Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Quilts - Done!

The start of Micah's jean quilt was a stack of old jeans,
which took quite a while to cut and rip up the seams
to preserve as much usable material as possible.
(Messy, dusty job!
When I blew my nose after this, it was BLUE! Yuck.)

I tried to use pockets and seams where I could for variety,
which means it took longer to prepare the material because
it required some thought.

I made up the pattern, I wanted something with
larger rectangles to get the most out of the cut up jeans.
Then I added the smaller rectangles from the scraps.

I hinted at these quilts here.

Here's the end result.

I made it quite large, Micah's already taller than me
and I wanted it to fit him for a long time.
This is laid out on his full size futon.
I only quilted the largest pieces, mostly with random designs, free motion.
I used the heavier jean thread to quilt.


Here's Grace's, 'Around the World' pattern in flannel.

Machine quilted in hearts and stars
to match the fabric she picked.

I used leftover material from the front to back it.

Snug as a bug in a rug.

The quilts were done two days late, but I'm happy I didn't stress out over them to get them done in time for Christmas. It made the whole thing much more enjoyable!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yummy Pumpkin Bars

These don't last long in our house. Everywhere I bring them, people want the recipe (which i got from a college friend's mother). And as a bonus, they make a big batch (12x18" jelly roll pan) and they freeze like a dream! I hope you like them!
Pumpkin Bars

In a large bowl, mix:
4 Eggs
1 C. Salad Oil (I use canola)
2 C. Sugar
1 - 15oz. Can Pumpkin

Sift the following and add to above mixture:
2 C. Flour
1/2 tsp. EACH Salt, Ground Cloves, Ginger & Nutmeg
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. EACH Cinnamon & Baking Powder

Mix well and pour into a greased/floured (or sprayed) 12x18x1" pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until cake springs back to touch.
Let cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat together:
8oz. pkg. Cream Cheese - room temp.
1 Stick a Butta (Sesame Street =0) )
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. milk or cream

To above mixture, slowly add up to
4 C. Powdered Sugar, until frosting consistency.

Frost & cut. Immediately wrap 1/2 and put in the freezer - you won't regret it! These go fast!

What you think of me...

Blogging is an interesting thing. It puts part of yourself out in the world, inviting people in with an unspoken agreement that they may or may not agree or like what is written, and that they may tell you. Of course it's nice to hear positive things, but sad to hear negative. I enjoy blogging, I love the format, I think once in a while I may have something worthwhile to say and other times I follow the advise, "if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all!" That explains my absence since last Monday.

I have just felt down, and unworthy of attention, respect or love, like nothing I do matters. I know this isn't completely true, but I've had trouble walking through these lies. The blogger at resolved2worship posted this video a couple weeks ago and I thought, "Yes! She knows exactly how I feel - I am invisible, too," and, "If only I were building cathedrals, how can I build cathedrals?" (Incidentally, I saw Nicole Johnson, from Fresh Brewed Life, perform this a few years ago at a Women of Faith Conference and she was amazing!)

Through lots of prayer the last week or so, I have been made aware that I am looking for approval in all the wrong places. Even if I get approval from people, from my family, from my kids & spouse, facebook friends or where ever, it will still not satisfy the longing in my heart for approval. Only God can give me what my heart longs for. Someone told me they try to always remember, 'what you think of me is none of my business,' and that seems like a pretty good thing to remember! Especially when what you think might matter too much.

So, all this to is simply to say that after this post, I will disable the link between my facebook and blog, creating a personal boundary where I will not look for, or judge my day upon your approval. I will not post something, and then hit refresh over and over on my facebook, simply to see if someone agrees, disagrees, or whatever. (OK - I haven't really done that, but I could, and I don't want to.) If you want to see what I'm writing, I will still be writing and posting at Now & Then, Here & Now, This & That, but you'll have to actually go to the blog to see it. (And if you do like to read what I post, you can subscribe to it, which I think notifies you when a new post is up and lets you then post comments on the blog, or you can email me through the profile on the blog... or not.)

If you have been reading these posts via facebook - thank you! If you haven't, that's OK, too - and you're welcome for removing them! Either way, thanks for joining me in one way or other on this journey!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Grace-isms, Take 2!

