Friday, January 28, 2011

Sitting Under Shoregirl's Tree

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No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves. ~ Amelia Earhart

Well, I have been sheltered today!  I have been struggling the last couple days with pain issues (not complaining, just want you to understand the hand of God in this sheltering) and I can't get my blood sugar below 325.  So this morning, I walked out to the kitchen and poured my freshly brewed tea (sheltering by RB) and headed for "my  chair."  RB had put yesterday's mail on it which included a package.  Amazon, I thought, since that's where most of my packages come from.  But it wasn't.  It was from Esther and her daughter, Makayla, at Shoregirl.  It didn't take my pain away, but it sure did take my mind off of it.  I sat and marveled at each little item she had placed in my prized package.  Emily is taking pictures for you to see all the goodies, too.

I started out my week being sheltered by our friends and pastors (we're almost kin since we share the same grandblessings) with a delicious meal.  Anyone who knows Sheryl Clemens knows we ate well. We enjoyed the food and fun of just being with friends who love the Lord.

She sent me cards, too. 
 She used real twigs--loved that.
I admired this one on Esther's blog.

Tuesday I went to work with RB.  The university offers free blood tests a few times a year so I usually spend the day in Marion when they are offered.  I worked in the morning at Bob Evans and the waitress just refilled and refilled my tea -- with such a sweet attitude. (I tried to shelter her back with a big tip!)  Then my dear RB took me to the Hostess House for lunch.  Emily had dinner ready for us when we got home.  I received lots of leafy hugs on Tuesday.

Wednesday we had a funeral at our church.  Wednesday is the day I work, so Emily once again helped me by cutting up the broccoli and assembling the broccoli salad I promised for the funeral dinner. 
Thursday, Emily went to powerwalk the mall with Melanie and came home with my oldest grandson's new picture.  He's such a handsome boy at seven, and you have to love the toothless grin.

This bird is made with flocked paper.
If you lift his wings you can write on them.

Other sheltering this week included numerous notes, messages on facebook and e-mail messages thanking me for different posts.  Janene from For God's Glory texted that she was praying for me. 

I know I'm forgetting something, but I've been shelter-spoiled this week!  You know, when you start to look for ways you are sheltered, it's hard to stop counting.  Over and over friends have obeyed God's nudge to shelter me.  Shoregirl had no idea how I was struggling, but God did.  And He provided the right person, complete with gifts and talented creations.   I love notebooks, papers, cards, stationary items and tiny paper gifties.  God knows that!  That's why He chose Esther and Makayla.

This darling paper bag album: Love Bugs
I have 3 love bugs, you know.
Another one is arriving tonight...or tomorrow...maybe Sunday?
I can't wait to fill it with all their pictures. 
It has places for journaling, too.
Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.  Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless - cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything - encores to the end of time. Oh, yes! (1 Peter 4:8-11)

How many times God has nudged me and I've failed to respond -- either forgetting or putting it off.  I want to try harder to listen even to the smallest whisper, cheerfully sheltering those around me with love.   I want God's bright presence to be evident so He can get the credit.  Ask God who you can shelter today. 
* * * * *

Make Shoregirl's Purse

The template for this purse is on her website.  She also has a list of ideas for using the purse.
I like her idea of using it for a gift card holder.
I can see a lot of other things in this purse.
Stickers will make Makenzie happy.
Gum would delight Morgan.
My five nieces would vote for a tiny notebook and pen.
Or maybe lip gloss.  Yes, definitely that.
What would you fill it with?

Not only did Esther send me the purse, she included the pattern!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Talented Sheltering

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Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there there except for those who sang the best.  ~Henry Van Dyke

When I was a new bride, RB sang in an Oratorio Guild.  I'd go faithfully to hear him sing even if Oratorios sung in German weren't really my thing.  Before we were married, people questioned our choices since most thought RB needed someone with musical talent.  I'd say -- after 36 years -- that fact hasn't detracted from our love or marriage.  

International Student Convention 2010
Wherever we went I got the same question, "Do you sing?"  I'd answer, "No."  "Do you play?"  Again, I'd answer, "No."  I'd get strange looks and the conversation was over.  One day an older woman, whose husband also sang in the guild, asked me those questions.  When I answered no, she leaned close and whispered, "I don't either, and when people ask me if I sing, I say, "No, but I scrub a mean kitchen floor." 

