Sunday, December 31, 2006


I haven't really followed up on our visits to churches 'cuz there hasn't been much to say...

We've gotten in the habit of sleeping in on Sundays, and it's very hard to convince ourselves that it's worth it to even get up. We've visited one church a couple times in the last two months, and may end up joining... We both like the pastor and his family, but aren't thrilled by the congregation. Deborah would be the only one in the 3-5 year old bracket, so she would be in Sunday school with 1st and 2nd graders. And the music is dreadful, just dreadful. Plus this church was formed out of a church split... I don't like that as a basis for a church, even though it was like 20 years ago... I guess growing up in Fairbanks has affected my opinions of the churches here more than it should...

I know, I know. These are not good reasons for not considering a church. I know we're just being consumerisitic in our approach to visiting a church and considering one.

We've both prayed about finding the right church- the one God would have us join, but we're both so disenchanted with the idea of 'church' right now that it'll be a miracle if we actually join one. I trust God, I think. But I sure don't trust his bride. This experience with a pastor has been the last in a string of very negative experiences with pastors and right now, I'm feeling like I never want anything to do with 'church' again.

God, help! Please heal our hearts. It's hard to trust your 'church' when it seems so far from your plan. I do believe you want us in a church body. Please help us find the right one- a church where we can be part of a growing community and use our gifts and experiences to glorify you.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Plague

We've all been terribly sick here... I lost my voice for a couple of days and am now croaking around like a sad frog. We've all had fevers plus queasy tummy's... My mom's sick, my husband's sick (and working), my sister's sick, and both of my daughter's are sick.

Deborah is the one who brought the plague home from school... I've got to say- school may be good for many things, but we were not wishing more illness upon our house! School is an excellent incubator for horrendous germs.

Abigail is freaking us all out with her horrendous cough- she has the ability to cough and sound like we should be driving her to the ER RIGHT THEN AND THERE. She does the dry hacking thing that goes on and on and on with this lovely gasp between each hack that makes it sound like she can't get a breath at all. So, we called our doctor who recommended some good medicine just to let her sleep.

Anyway, haven't done much in the way of anything for the last week- no cleaning, no fun cooking, no beads, no nothing. But I have been reading more! I couldn't sleep for two nights 'cuz my throat felt like I'd swallowed broken glass- every time I swallowed I'd shiver 'cuz it hurt so bad. (whine, whine, whine) Anyway, read a lot! Finished off way more books in December than I thought I would!! :)

Merry Christmas!

Much love to our family and friends,
from the Sirevaags

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Joy to our home!

Insomnia + children = many odd songs.

sung to the tune of "Joy to the world!"

Joy to our home!
Our chil-dren sleep!
Let a-leh-lu-yahs ring!
Let e-evry hea-rt cry thank you to our Go-d!
And let us go to- bed!
And let us go to- bed!
And le-t us, le-t us go to bed!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Gidget (on the couch)

This is my sister's cat, Gidget, who was the runt of the litter... She is now something like 18 lbs and the true epitome of the cat joke "That chair over there, that's mine. That couch you're sitting on? That's mine, too. Oh, and the bed you sleep on upstairs- definitely mine."
acrylics painted on wood

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Tragic Tale of the Trash Tainted Tree

Once upon a time there was a Christmas tree. It was not the most gorgeous tree, nor was it very tall, but it had been given as a gift, so it was FREE. It had many years of happy Christmases, and stood as tall as it could under the lovely angel and the weight of the many glittering ornaments. It had seen children tear happily into packages and knew that it would see many wonderful Christmases in the future.

Then one year it was borrowed for an Alaskan VBS. It was odd, but quite nice to be decorated with soft billowy quilt batting draped to look like snow. And while at first the painting of the polar bear and moose had been frightening, the tree grew accustomed to having them close.

Then the tragedy occurred- the tree was trucked safely away in its storage box to await the next Christmas, but something was set upon it… Something stinky that dripped! Something that congealed onto it and made it stink, too! Oh, the tragedy! What would happen? Would the children be able to have their lovely Christmas tree? Would there be someplace to hang the glittering ornaments and rest the lovely angel? Would there be a place to nestle the Christmas packages until they were unwrapped?

