Monday, July 28, 2008

Working Girl

Last May I left the work force to pursue the life of a full-time homemaker. I had worked full-time since graduating from college in December 2001, but knew that the work force was not where God had called me to be long term. I always knew that I'd never be a career girl. So when God opened some doors for me to "stay at home" and use my time and talents to keep our home and take care of my husband, I was thrilled to say good-bye to the 8 to 5 life.

I gave six weeks notice at my job and trained my replacement for two full weeks before being officially finished there. My replacement, "Jenny" was a sweet, kind, girl with a huge heart for the job. I couldn't have selected a better replacement and I knew I was leaving the department in good hands. We emailed periodically through the summer when she would have questions or need some advice and by fall, Jenny was an old pro.

Last week Jenny was killed tragically. It was a huge shock to the community, to my former employer, and especially to her family. It's very, very sad. I visited the office on Thursday last week to see how people were doing and express my condolences. While I was there I was offered my old job back. While I am not looking to return to the work force permanently, I had already felt God's prompting to help out this department if they expressed a need for it.

So, starting tomorrow afternoon, I will be returning to work part-time for the next 5-8 weeks as my former employer transitions into a new day-to-day routine without Jenny. A permanent replacement will be hired but it probably won't be for at least four weeks due to a very busy time of year for the department. If you happen to think of me tomorrow around 1:30pm mountain time, would you say a quick prayer for me? I am nervous about whether or not it will be strange to work in this environment. Of course I didn't know Jenny as well as the other employees since I had not spent the last year working with her, but her death was so untimely that you can't help but feel heartbroken by it. My sincere hope is that I can help this office in their time of need and pour God's love out on their very broken hearts.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Four years ago today...

It was a perfect day, a beautiful wedding, and it's been an amazing four years. Happy Anniversary my Love!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thank You for Being a Friend

I love "The Golden Girls." I got hooked on it in college when it aired on Lifetime from 7-8am, 10-11am, 4-5pm, and 9-10pm. Whatever I was working on, if "The Golden Girls" were on TV, I had it on, even if it was only in the background. These ladies entertained me when I was sick, made me laugh constantly, and helped me time my morning routine (I knew that when one show ended it was 7:30 and I had 15 minutes before I had to leave). When I traveled for business, I would watch them in my hotel room and they kept my company - they were a little piece of home. They became like friends to me.

I own all seven seasons of the show on DVD and I always have one of them in our DVD player. A laughs at me because in order to watch a movie we have to take out the Golden Girls DVD. The show doesn't air on Lifetime as much as it once did (although it's still on from 7-8am, 2-3pm, and 11pm-midnight) so I have my DVDs to entertain me should the need arise. The story of these unique women and their friendship touches me. I hope I have girlfriends like this well into my golden years.

Estelle Getty, the actress who played Sophia Patrillo on the show passed away today. I am saddened by this although I know that she was suffering from advanced dementia. It is a sad day for Golden Girls fans. It only felt right that today especially, I should tune into Lifetime and enjoy an hour of the show that I love in memory of Estelle .

Friday, July 18, 2008

Staying cool...

I realize it's been over a week since I wrote much of a blog post. As I mentioned in my last post, I am enjoying a much slower pace of life right now. The weather here has been HOT and when that happens I spend a lot more time relaxing with a good book or crafting. God had such a blessing in store for me when we bought this house and the most logical place to create my crafting space was in the basement. I actually get good light in my corner of the room and it's the perfect cool retreat in these warm summer months.

So since most of what I've been doing is reading and making cards, with a little sewing thrown in on the side, that's what this post is about.

I've made a few cards lately and a few of these photos are cards that I didn't get posted previously. For example, this first card was the Fourth of July card that we sent to friends and family, but I'm just now getting it on the blog.

These next cards are baby cards that I had to stock up on after depleting my stash this spring. They are all copied from designs on Mish Mash's blog. She is one of my favorite card designers because her layouts are simple and stunning at the same time.

