life is beautiful

Monday, February 28, 2011

Teaching of Kindness

Well, today's post isn't so much about a recent creation or discovery of beauty but more of a continuing collection of it!  If you have time, please take a few minutes to go over to the Seeking Kindness Blog and to find Biblical truth, articles and thoughts about Proverbs 31:26.  This Bible verse describes a godly woman as one who “opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law, or teaching, of kindness.”  The tongue, albeit a proportionately small part of my body, is a mighty weapon.  With a few well-placed words, I have the power to build up and encourage those around me.  I also have the ability to destroy with my tongue.  Consider what James has to say about our powerful tongues:
“If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.  Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body,  Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.  Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.  The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire by hell.  For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea is tamed by mankind, But no man can tame the tongue.  It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?  Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.  Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” James 3:2-13
The Seeking Kindness Blog is written for those who seek to mimic the Proverbs 31 woman who had wisdom and kindness in her tongue.  There are three main areas of focus: Seeking the teaching of kindness in dealing with our children, seeking the teaching kindness in relating to our husbands or authorities and seeking the law of kindness as a way of daily personal living and thinking.  May these pages encourage you to grow in grace and conquer the fleshly tendencies of your tongue.

Without Christ in our lives, however, taming our tongues is a fruitless effort.  Even if, by supreme willpower, you are able to control your tongue, without submission to Christ, it will avail you nothing.  The Bible, God’s Word, explains the Good News of Jesus Christ: You can be saved from all of your sin!  You do not have to live in slavery to sin!  God has made a provision for you to be freed from it! 

If you would be interested in hearing a Bible message explaining the gospel, or if you'd like to talk about how you can be sure you are free from sin, simply contact me for more information.  I'd love to talk with you!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday is Special

Psalm 42 
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, "Where is your God?" 4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation 6 and my God.My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. 8 By day the LORDcommands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. 9 I say to God, my rock: "Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" 10 As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, "Where is your God?" 11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (ESV)

Want to listen to this?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Wonderland

And the beauty continued today!

Didn't the house across the street look like something from a fairy-land this morning?

It was certainly a beautiful day for hot chocolate...

...and a very fine day to spend with special friends!

This fabric speaks to me.

This time of year I start yearning for yellow in a visceral, inexplicable kind of way, and while all of these patterns aren't lemony they surely speak to me of spring and warmth and lazy-daisy summer days.  Take a peek and tell me truly, isn't this really beautiful?! Laura Gunn designed these fabrics from her original paintings (which are stunning. I would love to wake up to this every morning!) and she has a fabulous blog.  Lots of beauty to rest your eyes on over there!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Pure Blanket of White

Guess what I got for my birthday?
 This is the view out of my home office window.  
(Doesn't my neighbor have an ADORABLE house??)

Yesterday I sat out my pots so I could prepare them for some porch flowers... 
Looks like I'll have to wait a bit longer....

Here's our backyard.  I painted our fence RED in 2009 and still am so happy with it.  It is such a bright spot on a rainy winter day, and it looks so festive in the snow today! :)

It started last night and is still coming down hard.  
How glorious and beautiful!!! 
Thank you, Lord, for this special, beautiful gift! :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Guess what we're making today?

It's my birthday tomorrow (whoo-hoo!), so a splurge in is the makings.....

~Peanut Butter 
Cup Cake~

Read it and weep.  
Or just make one for yourself. 
Or just come on over and 
celebrate with me! ;)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday is Special

Do you know the story of Hosea?  How he was married to his wife but she left him to be a prostitute? How God's plan for Hosea's life was to go find his wife after she abandoned him and to love her and to take her back, despite her sin, despite his own personal pain?
And God's plan for this in Hosea's life was so that Hosea would be a picture of God Himself.  It is the perfect picture of God and his response to His people - the Israelites in that age and now including even me as His child today.  When I sin and go my own way, God doesn't give up on me.  He knows I am His child and He has promised that He will never desert or leave or forsake me.
At the end of the book of Hosea in chapter 14, in part of verse 4, God says of His apostate people, "I will love them freely."  What a declaration! What hope is in that statement!  God says to me, His disobedient child, no matter what you've done,

"I will love you freely."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sweet little lady in gray and pink

The littlest sweetie's first Valentine's Dress.
This was one very satisfying "creation!"

Monday, February 14, 2011

These taste beautiful! Chocolate Crackles

I love Bakerella's website and often drool over her creations, but for the first time we actually made something from her site, and ohhhhhh myyyyyy, it was W O N D E R F U L.

She got the recipe for these glorious Chocolate Crackle Cookies from Martha and put beautiful step-by-step instruction photos from her perfectly pink kitchen on her blog, so please go check those out and grab the recipe.  While you're there, just browse around and be wowed a bit by her creations.  So lovely and delish!

