Friday, February 29, 2008

Milk Glass

This is my little collection of milk glass. I believe all of it came from Billy's family, except the saucer which was on the free table at an antique store. I'm pretty sure it's all original, not reproduction--again, except possibly for the saucer which is unmarked. I'm not an expert, so I don't know how to tell.

Did you know milk glass could be translucent, like the fluted vase above? I didn't. I recognized the distinctive hobnail design, and when I researched I found that not all milk glass is opaque.

Show and Tell Friday hosted by Kelli.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cleaning Day!

After we moved into our charming old rental last year, Thursday cleaning day was one of the first routines I implemented. Since Billy has Friday off, it made sense to get the house in order before our weekend. It was soooo wonderful to know that at the end of Thursday, everything would be clean and tidy for another week. Then I got pregnant and we were on the road a lot and then we moved, and Thursday cleaning day fell by the wayside...But the last few weeks I've put it in place again.

Since I had a lot of catching up to do, I'm not sure it's been evident. Today is the first day I feel I've made significant headway and I might actually get the whole house clean by supper time. What a wonderful feeling!

This is one of the first things I want to work back into my routine after Baby comes. Maintenance is ideal, but clutter, dust, and odds and ends gather during the week and a good cleaning keeps all that under control. Speaking of which, I'd better get back to work if I'm going to get everything done.

What about you? Do you have one cleaning day each week? What are your best cleaning and maintenance tips?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Prince of Peace

For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end...

Isaiah 9:6-7

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Great Peace

Great peace have those who love Your law,

And nothing causes them to stumble.

Psalm 119:165

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sleep in Peace

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep,

For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:6

Priestly Blessing

The LORD bless you and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I don't know about you, but all this election stuff can make me anxious, even afraid, if I let it. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, major power shifts like the one in progress can bring on apprehension. After living in fear for many years, I am determined not to let that happen.

I've been studying the fruit of the Spirit in my daily time with God, and how appropriate that I'm now on the fruit of peace. For love and joy I meditated on a major passage (I Corinthians 13) and a book (Philippians), but my peace study is more topical.

I'll be sharing a few peace verses over the next few weeks. It's so wonderful to know we don't have to be afraid!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I Won a Giveaway!!!

I was so thrilled to win the Valentine giveaway at Jane's Apron recently. It's been too cloudy for pictures, or I've forgotten till after dark, so I finally took this one today so I can show off the goods. The giveaway was actually for the adorable red and white vintage apron. You may not be able to tell from the picture, but the fancy stitching is white ricrac with red thread--ingenious and so pretty. I'll treasure this addition to my little collection.

Julie was kind enough to include one of her heart kits, and a packet of her adorable cards which I have drooled over on Etsy. I have so admired her work, and it's all beautiful. Thank you, Julie!

Show and Tell Friday is hosted by Kelli.

Good Books

Elizabeth, who just turned 7, has become a voracious reader almost overnight. Billy and I have been collecting children's books from used book stores and library book sales for many years, and I'm delighted that Elizabeth is now enjoying them--actually before I expected her to. Some of my favorite children's books are from the 50's and early 60's--an optimistic era when children's books were more or less free of drama, perversion, and subjects too heavy for little ones.

She read Chief Takes Over last week. The copyright is 1956, and it's illustrated by Charles Geer, one of my favorite illustrators from that time.

In most of these books, children have two parents (unless they are orphans or a parent is widowed), whom they respect and obey, and hard work, industry, and resourcefulness are valued. All against the backdrop of a relatively safe and innocent time.

I really love Johnny and the Tool Chest. It's about a boy who dreams of buying an iPod tool chest full of wonderful things with which to create.

Here's one of my favorite bits:

"'s what I'll do," Mr. Thornton [Johnny's father] said. "If you save up half the price of the tool chest, I'll put up the other half."

Johnny's stomach was a lump of ice.

"But that would take a long time," he wailed. "I'd have to get practically twenty dollars."

"I think an industrious boy could earn that much in a reasonable amount of time," his father said. "That is, if it was important to him."

And another...

"--but there is only one sure way to get money," Mr. Thornton was saying. "And that is to work for it. You know, very few people ever strike oil or find buried treasure."

I love the way they call Johnny's father "Mr. Thornton" as though though that is what all adults are called. And I love the way Mr. Thornton is instilling in his son the values of hard work and saving.

By the way, Johnny and the Tool Chest is copyrighted 1964.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Best Things

Our moving time last December was pretty challenging, hard on everyone. You know, even good changes are sometimes really stressful. It seemed most days that no one had anything positive to say. No matter what the subject, my kids could turn it around and make it negative. I was starting to feel like a garbage dump for everyone's negativity.

So I started asking them a question at supper. "What is the best thing that happened to you today?" I was desperate to find a way to introduce some kind of positive speech to the family!