Then a wonderful miracle occurred! God intervened!

Although the tree was sad to be sent to the dump never to bear the weight of ornaments and angel, it was happy to know that God had provided another tree. One taller, broader and more full. One that came with lights already attached. And the best part was that since the children’s parents had waited so long to put up the Christmas tree and did not discover the malodorous stench until most Christmas trees were gone from the store, there had only been one tree left at Lowe’s! In fact, the only tree remaining had been the store’s demonstration tree, which meant that not only was the tree 50% off since it was the week before Christmas, it was also an additional 10% off since it had been the tree that everyone got to look at when they came to the store to decide which tree they wanted!

So, as the trash tainted tree was driven away to the dump it was able to breathe a sigh of relief. It knew that the new pre-lit tree would safely bear the weight of the ornaments. It knew that the new 6 foot tall tree would proudly lift the angel high. It knew that there was plenty of room beneath its green boughs to tuck all the wonderful paper-wrapped packages. The children would always be able to unwrap their presents on Christmas morning beneath a beautiful tree. And the parents would surely find a strong smell proof box to store this lovely tree. They would never put such a horrible smelling something to rest on this tree’s box. It was too fine for such things! Too lovely to be near such a malodorous and foul stench. The tree knew that the parents had learned their lesson and that this tree would be safe for many wonderful Christmases in the future.

The End.

Snow in December

Still more snow!
The foot prints you can barely see running from left to right in front of the tree are probably from our not-so-friendly neighborhood moose. She's lived in this area for a while and typically raises a new baby in our neighborhood every year. Don't get between a mama moose and her baby... bad things can happen.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Mom's Jesuses

There are 26 Jesuses in our living room... (How do you say more than one Jesus? Jesuses? Jesus'? I don't remember! They both look wrong...) My mom collects nativities and creches (nativities are made up of everybody- shepherds, wisemen, animals, angels while the creches are just Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus) so we currently have a LOT of baby Jesus' in the living room... There's an Eskimo nativity, a Russian one, a Swedish one, a Mexican one, a Japanese one, a clear glass one, a German one, several childrens sets, a native American one... In fact, with the little ones running about we can't put all of my Mom's collection up 'cuz there's not enough room that's up too high for them to grab 'em and break 'em.

My husband is concerned that we are giving our kids the wrong idea about Jesus, but I think they are more sophisticated than that... :) What kind of wrong idea could they get anyway? That Jesus is everywhere they go... That's true. That there are multiple Jesuses? I think they get that that's not true. We've talked about there being just one Jesus... That he's not just one nationality? Well, while he was living on earth he was Jewish and we've definitely got that represented. However, we'll see all nationalities in heaven and I like the idea of Jesus being presented as one nationality would see Him...

I bought the Fisher Price manger scene last year so that the girls would have one they could play with 'cuz they kept wanting to hold the baby Jesuses- I put it away for the year and just got it out today. They were so excited to see it again. They love playing with it, and I love talking to them about Baby Jesus, Mama Mary, and Daddy Joseph. I love them being able to hold the baby and I love seeing them really getting that Jesus was a baby who was born just like them and grew up... Yes, he's special and different and God's son, but it's so wonderful for them to have a tangible way of relating to Him...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tiger (in window)

This is my favorite painting of mine-
It's of my cat, Tiger.
I've painted many things now, but my favorite subjects are cats...
I took a drawing class in college and my favorite subject back then was cats, too. Don't know why... I wanted my drawings to be so that you could feel their fur and watch them breath... so that you would expect them to turn around and look at you- not hyper-realism, that's not what I wanted... Just to get the feeling of the cat's movements and smoothness...

Prayer Request

If you read this today, Tuesday the 19th of December, please pray a blessing over my sister, Jane Reese. Today is her birthday, and she lost her husband this year. She is raising their two children by herself and this is the first birthday she's had since he passed away. Please pray peace, joy and hope over her. Please pray strength and grace over her...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Beth's Dreams

My sister, Beth, has taken the plunge into blogging. I guess we got her hooked by putting up our jewelry blog... I don't know.

