Sunday, September 25, 2011

Spring Swap

Hello Friends!  This weekend has all the markings of one made for relaxation and maybe a little crafting!  I'm linking up with Beverly's Pink Saturday today.  

Before I show you my pretty pinks for this week, have you seen my Weight Loss Giveaway?  Visit the link if you think you might want to encourage me in my goals...and win a prize for yourself!

Also, I still need one more person in my Pay It Forward game.  If you're interested, go to the link and check it out!

And now for the goods...

For the last 6 months or so, I've been participating in the Once A Season Swap over at Gone Stitchin'.  Because the swap coordinator is from Australia, all the seasons are backwards from mine!  I just completed the Spring swap that actually coincides with our Fall.  (Doing Spring-themed gifts in the fall wasn't quite as strange as making Winter gifts in late May!)  Anyway, I wanted to share what my partner and I swapped this time around since we've both now received our gifts.

I was partnered with Linda from Stray Stitches.  I love reading her posts as they are so lovingly put together---she really has a knack for journalism and her blog is most interesting!  Here is the beautiful and cheery gift she sent me:

I love every part of this gift...all the way down to the cute peppermint candy wrapping paper!  She sent me a flowery emery board, 2 pretty notepads with a pen, a set of 2 bookmarks, 2 pieces of pretty pink, flowered fabric, an adorable card, and the most beautiful handmade pin cushion.  What I love most of all is the bit of lavender she put in with the pin cushion filling...the smell reminds me of the place we just left (and terribly miss!!) in Washington.  It really was a thoughtful package of gifts!

Here's what I sent to Linda:

First, I made her this cute little hanging plate picture from a vintage Limoges saucer and some found items.

Then I put together a coordinating bottle.

I found her these matching Spring-colored items at Walmart.

I had a lot of fun putting together these things for her!  Swapping has definitely become the new addiction!  What a great way to use up my HUGE stash of crafting supplies!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pay It Forward

 I promise to send something handmade
to the first 3 people who leave a comment here.

To be eligible, you must also post this in your blog,
offering to do the same thing for 3 other people.

The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it
must be sent to your 3 people *sometime* in 2011.

Hope I get some comments to be able to bless three
people who will then pay it forword.
 Found on Carol's blog Blessed Mum who found it on Leslie's blog tranquilacresofalexandriatwp.blogspot.com, who received it from Donna at The House on the Corner.
Also, have you seen my Weight Loss Giveaway?  Check it out here and encourage my progress while giving yourself the opportunity to win!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Round Up Pink Saturday

Happy Pink Saturday!!  I have so many things to show you today...I'm excited!  First off, have you seen my Weight Loss Giveaway?  Check it out here and encourage my progress while giving yourself the opportunity to win!

Secondly, I've got this adorable little girls' PINK ladybug costume on ebay right now for super cheap!  It is for sizes 12-24 months and would be so cute in a pink photo shoot or for dress up year round!  Here's the link for that if you're interested:  costume
Next up are these super cute "Cowgirl Bling" cookies I made for my mom to take to work today!  It's Round Up time here in Pendleton, Oregon.  Have you heard of the world-famous Pendleton Round Up?  If not, read about it here!
The kids' favorite parts of the Round Up are the parades!  Here is our Pendleton Mounted Band...love these guys and gals!
The event lasts about a week and there are parades at the beginning and end of the week.  So far, these are the only festivities our family has been able to partake in this year, but we're planning a trip downtown tomorrow night to watch some of the Main Street entertainment.
My kids always have so much fun dressing up in their Western clothes!  It's a good thing some of us are in the spirit because I am SOOO not a cowgirl! :)
Here's Elisha (8) and Cainan (7) wearing their US Bank bandannas that Grandma got them from work!
This was Liam and Kynthia's first Round Up!  (We were in Washington last year when Liam was a baby)
My three oldest boys and sister, Avalon, waiting for the parade to start this morning!
We are blessed to have the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indians' reservation just a few miles up the road.  They have been important partners with the people of Pendleton during Round Up since it began in 1910!
In each year's Friday parade, most of the tribal members put on their regalia and ride or walk in the parade.  It's fun to see all the beautiful costumes!
This wagon train is one of our favorite entries.  The sign says, "These wagons were used in 1850."
Here are Daddy and Selah waiting for last Saturday's parade to begin.  It was a much hotter day than today!
This entry from the Main Street Cowboys has been in every parade that I've seen in Eastern Oregon for as long as I can remember.  When I was a little girl, they threw wooden nickels from the top of the vehicle.  I'll have to dig one out of my "old stuff" one of these days for Vintage Thingie Thursday! Someone is always at the calliope to play a happy tune!
Here's a couple more tribal members in their awesome attire!

