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Well, I can't change those circumstances but I thought I'd try to smooth things over a bit with a home-made gift. So I buried myself away in my craft room and the following emerged:
Abby was "Student of the Month" at her school!
Abby had her very first piano recital.
She did awesome and was not nervous or scared at all.
Abby with her piano recital "trophy".
She has it proudly displayed on her headboard at home already.
Hope you are enjoying the Christmas season
love & sugar plums,
I have been wanting to make a Chipboard Coaster book for awhile, but I never get around to it. So here was my opportunity.
The thing I love about doing stuff like this is there are NO RULES! I've seen tutorials on how to do it - but if you know me, you know I'm a CRAFTING REBEL! I rebel against the tutorial...I go my own way.
Each page of the book has kind of a different look, different colors - I'm all over the place. I wanted kind of a distressed look, so I sanded things, painted, stamped, deckle cut, etc. The topper was I modge podged each coaster. I can't help myself with the podge...if I could, I would podge everything. I love the podge. My favorite part is peeling it off my fingers. Anyway - had a small moment of trepidation with the podge on this project....halfway through I wish that I hadn't gone to the podge, but in the end I think it worked ok.
The book is kept together with some twine, which is reinforced with.....you guessed it....a little podge. It's probably not as good as all those tutorial books that are out there, but hey - it's handmade with love. I hope the recipient is blessed.
Welcome to this world, little Jordan!
The day after Thanksgiving Club Amaro had the privilege of accompanying some of my gun-totin' family members to the Ouachita Parish Sheriff Department shooting range. The range was actually closed for the day, so we had the whole place to ourselves.
Are you wondering what our experience is with guns? Let me break it down for you...full disclosure style. I think that about 23 years ago, I shot a rifle twice, but I've seen alot of episodes of Bonanza. So I felt like I was well qualified to pop off a few rounds. Mike of course has had many a "boys day out" shooting guns with my Stepdad, Randy (aka GPP)...he knows his way around a gun. Abby showed interest in shooting after finding out that 3 of her cousins have shot guns (and 2 own their own).
Let me explain our safety detail, lest you think that we just showed up with some guns and ammo and started having a wild shoot-out. My cousin Stan is an ex-Marine and Lieutenant with the Sheriff's department and has plenty of experience with guns. Two of his 3 (soon to be 4) children know how to shoot guns and his oldest has his own rifle. My other cousin Jeremy (owner of Moore Landscaping for all your landscaping, lawn care and irrigation needs) has had and shot guns for many years. Not only do I trust them because they are my family, but they know what they are doing and they practice safe gun totin' and shootin'.
That said, we had a GREAT time...we shot a Glock .45, .40, 9mm, and an M4 (M-16)
Personally, I was way into the gun shooting... Once you realize the power that is behind the trigger, you have a new respect for guns. I think the 9mm was my favorite hand gun...but my most favorite was the M4. I felt like G.I. Joe for a few minutes. The .45 was too much for me...I popped that off a few times and handed it over. Too much power for this girl.
Abby got a very safe and slow introduction to a .22 pistol from Jeremy. He had his hand on her hand, but let her pull the trigger. She shot the gun twice and then decided to stop. The shell hit her on the way out and it scared her a bit, I think. I sat with her for awhile and made sure that she was ok. After awhile, she wanted to shoot again. At that point, we had already started packing up shop - she was visibly disappointed. "Maybe next year" I said.
After our time at the range, Stan took us through the obstacle course the officers use for training. The kids had a blast climbing up ropes and jumping over the fences. We also got to see the gym where the officers work out - very nice facilities.
A quick shout out to Stan and Jeremy for helping us to experience guns safely. We had a great time and hope to do it again soon! And anyone who is looking for Christmas gift giving ideas for me....I hear there are some good sales going on M4's if you know where to look.
just exercising my
Background: Abby & I eating dinner, a Boston song playing in the background. Me, singing along.
Abby: "You know this song, Mom?"
Me: "Yeah, I know alot of songs. I used to sing this song when I was a kid"
Abby: "Man, this must be an old song"
If I had my way, I would have fresh flowers all around my house. As long as I'm having my way, I also would like someone to come and switch out the flowers once they get that "not so fresh feeling" and replace them with fresh new ones. Yeah, that sounds good to me. This person would also make fresh sushi for me on a daily basis. Sorry, getting off topic.
