Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lookie!

So I was sitting in front of my (Zoanna's) sewing machine the other day with a stack of little fabric circles, wondering what I could make. Started putting them together to sew, and this is what I got:

I'm rather excited by my little star-thing. What do I do with it, though? Currently, it's a pincushion. The girls want me to make a bunch as decorations. Toby says it's "cute".

I'd like to make more, but a girl only needs so many pincushions, ya know? So, any helpful suggestions as to the purpose of my little bit of creativity? All ideas welcome!

Susanna Wesley

I'd read another book (can't remember now what it was!) by Arnold Dallimore around the time that Eleanor was born and liked it so much that when Toby saw this biography by the same author, he snagged it for me as a Christmas gift. It's very readable, goes quickly and engaging. It was also a real eye-opener after having read the account of the Edwards' marriage.
While Susanna Wesley is known for her diligence and commitment to training her children in godliness, as well as her many children, less is known of her tempestuous marriage to a truly difficult man, the constant debt the family was in, and the fact that it wasn't until she was in her seventies that she finally moved from a works-based salvation to real assurance of Christ's redemption of sin. Interestingly enough, this came about through the preaching of her sons, John and Charles.
This woman did not lead an easy life: there was death, abandonment, poverty and almost endless striving. While there is much to be praised in her character, there is also much to guard against. But as with all of us, God was merciful and gracious, and I am encouraged by the work He can do in any heart, young or old.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sittin' and Scootin'

This is how I found her in bed this morning - sitting, all by herself!

And now, she's on the move...

video

Sunday, March 29, 2009

When Sinners Say I Do

I'll confess right off the bat - I cheated. That is to say, I'd read the book once before. Toby and I read it together 'cause it seemed like a good book that we should read, so we did. And it was good. Then we found out that all the care groups at church would be reading it, so we read it again. And it was better. I really benefitted by going through it in a more thoughtful manner and applying it to myself and my marriage, and asking questions like "Am I the worst sinner I know?" (yes, emphatically) and "How am I to model forgiveness?". While it is particularly geared toward married couples, I've seen very clearly how the principles apply to all relationships - love, forgiveness, examining my own heart in the matter, gently and lovingly reproving sin can and should factor into friendships and family relationships as well as marriage. It also helps that Dave Harvey (author) has a rather self-deprecating style of humor, willing to hold himself up as a model - usually of what not to do.
A phrase from early in the book to ponder: "Till sin be bitter, Christ cannot be sweet". Consider and discuss amongst yourselves...

Friday, March 27, 2009

I can't think of a good title at the moment

Some "non-slouchy" legwarmers for Abi and Anna, since their Christmas ones were "too slouchy".

Miss Snuggle-Pants

Another Wren's nest in our canoe - you'd think these birds had some better options.
Upon downloading pictures from the camera, I came across a few that were rather poorly taken, and I'm sure I didn't do it (I KNOW Toby didn't). Then I realized, we had caught-it-on-film evidence (taken by an older sister, though which one is unclear) of our handsome boy - the Daddy Wannabe - gettin' handy with Daddy's tools. Nice.

When I get a few minutes to call my own, I'll get around to my little book report on When Sinners Say I Do. Promise.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Dress

I've had this pattern for ages, and having done several now for the girls, I decided that it's my turn. There was some concern that my sleeves would be as puffy as theirs, but no need to fear - no puff.
The detail I'm happiest with is the pretty shell buttons as the back. I think they add a pleasant little surprise (until they break off in the wash, of course).

It's taken longer than it should have, but it's finally done. I had to detach the bodice (top part) from the skirt twice because my "helpful" (read: fussy) husband said that there was "too much fabric back there". After a couple attempts, I went from gathering to pleating, to Toby's great relief. So, now we're all happy - it's done and he's content.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Thank you

Big, heart-felt thanks to those who expressed their condolances over Zoe's death on Thursday. I'm surprised (though I really shouldn't be)at the way so many took to heart the death of our pet and shared in our grief, and I can't tell you how blessed my family and I have been through the many kindnesses that have been shown to us. I will say that it was a difficult thing, putting Zoe to sleep, and yet I'm glad that I was able to be there with her and hold her in my arms at the end. It was just the thing I wanted for her - to peacefully fall asleep in the arms of someone who loves her.
It's been odd since - I keep walking into a room, expecting to see her, and she's not there. I think I've taken it the hardest, which is strange - Zoe and I have had our fair share of disagreements over the years (she assuming she can destroy my clothes and all), and I didn't think I'd be so affected. I figured it would be Abigail that would struggle the most - she cried off and on for days before it happened. It would seem, though, that she did her grieving before Zoe died, and now that it's over, she's moved on. My little King David.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Little Zo

I don't mention them very often, but we have two dogs - Zoe and Thor. We've had Zoe for more than 11 years now, right after we got married, and Thor joined us a couple of years later.

Zoe's been showing her age recently. More than that, she's been really sick for a little while. She's had lumps growing on her neck and face, a nose that's chronically blocked, and a lot of trouble breathing. After several trips to the vet and no clear diagnosis without invasive tests and a lot of money, we've made the very sad decision to have Zoe put to sleep. At 4pm, I'll be making the lonely trip to take her to the vet for the last time.

There is part of me that's wondering if this is the right thing to do, and most of me that's sure it is. After all, growing up with dogs, we've always had to deal with 'finding' them (as often as not, in the road). With the number of bids for freedom she has made in her 13 years, I'm surprised she's lasted this long. I'm grateful that we can offer her a peaceful and loving farewell, rather than the altnernative.
Please do pray for our little family, who will be minus one tonight. Abigail is especially distressed, but handling the situation with a surprising amount of grace.

