Saturday, December 4, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Welcome to our home! I am so glad you came! :) We are blessed to be renting this house from another missionary family who will not need it for the next five plus years. It’s incomprehensible, in the most wonderful way, to think about not having to move for that long!
When you walk through the front door (which is to the right of my purse), you enter the dining room. The table remains my favorite piece of furniture!
Still to do: The curtains are going to get a little lengthening treatment so I can get away from the high water look (and also hopefully raise the curtain rods a bit so that the ring clips are not competing with the window trim). Stay tuned!
The dining room and living room are actually one long, skinny room. This is the furniture I had to work with for this small living space but I was not happy with the lack of color, pattern, varied wood tones or scale (the sofa is much too bulky)! Alas, that is life when you buy furniture for one rental and have to find a way for it to work in the next. :)
So first, my super talented friend (and now sewing teacher) Brenda made the chair slipcovers and I used a painters drop cloth to cover the coffee table.
Even though it didn’t feel right, it stayed this way until the weather got cold and we moved the couch right in front of the fireplace for staying warm!
Then it dawned on me: putting the arrangement on the diagonal took away the improper balance of weight in the room! It felt so much better! Eventually, I hope to get 2 side chairs (with my Christmas money??) so that we aren’t sitting on hard dining room chairs for visiting with our friends! :) But for now, it works and all it cost was less than $15 for the chair slips.
Still to do: Sew some little pillows to put on the chairs for color and verve . It’s all a bit predictable right now! :) Also, hang some family pictures! It’s driving me crazy that we only have one picture of family hanging on the walls!
Across from living room on the left is the entrance to the TV room. We’ll skip the toy mess and move on. :)
Next you come to the main bathroom on the right. The brown shower curtain was one I had on hand. It was ok, but it just felt like it went a little too well with the 70’s tile, so I used some of my birthday money (thanks Dad and Mom) to buy this fabric. After a couple of sewing lessons, I completed my first big project! I’m happy with it.
Because the ceiling is low, I wanted the shower curtain to go to the ceiling to make the room look bigger, as well as hide the shower head, etc. Unfortunately, it needs to be a few inches off the floor because of the water drainage.
I’m hoping to find a pretty burnt orange rug to warm up the space a bit and eventually I think it would look much better to have burnt orange/rust/umber walls too. The current paint color works well in the rest of the house, but for some reason (lighting?) it doesn’t look that great in here.
I’d also like to replace the tan towels with burnt orange (if I don’t end up painting) because that would really help the paint color to look less “off” as well (I always have so many plans for my Christmas money!!). For now, it’s fine!
If you continue straight down the hall, you get to my kids’ room but I didn’t take photos of that either. Hardly anything is done in there. I still have beds to paint, hang their names, etc. The do have their Pottery Barn Inspired Transportation Art hanging though. :)
Then to the left at the end of the hallway is the master bedroom. You can see I did a little rearranging since this and this. I wasn’t happy with the headboard so this is what I came up with for now. Often in the past, I have used a window for the “headboard” but I could not get that to work for me this time because of where the windows are located! Oh well! Eventually, we’ll figure out a headboard, maybe even by filling in the other one with some bead board or something.
The desk was formerly my hall table but it was a lot prettier than my other desk and fit the space better too so it got a coat of white. I absolutely love it!
The location of the bed is totally impractical for opening the windows, but I’m more “form” than a “function” so for now it stays!
Still to do: Some sort of art or pictures!
I’m sure you are wondering about the kitchen…I’ve got a project brewing there (hint: it has to do with the Sermon on the Mount) and I want to finish it first! But I do have plenty of cabinet and counter space which is such a blessing!
So, now that we have the house tour out of the way, we can sit down for a good latte and visit a bit! You KNOW you are always welcome here!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Thank you for all You are and all You have graciously given me. I long to have a thankful heart that is easily given to Your praise, to lifting up Your name.
Yet, so often, Lord, I confess that I fail to stop and know You. I merely rush through my day not acknowledging the blessings I am already experiencing.
I pray that Your Spirit would minister to my heart in those moments with a reminder, with a word of caution, that I might slow down, stop and bless Your name!
For You are the mighty God of the universe, the Creator of the ends of the earth, the One who has existed from eternity and who rules with power, justice and love. You are an awesome God. Nothing compares to You. Your deeds are unmatched and recounted all the world over! You rule and reign in majesty! You reveal the thoughts and intents of hearts and cleanse by the power of your own Son’s blood! You deserve to be praised!
