When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say,
"I used everything You gave me."
~Erma Bombeck

August 31, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits... Believe in yourself!

Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow.”
~Mary Anne Radmacher

You won't realize the distance you've walked
 until you take a look around and realize how far you've been.

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities!
Without a humble but reasonable confidence
in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.
~Norman Vincent Peale

Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect.
There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions.
So what. Get started now.
With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger,
more and more skilled, more and more self-confident
and more and more successful.
~Mark Victor Hansen
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.
~Eleanor Roosevelt
It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not.

God didn't have time to make a nobody,
only a somebody.
I believe that each of us has God-given talents
within us waiting to be brought to fruition.
~Mary Kay Ash

August 30, 2010

Mondays with Mom... The Greatest Gifts

This is a photo of my oldest daughter at age one, me, and my sweet Mama. The reason I am showing you this is because of the jewelry in the picture. Look closely on my mother's arm. Do you see the many silver bracelets? Do you see the ring on her finger?

For about thirty years, every single day, my mother wore those bracelets and that ring. When her biological father died, she tucked one of those bracelets in his pocket at his viewing. When her stepfather died, she tucked one in his.

Two days before Mom passed, my sister and I were sitting on the porch while Mom was resting and my sister jumped up and said, "I have something for you."  She went inside and came back out with the thickest of the bracelets you see on my mother's wrist. It took a few minutes before I could even speak. I was overcome with emotion. Mika told me that she asked my Mom if it was okay to give it to me and she said yes.

Fast forward to January when Mika paid my plane ticket for my birthday to go to Phoenix to go through my mother's personal belongings. Out came her jewelry box. My mother was not an extravagant woman. She was beautiful and loved beautiful things, but could never afford diamonds and gold. As we went through the items in the box. We took turns saying what we wanted and let a lot just go. The two items that we got caught on were her wedding ring, which we were both pretty sure was only about 1/4 karat and the silver ring you see in the picture above. We settled with Mika taking the wedding ring and I taking the silver ring.

I wear these two pieces of jewelry now every single day, just like my mother did. When I look upon this hand, I see her hand. When I knit, I see her hand. When I paint, I see her hand. When I cook, I see her hand. When I smooth away the hair from my daughters faces, I see her hand.

My sister also has one of the bracelets. She holds it near and dear to her heart as I do. While we were going through Mom's jewelry, we wondered briefly where the other ones (besides the ones in her daddies pockets) were. Well, this past summer, I found out where at least one of them was. One morning, I heard Katie and Nikki arguing about a little doll that Katie was playing with. Nikki wanted to play with it, but Katie said the doll was special, that Nana had given it to her. This was true, my mother had bought the little doll for Katie at about age 2 when she was on a short layover here in Houston. Nikki looked up at me with her sweet blue eyes and cried, "Nana never gave me anything." My mother's health declined when Nikki was about age 2 and made it difficult for her to travel, so she didn't get to spend much time with Nikki. Well, of course I started racking my brain, thinking there had to be a toy that Mom had bought for Nikki, but I couldn't come up with anything. A couple of days later, I was searching for something in my closet and found a box of items from Nikki's baby shower. My friends had put together a time capsule. I opened the box and among the items in it was a sealed envelope with Nikki's name written in my mother's writing. I opened it up to find two pieces of jewelry and a letter to my little girl.

                                    My Darling Nicky,

                                            This old necklace was worn by your Great Grandma
                                    when she married Grandpa in Las Vegas. It's missing
                                    some stones and the clasp because your Mom played in
                                    Grandma's jewelry box with all her stuff. I wanted  you
                                    to have something special of hers to remember her by.
                                    The silver bracelet is mine. I have worn this with several
                                    others for over 30 yrs. One is in Great Grandpa A's pocket -
                                    he is buried  in Castle Dale, UT. And one is in Great
                                    Grandpa W's pocket. He is buried in West Valley City, UT.
                                    I wanted you to have it because it is so special to me.
                                    I love you baby girl.


