August 29, 2010

My Feet Are in a Spacious Place

As I typed out this title, I wondered how many people would be confused by it and perhaps decide not to read it. But I know if it were me, I would HAVE to click it. Curiosity is a weakness. So for you who clicked...thanks for engaging my cryptic and yet (I think) brilliantly poetic title. :)

I just inhaled deeply. That deep breath you take before you begin talking.  Actually, it is more like unloading YOUR LOAD OF WOE.  The load you carry and feel bogged down by burden.  But I don't feel bogged down. It's more like I feel attacked and beaten.  This week has been such spiritual battle for me but there is a reason that God assures us we are more than conquerors.

Let me back up a bit.  First off, you have to understand that we have been in a whirlwind of just good old fashioned STUFF.  House stuff, remodeling, getting ready for school, and running around doing things causing me to wonder what exactly I am accomplishing besides repeating the same cycle the following week.  You know.  Wash clothes, feed children, drive to Point A.  Then to Point B.  Then home.  Then eat.  Then sleep.  Then shower on the 3rd day.  It all takes on this beautiful sense of NORMAL.  And then WHAM!

Job loss.  

Then another WHAM!

I am sick.

WHAM AGAIN!


Girls spike high fevers and become infected with boilsOh, I wish I were kidding. I started asking my husband if we were being plagued in a magnificent, biblical, prophetic kind of way.

He said no but I am still not convinced.

The boils thing is something we have dealt with for years and I am ashamed to even blog about it and put it out there.  It is this kind of situation that makes me doubt myself as a mother.  We have seen several doctors, even infectious disease control, but we have no conclusive answers.  It is sporadic...like 3 times a year. And for those who know me I am a clean freak to the point that boiling toothbrushes and combs would be a trait I would admire in a person. As in, you are not weird because I would like detailed instructions to follow suit.

But when it happens,  it always discourages me deeply and as I bleach everything in my house once again, I question my worth. Am I bad mom? Do I keep things TOO clean? Not enough clean? Blah, blah, blah. Though I know this is often a lie, I believe it anyway.  I actually suspect something in our water or pipes but I can't be sure.  The other day I was scrubbing my bath tub and when I turned on the water, this is what came out...


I thought I was seeing things but that water was straight up brown.  I freaked.  So I tried again after 5 minutes and this what came out...

Clear! I thought I imagined the whole thing and at this point my sanity was in total question.  When we first moved in we had to empty the hot water heater due to all the sediment in the bottom.  But it ran clear after about a week.  This came out of nowhere. And still, the girls have struggled with this issue before we moved here.  But we have not been able to figure it out.  We use special cleansers.  We don't reuse towels. I dress them in haz mat suits, etc.  But I am veering off point as usual.

Then there is my oldest daughter who has decided to become...shall I say...difficult. TRIPLE WHAM! Cati must have drank the Koolaid from a sect called  Babies Torturing Mothers.  She has learned strategies that would rival the cunning ways of a CIA agent to make me question my diligent quest for motherhood.  As I tap away she is making squealing sounds from her bed because we have made the unfortunate decision of not giving her attention though she was supposed to be in the REM state of sleep 55 minutes ago.

Then there is my husband who has many job leads and yet no actual possibilities.  Oddly, I am totally confident that God is working. The small stuff lays me out like right hooks to the head.  The big stuff I roll with. Go figure.

I got one of those chain letter emails today that makes you fear for your life if you don't send it to 10 people.  The email actually says that if I am too busy to send it to 10 people that perhaps Jesus is to busy to write my name in the book of life.

True story.

Oh, how I want to start my own chain letter to reference this wayward and alarmingly false theology but I shall take the high road and just look at all the pretty pictures that accompanies the email.  But at the top, in all its blinky form, it said something that struck me...

"When God is about to reposition your life, know that the devil will begin to attack."

Oh, how true.  And I am most vulnerable when my feet are in a spacious place.  When nothing seems to be happening. It was in college or just after, I heard a pastor preach on this verse in Psalm 31 that had significant impact on me. I will share the verse that precedes it to give it some context...

