Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I just want to "be"

A few days ago we took a little trek to meet with a few dear friends that we haven't seen in a while.

It was bittersweet.

The people we shared lunch with have always been a balm for my soul. They are the people who have walked with me since I was a new believer, that didn't know the Old Testament from the New Testament. They are the people who have helped me grow up in my walk. They are the ones who I followed, as they followed Christ. We sacrificed together, we cried together, we loved together. They are people who always bring out the best in me. When we are together I am the truest self I can be. When we are together I feel safe. When we are together I feel loved. When we are together I belong. When we are together it feels so great to just "be".

I doubt that I will ever experience the friendship and community that we shared together, when we lived so close, again.

It is difficult to go on with "normal" relationships after experiencing what we lived, together. I find myself saddened sometimes that I can't seem to connect the same way with another group. I love the new friends I have made, but sometimes still feel like a square peg trying to fit into the round hole.

Perhaps, it is because I am a little under the weather and the year is coming to a close, but I find myself feeling a little melancholy.

I think it is a good thing.

I think that as I met with these sweet friends, I began to realize how much of "me" I have lost.

I was forced to look in the mirror and see who I have become since the last time we were all together. Frankly, it isn't that pretty.

I have become complacent in so many areas. I have put God on the back burner and it has taken it's toll. I have let the miraculous become the mundane by failing to see the hand of God in the daily "work" of raising my son and loving my husband. I have replaced the joys in my life with garbage that neither edifies or builds up. I have become lazy. I have become (more) selfish. I have forgotten that each day I must "lay down my life" so He can live through me.

I am hopeful, that starting today (or maybe when I quit sneezing) that I can "be" myself again. I think that "being" with Him, is gonna make all the difference.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Birthday's Never Reached

Today was your birthday, Dad. It is hard to believe you have been gone over 9 years now. You've missed a lot. We've missed you. I'm a mom, to a boy who is arriving on the two year mark rapidly. I still live in Montana. It's late and I'm tired, but I can't quit thinking of you. The memories come at unexpected times. As I scroll through the old pictures Debbe scanned for me, the ache is there. The longing for the times that we never got to have together - the times robbed by either our individual stubbornness or the times stolen because the cancer took you too soon. But, for now I will be thankful for the times we did have, the laughs we shared, the stories we read together. I can shed a few tears as I remember you, my dad, and try my best to enjoy each day I have because we both know, this life ends too quickly.

















I miss you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The little things...

There are days when this stay at home life is a little bit, blah. That is why I am thankful for little notes sent my way - just like this one:

"Hey sweetheart,

I hope that your day is going awesome. I love you so much! Thank you for all of your hard work. I can't wait to hang out with you tonight. Give that kid a hug for me.

Love,
Norse"

He makes my heart happy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Project 2009 - #2, #3, and #4 (complete with bad photos and vague tutorials)

#2 In the grand tradition of making things you can put in a jar...

I made bath salts and sugar scrubs for some of the special people in my life.

This is SUPER easy and you can find 3,123,458* recipes by "Googling" for them.
*that is only a slight exaggeration

And, instead of buying jars, I have been saving the glass jars that our pickles, sauces and sauerkraut have come in, through the year, just knowing I can find a use for them. If you have some lying around, spray paint the lids (unless you are jarring a food product - that just doesn't seem safe) and reuse them!

Here are the salts...



Here are the scrubs. I slapped a spoon on, a tag with directions and ... TADA - a great simple gift.




#3 This is technically not a gift, but I am pretty proud of myself. You see, I found this super cute tree topper at Target, but instead of buying I thought "Hey, I can make that. It isn't like I am hosting Christmas dinner, making gifts and chasing my 19 month old son around."

So, I went outside when the weather rose all the way into the double digits and chopped down a whole bunch of maple branches. I resurrected the glue gun,  printed out a star to use as a template and let 'er rip! Throw on a dash of gold glitter that was falling off old ornaments, a few cranberry looking things from an old wreath and a broken star garland and I made myself a tree topper. It really has two stars back to back that are glued to a stick cylinder I made by hot glueing the twigs to a rolled up piece of cardstock. I tell you, I was using all my ingenuity with this bad boy!


 I like it and it fits my family and although being a little heavy for our tree, it seems to work (and it is okay that it looks nothing like the Target model).

#4 This final project, was born out of total selfishness and a need for some late night alone time and therapeutic organizing. 

I made my self the cutest little folder/file/ organizer thingamajig! (Not that you will be able to tell from the horrible pictures my archaic digital camera coupled with my wobbly hands, have taken.)

