Thursday, July 31, 2008

if you knew....

the original digital image

using color, crop, pencil sketch and fade functions in

If you knew that you life would contain challenges, would you sit on the couch and hide?

If you knew about betrayal, would you even try to trust?

If you knew that cancer would change everything in you world, would you avoid the doctor's office?

If you knew that job would end with you walking out and no real plan what to do, would you not take that job?

If you knew that knock on the door was a friend bring horrible news, would you pretend you were not at home?

If you knew that the phone was ringing with sadness, would you let it go to the machine?

If you knew that the opportunity was going to force you way beyond your comfort level, would you turn your back?

If you knew that child would test every limit you set, would you choose to stay barren?

If you knew love would hurt, would you remain all alone?

If you knew ------

Well at this point in my life - I know - all those things and so much more. When you first go into a situation you are blind to the negatives. Every situation has promise and sometimes those promises are broken. Let me give you the perspective now to each of those questions....

Challenges - the early death of a father - failing health of my mom - endless trips to the hospital with my nanny - a child to the er - BLESSINGS - too many to list - singing to my nanny and knowing that my voice was a comfort to her. Watching my injured child encourage her teammates - evn when she cannot play.

Betrayal - no specifics to list but the internet was involved - BLESSING - learning the heart's capacity to forgive can grow just like the heart's capacity to love.

Cancer - if you cruise through the archives you will find that whole story - the blessing - recognizing just how precious every moment really is. And oh so happy this came before the betrayal, because the lessons learned here sure helped the blessings occur there.

A bad job decision - in my heart I knew I really did not fit there - they were not family oriented nor loyal to employees, the BLESSING - my best friend worked there too - had I not been there - this friendship would never have happened.

The knock on the door -a friend coming to get us when my Dad was killed - the BLESSINGS again too many to list, but the love and friendship of so many people has been recognized over and over.

The ringing of the phone - many times - BLESSING - along with the sadness comes the opportunity to encourage and console many -

Opportunity - that knock comes again and again - the knowledge that responding to the call will help someone else amazing. VBS was exhausting, but watching a child in friendship with the Lord is a heart expanding feeling.

Children - everytime I watch my girls make a good decision, extend a caring gesture, succeed at something they are trying to do, return the love we give them, those BLESSINGS erase any negative actions I have witnessed from those same girls.

Love- sure sometimes there is pain - loss - challenge - but being alone would cause so much cynical behavior.

Now if you knew how much joy and happiness would be sprinkled among all that other would you jump at the chance to do it all again - yeah buddy - I will.

One final perspective - JESUS KNEW - he knew people would not listen to his teachings. He knew he would be betrayed. He knew those closest to Him would be the ones to hurt Him the most. He knew the real reason for His birth was the ultimate, painful, humiliation of being crucified. He also knew that the people He was doing this for, might not even appreciate and accept the gift He offered. AND EVEN IN KNOWING _ HE WAS CRUCIFIED FOR ME AND FOR YOU. He willingly sacrificed His life -

Just remember - HE KNEW.

Deep in thought about some things today -

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who -- me???

Photo edited at (a free editing software service)

She can do that - Molly can't. We call it the puppy dog face and the Softball Princess has it perfected. When she was tiny, everyone thought it was so cute. Now she uses it as an ice breaker when a situation gets tense. The Freshman tries it and just looks silly. It's one of those family things that is so funny when it occurs.

MaggieGrace moved MORE fabric to the studio last night. Serious stash issues here. I honestly can craft for years without buying materials except glue and thread. I am making more of those recycled card tags with the crochet edgings - these babies are quite addicting and it is utilizing my stash. I also started a project last night in response to a call for entries in a Somerset publication. More on that later.

The studio - will get a serious amount of attention this weekend - the last weekend of sanity before the fall ball season starts. I have painting to finish in there - the last of the ceiling tiles to put up. There is still a tremendous amount of work to go before it is really ready to be called finished, but I go out there several nights a week and work. I can find things so much easier since I have been so careful about putting them away in an organized fashion. I have also discovered that both girls like to work out there for the same reasons.

