Monday, August 24, 2009

Why I Do This

It's a dreary Duluth day today. OK, not really - it's sunny and 71. I'm the dreary one. Here are some of the random things circling like vultures in my head today:
  • What does 'Hallelujah' really mean. It's in a bunch of songs, but is it just a word we sing? Is it, 'only 26 more hallelujas and this song will finally end' or 'here comes the King!' or 'Can I stop waving these palm brances already - my arm is tired!' says, 'Praise ye the Lord!' or ' a shout of joy, praise, or gratitude,' which is what I mean when I sing it, kind of. I think I mean, 'God you are so good, and I love you!' If I hadn't told you, what'd you think it means?
  • Is the way I am loving my family good enough? If I have to say it that way, probably not.
  • How can I keep two kids, ages almost 5 & 14, happy at the MN State Fair this year? T-minus 3 days! Too much food on a stick, too little nutrition, rain (I don't care what the forcast says, it always rains), tired kids, baby piglets & cowlets (those poor mamas laboring in front of everyone!) and a hubby who wants to see it all. Twice.
  • Is anyone even reading this stuff? Sometimes I feel like tapping the computer monitor saying, 'Hello? Anybody there?'
  • Why do I continually stay up too late? School starts soon and I will have to get Micah to the bus by 7am and should have worked out and gotten ready prior to this. How crazy is that?
  • Let's not talk about working out.
  • You can't pick your family. Why is family stuff so hard? Even when it's good it's hard, and when it's hard it's devastating.
  • How can I make a difference in the lives of the people around me? What impression do I leave, is it positive, is it negative, do I even want to know?
  • There have been many days this month that this CD has gotten me through the day. Some of my favorites are You wont Relent, or Where You Go I Go, or Sing My Love. They lift me right out of a funk.
  • I am still praying for my dad. He has finished radiation and has begun chemo which he will receive every 30 days. He's very tired, but otherwise doing well. Thanks for praying, friends!
  • In the boxes of stuff from my stepdad's house, I brought home these dresses. They are light blue with white polkadots and little heart garlands make out of daisies. Cute fabric, but what to do with it? Vintage fabric, going once, going twice...
  • And what is the deal with PMS (Oh - is that my problem?!?), seriously!
  • Micah is getting baptised in September, 10 years after he prayed at the kitchen table with hubby & I to make Jesus his best friend. I'm stressing over how to explain this to my lutheran family. Why did we dedicate? Isn't Micah getting confirmed? Wasn't he already baptised (No, he was dedicated - you were there)? For the invitation I finally settled on this, 'We are Celebrating! Micah is getting Baptised! (in smaller words:) Like confirmation only wetter (confirming his faith in front of family & friends).' Yesterday at church we had some baby dedications and I wished my family could see that service and the baptism to kind of bookend this whole process we are celebrating. We are also having a celebration at our house after. Anyone have some good words to define and explain this? I'm just nervous, I want them to see Jesus!
  • To end this on a more positive note, here's a photo of the kids 4 years ago that I love. It makes me happy to look at it.
  • Thanks for putting up with my rambling today. Oh - and I do this to get it out of my head, and sometimes this works and if you have a comment, that would make my day!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stitched with Love by...


I have been busy! We are getting stuff ready for a garage sale at my g-mas, we've hauled a bunch of stuff from when I was a kid out of my stepdad's house and he found the slides I was looking for in this post! Yay! And I have been going through treasures & junk, sorting & remembering... There was a bag with the patterns and supplies for the fruit potholders I've shown here previously as well: Oranges, Lemons, Pear & Strawberry. There was also a little note in the bag with names and the fruit my mom was going to make for them, and my blue strawberry was on there! She probably thought I was a nut. That note is one of the treasures!

I taught a friend to crochet the dishcloths I was making and in talking about crocheting recently she mentioned that she wanted to learn to do a Granny Square. I don't know how to do one yet, but another thing I ran accross was this magazine from June of 1974 and I thought it was so fun, and funny, that I wanted to share it! I hope you like it as much as I do!

45 Great Granny Square Designs

Anyone want to wear an afgan to work? Anyone?

Crochet a Rug!

