gators, the black water concealing its contents...it all plays into the beauty of the Okefenokee.
As we traveled over the water, following the trail of my in-laws' boat, dodging trees and ducking under webs that spiders built between the trees, the boys both fell asleep.  Alex was on Scott's lap and Tim on mine...the middle of a hot afternoon, add in the constant soothing sound of of the motor...who could blame them for snoozing?
After being in the boat for quite awhile, we saw a dock that we could pull up to and get out and at least stand on to stretch.  Sounded like a wonderful idea.  As I reached for the dock with my hand to steady myself as I stepped up, this Goliath sized spider scurries right in front of me.  I did not get out of the boat.  None of us did.  That's how big that spider was.  I no longer cared that my legs and back were cramped.  I was no longer concerned about the gators in the water.  I felt safer in the boat on the water with them than anywhere near that dock.
A sleeping 1 yr old Tim.
Some time later, I decided to begin a movie clip to document our trip through the swamp.  Just as I am beginning to document when and where we are, something is taking place behind me with Scott's maneuvering the boat.  In a matter of seconds, still videoing, I find myself on my back in our boat, watching a spider-filled web about to go over my head.  The video clip on my camera only allowed for a 30 second movie...it ended a few seconds short as I fell backwards into the boat, so it missed the laughter and the slight panic as that web went over my head.  To this day, I still am not for sure what went wrong, but I do believe we were going too fast around all of these trees and something went wrong with the attention of the one steering us, bringing me head on into the brush along the edge of the swamp.  I am ever so thankful that the brush came at me headfirst and not sideways...landing in the water would not have been a good ending to the story.  I would have lost my camera.  :)
We still laugh about that moment when Scott knocked me over in the boat.  The boys love to tell their own version of the story, too...I end up overboard every time, which I think is funny.
It was a good, hot, adventurous getaway.
I'd go again to the Hokie O Swamp, but I'm driving the boat next time!
When I saw this photo after our ride, I laughed and laughed !


video

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Free

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging.
When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
                                                                                ~Mark 10:46-52
The word picture painted here is simply amazing.  Ever since hearing Pastor Brian's sermon on this passage in Mark, I have not gotten it out of my mind.  Going into this new year, it seems to have taken up residence in my being in a way only God could bring about.
As PB made a point of it, a sentence overlooked by some, came to life in my heart.
Bartimaeus was blind.  He relied on others to live.  Most likely he owned very little, if anything...but a cloak.  His spread-out-to-collect-money-to-live, keep-him-warm-at-night, cloak.
Enter Jesus.
Bartimaeus tossed his meal ticket aside.
No longer did he need to rely on it for life.
Jesus was here and was calling his name.
Powerful.  Moving.  Convicting.
It makes me think, brings me to admit, and confess I have "a cloak" or two that I need to throw aside so I am free to run to Jesus.
He doesn't need my things.
He needs my heart...my attention...my devotion.
In 2012, I want to throw aside anything that hinders me from running to Jesus.
I want to live free.

I run in the path of your commands, 
for you have set my heart free.
Psalm 119:32






Monday, January 2, 2012

2nd Annual "What will they say next?" : Status Updates of 2011

Again this year, I have gathered all of the quirky things said and done by my boys over the year that made it to my FB status updates.  It is so fun to relive them at the end of a very awesome year!
It makes me look forward to what they will say and do in 2012!

Alex came out to the living room after having gone to brush his teeth and put on his pajamas.  When he came back out and gave me a hug, I was surprised that he had also put on some cologne.  I sweetly told him he was smelling really well to go to bed.  He just shrugged his shoulders and said, "It's no good to have a gift if you aren't going to use it."  1.2.11
(How those words are resonating with my heart even still today.  How true it is that we are given gifts and we are supposed to use them.)

Yogi Bear is so worth seeing. Alex says it's spectacular, wonderful, and hilarious.  1.7.11

Tim, showing me a photo in his science book of a lizard extending his dewlap, exclaimed, "Looks like he's having a party in his mouth...with lights, streamers, and a disco ball!" It was a very colorful lizard. :) 1.12.11

Still laughing at the memory of Tim interpretive dancing out Alex's piano music yesterday...it was hilarious! 1.14.11

Alex's prayer last night included, "...and God, I hope that You have a good day tomorrow." ♥ 1.27.11

Tim and I were negotiating a fair price to pay him for helping gather sticks from the yard for kindling. Upon deciding upon $4, Tim looks up at me and agrees, "$4 it is...plus tax. So it will be $4 and some change, okay?" 1.28.11