I found the tutorial here.







Mine is labeled for "Domestic Engineering".





It includes pockets for my "To Do, Today" list, grocery list, Target list, and the "Other Stuff" list. I fastened my two ends with little brads so it will keep things a little more sturdy. I think it is super cute and I feel better than ever now that I have finished it (And because I have the majority of my Christmas meal lists and recipes compiled) 




 Find more of our homespun craftiness here, here, and here!

DIY Day @ ASPTL

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Great Christmas Tree Hunt

MckMama does something called "Not Me Monday" . Usually I like to just wallow in my parenting mistakes all by myself, but since I have photo documentation of our recent Christmas Tree harvest, I thought I would join the fun. Really, if we can't laugh at ourselves, why did we become parents in the first place?

You know me...
I would not choose to go hunt for a Christmas tree, when temperatures were hovering in the teens. It couldn't have been me that dressed my son in mittens that were too big and certainly not waterproof.
When he took a little tumble because of the uneven terrain, I did not whip out the camera to catch a picture before I helped him.


And I would NEVER EVER let my child play with a saw (in the sheath) to distract him from the freezing cold.



It wasn't me who forgot to bring a scarf to wrap around his little cheeks.

I definitely didn't lose my cool and tell my sweet, jolly husband "To just PICK A TREE, any tree!" while thinking something much worse in my head.


And you know it wasn't my child who was so cold and cranky that he cried and yelled "NO" everytime I tried to comfort him.


You are right, it was certainly some other family.


Fortunately noone lost any digits to frost bite and we happily warmed up on the way down the mountain.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Christmas Project 2009 - #1

Well, since we are trying to buy less, make more, give more this year I thought I would try to replicate those super cute holiday canvases that I am seeing on etsy and our local holiday bazaars.

We don't have art canvases at our house, but we DO have an abundance of scrap lumber from Norse's scavenging at work, the dump and from our own improvement projects. He was kind enough to square a few small pieces for me.

I don't have a picture, but if you have really rough wood, you are going to want to sand it smooth before you start. Most of mine was already varnished, but where Norse made the cuts it was a little ragged and I made the mistake of not sanding it.

Next I gathered my tools -


Cheap foam paintbrush
Some wrapping paper scraps
Decoupage stuff (I used "Collagepodge" but I am sure that Mod Podge would work, too)
Paintbrushes
Paint

First, you are gonna want to decoupage your wood with the wrapping paper scraps. This was my first attempt at this and it worked pretty well by "painting" the podge on the face of the wood and then smoothing on the paper. I did have a few bubbles that I didn't quite get out, but since I am not a pro, I am not too worried about them. (It's the thought that counts right?) Slowly work your way around the edges "wrapping" your board and gluing it down. Let it dry

Then I printed out what I wanted it to say ("Let it Snow!") in a fun font and stenciled it onto my dry board. (Here is a great stenciling tutorial)

Then I painted it green with some old crusty paints. It looked really bad and was hard to read, so I went back over it with black and think it turned out okay. At least it is readable.

Here is the finished product -

I put this one up so you can see the imperfections... the wrinkled paper - my bad. Hopefully the next one will be better.

(It looks better from a distance :) ) 

Cute? or Lame? You decide.


I added this to the DIY party, check out other great ideas by stopping over at:

DIY Day @ ASPTL

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Christmas, Christ and Kids...

Now that B is getting older I have been thinking a lot about how to help him see the real meaning of Christmas. I have heard of the Jesse Tree and of course we will read the real Christmas story together, but how do you make Jesus a part of the day?

Part of my struggle is that holiday gatherings mean people of different beliefs get together. I haven't seen faith in action, at Christmas time, growing up and it seems that Norse's family isn't real great at bringing Christ into the celebration either. (They do attend a Christmas eve service, and I hope to carry on that tradition.)

This Christmas we are hosting dinner at our home for the crew and I wish I knew how to balance being a gracious host, acknowledging the true reason for the season, all while making sure everyone has fun and no one is offended.

Have any of you sucessfully navigated the holiday season with a family of both believers and non-beliers? If so, I would love to hear your ideas and encouragement.


Also, share your ideas for making Jesus number one in your home as you celebrate Him during the season.

It would be much appreciated!


P.S. - Do any of you make a breakfast birthday "cake" for Jesus Christmas morning? If so I would love a recipe.

There are some great ideas about gift giving here and here, that we have adopted. In hopes that we don't lose our focus in consumerism. Check them out if you have time!