Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Happy Birthday, Daddy

I can't believe I posted below and forgot to say THIS IS MY DAD's BIRTHDAY. Happy Birthday, Daddy!

To those who've never met my dad, you must. Don't get a day older before you make his acquaintance. I've always called him "Jesus with Skin On." He exemplifies First Corinthians 13:4-7. Where you see the word "love" fill in "Lyle" or, as I do, "Daddy." Where you see "it," substitute "he" or "him."

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Ten Things About My Dad:
1) He has never yelled at us. He only got visibly disturbed twice a month, and that was when paying bills. We knew not to bother him for money then. When he'd pay bills and we happened to mention wanting something that cost money, he would say, "Dearheart--" or "HoneyChild--." Imagine! A father whose harshest name for his girls is "dearheart" and "honeychild." He didn't even fill in our middle name after that. I never heard "HoneyChild Marie--not now."

2) He has only used foul language one time in my presence. (Maybe in his life.) That was when, as a pastor in Kansas, he and my mom had a rental property in Missouri. Their tenants were low-class scumbags. (In case you couldn't tell,I didn't inherit niceness from Daddy.) They were slobs to the 100th degree. I remember a conversation he was having with the man and my dad was trying every which way to control himself. My parents had recently seen the place and there was filth everywhere, the worst of it being dog mess in the basement. My dad had the phone (which back then was also attached to the base) and was trying to keep us out of earshot, but we were nosy. Seeing Daddy mad was so rare we just had to hear him! Well, imagine our shock (and subsequent giggle) when he, Mr. Wonderful Pastor, says to the guy, "And there was dog shit on the basement floor!" We asked him later why he said a bad word, and very embarrassed said, "Because he's a person who wouldn't understand any other language, dearheart."

3) My dad is incurably romantic. He should give writing lessons to men who know nothing except how to underline what Hallmark has already written. Whether an anniversary card to Mama or a Valentine to his daughters, he knows how to write sincere mush that just makes ya melt. Every Valentine's Day he would leave a big box of chocolates and a big mushy card for Mama at her place on the kitchen table. Each of us girls got a small box of chocolates and a small card. To this day, he lavishes us with sweetness on that day. I always wanted to repay him somehow, but it wasn't until God gave me a son, my last child, on February 14th, that I felt I adequately could. When I handed Joel Lyle to him four years ago, I said, "Daddy, I've never known how to thank you enough. Here's a Valentine with your name on him."

4) My dad taught me how to give. (So did my mom, but this is about Daddy.) When he paid bills, tithe was always first. Then house mortage and Christian school tuition. Tithing was never a have-to, but never negotiable. When I was a little girl, sharing a pew at church with my sisters and my parents at Harford Baptist--before he was a pastor--, he would dig into his pocket for change as the offering basket was being passed. He put a quarter into each of our little hands, and we, in turn, dropped our quarter into the basket. It has always been a picture, to me, of where our money and everything else comes from: Our Heavenly Father. He puts it in my hand, I give it back.

5) My dad loves to have his family around his table. You can feel his pleasure at just having us near. "How GOOD it is!" he'll exclaim, "to have you all here. This is wonderful."

6) My dad loves to work. But I'd never call him a workaholic. He enjoys being busy with his hands and his mind. Whether designing chemical filters for the US Army (one which he invented and patented) or tilling the acre-wide garden or fixing a little girl's broken bicycle chain, Daddy likes to be productive. Without him I wouldn't have passed Algebra 1 or 2, Rachel wouldn't have attempted Electrical Engineering classes at Delaware, Andrea wouldn't have a barn for the horse she raised, and Jill wouldn't have , well, the world.

7) My dad loves the Lord. I should have made this #1, because it's for this reason that all the other things are true about Daddy. You can hear it when he prays, you can feel it when he hugs you, you can sense it when he preaches, you can sense it when he sings, you can see it when he waits patiently for all the slowpoke women in his family. He loves Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, black and white, pretty and plain.

