fashionably lame?

 These are my current favorite shoes.  I know, I know, I am so fashionably brave. 
Putting myself out there with these rule breaking gray flats.  
But I love them.  
They go with everything and they are comfy.
But....
 I sometimes wear them with socks.  
And I have no idea if people are making fun of me behind my back when they see this. 

What do you think?  Am I committing a fashion no-no?

Probably won't stop me from doing it...but it would be interesting to know.

:)
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what i wish. num 8.

Welcome to "What I wish I could tell you"...an anonymous platform for bloggers to share what they don't feel free to share on their own blogs.  If you have a story/thought/ache/hurt/feeling/secret/prayer request you want to get out, feel free to email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com.  You will remain anonymous to all but me unless you choose otherwise. 
The author of this entry has chosen to stay anonymous.  Say hello to anon #8: 

~*~
I wish I could tell you...that everything is okay.  That I'm fine.  That I've never been better.  That my marriage is incredible and as strong as ever.  I wish I could say that our life is not what we expected but we love it anyway.  I wish I could tell the man I married that after you moved out, I didn't cry.  That I didn't go over the last few years of our life and wish I could change something...anything.   That even after 3 months, the pain still stings like the first time you said you didn't love me and it wasn't worth it.  I wish I could say that you tried these past few years to make our marriage stronger.  I wish I could say you were honest with me and yourself.  That you searched to make a better home life for our family and that our interest was the first on your list of priorities.  I wish I could tell everyone that my husband is kind, generous, thoughtful, strong in his relationship with God and is the most amazing father to 2 beautiful children.  But I can not.  I wish I could tell the man I married 7 years ago that he is making the biggest mistake of his life.  I wish I could tell him ,again, that marriage is never easy for anyone, not anyone...not even that adorable couple who sits a few pews in front of us at church week after week.  That no ones marriage is perfect and without trial.  That the commitment we made didn't just include times of sunshine and birds singing, but the dark and stormy times as well.  No matter how long those storms may last.  That if we stuck out the many storms of life together, we'd be made stronger.  I wish I could tell you that he is strong and courageous, that he is the same man I married on that beautiful day in June.  I wish I could tell him that if we stand strong for ourselves and for our children, that we will be made better...not only for ourselves, but for each other.   That our love for one another would be made stronger and indestructible.  I wish I could tell him that he is losing the most precious of all gifts for a sheer moment of gratification.  That he is missing out on time with our children, who are not promised to us in this life forever.  That each moment he is gone is another day lost.  Another smile unobserved, kiss good-night lost, bedtime story unfinished and many "firsts", unseen.  I wish I could tell him that our children will not be affected by his decision to leave.  That they won't harbor harsh feelings of resentment to his decision for personal fulfillment.  But I can not.  No one can.  

More than anything, I wish I could tell him...how much he is missed.  How much he is loved.  Even after the torment these last few months and years have been.  That love doesn't just leave.  That I gave my all and I would continue to give it...if he wanted it too.  But I will tell you all, that my life has meaning.  That I am strong.  That my Heavenly Father has sent me here with a purpose and that I want to continue to find it and live it.  That my children will be blessed because I will try to give them what they truly deserve.  I will continue to fight and find my way.  Make myself better not only for myself, but for my family.  That I will continue the fight forward.  That my life will go on and I will make the best of this terrible thing that has occurred.  I don't know how long I will grieve...I gave my life and heart to a man, not just for this life, but for eternity.  I committed not only in thought and in word...but in my heart too.  This makes for a difficult  recovery, but it can be done.  If I have faith in God and in His plan for me, he will mend my broken heart and see the intents of my heart.  He will make my family whole again. Somehow.  That once this horrible storm settles, there will be beautiful rainbow.  I pray I have the strength and courage to see it, to see my children and to see myself the way my Heavenly Father sees me. 
~*~

Want a turn to share?  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com. 
Feel free to comment and encourage or just relate and assure.
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i am not a baby person.

My name is Crystal and I don't like babies. 

OK, maybe that's a little too harsh.  I like babies but not enough to have another.  I have no plans to have another.  I don't want another.  I don't need another.  And I am OK with that.  

