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Feb 27, 2011

I happened upon this, but not by chance

Our basement is stashed with estate sale finds, piles of laundry, odds and ends furniture, and BOOKS.

They distract me as I prepare to run. Sometimes I peruse a book for 30 minutes before I hit the ole mill. Guess it's just another way of procrastinating. Tonight I read something I want you to hear, too. I feel like someone out there needs to read it. I'm sensing it's no accident I came across these words:

What counts is not what we do, not the amount of things we do, but the love we put into our actions, since those actions are our love for God in action.

Some visitors to Calcutta asked me to tell them something that would be useful for them to lead their lives in a more profitable way. I answered, "Smile at each other. Smile at your wives, at your husbands, at your children, at all, without looking at the one at whom you are smiling. Let mutual love for others grow each day in all of you." At this point one of them asked me, "Are you married?"

I answered, "Yes, I am married to Jesus. And sometimes it is difficult for me to smile at Him because He is too demanding."


It is true: sometimes Jesus can ask too much of you. But it is in such moments that our smile becomes more beautiful.
~Mother Teresa

This "hit the nail on the head" in multiple ways. That first part tells me to stop trying to do/be so much. Relish the moments of reading to the kids, dancing with the whole family, making cookie messes in the kitchen...The part about smiling is exactly what I do every day, and many people don't quite "get" it. That is okay. I am just wired to really love on people. Even grouchy, hurried strangers.

And that last part makes me think of my StoryGirl. Ladies, those of you with daughters, will you share the above tidbit with them? The beauty thing is hard. I recently heard a talk on self-esteem in teens and the statistics are staggering. The media portrays images of girls and women, constantly, that are too lofty to obtain. There's no realism there, just special lighting and computer touch-ups. It's a really sad thing.

I want Story to know that she is special, beautiful, one-of-a-kind. It will be a challenge to teach her that the heavenly treasures of her heart are far more valuable than the treasures of the world. God made her great, right where she is. She is a princess to Him, and His standards are the only ones that bear any validity.
(step 1 in teaching/learning: it's okay to post "gnarly" photos of self!)

Lord, thank you for all those books (and for the smell of paper!) in the basement, oh, and for leading me to such a "filling" Mother Teresa tid-bit. It feels good to be full.

Feb 26, 2011

Lala's Closet Giveaway Winner

The winner of this beautiful peacock feather headpiece by Lala's Closet,
is entrant #20, Bethany, per random.org. Congratulations, Bethany! Email me for deets.

Hope you're all having a restful weekend.

I drew/colored a little last night...needed to zone out. Been kinda stressed.
~m

Feb 25, 2011

Link love

My new friend Cherish is hosting a link love (this is new to me!) over at her blog, so I decided to participate. I am itching for a nap but this is more fun!

Let's make the theme be, if:

If I had a cat, she would be named Trinket and sleep in this.
If I had loads of cash, I'd travel to SoCal to attend this.
If I could bake something new this instant, I'd bake this.
If the car fairy came and morphed my clunker into a new car, I'd request this one.
If I could name my favorite little thing on Etsy, EVER, it'd be this.
If you wanted to know what "original to the home" mailbox we have, it's in the top left corner of this picture.

Linking up was easy and fun. Now you try!
Also, what do you think of the second hoop art I made while catching up on the Bachelor? It was pretty time consuming as I hand-embroidered "dream big" and pink stitching for the mini-bunting. Super fun & relaxing.
super cloudy out; I apologize for the poor photos

Feb 24, 2011

Hard core

I don't have a lot of time this evening, but wanted to close the day with a few thoughts:

My kids make life hard core. I am a hard core Kleenex wielding, booboo kissing, tushy patting mommy! Wilder and Story make my life point straight to the core. To the center of who I am. If Wilder says, mommy I love you, or mommy, I have quite an appetite, or mommy what was your favorite part of the day, it seems the very core of me absolutely crumbles out of heartache (he's not a baby anymore) then wells with pride at the person he's becoming.
I strive to be interesting on here. Have some crafts. Take decent pictures. Be an encouragement. But the root of the root is that I love my kids and they are the basis, besides God, for everything I do. I am over the moon thankful and ecstatic that I have the blessing and joy to be home with my lovies every day. They take priority and if I'm feeling convicted to spend time with them over blogging, they take precedence (how do you balance "stuff"?).
Over dinner tonight we were singing The Wheels on the Bus, and Wilder started talking about getting on the bus by himself and that he would have a backpack and the bus would drive away. I was thinking, are you kidding me, kid? Stick the dagger in now.

