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…and that’s what I’m going to do for this week. Take a deep breath. Because before I share with you all the absolute craziness happening around here, I’m going to take a week off the net and hang out with a friend in the city. We plan to take a lot of art classes and eat at places where folks are proud to be called “foodies”. Personally, I plan to finish some schoolwork, read an entire book, and make massive progress on the knitted scarf I’m supposed to wear for Easter Sunday. I have letters to catch up on, and at least ten more pages to write on the second book I’m working on. My first book, Present (the story of my addictive-to-peaceful journey through the distractions of social media and internet) waits on cover art and an ISBN number. Closer, closer…

 

In the meantime, I’m still art journaling and messing around with glue and paper and paint and pen. Once, a friend asked what the point of it was. I suppose I came up with some good reasons. But now as I think about it, I’m not sure everything has to have a point. Sometimes “just because” is enough.

 

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Another friend gifted me her second loom and I am thrilled. I guess I like playing with yards and yards of threads and weaving them together into pieces that are both useful and beautiful. I’m always amazed when I can get hundreds upon hundreds of yarns, all yards and yards long apiece, onto the loom successfully. Sometimes it sort of looks like a rat’s nest when it’s coming together. But I know better. Sort of like the stuff going on right now…which I will tell you about when I return, Lord willing.

 

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Oh, and we’re raising chicks in the basement again, both layers (eggs) and broilers (meat). I suppose it was an interesting experiment to go without fresh eggs and good pastured meat, but I miss those foods like crazy so we are officially now, as was once said to me disdainfully, “chicken farmers”. You can partly chalk that up to us being “foodies”.

 

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I just turned 44. I’m so grateful for the life the Lord’s given to me. I find it challenging in many ways, but soul-sastifying, too. Sometimes I’m reminded I’ve yet to meet certain standards that I may or may not agree with, but then I remind myself that the Lord joys over me with singing, and I have peace walking with Him. In the midst of it all, I truly believe I am living a wonderful life.

 

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I can’t wait to share all the news with you! For now, I need to get packing :)

 

Blessings,

 

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Matthew 16:23   But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

 

I’ve been parked in the book of Matthew for a bit, mainly because of Bible Study Fellowship. If you have a hard time reading your Bible every day, or even understanding it, or if you’re just curious, I’d recommend this ministry to you. For me, it has been quite satisfying having yet another day in my week to meet with my sisters and to stand and sing more hymns. Can you sing too many hymns in a week?

 

Poor Peter. I think we shall all one day gather round the man and say, “Me, too! Me, too!”  Of course, our failings were not written for the benefit of others coming after us; instead they were forgotten, buried under the ocean waters, as far from the east is from the west. I’ve been meditating on what it means to “savor the things of God”, and of course how the world and my flesh pull me to grow in anxiety or self-righteousness instead.

 

I share Baxter’s lament, “WHY is not my life a continual joy, and the savor of heaven perpetually upon my spirit?”  And yet I know why. But I still ask. And struggle. Such is the Christian life, meandering through the glory and the garbage of this world.

 

I got a bread bucket recently. I bowed out of fighting over one on eBay that finally sold for some $300 (!!) but managed to quietly buy one outright for about $70. I think  of it as my Kitchen Aid without the plug. The crank turns the dough hook to knead the dough, and then the pot can be used in a warm place to give it rise. It has far more room than my electric mixer. It is simple, beautiful and very useful. What is not to like about the simple things? This bucket was made in 1902 and works like a charm. I can’t say I’ll be passing down my Kitchen Aid to my great grandchildren.

 

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Baking bread is a lovely way to pass the day. Again, what is not to like? Feeding the sourdough starter, mixing ingredients, kneading, rising, BAKING (oh the smell!!) and then at the end to slice off a bit that’s warm and slather fresh yellow butter, dripping onto fingers. When I think of a simple, commonplace, slow, thoughtful, easy paced life, I think of baking bread.

 

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Matthew 16:9   Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

 

This is another meditation of mine lately: to REMEMBER. When the trials are strongest, when everything seems (and is!) uncertain, when God seems silent and you’re just waiting for answers, direction, a plan…God calls us to remember. Remember His faithfulness, remember His great love, remember His promises (yes, even the ones that say you WILL have trial and tribulation), and remember He has neither left nor forsaken. Sometimes I have trouble remembering. It takes a stubborn will to put my hands out and say, “Yes I SEE the waves and water……but I WILL look for my Jesus coming upon them.”

 

I am knitting a shawl for Easter. It is one thing that keeps my mind on the cross, to REMEMBER Him and the hope I have and the peace He gives even in the storms. I imagine it covering my shoulders as He covers me with grace. If you look closely, you can see the little beads on the edge. They look like raindrops. Or tears. Both beautiful.