8) My dad is a gentleman. In 46 years of marriage, he has maybe not opened my mom's car door a dozen times, and that's because she insisted on holding it herself for whatever reason (for his benefit). It was one thing I was looking for in a man, and if he didn't come with the door-holding habit, I'd train him in that. My parents always watched the guys I dated to see if they held the car door. (DAddy said it was a telltale sign that he was a Prince of a Fellow.)If Daughter's Date did not hold the car door, they had their doubts about what other selfishness he was harboring. Well, poor Paul, he grew up with all brothers and a dad who didn't practice the car door thing because he and his mom were split up. I wanted to keep Paul no matter what, and had to whisper occasionally (the training part) on the way to the car, "Please hold my door, my parents are watching." To this day, I think Daddy watches Paul to make sure his daughter is being treated like a lady. (She is.)

9) My dad is a math whiz. His claim to fame: he tutored legendary basketball star Wilt Chamberlain in college. I don't know if it was college algebra or calculus or what (I don't know if a basketball player needs calc, but anyway), he said he and Wilt used to sit together in the cafeteria at KU where Wilt was Jayhawk. Wilt was 7'4", I think, and his knees were too long to fit under the table. Daddy said he always had to sit on the end across from Wilt to eat and show him how to work equations. Wilt passed away a few years ago; my dad's still a loyal Jayhawk. He forgives Paul for being a Terps fan. (It may be the only reason Paul is not a 100% Prince of a Fellow.)

10) My dad loves me. I know it with all my heart. He has told me time and time again since I was born. I never have to guess, never have to wonder, never have to earn it or never feel like I'm going to lose his love because of bad behavior. (And trust me, of all his daughters, I've been the baddest. I don't mean worst, I mean baddest.) His unconditional love for me has been the bedrock of my stability when I've questioned why I was put on this earth. No matter how I've sinned, Daddy has forgiven me and held me through the hardest of times.

Thank you, Daddy. I love you with all my heart. You will never know how much that is. Thank you for being Jesus with Skin On. Happy Birthday!

Pappaw and Joel

Sarah snagged this precious sight through the lens of my camera.

Taken on Thanksgiving at my folks' house, while the women were preparing dinner, it's my dad (who was an engineer before retiring and pastoring a Messianic congregation) and my Joel, his youngest grandchild, making a Lego car on the deck.

My dad is Lyle, my son is Joel Lyle. My dad is the man who made Valentine's Day my third favorite holiday, and Joel "just happened" to be born on Valentine's Day, 2002. I love this picture.

I also want to tell you a funny thing Joel said a couple weeks ago. (It's on my Kidbits blog.)

He said, "Mom, are you a Christian?"
I said, "Yes, I am. Are you?"
He said, "No. I'm an engineer."

When I told my dad that, he just laughed and laughed. "Everyone knows you can't be both a Christian and an engineer," he said. "The two are mutually exclusive."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How About a Gift Card Wreath?

Perfect for the care group leader, a whole family gift, or as a way to present someone with a "big gift to open" and keep the "package" for years after the gift cards have been spent. One gal has ordered and I'm excited to create this for her.

A Gift Card Wreath will be a 14" wreath of silk flowers and greens, and five gift card holders securely attached to the wreath. (This one isn't finished;it only has two holders so far, but I wanted to post the picture now to give you an idea what I'm talking about.)
Suggested donation: $20. (The more the merrier:)). I would love one of these for myself, actually. Isn't that funny? I can just see some of my favorite place names playing Peek-A-Boo out of their holders. Mine would be: Ritz Camera, JoAnn's, Michael's, Ross, ScrapMasters, and Dunkins. (Love their coffee!) Of course, there's no stopping you from putting cold hard cash in little holders, or a receipt for airline tickets, or notes of offer to babysit, wash the car, bring dinner, or tickets to a show, concert, or game. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

Place your order soon.

