Tuesday, November 30, 2010

T'was the Write Before Christmas

What do you remember about Christmas past? What prompts happy memories, nostalgic feelings about this holiday season? Share a story here for a chance to win four of these {So}Sartina Christmas stockings!

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Glitter, Glory, Grace - One Thousand Gifts

We are recovering from a busy holiday weekend which was filled with family and friends, the warm glow of the hearth and the whine of a saw blade. Two days were spent with relatives and two were spent working on the barn renovation. It's almost done! (And I will soon get out there to take pictures and post a full update.)

I'm struggling over here to get back into a school/life routine in the midst of bouts of mild vertigo/dizziness. I don't know what to call them, but these times have come on and off for a while now, with increasing frequency. At this point it's only a bit annoying, but would you pray for me please?

Still, as I sit with laptop on top of afghan on top of me, in a living room strewn with unorganized pretty Christmas paraphernalia, son studying, daughter playing under the haphazard child-decorated tree, and Christmas music lending happy atmosphere, I come here to share a thankful list.

I will give thanks.

With uncertain heart, weak faith, I say, "Lord, help my unbelief."

And He does.

One thousand gifts.

Pandora - the Amy Grant holiday station
touch screens
friends who are dear to us, gathered near to us
family who come from far away, and those that are always nearby
pine cones and glitter

rearranged furniture
barn project nearly completed
Christmas lights on house, synced to music
holiday food
another completed Bible study

Thank you friends, for love and grace as I pop in here sporadically. May your holiday season be filled with the light His presence, the glitter of His glory, the fullness of His Spirit.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Gratitude is Key

Our family has a great many things to be thankful for, and I am, but I must admit, I can't seem to have two good days in row lately. The one good day completely wipes me out. The consistent parenting, discipline. I wake the next day and I just can't do it again.

I'm frustrated with my inability to do what I know I should do, to do it with a cheerful heart. I want to return to my somewhat naive but happy tendency to assume everything will turn out. I believe it will, but somewhere deep in me I must have doubt. And it's showing it's ugly face. 

My good days are great. My bad ones are not. I'm frayed and war torn from the battles both in my heart and from my children. This life is war, and I'm not a soldier. I want peace, naturally. But the cost of peace IS war, so I'm gonna learn to fight.

With gratitude.

And prayer.

And truth.

And a daily list to remind me that He is good.

How so like my God that Sunday's sermon was on this very thing. Depression is proven to decrease, joy abound, when we keep a weekly journal of gratefulness. Last week, I was too busy, too something, and I didn't. No wonder my heart was frail and downcast and I had to try so hard not to fall completely apart.

He convicted me, and there in my chair, the tears came, and this week, I have my list.

My broken offering of thanks:

One Thousand Gifts

Joining the playing
A good drama : Amazing Grace
Salt on icy roads
A sermon on joy and weekly counting gifts!
A day off
New fabric for purse designes
{So}Sartina orders
The learning that comes from a business
Robb's job, restructured to everyone's satisfaction
Long term plans
Conversations in the van
A forgiving daughter
Madison's black eye healed (snowboarding incident)
A cat bite, healed
A husband's comfort and wise words
Tears that release and cleanse
That after the long dark night comes dawn. The sun always rises.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

{So}Sartina Preview - x2

Fabric piles on my sewing table and floor, begging to be cut and matched and stitched... 

These are now listed on my Etsy shop, {So}Sartina, and I have a few more lovely fabrics (a rich brown that I adore is one) to add in the next couple days. Yesterday was spent tagging and organizing products with my sister for a Christmas boutique where we will be sending much of our stuff for the holiday season. If you've been eying something in the shop, buy now!


it seems I took only a few pictures of Gifts and Gab, what with the snow and only two friends who lived blocks away coming to see Carrie and I. We did, however, have a lovely, albeit quiet day, chatting, snacking, working, browsing. It wasn't what we'd planned and worked for, but what's a girl to do when God sends an early snowstorm? Drive slow and hope for the best! That's what.

