Thursday, September 30, 2010

Getting in touch with my creative side...

It's curious, this desire to be crafty and creative. I mean, I've always liked crafts, but was never real motivated to pursue them much. Maybe it's being around my project-oriented momma, or my organized crafty sis-in-law, or likely both. I'm sure my new obsession with reading crafty blogs has definitely contributed.

I have been collecting craft supplies over the years. It's not too shabby of a collection. The last time I spent much time with those supplies was when I made thank-you cards for our wedding... 4.5 years ago.

But I have been spending quite a bit of time with them since we've moved here. Sometimes I think, "maybe it's because they aren't up in the attic anymore." But that can't be it because this is where they are now...

(I'm unwilling to post a picture of the entire "storage" room. It's just not something I like to show off).


The point of this blog is to show you how I've added a little fall decor to this rental. Instead of sifting through the many boxes we've left packed until we buy a home, I decided to go crafty. I've also tried to involve Marie... she's 2 still. Maybe next year.

I found a tutorial on these little guys on a blog somewhere...

My sis-in-law gave me the idea for this wreath on her blog. I had every intention of making mine very similar to hers... it just didn't turn out that way. But isn't that how crafts are supposed to work? It's my own version.

Well, that's it so far.

A few weeks back I committed to the Lord to become a better wife and mom. Maybe this is one of the ways? It definitely falls under "Superwoman." I also have some serious de-cluttering planned. I know that will be better for my family. We'll see how it goes!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How it all began...

Most of you probably know that I have my own little jewelry business. I LOVE to make jewelry! I've recently decided to use this blog to post some jewelry-making tutorials and contests, etc. Don't worry, if you're not all that into jewelry, there will still be plenty of posts about my exciting life outside of jewelry. :)

It's probably important that my first jewelry post be a little bit about how I got into this jewelry-making thing.

I'm not one of those types that was drawing jewelry designs at 5 years old, or always had just the right necklace for every single outfit, or went to any kind of art school. I've always liked wearing jewelry (especially earrings), but I usually had my small handful of favorite pieces that I wore ALL the time.

After Derek and I got married I felt like I needed to grow up a little. Every once in awhile I was going to need to wear something other than jeans and a tshirt with very old silver hoops in my ears every day. I went shopping with my mom-in-law and got a couple dressy outfits that just needed fancy jewelry to compliment. I managed to convince my husband that I needed a set of jewelry for both outfits. (He seriously has a hard time saying no to me). I thought the beaded jewelry I bought was so fantastic that every day I found myself wishing I had some cool jewelry to wear even with my casual clothes. Of course our budget did not support this in the least, so I continued to sport the little silver hoops on a regular basis.

Derek's grandma was visiting and she and I were chatting... I honestly can't think of what the initial point of our conversation was, but she told me about a lady at her church who got simple supplies from a craft store and had a bunch of ladies over from church to make jewelry. She said it was so easy. I was immediately interested and began researching...

Go ahead, google "how to make jewelry" and see if it doesn't stress you out a little.

Not only is there TONS of info out there, there's TONS of different ways to make jewelry! The tools and supplies necessary seemed endless. And so many terms had me wondering if there was some sort of jewelry-making dictionary I could refer to. Typical me, I decided to give up on the idea. But not before I mentioned it to my sister and sis-in-law.

Christmas that year (2007), my sisters combined efforts and got me a little starter kit! And the best part, my sister's friend makes jewelry and agreed to teach me some basics! I honestly don't think I would be doing this right now if it weren't for Jen, Steph, and Candace. Thank you.

Ever since I've been stocking up on beads, studying and learning new techniques, and selling my creations online and to friends and family. Sometimes I like to look at old beading books I got in the beginning and look at the designs I thought were way too hard for me to ever create, that now are part of my regular repetoir. I love teaching myself and whipping out pieces that make my husband proud :)

I'm currently venturing into the world of wire jewelry. My sister-in-law is helping me by designing beaded jewelry while I focus on learning the new and more difficult techniques of wirework. Steph is so good at designing! I love that she enjoys creating with me!

