Thursday, September 30, 2010

This Season


 The wind rustles the dead stalks as they bang against each other. The clatter is quiet, yet the air fills with the sound. Though the earth is wet from rain, they are dead. Their season is past. They defy the life of the water.

They give their life for the harvest.

The leaves too, give a last shout, in denial of what is to come, a red and orange and yellow party as they fade to brown. They served a purpose and the shade they gave is gone. Their death has come too, leaving a skeleton. Rain, the cleansing tears, breaks the last  thread clinging to what was or what they planned to be, stripping all away to the ground.

A certain kind of death comes to us all.

Seasons come.
They should.
They will.
It's good.

But sometimes it feels we are just a skeleton left standing bare for all to see our nakedness and life is a messy pile at our feet.

Then the snow comes, the horizon is shimmering, blinding whiteness, against our black thin form. What we are is revealed against His glory, and there is a broken beauty in the barrenness.

And if we don't let go of what was, or still focus our gaze on what is right now,  we will never see the vision of what is to come.

 One stubborn bloom on dead wood in autumn

Spring will come. Rain will bring life once again. The wind will blow promises. And the autumn and winter of soul will be but a memory.

Take heart friends.

This is only a season.

Sharing today for Bigger Picture Moments and Imperfect Prose.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More and less

The heart of a woman in love with Jesus is beautiful.

I sat last night at a table of ladies, workbooks and Bibles open,
pondering Words and life and encouraging each other.
Those I've known for a while I saw with new eyes.

I saw growth.

New peace.
New softness.
New passion.
New dependence on truth
because of the trials grace has brought us.

Because even the rough spots are grace.

We are changed because of grace
this gift of undeserved growth,
becoming something better,
that came from hearts yearning
and a Spirit's love. 

I saw my friends as new people,
confident of our God and His Way,
anxiety shrinking, faith increasing.

Those ladies and their growth blessed me.
We gather as different yet the same,
Desperate for a singular thing.
More and less.
Less of what we want.
More of what He has for us.
It is one thing,
because we can't have both together.

We want it, His will,
whatever the result.
Because either way it goes,
it will be beautiful.

Tuesdays Unwrapped - a Tuesday tradition

Gifts and Gab - Join us!

Gifts and Gab 

A bloggers' holiday get together featuring friends, shopping, 
and space for working on holiday projects!
November 13th, 2010 
9am - 4pm
The Mill House
Norwood Young America, MN

Take a scenic drive 45 miles west of Minneapolis, and gather in a old feed Mill turned spacious 12,000 square foot antique, home furnishings, and gift store.   
Nestled in rural Norwood Young America, The Mill House is a fabulous find filled with gently used furniture, accessories, clothing, jewelry, pottery, baby gifts, books, a flower shop and coffee house.


We will have a  private room for lunch and mingling, and table space for any project you wish to work on offline. Bring knitting, needlework, scrapbooking, or just your smiling face! Cozy up next to a fireplace and the warmth of new and old, online and real life friends. Browse and chat and munch.

We will have coffee, tea, & muffins for the early birds. A light lunch will be served, or you can purchase something at the Mill House Cafe. You are welcome to bring treats to share.
We will be sending out invitations via Evite on October 13th, so let us know if you would like to be sent one! We have some fun surprises planned and would love to spend the day with you! Space is limited, so let us know as soon as you can!

Contact either of us. You'll find us here:

Kristina of A Joy Walk    

Carrie of 4 the Love of Family   
Follow this event's news on twitter under hashtag #GiftsandGab

Thank you to our sponsors:

{So}Sartina - Limited Edition Bags and Accessories. All kinds of beautiful.
Counselor Realty of Norwood Young America 952-467-4663
 We are looking forward to seeing you!

Kristina and Carrie

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday's Medicine

Sometimes a Monday morning starts out slow and grouchy with kids chasing and not working.

And then you figure on some tickle torture to cure the frowns and mopes. All Monday needs is a bit more:

Hugs and kisses. Wet ones, even.

Tickles and giggles and rolling on the floor.

Fist-fulls of candy corn between breakfast and lunch.

