Tuesday, February 25, 2014

God Bless You Guy

My friend and I run at 6am, three times a week.  It's early...very, very early.
This is how it goes...
I wake up at 5:40.
I pray that she'll cancel.
I check my phone for texts.
Or, sometimes there's a sweet text saying something like "See you in the morning" or "I'm game to run if you are!"
I put on my running clothes and check my email while I drink some water.
I search high and low for my keys.
I give up and borrow Alex's keys.
I hop in my car and turn the radio to Air1...a very fabulous Christian station that plays super cool music without interruptions.  It's glorious.  If you live around here, it's 88.1 and you will LOVE it!
I sing all the way to our meeting place about 3 miles from my home.
She always beats me.
I hop out of my car and act excited to be running at 6am.  And by act, I mean I'm acting.  I could win a freakin' academy award for all the acting I do at 6am!
We stretch and talk and then I stop acting and I'm actually glad we're running.
It's fun to hang out with a friend first thing in the morning.
Especially a friend that doesn't mind that your hair is frizzy and doesn't notice the pillow creases on your face...but maybe she can't see them in the dim light of pre-dawn.
We finish stretching and head out...chatting as we go.
She runs faster than me so she does more of the talking...I listen.
She must think I'm a really good listener, but really, I'm out of breath because she's running fast.
I'm learning to be a better listener.
About two thirds of the way through our run, I begin to feel like stopping.  I'm tired.
It's right about then that we cross paths with "God Bless You Guy".
He's awesome.
He's an older gentleman who's dressed for work.  I imagine he works in an office.  We think he's walking to the bus stop.  We don't know.  We are running and can't stop to ask.
As we approach him he smiles at us and says in a very cheerful voice, "Good Morning ladies!  God bless you!"
We reply:  "Thank you!  You too!"
Then we always say to each other, "He's awesome!"
It's wonderful to receive a blessing so early in the morning when our strength is waning.
We continue on our loop back to our cars.
The run is over and we stretch and chat before we leave.
I say a little prayer of gratitude for "God Bless You Guy"as I drive home.
I wonder if he knows we look forward to seeing him.
A blessing is a wonderful thing to give another person.
It takes very little effort but can mean the world.
"God Bless You Guy" inspires me to be a blessing to those I meet...he reminds me that just a few kind words can give a person the boost they need to keep on going!

Proverbs 16:24

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Monday, February 24, 2014


I've been praying a lot lately...
There's so much going on.
The world is hurting...
my loved ones struggle...
my kids are far away...
we are in transition...
excitement is afoot...
And just when I feel like my prayers are going up and turning to vapor...
falling on deaf ears...
God sends a message.
I've got this.
I heard you.
I hear you.
I love you.
Trust me.

OK...I will...and...Thank you!

Psalm 138:8
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;  your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Vintage Crafty Goodness!

Feelin' Crafty today!  
I have lots of these fabulous vintage brass stencils but I wasn't sure what to do with them.  In my recent clean-out of my studio, I just couldn't get rid of them.  They're metal, they're letters, two things I'm attracted to when I peruse thrift and antiques shops.  Surely there's SOMETHING unique I can do with these!
Then it hit me.
I love candles...and the letters slip together end to end.  I could make a decorative text sleeve for a candle!
At first, I was inspired by my daughter's upcoming wedding...and the first design I came up with uses  their initials and the date of their wedding.  I love it!

The problem with these stencils is that there is only one of each letter...which makes doing anything other than stenciling with them, a little challenging if you have only one or two sets!  I was able to come up with letters of varying sizes to spell Family, Love and Fun...and made one more candle sleeve for a larger candle!

I love the varying sizes and the mismatched look!  I've made one other project with these stencils about a year ago...this sign hangs above our bed...I made it for my husband when he came home from his deployment.

I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for more of the stencils!  I saw a lamp shade made from these stencils, connected by jump rings, and fell in love!  I must make one for myself...someday...when I hit the motherlode of brass stencils!  My favorite thing about these projects is that they give an old utilitarian supply that has served it's purpose, a new and beautiful life!

Happy Creating!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Running and Rain...

