Friday, March 30, 2012

Faithful Friday

Did you know the feeling of loneliness can be self deprecating? Let me explain:

With me, loneliness is not a loner emotion-it brings lots of awful friends to all its parties. The kind of friends that show up uninvited wearing muddy shoes through your clean house. The kind that you may find making out in the only bathroom, and refuse to vacate when the facility needs to be utilized (correctly). The kind of friends that are not concerned by how there destructive behavior effects others, or worse, use their behavior for the sole purpose of creating turmoil for someone else.

Yes, loneliness likes to throw wild parties inside of me…but the worst part of the event is when more guests show up: Gulliver Guilt, Whit Worthlessness, Pit T Part-e, Debbie Doubt, and Sally Selfish (occasionally along with a handful more).

Once Loneliness starts decorating, Pit T Part-e shows up with confetti and tosses in all the hard to reach places-behind the couch, carpeted corners of rooms, under sofa know, the hardest places to clean. Long after the party, Pit's confetti will keep reappearing inconveniently.

After Pit usually comes Gulliver Guilt and Sally Selfishness. Gulliver brings a chocolatey dessert, which looks appetizing, and never fails to become the center of attention. However, Gulliver eats said dessert with just his hands (no dish, silverware, etc) and uses every other surface at the party as a napkin…thus leaving his ugly mark wherever you look.

Sally likes to bring gifts for the host (which in this instance is me) when she attends any type of soirée. All gifts arrive wrapped perfectly with shiny or bright paper and puffy bows-and she brings several at a time showing them to anyone with eyes, but never plans on giving the gifts away. She takes all the gifts back home with herself and puts them in her front room so she can look at them often (mostly to remind herself how awesome she is). Then she writes notes to me stating how awesome her gifts are and how much I would have appreciated her efforts. Sometimes multiple notes are delivered for days and days after the party is over-reminding me how important Sally is compared to anyone or any thing else-some might even get lost in the mail only to arrive days, weeks, or months after the event.

Debbie Doubt occasionally brings something to the party, but no one ever really knows. Debbie is never sure what she can offer, so she usually doesn't try. When she does try, she finds herself too embarrassed about her choice and throws whatever-it-was away even before entering the premises. She then won't let herself enjoy the gathering because she is constantly worrying about the others liking what she brought, other items she could have brought, or if she should have even attended the party in the first place. She longs for my attention, but refuses to contact me directly for more than a few seconds at a time-which is very distracting and takes me way off my agenda. These thoughts turn into blinders-like for horses-which make Debbie then ignore the party completely. She'll pace with worry back and forth in front of the door, wearing a whole in the rug that will stand as a constant reminder and be hard to repair.

Whit Worthlessness…well, he actually never comes to a party. He doesn't feel like he 'fits in' with the crowd, or that his clothing is as cool as everyone else. But Whit is a lonely person and needs social interaction to keep trudging through each day…so he calls me on the phone during the party. Whit can talk for hours upon hours about absolutely nothing and can pull puppy-dog-eyes over the phone (which is quite a trick indeed). Those attributes combined means I end up talking on the phone (more like holding the phone up to my ear while rolling my eyes) most the entire party-missing out on the comings and goings of the event (and chocolate desserts)-all the while being emotionally drained by the entrancing stare (remember the puppy-dog-eyes) that won't allow me to hang up the phone-no matter how many prayers are sent heavenward on the subject.

After a Loneliness hosted soirée, I am a complete and utter mess. I'm left to my own devices: scrubbing chocolate-smeared walls, vacuuming confetti-filled sofas, tossing notes scribbled on gift receipts (for expensive gifts I never received), and taking out the trash (which included the rug in by my front door).

After cursing Loneliness (under my breath of course) for using me to indulge in irresponsible behavior, I realize that he couldn't have thrown such a crazy event if I had not let him in to my house (mind) in the first place. That also means, by linear thought, that the other guests would not have shown up-making extra work for me-if I had nipped the party idea in the butt before any plans had manifested.

Do you see how Loneliness is self deprecating? A big pit that is impossibly hard to climb out of without any external help? Can you relate-or am I the only one ( please say I'm not the ONLY one)?

