Friday, August 30, 2013

Drink It In

Oh, drink it in.
The last few days of summer vacation.

Not to be confused with the last few days of SUMMER.
Please.  Let's not rush things.

Life is good.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"K" is for Knee, Right? (No, Left!)

Yesterday, my mom had knee replacement surgery.  The doc signed her left knee with a "K" surrounded by a heart -- his trademark way of signing off on the surgery and saying, "Yes, this is the correct knee to replace." You know, just so there was no confusion.  Because, K is for knee, right? -- and a heart?  Well, that's just plain cute.  My dad said, "Take good care of her!"  You know -- because that's usually his job, and the doc responded, "the best!"

Mom came through with flying colors, and just two hours after she was wheeled out of surgery, we were laughing and carrying on in her room.  And then it was time to say "see you later" and we were so thankful for the blessings of the day... for God's watchful eye over the surgeons hands... for the anticipation of an even better future.  So thankful.  Overwhelmed with gratitude, mom said, "Let's pray."  So we prayed, my dad leading us, hands clasped here and arms around each other there.

God is good.  Life is good.

And oh, by the way...  It turns out that K is not for knee.  The Doc's last name begins with K.  My confusion on that issue was just one of the many things we laughed about yesterday.

I love my family.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another Case of the Blues

Remember when I got this FREE PAINT?  And I finally painted MY ROOSTER?  And my daughter did THIS CRAFTY PROJECT?  Yep.  Same can of free paint.

That's a big batch of the BLUES for FREE!

Recently, I decided to use the paint to refresh my garden chair, as well.  I got this little sweetie at a consignment shop a long, long time ago.  It has served us well inside and outside of our home(s).  When I purchased it, it was dark green.  After several years, however, it had seen better days.  So, last year (or perhaps the year before?) my daughter decided to freshen it up with some spray paint... a can of sunshine yellow to be exact.  It was so cheerful sitting out there in the garden.

And then, not so much anymore.  I decided I had nothing to lose by painting it with my free paint.  Yes, the paint is "flat" -- not a traditional outdoor patio furniture finish.  But, did I mention the paint was FREE??  And no, this isn't the typical brush rather than spray kind of paint project.  Again.  FREE.

So, off I went, full-speed-ahead and flying by the seat of my pants.  Even at full speed, it was a slow process using a brush to paint that seat-grid.  A foam brush was my friend, but still.  S-L-O-W.  But I think it looks kind of cute.  I'm thinking about bringing it inside for the fall and winter.  I'm not sure just where I'll put it.  It could be cute here at my desk with a cheery little seat cushion, don't you think?

Do you ever do F.B.T.S.O.Y.P. kind of projects like this?
Please tell me it's not just me.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Crafty Day

A few weeks ago, my girl and I went to the craft store to stock up on a few things that she needed to make her friend a birthday gift.  A monogram made out of crayon pieces on a canvas.  That was her idea.  We came home with everything she needed -- plus an extra canvas, since they came in a 2-pack.

After her initial project was completed, she decided to use my FREE PAINT with the second canvas.  She stretched masking tape across the canvas in various directions and in no particular design.  Then, she gave the canvas a coat of paint.

After waiting for the paint to dry, she carefully pulled the masking tape away, and ended up with this great design -- reminiscent of the letter "K."

Coincidentally, our last name begins with a K.  The canvas ended up in a place of honor above the entertainment center.  I love looking at it.  I love that there's another "K" off in the distance.

Oh, and that mini-canvas?  That was something my girl had been holding on to... waiting for the right project. Since she liked how the larger canvas turned out, she decided to go through the process again - in miniature form.  Cute, right?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Our Latest Bargain... for the Patio

Not long ago, we took a drive to Amish Country.  We stopped a few places along the way, enjoyed a late lunch at one of our favorite spots, and then did a little local shopping.  Mostly browsing, actually -- but we did buy at a little place called "The Owl's Nest."

I walked right in, but something caught my hubby's eye outside the front door... a set of four stacking patio chairs, and a matching umbrella stand.  He asked the owner how much he would take for the set.  Much to our surprise, the answer was $20!! -- and so they all came home with us.

As you can see, the straps that go across the seat-area have staining... looked like mildew to me.  I got out a scrub brush, and with water from the garden hose and a little elbow-grease...TaaDaa!  Good as new.  I was happy with the results!

