Monday, December 31, 2012

Closing an old year & welcoming a new one

I realize that you have not ended yet.  I realize the last moment of your life has not passed.  I realize the last memory during your life has not yet been made.  Because I will be busy during your very last moment making memories with loved ones, I wanted to say good-bye to you now.  Oh 2012, how I will miss you.  You came and went so quickly but so much happened during your life.  Your life was a bittersweet one in my life.   

For the first time ever, I experienced an MRI and surgery.  What an experience. . .one that I hope to never go through again.  For the first time ever, I rode in the vehicle with one of my children behind the wheel.  For the first time ever, I saw what it was like for a teenager to look for his first job and go to hear about his experiences of helping many people transport their groceries out to their vehicles.  For the fitst time ever, I had the courage to watch another child attempt that "kick flip" on his skateboard [without being encased in bubble wrap - never did wrap him up, but always thought he should be).  For the first time ever, my youngest child expressed her fears about entering middle school next year and asked if I could keep her in 5th grade next year instead (sooooo much like I was at her age).     

2012, although I am bidding you farewell, I am not bidding farewell to the memories that were made during your life.
. . .

Hello, 2013.  It's very nice to meet you.  What an exciting time you and I will have together.  What an exciting time your life will be.  It will be one during which wonderful memories will be made.  One during which I hope to lose some "baggage" before my 25th high school reunion.  One during which I will get to see people I haven't seen in several years who were a big part of my life for even more years.  One during which I will help a child complete scholarship applications.  One during which I will see my middle child enter his last year of middle school and my youngest child enter her first year of middle school.  One during which my children and I will enjoy another "every-other-year" mini vacation.  One during which I am looking forward to a new adventure with crafts (such as finishing that long-awaited cross-stitch UFO).  And so much more.       

I hope no one reading this will mind if I take a moment to thank the one who made everything possible in 2012.  The One who saw that my family stayed healthy.  The One who saw that all of our needs were met.  The One who blessed us in ways we never dreamed would happen.  If it weren't for God, none of these things would have happened.  He has gone above and beyond in blessing us.  I am thankful for the things He has done, the things He is doing, and the things He will do. . .for all things He does are great.

As we say good-bye to 2012 and welcome 2013, I want to encourage everyone to set goals they have never set before.  Let 2013 be the year you "reach for the stars".  Let it be the year you use your talents to bless others.  Let it be the year you start "adopting" a person each year to do many RAK's for or make a very special gift for such as a quilt, afghan, scrapbook, super duper sized care package of some of their favorite things, etc.  Whether it is a complete stranger or someone you know, choose someone who really needs some encouragement. . .someone who needs assurance that they are special. . .someone who the world hasn't been so kind to. . .or someone who is hurting.  I don't think we realize that difference we can make in the lives of others who are going through such things. 

I have many things I want to accomplish in 2013 which means I have many goals.  Painting walls in many rooms in our home.  Completing a cross-stitch UFO.  Making "fancy" soaps and selling them to raise money for special offerings at church.  Instead of yard sales, I look forward to having craft sales in my front yard during the warmer months.  Our home will be my primary goal, though.  The walls have been white since we moved in back in the mid 90's.  It's time for a change.  Let's bring in some color.  Let's get rid of the drab white that brings back a lot of unhappy memories and bring in color to represent happier times ahead.     

God bless.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Blessings

I hope you all have the most wonderful Christmas.  I know that most of us are going through the guilt of knowing that we will not be missing a member of our family during this holiday season as those in tragedies around our nation and world are.  Just this evening as I was sitting on my sofa just looking at the Christmas tree I broke down for those in the most recent tragedies, picturing the parents calling each of their children by name to come and open presents only to have one not respond because he or she is not there.