If you see me take a break {from here} from time to time, it's because I'm kissing those babies who will, one day, go away from me. On a dusty yellow, stinky bus.

(unless we decide to home or private school or opt out of bus transit because kids talk about weewees and R movies and cuss)

Also, I bought Story some tiny jelly shoes for a quarter at an estate sale. So get thee to an estate sale, like, now.
Okay, maybe I had a lot to say after all.

Feb 23, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie!

If you blog about chocolate, I will be your BFF.

If you blog about chocolate AND share the recipe, I will be your BFF times ten, and I will buy you stuff.

Did anyone see this recipe? Hellooo!!!! It's called Chocolate Chip Cookie pie. I totally made it. I bought store-made crust, made an extra pie to share with my friend B, and enlisted Wilder's help. I "had" to use Ghirardelli chocolate chips, because, well, we all know why that was. Sidenote: this is a great way to "cheat" and not bake cookies for hours and hours but still have a cookie like treat to bring to a potluck (unless you are like one of my friends who is grossed out by potlucks and doesn't want to eat food possibly brought by a cat lady...like a cat lady with 111 cats or something).

Here's pie pre-baking:
And after:
And as an afternoon snack today, post-run (I only did 4 miles; I am slacking!):
Go make this right now. It's cheap, easy, and so sinfully delicious that you might need to make an appointment for a confessional with your priest.

Father, forgive me, for I have sinned:
And sinned:
And sinned:
And with that she utters, good-bye, friends, and breathes a sigh of contentment only achieved having eaten something really, really good.

Feb 22, 2011

Book list and chocolate chip shortage

This post is a bit all over the place. If I was writing in a journal, it'd be, too. No editing or critiquing here. You just get my brain barf. :-)

Let's start with that book list I mentioned yesterday. There are about 10 trillion books I wish I had time to read. But for now, these books actually grace my bedside table. My disclaimer is that I normally don't read "spiritual" or "self help" books. I like to dig into a novel much like one enjoys sitting down for a movie. Writing is an incredible art form and I most appreciate that when I can digest a novel every now and then. However, now that I'm a parent, and am realizing more and more the extremity of my sin nature, the self help, spiritual, and parenting books make greater sense to read.

Here goes:

Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson-a book about asperger's; interest was piqued when I started watching the son on Parenthood; even more piqued when I learned my MAPS mom's son has asperger's; have yet to read

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns-have heard rave reviews; can't wait to dig in

Heaven is For Real
by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent-read this in 2 days; a compelling story about Heaven; recommended by my mommy; a must read; it is still fresh, like a wound, and I want to weep about it it's so good

Silver Boxes
by Florence Littauer--we saw Florence's video at MAPS. She's precious. Her book is a solid reminder and motivator to watch our words

Treasuring God in Our Traditions
by Noel Piper--recommended by a dear friend; what little I've read so far has been too.neat! (especially good for someone like me who's not really into traditions or keepsakes...)

Shepherding a Child's Heart
by Ted Tripp--recommended by a friend as she said my disciplining style reminds her of this book; have yet to dig in
There you have it! What are you reading?

Wal Mart was out of cheap semi-sweet chocolate chips. What's up with that?
Channeled the summer side pony (=laziness) & wore my $.50 vintage, huge sunglasses:
Story crawls now (eeeewwwww dirty kitchen floor & messies in the picture!). I am pretty much obsessed with her and her brother. My heavens God is good to me.
Also, if you are a blog stalker and haven't left me some comment love in awhile, or, EVER, then read this post. I dig Jami's sense of humor.

