Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Metal-smithing!

I am going to take a metal-smithing class starting in January!
Beth has already taken a semester, and now I get to join her. I'm VERY excited, and rather nervous. New skills, new tools...
However, I LOVE the idea of making my own components. My own rings, pendants and pieces to use with my wire and beadwork. It will make my work more valuable to me, and to others.
I found all these pictures on Etsy. We're hoping to have our own stuff on Etsy soon!
























However, I LOVE the idea of making my own componenets.

I'll be COLD for Christmas...
















We ran out of heating fuel on Christmas day! Nobody delivered over the break. (We really didn't want to pay all the extra to get them to deliver...)
So, Jake got about 45 gallons of diesel & we hunkered down at a lower temp (68-70-ish) to wait until the break was over. We got a fuel delivery on Monday, but it just didn't warm up.
We figured out there was a problem with the furnace after waiting a day or so for it to warm up...
It got down to about 56-58.
But the tech was here after waiting for him only one day.... AND now it is finally getting WARM!!!! YAY! =)
PS- Yes, I know this is a HORRID picture of me, but aren't my babies cute? =)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus dwell richly in your heart. May the light of Christ illuminate the darkness around you.
Merry Christmas!










Thursday, December 24, 2009

God With Us

Immanuel
By Michael Card

A sign shall be given
A virgin will conceive
A human baby bearing
Undiminished deity
The glory of the nations
A light for all to see
That hope for all who will embrace
His warm reality

Immanuel
Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us
Immanuel

For all those who live in the shadow of death
A glorious light has dawned
For all those who stumble in the darkness
Behold your light has come

Immanuel
Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us
Immanuel

So what will be your answer?
Will you hear the call?
Of Him who did not spare His son
But gave him for us all
On earth there is no power
There is no depth or height
That could ever separate us
From the love of God in Christ

ImmanuelOur God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us
Immanuel

Immanuel
Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us
Immanuel

Friday, December 18, 2009

For Now See

God never does only one thing. In everything he does he is doing thousands of things. Of these we know perhaps half a dozen.
John Piper

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

All the times I wish I knew what God was doing- It just might be too much for me to understand and accept...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Schools Kill Creativity


Must see video... Fascinating.

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity

Born Artists

All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.
Pablo Picasso

Mistakes Are Not the Worst Thing That Can Happen To You

If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original.
Sir Ken Robinson

North Pole Plaza Re-Cap

Sold one thing. For two days of setting up, that's pretty lousy. :(
Met a new friend, she sells Scentsy warmers and candles. Pretty cool.

We'll be in town at Shopper's Forum (across from the library, and next to Planet Fitness, where Gottschalk's used to be) this weekend from 10-4. We'd LOVE to see you there.

Christmas?

Very frustrated today... My girls have been BEGGING to have the tree up, but there are so many steps... And everyone requires somebody's cooperation to get it done.

The girls had to help clean up the living room. I have to push them.
Mom had to help clean up the corner where the tree goes.
Jake has to help me get the tree and the ornaments, 'cuz I can't lift it all. And getting him to do it is like dragging a moose through mud.
Beth refused to help in any way. Refused to move her stuff. Refused to help with anyone else's stuff...
I wanted to have the living room vaccuumed before putting up the tree, but my asthma is SO bad. As soon as I start vaccuuming I'm sucking on my inhaler.
Mom can't vaccuum 'cuz of her leg. Again, Beth refused to help.
I wish I could just magically make it all happen.

I'm going to give up for the day. Just tired of dragging everyone else to someplace they apparently don't want to go.

Very frustrated. Very, very frustrated.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

OH, MY!

I have been directing the children's Christmas musical at church this year. Remember, I've done this before. A lot, in fact... I've now officially directed 12 full-out performances with kids, not including this latest one.

That was the WORST rehearsal I have ever directed in my life.

Several kids were missing. Two of them had solos. Four of them had speaking parts (all small).
We had worked out easy choreography/moving across the stage for one of the songs- NOBODY remembered what they were supposed to do. Not even sort of...
I had one poor kid who kept asking me what he was supposed to be doing (he's in kindergarten, so I can't really blame him, but at this point I'd rather he just stand there instead of coming to me and saying 'where am I supposed to be?').
One of the main characters doesn't have any lines memorized yet...

Plus, I had been at a bazaar all morning, so didn't get time to get the five or six props I was supposed to bring....

AAAAAAH!!! Really, really bad.

There's more. Character/acting type stuff- one of the main characters just wants to sit and say all his lines kinda mumbly, one of the narrators tends to go so fast you can't understand a word she's saying, and the other narrator goes so far into the country accent that it starts twitching her body around... One of the wonderful/sweet/kind volunteer adults has never done any acting before, and he keeps turning his back to the audience and he doesn't seem to remember stuff I've said before. I am so glad he's there!!! Don't get me wrong. But I just wish he'd remember to face the audience...

*****

Oh, God! Help us! Please!
Please let the excitement and energy of performing help them all focus. Please let Austin memorize his lines. Please help me let go of the things that aren't really important. Please bless this and let it go, if not well, at least okay. Please let it come together and work out...
Help me remember that the play is really all about you, and not about how it works out. Please touch it with your presence and blessing and cause it rise above all problems and touch people with the story of your amazing grace and love.
Thank you!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two Sisters & Our Jewelry

Next week on Saturday, December 12th, we will be out at the North Pole Plaza mall from 9 til 4. We'd love to see you!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Proust Quiz

Interesting quiz. Passed on from Robert
Another FaceBook thing.
****
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
my family, music, around a campfire, singing songs

2. Which living person do you most admire?
My mom- My father was so terribly sick for so long before he passed away, I can't believe all she gave up to take care of him. Years. Her health. Peace. Even with all that I believe she only regrets not being able to do more for him...

3. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
having it all, being wealthy.

4. What is your greatest extravagance?
BEADS! I'm so horrible at trying to limit my spending...

5. What is your current state of mind?
Annoyed at myself for failing ONCE AGAIN to take care of something I badly needed to do...
Pleased that I got some stuff done today that I really needed to do...

6. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
One thing? HA!
I wish I wasn't so ditzy & unorganized, I wish I got stuff done, I wish I wasn't so terribly shy, I wish I had more energy, I wish I wasn't a procrastinator, I wish I wasn't so negative, I wish I went to bed at a normal time, I wish I was there more for my girls and my husband...

7. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Making the decision to stay home with my girls- it's the hardest thing I've ever done. I MISS teaching, and doing drama. I know it's the right choice for them, but it's hard.

8. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
Kitty cat- in a nice warm house where I could sleep all day.

9. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Alone with no hope, no family, no friends

10. What do you most value in your friends?
just being there, time, persistence, faithfulness

11. Who are your favorite writers?
How many can I list? =)
Mercedes Lackey, Kathy Reichs, J.A. Jantz, Dean Koontz, Tamora Pierce, Andre Norton, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, Dianna Wynne Jones, S.E. Hinton, Charlaine Harris, Shakespeare, Nora Roberts, Jennifer Roberson, Robert Parker, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Eoin Colfer, Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Kay Hooper, Simon Green, E.M. Forster, Harper Lee, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder...
I think I'll stop there for right now.

12. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
The young women created by Tamora Pierce- I love how she portrays their inner fears & difficulties and still allows them to triumph over them.

13. Who are your heroes in real life?
The faithful- those who stick it out

14. What are your favorite names?
Those with meaning to them, more than 'they just sound cool'... My daughter's middle name is Mikalyn because her daddy's middle name is Mickael and my middle name is Lyn. My middle name is Lyn because my Grammy's name was Evelyn and my mom's middle name is Roylyn.

15. What is it that you most dislike?
deliberate unfairness, choosing to ignore a need

16. What is your greatest regret?
Not hearing God

17. How would you like to die?
NOT yet! I want to be there for my girls, for my family.

18. What is your greatest fear?
That I'm missing out on what God planned for me.

19. What is your most marked characteristic?
stubborn persistence

20. Where would you like to live?
Washington or Oregon

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Farmer's Market Bazaar

Thank you!
We had a FANTASTIC bazaar yesterday at West Valley. =)
Sold lots. Saw friends. Had fun. YAY!

Next week on Saturday, December 12th, we will be out at the North Pole Plaza mall from 9 til 4. We'd love to see you!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Pioneer Park Bazaar Re-Cap

I actually did very well last weekend. =) Beth did well, too.
I am always delighted to see friends!

I am really looking forward to the Christmas Bazaar this weekend- We'll be at West Valley high school with the Farmer's Market bazaar.

I love the fact that EVERYTHING there is handmade by the person selling.
(Not that I don't like Mary Kay, The Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Pink Papaya, Cookie Lee, etc., etc.) I just enjoy the atmosphere when everything is handmade. We draw a different crowd.

Anyway, we'd love to see you!!!

West Valley High School off Geist, on this Saturday December 5th, from 10 to 4.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Blessed

This year I am thankful for so many things-
a family who loves me,
a tender sweet husband,
beautiful & growing daughters,
good friends,
good food,
a home,
warm beds,
a kitty to cuddle,
a car that drives,
books to read,
a library in town,
tv shows I enjoy,
a place to write,
plenty of beads to play with,
the fact that no-one in our house has had surgery since March!!,
art to explore & create,
schools & teachers I like for my girls,
extra money so the girls can take dancing,
time with God,
God's grace & forgiveness,
God's kindness and lavish love...
I am blessed beyond belief.

My husband recently read that there are over 800 individuals in our community who are homeless. More than 250 are children, most are adults. They live on the streets, flop on friends' couches, and hunt food. About half the children are escaping abusive situations, and the others left home because they chose not to follow house rules, were addicts or pregnant.

The adults are a mixed group. Some are addicts who have difficulty maintaining a regular job. Some lost their job and subsequently their home. Some are vets dealing with PTSD. Some have fallen into homelessness and cannot escape, and some have chosen this way of live.

Today is shockingly warm at +21 F. But it's been -20 lately... Can you imagine being homeless at those temperatures? Where do you go? You can't hang around in the library, or shopping centers. There is a shelter here, but it can't accomodate that many people. I don't even know if they can feed that many...

Without my mom we would be homeless. I find myself particularly thankful for her at this time of year...

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. We did!
Merry Christmas and Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Costumes

Here were the girls costumes this year:










Abigail's favorite part was her tail, and Deborah's favorite part was her skirt. =)










My little kitty.
My little mermaid.

Yes, this is Alaska. October 31st occurred with snow, and temps below 0.

Our Zoo- The Otter

I highlighted my oldest daughter's lion tendencies, and thought I should also put the spotlight on my youngest.

My youngest daughter, Abigail Joy, is four years old which means her personality is not set in stone. However, I would say her personality is kind of like a river- she's got a definite direction in mind. It may wind a bit, but both she and I have got a pretty good idea which way it's headed.

She's my party girl- silly, witty, compassionate and enthusiastic. She does not like to be alone, and would rather that all of her loved ones were in close proximity. She loves enthusiastically, and dislikes with equal enthusiasm.








It's rare to find a picture of her alone- I found a couple from her 4th birthday. I mostly find Abigail cuddled up to someone, or playing with Deborah.

