Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

IMG_8875A few years ago when our house sold, we were going to put a bid on a house that night in town. After teaching, I was talking to my aunt, driving by that house – and it had a pending sign. I was so disappointed, I bought a turkey. That was on a Tuesday. By Friday, I had picked up the oysters, the dressing, chocolate chips and pecans – everything for a big dinner. No Big Dinner announcement was every made – it just evolved.

Early Saturday morning, I stuffed the turkey into the oven, started the oysters, directed the boys to move the harvest table outside.  Suddenly, it was a Blue Cotton Merry Thanksgaween (if it sounds familiar – we commandeered the name from an air-travel commercial) – and everyone had to dig into the costume chests. One came dressed with purple hair and a Frodo Baggins jacket on a stick pony, one was a knight, a basketball player, I arrived with cat ears and whiskers. I can’t remember all the costumes – except we were an imperfect, rag-tag group finding joy despite life’s imperfections.

This little Blue Cotton imperfect holiday has evolved. It’s not every year. It’s not one specific day – though it is always in the Fall – it is always family, unconventional – and merry.

Sometimes feast days are needed – and feast days always have family.

So we dress up imperfectly, build an imperfect feast, sit down to the imperfectly set table – and find blessing in this imperfect coming together.

This year, I delegated.

One son was in charge of games, another tree decorations. The two youngest – cookies and icing.

One son and his lovely girlfriend were in charge of decorating eggs. Friday night was spent in the kitchen with them coloring eggs. Husband and sons scoffed at our turmeric, paprika, blueberry and beet egg coloring – as they drilled holes to drain other eggs, use magic markers and lights for their creations. In this house full of boys, it was a gift, plain and simple – to have my son’s girlfriend there, just as excited about using spices and fruit to color eggs.

eggdyespicesThis out-of-the-box holiday allowed my husband and I to take an in-the-box activity – to produce two fun results.

IMG_8860Artsy girl meets Tech boy

IMG_8903Some joined in with the costumes. Some didn’t. Some said next year everyone had to dress the part they were reading. We covered every holiday.

My youngest read “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

“Mild He lays his glory by

born that we no more may die

born to raise us from the earth

born to give us second birth”

IMG_8892Another read Common Sense quotes from Thomas Payne

“To bring the matter to one point, Is the power who is jealous of our prosperity, a proper power to govern us? Whoever says, No, to this question, is an independent, for independence means no more than this, whether we shall make our own law, or, whether the king, the greatest enemy which this continent hath, or can have, shall tell us there shall be no laws but such as I like.”

IMG_8918My husband read from a Charles Spurgeon Easter sermon:

“Five hundred or a thousand persons who had seen him at different times, declared that they did see him, and that he rose from the dead; the fact of his death having been attested beforehand. How, then, dare any man say that the Christian religion is not true, when we know for a certainty that Christ died and rose again from the dead? And knowing that, who shall deny the divinity of the Savior? Who shall say that he is not mighty to save? Our faith has a solid basis, for it hat all these witnesses on which to rest, and the more sure witness of the Holy Spirit witnessing in our hearts.” (“We Know Jesus Rose from the Dead, Because the Spirit Tells us So”)

IMG_8882Three read Edgar Allen Poe famous scary poem:

“One upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

While I nodded nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

‘Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, ‘tapping at my chamber door –

only this and nothing more” (“The Raven”).

IMG_8874One son was to read the Declaration of Independence but instead he performed a disappearing act for us with it – which somehow seemed symbolicly intuitive in today’s political climate.

IMG_8921In the imperfect daily, God gifts us with His blessings and His grace – from seeing trees sway back, sway forth in the wind, lifting their limbs high to him Him, their sound a song of praise

to squirrels digging holes, burying nutty pleasures for winter want

to a marriage that allows room for each of our gifts to find a place to grow tall, like 2 trees, side-by-side, intertwined into one.

to loving family enough to pull them into home, to break bread, share lofty ideas and silliness, to create imperfect opportunities out of imperfect love that somehow becomes something imperfectly beautiful.

The tree didn’t appear. We gave up on the cookies – and it was o.k. I pulled some homemade blueberry crunch muffins out of the freezer, made homemade pumpkin ice cream, watched grandbaby girl get in and out of the little yellow and orange car with her pup-pup,  organize the wooden men in the wooden school bus – and be a gecko to her papaw’s Land Shark.

IMG_8922Sipped hot spiced apple cider (without whipped cream because one son used it all on his waffles the day before) while watching all my boys to men play basketball and soccer under the imperfect, chilled, gray skies.

Oh, how God blesses us in the imperfect of ourselves, our situation and the daily – sometimes the blessing is just there waiting for us to look – like with trees and squirrels. Sometimes we have to invite the opportunity for the blessing to be – like in Big Dinners or Merry Thanksgaween inventions – and if we let the imperfect moments come quietly, don’t let the desire for worldly perfect chase blessing away -grace comes along with an armload of spirit fruit:  love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.


After I watched grandbaby girl hug her uncles – all big and small of them, hug them good-bye,  I turned to clean up this beautiful, imperfect mess we all made.