By the way, yesterday I got a surprise call from a couple, Frank and Mary S, who are reps with GAiN. Frank has been on 27 missions trips with them. I was asking him what sort of little gifties we can take with us to hand to children and adults. He said they take little toys and hair things, cars, balls, just like our kids. The adults are hungry for the Bible. One English-speaking Russian woman in the airport with whom Frank and Mary were speaking said she really wanted an English Bible. Frank inquired around among the GAiN group and no one had a new Bible in their luggage. Mary said, "Frank, give her mine. It's got notes and highlighting, but that's probably okay." Well, this woman was so grateful she began to weep. On the plane they saw her kissing the Bible. Kissing the Bible. How I long to witness this hunger for God's Word among foreigners. Well, I desire it among Americans, too, and am filled with more love for God when I see others so in love with Him also.
Please keep praying that God would open the storehouses of heaven for both Sarah and me to go together on this life-changing trip. We need $6,000. So far we have $245.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Frosted Apples Wreath

Ordered by a family member (I don't know if I can say because all I know is it's a gift), this is one of two Apple-Scented Wreaths I'll have made for this person.

I love apples. They may well be the prettiest fruit God made. At one time I decorated my kitchen in apples and Paul gave me apple dishes for Christmas. I sure love the things that come from apples, too--apple pie, apple crumble, applesauce. And on a cold day like today, what could be better than some hot apple cider?

Never-Ending Chocolate Wreath: Silver Edition

The last one was Gold.

I can't say who ordered this; it's a secret. You might be the recipient. But here's a sneak peek. Notice all the chocolate around the sides of this wheel? Mmmm.What a delectable wreath. I think this one has about 54 pieces of Hershey's yum-yums on it.

Pinecones & Purples Wreath

Created with simplicity in mind, I chose mostly pine needles, pine cones, some greenery, purple berries, and green and purple plaid ribbon for this wreath. It may well be my favorite thus far. But then again, I say that after every wreath I finish. That's the trouble I'm having; making them, liking them, wanting to keep them. But I realize they are being adopted into good homes and the "adoption fees" are going to making our dream of ministering to orphans a reality. That makes it easier to part with these Cozies.

If you'd still like me to make one for you, just say so, but quickly. I have only time and materials to make 13 more for the Christmas/Hanukkah season. I would LOVE to create some that are in my head. Tell me if you'd like:

-White Winter Wonder (pretty angel in white gown, surrounded by antique white roses, white ribbon, baby's breath) suggested donation: $40

-Plethora of Pinecones (almost entirely pinecones of all sizes snuggled up) Suggested donation: $25

-Hark! The Herald Angel Sings" -- the whimsical angel surrounded by gifts of gold, scented with apples; you can see her when you scroll down this blog. Suggested donation: $30

-Anything similar to what you've seen before here.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

51 Things I'm Thankful For

I just lost the draft I typed of all 51 things. Here goes again, in no particular order:

I am thankful for...

  1. My heavenly Father

  2. The relationship I have with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

  3. His Word, His kindness, mercy, forgiveness, patience, discipline, promises, faithfulness

  4. My eternal life thru salvation by Jesus Christ

  5. Spiritual gifts

  6. Natural talents

  7. My Children --all 4 living plus those in heaven (and maybe one more to come?)

  8. Paul's love, devotion, faithfulness, wisdom, responsibility, humor, etc.

  9. Molly (our Golden Retriever) -- gentleness, devotion, beauty

  10. Trees, leaves, extra long fall season this year

  11. Food

  12. Paul's income

  13. This neighborhood-quiet, safe, friendly, pretty, convenient

  14. Van and car

  15. Friends near and far

  16. My parents--alive, well, enjoying ministry

  17. Appliances

  18. Water

  19. Health

  20. Protection and safety...Paul had no injuries even tho' the Toyota was totaled and the Kia was hit by a hit 'n run driver.

  21. Language and the ability to speak and communicate

  22. Internet

  23. CCC and CDS

  24. Operation Gummi Worms--the kids who express their care for one soldier they don't even know and for the moms who bring them here to make cards for him

  25. Clothes

  26. Shoes

  27. Heat and AC

  28. Laughter

  29. Education

  30. Care group

  31. Mobility...joints that move freely

  32. Phone

  33. Vacation

  34. Skin

  35. Hobbies

  36. Tim Barranco's life

  37. Music

  38. Hair --realizing Diane lost hers to chemo this year makes me ever grateful for mine

  39. Cleaning products

  40. Paint

  41. Mental wellness

  42. Prescription meds

  43. Indoor plumbing

  44. My camera

  45. Teeth

  46. Sarah's desire to finish well in homeschool

  47. Ben's diligence and perseverance at college

  48. Joel's personality,affection, talents

  49. Stephen's passion for God and desire to lead other

  50. Paul's willing and dedication to church and care group, esp w/ his guitar

  51. America. Freedom.

So much more to thank You for, God. I won't let the rocks take my place in praising You! So many blessings. I am just getting started!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Only Taking Orders for 14 More Wreaths