She hates it when anyone argues in the house, and has been known to say to us, 'you yelled at daddy! That's bad!' Also, she's my little one who will cry just as enthusiastically at being swatted once on her bottom or being spoken to harshly. Her heart hurts her more than any spanking ever could.

Her secondary tendencies, are gonna be a lovely contrast. =) She's got her some serious Beaver vibes going on. She's the 2 year old who used to organize her crayons instead of coloring/scribbling... She used to line them up in groups of colors. The blues here and the reds over here. She'd make a little nest for herself on the couch and organize the books instead of looking at them... And line the stuffed animals up around her like a little fence.

And while she loves a party and people, she can be very shy when she first meets people. I don't know if this one will be something she grows out of, but right now it can be very hard for her to be introduced to a new situation.

My lovely little party girl wants to be a dancer and a vet and a singer and a teacher and a jewelry maker.
*****

God, you have given me a precious gift- This beautiful cuddly girl who wants my company so much. Please help me be the mama she needs. Please help me love her the way you would want me to, and direct her on the path you have for her. I am so looking forward to being part of her Spirit birth. Please grant her an enthusiasm for your truth, love and mercy. Plant a love of your word deep in her heart. Grow her in grace and truth.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Perfect Church??

"The power of the Church is not a parade of flawless people, but of a flawless Christ who embraces our flaws. The Church is not made up of the whole people, rather of the broken people who find wholeness in a Christ who was broken for us."
Mike Yaconelli

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Holiday Bazaars

Today we were at JoAnn's!
Yes, the store.
They were trying something new- having a craft bazaar inside the store.

The only catch was we could only set out items we'd made from JoAnn's products. A good idea actually. We had a couple people ask what we used, and we were able to encourage them to try out JoAnn's stuff. Plus, people could see you can make really cute and unusual jewelry with what's available right there in the store.

We didn't make very much money, but they didn't charge us anything to set up. So, hey. No outlay, just income. =) I sold 2 things and Beth sold one.
Not bad for a day we would have otherwise spent at home.

Look for us next weekend at Pioneer Park/Alaskaland!!! We'll be there Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cats Sitting

LOL!
This post cracked me up.
http://kittystampede.blogspot.com/2009/11/when-cats-sit-like-humans.html

She has way more pictures of cats sitting in very non-cat ways... Very silly.

Monopoly money

Replace fear of the coming winter with faith in the living God. After all, it's just Monopoly money. It all goes back in the box.
Max Lucado

*****
A reminder for me that everything belongs to God, and that He is the one who provides. We all fight to own the best things we possibly can, but the truth is that it will all pass away.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Psalm 20:7

I guess a good modern version would be: Some trust in their mansions and some in fancy cars, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our Zoo- The Lion

Here's the thing about the Smalley/Trent personality profile- those people (lions, tigers and bears, oh my) have to get along. And most homes are little zoos with every animal trying to get along. Lions trying to command, Otters trying to play, Golden Retrievers trying to get along, and Beavers trying to organize everyone...

Our home is certainly no different.
The crazy, wacky thing about our home is that two golden retriever/otters gave birth to a LION.
A roaring commanding, demanding lion.















Our first-born daughter knows exactly how everything should be done, and believes that she is totally right in all things. I often think of this Bible thought in conjunction with her- 'And each one did what was right in their own minds and hearts'. Deborah will fight til the last breath to have her own way. I can certainly see the value and strength of her behavior, but it is very difficult to deal with a 6 year old who is absolutely convinced that she should have something or be able to do something when she is wrong. And it is difficult to deal with a 6 year old who will fight with her words, body and temper to get what she is convinced she should have.

Deborah is a wonderful, sweet, difficult, strong-willed, little girl. Her quick & vicious temper gets her in trouble regularly; however, I see the light. I see the potential of her practical leadership. I see the possibilities in her decisive and productive leadership. I see the joy that her intelligence, quick-wit and delight in learning could bring her. If we can just get her determination and stubbornness bent in the right way- in God's way. Oh, please help us do that, God!

With a full seasoning of God's love, grace, patience and kindness. Both poured over her through her families' hands, and poured through her by His Spirit.

I've already had the amazing gift of getting to participate in her Spirit Birth- the day that she asked Jesus into her heart. And I have seen a difference in her since that day. I've seen God's Spirit causing her to see people in a new light, with his compassion and grace tempering her will. We've fought many battles, but I believe it would have been much worse without God's spirit dwelling in her. And without her hunger and passion for God's word. (She makes sure she gets her Bible story every night, and she has tons of questions about why things happen the way they do during those stories.)

Much as I love her, I dread the day she hits puberty! Man, the battles my mom and I had! And though I am stubborn and strong-willed (just ask my husband!), she's got me beat hands down. I went through a time as a teenager when I fought my mom over so much... I fear that my Deborah and I will also do battle.

***
God, Thank you for my beautiful Deborah. What a precious, sweet, amazing gift you have given me. Far beyond what I could have imagined or dreamed. Please help me be the mom I need to be for her. Please help me channel her energy, intelligence and will in the way you would have her go. I pray over her these words- 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your path." May this be the cry of her heart.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Personality Test

One of the lesser known Personality Profiles, was developed by Dr. Gary Smalley and Dr. John Trent. They base their personalities around animal characteristics. While these personality types are certainly broad categories, they are easy to remember and communicate. Thinking about people in this way can be helpful when dealing with family members, employees, and/or people in general. Understanding what makes people tick can make the home, work environment, meetings, and projects run much smoother.
Listed below are the characteristics of each temperament and how they line up with Galen’s and the DISC for comparison:

Lion (Choleric/Dominance)
Strengths– Visionary, practical, productive, strong-willed, independent, decisive, leader
Weaknesses– Cold, domineering, unemotional self-sufficient, unforgiving, sarcastic, cruel



