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.

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.

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:
" 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?
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.


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.
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:

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~