Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Ramblings…and Explosions…


Is it just me, or does it seem as if we all only recently took down our Christmas trees, and here it is already April!

April 2014

Time is flying by, yet plenty is happening.  Warm days and cold, bright days and stormy…

My dear Uncle from my mom’s side died unexpectedly.  It’s still kind of hard to believe.  He died on the exact day of my grandmother’s death (his mother) 16 years before, which was really something.  We will miss him, terribly so, but we can also rejoice because not only has he gone to be with the Lord, and his mom and dad, but also his much loved son that lived only 20 years.  You might recall mention of them in my post “My Cousin had a Pet Alligator.” 

On a more cheery note, a dear friend gave birth to a sweet baby girl.  Several households of us sat up all night waiting with anticipation.  Grandmamma and Auntie kept us all informed with text and Instagram.  My oldest daughter was in another household a couple of hundred miles away, yet we all still got to share the excitement.  Oh how we breathed a sigh of relief when we got word that Mom and Baby were safe.  She is such a little doll and bringing much joy!

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Another dear friend got a big surprise with the discovery of their fourth little one on the way.  I believe God loves to give His children surprises, just like we love to surprise our children with special gifts!

This is a birthday season for us, so there has been lots of surprises and gifts in the works around our household.  I’ve also found some great little surprises at thrift stores recently.  This vintage Betty Crocker Cook Book was one such treasure that I couldn’t pass up.

Vintage Betty Crocker Cookbook

And also, for my youngest daughter’s hope chest, 36 cups and 36 saucers featuring delicate little roses in her favorite shade, violet, were a fun find.  All for only $20! 

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Children do grow up so fast.  Since she turned 16, she got to try her hand at driving…DRIVING…MY BABY!!!

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Have I mentioned that I’m not READY!?

We all got a little surprise while we celebrated her birthday when the candles on her ice cream cake were lit.  We I didn’t pay attention to the packaging, so…   

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It went like this:

“Uh Mom, why are my candles sparking.” 

“Oh, it’ll be fine.  Look at me,” I casually said as I snapped pics. 

More sparks…then lots more…as if she had sparklers on her cake…
Wait, what?…

Blow…blow….BLOW… by several of us without success as another grabbed for candle packaging and read…

The packaging may as well have said FOOLED YOU!  But it didn’t exactly.  Only it was clearly labeled “trick candles,” which I failed to notice, AND, in addition it said “no more than 10 candles per cake…” 

She had sixteen, being that it was her 16th birthday and all… WHOOPS!

Hubby grabs them ONE at a time and runs to the kitchen sink…with HOT fingers, I might add.

You can imagine how quickly he was moving, but to the rest of us it seemed as if he were in slow motion while her cake flamed and sputtered.  One at a time wasn’t getting it, since the sink wasn’t right next to the cake.  But none of the rest of us had the courage to grab them so we just all stood and WATCHED…   

Leave it to me to nearly catch the house on fire on a very special birthday…

But not all was lost…

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And the icing on the cake - well not the fire hazard ice cream cake (good thing she had two cakes this year and believe me, no trick candles on the second one!) - was that with her birthday money and a significant amount of work saving up, she finally got to buy her much anticipated laptop.  My diligent girl is good at saving. 

And she can cypher too!

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And much to my delight she has already finished up her physics book for the school year.  At this rate, she will get to enjoy a good amount of time off for summer break.  Although her pencils usually need sharpening, and last week her history textbook seemed to have dropped off the planet, I have not one doubt that she will still get the job done.  My little history buff, she is!

She got a chance to attend a Civil War reenactment several weeks ago which she always loves. 

American Civil War Reenactment

And if you ask me, she was the bell of the ball at the reenactment ball, in spite of our last minute attempt to throw together an 1860’s costume with no plan whatsoever…

The cannons at the reenactment weren’t the only explosions happening.

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No cannon balls came flying through the windows, and nope, not from the trick candles; Smile with tongue out 

just the furniture…  Who knew that my baby getting a laptop would somehow cause us to need to rearrange our entire house!  Does that ever happen to you?  I mean one tiny thing leads to another and another…

The desktop computer found a more discreet location in a different room with the arrival of her laptop,

which caused the TV to move to a better looking spot in the family room,

which caused a few chairs to be relocated,

which caused curtains and chairs to clash,

which caused… I could go on but I won’t. 

Needless to say, after a while, hubby and son looked about like the reenactment guy that is playing dead in my picture above. :)

Well, it’s a wonder that Pinterest hasn’t exploded, with the pinning rampage that I have been on lately (you can find me here)!

