Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Blessings

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. Today might have been a day of relaxation before you start your Christmas shopping...or perhaps you woke up before the sun came up to hit those BIG sales! Well, I did my tradition of putting out the Christmas decorations. I also did some cleaning and some shopping (but not for Christmas...I'm working on making gifts right now).

I wanted to share some blessings with you that have happened these last few days. The Lord is good and I want to praise Him for all that He is doing in our lives.

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon with friends in Fort Collins. We had a wonderful lunch and enjoyed each other's company. Tim and Allison and their two small children were fun to be with. A while back, Allison told me that she would like to give me some kids' clothes and baby items. She also had a crib that we can take to the store to get some cash back (because it was recalled). We also have a mattress that will work for either a crib or toddler bed. We're so excited as we're building up our supplies for the kid(s) God will give us in the near future through foster-adoption.

Lastly, I have an update with the missing camera--it's still missing, but we ordered a new one that should be here any day now. The Lord sent someone our way who knew about the missing camera and gave us some money that will cover most of the cost of the new camera. It was such an unexpected blessing! So, hopefully soon, I'll be able to take some pictures of things I'm working on to share with all of you.

Has God been doing some unexpected things in your life lately? I would love to hear about them. Let's continually give God praise for all that He does each and every day of our lives.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

He Stood There

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope you all have a wonderful time with your family and friends, giving thanks to God who gives us all the wonderful things we enjoy. I am so thankful for my salvation and the Bible. God's Word is my best source of encouragement, wisdom and instruction.

I thought it would be fitting to share a story that I wrote, based on a special Thanksgiving weekend that happened during my college days. My sister and I joined a couple of our friends in their home for the long weekend. I hope your heart is blessed and challenged to be a "light" to those who need Christ. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter are wonderful times to share Christ with those who need Him. Hearts seem to be more tender during those seasons as well. I don't know if the main character in my story, Papa, has come to the Lord, but I sure hope that he has. (By the way, you may share this story with the people in your home, but please do not duplicate or copy this in any way. Thanks!)

He stood there

Head bowed and eyes focused on the ground,

he stood there.

We exchanged good-byes, but I could tell something was wrong. He was deeply saddened that his children were leaving once again. I was merely a guest for the holiday weekend, so my leaving, most likely, did not affect him.

It was a wonderful time of dining, enjoyment, as well as relaxation. Instead of the usual turkey feast, we had a juicy ham with all the traditional fixin's. One of the reasons why it was a great time was that my sister was there, so it felt like I was home. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves by taking walks, sitting around the piano and singing to the Lord, or just talking to one another--lifting each other up...

and he stood there watching.

We also found time to read and work on our school projects. Occasionally, we took "funny story" and "poetry time" breaks to get a way from the books. We joked around, and laughed so much...

and he stood there listening.

At the end of our weekend, we took numerous pictures of one another. My sister and I took pictures of the family. I noticed three big joyful smiles,

and he stood there with a half grin.

As we were packing our things I asked him, "Papa, are you going to miss us?"

And standing there,

he said, "Yup." We backed out of the driveway and stopped to pray to the Lord thanking Him for the blessed weekend. As soon as I opened my eye, I noticed that Papa was no longer in the garage, but in the living room. I saw his facial expression as he waved to us.

And he stood there

as we drove off. My heart was tremendously impacted because of the testimonies of the other three family members. Papa needs Christ, and he doesn't realize that yet. He thinks that he's too good for the gift of salvation. Romans 3:12 says, "...there is none that doeth good, no, not one." With much fervent prayer, Mama and children are waiting on the Lord to change Papa's heart. Just like Papa,

the world stands there

watching and listening to us. Are we being the light to the world that we need to be? This thought entered my mind during the break. When I'm outside walking down the sidewalk, I see people with half grins and hopeless eyes. They are lost...they need Christ. When I see them, I also see Papa, watching, listening...

standing there.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see yoiur good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pilgrim Hat Cookies

During my planning for Thanksgiving, I looked through my Taste of Home magazines to get ideas. We are going to be with friends who have two small children. I found something fun for them, that I could also make for the Bible club kids and for the residents at the home where Q works.

Well...I found it...pilgrim hat cookies!

(photo courtesy of Taste of Home magazine, October/November 2008)

Aren't they so adorable? And you don't need a lot of time to put them together. I made a bunch this morning to use for the different groups this week.

Everything is store bought, but you could make your own frosting like I did. I had a hard time finding mini Chiclets gum, so I cut up small pieces of orange Starburst candy and used that instead.

This is a fun activity to do with the kids in your home or even in your Sunday School class. Even though I really like turkey activities, this one made me think of the teaching opportunities you can do while you make these Pilgrim hats. You can talk about the first Thanksgiving story and ask questions about how they may have felt if they were a part of this event in history. Eat other Thanksgiving snacks like popcorn and cheese/turkey slices on crackers to go along with this sweet treat.