So why do I get a dirty look when I tell people this?  Like there is something wrong with me only having two little boys in my life.  They don't NEED a sister as some people claim.    
I don't need to have a Miriam to round out my mini-herd.  It doesn't help that more of my "two kids" friends than I can count have announced that they are pregnant with number three.

The basis for our decision to only have two?  We feel it.  If God wants us to have more He has not communicated this to us.  And you know what? We are completely happy and content with that.

Here are my completely selfish reasons for being thankful that I no longer have "babies" and why we only want two children.  

I like sleep.  Babies like to deprive you of this.
I like communication.  Babies are terrible at verbal communication. 
I like to travel with (relative) ease.  Babies are terrible travel companions.
I hate carrying a diaper bag.  And buying diapers.
We like not being out numbered.   And I don't want a bigger car.
We want to pay for college for each of the boys.  This gets harder with each child we add.

And the biggest reason?
The older my boys get the better of a mother I feel like I can be to them.  I love babies but I don't feel like I can give them my best work.  I don't do my best on four hours of sleep.  I like to be able to say "What's wrong?" and have real words come back to me. 

With every day that my kids get older I feel more and more competent in the mommy field. 
Don't get me wrong...I loved the baby stage...or at least most of it.  Tiny baby parts, quiet late night feedings...the smell of a baby...the sweet coos and squishy baby legs.  All great things.  We don't regret the late nights or the diaper changes or changes to our schedule to accommodate naps.  We loved and love our babies.  But it is OK for us to stop here. 

Two and we are through.
Please tell me that we are not the only ones?
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making Christmas.

 I don't know what it says about me to be well into making Christmas crafts this early in November...but I will assume that it's good things.  There is nothing like Christmas time to get me digging into craft supplies that are non fabric...fimo among them. 
 These sugary sweet snowmen took on a life of their own as I made them...each has it's own little personality and charm...lots of glitter and sparkly and tinsel.
 They are all nestled in the shop...waiting for a new home.  And they are one of those things that you make and kinda hope no one buys...because then they could all live on my tree. 
 I'll be making a few more...but not many so if you really, really want one...I would grab one soon.  You pay for the priority shipping on the first one and the rest ship free.   
 I also made up a handful of one of my best all time sellers...just slip your own photo into the vinyl pocket and you have your very own personalized keepsake. 
These make great gifts for grandma's, teachers, moms...anyone who love to see your cuties face. 
And for just a bit more you can order some that are personalized with the name of your choice...I will be taking a limited number of orders for these...so if you know you would like one contact me soon!

You can find all of these goodies over at the SHOP! 

I've also posted the KIX winner!  Click over on "Free Stuff Here" to find out if it's you!
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why and how.

 Recently a friend basically asked me why I believe what I believe.  And how she could get from point A to point B in her beliefs.  And essentially how to get out of her own way in the matter and let God be God. 

Can we say "oh my gosh how do I answer this question and bring the glory and honor to God that He so lovingly deserves?  How can I say the right things that she needs to hear...that God wants her to hear...How can I, at the end of this conversation, leave her wanting more of Him and not less?  How do I get out of the way and let God shine through?" 

So I told her I would get back to her.  And I prayed.  And I'm still praying honestly.  I thought I would document it here...because when I am finally a sweet old lady who weeps at the name of Jesus I want to see how far I've come.

Here is what I shared with her:
Keep in mind that I am sinner.  Just like everyone else.  I do not pretend to believe that I understand or know it all.  I am still learning and growing and changing.  God is not done with me yet.
That being said here is what I know, that I know, that I know to be true. 
God is good.  Always.
God is right.  Always.
God is just.  Always.

The Bible IS the inspired word of God.  
It is not written by man.  
 Men may have transcribed it, but God laid it on their hearts word for word.  
Every word in the Bible is true.  The standards it set have not changed. 

God is constant in what He says is good.  
Society changes "good" based on what makes the most people happy.

Customs of the time change.  People change.  The Earth changes. 
God stays the same.

 I don't know that I can explain how I got from point A: (a sinner lost in sin without hope in sight) to point B: (a sinner repenting of sin daily, holding fast to the Hope that is in Christ). 