Slinging a too-big kid upside down and piggy backs and romping.

Sometimes you just need to break out of the dumps and be silly.

I'm so glad we did.

Laughter is good medicine.

Especially for a crabby Monday.

Silly kids earlier this summer.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Filed Under Grace - Septemeber

This is going to be quick as I just spent two hours with 15 children and now just want to go to bed! *Chuckle* No, we actually had a great time while their parents took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class, but I still want to go to bed! Busy days have turned into busy weeks, and you can tell by my lack of presence here. I miss you though. And I miss the summer schedule that allowed for reflection on lazy mornings.

This happens to be the last weekend of the month, and in the past we have shared answers to prayer. Would you consider this week what you could share here? I'd love to hear what God is doing in your lives, or even what you have witnessed Him doing around you!

For details and {pesky} rules, click the logo. :)

At our house, my recent prayer was a request for Mitchell. On the surface it wouldn't appear to be a huge deal, just a quandary. He was in Bible quizzing last year, and it seemed natural that he resume that activity this year. Megan participated as well, and all our kids had a program to be involved in on Wednesday nights. (Madison is in AWANA.) Mitchell wasn't into it, but I was happy he was learning scripture, even if he didn't answer questions at quizzes. He enjoyed being with his friends and it was a mostly positive experience.

As the start of the school year approached and we began talking about Wednesday programming, Mitchell refused to consider quizzing again.

I was puzzled. But I didn't want to force him to participate.

I waited. We had many conversations about the program, and I questioned him why he wasn't interested, what was frustrating, what was holding him back. I never pushed.

He expressed feelings of failure. 

I take some of the responsibility for that. I find it difficult to balance how much to push him into success, how much to control and structure his practice and memorization time, and how much motivation should come from his own drive to succeed. Maybe I should have pushed him harder last year so he would know a taste of success. But I can't go back and change it.

I prayed. Mitchell doing nothing on Wed. nights was not an option. But there really wasn't another option.

I waited for him to change his mind. I had no back-up plan. This was not just about Mitchell quizzing. This was about fighting for Mitchell's heart and his struggle with self-defeat.

The beginning of quizzing was days away, and we happened to be in the van driving somewhere when I broached the subject again. He was adamant. He would not be in quizzing.

Then I mentioned a possibility of a lighter memorization load. He immediately interrupted me and confidently stated he would join the Bible quiz team. I was relieved, but pessimistic. Would this year be a repeat of last year? Would he just wallow in the pit of I'm-not-good-enough again?

The first practice came, we dropped the kids off at their programs, and Robb and I went on our date.

(See why it was mandatory Mitchell be in programming? Purely selfish reasons! ;) )

After that practice, Mitchell insisted he was going to memorize 50 verses this year! That's more than he completed last year, not less! He proceeded to memorize the first six verses that same evening! Word perfect. With references!

Yesterday we had our first quiz meet. He was on fire! I won't bore you with too many quizzing rules and details, but a quiz out is when a student (jumping against up to11 other players) answers 4 questions in one quiz of 20 questions. Mitchell answered 3 questions correctly in each of his quizzes! He was soooo close to quizzing out! He was confident. He was beaming! This is a big deal people!

He has tasted success. And I am so proud!

Each answer was completed with dramatic hand gestures! :)

In retrospect, I have no idea what changed his viewpoint and attitude about Bible quizzing. But I know his mama's heart was pleading for God to work out the details and to soften his heart, and He did.

I am so thankful.

Now, it's your turn! Please, please, please, share! God is at work around you! Are you noticing?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Jobs and Such

So here's the thing. Robb is in training to get his realtor license. I think that's what you call it. Actually he passed his tests last week, so now he just has to finish his classes. He got a job working for friends of ours as the office manager of a Counselor Realty office. He'll be listing property as well.

On the first day of class, he called me excitedly and said, "I was made for this." That was also confirmed in the class that pinpointed personality types that excel in the field. He loves laws and guidelines and paperwork and details and meeting people and phone calls and the internet. He's weird like that.

