Thursday, October 27, 2011

today i am thankful.

lately there has been so much going on, i have felt like i was drowning!

in Laundry, that is.  i dispise laundry.  as a mother of 3 kids and a wife to a husband who works hard  and gets dirty, i am constantly battling laundry.  it is my nemesis.  the bane of my existance as a woman.



with traveling for pre-op appointments, preparing for my craft show this weekend, and the accident my in laws were in, i did not do laundry for about a week....and the mountain on my laundry room floor could have rivaled Everest.

and then my mother came over on Mon.  she watched my kids while i took my middle child to the doc for more shots.  and when i came home, i went right out again to visit my mother in law at the hospital before her surgery.  i came home and worked in my sewing studio.




when mom got ready to leave, i realized that she had been washing, drying and folding laundry from 9 am until 5 pm!!  she apologized for not getting it all done, but there was now only a couple of loads left.




i was one thrilled lady!  LOVE my mom!!<3

today i am thankful for her mad laundry skills and for her serving heart that would see a need (how can you not see a everest mountain of dirty laundry?) and start to work on it!  all while playing with grandchildren, making them lunch, helping my boys with school, playing dollhouse with baby girl, and pretty much doing everything.  how is it that grandmas seem to have crazy super hero skills as soon as they inherit the title "grandma"?  if that's the case, can someone please call me granny?

Now, i just need to get it all put away...




sorry, is this last one inappropriate?  that's just how i joke with my boys...they are nearly 10 & 8, it totally fits their style:)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

thankfuls

1.  my son's pre-op appointment went good on thurs.  i {hopefully} am a little more prepared

2.  my in-laws were in a horrible car crash on sat. as they were heading out of town with friends on vacation.  HOLD ON!!! that's NOT why i'm thankful!  i am thankful that they are alive!  and thankful that although my mother in law sustained some severe injuries to her newly replaced hip and broke her leg, there were 3 paramedics riding along with them in caravan and were able to take good care of her and get her to the hospital.  i am thankful that she had surgery yesterday and it seems to have been a success!  thankful for my father in laws quick thinking and reactions when he saw an out of control truck coming across the median strip at them head on.  thankful, thankful, thankful!  just so thankful that they are here!

3. i am starting to get some things finished for my show this weekend {read: i am a procrastinator among other things, and my sewing is kicking into overdrive} so thankful that i won't have an empty table:)

4.  a lovely friend of mine is having a baby!  she and her husband weren't able to conceive and adopted a son from Guatamala a few years ago.  they started trying to adopt again a year or so ago and after much  time, money and energy, it fell through.  but now...guess what? they are expecting!  God is so good!

Friday, October 21, 2011

folks,  i am a fabric junkie!
total textile lover.






i love to sew my own designs and creations, and i sell those creations to stores, individuals, at craft shows, and online.  however, i am also a realist and know that this season of having some time to sew is quickly coming to an end!  i stay home with 3 kids and i also homeschool said 3 kids!  each year, the workload increases a little and they are ready for more activities, and my free time shrinks just a little.




so, two years ago i asked the lord to help me with a fabric business.  (half expecting nothing to happen because i wasn't sure if it was my wish/will or his wish/will)  i was {and still am} a stay at home mom with no current income other than hugs & kisses:)  and was NOT willing to apply for a loan to start this little dream.  if God wanted me to do it, He would make it happen.






NO LIE--the next day was sunday and as i was in the nursery with my baby, a woman i kind-of knew just said to me "you should buy the fabric you use wholesale and sell it too!  i want to give you the money to start off!"






folks, i just about fell out on the nursery floor!  God is so good and he knew that i would question if it was really his plan if this had happened any other way.  a week later she wrote a check for the amount i would need to get my foot in the door with a fabric manufacturer.  she told me quite sincerely that i could pay her back as my fabric sold, or not at all.  *she did not want me to be anxious about the money*. whether she saw that money again or not was not the point to her. when her own shildren were small,she had help starting an at home business, and she wanted to do that for someone else.  she said that the body of christ should be doing this for each other!






i think i was stunned and a little awkward and said i would pay her back and mumbled thank you.  she gave me a hug and said how excited she was for me.