The boys are writing their first penpal letters...I think I'm just as excited as they are about the whole thing. :) 2.3.11

After I made the comment, "I need something sweet." (making reference to dessert, of course) Tim piped in, "You have me, Mom. I'm sweet." ♥ 2.9.11

Talking about the snow this morning, Tim interjected, "And, Mom, it's REAL snow...you can make a snowball with it!" 2.10.11

Tim is sitting beside me right now writing a paper on Abe Lincoln...and having fun making shadow puppets as the sun shines in on us. ♥ 2.22.11

Alex received his first penpal letter today! He was so excited. :) 3.3.11

Over dinner, Tim did something totally Tim-like and I laughingly said, "Tim, one day you're going to be President." To which he responded, laughing, "Of what?" He is my son. 3.7.11

I love the sound of Alex playing the piano in the morning... 3.9.11

Tim's boycotting DST...he hid his alarm clock so the time couldn't be changed. 3.13.11

I knocked the apple juice out of the fridge last night. The lid broke upon impact and juice spilled all over the floor. Boys came running at the commotion. Seeing what happened, they promptly dropped to their knees and started slurping juice off the floor. Nice. 3.15.11

Looking at our world map, Alex and Tim are disussing ways to get to Madagascar: Alex would take a cruise ship...Tim would fly to Mozambique then take a houseboat to the island. 3.25.11

Alex and Tim are doing thumb exercises in the backseat in preparation for their thumb war. This could get interesting. 4.4.11

Alex's reaction to seeing J-Lo walk out on AI..."Oh, boy. Jennifer looks...puffy." 4.7.11

Tim with a dreamy voice..."My bed is my paradise." 4.8.11

We were playing Bible Trivia and Alex asked Tim, "Who did God tell to build the ark?" Tim grinned and replied, "That's an easy one...if only I could remember his name! (short pause) Oh, yeah...Noah!" 4.14.11

Tim's driving the ATV all over the property singing "She'll be comin' round the mountain" at the top of his lungs. :) 5.2.11

In quaint little Atlanta bookstore with Scott, he states, "Here's the story of your life." and hands me a book titled "Freezing". 5.7.11

Written in Alex's paper about wanting to be a police officer..."I can see myself in 'hot pursuit' and then arresting the bad guy." One too many Dukes of Hazzard episodes, maybe? :) 5.11.11

Tim's opinion about choir practice on stage last night, "It's more than better...it's great!" He sounded just like Tony the Tiger. :) 5.19.11

Just got beat by my 7 year old in chess having only made 6 moves. Enough said. 5.23.11

Alex's thoughts on driving this morning..."When I am old enough, I will know all the rules because I watch Nascar..." 5.30.11

Seeing someone skiing on a video, Tim leans over and says that instead of using those ski poles, we could use rebar to propel us along. (FYI...his daddy specializes in selling rebar). :) 6.7.11

One would think it was his birthday or Christmas tomorrow...Tim's so excited about seeing Cars 2! If he were older, I'd take him to the midnight show. :) 6.23.11

One funny moment of the evening...Scott: "I graduated in '93..." Alex: "Was that in 18 or 19(93)?" Hilarious! 6.23.11

Tim to Alex: "Let's chest bump." Alex: "Why?" Tim: "Just because." I ♥ my boys! 6.24.11

Unpacking bags from Walmart, Alex asks, "So...we shower at camp? Is that why we bought me new shampoo?" He may never use it, but at least he'll have it along. 6.27.11

Tim's enjoying his win over Alex and I in Monopoly...he even spoke scripture over Alex reminding him that joy will come in the morning. (Psalm 30:5) :) 7.12.11

Alex's question of the day: "Mom, why do people say I'm as cute as a button? A button is a round piece of plastic with 4 holes in it. There's nothing cute about a button." 7.14.11

Tim: "Mom, you're Mennonite, right?" Me: "Yes, I grew up Mennonite." Tim: "I was born Baptist, though." Me: "Yes, but part of your heritage is Mennonite." Tim: "Well, maybe part of me is...like only the right side of me is Mennonite." 8.18.11

Had fun with the family over the weekend playing "Last Word"...will chuckle at the mention of margaritas or "i-balls" for a long time to come thanks to my boys! 9.19.11

While eating dinner tonight, Tim declared that, from now on, "T-bone steaks would be called Timbo Steaks because of the T and all." He then successfully ate more than his half of the steak we were sharing. Glad I had a salad and baked potato to fall back on... 9.19.11

