Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Plan A and B.

Today I had the privilege of being a volunteer in JJ's classroom. (He's informed me that he's okay with either Joe or JJ.  Now I'm confused.  I think he is too! Ha!)  They were painting little squares of silk.  It was gobs of fun.  I wish every day could be like that.


As we watched the instructor's demonstration, she explained as she went. She was showing how you transfer this watery, colored ink onto the silk, after you've applied a sticky substance called gutta, in the outline of your design.  The gutta works to wall off the inks from one another so that you can create patterns and pictures.
 As she talked, she shared how mistakes can happen.  She told of a woman who was creating a beautiful masterpiece onto the silk.  She had carefully painted in a landscape, flowers, and a pretty patch of sky... but then, a drop of red from her paintbrush fell onto the sky, completely ruining the lovely landscape.  She clutched her head in despair, convinced one drop of the wrong color had destroyed something that was meant to be so beautiful. 


After some time, they devised a plan.  They turned that little spot of red into a ladybug, sailing through the air, and she liked it so well, she created a few more ladybugs here and there, onto her silk.

The instructor then said something I loved, and I'm paraphrasing.  "If plan A suddenly isn't going to work out for you, plan B can often be even better."  It made me think.  Isn't that just like life?  Things are going along, as you carefully planned.  And then bam!  Out of no where, a drop of red ink falls into YOUR master plan and you have to decide whether to scrap the whole thing, or bend and see what direction you are being led. 

I do believe that's called makin' lemonade out of life's lemons.

Indeed yes.




Sunday, April 28, 2013

Still EXPECTING. I just am. (And winners)

We had a sock hop at the kids' school Friday night, so I'm going to entertain you with a few of the photos from that night while I fill ya in on life.

Do y'all remember back in the week of New Year's when I first said I was going to go into this year expecting good things because I believe that God meant what He said when He promised that He has a future and a hope for our life... and that He came not only so we could have life, but have it to the FULL?  I talked about it here too.  And blabbered some more here.


Lately, we've been dealing with a lot of random crisis moments that I can't share details about here.  My Dad who pretty much knows about all of them, had a really good chat with me on Saturday morning.  He told me that Adrain and I remind him of those people in circuses spinning lots of plates.  I laughed.  Truth, right there.  As we verbally walked through so many of my fears, worries, frustrations and hopes, we were talking about how it seems everyone out there is experiencing so many of the similar issues.  No one is spared from a life without issues at one time or another, but it matters how we move through those trials. 
 
Many of you remember a year ago last April, when our two-year-old puppy, Lucy, was hit by a car, two days into a much-needed vacation.  I remember that afternoon so clearly.  Adrain and I had been working out things in such a way, that we felt our heads were finally breaking the surface of the water, so to speak.  

We were reading some amazing books and encouragement was ripe for the picking.  We were getting so excited, and we had promised to put the kids to bed that night and really focus on the amazing changes our hearts were beginning to take.  Then we got the frantic phone call from my mama who had come home to find our dog missing from her backyard.  We loaded up the kids and headed back home.  After driving for seven hours through the night, with many phone calls from my police officer brother who had been calling buddies in our city trying to locate any stray dog reports... we arrived home just in time to put her to sleep.

I can't tell you the tail spin that one event sent me on.  Well, if you read my blog you've probably picked up on the roller coaster of emotion over the past year, as I scrambled to regain ground I had suddenly lost.  I can't fully understand why that (or any other yucky things) had to happen.  This week, we are facing some health issues with our Daisy pup that may mean some big decisions.  It would seem unbearable to me to ask my children to say goodbye to two dogs in the space of a year... but I know this;  Not one thing touches my life without first passing through the hand of God.  He knows my family (and so many of yours) is weary.  But He also made me a promise several years ago and just this morning, the words of that promise sprang back into my view.  "Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

I believe it. And oh how I love it.  I feel like I kind of came back full circle in so many ways with just the reading of this sweet promise in our family devotional today. 

We all juggle plates... but we can do so expectantly.  Because great is His faithfulness.

Always. 
















**The winners of the print giveaway are Christy Dunnam and Susan Jeffries.  Email me at lemonademakinmama@comcast.net with your addresses and I'll get your prints out!**


Thursday, April 25, 2013

May flowers... and a little GIVEAWAY!

 As is customary, I'm here to talk about mostly nonsense, immediately after a heart-to-heart.

I showed some photos of my son chopping up a wisteria vine in my previous post.  Don't worry, we told him to do that. It finally bloomed last year for me too. That only took about five years which proves what a horrible gardener I am.  It had to happen though, because my man and I are beginning a project in the backyard that we've been putting off the entire time we've lived here.  I'm pretty sure we have the worst backyard in the neighborhood, thanks to a digging, landscape-fabric ripping up dog.  She actually digs for it then yanks it all out.  It's a good thing she's cute.