Pilgrim Hat Cookies

1 cup vanilla frosting
7 drops yellow food coloring
32 miniature peanut butter cups
1 package (11-1/2 ounces) fudge-striped cookies
32 pieces orange mini Chilclets gum (or orange Starburst candy)

In a small shallow bowl, combine frosting and food coloring. Remove paper liners from peanut butter cups. Holding the bottom of a peanut butter cup, dip top of cup in yellow frosting. Position over center hole of a cookie, forming the hatband and crown. Add a buckle of Chiclets gum or Starburst piece. Repeat with remaining cups and cookies. Yield: 32 cookies.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I had an exciting phone call last night!

It's been a bit more than twenty-four hours since I got an exciting call yesterday. In fact, it took me longer than usual to fall asleep last night because I was sooo hyped up! This is definitely something the Lord has orchestrated and I'm so thankful.

So, you want to hear about it?

A few weeks ago, I started practicing a couple of solos in the repertoire for the Chorale's Christmas concert. Recently, the director began holding auditions for the different solos available. There were several openings, for both men and women. At the first audition available, I waited with several others after practice to try out for two solos from John Rutter's Magnificat. One of them was especially challenging, so that's why I decided to try out for the other one.

Since the last auditions were this past Monday, I wondered when any of us would find out. I even emailed a new friend about it, asking her if she knew anything. In a couple of notes, she told me that she just knew I got the harder song--which is the most gorgeous one you've ever heard. I heard a teen girl sing it right before practice this past week, and I just knew I had no chance of getting it. She had an incredible voice and I would be glad for her if she got it. God has given me many opportunities to serve Him with my voice, so I gave up the idea that I got any of the solos I tried out for.

Then last night, I pulled out some music and started practicing. I sing tomorrow morning in church so I wanted to be ready for that. Then I started singing the harder song I tried out for called, "Et misericordia" (if you want to hear it, you can go to YouTube and google it). A few minutes later, the phone rang. It was the director. He said, "You got the song that everyone wanted...including the altos and basses who can't sing it (because of it's high range). I'd like you to do 'Et misericordia.' I liked how you sang it, especially at the end." The ending of the song ends in a high A but has to be soft and not loud--a very hard thing to do (I don't think I've got it all of the time, but I'm working on it!).

I couldn't believe it--and I told him that, too. I thought that I actually sang the other one better, but he thought otherwise. Plus, after hearing someone else sing it that I thought would have gotten it, I was surprised to even get the call. Praise the Lord! God is good to give this opportunity to me. The song is in Latin and is sung with the choir. The director wants me to be ready to sing it at each practice from here on out. He also wants me and the other gal who got the other solo to learn both songs in case one of us gets sick on the day of the concert.

I'm thankful that God has graciously given this neat opportunity to me. I want to be a testimony to others through this. To God be the glory!

Friday, November 19, 2010

And the winner is....

Because I'm still without a camera, I chose to use my phone to do a video of the drawing and take a picture of the person's name. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to get the video transferred over, but the picture came out fine. My husband drew this person's name at noon today....

Congratulations, Melissa! Send me a comment telling me which gift you'd like me to make for you and your address. (I won't publish this information for all to see.) I'll get it out to you within the next week or so.

Thanks to all of you for entering the giveaway and for sharing your stories. I enjoyed reading each one of them. They are all so special. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Annalina's pillow case dress

My niece, Annalina, celebrated a birthday earlier this month, so I made her a pillow case dress using Simplicity pattern 2391. You may remember that I made a couple of them before using tea towels. She was one happy girl when she pulled it out of the box! Her mom took a couple of pictures for me so that I could see it on her and share it with all of you...

I made her a size 8 so that she can grow into it by next summer. The arm openings are a bit big, but she can wear a t-shirt under it, or even a sweater on top! With the weather being cooler now, these are great options.

There's something more to this dress that is so special to me and Q's side of the family. I received the pillow case with another one just like it from my mother-in-law this summer. Abigail brought it along with a few other vintage items that belonged to her grandmother. So, this beautifully embroidered pillow case from Annalina's great grandmother was transformed into a priceless heirloom.

I am holding onto the other pillow case because Annalina may have a new cousin that will wear a matching dress! I hope God gives us a little girl (and a little boy, too) in the near future. You never know, she might be wearing this handmade dress next summer....

....made especially by her mama.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My favorite little gifts: A giveaway!!

It's been two years since I started my blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing recipes, crafts, sewing projects, ministry ideas and the latest family news with all of you. I've enjoyed getting to know you, too, through the blog world.