now, mind you, she didn't REALLY know me at all!  and i wondered, should i take this start up money?  i don't really like to take too much help!  but every time i questioned, i laughed at how unmistakable God made it for me.  i took the money and paid her back in full within a few months:)  my wheels had started rolling, and that's what i had needed!  i pray that God would greatly bless her for investing in the life/business of another:)







well, i have enjoyed a year and a half of fabric selling bliss and i am still going thanks to that little start up loan :)




in a few days, i will be getting a shipment of 135 yards of brand new fabric!  it always feels just like christmas for me:)  my kids totally get a kick out of me!





and that's what you've been seeing here all along my post!  the new fabric headed my way:)  just wanted to share with you the AMAZING way that God chose to start my fabric business, and to encourage you to deliberately ask Him for the specific desires of your heart!  of course He knows them already, but He wants us to ASK!

SO today i am thankful for my new fabric arriving soon
for my fabric business
for the lovely woman who stepped away from what is "normal" to help me
for the awesome God who delights to give us the desires of our hearts, no matter how insignifigant they may seem!

















Tuesday, October 18, 2011

day 18 of the choice to be thankful

hey peeps!

Thankful for:
  • 3 children
  • a mother who will watch children when i forget that i have a dentist appointment:)
  • chicken potpie
  • my one tree in the front yard, all skeletal now
  • tylenol PM (every night, probably until my son's next surgery in 2 weeks)
  • new fabric arriving  {think: 45 yards of lovliness for me to roll around in cut into and use}
  • a hard working man

Monday, October 17, 2011

hindsight...my plans don't work

it is said that hindsight is 20/20 vision.

i think more appropriately, when we look back we can see what God was up to.  for me it feels like, "Oh, that's why that happened"!

here are a few things that have happened in my life that i questioned at the time, but looked back and saw the "why" later:

when my husband and i married, we wanted to move away.  we like living here, but we just wanted to hop around a little:)  call me crazy, but i REALLY really wanted to move to Wyoming.  why wyoming? well why not?  for some reason or another, God never let us move.  I voted boo!

when our oldest son was about 4, we were talking about school.  i was already having a difficult time managing our home and 2 active little boys, so i was looking forward to sending our oldest to a nice christian pre-k where he could learn some, make friends, and burnoff some energy!  the only thing i wasn't contemplating was homeschooling.  people, i can't tell you how much every fibre of my being did NOT want to homeschool!  but i slowly felt the Lord pulling me towards it, and i wouldn't even consider it as an option!  i tried to rebel.  i reasoned with God that a christian school would be a great alternative to this crazy homeschooling plan He had.  the christian pre-k's filled up and i got phone call after phone call that all said the same thing: "we are so sorry, we have never run out of spots before, but your son just missed it by one person".  no kidding!

at the time, both of these things were frustrating!  i tried to push my plans through, but to no avail!  what was God thinking? what was He doing?

six months after we got our last "no" about school, and i grudgingly started homeschooling, our second son (then 3 years old) was diagnosed with a birth defect.

from birth to age 2, he appeared perfect in every way.  then, i started to notice that when he was in the bath tub, his left shoulder blade looked a little raised.  we took him to an orthopaedics office and they told us (after x-rays) that he had a "winged scapula". nothing serious, nothing to worry about, it will never get worse, and never get better.  it just meant that one shoulder blade would stick out a little further than the other.

i can't say why that didn't sit right with me...just felt a little unsettled inside like "that's not it".  i gave it time to see if i noticed any difference and sure enough, by the time his 3rd birthday was coming near i thought it had gotten noticably worse.  again we went to the local orthopaedics office.  the doctors told me to stop being a paranoid mother and just accept his diagnosis.  i called on my pediatrician and told them what i felt.  he said that he knew enough to always listen to the moms!  he set up an appointment for us at Johns Hopkins Hospital to see a pediatric orthopaedist.  only, the doctor we need to see doesn't accept our insurance.  i talk with the office staff of johns hopkins.  she says she will ask the doctor to look at my sons file and see if he will make an exception.  she will let me know.  yeah right,  i think.  we're doomed.  i will never hear back from them! as soon as i think those thoughts, the phone rings.  good news!  the doc wants to see him no matter what and doesn't care what kind of insurance we have.  i am shocked beyond belief, and thankful.