My little guy and I made these for a Valentine's treat for a couple of reasons.

First of all, even if you live in the Pacific Northwest where it looks like this outside  <------ at 3:30 PM on most days, I've learned that baking something yummy can bring make sunshine magically appear right in your kitchen! ---------->

Second of all, WE LOVE CHOCOLATE! :D

So we took a little of this and a little of that...

And we melted and sifted and stirred...

And we inadvertently learned that the dough does just fine if you get interrupted and have to wrap it up and chill for more than 30 minutes..... even if your Saturday afternoon project gets finished on Monday afternoon, it will be okay!

Look, the little lady is happy, even though chocolate is still a good many months off in her future!  Told you these cookies magically add sunshine in your kitchen! (Because it still looks like that outside here....)
We took our chilled dough and dipped it in granulated sugar and then confectioner's sugar (just like Bakerella said), and would you look how they turned out??
So pretty like this:

And finished like this:

They aren't lasting long.....
Better hurry and come over if you want one! :)

Happy Valentine's Day! Celebrate with Personalized Kid's Valentines!

Let's make some personalized Valentines!
I suppose it would have been more helpful to you if I'd posted this little tutorial last week, buuuuuuut, then everyone who got one of these little cuties would have seen their treats before Valentine's Day!  So, if you'd like to do this, just put it in your February file for next year. :)

This is such a cool idea, and it's not original with me. However for the life of me, I cannot find the tute online where I saw it last February..... (so if you know where it is, PLEASE comment and tell me so I can link up appropriately!)

Besides being cute, this craft is fun and oh-so-easy.  First, grab some suckers or lollipops at the store - one for each Valentine. (We <3 the long stemmed ones at Michael's, and since we only did a very few this year, it didn't get too $$.  But a big value bag of Tootsie pops or plain candy suckers would work well, too.)
Next, pick a time when your child is in a photographable frame of mind, put them in a place with a decent background and take a photo of them "punching" the camera.  Make sure their thumb is outside and to the side of their fist, like this:

Then, upload the adorable picture to www.picnik.com (or another of  your favorite photo editing sites/programs) and crop/decorate it.  I let my little guy help, and he made this (I'm so proud of him - he is getting GOOD with the mouse!):

Next, print out as many decorated Valentines as you need, and carefully (no little ones helping on this part!) use a craft knife or pen knife to cut two 0.5-inch slits: one below and one under your child's photographed fist.

Then, carefully (especially if you printed on thin paper - I used Avery photo paper and it held up well, but I also did this project with some girls from church, and we printed their photos at Rite-Aid, and that photo paper was MUCH thinner and ripped easily) thread your lollipop through the slits, and - Voila! -

Instant Valentine cuteness!

Now, go have fun!  

(You knoooooow, this craft would work great for any holiday - I was just noticing some delightful shamrock groovy pops on Amazon.com..... and picnik.com always has free seasonal borders and stickers!  The possibilities are endless!)

I linked this little tutorial up at:
Sumo's Sweet Stuff

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday is Special

I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations. 

For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens
And Your truth to the clouds.

Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I won something fun!!!

The Someday Crafts blog owner had a fun virtual party today to reveal if the sweet baby she's carrying is a boy or a girl.... and I was one of the "lucky" folks who guessed correctly: It's a B O Y!
Since I guessed right, I was entered into a "door prize" drawing (so fun!) and just LOOK what I won from the PeekaBoo Pattern Shop!
Two free patterns of my choice!
So.... I chose this adorable "Mom and Me" Apron pattern set and the pattern to make these reversible Mary Janes!
I'm so excited to get sewing on them.... I'm going to make my little guy an apron (sans the ruffle...) RIGHT away, because he is my right-hand cooking helper, plus he needs something to cover up for crafts in - something snazzier than a too-big tee shirt! ;)  And the Mary Janes.... ohhh, be still my heart.  We're going to have some fun creating beauty with those babies!  Thank you, Michelle and Amy, for the amazing prizes!

Two Beautiful Ideas!

Here are two of the most awesome ideas I've seen in a loooooong time.  We're going to try both of them over at our house.... :D
First check out these lined canvas bins.  Would you believe this fantastic Mama made these out of diaper boxes?!  There's no end to the color combos, and if you ask me, they really look like something way too expensive for me to want to shell out cash for.  I can envision how useful and PRETTY these will be in my office, in my kids' rooms... even in the church nursery? LOTS of potential! Hooray!  (Note to self: just be sure to ask your honey-bunny husband to do the adhesive spraying, because it gives you a whopping headache everytime you use it.) Projects like this are more fun when they're a family affair, anyway. ;)

Then there's this gorgeous art project.  I really love how it's going to be perfect for my biggest little one to actually do most of the work. And then we can treasure it and the memory of making it together for years!   I think for my little guy we might try more of a primary color scheme and/or maybe a different shape.  We do love those 40% and 50% off coupons from Michael's!! Helloooooo, Martha's paper punch section! (Has anybody ever tried to punch felt with those paper punches? I'm dying to try it.