Hope you don't mind more old and/or edited photos until we get the camera dealt with.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Sorry about the pop star song reference - could not help it. For the next several days - MaggieGrace will be without photos - Dover images. Seems the lightning that took out the wiring in the barn also wiped the internal memory of the camera. That will be the 3rd digital camera we have killed.
Bad news this morning - the Softball Princess has been released to run and field grounders - and throw - but no batting or position playing. She is so ticked off. Dad took her to the doctor this morning. The assistant saw her, because of the doctor's car accident, and has decided to err on the side of caution. The result - one unhappy third baseman. I am kind of glad dad has her - although mom will ultimately have to deal with it.
The graduate goes for a TB test today - the last medical part of getting ready for college.
Wednesday night is laptop shopping. Thursday is supplies (paper pens etc.) Then a weekend of enjoying each others company. MaggieGrace is working, just no good way to document the progress.
Have a great Monday all -

Monday, July 28, 2008

shadow dancing

Shadow Dancing - that is what I felt like this weekend. Have I rested - not even? Lightning got the electrical in my studio. Fortunately no fire - just lights to replace. Mom and I were out there working when it happened. There were sparks and smoke and elevated heart rates. I did move a ton of fabric out there and still have more. Getting there.

We worked at the softball field on Saturday. Sunday did include a tiny nap, but I cannot turn my brain off.

The photo above is from a flickr member and I believe it is from an Anthropologie window. I am so inspired by their catalog and stores. Unbelievable interpretations on a theme.

Karen - from Junking in Georgia left a comment that made so much sense to me and leaves me trying to explain a little more about Friday's post. Thousands of parents are struggling with the process of sending that first child away to college. I know that others around me are feeling some of my same emotions, I have just chosen to be honest and open about it. It is one of the many milestones they face and one that I am so proud of for this one. She is an academic scholarship recipient and that is an honor she worked so hard for.

Molly has worked all summer to put away spending money for the year and we will help her with money all along.

The overwhelming part is the piles and the lists and the "do not forgets". We spent over 100 dollars yesterday getting a medicine kit and personal items together. Let me tell all of you readers - there is much laughter and giggling about all of this as we do it. While I am struggling with this - the memories will be overwhelmingly positive. She is anxious as well (about things like laundry and cleaning the toilet) but we are really having fun doing all of this. It just piles up at times. I have always communicated the entire process of things with both my girls and this is no different. Both have expressed their gratitude for my doing this, because it has shown them that adults may not always have it all together. It has also taught them that putting a voice to an issue allows that issue to be worked through. I tried to take a picture of the mountain of stuff in my dining room, but the camera is giving me problems this morning.

Abby will have the benefit of being the second to go through all this, because now we have the lists made. The only real challenge in that is my keeping up with those lists.

I am in a better place mentally today - Local Best Friend made the decision he has been debating. I can see that we are close to being ready with all the stuff for school. I now just have to focus on the latest glitch - Abby's surgeon had a terrible accident and now we have to find out about the schedule on her appointment.

I did take a tiny bit of time just to play this weekend. Music and dance are always important to me and there was enough of that to take the edge off the "i do not want to be mommy today" feeling.

Have a wonderful day all.

Friday, July 25, 2008

lonely perspectives

I made this mosaic this morning. All of the photos appear to me of lonely and forlorn and empty feeling. Looking for rest and peace in the midst of the storms.

16 days until the graduate becomes the college girl. The piles of lists are driving me nuts. The huge financial part of college is covered - this is now about the little stuff. We have to go through that list and see where we are.

The bills for Abby's er visit and surgery are starting to come in and I hate dealing with insurance companies.

I have made the man at my address angry more than once in the last several days (not even about big things, just stupid stuff). I am not sure why his feelings are so close to the surface - could it be that his little girl is going away????

I see no break in the near future. Softball mini tournament Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday next week. Field workday tomorrow. Then laptop shopping tomorrow night. Abby starts school the 7th and Molly moves away on the 10th. I'm running away the second after I drop Abby off at school on the 11th.