I struggle to cancel many Loneliness parties-which show up on my calendar sometimes on a weekly basis, if not more frequently. I love party planning, really I do, but these types of parties are actually no fun at all. It can get ridiculous! I cannot send all the guests away on my own-once the invitation has been sent…and I don't really have to…I can ask for help.

Did you know that we are never truly alone-in thought, physical experiences, emotional roller coasters, or even in any other trap we may find ourselves in? Our Savior has experienced it all, and can relate to your circumstances perfectly-all we have to do is ask Him to help us, and our burdens will be come light…not nonexistent, but more bearable. This is something that I struggle to remember- I know it to be true, but I let all the other party guests take up my time and energy instead of performing my Heavenly Father's will. Satan uses these awful party guests to weaken one's defenses and bring us down in a self deprecating way. I know But I know that I matter to God, and that alone can give me the strength I need to move forward.

I still expect to work on canceling my Loneliness parties in the future (most likely for a long time to come), but I'm determined to keep trying…wish me luck ;)

And to leave you with a few pictures:

The Southern Institute

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Popsicle Art

While reading the blogs I follow, I came across this beautiful idea from I figured I could whip some of these up in no time since I have a drawer full of wrapped canvases already. However, the only Popsicle sticks I could find were of the normal size, not the jumbo like Kari used...but I bought them anyway. I figured if I didn't use them for this project, I would for sure find something else for them.

I decided to go a head and try out the regular Popsicle sticks and so far I am quite pleased with how things are going.

What I used:
  • wrapped canvas (bought in bulk at Michael's a while ago)
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Popsicle sticks
  • heavy duty utility shears
  • spray paint
  • vinyl

I started by cutting the sticks into a variety of lengths-also making all end square (vs the round ends they come with). Then I got a canvas out began laying sticks down and cutting more in the lengths I needed to fill in the gaps.

 I then decided-before I started gluing-that I wanted the canvas to be landscape instead of portrait orientation, so I cleared the board and started again. After setting all the sticks where I wanted them, I glued each stick down separately with hot glue...working one row at a time until the whole canvas was covered.

As many of you know, I do not own a electronic/computerized craft cutter of any kind, but I do own some vinyl. I grabbed my black vinyl and wrote out the words I wanted for my art (with a pencil so I could erase it later).

This artwork will replace these over my bed-I still like these, but I've been wanting to try something new, and then hang the new decor centered to the headboard :) Using my good ol' scissors, I cut the vinyl into Mr. & Mrs.(free hand of course, because that's how I roll apparently) - I'm going to use the vinyl as (what I like to call) a reverse stencil.

I grabbed my spray paint...all of which are leftovers from other projects.

I started painting with Ocean Breeze. This is just a base coat, so no need to be perfect or have full coverage. I was going for a slightly weathered look, so I thought I might need to sand a little after painting the blue. But since each Popsicle stick absorbs paint differently, I thought the effect did not need any other improvements.

Then, I placed my vinyl onto the blue painted canvas covered in Popsicle sticks. The plan was to then spray paint (over the vinyl and all over the canvas) with the black paint. After it dried, I would then peel off the vinyl letters - what you should see at that point is the letters still blue and everything else would be black (like a reverse stencil).

Due to Mother Nature turning on the water works, I was not able to finish the last part, but I will have a follow-up post with all three signs soon (and hopefully hanging beautifully in the Master Bedroom).

Has Spring ever interrupted your craft plans?

The Southern Institute
Let Birds Fly

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A-maze-ing Techniques

 While at the check-out stand at Target, we picked up an advertisement for an egg hunt. On the back of the invite was this fun maze. Widget was super excited to color it.
 One morning while I was still in bed, she completed her maze and was super excited to show me her handy work. At first I thought she'd just drawn random lines around the printed maze, but at closer inspection I noticed something...
 She actually finished the maze! And stayed in the lines for the most part :) I traced her route in gray below. Obviously it's difficult to draw straight lines with crayon or the paint tool on the computer.
 Later in the day she pointed out that the 'good line' was the one that made it all the way through the maze, and the 'bad line' didn't-a very astoot obsveration.

My absolute favorite part of her technique...the lazy corner:
See the lazy corner? She crossed the line (only a little bit before the opening) got turned around and just circled herself back out of the 'trap'. I think she correctly speed up the process...don't you?

What maze techniques do you have to share???