One of Steph's designs - Crystal Ball Dangles. Love these!

One of my fave wire wrapped creations - Forever Pearls Ring.

So that's the background. In the near future I'm going to post about some basic tools needed for making simple beaded jewelry. Then an earring tutorial! Until then, enjoy shopping :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Gift of Prophecy

I used to have a Xanga site... well I guess I still have it I just don't use it anymore. Anyway, this is a post from that site that I wrote back in December. The spiritual gift of prophecy is incredibly misunderstood. I still don't really understand it. But it is my spiritual gift and I'd like to share what that looks like in my life...

I've come to the decision that the Spiritual gift of prophecy is simply the hardest. I realize I don't know what it's like to have any of the other spiritual gifts, but at least for me, I cannot figure how any other could be more trying.

First comes the spotting of the sin. It can literally become agonizing. When I see someone that I love living in sin and I know God wants me to confront, I cannot find peace until I've said or done something. The prophets of Scripture would rip their clothes and throw ashes on their heads and cry and mourn and plead with God to release them from their gut-wrenching duty. They wouldn't eat for days. Some even tried to flee the whole situation. But I'll tell ya right now that even if Jonah hadn't been swallowed by a huge fish, he never would have been able to truly flee his responsibility. It becomes part of you. Your purpose. My experience is obviously dust compared to what those great men and women went through, but I do believe that I often get a taste... It does not taste good.

So then comes the waiting. Sometimes God lets me in on something and I have to sit back and trust His timing. Everyone knows how irritating it is to wait! And the whole while I will have phases of overwhelming frustration and unrest. I'll lie in bed tossing and turning while I beg God to let me sleep. I'll cry. Sometimes I have screamed. I'll go over multiple scenarios in my head and almost always end up screaming at whoever (in my head), "How can you be such an idiot?!?"

That brings me to the part where God reveals to me how I need to get rid of the plank hanging out of my eye before I run off and tell the other person how terribly horrible their little speck is. Again, we can all relate to conviction. It stinks. Enough said.

So now I'm back to focusing on what God wants me to do about the whole situation. I start to get really nervous. I've done plenty of public speaking in my little life and I know how terrifying that is. But, at least for me, there is nothing more terrifying than facing someone you love and confronting them with the Truth. Humbly looking them in the eyes (and praying that they realize how humble you are) and bringing up something that suddenly you feel like is none of your business anyway. And there's the fear that the relationship will be ruined. That fear has caused me to fail so many times. Or the fear that by bringing this up, I will cause more issues than there was in the first place. And the thing about confronting with the Truth (even in love!) is that these fears are completely legitimate. These things happen. Again, it stinks.

Then comes the part where the other person responds. Will they become humbled themselves and together you can cry and pray and all will be better? Will they nod and say you're right and agree with everything then walk away unchanged, only so you can go back and try again another day? Will they get up and walk away, leaving everyone involved hanging? Will they get angry, throw at you that you're not perfect and have no right?

This Spiritual gift is hard. I am not qualified. And yet God gave me this gift, and Jesus makes me qualified. So I press on, scared to death of ruining relationships and being hated, but praying that lives will be changed and reconciliation with myself, and most importantly with the Father, will be reached.

To God be the glory.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If you could ask God 1 question...

Derek's students discussed this at school today. They were to text 4 people with the question, "If you could ask God 1 question, what would it be?" At the time I received Derek's text I was VERY upset with my daughter. So my response was: "When will my daughter learn to not draw on the walls??"

Her artwork...

But I did take the time to think it over. What would I ask Him if we could sit down for a very short chat? I first came up with questions like, "Why do You love me?" "Why do you bless me so much?" "Are we doing what You want us to?" Etc. But I realized all these questions have answers in Scripture. 

I also thought of questions like, "Why must I have csections?" "Why did You allow me to make amazing friends in Scranton just in time for us to leave?" Etc. But honestly those questions seemed somewhat trivial.