Can you believe I still remember that?  It's because she gave me the right to be proud of my own talents.  Aren't you glad God didn't make us all the same?  Otherwise we'd have beautiful music and nothing to read.  Or we'd have
trillions of books to read and nobody to offer
hospitality to us.  God made us with  unique talents.

Emily (Auntie) and Ethan

Now admittedly, there are varying degrees of talent. 
While one may sing very well, someone else may sing
even better.  The trick is not only using our talents, but
not judging them by others. 

Have you ever been sheltered by someone talented -- someone who makes you think, "I can't believe she did that for me!"  I have been so blessed by others sheltering me time and time again.

Just this month Emily had a birthday.  She shares her birth date with her nephew, Ethan, so her birthday is so much more fun for her than it was seven years ago.   Melanie and her family were coming over for the Sunday dinner to celebrate.  Emily loves white cake/white icing and the grands love cake, too.  We have a talented cake decorator in our church so I asked her to make a cake.  Oh, my goodness, was the cake beautiful.  White cake with white roses and a teal E (so it could stand for both Emily and Ethan).  Carisa refused to let me pay for the cake, even when I said I wouldn't want to ask her to make me another one if she wouldn't let me pay.  She said, "I'll let you pay for the next one, but this one I want to do for Emily." 

Cake by Carisa
Now just having her agree to make it was a blessing to      me, because she just got home that week from her brother's wedding (and among other things, she made the wedding cake).  But to Emily, the cake tasted just a little sweeter because she knew it was a gift from Carisa.  I tried cake decorating 30-some years ago.  I had stickiness from one end of my kitchen to the other.  And I've never tried it since.  But someone else used their talent to bless my daughter -- and we all know when that happens, we are blessed, too.

 This isn't all Carisa does.  She organizes our fellowship dinners and makes the most creative dishes to bring.  She's PTO president at her children's school, keeps our nursery running smoothy, and isn't too good to do a lot of the clean up work, too.

Emily 2010

RB is out today using his talent to bless our church family.  He's playing and singing for a funeral of a fairly young man who died from cancer.  Time and time again he's used his talent to shelter others: volunteering to prepare music for state and international competitions at our local school, giving lessons, leading worship at church and at the university where he works, playing for weddings, etc.  He's taught his daughters to shelter using the musical talents they've inherited from him.  Melanie is the organist for our church, teaches lessons to the school children and homeschoolers, sings with her family and other groups in church.  Emily sings several times a month at our services, with her father for special musical services at other churches and is taking French horn lessons so she'll be able to play in the orchestra at church.

At the church in Bedford where we worked for nineteen years, the senior pastor's wife had a talent for medical expertise in caring for others.  She was a nurse practitioner so this talent was her career, but so many times she would help those in the church with their medical needs.  I know our family was spared many trips to the doctor because she was willing to give us advice. 

I wish I could tell you all the talented people who have sheltered me, but this post is getting long.  There are others, like my sister, who shelters by sharing her beautifully decorated home, tea parties and what many call her Bed and Breakfast.  Our Christian schools are full of people who could make a great deal more, but they believe in Christian education and are sacrificing to teach, be a secretary, or coach a team. 

The reason I've been thinking on these lines is because a dear, sweet and talented woman went to Heaven a few weeks ago.  Wanda was amazing.  By the time I met her and her husband, they were retirement age.  Her husband was a contractor and after retirement helped build the school for the church in Bedford.  He built a shed where he taught carpentry skills to the students.  Wanda was an artist.  For 17 years she volunteered at the school, teaching art among other things.  After her husband died she added volunteering at the local hospital.  Every year at Christmas time she would write the most beautiful letters to RB and me, thanking us for our friendship.  It was an honor for RB to play for her funeral.

Were any of these people world renowned?  No, these are ordinary people determined to use the talents God gave them to shelter others.  We should guard against being proud of what God has given us.  John Wooden said, Talent is God given.  Be humble.  Fame is man-given.  Be grateful.  Conceit is self-given.  Be careful.  We didn't choose our talents.  God blessed us with them. 

Write down one talent you have.  Now find three ways you could use it to shelter someone.  Think of something you've never done before. I'd love to hear about the ways you've found to shelter others with your talents. And don't be ashamed of the talent you have.  I'm sure your pastor's wife or an elderly woman has a kitchen floor they'd liked cleaned.

 * * * * *

Can't decorate like Carisa?  Here's a fun cake you can make without the mess.

