Monday, December 21, 2009
"Do Less...Be More" special project for a friend.
So perhaps I have figured out how to link the video project we did for our dear sweet friend Julie Ochoa. After waiting 4 years, and getting the title "longest on the transplant list at UCLA" this young mom finally received a call that has given her new lungs & new life. It was priviledge to be awake between 2-3am, my scheduled prayer hour for her, but honestly all of our community of friends felt the world stand silently still as we waited through the surgery and first few days. Amazingly, and without any ability to know she would get a call 4 days later, she posted this to her own blog "STAND STILL AND SEE THIS GREAT THING THE LORD IS ABOUT TO DO BEFORE YOUR EYES!" 1Samuel 12:16
A month later, she is home with her wonderful husband and two girls, able to be involved with the preparations for the One who brought us all new life.
We are just hands on friends, so having to stay at a distance is challenging, but short of a sterilizing of all things germy, we love her enough to stay away...but too much not to do something special. I sure hope the link works...I'm sure I will hear from you if not and be able to redirect you somehow...enjoy a bunch of holiday spirit, dance style! Click on this link.
Merry Christmas Julie
Friday, December 18, 2009
Or were ornaments and the Mooch spent the morning working his way to the top of Santa's naughty list
As expected, and usual when our gift opening practice is shared with the rippers and tearers of the world, eyes rolled and giggles were covered. That's ok, we do not limit our family peculiarities to any particular area, but rather do many things that normal people don't understand. That way we make sure our children grow up to be weird don't fit easily into other families and stay close.
Anyway, today I did some wrapping and like every other year I looked at the paper and began reminiscing. I don't necessarily remember any certain gift when I look at the paper our family has used, some for up to 50 years. But I remember things like my grandpa always using the same gold crinkly foil for my grandma. When he was younger he purchased what he thought were some kind of bow or package decoration that he thought was entirely appropriate, truly it was little wreaths that were supposed to have candles set in the middle of them. I don't think anyone ever told him and he used them year after year. No tag needed, when you saw that paper with those candle rings you knew...from grandpa to grandma. When my grandmother passed away, I took the paper out of the box and saved it, never to be used again. The candle rings aren't in any of my decorations anymore. But I noticed as he got older and his eyesight was failing, he gave up on ribbons and tags and began to decorate and label his gifts with magic markers.
So touching it is to my heart that I can look at his writing on that paper and remember how much fun he was at Christmas allowing us to tease him and often tossing a perfectly timed joke back at us. And though I discourage sticking label tags to the paper, this one is oh so special, because it is handwriting that reflects an elementary age Dot with some thoughtful thing for her hero.
Call us crazy, but we also save the ribbons. Back in the day, there was no wired ribbon and I swear my mom and grandmother would make every single one of their own bows. Not the stick on kind. Wrap around the hand, fold in half, cut little "V"s, tie curly ribbon around the middle and fluff to perfection. Then, I say then...after Christmas they would cut the curly ribbon, stretch out the wider rbbon that had been the bow, iron it...I said iron it, roll it back around the hand and tie the curly ribbon and save it, unfluffed for next year. Yes, huh, they DID! Most of those bows are gone or don't make it on my packages because I have a special attachment to the wired ribbon and tieing the bows. BUT, but...I do save the ribbon as well. No ironing, but winding it back up and storing it neatly in a box for next year. Yes, huh, I have one obsessive-compulsive behavior and it is the Christmas wrapping. D is so proud, except it drives him crazy cause he is from a ripping heritage.
Call us crazier, but we also save boxes. Yes, we do. Fold them back to flat and keep them in a box.