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That just about sums up life in the Smith household this spring, I think.  What you been up to? Signature

Monday, March 31, 2014

“I’ll Get It!”

 

300px-Ringtone_symbol.svgOh all the rings and dings in our lives these days... Sometimes I'm glad for them, and then sometimes, well, not so much.

Last night my daughter's tablet sent her its little "fairy ring," alerting her of something or the other. I watched as she responded to it quicker than her knee jumps when the doctor checks her reflexes. But, she was eating her supper.  A casual one, with us all gathered around the TV eating various pickins' from the kitchen, hers being her favorite frozen pizza.

This brief observation of her automatic response got me thinking how all the alert sounds of our gadgets have trained us so well to respond swiftly.

Would that describe how we respond to God when we "hear" His prompts in our hearts?

With further observation, I saw her extinguish her automatic response, because she was enjoying that pizza that was cooked to a crisp, just how she likes it.

run to phoneWay back when, in my growing up years, if the phone rang, we answered it. Without question. In this day and age of answering machines, voice mail, caller ID, screening calls is definitely an option. If I am in the middle of something, I'm inclined to not so much as check to see who is calling.

It's now so easy to ignore and screen calls. Do we do the same to the Lord?

Like those times when He sends a caution to our hearts to not do a certain thing, but yet our desire to move forward and do it anyway is so strong that we ignore the ring of God's call...

The next time I get a "God ring," alerting me of something or the other, I hope that I respond as quickly as my daughter initially did to her device. And as we all know, screening His calls is definitely not the best plan! Answering every call. Without question. Now that's the way to go!

                                                                  Hugs my friends!Signature

Monday, March 3, 2014

When We’re Lacking…

 

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An elated caller’s voice praised God with all her heart as my little sweetie and I zipped down the interstate, heading to a ballet lesson.  The voice on the radio was exuberantly joyful.  What great thing had happened to make her on such a high?  No, she hadn’t come into an unexpected fortune, which you might would have guessed if you had heard her excitement - twenty dollars was what this was all about.  She had been jobless and was finally hired.  But it was a long way from home – one-hundred plus miles away from home.  She had enough gas money to get there, but had to tap into her faith in God to get home.  On her way back, as gas was looking low, she scrambled around in her car, and managed to come up with three dollars and some change.  That amount of gas dwindled quickly.  As she wondered what to do next, she chose to trust God.  With the next stop, she saw a car that said “MERCY” on the license plate.  Humbly, and a bit embarrassed, she knocked on their window, briefly explaining that she was trying to get home and if they could just perhaps give her five dollars, she might could make it.  “Will this help?” the driver asked as she was handed a twenty dollar bill.

As I listened to her account, and heard the sheer euphoria in her voice as she told her story, I marveled at her thrill over that amount of money. 

I thought about one conversation of many that I had just had the day previously as someone I am close to fretted over the possibility of their finances dwindling.  Understandably so.  They are faced with some difficult decisions that may have a big impact on their financial future.  Investments, real-estate…were all part of the conversation.  A bounty really, when measured by this radio caller’s situation, was causing so much anxiety. 

This voice on the radio knew something that perhaps many miss.  She knew that she could trust God.  She could trust Him with her present, which was getting to work, and she knew that she could trust Him with her future, which was getting back home. 

I’ve seen it so often in my lifetime:

Having little can actually create a spiritual richness that few experience. 

Whether it is in finances, or health, or relationships…whatever I may be blessed with or lacking in, I hope that I remember this radio caller - her joy, her faith, her trust, her humility, her hope, her gratefulness for what the Lord blessed her with. 

And most of all, I hope that I remember that the greater blessing may be in the lacking…

Hugs, my friends.  If you haven’t heard much from me lately, it is because I’m having some computer trouble and don’t much like to type on my tablet or borrow my kids computers… :)

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Monday, February 3, 2014

February’s Focus

 

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Frigid, single digit temperatures have been in our seven day forecast here and there lately, and right in the same week it is not unusual to see sixty and seventy degree weather.  Southern Februarys are notorious for this.  I’m sure you folks can relate, southerners or not.   

The inconsistency of Fickle February isn’t what we think about the most this month though; we’re more focused on love with Valentine’s Day on the horizon.

Both the erratic weather and Valentine’s Day have set my mind thinking about and evaluating the love that I have for the Lord.  Is it warm?  Cold?  Lukewarm (see Rev. 3:16)?  Inconsistent and all three?

