Saturday, October 30, 2010

Daniel's Window

I've been participating in a Chuck Swindoll study on the book of Daniel this fall. The Bible is filled with so many stories of God's faithful and God's flawed people. Daniel is a rock solid character, living far from home. He stands out because he is a man of spirit, influencing a culture that is not his own.

This week, we'll be reading the story of Daniel and the den of lions. I feel personally convicted by Daniel's character this month. Daniel had a disciplined prayer life, something that I struggle with daily. Too often, my prayers are on the fly. Like arrows shot into the sky, I send up prayers at random moments...when I hear an ambulance, at a stop light, when I'm washing dishes. I think these arrow prayers are pretty typical for mothers. But lately, I've been craving more.

Daniel 6: 10 says this : "Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before."

This verse really hit home for me. I decided to give this a try. Every morning, when the sun rises, I get down on my knees at this window in my bedroom that looks over the nature preserve. I watch the sun rise, I bow my head, and I approach the throne of grace.

It's been a good way to start my day. I think that there needs to be a Bible study on our posture before God. (Maybe someone else has already written one and I just haven't found it yet!) There is something powerful that happens when we get down on our knees and pray. I can feel good things happening, and I attribute it all to this new discipline. I haven't managed to get to my window three times a day, like Daniel. But my prayer life has definitely improved. I owe it all to Daniel.

I made this window card last night for my mother. Mom lives in a lovely red brick colonial with shutters and a calico cat that perches on her windowsills. I got to visit my childhood home last week, and the yard was so beautiful with the muted colors of fall.

Inside the card, I've included the quote from Charles Spurgeon: Faith goes up the stairs that love has made, and looks out the window that hope has opened. I love that sentiment. In a song from christian artist J.J. Heller, she sings "Hope means holding on to You. And grace means You're holding me, too."

I hope you're feeling that grace today. Blessings on your weekend!

{recipe: Window Dressing (SU), Everyday Flexible Phrases (SU), always artichoke cardstock, cajun craze cardstock, crumb cake cardstock, soft suede cardstock, versafine onyx ink, prisma markers, Tim Holtz Bricked Texture Fade, ribbon, scallop edge punch, glitter pen, micron pen for banner}

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Right Around The Corner

Do you know how I can tell that the holiday season is coming? My busyness quotient has doubled in the last two weeks! Between school functions, work schedules, and household stuff, I haven't had a chance to catch my breath in quite a while. Yesterday, I needed to be three people to get everything accomplished. In the end, I resolved myself to the fact that I was only one person, and would therefore be disappointing two other individuals in the process. I wish I could have worked AND taken my son for his senior photos and driver's ed lesson AND gone to my youngest son's parent-teacher conference. But in the end, we split three duties among two parents and I told work "I gotta go!"

We have been unpacking tons of holiday boxes at the specialty women's store where I work this week. We even listen to Christmas music in the back room while working on stock, just to put us in the spirit. I know, I seems really early. But when you work retail, it just makes sense to stay ahead.

Crafters tend to stay ahead as well. So today, I made this Christmas card that had been floating around in my head. The Clean and Simple challenge for the week was to use gingham in a card. Well, you didn't have to twist my arm for this one! I LOVE gingham! Not only did I use it as a border, but I also used gingham to paper piece the ribbon on the wreath here:

If you love gingham, then make sure you have a pack of Amuse gingham papers on hand in a variety of colors. And while you're at it, stock up on the Amuse twinkles as well. I used them to make the berries on this wreath.

{recipe: Deck the Door (The Saltbox Studio), Pure Luxury ivory card stock, red cardstock, Amuse gingham papers, Versafine onyx ink, prisma markers, Amuse twinkles, Pear Pizzazz ink for sponging}

The holidays are right around the corner...can the Peppermint Mocha Lattes be far behind? Thanks for visiting the cafe today! Bless you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hope for the Hurting

I made this card for a friend today. Her husband lost his job and is unemployed...again. I feel for her. We were there just three years ago. The economic world is so unpredictable. With ten percent of the country now unemployed, it looks like it will be a difficult holiday season for many families this year.

Our fabulous St. Louis pastor, Stephen Hower, had once mentioned in a sermon that a company may downsize you, but God will never downsize you. God is faithful, and we can rely on Him 24/7. That was an extremely difficult time for our family, but it was also filled with great blessings. That's one of the mysteries about suffering. We learn to fully rely on God's goodness and mercy. We learn that we may think we are in control of our lives, but we are not. All it takes is phone call, one pink slip, one medical diagnosis, and we see that we control very little of our lives.

I found these words to be so comforting this week:

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9

We have hope.