So, it's time to CELEBRATE by having a giveaway. This is what I've decided to do: I've chosen five of my favorite little gifts that I've made recently (most of them in the last year). Perhaps the item will come in handy as a stocking stuffer this Christmas! :) The winner of the giveaway will get to choose the gift he/she wants. I've described under each photo the quantity that can be won for each gift. Then read on at the bottom to see how you can enter...

Felt flower hair clips: The winner will receive five hair clips in the color(s) of their choice. A little girl in your life will love these!

Wooden spool people: The winner will let me know the genders/ages of members of their family and I will make a set of these (up to ten family members/relatives). This little family will come in a special pouch, too. Wouldn't a youngster in your family enjoy playing with these?

Felt star coasters: A set of eight coasters will be given if this is chosen by the winner.

Felt star ornaments: If you choose this gift, you can receive six stars and can specify how many "girl" stars and how many "boy" stars you'd like. I can even paint a name on the back of each one if you want.

Christmas tree card: A set of five stitched cards will be fun to have this holiday season. Colors may vary, but the design will be the same for each card.

So, here's how you enter: You can have up to three entries, which will increase your chances of being the winner!

1. Leave me a comment saying you promoted this giveaway on your blog. Put a link in your post that brings your audience here to "Outside the Box!"

2. If you're a follower, tell me that in another comment. If you're not a follower, become one and let me know that, too.

3. Tell me about a time you received a small gift that was very meaningful to you.

I (or my husband) will be drawing a name on Friday, November 19 at noon (Rocky Mountain Time). Then, I will announce the winner in a post that day.

Enter might win one of my favorite little gifts!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Out with the with the new!

When I moved to Colorado thirteen years ago, I came without a car--and even a driver's license! But during that first year of teaching, I worked on getting my license and saved some cash to put a down payment on a used car.

In October of 1998, I came home with this beauty:

It's a 1989 Plymouth Reliant. The Lord gave it to me at an affordable price and allowed me to use it for twelve years.

I remember driving it to work the day after I bought it and sharing with my students how God was taking care of my needs. At the end of the day, I took this picture of them. I let them take turns sitting in the back seat and turning on the motor for them to hear it. They even wanted to hear how the radio sounded and feel the air conditioning. We named my car "Speedy Gonzales" as a joke since it was an older car. Just thinking about this story makes me laugh and brings sweet memories of those kids.

For the last couple of years, I've wondered how much longer old Speedy would last. These past few months, it hasn't done well--stalling and making me so nervous to drive. With our foster-adoption process moving faster than we even thought and with my car not doing so well, we decided to start praying and looking for a newer used vehicle that would suit our needs. We wanted a reliable car that would fit some kiddos safely in the back seats.

We made our purchase today so I would like to introduce our 2009 Honda Odyssey to you (pardon the picture quality--it was taken with my phone since we haven't replaced our missing camera yet)....

Isn't she a beauty?(If you'd like to see a better picture, click here.) We're so thankful to the Lord for providing this vehicle. It is reliable and has low miles in, we'll be ready for however many kids God gives us!

By the way, we haven't named it yet, but I doubt we will. Getting that first car and sharing it with my students was a whole different story! Oh...and Speedy Gonzalez got traded in at the dealership for a small amount, but he's out of our hands. I don't miss him one bit!;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our snowy season has finally arrived...

A wet snow came down for a few hours today. As in many areas of the country, the cold weather has seemed to take its time. Although I love warmer weather, it was refreshing to see the snow today.

It was time to make some snow ball cookies to celebrate this new season! You can go here to find the recipe I like to use. I did something differently tonight--I added a chocolate-almond candy bar piece to the center of each ball of dough. I stumbled across this new twist in a holiday cook book I own. The result was scrumptious! Q and I enjoyed this yummy treat with a cup of hot cocoa.

Do you have a tradition for the start of a new season? I'd love to hear your ideas!:)

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Refreshing Word of God

Today, I pulled out my binder full of poems that I wrote when I was a teen. I've been thinking for a while to share some of them with you. I wrote the following poem when I was thirteen years old. It encouraged me today, and I hope it encourages you, too.

"Cool, clear, water"

Oh, it's so refreshing to drink
A cool, clear glass of water;
The drink quenches your thirst
With a sparkling, clean savour.

The cool, clear water we normally see
Is health and good to all;
But the other cool, clear water
Is refreshing to the soul.

Daily we thirst,
And thirst for more;
The drink that we need daily
Is the precious Word of the Lord.

When was the last time you took a drink from God's precious book, the Bible? It gives strength, encouragement and guides us each day. Why don't you spend some time right now? You won't regret the time.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Case of the Missing Camera

Our camera is missing! I feel so horrible about this, but there's still hope that it can be found.

