be jealous.

oh friends.  i have no idea where this post will take us but my head and heart are swirling with so many thoughts on so many things that i just have to get some of them out. 

i have thought for some time now...that some of you out there must be getting tired of my Jesus loving posts aching, pouring out my heart posts about what i am learning and how i am learning it.  i know many of you came here or come here for the crafty side of me...and i wish i could apologize for getting all mushy on Jesus.  but i just can't. 

God is answering prayers in my life like never before.  the woman i have begged Him to shape me into is starting to form...some days i want to scream I AM GETTING IT!  of course other days i take a few steps backwards too...but even those times are more often than not, lessons learned.  

there is still so much to learn.  

i have always felt that God talks most clearly with me through pictures...whether it is grabbing the cusp of an idea or explaining something to me in a way i will get...i generally "get" it through a word picture...which is why i have always loved these lyrics by third day:

I caught a glimpse of Your splendor
In the corner of my eye
The most beautiful thing I've ever seen
And it was like a flash of lightning
Reflected off the sky
And I know I'll never be the same

 i could not explain these pictures any better myself.  

and last night, as i was praying, i got one of these pictures in my i was praying for my character to develop, to be able to hear Him better, to be MORE of who He is calling me to be, i caught a picture of future crystal in the corner of my minds eye.  and really, it took my breath away.  it's hard to explain, but somehow through this picture i could tell the depth and breadth of my character.  it was beautiful.  it was so much more of who i want to be.

and let me just address now, that i am certain that there are some of you reading this, if you got this far,  that are thinking "what a crack head".  and i am sorry, but i don't care.  it's ok if you think i'm crazy.  not to be mean or rude...but let me tell you, sweet sister of mine,  God will do crazy things if you let Him.  hand over your life and reap the results of having someone who knows what they are doing in control.  you won't care how crazy you look either once you feel the comfort that the presence of God in your life will provide. 

years and years ago, if you had asked me what part of my life God is in control would have been a sad looking pie chart.  let me tell you.  but once i decided to let Him out of the "sunday morning" box...girl, that is when life started.  the more i hand over, because He won't force it from my hand, the more blessed i am because of it.  

because i have given God the radio time in my car...i have had more conversations with my boys about Jesus then i would have if listening to the local radio station. 
because i have given God my marriage...i have so much more than a great husband. 

because i have given God my kids (because hey, they ARE His anyway)...i get to be a blessed mother of children.  

because i have given God control of my life is full of peace...if not still hard at times. 

because i have given God my anger and hurt and injustice and pain and sorrow...He has healed and given joy in their places.  

i'm here to tell you...that if you are only seeking God on sunday.  
you aren't hurting are hurting yourselves. 

 and that hurts my heart for you.  God wants to give you so much more. 

care less about looking crazy and care more about getting from God what He WANTS to give you. 

care less about getting the material things that others are flaunting at you and care MORE about the treasures God wants to store in your heart. 

care less about looking foolish in front of others and say to yourself...
as David did, "i'll become even more undignified than this..."

care less about being politically correct and care more about speaking God's truth in love. 

i don't know about you...but i am tired of living up to ever bending societal standards...i'd rather strive to be someone who lives up to THE standards that never change. His. 

i refuse to be a blogger who sets out to make you jealous of anything that i have been blessed with, save one exception.  my undying, unrelenting, unending love of Jesus.  my unquenchable thirst to serve Him, my endless pursuit of His glory, my never stalling desire to have Him be proud of me. 
and i only want you jealous because i want YOU to have it too.

so if you stop reading this blog because you can't take another Jesus post...or you stop following me on twitter because i keep retweeting rick warren...or rev run :)...well, i can offer no apologies for that.  

my God will not be contained to sunday mornings. 
i will serve Him, and follow Him, and share my heart as He prompts me.  

and yes, i will still be crafting and sewing and baking and cooking and sharing silly stories.  
and i love each and every one of you who read 
 (and that love is double for those who comment or email). :)  

i'm thankful for you ladies who are sharing this journey with me and i hope you will be around to know that future crystal...