In the course of the next week, we scored seat cushions for 75% off at Target!  Of course, if you're familiar with my blog at all, you know that it was my sweet hubby who spotted them!  He found them on his lunch hour, and phoned home to report!  The chairs are an olive-green... not my first choice, but hey -- remember, they were $20!  Also, I wouldn't want to try to paint a new color around those seat straps!  So... olive-green, it is.  The cushions found at Target were a green leaf-print that looked great against the olive.  At first I only found two, but I managed to find two more at another Target store.  Yay!

We're still keeping our eyes open for an umbrella and umbrella table... preferably HEAVILY discounted!  *wink

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Garden Extension

Welcome to our back yard.  I thought I'd give you a little tour today, and show you what my hubby was up to last weekend, while I was grocery shopping, and doing laundry.

Near our property line along the back, we have a split-rail fence.  When we moved here, it was much more visible.  The previous owners had two Rhododendron, and two Azalea (both in pink) strategically placed in symmetrical positions along the fence.  There were a few random tulips and daffodils and... that's about it.

The azaleas were not especially healthy, and after a few years, we took those out.  We've been here for almost 13 years now, so as you can imagine... the Rhododendron are pretty big, and we've added other plants to fill in around them.  We have Hydrangeas flanking the Rhododendrons.  In addition, there are Torch Lilies, Black-Eyed Susans, Fruit Trees, Rose of Sharon, Honeysuckle, and other miscellaneous plantings -- including some "volunteers" that have sprouted up of their own accord.

This year, that center section got dug up and weeded to receive two squash plants from my sister-in-law. Unfortunately, it was the section of garden that ended up being forgotten.  It's okay.  Just turn away.  That's not really what we're here to talk about.

I wanted to show you this little extension that my hubby added.  We've been buying clearance plants all summer and adding them here and there.

The shot below is a little closer.  Along the back (with the red leaves) we've added three Ninebark "Summer Wine" plants. These can grown 5-6' tall and equally as wide, so someday soon, we hope that they will provide a good screen to our neighbor's driveway traffic, which is now visible from our dinner table.  (My hubby is big on "the view!")

At the front left of this garden extension, you'll see our Roma tomato plants.  They were actually the first edition -- before we really had a plan, and we just wanted a sunny spot for tomatoes.

To the tomato's immediate right is Royal Cape Plumbago.  It's lavender flowers remind me of Phlox (see photo below).  To it's right (just barely visible) is a Peony plant from my sister-in-law.  It looks sad right now, but we're hoping it will get through the winter and bloom next spring.

And then on the end, our new Hibiscus "Brandy Punch."  We originally had this in a pot.  However, since we purchased it, we have come to realize that many people around here have them in the ground, and they grow to be quite a bush.  We are hopeful that is exactly what will happen with ours.

I'm tickled with this new garden extension that curls around the perimeter of our yard.  Can't wait to see what it looks like next year.  Yeah, that's a long ways away, but you know what I mean...

I think I'm going to suggest that next year we buy no plants... only MULCH to tame the weeds in this ever-growing garden!  Maybe we'll even whip that center section into shape.  *wink

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Note Card Party 8.21

Welcome to this month's Note Card Party, courtesy of our friend Vee!

If you've been here before, you know I like to link my photos to their original post, so you can see them in context -- because sometimes that matters, like when a flower photo is actually used in a post about FLOWERS. {A little joke around here, since I use flower pics for EVERY kind of post.}  I do love taking pictures of flowers. I usually joke that they are good subjects because they sit still for me.  This summer however, we have had lots of cool, balmy breezes that have caused me to re-think that statement.  No complaints about that, though!  It's been a wonderful summer.

The graduate (otherwise known as our security guard) is working, and our girl is headed back to school on September 5th -- so we are winding down around here.  Our back-to-school shopping is done -- at least until we learn specific details on the first day of school, so we are chillin'.

Sit back and "chill" with us, and ENJOY the photos!



Sweet Pea - you can view this one on my photo blog.  Just click on the photo.  I was surprised to see these growing wild along a local walking path.  Since taking the photo, I have seen them numerous places along the roadside!

Alpine Poppy - this sweet little surprise showed up after planting a pack of wildflower seeds in mini peat pots.  Interestingly enough, I had planted some of these very poppies several years back, and the bunnies gobbled them up like there was no tomorrow.  Somehow, this little lovely got by the bunnies.  Lucky me!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What's Up? Maters!

Well, it looks like it's any day now for our Roma tomatoes.  Several of them are right on the edge of being fully-ripe.  I can't wait for BLT's with our own tomatoes!