Balance - need it.

Quiet - after a church full of kids all week - desperate for it. Do not misinterpret that statement - VBS was a wonderful and enriching experience this week.

Perspective - I feel like that deer in the mist in that mosaic up there. Trying to see what's out there and not having a clue.

I want someone to take care of Mommy for just a little while - instead of mommy keeping the whole dang thing rolling in the right direction. I really want to scream "you can shop off the list, why the crap does mommy have to actually do the shopping - just buy what is on the d(*& paper. " I want decisions made for me. I want to not answer any questions that begin with the phrases "did you", "could you", "will you", "can I", "where is", "when are you". I want to sit down and have a real conversation over a meal that I didn't buy at a fast food joint. I want the people around me to think for themselves and not expect me to decide everything only to turn up their nose or verbally complain when I make a decision. I want my house clean and all the to do list checked off. (same thing at work) And can somebody please add money to my checking account or leave a bag of money on the table in MaggieGraceWorld.

Sorry - MaggieGrace is having a bit of an off day. The reality - I want to tell people to just leave me alone.

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More fun

Last night had us making headbands, coloring on our mission book pages, tonight is the last night of VBS for the year. Tomorrow night I rest........

I have that fatigue migraine this morning. Not a full raging one, but enough to be in the medicine bottle. Tonight we clean up - haul it all home - put it away tomorrow night.

I am enjoying this mindless craft project. Everyone who sees these has commented about how much they like them. More recycled card gift tags. A finish nail that I fit into an xacto blade holder became an awl to punch the smaller holes on these.

Crocheted with the tiny thread that I thrifted and bedspread cotton. The little rabbits and the trees are about 1-1/2 inch circles.

A close up of the punch embroidery thread on this one. The gold glitter stuff is wound around the white. Again - these are quick and mindless and after I make it through the box we discovered - there will be more, because I have big bags of cards at home. I may make some tiny gift boxes using the paper globe pattern from Heather Baileys place

Flowers and buttons - paper too. The colors are perfect.

Another one - different buttons.

That's what we have fallen into calling my studio - I squealed with glee at this emerging from the gift wrap. A birthday present from one of my favorite people in all my favorite colors. Thank you - thank you - thank you. This will be hung in MaggieGraceWorld before the weekend is over.

Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jeepers Peepers

The graduate took herself to the eye doctor yesterday. She has astigmatism so bad that until the latest round of contacts, was not even a candidate for contact lens wear. The newest soft lenses are designed for her particular problem and even though they are a huge issue to put in her eyes (they are physically huge lenses and are weighted on the bottom), she is so freakin happy. We are just hopeful this keeps being the case and these are actually the correct prescription and work out like they need to.

Last night at VBS -( l-r) - Softball Princess - the Graduate - NayNay

We cleaned out a cabinet at the church on Saturday. The pastors office is in the old preschool Sunday School room. I found a box full of greeting card cutouts that Mrs.Hester gave to us. I had spotted some gift tags at a craft show that were made from card cutouts and card stock bits. I kept going back to those tags that day.

Last night we had a block of extra time to just sit at VBS - so I used the highly technical tools available (a roll of masking tape, a sharpie, handheld punch) and the craft bag of yarn from my truck - and made these.

I am pleased with how they turned out. The cross one is about an 1-1/2 too big to effectively work on without bending it in the process. I'll be doing some smaller ones too with a tiny awl punch and those threads I have been making flowers out of.
This one is my favorite so far. It is an original watercolor and was painted by a lady in the church. I can see many adaptations of this happening. It is a perfect mindless travel bag project and softball and volleyball season looms near.

About the gift inquiry from yesterday. To Karen - Chrismons are a rather formal presentation - I will box then seperately and add text in the box lid about what the symabol means. She will more than likely use an ornament tree to display them on her dining table. Darla and Carrie - You actually fell right in with my thinking - a big rubbermaid tote with the handmade gift, several light strings, some gift wrap and tissue, some solid color ornaments, some handstamped and crochet tags. Melanie - I will happily share my trims - just email me and let me know.