Otter (Sanguine/Influence)
Strengths– Outgoing, responsive, warm, friendly, talkative, enthusiastic, compassionate
Weaknesses–
Undisciplined, unproductive, exaggerates, egocentric, unstable

Golden Retriever (Phlegmatic/Steadiness)
Strengths– Calm, easy-going, dependable, quiet, objective, diplomatic, humorous
Weaknesses– Selfish, stingy, procrastinator, unmotivated, indecisive, fearful, worrier




Beaver (Melancholy/Compliance)
Strengths– Analytical, self-disciplined, industrious, organized, aesthetic, sacrificing
Weaknesses– Moody, self-centered, touchy, negative, unsociable, critical, revengeful


Often you’ll find that people have a primary character type and a secondary type. Take a look at yourself. Which one is your primary and which one is your secondary? Some naturally go together and make for a wonderful set of strengths. Also, be sensitive to the weaknesses in yourself and in others.


With thanks to Eric H. Brown at weirdblog.wordpress.com

Sick, Sick, Sick

Blech.
It seems like I've had a cold forever... It's probably only been 2 weeks, but it seems like much longer. My cold turned into bronchitis last Wednesday or Thursday, and it has not gone away.

My doctor told me to do NOTHING. Arrgh. Do you know how much I hate beeing told to do nothing??? I hate sitting around. Although I admit climbing the six stairs to the bedrooms makes me winded right now...
I went out with the family on saturday for a couple hours, and then led children's choir on Sunday night.
Now, I think I'm paying for my determination to do those 2 things. I HATE being pinned at home.

I start coughing when I do pretty much anything:
Get up to go get the phone. Cough, cough, cough.
Get the girls' lunch. Cough, cough, cough, cough.
Talk to my mom. Cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough...

I've gotten bronchitis every winter for the last three years. It just wears me out. Time to move out of Fairbanks....

Monday, November 09, 2009

Known by their Words and Actions

I recently read a passage written by a Facebook friend, Bishop Liberty in Dakar Senegal:

****
When God truly calls a person to be a vessel for His purpose; it is not by their bank account that you can know them, the amount of children they have, the size of their churches, their impact in the relief giving world, preaching or teaching on satellite, their theological degrees, but He touches them in a special way that cleanse them and change their lives to produce the type of fruits that are from His Kingdom.

In the cases of both Isaiah and Jeremiah; their lips were touch. From that movement what came out was God own words. The Bible describes it like this: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that has clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, and sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Ps.24:3-5).

Does your Shepherd fit this qualification? Is your Shepherd hands clean when it comes to the message he/she preaches/teaches? Is he/her hands clean when it comes to money matters, women in the church, dispensation of justice and truth, not chasing/exploiting to gain things of this world/vanity above righteousness, or swearing in the name of God about things that are non-existent? Or is Shepherd is producing contrary fruits?
*****

This struck me because of the scripture passage Bishop Liberty quotes. 'Who shall stand in God's holy place? He that has clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, and sworn deceitfully.'

The "holy place" David is talking about in the scripture was the Holy of Holies, the center of Jewish temple worship. Only one priest a year would go in that sacred place, and they would tie a rope around him in case he died from the holiness and purity of God in that place.

Then they could drag out his dead body. For real. Think about that one. The 'lucky' guy who gets chosen to go into the holy place has to have a fishing line attached in case he dies... Hmmmmm. Who really wants this duty?!!

I do. I want to sit at God's feet. Worship Him. Come to know Him. Dwell in His house forever.... The job/role/call/duty of the worship leader (or preacher for that matter) is to go to that sacred place and bring the entire congregation with her. To do that you must have gone before, alone... And the scripture says the only way you're doing that is with clean hands and a pure heart. Only those who do right for the right reasons, and those who do not worship anything (food, computer, drugs, alcohol, books, money...), or tell lies.

I want to be right with God, and to serve Him as He sees fit. I'm not sure what He is doing right now, but I will trust Him.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Dangerous Duty of Delight

I'm reading a book by John Piper called, "The Dangerous Duty of Delight", and I was just struck by this paragraph:

Let it be crystal clear: We are always talking about joy in God. Even joy in doing good is finally joy in God, because the ultimate good that we always aim at is displaying the glory of God and expanding our own joy in God to others. Any other joy would be qualitatively insufficient for the longing of our souls and quantitatively too short for our eternal need. In God alone is fullness of joy and joy forever.

I have to say that in many ways my joy in doing the work of God, (leading worship, acting for a church sketch, writing a piece, directing a children's musical, facepainting at a fall festival, etc.) is significantly less than the joy I take in doing my 'quiet time'. Which sometimes just feels like work.

At my last church I was basically told I shouldn't be doing the work of God at all until my joy in my times with God was greater than the joy I took in doing His work. Which made me feel like I was bad or failing as a Christian. Because I've had wonderful, significant, meaningful, sweet times with God.

But day to day? I'd rather do His work. The creative work He's designed me to do.

3 Pregnancies

I had my annual 'fun' visit with the gynecologist last week, and was thrown for a loop.

I did the questionnaire thingy at the beginning.
One of the questions was 'How many pregnancies have you had?' I said 2.
'How many live births?' I said 2.
Then, it asked 'How many miscarriages have you had?' I said 1.

When the nurse came in and saw that, she corrected my 2 pregnancies to 3.

She was right. I realized I had 3 pregnancies.

I almost started crying right there.
Not that I didn't know I lost a baby, or that I was pregnant.
I just hadn't had it all listed out like that before and I found it shocking.

Really, I'm okay.
Sad. But okay.

The miscarriage still feels kind of dream-like. I know so few people REALLY, and told so few in person... I blogged about it, but really haven't TALKED to anyone about it.