In spite of the sadnes of losing Zoe, we are still grateful for the time we've had with her, for the great deal of fun and laughter she's brought our family, and the knowledge that our good God cares for all of His creation - even Zoe.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cold Sassy Tree

I can't now remember how I heard about this book, probably in something like Honey for a Woman's Heart. Since my reading time is at a premium, I haven't been reading a lot of fiction in recent months, but I'm glad I made this a part of my list. The author has such an engaging writing style, and once you get past the southern colloquialisms (something I can struggle with), it was great. There are some fantastic laugh-out-loud moments (nursing pigs, inflatable "bosoms", the ratty play), and more than a few heartbreaking moments (a grave of roses, Uncle Camp's sad end, "That Night"), and all of which not only hook you into the story, but make you care about these crazy people. Our hero, Will Tweedy, is the 14-year-old who gives us a tour of Cold Sassy and the events surrounding and following his grandmother's death. In a world of etiquette and tradition, how do cope when your Grandad up and marries a woman half his age only three weeks after his wife's death? Fortunately, I don't know, but Will seems to handle the excitement with style, humor and grace, while the rest of his family and the whole town go bananas over the scandal.
This book sat on my bedside and kept me up past my bedtime a couple of times (cliff-hanger chapter endings are always the death of me). If you haven't read it, it's worth finding time for. If you have read it, what did you think?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pictures...

...because I've been talking too much.

One of the few pictures of myself I would actually allow

That about sums it up around here

It was like pulling teeth to get a photo where someone wasn't crying

All (but one) photo credits to Dad, who takes better pictures than me with his fancy-pants camera.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Why I don't get out more

It should have been nice, fun even. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I didn't think it would be that bad. Still, I should have known better...
I took my children to Target.
I know, I know, what was I thinking? I was thinking, "I only need a couple of things, so we should be in and out". Yeah, right.
I should have seen the signs as soon as we got out of the car. Those horrible, big, concrete ball-things at the front? Covered in white 'stuff' (I choose to believe it's salt...)? My kids think they're tasty. The words "Don't touch anything without asking and please don't ask for tons of stuff"? My kids missed the "don't" part. Those shopping carts with the 2 extra seats? My kids like to fight over them and push each other out of a moving cart.
Then, it's the bathroom debacle. Abi has to go. So we all go. Abi and Noah run in while Anna is trying to extricate herself from the manical safety harness, I'm trying to hustle her along while keeping an eye on the other 2, until finally a kind and highly-pierced stranger helps her out (probably all the while wondering what my problem is). Have mere seconds to enjoy bumping into the lovely Beth before returning to my whirling dervish routine. On the way out, Noah falls down in the doorway as the door proceeds to shut on him. Abigail gives me grief for not telling her my debit PIN so she can enter it for me (as if). And finally, the big girls run right out of the store ahead of me and into the parking lot. Eleanor helps the outing by pulling my hair throughout. I think there was more trauma, but it seems I've mercifully blocked it.
And that is why, boys and girls, I don't get out more.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shrinky-dink obedience

A couple days ago, I decided craft-time with my children was in order. Generally, I avoid 'crafts' like the plague, since more often than not it involves an incredible amount of mess, mopping things up with various cloths and cleaners, and a few tears from myself and/or my children. But I figured, shrinky-dinks, not too much mess, should be okay. And it was. And I'm glad I gave it a shot, because God seemed to speak to me through that little project (isn't that just like God, to give object lessons through shrinky-dinks?).
It would seem that to "shrink your dink", you can use an embossing tool rather than the oven. Since I have an embossing tool that rarely gets used and is a little more exciting than the oven, we decided to try it out. But as these little creations started to heat up, they curled and bent until it was this incredible, gnarled mess. I stopped and stared at this thing - did I do something wrong? Is the dink faulty somehow? Should I just give up and chuck it away? I figured I'd give it another try and see what happened, and wouldn't you know it - right about the time it looks completely mangled is when it all starts to flatten out and turn out right. Huh. And amid the whoops and squeals of a bunch of delighted children, I realized that there have been many times where God has prompted me (or flat-out told me) to do something that I would begin with excitement, just to lose enthusiasm when it didn't work out the way I expected. I hesitate, thinking "Is this really right?" (note - questioning Him is not generally wise). How many times, if I had stuck with it, would I have seen it all turn out just as He planned? How many times have I given up and missed being a part of something big He is doing?
The Lord is gracious and merciful; no doubt He will give me more opportunities to obey Him. By His grace alone, may I not grow weary in doing good. And maybe next time I won't melt my embossing tool, either.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Heaven

I'm going to Heaven. I've known this since I was fifteen years old. However, I never really understood how good a thing that is, just that it's better than going to Hell. I've readily excused my ignorance on my final destination with trite platitudes like, "I'm sure it'll be wonderful", or "Even if the idea doesn't excite me now, I'll love it when I'm perfect." How dumb. Honestly.
Then I read Randy Alcorn's Heaven. It takes a building-block approach toward answering common questions about Heaven, based on Scripture. From questions like "Will we have bodies?" to "What will we do with eternity?" to "Will I see my pets?", Alcorn takes a careful examining of biblical text to try to answer these and other queries.
What a joy - not only to better understand my "home country", but to realize just how much the Bible has to say on the issue. The best part of this reading has been to understand just how important it is to desire and long for Heaven. It's what we're made for! After all, if we visit another country or even another state, more often than not we buy the Rough Guide and brush up on the local info. Shouldn't we do that and more in preparation for the place where we will spend forever with Jesus (assuming we know Him as Savior)?