I can tell you that if you seek Him, He will answer.  It may not be in your timing but it will be the right timing.  We are a people who want it NOW and to be in control.  God does not care about any of that.  He has nothing to prove to us.  His love has already been shown through the sacrifice of His one and only Son. 

I know that I have had to seek Him purposefully.  As with any relationship, no fruit will come of it if you don't do the work.  And I have had to work.  I read the Bible out of duty for a good ten years until I got to the point where I did it out of joy and love and wanting to be the way He wants me to be.  I read for years because it was the right thing to do...and I believe that God blesses me because of it.  Before if I missed a day I would feel guilty...now it makes me sad because I missed an opportunity to hear Him.

It has taken me just as long to really feel like I have a relationship with Him.  Don't hear me wrong now...He has always been there.  It's been me who has had to change, to drop MY expectations, to learn to humble myself before Him, to stop demanding and starting digging in.  To allow Him.  Period.   

I know that any "contradiction" you find in the Bible can be disproved through understanding the context and the language.  You can find scripture to support any sinful cause you want if you ignore context and use of language.

I believe that the Bible most certainly applies to us TODAY.  We are no different than the grumbling newly freed slaves...who turned their heads and immediately forgot what God had just done for them.  

I do believe that Jesus changed history.  I believe that without Him we were and are all doomed.  I believe that He was the one and only perfect sacrifice.  I believe that to take Him as your savior and pick and choose the rest is cheating yourself out of what God wants for you.  He doesn't just want you to believe.  He wants you to believe and FOLLOW.  
It would be like accepting a gift but never ever opening it.  
Jesus has an stance about being lukewarm.  

I don't believe in staying quiet about what is right because it is unpopular.  
This does not mean being judgmental.  This means lovingly encouraging one another down the path that God says is right.      

I don't think being a Christian is meant to be or should be easy.  
 I don't believe that we are supposed to understand a fraction of what this world is about.  

I believe that the point of life is to seek God and enjoy Him.  And that is it. 

I know that I don't want to serve a God that I can understand.   

I believe that Satan is real and really good at what he does. 
I believe that Hell is real. 
I believe that sin is not taken seriously enough.

I am TIRED of being told to be quiet because my opinion is unpopular.  I am tired of being told that because I don't accept what society says is OK that I am hateful.  
I believe that you can love the sinner and hate the sin because I know this first hand.  
I hate my own sin and yet still love myself. 

I believe that God will never give up on you...even when you give up.  

I believe that Jesus is coming back again and I believe that He is the only judge.  And on the day He comes back...EVERY knee will bow and every tongue will confess.  There will be wailing and pain and righting of wrongs.  There will be justice for every hurt. 

I believe that God is no where near done with me.  And I am SO thankful.  My prayer is to be one of those little old ladies who weep at the sound of His name. 

I believe that God is the first uncaused Cause. 

I know that the Bible is full of Truth.  And that it is all true. 

I believe that not believing because we don't understand is sinful pride and shows lack of Faith. 

It's all about Faith.

I've had to pray when I couldn't hear Him.
I've had to believe when I couldn't see His hand.
I've had to trust when I didn't understand.
I've had to put in the hours when I didn't want to or didn't immediately benefit. (imagine that!)
I have had to keep at it. 

Sometimes I have had to pray for the "want to want to". 

I've been angry at God.  
I have sobbed with Him.  
I have prayed over and over for my heart to break over what breaks His. 
I love Him more than anything.

I know that if I am never given another blessing that I will never cease to praise His name because He has already given me more than I could have ever earned or deserved. 

I love Jesus.  It's a simple and as complicated as that. 

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20 minute crafter. 10 minute pillowcase.