Have a wonderful day all.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thrifting motherload

First my favorite VBS picture yet. Miss Sonya and Missy Margo. 17 days until Margo arrives and Sonya is leading a group of VBS kids. They insisted that Margo have her own name badge. How cute is this. Sonya is a beautiful pregnant lady - me - I just looked like a beached whale.

Now for the real reason we are here. MaggieGrace Goodies. I strolled through Goodwill late last week. Collecting storage jars for the studio - they generally have a huge number of those glass ones. Way back in the corner, I spied a bundle of lace trims. Look.....
I had to buy them all bundled together - 10.00 for the entire pile and there must be 250 yards or more of them.
This one is a favorite - little scalloped roses. It is some sort of synthetic mix.

Cotton scalloped trim. I'll be cutting into this soon. Sometimes you gotta plan a project just because a material is screaming to be used.

The red more than likely will never be used. It is fringed pillow trim.

Now a question - I am known for handmade baby gifts. A precious couple will be marrying this fall and I want to give them something handmade. They are active Methodist Church members and the Chrismon tree is part of the Christmas tradition. I have the patterns for cross stitch Chrismon symbols. In your thinking would it be an appropriate gift to include a set of the Chrismon ornaments with the gift to this young couple? I want the gift to have a meaning to them that they will remember the love of their friends

Help - I am at a loss with this.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend at a glance

Busy weekend and week to come. VBS is every night from 5:30 to 9pm at the church. I have crafts and then trash detail and got home last night at about 10pm.

We were to set up on Saturday, and the man at my address decided early to cut limbs - that male timing thing again. We worked the morning and then I worked all afternoon while he chilled and rested.

The limbs were touching the roof. We are having a serious ant infestation problem and he thinks maybe the tree limbs could be a potential entry point. Besides the moss had to be dealt with.

Manual labor is hard on a government worker.

I do have to say, it looks a lot better to have all that cleared off.

MaggieGrace will have very little time this week. All of the spare time will be spent here!! Making this pile of supplies disappear.

Have a great day.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Snipes and snails and puppy dog tails

That's what little boys are made of. For many years, I have been just a participant in the showers at the church. The pastor's wife had a knack for doing the decorating and hostessing and I happily stepped aside. They have been moved to another church by the powers that be and last night we had the first shower since they moved.

I was asked to handle decorations and centerpiece. Melissa Compton Williams grew up in the church and is expecting her first little blessing - a boy.

This second of a three event week at the church, I worked until midnight on Wednesday finishing this.

Very inexpensive ladies and it turned out really cute.

Styrofoam blocks from the dollar store. Teddy bear plastic picks and stuffies same place. Childs board books - again the same.

I covered the blocks with boy appropriate scrapbook papers (from the stash). Turns out that was the most tedious part. I started with gel glue, but soon gave up and plugged in my glue gun.

(Side trip here - for years I had a craftsman brand glue gun with a push through operation - I loved it - you can control the amount almost perfectly minimizing the "spider web" issue. It burned out and I replaced it with a craftsman trigger style - I HATE IT. Does anyone know where I can find the push through type of glue gun?)

I cut 2 circles of foamboard (stash supply) and covered them in the paper as well.

On the top one I stacked those blocks - I was using some highly specialized tools on my work surface. The lazy susan from my counter on top of a cooler gave me the ability to turn this and get everything balanced. The block stack is held together with wooden toothpicks (I keep a huge box in my stash - amazing the uses you find)

The books were stood up on the bottom tier. Look carefully at this photo. This particular assembly caused riotous laughter at the end of the night last night as I was taking the stuff apart and sending the bears and books home with Mom-to-Be.

I was holding the empty circle with those blocks (to the left of the book and holding the book on the side) and the paper clips (in the front of each book). I spoke to Maria and said - "do you know what you do at midnight and realize that you need some kind of bracket to hold the books." The new pastor, Susan, is standing there and said "you just HAD little wooden blocks at your house?" Thus began a huge discussion of my hoarding habits.