OK - I remembered another one, and now she just said another goofy thing, too...

In a conversation about Jesus as a baby, this was discussed:

M - Jesus came to Earth as a baby...
G - who never, ever did anything wrong, not even crying!
M - Is crying wrong?
G - Yes!
M - What about when Jesus was a baby and He wanted to let His mommy know He was hungry?
G - Jesus never ate at all until he could talk!
M - What about when He wanted to let His mommy know He had a really messy diaper?
G - Jesus didn't wear diapers!
Hubby - Yah! Jesus was potty trained from the womb!


And then tonight I grabbed the children's Bible when Grace was already thinking I should read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' and this is what she said
I already know all about how Jesus was born! He was born, and then his mom put Him in a manger and He laid there and laid there and laid there!
Eloquent, isn't she? We read them both.

A Few Grace-isms

Grace has been so funny lately, it's hard to remember all the things she says and does that make us laugh. Here are a few overheard this weekend.

As I was trying to get her to hurry and get in the shower on Sunday morning, Grace stripped, ran into the bathroom, then exclaimed with great expression, hand movements & arm waving, "CRAP!!! Daddy's already in the shower!" (Dad needs to say 'crap' less, way less, evidently.)

But it made us laugh.


Then at supper Grace did something (wish I could remember what that was!) and it reminded us of that comment in the morning so we told Micah about it. Grace had already finished her meal and was in the living room as we laughed about what she said and we could hear this, getting progressively louder,
I can hear you in there talking about me.
I don't like when you talk about me.
Stop talking about me.
You should SHUT UP!!!
We don't use 'shut up' at our house, or try not to, but she sure got the context right.


And a conversation between grace & I as we decorated the tree:

G: Mom, can you hand me that wreath ornament?
M: (hands her the ornament)
G: Thanks, Mom! That was worshiping Jesus.
M: What???
G: When I ask you to do something and you do it, you are listening to me and that's a way we worship Jesus!
M: Really?!?

OK, we have discussed that when children obey their parents, that is a way we worship Jesus and a way we make God happy. Evidently this also works when parents do whatever children say? (I don't think so!)

Thankful ♥ during Advent

holy experience

143. Word now breaking heaven's silence. Advent.

145.146. A decorated tree - something so soothing, so safe and comforting about sitting in front of a lit tree in a warm, clean house while the snow blows outside. (and the kids are asleep!)Our tree is a modge-podge of homemade ornaments that Micah would like thrown out (No - they'll be in his keepsake box someday) to Hallmark ornaments I received each year as I was growing up. Grace was SO excited to decorate!

147. I am not pregnant. No, we didn't have a 'maybe', but this is what I looked like after tree decorating thanks to a pine tree allergy:
And that, and worse, is what I looked like everywhere the last three months of my first pregnancy. I had PUPPs (new hypothesis is that male fetal DNA acts as a skin irritant). And this reminded me so much of being pregnant, not sleeping for the awful itching/burning, that I am thankful to not be in this state today! And I'm sure my hubby is happy he doesn't have to stop me from itching all night long!

148. Christmas memories like the tree skirt below. Hubby's Gram crocheted this for us and gave it to me at a bridal shower before our wedding in 1992. It's double crocheted with the date embroidered on it. And the snowman I made years ago, one for me, one for my mom, and not because it's so great, but because she liked it.
Thankful that Mary
149. was highly favored,
150. faithful,
151. trusting,
152. and courageous,
153. gave God all the glory for meddling in her plans.