Today as I was wrapping I noticed that it is so convenient to use the same boxes over and over because the wrapping paper fits them perfectly and no waste or cutting.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Things I will do this Christmas season:
1. spend time with 10 little girls making gifts.- Done and what a treat it was! They made no-sew pillows, bracelets and a very meaningful jar, decorated and filled with notes to someone special in their lives. Before we left, each gift was wrapped and addressed to someone they chose and FYI exhausted moms, you will be relieved to know that when pre-teen girls think of someone they'd like to give to at Christmas, Mom makes the top of the list everytime
2. Spend time creating a special gift for a very special friend. Can I just say it wasn't just me and what fun we had and the gift will be presented tonight, Thursday the 17th and I will have to hold this post until afterwards or it will be spoiled. If I can get my techno mojo going,there will be a link on this blog so you can view it. If not, well, you'll just have to trust me! It was a BLAST! Giving really is the very best part of presents!
3. Leave early enough for every errand, that I can pass by a parking place (Oh, but for this post I was ready to bumper-wrestle a guy at the mall the other day, conviction it was, holy conviction that reminded me to keep all my parts inside the car and smile sweetly) or let another driver into traffic without having to threaten him with bodily harm. Have enough time when I am out, to let someone in line, help someone carry something, (I realized I haven't been out much, but today with the Deeds & Dot we did a little loitering at the grocery store looking for some grandmas and grandpas that could use a couple of extra hands getting their groceries to the car. And have a purse full of candy canes to offer every child I see. The Deeds took care of that at Ross and the mall last week and it was oh so fun!
4. Plan a NERTZ party for after the pitcher gets home, cause I miss all those friends of my kids, scheduled for Sat the 19th, but haven't gotten too many rsvps yet, of course I do believe the twitter/text/facebook generation doesn't do the rsvp thing in language I understand, so perhaps I have 20 hundred tweets that I cannot read expressing their excitement
5. Plan a Christmas gathering for some girls, cause I miss my friends. PJ's slippers and food, cause a girl just needs to take a break this time of year...can't wait.
6. Make a Christmas budget Missed the opportunity. After the fact, I can at least say that D and I had a verbal agreement so that kinda counts.
7. Stick to the Christmas budget eliminating the post Christmas credit card bill, stress & regret I have used the CC..., but with each purchase I have subtracted the charge from the check register, thereby putting the money aside which is kind of a victory.
8. Make room in the budget to surprise perfect strangers with something and keep my eyes open for just the right opportunities. I have only done this once so far and forgot to tell the lady at the coffee bean to keep the gift annonymous, so I was thanked profusely, which is not nearly as fun as being sneaky. After the sweetest grandma waited patiently for the Deeds to take her groceries from her cart to the conveyer belt and then after she paid, he walked her to her car and he put the bags in the trunk of her car, we found an inconspicuous spot at Starbucks, prepaid a couple of beverages, remembered to tell the clerk we were annonymous, bought the Deeds a chocolate milk then spied on the targeted strangers. I put on an old pair of sweats yesterday and found some cash in the pocket which I believe qualified as our budget for today. Again, giving is the most fun part of presents!
9. Spend several occasions snuggled under a blanket reading a book in the living room where the Christmas tree is, with carols playing in the background or if I'm lucky while Dann plays his guitar. So far one afternoon, but there is still time.
10. Plan a brunch for a special group of mommies where they can share and hear about each other's family traditions, and provide childcare for them so they can have a few hours off. It was so fun and heartwarming to hear them share the ways they want to celebrate the holidays and what a priority Christ's birth will be. Those are some amazing mommies...wish I had what they have at such a young age. Awesome, intentional, tender hearts.
11. Bake something yummy when Dann is home, so he remembers his mom and her holiday baking. Need to plan this for next week. 12. bake something yummy when my kids are here so they have similiar memories. hmmm not sure when all of the kids will be here except on Christmas... bound to be something yummy smelling that day.
13. See the movie "Everybody's Fine" with as many of my kids as can make it. It looks like this has been replaced with the Family Christmas at the Rubicon on the eve of Christmas eve.
14. Wish everybody Merry Christmas, everybody. I tried this early on, but people think it is kind of weird on Dec 3rd to wish them a Merry Christmas 21 days early...so perhaps it is now time to smother them in good MC wishes.
