Wednesday, December 19, 2018

THE DAY YOU ALWAYS HOPE FOR...



My baby graduated college!  It's a bit surreal to think that all three of my children are now graduated and married!  Even though I'm not sure I thought it would all happen, for so many years we have prayed for our children to make good decisions, do well in school, and choose a Christian mate.  I know there will most definitely come challenges, but at the moment I'm enjoying this blessing from God.


I'd like to share his story to give hope to those whose kids might have some difficulties.  Our youngest had challenges growing up, as he ended up having 7 surgeries, 5 on his arm (he has a shorter, smaller arm due to an amniotic band in the womb).  He wasn't really into reading or academics, but we learned in middle school that he had the gumption to work for people in our neighborhood.  We helped him start his "Odd Jobs" business, which led to the purchase of a Snow-cone stand during his senior year.  He is comfortable talking to most anyone and trying anything!  We've always felt like he would be successful despite not loving school.  We are very proud of him.

College wasn't easy and he didn't really want to be there the first two years, although he did enjoy the social aspects of it.  We continually prayed and thought about alternatives if he decided to quit, but he hung in there and by his junior year he could see the benefits of having a degree.  He got into a singing group that recruits in the summer for the university and enjoyed that.  That's where he met his wife.  So that was another delightful benefit.

Parenting him has been a joy (most of the time), and definitely showed us that God is in charge!  Graduation day was wonderful.  He received his Bachelor's degree in Business Marketing and I got to participate in the program.  They asked me to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and that meant I would be on the stage for the entire graduation (being under those lights the whole time was what was tough!).  They told me when I arrived that I could also walk in front of him as he crossed the stage and hand him his diploma as well.  It was pretty sweet!


 Afterwards we took pictures in an area where there is a wall honoring OC's Master Teachers.  My Dad, who passed away in 2001, spent his whole career, 35 years, teaching there, and his picture is on the wall.  We took pictures with our family and Dad.  I know how proud he would have been to know that two of his grandchildren graduated from there.  We celebrated at a nearby restaurant, Firebirds, and since I had just read the book, The Power of Moments, I asked everyone to say something they appreciated about him, or just any advice they wanted to give to him.  It was great listening to everyone give words of encouragement to him.  He received a few gift cards, tools from us, and we also presented him with the savings bonds his grandparents had given him the first seven birthdays of his life.  They totaled almost $800 and had doubled in value.  Definitely a sweet day for him!

One of my most memorable days as a parent as well.  :)


I made his favorite cake in mini-bundts!
One of several tools from Mom and Dad! 

A beautiful tree of lights outside the restaurant!

So thankful and now I feel another transition coming on...



Wednesday, December 12, 2018

HOW TO FIT 20 YEARS OF PHOTOS INTO 1 ALBUM...


For many years I enjoyed scrapbooking.  My Mother made both my sister and me a simple one that I added to as I was growing up.  I loved pictures and mementos!  One of my favorite things to do when I would go to my Grandmommie's house was to get her photo album from Hawaii and look through it.  It was like a different world to me.  Seeing her in a muu-muu, getting a kiss from Don Ho, seeing hula girls - it was all very eye opening.  She brought all her grandchildren many gifts when she came home from the trip as well.  My mother started both my sister and me a scrapbook with our school class pictures and I added to that.  As a teen I made my own scrapbook out of wallpaper. Later in high school, I was on the yearbook staff.  I learned more about layouts and editing and throughly enjoyed it.  It reenforced my love of scrapbooking.

When I became a mother in 1989, of course portaits and photos were important to me.  I took as many as I could afford with my little Kodak Instamatic.  Then came DOUBLE PRINTS.  Hallelujah!  You could pay just $1 more and get two of every print. Thus began our problem with storage.

Long story short, I got double prints of every roll of film for about 20 years!  My justification was that Grandmas wanted some of the pictures and I would also make albums for the kids after making my own.  God forbid my kids ever forget any moment of any experience we provided for them!!!
So here I am, years later, with all my kids in their 20's.  I've never made them that album.  I quit making myself albums around 2008.  (I actually did make each child a special themed album for their 16th birthday) Everything was going digital and it didn't seem practical to get prints anymore.