I cannot imagine how difficult it will be for each family who has lost a loved one as the result of a tragic event.  We all know that life is short. . .it is not forever.  We all know that we will all one day pass from this life and move on to our eternal life.  We expect that to happen.  What we don't expect is for life to be taken in such violent ways as we have heard and read about in the news.  It is probably that fact that breaks my heart for the families who were impacted the most.  They were all just going about their daily routines as usual with no hint that anything would befall them.  I am sure the shock has not worn off and I am continually praying for those families.

As you celebrate the joy of the season with your loved ones, please take time to honor those families we have read about and seem to feel so close to now.  Take time to honor the loved ones you have lost.  This can be a bittersweet time of year for people.  I pray that any of you reading this will find comfort from the memories of your loved ones and the joy that they brought to your lives.  I pray that this is the most wonderful Christmas ever for you all no matter what has transpired in your lives.

Of all things, I pray that every person's needs are met. . .that not one person is lacking for anything.

Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas everyone!!

God bless.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Never stop praying

There are so many people and things to pray for.  The list is long.  Not a day goes by when we should not take time to pray.

Please continue to pray for the families of those who were taken away from them in the tragedy in CT.  I imagine they are still in disbelief as that is the feeling that most of us still have.  The difference is that they have a very difficult road ahead of them while we do not. 

They haven't even begun to mourn.  They are not able to.  That process will be a very long, enduring one and it won't even begin for many until their loved ones are buried.  Even then it probably won't seem real to them.

I've been saying, "Lord, I know you can't turn time back to that day so that those heartbroken families can have their loved ones back, but please do all that you can for those families to help them deal with this".  What that will be I do not know, but God does.  He knows what they will all need every moment of every day throughout the mourning process just like He knows what each of us needs every moment of every day.

Sometimes tragedy has a way of causing families to be torn apart.  For families who may have been struggling prior to the loss of their child, brother, sister, aunt, cousin, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or friend, I pray that this draws them closer to one another.

Please also continue to pray for the community of Newtown.  I pray that this tragedy brings them closer together and makes the community a stronger one.  I pray that this ordeal gives the community a new resolve and that the people there will one day feel safe again. 

Don't let a day go by without taking time to pray.  There might be things that we pray for or about that others don't think to pray for or about.  God might impress upon us to pray for a person across the world who is struggling.  We won't necessarily know that person, but prayers will reach where they are.  There are times when God might wake you up in the middle of the night.  Sometimes we assume it's just because we couldn't sleep when in reality it was God waking us up to pray.  He doesn't always tell us why we need to pray at that very moment, but He wouldn't impress upon us to pray at that very moment if the need weren't so urgent.  Maybe He impresses upon us to pray because later that day someone will be in a situation in which they need intervention.  Prayer is so important, reaches very far, and impacts many lives.

Never stop praying.

God bless

Friday, December 14, 2012

Breaking Hearts

Today, in an elementary school in Newtown, CT, a horrific tragedy occurred.  26 lives were taken, 20 of whom were innocent children with a bright future and 6 of whom were adults who were helping to mold those children into the awesome adults they would one day have been.  Hearts have broken and ours are broken for the ones who lost their loved ones. 

On Friday in China, a man knifed 22 children and a teacher at a school.  It is just one of several similar attacks on young people in schools in China that have occurred since 2010.

Whether it was the event in America or the one over in China, I cannot imagine the fear that the students and their teachers must have felt.  I cannot imagine having to watch as someone does the things that those horribly troubled people did.  We read time and time again about the courage of people in the midst of the events taking place all around them.  To be quite honest, I don't know that I would be one of the brave ones.     

I was at work when I heard the news of the tragedy that occurred in CT. It stunned me and has made me feel numb.  I had a very difficult time focusing on my work because my mind and heart were with the community of Newtown.  As I left for lunch, I found myself sobbing the same uncontrollable sob that I experienced when I was told of my step-dad's passing numerous years ago.  I had a difficult time regaining my compusure when I returned and as soon as I left work at the end of the day that same sobbing hit me.    Although I was not directly impacted, it has felt that I have lost someone too.  No, not someone I knew or was related to, but part of my family. . .my American family.

