Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pinterest Ignites my Craftiness

I don't know if you have discovered Pinterest yet, but let me warn you in advance, it is a bit addictive. Basically, it is an online pin board, which allows you to save all those great pictures, quotes, recipes and such that you find around the internet. It also allows you to follow people's pins (luckily I have amazingly crafty and stylish friends!) and see what the larger community of "pinners" are interested in. I've found some amazing ideas and last week decided it was time to quit looking and thinking "someday" and actually try some of those crafts out!

First up: Mod Podge scrapbook paper onto tiles, add felt on the bottom and voila! you have new coasters. Here is my attempt.
Next time I'll cut the paper a bit smaller and maybe round the corners, but I like them.

Second project: Mod Podge (I was on a roll with a new bottle!) scrapbook paper over an oatmeal container to store headbands on the outside and bows and such on the inside.
Alli loves it, but I must admit that the paper bubbled a bit under the mod podge, but who's really going to see that, when covered with all those headbands? I will warn you, a 12x12 scrapbook sheet doesn't fully wrap around the container, so I had to cut and glue an extra piece, but I put that part towards the wall.

Now, on to all those other projects that I have been "pinning" all day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Energy Balls

I've been looking for snacks and treats that are easy to make and relatively low in sugar to give the kids since they seem to be ravenously hungry 99% of their awake hours. Somehow, last night, the memory of these quick bite no-bake cookies came to my mind and I decided to look up the recipe and make them. They are a perfect recipe to have your kids "help" you make.

Quick Energy Pick-Me-Ups

3-4 crushed graham crackers
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. instant non-fat dry milk
3 Tbsp. water
optional: coconut

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Using a tablespoon measurment, scoop out dough and form into balls. Refrigerate for 1 hour before eating, then keep refrigerated.
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Thanksgiving in Grief

Last week a friend returned from 7 1/2 long months in Afghanistan. While he was away, I prayed for his safety, but probably more often I prayed for his wife. Their children are grown and so she had to live by herself while he was deployed. I can't say which I would hate worse - being away from my husband for so long, or having to sleep in an empty house each night. Either way, there was much rejoicing this last week when word came he was home.

I found myself praising God for his safe arrival. I thanked Him for keeping our friend alive and for being everything his wife needed during this extended trial. I saw God working in her life, specifically, I saw her leaning on Him to get her through each day and I appreciated her opening up her heart to others when they asked how she was doing.

Yesterday was the first day I was able to see our friend since he came home. I hugged him as I entered the church before the service began. I told them both that I had been praying for them and praising God for bringing him home.

And then it hit me. I don't know if I've praised God for anything since we lost our baby. The Spirit pricked my heart during the worship service and immediately tears filled my eyes. I thought I had nothing to praise Him for - how could I be thankful for the tears and heartache we've experienced over the past 2 1/2 months? But that one instance of thankfulness reminded my heart of the joy gratefulness brings. It reminded me that although I have been remiss to thank God for much of anything these last few months, He has been and continues to be very gracious to me. And I can be thankful, even in grief.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Power of the Written Word

I was cleaning up today, and as I gazed around the dining room looking for articles out of place, my eyes rested on a pile of cards. Nothing belonging to the kids, but a stack of letters and cards that have been arriving in the mail since we lost Stephen.

I gazed at them for a moment. They have collected on a cherry hutch since mid-June. The first few weeks after our loss, they came every day, many in each mail delivery. As the weeks passed, the flow of sympathy cards diminished, but their power did not.

I found every bit of condolences offered as very touching. In this technological world, many of the messages we received were over Facebook, email or texts. Those were great. They were nearly instantaneous and greeted me every time I sat down at the computer. But there was something special in those cards. The fact that someone took the time to carefully select a sympathy card, and then to write a personal note acknowledging our pain was immeasurably comforting.

Feeling the grace and kindness from others expressed in a handwritten letter has been incredibly healing. I am resolved to be better about it myself as I encounter others who grieve. And less you are tempted to think that it is too late to send a card, that too much time has gone by since your friend experienced a loss, let it be known that some of the most touching letters we received arrived weeks, even months after our loss. Please don't think that the time frame matters as much as the sentiment. I know people who have cherished notes even years after their loss, knowing that someone realizes they still mourn.

I decided to put those cards away today. But not before I read each and every one of them over again, pausing for a moment to relish each sentiment. The tears came, as my heart swelled with the remembrance of each grace given in every note. I tucked them into the box of things I have for Stephen and put them away in my closet. Out of sight, but of course, never out of mind.

So if I can encourage you to say something to those grieving around you, can I also encourage you to write something? Take whatever time you need to do it, but do it nonetheless. I guarantee you will bless the hurting around you.