Consider Romans 8:28 - “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.”  Our minds tend to stop with the word “good” in this verse, and not notice that it applies only to those that love God.  Are we one of “them”?

Jesus gives us three simple words that will help us evaluate how we’re doing with loving Him in John 14:15 when He says “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  In John 14, Jesus tell us three times that love is equivalent to obedience.

Jesus not only gives us those three words, but He instructs us to love God in three ways:  with all our heart (our emotions), and with all our soul (the center of our personality), and with all our mind (our thoughts) ( see Matt 22:37).  A similar verse is in Deut. 6:5 – “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might (all that is in us).

In John 21, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times.  How would you and I respond to our Savior’s question?

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Monday, January 27, 2014

A Family Fun App

Hey dear friends,

Just in case you haven’t played it, I wanted to share with you an app that is so much fun! 

Everyone in our household, from 15 to 50 (plus a little more!) has gotten addicted to playing this fast-paced word search game called Scramble with Friends by Zynga.

We play with each other on our various tablets and it has started numerous impromptu family game nights. 

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Each turn is 2 minutes long.  You make as many words as you can on a 4x4 grid by sliding your finger across the letters.  You can go any direction, as long as the letters connect.  

This game is so much fun and it’s FREE!  I got it from Amazon, but it is available other places too.

Have a great week, dear friends, and stay warm!  Looks like many of us are going to freeze!  But the good news is, spring will be here before we know it! Signature

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Poodles in Wonderland


I’ve been wanting to tell you about a project, and just in case you thought that I might have dropped off of the planet, I thought today might be a good day to post!

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This embroidery project was inspired by my daughter’s darling little gray poodle that LOVES cookies better than any critter that I have ever seen!

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So when I saw this vintage 1950’s Vogart pattern, I knew it was just the perfect project to make for my gal. 

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It stitched up so easy and was a lot of fun.  The hardest part was choosing floss colors!  Stitching it went quickly and I was able to surprise her, giving it as a little Christmas gift.

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It was so hard to get myself to actually cut the vintage pattern that was still in mint condition, and even though I mustered up the courage, turns out that it wouldn’t iron on well due to its age.  So, I ended up tracing it.  NEXT time, I’ll know better, and not cut! :)

It framed nicely in an 8 x 10 frame, matted with a 5 x 7, although the fit was just a little tighter than I wanted.

Another Christmas gift for her was this 1930’s typewriter!  It wasn’t a surprise, since she spied it at a local antique store before I did, but it was a delightful, unexpected find just the same!

30's typewriter 

We discovered that ribbon is still available for it.  When we get some, she is going to type a few lines of Alice in Wonderland on vintage looking paper to display in the typewriter, because of another recent find.

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At a rummage sale one day, I found these collectors plates.  She is such a fan of Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland that I couldn’t pass these up.  I was so happy that it was the full set, and their condition was perfect.

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They’re a little busy, kind of wild and creepy really, but much to my surprise, they looked cute in her room - her sunny, bright room that matches her oh so sunny disposition!

It’s a crisp, sunny day here and we’re recovering from the flu.  It has taken forever, it seems, to get back on our feet, but I think the worst is behind us.  I hope you all are staying warm and well!  Have a wonderful day, my friends!

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Monday, January 6, 2014

The Little Tree


christmas_ornamentIt began with a red Christmas ornament.  A lone little tree sat on the side of a road in Brandon, Mississippi for months, after perhaps falling off of a truck or maybe being dumped out, back sometime in the summer.  The tree died, and had been there long enough that those that passed by regularly didn’t notice it anymore, if they ever did. 

Until one day, a shiny red ornament showed up on the crispy, dried branches of the little tree. 

The following day, the tree had a new addition; a strand of silver garland glistened in the sunlight as it curved around the branches, making the little tree with a sparse scattering of small brown leaves hard to miss.  Over the days ahead, morning commuters were filled with curiosity and anticipation as to what might adorn the tree next as they journeyed out to their tasks of the day.      

As darkness shrouded the night sky, bit by bit, evening by evening, town folks quietly added to the now endearing little tree, hoping to be as anonymous as those who had already taken part in embellishing it.  With smiles and laughter, families began to tell each other about the little tree. Who knew that one small action would grow and spread such merriment?

Before long, the little tree was filled with a colorful array of Christmas ornaments, bright red bows, beaded garland, and a set of solar powered lights.  Packages wrapped in festively printed Christmas paper appeared, each one nestled under the little tree.  Beside the tree, a small American flag brought patriotism to the scene, which to me, in a nutshell, represented what was happening in the Brandon community.   