Anyway, she is now posting her poetry and paintings at . She's a VERY talented painter and writer and her stuff is worth the time it takes to get there and take a peak... I can say that, even though she's my sister, 'cuz it's true!! She's only got a couple posts up, I think one poem and one painting right now, but she's takens TONS of pictures of her paintings over the weekend and will have them up soon.

She's encouraged me to go ahead and take pictures of my own paintings... Maybe I'll have some of them up. We've been so busy with the jewelry thing this last month that I kind of forgot I wanted to get my paintings up on here... Anyway, go take a peak!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

FLOT's "A Fireside Christmas"

It's over! We sang. We harmonized. We smiled. I soloed. Jake danced. (Well, I did, too, but that's not really shocking. It's shocking that my husband danced and smiled while doing it! :)
It was such fun! Yes, hard work, but the kind of hard work I enjoy. I was reminded of how much I miss choreography and dancing and singing in a good choir...
It went so well. Nothing went wrong that I know of. No technical problems, no falling down, no missing props, no disappearing or ripping costumes... Yay! It was a blessing and a joy to work with this cast, and I've been so glad we stuck it out...
Our FLOT Christmas show is done and we can get back to real life- like washing dishes, writing Christmas letters and putting up our Christmas decorations... No tree up in this house yet... Just you wait! We should have the tree and other stuff up starting tomorrow!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Warm Enough for Snow

It snowed a little today... Light nearly invisible flakes, but definitely snow.

What that means for those of you who are blessed to be ignorant of such things is that it was WARM enough for snow. Weird, huh? But if it's too cold, say -20 or so, then we probably won't have snow, 'cuz it just doesn't come down in light downy flakes beyond around 0.

So, today it was in the 5 to -5 range... Warm enough for snow.

If you don't believe in global warming you should come up here. This is EXTREMELY strange weather for December. I admit January & February are typically the coldest months in Fairbanks, but we're normally down in the -30 range now.

When I was in high school, back in '88, '89 I remember a couple of weeks of -60's and -70's. In fact, it was so cold that the bus drivers refused to drive! We were still gonna have school. (not much shuts down school up here... If we shut down for the cold, we'd be shutdown all the time! And everybody up here can drive on ice so we typically don't shut down for bad roads.. After living in Texas and Washington I finally understood why school in the lower 48 got shut down for ice and snow. The drivers down there scared me to death! Not the ice, though. I learned how to drive in the winter up here... Also, Fairbanks is not wet/humid. So our ice typically gets too cold for cars to slide around on it.) Anyway, we were still gonna have school, but the ice fog made the visibility so bad that the bus drivers all just up and said NO WAY, so school got shut down. Go bus drivers!!! Ice fog is when it gets so cold that the carbon monoxide and other gases get frozen in the air. They make a thick low lying layer of fog that can get really bad depending on how long the cold lasts...

Anyway, it's WARM for December! I guess I should be enjoying it, but I'm so busy with the FLOT thing and a sick 3 year old (Deborah's had a BAD cold for the last three days) that I'm not really getting time to breath...

Our show is being advertised at if you're interested in more info...

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Since I've got four rehearsals this week, plus a performance on Friday night, I probably will not have enough time to write or even think this week. I'm hoping to get some time to myself, but the girls are VERY demanding when Mommy & Daddy are gone from 7-10 p.m. every night. It messes up their schedules, which is a serious thing to the under 4 set. So don't expect much from me for the next week!

My Voice, My Ear and the Way God Works

I've been thinking about music and my singing a lot right now since we're so busy with this FLOT production- We had rehearsals 4 days last week, and will have rehearsals 4 days this week, plus the performance. The performance "A Fireside Christmas" is next Friday the 15th at 7 p.m. in the Westmark Hotel in Fairbanks. Tickets are $20, since it's a fundraiser for FLOT. If you're interested, Jake & I have tickets to sell... We're singing 6 big choral numbers and then tons of solos... I'm getting to sing "O Holy Night", one of my Christmas favorites. The program is good, really fun, and I'm looking forward to it!