A deterrent for me having a house full of fresh flowers is the cost. Until the day I have my dream garden complete with gerbera daisies, stargazer lilies, daffodils, hyacinths, irises, mums and roses, I have to purchase already cut flowers.
Recently, I found a secret little corner of my Krogers floral department. When the floral department manager sees a bouquet of flowers closing in on their "expiration", they get put in the corner and discounted. They have a big sale tag on them that reads, "Managers Special". The dozen pink roses you see here I purchased for $2.50. They are beautiful and they smell beautiful. Initially, they looked like they were getting close to the end of their time when in fact all they needed was a little TLC, which I happily gave them. A little warm water, a little cut of the stem, a little flower food - they perked right up and performed for me.
Sometimes I need to step back a take a hard look at what I'm putting on "Managers Special" in my life. What am I shoving in the corner so I can have bigger and better? What am I neglecting, what am I overlooking? What needs a little TLC?
I am loving my Managers Special...and being reminded that if I stop long enough to "smell the roses", there are treasures to be found all around me!
Kelsey has mad photo skills. Her and her husband, Jon, are owners of Focal Point Cinematic Weddings. Not only do they do incredible work, they are super cool peeps as well (and don't even get me started about their line dancing talent).
When my Mom was here visiting last week, we asked Kelsey if she would come and teach us some stuff about our cameras (my Mom just recently purchased a camera identical to mine). So Kelsey brought over her gear and her sweet spirit and we had a great time exploring our equipment.
We also roamed around in the backyard playing with our settings...
My mom and I had a super time and we learned some great stuff too (my mom video taped our discussion for future reference!).
I have to say, one of my favorite parts was test driving a few of Kelsey's lenses. First, the 50mm/f1.8 lens....and then, the "beast" lens. I don't remember the specs on that 2nd lens, but I know it was long, heavy and it brought me one breath away from a panic attack when I attached it to my camera. Whoa big boy...
Just want to say a big thanks to Kelsey again for being a great teacher. If you get a chance, check out her photo blog and see all the fabulous pictures she's shot. And for yet another treat, visit the Focal Point blog and see some of Jon & Kelsey's video productions!
Last week my mom was here visiting and us girls got our toes done. All the same color. Such an event called for a photo shoot. I think it's a framer, don't you? What? You don't agree?
Hey, it could have been worse - at least I didn't title it, "3 generations of toe jam".
I hesitated to even put this picture up. My toes look way swoll. (I know that's not appropriate usage of swoll, but I've recently discovered this word and can't stop using it...thanks, Jen O.)
A big shout out to Mom for treating my toes right.
Back in August, I participated in a collaboration put on by my friend Julie Prichard over at Land of Lost Luggage. We are tracking the seasonal progress of a local tree of our choosing. This week everyone is posting their "fall" entry...goody goody!
You all know how I feel about fall, fall trees, fall color, fall weather...anything fall, I'm all about it. You could say, I'm all about fall. HA! Ok, sorry. Let me get the train back to the station.
I need to vent about my tree selection. I am very disappointed in myself for the tree I picked for this project. VERY disappointed. Any of you who know my neighborhood (and my region) know the color there is. But my lady has left me wanting. She's a late bloomer, I knew that from last year - but wasn't thinking about it when I chose her back in August. Nevertheless, I need to stick with her...I'm hoping that for the "winter" submission, she will dazzle me with some snow-covered branches. Let's hope...
So, let's take a closer look at my lady:
Not to make my lady feel bad, but this is the tree I should have chosen...it's right down the street from my house:
Awww...she's a beauty. I'm just sayin.
We took a little day trip down to Sewanee, TN today. For those of you that have been with the Adventures for awhile, you may remember this post from last years trip to Sewanee. It was that trip that helped me to understand that trees here in Tennessee are not the same as my home state.
And if I haven't said it enough already, I have a insatiable obsession for fall foliage. Fall foliage makes me full of folly.
But, there was a little trouble in Sewanee paradise. A little series of storms and strong winds rolled through the region this past week and left my beloved trees much more nekkid than I would have liked. We were informed by the locals that last week was the perfect week - the rains of the season had put such color on the trees - the likes of which have not been seen in some time.
But Sewanee had other delights for me to take in...