20 minute crafter: mothers day corsage

i spied this idea on wild olive...and thought with a little expansion of a sweet idea you could make a funky little corsage for mothers day...with just a tinge of sentiment. 

here's what you need:
felt for flowers in your choice of colors
bit of yellow felt
bit of green felt
small childs hand
hot glue or needle and thread
safety pin
start by tracing your childs hand onto cardstock
then using that hand cut out as a template, cut four hands out of felt. 
cut two 2in by 1in rectangles of yellow and slit one end into thirds as shown. 
lay a yellow piece on top of a pinky finger...and roll from that side to the thumb...roll it as tightly as you can to keep it slim...
wrap that flower with a second hand...staggering the edges of the palms a around with it until it looks right...
you can either hot glue it shut here or use a pin to hold in place while you make another flower and cut out 2-3 leaf shapes (long almond shapes)
 stagger the flowers together...add the leaves...and fiddle around with the layout until it makes you happy and looks corsage-y.  use your fingers to gently curl the petals and leaves out..

wrap the bottom of the corsage with ribbon and glue or sew into place...glue or sew a pin on the back and give to your favorite mama...or grandmama. :) 

see?  cute with a little sentiment. :)

6-7min to cool mom points.

so i saw this idea on the internets forever ago...and filed it in my mind under "things moses would like"...then this week moses is learning about sea creatures at school...
a perfect time to make squid dogs. :) they are a snap to make...
 cut hot dogs into one inch sections...
 poke spaghetti noodles through the center...
 ...i used 4-5 noodles (halved) per piece...
 ...boil according to directions on your noodle this case 6-7 minutes...
 and ta-da!  you have squid dogs. 
or food you are giving your kids permission to play with.
either way, it's a win for team mom.
and they were well received.  

and we ended the day with him saying 
i was the goodest mom on earth.

thank you squid dogs

that's my King.

my heart is heavy this Good Friday morning.  heavy for my share of the sin that placed Jesus on the cross.  but i tell you gift has ever been more precious to me. 
every blessing in my life and yours is from Him.   will you think of Him today with me? and thank Him for loving you enough to die for you? a horrible painful death that is far too glamorized.

i'll share with you one of my all time favorite videos...but here are the words first.  let them sink in.

The Bible says my King is the King of the Jews. He’s the King of Israel. He’s the King of Righteousness. He’s the King of the Ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of Glory. He’s the King of kings, and He’s the Lord of lords. That’s my King.
I wonder, do you know Him?
My King is a sovereign King. No means of measure can define His limitless love. He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful.
Do you know Him?
He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s Saviour. He’s the centrepiece of civilization. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He is the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He’s the only one qualified to be an all sufficient Saviour.
I wonder if you know Him today?
He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He strengthens and sustains. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleansed the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captive. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. And He beautifies the meek.
I wonder if you know Him?
He’s the key to knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory.
Do you know Him? Well…
His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. And His yoke is easy. And His burden is light.
I wish I could describe Him to you. Yes…
He’s indescribable! He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible. He’s irresistible. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hand. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him. Well, the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him, and the grave couldn’t hold Him.
Yeah! That’s my King, that’s my King.

little sinner.

 well...this day started off good.  
both boys slept until 7am. 
i stepped on the scale to find out that i am DOWN 8lbs since starting yoga meltdown.
i got to wear a skirt that has not fit me comfortably since having kids.
the boys were getting along.
i had time to work on orders before taking moses to school.
and aaron and i got to go to moses' school for his Easter party and egg hunt.
moses' teachers are SO WONDERFUL.  they include the little siblings whenever they can.
 aaron had the best time having cupcakes while sitting with the big kids and doing the egg hunt.
it was a wonderful morning.  good kids.  good weather.  skinny mommy. 
and then i did myself in. 
i said (TO MYSELF mind you...which should not count) 
"what a great day...i feel like i am being a GREAT mom today...yay me!"