So, I'm thinking a lot about my singing... Thinking about how far I've come in the last 14 years since I was a vocal music major... You've probably already heard this story: I used to LOVE singing, couldn't imagine my life not singing and playing clarinet... Way back in high school I intended to either be an English teacher or a music teacher and my family couldn't imagine me not doing music. I sang in choirs, did solo stuff, did all the musicals. I LOVED to sing. Then I started college and started taking voice lessons. And I had a VERY critical voice teacher.

In two years of lessons, the most positive thing I heard was along the lines of "Well, you only missed two notes in that song." I slowly came to a point where I hated singing, hated choir, hated singing anywhere. I knew that I couldn't sing anything right. My voice teacher had me convinced my ear was so bad that we actually had my hearing tested... Wrapped up in all this was the fact that when God called me to ministry, I honestly thought he'd called me to be a music minister. When I dropped out of the music department at college and switched to the theater department, I thought I'd misunderstood Him, or that He'd lied to me about pulling me out and placing a call on my life. I felt betrayed by Him, and incapable of doing anything right. My confidence in my ability to sing was completely shattered.

I did not sing ANYWHERE for a little more than a year. I didn't sing in church, in BSU, at home... anywhere. I was still involved with the BSU drama team and writing scripts and performing with them. But I didn't go to the worship times, and I'd skip church most Sundays.

Then the leader of BSU came to me and said they needed someone to lead worship. I said no. They came back to me and really pressured me- the person they had could play piano, but couldn't sing really loud or well while He played. God used the BSU and their absolute need for someone to just sing the songs to get me to sing again. But I believed that just because people liked listening to me sing, didn't mean that I had a good ear or that I was capable.

Skip to seminary where I had the amazing opportunity to sing with all these music majors with these incredible voices who were called to be music ministers and could all play the piano or something else. My roommate talked me into auditioning even though I didn't want to 'cuz she said it wasn't fair that I could sing and didn't want to and she couldn't and wanted to... So I did it for her and I got in! It was so amazing to sing with these people, and the director was such a blessing in my life. He would admit to his mistakes, and would encourage us, and would work on the best way for him to get the sound out of us that he wanted- like we were all perfectly capable and he just had to figure out the right movement to make or the right way to bring us in...

And my roommate talked me into taking voice lessons. The teacher was this really cool guy who'd sung spirituals with this amazing writer & performer who everybody knows and I can't think of his name right now.. :\ (finally remembered: Moses Hogan! He traveled with Hogan's choir and participated in creating some of Moses Hogan's amazing new adaptations of spirituals) Anyway, he just believed in me. I don't know how to explain this- he believed that I could sing and was capable and just needed to turn the vowels right and then I'd be on pitch... He believed that my problems were related to a poor teacher who'd not taught me how to USE & work with my ear. And I came a long way.

But I was still terrified of singing and would just about shut down if I made a mistake. I would get really quiet, to the point of inaudibility if I got nervous, and I'd even have problems hearing the right pitches if I started doubting myself- like my ear was completely tied to my confidence.

Then I started working with my husband. Jake has this amazing ear- he plays music by ear and doesn't read music well. He hears things that just amaze me and can figure out how to play something by listening to it a few times- I mean stuff like "The Moonlight Sonata", which is simple, I know, but he never read the music and he was able to figure it all out and play it correctly...

Anyway, he has just been playing behind me now for 6 years and telling me how I'm right most of the time, and explaining why I messed up, if I did... For example: He can tell me that the reason is that I was hearing the bass line instead of the mid ranges and was coming in with it, and he'll show me how to find my pitch. Instead of saying- "wow, you can't hear", he'll show me that I CAN hear, but that I wasn't listening to the right thing. He's helped me figure out the relationships in songs and why I might have a hard time with a particular entrance, and if I make a mistake while I'm leading, he'll just quietly figure out how to either play it so that I'm right anyway, or he'll play some notes from the melody and bring me back. And my ear is way better. When Jake points out stuff in a song like the bass line, or that this song has 3 drums I can hear it now!

God has started doing this amazing work of healing my vocal confidence through Jake. I would NEVER have had the confidence to audition for the solo, maybe not even for the musical, without my years working with Jake. Jake knows that I can do it, and because of his belief & confidence in me, I'm starting to believe that I can. While I'm still cautious, he has showed me how to hear even when I'm nervous. I'mstarting to not just trust him, but trust myself again, and that's a huge turn around.

