Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Calm in the Storm

Have you ever had a song follow you around? You hear it once, and then for the next week you seem to hear it over and over. It plays in the store, it is on the radio when you get in the car, a clip of it plays in a show on tv, everywhere you turn, there it is, forcing you to notice it.

I have had a Bible verse stalk me until I read it the way I needed to hear it. It isn't a verse that is new to me at all. In fact, it is from a standard Bible story that I have heard since I was a little girl.
After not paying attention to it in the right way God sent it to me at 3:30 A.M. (I really need to start paying better attention during daylight hours.)

In Matthew 8, Jesus is on a boat with his disciples. A big storm comes up, and is really knocking the ship about. Everyone panics except Jesus, who is napping through it.  I am sorry to report that I know I would have been one of the people waking Him up, handing Him a rope or bucket, and giving Him that look that says, "Are you seriously sleeping through this?" I am not proud that that is who I am, but I might as well be honest about it. 
 Matthew 8:26, Jesus gets up, looks at them, and asks them why they are afraid. He then tells the wind and waves to cut it out, and the storm instantly stops. Everything is calm again.
The word that got to me at 3:30 was "calm". I don't know about you, but when I am up at that hour it is never thanks to me being calm. My first thought was, "Hey, I could use some of that calm about now!" There I was, standing in that boat, waking up Jesus to tell Him it was raining. I needed the wind knocked out of my sails. I was awake because of worry and fear. Sure, outside forces had started the waves, but I am the one who let it become a 3 o'clock tsunami. I wasn't preparing and then resting with the knowledge that God is handling it. I was asking God for the wrong thing. I don't need the storm to calm. I need to be calm in the storm, and let God handle it.

How many times have I heard that message? How many times has that verse laid open in front of me? How many times has God held me through a storm? Why, oh why, did it take a 3A.M. wake up call for me to actually hear what it was saying?
I have been listening to the lightening and thunder because they are louder and frightening. Instead, I desperately need to sit back, and take a rest with Jesus while God handles the storm. 
Even now, even after I have seen this with a fresh heart, there is my little inner "Martha" who whispers, "There is work that somebody has to do. You can't just all go take a nap and assume you'll wake up on the other side of this." That isn't entirely wrong. I can't just skip this trouble. I can't ignore it, and pretend it isn't there. However, that isn't what resting in the Lord looks like. Instead, it looks like picking up your Bible, hitting your knees in prayers, and knowing the answer is there. God not only has the answer, He already wrote it down for me. I even know where it is. I found it in the passage around the verse I made the picture on this post for, Psalms 107. Funny how it is about a calming of the sea, too. Now my job is to relax, leave it in His hands, and stop putting wind in the sails with worry and fear.

And He said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then He rose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm." - Matthew 8:26

Friday, June 16, 2017

You're Kidding Me, Right?

Since I turned 40 this year, and my last trip to the doctor for a simple well physical was in a year that may have started with 19, I thought it was time to catch up on my health. Be a little proactive for a change. This was a horrible idea. Okay, not horrible, it will probably save me a lot of worry and such down the road, but it hasn't been a fun trip.
Through an odd set of circumstances, which involves me getting shingles the week before my scheduled appointment, I was able to have my mammogram early. This is a little sad to admit, but the only reason I could accurately tell them the date of my last mammogram was because I wrote a blog post about it. I failed this one even more spectacularly than the last. The people at the imaging center seemed sort of impressed by how messed up I am. The good news is, it is all harmless, and just who I am. Weird, inside and out. The bad news is, they had to stab me to be sure.
Today was my full physical. I had to fast. Me. Fast. I took food with me so that I could eat as soon as the blood was drawn.
When I got to the office, there was an older woman there who started having some sort of problem that caused a stir with the office people, and the EMS being called. I wasn't sure what was wrong, but I heard them rush them to room 7. Much to my surprise, instead of the old lady, they wheeled out a man with no shirt and only one shoe. Shortly after, I was called back and put in room 7. It smelled strongly of cleaner. None of this is comforting.
The nurse who took me back did everything except send me for my blood draw. It had obviously been a crazy morning there, so I tried to wait, but at 11 I knew I needed food, and asked to have my blood drawn done. As it turns out, the older woman had been fainting (as in more than once), and they were in no hurry to have another one drop today.
As I walked out, two hours later, I realized that the people in the waiting room had no idea of the very unusual day the office was having. They only knew that they'd been waiting an hour, and were probably not happy about it. Then it dawned on me that although this particular set of circumstances was unusual, it isn't unusual for doctor's offices to have to deal with the unexpected on a daily basis. I may be a tad bit more patient in waiting rooms from now on.
 I should maybe mention that since it is my week to fail tests, I also failed my EKG, but not in a bad way, just in a "that's weird" way that wins me a trip to a cardiologist. Hopefully, I will also impress their office with my ability to be weird, and yet completely fine.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