I read the letter to my Nikki and showed her what Nana gave her. As she listened, a beautiful smile spread across her face and she exclaimed, "My Nana really loved me!"

I know material items aren't worth much and you can't take them with you, but there is great comfort to be found in some of the objects left behind and a good many stories to be told. To me, they will be forever priceless. The paintings, the knitted afghans, the jewelry all hold my mother's memory in them. Her love and her joy have been passed to us. These are the greatest gifts.

August 28, 2010

A sweet baby gift!

I know I am at risk of showing this before the gift has been delivered, but I cannot hold it in any longer. Amanda, don't read this if you want to wait to see sweet baby Avalyn's gift!

I painted this canvas in colors that should match Avalyn's Nursery. This was my first try at something like this. Thankfully acrylic paint is very forgiving!

And, I knitted some sweet baby washclothes in Avalyn's room colors too. I really hope she enjoys mommy giving her a bath with them as much as I enjoyed making them for her!

Congratulations Amanda and Carlos on your new edition to the family. I am sure Alivia will be a wonderful big sister!

Between the Lines

August 23, 2010

Mondays with Mom... First day of kindergarten

Me in kindergarten (circa 1976)

I often run into days when I think to myself, "Oh, I've got to call Mom and tell her about this!" Today is one of those days. My baby is starting kindergarten. Nikki is off on an adventure on the big yellow school bus. Part of me wants to cry. Where did those years go? I will miss my little side kick. Part of me sighs in relief. Though it was fun, a long hot summer is over. We have all had our fill of each other for now and it is time for each of us to do our own thing.

What would my Mama say about today? She would tell me how she and her friend planned to open a bottle of wine on the first day of school every year, even though they were not drinkers. My sister and I laughed at this... now, we relate! She would tell me how she watched me walk down a country road to wait for the bus by myself on my first day of kindergarten, adamant that I was a big girl and didn't want her to walk with me. She would tell me to savor my time alone, organize my house and our business and embrace the creative time I have so longed for... do something for me. She would tell me how she understands and how it will get easier, the first few days were the hardest.

As I watch Nikki step out into this big world, ready to conquer it in so many ways, I remember a poem, my mother put in my scrapbook...

I Trust You'll Treat Her Well
by Dan Valentine

World, I bequeath to you today one little girl in a crispy dress.. with two blue eyes...
and a happy laugh that ripples all day long,
and a batch of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.
I Trust You'll Treat Her Well.
She's slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning
and skipping off down the street to her first day at school.
And never again will she be completely mine...
Prim and proud, she'll wave a young and independent hand this morning,
and say goodbye and walk with little-lady steps to the nearby schoolhouse...

Gone will be the chattering little hoyden who lived only for play,
and gone will be the delightful little gamin
who roamed the yard like a proud princess with nary a care in her little world.

Now, she will learn to stand in lines...
and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called...
She will learn to tune her little-girl ears for the sound of school bells,
and for deadlines...

She will learn to giggle and gossip...
and to look at the ceiling in a disinterested way
when the little boy across the aisle sticks out his tongue.

Now she will learn to be jealous...
and now she will learn how it is to feel hurt inside...
and now she will learn how not to cry.
No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch steps on a summer day
and watch while an ant scurries across a crack in the sidewalk...

Or will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn
to kiss lilac blossoms in the morning dew.
Now she will worry about important things...like grades...
and what dresses to wear...and whose best friend is whose.
Now she will worry about the little boy who pulls her hair at recess time...
and staying after school...
and which little girls like which little boys...
And the magic of books and knowledge
will soon take the place of the magic of her blocks and dolls.

And she'll find her new heroes.
For five full years I've been her sage and Santa Claus...
her pal and playmate...
her parent and friend.
Now, alas, she'll learn to share her worship and adoration
with her teachers (which is only right).

No longer will her parents be the smartest,
and greatest in the world.
Today, when the first school bell rings,
she'll learn how it is to be a member of the group...
with all its privileges, and, of course, its disadvantages, too.

