Thursday, November 20, 2014

Superpowers...

          I don’t mean to brag, but I have several enviable superpowers.  I’ll do my best to share them all with you, but since one of my superpowers is forgetting simple things at inopportune times, I may be prevented from remembering every single one.  On that subject, as I write for this blog or for my novel, I often forget the simplest and most common words.  Just the other day, it took me 10 minutes to think of the word….wait…I can’t remember the word I couldn’t think of the other day.  See?  That’s just one of my many superpowers.
            I can stretch two loads of laundry, a half-day job, into a full week of laundry-induced torture, and STILL not fold the clothes.  That, my friends, takes talent…no…power.  Superpower.  And while I’m on the subject of laundry, I have a distinct superpower that allows me to avoid ironing.  I can manipulate my dryer’s power to perform ironing duties for me.  Only on the most special occasions, does my iron come out of the cupboard…and it is brief and only used to impress…as well as press.
            I am frequently stunned to realize that my husband will be home in 15 minutes and I haven’t given a single thought to dinner.  I have a superpower that allows me to think of something to make for dinner, and have that dinner on the table shortly after his arrival, using meat I’ve pulled from the freezer to do it.   He will compliment me on the meal, not having a clue there was no thought of it 20 minutes before.  
            I have the innate ability to choose the wrong line in any situation.  When I choose a line it will instantaneously stop moving the moment I position myself in it.  A computer will go down, a cash register will run out of tape, an employee will take a break or a person ahead of me in line will have a problem that will take ten times the average amount of time to resolve.  For example, the other day, I saw a shorter line at the Costco gas station.  I pulled in, feeling smug victory, when I noticed a large gas-guzzling motor home pulling up to the pump ahead of me.  I waited for 10 minutes before switching lines and still beat the motor home to completion.  While I pumped my gas, the lady behind me commented “I can’t believe how quickly the line went today!” I just smiled.  I didn’t mention that I’d spent 10 minutes waiting in another line before choosing that one.  I wouldn’t want to reveal my superpower to just anyone.
            I can find a wonderful thing at a yard sale or thrift shop, hold on to it for years and then in one stroke of genius, create something out of it completely unexpected and cool.  And that’s not all.  I can NOT think of what to do with a thing years after purchasing it, decide to let it go, giving it away to a charity or selling it or throwing it in the garbage.  Then,  days later, in the middle of the night think of the perfect way to re-purpose it and wish I had it again, knowing full well it’s long gone.  I’ve done that over and over – which qualifies as a superpower. 
            Also, where yard sales are concerned, I can recognize valuable items, purchase them for a song and sell them for many times what I paid.  The bakelite jewelry I bought for 75 cents and resold for 400 dollars is an example.  Definitely a superpower.
            I have the ability to get the uncontrollable giggles at the worst possible times.  If a friend is involved, this superpower is magnified 100 times and conversely, friends can turn a superpower into a nemesis.  Somber times are when this superpower can cause great harm…giggles and sobriety do not mix.  Giggles are my kryptonite.
            Even though I am a woman, I have a superpower that crosses the boundaries of gender.  I can grow whiskers.  Not only that, my chin will be as smooth as a baby’s bottom for days on end and then, within hours, two whiskers will grow as though I were a burly mountain man with full beard-growing capabilities.  For this reason, I have to be on guard at all times so that I am not mistaken for a No-Shave November participant.  Although some claim this is a symptom of age, I choose to see it as a superpower.
            I have the ability to completely empty my mind of coherent thought when someone makes a comment that deserves a quick retort.  I will sit there, staring, unable to string two words together until the moment of opportunity has passed.  The conversation will change, the person will leave or I will move on and then it will hit me!  The perfect response.  The most scathing come-back.  The cleverest “gotcha”.   Some may call it “timely come-back disorder”, I choose to see it as a superpower…involuntary self-control.  I’m able to dis-engage my mouth due to my frozen mind.  It’s saved me from plenty of trouble and therefore is one of the superest of powers.
            Finally, I have the superpower of procrastination in every area of my life.  Some would see this as a character flaw and they would be wrong.  When one procrastinates, one must gain talents in other areas such as the speed with which one completes tasks.  The superpower comes into play with the quality of the work that is produced.  I have found that the quality of my work is superior when it is done under the pressure of time.  My brain is super-stimulated and obtains superpower qualities of brilliance.  You might be surprised to know that the bulk of this piece was written this morning as I drank my coffee and wondered why I hadn’t done my writing sooner.  Perhaps it’s the element of regret that adds that extra little je ne sais quoi that is the tipping point of inspiration. 
            While some may think that superpowers have to be of the superhero variety, seeing through walls, invisibilty, the ability to fly and insta-freezing villains, they would be wrong.  They are the little quirks and talents that make you unique.  Things you do without even trying, because superpowers just are.  They are possessed without effort.  A gift.  Embrace them and be SUPER!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Raspberries in November...