I thought these little girls were pretty cute in their pink wagon.  They're a part of the Junior Jam dance group here in town.  The youngest ones always ride in a decorated wagon.  This year, their colors were PINK, white and black...good choice girls!
Check out her "Shirley Temple" curls! Love it!
Oh yes, and then there was the dude in the car! :)  Jamie and I both thought this was pretty awesome!

Well, I've got zillions more photos to show off...maybe I'll do a Round Up post and load the rest.  Hope everyone has a great weekend and don't forget to check out my Weight Loss Giveaway, as well as my Ladybug costume for sale!

Linking up with Beverly's Pink Saturday today!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Weight Loss Giveaway Game

September 13, 2011

Been here before?  Scroll down for updates...

When I lose, YOU could win!

Now that Kynthia is 6 weeks old, it's time for me to crack down on the weight loss issue!  Gotta try and lose some of this baby weight before the next baby comes along...Ha! 

I thought I'd try something fun to motivate me to keep working at it.  I love to create little things here and there, but sometimes have a hard time finding an occasion.  So...I'm going to offer a giveaway gift every time I lose 5 pounds!  Here's how it will work:

*Visitors (that's you!) will leave comments on THIS POST.  

*Whenever I lose another 5 pounds, I'll draw a number and the corresponding commenter will win the giveaway gift for that round.  

*You can leave as many unique and meaningful comments as you'd like on as many days as you'd like.  I will update my progress and journal my feelings/thoughts/accomplishments/struggles on this post.  (I'll just keep editing it to add an update)  **clarification:  by saying "unique and meaningful", I just mean, please don't copy and paste your comment over and over for more entries.  Yes, people do this!)

*Second, third and fourth drawings will be held at the same time as each 5 pound drawing when I meet the following further goals:  1. drinking adequate water daily, 2. staying within my eating plan daily, 3. doing some sort of physical activity daily.

I'm hoping the combination of your encouraging comments and my desire to create a little something will motivate me to lose a little of this extra weight this fall!  Keep in mind that the giveaway gift will be small---but it will just be a little something to say THANK YOU for encouraging me along the way!

So, start leaving your comments now...and please bookmark the page so you can come back and hold me accountable! Ha!

Have a great day!

September 30, 2011

 So, it's been a little while and I thought I should give an update!  I've definitely had a rough time of it!  I got down to just a half a pound away from my first 5 pounds...and then gained again!  :(  I'm on a pretty good track this weekend though, so hopefully I'll be checking in soon with a good loss!

October 6, 2011 

Success!!  I am happy to report that I've FINALLY passed the 5 lb. mark! :)  (I actually passed this mark on Monday but have just now gotten the chance to update...)  Those of you who've struggled with weight loss know it's so much more in the mind than anything else! :)  Anyway, I did the first drawing and the winner is...Faith Hope and Cherrytea!  I will be contacting you today for your address so I can send you a little something.  Thanks so much, everyone!  Keep the comments coming and hopefully we'll be doing another drawing here really soon!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Thoughts on September 11th --- Ten Years Later

I just got home from our church service where we discussed and remembered the horrible events that took place in the US on this date 10 years ago.  I've been mulling over this post all week long---should I be as open and honest as I'd like to be?  Do my thoughts really even matter all that much?  Am I so far removed from it all that I have no respectable perspective?  This afternoon, I think I want to just take a few minutes and get my thoughts out about this day...it's been a long time coming.

I'll be honest with you, I'm the type of person who approaches things with an attitude of "deal with it and move on".  I know that sounds heartless---more than heartless---in the context of the horrific events of 9/11/2001...but stay with me for a minute.  As the last 10 years have gone by, I've found myself more and more irritated with the memorials, the remembrance events, the moments of silence, the replays, the photographs, etc. etc. etc....basically, the reminders---every. single. year...on this date.  I've been guilty of thinking, "It's over.  It was sad.  Let's move on now."  Of course, those thoughts made me feel guilty, ashamed, heartless...but they were real.