But I love him anyway. 
And doesn't he look skinny, ya'll?? :)
(Honey, when this post is delivered to your phone, don't click the photo link. kthanx.)

And the housing market can only get better, right?

For a variety of reasons, we are so thankful we sold our business when we did. We were paying attention. Call it common sense, discernment, wisdom, or the whisper of God, our hearts were prepared and when the opportunity to sell came, we jumped. And not a moment too soon. The entire upper management at the company we did business for was completely replaced within two weeks. We are so thankful all the loose ends with that company were tied and severed before all that took place, so none of the upheaval affected us.

Now, since Robb's got nothing better to do, (ha!) he will continue on and take the next level of classes and get his GRI Designation (Graduated Realtor Institute). So for the next month he will be spending lots of time driving and in class and reading and such. I won't be able to call him to come rescue me if I get a flat tire, or if the kids are driving me to the edge of sanity. But I can text him. *insert evil laugh*

Honestly? I never would have guessed this is what God would have for us. But there have been lots of surprises over the years. And if I've learned one thing, it's that all I ever learned about God's provision is true. I believed it then. I KNOW it now. And so, we prepare for the next thing.

Anyone looking for a house or have a house to list? *Grin*

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

{So}Sling Diaper Bag /Carryall/Craft Tote

Sara is working on adding some of these beauties to our shop:

Lovely, eh?

Big enough to be a diaper bag, but pretty enough to not look like one!

{So}Sartina description: Carry your essentials in style. Holds all of baby's and mama's necessities, crafts, or miscellaneous items. Three pockets inside for diapers & wipes, cell phone, etc. Padded lining gives bag structure. Easy sling handle is fully interfaced for added shape. Handle design and magnetic snap closure keep everything inside. Removable rose pin accent. 

This bag holds a serious amount of stuff.

Can I keep this one? :) Love those colors!

More bags like this coming to {So}Sartina ~ soonly!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

He is Always Good.

The cool fall breeze wafts in behind my humming sewing machine, and I sit up, stretch my back and try to relax.  The days have been stressful.

The crickets have their own hum here in the country where golden brown soybean fields stretch across my view and the lighter gold corn fills the distant hills. I gaze out the window. Everything else is yet green, but an impatient little maple turned orange.

Home School is underway.

{So}Sartina is up and running with a few promotions in the works.

Robb is halfway done with his classes that I have yet to explain to you. (Sorry! Soon, I promise!) He passed his tests, so all that remains in putting in time.

The barn project that we started before we sold our company continues.  Once started, it had to be finished, but it feels a little funny to be in the middle of a construction project and between jobs. Still, it will be lovely to have the space. There are just finishing touches left.

The crazy that is life is calming down. Or maybe I am just more at peace today. I've had my tears and worries and now I'm tired of them.

The crickets continue their hum. God continues his work in our lives. And I continue to trust that all he has for us is good. Because HE is good. Always.

Unwrapping the gift of today for Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Real Church

A people meets

and stands side by side

a family

lifting up broken hearts

in praise.

Songs and voices and hands are lifted

and tears flow down

as grace washes


There is no judgment in this family.

We know each other

well enough

to know we are not alone in our brokeness.

And that itself is a healing.

When broken but made whole

reach out to the still open wounded

there is no doubt God is Alive.

He moves within.

He moves without.

His forgiveness

enables ours.

And we are free.

Free from the ugly

that could have been.

Free to stay family.

A people meets

and stands side by side,

a family,

lifting up broken hearts

in praise.

Songs and voices and hands are lifted

and tears flow down

as wave after wave

song after song

line after line

hug after hug

of grace

washes clean.

Dedicated to my church. Where people are real. Where God is Real. And where God is real to His people.

And sharing after the fact (forgive this once?) with Tuesday's Unwrapped. 
Unwrapping a moment in church where her tears brought mine. Because I remember.  But I forgive too.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Camping and a Snake's Regurgitation

We had our third annual Labor Day campout with friends and the weather cooperated perfectly. The mosquitos didn't, but they were nothing we couldn't handle.