I lost a baby. I don't know how heaven works really, and if she'll be there (I think she was a girl. I don't know this. I just think it.) And really, if there was something terribly wrong with her, and she would have been in a lot of pain it's better that she just go on home and wait for me to get there.

But, oh. It makes me sad right now.
I would have been about five months pregnant right now, and feeling little butterfly kicks.

God, you know what's best. But I don't understand everything right now. I want to trust you.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Faith and Doubts

God does not go
From here to there by shortest routes;
He makes a place for faith and doubts.

by John Piper

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Before

I remember when...
I had so much to say to You that the words fell onto the paper like rain from the Seattle sky.
I knew that I was adored and loved and felt fully confident of Your plans and purposes... of Your goodness and love...
I was sure of my place in Your plan, not at the center, but at Your feet gazing on Your light and lifting You high...
I knew Your words and heard Your voice...
I was so full of passion for You from top to bottom that I flew through weeks and over months with joy and abandon...
I was heard, and could come to You in freedom, my Abba...

God, somehow my love for You has been lost behind the slow, lingering death of dreams I thought You planted and nurtured.
Were they my dreams?? My hopes? I thought they were Yours. Was I so wrong?
Because if I was wrong in this fundamental thing, then all I knew of You is shifting sand.
Quicksand dragging me down.

My love for You is still here.
A seed I've kept hidden, safe in the pocket of my heart.
Will you nurture it?
Or will you let it wither and die?
Dried and hollow, like my heart.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Monroe Bazaar Follow-Up

Well, last Saturday was S-A-D.
Seems the poor lady in charge of the bazaar had appendicitis 2-3 weeks ago.
So most of the bazaar planning fell by the wayside. (Somebody please explain why she didn't ask for help or someone else didn't just kindly HELP HER OUT???)

So. NO advertising was done. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Til the day OF the bazaar. Then they put an ad in the paper.
How nice. The day of.
'Cuz nobody I know makes plans before the weekend. Nope. They all just wake up, hop out of bed, grab the paper and decide what they are gonna do for their only two days off right then and there. (earnest nodding)

And the big banner that goes outside in front of the school during the bazaar? Oh, yeah. They put that out 2-3 hours AFTER the bazaar started. Normally they've got it up the week BEFORE the bazaar to let everyone who drives by know what's going on...

Beth & I each sold one thing. She made table. I did not. And the sales we did make were to other venders. Another friend of ours only made $6.
By the way there were well over 100 venders, and each of us paid $40 a table. And for many of us, this is it. This is how we make our living. By selling the stuff we make...
Instead, we were trading stuff, and selling stuff to each other. Which tells you we had time to do that... We don't normally have time to look at everybody else's tables unless we're set up early enough to do it before opening.

I'm not bitter. REALLY. But I am annoyed.
When you rent the space to sell your stuff, it's with the understanding that they will do their part and get people in to buy your stuff...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Monroe Bazaar on the 17th

We'll be at Monroe High school this Saturday from 10 til 4.
If you're in Fairbanks, Come check us out!
New Jewelry! Pretties, danglies, sparklies, and beautiful stones.
New Halloween pieces & New Christmas pieces.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Poor Luna















Last night during our evening bedtime rituals, Abigail suddenly yelled, "Mama, Luna's eye is bleeding!!!"

I picked her up, and drops of blood splashed on my hand.

Sometime yesterday the cats had a major fight, and poor Luna got the worst of it.
We're not sure who was involved, but it was probably Gidget. Beth noticed that she'd been stalking Luna all day. Gidget is this cantankerous fat cat who can't stand for any of the other cats in the house to be happy. If Luna or Nene are playing, there's Gidget stopping the fun.

She also has a habit of stalking one of the smaller cats around the house, chasing them down all day until she's got them pinned into a corner.

Anyway, Luna has a slight tear in her bottom eyelid, a deep puncture wound between her eyes, and a scratch across the top of her head between her ears. Poor kitty.

I took her for a daytime emergency visit to the vet, and she got the okay for her eye. We were all concerned that her eye itself had been scratched with the way it was gunky and bloody last night, but it was just the eyelid. Thank God.
So she got an antibiotic shot, and has been trailing me every second I've been home.
Poor kitty....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jake's Contest

Jake, my husband, entered this really cool Alaskan Inventor's Contest up on the UAF campus.
He's one of the 20 finalists!

He's got a great idea. And the potential to win a large chunk of money.

His final presentation is on Friday, October 23rd, and he's falling apart. Poor guy. He's feeling tons of pressure to do a perfect presention, and he's very nervous.

Please pray that he does his absolute best. (Yes, I want him to win, but I want him to feel like he did the best he possibly could even if he doesn't.)

Thank you!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Headache

I've had a migraine for the last week. Arrgh.
I don't know what's causing it, but it's affected everything I've done- my work, my attitude, my behavior. It makes it hard to think, and hard to function.
I hate migraines!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Call to Common Courtesy

I get an e-letter from Max Lucado's site. I really liked this little article, so I'm sharing it. These are not my words, they are his.
*****