The first day they really had a hard time thinking of anything good. It took a few days of prompting, but almost overnight I noticed a change in attitude. Even if the day was rough, we were having uplifting conversation at supper. "Nothing" is not an acceptable answer! Sometimes if it's been a really bad or uneventful day, "eating supper" is the best thing!

Although "best things" started as a temporary fix, it has quickly become a tradition. If I forget, Billy or one of the kids remembers. It's become one of my favorite parts of the day. It's so wonderful to have a time when we remember the good parts of our day and share them with each other. So if you are tired of too much negative speech in your home, I'd encourage you to ask your family about the best thing that happened to them that day. It worked for us!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Elizabeth's Birthday Tea

Elizabeth's birthday was a couple months ago, but as with all Christmas babies it's hard to have a party near their actual birthday. This weekend was the first one available. She wanted a birthday tea.

We have never had a birthday party before (we've always just done family), and I have never even been to a tea party before. So I guess in a sense I had no expectations. I just wanted to bless my girl.

I had my doubts for awhile. It began as one of those days. You know, the 2 year old decides to be devilish, some of us aren't feeling well, everyone is grumpy, guests and workmen were in and out of the house all morning (more in than out), every time I'd start to do something someone would need something, and almost no one had RSVP'd so I didn't even know if anyone would come...

But around 12, people started calling to say they'd come, I got the babies to bed for a short rest, had the house to myself for an hour, and was able to dress, tidy, and set the tables in short order. Finally got in a productive groove. I was even finished before the first guest arrived at 1:00, which gave me a moment to breathe and collect myself. Whew! I was glad I had done most of the work in advance so I wasn't trying to fill goody bags or hunt down tea cups at the last minute.

The party itself was a smashing success. All 8 little girls we invited came! We are so blessed to have wholesome children for our kids to be friends with.

We let the girls make cards for a craft. I forgot how it is when you turn girls loose with glue and glitter. Billy described it as a feeding frenzy. They had so much fun!

They played with balloons in the yard and had cake and ice cream and tea...Uh, hot chocolate.

Nobody wanted to leave. And the other parents were even so wonderful to help clean up. The girls had a great time, and we grownups had sweet fellowship too. It was a good day after all. I felt thankful. I wanted Elizabeth to feel loved and blessed. Mission accomplished!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Greek to Me

Billy is taking a Greek class this semester. The other night when he sat down to practice his alphabet, he had Elizabeth and Silas practice with him. They loved to see that Daddy has schoolwork just like they do, and they spent over an hour writing Greek letters with him. Elizabeth says, "I am learning Greek with my Daddy!"

Silas thought it was more fun to write Greek than to write his name. (Yeah, I know my little southpaw isn't holding his crayon correctly...working on that one...)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Cup of Cold Water

Billy's friend Eric Geiger tells a super cool story about a life that was changed because someone gave a woman a drink of cold water. I love stories like this.

It reminds me a little of the small country church, Tabernacle Baptist, in the town where my parents live. When I was a teenager, we had been out of a healthy church for a very long time, and we hadn't gone anywhere at all in about a year. The sweet people of the church kept inviting us and giving us their little cards with church information and service times. At first we were both scared and uninterested. But we couldn't open a drawer or cabinet without finding one of those little white cards. Finally we succumbed and started attending the church, which brought about amazing spiritual change in our lives. Ultimately, the pastor and his wife introduced Billy and me, so I owe Tabernacle a debt of gratitude that extends past my time there as a member. I'm forever grateful to people who persisted in reaching out to us when we weren't sure we wanted to be reached out to.

My Valentine

Today I was reading a conversation online about shyness. The point was made—several times—that shyness is really pride and self-centeredness, to which I wholeheartedly say “Amen!” Reading about others’ struggles with shyness made me mentally retrace my journey to freedom. I was shy and socially awkward for many years. (Stay with me, this really is about my valentine.) I made excuses for my lack of social skill (“I just don’t fit in. People don’t like me.”) and blamed all those rude, thoughtless people who didn’t reach out to me, without taking any responsibility for my part. Which was, uh, about 90%.

I was critical and judgmental toward others about a host of issues.

I was also a very fearful person. Not long ago I was looking back at letters and journal entries from 1999. I was so afraid! Afraid of Y2K, meteor storms, invasions of several countries, and a host of other things (not just conspiracy theories). I worried all the time. For the record, none of what I worried about ever happened.

And I excused these things with the statement, “That’s just the way I am.”

In the midst of all this, Billy was God’s perfect gift to me. He loved me unconditionally, and, like God, didn’t look at my outward appearance but instead looked at my heart. I wanted to honor God with my life, I just didn’t know how in so many ways. A lot of my efforts to grow spiritually were just dead-end attempts to make myself good enough for God…But somehow Billy saw past that and loved me anyway.

