Hand Me Down Buttons and Love

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Over the past few years, my grandma-in-law has been passing her craft supplies down to me. She has been filling my craft closet with vintage treasures of lace, fabric, and lots of amazing buttons. She didn’t just buy buttons, she would painstakingly cut them off clothes that were no longer wearable. So the different collections passed down to me, were grown over decades of deciding what was valuable enough to buy, and then what was valuable enough to keep.

Two weeks ago, this sweet woman passed away and we’re are all saying goodbye in our different ways. Today, I’m sorting through sewing notions and thread– my last gift of hand me downs from Grandma. She would always tell me, “You’re the only one that does this stuff anymore. You will actually use it.”

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So now I’m making the hard decisions. What can I make for the little girls, her great-grandkids, so that they will remember her? How do I use these vintage tools that I’ve never seen on Pinterest? How do I continue what she started long ago?

Because she loved so well with her sewing and crafts. Not just the family, but strangers too! She would buy teddy bears and stuffed animals at garage sales and thrift stores. Then take them home and clean them up. Give them a new smile or eyes. And tie a bow on them. Around Christmas time, Grandma and Grandpa would drive around to the roughest parts of town, passing the them out to whatever kids they could find.

I’ve learned so much from her over the last 14 yrs of having her as my grandma. I want to honor her with the tools and supplies she’s left behind. And I want to continue to pass down the lessons she taught with her life.

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Day Thirty-One: When Trusting Brings Hope

31 Days Relishing Hope Button

Today is a new month, so 31 Days is technically over, but I’m going to add this one last post because it happened yesterday and speaks to hope.

This summer, my doctors found some nodules in my thyroid which were causing me some issues. They’ve been testing things and medicating me and then taking me off of medication. It’s been a really fun time. Well, yesterday was the big appointment we were waiting for. I was scheduled to have an ultrasound and biopsy.

They prepped me for biopsy and started using the ultrasound to find the largest nodule. They looked and looked and there were no nodules to be found! The doctor said,  “We’re not doing a biopsy today. There’s nothing to biopsy!”

She checked and re-checked. She had the medical assistant read the findings from my June ultrasound. It said that I had so many nodules, they were “too numerous to count.”

So, just to be sure, my husband asked the doctor, “Does this happen? Do they just go away?” The doctor, who was already pretty flabbergasted at this point,  was not quite sure what to say. She said that it is not normal for them to disappear like this.

While the medical staff was regrouping and shuffling papers, my husband and I just quietly looked over at each other and smiled. This was the gift we had been asking for. Friends and family had prayed for this exact thing and here it was! A gift straight from His hands.

Dear Friends, I know that life is hard. There are so many different kinds of hardships. There are very real reasons to hurt and feel hopeless.  But I echo Paul’s words in Romans 15,  “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Do you always flip your cushions to the good side?

I’ve spent the better part of today cleaning a love seat that I rescued from a moving neighbor. It’s so cute, and funky, and vintage. It’s probably as old as I am with its bright yellow and green leafy pattern. I’m in love with it!

As I was cleaning both sides of the cushions, I noticed that both cushions, have a newer, less stained side. The side you would flip over for company. But I wanted to clean both sides. Partly, because my children throw cushions on the floor for play and fort building. But also, I because I wanted the entire couch to be clean and good smelling. Then, I thought that I would like to keep the “not-so-good” side of the cushions up, most of the time. That way, I won’t have to worry about the kids and all the havoc a family of five can wreak.

This got me thinking, do I live the kind of life where my good side, my company side, always has to be flipped out? Or, do I have a comfier, more well worn side, that I can switch to when I’m in the company of family and close friends? With the cushions, it seems like a whole lot of responsibility to keep the good side good. And, what is the point of that?

Since I’ve devoted my whole day to cleaning the couch, I can tell you that it is all equally clean. This is really just more of an image thing, a pride thing, if you will. Of course, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the good sides of the cushions. In fact, the hospitable thing is to put them out for company. I always want to give my company the best that we have to offer, out of love. But, I heard a warning from my funky, cute couch.

