Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I know that is a really "lofty" sounding title to this posting. But my perspective of life is a bit different than most. I experience so much pure "joy" when I am creating, whether it be in the kitchen rustling up some grub, trying a new recipe, or creating in my craft area, or watching the bulbs spring forth out of the ground where I spent 3 full days last fall digging and preparing the soil and planting 250 of them...or taking care of our two grand daughters. They make my heart smile and sing!

I had that "joyfull" experience from April 11 through the 20th when we took care of Emma and Matti here at the condo 24-7 while their parents were "cruising the Caribbean". I know some would say, "Didn't you get worn out?" or "Didn't they drive you crazy?" The answer to both of those questions is a big "NO"! I was busier than my was non-stop when they were awake...they did at times try my patience. But I truly enjoyed getting them fed and ready for school, interacting with them (they are so clever and fun), and getting them ready for bed was a joy because they went to bed without a fuss. We did the story time and I read several from their beginning Bible Stories book. We read Berenstein Bears "Too Much TV" and "Forget Their Manners", "The Backyard Adventures of Emma and Madison" that Beth wrote and I illustrated and had published and a book about "An Easter gift for me" which explains what Jesus did when he died on the cross for mankind and rose again. We said our prayers remembering to pray for their mommy and daddy on the ship. They are beginning to pray conversationally for the things they are thankful for and it is so sweet to hear them sing "Jesus Loves Me" and their new song about Zacchaias, "the wee little man who climbed up in the Sycamore tree to see Jesus" . So if you ask me if I enjoyed my time with the girls, my answer is a resounding "YES"! If you ask if I would do it all again, my answer is the same "YES"! They energize me and make me forget myself and I think it was a good experience for Bill Sr too.

Easter was a glorious time. I took the girls to Living Vine for the Easter brunch and they sat through their first Big Church experience. They sat quietly, enjoyed the singing, and I had some paper and pens for them to draw with. They were dressed in their beautiful dresses from their other grandma and they brought their dolls dressed in matching dresses. They wanted to see the flowers blooming in front of the condo, so that is the location of the picture. We had an indoor egg hunt, and we colored eggs in the afternoon. It was a special time. The next Sunday we went again and they had their first Sunday School experience and seemed to love it. They were were offered bags of crayons and some Christian color books to keep them occupied during the service, and they were so quiet, the pastor complimented them on how good they were.

Last night I attended Emma and Matti's swim class. They look so cute in their matching suits. Matti was sitting on the side of the little shallow pool at the YMCA next to a little girl who bawled the whole time. Matti just kept looking at her like"What is the matter?". But Matti was able to get into the "swim of it" and so we have another mermaid "trainee".

We will be getting ready to head back to MN the first part of the week. We have dental appointments on May 4 and so can take our time getting there. Being retired offers a great deal of freedom to come and go as we would like. But it also is a problem for me because I want each day to count and being lazy about what I do each day doesn't fulfill that need. So time for rearranging my priorities...Did I just say that? LOL

Monday, April 6, 2009


I have been able to make a few cards this month (and last). One was a "sympathy" card for my friend Emiline who lost her only sibling, her sister. I used a covered bridge scene (H1470) from Impression Obsession that I bought off ebay. I have limited cardstock here in the condo, so used a bright yellow under the image and matted it in lime green. I used my SU corner rounder on the yellow leaving the green square. On yellow CS matted with the lime green with the yellow corners also rounded, I stamped in black ink "Thinking of you" from a Perfectly Clear set called Encouraging Words that had been in the sale items at Archivers. The saying had another half to it, this difficult time" and I put it on the inside of the card. I then got busy with my SU Water Color Wonder Crayons and water colored the bridge and trees and foreground. I used a brick red on the bridge, and three or four shades of green for the trees and the grass. I wanted the grass and trees to have the light showing with yellows and the bright spring green. The rocks were browns and the water a light blue. As is my style, I like to use a fine black pen to outline a little for definition. I ran a 3/16th lime ribbon (that is half sheer in the middle with satin on the edges) under the pop-dotted saying in the lower quarter of the card. I think I bought the ribbon at Wal-Mart as they have the cheapest ribbon and lots of colors. I had chosen a cream colored card which might not be the best. Maybe white would have been best but I always seem to do my cards on white and wanted to try it this way. What do you think?