Dig the 'Blue-jean Patch Pockets'!
Grace would NEVER wear this Popover Tunic, even if I liked it and made it pink.

Aubrey - here is a placemat for you.
The headband may actually be cute. Make it with a really fine yarn and small gauge hook?

I have a student worker in my office right now (I'm technically on lunch!)
and he says this hat is hideous, not funny at all, just hideous.
I would make this just to see someone wear it out somewhere with me...
And the baby stuff is actually pretty cute.
But I wonder if this baby is alive today - with ribbons on it like that?
The child safety people would have a field day.
I bet this family also let their blind cords dangle to the floor...

Hubby's Gram made afgans like this and I really like it.
I have one that's a huge granny square that she made from scraps and I love it!
I don't mind the shawl too much either but veto the facemask.

My student worker said he'd wear this, straight-faced, and he works at Abercrombie.

Handbag? Clutch? Anyone? My personal items would fall out of the holes...
But the Cafe Curtain Streamers... you can make them as long as you want and
as many as you want to cover your window...
and I have nothing on my kitchen picture window right now!
Just kidding, hubby!

Isn't this headband just like idea # 13?
ripped off - I don't think this should count toward the 45 ideas promised...

Description says, 'a low cut sweater.' Really???
And how do you wear any support under that? And it's holey...
I'm too old to even contemplate it!
I think the right person (not me) could totally pull off this scarf and hat!

So, I hope you had fun looking at this! :o)

And if you didn't think that was funny,
Here is a picture (used w/permission) of the student worker mentioned above,
while working at Abercrombie...he says these are going like hotcakes!
OK, 3 have sold. (Sweet vest retail: $100.00)
Sorry ladies - he's taken.

Monday, August 17, 2009

How I met my Dad

A bit of personal background about me: I am the only child of a couple that divorced when I was about three. I still remember watching Fort Bliss, TX, shrink out the back window of the packed car as my mom and I drove home to Minnesota. Following that were years of babysitters, Kraft dinner and Rice a'Roni. My mom worked 5 jobs at one point to make ends meet, I remember nights on a bar stool at the American Legion, and being babysat right next door to my grandparents house, but only being allowed there when I was sick - never for babysitting. We moved 3 or 4 times in our hometown and then my mom remarried and I got a new stepdad and 4 stepsibs. Of course there is a bunch more to this story, but that's for a different post. My dad also remarried and has a son with his 2nd wife. So I knew my dad, talked to him, but didn't really know him as my dad, then...

Last summer my dad came to visit from Pennsylvania. His parents are still alive and in poor health so a visit was in order. He also hadn't met Grace, our then 3 year old, in person or seen Micah, our then 12 year old, since he was 8. Frankly, I didn't have much hope for the visit but knew that the daily schedule for our family would have to change for about a week or so. My dad called me at work to let me know that he had made it to town, was spending the day with his parents and would see me the next day. I made it through the call then went to the restroom to cry - completely unexpected. It must have been a Thursday because we had small group that night and I was on for leading worship. I think I pretty much cried quietly, but obviously, during the whole lesson. Then was definitely not able to lead worship. Some very dear ladies went with me into another room and listened to me, hugged me, and prayed for me. My whole reaction was completely unexpected.

My dad spent about a week here and we got to have him over for dinner, do all the 4th of July festivities, and we got to spend a bunch of time just visiting. I had some pictures buried in our storage closet from before I was born that we talked about. I heard the story of he and my mom dating and getting married, his time in Vietnam, her time waiting back in the states... And I got to hear how he really loved my mom, wanted and tried to reconcile from his posts in another state. Also how he loves me. And that's when I feel like I actually met my dad.

No one told me he didn't want me or didn't love me, in fact my mom never disparaged him and he was not a deadbeat dad who avoided child support. I assumed that as a child because of the the circumstances in my life, because he wasn't there, and because I had never really gotten to know him. I can see now how he was trying to know me, as hard as that was from another state. I just couldn't see it before. I think God had to come and break my heart, my disappointed-lonely-mistrustful-little-girl heart so I could actually meet my dad.

