Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas is horrible

Let the stable still astonish:
Straw—dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said, “Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens
And earth
Be born here, in this place?”
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms
Of our hearts and says, “Yes, let the God
Of Heaven and Earth be born here—
In this place.”

Leslie Leyland Fields

Thursday, December 17, 2009

collaboration

I've plans to host a book club.



One problem.

I don't know what book to feature.

Criteria:

- a mixed gender group
- all believers at this point
- something easy to complete in a month or two
- members 'in' so far each enjoy real life stories
- something thought provoking

Suggestions?

Monday, December 7, 2009

infomercial

two weeks of near sleepless nights: exhausting
17 1/2 trips to craft stores: $110.47
forgotten items and an extra trip home the night before the craft show: 2 hours extra driving and an unknown amount of fuel
6 cups of coffee each: free (provided and nasty)
not even close to breaking even but reconnecting with old friends and an entire day with my sister and niece: priceless







Now there's a certain rush to this whole frantic process to get things made and set-up and torn down and taken home. However that rush deflates faster than an old birthday balloon when you get home and all the stuff you took with you is now in your living room and your wallet is still empty and you are freakin' tired! Granted it was our first show and no other buyer fared well either. We still decided we'd much rather be at home together. So we abandoned all ideas of future shows, at least for now, and are going Etsy. Our site is a little rough yet, but we've got a few items posted. Now to perfect uploading photos.....and launching a facebook fan page....and making more stuff.... and 17 1/2 trips to the P.O.

Speaking of launching....my bucket list has seen quite a bit of action this year.

Re.struct is open for business!! I am very excited. Watch for some one of a kind art pieces, vintage finds and home decor.

Mother, daughter, sister, auntie
Soulmates, believers, creators
Together we reclaim, restore and repurpose
So you can better enjoy, beautify, nurture and live.

I love that we're doing this together.

Monday, November 23, 2009

can you ditto a reverb?


Anything you forget to feed will die. Feed the important things if you want to keep them alive.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

October Indian Summer=

Playing hookey from responsibility = a spontaneous picnic lunch and a hike with a favorite friend

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I am a woman. I am fully a woman. I am only woman.

Finished reading this the other day. I uncovered it in my recent move. Good stuff. Again. I probably read it ages ago (I can honestly say that now. An age being officially 7 years. At least.)

In case you're wondering about the condition of the book cover....No! I'm not suffering from any syndromes I'd rather deny, nor did the subject matter cause such angst that I was driven to gnaw on the edges as I worked my way through the content.

My dog ate it.
Honest.

What dog? you ask.
He moved.
Was evicted, actually.
He was adorable except for his tendency to, when left alone longer than he deemed necessary, locate the item left within reach that was likely most valuable and sentimental and tear it to shreds. He ate my Bible once. I ordered a new one. He came in from his holedigging in the backyard to the sunporch and ate it right out of the packaging as soon as it was delivered. New policies were immediately enforced for the mailman. When eating things didn't make me come hope sooner, he (the dog, that is) took to pooping in the dead-center of each room by turn.
Did I mention he moved?

I think the phone call to the Bible people was the best one I've ever had with anyone.

Them: Hello?
Me: Yes, Hello. I had a, well, um, shipping [bites nails] concern.
Them: Alright.
Me: Well, you see, my dog ate it. Box and all. It's in shreds all around the back yard.
Them: [Crickets]
Me: I'm serious.
Them: [Laughter]
Me: [Whew.] He did really. (I told the whole story)
They sent me a new one.
For.
Free.

Back to Mrs. Elliot's fantastic work. The book is a compilation of letters to her daughter, Valerie as she prepared for her marriage. Each chapter is a casual, personal, purposeful narrative challenging and inspiring true femininity. It made me sigh with relief and hope. My creativity, nurturing, vision, purpose and faith were all refreshed. As a woman. As the single woman that I am. Today.

On sexuality:
"If you get too technical you're going to miss the blessing."
"There is danger in analysis. You can't learn the meaning of a rose by pulling it to pieces. You can't examine a burning coal by carrying it away from the fire. It dies in the process."
"By throwing away the very thing which guarded its meaning, we have thrown away the thing itself."
"She needs a heart trained by practice to love [her man]."

On loyalty:
"...you make no vows about your feelings."
"We are not given grace for imaginations. We are given the grace needed at the time when it is needed...and because you have given your word you have committed youself once and for all. Nothing that has ever been worth doing has been accomplished soley through feelings. It takes action. It takes putting one foot in front of the other, walking the path you have agreed together to walk."

