Sunday, April 26, 2009

Counting (Laundry) Blessings

Laundry and I are rarely on good terms. Normally, I view it as a neccessary evil, but today I challenged myself to find some blessings as I went about gathering up the dirty clothes. Here goes:
  • I am thankful that we have so many clothes, many in this world do not have enough.
  • When I look at my husband's uniforms, I am thankful that he has a good job.
  • My children are healthy, happy and active which is why their clothes are dirty and there are holes in their jeans.
  • I have a washer and a dryer (and soon, a new and improved clothesline) making laundry easy.

I'm trying to think of more, but that's what I have for now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An Essay

Sometimes, I like to write essays just for fun. Since they are just sitting in a folder on my desktop, I thought maybe I'd post a few here occassionally. So, here goes.
The Stone House

I imagine a builder, preparing to build a house out of stones. The builder gathers the stones for his project, not searching endlessly for perfect stones, but collecting as many as he can to suit his needs. I doubt he would have found a single flawless rock, even if he had wanted to. I’m sure it was a daunting task, looking at that huge heap of stones, piled one on top of the other without form or function, but without hesitation, he consulted his plans, rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He probably sorted out larger stones for the foundation and smaller stones for the chimney, imagining the warmth and shelter he would enjoy when at last his job was done.

All stones are different, some big, some small and many in-between. Some are very beautiful with flecks of quartz, streaks of violet, or made entirely of bright, white limestone. Some of the stones are probably ordinary at first glance, but each one interesting and unique when examined closely. The builder mixes mortar to place between the stones and carefully begins to position the rocks and painstakingly piece smaller stones in the openings between the larger using the mortar seal any gaps. The mortar covers each individual stone’s flaws and binds them firmly together to form something enduring, beautiful and solid.

So, I’ll bet your wondering, “Why go on and on about a stone house?” “What on earth does this have to do with me?” Let me explain.

Imagine that the builder is Jesus and each stone is one of his followers. Each of us is different and flawed, but he uses us anyway – ordinary or extraordinary. Instead of mortar, his grace covers our iniquities and binds us together to form something much larger than ourselves. We are his Church and he is our creator. Without the builder and the mortar, we are merely a pile of useless rocks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Socialite Dress - Take 2

Another finished dress from the Anna Maria Horner pattern. (I just ordered her tote bag pattern, too)

Don't judge a book by its cover

As I was eating lunch today and surfing the internet aimlessly, I came across a story that seems to be everywhere today featuring a contestant from Britain's Got Talent. I was curious, so I searched out a video of her performance and was moved on so many levels.
If you have a chance, watch the video and then read the rest of this post.
What was your first reaction when you saw her? Personally, I hate the thought of being mocked, so my first reaction was What is she doing? Doesn't she know they are all laughing at her? Why put yourself out there to be made fun of on national (international) television?.
I was angry at the expressions on the faces of the judges and the audience, furious that they would judge her by her "packaging" - completely unaware that that was EXACTLY what I had done as well.
Then, she began to sing. Wow, did she ever sing. Truly, the Lord has blessed her abundantly and she was determined to use her gift. And did you see their faces?! It's so true. Dont' judge a book by its cover!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sewin' and Bakin'

I splurged a bit and bought one of Anna Maria Horner's new sewing patterns. I loved the way the Socialite Dress looked and had a terrific day with my daughter shopping for fabric for some new dresses. This pattern was so easy - and a lot of fun to put together.

We're both really happy with how it turned out. It is so satisfying to sew something that actually looks like the photo on the cover of the pattern.

While reading one of my favorite blogs, The Pioneer Woman, I found instructions for these adorable little cupcake bites. Here is the link for the instructions -

All in all, a very fun weekend!