which of course, as all mothers know, causes a crack in the universe and sends children everywhere into a panic stricken frenzy.  so if your kids suddenly turned crazy on bad.  so sorry.

moses completely lost it when i told him that i had to keep an eye on aaron during the "song and dance" portion at the end of the school day and i couldn't stand where he wanted me to stand.

lost his marbles, he did.  granted, i get it.  he was bummed that i couldn't focus on just him.  but i tell aaron turned loose in that classroom is trouble.   

then he just couldn't pull himself together.  
one thing after the other until we left school.
we got home and we had a long talk with him...and to his credit he "got it" and felt remorseful about his behavior.  and for the most part changed his attitude and went on to have an OK day. 

but it was too late.  he had infected his brother. 
 everything for the rest of the day was dramatic for aaron.  
whose nick name we are thinking of changing to "little sinner"...
this shirt i found for him at target?  could not be more perfect. 
our day proceeded downhill at a rapid pace. 
i...fed them frozen waffles for dinner...wiped aaron's nose with a used tissue i found in the car...was ensured that i will have an early date with dementia...started the count down to bed time the moment nap time was over...had a clear understanding of why some parents snap...considered the cost of shipping kids to grandmas...counted the days until we go to florida...and had endless power struggles with aaron...but i stuck to my guns with him.  he seems to take comfort in losing to us in some know when he says "milk RIGHT NOW" and i say "not until you say please, mama (and not RIGHT NOW)".  and we have a stand off until he gives in.  

this kid.  i love him...but boy oh boy.  he is work. 
everything made him mad.  getting him into the tub was similar to how you would expect a cat to behave...legs and arms spread as far out as possible to avoid contact with the water...

but the kicker...the oh my word hedidnotjustdothat...we left the playground much to hoho's dismay.  he kicked and yelled all the way to the car.  he PUNCHED doug* IN THE FACE.  but that's not the kicker...

as we are driving away from the park, about 25 mph or so the little sinner... 

(he was in his carseat strapped in...and the act of getting it open STUNNED him...
and we fixed the child lock upon getting home). 

he was p.o.'ed about leaving.  he was a hot mess.  

he was in bed by 6:39pm. 

we won.  the end.

*doug would like you all to know that he was a supportive parent and husband.  
and he was.  and he is. 

oh lordy {here's a ramble}

remember my "closet" analogy from THIS post a few days ago?

where i shared that i felt like God was treating me like a good closet clean out party...when i talked about it last i felt like i was in the stage where God would start to put the good back in and get things all suited to the way they should be.  i should have known better...God doesn't say "Ok, you're good...let's pile this stuff back in.  what i didn't think of was the shelving.  the framework.  the "stuff" that holds all the other "stuff" together.  with anything in life you HAVE to have a good foundation or whatever you are building will fail.  so i could get things cleaned out and piled in and be "good" for a while before it all falls apart again...continue cycle.  i don't want a cyclical life.  i want a growing, learning, changing life.  each night as i put my head on my pillow i want to be one step closer to being the ME that GOD has equipped me to be.  period. 

so back to shelving.  i was doing my Bible study this past week...and everything i am reading is just hitting me like a ton of bricks...boom...boom...boom. everything is clicking and i am LOVING this study.  it's like it was written JUST for me.  and then i get to a certain question that goes something like this:

think of a time when something you prayed for, for a long time, finally came through and God answered your prayers...

or something to that effect. 

i couldn't answer.  it was the first question out of dozens so far that i just couldn't answer.  so i sit there and ponder it.  asking God to show me why i couldn't answer this...or show me the answer. 

i KNOW i am blessed and HAVE answered prayers...but i couldn't answer THIS question.