This year has been different.  I've been reading the many stories, flipping through the countless pictures, and attempting to watch videos that became very emotionally overwhelming at times, trying to give myself some perspective and see if it may have just been my own selfish immaturity that caused me to be so indifferent to past reminders of the terrorist attacks that day.

I think the bottom line is that for me, life has gone on.  It's not that I've forgotten that day 10 years ago...it's that, in the meantime, life has happened.  I've had 7 more children since then.  I've gone through the death of a baby, countless moves and several job changes, health issues---basically, I've lived and I've let life go on.

Today, I want to take a few minutes and remember.  I want to write about that day and allow myself to work through the things that I was too young to work through 10 years ago; because the truth is, that day rocked my world to some degree.  It changed my perspective, squashed my innocence and exposed my ignorance---I just didn't really realize that until now.

Though I've not really thought about it before now, I do remember where I was when I first heard the news.  Jamie and I were living in our hometown of Baker City, Oregon and our oldest daughter, Lynzie, was about 20 months old.  I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with our second child, Michael.  I was awake but not yet out of bed when the phone rang at about 6:30 am.  My mom had been watching the news early that morning and called me frantic.  She told me to turn on the news, that "it was horrible", but she couldn't really get the right words out to tell me what was happening.  By that time, here in Oregon, both planes had hit the World Trade Center buildings and our news was showing the videos over and over again.  The news people were still pretty shaken up and no one really knew what to say.  I remember my mom saying something about this being history and that our world would never be the same.

Thinking back on my initial reaction, it's hard to believe I could be so naive.  All I could think as I watched the news videos play over and over was, "how could someone do this to America?"  It wasn't the, "how could they be so cruel..." point of view; it was the "how could they be allowed to do this?"  In my 21-year-old mind, it seemed literally impossible for someone to attack America...it was as if I believed it was not allowed by some high world law.  I was so secure in my status as an American...in knowing I was "free".  Didn't "free" mean "safe"?

The attacks happened on a Tuesday.  That following Friday night, we headed to the Columbia River to camp with my dad and his wife for the weekend.  While the guys were out on the boat fishing, Theresa and I spent hours contemplating all the changes we anticipated happening now that Armageddon was upon us.  The gas prices had already begun to rise---although I'm not sure why they did or why they're still where they are.  I can remember being overwhelmed with fear that the draft would be reinstated as we prepared for World War III.  My husband, only 22 at the time, was easily draftable.  

Over the next year or so, I remember being so scared when a plane would fly overhead.  I'd either be afraid it was a terrorist or sure it was headed to fend one off.  I can remember when I was a little kid and my mom would always say, "look at the plane, kids!"  My brother and I would get so excited and we'd watch the plane until it went out of sight---imagining where it was going and what happy people were looking down on us.  It just occurred to me that I've never pointed out a plane to my kids.  Nowadays, planes = bombs in some subconscious part of me and they're not fun anymore.

Over time, that fear has worn off.  I've experienced so much more of life in the last 10 years.  I've grown into a "real mom" with pressing issues right here within these four walls.  New York and the other affected areas in the East seem so far away---I've lived my entire life within hours of the West coast.  I still don't know anyone who lost a loved one or otherwise experienced the attacks personally.  I don't drive or walk by the three areas of devastation.  For me, it's over and done with and I've moved on.

But today, as I spend this quiet time contemplating this date and what it means for so many people, I am overwhelmed by how much I am truly affected.  I'm weeping for the 3,000 children who lost at least one parent that day.  I'm hurting for the daughter of the firefighter mother I read about who died after saving countless lives that day.  I'm thinking, if it weren't for 9/11, where would these people be now?  Would I know any of them?  Would I have met them online through BookCrossing?  Would they participate in the Pink Saturday blog hop with me?  How many marriages would have taken place or children would have been born?  How would the entire course of history have changed had these almost 3,000 people lived past September 11, 2001?

In addition to that, what would our world be like?  What would the thousands of soldiers have done with their 10 years?  What direction would our nation have taken had we not had all this to deal with?

Other than my oldest daughter, none of my other children have ever lived in a USA without war.  Despite the fact that I've been relatively indifferent with my feelings about our country, I think I have some of the most patriotic kids around.  I have to attribute some of that to their experiences as kids of the 21st century---the millenium that went to war in infancy and finds itself still there a decade later.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I sense myself turning over a new leaf in my feelings toward America.  All this talk of remembering the date and never forgetting those we lost and those who bravely sacrificed for others has me thinking:  of course we're going to remember.  Remembering is not the problem---I think the issue is that we don't grow complacent in our remembering.  We need to actively remember the horror of 9/11 so we can make conscious decisions to live bravely and to esteem others higher than ourselves.  

