Sunday, May 31, 2009


Have you ever thought of your life as being layers? I just came to this realization! I am sure it is not a new thought and must have been thought about millions of times by millions of other people. But it is fairly new to me.

As babies, we learn new skills almost daily, and those "layers" become farther and farther apart in time as we grow older. But as young teens learning to make decisions, we are still creating layers and as young adults...what education to try for, what job to apply for, whom to marry, where to live, where to go to church and who is master of our life is all part of that continued layering.

Have you ever thought about the decisions you have made and if you had made just one of them differently...where you might be today because of it? I look back at 67 years, and 44 years of marriage and making decisions and wonder that very question. I don't regret the major decisions I have made. I have a wonderful husband, two wonderful grown children, two beautiful grand daughters. Those I am proud of and cherish. Some of my other, simple decisions maybe I could have done differently and had a different turn in my life or a different outcome.

But what is...IS and we must not look back. I like the saying, "The past is passed, and the future is to hope and prepare for, and today is THE PRESENT, a gift from God and the only thing we can do anything about." I am so blessed in my "present" and may I never take it for granted. My Thank You card was made for a fundraiser auction. It has a red flourish with some red Stickles for bling, a scalloped circle punch, a small dot punch, a double slot punch for the sheer red ribbon to run through and all popped up on a red designer paper which has the corners rounded. WOW, four different punches on one card! A record for me, I think.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Monday I went with Jodi, Emma and Matti to watch the Memorial Day Parade in Appleton, WI right in front of Jodi's moms house. We sat up our
chairs, had coffee and a donut and watched the parade pass by. Emma and Matti each had a flag to wave and they both loved the bands in their marching regalia. Matti especially liked the flag girls and waved her flag trying to look like them. Emma said she liked the drums. It also had lots of Veterans groups and firemen with their big fire trucks, military vehichles with reserve members in them, police, scouts and various dignitaries. I particularly liked the man on a replica of the original wooden bicycle. The wheels were wood and flat, and it was amazing. Next time I will get a picture to show you.

I have on my craft table a BD gift, a Father's Day card, and a Thank You note. So will keep working until I finish and have something to share.

The top two pictures are of the grand daughters at the parade. They are growing so fast. Emma is in the patriotic hat and Matti is working on her donut wearing her bicycle helmet. I don't know who that old lady is in the picture! Heehee! The other young lady in the sun hat with the donut is my favorite "chocoholic", Jodi. Those were some really good donuts. Thank You Grandma Patti. That was a very nice treat.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


We all seek comfort...comfort in our bellies...comfort in our surroundings...comfort in our finances...comfort in our relationships, and so on.

AND the reverse side of that coin is that we don't like it when we are hungry, or too cold or hot, too cluttered or empty, have to struggle to get what we want, and have to work at relationships (getting along and having others we care about and who care about us.)

When our expectations are not met, our life is full of negatives and stress and we can not find the comfort we seek. What drives our expectations? Usually it is "self". "Self preservation" is strong in each of us. We WANT to survive, and at a level we think we deserve. What drives those self-determined levels of comfort we seek? What drives our expectations? What do we do when changes are forced upon us and our comfort is threatened or over-turned like an apple cart? What is our source, where we go to when life gives us circumstance after circumstance that we think of as "lemons"?

I have learned I am imperfect. I don't always say the right words or with the right tone of voice, and am not always considerate or sensitive to others needs. But I have learned when my life is not on track to go to the one who loves me and died to set me free...Jesus! The only way to the Father, the only one who is closer than a brother, the only one who loves me and forgives me. He alone is worthy of my allegiance and praise. In Him will I trust and believe. He never changes. His Word says to "Seek Him and we will find Him". So when my expectations are not met, when I am "swimming in lemons", I know it isn't about me. I can go to Him and He will satisfy and meet all my needs no matter what happens in my life.

"I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for your good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Sounds like the kid game we used to play called Mother May I. We would ask "Mother" if we could move and the person playing Mother would tell us how many steps. Since Mother had their back to the pack, we had to choose very carefully "when" we could and should move and how big or small to make the steps so as NOT to get caught in motion. Mother could turn around at any time and as many times as they wished and if Mother saw you moving, you had to go all the way back to the start line.

Life is like that some times. You make a step or two forward and then it seems you make one back the way you came. You don't know why. Habits and patterns are hard to break. So you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again! Sounds like a good lyric for a song. But it is a good motto for living...don't give up!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


OOPS! I typed in the title and hit enter and it published the title by itself...I still don't remember all I need to do when I need to do it. So if I goof again, just bear with me...I AM getting old!

My thoughts on "needing others, needing things, needing activities" are not new thoughts, only revisited thoughts. We all were created for relationships. God the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit wanted a relationship with mankind, and created us in his image for that purpose. And we have been rebelling ever since Adam and Eve took of the Tree of Knowledge. We think we are so smart, and make ourselves out to be equal to God in doing our lives our way instead of His way and there is often a big price to pay for that wrong thinking.

