input please.

some thoughts are spending a lot of time in my head. 

num. 1:
we are meeting with a realtor tomorrow to discuss putting our house on the market to sell.  we are hoping and praying for a successful sale and to find a bigger, and cheaper, place to rent to increase our flexibility in the future for job stuff for Doug.

1. will you pray for us? 
2.  do you have any really great hints about selling a house?  anything to avoid?

num. 2:
i am thinking A LOT about what i want my business to look like in 2011.  i am continually blown away and grateful that i am able to do what i love (sew) while i do what i love (be with my kids).  for the first time ever i am thinking long and hard about "opening the doors" again.  do i really want to? do i need to? can i while i am selling this house where the dining room IS my craft room? 

any thoughts on that?   

and num. 3:
be sure to head over to enter to win $100.  i mean..it's one hundred dollars.  who can't use that?  and from THIS PAGE you can get to the page where you can enter to win on other blogher blogs. :)
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doug's gift.

somehow...and i still can't believe that i was able to do it...i both completed a gigantic quilt in time to give doug for Christmas AND he had no idea it was coming!!  it was hard to keep secret...i had to work early in the morning and late into the nights sometimes.  sometimes working super sick...but knowing i had to utilize every moment i had that doug wasn't around.
 i was sure to cover my tracks well...throwing away scraps and hiding the quilt in progress deep in the depths of my messy craft closet. 
 All the fabrics from the front and binding are from etsy and hawthornethreads.com.  for the back i used a queen sized sheet...using the sheet saved me about 50% in cost. :)
 i basically cut all my fabrics into varying widths of strips...and sewed them all together...and cut the strips in thirds...then mixed them up and off set them for a wonky bar code type of pattern. 
i made it all up as i went.
 to quilt it i just did wide parallel lines.  i wanted to keep it simple because i thought it went best with the quilt and i really didn't have time to do an intricate quilting pattern.
 and as doug requested, there is a cozy, fuzzy, 30in foot pocket at the bottom.  i attached it to the quilt before i did the binding and then binded it right on. 
 i can't tell you how happy it makes me to have really surprised him!  he swears he had no idea but i just cant believe i pulled it off.
having surprised him with something that he really loves...is the best gift that i think i have ever gotten. :)
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best Christmas ever.

Quote from bedtime on Christmas eve from Moses:
Mom, I like myrrh.  Do you like myrrh?
 Santa gave us a sweet hoho for Christmas.  He was only naughty for about 45 minutes during the whole day...spread into super condensed naughtiness over 12 hours.  :)

 *this is a real face*
 he got a bike!
 Moses had monkey bread and m&m's for lunch.  
And I only know that because Doug let me know...at about 3pm.  Oops.


 Moses took to his bike like he had been riding his whole life. :)


Moses prayed for dinner and included "And thank you for the best Christmas ever".

And it was. 

xo
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the greatest story ever told.

 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And everyone went to their own town to register.
  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 

Merry Christmas! 
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in a nutshell.

Because I have 24 minutes before my laptop dies I am challenging myself 
to make this succinct and to the point. 

In regards to my devastation a few posts back...I have had my cry.  I grieved my dream.  And crazy as it may sound...I am have moved on to the "up by the bootstraps" phase.  There is a tiny part of me that has continued to scream "IF YOU THINK THAT WAS THE BEST THING FOR YOU AND GOD SAID NO...THEN JUST WAIT AND SEE WHAT GOD DOES".  

22minutes.

Somehow it was still a small voice.  But it is getting louder ever day.   Somehow I am taking deep breaths and KNOWING, not just hoping, that it will be OK.  

I have been pondering my journey to this place where I have lost hope...wondering how I have gone from an eager optimist...to a pessimist with no hope.  And could only think of one thing that has gotten me this far.  Hurt.  Piled on hurt, piled on hurt, piled on hurt.  All heaped high on a big platter.  That for whatever reason continued to pile up and not go away.  And I was carrying it.  And it was heavy. Things that I can't go into detail here that range from family to friends to churches.  

20 minutes.  

Well I am dumping it.  I am tossing that platter and finding a pretty new plate.  
Preferably a red and aqua one with polka dots, please. 

Because I have always known that my LIFE, if not my location, is awesome.  I have a great life, with a great husband, and great kids and I serve an Awesome God. 