Yesterday was an odd day.
It started out rainy.
By mid-morning it was cloudy but dry.
I met my friend (my running partner) for coffee...
We had cancelled our run that morning because of the storm.
It was almost sunny out.
"Let's run later!"  We said.
"YES!"   We agreed
We enjoyed a mostly sunny day.
When the appointed time arrived, the skies darkened.
We got out of our cars and looked at each other.
"It's now or never." we declared.
And we stretched as the sky opened up
with a downpour that exceeded my shower that morning.
And much colder.
We took off running.
It was very difficult.
The wind pushed us from the side.
Then from the front.
The rain drenched us completely.
I entertained the thought of suggesting we turn back.
But I didn't want to quit.
I certainly didn't want to be the one to suggest it.
I secretly hoped she'd suggest it.
She didn't.
As I heated up, the rain felt good on my face,
not so good in my eyes.
Mixing with sweat, it burned.
I struggled to breathe, sucking in drops of sweat-laced rain with each breath.
Perhaps we were running faster than usual.
We certainly wanted this run to end.
And it finally did.
And we felt proud.
But we did it...we did the hard thing.
The good thing.
Turns out, she had wanted to quit too.
Neither of us wanted to be the weak one.
And it made us both stronger.

Proverbs 27:17
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Why I'm Mad at Russell...

Here's the situation.
I've been very disciplined for over a week...no sugary sweets.
I had decided that today I would allow myself to have a treat.
My whole goal is not to eliminate sugar from my life completely,
but to gain and maintain control over sugar in my diet.
So...It's Valentine's day...
The expectation of Valentine's Day at our house is...
It's a rule.
Abide by the rule.
But this year was different and my husband, 
bless his heart,
decided to do something crazy and purchased a box of chocolates for me 2 weeks before Valentine's day.  
2 full weeks!
Which was before I decided to break up with sugar. 
He doesn't normally plan that far ahead, but...he knew he'd be out of town on Valentine's day.
So when he called this morning, he apologized to me (he's been very supportive of my treat-lessness) before sending me on a treasure hunt for my Valentine's day gift...
Which I found.
A box of chocolates.
I thanked him...honestly, I was hoping I'd still get chocolates!
I told him that I'd already decided to have one and I was really excited!
I opened the box.
Under the cellophane was a chocolate map...
I'd be able to pick exactly what I wanted from the box without risk of getting, say, an orange or lemon cream...
Alex asked me which one I'd be going for...
I examined my choices...
butter cream caramel,
coconut cream,
chocolate buttercream,
fruit & nut caramel,
molasses chew,
strawberry cream,
maple nut buttercream...
That's it!
Maple Nut Buttercream...
It's got 3 delicious components to satisfy my deprived sweet tooth...
chocolate, maple buttercream and walnuts!  
Alex agreed it was an excellent choice.
He waited while I retrieved the chocolate...
I bit into it...
Mmmmm....the sweet assaulted my tongue like a flood of rich, gooey...chocolate cream...
Where's the nuts?
I don't taste maple!
I re-checked the map.
I cursed.
I apologized for cursing.
"What happened?" asked Alex, listening on phone.
"This isn't maple nut buttercream!  I wasted my first indulgence on chocolate buttercream!" (not a top 10 favorite)
I imagined a Russell Stover worker, in an acute sugar crash, carelessly putting the chocolates in random compartments, 
slapping the map in the box and 
pushing it down the line with no regard for who may receive that box of chocolates...
Someone like me who, for the past week has dreamt of that very moment...
that moment when after a drought of sugar, 
ok, I'll stop...
 So, I closed the box and vowed to try again tomorrow...
I'll have to take my chances with what I get, I suppose...
Which is fine, I like them all...this box doesn't have orange or lemon cream...
I will continue to exercise self control, and have one per day.
At that rate, this box should last over 2 weeks! (unheard of!)
In the mean time, I'm thankful for my REAL valentine, Alex...
But I'm mad at Russell...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Ladies are Chicken and so am I...