the first thing they did at Hopkins was more x-rays. i noticed that they were x-raying him standing, and the other x-rays he'd had were done laying down.  when i mentioned this to the tech, she stared at me and said "all spine x-rays are done standing!"

it's hard to describe the feeling of looking at an x-ray of the inside of your perfect child and seeing that there is something terribly wrong.  hot tears of disbelief coursing down your cheeks helplessly. my mind racing...you can't even tell there is something wrong on the outside unless his shirt is off!  how can that be the same child?  we look at the x-rays from home done just months before right next to the set that were done minutes before and seeing nothing similiar.  the orthopaedist looked at my family with kind eyes and gently told us that this case was complicated and over her head.  my son would need to see the head of the paediatric orthopaedic surgeons.  she would be right back with him.

many moments of my husband holding his wife tightly around the shoulders while we watched our 4 yr. old play with his little brother.  a gentle knock on the door.  a small, balding man with a quiet voice enters and introduces himself.  soft eyes give us caring looks under bushy eyebrows.  he talks.  our son has several vertibrae fused together on the right side of his spine. also, many "abnormalities" in his ribs.  his neck is fused on both sides.  no contact sports for him. ever.  his spine is curving dramatically because as he grows, it cannot elongate on the right.  this form of scoliosis is not correctable with anything but surgery.

i breathe.  thankful there is something we can do!  our doctor has dealt with several patients who have this.  so i start to question him: what is the outcome?  how have other patients made out? what can we expect?  he has no answers for us.  each case is different.  soooo vastly different.  he can't even predict exactly what we will be doing for our son.  just have to wait.  come back every six months for more x-rays.  see how he is growing.  the surgeon gives us his card in case we have any questions after we leave.

we leave in an air of disbelief and confusion.  we walk to our car and my tears flow.  my husband comforts.  rejoice!  we can get help.  thankful!  it's nothing life-threatening.  slowly we process what we've been told.  i call family and friends who ask us a million questions that we don't have answers to.

in church on sunday, i can't sing a note.  corporate worship moves me.  all my feeble mind can say is "God is so good!"

after a little research we realize that there is no hospital in the United States so equipped to handle our son's treatment.  our surgeon? he is the authority on this.  the specialist who teaches other specialists.  if we had moved away, as i had wanted to, we wouldn't be within a mere 2.5 hour drive of this world-renowned hospital.  and we are thankful!  twice a year we continue to go for new x-rays and exams and we see it.  families flying here from all over the world.  the little boy next to us in the waiting room is from Israel.  families flying out from California and Texas and Canada.  a visit for us is easy.  there and back in one day!

several visits later, the surgeon says that it will soon be time to start surgeries.  too risky to opperate on the spine of a small child.  but if nothing is done until he is 12 or 13 or 16, he will be severely disfigured.  warped and twisted like a small sapling growing crooked.  we are going to try to brace his ribs and bones internally and make him as straight as possible as he grows so that later when he is older, he might have a chance at a final surgery that would seperate the fused vertibrae.  even that is not known for sure.  they will install a device that will "jack" him up on the right side to help him be straighter.  it will need to be adjusted every 6-9 months, depending on his growth.  we will need to do some major co-ordinating with his teachers for like 10 years or so.  thankful! THAT is why the Lord wants me to homeschool our children!  he can't miss months of school every year.  and now, he doesn't:)  we do school all year and break for surgeries.

today i am thankful that the lord has a plan.  it may not be my plan, but who needs my plans, anyway?  they wouldn't work.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

i am an arsonist and a sinner...

do you know what happens when...

 i make a post about choosing to be thankful for the hard stuff...

and

i attend a class about biblical peacemaking?

if you guessed that a huge, horrible messy fight errupted in a christian-based crafting group {of all women} that i head up, you are correct!

well, I would call it a frustrating disaster normally, but i am being taught that it is supposed to be called an opportunity to be thankful...or in peacemaking world, an opportunity for growth.

i would LOVE to tell you that i brokered peace like a champ and made everything ok, but that wasn't how it went down exactly.

it went more like ugly, ugly, ugly, fight, fight, fight, me make a mess out of trying to help.