Thank you God for the way that you work. I wanted you to just FIX me, but you wanted me to grow- grow to trust you, grow to depend on my husband, grow to be able to fly on my own... Thank you for the amazing gift you gave me in my husband. He is a blessing. It's good to be reminded that you really do know waht you're doing... :) Thank you.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Valette's Sweetest Compliment Ever

Valette is one of the people I've known for a LONG time... I went to college with & had the blessing of working with one of her big brothers, Damon. She's a computer whiz/nerd and a very talented lady, regardless of her own claims... Anyway, she's done a write-up for our beading blog on her site, and written sweet things about us and our stuff. Thank you, Valette! We love you and miss you lots and lots.

Visit her site at
She's got excellent photography stuff, fun links, a dream log plus interesting observations on life.

November Book Reviews

Yes, these are late. Apparently, I will never again have these done on time. Oh, well. I do promise these are all books I started and completed during the month of November… Since I’ve been preparing for bazaars and showing up for bazaars and focusing so much energy on my beadwork I just haven’t read all that much lately.

* * *

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher -A+
Excellent book. The latest in his urban fantasy series and, in my opinion, the best of them. Good characters, good story, good writing. Fun bits and a quirky sense of humor, plus we get to find out more about the background of this world.

3rd Degree by James Patterson & Allen C. –B+
Enjoyed this one. The latest in his women crime-fighters series, and a good one. His books are never a 100% satisfying read.. They’re a little too real, ya know? I mean, when I read I want the bad guy to get what he deserves, and the good guys to be victorious, and his books are always a little grey- a little muddy…

Young Mutants
A compilation of short stories about mutants, some were good and some weren’t…
Some interesting stories and some thought provoking ones… I admit nothing about this compilation springs to my mind as a “can’t miss reading it” kind of story.

Lady Crymsym by P.N. Elrod –B+
Next one in the vampire P.I. stories set in Chicago right after the prohibition ended. We got some more background in this one. Enjoyed it. Had a good mystery with a unexpected twist ending. I was right in who I thought 'did it', but it was still a surprise...

Lady in the Loch by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough -A+
The surprise of the batch… I’ve never read anything by Scarborough that I’ve been in love with- until now. This was so good! Set in Scotland, and based loosely around the Frankenstein theme… Renaissance medicine, Murders, Ghosts, Gypsies… We know all along who the bad doctor is, and we get to watch the inspector narrow in on the culprit. I'd recommend this to pretty much anybody...

The Candle of Distant Earth by Alan Dean Foster -C
So disappointing. I’m a serious Foster fan- I’ve read pretty much everything he’s written except the Pip and Flinx stuff, and I just really like his writing. He’s prolific, got a great sense of humor, writes a wide variety of fantasy & sci-fi themes… I fell in love with his stuff a LONG time ago with the Spellsinger series- Jon Tom and the Otter (can’t think of his name).. Anyway, this trilogy was lousy- not really worth my time, rather predictable, and rather wordy… Sad.

Drinking Midnight Wine by Simon Green – B
Fantasie & Veritie are two worlds which remain back to back, never fully meeting. One is our present reality (Veritie) while the other remains always just out of sight with only glimpses showing through… Interesting situation & characters. Kind of dull, though… I guess I was really looking for stuff to happen, and it felt like it took forever to get to the point in this book. I liked it, it was just slow… Two of the weirdest moments in the book are potty scenes with the two main characters... Green describes in surprising detail their morning ritual- rather weird, 'cuz it doesn't assist in any story/plot line stuff, and it doesn't really give us more insight into the characters... Was this some kind of weird bet that he couldn't pull these scenes off? What's up?

