Friday, November 21, 2008


Looking for ideas for your handmade Christmas? Check out Sew Mama Sew's 2nd Annual Handmade Holidays.

The folks at Sew Mama Sew have put together a wonderful assortment of tutorials--yes, there's no need to buy a pattern--for everyone on your list, from the baby to the babysitter. Many of their ideas require little previous crafting experience. This is another one of my favorite crafty sites.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I'm in love with refashioning! What's not to love when thrifty meets crafty and rendezvous in the wardrobe? I found Wardrobe Refashion a while back and have been mulling over lots of ideas, but after a play-date with my seamstress friend Arla I finally got the guts to put a couple under the needle.

Here's what I came up with:

This is all that's left of a corduroy jumper I bought at the thrift hoping I could alter it. (My camera corrupted the "before" picture I took of the whole thing. bummer.)

The shoulders proved to difficult to try to petite, so I cannibalized it to make elastic waist church pants for L.B. I created the pattern by minimizing instructions for adult pajama pants I found in Sew What? Fleece. Great series, by the way, if you're into sewing without patterns.

Sissy is really hard on jeans and I was going to cut the bottoms off her latest victim and add a ruffle to make capris.

Arla suggested I make a skirt instead. I had done this before for myself and followed the same instructions found here. But, of course, I couldn't stop with a simple skirt; I went cowgirl princess! I left the bottom of the denim rather ragged, added some eyelet lace I bought on final clearance when our Walmart closed, and sewed on some cotton flowers I used on the curtains in her nursery. The added length should give her at least a year of wear since the jeans were still a bit large in the waist.

I'm going to try a couple more "safe" projects for myself and then I want to try some of the wilder stuff over at Wardrobe Refashion. Not sure I want to take their pledge, but who knows? I'm feeling some eccentricity coming on...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
Not so much to be understood as to understand;
Not so much to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we awaken to eternal life.

~The Prayer of St. Francis, taken from a biographical sketch of the life of Francis of Assisi the Lesser Brother in Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gone Mad

I never thought I was an angry gal. I am not a screamer with my kids. I don't have road rage issues. My husband and I have never had a knock-down, drag-out, we've never called each other names, and I can think of only three times in our 15 years together that we've even raised our voices with one another. Anger is not my problem. Or is it?

After one of my kids was involved in an incident at church a couple weeks back, I realized that I've been growing increasingly irritated with my children. When they disobey, it's felt personal. Their childlike silliness has been driving me crazy and I've found myself withdrawing into my private shell, desperately desiring to escape from my "gifts."

While praying about what I was going to do about my children, I turned to the right and on the bookcase next to my comfy chair was this book, staring me full in the face:

You mean it's my problem? Yes, often God does need to be rather blunt with me! So these are the things I've been pondering, thanks to Robert Jones.

Puritan Richard Baxter defined anger as "the rising up in the heart in passionate displacency against an apprehended, evil, which would cross or hinder us of some desired good." This anger may be motivated by my circumstance but is not caused by it. Instead it is a heart reaction directly related to my beliefs about God.

I want to believe that my irritations are justified, but when comparing them to the offenses against and reactions of Christ, I've come to see that they do not qualify as righteous anger.

Righteous anger is marked by--
1. a reaction against actual sin rather than my own person irritations or thwarted desires
2. a focus on God and his concerns rather than me and mine
3. the coexistence of other godly qualities and Christ-like expressions

I'm only three chapters into it, but Uprooting Anger has me shaking in my boots, literally. When I started to feel prickled last night while trying to stretch very uncooperative pizza dough I had to humbly send my kids from the kitchen in order to "help mommy not react sinfully because it was already starting to bubble out of her heart."

This is hard stuff. I want to think I've got a reason to gripe and I don't like facing my own ugliness. I want it to be someone else's problem! But I know God in His mercy is trying to teach me something that's out there beyond my own selfishness. However, right now I have the feeling in my spirit that I had in my arms and legs when I first started working out again. I hardly have the strength to get out of the chair, let alone down the stairs!

So here's to exercise!

"Exercise thyself unto godliness: for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come." ~1 Timothy4:7b-8

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Church members in too many cases are like deep sea divers, encased in the suits designed for many fathoms deep, marching bravely to pull out plugs in bath tubs."

~ from Mr. Jones Meets the Master, by Peter Marshall

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Taste and See

Practical Theology for Women is only 154 pages from title page to the last footnote, but Wendy Horger Alsup packs every one of them with stick-to-your-ribs theological goodness. Unlike most books for women, there's no silly advice on how to have a happier life and very few cute little stories; nope, this book is hard core.

Alsup sticks to the basics of the study of God, dividing the book into three sections: "What is Theology?," "Who Is Our God?," and "Communicating with Our God. " But don't be fooled into thinking that having these things figured out is enough; the proof is in the pudding. The biggest and best thing about this little book is the poignant (and rather painful) way Alsup reveals that most of us live as practical atheists. If our lives were thoroughly examined they would show little evidence of the faith to which we claim to adhere. We are selfish, faithless, fearful Christ-followers. Yikes.

So what's a girl to do? It's not nearly as depressing as it sounds. Using her commanding knowledge of the Scripture and the heart of man (or woman, as the case may be), Alsup revives the soul by helping her reader understand the gracious God on whom she calls and His desire to empower us to live by faith. When we are imbibed with the Word and the Spirit of God, we are different people: we are Christ-like people.

Don't miss this one, friends. Theology is for us, not because we need to know the big words and be full of information, but because the knowledge of God truly changes our lives. Want to be a better wife, mother, employee? Leave the self-help books on the shelf, grab yourself a copy of Practical Theology for Women, and let Wendy Alsup guide you past your own understanding and into the depths of our marvelous God.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Over

I didn't vote for Obama, but in January he will become the leader of my country. This is not the first time I've been disappointed with election results, but this time I am choosing a different reaction. As my friend Sandy brought up in our community group on Sunday evening, we must realize that God uses all sorts of men, even those who do not follow hard after Him, to both discipline and protect His people (some biblical examples are King Ahasuerus, King Darius, and King Cyrus), and a "king's heart is but a stream of water in the hand of the Lord" (Proverbs 21:1).

So as for me, I will praise the Lord for the great thing He has done, saying:

"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise." Daniel 2:20-23a

May we take very seriously the admonition of 1 Peter 2:13-17 and 1 Timothy 2:1-2 to give honor and respect to our authorities and diligently pray for them, whether or not we happened to vote for them. And may America bless God.


This is what will happen to your children if you let them eat too much Halloween candy...

...or play in the leaves with a missionary kid. Thanks, Kate for the fun pictures!