Saturday, February 28, 2009

LOVE & Jerry

"Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:37-39

This Bible verse has been coming up in my life over and over again since Jerry died. Most of us that knew him agreed that his life beautifully illustrated these verses in the way he lived his daily life. Not that he was perfect, but he really did this well. He loved his Lord first of all, then his wife and his boys and then his fellow man. He invested so much into those people around him and never seemed to get too flustered by the humanness of it all and by the chaos and pain that was involved in working with people. His example was so encouraging to us all. And now that he is gone, many of us are attempting to take up the torch and live more like Jerry did.

It seems sort of interesting to me how often these verses keeps coming up. It was in the One Year Bible Blog Daily Bible study today. Thew were the theme verses for the ladies retreat that K and I went to last weekend. I've heard it on the radio, read it in books, heard it in sermons......So do you think the Lord might be trying to tell me something? I believe I need to listen closely and meditate on these verses daily. It is often difficult to love the unlovely! I do pretty well on my friends and family - it is the other people out there that I come in contact with that challenge me daily. I pray that I can be more intentional about this as I go through my daily life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Black and White Childrens Photo Contest at i heart faces

Black & White Photo Challenge at i heart faces

This is a pic of my dd "geeping" around at a gathering of dear friends. I entered this into the i heart faces b&w photo contest that I discovered while checking out the Pages of our Life blog at this link: So I checked out the i heart faces website and thought it was pretty cool - lots of things you can learn about photography . I've been trying to take better photographs and I'm thinking that this website can help me. There looks like there are some great tutorials on the site, plus lots of good photos. If you'd like to learn more, just click on the link below.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Forty Trash Bag Challenge for Lent

I am a member of the Yahoo group for Flylady and also of and today in our email updates there was a note from a lady about decluttering for Lent. It really resonated with me as to what I need to do to help myself be less stressed and bogged down. I always think of giving up food for lent, but this made more sense to me for this year. Clutter really weighs you down mentally, emotionally and tends to make you tired just looking at all you have to do. I thought this was a good way to tackle some of the clutter and bless others at the same time. Below is the letter that was enclosed that describes the process. Anyone want to join me?

Dear FlyLady,

I picked up this handout at church recently: The Forty Trash Bag
Challenge. It looked like a great idea, and it fit right in with the
Decluttering for Lent email I just got in my inbox. Here is the Forty
Trash Bag Challenge:

Every day during Lent this year, empty one bag of 'stuff' that is no
longer needed from your house, totaling a loss of forty bags of stuff!

1.) Taking a look at the size of your family and household, with an
acknowledgement of how much 'stuff' is present, make a prudential
choice on the size of bag to be employed during this challenge. Bag
size should be small enough that the goal of 40 bags during the season
of Lent is able to be accomplished, while not being too big that you
are left with nothing. We must still live in the world, after all!

2.) If smaller children are a part of your family, a 'gauge' may be
helpful to keep them engaged and help them keep track of progress. As
part of your preparations, make a 'paper chain' of forty numbered
links. As each new bag is started, place a new link in the bottom of
the bag. This way, as the chain gets smaller, there is a greater sense
of accomplishment.

3.) This challenge necessarily involves sacrifice. Each member of the
family should be encouraged to give something to each bag, or there
could be designated bags for each member of the family.

4.) Instead of just throwing things away, recycling is a great way to
encourage good stewardship of the gifts we have been given, as it
symbolizes that we are passing along our gifts to others. Families
with children are encouraged to pass along clothes that no longer fit
or toys that sit dormant in a closet to families in need instead of
just throwing them away.

5.) Units of count need not necessarily be trash bags, either; however
they should be equivalent. For example, a box of gently used toys or
clothes could equate one bag off the chain. A stack of books donated
to the parish library is another easy equivalent.

As the family accepts this challenge together, bonds will be created
that will last a lifetime. Lessons are also learned not just by
saying, but by putting it into practice. Here, the simple lesson will
last throughout life that having fewer things can lead to a greater
contentment in life.

(Credit due to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for this handout on
vocations and family faith formation)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Women's Retreat

I was able to take my dd to a retreat for women this weekend. It turned out to be an awesome and inspiring time There were missionaries there from SE Asia and we met and networked with lots of neat ladies from around our state and the US. One of the first things that happened was that me dd met another young woman who is interested in missions. It was interesting how much they had in common and it turns out that they only live about 25 miles away from each other. They are already talking about her new friend going with her to Mexico this summer. It is really amazing how God works.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Coca Cola Door - Mackinac

I tried playing around with Photoshop on this one. I'm not that thrilled with how it turned out, but it is a learning curve after all. I really like the little boy reaching for the star!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mackinac Trees

These photos were taken when we sailed over to Mackinac Island last summer. Ron and I hiked around quite a bit on the island and I took lots of photos. The scenery is just so picturesque there. I love the feeling of being away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist part downtown and also away from automobiles! Mackinac Island is one of my favorite places.

Heart Leaf

Happy Belated Valentines Day

Roast and Toast

Ron and I went to a really cute little coffee shop when we were up North. Here are a few photos.

Tribute to a Great Man

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."
Theodore Geiss (Dr. Seuss)

My friend Jerry was one of the greatest people I have ever known. He was the kind of person that when he talked to you, he made you feel like you were someone special. He always made time for people. But more than that, he loved life and he loved his Lord Jesus Christ. He truly was like my big brother, my spiritual big brother. He had a gift of helping people to deal with the realities of life, while at the same time inspiring you to be better, to do the essentials that are meaningful to life.

One of my favorite sayings of his was that there are only two things in life that are really important -
1 - Your relationship to Jesus Christ and
2 - Your relationship to others in Christ.
The other of my favorites was that he was continually reminding all of us to be intentional every day - to be intentional about reaching out to others, loving them and sharing Christ with them.