Peace out.

Feb 21, 2011

Feather bow giveaway

Even if you do not have a baby girl you should still enter this giveaway in that you could give the bow as a shower gift and be the coolest person at the shower---because you gave an awesome, handmade with love, kinda gift!

Lisa for Lala's Closet, is truly gifted in her bowmaking craftwomanship. Check out some of her lovelies:She blessed me SO MUCH by sending a bow for Story, and one for her to share with a friend.

Here Story models her new bow:
And the one Lisa is giving away:
Let's learn about this gracious, creative, heart, Lisa, & her shop:

First I am a full time mommy who loves to create and design handmade items. I started this business a little over one year ago but I had been dreaming of this for many years. Besides being a mom, I feel blessed to be able to create and sell accessories and gifts for people. Lala's Closet has unique items for newborns all the way through adults, and through the month of February Lala's Closet is running a special on ETSY. 10% off your entire order now through Feb 28, 2011, all you have to do is either Favorite my shop located to the left of the shopping cart or favorite an item. Just type in FAVORITE when checking out. This also applies to people who have done it in the past.

This giveaway will be easy. Fuss-free. Just ask a question to enter. If you ask what is the meaning of life? I don't know how I'd respond. But you can ask anything, really!

For additional entries:

Follow my blog through GoogleFriends and leave a comment stating you've done so
(or already have).

Visit Lala's Closet and leave a comment stating your favorite item.

Giveaway closes sometime on Friday, February 25, 2011. Winner chosen via random.org.

Have a happy day...beat those Monday blues, K? And stay tuned this week for a posts on books I'm reading (or wanting to read) and my skin care regime...with maybe a chocolately recipe thrown in there; we'll see how productive I am this week.

Feb 18, 2011

My first stab at hoop art

I do not know how "people" have time to craft.

My daughter comes up off the floor from crawling and her clothes are black because I never mop. Since I don't make time to mop then how is it justifiable to make time to craft?

Uh I don't know! But crafting allows me to relax and satiate those creative urges. I may not craft as much as some of the uber popular blog-gals, but I'll give ya some crafty love every now and then. Mk?

This week, hoop art! Yay. My first one. Ain't she a beaut?
I made this last night and I hate to shoot when there's no natural lighting, so I didn't photograph the process. You can find instructions here. It's so easy. If you know how to cut, fold, and glue, you're golden. I showed this to my neighbor and she couldn't believe the flowers were all hot glue and no stitching.

The hoop {vintage} cost $1.00 (love that it's colored!). Vintage fabric $.50. Felt $.75. I had the buttons. It's girly, blingy, bright and surfer Barbie-ish.
While we're on the topic of bling, check out my new addition:
Look, Ma! Are you still coming for a visit soon?

Feb 17, 2011

A thing about estate sales

So the one teeny bit of detail I've not discussed regarding estate sales:

I WANT IT ALL. EVERYTHING. Usually at every sale. Yep, uh-huh, that's mine. Just go ahead and put that in my pile over there. No, that's not the stuff left to sift through and price--that's my pile.

Ladies. Ladies.

"It" about spun out of control today:

Drexel dining table and six originally upholstered chairs for $245...I practically passed out. It's gorgeous and I really hate our current ugly, boring Slumberland table...that part time job is sounding more and more appealing. Maybe the table will still be there on 50% off day!

I wanted everything on top of it, too.
Sorry about the blurry picture; I was trying to act fast...
A lamp! And we actually need one:
Love the African wall hangings & buffet:And these two chairs with ottoman had me swoo.ning. Someone bought them when we were there. She looked rich. I wanted to smack her *gently*.
All beautiful, wonderful, amazing, SO MINDY things but this little girls' education is more important:
Guess I'll stick to little $1 items...it's hard to do!