Perhaps you’ve never placed the word courteous next to Christ. I hadn’t until I wrote this chapter.
But you know how you never notice double-cab red trucks until your friend says he wants one—then you see a dozen of them? I had never thought much about the courtesy of Christ before, but as I began looking, I realized that Jesus makes Emily Post look like Archie Bunker.
He always knocks before entering. He doesn’t have to. He owns your heart. If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does. But he doesn’t. That gentle tap you hear? It’s Christ. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20 NASB). And when you answer, he awaits your invitation to cross the threshold.
And when he enters, he always brings a gift. Some bring Chianti and daisies. Christ brings “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). And, as he stays, he serves. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45 NIV). If you’re missing your apron, you’ll find it on him. He’s serving the guests as they sit (John 13:4–5). He won’t eat until he’s offered thanks, and he won’t leave until the leftovers are put away (Matt. 14:19–20).
He is courteous enough to tell you his name (Exod. 3:15) and to call you by yours (John 10:3). And when you talk, he never interrupts. He listens.
He is even on time. Never late. Never early. If you’re checking your watch, it’s because you’re on a different itinerary. “There is a time for everything” (Eccles. 3:1). And Christ stays on schedule.
He even opens doors for you. Paul could preach at Troas because “the Lord had opened a door” (2 Cor. 2:12 NIV). When I asked my dad why men should open doors for women, his answer was one word: “respect.” Christ must have abundant respect for you.
He knocks before he enters. He always brings a gift. Food is served. The table is cleared. Thanks are offered. He knows your name and tells you his, and here is one more.
He pulls out the chair for you. “He raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens” (Eph. 2:6).
My wife has a heart for single moms. She loves to include a widow or divorcĂ©e at the table when we go to a restaurant. Through the years I’ve noticed a common appreciation from them. They love it when I pull out their chair. More than once they have specifically thanked me. One mom in particular comes to mind. “My,” she blushed, brushing the sudden moisture from her eye, “it’s been a while since anyone did that.”
Has it been a while for you as well? People can be so rude. We snatch parking places. We forget names. We interrupt. We fail to show up. Could you use some courtesy? Has it been a while since someone pulled out your chair?
Then let Jesus. Don’t hurry through this thought. Receive the courtesy of Christ. He’s your groom. Does not the groom cherish the bride? Respect the bride? Honor the bride? Let Christ do what he longs to do.
For as you receive his love, you’ll find it easier to give yours. As you reflect on his courtesy to you, you’ll be likely to offer the same.

From A Love Worth Giving
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2002) Max Lucado

Christmas Earrings

I've been working on some Christmas earrings to take to one of the local stores, "The Ornamentery".

The owner's name is Judith Grahek, and we are delighted to have seasonal items carried in her store. She's only open from about November 1st to December 23rd or so, and pretty much only carries seasonal items. Last year was our first year to work with her, and she's wonderful! Judith is very positive about the artists, and having a few things in her store was a good experience.

However, I've got some mixed feelings about ME making seasonal items...
#1- They're the most cutesy items I make. Always. And they rarely feel special enough to justify the time they take.
#2- I didn't sell many last year. Although I consistently sell some every year.
#3- I don't have as much fun making them.
#4- Part of me feels like I'm selling out. =) (Like I don't already make items specifically so they will sell! Really, I realize how silly this is, I just can't make it go away!)

Good Things About Seasonal Items:
#1- I like making things that will sell. I like making money. I like money.
#2- I have the items on hand, and I have fun making them, even if I'm all grouchy about it.
#3- Things sold at The Ornamentery only have a 20% commission on them. That is literally the best amount we make on any any of our jewelry other than the pieces we sell ourselves.

These little confetti/sequin earrings are quick and easy to make. I added a little sparkle to them with some 'fairy dust' (yes, that's an actual product, a liquid glitter), and voila. Christmas Earrings.



$10 a pair
Made by Rebecca

Choices

Unexplainable crises that we’d never asked for are often the backdrop of our greatest spiritual breakthroughs.
From Matt Tullos

I don't want that to be true... But I think Matt's right.
When I'm determined to go my own way, God is gracious enough to let me. And then He's there to pick up the pieces after my way turns out to have been the wrong way.

There's an old DC Talk song that goes,
"Some people gotta learn the hard way,
I guess I'm the kind of guy who's got to find out for myself."

I am so glad that God is in the business of making amazingly wonderful good things out of travesties. All those people in the Old Testament who sin... It isn't about how perfect a Christian is- we're not. Christians are messed up. Everyone has the potential for incredible evil, and Christians are no different. The incredible thing about knowing God intimately is knowing that He can take my worst and most heinous mistakes and make something beautiful out of them.

He can take something horrific and make good. But oh, how He longs to use us before we make the worst mistakes we possibly can. His longing is to hold us and protect us from the evil we can do- so that it doesn't happen. He can make beauty out of a life lived dedicated to Him.


See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,
and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40:10-12

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Matthew 23:37

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My new creations

Lately I've been making Halloweeny type stuff for the Monroe bazaar. Having fun with bone skulls and spider webs. ;)

I'm dabbling with the idea of putting some of our/my stuff on Etsy, the handmade site (http://www.etsy.com/). It just seems very complicated. I'd have to get a dedicated bank account, and get a paypal account... And you never know if stuff will actually sell...

But there's the potential of opening up sales to more people & a larger market, and after losing our income from The Stash that would be a very good thing.

So, I'm truly tempted. We'll see.

Holiday Bazaars

So far, Two Sisters Jewelry has two confirmed Holiday bazaars:

October 17, Saturday from 9-4 at Monroe Catholic School

November 28 & 29, Saturday & Sunday from 9-4 at Pioneer Park


We look forward to seeing you there!
We will update the schedule as more confirmations come in.
Thank you!

Monday, October 05, 2009

God's Voice, Pt. 2

As this theme has circulated in my thoughts, I've realized that God has spoken to me more times than I had originally thought. I hope I can remember them all.

Just as the Israelites chose to remember God's provision for them at Passover, I believe strongly in remembering the times God has intervened in my life. It strengthens my faith to remember the times God has clearly revealed Himself. I believe it helps others as well.
****

I finally got to go to Youth camp after graduating from high school. I had never gone before, primarily because Summer Fine Arts Camp coincided with the week of camp. I loved Summer Fine Arts Camp! I got to sing, play my clarinet, act, dance, paint for a whole month!!! So, even though I was jealous that Beth went to youth camp and came back all pumped up for God, I had continued to choose SFAC over youth camp.