 Anyhow, our big project means that we'll be moving those big landscaping bricks (not sure what they are called?) around, and putting a short fence to protect the garden, because if we don't my family won't have any veggies to eat this Summer.  Darn dog! We have four huge raised beds and honestly it's always been too many for me.  We are taking out two of the boxes... and making a surprise with some of those extra landscaping bricks!  I can't wait.  I have a feeling this is going to take a few weekends... but I'm itching to get my seeds in the ground and plant my cutting garden alongside my veggies! 
 To tie me over, I just listed the most fun thing in my shop. A print of those sweet flowers in the blue jar, that I bought for Ava's birthday party.  They were so pretty (ranuculus are some of my favorites) and have lasted forever.  I only have a few left but I snapped a photo of them when they were at their peak, and loved it so much I am offering it in my shop as either a photo print or a wrapped canvas.

 

 

 Poor flowers... only a few left....

The canvas I'm offering is so pretty, the photos don't do it justice.  I honestly sat there and stared at it last night.  The canvas has a self leveling hanger and comes with two of those little non-slip pads so it will stay put on your wall (Love that!) and is one inch thick.  It comes sized at 12x16" but larger sizes can be custom ordered.

Kinda makes me feel like summer is here already.  (Can be purchased here.)
 

If you'd rather, here's the print, which can be purchased here!  What is it, about cheery flowers?  They sure make me smile. 
And just because... it's almost the weekend, and the sun has been shining this week I thought we could use a giveaway.  I know it's not a big thing, but it makes me smile and I know a lot of you could use that too.  So, I'm giving away one of these sweet golden "The best things in life are unseen. That's why we close our eyes when we kiss, laugh and dream" prints (above) to TWO people!  It looks darling hung with washi tape on the refrigerator... or framed in an 11x14 sized frame. (Watermark won't be seen on the print you win of course. Just saying.  So you know.)

All you have to do is leave a comment and of course, you can get extra entries for blogging, tweeting, pinning, Facebooking, Instagraming or whatever else there is.  Just make sure and leave a separate comment for each one!  (And please leave your comments here- comments left on Facebook or emailed to me directly won't get chosen, as I use random.org to choose the winner.)

Happy almost weekend you guys!!



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Taking a North Turn.

I had a lot on my mind this morning, an was up nice and early dwelling (some would say "worrying") on it because I had forgotten who was in control of it all, and somehow assigned myself the job.  Regardless, I strapped on my running shoes and hit the trail.  It seems like everywhere I turn, I've got a precious friend in crisis. I kind of tend to absorb the heartache around me (I'm working on learning big lessons with that but it's an entirely different post).  Add to all that, my own list of things-that-aren't-going-so-well and it's no wonder I keep waking up in the middle of the night wrapped in a blanket of "hymn-dreaming."

I'll explain.  My man takes my hand in his big, strong one each night, as I cuddle up to him and stick my icy feet on his leg, and he prays for things with me.  This is my very favorite part of every single day.  It took us nearly sixteen years of marriage to establish this tradition by the way.  But we do it.  And it sets my heart where it needs to be.  Anyway, I grew up in a tiny, tiny country church in Montana.  The kind where the pews were hard, the sermons were long (sorry Daddy!  Ha!), the preacher's wife packed a wooden spoon in her purse in case her children (me) stepped out of line, and hymns were sang to the accompaniment of an eighty year old with a piano.  Tender memories there, let me tell you.  And when I'm weighed down by life's aches, I often wake up with one of those tried and true songs on my lips.  As though I've been singing it in my dreams.    






I love the verse, "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge."  (Psalm 18:2a) In "Made to Crave," Lysa TerKeurst says, "Even the smallest drop of God's strength is more than enough to cover our frailties, our shortcomings, the places where we deem ourselves weak."  
 I can't tell you how weak I've been feeling lately and the truth is it's because I have been doing it again- trying to rely on MY power and capability. Dangit!  I feel like I've been walking in circles the same direction each day, trying to fix things that are so far beyond my fixability it's not even funny.  There are things broken that I could never have anticipated breaking, and I have no way to ever fix them in my own power, nor do I have the energy to even want to anymore.  We all have things without solutions, hurts without salve, troubles that only time and God's handiwork will make sense of, and I had to laugh when I came across this verse, "You have circled this mountain long enough.  Now turn north." (Deuteronmy 2:3)   

I'm in need of a "turn north."  Anyone else?