This real life story makes me think of another little tree that is told about in one of my favorite childhood tales, as it probably does you.

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In light of the new year as I map out hopes and goals, the story of what happened with the little tree also makes me think about how if we each do our part, what a difference it will make.  With busy schedules, we sometimes neglect what is in our hearts to do.  But like the town’s people in Brandon, MS, if each of us do a little something, just think of all the lot of somethings that will happen, and what great things will be accomplished as a result!

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I hope that you, dear reader, had a Merry Christmas, and are off to a great start with the New Year.  Hugs to you, and thank you for the time that you have taken to read my posts and visit.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Traditions Trivia Series: Gift Giving


Most of us have been on a quest the past several weeks (or more!) to find the perfect gift to give our family members and our friends.

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No doubt about it though, the perfect gift has already been given;

Jesus! 

God Himself gave us the first and best Christmas Present that there could ever be!!  Thus, the tradition of gift giving began.

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The image of the Wise Men giving gifts to Jesus is associated with Christmas, and we often see Nativity scenes with the shepherds and the Magi peering at Baby Jesus.  The chronology of the events of Jesus’ birth are understandably confusing.  When studied closely, however, evidence points to Jesus being about one or two years old when the Wise Men arrived.

The Bible does not tell us how many of these men followed the miraculous star in the East, which led them to where the Christ Child was, but we do know that they brought Baby Jesus three gifts.

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“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.”  Matt. 2:11

Gold symbolizes  the deity and glory of our Savior.  Frankincense is a fragrance, representing the sinless and perfect life of Jesus.  Myrrh is a bitter herb, signifying the suffering Jesus would endure to pay our sin debt.

These Magi were divinely warned in a dream not to return to Herod.  In spite of how they might have lived before their journey to Jesus, once they experienced Him, their obedience was to God, not Herod.  Isn’t that the way it goes - an encounter with Jesus is always life changing, and route changing too!divider 
The most common gifts given in times past of celebrating Jesus’ birth were sweet oranges, which were rare treats, or homemade food items, and handmade clothing & crafts.  Stockings that were actually worn were hung on hearths with anticipation of finding treats in them, dating back as early as the fourth century.

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As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we can give back to God by giving to others.  While we hope that our loved ones’ faces light up with joy as they open their presents – presents that we put such thought and effort into - what’s more important is that we do all that we can to help them receive the Greatest Gift of all!

I hope that each of you have a very Merry CHRISTmas!   

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Traditions Trivia Series: Christmas Cards


Continuing my Christmas Tradition series, today we will look at the history behind Christmas greeting cards.

Christmas Vintage Ice Skating

Greeting cards were originally created by the Chinese celebrating the New Year.  In those ancient times, they were sent primarily by the ruling classes.  Later, ancient Egyptians also sent greeting cards.

A postal service called the Penny Post began in London, England in 1680.  It was affordable enough that ordinary people could send mail within 10 miles of the city.  The Penny Post was highly successful and the idea caught on. 

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In the US, Benjamin Franklin initiated the forerunner of the US Postal Service in 1792.  Before long, postal delivery became widespread, making it possible for people to send cards and letters worldwide.

1904 postal angel

With the postal services in place, the first commercially available Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in 1843. 

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Cole’s credentials included writing children's books, designing the world’s first stamp, inventing a prize winning teapot, and he was the founder of the Victoria and Albert museum in London.  If you’re not familiar with his name, you may recognize him by his nickname – “Old King Cole,” as he was affectionately called.

The designer of this first American Christmas card was John Callcot Horsley.  Below is what the card looked like, and it was met with a bit of controversy because of the young child sipping wine.  

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Printing methods improved, and Louis Prang from Germany became known as “the father of the American Christmas Card” as he began massively producing and selling Christmas greetings in the US in the mid 1870’s. 

Christmas greetings became more common by this point, and provided ample opportunity for artists, writers, printers, and engravers. 

The following cards are by Kate Greenaway, a famous children’s book illustrator.  She began her career designing Christmas, New Year, and Valentine cards. 

Where are you going, my pretty maid? 

Prithee little maiden!

Home for the Holidays

A Happy Christmas. Victorian greetings card (1881)

Aren’t they sweet!  I love her artwork!

Well, thank you for joining me today as we take a look at the tradition of sending Christmas greetings.  Will you also join me in prayer this week for those that are in need of knowing Jesus as their Savior?  Let’s pray that they will be drawn to Him this Christmas Season, realize their need, and respond to His calling.

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