With all the decluttering I've been doing the last three years, I kept avoiding the "SCRAPBOOKING ROOM."  Why?  You know why.  It means I have to get all those double prints out and make the books or give them to the kids in a big mess or toss them (which I could never do).  As life got busier, all those precious memories had become a burden to me, and so I determined I would get those memories in albums.  This year, 2018 was going to be the YEAR TO GET IT DONE.

When I first started back in January, I had no idea how I would go about it, but after fumbling around for a while, I developed a system.  I have three children, so the goal was to make three albums.  I came up with some rules:

1.  Use only the BEST photos.  Throw away any blurry or bad ones.

2.  MAKE JUST ONE ALBUM.  Do we really want to burden our children with a library of albums?  I had a 50 page album for each child.  That means, there will be a few pages of baby days, a few of school days, a few of family, a few of holidays, sports, performances, and vacations.  You can see how this will help you choose only the best photos.

3.  SORT by child first.  This part went relatively fast!  Look through pictures, noticing which child was prominent in each photo.  So, for instance, vacation photos from 2005 involved an epic road trip to California.  After sorting through them, I had four piles: Vacation pics for Child #1, Child #2, Child #3, Extras.  Store the pictures for Child #2 and #3 in other boxes for their albums to be done later.

4.  SORT by events and seasons second.  For example, I got all of Child #1 pictures sorted into the following categories:  Toddler, Family, Birthdays, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, School days, Sports, Music, Performances, Friends, and Vacations.  (The seasons included holidays)

5.  THINK AHEAD.  I looked at what I had and determined about how many pages to dedicate to each category to make it work for a 50 page album.

6.  FORGET DATES.  I think one reason I avoided this so long is because I thought I had to write dates on each page.  I basically did a book based on the seasons, starting with spring.  Spring had 4 pages of Easter time through the years.  Plus a page about LTC.  Then came summer.  I did a big collage of misc. summer pictures, then had 2 pages of swimming pool times, 2 of lake times, 2 of Fourth of July celebrations.  When you do this, you find that most of the pictures you took were pretty meaningless and it helps you choose the best photos.

7. DECORATE (a little).  How you do each page is entirely up to you but my system was to do basic pages with a little cropping of photos to try to get more on the page, maybe some colored paper, and sometimes a sticker or die cut to add some embellishment.  Occasionally I did a more intricate layout if the pictures lend themselves to it. But in the words of my friend Delise, a CM Consultant, just "get it done!"  A done album is better than no album.

8.  BE PREPARED for some emotional fatigue!  Going through these reenforced the fact that I'm getting older and my babies are grown up!  I had to take breaks - it was hard to choose between all the Kodak moments. In some cases it was easy, though.  I realized that year my child played baseball that it didn't turn out to be his thing and so 1 or 2 pictures of that was plenty.  It was a bittersweet process!

9.  FINAL TOUCHES.  After getting the album basically done, I went back through, page by page and noticed where I might add some embellishment.  I also put titles on many of the pages, some with letter stickers and some in my own handwriting.  I was torn on whether to journal for them or let them fill it in with their memories.  You can decide.

10.  GET OVER THE IMPERFECTION.  I realized I didn't have as many pictures of a certain child on this or that and I couldn't find hardly any graduation pictures of one!  Also, as I moved on to do albums for Child #2 and #3, I didn't realize it, but my style changed.  I did more collage type pages and that is just fine. Anyway, I didn't worry about it.  Remember, just get it on the page!

Maybe they won't appreciate it, but my mind is feeling good and a burden is lifted.  I'm glad I was able to put them together, and the rest of the pictures?  They will go in a box for each child.  I just can't throw them away!  But there's not nearly as many anymore and they are sorted.

Now I'm wondering if I could be a Scrapbooker for hire!

:)



Wednesday, December 5, 2018

GOAL SETTING TIP...

TIME....MONEY....ENERGY...