Are you ready for another?  I think anyone would like a pair of custom made pillow cases...college students, your mom, your daughter...anyone...ENDless possibilities with any number of gorgeous fabric combos...
 Here's what we are making...and it takes about ten minutes per case.  EASY. 
 You will need two pieces of fabric:
a) trim piece 12 by 42in
b) main piece 24 by 42in

Fold the 12in piece in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) 
and line it up with the 42in side of the main piece...
 Stitch the folded piece to the main piece...right side of b will be facing a.   
When you get the end...fold a back and stitch down the seam...
 ...all the way to the end...
 ...like this see?
 Fold the whole thing in half...and starting with the corner next to the fold (side one)...sew around the edges of side two and side three...don't forget to leave the 4th side open. :)
 You're done!
This one was made for my hoho.  And he loved it! :)

I think a cute custom pair would make a great gift...you could also give them with a fluffy new pillow. 

Have fun!  I will answer any questions in the comments. 

xo
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thankful num 1.

OK...so sadly I have to start this off with an apology to Rachel for cheating a little bit.  I did not write this thank-you out on paper.  And part of my reasoning is that I am addressing an entire group of people...and when faced with either not thanking them publicly or doing it without paper...I chose the latter.  And they all read my blog... 

So my first thankful on paper post is for my fabulous bunch of in-laws.  Yes, I said in-laws.  My family.  If everyone could include this bunch or type of people in the group that they call "in-laws" then the terrible stereotypes that surround in-laws would be quick to dissolve.  

I truly have the best group of people in my family.  Starting with my husband.  Who is, without a doubt, the kind of man that you should be praying that your daughter marries one day.  He is one in a million.  He is a gentleman.  He has dignity and honor.  He takes his duties as provider for his family very seriously.  He loves and respects his family and looks to them for their advice and wisdom.  He is kind and gentle and kids LOVE him.  He is a lover of God.  He is plainly and simply and complexly a GOOD MAN.  I love him with my whole heart and I am so thankful for all he has done for me...including bringing an awesome group of people into my life.

My mother and father in law are truly great parents.  I am so thankful for the great and Godly examples that they are for both Doug and I and my kids.  They go out of their way to make sure they are part of our lives and that my boys know who they are.  They advise us without judgment, they pray for us and watch out for us in a way that doesn't hinder us doing for ourselves.  They are supportive, kind and loving.  And I am so thankful for this mom and dad in my life.  I love them. 

And then there are my brother and sister in laws.  If I had pages and pages to fill about how awesome they are and how much I appreciate and love them...I could fill those pages easily and then some.  Each and every one of them are great at what they do...they are all hardworking, God seeking people.  Whether it's stopping by for 15 minutes while they are in town, or rearranging their lives when we are in their town, or being here with Moses when I was induced with Aaron, they go out of their way to make sure they love on my boys, and have a relationship with them.   Doug and I know without a doubt, that if anything were to ever happen to us, that any of these siblings could and would raise our boys with love and care in a way similar to what Doug and I would want.  And like I have always said, loving on my boys is the quickest way to my heart.  

Even though they may have been a little uncertain of me in the beginning...I feel like God has worked in and through and around all of our relationships and (I'm assuming here) removed any doubts they ever had of me.  I feel like they love me and accept me for who I am...even with my lack of internal GPS, dislike of all sports and preference for crocheting on a Friday night.  There is no need to pretend to be what I am not...I can be real.

With all of my family I believe that God is knitting us all together, ever tighter...that we are all learning to glean from each other the things that can be gleaned.  That God is drawing us closer and building relationships that are ever stronger.  I can't say whether or not their feelings on this matter reflect mine...but I hope that they do know that I am thankful for the family that they are to me and to my boys.  Even THEIR in-laws are a great part of our lives.  Each and every brother and sister is blessing to me and I love them and am SO thankful for them. 

And now they know. 

You can head on over to No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane to read all the other T.O.P.   She's on west coast time so it will be up later. :)    


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what i wish. num 7.