I have always known that God is good and that He is in control and that His plans are best.  

Some switch has been thrown and I am praying that it doesn't flutter.  I NEED to stay in this place where things slide off like butter and don't stick like gum. 

17 minutes. 

On that note...
We have decided to sell our house.  Even if we are going to continue to live in this city, we need more space, more room for these boys to grow, for my business to grow, for life to progress.  We need some prayers for a good sale.  

But, for now, we are taking deep breaths.  Trusting God.  And enjoying the experience of Christmas with two wild and crazy sweet little boys.  We will count our blessings and we will eat too much food.  We will make this the best Christmas that we will ever have in 2010. 

12 minutes.
Now 9 because I was editing. 

I am thankful for your kind words and emails.  I am thankful for people who can love me at my worst...it makes sharing my best all the more wonderful.  

I pray that you have a very Merry Christmas...and that the true Joy of the season will saturate you.  

5 minutes.

xo
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what i wish. num 16.

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 #16: 

~*~
What I wish I could tell you.....is that you have no idea how great he is. I mean, you do, because you have two other children, but in my eyes, you really do have no idea. He is everything I could have ever hoped for in a child....he's energetic, he's full of life, he's silly, he's brave, he's tenderhearted, he's so loving, he's perfect...really, he is.
I wish I could tell you that I think you are brave and I wish you could know that I really think that other than it being the "right" thing to say at that moment. To watch me walk in your hospital room, only  minutes after giving birth to him, and pick him up must have been gut wrenching, but you did just that. You watched me feed him, you watched me love on him, you watched me take my first picture with him.
I wish I could tell you that in my heart, I could never love him like you did. We watched you walk out of that hospital that day with nothing while we were taking home our miracle. I honestly think that decision you made to give him to us is more love than we could ever try to show him in our lifetime. I promise with all that is in me that I will tell him of your love and how much you loved him. We already do. And while he doesn't completely understand yet, I know that God is working on his heart so that he can understand one day.
I wish I could tell you that I adore him and love him and you could know that he feels like mine. God started working on my heart long before he was born and just because I didn't give birth to him doesn't mean I don't love him and cherish him like I did.
I wish I could tell your sister who stood at the nursery window and watched him get his first bath while we also watched that we love him. She was so skeptical of the whole thing - she didn't want to see her nephew go to another home. I understand her feelings. But I wish she could see us with him, how we love him, how we adore him, how much EVERYONE loves him, then I think she would understand your decision. I think she would finally know you made the right decision.
I wish I could tell you so much more than this. I wish I could tell you that I think of you everyday. I know we send you updates yearly on him, but when someone else reads them before you do to make sure we didn't give away "identifying information" it just doesn't seem as real or heartfelt. We love you and are have been so blessed by your decision.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. There is nothing I could do to ever tell you enough or show you enough how much your decision means to ALL of us.
~*~

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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devastation.

You know...I hesitated a lot to share this.  

Only because so many times on this journey I am on, I have shared, only to be scolded about how ungrateful I am...how un -God glorifying I am.  I don't believe those things about myself...but it causes just enough of a sting to make me wince.   

But you know what? This is my journey...and to me...documenting the trail is just as important as the end result to me.  I want to be able to trace my finger along the path that God has taken me once we get to that "Ah-ha!" moment.  

Yesterday we found out that a position we were hoping Doug would get was given to someone else.  It was a position that would have taken us home.  HOME.  And it was ripped right out from under us.  My chest was tight for the rest of the day.  I cried and grieved for hours.  It was and is SO painful to know that we will continue to be trapped here in Cville for who knows how long.  I truly hate this place.  It is a painful, ugly reminder to me of so many hurts at this point.  So many rejections and so much pain.  I can't wait to leave this place in the rear view mirror forever. 
But now I have no idea when that will be.  

While I struggle to understand the point of it all...I KNOW that God has a plan for us.  Even among the tears I am hearing the small whisper that is telling us to "wait".  I KNOW that there is something good waiting for us.  And now we have to figure out what to do in the meantime. 

Do we put our house on the market and then rent a house to make ourselves more mobile?
Do we stay at a church that we are OK with but our children LOVE? 

I honestly don't think I have it in me to start again at a new church.  Even though there are things that bother me about the church that we are at...I feel like those things are things that we will find at any church we visit in this area.  I think they many be Cville things.  