A Greyhound's Easter

A pictorial essay*

*No chocolate was ingested by any canine in our household. Runner did, however, try to convince it to hop into her mouth.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Very Special Tradition

Holidays are a time for families.
All families have there own holiday traditions, right?
I'd like to share a very special Easter tradition that our household (well most of it anyway) enjoys every Spring.
The annual viewing of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - the Donny Osmond version.
We do normal stuff, too. We watch Charleton Hesston, and if that isn't an Easter staple, I just don't know what is.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


A problem within a friendship has caused me much sadness in the past several weeks. I am very sorry to say that rather then giving the painful situation over to Jesus, I instead chose to bear it all on my own instead of handing it over to Him. It is amazing how sadness can turn to self pity and self pity to bitterness and anger in such a short time. I kept praying for God to "fix" the situation - on my terms, of course.
This past weekend, as we took communion, I found myself pondering whether or not Jesus had ever felt the way I had. I'm embarrassed to say that the answer was so blatently obvious that the realization that He had came flooding into my mind.
Rejection? Check.
Sadness? Check.
Loneliness? Check.
I then started thinking that even though Jesus seemed to always be surrounded by people, and many called Him friend, in the end His friends scattered and left Him alone in the worst of circumstances. He knew ahead of time what each of them was going to do. He knew that Judas would betray Him, He knew Peter would deny Him, but He still loved them.
Last evening, I finally handed my problem over to the One who can handle it properly.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Digging In (and Out)

After the whining from the other post, I thought I'd instead try to post as I work on my massive to do list. Today, after making another batch of laundry detergent and taking Midnite to get her shots, it was gardening time!

Since the theme for my son's science fair is "Go Green", his project is going to revolve around our gardening efforts. Last year, we mostly grew our vegetables in containers, which worked great, but required a lot of watering and some of the tomatoes suffered from blossom end rot, which I recently learned is caused by calcium deficiency. Our ground is mostly fill, so tilling up the soil isn't going to work for us. I kept reading about "no dig" gardening a/k/a "lasagna" gardening, so we're trying that (with some modifications). Basically, no dig gardening involves layering soil ingredients on top of layers of wet newspaper or cardboard and planting on top.

We laid down cardboard in the shape and size that we wanted our new beds to be and soaked it with water to encourage it to break down more quickly. In an effort to save money, we used composted leaves as our first thick layer. The leaves collected by the borough are piled up in various locations and the pile we used was a few years old and prime compost material. We did buy some topsoil and composted manure and layered it on top.

I wanted two long beds with a path between. I'm not sure if we are going to cover them with plastic or not.

Gardening efforts are underway inside the house too. These are my Amish Paste Tomato seedlings from seeds saved from last summer. Out of 72 seeds, 66 came up (we're not going to talk about the ones Midnite uprooted.) I've re-potted about half of them in pots made from old newspapers, I need to do some more this evening.

These are the poor tomato seedlings waiting to be moved.

Here are some pepper seedlings grown from the $.20 seeds at Walmart. Out of 72 seeds planted, 11 came up. Don't go for the cheap seeds.

I know this picture is really blurry, but I've never grown chard before. It is such a pretty color and practically grows in front of your eyes!
Not exactly a Victory Garden, but as long as it keeps us in fresh veggies, I'll be happy.
Tonight, I am going to attempt making yogurt. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I am utterly, completely and totally overwhelmed.
I'm beat. I'm whipped. I want to curl up somewhere and hide. A magic wand would be super right about now.
The last few weeks have been so busy (and fun), but I'm paying for that right now. My laundry is staging a coup. My sewing is neglected. My seedlings need re-potted. The dishes have not jumped into the dishwasher (How pathetic is that, anyway? I have a dishwasher and my dishes are STILL dirty). The garden needs work. If that wasn't enough, my computer at work is ready to give up the ghost and launched a week's worth of my work off into the void. Overwhelmed doesn't feel good. Common sense tells me to take things one at a time and work my way through, but panic tells me to RUN! FAST! IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION! Common sense is going to win the argument, of course, but panic is screaming pretty loudly right now.