so what's the purpose of me telling you this?  when did i set somethin aflame?  please be patient, i do have a point.

my ranting & raving to God went something like this "i do NOT have time for this stupidness!  i am way too busy homeschooling, running 2 at home businesses, working on a women's retreat, having a {thriving}marriage, preparing for a massive craft show at the end of the month, filling orders in my etsy shop, and preparing for my 7 yr old to have invasive surgery in 3 weeks!  i will not waste time on this argument between two members.  i will speak first and squash it! i will put an end to it before it progresses!  i will not be stressed out over this!"

i felt that taking my time to deal with this argument and help settle it was NOT what i should be putting my very limited time towards.  surely, God would want me to deal with it quickly and not focus on it.

wrong.  in fact, so wrong.

as the leader of our group, i felt that i should step in and "fix" it, but i decided not to take up my valuable time planning a strategy or praying for days.  after all, these are grown up christian women!  grow up, put on your big girl pants, swallow your pride and seek peace!  i just sent an email stating who had the right of it, and expected it to be settled.  i thought "now i can move on to more important things"  eh-hem, i forgot that all of My Time is actually God's Time.

and, that's not why God gave our group conflict.

Have you ever thought of conflict as something God expects us to be good stewards of?

No?  me either.  i know to try to be a good steward of my time, money, and talents...but what about being a good steward of ALL that he provides?  even conflict.

i was not a good steward.  i did not handle it properly.  i did a half-way job quick and in a hurry, and i ended up stressed out, talking about it every day with my hubby {he was not thrilled for that to be the ONLY subject on the menu for days}, stealing time from my kids to (try to) undo the damage.  i couldn't sleep, and even got my tummy all worked up.  i spent 5 times more time & energy on it than i would have had i taken the more involved approach.

that is not all it has cost.

i would love to tell you that everything worked out!  so far...not yet.  relationships were damaged.  harsh opinions exchanged.  sisters in Christ having no unity.  i know that i can not change the hearts & minds of the ladies that were involved.  however, i am praying!  and i am humbly sharing with you my failure to recognize what God said was of utmost importance to Him, UNITY.  sadly, that was far, far, down my list of priorities of important things to spend time on.

who knows what might have been if my desire had been one with God's desire?  i wanted the argument to end, but God wanted to deal with our hearts and make us ONE.

i need to tell you that today i am thankful for forgiveness!  all kinds of forgiveness.  God's forgiveness, a friend's forgiveness, a husband's forgiveness, and children's forgiveness.

not everyone in our group has forgiven each other yet.  i am praying it will happen.

i am also thankful that God would move my penpal, Stephanie to write me this encouragemet that i recieved today, just when i needed it:

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord"!  1 Corinthians 15:58 (emphasis, Stephanie :)

i know He will make beauty from the ashes. (and there are ashes, because i was so angry that i set various members crafted items on fire in my mind. and yes, i even sang about it.  think: Iko Iko: this craft girl and that craft girl, sitting close together.  this craft girl said to that craft girl "gonna set your craft on fire".  talk about hey now, hey now...)  Have i mentioned that i didn't handle this well, and that i am a sinner?

so, be thankful for forgiveness, penpals, His word, and even (gulp) conflict!  and remember to be good stewards of ALL that He gives you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

a dozen thankful days...and counting

bear with me...this will be a collection of kind of unrelated thoughts:)  related, of course, by my 31 days of thankfulness challenge!

cultivating a new habit takes time.

cultivating a new habit that cultivates a new heart takes time and work.

not that i'm sweatin' to find things to be thankful for...it's just carving out time to stop and name them.

anyone remember this from sunday school: 'count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done'

i like to encourage my children to be more specific when praying.  instead of "thanks for everything", how about "thanks for my bike, my brother, and silly string"?

naming it deliberately and individually shows that you notice and that it matters.

it's amazing how naming something can change how you look at it.  different names can evoke different emotions.

shift gears here...

my husband is def a "hands on" dad.  he takes his children everywhere with him.

the other day, he took the boys to his work to pick up some of  his tools that he needed at home for a project.  they wanted to sit in his truck.  they used his cell phone to make a movie.

this is what i am thankful for!

video

*in case you're wondering...because i know you are...