Mentioned in the sermon Sunday, it's most unlikely that we will ever have all three at once!  When you're young you have lots of time and energy, but no money.  When you're in mid-life with jobs and kids and aging parents and activities there's a lack of enough time.  In your final years you've got time on your hands and money but not enough energy to get out of bed in the morning!

So what do you do with the two that you have?  Do you use what you've been given to the glory of God?  Balance is something I have been reading about and striving for most of my adult life.  Now, I find myself in the lacking energy category.  Fatigue is a common part of an auto-immune condition I have.  Most of the time I dismiss it and try not to think about it.  But other times I have to give in and rest.  It's annoying!  But I see it as the way that God is continuing to shape and mold my life.  I am choosy about what projects I take on and push myself a little sometimes to get other things done.  After a day of pushing I need a day of rest.  And, as a recovering perfectionist, I've learned to stress less about the details.  It's amazing how things still happen and those tiny details didn't really matter all that much.

I hope that as the year ends you have a chance to breathe and reflect and think about the coming year. I love setting goals and figuring out how to make them happen.  I've heard a new tip on a podcast recently that I want to try.  I  had heard of writing your goals down and making them visible, but this tip (from Rachel Hollis) says to write your goals down every day! That is a way to keep your goals in mind, for sure.  She also says to write your goals as if they've already happened, i.e., I have a fantastic body.  Not, I will exercise every day.

Whatever your thoughts are about the new year and setting goals, life balance to me is one of the keys to happiness on this Earth.  I eagerly await the time when our work here on Earth is over and our Savior Jesus Christ returns to take us home!  Leaving you with this thought from Colossians 3:17:

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."





Tuesday, November 27, 2018

SMALL HOUSE BIG MOMENTS...


Thanksgiving is always special in our family.  There's nothing special about the place.  It's a tiny town in southwestern Oklahoma.  There's nothing special about the house, it's tight with all of us.  The food is delicious (to us), but nothing gourmet.  It is special because it's the one time of year all the family gathers together.
                                                (Just the grandkids, spouses, grands)

When a family with six kids matures, there's no way all the grandkids, spouses, and great-grands can all be somewhere at the same time.  But we had 58 this year at Thanksgiving, which is a great number.  At the request of Grandmother, made long ago in the 1980's, Thanksgiving would be her thing and she didn't care when any other holiday happened.  So most try really hard to be at Thanksgiving.  That request has turned out pretty well.

What also makes it special is that over the years, we've made some fine traditions.  Wednesday night is the All-Church Singing, each song led by a different person in the audience.  This year the youngest songleader was 4 years old!  Wednesday night singing is followed by delicious party foods and games at Grandmother's house.  Thanksgiving morning is the Turkey Trot, a run down the road to the cemetery and back (about a 5 K).  There is an actual trophy!  After the Thanksgiving meal and some relaxing, we head two blocks away to another relative's house to do the Pumpkin Bash! It's kind of like pumpkin baseball, only messier.  :0  Afterwards, lots of dominoes and card games go throughout the night.  The children are entranced with all the wonderful old toys that Grandmother has and just seem to roll with the crazy schedule of the day.









I've been reading a book called The Power of Moments, by Chip and Dan Heath.  Thanks, Sugarhill for the recommendation.  I realized our Thanksgiving is a great example of creating defining moments for many in our family.

So thankful for Christian family and the desire to keep family commitments strong!  Read the book and look for ways  you can do this if you don't have it right now.  Future generations will thank you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

FALL READS...



The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett

This book dispels the myth that creative people are born that way.  The author shows evidence of the creative genius behind many of our creative heroes and shows what hours of consumption and hard work do for a person's creativity.  He talks to our like of novelty and the familiar and how that plays into success.  Collaborating with others is a big part of artists creativity, also, which I loved!  We all need each other.  I enjoyed learning more about the founder of Netflix and how this model worked to his success.  Creativity is something we can all achieve, if desired!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I loved this fictional story about a family in France during WWII!  Isabelle is a saucy young lady that refuses to let the Germans take over her country.  She secretly helps downed airmen escape over the Pyrenees to get to Spain and go home, so they can drop more bombs on the enemy.  Along the way, she learns the truth about her father and sister and finds true love.  An incredible story of the terrors of war from the perspective of the ones being invaded.  This best seller is being made into a movie!

