Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Very Exciting News!! New Shop!

I am exceedingly pleased to give you...

JandKdesigns! A fabulous new Etsy shop that my dear friend Kierstyn and I started together!

Kierstyn and I go way back. We've been friends ever since we were about 3 months old in church nursery together. :) We grew up going to the beach together and having the most wonderful time dancing together in ballet class. There were several occasions that we performed choreographed worship dances to songs like Shout to the Lord on stage together. When I moved up to GA we lost touch, but last year Kierstyn looked me up on white pages and sent me a letter. Ever since, we've been in close contact, catching up on each other's lives. Then, Kierstyn got a bright idea.... Scarf and Earring sets!

We have combined our talents of crochet and jewelry design into one amazing place.  Kierstyn and I have matched up sets of her scarves and my earrings to make something splendid. :) Here are a few samples:

Now you just HAVE to go take a look. :D

An Article I Wrote Concerning the Tongue & Brothers

A Discussion of my New Philosophy Concerning my Brothers.

Let me say first of all that I love my brothers. I love them ever so much. However, I have not been the sister they need me to be, and I’ve been letting other things cloud my vision and distort my view of my actions. I’ve justified correcting them over and over again on the grounds that they needed to improve in a given area – when I need improvement just as much as they, but nobody follows me around and makes comments every time I do something the least bit imperfect.

Luke 6:42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

I had (have) ‘beams’ in my eyes, and I’ve been so concerned with carefully picking out every infinitesimal speck in Mark and Steven’s vision… nearly bashing them over the head with the ‘logs’ sticking out from my eyes in the process – not to mention frustrating everyone concerned with my gross hypocrisy.
This came to a climax the other evening, when I again criticized my oldest brother Mark’s table manners. He was hurt and embarrassed. Daddy and Mama had had enough of my behavior and Daddy and I went to my room to have a talk after dinner was finished.
Daddy spoke lovingly yet convicting-ly to me, and told me that I need to treat Mark and Steven like the nearly-all-grown young men that they are… with respect, and admiration for all their good points and the potential in them to be something wonderful, instead of focusing so much on their small faults and criticizing them mercilessly for every tiny mistake.

Why had I been so blind? Mark and Steven are wonderful young men! They are so intelligent and kind and loving. They each have so many gifts and wonderful character traits. They’re amazing. What was I thinking??
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.

Had I done this? NO! I hadn’t preferred Mark and Steven above myself. I was only concerned about my wants, my needs, and my “right” to boss them around! I have no right to correct Mark and Steven – they are my equals, not just ‘little brothers’. That phrase “little brothers” doesn’t even make sense any more because they literally tower over me. Such big, strong men! And I’ve been trying to order them around like a cocky little bantam rooster. How silly and wrong of me to have done so!

As the daughter and sister in my family, I should be looking for ways to help and serve my family members. I should be making peace, instead of causing strife. My words should be gentle, my thoughts kind, and my actions sweet and blessing to my dear family. My hands need to be eager to work for the benefit of my home, and my feet should be swift in running to help out wherever I am needed.

Proverbs 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Proverbs 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

I can talk all day until I’m blue in the face about heart changes and proper behavior, but what really matters is acting all this out and practicing what I ‘preach’. I am sincere. I mean what I am saying here and I truly am trying to change. Habits are difficult to break, but I will be endeavoring to train my tongue to speak kindly and gently, saying what God wants me to say instead of that other influence that’s been working through me these past years.

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (22) But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
“Superfluity of Naughtiness”. You know that sarcastic teasing attitude? The one that flourishes in any gathering of teenagers? It’s fun… for you, at least… not the person or persons you may be teasing. But it’s sin. Sin is usually fun, have you noticed? At least for a while. However, there are major consequences.

I know what proper, godly behavior is. Or at least I have a pretty good idea. But if I don’t put it into practice and be a doer of the word…
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
I’m sinning! If I am not doing what I KNOW is right, I am in sin!!

James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
James 3:7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
James 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Truer words never were spoken – “Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” How many times I wish I could have rewound time and erased that one little fiery comment that sparked a whole big huge fight or disagreement. Bridling my tongue and not saying everything that pops into my head is something I will definitely be working hard on!

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
^This is one reason I have decided to make this a public blog post. It’s my confession, of sorts. I hope you will pray for me as I work on this area of my life.

I want to be a shining light, and my desire is to be a priceless, valuable part of my family… not something that needs to be cast off so that the rest doesn’t decay.

With God as my constant helper and aid, I will be a good sister and daughter, and I will bring glory to my Lord and Savior in it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I had a major dilemma this afternoon.

I'm currently on the South Beach Diet phase one (for two weeks) during which I am not eating any carbs or sugars. Then, today's lunch came along and threw a wrench into the works. Mama wanted to make a nice hot *delicious* lunch of homemade pizza, one of our favorite meals. I can't have pizza crust, it's a carb.

Mama was not to be swayed by a little problem like that, (harhar) so she set her mind to work on how we could make a pizza that I could eat. She began pondering what we could do as a substitute for her crunchy, amazing whole wheat crust... *drool* ... and came up with a happy alternative.

