Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hope Restored

When we came home from our vacation this past August, I was feeling pretty bummed. In fact, as we got closer and closer to home, I was feeling more and more bummed.

And this is what I saw:

a rainbow.  The sign that God gave Noah and his family to restore hope. 

Now, I should have been jubilant, but I was bummed.  I felt more like, "Harrumph! God, I need more than a rainbow to give me hope right now."  (Ever feel like that, or am I the only one?)

After we got home, step by step, God has been restoring hope where I had lost it.  He has taken me by the hand and is showing me hope- specific things to hope for in my present circumstances.  He has used a bunch of little and not so little things really.  For instance, Dr. Pepper (my new nickname for my dear husband) and I have picked up a series of books that is really helping us adjust our thinking, behaviour, and subsequently our lives.  I've also been reexamining dreams that I had let go because of circumstances and self-imposed limitations. It's exhilarating to have old dreams and hopes resurrected.

I have the opportunity to share a little in church this morning as we take up the offering.  I'm going to share about hope.  Hebrews 11:1 says that, "Faith is the substance of things HOPED for..." (emphasis mine)
If we have lost hope, we have nothing to attach faith to.  Our faith then becomes null and void and unable to produce any good fruit in our lives.  There is an attack against our hope.  Proverbs 13:12 says that "Hope deferred makes the heart sick."  Deferred means postponed or yielded to the wishes or opinions of another.  If the enemy can just get us to give up hope, he knows he has disabled our faith and our ability to complete what God has created us to accomplish.  We also become miserable and completely devoid of all joy, which is a happy byproduct of the enemy's plan.  If we are without the joy of the Lord, we are without our source of strength... it's like cryptonite to our souls.

I invite you to join me in searching our own hearts and examining if there are any areas where we have lost hope.  Let's take those areas to our Father God and ask Him to heal them and renew the dreams and desires that He has given us.  Let's be sensitive to His guidance for specific steps that we can take to restore hope in ourselves and others.    

What do you say?       

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Successful Blogger?

I just read a post from another Canadian blogger today (YEAH Canada!)  She was giving "tips" on becoming a successful blogger.  Maybe that was just my interpretation of what she wrote, but it did get me thinking: Why am I doing this blogging thing?

So here, in no particular order,  are my reasons to blog:
  1. A whole bunch of blogging ladies had become my virtual friends.  It was a pretty one sided friendship though and I was beginning to feel like a peeping Tom without putting myself out there too.  
  2. It's a place to document the tablescapes that I have created.  I started doing them for church about a year and a half ago, and then people started asking me to do them for private functions.  Now I can click the "centerpiece" label and they all come up- my mini portfolio that I can access pretty much anywhere.
  3. To reconnect with dear friends from the past (you know who you are- love you girls). 
  4. To learn something new (I joined my first linking party today ;)
  5. Motivation to get some projects on the list done.

But the bottom line is that I'm doing this for fun.  There are some amazing ladies out there who have hundreds or more followers and are just celebrating their first blogging anniversary.  Kudos to you!  I, on the other hand  have 2 followers after 4 months.  I love you dearly my followers!  Thank you!  But I am not going to get discouraged because I am still a little fish in the blogging world.  Those big whigs must be putting  a whole lot more time, money, and effort into this thing that I am willing to.  And I'm OK with that.  I have these guys to consider:

And him too:

They help me to keep it real.  So there probably will not be amazing amounts of involved projects etc. posted here any time soon.  I won't be reworking every room in my house in the next ten days.  I'm just going to continue being the real me creating, reflecting, and living my real life.  BUT there will continue to be smiles on the faces of the 3 men in my life - and MINE.

Thank you to those of you who have told me via facebook, email, phone, or in person that you've been enjoying my blog.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!  It encourages me to keep on with my little fish efforts. 

Love you all!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sports Themed Bulletin Board Tutorial

The Before... a garage sale find.
The finished product.

This was the product that I had to shop for.  We chose the blue can of contact cement because it was good for both foam, paper, and fabric.  We spent a bit of time reading all the different cans, but it was worth it.  It cost just under $10.
We used foam board because I had it on hand.  I originally planned on using metal in order to make it a magnet board, but in the end with with the foam.  We plan to staple the items onto the board, so I think the foam board will stand up to that.  In order to cover the entire surface of the original painting, I needed to use 3 panels.  I centered a full panel and then trimmed the other 2 and placed them on either side.