On the other hand, it doesn't look so good for the Bell peppers this year.  I've taken a few pictures of them, and each time I return to find that the tiny pepper has been gobbled up.  The one in the picture below?  Gone.  (Sad face!)  We use a lot of peppers around here, and chili season is almost upon us as well -- so, you know... there's that.  But, it doesn't look like we'll be using our own peppers this year.

I'm blaming the groundhogs that we've seen around here lately.  That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

21 Years!

It's incredible to believe that my hubby and I will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary in about six weeks! I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it feels like forever in all of the very best ways!

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Last weekend, my sweet hubby and I paid a visit to a local garden center, and in an effort to hang on tightly to summertime, we took advantage of some of their sales.

Hibiscus - 50% off!  We bought a bright pink one.
Hanging baskets of annuals - BOGO.  I was going to buy a potted yellow and orange Lantana that I couldn't resist, but ended up finding them in hanging baskets -- which was a better deal.  So we came home with two hanging baskets of them!

After grabbing a few other things we needed, we headed to the check-out where my hubby wished me "Happy Anniversary!" -- and then I paid the bill.  You know, because we're romantic like that.

I couldn't be happier with our choices.  The Lantana are only an annual around here, but I will enjoy them right up until the day they can't be enjoyed any longer.  They are so cheerful!!

And the Hibiscus?  I'm really happy about that too.  I've been wanting one for a long time.  We've seen so many around this year.  Either it's an especially good year for them, or they are becoming more popular.  This one's "Brandy Punch."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Recipe ~ Chicken Squares

There's been much social media talk lately about back-to-school lunches.  'Tis the season, you know!  I talked a little HERE about our school lunch routine, and realized that I never shared the Chicken Squares recipe -- so I thought I'd share it today, in an effort to help out those of you who are brainstorming for the new school year.

3 oz. cream cheese
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced (I cook my own, but you could use canned as well)
1½ dehydrated onion
2 T. milk
¼ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. pepper
8 oz. can crescent rolls

Blend cream cheese, chicken, onion, milk, salt, and pepper.  Separate crescents into four squares.  Press dough together at perforated spot, also flattening it out a bit to make the square a little larger.  Divide chicken mixture between the four squares.  Bring up the four corners, and pinch together.  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

** I often double this recipe, allowing me to use a whole brick of cream cheese (since the mini ones can be hard to find), and to have leftovers as well!

** In Pampered Chef fashion, I often make this recipe "in the round."  To do this, I use the crescents in triangular form placing them around a round baking stone with the short side facing the inside of the stone.  I roll the dough a little thinner since there is overlap, so that it will get baked through.  Then, I spoon the chicken mixture around the entire circle, and fold over the point of the crescent, pressing to the inside of the circle.  Bake the same way.

My kids are always so happy to have these in their lunch.  They provide a delicious break from the everyday sandwich.

Again, no picture, as the timing of my post was off.  But, I did provide a little graphic so that you could PIN this recipe if it sounds like something your family would enjoy -- and I hope you will!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Just Peachy!

One little, two little, THREE little peaches on our tree!  Wow, if these trees are really going to bear fruit (already), we might need to check out some natural ways to protect them so that they are actually edible.  [The other side of this peach isn't a pretty shot.]

Do you have any fruit trees?  We enjoy our Cleveland Pear trees, but they are only ornamental, and bear a small inedible fruit that I haven't even seen become pear-shaped, in fact.

We also have apple trees, mostly enjoyed in fallen form by the neighborhood deer, I suspect.  The trees are full and weighed down this year.

Is it a good year for fruit trees where you live?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Telling Time... Or Not!

I just had to share my funniest experience in being a seller at the flea market:

There are farms around the flea market that employ Mexican migrant workers.  A non-English speaking Dad and his 7 yr. old daughter came to browse our items while my hubby and daughter had taken a walk.  Imagine this:  this man is down on his haunches checking out the sub-woofer and 5 accompanying speakers that my hubby is selling -- and looking to ME to answer his questions.  [Truly.  You have no idea how funny this is!]  So, he gets his sweet little girl (precious in silver princess dress-up heels) to ask me some questions.  Yes, this is for a computer.  Yes, I will take $25.  Yes -- all five speakers go with it.  No, I don't know if it needs additional cords.  The little girl became too embarrassed to continue translating, and I thought how awkward our conversation must seem to onlookers.  She was speaking in a language that was in great part foreign to her, and I was speaking about something that I knew nothing about.  Eventually, the man's friend came along and helped us very slightly with the translation.  Enough to say they will pay, and can they pick their purchases up in ONE HOUR, as they have just arrived and started their shopping?  Something like that... with ever-so-much more of an accent.