15. I will put my amazing husband at the top of my list of people to give my time to and thank him for being so patient when I let my life get out of control. FOCUS...FOCUS...FOCUS. I have to admit this is my weak spot on the list. But with time left, I need to get this together and make sure he knows how much he means to us. My weakness does NOT reflect the amazingawesomegreatness of him. He has just left our home at 9:45pm to go back to church to make sure the coffee pot was turned off after he spent 2 1/2 hours there rehearsing for Christmas sunday worship because what is more offending for two non-coffee drinkers than the smell of burnt coffee in the morning. Amazingawesomegreatness and he chose me to spend his life with! Glory & grace.
So I challenged you to come up with your own list of do less & be more. If you did...carry on, don't give up. If you didn't, its not too late. With a week + left, make a short list, reasonable, doable, enjoyable. Include one thing that will pamper yourself, one thing that will bless your family and one thing that will bless & surprise a perfect stranger. Fill me in if you have a chance.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
With each perfectly placed crumb of candy cane, I am sure this will be the best fudge we have ever made together!
D was working overtime at station 5. "DD, can we go visit Papa at Station 5, because that is where the fireman pole is and I can give the firemen candy canes." Well little man, yes we can. So we left the fudge to cool and headed off to see Papa and the pole. The firemen got their candy canes, the Deeds got to sit in the tiller seat papa did his killer demonstration of pole sliding and we were off to shop for Daddy.
A couple of weeks ago I asked Micah what he wanted to get Daddy for Christmas. "Well, he already has a backpack so I think I would get him a "------"." Oh, that's a good idea. What color would you get him?" "Well, red is his favorite color, so a red one". For heaven's sake, if he knows what he wants to get his daddy and even the color at 3 years old...I'm making it happen, just for the sake of the story. Anyway, we headed to Ross and the Deeds reminded me we needed to take the candy canes in to give to people. I was thinking we would take them to the mall and he could give them to other kids he saw, but mercy, he clearly had an agenda and I was not about to get in the way of his generousity. He was seriously chasing people down at Ross to try to give them a candy cane. I mean, spotting them, running after them, calling to them etc... Now, let me just say, if a blond headed, toddler runs up to you anywhere and offers you a candy cane of any size for any reason, please...TAKE IT and just thank him! Please! I can tell you it causes at least 10 kinds of confusion to a little guy trying to spread some Christmas cheer when he hears "No thank you, I don't eat sugar, I'm a diabetic, I don't like candy canes". Just take it, smile and appreciate the gift. Thankfully, it didn't hurt his feelings or anything, he just looked at them like "I must not be hearing you right because I am offering you sweet heaven here and I think you just turned me down." Anyway, needless to say our quick gift selection took about an hour and the equivalent of a mile of running down holiday shoppers.
We made a couple of other "quick" stops, having left the candy canes in the car. Then we headed to the mall. It has been a very long time, like never that I have gone to the mall without an agenda except to follow a pint sized elf around as he spies and pursues person after person to gift with a peppermint delight. We did have a target audience, grandma's or children but not babies. It was so fun. Seriously, just watching him work was a "joy to my world". Kids loved him, grandmas hugged him and we just took our sweet time wandering down to the play area at the opposite end. We decided ice cream for lunch was a necessary addition to this most festive day. Wandering all the way back to the car with vanilla goodness filling our tummies and covering the lower half of one of our little faces. A couple of napkins and a buckled up car seat later we headed home.
It took very little coaxing to get this tiny elf upstairs and down for a nap. He chose a Christmas story book, complete with little paperdoll type characters. So after reading the book, I told him I'd come back in a few minutes and it would be time to stop playing and lay down to go to sleep. About 10 minutes later I came into the room and found him missing...?? Where in the world? So I walked around the bed and saw...a knee... And then a tuft of blonde hair... and one pillow at a time...I found him.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Now that being said, I have just ended the busiest week of my year in a while so I am doubly motivated to make sure the rest of the season is festive and meaningful, not just crazy.