Here in America, we are all one big family.  It doesn't matter what color a person's skin is, which city, county, or state we live in, what religious affiliation we are, or how much money we make.  No matter what, we are one big family.  When something tragic happens to someone in my family it breaks my heart.   

A few weeks ago, a tragic event happened in a city in my state with the same name - New Town, ND, a tiny town/reservation with a population of about 1925 people.  An individual walked into the home of a grandmother and gunned down her and 3 of her grandchildren.  Not all of her grandchildren were present, but if they would have been, they too probably would have lost their lives.

I often think of people in other parts of the world who live their lives every day running from gunfire, hoping they won't step on a mine, praying that missiles won't fall on their homes.  I pray for those people often.  Over here in America we have become sort of naive to the fact that we are not immune to the same things that occur elsewhere.  We have always felt that our homeland was a "safe" place to live.  Things are changing.  We are no longer the safe country that we used to be as evidenced by the events of the past several years in which people have been gunned down.

I cannot find it in me to pray that the friends and families of those who were lost will be comforted.  I do not know that that is even possible right now.  I can, however, pray that God would give them the strength they need just to rise at the beginning of each day and that when they don't have the strength to rise, He would pick them up and carry them.  That will continue to be my prayer. . .for the time being.

In spite of the news that we heard today, I do hope that you all have as good a night and weekend as you can.  Please keep those who were impacted by the events of today in your prayers.  Let's all join together in praying for them.

God bless.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stash, stash, wonderful stash

For those who love crafts like me, you know what I'm talking about.  For those who don't do crafts but just wanted to stop by, stash is a term used to describe all of the things in our craft collection.  This includes everything from needles to fabric to batting to threads and even patterns, books, and magazines. 

For the longest time my stash was in various places around the house.  My cross stitch stash was in my bedroom on a bookcase.  My soap making stash was in a couple of bins in the porch (that is used for storage).  My cake decorating stash was in a bin in the kitchen.  My sewing stash was in the cabinet in our office (the same room where my sewing machine is located).  Recently I had the overwhelming urge to give it all a home in one location in one room in my family's home.  So, I set out on a mission to find a few of those heavy-duty plastic caddies that have drawers and that you can put on wheels.  I searched every store I could think of in town for the best deal.  I also sat down to figure out how many drawers I would need so I wouldn't buy too many.  In the middle of this mission, I had a lightbulb moment that ended up saving me some $$$$.  We already had one of those caddies.  It had been sitting for some time with things my children have outgrown such as coloring books, stencils, color crayons, etc.  My daughter and I went to work weeding through everything and giving the unit a good cleaning.  We ended up donating a lot of fun things to our neighbors who have 5 children all under the age of 7. 

One unit down, how many more to go?  I was going to buy two 6-drawer units, but it made more sense to buy two 3-drawer and two 4-drawer units because it was less expensive and they would work just as well.  After I got them home, I gathered all of my stash and began neatly putting everything in its new home.  That's better.  Now I have a nice, organized craft storage center tucked away in a corner of our livingroom.  It's the only room where there really is room for something like this (until kids leave home), but it is out of the way so it doesn't impact our living space and also doesn't feel out of place where it's at.  I apologize about the quality of the pictures.  I just figured out that I can take pictures with the webcam that's built into my laptop.  Guess I need to practice some more.  The color editing doesn't really help much. 

Every drawer is full so I don't have plans to add to my stash other than base for making soap.  I have plenty of aida, floss, and patterns to do many cross stitch projects.  I have pretty yarns, canvas, and patterns to do many fun plastic canvas projects.  I have everything I need to make some fun cakes and cupcakes.  I have a lot of paper and embellishments to do some cute pages for my children's scrapbooks.  And, I have all of the scents and molds I need to make some beautiful soaps.  I just need to add to my supply of soap base so that I can keep making them. 