You saved me, redeemed me, made me one of Your own! Thank you for Your unmerited favor and for Your mercy towards me, oh God! I don’t deserve what You have given me, what You have done for me, but I am so grateful to You, the Giver of all good gifts!
*Originally written in December 2009, before God healed me completely from the vision loss in my left eye. It was followed by 4 pages of things I was thankful for. I found it again today and thought it was fitting for a 1000 Gifts post.
797. The privilege of homeschooling!
813. Sewing Lessons
814. An imperfect, but finished shower curtain
818. Dessert blooms
825. A gentle breeze
836. The pain that drives us to Him
837. My 5 year old reading to me! Wonder!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
When your mama turns 50, you can’t be there to embrace her. A million continent miles stand between you.
Your heart clenches tight, your eyes leak your pain, and you’re sure a million miles just might kill you.
You’ve counted the cost. And you do it again. A million miles offered up on the altar.
But as you watch them burn up (sweet aroma to Him, you pray), you think of another million miles. The chasm between God and man.
Though it’s long been bridged by God Man blood, (and by grace, through faith you’ve crossed it), still so few know that Eternal Balm came to mend the million mile tear in their hearts. You have to stay and tell them.
A million miles. How strange that the thing that rends your heart is the very thing that compels you to stay.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Twenty years later, I find her words ringing in my ears. I miss that voice enough to squeeze my eyes shut hard, stop the tears springing up and listen. How I cherish this hands on hips proclamation returned to me. Would that she could too.
We were rolling down some Montana highway when she’d marched to the back of the motor home and stood over us. My cousin and I were each perched on skinny twin couches next to a window.
“You may not read one more page of those books until you look out the window for at least 30 minutes!”
Even though I knew Grandma was given to passionate proclamations from time to time, this one surprised me. After all, she was an avid reader. That same summer, I’d caught her up “way too late” because she couldn’t stop the turning of the page.
Still, there was another narrative she found more powerful than any type engraved in paper. The one that has no words, yet speaks with a powerful voice, declaring the glory of God. That was the one she was compelled to help us discover.
And she did. A thousand times before and after, so subtly that I’m not sure a one of us were cognizant of it at the time: slipping into a chair on the front deck at sunrise, coffee cup in hand; going barefoot through the ice cold stream; stopping on the trail to photograph a tiny pink flower; laughing at the fish jumping in the hatchery brook for five cent handfuls of food. Peaks out the window, all.
Grandma, today I want you to know I’m listening. I’m pulling my nose out of the book of daily living for a look out the window, for a listen to the glory song. I need to hear it. I need to remember that the very thing that lifts me to a place of holy wonder is also the thing that grounds me - the worship of my Creator.
Looking out the window, the incomplete count continues:
491. Snail mail
506. 95 Manjui Baptized, wish I could have seen it with my own eyes!
536. Family visiting from Colombia and the USA
570. Sanapana Scripture portions ready for printing
587. Pain that pushes us hard into Jesus
606. Cries of inadequacy
607. His sufficiency
726. Grandma Bert
756. Dreams – wild, crazy, with God all things are possible dreams
776. Salmon Sky
781. Wild love, undeserved
788. My wonderful, merciful Savior
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
When I saw these the other cute painted canvases the other day (for $39 each – yikes!), I decided to make my own version for free using fabric and frames that I had on hand.
Darling Little Redhead chose the truck. And we together chose the boat for El Principito. I was thankful that’s how it worked out because the airplane looked the most complicated!
These will go above each boy’s bed. I hope to make a small coordinating pillow too. I’m not sure if that comes before or after painting their bed frames but hopefully it will all be done before too much longer!
Have a wonderful day everyone!! May the joy of the Lord be your strength!
Friday, July 23, 2010
Ingredients: ½ C cornstarch, ¼ C water, 1 T minced fresh garlic, 1 ½ tsp ginger (or fresh grated), ¾ C sugar, ½ C soy sauce, ¼ C white vinegar, 2 ¼ C chicken broth, 1 tsp salt
Instructions: Put all ingredients in a jar, shake and set aside (or refrigerate). Just shake again when you are ready to use it.
Ingredients: 2- 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks, ¼ C soy sauce, 1 egg beaten, 1 C cornstarch, oil for deep frying
Instructions: Mix chicken and soy sauce. Stir in egg. Add cornstarch and mix until chicken pieces are coated. It’s pretty gooey and nasty looking. Deep fry until golden brown then drain.