The snow lingers even now, but that's OK. The early Christmas season of mixed up Thanksgiving pumpkins and mistletoe is well suited to a white, chilly world.

My mocha just tastes better when I'm wearing a warm sweater in my drafty kitchen with windows framing fields of white.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: {So}Sartina Preview

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Monday, November 15, 2010

The {So}Sartina winner is:

Good morning!

I had a fabulous birthday full of yummy food, friends, family and presents. Thank you for all your birthday wishes! I am one lucky girl.

The winner of the $35.00 shopping credit for my twin sister's and my shop {So}Sartina in celebration of our 35th birthday  goes to:


This was a randomly generated winner, but how appropriate the winner is! She made me a cake yesterday and brought it to the class we usually provide childcare for on Sunday nights ~ but we didn't go last night since we were having a birthday dinner at my parents house! Thank you Karissa for your thoughtfulness. I'm sorry I didn't get to eat any of your cake!

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sweet Lovin' {Birthday} Sisters & Giveaway

We sat, couples facing each other in a pizza parlor booth. Twin across from twin and our hubbies likewise. After pizza and a shared chicken Caesar wrap, dessert arrived and with it our competitive habits. It's defend your quarter pie, no holds barred, do not slowly savor or turn your back, or we will eat your share for sure!

You steal a bit of mine and I'll dig out a huge spoonful of yours, no apology but a huge grin. This is dessert after all, and we are of Norwegian blood. The kind that serve no less than three options for dessert. We will not be shorted our fair share, but we won't be concerned in the least about yours.

While we stuff our faces, scarfing the chocolate chip cookie dough pie mounded with vanilla ice cream, husbands joke, exchange dessert protection stories of their wives.

We sheepishly giggle. We cannot deny the truth of our sugar craving behavior.

Robb and Thad commiserate.
"She does that too?"
"You have no idea!"
"Oh, I think I do!"

In this we are the same. We are twins after all.

And at our husbands' complaints we can barely contain our laughter as our spoons battle over the last bite.


Today is our birthday. Yep. We turn 35 today! And since no one could come to yesterday's Gifts & Gab because of the horrendous amount of snow that decided to come for my longstanding wish to have a white birthday, and I didn't get to give anything away,


I'm giving away a $35.00 shopping credit to {So}Sartina today! 
But hurry! Comments will close tonight!

To enter, leave a comment with your email address and your favorite birthday treat. Because we like sweets!

P.S. Just this week as we celebrated grandma's 91st birthday at the local Chinese buffet, a delicate cake sat on my plate, and she did it. Yes she did. My twin sister took the first bite of my dessert. A huge corner of a tiny mocha creme cake.

See? I am so not exaggerating this dessert dilemma!

Happy Birthday favorite sister! Love you! 
{We shared a womb, so I guess sharing a little dessert isn't a big deal! Here's a fork. Dig in.}

Monday, November 8, 2010

Perfect Gifts

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of  the heavenly lights. He does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

Robb left on Thursday for a coveted weekend of deer hunting for the first time in his 40 years.

Warning: This post may or may not include a picture of a dead animal....

He acquired his hunting license and texted me, all excited with hint of beard already poking on his newly slimmer face,

"I'm a man now!"

And I feared. A little. For his safety.

 Flying. in a teeny. tiny. plane.

Lord, I thought and prayed. We've come this far. We are in the place of rest and waiting, peace and joy. You would not take that away, would you?  Would you allow more pain? Hasn't there been enough? And in my cautious, self-protective heart, I waited for the next foot to fall. My imagination dabbled in grim scenarios.

Oh, me of little faith. 

My idle thoughts were interrupted by a Whisper.

  Matt. 7:9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

And, of course, Robb came home last night just fine.

With a story to tell.

Oh, what a story to tell. Of a God who cares about the heart of a first-time hunter. Of a buck that got away.  Of a hunter who got a second chance. Of a man who has hope that God speaks and gives good gifts.