When the bough breaks

I love trees. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve trees. My grandmother had giant one with a swing that I was on every Sunday that weather allowed. I'm always a little sad when a big old tree has to come down. Today, two such trees fell.
My church meets in one of those small southern town churches that has been there forever. To be exact, 182 years (the building, not the specific congregation). It is right in the middle of downtown on Church Street. At the center of the church campus is a very old chapel. That chapel is flanked by two very large oak trees. I don't think it was anyone's first choice that these trees should come down today, but they were dying. 

I went up to watch them come down, and see if maybe I could save a little of the wood for my dad. I have never seen sick trees come down before. When the top most part came off it was so rotten that it turned into this as it hit the ground.

There were holes and cracks.

Then, at the heart of one of the trees, was this beautiful color. 

It amazing how something so dead on the outside can have such beauty inside. The tree company was very accommodating. They cut just the right sized pieces out of the sections I wanted to try to save. They are now in my garage, in black bags, protected and waiting on my dad to put them on a lathe. 

Now we wait. The logs have to dry out in the right way. It will probably be a good six months before we know what will become of this wood. It may crack and split and refuse to be turned. On the other hand, it could turn out beautiful pieces. There is really no way to know. Our hope is that we can make a good number of ink pens from it.
Whatever comes out, my dad will be giving it back to the church where the items will be sold to fund church mission projects. I am hopeful that we will be able to give people a chance to have a piece of these magnificent trees that stood in front of the church where their parents were married, they were baptized, or their children were dedicated. 

As a bonus for making it to the end of my ramble about trees, here is a quick clip of the second one coming down.


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The crazy, possibly dumb, kind of awesome thing I am trying

I wasn't going to tell people. It was going to be my little secret. Then I got so excited that I had to tell a few people, but I kept it mostly quiet. I was afraid I would fail and completely embarrass myself. Then something happened, and I realized that this is something I want to share. Even if I do give out, just trying is an accomplishment. So here goes.

As some of you may know, I started taking an adult ballet technique class a few years ago. I did it for exercise and to fulfill that childhood dream of wearing ballet shoes. I love it. It is the only exercise I have been consistent with, ever. This year, I was invited to join the teenagers in their weekly tech class. I dismissed it because this is a class Nix takes. Much to my surprise, she insisted that I take it. It was our only chance to take class together before she goes to college. So, I did it for her. It has strengthened me and improved my form by leaps. Literal and metaphorical ones. This has lead to my new adventure.

Yep. That is me. Me in my very first pair of pointe shoes.
Pointe work is different. It is slow. I have been at it for a couple of months, and today was the first time I was able to let go of the barre. It will be months more before I let go while moving because I do not want to break myself. For the time being, my victories come in the form of things like trying not to look like a newborn deer when I peel up en pointe.
You might have a couple of questions. A few of them I might can guess.
Yes, they do hurt, but probably not in the way you might think. I am not getting blistered or bruised. I am just getting muscle sore. It takes all the teeny tiny muscles in your foot that you don't know you have until they are all sore the next day.
No, I will not be performing. I am learning technical things and not dances. Although all the things I am learning could be combined into a dance, it is not in my plans.
I don't know how long I will keep it up, or where I am going with this.
No, I do not wear a tutu. There are tights involved though.
Did I miss anything?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Where Have I Been?!