A lot of people will need to hear that message of hope this holiday. How will you share the hope that is in Christ Jesus this Christmas?

{recipe: Deck the Door (The Saltbox Studio), cajun craze cardstock, soft suede ink and card stock, prisma markers, linen thread, word window punch, modern label punch, copper brads, Moda fabric}

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I have been on a long journey this year, reading the Bible in a new and unique way. I am reading the Bible chronologically...not in the order that the books appear in the Bible, but rather in the order in which events unfolded. I am amazed at the change in my perspective. The story of God's people and His amazing plan of redemption has opened my eyes in new and fresh ways.

I have been deep in the prophets for the last few months, and I have to confess, the subject matter has been tough. Consequently, I am weeks behind in my reading, and find myself needing to double down now just to catch up. I feel deeply for these men of God in a new way. They saw horrifying visions of the future...conquest, captivity, and a life in exile. They spoke words of warning to a stiff-necked people. And yet, they also spoke words of comfort. And many also saw God's saving plan for His unfaithful people.

This week, I came upon this verse my daily reading as well as my weekly women's study. I'm not entirely certain why it has moved me so, but it has. Here it is:

"So the message of the Lord spoken through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate until the seventy years were fulfilled, just as the prophet had said." 2 Chronicles 36:15-21

The imagery is so powerful. Jerusalem destroyed, the temple demolished, and the promised land is now a wasteland. But there is also hope. A Sabbath rest for the land, like a field that has been left fallow, will one day produce a rich harvest again. In seventy years, during the time of Daniel, the captives are released, and Jerusalem is restored. A king will sit on the throne whose reign will never end.

I am amazed at how God brings about His plans in perfect timing. I see His hand in the changing seasons, in the harvested fields and the falling leaves. And I can see His faithfulness and His patience with me. It's an epic story, and I am a part of it.

{sympathy card recipe:Autumn Days (SU), Print Pattern (SU), sentiment from Gina K, concord crush cs and ink, old olive cs and ink, cherry cobbler cs and ink, slot punch, ribbon}

{friend card recipe: Gina K stamps, Print Pattern (SU), French Script (SU), Itty Bitty Backgrounds (SU), concord crush cs and ink, old olive ink, cherry cobbler ink and cs, kraft and ivory cs, ribbon, oval punch, modern label punch, nailhead brad}

Monday, October 18, 2010

If At First You Don't Succeed

I finally got the chance to do some paper crafting today. Card making is a lot like exercise...the more you do it, the easier it becomes. And if you don't do it for a while, well, the next time you get around to it, you can be pretty sure that it'll be painful.

A lot of bloggers out there will show you their best, but I'm keeping it real by showing you some of my really ugly creations, too. I started with an idea...I wanted the coffee steam on this card to be white, so I used white craft ink on kraft cardstock. Then I started fooling around with squiggles using a pink souffle pen. It looked like Pepto Bismol. Yuck, and double yuck. I scratched the whole thing and started over...

I gave up on the white steam and kraft idea entirely. This time, I used ivory cardstock and early espresso ink. Much cleaner and all around more pleasing to the eye...and stomach. :)

{recipe: Like It A Latte (SU), sentiment from Morning Star Stamps, ivory card stock, early espresso and blushing bride inks, brown micron pen, amuse twinkles}

I remember when I started paper crafting more than a dozen years ago. Every little piece of card stock and paper was precious! Twelve years and a lot of cards later, I've learned that you sometimes have to toss out a few ugly card fronts and try, try again.

The weather has gotten much cooler here. We turned on the fireplace for the first time today. It's the perfect opportunity to whip up a latte, grab a good book, and enjoy.

Blessings on your week!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Do you have a lot of UFOs at your house? It seems like my UFOs are piling up everywhere...on the dining room table, on the craft table, on coffee tables. They wait there for me, making me feel guilty for not giving them the attention they deserve.

Un-finished objects. UFOs. The last time I counted, I think I have about five, and those are just the stitching projects! Don't even get me started on the card making projects! I've lost count!

What's a girl to do when all of the UFOs start piling up? Why, start a new project, of course! Last week, I began work on something more seasonally appropriate. I love this pattern from Homespun Elegance. Last year, I made the pumpkin/crows pillow. This year, I thought I'd attempt the ornament.

It's coming along quickly, I think. Now, will it get finished? Well, that's another story.

Speaking of stories...I'm working on a big UFO right now, and it's pretty much taking up all of the time in my day that I'm not either working or caring for my family. It's a labor of love, and I'll share more about this project in the days ahead.