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Widget

Back when I was recovering from surgery, a good friend of mine kept Widget at her house (where there was two fun girl friends to play with). While Widget was there, Mandy took a few pictures. Boy is my girl goofy!

 Yep! A goofy girl for sure-even in a swimsuit (in January no less) and with poptart on her face :)

And since she turned 4 this past week, here are a few things she is doing now:
-loves writing letters and numbers, even if she does not know all their names or correct order
-can write her own name beautifully, and without prompting
-loves to accessorize, bright colored shoes are her most favorite thing in the world (I think she must get this from me...cherry red patent leather stilettos anyone?)

-asks anatomical questions like, "do sheep have cheeks, mommy?" "do stars have butts?" "we walk on two legs, right mommy?" and the occasional unmentionable questions pertaining to body hair

-she adores her second-cousin Kenna who lives near by
-pink and purple are now her favorite color (singular: apparently one does not exist without the other)
-her favorite princess is currently Cinderella...maybe because she only has a Cinderella dress in her dress-up stash
-she sings in the car (among other places) making up songs as she goes-each song usually contains the word "never" for some reason...maybe it's just so fun to sing it out loud

-we are learning Spanish, and Widget thinks she is so clever because she'll make-up words like "kliffca" or "comsa" and say, "see mommy, I'm speaking Spanish!"
-she loves shopping, as long as we are looking for things that she likes or that are in her size
-she requests macaroni and cheese for every.single.meal almost every day
-she can't get enough go-gurt (yogurt in a tube)
-chocolate milk is the only drink she will order at a restaurant

-dress-up is her favorite 'game' to play when she has friends over...even Z (who only wears the pirate hat, no matter what he is pretending to be) can be found coerced into a game of dress-up
-Widget realizes I can sew (a little) so she requests projects for her dolls and herself frequently-and expects the items to materialize instantly. because the items do not materialize instantly, I can usually dissuade her from 90% of her wants (lucky me!)
- I have now started calling her Bub, along with Widget (of course), goof, and goo (like g-ewww)...don't ask me why :)
-her giggles are hilarious-especially the low rumble-y one that happens when I tickle/kiss under her chin or on her neck
-mommy and daddy love her dearly!

How was your weekend?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Faithful Friday

So I was thinking the other day how we are about 12 weeks into 2012...and, to me, I feel like I've had way more going on in my life than what could possibly fit into 12 weeks. I mean, all my super amazing experiences (sarcasm...) seem to have equaled a year of stress rather than only three-ish months. Is it just me? Maybe it's the fact that it's been almost 2 months since my emergency surgery and life seems to have rushed by, and at the same time stand still (breathing down my neck no less)...hmmm

And while I was thinking about this great phenomenon, I realized that my awareness of time changes frequently (probably depending on my mood, time of the month, current activities). I believe this could be one of the many mysteries of life. I know that our time on Earth is not the same time frame our Father in Heaven lives His life-and He sees a much bigger picture than I. If you ask my husband, I struggle with not being in control/charge of my life, my day, my body, etc. and I obviously cannot control why do I try so hard to do so? Why do I metaphorically beat my head against a brick wall when I could be spending my energy practicing patience (Me? ha! now that's funny) or developing a talent the Lord gave me?

I'm not sure why I feel the need to be in charge of everything...I even remind my daughter of how much she is not in charge, and then my husband laughs at me (that stinker). Maybe it's my OCD tendencies, my clinical depression, or my rebellious self seeking attention--honestly, I don't really know. It's most likely a combination of all three, or many other factors, I'm not really into deep psychology-especially on myself. But I know there can be relief, if I turn my life over to the Lord (much easier said than done).

I pray every night (and most mornings...and occasionally throughout the day) to have patience and long suffering in multiple areas of my life...and let's face it, I have a toddler/preschooler that is smart and quick witted, likes to be in charge, struts every where she goes, and acts like she's 14 years-old---I need all the patience I can get (well, I think so at least), but maybe that's me trying to be in charge AGAIN...
Guts! Guts! Guts! (Anyone else a fan of the Ramona books?)