We opened up a can of black beans and heated them up on the stove. Then we threw in some leftover cooked chicken to give it a little more body. We spread out a layer of the black beans/chicken (using about half of the pot) in a glass pie pan, and topped that with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and my favorite pizza toppings.. pepperoni, black olives, and pickles. :D Yummmm.

And, we sprinkled the whole thing with parmesan cheese, garlic, oregano, and basil. Then, into the oven it went!

We broiled it for about 6 minutes, watching it carefully to make sure it didn't get too crispy. Then... out it came. I wasn't sure how the black beans would taste, topped like a pizza. But then I took my first bite.
Oh. My. Word.
It was AWESOME! I loved it! All my favorite pizza flavors were combined with a delicate chicken taste, subtly underscored by the mild black beans. Ooooooh. :)

I was only able to finish about half of this filling dish, and wrapped up the rest and put it in the fridge for tomorrow.

Hurrah for inventive mothers!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Good morning! :)

It is such a lovely day today. No, the weather is not the best... rather cloudy and grim, actually, and the temperature is not at my favorite 75 degrees... but still it IS a lovely day. Why, you ask, should the day be lovely if the weather isn't nice?

The answer is simple! This is the day that the Lord has made! So I will rejoice and be glad in it! :)

These days, I seem to be so busy-busy-busy that I've been feeling more pressure and anxiety than usual. It's kind of upsetting, as I'm usually a pretty happy and carefree person. All these things are waiting for my attention ... including 3 upcoming jewelry shows, 2 blog headers in the works, and 1 big secret project that I can tell you about as soon as it's ready. It involves earrings though. :)

Not to mention that I"m in the midst of deep-cleaning and organizing my bedroom! Whew! What a job. How can this bedroom of mine look so nice most of the time and yet have so much hidden dirt and clutter and mess? It's surprising! :) However, I finished the desk I'm sitting at (well, except for the drawer...) but the top is shining and clean, with no junk on it. That alone makes me feel great! :)

I'm also back on phase one of the South Beach Diet. So far I've gained half a pound, (bummer) but I'm planning to implement more excercise into my daily routine so that should really help. :D I burn flab so much more easily when my muscles are working hard. :D I do know that I'm starting to lose weight though, because I had that weird phenomenon happen that always happens when I start losing weight... my sense of smell is suddenly comparable to a bloodhound's. Seriously! I can be standing four feet away and still smell my mom's tea sock drying at the sink. Usually I can't smell that unless I'm holding it to my nose. ;)

Well, I hope you all have a great day. I'm off to read my Bible, then go exercise. :D Worthy goals indeed....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What to do when the guy in the music store is staring at you

A Quiz. ;)

You walk into an unassuming little music store with your mother. Three guys are inside running the store and one of them spots you coming in and quickly moves to the counter before the other two can get there. As you walk up, he says "Hi! What can I do for you?" Your mom has some questions to ask about a microphone that will record voice and piano and transmit the sound into a laptop, so she talks to the very helpful young man for several minutes. The young man is very polite, answering everything she asks and getting several different microphones for you to inspect, but meanwhile he keeps shooting little glances your way when your mother looks down at the microphones on the counter.

Do you:

A. Smile prettily at him
B. Frown at his forwardness
C. Assume a very bored expression 
D. Hide behind your mom
E. Smile politely and look away
F. Say that you forgot something and retreat to the car outside

When your mother is finally done talking about microphones, she asks the guy where to find voice training books, and he says "Right this way", walking out from behind the counter and leading you over to the book room. (He could have just pointed it out to you...) He then begins to look through the drawers to help you find your books, even though all the drawers are clearly labeled and you could have easily found the 'Voice' section all by yourself. He jokes that the bookkeeper would know more about the books than he does, but shows you where to find the voice books, and then finally leaves you to peruse the selection.

While waiting for your mother to find any books she might want, do you:

A. Tiptoe over to the door to the book room and peek out at the guy
B. Hide in the corner farthest from the entrance and cover your head with a piano theory book
C. Engross yourself in a contemporary christian songbook, shutting out the world for a while
D. Walk around in circles
E. Note that there is now "Twilight" music and feel disgusted at the obsession people have with it
F. Do jumping jacks in an attempt to get the guy's attention

After a mere four or five minutes, the overly attentive young man returns and says "Are you all finding everything okay?" Your mom says yes, and that you are about done (There wasn't anything there you needed) And she begins to walk out. The young man leans an elbow against the wide doorway, and as you walk out a few feet behind your mom he looks directly into your eyes and smiles.

Do you:

A. Swoon
B. Slap him
C. Burst out laughing
D. Smile and keep going
E. Stop and ask him if he needs a map, because he seems to be lost in your eyes
F. Bolt for your car
G. Look at him like he's weird

When you reach your vehicle (finally!) and tell your mom that you think the guy kind of liked you, she is surprised, because apparantly the guy wasn't obvious enough to attract her attention...(or he was subtle enough when trying to flirt with you that she didn't see him) also she was distracted with the microphones, and then searching for a voice training book. You laugh about it together and she remarks that they probably don't see pretty girls in there very often, and so when you came in they all went "ooh, look at her, and wow, look at that hair!" ... (as your hair falls so long that you can sit on it)... So you laugh, and forget about the whole thing....... right?