154. Thankful that God has opportunities for me in which I, too, can say, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." What a privilege to serve. I tend to kick, scream & dig my heals in - that tomorrow I may have one more opportunity to gently acquiesce to the Father's plans in my life is reason to rejoice! Oh that I could learn from Mary.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm so Happy

All the people I walked by on my way into work this morning must think I'm a nut! I'm just so happy. I was trying to figure out why, here are a few of the reasons I came up with:
  • Cookie Exchanges. I finished the Hot Air Candy last night, dropped it off this morning, and will have 7 dozen other Christmas cookies when I get home.
  • More than enough Hot Air Candy, extra to give away, and a dog that was not sick.
  • A group of men's men (the mechanic variety, by the looks of some of their matching, logo-ed work clothes) having an early morning Bible study/small group in the middle of a bustling coffee shop. I overheard something like, "When that happens to me, I feel like God is teaching me..." Pursuing Jesus in public.
  • A steaming hot Campfire Dark Chocolate Mocha from Caribou Coffee. Delish.
  • On a blizzard-y morning.
  • Driving to work in the blowing, drifting snow.
  • The crunchy, scrunchy sound of my boots in the snow this morning.
  • The wind. Most everyone else seems to cringe away from it if at all possible and I want to turn into the wind, throw my arms wide and laugh. I LOVE the wind.
  • Wearing comfy, warm Ugg-like boots all day at work.
  • A good morning with kids, a not-screaming Grace and an unhurried Micah, thank you, Jesus!
  • A little more sleep last night
  • A clean kitchen
  • A new oven on order
  • Dance class tonight for Grace, this just generally makes everyone's day better, which probably bears some thought. Later.
  • Small group tonight, hangin' with friends, talking about Jesus, inviting the Holy Spirit, letting God have His way.
  • In 4 weeks I'll be starting my own small group - excited and thankful, anticipating what God will do in a new group, looking forward to new relationships.
  • Less on the schedule after today.
  • Decorating for Christmas at home, getting a tree, setting up the Godzilla Christmas village.
  • Sitting in the dark, sipping chai, watching the Christmas tree lights twinkle. I haven't done this yet, but I'm happy to think about it happening soon!
  • Releasing expectations for a commercial x-mas, and celebrating Christmas!
  • Accomplishing things at work, which I must go do now - the work day starts!
It's not Multitude Monday, which I missed this week, but I am counting these anyway! Thank you for numbers 142-162 above! Papa, You amaze me!

holy experience

Have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hot Air Candy / Angel Food Candy

I remember begging my mom for some of this candy when I would see it in a store when I was young. Usually in the mom&pop variety store, homemade, sittin' on the counter in a baggie, just waiting to jump in my pocket! And then I grew up and found out my great aunt made this, and was willing to share the recipe.
I love this stuff! The inside is a light, crunchy, sugary yumm like this:
And then it's dipped in a mixture of milk & semi-sweet chocolate goodness.
And then it sits overnight (because it's already almost midnight!) to let it set up (harden), putting chairs all around it and pushing it back from the edge of the table...
and the dog still eats 1/3 of it over night
And did I mention that I stayed up WAY too late the last couple nights making this, because I need it for a cookie exchange tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest?

So I am on my way home early today to dip more candy in chocolate. Good thing I have more:
Sometimes I dip it in butterscotch or white chocolate
instead of the regular chocolate
for my chocolate-hating teenager.

Here's the recipe. Let me know if you make it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


It's snowing, it's blowing,
the amount on the ground is growing....

The snow will help fuel our holiday mood.
The snow will reflect the Christmas lights
and the gray fall landscape will be replaced
with a beautiful clean canvas.
Yay for SNOW!!!

Grace is bugging for a Christmas tree. She's very concerned that Christmas will suddenly be here and the Wilson household will be found treeless. I think we will get one this weekend. After all, it IS snowing...

David's Psalm (56), My Prayer Today

... the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Romans 8.26
and also reminds us of His Spirit breathed Word, like today when I am reminded that God keeps track of my sorrow, of all my emotions, and holds them dear:

O God, have mercy on me,
for people are hounding me.
My foes attack me all day long.

< Papa, please come >

I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
and many are boldly attacking me.

< Help me be meek and gentle, turn the other cheek >

But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.

< Remind me of Your presence, You are trustworthy >

I praise God for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

< You are in control, I give You control now >

They are always twisting what I say;
they spend their days plotting to harm me.
They come together to spy on me—
watching my every step, eager to kill me.
Don’t let them get away with their wickedness;
in your anger, O God, bring them down.
< I feel so beat up & bruised, come protect my battered heart >

You keep track of all my sorrows
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.