Join me in counting God's good gifts?

47. A 10 point buck. God's gift to Robb.
48. a hunting opener like never before on that property. 3 bucks.
49. hope
50. the quiet voice of God
51. that He knows my name
52. bread, when we fear a stone
53. Scripture, remembered, at just the right moment
54. friends who teach new things
55. chick flicks and popcorn
56. grace for absences
57. my twin sister, also a hunting widow, to keep me company
58. holding my niece through church
59. invitation for next year
60. him coming home
61. a mounted head to go in the new "man cave"
62. a freezer full

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Barn Renovation - {Part 3}

So, we had sold our business. The inventory in the barn slowly disappeared and the haymow emptied as the new office was bolstered and filled with a level floor, a stairway, a loft. 

Sometimes we start things that seem like a good idea and then along the way, 

circumstances change and we wonder – what was THAT all about? 

How’d we get HERE? 

But we knew our history of business and adventures and we were convinced that somehow, God still had a purpose for this project and we hadn’t just started this thing on our own. And along the way, our lives are remodeled too. He's been bolstering our supports, tearing out the rotten boards, preparing our life structure for what is to come.

As we go about the busy bits of life and work, we feel we are in a waiting period, a not-quite-settled-in time of learning to be empty of ourselves and full of trust and praise and worship. He has brought us this far, and we are waiting for his purpose to be revealed.

Are you waiting too? What are you doing while you wait?

Barn Renovation: Before
Barn Renovation : Part 2

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Monday, November 1, 2010


I hadn't talked to her in three years. Not because I didn't love her, but because she lived on the other side of the world, with a passel of kids, and I had my own family too. I tried calling once, but the phone lag and children distracting (my own) was too much. We kept up through blogging and Facebook. 

There are the kind friends who know you love them anyway. She's been a sister. My "other Sarah sister." We've known each other since we met at a homeschool conference when she was 14 and I was 16. Even though she's a bit younger, I could call her a mentor, because her faith surpasses mine, challenges me, but is always encouraging.

Yesterday, I arranged my schedule. She's been at the hospital for three weeks with her 6-week early baby, and I'd waited long enough. I missed my Sarah.

I was already having an emotional day, an emotional week if I'm being honest, and the sound of her voice on the phone, excited at the possibility of seeing me soon, brought tears to my eyes.

"Get over here!" she exclaimed.

I had to stop for gas, and lunch, but hurried and cried my way to Minneapolis and Lake Street and the busy city. Seriously people. I was a wreck of emotion.  I parked and found my way through the skyway to the ICC of Children's Hospital. And there I found my friend and we hugged as long lost friends will do.

We sat in hospital chairs with sleeping baby nearby and monitors beeping and rounding nurses. It was as if those years didn't exist and we picked up where we'd left off when we talked at my sister's wedding those three year ago. 

We talked of growing up in faith, in grace, in life. We filled in the gaps with stories and tears and smiles. These years have been full of many things. Stressful things, good things. Things that make us long for rest.

But as Sarah shared with me what she's learning through her unexpected circumstances, God doesn't promise us restful seasons. Not for our bodies anyway. He promises rest for our souls.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.... and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

The requirement is learning. From Him.

My body may be tired, my emotions fragile, but my soul is resting in Him. 

I've learned to rest in His faithfulness. 
I've learned to trust His goodness. 
I've learned to believe His promises.

Join me in the joy of counting blessings and the resting of the soul?

35. friends who've known me for what seems like forever
36. dinner and cards and laughter
37. a good competition
38. the warm autumn colored sunset
39. hours with a friend
40. sisters hugging after Sunday school - they missed each other!
41. beauty that heals the soul
42. meeting Sarah's "new" kids
43. butterfly painted faces
44. grace on a hectic Sunday morning
45. a husband's public embrace during Sunday worship - a rarity!
46. red velvet cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. I think I died and went to heaven.

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