I eventually came to a question that might have been my first thought but I'm not so sure I'd want to know the answer: "Are you proud of me?" Or in the words of a student's friend: "Do I make You smile?" 

I know how to please Him. That is very clear in His Word. But am I? Is He proud to call me one of His own? 

No time at all was wasted in the testing of this question... Marie has been ULTRA disobedient today. Jack had a screaming episode just because he wanted to sleep and is too picky about where he sleeps. We weren't at home so I couldn't lay him in bed. By the time we did get home I was beyond losing it. When finally both children were down for their naps and quiet settled over the house I realized that at that moment God would have to answer "no" to my question. 

Time in the Word and much prayer followed, and I know He's completely forgotten the ugliness of earlier today. It wasn't long before another test came...

The "Conor House" that we've been already imagining our lives in will never be ours. They rejected our best unofficial offer (can't blame them as they would still owe at least $15grand to pay it off). When Derek told me over the phone I could tell he was devastated. I am, too. But by the grace of God I was able to respond peacefully and encourage my poor husband. We just need to trust... trust... trust...

I'd like to think God smiled. 

I'd like to think He smiled because He knows exactly what house He has for us and it's WAY better! (Even though we can't imagine a better place...)

I'd like to think He smiled because He was proud of me.

If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

Logos and Mac unite!

We would be SUPER thrilled to win one of the prizes! Thought you might be thrilled, too :)

Logos Bible Software is giving away thousands of dollars of prizes to celebrate the launch of Logos Bible Software 4 Mac on October 1. Prizes include an iMac, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPod Touch, and more than 100 other prizes!
They’re also having a special limited-time sale on their Mac and PC base packages and upgrades. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Babies

I have the best job in the world.

Monday, September 20, 2010

To-Do Lists

On facebook I'm a fan of Chalene Johnson, the creator of Turbo Jam and several other workouts. She's constantly posting status' about making and referring to your to-do list.

Back in Scranton I tried a to-do list countless times and always ended the day frustrated and disappointed in myself. I never seemed to be able to finish the list. Sometimes I wouldn't even get to anything on it! So I finally decided to-do lists were not for me and started ignoring Chalene's posts.

When we moved to Indiana life got, well, hectic. I am a very new mother of two, I suddenly have lots of family around, and we've jumped right into attending church as often as possible and spending time with Derek's students. It's a wonderful life! But a hectic one.

I kept forgetting things. The need for a daily to-do list was becoming imperative. I kept putting it off, trying to decide how best to go about this without ending each day feeling I failed. Finally I formulated a plan.

First, I pulled out a small sticky-note pad and told myself that my to-do list had to fit on a single sticky-note (4-5 things). This would combat the problem I had with making a to-do list 27 items long.

Second, I told myself to stick with broad to-do's. Instead of listing every separate room of the house and how it needed to be cleaned (1. dishes; 2. sweep kitchen floor; 3. swiffer kitchen floor; etc), I need to just write "clean kitchen." In fact, I've been going even more broad than that and on my list for today I simply wrote "clean." Since I don't need to clean to prepare for visitors, I can mark this off my list at the end of the day if I just did any cleaning at all!

Third, while there's a million things I could put on this list because at least a million things need to be done, I told myself to think through and decide what was most important to get done that day. Like today I am beginning a facebook contest for DandLs DangLs. That's important to get to. That's on the list.

Lastly, I gave myself permission to do things that are not on my to-do list. Like today, I did not have "blog" on my list. My previous attempts at to-do listing I would get frustrated because my list was so long that I felt I could only do what was on the list. Now that it's short, I don't feel guilty about doing non-list things. And also I've given myself permission to change what's on the list. You can't predict how a day is going to go. Sometimes priorities just have to change.

If you've been considering to-do lists or have been frustrated with to-do listing, I hope these ideas are helpful. Here's my list for today...