Combine Sauce and Chicken:
Ingredients: 1 C sliced green onions, hot peppers to taste
Instructions: Sauté 1 cup sliced green onions and hot peppers in a bit of oil. Add sauce mixture and cook until thick. Then add chicken until rewarmed. If desired, throw some broccoli crowns in with the chicken and it will cook to perfection while the chicken warms.
Serve with rice.
Please let me know if you try this recipe!! I would love to hear what you think!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
5. In my kitchen, cookbooks just take up space (don’t shoot me)! I rarely use them and prefer tried and true recipes from friends or highly rated recipes at Allrecipes.com. Now that I realize that, I’ll stop carting them around the globe!
Here are a few of my favorites from All Recipes: JP’s Big Daddy Biscuits, Jay’s Signature Pizza Crust, Baked Teriyaki Chicken, Rhubarb Strawberry Jam (my kingdom for some rhubarb right about now!) and One Bowl Chocolate Cake.
Bottom Line: I stick with the tried and true and that is ok!
4. Grating an onion doesn’t make you cry like chopping one does. I am also less likely to injure myself with a grater than I am with a knife. :) Not to mention the fact that my kids and onion hating brother-in-law are less likely to notice onions in this form!
Bottom Line: Am I the last person on the planet to figure this out??
3. I can make it! Whether it is rolling out a flaky pie crust, frying up some down home chicken or making Crispy and Creamy Donuts, it’s possible. To me those foods seemed complicated and like they took special skill, but I finally just tried them! Sure I’m not famous for any of these things (yet, lol) but but no one is complaining!
Bottom Line: No more saying, “I don’t know how to make that!” Just give yourself plenty of time and try it!
2. General Tsao’s Chicken made at home tastes JUST as good as the restaurant! My husband and every single person I have made it for wholeheartedly agree!
Bottom Line: You want the recipe, right?
1. Cooking is holy work! My new mantra is “I don’t feed bodies, I feed souls!” and I think I’m going to paint that on the wall of my kitchen for those times when I forget that the heart of my work in the kitchen is NURTURING and LOVING my precious family and friends!
Bottom Line: If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some souls to feed!
What have you learned about cooking in 2010? I’d love to hear!
Monday, July 19, 2010
My honey was in the hospital for 3 1/2 days last week, so this weekend we did a lot hand holding, resting and basking the warmth of the crackling fire (it’s winter here!). My soul feasted and was fed by God’s gracious favor.
Praying your soul was also fed this weekend as you enjoyed His good and perfect gifts!
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…” James 1:17
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Exactly one month after we moved into our house, we finally hung window treatments! Part of the slow down was that I didn’t find anything I loved in our little town so I was waiting to shop in the big city. I’ll tell you more about that trip soon…but for now, I couldn’t wait to show you! I think they were worth the wait! Special thanks to my Dad and Mom for the birthday money! :)
I am also thrilled with my screen door mirror! My former landlady generously gave me the screen door and when I was thinking about how nice it would be to have a full length mirror, this idea dawned on me.
Now, let’s just hope it doesn’t take me another month to finish this room! And that another month doesn’t pass before my next blog post! :) Can’t wait to tell you all I’ve been up to!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Hi! I’m still working on decorating our new home, but I thought you would enjoy a few sneak peaks!
Beautiful Kitchen Cabinets
The last of my birthday flowers :)
I smile EVERY time I see this!
Bedroom…hoping to find fabric for curtains in the capital this week!
We made the headboard out of a screen door our last landlady gave me! I would like to put fabric in the openings. We’ll see! :)
This is what the little chalkboard usually looks like. Ha ha! We try to dwell peacefully, but more often we dwell with a little bit of chaos and craziness around here! :)
Hugs! Hoping to show you a more finished house soon!!!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Today we celebrate one year of ministry in Paraguay! I am so thankful to the Lord for how much this country and her precious people have worked their way into my heart already! I can honestly say I love it here!
Three moves, learning a new culture and ministry, one major health crisis and 4 extra kiddos made this a busy and challenging year to say the least, and yet I wouldn’t trade what CHRIST has done in me through it all. I pray that He will continue to increase in my heart and somehow use me to make Him known here in Paraguay.
Thank you so much for your love, prayers and support over the past year! I am so thankful for every single one of you who read my blog!
Also, I hope to get back to blogging regularly again soon. I have really missed it! Thanks for your patience while I finish getting settled in house number three and also host some family visiting from Colombia and the United States. I’ll be back soon with pictures of our new home!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Darling Little Redhead and El Principito,
I’m so blessed to be your mother! Thank you for all the joy, laughter, hugs, kisses, creativity, fun and LOVE you bring to my every day! I love you!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I think I know how you feel.