“I’ve learned recently to love imperfection a lot because it shines such a big light on God’s grace. And if someone has grace for you that’s when you feel their love the most and they see you for who you are and they love you anyway.”
― Lacey Mosley

(I used beet juice with lemon juice to dye the eggs a pinkish/reddish color. I used the directions for the other colors from here)

1088 – 1108 – Still counting blessing with Ann at a Holy Experience.


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A basket of scraps
That is what I am
A piece of me here
A piece of me there
Like flying geese scattered
Everyone pulling pieces from
This basket of scraps

Beggar’s Block
Like vines at the window
Crayon and Pencil Children want a piece of me
The Laundry Room wants a piece of me
My man wants a piece of me
The checkbook, too, reaches and grabs
My Mother’s Dream wants a piece of me
The Devil at the Window wants a piece of me
Grabbing pieces,
From this basket of scraps

Broken Dishes
All pulling pieces
To fit their design
Disregarding color schemes
pattern lines
risking crazy quilt and broken path randomness
from leftovers
in this basket of scraps

Star of Hope
God’s Eyes see me
Not like mis-matched cups and saucers
Or un-coordinated color swatches
Not as a basket of scraps
Or Party Star Pieces
The Master Designer quilts me whole
A Peace Quilt
To wrap around
His children
Quilting me whole
Out of a Basket of Scraps

My very first quilt - a blue cotton quilt

My very first quilt – a blue cotton quilt

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slouchy5As a mom, there are a lot of gifts my boys receive they really don’t want. What teenager really wants to find Payne’s Common Sense or de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America in their Christmas stocking?

slouchy1My youngest son was not thrilled to find Lewis’ space trilogy in his stocking (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength). He spent the rest of his holiday trying to slip his oldest brother his trilogy when I wasn’t looking.

No, my boys don’t always appreciate many of the gifts I give. Some gifts aren’t wrapped as pretty as a Christmas gift or stocking stuffers. Some are the gift of discipline, the gift of No, the gift of re-doing math problems, the gift of project development and completion, the gift of dress clothes for appropriate moments, the gift of not leaving the table until your plate is clean – but that I throw out the lure – and leave it there, in faith, knowing that at some point – the gift will enrich their lives – the mom in me has learned how to wait for a gift’s appreciation.

Delayed appreciation doesn’t always make parenting a feel-good job. It takes a while for a seed planted to grow. Learning to love unconditionally in the interim, to walk faith in the hope of a seed planted –whether it is a reading seed, a math seed, a moral seed, a relationship seed, a good-choice seed, even a God seed – those seed gifts will one day be pulled in, used and even valued.

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?” (Matt 7:11, The Message)

slouchy4God knows, though, that we need good moments – moments where our love gifts need to be accepted with alcrity – cheerful readiness, liveliness and briskness – whether the gift is a big thing or a little thing – maybe as little a thing as a hat.

In November, I started knitting slouchy hats. Sometimes the best ideas come at the last minute. For the next 6 weeks, I knitted slouchy hats – knitting 5 rows of one yarn and changing to 5 rows of another yarn x 4 slouchy hats.  Some people had elves making mischief over the holidays. Instead of finding an elf, I would find a slouchy hat out of my collection bag – on a head – as though I wouldn’t notice. Every time I turned my back, one of the boys had fished out a slouchy hat out of my knitting bag:
“This one’s mine.”
“Can I wear it today – it is so cool.”
“I think I need to make sure it fits.”
You are such an awesome mom – you’ll let me wear it today?
Such beautiful words – when they want something only I can give.

slouch2I wasn’t beguiled by their words, though. Successful moms can’t afford to be beguiled by manipulative words – no matter how sweet the sound – but we can savor the sound of those words.

What makes gift receiving so sweet sometimes is the suspense. They waited – no matter how many times I had to pluck hats off, tickle ribs away from my knitting basket.

All the while I knitted gifts, they gave me teasing smiles, humor, mercenary charm – and lots of laughter. I don’t think they knew they were giving me gifts in return – but they did.

On Christmas, the stockings came down and the hats were hung from the Mantle, waiting for the First Annual Family Hat Day on New Years Day (I didn’t make the Christmas deadline)– one for grandbaby girl, one for my DIL, a toboggan for my soldier son – and 4 slouchy hats.

slouchy3Moments like those make those delayed-gift-appreciations easier to bear. Right now, I have to wait for the oldest brother to finish reading the younger brother’s Christmas gifts – but I walk in faith of the hope that one day, the littlest will value reading. One day, all the tough gifts will be appreciated like Slouchy Hats on a New Years Day.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11))

946) 7 hats hanging from a mantle
947) Bothers stealing brothers books because they love to read
948) 6 smiles beneath 6 hats – baby girl love taking her hat off
949) 5 cardinals in a tree outside my door
950) Standing on the back porch with my husband, watching the rain in the nighttime, a torrent of rain sweeping everywhere, spraying our faces
951) The sweet smell of rain – even if it is 65 degrees in January
952) Winter coming
953) A son telling me he is praying for someone he cares about
954) The Father helping me reach a decision
955) Toscano Soup on a Saturday
956) Baby girl turning one
957) Squirrels playing in trees outside my office window
958) My MIL visiting for a week
960) Sweet smells from a sugar cookie candle
961) Citrus Mint tea from my son
962) Home – just being home


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