Now it's time to get to my to-do's!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

God Box

The other day Derek suggested we get a box to keep little mementos in that are reminders of how God has protected us and taken special care of us. I'm almost certain he thought of this because we had just been at Michaels craft store and he saw these cool vintage-looking boxes that he was trying to find a reason to buy. But the crafty and thrifty momma that is trying to take over my body is going to find something in this cluttered house to repurpose.

Anyway, on to the point. The first three things we are going to put in this box (whenever I get to putting it together) are as follows -

1. Derek's backpack and helmet from his bicycle accident back in 2006. If I ever doubted God's hand in every tiny area of my life, I stopped after that horrific day. When we got home from the hospital and made it through the first long night of waking him up every couple hours to make sure he didn't fall into a coma or something, the little things started to become clear. All the bits and pieces of the previous couple of weeks that had a part in my husband still being with me after he should have died came together. I still get overwhelmed just thinking about it.

This is the bag that saved his back from serious roadburn.

They had to cut his favorite shirt. He begged them not to, the goof. 

This is the helmet that saved his life. Thank you, helmet. Thank you, God.

2. The night before Derek drove the HUGE moving truck from Scranton to Elkhart, his great friends (we love and miss you guys like crazy!) took him to a casino and handed him cash. He played craps. He loves craps. He won enough money to not only cover an outrageously expensive meal that night, but also to cover the gas to drive the monster of a truck 600+ miles. And he had a wonderful night with some wonderful friends. He kept this -

3. The Sunday night before Labor Day, my man and I were watching a movie and making tshirts for my little brother's soccer game the next day. At about 1 am we suddently heard shouting right outside our window. Then we heard a shot. I remember at this point we were on our feet, but I don't remember the actual standing up part. This was the conversation -

D - Get down!
L - But my babies!

In a matter of seconds Derek was upstairs grabbing Marie and I had Jack snuggled in my arms, huddled in the doorway of our main floor bedroom. By this point our house was literally surrounded by cop cars. While we all sat on the floor together waiting for the lights to go away, Derek told me he saw the scene from upstairs (there aren't any blinds on the windows upstairs. What on earth kind of landlord doesn't put blinds on the windows?) and saw that it was a tazer gun that we heard. And that the man who had been tazered was lying immediately next to my baby girl's playhouse. The creepiest part of it all I didn't realize until later the next day: we didn't hear anything until right before the guy got tazered which means the cops had just found him when we heard the shouting which means this guy was hiding out by our house for who knows how long... The next morning Derek searched the yard and found this to place in our future box -

The number of times God has protected and provided for this little family is humbling. Really we could consider this whole house a "box" full of blessings and provisions and protection. I think that's exactly what I need to think... this house is our "God Box." But also, I encourage everyone to make your own little God Box to remind yourself and your family of some significant times God has taken special care of you.

"Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say 'Blessed be the name of the Lord!'"

Psalm 91:2 I will say to the Lord "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Baptist Stereotype

So many people I talk to around here, including my family, have issues with Baptists. People seem to be embarrassed to admit they're "baptist" or when they say they go to a Baptist church, they quickly follow it up with, "But I wouldn't call myself a Baptist. I just go to a Baptist church." This is so unfortunate. It proves 2 things - Baptist churches have often given in to the stereotypes and people have no idea what it means to be a Baptist.

While I could go on and on about what a church should be doing about this, I think it needs to start with the people.

If you have a problem with believer's (Biblical) baptism, or think you need a priest to reach God, or want to find a way around taking responsibility to study Scripture and learn the truth on your own without just accepting whatever pastor says, then you are right in saying you are not a Baptist.

But what do people really have a problem with? The stereotypes. The typical "standards" (for lack of a better word) of a Baptist church that have no real basis in Scripture. They're just simply preference.