and then in my head i hear "you don't have an answer because you have never felt like you were or ARE significant enough for God to care about OR answer your prayers".  

i know it is a lie.  but i realized it IS a lie i believe.  please note the tense here.  

i have prayed since middle school.  over the years with work my prayer life has grown and gotten more meaningful.  but during that ONE moment of this study God made clear to me a lie that i am believing.  that He doesn't care enough to answer my prayers.  i know He loves me.  but that's not the issue here.  and as i thought on it...i wondered (not for too long) where it came from...and one by one images from my past flash across my mind.  and each and every one of them are times where i have been treated as unimportant and not needed and not wanted.  times where people left when i needed them or never showed up in the first place.  a series of events that spoke "you are insignificant" to me. 

and it has happened enough times in my life, and were left "untreated", and reinforced enough that it became part of who i am.  and i've existed this far with it fully intact.  i AM insignificant because i've been fed the lie enough.

and i feel like God is saying "you are significant" needs to be the first shelf in my closet.  
because it is my deepest issue.

now do i know how to fix this?  no.  other than praying that is.  and i have been.  

i need to learn significance.  
Godly significance.

not worldly.
because the world will and has failed me every time.

and hear me when i say...i KNOW that God exists.  i KNOW He is real.  i KNOW that He created the earth and every single thing in it.  i KNOW that He sent His son to die for us.  i am not doubting God. 

but am i significant to Him? i can't say that i know yes.  yet.
i want to.  but it will take time to get there. 

i do hear God calling me to DIG IN. 
get in the word.  get fired up. 
call the enemy out.  don't sit back and enjoy the show. 

don't try to please the world or the people in it.
because you can't please both.

believe me...i've tried to straddle both sides and it's just not possible. 

you have to be all in and all out. 

and i'm on my way in.


i forgot to add this to the "things i made" post...but i also made this to share with's formatted to an 8 by 10.  if you need me to mail it to you to print out just hit me up. :)

happy monday!  don't miss the good stuff in the posts below!

things made this weekend.

 this weekend went by in a flash.  
the good ones always do. 
the good news is that we packed it full of goodness.  
 sunday afternoon i set to making cupcakes for doug to take to work.  :)
yes doug.  to work.  with adults.  
every sunday i make him some form of goodie to take to work to share with his coworkers during their long monday meetings.  it's my way of serving my husband in a proverbs 31 kind of way.  
this week he gets to bring "eggs in a nest" and "lamb" cupcakes because that is what i am making this week to take to moses' preschool party at school. :)   
the tutorial for these can be found over at cookies and cups
 and yes.  my sheep look a bit more frightened than hers...but still cute.  i hope.  i think when i make these again later in the week i'll be sure to lower the ears a bit...maybe that will help.
and some women get excited over shoes...or purses...or jewelry.  
me?  cupcake carriers.  on sale.  yesssssss.
i also finished these on friday...the bulk of the fabric for them came from two very special coming home outfits for two sweet little ones. :) you can get one of your own from my shop.
but my most favorite item made this something i am still working the kinks out of...but even still...i just love them. :)  i call them "messy hair day headbands".  i see lots with bright colors.  the edges will fray...making the all the more awesome. :) more on these soon.

and i will end this ever long post with a recap on palm sunday a la moses:

"jesus rode into droop-sum on a doggy named anna.  
this took place in florida because of all of the palms."

love that kid.


i'm a slow learner.

