Friday, February 29, 2008

Making decorations

For more than ten years I have been the chief table decorator for the monthly men's breakfast at church. It's challenging... with a bunch of rural, hunter-type men, you can't use candles or vases of flowers... it has to be manly!

So every month, I consider the season, the weather, the holidays, whatever (!), put a male twist on it and fill the centers of 4 tables... without spending money.
This month was a challenge. There is Easter... (can't do bunnies and Easter candy at church!!!). Spring is approaching... (but they ridicule flowers). There is lots of snow... (did that last month). I was coming up dry! Then this morning, out of the blue, it came to me... spring, new beginnings, fresh life! And with a goofy twist that will bring a smile to these he-men.

Here is what I did with one dozen eggs and a cut up carton,

loose silk flower heads and hot glue.

They're all set up on the table awaiting the final critique tomorrow morning.

The thing that amazes me month after month is that the ideas do come. I feel that God plops a notion in my head, often doable with materials I have on hand. It has been fun to inspire laughter and conversation among this crowd of men as they ask each other, "What was she thinking this time!"

(The Lord) satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103:5

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Making tracks

Because I live in an empty nest, the new snow stays pristine for a long time. So it is a bit disconcerting to see trails of footprints all around the house... especially when I have been home alone for a few days.

Who - or what - is walking around my house? Friend or foe? Should I put out traps? What size?

Do I reeeeeeally want to know?

When you come right down to it, I am sure there was greater danger for me leaning out of the upstairs window taking these pictures, than from any creature tiptoeing around my house.


Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee... Isaiah 26:3

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Making mail

You reach into the mailbox and pull out the pile of junk mail, bills and catalogs. If you are lucky you see your favorite magazine in the pile.

But wait! There's an envelope that has a handwritten address!
Yee-hah! A letter!

That is why I love Gramma mail. I want to give the thrill of a letter in the mail to my beloved grandkids.

Today was my day to do Gramma mail. I enjoy the process. While we are doing "God and Gramma B", I get to relive some old memories and take the kids into the events of my childhood. I can show them how God was busy in my life before I ever thought to say, "that was God at work."

It is also an excuse to pull out my craft supplies and play ... there are times when that is much needed therapy.

I hope someday that each granchild will fondly remember the letters from Gramma B and understand the love that prompted every envelope that appeared in their mailboxes... love for God and love for them.

We have heard with our ears, O God, our (grammas) have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old. Psalm 44:1

Monday, February 25, 2008

A feast for the eyes

I spent the morning on Thursday in the office of a pediatric gastroenterologist. It is not a pleasant prospect to even think that my grandchild needs to consult with such a person, but there I was... the moral support, the second set of ears, childcare for the wiggly younger brother.

All medical considerations aside, the office was amazing... filled to overflowing with delights for the eyes. From the clock with a feather - that's right, a real feather! - for a second hand, to intricately decorated furniture...distractions from thoughts of dire disease filled the walls, corners, and floors.

Considerate of the doctors to do that, wasn't it?

Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. Proverbs 12:25

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Making observations

Observation 1
In the world of blah-blah-blogging, there is no shortage of people. They have headers and pictures and lists and links and backlinks and... HELP! I don't consider myself slow minded, but when I have to know where to insert the correct HTML code to make all these things appear, my eyes glaze over and my mind freezes! I tried following Blogger's instructions for inserting a link and ended up with my whole post in blue print! Argh.....

I found a new website that might help me though - - they have a tutorial section, "Learning HTML for Kids", good for children 10 and up. I definitely qualify for the "and up." I have made my way to Chapter 4.

Observation 2
In my journey through the Psalms thus far, I have seen things that I know the Lord wanted me to have for that day, that hour, of my life. It has been an incredible learning experience...of who God is, who I am in His sight, and what He expects of me in this world.

This week, I am parked in Psalm 67. After all the previous "wow" moments, this was a let down. On first reading I thought, that's nice, but so...? I started reading and rereading, sure that I was missing something.

Today, my persistence was rewarded. I finally saw that verse 2 is there as a "so that" for verse 1. It gave me a whole new vision of all the benefits God bestows upon me.

See for yourself! Read Psalm 67:1, 2. Then name a blessing and say verse 2.

No wonder there is a Selah there.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Making gifts

My latest creations - inspired by Homemade by Jill. Don't ask how I found this blog... I have no idea! She had a tutorial for making baby burp cloths and for some reason I was inspired.

I copied her pattern,

blew the dust off my sewing machine and stitched up 8 of these!

Are you wondering why I did this? Leah had a baby on January 6th, Kylie Jessica. Now if I can just get these in the mail....

...whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10 :31b

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thanksgiving on Valentine's Day

These are my Valentine's Day highlights... blessings that shouldn't be taken for granted, so here and now, I will acknowledge the goodness of God in so many ways to us.

An interesting find at an estate sale we went to on Friday. The whole of life in a belt buckle!

This is what started the whole story 40 years ago.

My new grill pan - Macy's, 70% off. I have always wanted one of these.... see what I can do? Perfect steaks for our V Day dinner!