On the Cross:
"...there is one thing which enters into all of life, one thing which will keep us from idealizing life's best and will make bearable life's worst, and that is the Cross. The Cross enters the moment you recognize the relationship as a gift. The One who gives it may withdraw it at any time, and knowing this, you give thanks in receiving. Desiring above all else to do the will of God, you offer back to Him this greatest of all earthly gifts as an oblation, lifted up in worship and praise, with faith that in the offering it will be transformed for the good of others."

On Creativity:
"Be not afraid of absurdity; do not shrink from the fantastic. Within the dilemma, choose the most unheard of, the most dangerous solution. Be brave, be brave. Ah, Madam, we have got much to learn." - Isak Dinesen

donated to Christ

I've had to handle some nasty donations in my time at this non-profit of mine. The worst by far was uncovering a ripe terd left behind (hah) in a child's potty. Let's just say there was some screaming, stomping and lots of bleach involved. Might have something to do with why the second sentence of the following quotation resonates so well. I have new thankfulness that Jesus cleaned me up and didn't stuff me in the trash, filthy and worthless, like aforementioned chamber pot.

"'Ye are Christ's.' You are His by donation, for the Father gave you to the Son; His by His bloody purchase, for He counted down the price for your redemption; His by dedication, for you have consecrated yourself to Him; His by relation, for you are named by his name, and made one of His brethren and joint-heirs. Labour practically to show the world that you are the servant, the friend, the bride of Jesus. When tempted to sin, reply, 'I cannot do this great wickedness, for I am Christ's.' Immortal principles forbid the friend of Christ to sin. When wealth is before you to be won by sin, say that you are Christ's, and touch it not. Are you exposed to difficulties and dangers? Stand fast in the evil day, remembering that you are Christ's. Are you placed where others are sitting down idly, doing nothing? Rise to the work with all your powers; and when the sweat stands upon your brow, and you are tempted to loiter, cry, 'No, I cannot stop, for I am Christ's. If I were not purchased, I might be like Issachar, crouching between two burdens, but I am Christ's and cannot loiter.' When the siren song of pleasure would tempt you from the path of right, reply, 'Thy music cannot charm me, for I am Christ's.' When the cause of God invites thee, give thyself to it; when the poor require thee, give thy goods and thyself away, for thou art Christ's. Never belie thy profession. Be thou ever like one of those whose manners are Christian, whose speech is like the Nazarene, whose conduct and conversation are so redolent of heaven, that all who see you may know that you are the Saviour's, recognizing in you His features of love and His countenance of holiness. 'I am a Roman!' was of old a reason for integrity; far more, then, let it be your argument for holiness, 'I am Christ's!'
-Charles Spurgeon

which of these is hardest for you?
me?
personal temptation. saying, "I cannot" and not compromising. ever.

Monday, September 28, 2009

sing us a song, you're the piano man

Don't know what to do with all those old records from Uncle Mirum or Grandpa Holger? (Stop laughing. Those are real people. In my family. Thank you.)

Assuming (perhaps with a little research) that your collection is not comprised of unique and valuable editions, you could create a unique piece of art. Like snowflakes, no two are alike.

Preheat your oven to 225-250 degrees.
(Applause for bad picture of the year award please)

Take any ol' cookie sheet.
Place a small bowl rim-side down on the cookie sheet. You want a container tall enough that the record will not drape onto the cookie sheet more than a smidge. An empty tin can works also.

Place both in your warm oven.

Place the lable of the record on the bottom of the bowl. Close the door.

This is what it will look like after about 2 minutes.

After 5 minutes.

After 7-10 minutes. (It takes about the same amount of time whether or not you open the door every two minutes.)
Let's leave it a little longer to see if we can get rid of the Roman nose profile. (And the glare.)

Ok. Guess not.

Using a hot pad, remove the cookie sheet and slide the bowl and the melted record onto the counter (or a cooling rack if you wish).

Leave the record draped over the bowl until it is cool enough to touch.

I let it cool the rest of the way upside down.

Tada.

I like the way these next two folded.


The whole colorful family.