When I have a few skinny minutes, I love to peruse Ohdeedoh, the children's design branch of Apartment Therapy blogs... and both of these ideas were featured there.  Take a peek.  You'll enjoy the beauty!

Friday, February 11, 2011

50% off sale Friday (2/11) only

50% off all Valentine Rings today only!! 

Shop Wren Frances Designs to see what we have ready to go.... 

We'll ship orders IMMEDIATELY today for Valentine's Day arrival! Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Today I made...

... a MESS.
I had this little sweetie 

in a sling since she was awfully fussy (I think it was her teeth!)
and the biggest little sweetie was helping me make the most delicious soup 
(recipe to follow, thanks to Claudia!),
 and I had one eye on him (as he tore the provolone and flung it into the pot - good job, son!), 
and the other eye who knows where (not where it was supposed to be),
and my arms reaching around the slinged little sweetie as I was trying to
Uhhhh.... BIG mistake.
I sliced my thumb almost OFF (or that's an exaggeration... but it seemed that horrific at the time).
So there's not too much creating going on this week at our house.
But at least we managed to make SOMETHING, even if it was...
... a MESS.
Plus, we're making plans of what to create soon!

Ok, so here's the wonderful recipe.  And believe it or not, it's almost good enough to make you want to risk cutting off your thumb to have it!!! Despite the mess, we did create the soup and mmmmmmm, it's good! 

Cheese-Cauliflower Soup

¼ c. water
2 T. butter
½ cup carrots, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped onion
2 cans cream of potato soup
2 cups 1% milk
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup fresh or frozen cauliflower, cooked until tender, then puréed
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded provolone cheese (or just buy slices and tear them - it's faster!)
salt and pepper
fresh parsley, for garnish

Combine first 4 ingredients and let simmer 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and heat slowly to serving temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Your kids will call this cheese dip soup.  They will relish every bite of carrot and corn and potato and onion and cauliflower and call you blessed.  Maybe I should rename this magic soup??? ;)

For those of you who care, this recipe makes 6 servings (although you'll want to eat it all yourself.  Consider yourself forewarned.) and each serving has 
Fat: 16.6g
Carbohydrates: 25.6g
Protein: 14.6g
 (I figured this out using the amazing and fantastic recipe calculator on sparkpeople.com.  It's an awesome tool!)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Beauty Found

I've just discovered a great blog! It's called I can teach my child, and besides all the amazing thematic unit plans and activities (neatly arranged by age, thank you oh so much), the author also has a really neat section called "Lessons Learned."  For example, check out this wonderful post on beauty: "I love you... snotty nose and all."

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! "
I John 3:1a

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday is Special

I am so thankful for my salvation today! I am free, saved from a life of slavery to sin and eternal separation from God!  So, do you know how to get to heaven?

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, 
in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 
Romans 5:8

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Today I had occasion to read through a journal that I kept 8 years ago. I'm so thankful that I took the time to write about what God was doing in my life then, and I'm sorry that I've only sparsely recorded anything about what He's done in me since that time.  It was incredibly refreshing to see the beauty of His hand guiding me through time spent in His word, by limited and opened opportunities, and the spiritual growth that was happening in my through it all.  Now, several years later, I know more about the story than I did at that time. I've heard others' opinions of what was happening, and I've experienced the results of decisions I made.  But I really had forgotten a lot of the details, especially what I was telling the Lord and how He was answering me.... so I am re-inspired to keep a careful account of the beautiful ways God works in and through and leads me so that I can be blessed in another 8 or 10 years by what is happening today.

Friday, February 4, 2011

This girl's life is beautiful

You seriously must read the story of how Katie's life changed as a teenager when she visited Uganda and how that change has led to her life today, how she is being used to change many other lives through the gospel of Jesus Christ and her own personal willingness to live for Him. You will never be the same.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saturday's creation (shared on Thursday)

Now, isn't THAT beautiful?
The only sad part is, this dress is almost too small... so I think it's high time to make a bigger one...
Ohhh, little girl, can't you stay this teeny forever? <3

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Today I made this for a beautiful friend....

(and I suppose a bit for me too! ;)

You can make them too... Just check out Elise's recipe!  I altered the frosting/decorating a bit, but that has nothing to do with the incredible FLAVOR in this decadent cupcake. Enjoy!

(Happy Birthday, Mrs. C.  I love you!!!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011