Here's a picture of some stereotypes... We had to sneak to a back room, telling only the photographer, to have a daddy/daughter dance just before our wedding. When someone walks in covered in tattoos and piercings, with a scowl and a ton of baggage, they usually walk out the very same way, having met no one. The first several rows in the auditorium are empty. Only the "enthusiastic" lady in the praise band ever raises her hands during worship. A change of order in the service would get the deacons shifting uncomfortably. Who's willing to give of themselves and work in the nursery?? The same two ladies every single week. And outreach is the youth group's job. Us older folk don't want to feel the least bit uncomfortable.

As we drove into church this morning, I said to Derek, "We personally don't struggle with most of the stereotypes, but we go to a church that has a tendency to be very stereotypical. Let's make sure we don't fall into that trap." So we're committing to being Baptists that live as bible-believing Christians, rather than letting the world's idea of the Baptist name shape who we are. So while we sat very near the front row, we listened to a message on the importance of being a servant. The very thing that would combat all these issues!

First Baptist has been around for 150 years! God has been faithful. And I believe He is faithful through a handful of faithful people. The problem is, it's only a handful! In a church of 1300, there should NEVER be a problem finding help in the nursery. I have no idea how many members belong to our church, but I know that they aren't all serving. How many people belong to your church? Are they all plugged in somewhere? Are YOU serving your church??

So here's my challenge - know your denomination and your individual church's beliefs and values. If they don't line up with yours (which should line up with Scripture), make a change. And secondly, before bashing on the denomination I am a part of, figure out what problem you really have with it. Is it simply a stereotype?

Friday, September 3, 2010


It's only natural. When you become pregnant, you are becoming a superwoman. Or more specifically, supermom. Just giving birth is incredible enough! (Praying for that opportunity someday...) Then you have a child and simply raising that child causes you to pull tricks that only a superwoman could possibly do. I think I'd go so far to say that the only way to be a superwoman is to be a mom. But I would not go so far to say that every mom is a superwoman. There is definitely ways around that.

But it does seem common, if you want to be a good mom, that being a supermom is not only something you have to be, but something you strive to be. When Derek tells me that he's impressed with something I handled related to the kids (ie spending all day with a screaming JackJack and a sick Meesters and still having a smile on my face when he gets home), I feel like my supermom status rose a little. And I like that.

So I'm striving to become more of a supermom. Of course every supermom gets ideas and tips from other supermoms and in this day in age, blogs are the easiest way to go about getting those. The problem is, I come across so many amazing blogs by supermoms that makes me feel suddenly like an almost-mediocre mom.

These women have multiple children, homeschool all of them, keep their own gardens, feed their huge families on $50 or less a week, make elaborate completely from scratch dinners every night, and still have time to blog daily and take fantastic pictures. And that's all just from a quick browse of their blogs. By that point, my supermom goal is almost completely out of sight.

The silly thing is, I'm always trying to find that blog by that woman who is like me... hates to cook, doesn't know what's for dinner til 6pm, doesn't wash all the dishes until the next day, kills everything edible that is supposed to grow, feels overwhelmed and stresses out about printing out all the coupons and finding all the deals, always needs at least 10 minutes to stash things away before someone comes to the house, and has no idea how long her hair is because it's been that long since she wore it down!

So, the other day, as I washed the dishes just before making dinner, it suddenly occurred to me why I haven't found that blog by that woman like me... duh! Women like me are unorganized and not good at managing time. So we're not going to blog every day! And even if we did, what on earth would we blog about?? The Little Ceasar's pizza we ordered for dinner, and how the buttery garlic sauce adds just the right touch to the cheesy breadsticks? Everyone knows that already!

I know you are out there - supermom's in your own right, but not quite the Pioneer Woman. Know that you are not alone. I'm here, not cooking up fancy recipes or writing out the 5 best ways to stay organized. I'm here as a fellow supermom who has to work just a little harder than some to impress outsiders, but am the greatest mom in the world  to two sweet babies who know no better :)

All that being said, maybe I'll throw in a bit here and there about things I've learned about becoming more of a supermom... you know, when I think to do it and have the patience to type it out :)

Here's a picture because most supermom blogs have pictures! 
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