Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Quilt!!!

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It's not done, not by any expanse of the mind, but it is so close!! I had to post some pics. I am so proud of this. I can't wait till it's done and on the bed.

 The quilt from the left.

 The quilt from the right.

 A favorite block.  I love the contrast of black and pink.  Who would've known those two colors would go together so well?

 Another favorite.  Andrew's favorite too.

 I love this one.  I love the green. 

I'll keep you updated as things progress! 

Christmas Greetings!

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This is our Christmas letter we sent out this year, along with the picture too. Enjoy!

Greetings Family and Friends!
It hardly seems that the time is upon us when we celebrate our Saviors birth. I am reminded yet again how easily it is to fall into a season of busy-ness, rather than a season of celebration, worship and gratitude. But the Lord is patient as he waits for us to return, as he has been for over 2000 years. All he asks is that we be still and know that He is God.
We have witnessed the hand of the Lord in so many ways this year. It's been a full, blessed year. Please allow me to share how the Lord has blessed.
We started off the year bittersweet. It's often said that when one soul leaves this earth, another comes to take it's place. We saw that with the passing of Andrew's grandmother and the birth of my first nephew. We traveled to visit with Andrew's Mother's family and to say goodbye to Mom-mom. I never got the chance to get to know her, but she was witnessed as a strong, active woman. Strong in the Lord and very loving with her family. Her legacy will continue on for many generations. What a witness we have in our children. Never take a moment for granted. The same week we got word that my brother and his wife welcomed their first son. He was born healthy and vibrant. It's exciting to finally be an aunt.
Then we stayed at Andrew's parents at the end of April for the annual church conference. We go every year, but this year was special. Andrew received his Lifetime Ordination. It was a very special occasion for us. Andrew has waited a long time for this and we were so excited as his family to celebrate this with him. Immediately following we had lots of family gather at our house for Rhys' dedication. My dad performed the ceremony and even preached! That was nice, I got to sit with my husband. My best friend and her husband were also able to make it out for the weekend, along with Andrew's and my parents. We had lots of fun having that much family out.
Summer consisted of the basics, gardening, VBS, and meeting new family. We traveled down to Andrew's parents and got together with my brother and sister in law. We got to meet my nephew, who is a cutie!! It was neat to see Rhys and him together. They were blissfully unaware of each other. Ivan definitely has some of the family genes in him, as he is built like his father. Rhys resembles his father, so we had two very cute, but so different babies. It always amazes me the difference in babies. We celebrated Nadia's fourth birthday in August, which is hard to believe. Then mid month we made a trip for meetings that Andrew was a part of. I got to spend some quality time with an old friend from our old home town, we had tons of fun I'm sure we'll never forget.
The beginning of September saw us flying to New Mexico for vacation at my parents house. It was a quiet trip, we took one day to sight see, which was nice, but over all it was spent just lazing around at their house. Andrew got to preach at Dad's church, with an interpreter! That was an experience. It was a wonderful time of visiting that ended all too soon. The kids did well on the flights and enjoyed the whole experience. We celebrated Rhys' first birthday at the end of September, followed by Andrew's birthday.
Then, just for the record, we had snow. Measurable snow in mid-October. I can't remember the last time it snowed in October. It was gone within a day or two, but still, we had snow.
The end of the year picked up in it's momentum as we began to look forward to Andrew's first baptismal service mid-November, along with my 30th birthday (feel old?). Thanksgiving was at our house with both sets of parents blessing us with a visit at that time. It was good. I think the food was pretty good too! And, of course, it continues to pick up till Christmas at which point we are anticipating flying out for Andrew's younger brothers wedding. We are excited to welcome a new member to the family and to spend time with family. As I get older, more than shiny packages, it is time spent with family that is a gift. We are looking forward to it.
Andrew continues to grow spiritually as the leader of our household and the church. I see the Lord speaking through him daily to our family and weekly behind the pulpit. He has had a pet project since coming here, the baptismal. It hasn't worked for years for various reasons. And finally, he was able to figure things out and get it fixed. Excited does not begin to describe his emotions about completing this. That made the baptismal service so much more of a celebration for him.
Nadia continues to grow and challenge us with her wit and thought processes. She goes twice a week to preschool, which she loves. She enjoys playing with scrap dough and flour, or scrap fabric tying it all over the house. She enjoys 'rinsing' the dishes, which will keep her busy for hours. She can already write her own name and identify many letters. She is so smart, which is a blessing and also a bane. We are eager to see just what she chooses as a life profession. At this point she says she wants to be a mama. She'll be an intelligent one.
Rhys continues to grow like a bad weed. He understands what we are saying to him very well. He can say “bye bye” and wave, “Papa”, and (if he's stressed) “mama”. He's walking most of the time now, which is so cute. And if we let him (or if he gets away with it), he can crawl up the entire stairs up from the basement. He's got 6 teeth now and we are waiting for more, it's been a while. I can't believe how fast they grow.
I've been doing all my usual ventures. I've taken up quilting and am currently working on a quilt for Andrew and I. I've made several for the kids and decided it was time for a larger, more intricate quilt for us. I am eager to see how it turns out. I am enjoying it and as a consequence have several more quilts on a list to work on. I can't wait. I'm still making bread and gardening. I tried my hand at dried beans this year and beets. Both were very easy and I think I'll be doing them again next year. I also had a yard sale this year, my first. Those are a lot of work! I don't think I'll be doing one again soon. We did well, but I think I'll wait till the kids are a bit older. Goodwill is a good cause.
We had a full but blessed year. We pray the same for you. We hope that this letter finds you well and in the center of God's will for your life. And this year at Christmastime we pray that the true meaning of Christmas finds its way to your hearts and that you would be blessed.