So I make my lists here so that you can keep me on task and provide me a little accountability.
Things I will do this Christmas season:
1. spend time with 10 little girls making gifts.
2. spend time creating a special gift for a very special friend.
3. leave early enough for every errand, that I can pass by a parking place or let another driver into traffic without having to threaten him with bodily harm. Have enough time when I am out, to let someone in line, help someone carry something, and have a purse full of candy canes to offer every child I see.
4. plan a nerts party for after the pitcher gets home, cause I miss his friends.
5. plan a Christmas gathering for some girls, cause I miss my friends.
6. make a Christmas budget
7. stick to the Christmas budget eliminating the post Christmas credit card bill, stress & regret
8. make room in the budget to surprise perfect strangers with something and keep my eyes open for just the right opportunities.
9. spend several occasions snuggled under a blanket reading a book in the living room where the Christmas tree is, with carols playing in the background or if I'm lucky while Dann plays his guitar.
10. plan a brunch for a special group of mommies where they can share and hear about each other's family traditions, and provide childcare for them so they can have a few hours off.
11. bake something yummy when Dann is home, so he remembers his mom and her holiday baking.
12. bake something yummy when my kids are here so they have similiar memories.
13. See the movie "Everybody's Fine" with as many of my kids as can make it.
14. Wish everybody Merry Christmas, everybody.
15. I will put my amazing husband at the top of my list of people to give my time to and thank him for being so patient when I let my life get out of control.
So the list seems long, but I think it is doable. I plan on making merry this year. Merry for others which makes merry for me.
How about you? Have you got a plan to Do Less and Be More? Will you be intentional about the things you want to accomplish this year or just let each day, with its urgencies take over our holiday? 15 things for me, some activities, some attitudes and perspectives. I'll end as I go get my calendar and put down a few dates so I can send out some invitations and begin my planning to be more and do less. Bless you, can't wait to hear your list.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
You can check out some of Kristen's stuff on her blog
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Please join us at a Holiday Boutique!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Anyway, I did a crazy (by crazy, I probably mean illegal) U-turn on the way to church over the summer and bought this chest for $30.00...sanded & painted it, then distressed the edges a little and ta da!
Plain old builder's grade closet doors...filigree trim added to the top.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Hindsight can show some mighty amazing happenings in the heavenlies. Last week about this time, I wanted to quit...well, most everything. At least the things that were causing conflict and pain. Without all the gorey details, let me just say that volunteering for or agreeing to anything ministry-related was the last thing I wanted to do.
Someone spoke two lines to me last week that I will fight for a long time. "You have no right to be a Bible Study leader" & "Your work in ministry gives brings you credit or accolades" (I think that meant I do it for my own glory & attention). Though these words came from a person, flesh and blood to begin with, the enemy has used those statements to grind me to an emotional halt.
Just ouch... I can't even tell you that is what was said exactly, but given the option, I feel things in the most critical way possible. Because who can do a better job of beating me up than, well, me.
On the other side of my world...
an opportunity to go Uganda in 2010 with a team that trains pastor's and ministers to women and children. Like a dream come true...even recently expressed publicly, I could go to a place my heart has always been drawn to, where my Compassion child lives, serving God without any fluff. Gettin' down and dirty to the heart of loving, serving and ministering to a people hungry to even hold a bible. Um hm...my kind of people, my kind of place, a God sized opportunity.
BUT...I was wounded, deeply, for seizing these kind of opportunities.
Wounded where I am most vulnerable, my aching to serve the One that pulled me out of the gutter and set me back on my feet.
I am reading a book with a couple of girlfriends. "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day" by Mark Batterson.
LIFE CHANGING book about surviving and thriving when opportunity roars.
So here I was with a mightly roaring...all excited by the possibility, yet two statements haunt me "You have no right ... & your motives are selfish".