i am quite aware that not all men have this kind of extreme breathing aparatus sitting in their trucks.  my husband works for a company that handles all kind of disasters.  you name it, they have done it.  and of course, they need all kinds of "special equipment" and such.

say what?  your man doesn't wear a tyvek suit that covers him head to toe? (they even have hoods:)

any day of work could find him working on an oil spill in the bay/ocean, removing grain from overturned feed trucks, wading through Emeril's spaghetti sauce up to his knees in a factory, using a pick axe to dislodge built up coal in confined tanks, or sucking up whole raw chickens through a massive hose into a huge vacuum/cyclone truck, cause a chicken plant had a broken conveyor belt.  everyday is like the "dirty jobs" show!!
*when he isn't saving the day, he is the resident diesel mechanic for all of their specialized trucks/tanks/equipment the company uses*

praise Jesus!! i'm thankful for my husband and his work!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

three day round up

thankful!
my mom cut up fresh pumpkin, stewed it down, weighed it, and bagged it for the freezer in perfect baking portions for me yesterday {while watching all three of my kids}

thankful!
we had an unexpectedly super-fun day on Sun. my oldest son was talking to a friend after church and co-conspired with this friend to ask their parents to go out for pizza together...what is this grown-up boy making plans stuff about??  we did go, and had a great time, but it is so so funny to see my kids growing into more new stages:)

thankful!
for my husband who planned and built backdrop pieces all day long on saturday for a craft show that i am doing in a few weeks!  he has such amazingly USEFUL skills!  he can build anything i dream up, fix anything i break, and rebuild any engine.  btw, did i mention that he did all this building while  taking care of all of children so that i could get some work done?

yes, believe me.  i do know how lucky i am:)

Friday, October 7, 2011

day 6 and 7 of the choice to be thankful

today i have no beautiful pictures.

yesterday i fell to pieces.

i was doing battle with my children all. day. long.

when my husband came home i cracked and tears started up.

only little tiny people that you really really  love can do this to you!

and so i ask myself...can i be thankful for this?  for this mess?  for broken dishes, defiant toddlers, and a person who is doing their best NOT to do their school work?

i have a very big craft show that i am doing in 3 weeks and i have not a single thing made for it!  can i be thankful that i tried to work on making things all throughout the day and got nothing done?

and here is the crux of the issue...can i be thankful for the things i don't want?

i don't mean seeing things half full, or looking for the silver lining.

this is more than positive thinking.

there are going to be times when we are frustrated to tears.  okay.  but what will we do when other times come, and they will come, that are absolutely devastating?  heart wrenching?

being able to give thanks in all things is what we as christians should be doing learning to do.

heart check:  what is your response in difficulty?  is it questioning? tears? unbelief that God is good? is it thanks?

reading the bible illuminates so much...

David gave thanks when he lost a baby.
Mary gave thanks when faced with an unplanned pregnancy as an unwed mother.
Job points out--"shall we recieve good from the Lord and not evil?"  {this man truly had nothing!}

i think the really-hard-to-give thanks is like a sweet offering to the Lord!

He knows how hard it is for us to say thank you for bitter things, unlovely things, annoying, irritating & frustrating things.  and i think that it blesses Him when we do:)  and amazingly, after we give thanks for the hard-to-give-thanks-for things, we are blessed too.  {and may even begin to feel a little thankful}

so today i am giving thanks for all of my hard-to-give-thanks-for moments
and
for my husband who took my burden upon his shoulders and.......got that child to do his school!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

a day late...but thankful none the less!

here is my thankful post from yesterday.

it just so happened that i was too busy enjoying it all to write it:)


this is my new front door decoration.  i made it yesterday.

and i am thankful for it:)

*side note here--my oldest son loves--but loves to decorate seasonally.  he needs to marry a woman with this passion:)  i can only be all martha stewarty up to a point!  (i love mod)

i continue to enjoy and be thankful for our lovely woodstove (and warm little fire) that we got from my husband's grandfather.  i really heart the design!

this is how it actually looks now...my oldest son is thrilled about having the "woodstove" responsibility, and he leaves his gloves, ash scoop etc. scattered:)  so cute to see him learning man things!