"I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place." Psalm 31:7-8

This pastor said something I have never forgotten in all these years since I was a fairly new Christian when I heard them.  He referenced that last verse and I scribbled the words he said in the margin of my bible.
Do not mistake the Lord's inactivity for absence.

The times I have needed this truth are countless.  And this is one of those times.  As we eagerly wait for Brandon's new job, there is ZERO THINGS HAPPENING ON THE JOB RADAR. Even as I try to figure out my specific purpose on this earth to build God's kingdom. There seems to be heavenly crickets singing our Lord's praises in that area.Even as I spend much too much time considering paint colors for my laundry room and currently non existent master bath that we have stopped remodeling.  Since, you know.  What was once to be my bathtub may now have to take the form of Ramen noodles for dinner or the assurance that a light bulb will still turn to the on position. In all of this, God may not seem to be doing anything for the moment...but He has not left us.  What a comfort!  And as you read through David's anguished words in this psalm, you reach verses 14 and 15...

"But I trust in you, O Lord: I say, 'You are my God.  My times are in your hands...'"

So currently my feet are in a spacious place.  God has not left us though it feels nothing is happening...YET. And there is something so lovely about that YET. I am excited to post about what is YET to come.

And by the way. Thank you for all your prayers, sweet comments, and emails. I go back through them often marveling that I have friends across the nation and world. You all astound me at your thoughtfulness and friendship.

And I leave you with this truth that I live moment to moment during this trial that can only end in triumph.

Though He slay me,  YET will I hope in Him.  Job 13:15 

P.S.  The squealing sounds from Cati were apparently due to her frog night light moving within the electric socket. SHE SAID IT WAS MOVING! This is obviously terrifying to a 4 year old and rightly so since it terrifies me. We have removed said frog and it will not be returning to wreak it's late night havoc.  Thank you and good night.

August 20, 2010

We are Going Through A Tough Time

You know...I wish life were easy and wrapped into this nice little bow. That the way you you wish it or hope it will be is exactly the way it will turn out.  But it never is and I will tell you that I am glad for it.  Really and truly.

Which is why I am asking for prayer and letting you know that my sweet husband came home today crushed because he lost his job.

Oh, this precious man.  For those who know him he is described as one of the nicest people they ever met, kind and tender hearted, a great guy, a workhorse, a dedicated person.  And I know all this to be true since...um...he hired me and that is how we met.  I remember watching his impeccable work ethic and the way he was with people.  I was so impressed by him.  Little did I know I would marry him and I am so glad I did. :)

It hurts this has happened.  I know that if we don't let God reign in our thoughts we can easily give way to fear.  But we also are choosing to FORGET NOT ALL OF GOD's BENEFITS.  We serve a mighty God who has never let us down before.  In fact, He has done MIRACLES in our life.  He won't stop now. So please pray for the job intended for Brandon that puts him on the right career path.

It amazes me the perfect peace that comes when we let God rule our hearts, our decisions, and our future.  I love that when I start letting thoughts go through my head like the fast paced credits at the end of a movie, I can easily be gripped by terror and paralyzing anxiety. But God tells us not to be anxious about anything but with prayer and petition to present our requests to him...and the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard my heart in Christ Jesus.  Consider us GUARDED.  I marvel that in the midst of the dark unknown...we trust the outcome...no matter what it will look like.

Obviously, trouble can come and when we are most vulnerable we can begin to lose patience, faith, and reason.  So pray that our family stands united in Christ and with one another.  Our children are watching this new development and all I want them to see is Faith in Action. Not only that, but we can easily begin to fear God will forsake His provision. Yet this is a lie straight from the pit and I stand on the knowledge that God is our Jehovah Jireh...our PROVIDER...and I know He will provide.  But I am human.  We all are and can begin to doubt God in HIS FINEST HOUR. And I am so excited to see what GOD will do. So pray for our family as a whole.

Finally, my hope and deepest desire is this scenario will be another testimony of God's goodness and faithfulness.  That his ways are higher than our ways.  My prayer is that our family remains steadfast within this so this whole situation will point directly to our God and King.  

May it magnify your name, Lord.

I promise to keep all of you posted and I thank God for each and every one of you.

August 18, 2010

I've Been Featured!

Thank you so much 
to these AMAZING blogs for featuring my Felt and Fabric Clock.  