Glad to oblige, I look at my watch.  Just before ONE.  Fine.  The friend indicates that they will return by TWO to pick up their purchases.  In fact, they did return, early, and with big smiles on their faces.  I'm dying to know just what they were planning to hook up when they got home, because the smiles on their faces were HUGE!  It made me laugh.  Pretty sure I'd never get that excited about a sub-woofer.  They gathered all their goodies, and delivered them to their vehicle a few spaces down the row.  At which time, I looked at my watch. It was a little before TWELVE.  Huh?  Did we just lose an hour?  Or do I not know how to tell time any better than those buyers knew how to speak English?  I laughed at myself, because I didn't have a clue what had just happened.  Except perhaps I looked at my watch so quickly, and that darn second hand just got in the way...

Actually, I think I had just been out in the sun too long.
Yep.  Let's go with that.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Morning Flea Market Re-cap

Well, Saturday was an interesting day, full of learning experiences at the flea market.

We pulled up, unloaded, set up, and waited for customers.  We had only been seated a few minutes when a car drove up and a couple said we were in their "reserved" spot.  Oy.  We had misunderstood the system.  We thought reserved spots had to be filled by 7, or they were available.  Turns out it was 9.  (We had arrived just a few minutes after 7.)

So, we reloaded, and moved to a new spot.  After confirming that it was not a reserved area, we unloaded and set up again.  We met one neighbor, who said that her husband was coming with all of his OLD clocks, and that they would draw attention down our aisle, and hopefully to our tables as well.  Nice.

An unfriendly neighbor came on the other side of us, and set up all of his car model kits, old cars, trains, and train paraphernalia.  He made $300+ in a short time, and with heart-attack-inducing speed he packed up everything before the gentleman came around to collect the $12 rent payments.  The guy even spoke his intention aloud.  Nice huh?  Way to make an honest day's wage.  NOT.

My hubby and daughter walked around for a bit.  I made a sale.
When they came back, I walked around for a bit, and my hubby made a sale.
They took another walk a while later, and I made another sale.
An interesting pattern, right?

After rent, we came away with $41.  And that's great.  Okay... it's alright.  I'm glad we got rid of some big items. But, I'm sad about the fact that not one homeschool book was even TOUCHED... well, except by a mom who said, "Oh, I used to use some of these."  But, she had already raised her kids and wasn't buying school books.  I think I'm going to have to head to ebay to sell these!

My observations:
** Both of our "neighbors" had people that had been looking for them... hoping they'd show up with beloved favorites -- in this case, clocks and trains.  Shoppers come looking for very specific items.  Of course, I know this to be true, since I am usually the girl looking for blue Ball jars!

** When I SHOP at the flea market, I walk down the center of the aisle between rows of tables.  I know what I'm looking for.  I don't need to swing into every table area to look closely most of the time.  I often wonder if the sellers think, "how can she even see what I'm selling?"  Well, today, I was a seller, and YES, that's exactly what seller's think!  LOL.  I was wishing people would come a little closer instead of surveying from afar.  On the other hand, I totally got it.  Exasperating nonetheless!

** On this particular day, I noticed several women wearing heals of various heights -- which surprised me.  Just not the type of footwear I would choose for walking around on blacktop all day.  Whatever.

** And the men?  They were wearing every manner of cross-body style bag -- like old newspaper delivery bags, for example.  We also noticed a man in a fishing vest -- pockets all around and belted to his person.  That guy was ready for some bargain-hunting!

Will we do it again?
Sure.  Probably not next week, but perhaps on a cooler fall day.  We had a gorgeous day, but by 2:00, stick a fork in us.  We were DONE!

Sad fact:
I got my first sunburn of the season.  In AUGUST.  How sad is that?

Another sad fact:
I took not one picture.  [Wish I had a picture of our faces when that couple showed up & said we were in their reserved spot!  LOL]

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday Morning 6:40

That's the plan.  To roll out of here around 6:40, arriving around 7AM at the flea market.  Our plan?  Well, mainly to sell our old home-school books, many of which are "like new" - and were creeping up and down the stairs of our home like a Morning Glory vine!  We're also taking some miscellaneous home goods, a lawn mower, and random computer pieces-parts -- or as much of this stuff as our little rented outdoor space will allow.