As of today, I have taken 14 orders. I can only take 14 more. So don't delay. When you leave a comment, please place your order and give me a gist of the colors and style you prefer. I will use what I have on hand to save costs. After all, this is a fundRAISER:).

For example, you want an elegant wreath in mostly reds. Or you want predominantly green. Or you want a whimsical one with lots of glitter. Or you want purples and blues (Those are limited.)Or you love apples and cinnamon. I'll do my best to make you happy.

Thanks for your generous support.

Zo Z

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Never-Ending Chocolate Wreath Picture

Here's the Never-Ending Chocolate Wreath
I made for Lauren. It has 49 pieces of
Hershey's chocolate.

I've just finished a similar
one for Jack M. He wants two.
These are fun to put together.
You can eat the mistakes--literally!
In fact, while I was working on this one, Ben says,
"Hey, Mom, got a Snickers for me over there?"
I said, "Gotta wait till I mess up."
At times, being an imperfectionist is a delicious thing.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Gift Card Wreath, Coffee Rings, Photo Wreath

Ideas kept me from falling asleep this afternoon.
Here are some ways I could customize your wreath.

1) Gift Card Wreath. This one will have credit card size
holders securely tied with ribbon to the wreath base, surrounded
with a simple arrangement of Christmas flowers. Once you
pick up your wreath from me, simply insert the gift cards, and voila! Two
gifts in one! You might consider giving this as a gift for a family. Tell me how many
card holders you need. Say you know a 5-member family. Give dad a Home Depot card,
Mom a Starbucks card, Teen Guy or Girl a Best Buy card, youngsters a Toys R Us, and
baby a Target card. Or maybe you know a bride who'd enjoy decking her new threshhold with a wreath, but you want to give her more than that. Give the couple five different cards of varying denominations, to one place or many. (Restaurant and movies, Lowe's and Pier 1 ?) The possibilites are endless. They spend the card and keep the wreath. You've just given them 2 gifts and, with your donation, are gifting orphans and me. What a winning idea!

2) Photo wreath. A simple bed of Spanish moss with wallet-size, clear plastic photo holders attached. This is a year round wreath. I could make it Christmas-specific if you'd rather. Just tell me the number of photo holders you'd want. I suggest a minimum of five.

3) Coffee Ring. You don't like coffee rings on your stationery or end table, but wouldn't you love to give (or get) a wreath of coffee samplers? This wreath would have five samplers of coffee, probably Millstone, since I know they come in gold foil packages.

From My Hands to Yours: More Zo Z's Cozies

Haven't seen a wreath yet that calls your name?
Leave a comment telling me a theme you have in
mind, or a color scheme. I'll see if we can make you

Here are some suggestions:

1) Angel with a Birthstone brooch on her pretty white
gown. I could coordinate her with almost any color
scheme you have in mind.

2) Guardian Angel . She is a whimsical country-style gal.
I'm thinking she'd look perfect in a "We Love our Troops"

3) Non-traditional colors and flowers. How about soft purple hydrangeas and purple berries in muted tones with silver leaves?

4) Nature lover's wreath. A brown quail in a ring of pinecones, berries and raffia? This one could stay up all winter, long after your neighbors have taken their Christmas decorations down.

5) All That Glitters. You could get either all gold elements--including little gold-wrapped gift boxes and gold ribbon, or the same in silver, or mix it up.

Look at my hobby shop above.Click to enlarge for detail. Lots of goodies to choose from. Just leave a comment and it will come straight to my email. Happy hunting.

"Glorious Reds"

This one is for sale. Let it be yours.