It's been a glorious autumn week in the Midwest. Enjoy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cute as a Bug

I can't believe that I haven't blogged about my new car! I've had this sweet VW Bug for over a month now, and it is probably the most fun I've ever had with an automobile. I have coveted the new Volkswagen Beetles for over ten years now. We knew that we would need to add another car to the family, as the older boys really needed some wheels to get around town. We debated for a long time. Do we buy something new for ourselves? Do we buy something cheap for the boys? Do we go for another SUV or minivan?

And then my husband found this listing on Autotrader from a local seller. It fit all of my criteria for a had to be used, under ten years old, under 100K miles, with a sunroof, and it was cheap enough that we could pay cash, Dave Ramsey style. This little car had been driven by a senior citizen in Florida, who only put 40,000 miles on it in the eight years they owned it. Perfect!

And did I mention? It has the adorable flower vase in the dashboard, too! This little bug has a lot of kick, and it can get up and go like a sports car! It gets great gas mileage, and it's perfect for driving around town and getting to work.

Ed has dubbed the car "Rosebug", which is a play on his nickname for me, Rosebud.

Maggie took her first car ride in the bug today, and I could tell that she liked it, too. Rosebug is just the right size for us girls to tool around town on a sunny day.

Maggie had her yearly vet's checkup, and she now weighs a very slim 65 pounds! She lost almost 30 pounds in the past year, thanks to her new diet and exercise plan. The vet says she looks great for a ten year old lab, and I have to agree. All of the extra weight of last year just aged her too quickly and put too much stress on her arthritic hips. Now, she's a playful puppy again!

Do you know an overweight dog who could stand to lose a few pounds? Here's the plan our vet recommended last year.

1) Switch to diet dog food. (I had thought that senior dog food was formulated for older dogs who don't move around as much, but as it turns out, senior dog food is higher in calories and formulated for dogs who have trouble keeping the weight on as the get older.)
2) Cut her serving size by one third.
3) Cut her biscuits and treats to only one or two small treats a day.
4) Add a half a can of drained, uncooked green beans to some of her dry dog food once a day to give her fiber without the extra calories.
5) Increase daily exercise slowly, and walk several days a week.

Maggie loves her Green Bean's her favorite meal of the day! She has a shiny coat, clean teeth, and she's much better with her sore hips these days. The best part about having a thin dog? They typically live much longer than overweight dogs. We love our old girl and want to keep her around as long as possible.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

For The Newlyweds

My nephew, George, got married last month on the last Saturday of September. I had planned on attending, but then our family had one medical emergency after another, and we were not able to go. Such a bummer! I had hoped to spend one nice autumn weekend in Michigan visiting family, picking apples, and enjoying the fall colors. I was really excited about attending the wedding reception, which was being held at the Old Mill in historic Dundee, Michigan. Family members told me that the wedding and reception were lovely, though.

I need to send the newlyweds a card and gift. I like to make cards that coordinate with the colors of the bridal party. Usually, the wedding invitation will have some color theme that tips me off. Their invitation had a green ribbon attachment, so I decided that this always artichoke color combination was a pretty close match.

{recipe: Teeny Tiny Wishes (SU), Filigree BG stamp (SU), always artichoke card stock/ ink / ribbon, Pure Luxury Ivory card stock, metallic gold card stock, oval and designer label punches, gold metallic cord, gold heart charm from Mark's Finest Papers, Damask Texture Impressions embossing folder }

I think that the heart charm really makes this card sparkle. I bought a boatload of adorable charms from Mark's Finest Papers. Faith has an amazing selection! I bought hearts, bees, ladybugs, leaves, flowers, holly branches, acorns, and so much more. You can check them out at the link on the right.

It is an amazing autumn day here in the Midwest. I think I'll take my lab, Maggie, for a walk. Blessings on your day!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Birch Tree Love

My family loves birch trees. I think it's because they remind us of our Michigan roots. My son, John, has an amazing wall of birch trees in his bedroom.

He even has real birch trees propped in a corner of his bedroom. I just love the papery texture and color variations that birch trees provide.

When I saw this new stamp set from the fall release of Mark's Finest Papers, I knew I had to have it. The birch tree background is stunning, and the skunks and porcupine images with their punny sentiments just sealed the deal!

{recipe: stamps from Mark's Finest Papers, Cosmo Cricket Nutmeg papers, early espresso and cajun craze cardstock, versafine onyx ink, felt ribbon, folk heart punch}

I made this card for my husband for our 21st anniversary today. The skunks reminded me of our honeymoon in Montreal, when my husband walked the streets, talking with a Pepe Le Pew accent. Good times!