I honestly don't know how I can continue from one day to the next here.  It's a struggle that I can't explain...I think you would have to have been in a similar position to know what it is like to be stuck somewhere that you don't belong.  I don't feel abandoned by God...I don't feel forgotten.  I know that He has carried me this far and that He will continue to do so.  

It is just the unknown that hurts.  
The longing for close friends.  The need to feel loved by my pastor.  The want to be part of a community and not shut out by closed groups of people.  The want to be with people who put faith in action.  

I told Doug yesterday that I am beyond empty.  
I am so far below the "E" mark that I can't even see it anymore.  
And I see no near filling station.     

I am just praying that the bottom is near so that we can begin the climb out and up.  

For now I am trying to focus on Christmas...and the great news that brings.  I am trying to be merry for my children so that their lives are not effected by my struggle.

For now, I remind myself that God is in control...that He has a plan...that He is trying to get me where He wants me...

For now I recite Psalm 27:14
Wait with hope for the LORD. 
Be strong, and let your heart be courageous. 
Yes, wait with hope for the LORD.

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what i wish. num 15.

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 #15: 

~*~
I wish I could tell you that, sometimes, I question who you are. Sometimes, I wish I had made a different decision seven years ago.

I am still so in love with that eighteen year old boy who was so full of faith and drive and potential. I don't see that faith anymore. It makes me so sad that that part of you seems to have disappeared. I don't know if your education has challenged it or if you simply have grown away from it. I wish I could tell you, it seems like you have lost part of yourself.

You are brilliant. You are the smartest person I know, but in so many ways, you are foolish. You take all of us for granted. You have a wife who loves you more than you will ever know and three beautiful daughters who think you are the most amazing thing in the world. But, you are too busy. Too busy with work and finding time for yourself to see that we are all just waiting. Just sitting here waiting to be important to you again. Your girls are growing so fast. They are learning so much everyday and getting so big.

I wish I could tell you how amazing they are. Your girls. They are so full of life and wonder. I see it being crushed in them, though. Not just by you, by me, too. I am getting burnt out doing so much of this on my own. I wish I could tell you that I pray that they don't marry men like you. I pray they find men who love them just as they are. Just as God made them. Men who will love them and show them they love them.

I wish I could tell you how much I still hurt over the baby we lost. How much I question if I did something to cause that loss.

I wish I could tell you how isolated I am here. We are finally close to family and, because of you, I am more alone than ever.

I am not perfect. There is no question in my mind about that. I loose my temper, I get upset, I make mistakes. I know I do, you are quick to point them out. Not all of our problems are your fault. I bring my own basket of crazy to the table. I wish I could tell you, though, that when you think I am mad, I am usually just sad and hurt. I wish you knew how much I hate for you to see me vulnerable. Even after all this time and all we've been through.

I wish I could tell you the world is not black and white. No matter how badly you want it to be that way. There are not always clear rights and wrongs. You have to accept the shades of gray.

Most of all, I wish I could tell you how much I miss you. I miss being happy with you. I miss holding your hand. I miss feeling loved by you.
~*~

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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attention please. :)

I will be closing the shop tomorrow at around 4pm and it will stay closed until...well until I feel like opening it back up after Christmas or maybe after New Years. :)

The last day I will be shipping this year is December 20th.  

Currently you can get 60% off of all items marked "RTS" or "CHRISTMAS" by entering the coupon code "CHRISTMAS60"

And I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who have supported me over this last year...your support and encouragement means more to me than you can know.  I am SO blessed to be able to do what I LOVE to do and be able to help my little family financially along the way.  So thank you.  I truly, truly appreciate your support. 

xo
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snow!

 We got just enough snow the other day for the boys to play in...about 3-4in or so.  Uncle B was already here for Moses' preschool Christmas program...which was awesome in more ways than one...for example, Uncle B LIKES to play in the snow...me...not so much. :)
 Hoho as cute as ever.
The boys came in after over an HOUR out in that mess...I mean, snow. :)

Have you gotten snow yet?
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button Christmas tree art.