We try to fill our lives with activities, material possessions, and other people who make us feel good. And often feel empty when those things do not satisfy the one spot reserved for the one true God which is there from the beginning of creation.

How to get back to God and worshiping Him and honoring Him for all He has done and will do? I believe the first step is to have an "attitude of gratitude". We need to learn appreciation, and recognizing "we can't do anything that is good on our own." We are not able to do good without Him in us. He is good and all good comes from Him. On our own, we make messes of our lives. Wrong choices put us on wrong paths away from God. And if He seems far away, it is us who moved...not Him. I believe the second step is to "read His Word", which will accomplish His purposes. We are like a car that can't go because it is out of gas and can't function. We try to live on "spiritual fumes", not having "filled up on the Word" to sustain us through the trials and rough spots and we lose our protection from evil. Our world is full of unprotected people making wrong choices that are taking them further away from God.

I believe the third step is to "ask God's forgiveness " and then turn away from whatever it is that you are acknowledging is harmful or destructive. He is faithful and just to forgive us when we truly repent. This is an act of our free will. It should not be forced or it is not true repentance. It is oppressive to be forced to do anything. God does not force us and wants us to accept Him as our only Master, to learn and grow from Him and love Him genuinely. We are His children, a royal priesthood of believers. We are to endure and run the race set before us, and not faint because we know the outcome and we are on the winning side. God is our only true "need".

So "fill up" and know peace!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The card I made for my mom took me a week. Not sure why it takes me so long but I work on cards between cooking and taking care of hubby, our 3 cats, church, doctors appointments, laundry, etc. I don't just sit down and make my cards quickly, all in one big time frame. And being retired, I don't have all the kinds of equipment, CS, etc that some of you have. but I do the best I can with what I do have. Taking the time required to finish a card may have something to do with being 67 and relatively "new" to card making. It may have something to do with my decision making skills or the fact that half my stuff is in Wisconsin and it is not easy to find what I need when I need it since I don't have a room for it all to be organized. It is in bins and on shelves and some on the kitchen counter, and some in the basement and some in rolling get the idea! My designs seem so much simpler than many I see others doing. Maybe my two brain cells just can't work any faster or do complicated designs. LOL

Anyway, I knew I wanted to use the PSX (Personal Stamp Exchange which is out of business much to every ones regret) clematis/star jasmine heart wreath botanical stamp. (WOW, that is a mouthful !) I have bought lots of their stamps on ebay and they are spectacular IMO! My mother lives in central Texas where it is too hot to grow clematis and mom (who is 88 this year) loves flowers. So this seemed a suitable image and would make it special for her.

I stamped the image while in Wisconsin at the condo last month. I leave some of my stamping equipment there and bring the basics back and forth to our home in MN. I painted the wreath with my Twinkling H2O watercolors using three different colors for the clematis alone. (icy iris, periwinkle blue and blue ice.) I added some passion stripes to the centers of each petal. I painted the star jasmine with irridescent oyster white and added rose petal to the baby's breath for a little color there. I used three shades of green for the leaves (kiwi, moss green and forest green) and two shades of brown for the vines (cocoa brown and warm pecan). I also used a fine black Zig pen to emphasize some of the flowers and vines. It took extra time to dry between different layers of the paint which might partly explain why it took me so long. ; )

I used the SU ticket punch on all corners of the image and mats. I used a medium blue solid and then a black to mat the image and set it aside while I worked on covering the card. I used a piece of a fern print in blue from a pad of blue papers, tags and envelopes called Blue Sapphfire by Sarabooks. I found it at Michaels in their sale items. The paper in a soft blue/lavender mix mirrored the colors in the clematis and I cut it to cover the card leaving a 1/4 " border. I matted it with black and added a vellum overlay that had tiny random white dots. Using the Fiskars double slot punch, I punched the upper left corner of this piece and the vellum overlay. I ran a Wal-Mart white sheer 1/2" ribbon down one slot, up the second, down the first again and up the second, leaving tails I trimmed at a slant. It holds the layers in place and gives a ribbon embellishment without the bulk of tying a bow, which I am not very good at...yet! I adhered this beribboned section down to the card, and then positioned the clematis wreath piece under the vellum but on top of the blue fern print. The vellum wouldn't stay straight covering the wreath, so I used just a tiny amount of adhesive on the lower right corner of the vellum. I did stamp "Happy Mother's Day" on the vellum prior to putting it all together when the vellum could be flat on the table. My sample of "stamping on vellum" isn't perfect, but you get the idea anyway.

The card has a soft quality to it, with the image under the vellum. The vellum may also make the image look out-of-focus but the outer edges of the card are crisp so it is just the vellum. ; ) Inside, I stamped, "I'm so lucky to have you for my Mom" and I am!