No other person outside my family has ever had a greater impact on me than Jerry did. When I was a new hire at Dow, he was always smiling, teasing and talking to me about how I needed to conduct myself to be respected and to be successful there. Once I became reacquainted with him when we moved here 21 years ago, he was constantly helping me and Ron to become better marriage partners. He mentored Ron and me constantly, both in our marriage and in our faith walk with Christ. We would spend hours sometimes talking about spiritual things and how we needed to walk each day to live out what God was teaching us.

When I was rejected by those closest to me - he was always my advocate. He would go to bat for me no matter what others thought. He believed in me and encouraged me to constantly lean on Christ as my rock. He listened and advised, even when the advice was difficult for me to hear. He had a knack for getting right to the crux of the matter and had the courage to say what needed to be said, even though he usually managed it without offending. His deep love for us always showed through and so we were able to accept his words because we knew his heart. He made us laugh and made us closer to each other. I hope to share some of my "Jerry" stories as time goes by. But right now, my heart is just too tender.

There are so many lessons I learned from knowing him, that I am truly a different and better person having known him. I am grateful to God that he gave me the opportunity to know him for almost 30 years. I am going to miss him terribly and so often I wish I could pick up the phone or drop by the church to talk something over with him. My family and I miss him terribly.

But I know that I will see him again...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mackinac Doors

As some of you know, I have sort of an obsession with doors. So I have decided to post some of my "door" photos. I will start with some from Mackinac Island. This is such an inviting door - just makes you feel welcome and entreats you to come on inside and have a nice cup of tea, doesn't it?

Childhood Memories - The Snake

In honor of my husband's science unit on "snakes" I thought I would post a little memory from my childhood about a snake. I grew up in Mississippi where there are lots and lots of snakes. My cousin and my closest friend at the time, lived out in the country next to my grandparents. I spent as much time as possible out there playing in the woods and along the creek. (As a matter of fact, by first memory of a deliberate lie had to do with me telling my parents that my grandmother had agreed that we could come out one Sunday, when in reality, she had said that is wasn't a good day, since she and my grandfather were both sick. - More about lying and it's impact on another day.)

Anyway - on this particular summer day, my cousin and I were hunting snakes. She had a big ball jar to catch one in. I gleefully went along - not knowing what i was getting into. So there we were, about 1/2 mile from the house, lurking along the wooded side of an open field, when Jane spotted one. In that moment I became absolutely petrified with fear. And she was gleefully chasing down the snake. She captured it in her jar and came back to show me her treasure. I thought I was going to throw up. She was quite amused as all the color drained from my face. She said, "Aw, it's just an ole garter snake - here - hold it!"

Oh, my, I think I set an Olympic record, running back to the house as fast as I could go. She never let me live down the fact that I was a "city girl" after that episode. I have never liked snakes since then.

And then there's the story about the water moccasin swimming across my feet as I waded near the shore of my aunt's pond....oooooh!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Striped Sweater Purse

Here is a picture of my most recent sweater purse, made from a felted wool sweater rescued from the thrift store. The lining is made from a corduroy skirt also from a thrift store. I made it for my oldest daughter for Christmas.

I felted the sweater in hot water in my front loading washer with a little Woolite and then put the sweater in the dryer. Once it was felted, I cut out a purse that fit the sweater. My dd wanted one that was fairly large, more like a tote. I took the felted sweater with me to the thrift store and shopped for an article of clothing that matched to make the lining. My dd had liked the idea of corduroy, so I used a corduroy skirt, which adds to the sturdiness of the purse. I think it turned out pretty cute.

Sweater Purse Lining

Crazy Scarf

Here is a picture of my daughter wearing the "crazy scarf" I made her using all sorts of yarns, sort of like the idea of a crazy quilt. I had seen a very expensive one sort of like this a.t a local department store and decided that I could make something like it for a lot less. My dear friend and crocheting mentor helped me figure out how to do it. It didn't turn out exactly like I wanted it to, but all in all, it is not too bad.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Treacherous but Beautiful Skiing

Ron and I decided to check out some of the x-country skiing down in Petosky, and after driving around for a while trying to find a place to ski, we finally settled on this location near the local college. Since we knew nothing really and had read that the trails were groomed, it was flat and went along the river, we thought it would be a good choice. It was really cold out, so I was hoping for an easy trail that we could go relatively fast on to get good exercise and stay warm - and hopefully, the scenery would be nice. didn't quite turn out like I expected. Whoever wrote about the trail should have defined "groomed" and "flat", as those were terms used pretty lightly in the write-up. It turned out to be somewhat treacherous for me, although, of course, dh didn't have any problems. The trail was packed down, but hardly what I would call "groomed". I fell several times. There were times where we had to travel over bridges that were barely wider than our skiis. We couldn't really travel fast enough to keep very warm, and I was exhausted from falling and trying to get up. "Help - I've fallen and I can't get up!" was my chant! But on the plus side, it was truly beautiful. And I got some good photos, although I had left the better camera in the car : ( So if I ever go there again, I will know what to expect and be more prepared.

My dh took me out for coffee afterwards to reward me for such a trying time. : )

Our Romantic Getaway Up North

Ron and I went up to a condo across from Boyne Highlands last week for a much needed get-away. With the economy, troubles at Dow, and just general exhaustion, I was desperately needing a break to take time to pray, re-connect with my husband and just re-evalute my priorities and how I was living my life. Lots of things to deal with and my emotions were at rock bottom. The condo was absolutely beautiful, the snow was beautiful and we had a really good time. I was able to feel much more rested and focused. I don't know that we made any big decisions, but we dealt with some things that needed to be addressed and I felt much refreshed.

If you haven't taken the time lately to re-connect with your spouse, Now Is the Time!