They left again today. So excited to be heading towards their dream.
In my mind, I’m happy for them. Thrilled really. It’s so obvious that they were created for this.
In my heart though, I’m sad. So, so sad for all the things that I must release to wistful “Someday”.
Daily phone calls about, “What’s for dinner?” and “They had broccoli at the supermarket.” and “El Principito said ‘I love you’!”
Spontaneous coffee dates.
Hugs. The really tight kind.
Taking way too long to figure out who’s hosting Friday night dinner.
Now those things are lost in yesterday. From here on out, we’ll always be playing catch up. Trying to somehow find time to fill each other in on the important details of life.
And the small ones, the ones that I find so comforting and familiar, their telling will be lost in that elusive 25th hour of the day.
What’s more, I fear there’s coming a time when they’ll mention something that has become commonplace to them, and I will have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Their life is so different from mine now.
Just as it should be. They’re following hard after Jesus and I’m inspired by Him in them.
Unfortunately, inspiration doesn’t prevent grief. My humanity can’t escape the heart squeezing, tear falling, lonely moments.
Up until now, I’ve always been the one leaving family behind. My heart still ached, but then grief was tempered by firm conviction in God’s plan, excitement for dreams come true, amazement at God’s provision and care, perhaps even by mere relief to be finally settled in one place again.
But now, I’m the one staying. This time, I’m wearing your shoes, Mom. And it hurts. Oh, does it hurt to know what you’re losing.
You never told me what tremendous resolve it takes to smile and cheer when you really want to tie a brick around their ankles and beg them to stay forever.
I’m wondering if maybe it’s not the ones who “Go” who sacrifice most, but the ones who stay behind.
I think I know now, at least in part, how you must feel when I’m the one boarding the plane, carrying your grandbabies off to distant lands when they’ve only just began to know who you are.
I’m so glad I have your example, Mom. You’ve counted the cost for Jesus and it has made it easier for me to do the same.
Both in the leaving and in the loving of one leaving.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
When you arrive to someone’s house here in Paraguay, you don’t walk right up to the front door and knock. Instead you stand at the edge of their porch and clap. If they don’t come to the door, you can try to clap again louder and say hello to see if they just didn’t hear you the first time.
Several times there has been someone at my house and I didn’t realize it until I just happened to walk out into my kitchen and see them. I am not quite used to listening for the clapping, so I think that is the main reason I miss it, though we do almost always have a fan too on which drowns out a lot of noise!
How do you announce your arrival to someone’s home in the country where you live? I’d love to hear!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Double beep marks the arrival of his message and heart warms fast with love as I read.
“When I saw you in the rear view mirror…
I was reminded again of how beautiful you are.”
Smile broadens and head tips back with a laugh. I’m so blessed by his thoughtful love.
Fingers quick, tap out reply.
“Thanks, honey! Now if only beauty would calm a grouchy baby!”
It’s been a rough day, this. Nothing seems to soothe the little one.
I’ve barely pressed send when another message arrives. This time, it’s not words on screen but voice in heart.
“Oh, Shilo…but it does! True beauty does.”
I know this voice and I know it can only speak truth. My brain strains to understand what He means; to remember how He defines true beauty. Desperate to comprehend, I go to the Words of Life.
“That is the way the holy women made themselves beautiful. They trusted God.” I Peter 3:5 NLT
True beauty is trusting God. This is His message to me. It’s powerful in it’s simplicity.
Piercing conviction and wild hope converge in my heart and words spill out,
“Father, forgive me for not looking to You for wisdom about how to comfort and console my little one today! I depended on my own intuition and it failed me miserably.
I believe you spoke to me for a reason! You want to show me how being truly beautiful…how trusting You makes a difference in all the little situations in my day! I do trust you. I wait for your wisdom.”
Heart quiet, I hear His voice again.
“Sit down and play with the child, Shilo. Just play with him.”
Tears spill. I gather toys. We sit. Play. He calms. Smiles. Laughs for the first time all day.
I’m humbled, amazed, and thankful. And I’m believing with all my heart the message He spoke to me today. True beauty does, because true beauty is born out of the fierce belief that the all wise, loving God of the universe has the power to change every situation in my life!
Friday, April 16, 2010
I am always on the lookout for decorating ideas for special occasions. My two requirements are: Does it use items which are commonly available to me living abroad? And is it affordable? I find many of the fabulous ideas out there don’t make the cut because they are either hard to implement without access to fully stocked craft store or are cost prohibitive.
That’s why I absolutely love this idea. You can find ribbon almost anywhere in the world and usually it is reasonably affordable.