Beast Master’s Quest by Andre Norton & Lyn M - B
Andre Norton was one of the very first sci-fi/authors I read, and I fell in love with her stuff. Way back in 7th & 8th grade I was devouring her stuff at home, during class, between class, during lunch...
(Side note: Norton died in early 2005. The two great Dames of sci-fi who paved the road for so many women authors have now both passed away- Marion Zimmer Bradley & Andre Norton. The world of sci-fi & fantasy is a better place because of their writing, and a sad one at the loss of these two visionary female writers. I’m okay with you not liking their stuff- even I don’t love everything they wrote, but you’ve got to acknowledge the crucial opportunities they made possible for other women writers in a genre which had previously been male-dominated.)
So, the scoop is that Norton wrote a book called Beast Master way back when. It was one of her best books, and one of my favorites. Excellent characters, good story-line, interesting aliens, believable situation, interesting world… and the animals! I'm a sucker for a book with smart critters, who are the best friends for a lonely guy or gal trying to make it on their own... It’s had TERRIBLE remakes of it made for both movie and tv format. Lyn M. is a friend of Norton’s and worked with her on some continuations of the story, so these books are authorized and approved of by Norton; however, Lyn M. is unable to pull off the strong writing required for a sequel to Norton’s work. So, we get the excellent characters in rather shadowy remakes… I’m glad to know what has happened to Storm and Ho & Hing and all his other friends, but it’s too bad the stories aren’t as strong as Norton’s…

Sunday, December 03, 2006

FLOT Christmas Rehearsal

Jake enjoyed the rehearsal today!!! He's been threatening to quit our performance- (2 weeks before performance date, I might add.) He HATES the choreography. In fact, I could say that again- He HATES the choreography. He's never done choreography before, has a really hard time learning it and remembering it, and he didn't really know what he was getting into when he started this. I didn't realize how much choreography there would be, or how many choral numbers would be involved in this performance, but I enjoy good choreography. I like learning it and doing it, and it's all just chopped suey to him- an aggravating mess that is impossible for him to retain. He's working so hard, and making his brain and his body retain the information while singing at the same time has just been beyond him, up until tonight. I'm proud of him for sticking it out.

Anyway, he had a really good time tonight and is looking forward to doing some more. I don't know if it just clicked tonight, or if he enjoyed the people, or just what happened, but I'm glad! ;)
When he has a good time, I do, too. And when he has a bad time, it's a lot harder for me to enjoy the rehearsal... And I do enjoy them, very much. So, Yay! And thank you, God!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sweetest Compliment Ever

Beth & I sold our beading today at the North Pole Bazaar and experienced the sweetest compliment either of us have ever had about our jewelry...

At one of these bazaar things, when there's down time and you have a lovely sister to sit at your table and watch over your things, you wander around and meet other venders and look at what they have... This morning after Beth & I set up all our stuff early and then had extra time before the bazaar opened, so I wandered around and noticed some beautiful beading at one table and just fell in love with a couple of her pieces. I came back and raved about it to Beth and made her take a look..

Later we met a sweet lady who was selling wood work with her husband. She came over and told us she was looking for some earrings for a friend. (much more to the conversation but not important to my story: the friend's in Perth, Australia- she'd worn the earring she'd already bought for her friend at her wedding two weeks ago and now needed to replace her gift with something else.... ) Anyway, I said that if she didn't find what she was looking for she should look up at the table close to the front because the woman there had some beautiful beading and some really nice earrings. She said thanks and, after a bit, left and wandered on.

Later on she came back and said, (Now, I want to get this right, 'cuz it was so sweet and I don't want to misrepresent her.) "Yes, her work was very nice, but I do beading, and I can do what she does. I've seen a lot of beadwork and what she does is very typical. What you girls have here is unique and creative. I've never seen stuff like this. I really like your work. It's beautiful."

She made our day... Yes, it's important to hear my mom and husband and friends say that our work is nice, but to have a complete stranger make an extra effort to say something like that really meant a lot to us.

And since neither of us made a ton today (we each made a little more than the price of renting the table, so that's good), it was just very nice to hear reinforcement like that... Seemed like God provided that to get us to not fret...

Anyway, we still are madly putting stuff up on our website, but there's quite a bit there now. Look for us in my links: 2 sisters beading.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thoughts on Life & Beads & Plays & Deborah

Yes, I am awake. Yes, it is 2 a.m. I just finished a beading project for the bazaar we're doing this weekend.