Yes, Susan, I just HAD little wooden blocks at my house. And beads. And ribbon. And paper. And lace. And _____. And ______. And____. Those of you who know me well know that I can fill those three and many more blanks.

The little plastic bears got collars of ribbon and were just stuck into the blocks as filler.

Here's a full shot of the thing on the table - The stuffed bears are tied to loops made from paper clips. There are tiny wires holding the top tier onto the looped handle of the books.

To continue the theme - I found three more books and set them onto the table between the plastic ware holders.

We had a wonderful time - the atmosphere was festive and fun. Several of Melissa's friends were there with their toddlers. In all honesty, they were adorable, but I am so glad that I am beyond those little ones. As difficult as being the mom of teens is, I would not trade it for anything.

Tonight is an off night - I have to make a grocery store run - major. and then tomorrow we set up for VBS crafts. I'll be leading that group from Sunday evening through Thursday next week. Then we start the serious packing for the college girl. The August 10 move in date looms -----

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Family Fun Night

One of the best decisions ever made in my life. I really cannot say that I made this decision. Many years ago, I was asked by a friend if I would work with the youth or children at Jones Chapel. He asked over and over and I told him no repeatedly. I did not have the time. I was the mother of small children. I work full time. Excuses - I used many of them to tell him NO.

Then one Sunday - he asked at the local Bar-B-Que place -we all went there and sat together after church on Sunday. At the time - this crazy woman stpped out of my body and said --- "sure I'll help you."

Thus began some of the most rewarding work I have accomplished. Some of the kids in that group are now married. Tonight we even have a baby shower for Melissa Compton Williams - one of those first kids.

I have been the youth director - a Sunday School teacher - Choir and Drama producer - craft leader - music leader. All of those hats and so many more - babysitter - custodian - nanny - bus driver - on and on.

And last night found me leading the water games for the elementary aged kids while the older one shared and reflected on a recent mission trip.

A few pictures of our games. A few comments and observations of the people involved.

Little R - cerebral palsy - such a beautiful spirit - commercial spray bottle - very effective. I learn from this wonderful boy every time I am around him and his family.

Miss Jean and Baby K - Miss Jean could give Martha Stewart a run for her money in the organizing/cleaning arena.

Sorry - this one is so dark - I snapped it before the camera adjusted for the light. To the far right is Miss Beth ducking out of the way.

Water balloon toss - way fun - and the couple who filled the balloons for us - stored them in ice water. FUNNY for those unsuspecting victims.

notice - the adult man in blue - I do believe he had more fun than the kids.

It's a free for all - water guns and soakers. I finally broke out the hose as my weapon of choice.

This beautiful couple will be welcoming Baby Margo at any time now.

Smiles - squeals and giggles in abundance.

I looked around last night and realized just how much God means to these families. I reflect on how important faith is to me and to those closest to me. I have been so blessed to work with these images of God. I have watched our church grow as these kids and youth have shared with their friends. We are the body of Christ. We are the hands and voice of God to the world around us. Our relationship with God through Christ is the center of an incredible circle of life and faith.

Working with these children has been and continues to be one of the biggest joys in my life. I thank God for each and everyone of them and their families. My cup surely runs over with blessings.

My encouragement to you. Follow the tug of God at your soul. The blessings you receive will far outweigh any amount of sacrifice or effort you expend. God loves you and God wants you to have the best of eternal life with Him.

It was and still is one of the best decisions I ever made.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

because I did not plug my brain in

Good morning all. I have no photos of my own to share today so I snagged a few to go with this post.

First - Monday was my birthday. No reference to which one. 29 and holding. I am now the same age as my mama.

I was treated to chinese food - I got brakes for my truck (whoo hoo) and a major plumbing leak. Call it a shitty evening. I did.

I did get this outfit for me for MY birthday. I got the skirt in the linen color and this gorgeous green wrap top (not the pants - an a** this large cannot wear that pattern no matter what). I can't wait to wear it.