These next three cards all use stamps from PaperTrey Ink (PTI). I am never disappointed with PTI's stamps, paper, ink, and ribbon. Everything they make is phenomenal - not only in keeping up with the trends and colors in papercrafting, but also in making such high quality products. I would own everything they sell if I could!

The first design is another of Mish Mash's and the other two are Nichole Heady's. Nichole is the stamp designer for PTI and her sense of style is amazing! I always find inspiration at her blog.

Have you noticed that I very seldom create my own card designs? :) It's so much quicker to take a great layout or design from another stamper and put my own spin on it. Of course I always try to remember to give credit where credit is due. I would love to have the talent of these ladies, but for now I am happy to let them do the hard part.

This last card is actually one of my own design - shocker, isn't it?! I actually made this card last fall to send to my book group as a reminder of our upcoming meeting.

Speaking of reading, this evening I finished the latest Sisterchicks book by Robin Jones Gunn. I have a special place in my heart for Robin because her Christy Miller series was instrumental in leading me to Christ, but that is a story for another time. I've been reading her work for over 15 years and I enjoy everything she writes.

Now I have to get going on our book group selection for next month. It's a little intimidating because it's almost 700 pages long, but I know it's going to be a good read. I'm already a little ways into it and I really enjoyed the movie, so I'm looking forward to getting "lost" in 16th century England.

Finally, I took on a little project this week that turned out better than I had hoped.

I made a dress!! I have only made one other article of clothing and that was probably 5 years ago and it was a costume for an Easter cantata at church. Needless to say it's not something I generally wear on a regular basis. But this! This is cute and I will wear it! In fact, I have it on right now. Oh how I love my sewing machine and my new sundress!

So that's what I've been up to this past week. I hope you are staying cool wherever you are - or if not, I hope you enjoy the heat!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Nothin' much...

Nothing new going on around here folks. The dog days of summer have hit and I'm loving the laziness of it. I hadn't planned on taking a little bloggy break but it's kind of looking like I'm headed in that direction...

Hope everyone's enjoying their summer!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Strawberry Saturday

We had some strawberries that were past the peak of freshness. So this afternoon I sliced them up, added some sugar, and made a yummy strawberry topping for pancakes, shortbread, or cake.

I love summer's bounty! Now I just need to bake a cake and our dessert will be complete.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Snugglies, blankies, and burp cloths...

Remember back in April when I was glued to my sewing machine making baby gifts for all my friends? Well, in the process, I discovered some new talent and a bit of an obsession with making baby items. This actually works out pretty well for me because I'm in that time of my life where all my friends are either having babies, expecting babies, or will be in the next few years. My gift closet is getting well stocked!

I never posted pictures of most of the items I made, so I'm getting caught up on that now (click on the photos for a larger view).

Here's a no-sew fleece baby blanket with matching snuggly blankie...

Close up of the snuggly...

Another snuggly (this one doesn't have a matching blanket)...

I make two styles of burp clothes - a flannel burp cloth and an embellished cloth diaper. These are four sets of two matching burp clothes that start with a cloth diaper...

I just love that yellow baby bunny fabric so I had to post a close up of that one...

Here are three sets of flannel burp clothes in baby boy colors and designs. I give these away in groups of three or six, depending on if I have other items to include with the gift. Half of the set on the left had already been given away...

A gender neutral set...

Burp clothes for baby girls (all our friends have had baby boys lately so the girl stash is well stocked)...

The flannel burp clothes measure 10 1/2 by 16 1/2 inches. I usually choose a print that I like and then find some kind of coordinating stripe, polka dot, or solid. I can't tell you how much fun I have selecting and matching fabrics!

Thanks for letting me share my creations!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In the wilderness...

I think I'm in a wilderness. I went from feeling like I was in the promised land to being smack-dab in the middle of the desert last December. I feel like I've stayed in that wilderness for the past seven months now and I'm just starting to figure out that maybe God has me here to teach me something. Yeah, I'm quick.