This is such a self-inflicted vicious cycle. I've realized that I must have faith in Heavenly Fathers plan (mortal life, agency, gospel). He has given me trials (and child(ren) ) unique to me, and he knows my heart and what I am capable of accomplishing. And while I'm typing this I can honestly say that I have a testimony of these things, but boy do I loose sight of these facts when I'm trudging through single parenting (the hubby is away from home 80-90% of the time), toddler toys and tantrums, and recovery of a tired body. This is when I need my testimony the most. This is when I need to hold fast and endure to the end (however long and uncomfortable it might be). This is when I should pray...and that is what I've been working on this week particularly. I still have a long road ahead of me in this department, though, so I will be working on it the rest of my life I'm sure.

I never really liked this song much-I don't really know why, probably because I'm defiant like that- but the lyrics are so applicable to life's major huge little setbacks and how we should deal with them. And because of the fact, it is a beautiful song:

Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ, our Savior, did you sue for loving favor as a shield today?

When you heart was filled with anger, did you think to pray?
Did you plead for grace, my brother, that you might forgive another who had crossed your way?

When sore trials came upon you, did you think to pray?
When your soul was full of sorrow, Balm of Gilead did you borrow at the gates of day?
Oh, how praying rests the weary! Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary, don't forget to pray.
You can listen to the song here.

I hope your day is full of love and patience, but if life gets dark and dreary, don't forget to pray. Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. And while I'm sharing links, this is a great place to learn more about the Temple I talked about in this post.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Third Thursdays with Tash

Hey y'all! I know today isn't actually the third Thursday of the month (the 4th actually), but both Tash and I let life get ahead of us...or is it behind us?...

This is a new series on the blog: Third Thursdays with Tash
My sister-in-law, Tash, will post something creative every third Thursday of each month (if we can read a calendar once in a while). I'll let her introduce herself:

Hello everybody! I’m sister-in-law Tash from California. Don’t feel jealous, it’s not the California you see in the movies. Well actually you do see it in movies; it’s called Planet of the Apes, and the first Superman movie. Basically I live in the part of California that Lex Luther bought for really cheap. If Lex Luther ever succeeds in his dastardly plan, I will have beach front property! I’m very excited to be with you every month sharing my own crafty things.

This month I decided to grow a garden with my green thumb. Then I remembered that the desert is not kind to gardeners and I have no idea how green my thumb really is. So I decided to make an herb garden in my kitchen window. You can make one too!

Start with a container to plant you seeds in. I have been hording saving my pasta sauce jars...just waiting for a chance to use them. So I used them! I like growing plants in glass jars. Something about seeing the roots makes me happy.

Fill it with some soil (I found the bag of soil for only a dollar--Yes!) and then plant the seeds.  At this point you’re technically done. But let us be honest, girls like to make things look cuter, or nicer, or both. So let’s make a label! Here is a handy dandy printable if you want one, or feel free to make your own.
If you would like the pdf version of the labels, leave a comment below. Please make sure to leave an email address in the comment; can be typed apples(dot)oranges(at), etc.

Trace the tag outline onto the back of your paper and cut them out. Also cut out your labels. Be careful with those tiny points, it’s really easy to cut them off!

Glue the label to the tag. You will probably notice that the tag is rather long. I made it to fit rosemary. You will need to shorten the tag for your other herbs. If you want, trace around the edges with ink so you don’t have a white line. I used my husband’s huge sharpie. Oh, you might want to make a hole too, just a thought. ;)

If you want to water proof them, laminate them with some clear contact or even packing tape. I chose to coat mine in Mod Podge. I don’t suggest putting on as thick or a coat as I did on the Parsley tag. It got stuck to another piece of paper and well… There’s a reason Parsley didn’t get a close up when all completed.

Find some yarn, twine, ribbon, or raffia would look pretty too. Tie the label on to your brand new herb garden. Now patiently wait for Mother Nature to do her thing and make that jar look better than a jar of dirt.

See! One week later basil and parsley look awesome. Still waiting for rosemary to sprout, she’s a little shy.

Have fun with your own gardens. See you next month!

The 36th AVENUE

The Southern Institute

Rainbow Leg Warmers

--**Buy Awesomely Ugly tall socks at the dollar store**--

--**Cut off feet at ankle**--

--**Cut large section from center of foot (of the sock)-making a smaller tube**--
--**Fold small tube over wrong sides together. Put small tube over big tube (top of sock) keeping raw edges going the same direction**--
--**Pin in place**--
--**Hand Camera to Child**--