Today is/was paint a bench day and garden clean-up day...
It's going to freeze hard this week and the garden is just kaput except for some kale...
So I filled the yard waste bin with all sorts of slimy broccoli stalks...
Black tomato vines...
Pepper plants covered in half-opened blooms...
Which makes me think very highly of peppers...they were willing to go the extra mile...
Give it all they've got...
They had hope...
Albiet false hope...
I gathered up the zucchini vines,
Squash vines...
I found a forgotten slimy onion.  Yuk.
And as I was pulling a pumpkin vine, I noticed that a branch of the vine had taken off on its own and created a very green pumpkin hanging from the fence...well, hello there!
Too bad it won't reach its full potential.
With half of the garden yanked from the ground, the bin was full...
I dragged it to the street, thankful that a machine will dump it into the truck...no person should have to lift that heavy thing...
And as I went to put my gloves back in the shed something red caught my eye.
RASPBERRIES!
In November!?!?
My raspberry vines had saved the best trick for last...
They were tasty, however, the sun hasn't been shining, so they weren't as flavorful as those that ripen in summer...
But I was happy to have a little taste of summer on a day when the last traces of warm days were going into the waste bin...

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Paint is my Friend...



I love paint.
Just a little bit of paint can go a long way to changing things up.
And it's fairly cheap...considering the amount of joy it brings!
So I've had a red and beige powder room for the past 12 years...with a wallpaper border separating the two colors.
I really liked it.
But the words "wallpaper border" sort of give a clue to how outdated it was...
So I spent a lot of time putting the words "powder room" into Pinterest.
Too much time, most likely...if you've ever been on Pinterest, you understand.
I decided on gray, which is risky.
So many shades, so many ways it can go horribly wrong.
I chose Behr Sterling...and I got Marquee paint to cover the dark barn red.
I love the Marquee paint!!  It IS as good as the commercial makes it seem..
And the color...
It's fabulous!
The tiniest hint of blue, bright, fresh...perfect for a bathroom.
One thing happened that I hadn't expected:  my tired wood floor perked right up next to gray.
Gray + wood floors = FABULOUS!
I find myself peeking in the powder room just to gaze...
So satisfying.
That brings me to the fireplace.
As I scrubbed the gray paint off my hands and arms and...feet...
(Did I mention that I am the messiest painter on planet earth?)
I glanced over at my red and slate tile fireplace and noticed that the red did NOTHING to compliment the tile...how did I not see that before?
As I examined it in contrast with the gray, I noticed all of the brown tones in it...
They were so drab next to the red.
And then it hit me.
Chocolate brown.
or
Coffee Brown.
Let's compromise and go with Mocha, shall we?
I had some paint left from painting my bedside tables a couple of years ago so it would be "free" to change the fireplace!
My husband, though he loved the bathroom, rolled his eyes when I announced my next project.
He should be used to my decorating frenzies by now...
Honestly.
So today, when he left the house for a couple of hours,
I painted the fireplace.
It's best to do these sorts of things when he's out...
(Did I mention that I am the messiest painter on planet earth?)
He came home too early, however, and I could feel the tension in the room as he walked by...not nearly as excited as I was about the transformation taking place.
Sometimes he just has NO IDEA!
I asked him if he liked it.
"Maybe I'll like it when there's not tape and paper everywhere." he said, irritated.
I could already see how much better it looked.
It was obvious.
So I finished...while he tried not to see the mess and open paint can in the middle of the floor (it was on a tarp).
And I took down the tape and paper and cleaned up the mess and then I asked him:
"Well?"
 And he loved it.  He completely agreed it was much better than the red!
Oh, the satisfaction!
Things usually happen in threes...
My next project is the bench my dad made us years ago.
It serves as a coffee table...and we use it for seating when we have lots of company.
It has a wood base and the top is painted red.
The top will be painted gray this week.
Because I learned that gray + wood = FABULOUS!