I want to truly be able to say that I don't live in America, America lives in me.  Tonight I'm committed:  the next time a plane flies overhead, I'll look up and, with all the excitement I can muster, I'll say, "look at the plane kids," and we'll all wave at the happy people flying above the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Linking with:
A Return to Loveliness @ A Delightsome Life
Cottage Style Party @ Lavender Garden Cottage 
Teach Me Tuesday @ Growing Home
Tutorial Tuesdays with Hope Studios
Courtship Connection
Women Helping Women @ Teaching What Is Good 
Domestically Divine @ Far Above Rubies
(Titus 2)s Days @ Time Warp Wife
Tending the Home Tuesday
Tuesday Link Up Party 
Wisdom Wednesdays @Simply Helping Him
Winsome Wednesday @ My Daily Walk in His Grace
Whole-Hearted Home Wednesdays 
Encourage One Another @ Deep Roots at Home
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Homemaking Link Up @ Raising Homemakers
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy and Elephants 
Simple Living Wednesdays @ Our Simple Farm
Wednesday Link up at Adorned from Above
Shoe Lace Linkup @ Living In the Shoe
Home Link Up at Raising Arrows

Friday, September 9, 2011

Showing Compassion-- Part Two

This is part two of a study on showing compassion to the unsaved.  I posted part one yesterday---you can read that here.

As I said yesterday, the Bible says that, as Christians, we are called to compassion.  1 Peter 3:8-9 instructs us in this way:  "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another;  love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing."

Unfortunately, we often refuse to show compassion to those around us who need it the most.  There are several reasons for this and, if we're honest, we'll see that we are all guilty of the hypocrisy of ignoring those whom Christ would have us minister to.

One reason why we are not compassionate toward the unsaved is that we have a Sense of SuperiorityProverbs 6:16-17 says this"These six things the Lord hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him:   A proud look..."  There are times when we observe someone who is obviously unsaved and we think things like, "I'm better than that."  "I would never do that."  Etc.  This dangerously prideful attitude is displayed obviously on our faces. 

What's that you say?  You've never had the proud look?  You don't even know what it looks like?  Well, then this would be the perfect time for you to go look in the mirror so you can see exactly what it looks like!  In all seriousness though, think about a time when someone has given you the proud look.  It was very obvious, wasn't it?  They might have been trying to hide it, but you saw it didn't you?  Don't be fooled into thinking you can hide the proud look too!  Something that is so important to remember is that many people, especially those who have been hurt by Christians before, are very discerning of false kindnesses and false behavior.

How can I get rid of my proud look?  It's a simple answer but not so easy to put into practice!  Our proud looks will disappear when the sense of superiority is erased from our hearts!  Once we stop thinking we are "better than that" or that we are "above that behavior" and acknowledge that "all have sinned and fall(en) short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), we will have no more problems with the proud look because we won't feel superior anymore!

Confession time!  Do you have a problem with a sense of superiority like I sometimes do?  Comment and let me know.  Next time, I'll share another reason why we're not quick to offer compassion and grace to the unsaved in our lives.

Go to Part Three

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Showing Compassion-- Part One

About a month ago, I began reading Proverbs again.  I was doing a little "research" for a study I wanted to put together on the wisdom Proverbs provides to women.  I'm sure I'll complete that study one of these days but a couple days into it, my focus turned toward another topic:  showing compassion to the unsaved.  This is part one of a study I shared with a group of women at church recently. 

Let me begin with the question that got the ball rolling for me:  Do I extend the same compassion to others that was extended to me;  not only by Christ, but by His church?

Growing up, my family was a moral family.  My parents taught my brother and I the basics of right and wrong and my mom encouraged me to take my troubles to Jesus in prayer, but we weren't practicing Christians necessarily and we definitely were not a churched family.  Although we knew about Jesus, we didn't really know Him.  We were unsaved.  (Happy to say that my parents are now also my brother and sister in Christ!) I can remember many occasions when I'd attend church off and on with friends, that people showed me the compassion and grace that Christ showed those he encountered while on Earth.  While it was obvious by my attire (or lack of it), my character, and the company I kept, that I was not walking with Jesus, the people at church still treated me with respect and dignity.  They invited me to events, talked to me about my interests, and made me feel like I was part of the family.  I credit these compassionate, spirit-filled people for making a big impact on the grounded-in-Christ person that I am today!