Don't laugh, but... I'm kind of excited.  And though it'll be nice if we come home with a little extra cash, it's extra-nice that we have reclaimed some real estate within the walls of our own home, if you know what I mean.  {Can I get an AMEN?}

So, I hope to come back on Monday, and tell you about a totally new kind of adventure at the flea market!  The humidity of this week is supposed to go away, and it's supposed to be a partly-cloudy day.  But most importantly to ME (the book lady)... 0% chance of rain.  Go ahead.  You can say AMEN again if you're feelin' it.

So, ta-ta for now.  Hoping to share a good experience with you come Monday -- and maybe some pictures and a interesting story or two!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Back To School Shopping

after years of homeschooling  is a funny thing.  When we homeschooled (for 12 years) we never did back-to-school shopping with the rest of the world.  Instead, some time in October when the rest of the world was in school, we would sneak out during the day and get new clothes on clearance.  New shoes in the bargain aisle, and... well, you get the idea.  We didn't buy clothes specially for back to school, because really?  Who were we trying to impress?

Yesterday, while shopping with our daughter, it struck me how "skewed" our view of back-to-school shopping really is.  We came home with lots of school supplies -- some of them very specific items that worked effectively for my girl when she started public school last year as a freshman.

The only clothes that we came home with were shorts and tank tops for a "Personal Training" class my girl will be taking.  She said she's really happy with her clothes otherwise.

So while some girls will be breaking in new shoes and jeans, and keeping new straps and necklines in check, my girl will be in her already broken in comfy stuff.  Who knows?  Maybe in October we'll go find some new things on clearance.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Feeling Blessed... by a dryer!

I don't know if I've mentioned it here: our dryer broke. Just up and decided to stop working one day.  Um, hello? Push button.  No action.  What's up?

My hubby did some checking, and got to the root of the problem.  Did some shopping for parts, talked to some "appliance guys," and ultimately determined it was a no-go.  So, I've been without a dryer for... I guess a couple of months.  Honestly, it hasn't been a huge-big-deal.  We have clothesline strung up in our basement, so I was used to line-drying various items anyways.  The only difference was that in order to give enough drying time for lots of clothes and still get laundry done on a regular schedule, I had to make sure that I did a load about every 24 hours.  Otherwise, things got really backed up!  Oh, the other really unhappy side effect?  Crunchy towels.  Yeah, I know.  I could've invested in fabric softener, but I kept telling myself we'd get over this "bump" in no time, so I didn't bother.  I did dry loads of towels at my parents a few times.  (Ahhh, soft towels!)

My husband was glad to go out and buy a new dryer.  I was unswerving in the mindset that we would NOT spend that kind of money right now.  Not gonna happen.

Will.  Not.  Give.  In.
Do.  Not.  Need.  Soft.  Towels.
(I said this to myself over and over again.)
Don't think I was being a martyr.  I'd just rather spend money a kazillion other places than on a DRYER.

But my hubby was unswerving in his quest to FIND a dryer.  We went to appliance "seconds" shops and saw some really old dryers.  I thought I could probably wait.  I told him I wasn't in a hurry.

He left a Craigslist listing up on my computer screen.  I thought I could probably wait.  I told him I wasn't in a hurry.

Then, he called home while on his lunch-hour the other day.  He was at a consignment shop.  "I've found a dryer.  It's a Whirlpool."  {When my man is on a hunt for something, there is no stopping him.}  Here are the questions I asked.  1. Is it nice?  (YES)   2. Is it just a basic model?  (YES)  3. It doesn't have bells and whistles, right?  (NO!)  All correct answers, by the way.  I am so NOT a bells and whistles kind of gal.  Do not ever bring home a refrigerator with a television in the door -- or even water and ice.  Just more stuff to pay for and watch break in my opinion.  {I'm pretty sure we drove sales people crazy when we were shopping for our refrigerator!}

The price was right.  The time seemed right.
It was a GOD thing.  Yep.  God does dryers, didn't you know?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Flip-Side...

...of the "Growing Pains" Post

Today, I was having a more typical glass-half-full day when my son texted to say that he had gotten a promotion at work.  WooHoo!  The texts were flying back and forth.  I couldn't text enough how proud I was of him.

This text flew back at me: "With that 50cent raise, I'll be buying a Lamborghini in no time! LOL"

Without even thinking, I texted back, "You'll soon find that it doesn't cost anything to DREAM."

These words came naturally -- to encourage my son.

And from God -- to encourage me.

I think I'll start a new Pinterest board called "Dreaming? Still Free." Follow it HERE.