Have I mentioned that I love paint??

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Day of Fashion Impairedness Awaredness...wait...

If you're fashion impaired and you know it hug a zucchini!
The day began with an exchange between my husband and I about what he was wearing.
We don't know what we're talking about when it comes to fashion
Plain and simple.
The conversation went down something like this:

Alex: "Heth, does this color go with this shirt?"
Me: "No"
Alex: "This?"
Me:  "That's better, but..."
Alex:  "How about this, I like this"
Me:  "I don't know"
Alex:  "I'm wearing it"
Me:  "Are you meeting with anyone important today?"
Alex:  "No"
Me:  "Good"
Alex:  "Wait, I don't think this looks right"
Me:  *sigh of relief* "Change the shirt, that's the issue."
Alex:  "Yes, That's much better"

I really don't know if the shirt was indeed the issue or if the pants were the issue.  
Surely there is SOMETHING that can be worn with that shirt...right?  He's worn it before...
The ironic thing about that morning was that I was preparing to go with my 73-year-old mother to Portland, Oregon to shop..for clothes.
(the reason we shop in Portland is because there's no tax in Oregon, so we save almost 9% right off the top after spending $40 on a tank of gas...I know, I know)
My mother and I were shopping for clothes for our trip to Europe.
One must dress appropriately in Europe as I understood it...
I didn't actually know because I'd never been there at that time.
But I needed boots.  
I don't know how to wear boots or what to wear them with, but we were going in winter, so boots were important.
And pants.
And sweaters.
And a necklace because, don't laugh, I didn't know how to wear necklaces.  
"Put them around your neck" I'd been told
But it's not that simple if you're fashion impaired.
Trust me.
I'd put them on and they looked all wrong.  
Just wrong, I can't explain it.
The wrong length, the wrong size, the wrong metal color...you name it.  It was that kind of wrong.
So we went.
And knock me down with a feather,
I bought all kinds of cute things and tall boots that zip up and have a cute buckle thing,
and a necklace and earrings and sweaters and pants...
Because my 73-year-old mother helped me.
Which, honestly, worried me.
Will I look like a page out of the polyester section of the old Sears catalog?
Had I lost all sense of age appropriate sportswear?
Wait, did I just use the word "sportswear"?
Had I, in fact, turned into my mother?
And did I mention that as I was picking out a sweater and mulling over colors she told me that I don't look good in red...as I stood there staring at her in my red jacket...
I argued with her then...
"What are you saying?  I'm wearing red, I look good in this!"
"Well, not really"
"Seriously?  You're telling me this now?  You let me leave the house in a coat that looked awful on me?"
"..."
wow mom.
Note to self...tell someone they're wearing a bad color BEFORE they leave the house to go out...
*sigh*
There are worse things to be I suppose...
Fashion impaired is a pretty benign condition in the grand scope of possibilities...
I could be my husband... asking ME for fashion advise...
ha!


p.s. - This was written a couple of years ago and while I still consider myself fashion impaired, I have made great advances in my quest to lose the title.  I have been studying fashion pins on Pinterest...and by studying, I mean, looking at outfits and marveling at the beauty of the choices...the harmony of color and style. And I have to say, I love good fashion...I'm always impressed when people can just DO it, put great looks together and not think twice about it.  I am getting better at it...I really am...and getting dressed is becoming a joy, rather than a really bad guessing game!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo!


Have you heard of it?
NaNoWriMo?
It stands for National Novel Writing Month.
You write 50,000 words in the month of November.
I first heard about it 3 years ago...
I saw blog posts from writers who'd succeeded...
I read about their victory...writing an entire novel in a month.
WOW!
So this November, I am going to throw my hat in the NaNoWriMo ring.
I even registered on their site...
I really, really, really want to do it.
The point is, the DOING of it.
Not the marketability of it after the 30 days.
The DOING of the THING.
Writing a novel...really, really doing it!
And who knows.
It might be a masterpiece...or...
Not.
Or perhaps it will be the bare bones of what could be...
Finally a finished skeleton of the novel I've been wanting to write.
The thing is...
Perfectionism is my greatest nemesis.
I want to produce good stuff.
Nothing wrong with that.
But when producing good stuff prevents me from producing anything,
That's when there's a problem.
I think NaNoWriMo is a genius way to get writers past their barriers...
By putting a time limit on their goal...
Get to it!
So during November, National Novel Writing Month,
I will be busy.
Writing.
A lot.
So if I don't answer emails or comment on Facebook posts,
Don't be offended.
And if I do answer emails and comment on your Facebook posts,
Tell me to get back to writing because...
It's NaNoWriMo!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Gemma...