 

If you like to knit, you can find the pattern here. I just love this store and the owners, too. It would make me happy to see you shop there if you have the time and funds.

 

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My book, Present, is at another reader’s eyes and is about ready for professional editing. The next step is to finally *decide* upon self-publishing or endeavoring to find an agent. Both have their benefits. In the meantime, I’ve begun a second book on hospitality. Don’t we all need more of that? Don’t we all long to not only feel at home, but to embrace our friends and neighbors with that same love and comfort and companionship? I think we’ve had our fill of busyness and separation….look where it’s gotten us. So much loneliness in the world today. We’re called to be comforters, as we have been comforted.

 

My latest little pleasure is collecting frogs to place my paintbrushes in. Art journaling helps me to let my mind rest, to wonder and ponder and think things through. Weaving on the loom does the same thing; I love the hundreds of little threads and even the words like warp and weft and weave. God is so good, that even in the midst of a mess of heezie-hozie, He allows some sweet moments of rest.

 

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Are you in a mess? It’s part of life. But let us press one another to seek to savor the things of God and to be thankful for those blessings within it all. If you’d like to keep up with my writing endeavors, I invite you to join my mailing list at the top of the blog. I surely appreciate my readers so much.

 

Blessings,

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On Goal(s) Setting

January 4, 2014

Isaiah 52:12   For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.  I love the beginning of a new year much as I love Mondays. Fresh starts. New days. Hope. In setting goals for the day or week or month […]

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I Wrote a Book! And More LOOMing Projects

December 9, 2013

If you’re on my email list (and you are, right?) you already know that I’ve written a book. If you’ve been with me a long while, you also know that A Happy Home was a blog I quit for a short season because I was so completely distracted by the internet and its siren call. […]

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Christmas Card Art: From Pinterest to Pin-ter-DO

November 20, 2013

I love how you can learn so many things on the internet. I think the trick is to not simply pop everything onto Pinterest for that nebulous “whenever” but to actually try your hand at some of the things that inspired you to pin them in the first place. Many thanks go to Christy Tomlinson […]

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3 Reasons to Art Journal

October 28, 2013

1.  It’s quiets the mind, especially on an evening in front of a fire (even if it’s just from propane).  Music optional.     2.  It’s a little of everything:  collage, pencils, watercolor, stuff (AKA as ephemera).  Good for the indecisive or bored .     3.  It’s hard to be in two places at […]

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Fall: Time to Harvest (Fruit), Time to Plant (Ideas)

October 9, 2013

Right on cue, the rains have fallen and the winds have begun to dust the alders and firs outside my home. Autumn is here!  Down the gravel drive, unpicked blackberries lie limp on the vine, their leaves turning reddish and preparing to die down for the season.  I am thankful for it.  I love this […]

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Trades for the Upcoming Art & Soul Retreat

September 26, 2013

One of the fun things going on at the Art and Soul Retreat is an opportunity to participate in trades.  From what I understand, you bring some artwork or supplies or whatnot that you can *trade* with someone else at the event.  I had no idea what I had to offer, but I thought I could […]

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Suffering–and What to Do With Old Journals

September 22, 2013

I pondered what to do with all of the old books, those thick notebooks full of prayers, thoughts, dreams and probably far too many complaints.  They all sat on the floor for months, giving me time to flip through, read a little here and there.  Some of it made me laugh.  But lots of it […]

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More of August

August 12, 2013

More of August Break   SKYLINE HOME SOMETHING OLD SAVOR Blessings,

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What to Do While Floundering

August 6, 2013

Or not.  This is what *I’ve* been doing.   Ever since we tried to sell our house and then took it off the dumpy market, I’ve been turning it all upside down and redecorating, repainting, replanting, re-re-re-thinking about how to make the house I was (and still am, in a sense) ready to walk away […]

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How to Artfully Store Art & Craft Supplies

August 5, 2013

Well, I lost my craft room (you can go look….I’ll wait…).   As it turned out, we needed that space to spread out my girls more; Ruby is not exactly the easiest roommate to share a space with.  But as I was removing everything, I was actually a little excited.  One, that room was the first […]

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Growing is Messy

July 26, 2013

I’ve been going through half a dozen large boxes full of papers and schoolwork (yes, even from kindergarten!).  Mostly I can’t believe I’ve kept all of this stuff, hauling it from here and there, hither and yon.  The weight of it all is heavy (on multiple levels), and I do wonder why I kept certain […]

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How I Make Time

June 24, 2013

How do I make time to work on those things I want to keep learning? How can you?   Pick at it, here a little, there a little; 15 minutes a day is still almost 2 hours a week Chuck the TV and turn off the internet Read nonfiction in the bathtub or even while […]