Ministry to Women by Kelly King

This is an essential guide for leading women in the local church.  It starts at the very beginning of a ministry effort, noting purpose, building a team, and including a lot of the nuts and bolts of a ministry. It is also a workbook, encouraging the reader to write down responses as you think through many different aspects of building a successful program.  Most of this is not new to me, but I would highly recommend it to anyone starting something from scratch, or for someone trying to build a well-rounded ministry to women!  I enjoyed reading this as I taught school many years ago with the author's mother!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

JOYFUL IN HOPE...

Do you wear clothing with a message?  I don't ordinarily, but I've been given a few shirts through the years with messages on them.


When I saw myself in this picture, I was a little taken aback.  I thought, am I really joyful in hope?  It also made me think about what others think when they see me.  Do I look joyful?  Hopeful?  Do my actions portray that?  I certainly don't want to be like that car in front of you with a Jesus bumper sticker that doesn't obey the rules of the road.  This also reminded me of the time when WWJD bracelets were popular.  I would occasionally look down at my wrist and be reminded of Jesus, which is a great thing!

As Christians we "wear Christ" every day of our lives!  I hope we portray it even if our clothes and accessories don't say it.

For those of you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. Galatians 3:27 (CSB)


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

FUN FACTS FROM MY SON'S WEDDING...

The wedding pictures are in and it's been fun re-living the event!  Here's the things that were interesting to me about it - besides the fact that it was many miles away from Oklahoma:

THE WEDDING VENUE was actually the bride's Uncle Bill and Aunt Barb's farm in Ridgefield, Washington.  (I told most people it was in Portland, Oregon, since that's where the bride was from. Ridgefield is just over the Columbia River from Portland) They have had several weddings here and so they already had so many things prepared for the event.  It was nice to not be on a strict timetable like you are with regular venues!


 THE BRIDE'S DRESS was bought in OKC at one of my favorite consignment stores!

THE BRIDESMAIDS were from 3 different states and 1 different country!


THE BEST MAN'S SHIRT was bought literally 2 hours before picture taking the day of the wedding!   He thought the shirt he had brought was fine and the groom nixed it, so we were left to call The Men's Wearhouse and stop by on the way to the wedding venue and pick it up!  Crazy kids!



THE MASSIVE TREE for the ceremony is an old Maple tree.  Would you believe the entire group, guests and all, fit under it's canopy?  I love trees and nature and it had to be one of the most lovely settings I've ever seen for a wedding.  Uncle Bill had everything groomed so nicely in the yard!


THE MOTHER/SON DANCE was a little sweet and a little silly with some of two songs.  My son wanted something that was sentimental (cheesy) and chose "You'll Be In My Heart."  I wanted "Happy Dance!"  We had a lot of fun even though we weren't in sync most of the Happy Dance song!  Another thing:  I'm not really much of a dancer - but going to aerobic exercise classes has made me confident enough to enjoy having some fun with wedding dancing.


THE GETAWAY CAR was a surprise gift to him from his bride.  He loves cars and enjoys tinkering on them, buying and selling, and especially driving them!  She asked a cousin of hers who owns a  1968 Chevy Nova, fully restored, if they could leave the wedding in his car.  He said he would be their driver.  :)  So they got to leave in a fun fashion.


OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS who made the long journey to come to the wedding!  There were friends from California, Tennessee, Tulsa, and OKC.  There were family from all over Oklahoma who came too.  It was great, and it's a humbling feeling to think they would do that for you!  






Wednesday, October 24, 2018

IN THE TRENCHES...

It occurred to me while recently working with my son on a trench leading to where their tiny house will be, that LIFE IS LIKE A TRENCH!  Sometimes it's clear cut and easy for a while.  Other times you get hung up on a root.  Sometimes storms come along and fill your trench with water and mud and you have to re-dig!  Thankfully, we have our family and friends to come along beside us and help us out!  
How's your trench right now?  Easy?  If it is, God calls us to help our brothers and sisters!  Are you hung up on a root?  Talk to someone and ask them to help you.  Maybe you need a counselor.  Has a storm muddied things up?  Get out that pump and try to do something to clean it out.  Find someone you can confide in and take a step towards a clean path.  