I had a good life before we married, but after we married it became awesome. Marriage was great for lots of reasons, but one of the greatest was that I became joined with a man who helped me grow. He was not afraid to speak the truth in love. Billy is truly the most teachable person I have ever met. His entire life is committed to allowing God to make him into the person He wants him to be, by whatever means necessary. He is also gifted in helping others become more like Christ, one of the main reasons he’s now a discipleship pastor.

I can honestly say that I don’t know where I would be without him. He has sharpened and encouraged me more than he will ever know. With his guidance, I grew from a shy, awkward, fearful young woman to one who has found security in Christ, the freedom of faith and trust, and love for others. Billy has never been afraid to tell me, “Fear and worry are sin.” And then he’s been willing to help me break fearful thought habits. He confronted me when I made critical comments about people and was a loving example of God’s grace toward others. He loved me when I was too shy and insecure to answer a question in Sunday School or play a new board game with friends, and he continued to love me until I grew past those handicaps.

I’m still a long way from perfect, but I can say that Billy has been God’s greatest instrument for change in my life. He loves me like Christ loves the church. Looking back over the past 8 years, I am overwhelmed at how far I have come, largely because of the wonderful man God gave me. This Valentine’s day it might not sound very romantic to say that I love Billy because he has helped me grow spiritually, but it’s true. Thanks to his discipleship and leadership in our marriage, I know a freedom and hope I otherwise never would have.

I love you, Billy. Thank you for loving me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Inspiration Has Returned

Thanks to those of you who wondered if my absence meant the baby was here. Nope, not yet! I still have a few more weeks.

The computer was down for a few days, and then I just couldn't get into the swing of blogging again. So I guess it was an unintentional sabbatical. I have been busy just trying to stay on top of the household, school, and getting ready for Elizabeth's birthday tea. (Her birthday was quite awhile back, but this is the first available weekend for a party with friends.)

Meanwhile, I have found some really yummy new addictions. First, rooibos tea. Oh my. It is good.

And if it were necessary to intensify my love affair with the peanut butter cup, Reese's peanut butter hearts do the trick. More peanut butter and less chocolate than a regular peanut butter cup, they are too yummy for words!

So get thee out and splurge on rooibos tea and peanut butter hearts.

Why is it that I always start my post-sabbatical blogging with FOOD?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Out of Pocket

Or the computer hasn't been working properly...back to blogging soon I hope...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Streamline and Organize

Cherry Menlove chose a word for the year and asked her readers what their word would be too. I didn't think about it much at the time, but as January passed, I realized that I have two words that encompass my focus for this year: streamline and organize.

Over the past couple days I cleaned out both in my kids' rooms, similar to what I did for Elizabeth a couple years ago. The rooms are now well-organized, and I packed up all but a few toys and put them on a high shelf. That's where streamlining comes in. The kids are not overwhelmed. It's easy to keep the rooms clean. I am not stressed. They are not stressed. And they haven't missed anything. Actually Sarah asked for one toy which I got down for her, at which point she decided she didn't want to play with it after all.

I kept out a few dolls and accessories for the girls, along with their play kitchen stuff. I kept out Silas's dress up clothes and the stuff that goes with them (cowboy gun, football...), a few trucks and stuffed animals, and his tinker toys/building stuff.

They also have their lego table in the living room, tons of books, art supplies, scooters and bikes, and lots of fun, real-life, creative activities. Kids really do not need that many toys!

I can't put into to words how freeing this is. I have done it in other areas as I've unpacked, but the kids' rooms were a constant source of frustration for everyone. Now they feel manageable. I'm happy! They're happy!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Quiet Night

Billy was out of town one night this week. Whenever he's gone I miss him terribly and don't rest well, so I stay up until I know I'm so tired I'll fall asleep as soon as my head hits the lonely pillow! After I put the kids to bed, finished the dishes, and bathed, I spent a quiet hour with a cup of peppermint tea, the new Victoria (my first issue, I was so excited!), my journal, and some stitching. I so rarely get a quiet moment alone (much less a quiet hour), I hardly knew what to do with myself.

Quiet. Peaceful. Sweet.

Friday, February 01, 2008

His and Hers

When we first married, my decorating style was rustic country. Billy's was ornate traditional. Those two styles don't mix very well. Consequently, our decorating style became--nothing.

I think after 8 years we are finally coming up with things that work for both of us in our house. My style has grown a bit more sophisticated and neutral, and he has graciously conceded on a few points (like my great distaste for the color gold).

In our new kitchen we have almost no wall space, but next to the new bulletin board I hung our his and hers aprons. Mine is a cute retro half apron my sister made me. His (if you can't tell) is an LSU chef's apron. It represents us both, and says "our kitchen."

I just realized that his has purple and gold. Pretty funny! But in this context I am OK with it.

Show and Tell Friday hosted by Kelli.

(I have another show and tell at my craft blog!)