We had a snowy Sunday!  I love the snow.  My ladies do not.
When I went outside to share some left-over popcorn with them, they were huddled in the un-snowy part of the pen.  They were cackling to each other, likely cursing the cold stuff that had just shrunk their living space by two thirds!  
(An aside:  As I watched them, it occurred to me...I have 8 hens.  I can't help but think it would be challenging for 8 females of any species to live together...and to have their living space reduced to one third its original size.  I suppose it helps that their bathroom is anywhere and everywhere...no waiting...)
On a normal day, they will run to the door to greet me when I visit...I like to think they do that because they like me...the truth is, they like scratch and I'm their supplier.  Sunday, however, they did not sprint to the door.  They wanted to...they watched me as I made my way, bravely, through the snow to get to them, but they did not leave the safety and warmth of the bare ground.  I didn't venture into the pen on this visit...I was only stopping by to empty the popcorn bowl before putting it into the dishwasher.  I opened the door and tossed the bowl up to release its contents as far as possible so they could reach it.  Unfortunately, I remembered one second too late that popcorn is very light and airy and would not travel very far once leaving the bowl.  Every kernel landed in the snow.  
The ladies had a decision to make.
Do we step onto the freezy cold snow to enjoy one of our favorite treats or do we stay where we are and stare at it...pine for it...perhaps watch a braver coop-mate enjoy the treat?
They hesitated.
Then it was too much.  
A few of them took brave steps and stretched their necks to make the most of their effort.  When they had consumed what they could reach, they cackled a bit and took another step.  I watched them for a while.  Some held back and didn't get a single bite.  Others enjoyed the snack without competition. 
It occurred to me as I watched them...I do the same thing.  I see something I want in the distance...outside of my comfort zone.  I tend to stare at it for a long time, wondering what it would be like to have it, to achieve it, to do that thing.  Sometimes I wait too long and the opportunity passes.  I'm often easily distracted from difficult tasks, citing more important things to do, in an effort to avoid the struggle to reach my goals.  Sometimes, though, I venture out in spite of the discomfort and reap the rewards of hard work and perseverance. 
It's a matter of faith.  Faith in the One who created me, gifted me and has a plan for my life.  When I seek the Lord in all that I do, I can be sure that I'll have everything I need to accomplish the goals before me.  He is faithful to walk with me as I faithfully step out into the cold unknown to fulfill His purpose for my life. 

 2 Timothy 1:7 
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I AM the Boss of me...

I had a walking date with a friend today and at the last minute she couldn't make it.
I was already at the park but my knee-jerk reaction was "Oh well, I'll exercise at home".
Big fat lie.
I backed my car up to leave.
My phone rang.
I pulled back into the parking space and answered the phone.
The call ended and I put the car in gear to back up again.
Then I heard myself say (out loud and sarcastically no less),
"You're here, you should run around the lake!"
I think I was channelling my daughter...
It was raining.  Cold.
I was a little put out.
How dare I talk to me that way!
So I put the car in park and turned it off,
Tied my key to my shoe ...and...
I ran.
It was good.
I felt GREAT when I was done...
I should listen to me more often...

Sugar update:  I've been a very good girl...although I've taken to adding a scant teaspoon of sugar-in-the-raw to my coffee in the morning.  It makes my coffee SO much more enjoyable and I don't feel utterly deprived first thing in the morning!
I should also report that I slept ALL NIGHT LONG last night!  My normal wake up time is 2 am...tossing and turning until 4 or 5 am until I crash again right before the alarm goes off.  So to get that much sleep all at one time is utter bliss!!  Yay!!!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Breaking up with Sugar...update

Just a quick report.
Day 1 without sugar went well!
I had a dream last night that I ate handfulls...many handfulls...of M&M's...
The entire time I was shoving them in my mouth I was saying "do these count as sugar?"
Yes, Heather, they do.
So...I woke up this morning feeling guilty for my dream...examining my hands for tell-tale color spots...(they do, actually, melt in your hand a bit sometimes)...found none...and began my day...
With more resolve than ever to make a clean break!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