I upholstered the center panel with some sports themed flannel.  I used a standard stapler, nothing heavy duty, but it did the job.

 I had a denim duvet cover on hand that I took apart in order to repurposed the fabric for this project.  The seam detail was original to the duvet so I cut the fabric to utilize this detail as a "seam" to "join" the panels on the bulletin  board.

 My simple upholstery method : pull the fabric tight over the panel and staple in place.  Easy peasy :)  I did iron the flannel piece of fabric before upholstering in order to create a smooth surface to start with.  The denim looked fine, so I skipped this step.

I wanted to add some original detail so I cut up a pair of levis and repurposed the back pocket with the red tab. 
Voila, a handy pin or mini stapler holder.  I attached the pocket to the panel with a glue gun.

I painted over the original gold coloured frame with Christmas Red DecoArt Crafter's Acrylic.  I used almost 2 bottles of paint (2 US fl oz or 59 ml / bottle).  After the paint dried, I distressed with a bit of dark brown shoe polish applied with a rag. 

My sweet husband works with this type of product at work, so he volunteered to do this step for me.  Using an old paintbrush he applied cement to the entire back of each panel following the directions on the can.  He was sure to apply generous amounts around the edges of each panel as well as over the entire painting. He let it all dry and then stuck them together.  He says there is no wiggle room- once you stick it it's stuck forever.  :)

OK, maybe I should have ironed the wrinkles out of the denim fabric too. 

Here is a last look at the BEFORE.

And the finished product in my son's "Sports" room all ready for him to personalize.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pondering Parenting

"He who loves him [his son] is diligent to discipline him. "Proverbs 13:22b

I've been pondering parenting a lot lately. A lot. I'm thinking about it. I'm reading about it. I'm asking parents and grandparents about it. I am seeking God about it.

Often, I feel like I am swimming against the cultural current of contemporary parenting. Anyone else ever feel like that? I grow weary of it at times. But I love my children and I promised before God and my church community that I would do my best to train them up in the ways of the Lord. The stakes are high, eternally high.

I'm reading Boundaries with Kids right now. Here are excerpts, just some of the parts that I've underlined so far.
"But one goal of parenting is to keep an eye on the future. We are raising our children to be responsible adults." p.14
"Certainly, child rearing requires many different interventions. There are times for helping, for not getting involved, or for being strict. But the real issue is this: Is what you are doing being done on purpose? Or are you doing it from reasons that you don't think about such as your own personality, childhood, need of the moment, or fears?" p.14
"Too little freedom to gain experience, and the child forever remains a child. Too much freedom and the child is in danger of hurting himself. So balancing freedom and limits becomes a major task in child rearing." p.19-20
I began this post with a scripture that I came upon tonight. God says that those who love their children are diligent to discipline them.
diligent: constant in effort
attentive and persistent in doing
done or pursued with persevering attention
So if you are on this parenting adventure like I am right now, I pray that you will be inspired, encouraged, and strengthened to express your love to your children by diligently disciplining them.

Post Post Ponderings: When I talk about discipline I am talking about redirection or focus... really discipling (same root word and all).  I hoped that readers realize that I don't mean "punishing".  That would put a whole different spin on the post and one that I certainly had not intended. :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thumbs up to "Temple Grandin" Movie

OK, I watched it twice and I could go back for more. It gets a big thumbs up from our house. The second time I watched it with the running commentary from the writer, director, and Ms. Grandin herself. The movie presents us with an amazing opportunity to understand the way people on the autism spectrum experience the world. "Different, not less."
I feel challenged to be a better parent, teacher, and person. What did you think?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Kissing Summer Goodbye

Oh, it is bittersweet isn't it?

I love the comfort of fall sweaters, the scent of freshly baked apple pie, and the sight of crimson or burnt orange leaves but it did seem to come early this year. The pic is from a couple of weeks ago. The boys decided to brave the chilly weather to play ball hockey. I don't imagine this is the regular street hockey uniform for August, but it's Canada - and it's always wise to layer :).

I have that same bittersweet feeling about my boys heading back to school. I'm happy to see them settle into their new classes, but I do miss them at home. I'm proud to see them grow more and more independent, but I miss them being my constant companions. I wouldn't want it any other way, but this quiet reflection does remind me to savor the season... no matter which one it is.

So goodbye summer! We'll miss you, but fall is calling. We've got leaves to rake and jump in.