I was in Chicago last weekend.
My daughter goes to Moody Bible Institute there and
My other daughter was running the Chicago marathon.
It was a weekend of cheering and fun with my girls and my son-in-law.
It was also a weekend of inspiration.

I was waiting for my daughter to meet me after her PCM (practical Christian ministry) in the projects.
She didn't arrive at the appointed time and wasn't answering her phone.
An hour and a half later, she arrived...
She had been listening to a girl...a transexual...tell of her twisted and heart-wrenching childhood...of her parents constant abuse.
She was so damaged...physically, emotionally, psychologically...
How can parents do that to their own child?
My mind doesn't compute.
My heart cannot fathom.
She shared details of her life with my girl and another...honestly...painfully...hopefully...
The girls listened and loved.
They didn't judge.
They didn't tell her what she SHOULD do...
They told her how precious she is...
And she is.
Whatever she's into or doing or fighting or addicted to...
That's residual.
SHE is precious.
I don't know her name, but I pray for her...

Then I was in the Lifeway bookstore that is housed in the first floor and basement of my daughter's dorm.
I shopped.
I flipped through books, admired artwork, examined Moody trinkets...
And then a small hispanic woman touched my arm.
She wanted me to help her choose a book to give to her granddaughter.
"She is in trouble.  I am so worried." she said in broken English.
Her heart was right out there for all to see.
Her face was etched with concern.
She loves her granddaughter deeply.
No question.
I asked her a few questions...how old is she, do you think she will read a book?
"God can do anything, a book is all I can think to do."
Yep, he can.
Even a non-reader will read a book if God prompts.  Touche.
We looked at devotionals for teenagers...then it struck me.
She's probably not a typical teenager and these cutesy devotionals are going to insult her perceived level of maturity.
And I wanted a book that was dated...that had devotionals for each day of the year.
It's always been uncanny how the devotion for any given date will always be apropos...God is like that.
I immediately thought of "Jesus Calling".
We put back the books we were considering and walked to the display.
She smiled and agreed, this was the one.
She thanked me profusely and I hugged her.
She asked me to pray for her granddaughter...Gemma.
What a beautiful name.
What a beautiful life.
I wonder if Gemma knows how deeply her grandma loves her.
I hope that Gemma will know that she has a Heavenly Father who loves her deeper still.
Pray for Gemma....for all of the hurting souls in Chicago...for that matter, in every city.
It's so easy to rest in our easy lives...in our loving families...
And forget that there are those that struggle.
Who have always struggled.
Who have never known love...
Yet...
May they know with certainty, that God Himself, loves them more than they can fathom.

Psalm 86:15
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Filing Cabinet Re-do!


We have a fabulous surplus outlet in our town.  I bought this awesome heavy-duty 3-drawer legal size filing cabinet with art deco-ish details for $15.  It needed cleaning up before I began my transformation and a little elbow grease produced this dark gray ugly cabinet...clean but unappealing otherwise!

Do you realize how many choices there are in spray paint these days?  We went to Lowe's to choose a color.  "It will only take a minute" I told my husband as he was speeding home to catch a football game after church last Sunday.  10 minutes later, we were still staring at the spray paint, although it had been narrowed down to three colors.  No, four.  Three.  Five.  Two.  Wait.  I can't choose!  It's not like paint is the ultimate commitment...it's easily changed.  But I wanted to do this once.  I chose.  Green with a hammered silver accent for the drawer fronts.  I asked my husband how he liked it and he picked up a blue which I hadn't yet considered.  I loved it and bought it and off we went.  Done!  Don't look back!

Turns out, the blue we chose is very similar to the color of our house.  No wonder we like it!  And the silver was returned and this champagne glittery color replaced it!  It's actually brushed nickel, but it looks sparkly and champagney...so there you have it!  It's a much happier cabinet now...I will print fabulously fancy labels for each drawer and it will store my writing resources and all of the writing I've done and have yet to do!  

So, go get yourself some spray paint and make an ugly file cabinet into a thing of beauty.  Honor it for its hard work, holding things that are important to you...you'll be glad you did!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall Cleaning...