< With You, I am never alone and I am SO THANKFUL.
I can't even breathe without You >

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!
I praise God for what he has promised;
Yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

< I trust in God, I trust You, God >

I will fulfill my vows to you, O God,
and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
For you have rescued me from death;
you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
in your life-giving light.

< I walk in Your presence, Your life-giving light, I walk with You. >

I am encouraged today. Hope you are, too!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You Matter

I work at a university in the IT department, but I am truly not a technical person and my role is strictly as support staff for the amazingly technical people with whom I work. I recently gave one of the staff some information they needed, for the third time, and they responded with a link via email to show me that they were including the information in a wiki so they wouldn't have to ask me for it again. The link wouldn't work, I didn't have access. (Remember, un-technical me doesn't need access to mess things up. This is really fine, because I am pretty uninterested in most of this techgeek stuff.) So I responded with something like, 'I don't have access to this site, but I'll take your word for it!' They sent this response, which I just reread today, saved in my email:
please try again.
you matter.
What? I have to admit, I have read it over a few times as I notice it sitting in my email... You should go read it again right now because it applies to you, too.

This is a lie I seem to buy into over and over, that I don't matter, that what I do goes unnoticed.

When I am working, I don't do the things our department does and that feels pretty unnoticeable sometimes.

When I am with some friends who home school their kids, I feel like the mom who (appears to) throw her kids to the wolves and send them to public school with little regard for their welfare.

When I clean the kitchen for the 2nd & 3rd time in a day, I wonder if anyone notices what I do.

When I make sure we never run out of toilet paper, ever.

When I feel superfluous in the band.

When my family doesn't care, when you don't care.

When I pour my heart out in a blog and no one comments.

When I pour my heart out to a friend and they just want to 'fix' me instead of listening.

I saw this secret on Post Secret's 50 People One Question:
I'm a lot better before you get to know me.
And I thought, "God help me, me too! I feel that way, too!"
And then I thought, "She needs to know that she matters, that she's important to someone."

So, here is the thing I think God is trying to get through my thick skull; I matter - He sees what I do. I matter. That feels almost embarrassing to type, let alone say, out loud. You try it. It feels Stuart Smalley-ish, but it's true. I matter. You matter. What I do, regardless of who notices, who comments, whose life changes because of something I do or say, it all matters. And the fact that everything I do matters should change the way I feel, it should change my attitude, and that will change the results - even when I'm doing it for an audience of One.

Whatever you do, work at it with all you heart, as working for the Lord, not men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Collosians 3.23-24

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Multitude Monday on Tuesday

holy experience

The posts on my blog get automatically fed into my facebook profile. Last Tuesday I did a second round of 'Multitude Monday' and got a bunch of responses to the post. I'm including them in my list, too. Here they are:

From hubby:
127. watching teenagers give hugs to parents
128. racing season is over, maybe next year.
129. siblings who are really good cooks
130. A wife that understands my obsession with Christmas lights.
131. a sound board that has lots of pretty lights.

From a friend:
132. apple brats from Bayfield (we ran into her while we were there.)
133. running into a million Vineyard people at Apple Fest

From my mother-in-law:
134. Daughter-in-laws who share their hearts and souls.
135. Being invited to stone soup day. It was a blast. It is a memory I will hold dear forever.

At the suggestion of another friend, I will add:
136. The movie 'UP!' Our whole family likes it.

137. Friends who help me be thankful!
I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Grace did a couple fill in the blank prayers in Sunday school a few weeks ago. These are her prayers:

138. Dear God, You are so big & happy. I'm sorry that I lost my mom's kittie in the kegs. Thank you for all the animals and that You made us. Please help me not be afraid of things. Amen! (kittie in the kegs has now been found and put away)

139. Dear God, You are so great, big & strong. I'm sorry for not obeying my mom & dad. Thank you for making me! And being so helpful. Please help us not get sick again. Amen!

140. I am also so thankful for this boy.
We are going through hard teenage/parenting stuff, but it is so worth the frustration when we glimpse the man he is becoming! God, please help me remember that and see him with Your eyes!

141. Quotes, like this one:
I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.
~ William Shakespeare
142. Or this one:
Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
~ G.B. Stern
What are you thankful for today?