Through an odd route that I won't bore you with, I recently ended up looking at my own public facebook profile with a critical eye. The point was to answer the question, "If a stranger looked at your public profile, what would they know about you?" Three big things stood out.
1. I do not like, what I perceive to be, injustice, and want others to be equally outraged and moved to action. 
2. I value what I can make myself. 
3. I use to write (past tense). 
Where have I been? Why did I stop? Have I stopped making things and having silly things happen? 
It has taken me a couple of weeks to come up with an answer.  It has really bothered me. We have been through, and continue to go through the most tumultuous political period of my lifetime, and I haven't blogged a word. Have I suddenly lost conviction in what I believe, or worse yet, lost the nerve to state my beliefs? That's not it. So, what is it? 
The internet, and the country in general, has been flooded with people not just stating their opinions, but shouting them. The "other side" is in a bubble, and just don't know what you know. That side is evil. This side is ignorant. Those people are naive. The others are racist, bigot, homophobic, atheistic, murdering, terroristic, and on and on and on. 
Everyone is yelling. No one is listening. So, that is where I have been. I have been listening. What I have determined from all the listening is that everyone needs to calm down. Take a deep breath. Spend the day making an effort to not be angry, outraged, offended, or defensive.
I'm going to try to get back to writing. I actually have projects stored up to post about. I will try to keep it craft based because I think we need more normal and simple popping up in our feeds again. 
My latest thing is trying out wood burning. My dad loaned me a really nice burner, and I'm working on combining my slight obsession with fonts and typography with pyrography. My first project seems to fit this post nicely.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Porthole Craft

I usually save my VBS craft projects to post after VBS has happened, but this one turned out too cute not to go ahead and share. If your church is like our's and countless others that rely on Lifeway for VBS themes, you are looking for cute underwater type decorations.
I wanted to hang portholes around our church sanctuary, but I needed them to be light and cheap, which are two things that decorative portholes are not.
This called for a trip to IKEA!
They have these clocks for $2 each (they tick very loudly)

Using a flat head screwdriver, carefully pry off the clear plastic face cover. There are three tabs holding it in that you can access from the back. Just don't break the tabs. You'll need it in one piece when you put it back together.
Now take the guts out of the clock. Sometimes they come willingly, and other times it take prying and breaking and brute force. You won't need the clocky bits again, so no need to be gentle unless you just want to.
I highly recommend leaving the number face on. It doesn't come out easily or in one piece.  

Spray paint the empty clock the color you want your porthole to be. I went with gold, but silver or copper would probably work just as well.

This clock has a 7 inch face. You'll need 7 inch blue circles for your background. My lovely husband bought me a Cricut for Christmas, which I have slowly been mastering. It was extremely useful for this.
After the blue circles, I used the Lifeway clip art files and some other sea creature png files I had to make under water scenes for each.
Make sure you glue your scene into the clock paying attention to where the hanger in the back is.
Now all that is left is putting the cover back on.

The goldfish turned out especially cute. I used markers to add in the black and shading, and then a white paint pen for the whites of his eyes.

When I did my trial run I was still working out how to transfer clip art into usable Cricut files, so I made this scene instead. So, even if you don't have a stash of art or a cutting machine, you can still make cute stuff.

Friday, April 15, 2016

American Heritage Girl Scrapbook

A friend of mine asked me to make scrapbook pages for her American Heritage Tenderhearts. She had no luck looking for pages online. It turned out to be a really fun project. I got a chance to use all those silly and girly fonts that I avoid like the plague when doing serious design work. I wanted them to have color, but still be printer friendly. They needed to be good for girls just learning to write as well as girls who are a bit older. I am posting them so that others can use them. I did not charge for the work, and all I ask is that if you use them, don't try to charge for them. For the overnight adventure, I left the location blank to allow you to customize it fairly easily.
To use them, just click on the picture to make it full sized, then right click to get the option to save it to your computer.