Every year I get a nice $50 cash Christmas gift from my employer which he gives to each of the office personnel.  At first it was hard not to put that $50 towards bills, but I know my employer doesn't give it to me for that.  He gives it to me to treat myself to something nice.  After working for him for a few years now it has become easier to accept that I can get whatever I want with that much appreciated gift.  The first year I received this gift, I used it to obtain all of the DMC thread colors that I didn't have yet and was able to complete the whole set.  One year I stocked up on stickers and embellishments for scrapbooking.  Another year I purchased items to add to my cake decoratng stash.  This year I think my items are going to be soap base and yarn to give me what I need to make large quantities of soap and have all of the yarn colors I need to do a few plastic canvas projects.    

I love to make things and give them as gifts, but I am also considering having craft sales in my yard just like people do yard sales.  There is plenty of time between New Year's Day and early summer to make enough items to hold a few sales throughout the summer months.  I have a daughter who loves to help mom, so it would be a fun learning experience for her too. 

Needless to say, I am one happy owner of some wonderful stash!!

God bless.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I have loved cross stitch ever since the 8th grade.  I used to do a lot more of it but right now it is a little more difficult since I have three children.  They are all at ages when they are very active and want to go here or there and I am a mom who REALLY loves just sitting in the same room as them.  I'm sure all of you moms can relate when I say that even if we don't say much, there is just something about being with them that is so special.  I cherish each and every moment.

Anyway, back in either 2004 or 2006 I decided to join an online cross stitch group in hopes of having some "motivation" to allow myself some "me time" to do whatever I want to every so often.  What I really wanted to do was to use my cross stitch skills to make beautiful things for others.  So, I did a search and came across ILCS (I Love Cross Stitch).  It is a Yahoo group and I've had so much fun being a part of it.  There have been spurts here and there during which I hadn't gone to the message board during the time I was in school, but I'm back and am having so much fun reading the posts, looking at the pictures of everyone's WIPs, UFOs, finished pieces, etc.  I encourage anyone who isn't part of a group to join.  It is free to join.  All you need to do is create a Yahoo account or use your yahoo email account to join.  It's so much fun. 

Currently, we are in the middle of a few exchanges.  Let's see. . .there is the Sock it to me Santa exchange, the Christmas card exchange, the Ring in the New Year exchange, and the Winter Smalls exchange.  There are also other activities such as the RAK, Birthday floss club, and occastional bookmark and ornament exchanges.  Every exchange usually consists of people sending one another cross stitch supplies such as a couple skeins of floss, etc.  I try to only participate in one exchange at a time with my busy life.  I'm doing the Sock it to me Santa exchange and am looking forward to reading the reactions of the gal whose name I got this year.  She is the same gal whose name I was given last year in the 12 Days of Christmas exchange.  So much fun!!  Putting the link here is the only way I can think of to help people find it.  


I try not to have more than one project going at a time.  My current cross stitch project is the "Love One Another" sampler that was featured in my favorite cross stitch magazine. . .the May/June 1994 issue of BH&G Cross Stitch & Country Crafts.  My progress is shown above (at least the portion that would fit on my Kodak all-in-one scanner tray).  I apologize for not getting the whole thing in the scan. The screen on  my laptop is only a little over 1/2 visible so I can't see all of the features in my digital camera program to be able to instruct my camera to upload photos to my laptop.  Anyway, its completed appearance is shown in the picture of the magazine cover.  The only difference that mine will have is that instead of the stitching along the center bottom, I am considering putting the scripture reference there.  This is the first of a few projects I will be doing between now and July.  I am donating them to our church camp to raise money for the youth department.  The proceeds that come in go to such causes as missionary work (providing missionaries with vehicles, appliances, etc.), Bible quizzing, youth outreach, etc.  Everything about church is so important to me, but I would have to say that it was my teen years during which someone made the greatest impact on me.  I had wonderful youth leaders back then (they were a husband and wife team).  Today they pastor one of our churches in the state.  Such a precious couple and true examples of what it means to be a Christian.