I'm partial to fall cleaning over spring cleaning.
I suppose I could do both.
But I don't.
I hate to clean.
Fall is the time I like to clean under sinks...
behind dressers...
under beds...
Mostly because I'm in the house all winter and I don't want to be in a dirty house all winter.
Makes sense, no?
This year I cleaned my blinds...
I won't tell you the last time that happened.
Because I can't.
It never has.
Don't tell anyone.
It never occurred to me honestly...
Yes, I saw the dust on occasion but I looked away and it disappeared out of sight.
Easy peasy.
Until my white blinds took on a mushroom color...
It was time.
FINE!
So I cleaned them...inch by inch...
Blind by blind...
I hear you can take them down and dunk them in a bathtub but I didn't.
I painstakingly cleaned each one.
First with a dust rag,
Then with a Lysol wet wipe,
Then with a damp cloth.
They're clean.
I wish I could say I was done, but today I cleaned under my kitchen sink...
Woah.
The nasty that was living under there!
I do occasionally clean under the sink but I hadn't in several months and it was, well...
dirty.
It's fall, though, so I didn't just clean, I fall cleaned.
I not only scrubbed, I replaced the shelf paper.
It's sparkling new!
I won't be embarrassed when someone wants to throw something in the garbage under my sink now!
"Go ahead, it's under the sink" I'll say with a wave of my hand,
Instead of "Here, let me throw that away for you" as I barely open the cupboard to hide it's filth and toss it blindly into the trash.
Which could be why it got even dirtier under there...
The miss factor.
When you don't want to see, you miss your target and dirt gets flung all over!

Which made me think...
Of times I've tried to hide things from God...
Secret sin that I try to cover up, usually making a bigger mess of things...
Which is silly...
God sees everything.
It's a lot of work to clean...first to admit it's time to tackle it,
And then to do the painstaking work of making things shine again...
To clean a house is one thing but to clean up my life, my attitudes, my thoughts, my actions...
Especially the corners of my heart.
That's hard work.
But so worthwhile...
It feels good to set things straight and shiny.
And the rewards are everlasting.
I pray that I will not let my life get as dirty as my blinds...!

1 John 1:6-7
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11


It’s been 13 years since the attack on our homeland.  I remember the day as if it were yesterday.  My husband was at work.  My kids had gone to school.  I was home alone.  I turned on the news and the pictures I saw were shocking.  The towers were standing tall, smoke pouring like blood over the city.  Then they fell.  I was speechless.  I couldn’t cry that day…it took quite a while for me to shed tears…I don’t know why.  I felt very numb…angry…unable to fathom the amount of hate the terrorists must have for us to do such evil.

I had errands to run that day.  We lived in Goldendale, WA…a tiny town in the middle of nowhere.  As I drove the 45 minutes to the store, I felt safe.  Who would want to attack a tiny town in Eastern Washington?   Nevertheless, I watched the sky. I went to the post office and someone in line was talking about a cousin who worked in New York City near the towers.  It occurred to me as I listened to them and prayed silently for their cousin that the tentacles of sorrow would stretch and twist and curl all through our country in a very personal way. 

Life is precious…so many were lost that day.  In the aftermath of war, many more have perished.  This evil, this ideology of radical Islam…it still wars…whether we acknowledge it or not.  That’s the thing…when one group or side wars, the war goes on.  If someone is still swinging, the fight’s still on.  I hate war, but I’m not so ignorant to think that we can always avoid it by playing nice.  Evil doesn’t play nice.  It has to be answered with justice…it must be stopped.  I pray for our military and the job they have to defend and protect us from future attacks.  I pray for our president…that God would give him wisdom in the decisions he makes to protect our country and our military, and the conscience to do what is right.

Psalms 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saying "I do" again...


My sister and her husband renewed their vows today.
They ran off to Hawaii and got married 15 years ago.
She regretted not having a traditional wedding ceremony.
The whole she-bang.
All the bells and whistles.
The dress, the cake, the walk down the aisle, the gathering of friends and family...
So today they did it.
The whole she-bang.
The dress, the cake, the walk down the aisle, the gathering of family and friends...
Except something occurs to me.
This is really special.
Instead of being starry-eyed, youngsters in love,
They know what to expect.
They know what sickness and health means...they've been sick and healthy.
They know what richer and poorer means...been there, done that too.
They know what for better or worse is...in 15 years, there's plenty of worse...and plenty of better.
Fifteen years ago, they took those vows all starry-eyed and ignorant.
Like we all do.
But now they've repeated them knowing full well what each word means.
They know the gravity of the promise...
What the cost will be...
And they did it.
Again.
In front of God and all these witnesses...
And they pulled that knot tighter.
And we watched and celebrated as if it were the first time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy New Year!


