Monday, March 31, 2014

Black & White Plus Words

Yep! That's pretty much the make up of this post. I took these pictures recently on a very warm and sunny spring day but when turned black and white they looked more sentimental & contemplative which is how I'm feeling at the moment.... The picture below was not meaning to be taken but it turned out pretty well for being an accident....I thought.   It looks kinda like a storm. If I'm very honest I'll admit that recent situations in my life and the unknown of the near future have not been all song and dance. {Forgive me for speaking in a parable but I don't feel like now is the time to go into detail.} 

 
At the beginning of the year I felt like something good & exciting was going to happen. But at the same time I felt like it wasn't going to be all easy. Like somewhere along the line I was going to be stretched beyond my comfort zone more than ever. I wanted it. Really I did. I wanted to discover more of Jesus. More of His heart. I wanted to be changed. At the first signs of this happening I resisted it. I told my sister: "I was praying that God would stretch me & take me far away from my comfort zone and I was praying that I would experience times that taught me to rely only on Him for my strength and security, so why, when these situations arrive, do I want them to go away again?"     

I've sorta come to this realization: If these experiences were easy, then we wouldn't be changed. If they weren't hard, then we wouldn't learn that God is really, truly all our strength. That He is Sufficient. If we weren't stretched, our life would remain as it is. And that is definitely not what God wants for our lives. 
 
 
I don't know what the future will hold. I don't know where all God will lead me. It can be scary & exciting depending which way you look at it. But I do know that if God is with me here.... He will be with me there as well!  That thought is sure to make anyone glad!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Of late birthday gifts and days off

I came home from work Wednesday night to find that my sister Rhoda had locked herself in the bedroom and I was not allowed in. So I talked to her from the other side and made her laugh and I was helpful and sent her a scissors under the door..... Finally she comes out with a package wrapped up in snowman paper {'cause that's usually all we keep on hand :)} and gives it to me. She said it was a birthday present. My birthday was in October & I told her I thought she had already given me a present but she had forgotten... or something.... but who declines to two birthday presents? {note: we do normally wait about 5 months to give each other presents 'cause that's normally how long it takes to find that one thing that would be perfect. }  I felt the package like always and discovered it was a book. But first there was the most funny, delightful card with a Winnie the Pooh quote on the front that needed to be read first. {Seriously people. If you have never been privileged to read one of her cards than you're missing out on some really encouraging humor. -or humorous encouragement, however you want to say it! } I tore through the snowman paper to discover that it was what I thought it was. Run Baby Run. She knew I had wanted this book for ever so long but since I had 'thought' she already got me a present, I wasn't expecting it! I read the book for about an hour before washing the supper dishes. I like it. :)
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The next day was the only day this week that I could be home all day so we made cupcakes and decorated them. It was grand fun. We made 24 big cupcakes and 6 mini ones....


 I told Rhoda that I don't feel like I have good teaching skills when it comes to things like this.But a few of them did turn out looking like they came straight from a cup cake shoppe! Yay!

I find days off to be exciting and usually relaxing.... sometimes to the point where I don't feel like I get anything accomplished.. ? But that's just reason to look ahead to the next weeks day off and decide what you will do that day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't! Sometimes it is a relaxing repeat of the previous week! :)

Have a wonderful weekend folks! 
I'm excited 'cause I get to see my brother & sis-in-law this weekend! Yay!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

An accomplished surprise.

 You'll have to forgive the odd title. I say titles are the worst part of a blog post. Agreed? ----  I am a little behind in this post 'cause it was last weekend that my sister came and surprised us! It was grand! She came to the restaurant where we work & we had no idea she was coming, which is why I say it was an 'accomplished' surprise 'cause I have this thing for figuring out almost every time someone plans to surprise me.... it's awful I know.  It was great fun to have her here. We went on long walks & talked & talked....
Mom & us girls.
 If it weren't for her taking a few pictures I probably wouldn't have any because I'm not the picture taking sort like she is. :)
 Signs of spring growing beside the road...

Dorcas & Rhoda
 I just recently got myself a cake decorating set and was quite happy to use it for the first time. Dorcas had baked a cake so when I came home from work I decorated it. I learned that using part shortening instead of all butter when making a buttercream icing is important because when I went to make the roses the icing got really soft in my hand... 
 The finished product. I didn't feel like making a bunch of different colors so I just did green for the leaves & grass ('cause they wanted to see the grass :) ) It doesn't look like the most 'put-together' cake I have ever done but it was really good!

And because I have never posted a picture of Dorcas & her fine man Jacob I will post this one from the last time they were here... They make a great couple just sayin'...

Well folks this is all for today. Please have a lovely weekend!

Monday, March 10, 2014

It begins to feel like summer. Today....

....Was a beautiful day. The kind of day that makes everyone excited about summer. It was 80 degrees. Never mind that it's supposed to be in the 40's again on Wednesday.... We're talking about THIS day. It was the kind of day that brings invigorating spurts of motivation which is precisely why I went on 2 long walks up and down these hills. Once with the brother & once with the sister & both times with Sam & Lena! -the dogs- :)  Whats not to like about having a good workout right at the end of your drive? And I thought about a certain sister of mine who sometimes gets homesick for these hills and how that if she would come this summer we would go on long walks everyday...and talk... about things.... to the sister:  you know which one you are! 

