Thursday, May 29, 2008

Puzzle Talk

I feel crummy today. I have blown my nose so often, I can't hear anymore. I don't feel creative. I really just want a nap... so I decided to reorganize my work room.

I started by making three piles - save, hmmmm, and donate. Ok, four piles - I have to admit to the "why-on-earth-have-you-saved-this?-THROW-IT-AWAY!" pile. Furniture had to be moved from room to room to provide sensible storage. Dust had to be dealt with... and most of the job was done single-handed. My other hand was holding a tissue to my Rudolph-esque nose.

Throughout the job, I kept seeing this old puzzle I bought a few weeks ago. It's a map of the United States - all 48 of them! The tattered box is an awkward size and very dusty, so it doesn't have an assigned home...yet. It just sits there talking to me.

antique map puzzleYes... I said "talking to me." Every time I see this puzzle, this is what I hear:

I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11

Appropriate words for a snuffy, grumpy cleaning woman, huh?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Making progress

I admit it - this is a learning process.

I have finally figured out the link thing. With the instructions right in front of me, I can type in the HTML myself! (born on Independence Day - can you tell?)

So here goes... Let's say I want to link to Pencil Pointers blog - I would simply type in my magic, the letters turn a funny color and you see this! - Pencil Pointers

And for my next trick, I can do this... remember the photo of the singing 2 year-old? Hold your cursor over his picture and find the hidden message.

I can sing Amazing Grace.
I tell you... I feel like wonder woman! I wonder what I'll learn to do next?

Lead my in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Psalm 25:5

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Chance meeting

There is a note that has been hanging on my refrigerator for years...
The only thing more overrated than natural childbirth, is
the joy of owning your own business.
This weekend we have been trying to break out of those self employed chains. We hopped in the car on Saturday and went to the community-wide garage sales in a little town 15 minutes north of us. We soon discovered that the only good in that activity was being out in the wonderful weather, so we headed another 15 miles north to another small town to tour antique stores.

After spending another hour or two looking at things we grew up with - I hate when they call my childhood things antiques! - we decided to stop at a sandwich shop for lunch. While standing in line, I noticed that the little group at the front of the line was from our town, old friends we hadn't seen in years!

After exchanging the expected "how are you?" and "what are you doing up here?" questions and admiring a new grandson, Bev said, "I drove past your house a few days ago... yeah, it was the day after Mother's Day. I prayed for you."

That may not seem like an earth-shaking thing to say... but I felt the enormity of that statement immediately. The day after Mother's Day, we were in an AZ, reliving the agony of losing our son. It was a day that I was greatly in need of people praying for me.

God knew. He cared. He provided.

... I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God. Psalm 40:17

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ready to go

Two more bags are ready to go. I love these fabrics. (That sounds familiar. Have I said that before?)

How much fun would it be to take this beauty to the library? Or... load it up with life's necessities and use it as a purse?

Although it doesn't sparkle in the picture, this fabric has a metallic print that makes the bag a feast for the eyes. The lining is sprinkled little golden bees.

My stack of fabric is turning into a collection of remnants. Hmmmm... what I can build with those?

Happy Memorial Day. Hug a vet and thank God for our freedom!

O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard: which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. Psalm 66:8,9

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pink beauty

I am not a gardener. Plants in my yard are survivors - hardy, tough, self sufficient. A prime example of this is the lily of the valley that returns in all its glory year after year.

We have lots of deep shade around our house, so a sympathetic friend gave me a cutting from her lily of the valley 20+ years ago... and I have loved watching them fill to overflowing the shady flower beds that killed almost every other plant I tried.

While the leaves stay green spring, summer, and fall, the delicate blossoms come and go quickly. They fill the air with their fragrance and dazzle the eyes with their unique color and shape.

Isn't God creative?

...Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6:28

Monday, May 19, 2008

Making melody

It's hard to believe, but sometimes this 2 year old boy is naughty.

In an effort to stop that tendency, his mother has introduced him to the "time-out" - you know, sitting in a chair, all freedom ended for 5 minutes....

In his first ever time-out, Ikey bellowed his displeasure for all the neighborhood to hear. His mom and sisters continued their activities in the yard, ignoring his noise. When he realized no one was paying any attention, he stopped yelling and sat contemplating his plight.