For the first time, the clouds cooperated on a stargazing night when all the astronomical equipment was set up at the observatory and we all (grown-ups and kids) piled in the back of the pickup for the short ride there. We saw Saturn (which looked like a little sticker stuck on end of the telescope) and its rings, Mars and Venus. And a lovely star that turned out to be an airplane.

Mitchell wore the same pair of pants the whole weekend, and all the kids were filthy at the end of each day.

The boys found snakes.

Right about here I wondered what the snake was up to. I knew it was harmless, but....

it turned out to have no ill intentions. If you are squeamish, you might want to avoid the next couple pictures.

I think it was stressed out from being handled so much.

Because it regurgitated its dinner. That's a frog leg sticking out of the snake's mouth, in case you can't tell.

I did not take a picture of the partially digested frog. You are welcome.

The rest of our time was lovely and snake and frog free.

We played cards and took walks and sat around the campfire and talked. And laughed. And napped.

I had to wash my hair three times to get the smoke smell out of my hair.

And Robb won all the Ladder Golf games. So the weekend was a winner. Poor Norm.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Organization and Lack Thereof

I had a very productive day yesterday.

This is my new sewing station. I LOVE it!

I got this chair at a garage sale years ago for $1.00. For some reason *cough*laziness*cough* I never recovered it. It was "good enough." Until now. Now it is perfect. I'm calling it my {So}Sartina chair.

The tables I purchased at Ikea. The cutting table pulls out for extra workspace.

Is it weird that I just sit in here now and admire it?

And this. This is where I will store all my pretty roses. I made the little macrame rainbow when I was 10.
Cute, no?

I also heaved and maneuvered two ergonomic desks out and brought this baby back in. I'd mourned the loss of this oak desk and am happy to have her back where she belongs. I love her storage and counter space. Maybe I'll name her too. Ha!

Now the danger of sharing all these pretty pictures is you may think I have my act all together and my whole house is spotless and perfect and organized. I hope you don't think that. I don't like being on a pedestal. Pedestals are precariously tippy. And so I show you these:

This is my husband's file cabinet and corresponding crapola. Which since it has been sitting in the hallway (another thing I cannot move by myself no matter my impatience) I walked headlong into and gave myself a huge nasty bruise on my leg.

My sister laughed out loud when I told her. But that's because she bangs into stuff all the time. No lie.

It seriously hurts. Good thing swim suit season is passed.

And here is one old desk turned fort and the other turned desk. Oh, wait. It's already a desk.


They are sitting in my dining room. Waiting to be sold on Craigslist. Or to be hauled to the barn by a big strapping young man.

Do you need ergonomic desks? They are really nice, heavy duty, adjustable and are very expensive to buy new.

I just didn't like them.

Tomorrow I shall tell you about Robb's new job and training or our camping trip which will include pictures of a snake regurgitating a frog.

You pick.

Man, my blog content is deteriorating.

But I made myself laugh, so that's something.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Miss me?


How are you?

I've so much to say here and picture to share, but it is late. again. and I can't handle another late night, so please be patient.

Who am I kidding. You probably didn't even miss me.

I joke.

I bet my grandparents missed me. *waves*

We camped this weekend.

I came right home and started a new business.

Today, I reorganized my whole office. This included recovering a chair,

 new fabric in background

hauling two ergonomic desks that weigh two tons each out and one oak desk in all while being eaten alive by mosquitos. By myself. Thankyouverymuch.

 I never was patient enough to wait for a man to help me. And now my back is paying.  Oh well. It looks nice. Which is what really matters.

Ok, so the desks didn't really make it out. Just out to the dining room. Where they now serve as the fine support of a blanket fort. So clearly the whole house looking nice will take a bit more work. The work of a strong man. Because those beasts weigh two tons each and even this impatient girl cannot move them any further. Even I have my limits.

That's all the update I've got time, or energy for ~

I'll be back here soon.

I promise.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Works for Me.....

Screwdriver thread holder.

Sometimes it ain't pretty, but you do what you gotta do.

Still sewing here....waiting for custom embroidered labels and then I'm ready to set up shop! Yay!

Share what works for you here.