I'm Breaking up with Sugar - Day 1

Yesterday it hit me for the 1,927th time.  I eat entirely too much sugar.
I've known this for years and years.  The clues are everywhere...the Torani syrups by my coffee maker, the chocolate chip bags in the pantry (opened, half-gone and I haven't made cookies since Christmas), the lack of ice cream in the freezer...how is that a clue?  It's all gone because I ate it.
It's time to do something...again...hopefully for the last time!
Last night, I did a little research online...I read this account of a man's year without sugar.  (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rick-foster/no-sugar-diet_b_1397439.html)
It was very interesting...eye-opening.
The most interesting piece for me was the hard data of his physical results.  Here are some of the benefits he experienced:
1.  His blood work dramatically improved.
2.  He slept through the night on the second night of his journey...something he hadn't done since childhood.   This is something I haven't done in years and years...possibly since my babies were born.   Oh the things I would do for a good night's sleep...give up sugar, maybe?
3.  His energy level increased, and the mid-day dip disappeared.  I could ALWAYS use a little more energy, especially at 6am when I'm running and 1/2 mile in I want to quit.  I would love to have the energy to enjoy my runs more and to go farther!
4.  He was more focussed.  This is huge for me since I often claim I suffer from adult-onset ADD!
So, today it begins and I'm actually looking forward to going through my pantry and removing some of its contents.
I'm not going hardcore...eliminating fruit and grains...I'll keep the naturally occurring sugars in my diet, but added sugar is my nemesis.
Desserts, sweeteners, soda and chocolate.
It's what I crave.
It's apparently what makes my life more difficult...
So sugar, I'm breaking up with you.
It's just not working out...
It's not you, it's me...
wait...it IS you...AND me...

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


30 years ago, I made a prediction.
It was my senior year in high school.
I was in a poetry class.
We were given the assignment to write a poem starting with the words:  I Predict...
I predicted that the Seahawks would win the Superbowl.
I believed it when they didn't make the playoffs for years on end...
I believed it Sunday as the national anthem was sung and the camera panned from Seahawk to Seahawk, 12th man to 12th man.
Faces painted
Hands over hearts
Earnest expressions
Lips moving in silent prayer
And then the kick-off...plates loaded...no, I haven't switched to baseball, my paper plate was loaded with all the necessities to get me through a screaming, jumping, tension-filled championship game of football.
I needed fuel for the fight.
But there wasn't a fight.
It was a whipping that involved a lot of cheering and jumping and dancing...and dance we did.
We laughed a lot too.
And then it happened...5, 4, 3, 2....SUPERBOWL CHAMPS!!!!!
The room went wild!!!
And every 12th man was rewarded for their loyalty...for waiting patiently...for believing...for standing firm through the years of drought...of doubt...
Until the perfect combination of leadership, talent and teamwork were fused into a championship!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sunday Morning Fights...

Anyone else fight on Sunday morning?
Okay, maybe not full-blown fights...how about disagreements, short tempers, snippy responses...anyone...?
Yeah, pretty typical for us on Sunday mornings...always on the way to church.
Yesterday was no different...
and after years and years of this, I finally saw it coming and decided to do something about it...
What did I do, you ask?
Yes, nothing.
When the disagreement began, I bowed out.
Didn't respond.
Recognized it for what it was.
What was it?
An attempt to distract me from what I was going to church to do...
to worship God.
to hear God's word.
to learn something.
to fuel up for the week.
ultimately, to bring glory to God.
So when it happened, I prayed.  I asked God to tell me how to respond.
And I got nothing in return.
which was an answer.
so that's what I did.
Not typical for me.
I like to say what's on my mind.
But I shut up.
the car was silent for a few miles.
and then I saw a bumper sticker.
It read:
"As a former fetus,
I am against abortion."
Which is freakin' awesome.
So I said so.
Which diffused the tension.
I was on to the next thing...
so he was too...
which left the negative behind...
and allowed me to let go of the irritation.
so I could worship.
and I did.
and it was good.

Then something interesting happened.
The day went on without incident.
and as we drove home from a party that evening,
he said "I'm sorry about this morning"
and I thought about it.
I couldn't remember what had happened.
He elaborated slightly.
My memory was jogged.
I said "Thank you"
I forgave him.
And God nudged me and whispered "Thank YOU for obeying me,
For keeping your pie-hole shut,
For not making things worse!"
And then it hit me.
I don't often hear "I'm sorry".
But there it was.
When I obeyed.
God is like that.
He sees.  He doesn't forget.
Even when we do.
That was better than anything I learned at church.
And it all started in the car, with a Sunday morning fight...

Proverbs 10:8
The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.