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Moms Need to Keep Learning, Too

June 17, 2013

I know the exasperation of wanting to know how other stay-at-home mothers *do it* while they’re raising their children.  How does she write those books, sell handmade goodies online, sew up cute everythings, and then take all those amazing photos to blog about it all?  Well, more than once I’ve had the poignant aha moment of […]

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Contemplative Bible Study Through Art

June 15, 2013

Peace seems so hard to come by these days and I’m afraid it is not because we are so often victims of circumstances.  Rather, it is that we are volunteers.  We give up rest when the blank squares on our calendars clamor for events.  We add on activities upon activities, and burdens that are not […]

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Contemplating the Potting Bench

June 2, 2013

I am really enjoying the art ideas and lessons from Scarlet Lime.  Here is the watercolor potting bench I just finished.  It was pretty relaxing to do             Little projects that only take a few days are very satisfying right now.  Have a blessed week, friends.

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You Don’t Have to DI(all)Y

May 31, 2013

Acts 9:6  …Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?     It was a little too much for me, this small little post I came across.  It endeavored to teach me how to make *something* in my kitchen from scratch.  Now, I’m not even going to say what *it* was because probably someone in these parts […]

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Art Journaling: What I Need

May 16, 2013

I’m very much enjoying art journaling, beginner that I am.  It’s a definite stretcher for me to break from using just words to dump my brain and to try to (literally) draw it out.  Although, it’s funny, I still filled up the page with words!  I was thinking about how I needed to guard my […]

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Mixed Media Bookmarks

May 11, 2013

I enjoyed making bookmarks for our new book club.  I recently figured that I’ve been running book clubs for twelve years now!  It’s always a blessing to get together.  We meet once a month, for one chapter a month.  It sounds like a long time to get through a book, but it works out great […]

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The Problem of Pinterest

April 17, 2013

Pinterest has been a wonderful tool to organize all of the website pages and ideas I love.  I no longer have to remember sites, clutter up my bookmarks, or lose places when the internet goes down or I mindlessly close up the dozens of tabs waiting for that elusive time I call “later.”  Furthermore, I […]

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My Craft Room Remodel

March 10, 2013

I know I’ve been quiet here.  I’m finding myself stepping away from a lot of things, activities, and even people, so it makes sense that other areas would get a little choppy too.  It’s like I’ve been throwing everything up into the air and just standing there waiting to see how things would fall into […]

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UnDocumented

August 7, 2012

I’m sitting here with the laptop on my (where else?) lap, and thinking about all I’ve been doing lately.  What I haven’t been doing is documenting everything.  There’s just something freeing about being able to, say,  take a hike with the kids and not take a camera to share it with others.  I’m finding a difference between […]

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Art Journaling for Beginners

April 21, 2012

  I’ve kept a handwritten journal for many, many years.  In it are thoughts from my days, trials I’ve worked (and am working) through, ideas and lists, Bible studies and prayers, poetry, hopes and plans and just bunches of stuff that I wish I had from a great-grandma or two regarding their lives, good, bad […]

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Re-Purposing Vintage Suitcases

April 7, 2012

My husband brought these two small personal travel cases into our household twenty years ago, not because of the cases themselves, but because they kept all of the old telephone wire and other odds and ends he might need *someday*.  Suffice it to say, after two decades they were still just hanging out in the […]

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The Pitfall and Practice of Lent

March 1, 2012

Psalms 116:7-9  Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.   For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.   I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living. I’ve been slowly and quietly working through the book of Galations.  It is here […]

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A Day in My Life, Part 3

February 7, 2012

If you missed it, you can catch part one here, and part two here. Late Afternoon to Evening I manage to put my feet up and knit two rows for my baby’s blanket, while the children are cleaning up after lunch and finishing their music lessons and artwork.  This is how this blanket is progressing: […]

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A Day in My Life, Part 2

February 5, 2012

If you missed it, you can read Part 1 here. Midday I join my 5 and 7 year olds to help them with folding the small mountain of kitchen linens threatening to overtake our sofa.  We use mostly cloth napkins and dish towels rather than paper products, in reds, yellows, greens, and oranges.  Bright colors for […]

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One Thing to Do With Quilt Scraps

January 11, 2012

Over the Christmas break I managed to quickly put together a little quilt for my craft room wall (I’ll share soon!).  As I was about to throw out the little pile of triangles, I thought perhaps I could do something shabby-cute with them.  So I did.  I made a few thank you notes and used […]

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Crafting Out Time: Every Day Matters

December 15, 2011

Christmas is almost here, and I find myself relaxed these days, enjoying the Advent season.  Are you harried and frenzied?  If so, please check out my friend’s new ebook (it’s free!): Ready in Seven (as in hours!).  You also might want to listen to our podcast (while you’re running around town), on Keeping Peace in […]