Kinda like mine.
Your (and my) new creation is not directly food safe, so insert a smaller container if you want to use your piece as a bowl for snacks or candy. Fill it about hafway with coffee beans, marbles or small river rocks and you have a charming display for a tealight candle. Use it to contain your jewelry or your keys. Or set it on a shelf all by itself.
Nope.
Sorry.
No photos to illustrate or inspire. Use your imagination. I needed to get my brownie and coffee ice cream fix and watch CSI Miami.
So have fun.
Or ask me if you just want to buy one.
Oh, la la la, de de da.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

you are the water. i am an iceberg. under a big blue sky

I cannot count how many hours I've spent wanting days like these. A day to order as I please, to see a friend, or be a hermit, to get lots done, or sit in the Indian summer sun and stare at the hazy blue-gray glare of the sky until my eyelids seem transparent when I blink. Hours when I had time only to give myself a stern talking to about not always wanting something... other as I rushed of to do the next thing. I've spent over three years being with people and kids 24-7 and now there's just a house and lots of stuff. It's too quiet. You mothers out there know, you'd give anything for a day at a hotel with plush towels, room in the bed and whatever you want to eat, whenever you decide to want it. A day to paint your toenails, all day, if you so chose. Yet if and when such a day arrives, your heart is elsewhere and uncharted time is loud and uncomfortable.

Some days I enjoy all the openness. Other days I move from one thing to the next like a 7 year old in a toy store, indecisive, examining everything and leaving it all out behind me. Brief attention span aside, I've gotten more small projects done than I thought possible in one week. Shucks, in one day. The job I'm actually supposed to be doing (sorting and organizing for a yard sale) is coming along nicely. Irritation at another's irresponsibility is great motivation. Things are starting to make usable sense, look pretty, and feel clean.

For all this time on my hands, my thoughts and plans are still stacked and piled, waiting for an estate sale of their own. I'm aware of all of them, but it's simply too soon to tell. We'll get this yard sale project done, I'm running away for a week to a favorite place and favorite people where I will stop time and eat and drink coffee by the fire then sit under their towering pine trees and stare at the sky. After that, none but the Father knows.

In the mean time I'm:

vaccuming
buying presents and making quiche for a bridal shower
remaking a vintage lamp I found in the barn - pictures once I remember how to put it back together
installing a hair catcher in the bath tub. hair balls make humans gag too and my head sheds like a camel (It's true!...look it up.)
contemplating my sewing pile
making baby gifts
planting pansies
sitting on my roof staring at the sky

Saturday, September 5, 2009

“This sense of being led
by an unseen hand,
which takes mine
while another hand
reaches ahead and prepares the way,
grows upon me daily.”
~Frank Laubach~

Monday, August 24, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And in this place...

I'm slowly starting to get my mind around some of the projects that need done around here. The ones that get to fall to me. The ones that make me plug my ears and eyes...hear no evil, see no evil. I rebelled about some of them this week. The nice(er) version went something like,
"Seriously!? I like organizing things. I like seeing progress. I like things clean. But com'on! Two major yard sale events in three months? I had all year to work towards the first one. What was _________ thinking!?! Did they do anything? I know not everyone has the same gifting, but are some folks completely devoid of common sense? I don't give a rat's butt about seeing this accomplished. Forget it. I'm gonna go unpack. Hang pictures. Sort my socks. Paint my toenails in stripes. Remove the grippy adhesive strips from the floor of my shower. Rearrange my coffee mugs, again."
But it's still there. I can see it when I close my eyes.
TO DO:
- organize contents of the metal inferno of a three car garage into a useful pattern for a yard sale
- host yard sale that will rake in the profit before the inferno becomes a freezer, or we all have to eat our socks because there is no other money coming in
- create two usable and beautiful spaces for the residents to be able to 'shop' for things for themselves and their babies
- do something about the kitchen that needs everything from a power wash to proper supplies to gluing in place the toe kick that's been flopping off for two years

God made me pause on that word gifting. Order out of chaos is His specialty. Creating beauty out of ashes. Restoring what was lost. It's my gifting too. And I have His anointing to accomplish the work He has given. He told me so by leading me to ancient promises from the prophet Haggai:
"Does anyone remember this house—this Temple—in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all! But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.’ “For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. The future glory of this Temple will be greater than its past glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. And in this place I will bring peace. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
That word followed closely after this one from a dear friend:
Dueteronomy 31:8
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
And this farewell gift from another friend the day I moved. The figure's name: Peace

And he walked up and said, "What'll it be?" I said, "The good stuff."

This week I....