 Today's craft will have to be done over two days...day one you make the tree and day two you assemble it...total time to make it doesn't take that long you just have to wait for glue to dry. :)


 Some things you will need:
buttons
cardboard triangle and size or shape you would like
frame that is bigger than your tree shape
piece of fabric cut to fit your frame with iron-on backing ironed on
glue (white and hot)
glitter
embroidery thread
 I started by covering my cardboard tree shape with glue, any thick white glue would work.
 Then I had Moses (and Doug) cover the glue with buttons...adding more glue when necessary.  I did mostly green but you could do any number of color combos.
 When the triangle was covered and the glue was dry enough...I added a coat of mod-podge and covered it with glitter.  I let it dry over night at this point.
 Then, I got Moses to write "joy" for me...and traced it onto my fabric using embroidery tracing paper...then stitched over that in red.
 I assembled my frame by first hot gluing the fabric into the frame...then adding the glass then the frame backing...then using more hot glue, I glued the tree in place. 
 A cute cooperative effort...if I do day so myself. :)


 You could also stop with the tree and add a ribbon to hang it as an ornament.  I think it would make a great little gift for a teacher or relative.

Happy crafting!
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check it out...


We interrupt craft week here to give you a heads up.  

Some of you may wonder about Blogher...the main sponsor of my lovely blog...but I would bet that many of you are not too sure about what makes Blogher, Blogher.  Have you been over to Blogher?

It's a community.  Of people who share life, love, ideas, crafts, thoughts, opinions, encouragement and so much more.  On Blogher you can find how-to's and recipes and input on just about anything you can think of .

I generally enjoy the featured stories that pop up if you become a fan of Blogher on Facebook.  There are always good stories to read on the main page as well.  Gift guides, advice columns and thoughtful content from women all over the world.  It always feels like a very encouraging, empowering community of ladies.

I recently read "The ten stages of blogging", an article written by a fellow Blogher member.  Just one of many interesting stories in a sea of good reading material.  I admit...I often get lost there...just reading and browsing.  It's a great way to find new blogs. 

And there always seem to be some sort of great giveaways going on...ones that you will only find at Blogher. 

Explore BlogHer.com and Win a BlogHer '11 Conference Pass!


 
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snowman pops.

I found today's craft on Flexible Dreams. 
I thought they would be a good treat for Moses to take as a gift for his friends at school...and who doesn't like to play with food?
 You will need:
large marshmallows
wooden skewers
black frosting or brown 
(in a tube with a tip-I had wanted to use an edible pen but couldn't find just one)
oreos minus the cream
orange tic tac or orange icing for nose
rolos
fruit tape
stick pretzels
 Moses' job was to skewer the marshmallows...three on a stick.
then...using the frosting as "glue"...stick an oreo lid on top of the snowman
...then "glue" a rolo on top of that
...stick pretzels in for arms
...cut a 6-7in piece of fruit tape in half lengthwise and wrap around as a scarf
...add eyes, mouth and buttons on...add nose.  and done.
 A little tip for you...in order to let things dry standing up, I taped two empty cereal boxes together and poked holes all the way through with a knife, then stuck a skewer in each hole.
I think these would be super cute for a kids Christmas party...or birthday party. :)

Cute, happy, fun and easy. 

:)
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baby Jesus envy.

 Today's craft is brought to you today by my baby Jesus envy. 
Several of my friends on facebook have children that go to the same preschool as Moses but have different teachers.  All of their children got to make these adorable baby Jesus' in class...and I was totally jealous.  Until I realized that we could make our own.  
We started by reading a story about baby Jesus.   
 Here is how we did it...first I used some heavy muslin fabric and sewed a simple peg shape (rectangle with a rounded top...I left the bottom open, turned it right side up and let the boys stuff their babies with filling.  Then I sewed the bottom closed.
 I think the ones at the preschool were made by using a pantyhose filled and tied off...but for some reason the idea of using a pantyhose completely weirded me out.  But you could do it that way if you are more normal than I am and don't want to sew a stitch.

 Then I let Moses draw a face and some hair on his.  Be sure to check on a scrap of fabric to see if your marker will bleed...I used sharpies and had no problem.
Then cover a small box with brown paper...make sure your Jesus can fit inside.
 Then we shredded some yellow construction paper for hay.
 Then cut a square out of chenille...you can use any fabric you have...to wrap Him up in.
 The boys REALLY loved doing this craft.
Neither Hoho nor baby Jesus have ever been so cute.

xo
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