This verse in Galatians speaks plainly about what believers should do: Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to the family of faith.  Gal. 6: 9-10. 


So thankful for these guys who aren't afraid of hard work and are such sweet brothers in Christ to my son and his Tiny House Project!





Tuesday, October 16, 2018

FRIENDSHIP BOOSTER SHOT...


Recently I have received some friendship booster shots, and I'm so grateful!  Sometimes we get so busy as adults (and especially leaders) and we get into so much of a routine rut that we don't take time for friendships!  I'm including The Hubs on this.  As a couple married for 35 years, we are comfortable with things as they are, plus so busy with our family, that we don't reach out often enough to make new or maintain friendships.  Then we get to thinking that no one else really cares or wants to be around us.  I know it's not true but in my mind I start to make these excuses when we think about reaching out to someone for a dinner or night out.

Both these ladies are friends of mine and they've given me a friendship booster shot!  Quite unplanned, we've gotten to do some fun things together lately!

My friend Amy is from Texas and we've been online friends from blogging since about 2009!  We graduated to Facebook and Instagram in our friendship.  We finally got to meet in person when her husband had some business near my city.  It was so great to get to know each other better and talk about all the things that we sometimes won't share online.  I'm happy to say she's my sister in Christ and we share so many similarities.  Looking forward to another time to get together and we'll bring our husbands along!


Patty and I are friends because our kids are friends!  She did the chalk work on this sign for me recently!  Both our sons were good friends in elementary through high school and all loved music.  They performed together and spent many a weekend night having fun together.  She's also a sister in Christ at a church across town, but we hadn't seen each other much since the boys graduated.  Recently we reconnected with my son's wedding, then she joined my exercise class, then her oldest son's band was here to perform and of course, like a Mama Bear, I had to go support him!  It's been great to spend more time with her and her husband recently.  

Does fear keep you from seeking friendship?  It's really the bottom line for me, I think.  Fear of rejection.  I hope I can remember how enjoyable these times have been recently and get out there and make some new friends and maintain the old ones.  :)









Wednesday, October 10, 2018

LET IT GO...

Not talking about the Disney song!😱

This week we had a Panel Discussion on Depression in our Women's Wednesday night Bible Class. 
What I found interesting was they (women counselors) talked briefly about the difference between discouragement, depression and clinical depression.  One of the helpful things mentioned was that when you have a discouraging thought, it is usually temporary.  You can move on and it doesn't really affect your behavior/life for too long.  Which is not true of depression.  One coping mechanism they suggested is that you acknowledge the problem and send it on it's way, like a train (from the book, Flourish, by Martin Seligman).

I associated that with a similar suggestion in Meditation.  Often when you are praying or meditating, random thoughts come into our heads that disrupt us.  What I've learned is that you should acknowledge it, then let it go - and don't beat yourself up for having the thought.  Or, if you're afraid you will forget the thought and need to act on it, jot it down quickly, then go right back to the Meditation.  

Since I'm pretty sure your brain acts like mine and it going 12 different directions at once, this is helpful to me!  Just LET. IT. GO.  Whether it is a discouraging thought or situation, or when you are actually trying to pray or meditate and you get interrupted by your own brain.  LET. IT. GO.

I'm reminded of a song by the same title written by Brianna Gaither.  She wrote hers long before Disney's Frozen came along.  Have a listen HERE, and have a beautiful week!





Tuesday, October 2, 2018

ESCAPE ROOM ENTERTAINMENT...