My other cards are some farm animal images that were Michaels $1 stamps. I had 6 images: a cow, a horse, a pig, a sun, a rooster, and a hen. There must have been a sheep too
originally but they were all gone when I got mine. I put them on some brown cards that Hobby Lobby had with matching envelopes. I had my two grand daughters do all the stamping of the images on white CS, which I trimmed, roughed the edges with my scissors, and colored with the SU Water Color Wonder Crayons. I double-matted them in different colors to go with the im
ages. If there is green grass, I used green as one of the mats, pink for some, yellow and orange and red and yellow for others. I had Matti and Emma stamp different sayings on each (Just Because, Hello, Thank You, For You, Hang in There, and Friend to Friend. And I adhered it all and tied a coordinating checked ribbon next to the fold. They all are different and make a simple
set of notes to use. Emma and Matti also stamped the sayings onto plain manilla colored paper and we used it for wrapping the 6 cards for their Mom's BD. I also had them punch out a big scalloped circle and stamped "with love" and Emma signed her name and I helped Matti (who appears to be a lefty). They had lots of fun "stamping" and they ask almost every time they are over "Can we stamp?" and they are only 3 and 4. I plan to continue this activity with them, increasing their "part" of the process until they are skilled enough to do it all. They already know that the stamps have to be cleaned right after use and we use baby wipes. They like picking out the images they want to do and when their coloring skills improve and they can color in the lines better, we will try some coloring. Having an art back ground and training as a teacher, I plan to teach them art principles without them even knowing and it will just be a part of the fun. Sneaky Mamaw!

The last card is a sample of the cards sent to my mom. Emma and Matti chose different images. Emma liked the teddy bear family with hearts in the air. Matti liked the butterfly with hearts on the wings. They stamped their images, I colored, and they picked out the same heart paper to put under the images. They signed the card on the inside to their great grandma Jo (my mom) who is now being called Mamaw Jo. It is such fun for me to share card making with the grand daughters, : ) They are so precious.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Do you ever get the feeling that sometimes, you are not making "forward" progress and that you must be "peddling backwards" and don't know it. It is a little like "treading water". You work really hard and try your best but you don't seem to get TO anywhere different. I am not sure if this is a common experience amongst the human race because I haven't heard anyone else talking about it.

Maybe I just expect to accomplish too much in a day, and when the day doesn't produce the desired results, I feel like a failure or that I didn't try hard enough, or that I must have been peddling backwards and it isn't a comfortable feeling and another day has gone from my life.

I have been so reflective lately. Don't know if it is due to my 67th birthday last week, or the death of a person I knew long ago when I was a teen. He died of a heart attack alone in his house and wasn't found for a couple of days. I thought that was such a sad way to go when he had given so much to the church he attended for more than 50 years and to those he knew. He helped many people along the way in so many different ways. Whatever anyone needed, he was willing to do. He passed away with his small house packed-to-the-gills and his former wife had to hire someone to clean it out. He left no information about what he wanted done, or how to do it or funds to do it. It was almost as though he didn't exist for the 70+ years he lived.

So when I go (as we all will do at some point), what will I leave behind? Will I leave a mess of my collected "stuff" for a loved one to deal with and dispose of? Will I pass away alone? Will I leave instructions and funds to take care of what needs to be taken care of after I am no longer here? Death is such a bad word and no one likes to think about it, or plan for it as far as what is left for our loved ones to deal with and take care of.

How we organize our present life impacts our loved ones today but also after we are gone. I purpose to get my "house-in-better-order" so my loved ones will not have to deal with a big mess (I can't promise NO mess!). Maybe living my life in a simpler way, with simpler "stuff" will be a good beginning. AND that goes against all that I am...a collector of cooking pans/dishes etc, of stamping stuff, of books, of material (when I used to sew) and the accumulated items of 42-almost-43 years of marriage. And that is just my side of the ledger. Now that we have two houses, we have duplicates of some things. Where will all of it go when we are gone?

And the big question is, "Where do WE go when we check out?"

The answer I have found for myself is in Jesus Christ. HE IS the WAY, and the TRUTH, and the LIGHT. NO ONE comes to the Father but through a belief in Jesus, a personal walk with HIM, and acceptance of HIS LORDSHIP over their life. So this world and all my stuff will pass away. When HE returns for those who believe in HIM, may I be found ready, letting go of what lies behind and clinging to a future with HIM. We are HIS creation, made by HIM, and will dwell with HIM forever.