 Rhoda & Sam.  She has a fonder liking of animals than me. Just sayin'.

 Rhoda & I. 
Today was also the day that the braces which were stuck to Rhoda's teeth for 2 years got to come off! Yay!! The first thing she did was eat popcorn & chocolate covered coffee beans.... I helped her. :)

 Buds on the maple tree in the front yard. I'm so excited for spring people!

 The beautiful night sky!  After supper Rhoda & I went out and did jumping jacks & jump roped... the latter didn't go so well for me but they say practice makes perfect! For which I am grateful!

This is the day that the Lord hath made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.
Psalm 118:24

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sunshine of Today

So I'm sitting here and it is snowing the most beautiful snow outside and it reminded me of this post I was going to write awhile back. Quite honestly, I was going through a difficult time and due to some circumstances I didn't know how things would turn out. For the most part I'm a take-it-as-it-comes kind of person and things rarely stress me out. But now it felt as though clouds that were far off in the distance suddenly came close fast... and I was challenged by a song that I'd heard a long time ago that spoke specifically about not letting the clouds of tomorrow steal the sunshine of today. It was so what I needed to hear/remember... and suddenly I felt like there was nothing to worry about anymore. I felt that somehow God had already taken care of it all. -And He has.- {and if this sounds like I don't ever struggle with doubt. Rest assured. Just because the spiritual gifts test shows Faith doesn't mean I always feel completely un-worried!} I started taking notice of the "sunshiny" things in my life and it's amazing everything that suddenly popped out as a gift from God! I find that life is much happier when one is intentional about finding good things in every day...

A few things that made my day: 
  •  While I was telling my boss about some of the above mentioned stuff that was going on she promptly stopped what she was doing & prayed for me. I'm so blessed. God couldn't have given me a better boss! 
  • Being able to send random packages to random people. Yup. I do love giving gifts! :)
  • Seeing people all happy about a deal you were able to give them on doughnuts at the end of the day.   Happiness is contagious. 
  • Turning on the radio to hear my favorite song being played.
  • Getting new music that is now my new favorite. 
  • A co-worker that seems like my sister-only in a vastly different aspect! :)
  • Seeing God work out details. This is huge people.
  • That feeling you get when God plants a dream in your heart & you just know something exciting will happen! :)
  • The snow that I mentioned at the very beginning of the post.
  • Promises form the Bible.

 I am reminded to look for the good instead of focusing on the bad & unfortunate. Because in reality: 
                            -All things work together for good to them that love the Lord.-

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It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore I will hope in Him.
Lam. 3:22-24








Tuesday, January 21, 2014

13 Random Moments....

...in 2013. Yes, I know I'm a little behind since the year has already been for 21 & 1/2 days but hey, it's good to remember the good times right? I think so.
 
 The moments of sitting around the table talking with family...

 the most adorable moment of Haley & Colson...
 
The time I went to see my sister with friends & we went to a coffee shop... 

 The time when Micah plays with Colson...entertaining I tell you! 

The moments when we played in the snow with friends beacause we could.

The time we randomly decided to go eat fried cheese curds & cheesy tater rounds right before making supper...

That moment when your trying to stay occupied while traveling....

Walks in the beautiful outdoors with the sisters & the brother...

That moment when we step inside the door after a random trip to DQ & decide that a picture is in order..

Conversations...

This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. You see, I am not overly given to hugs etc... & Rhoda loves them & somehow our expressions just make me laugh. And laugh. It's so original! :)

 And we have breakfast with friends...

Time spent with surprise guests... :)

 So there you have it. A few of my favorite pictures from 2013. 

The End.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A touch of Grace & Mercy



I'll call her Stacy. I walked into a room and there she was. A beautiful young girl in her early teens. She looked completely helpless and unattached from reality. In her eyes you could see a deep ocean of pain, distrust, depression, lose of purpose in life and anything else you care to throw in there. She told me she had no friends. That she didn't need any friends...she didn't want them. That she was on probation for having done something 'silly'. She told of a lot more pain and past and while she said she wanted to go on to nursing because she's good with people you could still tell that she didn't trust them. But when asked if she finds it hard to trust people after what her life has held she quickly replied: "Oh I trust people".  As I looked at this young girl the reality of what is considered normal for so many kids today slowly begin to sink in. They survive. Steal & get caught for it & then lie to talk themselves out of it. They try their hardest to cover their pain & their lonesomeness by putting on a fake front that is supposed to appear confident and self sufficient but under it all you can hear them screaming that they want out. They are begging for Truth and real Love. For a touch of Grace & Mercy.

