Monday, February 25, 2013

A Twin Year in Review

I can hardly believe that it has been one year since Levi and Liam were born, 11 weeks premature. What a year it has been! After spending 6 weeks in the NICU, the boys came home and life for this Grandma completely changed! I had been in no hurry to have grandchildren but God knew EXACTLY what He was doing when He sent Levi and Liam to our family. Since their tiny 3 pound beginning they've inspired a whole lot of love, a whole lot of fun, and a whole lot of work... and I am blessed beyond anything I could have expected.  Here is the year in review, via pictures...

4 weeks old

first morning home

4 months

7 months

8 months

10 months

Levi ~ then and now

Liam ~ then and now

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Birds On A Wire Pillow... Giveaway!!!

**** NOTE **** This giveaway is now closed 3/1/13

birds on a wire pillow

I am doing my very first giveaway!!!  It is just for fun and if all goes well, there may be more in the future. **Note:  There may be a tutorial forthcoming if I can get the pictures to turn out correctly!**  If you'd like a chance to win a "Birds On A Wire" decorative pillow handmade by me then you MUST leave a comment on this post or on the link I posted on facebook, if you are one of my facebook friends.  You can leave a comment both places but it only counts as 1 chance.   

You can earn 3 extra chances by #1) Pinning this post to at least one of your Pinterest boards.  Pin onto as many as you'd like but it only counts as 1. #2)  Share the link on facebook. You can share as often as you'd like but it only counts as 1.  #3)  Posting a link to this post on your own blog.  Again, do this as often as you'd like but it only counts as 1.  You'll have to tell me if you've done any of these things in your comment in case I inadvertantly overlook it.  You're on the honor system.  Remember, your integrity is worth WAAAAAY more than a pillow!!

The pillow is made of osnaburg (front), black homespun (back), muslin (lining) acryllic paint, and standard poly filling.  I am not a professional seamstress so it is not perfectly constructed.  It has a some flaws!  The size of the pillow pictured is approximately 14"x16".  I plan to make a few more versions of it and if I do, the winner may be able to choose from them.  My husband or some other disinterested party will choose a winner on March 1st. I will announce the winner ASAP afterward.  If I know you, I will contact you by the usual means.  If I do not know you, you'll have to provide your email address.   

close-up view of one of the birds
Update #1:  The winner may also choose this cute little bunny pillow (just in time for Spring!).  It is approximately 8"x14".

Update #2:  This is a Primative Willow stencil pillow that I made.  There is a ruffle detail all the way around the edge.  It is appx 12"x12".    Below that is yet another one (I'm obsessed!) with a fleur de lis stencil.  It is NOT part of the giveaway.  I made it as a gift.  Just thought you'd like to see another design.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Review 2013... #5 Crazy Love by Francis Chan

How this book came to me:  A year or so ago I read a few quotes from this book that an aunt of mine had posted on facebook and asked her if I could borrow it.  She sent me a copy and told me to keep it.  I've read it once before and passed it along to a couple friends.  I have it back now and am reading through again, this time watching the short videos that are suggested by the author. 

Nutshell Synopsis:  Crazy Love is a call to live a life of love, sacrifice and obedience in response to the love that God has for us, His creation.  If you are comfortable with your life as it is, don't read this book.  There are quite a few moments of "Ouch!  Those are my toes you stepped on!". It assumes the reader has a fundamental belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God.   

Quotes from the book:

"God is the only Being who is good, and the standards are set by Him.  Because God hates sin, He has to punish those guilty of sin.  Maybe that's not an appealing standard.  But to put it bluntly, when you get your own universe, you can make your own standards.  When we disagree, let's not assume it's His reasoning that needs correction."

"How is it possible that we live life as though it is about us?...  Frankly, you need to get over yourself."

"When we face the holy God, "nice" isn't what we will be concerned with, and it definitely wasn't what He will be thinking about.  Any compliments you received on earth will be gone; all that will be left for you is truth.  The church in Sardis had a great reputation, but it didn't matter.  Jesus said to them, "I know your deeds;  you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead"  (Rev. 3:1)  All that matters is the reality of who we are before God... Perhaps that sounds harsh, but harsh words and the loving truth often go hand in hand."

"The greatest good on this earth is God.  Period.  God's one goal for us is Himself."

"As I see it, a lukewarm Christian is an oxymoron; there's no such thing.  To put it plainly, churchgoers who are "lukewarm" are not Christians.  We will not see them in heaven."

"I believe that much of the American churchgoing population, while not specifically swimming downstream, is slowly floating away from Christ."

"We each need to discover for ourselves how to live this day in faithful surrender to God as we "continue to work out [our] faith with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12)"

"... we've developed a habit of listening to the Word of God and not obeying it."

More Info:  Crazy Love exposes the lukewarm Christian and reveals attributes of those who are obsessed with following Christ. 

Reading Level:  Easy, but the subject matter is supremely serious.  The author asks us to question whether or not we are on the "narrow way" or have hearts of "good soil" and he isn't very gentle about it. He acknowledges that it is difficult but that now is the time to decide.   