I'll start at the beginning....

Last night, I went to our former church in Fort Collins for a sacred concert. I rode with a few ladies from my church and we had a great time. I took a picture and some videos of part of the concert and couldn't wait to show them to Q. I also had some pictures for upcoming posts on there, too. Since my purse was too full to hold it, I held onto it while I spoke to old friends after the concert.

There were cds for sale, and there talked with a couple of friends about which ones I should buy. They said that they were headed to Memory's place for dessert like I was (and the rest of the ladies from my church), so they offered to take me there. I had to stop at our condo to pick up keys and take a look since our renters moved out recently. So they graciously took me there and soon we were on our way to Memory's place.

It was fun eating and talking, but soon it was time to leave. It was getting late and we had to drive an hour to get back here. As I gathered my things, I realized my camera was gone. The friends who had taken me there had just left and I asked Memory if she could call them and see if it was in their car. They said that it wasn't. My only other thought is that it got placed on the cd table while I paid for my new cds and I didn't pick it back up. There's a big chance that it was found there and placed in the usher's closet (where they put lost and found). My biggest fear is that it dropped out of my hands somewhere outside and didn't even realize it.

I know that it is just a thing, but it is an important one for recording memories with families, friends and the crafts I do. Q and I have had that camera since right before our wedding and it has done such a great job for us. I will call Memory tomorrow to see if she can find anything out for me. She is also the church secretary, so I know she'll be a big help. Other than that, I don't know what else to do except pray--yes, we can still pray for these "little" things. I hope and pray that it is there and that we can pick it up soon.

Today, I pulled out my film camera that took wonderful pictures for me before the digital one came along. I took some of the same pictures I have these last few days. I'm hoping they turn out and that I can scan them and show them to all of you with my posts.:) If the digital camera never returns to us, pray that we can find a great camera at a super price. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!

There are lots of memories that I want to capture in the days ahead. With our foster-adoption process moving along faster than we have anticipated, we want to have a camera (perhaps with a video feature) to capture those moments with our new kids.:) Plus, I'd love to still show you pictures of the things we're involved with and the crafts I make.

In the mean time, I'll do my best to share things to be an encouragement and help to you while I wait to figure out the status of our camera. I will keep you posted. Pray that all works out at the end. God may just have a new camera for us that will be better for us in the years ahead (and in the mean time, I'll try not to feel so bad about the other one, because I shouldn't cry over spilled milk, right?)

Until next time....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Turkey bulletin board

There's a new board in our children's Sunday School area at church. Using dollar store letters, I wrote out the phrase, "In everything give thanks."

I had everything else on hand from when I taught school. I just love my turkey! He is dressed like a pilgrim and is full of color.

I would ask my students what they were thankful for, then write that on a turkey feather. Since we only have two or three kids who come to Sunday School, I'm going to have them write what they're thankful for on leaves. There's plenty of room to put some on both sides of the board.

Most of the bulletin board set comes from the Carson-Dellosa company. I'm sure you can find it (or something like it) to use in your church or home school classroom. You might be able to make your own turkey or find bits and pieces at your local dollar store.

The possibilities are endless....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cards for Christmas

The card-making group got together today to make some cards for Christmas. It seems like a bit early, but the season will be here before we know it. I really enjoyed making the following cards with the ladies. Then, we stayed longer for a potluck lunch and had a good time of fellowship.

Simple and elegant. Those are the two words that come to mind when I look at this card. I really like the stick-on rhinestones. I'll have to use them on cards I make at home.:)

This card also has stick-on jewels and it is just beautiful. It took us a while to put it together, but we all loved the end result.

This is my favorite card. The simple embossing was fun to do.

This whimsical Santa card was neat to put together. We used the embossing heating tool to make the white paint on Santa's pants puff up.

We made a fifth card this time. This gift-wrapped card has a slot to insert a gift card inside. It was so easy to put together, too.

Have any of you started making your Christmas cards yet? Have fun!:)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We just voted for life....

Did you vote today? If you haven't, there's still a little time left depending on where you live in the country. I believe every citizen eligible to vote should do so. I feel strongly that if you are a Christian, you should take a stand on certain issues to help our nation turn back to the Lord.

Q and I voted "yes" on Amendment 62--the personhood amendment. Two years ago, it got on the ballot, but did not pass. For months now, we have been praying for today to make a difference for the lives of the unborn. We want it to pass. Abortion is not the solution to unwanted pregnancies. It is not right for a woman to choose death, but rather to give life to her child. This amendment can save lots of lives if the Lord wills. We pray that it does.

Can you imagine the impact this can make in the families of our nation? Lots of lives will be saved physically, but perhaps many would be saved spiritually, too.

Will you pray that this amendment, along with some other big ones in our nation will pass today?