(Same wreath, but I used two different

backdrops. It looks like

the right strand of ribbon is missing

a part, but it's not; it's just hiding.) This

wreath features an elegant blend of

sparkling burgundy poinsettias
and warm red carnations on a gold

ribbon base. Sprigs of red berries, delicate

red flowers, and gold-tipped
green leaves add a graceful touch

to this wreath. Would also make a

beautiful centerpiece around a grouping

of candles. I'd be happy to make the

entire centerpiece arrangement for you

for an additional generous donation.
First one to speak for it gets it!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Spitty-Up, Cowboy!

Which is bigger, the baby or the brim? I couldn't refuse taking a picture of little Jonathan Z (and lots of other happy kids) at the Wild West Party. More shots coming soon!

White PIne Scented Wreath

Can you smell it through the screen?
White Pine scented potpourri and bark
make this a creation ordered by Jack M.
It has burgundy and gold berries and

Scent of Apples

Made for Jack, a co-worker of Jill
(no joke;Jill is my little sister!) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Suggested Donations

For those who aren't "crafty" but like handcrafted items, you might be wondering, "What is a fair donation? A generous one?"

Let me see if I can help you. This is not to put pressure on, it's to take pressure off by removing the guesswork. I'm going to tell you what my costs are, on average. I speak for myself based on the cost at which I can get materials and I probably undervalue my labor or else I wouldn't be making a dime.

The wreaths pictured in previous posts cost me about $20 to make, figuring $6.50 an hour for my time. That doesn't include the time involved shopping for materials, driving there and back, finding deals on ebay, setting up or cleaning up. That's just from the time I affix the first element to the time I put the last nail in the metal hook on the back of the wreath.

More custom wreaths involve more design time, more shopping time, and maybe more materials, depending on the design.

So, bottom line. A donation would be anything above $20. A reasonable donation would be higher. And a generous one, well...you get the idea. We appreciate your donation on behalf of the gospel, which is why we're doing this. But my husband wants to make sure I'm making money, not just gifts for other people's relatives! Heehee.

Loving this project. Keep the orders coming. I have had 8 requests in 2 days. Thank you all in advance!

Fond Memories Wreath

Donna asked me to make a wreath to put on Scott's grave. I am humbled, honored, sad, and invigorated all at the same time.

She gave me a couple of solid paragraphs that really helped me picture his favorite things. I am on mission to make this memorial wreath really special.

If you would like a Fond Memories wreath as well, please let me know ASAP. (They take a little longer to customize.)

Of course I have no picture to show you, as the wreath for Scott is still in my head and heart!

Again, your donation would go into our fund for Russia. At this point, Paul is saying only Sarah will go, but I am begging to go, also. Begging without nagging? Is that possible? Hmmm.

So I suggest a donation of $50 for this one, but if your budget can't swing that, I understand and will work with you on a pleasing keepsake for you and a drop in our Russian bucket for me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Joel posed for a picture with his favorite cowgirl at the church's Wild West Party.

Never-Ending Chocolate Wreath...& Candy Wreath

Chocolate Lovers, this wreath is for you and all the other chocoholics in your life.

I have not made one yet to photograph, but designs are swirling in my head.

Here's what you'll get: a wreath filled with fun-sized chocolate bars of your choosing, plus a few Hershey kisses in holiday foil wraps, tied together with fun ribbon.

You choose the size. Small (suggested for co-workers, teachers, care group leader's wife, hairdresser). Medium (for anyone else on your list). Large (for yourself, of course. Just kidding.) Medium and large ones would be ideal for the social gathering. Set them on the table or island and let guests enjoy picking their chocolate off the wreath. Or, hang the wreath on the inside of your front door and let people take a chocolate as they leave your home.

You pick the candy. Just let me know which candies you want. For example, "All Snickers" or "surprise me, just nothing with nuts" or "Dark Chocolate only" or any other way of personalizing it. I want you to LOVE your wreath.

I'd be happy to mix and match candy in your wreath, too. Candy canes, Mike & Ikes, Laffy Taffy, Milk Duds, whatever. Just name it and I'm sure I can satisfy the Sweet Tooth on your list.

All proceeds will go to orphan care through GAiN, or specifically to Sarah 's and my trip with GAiN , should Paul say yes. Please pray. We need to raise $6,000 in a few short months.