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Ideas for Handmade Gifts

December 7, 2011

When we were children, we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmastime.  Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?GK Chesterton Tis the season for gift buying and wrapping and sending, which despite the crazy madness of overblown consumerism and materialism,  still has a sweetness to it, […]

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My Crafting Room

November 26, 2011

Would you like to see the craft room I hung around in today instead of shopping?  One of the reasons it looks so neat is that my sewing area just got finished today (no mess to clean up yet!).  So, come on in! I don’t take lightly the blessing of having my own room to […]

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Drawing Class Progress

November 8, 2011

I’m really enjoying my drawing class. It’s part of the “what did I like to do when I was a girl” kick that I’ve been on. This first drawing is an artichoke (I hope you can tell!).  It’s just a line drawing.  What I discovered later is that I need smoother paper to draw on! […]

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Small Things

October 23, 2011

Small crops, small handwork projects, little things I find beautiful… We did not get a lot of squash and pumpkins from the garden this year but what we did get looks beautifully autumnal. In my first drawing class, the instructor said I’d be surprised at how well I’d be drawing in seven weeks.  I wryly […]

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Bringing the Green Inside

October 19, 2011

I’ve taken advantage of the last few gorgeous sunny days here in the Pacific Northwest to put the garden to bed, pulling out the old and mulching heavily.  Garlic and shallots are planted and that’s about all I’m going to do for overwintering crops this year. I used to have many, many plants inside of […]

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On Waking

September 21, 2011

I just finished a linen bed cover topped with handstitched woolen flowers and vines.  I love the look of it and the weight of it too.  It’s backed with smooth cotton.  I decided not to quilt it because I liked the motion already there on the piece and didn’t want to detract from it.   […]

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Room For You

August 1, 2011
Play

Do you have room for YOU in your family? If you are serving and nurturing everybody in your family except yourself, this one's for you.

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On Remembering, Not Re-Inventing

July 30, 2011

I feel almost sheepish about posting a blog due to the time between visits, but I’ve been trying to focus on some things.  For one, I’ve been writing again in my journal on a daily basis and that has been good for me.  Part of that was in establishing a habit, and like all habits, […]

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Expressing the Creative Side

July 14, 2011

Rearranging the house, painting furniture, zealous decluttering happening around these parts.  And a massive garage sale coming on Saturday morning.  It is slow, room by room, drawer by drawer, but the house is getting a huge fresh breath of air.  For too long I haven’t wanted to really invest in my home this way because […]

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Late Spring This-n-That

June 13, 2011

Here is some catch-up on what’s going around my home and farm-ette.  Flowers are coming into bloom, including the unusual pink lilic tree; what an intoxicating introduction to spring.  I love wandering to and fro through the garden and smelling nature’s perfume wafting from the newest blooms.  The apple blossoms are finished, and sweet rocket […]

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Watching for Prey and Finding Focus

May 21, 2011

We had bald eagles nesting in our neck o’ the woods lately.  These birds are huge; their wing spans are close to six feet!  Can you see them up in the tree? No?  Let us zoom in a bit. Don’t they look like the lovely couple out on a date?  They were eyeing our hens […]

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Creativity LaLa Land

May 14, 2011

Somehow, on my last blog, I wrote and wrote and got a ridiculous amount of pages written. Like 868 pages to be exact. It all sits on pdf file waiting for me to do something with it all, which is fairly low on the priority or even the second-string wanna-do list. I do love to […]

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Stained Glass Christmas Cards

December 13, 2010

Spending a lot of time crafting sure does put some things into perspective. Like…why is crafting, handwork, cleaning, baking, fort-making, and just plain running around through mud puddles get the short end of the stick on the list of “what my kids have to accomplish to be ready to compete in the world”? And is […]

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Candle Play

December 2, 2010

We don’t just cook in our kitchen. We play, homeschool, read, and CRAFT! This is what we did yesterday with our “adopted” grandma who is just so good at coming up with fun things to do. I think every mom needs a woman that she can call and say, “Hey…..can you come do something fun […]

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Something Pretty for Me

February 2, 2010

Remember the beautiful fabric I had? I finally did a project that I think came out so pretty! I am so going to enjoy pulling this out, unrolling it, creating and coloring and then rolling it back up. The pockets are supposed to fit one pencil a piece, to match the background fabric. But how […]

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Artists in Training

January 23, 2010

In my mental calendar, January is the month for finishing up inside projects because February will show itself quickly and suddenly I will be in the middle of garden planning and seed starting. I will also have had enough of *staying inside* and will be pruning, raking, cleaning up from wind storms and hunting for […]

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