(grab a drink and a snack...this is a loooooooooong one).
a lot of people chose a word to represent what they hope to accomplish in the coming year.  most words are full of charm and "simplify" or "love" or "enjoy" or "live" or "awesomesauce".

just kidding on that last one...for the record that is a ridiculous "word".   

i feel like my word chose me this year.  and that word is "unsettled". 
if it was a phrase it would be "question everything". 

i feel shaky in every role. 
i feel not myself. 
i feel like a huge part of who i am meant to be is missing. 
i feel beat up and homesick.  

part of this unsettled-ness, i believe, is a cleansing of sorts.  
the way you empty out a closet so you can organize and clean it all out properly.  
i've said before that to undo the first 18 years of my life will take years 19 through 36. 

i'm at the "closet is empty and all of its' contents are strewn all about" stage.  

i'm empty.  and cleaned out.  ready for a fresh start and a new foundation.  
a couple of weeks ago i started a new Bible study. 

and even though i had no idea what the study was about when i 
signed up...i could not have chosen a more appropriate one for me.  right now. 

i told God that if He woke me up before the boys, i would do each page of homework for the study.  this is huge.  i never do homework.  i learn more from discussion and the note taking.  
but God knew i needed to do this homework.  and He has been kind enough to wake me around 6:30am every morning since we spoke about it.  just enough time to have my coffee and get a days worth of Bible study done before the boys wake up. 

the first few days have been all about how God has ESTABLISHED me,  PLACED me, EQUIPPED me, ANNOINTED me for exactly where i am right now.  
i have not happened upon this place in my life by accident. 

the overwhelming theme for me has been God yelling to me 
(God knows i'm stubborn and thickheaded and sometimes need 
things like this spelled out for me.  it's okay, i'm cool with it). 

and as God is yelling this to me...the enemy has a constant whisper.  

and it sounds like this: 
you are forgotten.  you are worthless.  you are not important.  there is no plan for you.  no one wants you.  you have no talent.  you are forgotten.  you will never get to go home.  you don't deserve a good life.  you don't deserve another single blessing.  you are terrible at all you do.  you are FORGOTTEN.  

and both reels are constantly rolling.  

but i am learning.  that the more i DIG IN.   
the smaller that whisper gets. 

i have taken to saying to myself (in true whacko crazy person style)
i am in HIS hands and YOU cannot touch me.  
not the unkind words.  
not the unkind actions of others.  
not my shortcomings.  
not the ways that i don't measure up to others.

God made me for what i am doing.  period. 
He made me for taking care of every need of my three wonderful men.  for washing their clothes and filling their bellies.  for being their constant.  for fixing the boo boo's. 

i am here to serve the wonderful little people in my life (and God willing other peoples little people too!) with joy and love and care.  i am here to wipe noses and change diapers and make dinner (and lunch and breakfast).  i am here to pick up toys and read books and love on the people in my life. 
Eph 2:10 tells us that we are God's MASTERPIECE.  

masterpiece is defined as a work of outstanding artistry, 
skill, or workmanship. a best work.

we are His best work.  He has placed us and equipped us for any and every stage that we are at in life.  times will change and i will be less needed in some areas and more needed in others.  

but what will never change is that fact that God knew each step before i took it.  if i am going to make it in this life and obtain my life goal of being a little old lady with a spot of carpet worn thin by prayer then i need to learn to DIG IN at every opportunity i can.  

God knows my dreams...because i believe He planted them there.  

i dream of moving back to blacksburg...into a house with a huge playroom and craft room with lots of sun.  having a garden so HUGE that you can't leave my house without a basket full of homegrown goodies.  living down the road from family and friends.  being part of my home church again.  playing with the boys on my college campus.  my husband going to Hokie sports events with my boys. 

all dreams that i believe, are God given. 
and i am learning that i can't do a thing to make them happen.  i can only do what i have been ESTABLISHED, PLACED, EQUIPPED and ANNOINTED to do.  
and it's up to God to take care of the rest.

i'm learning to rest and settle into His plan and the peace that comes with it.  
because i am NOT forgotten.  
and there IS a plan for me. 

i will do what i can do 
and God will do what only God can do.

and together we'll get all the good stuff back in the closet.

violent rejection. or renewed motivation.

my personal goal for my quilting life was/is to make a quilt for each of my kids and each of nieces and nephews.  for some time the total number of quilts needed was four.  for a while now, i was stalled at 50% production.  HERE is moses' quilt and here is kyleigh's (my niece). 