Welcome to "What I wish I could tell you"...an anonymous platform for bloggers to share what they don't feel free to share on their own blogs.  If you have a story/thought/ache/hurt/feeling/secret/prayer request you want to get out, feel free to email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com.  You will remain anonymous to all but me unless you choose otherwise. 
The author of this entry has chosen to stay anonymous.  Say hello to anon #7: 

~*~
I wish you all would stop telling me to be thankful.
I know I should be thankful……for a job, a house, my family.
And I am thankful.
But what none of you, my family, admit is that you pressured me into taking the job, into moving into the house.
And now, I hate the job and the house, but anytime I have anything negative to say about either you just say, “You should be thankful."
And, I repeat, I AM THANKFUL.
I am so thankful to have a Savior. A Savior who has promised to be my Rock….a Savior who has told me to rest in Him….a Savior who simply says “Cast all of your cares upon Me.”
I am thankful that He has provided for me this year with this job and in this house.
But every day I question what would have been different if I had chosen the other options….the options you all talked me out of.
What would life be like if I were in San Francisco in school? Would I have found a job I love? Would I have new friends? Maybe even a boyfriend? What would my new church family be like? Missions focused instead of programs focused?
What if I had taken the job to teach kindergarten in Egypt? Would I have loved living there again as much as I had in the past? Would I have gotten to reach out more to the community I lived in? Would I finally become more fluent in Arabic?
What if I had taken the job at the small, private school? Would I even like teaching in a regular 5th grade classroom? Would I still have the friends I left in that town?
But now, I am trying to quit asking the “what ifs” and focus on what I have.
A job: I may hate it, but the money I make easily meets my needs and allows me to help meet the needs of others
A house: Despite the constant water problems, both in the house & in the yard, that keep me from doing an actual full load of laundry, it is still a house to live in. It has heat to keep me warm & air for the hot days.
Friends: Although my friends live at least an hour and a half away & some half-way around the world, they are still there for me & technology has made it possible to talk to them almost every day.
Church: Even though I don’t always like the church I attend or always agree with some of the things they stand for, I am thankful that I can gather with other Christians without the fear of being severely persecuted for what I believe.
See, I am thankful.
“And we know that all things work together for good
for them that love God and are called according to His purpose”
Romans 8:28
~*~

Want a turn to share?  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com. 
Feel free to comment and encourage or just relate and assure.
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what i wish. num 6.

Welcome to "What I wish I could tell you"...an anonymous platform for bloggers to share what they don't feel free to share on their own blogs.  If you have a story/thought/ache/hurt/feeling/secret/prayer request you want to get out, feel free to email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com.  You will remain anonymous to all but me unless you choose otherwise. 
The author of this entry has chosen to stay anonymous.  Say hello to anon #6: 

~*~
I wish that I could tell you that I have the most amazing relationship with my in-laws and that they love me. I married my husband over 11 years ago and we have been together 17 years in all. These people have known me for years but, yet never gotten to know me. I will admit that I wasn't always the best "christian" person and I may still not be, but then I am not perfect and I am trying. But I do want the respect and love from them like they give my children. And I must say that they have gotten better towards me since I had our first child, but I still don't feel like I belong. and is it wrong of me to feel like they should be not so much kissing my feet but showering me in love since I have given them the only grandchildren they will ever have? My brother in-law is in his 40's and has never been married and more than likely never will. And if it wasn't for the man who married my husband and I we may not even be together because he didn't want children at the time too. I feel like my husband thinks that I am crazy sometimes for thinking like they don't like me, but then I think that he knows but is too afraid to say anything. And I know that he has issues with my side of the family too, but then I always stick up for him. Is it crazy that I just want to be accepted for who I am? I am a stay at home mother of two and now I can add college student to my resume as well. I wish that people would get to know the real me, the me that would bend over backwards to do anything for them, the me that cries when I haven't talked to you in years or cries because I haven't talked to you in years. I want people to know that I can put my foot in my mouth at times and sometimes it is only me trying to make things better for others even if it destroys my friendship with you ( which has happen a lot). I also want you to know that I am a crafty type person and that I do love to make things from quilts to purses and everything in between. But I think if I could tell you all something else it would be this.. I am an Unhappy person with my life the way it is and I am sorry but I am trying to work through it. It has nothing to do with the people around me or in my life it is just a feeling I have had for years. I hate the way I look from my weight to my hair color. I guess that in closing I just want to feel like I am loved and that I belong.
~*~

Want a turn to share?  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com. 
Feel free to comment and encourage or just relate and assure.
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awesomeness.

 There's a lot of awesome in the air today...

Here's the first one...and email in response to a "What I wish" segment...

