Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Tale of Joy, Retold

You might remember my original post, A Tale of Joy.

The story was shared again at Christ Church's Christmas Eve Service.

When God Shows Up The Ordinary Becomes The Extraordinary from Christ's Church - Jacksonville on Vimeo.

If you don't have time to watch the entire thing, start at 24:24.

Our God is amazing.

The Waiting Place

Have you read "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" yet? I sure hope so. If you haven't, here is the story without the pictures.

I love this book. It genuinely speaks straight to my heart. It is poignant and meaningful in my life right now. I read it to my son, speaking hope over his life, but I mostly read it because of what it means to me.

I feel like my life is kind of in the Waiting Place right now. In several respects, I am caught between the past and the future, living in a sort of timeless limbo... and I'm a terrible "waiter."

"The Waiting Place…for people just waiting. 

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the    phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, 
perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or 
a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting."

The book makes the Waiting Place sound just awful, but God reminded me today of the beauty that exists even there. 

He is working, even while I'm waiting. He is orchestrating relationships with people who are healing our wounds without even realizing it. He is a healer, and His people are the hands that bring that healing. He is giving His people just the words we need to hear. He is for us, loving us, always. We never have to wait for that. 

The others alongside us, waiting "for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow... for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance," are some of the most wonderful, beautiful people I've ever known. These are the broken people, the struggling people, the people fighting to make it through, the people trying to love well, the people working hard to pay the bills.... And they are beautiful. It is worth visiting the Waiting Place just to meet the people who are there. It might even be worth staying there if relationship with the fellow "waiters" is the reward.

I am usually torn between two extremes. One extreme tells me to GO! Get out of the Waiting Place. I can't handle any more waiting! I want the past to be done. I want its hurts to be completely buried. I want its struggles to be forever gone. The other extreme tells me to STAY! I want to wallow in some of the muck. I deserve nothing but am given mercy, so I should seek after something even more difficult. I suppose the "right" answer is somewhere in the middle. The right answer is to move forward while waiting, to be content while waiting, to appreciate the beauty in the season of waiting, to recognize that God loves me enough to push me and give me the opportunity to grow in the Waiting Place. 

Every minute that I am given in the Waiting Place, I am presented with several choices. I can ignore it. I can distract myself from it... or I can face it. I can face my waiting with my God and be shown something amazing. He is at work. My waiting is not in vain. Every single moment of my life is valuable to Him. He wants me to draw near to Him and find value in the menial. All things work together for my good, even my waiting. 

Anyway, if you are in the Waiting Place, you aren't alone. Get to know some of the folks who are waiting with you, and you just might find the place a little more bearable. I sure do. ;) 

I have to wrap this up with John Waller's "While I'm Waiting." Enjoy!

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord

And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Felt Food!

While everyone spent the day at home fighting off extra boogies, I decided to do a project that's been on the back burner for awhile... felt food!

During one of Joann's Simplicity $0.99 pattern sales, I picked up pattern 2445. Today, I completed several parts of it.

I will readily admit that most of this can easily be done without a pattern; however, for $0.99 and someone else doing all the thinking in advance, it was worthwhile to me! ;) I may add a few of my own ideas once this pattern is complete, though.

Ephraim helped to stuff the fruits and veggies, while I did the machine and hand sewing. Quincy joined in to help Ephraim with the stuffing as well. Fun, easy family project!

Here are the things we made today!

First, we have a reusable grocery bag. I ran out of green, so I made mine green and blue!

Yellow squash!

A pumpkin! Ephraim LOVES pumpkins!

An apple a day!


Orange you glad I made this?? (I'm a cheeseball.)

A tomato... this one's my favorite!

A beautiful, gigantic eggplant!

One egg... there are more to be made... but... well... I had to stop somewhere. There is also an egg carton. CUTE!

An orange slice. Delish!

The carrot!

Woody (it's really Ephraim... it's just a costume...) and his groceries!

The collection... for now.

Yet to be made are five more eggs, an egg carton, strawberries, cupcakes, and a birthday cake. I'm excited to get it all done! :)

And here's the other, very random thing that I accomplished today....

Aspen received these super-cute Gator shoes for her birthday (thanks Mom!), but they had felt soles. She attempted walking in the kitchen and ended up doing all sorts of acrobatics! So, here's a tip. If you have baby shoes that need some grip, you can add some puff paint, or in my case, fabric glue, to the soles. Once this dries, she'll have some simple, clear grip! You could also be creative and make fun designs or patterns. These shoes are mostly white though, so I wanted to keep it clean and simple. :)

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Book Project, Continued (Books 31-40)

Well folks, it is the much anticipated next installment of the book project... for your reading pleasure, and ours!