 
As always I am grateful for every one of you who follow my blog. 
I appreciate your friendship, sweet encouragement and of course the spontaneous laughter that makes me spray the water I am drinking at the monitor.

August 16, 2010

Tick Tock I Made a Clock

Impressed?

OK...because um...it's not real.  In fact, it is made of felt and scrap fabric. 
 FUN! FUN! FUN!

It's a practice clock for my little pre-schooler. And I have fallen in love with this cute little project and I wanted to share it with you.

Before I get into this little project of mine, let me just tell you guys why I have been kinda MIA.  We have so much stuff going on here at my TWO SHADES OF PINK household.  We are remodeling the master bathroom and this process requires way too much decision making. It's akin to removing teeth sans the Novocaine. I hate CHOICES!  I can't even decide what I want at a restaurant and usually succumb to asking the server which meal I should choose.  This usually occurs on a server's second night working there and they look at me panic stricken that they may suggest a dish that I will ultimately send back.  See?  Decision making is stressful for EVERYONE! 

Then school is starting soon for Cati.  This will require a whole other post.  It is only pre-K but she is going to school that is part homeschooling as well so I will be teaching my child I think I just heard that ominous du du duuuummmm sound somewhere above me. This is a terrifying prospect for me since I possess a degree in Human Resources and am only equipped with the education to hire and fire people and reiterate corporate policies. That I did like 10 years ago.  I pray my child comes out of this with more than a knowledge of business policy guidelines.

So to sum up...I have been busy. I promise I will be more consistent when life begins to die down but we shall see.

Now back to the clock.
It all started when I found this little practice clock in the $1 section at Target.  
Cute but I thought this could be soooooo much cuter! And because I have a mad obsession with all things fabric, felt, or yarn related I decided to combine these craft loves into a little project.   
But prepare yourself.  I had no idea what I was going to do which is my usual "winging it"  approach to my crafts.  But I get an idea in my head and I HAVE to see it though.  So I took pics for a little tutorial for you but not as detailed as it should be.

Wait...maybe you just yelled yippee that I finally found the ability to be concise.  Yet if I did, you would not have had to read 103 paragraphs so far when I have yet to tell you how I made this.
Moving on...

What you need:
Fabric and Felt
Jelly Roll fabric or strips of fabric (Your choice for width and sizes)
Ribbon, yarn, buttons, embroidery floss, etc
Eyelets and eyelet kit
Polyfill

Here is the fabric I used in all of its un-ironed glory.  
I picked two fabrics for the front and back of the clock, a felt piece for the face of the clock and a coordinating fabric from a jelly roll and to put between the front and back to make it more dimensional. 
I traced around a large bowl for the two large circles and then used a smaller plate for the face. 
The ribbon is to tie the hands of the clock together. And before I go on...I used all fabric and stuff from my stash.  I am a big believer to use what you have.
I first started off by sewing the jelly roll fabric around the edge, right sides facing each other.  And yes, I used a SEWING MACHINE. I know.  Shocking. The heavenly angels in charge of sewing grace smiled upon me and allowed me to complete this project and then the machine stopped working. I can't get into it or the machine will come to its demise if I dwell on it.  Apparently I am like a sewing Cinderella and had a time limit to this wonderful accomplishment of mine.  I mean you do remember the bean bags right? (I used the same fabric too)
I took the jelly roll and cut it in half lengthwise to give me the length I needed to make it around the circle and sewed those two pieces together lining it up with the fabric.
And you get this.
I made the clock hands using adhesive backed, stiffened felt.  I just placed the fabric I wanted and free cut the hands to my liking.  USE FRAY CHECK!  Totally forgot until later.
I wanted the hands to work smoothly so I used eyelets with an eyelet kit. I also put an eyelet through the face of the clock.  I did all of this before sewing the face to the front fabric.  Follow directions on your package for the eyelets. 
By the way.Not sure why my hammer got in this picture.  I never used it. Hmmmm...
Then I made the face of the clock where I used my creativity.  I made each number unique using what I had in my stash.  Yarn, embroidery floss, ribbon, patterned felt, buttons, and little pom poms.  Get as creative as you want.  I really wanted to spell out numbers like two or ten but I figured that was not best for my preschooler.  Way too confusing but totally cute idea to use later. I threaded the ribbon through the face and two hands from the back to the front. I tied a bow in the center ensuring the hands would move smoothly. 