i had plans for more quilts...i had begun to hoard fabrics for aaron and thoughts of fabrics for blake (my nephew) but had no real motivation to get on those until recently.
 my original intention was to make a traditional rag quilt...
but the more i worked towards the end...the less i liked the idea of leaving all my hard work as a "rag".
 so, like a rag quilt...i cut my fabric squares (6in) and my 
batting squares (5in) and made 109 "quilt sandwiches".
...sewed them all together and instead of "clipping" the edges...a look i felt would be too country for my taste...i used a combination of my pinking shears and pinking rotary cutter.
 i got them all trimmed and sewn together and to the point in a rag quilt where i would be finished.  but it seemed like a terrible ending to a good the wrong way to end all of the work i put into it. 
so added a binding and rounded corners.
in the end...i like the texture from the rag quilt technique but like the finished feel of the pinking sheared edges and the binding on the edge.
 i showed aaron the progress as i went...telling him the whole time that it was a special blanket for him.  when i was finally finished i was so excited to give it to him and tuck him into bed with it that night...only to have him VIOLENTLY protest it being anywhere near him or his bed.  

in the living room...he cuddled it and wrapped it around himself. 
in his bedroom...treats it like the plague. 

hopefully he'll come around.


let's talk dinner.

when something changes my life like this...i feel like i NEED to share it with every woman i know.  for me...this change is big, huge, wonderful.  it relieves stress, reduces work, saves money, saves time.  
it makes my husband happy and my kids happy.  it makes ME happy.    

i am NOT being paid to say any of this.  i promise. 

the bane of my existence was meal planning.  either i never did it...or when i did i always felt like it took too long, was inefficient...time consuming...a pain.  and generally, i felt like i spent WAY more on groceries on the weeks i planned the meals. 

and then on the weeks when i didn't plan...dinner was a struggle...what to make...what to make...

really i dreaded dinner time.  it wasn't easy.  or fun.  

and then the heavens opened up for me...and i found...

we started it a few weeks ago.  
and let me just tell you.  LIFE. CHANGING.

not ONLY is dinner EASY.  and tasty.  and FUN.  

you sign up...they have several meal plan options...i do the meal plan for two (any store) print off your menu for the week and your shopping list.  the shopping list is organized by department so i spend WAY less times shopping.   

you can choose a specific store and they will plan the menu around what is on sale.  they don't have my grocery store but even still we have saved money.  
we have eaten MORE fruits and vegetables than EVER.
each and every recipe has been EASY. 

moses has tried more new foods and LIKED them than EVER.

my super, duper, wonderful and picky husband has eaten every single dish.  
we have already found several recipes that are "keepers".  
even the dishes we don't LOVE are still good. 

i feel like we are eating BETTER, 
spending LESS 
and have way LESS stress about "what's for dinner?".

it is $1.25 per week WELL spent.  

and because i LOVE it so much and because i KNOW it will change your life too...i want to buy ONE of you lucky ladies (or gentlemen?) a three month subscription. :)

three months of not having to plan dinner.  you can choose your plan and store. 

if you win, just promise me that you will pay it something unexpected for someone else. 

all you have to do to enter is leave me a comment on this post telling me how much easier this would make your life. :) 

in the mean time...head on over to e-mealz and check it out. 

i'll choose a winner on monday. :)

questions i ask myself.

 why? why? why?
 why can't these moments last longer?
 why does hoho insist on eating everything?  including sand.
 why'd he have to get so big so fast?
 bluebirds or sparrows?  for the nest in the back of his head.
 will our baby grass in the backyard live?
 why do almost ALL of his jeans have holes in the knees? 
they were all NEW just a few short months ago. 
 why does he think that giving me this face will work?
 why doesn't his hearing work as well as the doctors say it should?
why does he love doing this?
why can't every day be 88 degrees? 
why can't doug have a three day weekend every weekend?
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