Until my last year.

Thank you God! I'm so glad that you made it possible for me to go to youth camp that last year.

Even though God had spoken a message of love and faithfulness over me, I still questioned His goodness and absolute power. My biggest struggle with God was still this: How could a God of love, joy and goodness allow the evil that exists in this world? Unless He wasn't powerful & couldn't change things?
Every morning after breakfast our director would send us out with our journals and some scripture. Since the camp is out in the middle of nowhere (outside of Delta Junction, Alaska), there was plenty of woods for us to each find a very alone spot.


On Wednesday or Thursday of that week, I found a spot by myself on a fallen log. I read my verses, and started journaling. I don't remember my topic, but I do remember asking God to please explain...


I poured out my heart to Him. I focused on the problem of evil and suffering in the world. How could He allow the atrocities I had witnessed, much less the horrors I had only heard of???

And He answered me.

I looked up.
And a beautiful butterfly landed close to me.
His words were so clear, so simple.
"I am all that is lovely, good, right and beautiful in the world."
It may not sound like a direct answer, but to me it was... I knew from His words that He despised and abhorred evil as much as I did. I knew that the evil in the world was not His plan.


While His message to me still didn't explain why so much evil was on the earth, it did let me know that evil was not His plan. That He was as aware of it as I was, and that He hated it more than I could imagine.

At seminary in Fort Worth I had the opportunity to take a class called "The Problem of Evil and Suffering". I read the writings of philosophers and theologians much more intelligent and learned than I will ever be. I wrote about the subject, and thought about it, and wrestled with God.


After all this, I'm still not 100% satisfied with God's choices, but I know these things:


1. God hates evil & sin. He abhors evil. He hates sin because He knows how much it destroys us.


2. God loves us, each and every one. He loves us so much that it's impossible to put it into words. He sees us each as a precious child with infinite potential, and He has a beautiful song for each of us...


3. In fact, He loves us so much that He gave us free will. Even though He knew we would choose to walk away from His love. Even though He knew we would choose to self-destruct, and cut ourselves off from His love.


4. He loves us so much that He believed it would be better for us to choose to follow Him, rather than create us without the choice to love Him back. He could have made us unable to choose, capable of only obeying Him.


5. I believe that He is good and loving and pure and right. And I am choosing to trust that His way is best.


Honestly, there are times when I think it would be better if He had made us incapable of doing wrong. Then we couldn't hurt each other. I watch the news and see the cruelty & horror we are capable of doing and I think He should have made us obedient slaves.


But God lives beyond time, and knows the future & the past. He knows the infinite possibilities, and He believes it would be better for us to to choose. So I will trust that He knows what is best, even when I am not sure. I trust that His ways are best.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
1 John 4:8

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Philippians 4:8

Saturday, October 03, 2009

AARGH. GRRRRR.

I've been very irritable lately.
Too many errands. Too much time in the car. Too many sick kids.
Not enough sleep. Not enough time with Jake. Not enough time doing fun things.
plus, I've been sick.
I hope that we can finally all be WELL.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Mom's Vehicle

My mom's Dodge Durango has been in the shop for the last 3 weeks. Aaaargh.
Which means I've been the one running EVERYBODY around. And with 6 people in a family, that's a lot of every bodies.
Her car* didn't pass the IM test because of some nasty problem with the ABS system. Very frustrating. Apparently, they all had that problem in '99. 'Cuz our mechanic couldn't find a replacement part in Alaska, or in the lower 48...
They messed around with it, and finally got it to pass! YaY! Alaska Auto Care Rocks!
I'm so glad for there to be another vehicle in the house!

*(Mom hates it when we call it a 'truck', and it's such a mouth full to say 'the SUV', so we generally call it 'the car', or the Dodge. Even though it's not a car, and Jake's Neon is also a Dodge. As far as mom's concerned it's better to call it a car than a truck. Weird, huh?)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Courage

Courage doesn't panic; it prays.
Courage doesn't bemoan; it believes.
Courage doesn't languish; it listens.
It listens to the voice of God calling.
from Max Lucado

(I originally mis-identified the author! John Piper didn't say this, Lucado did. Sorry!)

Final Farmer's Market

This Saturday, September 26th will be the final Farmer's Market day!
We hope to be there. But it depends on just how bad the weather is on Saturday.
Did you see the big wet snow-flakes today?
Hope to see you at Farmer's Market on Saturday!

Abigail's Prayer

We always have a family prayer time before we hug and kiss the girls good night. The girls each say a prayer, and then Jake & I each pray as well.
About a month ago, Abigail prayed a simple prayer... It was incredibly powerful, though.

She started out being silly, but we've taken it and we've expanded on it.

She said this, "Thank you God for loving me, and loving me, and loving me, and loving me, and loving me, and loving me, and loving me and loving me. Jesus, God, amen."

We've talked about the fact that what she said is true...
We will never know the end of God's love.
We can't imagine how truly big His heart is.
We can't run out of His love.
We can't run away from His love.
His love will never run out.
His love will never leave us.
His love will never go away.










Her simple prayer echoes these verses:

Romans 8:38-39 (New International Version)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Ephesians 4:17-19 (New International Version)
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.


1 John 3:1 (New International Version)
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

God's Voice- Part 1

God has spoken to me. Clearly, loudly, and in vivid pictures.
I've been thinking about how incredibly blessed I am...

Many people go their entire lives without hearing the voice of God. They faithfully obey and read God's word and never hear God's voice.

I know I've heard God speak clearly several times, and I thought it would be cool to travel down those memory paths... To remember the times He's given me very clear direction.