Now my dad has stage IV cancer. He is in treatment, but I don't know how much time we have left. But I feel like God has given us a second chance and I'm not very good at it - I've only been a daughter for about a year now - but I don't want to waste the time, however much we have. When we talk on the phone now he always ends it with, "Love you, girl," and now I know he does.
4 Generations, July 2008
(R-L & F-B: Dad, Grampa & Gramma, Micah, Grace & Me)

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I had the privilege to pray for someone at church today. She came up front and asked for some prayer in some specific areas of her life... so we prayed and asked God to come speak to her. We prayed for her specific request and then waited to see what God wanted to say or do. I felt like He wanted to let her know how He values her and specifically that she is not a mistake. This really wasn't even close to what she asked for prayer about, but it was what it seemed like God wanted her to hear. And I could tell she was having an emotional response to what I was sharing with her. After we finished praying she shared that her mom had her at a young age and as a result she'd always felt like a mistake! Must have been God speaking into her life! Woo-hoo! How cool is that?

This evening I was back at church for some amazing worship music, a great message about healing, and some awesome prayer. What a great way to start the week! So, this leaves me with a heart of thankfulness that I get to participate. John Wimber, one of the Vineyard Movement founders, said, "Everyone gets to play," and it is such a privilege. I am constantly amazed when I feel something, think I might hear God say something, and it's proven true! I stand in awe of being wanted, being found usable. Pour me out, fill me up, pour me out... Thank you Papa!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I went to my mom's house tonight. She's been gone for 11 years now but my step-dad still lives there and I still have some things there. I was really after slides from before I was born and my baby years - not many photos, mostly slides. I just bought a slide scanner and thought I could get them scanned, if I could find them, and have my dad tell me what and who they are of. I feel the opportunity to get some of that information slipping away like someone is erasing my past. A very disconcerting feeling. Cecil (step-dad) did find a box of slides and I was so excited I struggled to not cry. I clutched my prize the whole way home. I checked them out when I got home thinking I'd call my dad to tell him about this treasure. Then I looked closer at the dates on the slides... 1960 - 1965ish. I was born in 1970, parents married in 1968? I think. These were not the slides I was looking for. They are actually of Cecil's family. Major disappointment. I'll have to go back.

However, I did find a box with my Mandy and Jenny Dolls. Anyone remember them? Grace is thrilled and slept with them last night.
Check out the sweet satin roller skating outfit on the Jenny doll. And they came with patterns for sweet 70s clothes you could make for them!
A gaucho outfit, reversible vest, pinafores, little-house-on-the-prairie nightgowns, hand muffs...

So I guess I did come home with a bit of treasure. I also found a box that has both my mom's and my baby book. Did I say 'a bit'? MAJOR treasure! Included is a Marlboro hardpack with my weight and length noted on it - how my dad remembered my stats when I was born. In light of his recent lung cancer diagnosis and the media it seems like an odd addition to my personal history, but so unique!

All this has made me think of treasures, and how the treasures we have are rarely monetary. Here is my 'Kittie in the Kegs' from when I was little. Amazing that I still have all the pieces, though some have gone missing periodically - especially the kittie. This is one of my treasures.
And the treasures I have are more than items. At the university there are a few scraggly plots of land scattered around the campus. Then suddenly in August, this is what springs up:
Treasures may be your memories, they may be the beauty around you,
they are the love of family and friends,
and the free love and grace of our Saviour.
I guess I didn't come home empty handed after all.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Parenting, Discipline & Food

I'll let you in on a little secret; I am not so into discipline. And I really should be. Both for myself and our kids. Here's an example. The recurring battle at our house every evening is supper. What are we having? Whatever we are having, Grace doesn't want it. After all the work of planning, shopping, preparing and cooking, even if it was something we have had before and she devoured, she doesn't like it, she doesn't want it, and she's going to make everyone crabby while she loudly lets us know. Add to that parents who either disagree or aren't sure how to 'fix' this and you have a long, exhausting evening.