My review - This is a cute book about a baby bird on a hunt for its mother. Don't worry, they do find each other! :)

Ephraim's review - "That one was interesting because the mother wasn't a dog. A bird was the mother."

My review - Funny book! The cows are demanding electric blankets from the farmer via typed messages. It has a twist at the end, and it is very cute!

Ephraim's review - "That was pretty cool, and that's all the books I want to talk about." 

My review - The classic, original tale of Curious George and how he came to the states, is a must-read! It is the beginning of that little fella's antics, and I think it's fun to learn where it all started (as he was tricked to leave the jungle, kidnapped, and taken to the zoo! hahah! ...times have changed...)  :)

Ephraim's review - "That was pretty cool about when George got in the cage and he jumped out, and he was free. That was pretty cool. That's not fair. That's crazy."

My review - I adore this book. I seriously do. I hope that Aspen is like Fancy Nancy when she's a little bigger, and I'd love to start a "Fancy Nancy" book collection for her! Nancy loves to dress up all the time and use "fancy" words or speak French. She is TOO cute! :)

Ephraim's review - "That was pretty, pretty sweet because when Fancy Nancy cleaned up the whole house and when her whole family dressed up, that was pretty funny."

My review - Fun, simple, classic book. It doesn't have many words, so it was good for Ephraim to practice reading. I had to do a little explaining of the "between the lines" part of the story, but it's definitely worth reading.

Ephraim's review - "Good Night, Gorilla was the sneakiest one because when the gorilla was back behind the man."

My review - Ok, I've seen the movie, but I honestly didn't even realize there was a book! It is definitely a great book, by the author of "The Polar Express." The two children find a board game that comes to life in their home. This is a fantastic, imaginative book!

Ephraim's review - "Jumanji was a pretty good one when the game started real, when there was alligators and hippopotamus in there, and rhinos."

My review - I heart this book. Why? Because we've tried pretty much every single idea inside it! It is a series of imaginative ideas for the creative use of cardboard boxes. The bunny points out, again and again, that it is "not a box." It is a costume, a space ship, etc. Fun! And I agree, it's NOT A BOX. :)

Ephraim's review - "That was a pretty good story because when he said 'What is that? What is that? What is that? What is that?' because that's when you do it. That's not fair. And he made a space ship."

My review - This is definitely my favorite children's book ever, 100% without a doubt. I could honestly benefit from reading this book every single day. I also think it would be really cute to decorate a child's room in "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" decor! Really, this is an awesome book for adults. If you haven't read it or if you are having a rotten day, read it! I can't recommend it highly enough. Love, love, love this book! LOVE IT.

Ephraim's review - "This was pretty good because when they said all the directions you can go."

My review - "Olivia" is a really sweet, yet realistic book. The thing that I love about "Olivia" is that she's a bit of a well-meaning troublemaker, and her mom is very honest about the fact that Olivia just wears her out sometimes! hahah! This is just reality. Cute book!

Ephraim's review - "That was not sweet because when she tried out all the things and she painted on the wall, that was not sweet."

My review - This is a silly, funny collection of nonsensical rhyming stories, the most well-known being "one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish!" This is a great book for learning rhyming sounds and having a good laugh!

Ephraim's review - "That was pretty good for bye bye, gum hum. That's it."

My review - Ok, I have to admit that I didn't love "Strega Nona." I'll just leave it at that. ;)

Ephraim's review - "That was pretty good that the whole village was a noodle town. RRAACKKRAAAA!!!" What was that? "I was talking in a crazy voice about the whole noodle town."

My review - I remember reading this book when I was little! How fun! This family goes out hunting bears, through many different terrains, and has to run back through all of the same obstacles once they do finally find a bear! What a crazy, fun family. :)

Ephraim's review - "That was pretty good because when the bear goes in somebody's house. HAHOHAHAHAHHO! I am talking in a crazy voice because it's so funny."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Daddy's New Hat!

This is Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn, worked in a round with a J-hook. I added some ear flaps and cut a zillion little strands, which I tied individually down the center of the hat to make a mohawk. Fun!

Aspen saw me taking pictures and picked up one of Daddy's other hats to model as well... ;)

Aspen's Birthday Party!

... a photographic journey...

This is the bib I embroidered for her. I messed up 3 times and didn't take the time to fix it. I figured icing would cover it well... it DID.

I also made her some lacy bloomers...

And embroidered her a cupcake shirt...

And sewed her a matching lacy skirt.

Prior to the party, Ephraim and Aspen modeled their "First Birthday" hats together!

...the smash cake...

 which was thoroughly smashed.

... opening some presents...

...and loving her super cool shades.

...the after party!...

Spiderman, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and Princess Leia each made an appearance!

The saga unfolded, and Spiderman was pooped.

Watch the video here!

Happy First Birthday, Little Lady!