Blessings and Love!


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(I secretly love posting videos on my blog, it's an easy way to update without writing much. Now that you know my secret, I know yours too! :)

So good, so true.  

Oh, The Temptation 
Aren't we like this?  I want to try this with Nadia. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Competition

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I had friends in school who's parents did not play the whole Santa Claus thing. They forbade any sort of Santa involvement in their Christmas celebrations whatsoever. I used to think they were weird. I couldn't see the harm in it.

Not anymore.

Our community had a tree lighting celebration this past week. We sang some traditional Christmas songs, lit the tree and then the big thing came, Santa. Let me tell you, it was like the parting of the Red Sea. Much like the triumphal entry he came, throwing candy, the kids were screaming and clamoring to see him. Many had already descended upon the building, waiting in line, to where he would finally sit and take children upon his knee. I wanted to cry. 

I wonder if sometimes Jesus cries at Christmas. Does God hurt at how Christmas has become a day honoring a fallen man, when His and His sons sacrifice is forgotten? For the first time I think I understand why my friends parents forbid Santa from Christmas. Because it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas!!

Hubby said, before we had kids, that our children would be taught the truth about Santa. And we have taught them. He says that typically when children are told that Santa does not exist they also believe the same about God. If their parents lied to them about Santa, what's to say they aren't lying about God? So we told Nadia there was a man, a good man, St. Nicholas, who gave gifts to children, but he is dead. Jesus, who was born at Christmas, is not dead. It's funny, though, when people ask her if Santa is coming to our house, she responds "SANTA IS DEAD!" Oh my. The old ladies want to fall over.

Some say it's just about the magic. I'm sorry, let's look at the birth of Christ, and see if we can see something better than magic, Miracles:
  • God coming to earth and inhabiting a human body
  • A baby concieved in a virgin womb
  • the many visits of an angel to Joseph for warnings
  • The star that led wise men over hundreds of miles to greet the new king
  • The myriad of Angels heralding his birth
  • the sheer fact that we can be saved from our sins
Oh yeah, we don't need Santa for magic at Christmas, there are enough supernatural happenings in Christs birth alone. 

The homage paid to Santa disgusts and angers me.  I will not lead my children astray for momentary happiness, when their eternal salvation is more important. 

I am reminded that even though many pay too much attention to Santa,
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:9-11
Imagine what the world would be like if we truly treated Christ like the King He is.  Some day we all will. 

Am I weird?  I guess.  Hubby says it's a heart issue and I agree.  Search your heart, see what the Lord tells you. 

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Bird Brain

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I'm a bird. Not just any bird. I am an ostrich. And when it comes to End Times I take an ostrich's stance to the whole thing. I bury my head when the whole topic of conversation comes up. I'm scared. To. Pieces. So many people, when they do like to talk about it, like to debate it. They like to say that their interpretation is the way it's going to happen. All that ever did for me was scare me. So I didn't want to think about it. They would prophesy that many who claimed Jesus, would fall away. That would leave me thinking "am I one of those? What if I can't hold on? What if I fall away?" I had no answers and reading Revelations just made me all the more fearful.

Till today.

The Lord speaks to me in many ways. Often it is through my husband. And often it is through him in the pulpit. I have always enjoyed hearing my husband preach, even before he was my husband, or boyfriend. That's a good thing, since I'll be hearing him preach for many years, I hope.

Andrew's Christmas series this year is on the second coming of Christ. When he told me that a while back, it evoked fear in me. I thought, oh boy, here we go. But I trust the Lord. The one thing that God has taught me through the demeanor of my husband is that if my husband is this gentle at teaching me, then so is the Lord. I can trust the Lord to be a gentleman. I should not have been afraid.