Cake by Melanie

So easy.  Cut a circle of cardboard.  Form the diapers in a circle and tie in place with ribbon.  Fold the next layer of diapers in half, form to circle and tie with ribbon.  The next layer is one diaper wrapped around a bottle of lotion or powder.  Use pins to keep the layers together.  Decorate with baby items. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A 10,000 Page View Giveaway!

From all of us...

To all of you...we say Thank You

For reading our words
For validating our thoughts
For teaching us with your own comments and blogs

If we could give each of you a gift certificate, we would.  
I guess then we would be the Winfrey Girls.
And we're not, so there is just one $30.00 Amazon Gift Certificate.
(Amazon offers free shipping after $25.00)

Here's what you need to do to enter:

Comment on this post telling us your favorite post.

Extra entries:
Follow our blog via public Google Friend Connect and tell us you did.
(or you already are)
Blog about our giveaway (again, come back and leave your link).
Comment on this post, giving me a topic you'd like us to cover.
Like us on facebook.

Drawing will be February 1st

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sheltering through Discipline

Because of their size, parents may be difficult to discipline properly.
~P. J. O'Rourke

Every parent I know would say, "I love my child."  However, I believe a loved child equals a disciplined child.  Except for nine months, our Melanie was an only child for nine years.  We got the normal cracks about only children being spoiled.  My husband always returned that statement with one of his own, "There are no spoiled children -- just undisciplined."    

Janet with my daughters, Melanie and Emily
The thing about discipline and children is that it's just so easy.   My friend, Janet, taught me that consistency was the key to training a child.  She was right -- she proved it before I did with her own children, and I took her advice with mine.  What excites me is that my own daughter and son-in-law are carrying on the tradition.

Now, for some reason, too many parents seem to look at discipline as negative.  It doesn't have to be.  Shawn and Melanie wanted to encourage their children to remember to say "Yes, Ma'am and No, Sir" as a response to a command.  Each time they remember it, they get a penny.  If they forget, they lose one.  They were here one day last week, and Melanie had come to pick them up.  She told them it was time to put on their boots.  Ethan looked at Melanie and asked, "Is that a command?"  He was counting on his penny.  They won't have to keep the penny deal forever.  Already the children are using their responses at appropriate times.  The key is giving or taking a penny each time.  The children don't have to wonder if one time it will matter, but not another time.  They rely on that consistency. 
Shawn, Melanie, Ethan, Landon and Morgan

Consistency is necessary, but not effective without the component of love. Love your kids "up to the sky and back down."  Love them more, best, and most.  Smother them with hugs, praise and make sure each day to use actions to say, "I love you."

Here are a few ways to say "I love you." 

1. Create a secret sign to convey "I love you" in the midst of a crowd.  It can it been the American Sign Language for I love you, a wink, a tug on your ear or a quick succession of 1, 2, 3 fingers. 

2.  Cut out an O and X and hide them under their pillow or in their lunch box.  No words necessary.

3.  Read to them.  You knew I'd say that, didn't you?  Seriously, when you get all cuddled up with a blanket around both of you, it's hard not to feel love. 

4.  Do chores together.  Yes, it's their chore to make their bed.  But once in a while, you can help. You'll be surprised what you'll hear while you're working together.

5.  Write notes to your child.  Target's Dollar Spot has metal mailboxes.  Buy one for each member of the family--including you.  Using a permanent marker, print each member's name on the side of the box.  You'll be surprised how many notes you'll find in yours.

6.  Love your spouse.  Growing up, there was never any question in my mind whether or not my parents loved each other.  They loved spending time together. Mom baked cinnamon rolls and apple dumplings because "daddy loved them."  We even caught them kissing once in a while.

My Parents

7. Leave little presents for them to find on their dresser or on their plate at the table.  I found this idea at Simply this or that or the other blog.  It's so easy to make.

Cut a triangle

Fold each point to opposite end.

Decorate one side.
I cut a smaller triangle and glued down.
Then I used a red foil M and added a pink heart gem.

Punch a hole at the top of each triangle.
Fill the box with a surprise.
Thread ribbon or netting through the holes and tie in a bow.
Ideas for the surprise:
Foam hearts:  About 1/3 of a container of foam hearts (Target Dollar Spot)
Small pre-inked stamps (Target Dollar Spot: 6/$1.00)
Lip Smacker's Chap Stick