If you're curious, here's what the outside of the estate sale house looks like. The house has already sold; bummer because it had some excellent mid-century originality to it, including kitchen cabinets. I hope the new owners have an appreciation for the quality and beauty of things of that era & don't demo it!
Good bye for now! Don't forget giveaway day at UndertheSycamore...it's insane.

And while you're still here, let's give entrant #29 (per random.org), ManaRose a round of applause for winning the Lizzimarie Beating the Winter Blues giveaway. Email me for deets, ManaRose!

Thanks for entering the contest, everyone, and stay tuned for giveaway goodness in the near future.

Feb 16, 2011

This print, oh, it's amazing!

This print, yes, this one right here, Leisel,
image via

just might warrant my getting a part time job so I can buy it. I can't stop staring at it! Isn't it amazing? I stumbled upon the tuesdaymourning shop (she can even do couples portraits)
image via

whilst reading one of my fave blogs, Blessed Little Nest. You read Heather, right? Tell me you do. You are missing out if you don't.

So appreciate having something beautiful to look at today.

It's 65 degrees and a day full of so many great things:

Skyped with Dee who lives in Germany
Impromptu playdate with E
Received a valentine via snail mail from J
Sold an Etsy item
Then turned around and bought some craft supplies
At Hobby Lobby
Where
I ran into my new friend M who reads this blog and encourages me
Leaps and bounds
And who rocks pink
And who doesn't judge me for having disheveled hair
And tennis shoes on
While out in public which is against Oprah's Ten Commandments
And both kids are sleeping and Story took a bottle!

BUT...

I received my last issue of Real Simple
And I need new tires & lipo

Not a bad roster, though. Not bad.

Feb 15, 2011

Photo frame redo

I'm proud of my undergraduate degree. Really, I am. It was an expensive little sucker that will probably take until I am 71 years old to pay off. Once it's paid off I'm buying a convertible and a pug that I WILL dress up in bowties and peacoats. And we will drive around town with the wind tousling his fur and my wig. And we'll be really happy.

Oops, off topic. Anyway, I had my diploma on display for awhile, but, hello, much more decadent eye candy has arrived since college! Look at those cute little baby thighs. That's not the picture I ended up choosing but I'll be doing something with that amazing StoryGirl picture in the future. The Spencer's Hospital book is vintage Harlequin Romance.
The frame was so boring which doesn't match Story's personality at all. So I jazzed it up by mod-podging pages from the book onto the matboard:
Next I primed the frame then painted it--you guessed it--orange. All of Shawn's paints/supplies from school are still good--so this project cost me nothing.
Awwww....
Pillow: Urban Outfitters, no longer produced
Chair: Vintage, $5, Chanute, KS
Boston Terrier signed prints by Brian Rubenacker (on Etsy)
Vases: tall one is Viking glass, the rest are from floral arrangements
And because I'm boy crazy, here's a picture of two hotties!
Tami, are you going nutso yet? (Tami is Wilder's friend, Ryan's, mommie). These kids actually roughhoused. Wilder needs it. The kid can't handle messes, fingerpaint, boogers, tripping...Ryan was good for him. :-)

Feb 14, 2011

A happy heart

Happy Heart Day from all of us!

Speaking of happy hearts, I pray that God will give Wilder a happy heart each day. Sometimes when he's being ornery, I say, "Wilder, you need to have a happy heart." Oh that we'd take our own advice/admonition! Going to start praying for a happy heart for myself, too.

On this Valentine's Day I extend thanks to Shawn for supporting me through thick and thin. And we're not just talking about my body size. He provides for our family so I can live the dream of poring myself into our children, our home, and my "people ministry."

I have grown up with Shawn (we met at age 14) and trusted him with a lot of crazy stuff and he's shown nothing but love, bottomless wisdom, raw honesty, and vulnerability in return (plus, he's hot!).
photo credit, Ian Johnson

We aren't like couples on t.v., twirling in dance in the kitchen or clinking wine glasses over a toasty fire. Our fireplace is dusty and non-functioning. We tell each other when we have a booger or our toe nails are looking long. Our bathroom is so small we hafto squeeze past one another to get to what we need. We share our frustration over never finding clean, or matching, socks. We apologize right and left for being jerky or selfish.

