Friday, November 30, 2012

Puttng Action to Words


Don't miss the giveaway I have going on! A possible three entries per person.

Christmas Swappers... Don't forget to mail your package by tomorrow! 
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James 2:14-19
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.


There is so much more to faith than just believing in God. The demons believe in God.

Actions show the depth of our faith. Our actions reveal who we truly are and what we truly believe.

Every day will come with its tests... will we do our best to pass them?

My story...

When I was looking to buy a house I was all "I want to move downtown! I want to go where the people are! I want my house to be a place where people want to come, where people can relax and feel refreshed. I want my house to be a place where ministry happens!"

Just yesterday I was sitting at Panera with a friend. She and her family have been living with her parents for over a year now. I can only imagine how hard that might be... no matter how nice the parents are (and hers are lovely!) you never have your own space. As she was sharing, an idea popped right into my head and I knew if I didn't say it immediately that I never would.

That thought? "Hey, so my family is going away on December 7 and 8. Why don't you and your family come stay at my house while we are gone. It might make it feel like you got a little getaway without having to spend the money."

Then I came home and told Mike what we were doing.

And here's the thing... it's not about me! Not at all. It was about my friend and her need. It was about putting action to my words. You see... This is NOT what I thought using my house for ministry would look like! The thought never even crossed my mind. I've said a gazillion times my house will be a tool... and this time God said "use your tool this way".

Yesterday I passed the test.
Many days I fail.

I walk away from a friend (or stranger) that asked for prayer without immediately praying for them.
I decide that I like my money too much to hand a friend that needs it more a couple dollars.
I find that I hate the kitchen too much to cook a meal for a frazzled and worn out friend.
I think I'm too tired to listen to someone.
Or maybe that person looks too dirty for me to give them a hug.

Sure, I can talk all day about the "right things to do"... so what.
So what if I can talk about it.

The real test is can I live my words?










Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas tree and skirt!

So... I've been talking about this tree skirt that I made and how awesome it is. Today I will finally show it to you. :)

It all started when Sarah started pinning some crafty things on Pinterest. It put me in the mood to be crafty and the wonderful thing about having friends that aren't married yet and don't have kids is that they can do a spontaneous craft day... or two days as it turned out... with you. 

This is the pin that got it all started...



We went shopping for our materials. The tutorials call for linen. We didn't use that because it is ridiculously expensive and I wasn't planning to spend $50 making a tree skirt. Instead we found unbleached muslin which runs as low as $1.99/yard. Use your Jo-Ann 40% off coupon on that and you've got yourself a great deal!

We found painter's canvas at Walmart for $10. You will have a lot of extra unless you can find a smaller size than we did. I'm using my extra to make stockings... that's the plan anyways.

So... material (we used about five yards), painter's canvas, glue gun. Ready... set... go!

We cut three inch strips and that just seemed to take forever. I think if I were to do it again I would make the strips four inches wide.

And then we glued like crazy... for hours! Really. This project took about five hours.

We glued and ruffled and glued and ruffled and were about to go a bit crazy by the end.

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(That's Sarah. I met her because she is Liza's teacher. She awesome... as a teacher and a friend!)

But it was worth it!

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Add ribbons to tie it together...

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Admire the ruffled goodness...

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Yesterday Mike got the tree out and I strung it with lights... which took some googling for the correct way to do it and lots of time because I had to make it look good. This is my first year with a big tree.

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Mike is out at the store right now and he is picking up a green extension cord for me so I can wrap it around the trunk instead of having lights strung from tree to outlet. 

I'm not putting any ornaments on the tree. The only thing I want is a huge bow on top with ribbon streamers running down the tree. My problem is that I'm not sure what color to go with for the ribbon. The tree is right next to the white fireplace. I am making a red burlap wreath to hang in the middle of the mirror and since that is close to the tree I've decided that I should not do a red ribbon. Gold would look great but I don't like gold so that's out. I'm hanging stockings that are the color of painter's canvas and I'm thinking of accenting them with the blues and greens that are on the Panera Bread paper cup. Anyone know what I'm talking about haha?

I think I'm leaning toward some kind of silver ribbon. I've seen some cute polka dot ones. Not sure though if that's the way to go.

I guess I'm asking for your help... again. :) 

What color ribbon do you think for the top of the tree??


PS... don't forget about my giveaway! Three chances to enter. Leave one comment for each thing.




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pinteresting

 

I like to pin things that I actually plan to do someday. Here are a few of the things I have done...