I have all of a sudden been inundated with sermons, Bible study homework, verses, songs, messages on the radio and messages on blogs about how God uses our times in the wilderness. I've also been prompted in my spirit to really make an effort to move closer to God, which I'm coming to find out, is one of the ways God uses a wilderness.

Our church is about to finish up a series called "Road Trip: The Journey of a Lifetime" - its all about the journeys we take in this life and the troubles that sometimes pop up on those trips. I thought it would be a fun summer-themed series. What it's been is life-changing.

This past weekend was by far the most convicting message. To match up with the Road Trip theme, the message was titled "Construction Zone." Also known as waiting. Ahhh, my favorite place to be in life!

This message was so good that I'm not going to try and add my commentary, thoughts, or insights. I'm simply going to type up my sermon notes and pray that these points and verses touch your life if you're in a period of waiting.
How long must I wait? Psalm 119:84
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

At least as important as the things we wait for, is the work God wants to do in us while we wait. (Pastor had us say this aloud with him several times during the message.)

What is the work God wants to do in us?

1. Grow the sturdiness of our moral character.
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, "I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife.' Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you." Genesis 12:10-13

2. Grow our willingness to trust His timing
"The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Genesis 16:2-4

Getting the right thing the wrong way, is still getting the wrong thing.
How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Psalm 13:1-2

God is never late...but He is seldom early

3. Grow the potency of our faith in Him
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. Hebrews 11:17-19

What is the supreme object of your love? The thing in life that we allow to validate us, is the very thing that has the power to invalidate us. If we find our identity in our spouse, our job, our money, or our children, those things will at some point disappoint us and cause us to question our identity. But if instead, we find our identity in Christ, we will never be disappointed because Christ is the only one who will never fail us.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:3-5

And, because it bears repeating...
At least as important as the things we wait for, is the work God wants to do in us while we wait.

I hope that my notes are a blessing to those of you who, like me, may be struggling through a time of waiting in the wilderness. If you'd like to hear the full message from this weekend, you can listen to or download it here.


Works for Me Wednesday -

I don't know why, but for some reason our local post office and I do not get along. I have had several less-than-ideal experiences there, and I don't find the employees at our particular branch to be very helpful. In fact, I try to avoid it as much as possible.

So imagine my delight when I discovered I could purchase postage stamps online at These aren't the stamps that you buy using your own personal photographs. I'm talking about the exact same stamps you purchase at your post office.

Once at the USPS homepage, you click on "Buy stamps and shop," which takes you to the postal store.

One of the things I love about the site is that they sell the entire selection of postage stamps in all the denominations and they don't sell out of certain designs. This comes in especially handy around Christmas.

My favorite thing about shopping from this site is that no matter the size of your order, the shipping and handling is only $1.00. With gas prices these days, I'll gladly pay $1.00 for the convenience of having my stamps delivered directly to my mailbox.

Buying postage stamps at works for me!

For more WFMW tips and ideas, stop by Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Have I mentioned that I love shopping?

The Fall 2008 Southern Living at Home catalog is out! (If you use the link, the Spring 2008 catalog displays by default - click on the small image in the lower right corner for the fall catalog).

I LOVE Southern Living at Home's products and would decorate my whole house with them if I could! So far I have one must-have from the new catalog.

Gail Pittman's new Cottage Garden collection is stunning!! I have pieces from her two Bountiful collections and it looks like I'm going to be adding a beautiful brown bowl to my collection as well. I love the ruffled edge too- so pretty!

This collection would make a lovely addition to our guest bathroom...

Here is a beverage dispenser similar to the one that Kelly has. I am seeing these more and more - they must be the hip thing to have!

And finally, I always think it's kind of fun to start seeing fall products and autumn themes in the middle of summer. It makes me look forward to rich colors and crisp, cool evenings. Doesn't this just look cozy?

What store/company do you love to decorate with?