She'll learn in time that proper young ladies don't laugh out loud...
or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms...
or watch ants scurry across the cracks in a summer sidewalk...

Today, she'll begin to learn for the first time that all who smile at her
are not her friends.
That "the group" can be a demanding mistress...
and I'll stand on the porch and watch her start out
on the long, long journey to becoming a woman.

with two blue eyes,
a happy laugh that ripples all day long,
and a batch of light blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.


August 21, 2010

Friday favorites (8/20/10)

Yes, I am quite aware it is Saturday. I have been knee deep in meet the teacher and all that pink stuff! I am quite looking forward to sharing Nikki's birthday party (which will be today) with you next week. Her special request of a pink flamingo theme has been quite interesting. I have never seen a little girl gravitate toward flamingos like she does. Pink, I can understand, but flamingos? It is so cute, she sees one and goes absolutely giddy with excitement.

Here are my faves from this week. If you were featured here or any other Friday, feel free to grab an I was featured button from the right sidebar. And if you would like to be featured, be sure to follow me and let me know you are so that I can follow you back. You never know when your project or recipe might show up here!

Wouldn't these Mint n' Chip Brownies look great on that cupcake tower?
For the recipe head to On My Menu. (That is ice cream by the way! YUM!)

That is it for this week. I am off to make pink cupcakes and other pink food for the pink flamingo party! Have a fantastic day!

August 19, 2010

Hello! Hello! Updates from my world (everything is pink!)...

The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy at my house. I have been in the process of helping a dear friend move, preparing my kids for the first day of school (Nikki is headed to kindergarten), getting ready for Nikki's 5th birthday party and making a baby gift for a sweet baby girl who will make her grand entrance into this world next week.

The top left and bottom right pics above are hints to the baby gift. I will post the entire gift once it has officially been recieved and opened. I had so much fun making them!

The top right and bottom left are hints to Nikki's birthday party. Hmmm.... pink and flamingos! Don't laugh, it was a special request from my sweet, soon to be 5 year old. The party is on Saturday and I can't wait to show you what I have been doing!

In other news, I have made a couple sales on Etsy. I wanted to show you this custom order set of magnets. I LOVE the colors my customer chose, very pretty! And she "convoed" me a couple days ago to say she loves them too! YAY!

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow with Friday Favorites. TTYL! :)

August 9, 2010

Mondays With Mom...

I have always loved to dance and I am always amazed at the expression and beauty of dance and the way that a dancer can tell a story that can touch you to the core. So You Think You Can Dance has got me so hooked this season. Every once in a while a dance on that show just catches me off guard. That is what this dance did. What a powerful story told in just a couple of minutes.

The choreographer's (whose name is Travis Wall) mother had just had a massive surgery of some sort. This dance tells how he wanted to fix her. Mia (one of the judges) had just lost her mother before the start of this season and she was reduced to tears, because she could relate. My sister who walked the entire end journey with my mom could relate. I could relate. I think anyone who has ever wanted to fix someone could relate.

One thing I find comfort in when missing my mom is that she has been released from a body of pain and no longer needs to be fixed. Thank you, God.

August 8, 2010

Sunday Singing... Don't Give Up (Josh Groban)

First, I just wanted to invite you to my other blog, Misc. and Etc. where my friend Chris posts her amazing devotionals on occasion. She posted a new one that I am sure you will love. Click HERE.
This song is such a wonderful reminder that we are loved where ever we are at in this life.

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters to what lies within us.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

August 6, 2010

Friday Favorites (8/6/10)

Hey! Just popping in for a quick show of Friday Favorites. I just love seeing what you all are doing out there! If you are visiting from New Friend Fridays, I hope you enjoy your look around. If you want your craft or recipe to be featured here, be sure to follow me and I will follow you back. I get my favorites from my Google Reader, so you never know when your beautiful talent might show up here!

If you were featured here today, or any other Friday, feel free to grab an "I was featured" button from the left side bar.

Happy crafting and cooking!