Finally, this year my stuff is selling at the bazaars... This is the third year Beth & I have done this, and I've sold like 4 or 5 things up til now. I stuck it out largely for Beth, and because I like working with beads and making stuff with my hands. (I've never really been a make-a-thing type artist. All my stuff has been poetry, singing, acting, writing plays- intangible and ephemeral. These last few years have been different. I don't really have time to be in a play and attend rehearsals. I did choir up on campus with Jake and LOVED it. The big change was painting- I took painting with Beth mostly to have SOMETHING to do in the winter, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it... The beading and the bazaars have been fun and scarey and exciting and horrifying. I like making something tangible. Something people can pick up and hold. Something I can try to sell- which is a bit like selling a small piece of yourself. Good, but scarey.)

Well, suddenly I'm making something unique that people really like- the wirework chokers are new for me. I discovered them a little over a month ago and I'm enjoying them and they are selling well. Rewarding to actually have some stuff selling now. I'm madly/crazily trying to make a new piece every other night to fill in the gaps from the stuff that's sold...

Beads are so addictive... I had no idea. Each individual piece is so inexpensive. You can easily spend $10 to $15 at a pop and get something REALLY pretty... Then suddenly you're making stuff all the time and you've got tons of beads everywhere and more stuff than you'll ever possibly wear... Then you're going into bead stores and spending $30, $50... Planning projects and buying beads specifically for something... VERY ADDICTIVE... It's easy to buy beads that are beautiful and you end up feeling more beautiful because you get to handle and work with these elegant and lovely beads...

We are doing a bazaar this weekend out in North Pole. We've done two so far this year (Monroe school and Pioneer Park Civic Center) and I've done really well this year. We wanted to get into at least three, but we're now both very nervous about the NP one. North Pole is probably a 20 - 30 minute drive for us, but the really yucky thing is that we have to provide our own table and chairs. WHAT! Like we've got those things lying around... Yes, we have two folding chairs tucked way away back in the garage somewhere. (We call our garage "the black hole"- things check in and they don't check out...) So, I asked Jake where the chairs might be, and he was like "what chairs?"... Umm, hmm, guess you probably don't know where they'd be then... OH, well.. Who do you know that can say they'll be selling stuff in North Pole this weekend???

Oh... I wish so much that we hadn't committed to this. I am thoroughly enjoying it, and even though I dread the amount of time it takes for me to attend rehearsals, I like the other people and the rehearsals and the singing and the dancing... It's just very inconvenient right now with the Bazaar season upon us....

My 3 year old is pretty much potty training. Yes, I know this is not important to anybody but us here, but WOW is it important... So, 3 cheers for Deborah: Hip, hip hooray! Hip, hip hooray! Hip, hip hooray!

My three year old has started pre-school this week. She's been going BONKERS here in the cold. She wants to go outside and play, but she doesn't like to be cold, and I don't like to be cold (which is why I live in Fairbanks, Alaska!)... So, we don't much play outside and she is so bright and active that she drives herself and us CRAZY in our limited space. So, when the opportunity came up for us to do a Head Start pre-school we all flipped. She's getting lessons in basic stuff to prepare her for Kindergarten, plus she's getting more interaction with kids and adults, plus they have a big romper room she can run around in for part of the day, plus I'm not having to plan activities for us everyday, plus she's not begging to watch tv all the time (I'm pretty definite about how much time she can watch every day, and she gets so bored stuck inside here...) She would be a non-stop chatterbug if I'd let her- she's very demanding and just FULL of words... So full that sometimes I just want her to be QUIET for 2 minutes... Now, it's quiet for almost 4 hours 4 days a week! Yay! Plus, Abigail is getting more one on one time with me... Everybody benefits! While it is hard to turn her over to other people during the day, I can drop in any time I want- I spent a good portion of the first day there with her. Also, I really liked the way they handled everything I saw. Seems like the ONLY way this could have been better is if it had been a Christian pre-school and she was also learning about God and the Bible... And I think her teacher is a Christian...

So, God- You're pretty cool! Thanks for this great opportunity for Deborah! Please bless it. Please help us figure out the best thing for her right now.

(I seem to be full of CAPITALS today... Hmm. I don't know what is triggering this INTENSE need for capitals. Perhaps my sleepy brain. Perhaps I've just had a really good week. Who knows... Jog on, little black capital letters...)