We just celebrated a couple of family birthdays by going out for dinner and going to an Escape room! It was a lot more fun than I expected (the birthday girl said the same)! We had a couple of funny things that happened that slowed us down, but we did escape in time.  One thing that happened was we did actually press the HINT button when we got stumped, and when they came to help us and we told them we had tried the numbers we found from the clues to open the combination lock, they discovered it had been reset and they had to cut the lock off with deadbolt cutters.  Then they gave us back 10 minutes on the clock.  Also, there was a purse on the table and we all thought it belonged to someone in the room, but it was actually one of the clues and had a key in it to another lock.  :)

I didn't contribute much to the solving of the puzzle but I did find the gun (a toy)! Mostly, I enjoyed just watching our kids interact with each other. There was Son #1 who was fiddling with the physical props in the room, Son #2 who went to work cracking codes with letters and numbers, and my daughter who was trying different combinations on a locked box.  Along with their spouses, it was fun watching them work.

Doing something different was kinda fun!  Good to get out of the norm every once in a while.  But that room definitely would've been a challenge for me on my own.  Grab some friends and try it!



Friday, September 21, 2018

THE DEVIL'S TOOLS...

Most of the time when I think or hear about selfishness, it is related to how we spend our time, our money, our life focus.  And those are very real ways we can be selfish.  In fact, I feel like most of the time what leads us to sin all boils down to SELFISHNESS.

I was convicted with some verses several days last week.  It caused me to think about times when all I can dwell on is my anger/frustration over trivial things.  As I thought more and more about it, it occurred to me that when these thoughts are clouding my mind, that is a form of self-absorption and selfishness!  I might generally be doing good things, and spending my time wisely, but I can't seem to focus on God at all when Satan has me up in arms about how I feel!

My DH said something to me that kind of hurt my feelings but I understood what he meant.  He said when I talk about those kind of things, it's like all he hears is the unintelligible teacher from Charlie Brown, "Wa,wa-wa, wa..."  and I wondered what God thinks when I am telling him my woes. Does He care about those unimportant things that get under my skin?  I know He cares for me, but I also wonder if He is trying to teach me love, patience, endurance, or something else... and hoping I get the lesson.  Thank goodness for His grace!

The devil's tools are many. I hope that next time my focus is clouded by hurt feelings, petty misunderstandings, etc., I will recognize those things for what they are, dwell on the word of God, and dismiss them with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Scriptures to focus on:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8


Live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8

  
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

LEMON-Y PARTY FAVORS...

27 door prizes quick and cheap?  I've got one for you!  Lemonade mix in a jar!  After taking on this task, I was really pleased to find these can be made for under $2 each!  Everything was bought at good old Walmart because I didn't have time to really do anything else.  I did check some prices online at other stores, but this was kind of a fun challenge for me to just peruse the aisles at Walmart to see what would work in a pinch.

Lemonade mix in a decorated jar supplies:
24 half-pint canning jars
200 oz. Country Time lemonade mix
24 labels or key tags
24 rubber bands
fabric, ribbon

All you do is funnel the mix into the jars, then cut the fabric into circles larger than the lid.  Learn from my mistake - don't try to use hot glue for the fabric on the lid, just rubber band it on!  Then tie your ribbon and key tag on it.  I did actually make 27 but I knew I had a few jars leftover from something else, so I didn't have to buy another 12 pack of jars.






Sunday, September 9, 2018

WEDDING RECEPTION/TINY OPEN HOUSE...

Last of the wedding festivities!  We hosted a reception here in Oklahoma per our son's request.  I told him if we did that, we would also have to have a Tiny House Open House!  So many have asked about the construction project going on in our driveway, that I knew we would just have to make it part of it.  It's not totally finished yet, but close, and they did stage it for the party.

Even after several days of rain due to tropical storms down south, we managed to get a misty Saturday without a downpour - thank you, God!  You could eat off our driveway - it's never been so clean.  :)



We had cookies, nuts, lemonade, and water.  Pretty simple.  It worked for a "driveway party."

My Niece-in-law made the fancy cookies!  

We had a lot of fun greeting guests and watching our son give tours!

Kitchen area
Living area
My awesome friend did the chalk work sign for me - isn't it great?





We had a lot of fun talking to family and friends from near and far! Several of our neighbors came, too!   Looking forward to the time it really will be finished - I'll keep you posted.