There are so many different ideas on how to deal with this issue. Anyone remember 'Mommy Dearest'? Hubby doesn't think this is the way to go. He remembers sitting over food that must be eaten well into the evening and is not convinced this changed his eating habits. I agree - he still won't eat peas. Or how about books like this or this? Should healthy food be hidden in food? I'm not so convinced. It seems sneaky and deceptive. And frankly doesn't sound very tasty. There is even one aimed at sneaking healthy stuff in your hubby's food. Yes, your full-grown, mature husband. That may be a fight waiting to happen at our house. I also don't want to offer dessert as a reward. One of our rules has always been that if you don't like whatever is for supper,we are not a restaurant & there is always PB&J. This worked with Micah, not as much with Grace.

And then there are issues dealing with discipline. Dr. Kevin Leman, an authority on such things as birth order, sex, and parenting (I highly recommend his books & give his Sheet Music book at every bridal shower I attend!) suggests this strategy: If a child won't eat, take their plate over to the garbage, scrape off the food, and say something like, "Well, we'll see you in the morning for breakfast then," and neither offer or allow anything else. His parenting strategy is all allowing the child to earn the natural consequences of their actions. Which I agree with. But I confess that by the end of the day I have lazy parenting skills. And so I reap what I sow. I have sewn seeds of (what??? dissent? antidisestablishmentarianism? whatever?) and now have an almost 5 year old who is choosing to assert her formidable will at supper time... each and every night. At the end of the day, is this a battle I want to have? How long will it take to get the point across? How many nights of this? Will any of us get any sleep? Will hubby & I agree that this should be done? Should it be done?

I just don't know the answer to these questions. Micah was a picky eater, but not with this strong will thrown in and now he will at least try things with out a fuss and has even found he likes things he never used to. But it was never this all out war every night. I do recognize this is about more than just food. Any ideas, encouragement or tips to make supper more livable while making sure Grace actually gets some nutritional intake? Anyone? Oh! And even more pie-in-the-sky, how about some great ideas for bringing family meals back with everyone sharing the highlights of their day?
Here's a picture of Grace from when she actually liked (pseudo) veggies like tomato sauce.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

3 This & 4 Thats

1) Grace & I picked raspberries after work/school today at a friend's house and I carried my camera the whole time. I came home with no photos. Good intentions, bad mom. Grace was so excited to go pick that by the time I picked her up from school everyone knew we were going to Mark's and they were calling it a 'Fruit Farm.' Grace probably picked 15 raspberries, 5 at a time going in her cup, then in her mouth, then she called it quits and picked flowers. Still more than the 5 strawberries she picked before quitting last month.

2) On TV right now, 'The Day After Tomorrow.' How many times have I seen this movie and why do I have to watch it every time it's on? And where did our DVD of it go? My family probably hid it on me. Al Gore would be so proud.

3) If aliens really did land on Earth, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be like any of the shows like Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, V, or Independence Day. Just sayin'. These are the things I think about. Except for the Twilight Zone episode where they finally translate this alien book at the end and it says something like 'To Cook People.' That one might be true.

4) I haven't talked to my dad in a couple days and have now realized it's too late to call - 1 or 2 hours later there. I should know how many but I'm geographically challenged. Dad- I'll call you tomorrow if you don't call me. Still praying for you!

5) There are many LOUD planes flying over tonight. They must be running drills at the air base. There are always people on the Rants & Raves' section of our local Craig's List who think these planes are secret military planes that are flying over, spraying toxic fumes. Seriously. Watch our for the gray cargo planes!!! Our Air National Guard friends assure us that these are just drills that need to occur at dusk. This is always funny at our house because when Grace hears these planes and she's in bed she hollers for her daddy to call the airport and have them stop because she's trying to sleep. She thinks her dad can stop the planes. She thinks her daddy can do anything! How sweet is that?

6) Speaking of which, tomorrow night I am leading my first small group, talking about Big D Daddy and the prodigal son. Hopefully from a little different perspective. We'll see how that goes.

7) I keep thinking about making quilted coasters for gifts. And placemats. And hotpads. There are some fun ideas out there! I don't know who I would make them for, but I think I will anyway. Check out this, and these (they stay on the bottom of your wine glass - genius!), this, and the fab colors on these! And possibly a fabric basket to put them in like this! And what a great gift (OK, or to keep!) to make a basket and then had different seasonal coasters - crazy! I think I may be drinking a lot! Lemonade, people, sometimes....

OK - that's all I have to say tonight. Thanks for reading this random list of 'stuff.'