July Fourth of this last year was probably the happiest I’ve ever been. The boy of my dreams and I ran the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta with my family and then drove up to the North Georgia Mountains to spend the rest of the day with his family. We were watching the sun on the hills and fields when he suddenly turned to me and said, “This is where I want to marry you.” My heart sang. We’d talked about marriage before but this moment was so clear and so perfect that it felt like the first time.

     The next day everything changed. My dear boy, my honey bear, told me that he “didn’t want to be in love anymore” and to just forget everything he’d ever said.  My heart was absolutely broken. I hope you won’t judge me, but we’d switched colleges together and moved in together and waking up next to him every day was something that made me believe in God. We used to have all these silly rituals to make even doing laundry and dishes something fun and it blew my mind that he couldn't see how stupidly happy we were.

     I just read “The Truth About Singleness: A Letter to God from a Longing Heart” and actually burst in to tears in the middle of the library. I’ve watched the boy I was supposed to marry start dealing drugs and having sex with cheap girls with fake blonde hair and fake tans who are nothing but ugly on the inside and it’s made me, at times, literally unable to get out of my bed. It’s been so hard waking up to an empty room and not having those goodnight kisses or random midday laughs. For two years I constantly had his love and trying to live without it has been excruciating. This letter really gave me hope that I’ll find something even better than that love and I’m so appreciative that you posted it. If it’s possible could you pass this along to whomever originally posted it? I think people should know when they’ve changed a stranger’s life. For the first time in a long time I think tomorrow will be a better day.

Thank you!

Totally awesome...and encouraging.  By awesome I mean...how great to face a day with hope for the first time in so long?
I love to hear from you...especially emails like this.
More awesome things... 
 ...a new chalkboard...waiting to set and be broken in...
...laundry is caught up...dishes are caught up...photos to be printed, caught up!...
 ...sewing and custom orders...caught up!  
...bathrooms cleaned...house clean...
(thus another post today). :) 
 ...while it is still my hope and prayer to move HOME...I have at least moved out of the despair of being utterly homesick...I'm still homesick...but at least I haven't cried about it in a few days.
 ...my husband makes my coffee every morning...
 I'm going to be thankful this year...you can particiapte, too...
Go visit No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane to find out more.
...all of my meals for the week are planned and shopped for!  This week I choose recipes from some of my favorite bloggers...last night was Meg's Potato soup!!

You have to make it...it's tasty, easy, warming and awesome!
Perfect for Fall!

Here's the recipe, with my changes. 
12 hash brown patties 
(I could only find packs of ten so I had to get two...but 
you could totally get away with just ten if you have the same problem)
2 cans of chicken broth
1 stick of butter
1c shredded cheese
1 tsp dry onion
1 tsp powdered garlic
2c sour cream
2c milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Put patties and broth in large pot over medium heat.
Cook until patties fall apart. 
Put in stick of butter until melted.
Add all other ingredients.
Heat for 20 minutes until hot...don't let it boil.

Top with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.
I served it with a nice green salad...but bread would be good too!

*~*

OK...I know that's a lot to take in...so I'll stop at that much awesome.
I hope you're week is just as awesome. 

xo
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we call this his gary busey hair.






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trick or treat.

 I'm posting these tonight so a certain bop-bop can get a dose of his 
Virginia boys first thing on Monday morning.  We got Moses' costume at Old Navy in September...tonight was not the first time that he wore it...he's getting out money's worth for sure.
 This was hoho's monkey costume number two...borrowed from our neighbor...monkey suit number one was a hand me down from Moses that was just a tad too small. :)
 so SO cute.
 Monkey costume number one...and hoho saying "cheese".
 Cutest shark ever.
 
 
Moses was a bit unsure of the first house...after that he ran from house to house.  I had forgotten how fun trick or treating could be...the boys were super cute and had such a good time!
 This may have been my favorite part...the way Aaron held his little treat bucket...sweet little fist.
 And here's me and my little monkey!
It really was SO fun...and even though we only took them around for about an 45 minutes...we apparently chose the best neighborhood...because they officially have more candy than I would let them have in a year.  All in all...a super fun family night.
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