The first day of school has always felt more like a new year than the new year!
Even though my kids are all grown and gone,
Seeing the busses...or...
Being stuck behind the busses...
Is a reminder that the new school year is starting...
A fresh year!
My heart jumps a little and I get excited...

A new thing is happening this new year...
I'm starting a new writing group with my new friend Marialyce...
So much newness!
And although we haven't yet had our first meeting,
The response has been really good!
Apparently there are many women out there with stories to share.
Women who want to get the stories out of their heads and onto paper!
Who knew?
I had an inkling...
I was one of them once...
Lots of stories and no encouragement.
Lots of dreams and no inspiration.
Then an invitation to a writing group and the floodgates opened.
Stories spilled out.
The deluge hasn't let up!
It turns out, when you turn the faucet of creativity on,
It doesn't run out, it actually multiplies on itself...over and over...
Inspiration overload...
Until the only thing to do is share it with others.
I can't wait to get started!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why do I do that???



So today I was asked - in front of a group - if I am published or do I write just for fun.
I said that I have been published a couple of times but I mostly write for fun.
Which is true.
Sort of.
I do write for fun.
But ultimately, I really do want what I write to be published!
So as the words flowed out of my mouth and I minimized the stuff that has been published as just little nothings...
I wanted to kick my ARSE for doing that AGAIN!

Why do I do that??
Why is it SO HARD to see myself as a writer?
I was a mom the moment I became pregnant...no experience, no successes to prove my worth...
I was a student before I learned anything.
In every paid job I ever held...cashier, assistant manager, seamstress, secretary, receptionist...etc
The title was mine before I ever proved I could do the job.
Then I began to design cards, jewelry and other artsy creations...
"What do you do?"  people would ask.
"I'm a stay-at-home mom" I would reply.
I was.
But I was also an artist...not the paint on a canvas type of artist, but an artist just the same.
People paid their hard earned money for the work of my hands...
One of my designs was featured on the cover of Handcrafted Jewelry magazine...
The cover!
Why couldn't I say it?
Why are "artist" and "writer" titles I deem too lofty for me?
I don't know.
But I'm going to work on claiming my dream...
Giving worth to my work.
Owning my endeavors as more than just something I do for fun.
I do have fun writing...I love to write.
And maybe that's part of it.
It doesn't FEEL like work,
This thing I do, fingers dancing on keys, creating words and sentences and paragraphs.
It feels a lot like fun.
But it's so much more than that.
It's a calling.
A deep desire to share what God places on my heart.
A longing to inspire other women to do the same...
To believe in their ability to write and to put their work "out there"...
"Out there" where with one set of finely positioned words, a life can be changed...
A muse awakened...
A woman, who once thought herself just a person who liked to write for fun...
Can finally say with confidence, "I'm a writer...I'm writing a novel and I submit articles for publication and I love to encourage other women in their writing too."

1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Empty Nest....(again)...

My daughter and son-in-law are 1,089 miles away.
My youngest daughter is 2,104 miles away.
My son is a whopping 8,446 miles away.
sheeesh...
I'm going to make one of those fun directional signs for the back yard...
The ones that cheerfully point the way to places we love...
Mine will include Gillette, Wyoming;  Chicago, Illinois; and Velburg, Germany.
Lemonade from lemons...
When the nest is empty, I must be creative!!

This fall will be interesting...
Lots of transition going on.
My husband is retiring (sort of).
Wait, we're too young to use the word "retire".
Right?......(right?)
He will end his career with the State Patrol and the Army Reserves,
And begin a new career with the Department of Health.
We're excited for this new phase of life.
He'll be HOME more!
He'll keep NORMAL hours!
(Normal...what's that?  I hear it's awesome...can't wait to find out!)
My goals will focus on things like making dinner every night...
Running more regularly...(it's been a busy summer)...
I will focus in earnest on my new card line...
(Fun Christian cards that do not have flowers or birds or lambs or syrupy sentiment anywhere on or near them!)
On writing...and re-vamping the novel I began and left sitting all summer...alone...abandoned...
And settle into our new church...
That feels like home...
And start a new writing group for the nice ladies I'm meeting...
Oh, the fun we'll have!
And embrace once again, the nest that is empty...
Oh so empty.
Yet full of opportunity...
For what?
Who knows!  I'm asking God to lead...