I sewed the face to the front of the clock.

I then sewed the other circle with right sides facing and then turned it inside out, stuffed it, and sewed it the rest of the way closed.
 Here is the edge of the clock.  Now let's talk about my over exuberance stuffing this thing with polyfill.  I did not want it to look all chunky like this but apparently I do not know when to say when.  
And I kid you not, I sat on it to flatten it. It worked.  I mean, you have to get creative even with your methodology, right?

Now my Cati has a fun clock to learn how to tell time with.  Maybe you could even make it into a pillow? Or actually make it into a working clock?  I so would use it and hang it in my kitchen. It would be kinda funky and fun. 
Hope you liked my felty and fab clock.  I will be linking up to some crafty parties this week to put a little bloggy pizazz into my week. As usual, thank you for coming here to visit my little blog.  You guys make me so happy!

August 3, 2010

101 Useful Ideas for Wood Tags...OK. Only 4 Ideas. Maybe...5.

I saw these wood tags at Jo Jo's for .99 and I just had to pick some of them up.  Loved them but was not sure what I would do with them. Yet  I felt chalkboard paint was a simple and fun way to find some uses for them.  Here is what I came up with...
Chalkboard on a ring...Maybe flashcards? Or a fun little thing for kids to travel with and doodle on if they don't eat the chalk.
I also thought this would be a great idea to use as paint swatches for all the paint in your house.  Paint each one a color you have used in a room and put a label on the back with all the paint info like where you bought it, color and id number, etc.
Reusable post it notes!  
Just tack them right through the handy hole onto your bulletin board.
Well duh...basket labels.
I label my baskets.  And everything else.  I would label my forehead if possible.
Re-usable gift tags!  
I would love to get this and then pass it on.  How fun!
I had to show you this photo to illustrate my requirement that all my gifts are like Fort Knox and should be taped to the point that heavy machinery is required to remove the paper.
  
 This was fun but I got another package just itching to be experimented with.
I am thinking pretty blues, whites and greens to match the rest of my house and then go label loony.

What would YOU use them for?

August 1, 2010

The Girl's Birthday Party

An amazing AND fun day with family and friends!
I wanted to just share with you some snap shots of the party.  Here we go...
 
Sweet little favors filled with BFF's amazing iced sugar cookies that were tiny pink and yellow stars to match the theme.
Yummy berry lemonade punch and silly straws make having a refreshing drink so much fun!
Mmmmm...chocolate chip scones made another appearance along with some yogurt parfaits.
Pretty paper cones filled with sugary sweet cotton candy
 
Flowers were yellow and two shades of pink :o) in mason jars with lemons. So fresh and pretty.
The girls became fairies with tutus I made for them and fairy wands made of felt and ribbons. 
Each tutu had a little girl's name on it and they had to find them hanging from the trees.
I love this photo of them finding their own tutu and Fairy Cati looking on full of excitement.
I made baby fairy wands with Popsicle sticks instead of dowels to keep those little ones safe.
After the boys and girls became pirates and fairies, they went on a little scavenger hunt in the yard searching for treasure and little fairy houses in the trees.  Apparently some little fairies have been up to some mischief in our new yard and it was up to the pirates and fairies to find the little toys and treats hidden in them.
Fairy Cati finding some treasure.  
Fairy Ella refused her Fairy Tutu and was somewhere clinging to her daddy.
 
Cati's birthday pin.
 Here are the felt eye patches and telescopes I made for the pirates but you can kind see them in the photos of all the cute pirates.  The telescopes were made from the tulle tubes I used for the tutu's.
 Instead of one cake, I used a muffin tin to make individual little ice cream cakes topped with hot fudge, Oreo crumbles, and whipped cream.  The bottom was also Oreo crumbles.
My amazing family full of smiles on the girl's special day!

P.S.  If any of you Sweet Friends want to know how I made anything just let me know and I would be happy to do a tutorial later. Just wanted to give you a party glimpse for now.
OK then. Off to RELAX!