This recipe... AMAZING! Oh my! Cheesy goodness. Comfort food. So good! We made it with only 1 pound of meat instead of two and I think we only simmered it for a 1/2 hour instead of a whole hour. Add the partially cooked noodles during the last ten minutes of simmering instead after the simmering is done. Just make sure you always have moisture in it so it doesn't burn on the bottom. (Just trying to cut down on cook time. I don't want to spend my whole day in the kitchen cooking dinner!)
Source: ruhlman.com via Laura on Pinterest



Made this!!! Will show off it's awesomeness soon. :) This project took a good five hours but it's lovely!



And here are some things I want to make. I've never decorated for Christmas before and I want to do just a little... but I prefer to make things. :)

I'm hoping to make one of the following wreaths to hang on the huge mirror that is above the fireplace.





And I want to make a bunch of these candles for on the mantle.



Liza and Jason will be making these for on the bookshelf in the living room.


I love craftiness!

Don't miss out on my giveaway!

Just a reminder for those of you doing the Christmas Swap... packages go out this Saturday!!





Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Love You All the Time GIVEAWAY!!!

In case you haven't heard... my hunky husband wrote a really awesome children's book! Since it's almost December and December means Christmas and lots of people are already almost done with their shopping I figured this would be a great time to do a giveaway... because I Love You All the Time would be a really awesome gift for those kids you love so much! :)

I am giving away ONE signed copy to ONE lucky winner.

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Soo... what's this book about? It's about a father's unconditional love for his children.

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It's cute and simple with a HUGE message!


To enter:
Leave a comment. :)

For extra entries:
*Share this giveaway on a social network site... blog, facebook, twitter, etc.

That's a total of three possible entries! Please leave a separate entry for each one.

Winner will be announced on the blog on Monday, December 3.

Check out the reviews on amazon.com to see what others have to say about the book!
To learn everything there is to know about how the book came to be and our story behind it check the tab at the top of my blog... Michael J. Wick - Author

(If you have trouble leaving a comment please send me an email with your entries or catch me on Facebook.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Deals

I want to share with you a few good deals on this cyber Monday. The first is Band Angels. Bandaids with scriptures about healing on them. What a genius idea! My mother-in-law gave us a box a while back and the kids love them. They are 50% off today only!


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Find Band Angels on Facebook for details.

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The second good deal is from Messenger International... one of my favorite ministries! All books, downloads, study guides, curriculum, etc. by John and Lisa Bevere are half off the retail price.

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This deal actually runs until December 10th. I'll be putting in an order... just like I do every year. :) I'm excited about getting the Nurture curriculum! To all my local friends who like to do Bible study with me in the summer... that's what we will be doing!

Messenger International Store

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The third good deal... VeggieTales! They have four dvds that are $3.99 each and it's also free shipping today! I think the kids are getting some new VeggieTales for Christmas!

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VeggieTales Store



What good deals are you finding today?









This Weekend I...

TWI

This weekend, I... had Thanksgiving with the in-laws. We ate good food and played Phase 10. Mike won but I decided not to let him enjoy it since he made me wait ten years before he let me enjoy the win of that one checker game. :)

This weekend, I... enjoyed our first real snow. It's all gone again though.

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This weekend, I... went to a wedding. We had 2 1/2 hours to blow between wedding and reception so we (kids included) and Mike's family went to a cute little coffee shop. It worked.

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This weekend, I... made hats, hats and more hats. You can even see my yarn in the photo above. Sitting in a coffee shop is a great time to crochet. :) I need to get my customers their hats! (Custom orders at Wix-Works!)

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This weekend, I... saw my friend Sarah pinning all kinds of crafty things so I sent her an email telling her she should come over so we can craft all day. We both decided to make the ruffle tree skirts seen on Pinterest (even though I don't even have a tree... it's coming though). Most of our day was spent at the craft stores. This is how far we got...

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She's coming back today so we can finish. Hopefully we don't end up with a Pinstrosity!

What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dancing

This weekend we went to a wedding. Liza and Jason are the most fun on the dance floor! I caught a few little videos because someday they will need to see how cute they were. :) They are a bit dark but you can still see how fun they are...


Notice the location of Jason's hand. :)




And this one... Liza watches other people dance. That's where she gets her moves... cracks me up!


Hope they made you smile!



Friday, November 23, 2012

Jadyn -- Newborn

Someone I go to Bible study with booked six photo sessions with me as her gift to her niece. (Best gift ever if I do say so myself!) We did the pregnancy pictures not too long ago and just last week I got to photograph baby Jadyn at just six days old. 

I think newborn sessions could quickly become a favorite for me! The babies are always so tiny and cute and awesome. And I love the adorable pictures we end up with. :)

So... I'm an amateur photographer. I still call it my hobby and not my job or profession... because it's not. It's a hobby. I set up in my living room with blankets and things I've collected along the way... which isn't much. I also like to tell the mom to bring along anything special she would like to use.