Psalm 37:23
The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in his way.


This directional sign is made by Lori of Whimsey Studios. She makes and sells these signs and many more wonderful illustrations of which I've purchased several!  Here's a link to her etsy shop.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Shadows and Sunbeams...



I took a bit of a break from running this summer.
LOTS of stuff happened...
It was a busy one.
I've been fitting runs back into my mornings lately.
It hasn't been easy to "start over".
And really, I haven't had to start over.
Breathing is easy...
My legs get very tired though.
And then there's the aches and pains afterward.
Buck up, Heather!

So the other day, I was running on the trail...
It was 7am on a sunny Saturday and no one was up...
I was all alone...me and my iPod...some bunnies...
and Needtobreathe.
I kept pushing replay.
Multiplied...Washed by the Water...Lay 'em Down...Difference Maker...etc.
I appreciated that they had been shuffled together.
It doesn't always turn out that way.
Bunnies darted out from the hedge of fern, salal and Queen Anne's Lace...
They would run with me for a while and dart back into the brush.
They distracted me from how tired I was getting.
I'd only run about a mile or so.
I didn't want to quit but I really, really did want to quit.
I saw a patch of sun ahead.
I'd run to the sunbeam.
The shadow seemed to stretch as my eyes locked on the patch of light.
Keep on going, keep on going..
Needtobreathe serenaded me...
"Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us, we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing your name"
The sunbeam came and went and I hadn't collapsed in a heap, so set my sights on the next sunbeam.
But... I had to go through the shadows first.
The shadows always seem to stretch...
But the sunbeam finally came and I looked ahead to see how far the next one was.
It was do-able.
So I kept going.
"God of mercy, sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Hallelujahs be multiplied"

It occurred to me as I ran from sunbeam to sunbeam,
That life is like that.
Shadows and sunbeams.
Sometimes the shadows stretch, but we know that if there are shadows, there's a sunbeam ahead.
And sometimes the sunbeam is wide and long...
Warm and bright...
We soak up the light and then another shadow.
God is faithful in the shadows and the sunbeams.
And I'm so thankful that He runs with me...
On the trail...
And off.

Psalm 36:5
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DIY Rain Chain!

Contrary to this summer's weather, it is usually quite rainy here in Washington...

We put a lot of importance on rain management...
AKA: gutters.
They're a necessary ugly.
So this summer, as I spruced up the back porch,
I decided to replace one of our more dispensable gutters with a rain chain.
I've seen many rain chains online and in stores for upwards of $100...
REALLY?
$100 to manage dripping rain? 
Seemed a bit steep to me!
So, as usual, I decided to make my own.
Here's what my gutter looked like before...
Isn't it lovely?  No?  
I agree.  Ugly...Dirty...Blech!
Here's what it looks like now...  
If you'd like to make your own, it's very, very easy.  
Here are the cliff notes...
What you'll need:
Vintage little tin jello molds (hole drilled into the bottom of each)
Strong, yet pliable wire (I had some electric fence wire, I have no idea why we possess electric fence wire...no clue whatsoever)
Chain  (I bought 5 1-foot lengths of chain - you may need more if your chain needs to be longer -from Home depot...the home depot guy was very kind to cut the lengths for me.  There is no way on earth I could have done that at home.)
Binder rings (yes, binder rings)
To attach the tart tins to the chain, I made connectors out of wire like this:
I put one binder ring through one loop and stuck the other side through the tart tin and attached another binder ring...attaching chain to the binder rings as well and closing them.  Voila.  Repeat the same thing using all of your chain and tins.  All of the tins should face the same way.  Here's a detail of how I did it...
Now to attach it to the gutter...
I took off the ugly gutter and used one of these, set into the gutter opening, to attach the chain so that it comes out of the top of the now open gutter.  Your gutter may be different than mine and you may need to buy a different piece to make it work...this cost about a buck at Home depot.  There are very elaborate and fancy "rain chain adaptors" that you could buy for MUCH more...but why would you do that?
I added some colorful glass crystals because I thought it needed a certain je ne sais quoi...and the crystals were exactly what it needed!
I made this chain yesterday and after weeks and weeks of sunshine (no complaints here!), it's raining today.  I'm happy to report:  The rain chain is doing it's job!