I adorned our table for Easter Brunch in turquoise, navy blue and yellow (inspiration from here) this year. Unfortunately, there are no pictures because
it was a dark, rainy day and because I was too busy keeping my 18 month old from undoing my ribbon weave. After the fourth time of reweaving ribbons, my husband said, “Well, dear, just remember, Martha Stewart never had a busy little boy helping her decorate.” Indeed!
The hardest part of this project is figuring out how much ribbon you will need in each color. After that, it’s a breeze!
1. Put your tablecloth on the table, then decide how far you want the ribbon to fall from the edge of the table.
2. Measure the length of your desired look. Multiply this number by the amount of times you plan to use the ribbon length wise.
For instance, in the picture above, the green ribbon is used twice down the middle of the table. Say the table is six feet long and you want a six inch drop on each side. That’s seven feet.
7 ft. x 2 times = 14 ft.
3. Measure the width of your desired look. Multiply this number by the amount of times you plan to use the ribbon width wise.
Going back to Martha’s picture, the green ribbon is draped four times across the width of the table. Let’s imagine the table is three feet across and you want a six inch drop on each side. That’s four feet.
4 ft. x 4 times = 16 ft.
4. Add the total length and the total width of the ribbon.
14 ft length + 16 ft width = 30 feet of green ribbon
5. Determine how many times you will use each of the additional colors. Complete steps two through four to determine the total yardage you will need for each color. This will go quickly since you already know your width and length!
6. Buy, weave, make your guests feel valued and loved.
If you are able, buying ribbon in differing widths adds more interest to the look. If you can’t, who cares! It still looks great!
For the actual weaving process, I laid all the lengths first, then weaved in all the widths.
Too complicated or expensive? Then how about this idea from my pre-blogging days?
All you need is one thick ribbon laid flat, one contrasting length of tulle twisted and one coordinating skinny ribbon twirled over it all.
Ribbon is a great, affordable way to adorn your table! An added benefit is that, unless you have a food fight, the majority of the ribbon will be reusable for other things after your meal!
No matter where you live, no matter your budget, there is ALWAYS a way to make your family and friends feel loved by creating a beautiful table setting!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I’ve admired it for a few days, small little patch of climbing pink flowers on the old tree trunk turned pillar near my driveway.
A word of praise to God for this beautiful gift births a longing I can’t quench. I have to get closer. Seeing from afar isn’t enough, I need to breathe it’s scent, to trace it’s winding path with my fingers.
I breathe and trace and notice my gift has welcomed another praise giver. Majestic Butterfly. He rests light and breathes sweet scent.
Praise invites us to take a closer look. A closer look confirms that which our hearts instinctively know. There is more. More than a flower, there is a butterfly. More than a far off view of splendor, there is a God and a glory that is close enough to breathe.
Savoring the sweet scent of His never ending goodness:
286. Conversations over the dishes
295. God’s Word in my language
304. Practical parenting wisdom spoken by God’s Spirit straight to my heart
327. Dog and boy playing tug-o-war
334. A dream come true
355. Grandma’s blue glass and precious memories
380. Our welcome to this community
409. Cool days
429. Little boy jokes
431. Christ’s death in my place
452. That His Word always has more for me
466. Porch sitting with my love
474. Kids who love to read
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Walking, wandering they catch my eye.
Aged by time, colored beautiful by the elements.
They aren’t just borders, boundaries, no.
Rather pillars of some pilgrims love for his land.
They whisper that which my soul has already begun to know,
this is a land worth loving.
It is, and I do.
These are my pillars now too.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Today I am so thankful for my two little redheads. Not only are they themselves gifts from God, but they have taught me to slow down and be captivated by the mysterious and wonderful gifts God has laid in my path - gifts which I stopped pausing to unwrap along the road to busy adulthood and “important” work.
Thank you, Father, for entrusting me with these treasure seekers, these gift finders so I can learn to behold again the wonder of your world! You are the source of EVERY good and perfect gift!
Continuing the count, though it is surely incomplete…
233. Hysterical laughter at the dinner table
235. After school hugs
244. Sun rising
252. Restorative sleep
259. Sweet notes in the morning
265. Hazelnut coffee with my love
273. The luxury of learning
279. My dryer
281. Turquoise and the way it makes me smile
Sunday, March 14, 2010
If Jesus is kept between us and our closest friend,
our attachment to the person will be at the same time
less enthralling and more deep;
less passionate and more tender;
less necessary and more useful;
an instrument of rich blessing in the hands of God.
Looking Unto Jesus by Theodore Monod