We had lunch at the University's cafeteria....don't let the word "cafeteria" fool you. The food was excellent and the dining area was straight up 1800's gothic university motif. I felt like I was part of the cast of Dead Poets Society. Seriously.
So although we did not get to see the trees that I was hoping for, we had a great time roaming around Sewanee and taking in the beautiful sights of this Tennessee gem.
I like to sing. I like to sing like Ethel Merman. Really loud. Randomly.
Tonight, I was doing "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" (a personal fave) in my loudest Ethel Merman voice. However, I sort of launched off in mid-song:
"last week he took all my money...and it may sound funny..."
I was interrupted by the sound of my sweet precious 1st grader:
"MOM. You are not giving any details. Who is HE?"
I bet Jim Croce didn't have to deal with such questions.
Shhhhhhh.....can you hear it?
It's the sound of my internals SQUEALING with excitement!
It's fall, baby. That means TREES. Trees of ALL colors, shapes, sizes. I am in tree heaven. I even love dead tress - especially when contrasted with the living!
This weekend, I should have the opportunity to travel south a bit and capture some gorgeous color. Stay tuned...but if you can't wait until then to see tree pictures, take a quick trip here and here to see some of my pics from 2008.
I'm all geeked out about the trees....so what's geeking you out this fall??
it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
7. Sometimes a change of direction is required in order to continue the work of transformation
In a season of transformation, there may come a time when something we are doing no longer works or is not conducive to the direction we see God leading us. In order to press on, we may have to adjust our course a bit – or, maybe change directions altogether.
Upon hearing about the plot of the enemy and seeing the state of the workers, Nehemiah realizes that it’s no longer possible (or safe) to have everyone dedicated to the rebuilding the wall. He then implements a new strategy for the work of restoration (4:15-23).
8. Don’t overlook opportunities to take up the cause of others
Chapter 5 relates some issues occurring internally among the people. In a nutshell, “the rich were getting richer and the poor getting poorer primarily because of the way that the financial transactions contravened the Mosaic Law. Interest was being charged on loans in such a way that the people became crippled by debt. Nehemiah bravely addressed the issues and sought to equalize the economic levels among the people”
There could be a number of reasons why scripture takes a break from the story of Jerusalem’s wall project (Chapters 4 & 6) to tell us about the economic woes of the people and how Nehemiah addressed the situation. To me, it’s a reminder not to become so engrossed in the work of transformation that I miss opportunities to help & serve others. Not only that, but it’s a picture of unselfishness that convicts me of my own selfish ways.
9. More opposition? Yes…and sometimes from within your own people.
Opposition is a common theme in the story of Jerusalem’s restoration. We see it before restoration even begins, it carries on during the work and it continues even after the work is done. In Chapter 6 we see more pot stirring from Sanballat & Tobiah, as well some trouble from within.
“One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetable, who was shut in at his home…”
“I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah & Sanballat had hired him. He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.” (6:10-14)
10. When true transformation occurs in your life, even your enemies will take notice
“So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God” (6:15-16)
When a person overcomes obstacles to walk in true God-given victory, it is a testimony – even to your enemies. What glory to God!
11. The voice of opposition will occasionally find you even as you walk in freedom
Even after the completion of the wall, Tobiah continued to send intimidating letters to Nehemiah! (6:19)
To wrap up, transformation looks different for each one of us. We may not always experience the things outlined here, but we can certainly be aware of the possibility. Bottom line is when we let God do the work, the end result is going to be more than we could ever hope for or imagine!
 David Pawson, Unlocking the Bible (page 584), Great Britain: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2007
In my last post I began to share some of my thoughts from the book of Nehemiah - a book that has been speaking (very loudly!) to me lately. Towards the end of the post, I listed 11 lessons that I have learned from Nehemiah & the Israelites...lessons that I saw as being relevant to those undergoing seasons of transformation. Today I want to elaborate a bit on the first 6.
Scripture tells us that when Sanballat and Geshem heard about this, “they mocked and ridiculed us. ‘What is this you are doing?’ they asked. ‘Are you rebelling against the king?’” (2:19)
- Sometimes a change of direction is required in order to continue the work of transformation
- Don’t overlook opportunities to take up the cause of others
- More opposition? Yes…and sometimes from within your own people.
- When true transformation occurs in your life, even your enemies will take notice
- The voice of opposition will occasionally find you even as you walk in freedom
Read Part 3 here