  So that brings me to today's Jesus Calling for Kids devo.  The verse... the one that consistently follows me around when I'm flailing my arms and legs, and kicking and screaming, and striving, and trying, and worrying and stressing... the Be Still verse.  "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)   

The devo said, "Sometimes when you try to be still, fears and worries creep into your mind.  Then you start planning ways to avoid the things that scare you.  Soon, your thoughts are far away from Me.  When you feel that happening, bring your thoughts back to Me.  Stop your planning.  Remember that I am always with you, so there is no reason to worry or fear.  Be still, and let Me be your God."

Yeah.  That didn't apply to me at all. Bwahahahaha.   

In closing, both my man and I have been hitting continuous re-play on Casting Crown's new song, "Already There."  It's like they crawled inside our minds to write this;

From where I'm standing
Lord it's so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You're leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out
In a world I can't control

 When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

 Of course it's true.  He's already there.  He holds our future.   

"Lord, let me absorb that truth, rather than all the crisis and heartache out there...."


(My "Be Still and Know" print arrived on my doorstep from the sweetly fabulous Heather at Life Made Lovely, and can be purchased here.)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Reminiscing...

I remember when I was ten years old.  I had a pink banana seat bike with a flag, (does anyone still put those on their bikes anymore?) a basket, glittery streamers trailing from the handlebars, and a horn.  Which I honked obnoxiously all the time.  Because why have a miniature fog horn attached to your handlebars if you're not intending to use it with regularity?  I also had these little neon things attached to my tires and they whistled when you went really fast.  And really, why would you go any speed but fast if given the option?  I had clackers on my spokes too, and basically all of this means that you could hear me coming from a mile away. 
 Which I suppose isn't much different than my present circumstances.

I tend to be a bit loud.

I never see tricked out bikes like mine was, these days.  Why is that? 

Anyway, "ten" was good in my world.  It was a wild time of ruling the neighborhood, (or so we thought) building forts by a creek bed, ice skating on a frozen pond in the winter, making igloos out of snow, attempting to get my dog to climb a tree and into the tree house my dad built us, and eating all the homemade chocolate chip cookies and kool-aid a person could ever want, after school.




 It's funny watching my daughter grow because she looks exactly like I did at that age.  (Her teeth aren't as huge as mine were, but I'm good with that.)  She plays hard.  She rides that bike of hers like a pro. Her hair is always escaping whatever I put it in, and she flashes a big blue-eyed smile that lights up her face with regularity.   She's my early bird and loves to jump out of bed, ready to greet the day and hit the shower.  (She obviously got that set of genes from her Daddy because I am not a morning person. At all.) 

 (little niece)
 (showing her grandparents what an ipod shuffle was. hysterical.)
 (niece saying goodbye after the party.)



 (my other little niece meeting us at American girl)
Ava got a bunch of American girl gift cards from everyone who knows her, so we hit the store on the way to the Chris Tomlin/Kari Jobe concert last night.  It was awesome.

 My kids had never been to a concert and it was a blast initiating them into it as we celebrated Adrain.  I forgot to warn them that it would be loud.  I forgot to tell them they might lose their voices singing, whistling, hollering and cheering.  I forgot to tell them we'd be moving and grooving in the seats.  (I didn't tell them about the concerts I remember where seats were roughly shoved aside and a wall of people surged you toward the stage.  Does that still happen?)  Some very cute young little things ended up sitting next to Joe.  I whispered in his ear that I noticed he had some very pretty girls next to him, and he shrugged like it was all in a day's work and said, "Hey, I didn't make the seating arrangements."  Cracked me up.  He stood through the concert singing his little lungs out, clapping wildly, and yelling, "Mom this is so great, thank you so much for bringing me," between every song.  It was FUN.  So FUN.
 As we neared the final song, I said, "Watch for cell phone lights all over the stadium" and about two minutes later he looked at me with huge admiration, like I knew everything in the world.

I enjoyed that, I'm not gonna lie. (It may never happen again.)


 Life has been sweet this weekend.  Adrain and I dealt with some very heavy things, a bit of other people's drama, and we came out on the right end of the thing.  I feel like I'm at the start of a new chapter this week, and I can't wait to see what's in store.  Things don't make a ton of sense yet, and nothing has changed in our circumstances but I do feel like something has happened.   

Oh, and for those of you who missed out, because the Antique ball jar flour sack dish towels were gone by the end of the day they were listed last week... I have just listed my final batch before Mother's Day.  (You know... in case the mothers in your life like that sort of thing.)  You can purchase here! I've also got a few of the half-priced Irregulars listed here.  (**The irregulars are already SOLD OUT**) And as usual, if you miss the listing before they sell out, you can always email me to get on a reserve list for my next batch, at lemonademakinmama@comcast.net