We're trying. And we dream about cool, fun stuff we'll be able to do someday. And we're pretty proud of the cute babies we make.
All reasons to celebrate. Once we find a sitter.
"text me"--really, company who makes & stamps these?

Feb 13, 2011

She stirred the salsa while He stirred my heart

Neighbors six houses down probably heard the laughter and gabbing of the thirteen or so glamorous women gathered at our home for a Salsa Tupperware party Saturday (I have officially entered momdom in hosting such a party! But Tupperware's the bomb. Not. Kidding.).

Shawn had to "build a bridge" from our driveway to the street because all of the water (from melted snow) pools in front of our house & we didn't want the ladies' nice leather boots--thinking of no one in particular here--to get ruined. Chairs in the living room were practically piled atop one another. Gooey cookies, cheeses, fruit, and lemonade awaited us in the kitchen.

I'm telling you, God was amidst us. Even though we talked mostly about kids, life, Tupperware, recipes, scrapbooking, sleep apnea, crafting, etc etc, God was stirring a work in my heart. I didn't really want to share my recent struggles in Friday's post, but as many of you assured me, it was healing. And the outpouring of support and love from friends, both at the party and online, has been enough to bring me to my knees.

To all of you who were there and let me hug you, thank you (sometimes I overstep the personal space thing!). You are SO special to me. Some women get a kick out of fancy purses, traveling, curling up with a book, as do I. But spending time with sweet friends tops my list. It's my absolute favorite way to spend time. This is why I go on so many playdates I guess.

After tonight's 8-mile run (oh, it was awful!), I thumbed through a dorky book titled Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One will get Hurt by Karen S. Linamen, and turned to her section on friendship. She pinpoints a few ways for us to become a better friend. I guess this is really for me because you girls have it DOWN. You are amazing!

~Do follow up with promises
~Do learn the art of listening
~Do celebrate your friend's happiness & success
~Do love your friend enough to tell her the truth
~Do be an encourager
~Don't hide behind a facade of perfection or control
~Don't tell secrets (meaning don't disclose her secret)
~Don't try to have an answer for everything

Great reminders.

Lastly, my baby almost got "stolen" from the MAPS nursery. I told you she was irresistible. :-)
Jess, with my Story Princess Love Child of Happiness
is an editor/writer (cool, huh?) and a runner!


Good night, friends. Those new, old, near, and far, thank you for making me want to be/get better.

Feb 11, 2011

Oh no it's a Downer Debbie post, but it's honesty

I'm good at covering things. No, not furniture.

I'm good at covering when my heart hurts.
I don't want anyone to think I'm a Downer Debbie.
I don't want anyone to turn into a Downer Debbie because I'm being a Downer Debbie.
I don't want to take too much out of my friendships. I don't want to drain or exhaust people.

But the truth is, I've had some very crappy days sprinkled into an overall peaceful month. Like days where my self-worth is, just, missing. I needed to run more this week so that's part of it. Anyway...it is neat to be encouraged by others--my friends and Shawn say I am cool, loved, pretty, whatever, but they may as well be speaking Finnish. I simply don't hear them. It is nothing if I don't first believe it for myself.

I've been getting lie-implants from the enemy more frequently. You think I'd be like, in the name of Jesus, go away, dude. Kapow! Not so. It's as if I'm a puppet, knowing fully that the thoughts are not of the Lord but succumbing to the lies anyway, because, for the longest time, feeling worthless has been less risky than feeling special (isn't that backward?).

These thoughts are from a dark place I once regularly frequented. And I never want to go back. But it is chasing me. It wants me back. It wants me to feel unworthy. The enemy is really ticked at God for kicking him out of Heaven and wants so badly to destroy that which God most cherishes: his sons and daughters. So that makes me a big red dot on his map.