(Speaking to Christians here) Most of us come into contact with people, sometimes on a daily basis, who are obviously not walking with Jesus.  Maybe they are saved but are just having a really hard time showing it that day---maybe they're living a life that is obviously not centered on Him.  There are several reasons why we may choose not to show them compassion.  I'll speak to those over the next few days.  The one thing we need to remember though is this:  we are called to compassion.  1 Peter 3:8-9 instructs us in this way:  "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another;  love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing."

When we understand and acknowledge what Christ did for us, we will be compelled to extend that same compassion to others.  Consider Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  If Jesus would go so far as to die for us, couldn't we at least try to be a little understanding of those around us who appear to be walking blindly?

There are many things we can do to show compassion to the unsaved around us.  Our character, who we are day in and day out, is the biggest testament to Christ.  Compassion needs to be a character trait and not something we just put on and off on a whim.  In addition to developing a genuine character, we can also:

1.  Think before we speak:  Proverbs 15:28 says, "The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil."  It really pays off to contemplate our words before spewing them out.  Words stick around so much longer than actions and reverberate in our memories...they can build up or break down.

2.  Let our actions do the speaking:  1 Peter 3: 1-2: "Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear."  Now there's a lot in that verse that I won't even go into right now, but the main point is that our actions will speak so much louder than our words when it comes to having integrity and being genuine.  People will be drawn to Christ when they see His character embodied in us, His people.  This is what it means to be "the body of Christ".  We are to be the physical representation of Christ in our words, thoughts and actions.

3.  Practice unselfishness & looking out for others:  Philippians 2:3-4: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."  How will my thoughts/actions affect those around me---both Christians and non-Christians---and not only now, but when they're ready to make a decision for Christ?  There are people in our lives to whom we may be the only representation of Christ that they will see.  I can think of one specific person who is very close to me that does not run with a Christian crowd.  I must emulate Christ to this person because I might be the only one who ever will!  We must practice what we preach by giving others grace when they do or say things that offend us.  A holier-than-thou attitude is one of the biggest turn-offs related to Christians!  If we have been a positive and genuine figure in the life of an unbeliever, we may have the opportunity to be the catalyst through which they someday find relationship with God!

Over the course of this study, I'll share some reasons why we Christians are not so quick to offer compassion and grace to the unsaved, as well as share with you how Jesus treated those the Bible calls "sinners".  Please leave a comment, if you've got time, and let me know how you've been affected by Christian compassion---either on the giving or receiving end.

Go to Part Two

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kynthia's Baby Shower

On Sunday, several of my close friends and family put on a special baby shower for our new baby, Kynthia Joy.  My mom graciously opened up her home for us all to celebrate there.  It had been awhile since I'd made a fancy cake so I offered to make her cake.  I made this sweet baby doll dress cake---(I will post a tutorial on drafting your own cake pattern soon.)

Mom set up this pretty cake table with pretty PINKS!

Some of the special guests included big sister, Selah Elizabeth, who showed up in her pretty PINK Hello Kitty birthday outfit.

Another special guest was Aunt Cindy, Kynthia's great aunt and namesake---their names rhyme!

Also in attendance was big sister, Avalon Grace.  She sure loves her baby!

We were so happy to have cousin Whitney and her new baby boy, Kayden, at the party!

My friend, Audra, was there showing off her pretty PINK hair!  She had a few colors put in for her big "wedding" on Saturday!  She and her husband are renewing their vows after 17 years of marriage! 

Here's a little PINKY delivering some refreshing watermelon to the guests.

Everyone was comfortably enjoying Mom's great back patio!  (Man, I wish there was some more of that cake!)
Me and Kynthia were both very blessed that day!
One of the most special gifts we received that day was this little jam jar that belonged to my great grandma, Annabelle.  I told Mom a long time ago that it was my very favorite thing of hers...she decided it was time to pass it on!  Someday it will go to Kynthia.

Thank you so much, Mom, for making it a special day for us!  We love you! 

Today I'm linking up with Beverly's PINK Saturday!

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