Moments later, the nearby sisters and mommy stood in shocked silence as they heard the little "time-outer" sweetly singing Amazing Grace.

"Mom!" the oldest sister said, "He's just like Paul and Silas!" (See the full story in Acts 16:16-34)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My bag

There are advantages to working the bugs out of new designs - you have a prototype that someone has to use. This time, it's me!

Here is the newest design. By the time it was complete, I had a list of things to do differently on the next "copy" that I make. But in the meantime, I have this unique cHim-pouch that smiles at me every time I look at it.

Really... doesn't it just look happy with all that loopy trim?

I just love working on these bags. The feel of the fabric, the colors, the finished product... I do hope they cause someone to "cHim." to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands... that you may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that you may have lack of nothing. I Thessalonians 4:11 & 12

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fashion finds

The things you can learn when you travel beyond your familiar borders!

While we were in AZ, we enjoyed fabulous food, free concerts, wonderful sunny weather ... but the shopping!

For example... did you know that there are shirts that really are one-size-fits-all? You can dress your doll one in it day, and the next day, wear the the amazing popcorn top yourself! It comes in any color you can imagine - including camouflage. I had my sister hold this so that you could see the fashion that is available to you for the low, low price of $4.

The popcorn top - unstretched.

It takes two sets of hands to get the full effect.

The salesman assured us that he had witnessed a 400 lb. woman trying on a top just like this. And it fit!

(I'm not real sure what he considers a "fit"... or why he chose to tell me this... Hmm, maybe I had a bit too much of that great food.)

Don't worry. I didn't buy one.

Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Monday, May 5, 2008

Making brownies

Don't they look yummy? They aren't mine - I lifted the picture from the Nestle recipe site. (I followed the instructions and drizzled melted white morsels over the cooling pan of goodness.)

Every once in a while there is a recipe on the back of a package that is exceptional. This is one of those recipes. Enjoy!

White Chip Brownies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" square pan.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups (12 oz. pkg) white chocolate chips, divided
*Tip - I used 1 1/2 cups white chips and 1/2 cup of the big fat chocolate chips.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the Sugar, butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing wellafter each addition. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in 1 1/2 cups morsels. (I used 1 c. white - 1/2 cup chocolate) Spread into prepared pan.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutesor until wooden pick inserted near the center comes out slightly sticky. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. (The brownies will sink in the center when cooled... and that's not me talking - the recipe says that!)

Microwave the remaining 1/2 cup white morsels in a heavy-duty plastic bag on medium-high (70%) power for 35-40 seconds; knead. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, kneading until melted. Cut a tiny corner from the bag; squeeze to drizzle over brownies. Refrigerate for 5 minutes. Cut into bars... small bars.

Make sure when you make these that you are having company - or that you are responsible for supplying dessert for someone else's dinner! These are hard to leave alone!

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Psalm 68:19

Friday, May 2, 2008

Unending hope

Tuesday, the distressing news started arriving in waves.

Wednesday, it got worse.

Thursday, I was reminded that if it weren't for the negative situations in life, I would have no appreciation for the blessings that God continually showers upon me.

For instance:
-One unpleasant "wave" required a trip to UPS on Thursday. I arrived there at 2:40 pm, lugged my oversized package to the door, only to discover they are closed from 11:00-3:00! I lugged the oversized package back to the car and realized that I was 1 block from a unique fabric store that I wanted to check out. It was a great store, charming employee, perfect amount of time.

-"Good job with the packing!" the UPS man said of my oversized bundle. Wow.

-Went to Kohl's for a return... the lady at the return desk was actually chatty - to me!

-Went to Hobby Lobby - the woman at the fabric counter was full of good humor and I found everything that I was looking for!

-Went to a quilt store and discovered a product that allows me to produce my newly designed bag labels on my own printer! And, I only had to buy one sheet!

Today, I printed... I love them!

Has the distressing news gone away? Has the situation improved? Do I think it will be over soon? No, no, and no. But after Thursday, I'm still basking in the knowledge that God arranges the details of life. I should not be discouraged... ever.

But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. Psalm 71:14