Tonight we party with church friends at the Victorian Mansion. What a holiday! Again, I thank the Lord for all his blessings to us.

What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? Psalm 116:12

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Undergoing conviction

These are my new slippers. I found them yesterday - 80% off at Macy's. Such a deal! And you are probably wondering what these have to do with conviction?

When I was paying for these, there were two women standing at the register, observing my lovely slippers. I remarked that "every year my husband buys me slippers for Christmas, and every year he buys the wrong size."

"Too small? Not too large!" was the immediate response from the clerk. When I told her that he always bought small, both women laughed and said, "Oh, he thinks of you as his little wife. Isn't that sweet?" And then they both looked at me like I was the luckiest little woman on earth.

OK - so up until yesterday, I didn't think of it as sweet. It was aggravating! Every January, I find myself standing in a line to return slippers that are the wrong size! Why doesn't he listen?

Since the scene around the register at Macy's, I have felt the prodding, poking finger of God, stirring up dust in the moldy corners of my heart....leaving dirty clumps of self satisfaction and judgmental thinking for me to deal with.

What shall I do? The evidence is there... as plain as the new blue slippers by my bed. Shall I clean the mess now? Or shall I just push it into another corner, under a rug, behind a chair?

What will I do? That is the question - the will. I make the choice. Obey? Disobey?

If I regard iniquity my heart, the Lord will not hear me. Psalm 66:18

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Making improvements

After lots of trial and error, there is a new look here. I think I like it.

Although I am not fond of winter, I really like the header with the photo of the back yard under feet of snow!

And I love the verse. That is the reason for the name - even though at first glance you might think the subject matter relates to chimpanzees - it refers to seeing the hand print of God on every part of my life.

I have to admit it. Snow can be beautiful.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Making believe

Today I am making believe that winter, and all of its friends - brutal winds, freezing temps, crunchy snow and glassy ice - will someday turn into spring.

I found this creation next to the woodstove in the kitchen. If you squint your eyes and MAKE BELIEVE, you can see a blossom! A beautiful, coppery-blue blossom!

Try harder! I'm telling you, it's there.
Ok........... maybe tomorrow I will be well.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Making granola

Today I made granola. This is the old family favorite... of mine anyway. The ingredient list is pretty forgiving. What I don't have... or decide I don't want to use... gets left out! It is always good.

The dry mixture. This time I used dates, raisins and dried cranberries.

I love the granola, but there is always the mess to be cleaned up afterwards.

I have had this cookbook for nearly 30 years! This is where I got my start making everything myself. "Anything (a company) can do, I can do better! I can do anything better than them!" If you ever find a used version of this, grab it. It really is a useful book.

I wonder if this woman has any idea how she changed my life in the kitchen!

"Whatsoever things are true...honest...just...pure...lovely...of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Phil. 4:8

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ice and soup

I looked out the window and discovered that it is raining ice!

Don't you just love the colors of Michigan in winter?

That reminds me... I promised to share this recipe.

Beef and Barley Soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
6 cups beef broth
1/2 cup quick cooking barley
2 cups sliced carrots
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1) Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook til tender, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in broth.

2) Bring mixture to a boil. Add barley, carrots and tomato paste Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Remove from heat, Stir in salt and parsley and let stand 30 minutes to thicken slightly and allow flavors to blend. Rewarm before serving. Serves 6.

I changed a couple of things... the old "yikes-I-didn't-know-I-needed-that!" routine, not to mention, who uses that much salt? It was really good.

"O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard." Psalm 66:8

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Making merry

Yesterday was the day for celebrating birthdays!

Jimmy has now completed three years on this earth. We called to sing - a song only available to very young grandchildren and mothers over 80 - and he followed up with a happy toddler speed conversation. Unfortunately, I hear at gramma speed, so I missed a lot of the info that he was giving me, but it was fun to hear the excitement in his voice.

The "yours-only" cake - a family tradition

In the afternoon, we loaded gifts and cake (a brownie cake this time) in the car and drove north to celebrate Jonny's birthday. The sad part of ongoing birthdays is that kids get old enough to have their own schedules. So we squeezed our partying in between school and an archery meet.

How true are the words in Proverbs 17:6 - "Children's children are the crown of old men..."

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Making an impression

Today I helped in the primary class. The story was about young Samuel, awakened by a voice in the night... God's voice, not Eli's. Samuel learned that important reply, "Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth."

To impress this story on their minds we played the Samuel game... they pretended to sleep, the person who was "it" called a name, and that person had to wake up and answer a review question drawn from the basket.

Great idea when you are a teacher, but when you are an 8-yr-old, it takes a long time to decide whose name you are going to call. So there was a lot of pretend snoring going on....

Do you suppose they will remember "Speak Lord, for thy servant heareth"?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Making stock

The wind was piling the snow into deep drifts across the driveway. The perfect day to stay home and make beef stock. From the roasting of the beef shanks and vegetables to the all day simmering (with bouquet garni), the results was well worth the effort. We dined like peasants on Beef and Barley Soup.

2008 02 02 001
Originally uploaded by cHimprints