Stacy's mother didn't want her and she decided that she would live with her brother & his wife, some friends of ours who live just minutes away. Several days ago my Mom saw her and couldn't believe how different she looked. In was all over her face. It shone in her eyes and changed her whole appearance. It's called Grace, Forgiveness, Mercy.... it's what happens when a lost heart meets God. It's what happens when a person comes in personal contact with the reality of grace and mercy and they realize what it means for them. I have already been inspired by this young girls passion for truth and for God. Just looking at the situation she came from and thinking about how much she has to learn about living in general could make a person think that she'll never go far. But I can't wait to see what God has in store for her. 
Because....
...Even before we are born God has a beautiful dream for each of our lives. Even YOU. He knows what our future will look like and He wants to lead us through it. He wants us to trade our plan of a future for His. Part of His dream for every one of us is that we would experience and live lives that are marked significantly by the touch of His grace and mercy. That we would allow Him to accomplish His work in our lives. 
Ultimately that our lives would bring Him glory!

"Your life as a Christian should make unbelievers question their disbelief in God."

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas in 2013

So it is. Today is the first day of this new year which is 2014 and I am blogging about an event from last year. You would think I am way behind but it is comforting to realize that I'm only a few days behind.... For Christmas my family was in Iowa with my Moms side of the family and since I also have a brother & sisters living there as well as amazing cousins I would definitely say it was time well spent! 

Everyone was at Grandmas house on Christmas day for a big amazing lunch...
we generally eat in the garage since there is around 50 people...



Rhoda & Allison

There were plenty of pies for everyone...

In the afternoon there were games to be played....Some of which caused people to be so desperate for answers that rafters suddenly became eligible to be a piece of furniture! ;) I won't mention any names...

There were conversations.... there's always lots to talk about you know. :)

 A few people got tired apparently...

Then there were 5.... (there's 3 more of us not in the picture)

It's me, Alli, Naomi, Mary and Rhoda

Stories for some of the youngest grand-kids by one of the oldest ones...

It has sorta become tradition for us girl cousins to spend a night together when we're all around.... there were 7 of us this time but we didn't happen to get a picture. Sadly. The above is some Triple Chocolate Mocha Biscotti that I made for the evening.... since there is always coffee you know! 

Rhoda and Chels

 Somehow I just really like this picture....It kinda shows the difference in Rhoda's & my personalities...(if you don't know us it might be hard to see. :) )

So there you have it. A few pictures from my Christmas. I have tons of posts running there course through my brain but they just haven't come to life on here yet. I almost hesitate to say what I am about to say next...but when I was writing down some goals for 2014 I "happened" to mention blogging more. Yes I did. I won't tell you though how often I hope to because...well...just because. You see 16 posts in one year doesn't exactly lay the ground work for some exciting, extraordinary change around the corner.... and 16 posts was the outstanding "record" for 2013. 

I hope y'all had an amazing Christmas. I hope that it was Merry & Bright and that the new year will bring  many adventures and exciting, life changing experiences for the good!

The End.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Thanksgiving & Then Some

Hello to everyone here on this warm, 'spring' day in December! Honestly it does seem like spring. The thin dusting of snow that we had is melting & running away & it even smells like spring... I must say though, the weather is nice. It just seems majorly incorrect to me! But since you probably didn't come for a weather report I will continue. It's been goodness how long since I've posted anything? Exactly 27 & 1/4 days to be precise. Since then my one job has quit until march & the other one has slowed down for the winter & the family was all home for thanksgiving & my sister has gone away to be with my other sister & we will go get her next weekend... Got that?

It was fun to have the whole family here again...it had been quite some time since we were all together and this time around there were 2 new additions! :)

 
There were stories to be read....mostly Winnie the Pooh...
 
 And occasionally they fell asleep while being read to...

 We sat and talked. And ate pie. I believe we consumed 15 or 16 or 17 pies over the weekend! 

Random.... 

 Haley majorly loved Colson & often asked if she could take him home. 

 Making horses & turtles & kitties etc. from 'melty beads' .

 Jacob & Dorcas...they make me smile some. Just 'cuz. :)

 
 I just really like this picture for some reason...

Jaden & Lena.

 The whole assortment of us...

I am blessed with family. None of us are the same. But if we were it would be boring! 
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A-random-piece-at-the-end-of-this-post
Lately I've been very intrigued with making things from sheet music. And with redoing old things to make them look like new things etc.... below are 2 of my recent creations...

For the picture board I spray painted an old frame that we've had ever since I was old enough to remember things...than I took cork board that I had on hand and glued it to the backing of the frame. It seems to have worked quite well except that a few of the pictures have a problem sticking.  For the flower I looked around online until I found sheet music that I liked, printed it off, stained it in coffee and made a pattern & then cut 10 pieces & stacked them. Then I stuck a brad in the middle and 'crunched' all the pieces together. Simplicity I tell you!

The card is one I made for my boss when she got married. I didn't feel like buying a present so I settled for giving money since I hear that it never hurts to get a little unexpected funds when one is getting married....correct?  I thought it very boring to just lay funds inside the card so I made a sheet music pocket to dress it up a little. It turned out quite nice but I forgot to take a picture before I wrote in it. :)

Happy Monday to all!!!