And yes, this happened to yours truly, and no, I didn't flirt back or hide. (Surely you didn't think I would??)
I actually think I handled it rather well.
I just couldn't resist doing a blog post on it! :D

Friday, January 8, 2010

Newsy Little Tidbits of Thought

Tonight in our evening devotional, My dad taught from John chapter 14, and one thing he said really struck me. Jesus said in verse 6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Notice that he didn't say "I am A way." or "I am a possibility" or "You might just want to consider me". No... He said "I am THE way." There is no way to the Father except through Jesus. This truth is hated today by atheists and people of other faiths besides Christianity, and for this we are called "Narrow-Minded" and other such names. But nonetheless, it is true. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

So that is something I've been meditating on recently.

As for our car, we have it back, and it seems to be running just fine! Mama drove it around in town today, doing errands, and it behaved quite nicely for her. Thank the Lord! I was so happy when the repair man told us that he wasn't going to charge us anything because he still didn't know what was wrong with it. My family and I think it was what Rachel's dad suggested... that there might be water in the gas tank and fuel line that froze on the cold night we were driving back from the get-together, and 'choked' up the engine.

But the good news is that we can use our car for now, and make it up to church on Sunday. :) Thank you so much for all your prayers and encouragement! :)

And now, I have a treat for you! Pictures!

We actually got a teensy dusting of snow this morning! :) I have some friends who got considerably more... but that was all we got. :P

We did, however, get some very cute little icicles on the roof! :)

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This is a request for your prayers for our car...

Firstly though, I have a story to tell behind the request for your prayers. :)

On Tuesday afternoon, my dad and I drove up to an HSA (http://homeschoolalumni.org/) gathering hosted by my good friends Anna and Mary Catherine, and there I got to meet around 20 other young people between the ages of 18-29. We had a such a blast hiking, doing some archery, playing bag-toss, board games, and Never-Have-I-Ever, and enjoyed a hearty chili supper! :) That was wonderful and the girls and guys I was able to meet are so friendly and nice and real. Wow. :) For me, that was incredibly encouraging. 

On the way home at 8:30 pm, (about halfway home on our 1-hour drive) the car started acting in a very disturbing manner. Daddy and I were chatting away when suddenly we felt a huge LURCH! Then it felt like the vehicle stopped running for a moment, then kept going. We looked at each other in dismay. The car felt fine for another few moments, then it did it again. And again. And again! All with an interval of a few minutes or so in between lurches. It kept getting worse each time and the dashboard lights started to flicker when the lurches came. It seriously felt like the car had, well... hiccups! But this wasn't a laughing matter.

We prayed that it would stop so we could get home and that we would be able to make it back to Mama and my brothers safely.

The car actually died twice on the way home, but each time Dad was able to pull off safely and we didn't have any chance of being hit by passing traffic, but it was still very unnerving. Once Daddy had pulled off, we'd wait a minute or two, then start the van again and it would run, and keep going.

We made it home safely and drew huge sighs of relief upon reaching the carport and parking the van!

The car is in the shop today and the mechanic called and told us that he can't figure out what is wrong with our vehicle because it sat there and ran for two hours with no problem, and even when he drove it around the lot it didn't do anything strange. When he first got it off the tow truck it died, so he knows we're not faking, but he only has a few vague ideas what could be wrong with our contrary car.

Please pray that we can find out what the problem is and that it won't be too expensive to fix! Your prayers would be very much appreciated. :)
Love & Hugs!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Results of the Caption Contest

The winning entries for the Caption contest are:

Abby at His Sparrow

Ha-ha-ha! Are you laughing yet?

......And Miss Lizzy at The Writer's Pen!

If that one didn't make you laugh, there's something seriously wrong with your funnybone. :D

Congratulations ladies! Please leave me a comment with your email address - it won't be published - and we can get to work designing something special for your blogs! :)

Have a cheerful day! ;)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What to do with your old 2009 Calendar

This post is for all of you people out there who are like me and wanted a new 2010 calendar, but your local Dollar Tree where you got your last one was completely out of calendars except for the rather silly-looking kitten ones or the 'wine' or 'golf courses' ones, which didn't interest you in the least. :D

(that was a very long sentence) *whew*

Ok. Here's what you do. Go to 'DonnaYoung.Org' and download one of her free Calendars. I chose the horizontal one for 2010 and downloaded the "DOC" file, or Microsoft Word Document. Then I opened the file and added my own cute fonts and changed the colors on each month to match my existing calendar color schemes.

Print out your new calendar pages. Take your old calendar and tape the new pages overtop of the old pages ... like so.

...And Ta-Da! You have a 'brand new' calendar for free! :) (not counting the cost of 12 pieces of paper and an eensy bit of printer ink)

Hope you enjoyed the tip! :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Is it really...

...2010? Already? Wow! :)

I hope the year ahead is filled with blessings for you! :)

Love and Hugs,