Andrew spoke of the Rapture, a popular concept among many, including myself, until a few years ago. I had heard the 'radical' idea that the Rapture wouldn't happen until the end of the tribulation, that the church would indeed endure such hardship. I didn't want to think about it. (This is not to debate that at all, there is a point here beyond that.) But through Andrew's sermon I learned that debating when the Rapture is to happen is missing the point. The point is, we need to be prepared for the event that it does not happen at the beginning. How horrible it would be if we are wrong and not prepared! I would rather believe that it would happen at the end of the tribulation and be wrong, than vice versa. Scripture clearly states that a symptom of an effect Christian is persecution. How can I believe that for some reason now we would be exempt from persecution when the church for centuries has not? What makes the church of today so special? Persecution is coming. I would be foolish to ignore it any longer. This scares me.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.  Matthew 24:9-14
There is great fear and great comfort in this scripture.  I learned two things that have caused me to breathe a great sigh of relief in this whole End Times thought process.
  1. What to do about the persecution that is coming?  Be prepared.  Pretty simple.  I can do that.  How do I be prepared?  See #2
  2. Hold on to Jesus.  Also very simple.  
If I keep Jesus at the forefront of my vision in everything it will become second nature.  I need to start now, everyday, every morning, so that I am strong in my bond with Him.  So that when the persecutions do come, I won't be struggling, grasping for something I know nothing about.  It will be so natural, it will be difficult to fall away. 

Hold on to Jesus, that's all I need do.  I can do that.  With Christ's strength, I can do that. 

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Sewing Sewing Sewing!!!

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I promised myself I wasn't making any Christmas gifts this year, as I was working furiously on Andrew and I's new quilt.  Welllll, promises, promises.  Nadia's robe was getting seriously short.  I had to make her a new one.  Since I had made one for myself and had a pattern and fabric for one for her, I just thought I'd bang it out.  Well I did and here it is!

It goes to her ankles, which is good, because she likes to put it on right after bath.  The sleeves were too long, but I folded them up so that when she grows I can let them out.  Do you like the nice little button embellishments on the pockets?  She picked them out.  I think it makes it look cute!

Just thought I'd interject some pics of my kids because they are so darn cute! 

Here is the quilt I am working on for Andrew and I.  Here is Andrew modeling said quilt.  I have two more rows to put on, then I'll be able to quilt it up!  I am planning on tying it.  I think that will go the best with this sort of scrappy country quilt. 

Now for those of you who are not of this sort (ie - men) please stop reading.  Don't say you weren't warned. 

I have made my own feminine care.  The colorful pad on the right is actually a pantiliner.  It has three flannel layers on top, a layer of pul and then a final layer of flannel.  I keep the wings attached with a small safety pin.  I've made 8.  Works great.  The other two are for my actual cycle.  The grey/white flannel is a base.  I made four of them, because I use a Diva.  I mostly need backup.  The base itself is a layer of flannel, pul and another layer of flannel.  The white part you see is leftover diaper.  I had used a few of Rhys' newborn cloth diapers, cut out the middle to use as a doubler and saved the sides.  I stitched around the edges and made a great insert.  I also designed said system to be able to put a pantiliner underneath the removable pad for the really heavy days.  That way I don't have to change the base as often (I don't have to make as many).  I've been using the pantiliners and they work great.  I'll let you know how the pads work.  So far they wash up nicely and dry overnight.  I can put them in the dryer, but I want to prolong the life of them, so I don't. 

Here is where I got the idea for the pads/pantiliners. (Two separate links there.)

This is where I bought the pul from.  She has seconds and ends.  You can get a really great price on the stuff and I bought too much, but it doesn't go bad, so I figure I can just keep it and replenish my supply as needed.  Now that I know how. 

So that's what I've been up to.  I'm planning on making a nightgown, a pair of pants and finishing a skirt from two years ago.  But, yeah, I can do that. 

Exercise Regimen

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I thought I'd update on the exercise program I've been doing. It seems for a while that I was just waffling from this and that, doing one thing for a day or two and then switching. I was bored. My results were plateauing and I was frustrated. Well that has changed.

I am currently doing The New Rules for Lifting for Women. I've been doing it since we came back from vacation in early September. At last count I've dropped 9.5 inchess all over. I haven't lost any pounds, but that's ok. That means I'm increasing my lean muscle mass, which eats up more calories than fat in a day. I'm leaning out. Which I like.

With this book comes an eating program (what weight loss book doesn't?). It promotes eating your maintance calories. There is a formula for figuring that out. I could not believe how many calories I was supposed to be eating! But I went with it. I figured I'd give the program a try. And while I haven't lost any pounds from the scale, I also haven't gained any. I know I am loosing fat, as a result of the measurements. So I'm eating more (yay!) and loosing weight. Um, yeah, I think I'll take that!

The first stages are pretty simple and short. I began to think 'is this all there is?'. But then as the stages progress the workouts get longer and more intense. Stage three adds in HIIT (high intensity interval training). It doesn't take a day for me to 'feel' it anymore. And I'm spending about an hour or more down in the basement. The rest time between sets is so long I can get laundry, ironing and even sewing done. I figure if I am down there I should get something else done too.

I do the strength training three days a week, another three I spend doing short cardio, ab work, or stretching. I take one day off a week. When I am done with this book I will continue in this routine but will fashion it for myself. I won't have it be so long. I'm going to have to start getting up earlier to get it done.

So it seems to be working. I enjoy it and it challenges me. I just thought I'd send that along.