{And feel free to pinch me if I'm not dreaming enough!}

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Growing Pains

I was doing some surfing on Pinterest, and came to the realization that I pin practically -- you know as opposed to pinning dreamy stuff that I find unrealistic, or unattainable.  The realization made me feel a little glass-half-empty-ISH, and it made me do some thinking.  Is it just because I am a practical personal at heart -- or is it something else?

I've also been thinking a lot about this:

Recently, a lady got up to speak in church.  Actually, the pastor knew her story.  Knew that she was a believer. Knew that her dreams had been... dashed.  Knew that life had become difficult for her.  So, he thoughtfully led her in telling her story.  Her dream looked like this:  a perfect family scene on a beach.  All of her children healthy and happy.  Her marriage secure.  Grandparents were there too, showing great support for their children and grandchildren.

And then the end of the idyllic scene.

Her father passed away suddenly.  Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  Their new home plans changed to include a "mother-in-law suite" -- so that her mother would always be close to them.  And then, she decided that her mother's car keys needed to be taken away.  Lots of hard life decisions in such a short period of time.

The death of a dream.

I'm sitting here on a glass-half-empty day, wondering if my dreams have died a little over the years.  In spite of the fact that we say for better or for worse and MEAN it... I don't think we ever really factor in the "worse." The job loss.  A lengthy period of no work.  Health issues.  They all take their toll, and steal the thunder (so to speak) of our dreams.  Somehow, things get re-prioritized, and dreams don't seem quite so attainable anymore.

Some final questions asked by the Pastor:
1.  Will you love God more or less when you have gotten through this trial?  I thought (as did the woman being interviewed) : Oh, of course more.  Even though I might have some doubts or anger along the way, ultimately, I know that it was HE who saw me through the trials.
2.  Do you think (when this trial is over) that you will have become a better person?  Again, agreement.  How could I not be a better person after God allows trials, and holds my hand through them?  Obviously, there have been lessons learned that make me a better person.

Then a hard question, and the one that brought the most emotion:
3.  Would you have kept your kids from these experiences if you could do it over -- or do you think they ultimately benefited as well?  The woman paused, and I choked up with her.  No, of course our children are better off with these experiences under their belt... knowing that God walked beside them (and our family) all the way, and we made it through the trials.  Again, I agreed with her.

And then she quoted a verse that took my breath away... because it is a verse that I have clung to in the really hard times.  It has been such a comfort to me, and yet -- I don't often hear it quoted.

"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

Of course the picture in my head as I read this verse is of God walking right beside me holding my hand. Sometimes I picture him leading.  Other times I picture him directly beside me, as a supportive friend would be.

So, what does the Bible say about dreams for the future?

Jeremiah 29:11 ~ "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

So, to me that means it's neither unrealistic nor unbiblical to dream, because God has great plans for us, and he wants us to have hope and a future!  That seems to indicate good things to come, right?

In fact, I DO dream -- and dream BIG. But -- as a defense mechanism (I guess), I don't publicize, I don't pin, I don't speak my dreams out loud too much -- as if by making them known they could be snatched away from me, as this woman's dreams were snatched from her.

And yet, she stood in front of the congregation and said she would go through it again.  She knew God knew what he was doing.  But, "the death of a dream?"  I get that.  Medical diagnosis, unemployment... these things changed how we live today, and have made some dreams seem unattainable.  I wrestle with that, and with leaving it all in God's omnipotent hands and believing Jeremiah 29:11.  Perhaps the most important part is to remember that "a hope and a future" doesn't mean that there won't be trials along the way to refine us.  My trials are different than yours, but we all go through them.

Would I erase my trials, given the chance?
No.  They have made me the person that I am today.
Still a sinner.  Still imperfect.  But growing.
And growth is good.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Rooster Re-do

My goal?  To bring some life back to my rooster-friend.
My inspiration?  HERE.
My starting point... 

My intention?  To use some pretty pale-turquoise-y paint as an undercoat.  Then, to spraypaint a topcoat of white or off-white, sanding to let the blue show through in spots.

HowEVer.  Once this guy was "Rossland Blue" I kind of liked him all over again.

I really like how he looks next to my blue Mason jars.

At this point, the project is halted.  I've got nothing to lose leaving him blue.  After all, he's been tucked away for a long while.  At least now he's seeing the light of day, after having some new-blue life breathed into him.

Some day, if I get sick of the blue, I might actually get to the white/off-white step.  For now, I'm tickled pink -- well, you know... BLUE.

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