Whew, is that a battle!...truth or lies? me or You? safety or risk? stay or go?
I believe scripture when it talks about the Holy Spirit's job of testifying to the truth. So I wore those statements like a heavy cloak while praying for Him to reveal to me where my thoughts, motives, and desire to serve him fall short of glorifying Him. Where my excitement and enthusiasm serve me rather than others, when I am moving ahead on my own path rather than His, leading others when maybe I should only follow.
So God and I spent some time and tears wrestling through truth and lies. Afterwards, I got to humbly take the cloak off. Corrections noted, throw my hands in the air and feel the freedom again, that I am set free to experience and use for His cause.
Against, my protective instincts, I believe I choose to walk on.
I believe Uganda will probably put another target on my back if someone doesn't understand, but if my savior can carry the cross on his and take the beating he did for me, I believe I can take a few correcting lashes for Him.
Thank you, Lord, for keeping me on your project list. Corrections noted, humbly bowed, can't wait for Uganda.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Today,though, and yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that...are not most days. Today I don't want to wake up. Today I can't see the tunnel, I am swallowed up by it, and there is no light. Today, I will not get to my "have tos" and I have no "want tos". I have the house to myself but I need the quiet to drown out the noise. My Bible, full of comfort sits within arms reach and yet I can't reach it, or hear it, don't know it. Today I can't remember the past, and I don't want tomorrow.
My umbrella holder is gone for two mornings, two days, two nights and all the time in between. The storm rages and I am soaked...whatever else falls on me is likely to run right off because there is afterall, a saturation point with all things. I just want to go home except, I am there. I just want everything like it was, except that it isn't. I just want to get up from a heap on the floor, except I am up.
Umbrella holder, I miss you. I know you can't make it stop, but you are mighty strong in keeping me upright and covered from the worst. Umbrella holder, I miss you. You are mighty good at holding the towel over my heart trying to protect it. Umbrella holder, I miss you. You are mighty, perfectly, wonderfully good at looking in my eyes and speaking hope to me and helping put the truth back when it gets washed out of place in the torrent. I just miss you.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Ok...time is short, but I have the most fun post if you are into taking something used, a little dirty and flufflessly weak and turning it into something beautius. I bought a sofa that I thought had potential. Winter white it was when I spotted it and made an offer and hurriedly paid for it before I actually uncovered it from all the bedding, draperies, misc shower curtains etc... usually found at a garage sale. I was so excited to find something that might actually look like exactly what I want that I forgot to figure in the "been used" in someone's else's place and probably has some wear and tear. Anyway I bought it anyway...yes huh I did.
Dot has definately found the ultimate in cleaning solutions for carpet and upholstery...Amonia...with water and amazing. So I set about on the spots, which after it dried is so much cleaner than the rest, that I will have to go back and equally clean all surfaces so that the color is uniform. Thankfully just before and not just after, Mooch found some fun mud in the back yard and this particular blend of wet dirt must also be the main ingrediant in the drink, Rock Star. He was so crazy with excitement that he ran into the house, all through the house, up on the new old sofa, around on the off -white carpet, through the tile kitchen etc...Yes huh he did.
So after the cleaning, I ripped open the cushions and added stuffing from throw pillows I have been storing in case I ever put that comforter I am also storing from 1987 back on a bed and need just the right throw pillows to compliment it. Don't be silly, of course I felt a rush using those old pillows for something and wanted to tell my "throw everything away" husband...see I knew I would use them again!
Then I pulled out all the fabrics that I bought 1 and 2 yards of because I just couldn't decide which was my favorite and started covering the smaller pillows. I was taken over by some sort of pillow spirit that just kept me crankin' and I am so dang happy with how it turned out.
Pillow #1...I embroidered these guys on the front and back because I have that fancy embroidery machine, yes huh I did.
Pillow #2...I removed the original fringe from the pillow and used it inside out...or bottom side up or something...because I love the loops...but enough fringe already. yes huh I did.