*****
After my grammy & cousin died from cancer, my family moved to California. I had very few friends and we ended up in a lousy neighborhood. I saw racism, drugs, gangs, and abused kids (all on a small scale). Then we moved to Kotzebue in Alaska and I witnessed alcoholism, poverty, domestic violence, and experienced racism.... Next, we moved to Fairbanks. Here I had two close friends who were being abused in their home, one by her uncle and the other by her father. And at the same time, I was learning about how evil we've been to each other throughout history- the trail of tears, the Japanese internment camps, the Nazis in Germany...

I came to a point where I truly believed that God was either evil, powerless, or nonexistent. If He had power and was this incredibly wonderful & loving God like I was told at church, why didn't He do something for the powerless? Why didn't He save my Grammy who loved Him so much? Why didn't He stop or prevent some of the evil?

I attended church, because that was a requirement in my house, but I stopped believing in a good God. I stopped trusting Him. I wanted to have nothing to do with Him.

Until my friend who'd experienced so much abuse opened up about some of what was going on in her home- attempted suicide, went away, and came back a different person.

She talked about God being the 'perfect Daddy'. Not like her own. She talked about how much His love had changed her.

And God spoke to me.
Not some loud voice.
Not some huge fanfare.
Just a quiet whisper...

At the Youth Evangelism Conference in Anchorage AK, a man named David Ring http://www.davidring.org/about.html spoke about God's love.
David has cerebral palsy and a powerful testimony.

And again, I heard God's whisper...

"I love you. I have a plan for you...
I love you. I am holding on to you, even though you are pushing me away.
Remember, I love you.
I love you. I will never leave you or forsake you.
I love you."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jake's Pop Tarts

Jake had pop tarts at work, 'cuz he was hungry.
Blech. I do not like pop tarts.
Neither of us knew there was a pop tart guy.




Did you know there was a wonky pop tart guy on the box???
There he is. He's NOT drawn in for vandalizing fun. He's 'fresh' from the store.
Weird.
Jake says he wishes he could get paid to draw for Kellogg's...

It Snowed!

It snowed today!
Not for long, and it melted upon touching the ground.
But there was definitely frozen water falling from the sky.

Jake took this picture from the admissions desk at the Museum of the North.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Daisy Vine Necklace

I finished this piece two nights ago. I like it. The vine necklace idea is very different than anything I've tried before.
Although I have used similar flowers in my hair clips, I've never worked these into a necklace. The entire piece feels BIG to me! ;-)
Which is funny, 'cuz my jewelry is rarely big, and the first word most people use to describe my work is 'delicate'. It's still delicate, just BIG delicate. "snicker" If there is such a thing as BIG delicate...
Anyway, it's now up for sale.
Glass beads & wirework
$55

Horton Hats


Abigail made a Horton hat at school and brought it home. Of course, we all oohed and aaahed over it.















So Deborah had to make one... :)


Aren't they cute in their Horton hats?



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not profound











I want to say something profound, but there's nothing profound in me today.

We are supposed to have snow on Tuesday. Oh, God! I'm so not ready for winter.

We all stayed home sick from church. Deborah has been sick for the last several days. Jake is sick with a cold, possibly the flu. Abigail is recovering. And I have a headache.

Luna is sleeping next to me all curled up on a chair. So cute! When I type, her whiskers and ears twitch. And when I whisper "kitty" her eye barely opens. Just enough to check where I am & if I need her.

My expression in this picture makes me laugh. The girls are so cute, and I look like I'm gonna kill the person with the camera...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

God's Voice

I heard God more clearly yesterday than I have in a long time.
I've been so frustrated lately and with my life and our situation... I'm not sure I'm thrilled with what God spoke into my heart, but I am sure I heard His voice.
He said to me, "Until you are content with ME, your life will not have much change."
Hmmm... Sometimes I wish God would choose to let me do what I want, instead of what He knows is best for me!!! =)
Oh, well. So for now, I am choosing to be content with Him. Choosing to rest in Him. Choosing to accept that this is the place we are in, for now.
He is more than enough.













More Than Enough
by Chris Tomlin

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You are my supply
My breath of life
And still more awesome than I know
You are my reward
worth living for
And still more awesome than I know

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You're my sacrifice
Of greatest price
And still more awesome than I know
You're the coming King
You are everything
And still more awesome than I know

More than all I want
More than all I need
You are more than enough for me
More than all I know
More than all I can say
You are more than enough for me

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Love Affair with Fantasy


This is the one. The book that started it all. And the original cover (or at least part of it). Scholastic has re-released the book with some funky new cover, but I like the old one best.
I first read 'The Forgotten Door' by Alexander Key in 5th grade. I had Mrs. Milan in Riverside, California and she pretty much let me read whatever I wanted.
(That was the year I read through the set of encyclopedias on her classroom shelf. Yes, I was that weird.)
However, The forgotten Door was part of the curriculum, and I LOVED it.
A kid gets lost through some old teleportation/time-travel door, and stuck in our world. He deals with suspicious small-town people, guns and our judicial system. His telepathy makes it possible for him to communicate with the family who finds him and helps him, but can't stop the legal system from trying to 'protect' him.
Up until this point I had read a lot of Nancy Drew/ Trixie Belden type stuff. After this, I was transported into C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe type stuff.
I discovered my niche. My comfort zone. My happy place.
I re-read this book last week, and discovered it has stood up to the test of time. It's still good.
Mind you, I wasn't as enthralled as my 9 year old self, but the story itself is good. I could see/remember why I loved it so much.

Red Flowers

Here's my latest wire piece. I'm pleased with it. Of course, there are things I'd change, but I'm never telling what they are! =)
$45.00
Made by Rebecca