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If I always need to have the good side up, I will be exhausted. Just like the poor cushions. The good side will get so worn and need more cleaning. But, if I take the time to let down, and flip my cushions to the comfier “no-pressure” side, I will be living more of the kind of life I want to live. The life where it is okay to build forts and play. How about you? Is it hard to let your more worn side out?

This Week in Fuzzy Phone Pics

It’s Friday! Which means it’s time to link up our phone pics. This is such a fun way to see all the stuff that happened this week!
We started off with a jam-packed Sunday. Two of our little friends had an awesome birthday party. These were some gifts the kids and I made. (I don’t have pics of the other present, but I will probably share the poem Roc wrote for it. It was really fun!)20130215-085647.jpg

We made these awesome jet packs at the party. This little guy wore his the whole time. The cuteness killed me. 20130215-085809.jpg

There were these super cute cupcakes!20130215-085909.jpg
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We sat at the kid table with these lovely ladies. It was surprisingly comfortable. 20130215-090115.jpg

Then we went to hang out with some student. One of them had these batman socks! They had capes!20130215-090218.jpg

This happened one day. This never happens. Normally, he is the energizer bunny baby. He just keeps going and going. 20130215-090342.jpg

Then there was Valentine’s Day.

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And, someone found his jet pack again.

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Now, that I see them all together. I realize that I need to get better at taking snapshots of our days, but I don’t want to become a tourist of my own life, either.

How do you capture memories while still engaging the moment? Any tips for me?

Linking up here:


life rearranged


Summer Schedule

Oh, summer!  At this very moment, I am sitting in a bedroom and the temperature is climbing above 80 degrees.  I am propped up on my bed with laptop on lap, because my lovely desk, near the window, is bathed in beautiful sunshine that unfortunately brings an enormous amount of heat with it.  Time to rearrange the furniture.

It’s also time to rearrange the schedule.  Is summer a busy time for you as well?  I always think ahead to summer as lazy days of sunshine and lemonade goodness, but whenever I get here I find lots of busyness.  So, in order to enjoy, and do well with all of my summertime commitments, I will be moving to a summer schedule for blogging.  I will only be here about three times a week, but if your summers are like my summers, you will be here less too.  So, it should all work out.;)

But, I want to leave you with a little more goodness from last summer.  This is a little video of the zipline the grown people made for the little people up at the family place in the woods.  Notice who is riding it towards the end.;)

A Little Visual Peace

We are in the midst of a bunch of crazy weeks.  Trust me, you really don’t want to hear about it.  It’s a bunch of stuff that is important to us, but as soon as I say it all out loud, well, it seems silly to be stressed over it.  Isn’t that the way?  We all get so caught up in all our own stuff and it seems so important.  Ha!

It’s hard to be creative when you are smack dab in the center of a whirlwind, so I’m just going to share a dreamy picture with you.  Let’s take a little visual break and breath in the scent of this gorgeous wisteria!

Embarrassing Picture Alert!

frosh winter formalJon and I have been married for 12 years, which is not a remarkable number.  It’s just a normal number in marriage terms.  Because we were teenagers when we started dating, one of the things that we don’t really take issue with, is change in each other.  You know when you are watching a movie and the guy says, “You’ve changed!” with accusation in his voice.  We sort of laugh at that.  We laugh because it is our goal to change.  It has been such a large part of our relationship.  We knew that when we were committing to each other, we were not only committing to the cute 21 year old version, but also to the 33 year old stranger that was to come.  And, for that matter, I am still committed to the 65 year old bald man I have yet to meet.

This sort of commitment is becoming more and more ambiguous these days.  In movies, and in conversation, we talk about life long commitment the same way we talk about oil changes.  In about 500 more miles, I will need to go to Jiffy Lube.  We talk about it more as maintenance and routine. Yesterday, I read an article about “maintaining a good marriage relationship”  and she spoke about allotting more time in your schedule so that you can be with your spouse. It all sounds so clinical and mathematical, and the author had only been married for a year, eek!