Award for the first son that required stitches goes to....Tim. Not a sure count, but around 10 stitches on his left knee. Boy (and Mom) are doing fine and recovering nicely. 9.21.11

Walking through the woods with Tim, I made mention that the mosquitos were thick. Tim replied so sweetly, "Alex and I mostly don't get bothered by them, but with your sweet skin they'll probably go for you. We'd better go now so you don't get bit." Love my boy with a big heart! 9.30.11

Comical moment of our school day...me: Tim, what is a short word to add to "her" to make a compound word? Tim: "Bert. Herbert." I looked at him, he at me...then we both busted out laughing. 10.3.11

Rainy, cool outside...Alex was just playing Christmas songs on the piano...snow came up in conversation today with Tim. It's a conspiracy! My defense is to change my profile pic to a "happy place"! :) 10.10.11

Apparently I am failing "Southern Language" even after ten years of living in GA...I said something to the boys tonight that included "y'all's" (if that's even remotely possibly a word) and Alex looked at me strangely and asked, "When did you start using that kind of language?" 10.11.11

Heard many tales from the boys about their camping trip...most of which involved battles on the playground with a 25 member Girl Scout Troop. My favorite was Alex's version of an encounter with the girl with a yellow shirt..."As I was leaving the playground I think she called me 'Honey'...'Bye, Honey!'." (Insert mock wave and rolling eyes here.) 11.6.11

When school was over today, Tim announced that he was turning back on his imagination since it was time to play. "It's like I flip a switch when we walk in the school room door. Now that school's done, I can use my imagination again." I ♥ this boy! 11.9.11

Watched "Yogi Bear" with the boys this afternoon...snuggling on the couch with them won't last much longer, so you know I enjoyed every moment of it! 11.10.11

Alex just had me time him on how fast he could tie his shoes..."If my shoe comes untied during the (basketball) game, I need to be fast in getting it tied!" 12 seconds was his time, but he has plenty of time to practice...his games don't start for several more weeks. :) 11.11.11

Alex..."Hillbilly handfishing...have you ever been hillbilly handfishing, Mom?"...(No.) "Have you ever been a hillbilly?"..." (Umm...) "Have you ever felt like a hillbilly?" (I plead the fifth.) 11.13.11

Loves hearing Tim sing in the shower...today's song, "The Little Drummer Boy" with emphasis on the "pa rum pum pum pum" part. ♥ 11.18.11

The boys singing "Jingle Bell Rock" at the top of their lungs this morning was awesome...don't you wish could have been here to experience it, too? :) 11.21.11

Conversation this morning...Me: If you want a picture with Santa, crawl on Daddy's lap and I'll take it. Alex: Yeah, he and you both are Santa aren't you? Tim: Dad's everything...the Tooth Fairy...the Leprechaun...the Easter Bunny... (Scott...a leprechaun...now that's funny!) 11.29

‎"Mom, do you know what the hardest part of writing a book is?" Tim asked me tonight. "What is it?" I asked, thinking it would be coming up with the title, or spelling the words, maybe. His response..."Coming up with the words." 11.30

At his wellness check, Alex was asked what described his temperment. As his Dr. listed off several things to choose from, Alex exclaimed, "Genius!" (slight pause) "Wait, was that an option?" :) 12.2

Tim's in the kitchen stirring up drink concoctions for me to try...raspberry, apple, lemon and cranberry in various combinations...so far they are really good. He had me lick the lemon fizz tablet...not a good idea. :) 12.5

Scott was telling a story about his grandpa who had a bite mark on one of his ears. Alex's eyes lit up and asked, "What bit it off? A dinosaur!?" 12.15

Lunch conversation...Me:"Tim, do you remember who Methuselah was?" His reply: "Yes! He was the man who lived 900 years...just like Yoda."
From OT to Star Wars, he's got his bases covered. :) 12.18

A marshmallow war is going on in my living room right now...it's about as close as we're going to get to snow this year. :) 12.22

*Alex is singing "Let it Snow!" while sitting in the white sand of Siesta Key Beach and making a sandcastle...I can't tell him to stop even if I think he should. :)  12.28.11

*Catching his second sheepshead of the morning, Tim wondered "Why is it called a sheep when it looks like a zebra?!"  12.29.11

*Walking with his daddy, Tim declared that he was "imaginary"...and as he grows older he thinks he'll become even more imaginary!  Perhaps, the word he was going for was "imaginative".  I can only hope so. :)  12.31.11

(* never actually made it to facebook, but wished they could have)