Well, I think that's about all for today.  It will be a little while before I get used to this whole blogging thing, but I think I'm going to enjoy it.  Today I learned how to add some features to my page.  I found a picture that reflects my decorating style and personality and added follow, # of visitors, and a few other features.  I don't know if it's possible, but I'd like to eventually have photo albums linked to my blog where I could store my craft photos, wish list, etc.  Right now I'm trying to figure out how to create a section for links to some of my favorite sites.  As I spend more and more time practicing I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.

God bless.

Welcome to my blog.  Please forgive me if mine seems so basic.  I'm very new to this whole blogging thing. 

My first post will just be an introduction about me so that you can get to know me. 

I was born in 1970 in Ohio.  When I was 5 my family was transferred to North Dakota via the US Air Force.  I grew up in a family of five to include my dad, mom, and 2 younger sisters.  My parents divorced when I was 6 and when I was 8 my mom married my step-dad.  He passed away in early 2003 due to a very rare blood disease he had called "Fabry Disease".  Here are a couple of links with information about the disease.  I'm not sure how to describe it so this is probably a better way to help everyone understand what my step-dad had.  What I do know is that women are typically the carriers of the disease while men are the ones who typically inherit the symptoms and problems associated with it, however, both genders can be and sometimes are affected by it.

I lived my teen years in what I have described to my children as "a decade all its own". . .the 1980's.  There has been no other decade like it.  Big hair, leg warmers, banana clips, bright clothes, and some of the best music (not that noisy stuff called punk rock, but the other more mellow tunes).  From what I understand some of those things are coming back.  I've seen leg warmers in stores recently and have been tempted to buy some for my daughter.  LOL

When my daughter entered kindergarten I started taking classes online to FINALLY obtain a degree in accounting.  After four consecutive years of hard work I was thrilled to walk down the graduation aisle to reeive my Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.  I was blessed with my job 2 1/2 years before graduation and have been an Accounting Technician with my current employer ever since.  I am very blessed to have the most wonderful co-workers, the greatest company to work for, and the most awesome boss.

Many things are important to me, but nothing is as important as my relationship with God.  He has brought me through some very rought times and has never failed to provide my family's needs.  I give all the thanks in the world to Him for all of the good in my life and even some of the bad experiences.  I believe He allows us to go through some negative experiences because He knows it will make us stronger and increase our faith.  He doesn't put us through those experiences, but rather allows us to go through them. 

I have many interests.  These include cross stitch, cake decorating, scrapbooking, soap making, and some DIY home repairs and improvements.  I would have to say that I have been interested in cross stitch the longest.  Back in 8th grade, my home ec teacher taught the class how to do it.  I have loved it ever since. It still amazes me that you can make beautiful pieces from "sewing" a bunch of "x's" onto a piece of fabric.  I would have to say that Alma Lynne is my favorite designer.

My decorating style is a combination of Victorian, romantic country, and Americana (but each in a separate room in the house).  I love using roses, pastels, and other soft touches in my decorating.  I would have loved to have lived in the Victorian era.  Everything about it was elegant from the houses to the clothes to the etiquette.  It's all so me.  While I do have "fancy" taste, I am quite the frugal lady.  I will shop thrift stores before going to a regular store to find something.  Some of my most beautiful treasures and home decor have come from thrift stores at such a smal cost.  Freecycle or Free Recycle is another great place to "shop".  Everything is FREE.  It gives people a chance to both find something they need that others might not need anymore and also give things away to others.  It's all about "recycling" what someone else might throw away.

I'm not quite sure how active I'll be at this blogging thing, but I'll sure try.  For now it's a matter of trying to figure out how to get it all set up.