But, this is what has struck me lately.  Life is not guaranteed to us.  Not only can I not guarantee I will be around tomorrow, but I cannot guarantee that Jon will be around tomorrow.  When I think of this, my mind goes back to our college dating days, when we weren’t guaranteed to see each other.  It was so exciting to accidentally run into each other on campus, or get a phone call out of the blue.  These days, when I “accidentally” run into my husband, I say things like, “Did you remember to get the crescent rolls?”  I used to hang on his every word, listen to his ramblings and laugh at his cheesy jokes.  (Which must have been annoying to watch, I apologize to all our college friends.  How did you put up with us?)

I agree with the author of yesterday’s article:  there are times when we need to look at things practically and schedule times to be together.  But, I think more than anything it is a heart matter.  There was a reason I wanted to spend all of my college free time with Jon.  I cherished him.  Yes, there was crazy infatuation and we liked to make out (Sorry, Mom), but I recognized something about him that I tend to forget these days.  He is the only one on the planet like him.  He will have a way of looking at things that is different from everyone else.  He will love a bunch of random things and pull them all together in a way that only he can.  And, I happen to love the way he does all that.  And, just like everyone else in my life, I don’t know how long we have each other, so every day is to be treasured.  Every lingering hug in the kitchen enjoyed.  The car, we can take for granted and maintain regularly.  The marriage, we need to fully enjoy and celebrate constantly!

For the Love of the Ocean Part II

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It’s hard to understand, I know, but when you live by the ocean something happens.  It becomes a reference point.  Not really a directional reference point.  Although, growing up in the Bay Area, my dad used to try to tell me things like, the bay will be on this side of you and then you will drive towards the ocean.  Ha!  It was never that kind of reference point for me.  I have no sense of direction.  But, it was always a thinking place.  I can remember back all the way to Jr.High when my girlfriends and I would walk down to the beach and sit in the sand.  We would talk about all the Jr.High drama in our lives.;) Sitting there next to the BIGness of the ocean, put life back in its place.  It put me back in my place.

Then, I think along the way, the ocean became this place where I could mark the years.  I remember my brother’s birthday party when he was little and got a crazy bad sunburn.  I remember hauling all of our books down to the beach and pretending to study in college.  I remember taking my babies for their first visits and sticking their chubby little toes in the salty water.  Somewhere along the way, the ocean became this place that soaked up memories and stored them for me.  So that now, as I drive up to the crest of a hill and spot the sparkly blue goodness, I gasp and well up with emotion.  If I sit in the sand and fix my gaze on the sunny horizon, the ocean gladly unfolds a lifetime’s worth of snapshots with each coming wave.  And, as I am presented with glimpses of myself, I am reminded of the choices I have made and the values that propelled them.

Next up: The story about how I embarrass myself in surfing lessons.  Just kidding.  Just more love of the ocean.

For the Love of the Ocean

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Last week, I went on a little trip to LA.  It was supposed to be a writing/visiting trip, but unfortunately I got a really gross stomach flu and was out of commission for most of it.  But, that’s not what I wanted to share with you.:)  On Thursday, I got to go to the beach!  It was only a brief visit, but oh, how lovely it was!  As I drove up over the hill, the endless blue waves were sitting there, right where they have always been.  I literally gasped.  I didn’t realize how much I had missed it.  My heart was so filled with gratitude in that moment.

Now, I want to take some time for those of us that don’t quite get the love of the ocean.  We’ve all seen the Corona commercials with the quiet hush of the waves and the sand sticking to suntanned legs, so I think we can all agree that the sun and sand make for a great vacation destination.  But, I have heard many of you, and I won’t mention names, complain about the tiny little rocks or say, “It’s sort of just a big lake, right?”

In honor of my ocean, this week, I will give you this California girl’s glimpse of the love.  The love that will pay twice the rent.  The love that just has to see it every once and a while.  The love that can overlook sand in the sandwiches.;)