~ finished unpacking
~ went to my second to last regular orthodontist appointment. gah! my mouth feels like it did at first. two more weeks. I can hardly wait
~ watched the birth of a baby girl, and said good bye to her and her teenage mom all the same day. not sure I like the immediate departure part of the maternity division of this ministry. makes me thankful that whatever I bind or loosen here is eternal
~ had a key made for the main house. it didn't work. the garage key worked. therefore discovered that I can maneuver an extension ladder three times my height and weight without killing myself or breaking anything in order to reach the roof and climb in the window of my second story apartment
~ celebrated my oldest niece's 16th birthday
~ bought some more African coffee
~ unexpectedly caught an episode of goats mating in the barnyard
~ finally replaced the zipper in the dress I argued a price reduction for because of said zipper
~ finally hemmed my friend's jeans
~ finished some belated birthday gifts. see below. now don't you wish you lived closer?
~ started the next batch of gifts for the birthdays this next week. spread out the occasions people, seriously.
~ bought a vintage sewing tool I wanted to use in hemming my friend's wedding dress tomorrow. found it on Etsy yesterday and met in an undisclosed location today to pick it up from the seller. isn't she awesome to do that for me!!
~ talked to a customer service dude for Ebay via chat....told him I'd 'loved' a couple times since I'd last used my account and therefore couldn't log in since I didn't remember what information I would have used. ahem. *moved a couple times*
~ found the 1957 version of Cinderella I'd been looking for right here on the bookshelf and watched it tonight while eating the pieces of birthday present that didn't fit in the jar. now to find a copy to own.

Monday, August 17, 2009

the best things come in small packages, tis true

real mail makes me happy
more than just about anything else
very happy
this particular package came close to causing the happiness meter to rise high enough to break into pieces and leak all over the neighborhood
it contained a hand written letter; a birthday card; new music; excellent, thought provoking, growth inspiring messages on faith; surprise! an mp3 player with which to listen to said media in modern fashion; and a nifty water bottle to support future jogging sessions and hiking adventures

the mp3 player has yet to wear out any batteries, but I have it on good authority that it will be broken in further soon
there are many jobs on my list that would be made more bearable by excellent content flowing from this little device
most of all, mingled somewhere among the packing peanuts, a friendship of words became tangible, delivered grace in time of need and refueled inspiration for the busy, difficult weeks that were to follow

the view changes only for the lead dog

so
far
behind
in
this
blogging
department
of my life

I have excuses
and reasons
and cute pictures to make it all worthwhile

behind....
get it?

Monday, July 27, 2009

snippets

p 276. ... one of the hard lessons in life: the best way to strip the allure and dreaminess from a lifelong dream is, very often, to have it come true.

p. 327. The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately, or in the long run. - Thoreau

p. 514. Because what good are brains....and how is one thought any better than another if you haven't got a sixth sense, a heart, a center to sort them out with?

p. 537. In a voice that carries the way flat beer tastes...

p. 638. Our greatest fears, like our greatest hopes, often come to nothing.

p. 641. There's not much more I can say without stepping into the beginnings of stories that belong to other people.

the brothers K
david james duncan

smart fridge

...or smart friend
reminds me of hebrews 3:1

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I would underline this if it were my book, but the library might have something to say....

"And in the present he was surviving. Perhaps even thriving. He didn't know. It wasn't his business to know. His business was to simply keep making the effort."

The Brothers K p. 156

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

desperate gratitude

It's easier to write in a season of soulful angst. At least for me.
Then what is hard contrasts vividly against the promises and character of God.
When the blessings flow I don't remember as easily that I am still desperate for God.
Thankfullness can be reckless, right?

The season of fasting is over.
The past few weeks, the weekends especially, have been ones of fullness. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. The food and conversation have all been rich. Each moment has weight now. The memories are important as soon as they happen and will be even more so in restrospect through the weeks and months to come. I am aware of the glances between old friends that say more than their words, the studied gaze of new friends learning the landscape of each others faces, the contentment of being together and letting the time flow unnoticed. I take multiple snapshots with my camera and my heart, wanting to make it last as long as possible. Soon everything will change. Several of us are moving. None very far apart, but all to entirely new locations. Classes are starting and stopping. Jobs are changing. We all promise ourselves and make only slightly-veiled threats to each other that we will all stay at the same church and small group, then hold our breath and hope we are right.

These are a few of the faces that represent the souls that enrich my days:

My newest friend, Esther pondering the idiosyncrasies of Amish-land. I'll let her draw her own conclusions.

Kate. Who says her life is like an awkward pool party.

and Jess came for a visit and made me laugh more than I have in weeks.

virtuosity

sweet Maddie with her favorite kitten

Oh, Jona. I love you! (P.S. Thanks for sharing your photos!)

I'm pretty sure this guy is the next Spurgeon or Elliot or Wilkerson. For now he answers to Chad. Chadwick. Chadley. Chadster. Chadderbox. Anything but Chaddy.

This shot has got to be worth money. If not now, someday. If not because his band will be famous then because it's rare to get one of Noah, as just Noah.

We like all his other faces too.

My favorite Leah

Sisters

Daddy love

My ideal man

My view every time I drive away from my sister's home