Thanks for letting me share about me and my Mother's Day card. God bless you, Martha

Monday, May 11, 2009


I think the most defining moment for a woman is becoming a mother and learning how to be a mother for the rest of her life. Most women become pregnant so easily, and maybe too easily. As young girls, they often become involved in exercising their rights to being sexually active without becoming a fully developed person, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Also, they are often propelled into motherhood without a solid foundation of learned life experiences to be able to raise a child with some measure of wisdom. Our news is full of stories of mothers who leave their children alone so that they can "go out" and other such reasons. How many of them just don't get caught and maybe the news article is just the tip of the iceberg? How many children have young mothers or older mothers making bad decisions, who are just not able to be a good mother and the children suffer all of their lives because of it?

Being a mother is a change that needs to be well thought out..."How To" info is just the beginning. All of us mothers learned as we went along, making some mistakes but also having many successes too. Babies are very forgiving as long as their basic needs are, being dry, getting enough sleep in a nice cozy environment and lastly, the nurturing and "feel" of a loving parent holding them...usually the mother. Mothering skills become honed and developed over the passing of time as the child grows. God gives us children to teach us to give, to teach us to be patient and loving, and to make us aware of our own mortality. As all the members of the family grow older, you realize you can't go back and redo. You can only change today. and prepare for tomorrow. Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs and being a "good" mother is difficult in our times, I believe.

But God is faithful to help us be the best we can be as mothers, as wives, and as followers of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the privilege of being the mother of Bill II and Beth. They are wonderful friends, loving, caring and forgiving. And they are followers of Jesus Christ, the most important decision they will ever make. I am not perfect and never will be in this life. But with God's grace, forgiveness and continued working in me, I can become more like Him while I am here.

My son took the time to go over to our condo to take some marvelous pictures of my tulips and grape hyacinths. The daffodils and some of the hyacinths are done but the tulips are very bright and showy. I would have missed seeing them and the photos are a great Mother's Day gift that I can enjoy over and over. Thank you son. Here are a few photos of the beautiful flowers. I wish I had room for all of them here.

Happy Mother's Day everyday!

Monday, May 4, 2009


God's creation is so spectacular in the spring. I am amazed at the renewing of plant life, when everything begins to grow again and bud and flower. This is our front yard at our condo in Oshkosh, WI. Last fall I put in 250 bulbs and now God has done His part in making them grow and bloom. The hot pink tulips were not quite blooming, just showing a little of the color to come around the edges of the petals. So when they do bloom, the center section will be a riot of bright color. The colors are "breathtaking" and the shapes and sizes are infinitely varied. God IS our CREATOR and deserves our appreciation and thanks for the beauty of His creation. He gives to all freely to enjoy. Many never really see the intricacies in nature or show appreciation for it. Many do not have "spiritual eyes" to see Him in His creation or "spiritual ears" to hear Him in His Word, the Bible. Yet His Word says He is evident in all of nature. So they are deaf and blind spiritually because they do not seek the one who created them. The Bible says "our sin separates us from God and we all are sinners and God hates our sin." The arrogance of not believing God's Word is a step in the direction of keeping what we think is "control of our lives". The creation elevates itself higher than the one who created it. That is pretty cheeky if you ask me and yet we all are guilty of sin.

Thank you Lord for the beauty of your creation and for the ultimate gift of yourself for our sin. God bless you.


Small word, HUGE meaning!

I am dealing with "excess" in my life. Maybe it is common to reach the "September of our years" and see all the things we have accumulated over the years, all the things we no longer use, and all the things we have difficulty giving up, etc, etc, etc! And the key words are...ALL THE THINGS!

I am comfortable with my "stuff" even though it does not have a place. All the years (eleven plus) that we went south to Texas for the winter, my main entertainment was shopping at Wal-Mart on the way down and on the way home to Minnesota. You know, Wal-Marts are not created equal and they don't have the same things in every store. We would often spend the night in our bus in the parking lot and we would buy food there and I would look in the craft area, and find some in-store sales to take advazntage of. I used to buy paperbacks there too because they were cheaper.

Now all my stuff is a milestone around my neck which is NOT comfortable anymore, a source of stress for me, and most of the items are not easy to get rid of. I keep thinking they have value to someone if I could just get the items to whomever could use them. ARRRGH!

So that is the project for the next year or two...pare down, throw out, sort, give away, sell, and what ever it takes, I want to simplify my stuff. I have never been a minimalist. I've always been a 110% person who tries to do the best she can, to do it "correctly" (a little Martha Stewart in there with details), and maybe it is because I am the oldest, or maybe it is just because that is whom I am. I see value in everyone (I don't throw people out either) and everything.

I have a "collective" personality and maybe that comes under the heading of "addictive" and "complusive". I don't like to stop until I feel I have eveything I "need" and "want". These feelings take over and become a driving force in my thinking and usually I can't let go of thinking about something until I get it the way I want, or am forced to forget it or until I hit a brick wall in some way. Change is difficult for me and always has been. But if I am going to get to a simplier life style, I need to change my thinking processes, and try my best to become a minimalist. I know I can't do it alone, but God can give me the "desires of my heart" and give me the victory over my "stuff" I seek. Change is not going to happen overnight. It took years to collect all my treasures, and will take some time to get rid of the excess that I am not using. I pray I am succesful so that I don't leave a mess for my kids.