This excerpt explains it, in case you are like, huh, where is this coming from? I don't get it:

Our adversary also seduces us to abide in certain emotions that act as less-wild lovers, particularly shame (check), fear (check), lust, anger (check), false guilt (check).
They are emotions that "protect" us from the more dangerous feelings of
grief (check), abandonment (check), disappointment (check), loneliness (check),
and even joy (check) and longing (check), that threaten to roam free in the wilder
environs of the heart. These are feelings that frighten us, sometimes even long years
into our Christian journey. (The Sacred Romance, Brent Curtis & John Eldredge, pg 132)

That entire paragraph is me; I checked all the things that pertained. Is it new to you? Or have you felt like this before?
Rarely do I share about my "baggage" on this blog because I want to be "sproingy!" "happy!" "buoyant!" "free as a bird!". But today at MAPS I was convicted to be more transparent with people (I do that best through writing). God has blessed me with an often incapacitating love and burden for the lost, but I can't love people unless I love myself first. I can't keep using that as a crutch.

Lord, remove these unhealthy thoughts from my mind. Help me to internalize the fact that I matter, because you gave me life. Thank you for sticking with me. I am sorry for not seeking
you in the midst of this fight. Thank you for being stronger than all this. And if there are others out there who need to be healed and freed, and we both know there are, please attend to them in Your perfect way.
Amen.

That is me today. I may be able to run several miles, but today, I need a cane. The gait's a bit wobbly. Even if you don't relate, recall this: take every thought captive. The mind is a powerful organ but not as powerful as the all-freeing love of Jesus.

Feb 9, 2011

Beating the winter blues GIVEAWAY!

I found another Etsy shop & owner I'm totally diggin'. Jewelry and paper goods all at one place!
Blogging and owning an Etsy shop are two of my favorite things because I get to "cyber meet" super cool, creative, passionate people. Liz, the owner of Lizzimarie, is one such person. She's provided some things for me to give away to you, to pep you up during these long winter days cooped up indoors with kids, pets, dust bunnies horses, grumbling cubicle mates, or all of the above, vying for your attention.

You'll see Liz's ad in my margin for a while; treat yourself and a friend to a little sumpin' sumpin' handmade by her. And if you're interested in having your shop, blog, or indie business featured here, just like hers, let's chat via email. I would do ya proud. I am new at providing sponsorship opportunities so my rates are looooowww, low, low.

Now let's learn more about Miss Liz:

Hello there, I'm Liz, the crafty pair of hands behind Lizzimarie! I'm so excited that Mindy invited me to do a giveaway here on her lovely blog! A friend introduced me to the world of Etsy while I was in grad school, and I was hooked almost immediately! I've always loved all kinds of arts and crafts, and once I finished grad school this last summer, I decided to take the plunge and start my own little shop! I feel so blessed to have a "regular job" (as a children's librarian) that I really enjoy but also gives me time to create and keep up my shop and my blog, AppleJane!

I love all different types of crafts, from knitting and sewing to drawing and printmaking, and this is why my little shop has a somewhat eclectic bunch of artwork, stationary, and even jewelry! I'm still trying to pin down my design "style" but I try to create things that are simple yet have that unique touch of the handmade! My ultimate goal in all my work is to inspire others and bring glory to the One who gave me this gift of creativity!
Doesn't she sound like someone you'd be friends with in "real life"?

Liz is, ever so kindly, offering one of you her winter blues button ring ($8)
and floral pattern notebook (recycled grocery bag paper stamped with original floral design)($15).
Too cute and positively suitable for trumping the winter blues. I'm picturing one of my readers sitting in a bay window with a cup of cocoa, wearing her new ring, scribbling in her jazzy journal.

Here's how to enter:

Visit Liz's shop and post a comment here stating your favorite item

For extra entries {leave separate comment for each}:

1) Follow Liz's blog, AppleJane, using BlogLovin'
2) Follow marigoldroad on Facebook
3) Follow me on Twitter
4) Follow my blog using GoogleFriends
5) Tweet, blog, or Facebook about this giveaway

Giveaway open until midnight Wednesday 2/16. Winner chosen by Random.org; winner posted by Thursday evening.