The man at my address has several wonderful uncles that I absolutely adore. Uncle Roy being one of those. He is at the present pulling his Airstream camper across Alaska. I blatantly stole these pictures off that blog. Look at the amazing pictures.

The travel rig set up. Road dirt included for free.

He has spent several days at the North Pole - look who he's been visiting. Old Ho - Ho himself. Here is the funniest part. Whenever we are out and about with Roy, people take a second look, kids especially. See the photo below for why.

Yup - Uncle Roy looks like the kindly old gent. Cruise over to his place and let him know what you think.

Have a wonderful afternoon.

See ya'll tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Warning - graphic medical photos follow

The softball princess got those pins out this morning. She was quiet and reserved on the way to the doctor's office.

I always make the earliest appointment possible and we were in the exam room in no time.

They cut the cast off - the nurse was amazed at how clean she had kept it.

And now we wait -

Off to xray to confirm that everything is really ready.

They left it all covered up - those little yellow balls were to keep the pins from catching inside the cast.

Then the nurse shows up with the tools for the extraction - plain old pliers.

Abby's comment ---- " they aren't even special"

Dr. Moye was stunned about the camera.

The pins slipped right out. No anesthsia required. She was good about all of it. We even kept the pins and the little beads.

It was only after being fitted for the removable brace, getting checked out and a new appointment set, and leaving the building, that she proclaimed she was going to be sick. Poor thing the adrenaline rush of the whole thing got her. Including puking in the landscaping.

Things we were not expecting

1. The doc telling her that she could begin "fondling" her bat and playing with as many balls as possible. (giggles all around and glares from mom)

2. Good grief that arm stinks.

3. The complete "unspecial" nature of the tools used.

She will be glad to scrub that arm tonight. I am glad this is almost over.

Have a great day everyone.....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Little Stuff

I hardly ever share recipes here - that's because I hardly ever cook. It is rumoured that I do not know how to cook. I would try to dispute that rumour, but the benefit is that I don't have to cook as long as no one thinks I can.

This however is one of my favorite dishes to put together. An easy to prepare - cook - and clean up dish. On the grill or in the oven - potato pouches. I think everyone I know has a variation of this dish -- here's mine. There is no quantity - make it the way you want to in the amounts you like.

Potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
Carrots (I cheat and buy the bags of baby carrots)
Onions sliced (I'm from GA so vidalias for us)
Bell Pepper sliced
Squash (yellow ones are abundant here right now - zucchinni work too)

Pile it all in the makings of a leakproof foil pouch.

Now add - dollops of butter
salt - pepper - lemon pepper - italian seasonings (you pick your favorites)
worchesteshire sauce

here's the magic in my recipe - this is the thing I add that makes people wonder what exactly is different. Drizzle the entire concoction with syrup - the batch I made this weekend - I used dark corn syrup - but I have also used maple and sorghum (slightly bitter sweet)

Bundle it all up and cook for about 45 minute to an hour - turning the pouch occasionally.

If you try this - let me know what you think.

Now for some fun stuff - look at the pale pink of this - the white and soft yellow - and then the almost black red of the throat - I'm seeing some wonderful color combo in this.

This was taken the night before the one above. Don't plan on cuting these for any reason - they were outside my unit this weekend and most of the open flowers only lasted a few hours. But they sure were gorgeous when they opened.

Another stunning color combination. Vivid red orange and green with an unusual flower shape here too.
organized chaos (below) I spent hours working on making this pile of tangled mess a slightly more organized approach. getting all of this into the studio is helping me figure out what I have and hopefully how to keep it better organized. (like that's gonna happen)

Much of this floss had no labels - some was vintage from boxes that walked in the door with me. Some was on bobbins and had just not been put away (like in many many years worth). I am working on a project that does not require numbers and the like - so I pulled all of this out to put together the project. Remember - I save everything - so some of this was even floss that was leftover from some kits. These projects are fun and I like doing them. This particular one involves text and color - and will be sent to a special lady once I finish it.

Hope you all are having a wonderful day -