i am so thankful for this super cute vintage enamel tea pot to put on top for humidity this winter.  cause of the cool stove design, there is almost no space on top for a traditional boiler/humidifier.  i found this lovely little pot at an antique shop:)

i am thankful for my boys art class!  they go once a week (for a 3 hour class--word!) and they study a different artist each month.  learn the life and history of the artist, all about their technique, style and medium, make an artists journal for each artist, and complete an original piece in that artists style.

last month they studied Monet.  um, did you know his first name was Oscar?  kuddos if you did;)
anyway, here are my boys 'monets':






super lovely pieces of art for my home:)

also divine about art days, is that baby girl and i get 3 solid hours of uninterrupted 'girl time'!
usually this means lunch out together, and she always wants to go shopping:)  such a sweetie!

what this makes me truly thankful for is the way we are made in the image of God.

i believe that we are creative because He is creative.

we make things because He is the ultimate maker.

we love beauty because He loves beauty.

and i love because He first loved me.

ALL things to be thankful for!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

day 4 of the choice...

today i am thankful for:

these shoes:



sooo cute!  black velvet wedges, suede tie on top, lovely cut outs on the side, and on a super sale!


2.  my sewing student!  who is a lovely girl:) and comes over Tues. afternoons to do some sewing with me, but today (and hopefully next week) she is prep working my stuff because i am a procrastinator and have a huge show coming up in a few weeks:)

3.  fall lovelies!  and enjoying them outside while my little blessings play.








what are you thankful for?


Monday, October 3, 2011

the choice...giving daily thanks

today i took all 3 of my kiddos to get their flu shots.

oldest was a brave man...

second son was a little nervous and a teeny bit scared...

baby girl was a screamer.

but i like the wise mother i am having learned from previous experiences, brought a new small "prize" for each one.

seriously mommas, it is so worth the $3.00 each!! no traumatic crying and screaming.  they all thanked me profusely for the new little gifts.

everyone was happy...except baby girl said her "thank you mommy" and then went on to say that now all she needed was some french fries and a milk shake!

of course we got them:)

today i am thankful for:

1. flu shots! (keepin' my kids healthy!  seriously, last year little girl got the flu and had a 104 degree temp for over 10 days!! it was miserable for all)

2. lost 2 more lbs. on weight watchers online this week:)  signed up 2 weeks ago, and lost 2 lbs each week!

3. my husband called me just to say hi, ask how my day was going, and tell me he loves me:)  {sigh}


so very much to be thankful for...what will you choose to be thankful for?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

thankful for...

today i am thankful for:

1. my baby girl being in my bed last night (bad dream) sweetest cuddles!

2. making it to sunday school, even if i missed the regular service! (because of oversleeping...which happened because of  #1)

3. REAL fall weather!  and watching my children enjoy it together:)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

THE CHOICE...an October challenge

i have a lovely friend that i have known for most of my life that has set forth a thoughtful challenge.  she is a dear woman who just lost her husband of 26 years in August.  when she and her 3 children were dealing with his illness, i was constantly keeping my ear to the ground for ways of how to pray.  i knew they didn't need one more person exhausting them with questions...and i was thrilled to find out that she was keeping up a blog.  i would go over and see how they were doing and how i could pray.

let me say...it was overwhelming!  do you want to see the heart of love, sacrifice, beauty, all poured out on a page?  this is it.  her words and heart will take your breath away.  because through all of the traumatic stuff that was/still is happening in her life, her blog is titled Thankful Every Day.  she purposefully looked for something to give thanks to the Lord for. every. day.

about the same time, a dear friend gave me a copy of this book:


which is totally amazing and challenges us to thank God for 1000 things.  for real.  on paper.

could i make a list of 1000 things to be thankful for?

i would say with every fiber of my being that i am thankful to God for everything.

but what kind of changes would happen in your life if you practiced thankfulness out loud, on paper, deliberately?  even when your spouse's body is deteriorating?  when your love is leaving this world?

i read this post that challenged me to do this.

practice thankfulness every day in October.  deliberately.

will you join me?

today i am thankful for my husband!  today is his birthday(30!!) and i could make a looong list of all of the ways he blesses me, but the goal of this thankful every day challenge is to be simple about it.  so there you go!