Re-readability:  This is my second read-through, so, yes.  It is worth reading again.  Probably many times to help us focus and look intently into our hearts and, perhaps more importantly, the way we live our lives.

Lasting Impressions: I'll be honest, it is as easy for me to feel convicted about something in my life that needs to change and then stay just as I am, as it is for anyone else.  Since the first time I read this book about a year or so ago I have wrestled with God on more than one occasion about more than one issue and have found myself submitting more readily and with more joy.  Does that mean I do ALL the time?  By no means!  I have a streak of rebellion in my heart that shocks even me sometimes. 
Now, I don't really believe that God forces us to go anywhere or change anything in our hearts against our will.  He will leave us in whatever unregenerate condition we want Him to.  To me, the above cartoon illustrates that God will take us where He wants us but only we can choose if we want it to change us. 
I'll leave you with one last quote...
"Let's face it.  We're willing to make changes in our lives only if we think it affects our salvation.  This is why I have so many people ask me questions like, Can I divorce my wife and still go to heaven?  Do I have to be baptized to be saved?  Am I a Christian even if I am having sex with my girlfriend?  If I commit suicide, can I still go to heaven?  If I'm ashamed to talk about Christ, is he really going to deny knowing me?
To me, these questions are tragic because they reveal much about the state of our hearts.  They demonstrate that our concern is more about going to heaven than loving the King.  Jesus said "If you love me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15) And our question quickly becomes more unthinkable:  Can I go to heaven without truly and faithfully loving Jesus?
I don't see anywhere in Scripture how the answer to that question could be yes." 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Book Review 2013... #4 When God Is Silent by Charles R. Swindoll

How this book came to me:  I've had this little book sitting on a shelf for so long I don't even remember.  It is a small book (maybe 7"x7") with fewer than 130 pages and full of beautiful pictures.  This is a gift edition book with a presentation page in the front and lined pages for note-taking in the back, all glossy.

Nutshell Synopsis:  When God Is Silent is written to encourage people who are going through discouraging times using the story of Job as a guide.  Job, a man of great wealth and property, loses everything including all 10 of his grown children by unexpected means that were orchestrated by Satan. He was also given painful boils from head to toe and goes to live by the side of a refuse heap.  He hears from his wife-- "Curse God and die!" and he hears from his friends-- "What did you do to deserve this?"  but he does not hear from God (until much later).  His response?  He worships!

Quotes from the book: 

"When you understand that everything is on loan, you are better prepared to release it when the owner wants it back."

"Understand, our God is full of compassion, but His plan is beyond our comprehension."

"May God enable us to raise our faith to such heights rather than lower our view of Him."

"The single reason we remember Job with such admiration is because he endured."

"As a result of enduring pain, we change from being mere sufferers to wise counselors and valuable comforters."

"Gods silence is not the same thing as God's absence."

"You cannot think God's thoughts more acutely than when you quote God's very words back to life's situations." 

"We take a major step toward maturity when we finally realize it's not about us and our significance.  It's all about God's magnificence.  His holiness.  His greatness.  His glory."

More Info:  When I first began reading When God Is Silent I was afraid it was going to be like so many other things I've heard.  You've heard them, too. The "There's a silver lining for every cloud"  pep talks.  Sorry, I am just not a silver lining kind of gal!  Some trials just don't make sense and sometimes the purpose is hidden from us.  As Mr. Swindoll says, we need to practice saying "I don't know" because we may never have an answer to some things this side of Heaven.  Not only that but perhaps there is a lesson in the "cloud" that we will miss if we are looking too hard for the silver lining.  Just a thought.

Reading Level:  If I had wanted to, I probably could have read this little book in a single day.  But I didn't want to.  I don't want to rush through just for the sake of completing my list by year's end.  Finishing isn't the point.  Giving myself a target is.  Anyway.  It is not a complicated book but there are some concepts that required me to stop and think on for some time.   

Re-readability:  Since adversity and trials are timeless, I will probably read this book again.  It is a book that I would recommend (even loan out) to anyone who is struggling to continue their walk or worship, or trying to figure out "why?" because of an unexpected painful circumstance.

Lasting Impressions: 

"Understanding is responding to life's struggles and challenges as God would have us respond. Not in panic and confusion. Not forfeiting those things that are valuable to us, and not by compromising our integrity. Instead, when we have understanding, we respond to life's challenges as God would have us respond. We trust Him. We believe in Him. We refuse to be afraid. We don't operate our lives according to human impulses or in step with today's politically correct culture. How terribly important it is that we stand firm in wisdom, responding in understanding." 

Job 2:10 "But [Job] said to [his wife], "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips."

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blog Makeover

Hello Readers (all 5 of you)!  I've given my blog a bit of a makeover to reflect me and my blog title a
whole lot more than the blue and pink of the old layout.  What do you think?  As always, I welcome
feedback. All of the bloggers that I know love comments!

Have a content and joy-filled day!

1 Timothy 6:6-7  "But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it."