I'll share about some of the stuff we used because you'll probably find it's things that you have around the house too or can find cheap.

In these first two we used a blanket that was made by someone for the baby...

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The basket below was maybe $2 from a thrift store and they wanted to use the butterfly wings...

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I crocheted the soft blanket that fills the basket.

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For the following pictures I have a beanbag under the blankets.

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The pink and white polka dot is just a piece of fleece I bought from the craft store. I need to buy more. I think it's on great sale today but I don't know if I want to deal with all the people!

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(One of my favorites!)

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I'll get to see Jadyn again around 3 months... and then 6 and 9 and one year. :)


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving...

...the day where we proclaim our thankfulness...

for things like our family, home, health, friends, cars, stuff stuff stuff... usually.

I've been sitting here trying to think about what I might say I am thankful for and it was all feeling really shallow. (Not saying YOU are shallow... just my feelings about myself today.) I can sit here and say I'm thankful for my family, friends, home and health. But then I get to thinking...

If I was truly truly 100% thankful for my home would I still be complaining about those smelly kitchen cupboards? Sure, they are a problem... but either I'm thankful for my home (the entire thing) or I'm not. Saying I'm thankful for my home and then saying I can't stand the smelly kitchen cupboards just doesn't work for me. It's a shallow thankfulness. It's a thankfulness that is only thankful when everything is perfect.

So today I am forced to look deep within myself and ask "Am I TRULY thankful today?"

Because, in all honesty, it's hard to be thankful in moments like this...

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Yep... we decided we were doing Thanksgiving at home. We brought down a gazillion blankets and pillows so we could watch the parade and movies all day and snuggle while the food cooked. I thought it would be fun to get a photo of it... Jason was fine with it until it was time to snap the photo.

He can be really good at dropping my thankfulness meter a few notches.

So... I guess I am left with the questions...

What am I truly truly truly thankful for?
Will it be all thankfulness today and then back to grumbling and complaining tomorrow?
If I only express thankfulness on a day (or month) when it is prompted... what does that say about my thankfulness?

Be joyful ALWAYS; pray continually; GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

I guess the real reason I am probably thinking all these things today is because I woke up and read a true story of thankfulness. It's the best Thanksgiving story I've heard in a long time. Remember the baby I recently took photos of? The one who was born with only half of a functioning heart? His mom wrote the most beautiful account of the past year... all they've been through and the power of faith and prayer. They truly have much to be thankful for.

The story begins like this...

November 22, 2011 – A day that Travis and I will never forget! We left our house with a pink and blue onesie for an early morning 20 week ultrasound at the doctors’ office. Our house was filled with pink and blue for our gender reveal party where we would announce the gender of our little “Lew”. As first time mommy and daddy, we sat at the doctors’ office with giddy grins as we watched our little baby moving about on the screen. We couldn’t wait to find out if it was a he or a she. The farthest thing from our mind was that there could be a problem. Yes, we obviously realized that there could be something minor wrong, but never knew that the “problem” could potentially take his life and change ours forever!

If you want the rest of the story you can find it on Cael's Crusaders facebook page. It's worth taking the time to read the rest of the story that started one year ago today. (READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE.)

So... with all that I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving day. May we all find a depth of thankfulness that stays around in all circumstances and not just the perfect times. May we all be thankful not just today but every single day.







Monday, November 19, 2012

Roger and Danielle -- Engaged

A few weeks ago I had the priviledge of taking pictures for a wonderful friend of mine! I met Danielle a few years ago through some other mutual friends and I just love her so much! She recently got engaged to Roger and I am so happy for them! Roger has two kids so they asked if we could do a few family pictures as well. I was happy to do that for them.

Here are some pictures from our shoot...

We started with all four of them. They are Steelers fans so they all decided to wear their jerseys for the photos. I like it... because I too am a Steelers fan.

Oh... and a dog. It's always interesting when I have to take pictures of animals because I am so not an animal person and I have no idea what to do with them. But it worked.

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I took some photos of the kids while Danielle and Roger changed into some nicer clothes for their engagement pictures. I really liked these kids... nice and fun. Especially Ashlyn... the girl just wanted to model!

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We finished the night with just Danielle and Roger.

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(favorite)
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(Super Favorite!!!)
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Can't wait for the wedding!!!... which I may or may not be photographing. I've been asked but I need to know more about where it is and if I have the confidence to photograph a friend's wedding who's dad is a photographer. It would feel like student teaching all over again! Yikes!



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