By the way, for the security reasons, I will only sell to people with whom I have some relationship or am comfortable providing my address to. Sorry to disappoint anyone who found this blog by doing a chocolate wreath search!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fresh Linen & Cinnamon Wreath

I crafted this wreath for the powder
room. Neutral tones, wonderful aroma. Posted by Picasa

Bountiful Harvest Wreath

I made this one for my friend Barb. It's called Bountiful Harvest. She has hung it in her dining room. Posted by Picasa

May I Make A Wreath for You?

  • Dear Friends,

    Whether the Lord sends Sarah, me, Sacha, or any combination thereof to Russia (or wherever) next summer, I am starting to raise funds now, in faith. The application alone is $750 per person.

    I plan to make several wreaths between now and Christmas. Rather than set a price, I will be asking individuals who want them to make a contribution to our trip fund. The donation amount is up to you.

    Available before Thanksgiving. For indoor or outdoor use. (I recommend that wreaths for outdoors be sheltered.)

    Perfect for the hostess:

    12" wreath: Bountiful Harvest has pumpkins, pinecones, small gourds, fruit, a quail and a big rust bow, on a scrappy nest of natural colored raffia.


    12" wreath: Fresh Linen and Cinnamon. I created this one for my powder room. This wreath features several strips of linen-scented bark, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon-scented pinecones, sage green leaves, and ivory shells. (Every time Sarah is in our foyer, she says, "Oh, that smells so good!" ) This wreath would accent a shabby chic, traditional, or modern bathroom, bedroom, or laundry room very well.

    My wreaths come with an attached sawtooth metal fixture for hanging on the wall. If you want a brushed brass-like door hanger, I can supply that for an additional $5. They look good with all styles of decor.

If you prefer a wreath for Christmas, I can do that for you. Just leave a comment saying what you'd like and how I can best reach you.

May I make a wreath for you?

Sunday, November 12, 2006


On Wednesday afternoon this tree in my front yard was beautiful. It had only lost about half its leaves. The rest were a splendid tapestry of golds and rusts. I asked Stephen to take a picture of me in front of that tree . (I was sporting a fresh-from-the-salon hairstyle which nobody has noticed, apparently, but that's not the point.) I knew my hair wouldn't look as good the next day , mostly because it had enough gel in it to withstand a Kansas tornado.

Stephen put up a bit of a fuss. ("Puh-lease, Mom. Why?)

"Honey, please," I begged. "These leaves might not be here tomorrow. And my hairdo definitely won't be. " He shook his head.

I was right.

Today, Sunday, nearly every leaf of that tree is gone. The leaves lasted a couple days longer than my hairdo, but they are both fleeting.

"Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

This verse came to my mind. I had read it a few days earlier--differently. Always before, I had sort of skipped over the first two words.

Teach us.

God has numbered your days. He's numbered mine. The key question I've always dwelled on is, How many days have I been given? Or, more simply, When will I die?

God is probably not going to answer that question. He will just call me home. I may or may not be caught by surprise when He does. I am not scared of that. I look forward to it, provided I don't have to suffer a long time while I wait for His call. The most important thing is to not forget that I am here for Him, for a brief and glorious interlude between birth and physical death. My life is as fleeting as one autumn leaf on a single tree.

It's the two words "teach us" that gave me pause . Teach us. I read "us" as "me" and realized that I need God to teach me to number my days. What does that mean? I have some thoughts. What are yours? Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 10, 2006

Scrap the Tic-Tac-Toe Quilt

But keep the idea of a friendship quilt.

After posting, I called Sherri, the lady in charge of the Orphan Cot Blanket part of the GAiN warehouse in PA. She said that she could not guarantee that the bean bags would travel with and arrive with the quilt, and they have to pack everything flat and tight.

So, back to the design board. I'd love to hear some design ideas from ya'll. The finished quilt should be 72 x 44 inches. Sherri says the boys tend to get left out because we think "pretty" and our fabric stashes are often what you might call feminine. So I want to send more boyishly colored/themed quilts. In my stash are salamanders, construction, Batman, Ravens, browns, neutrals and a ton of brights.

Let's hear some theme ideas, and a tentative or enthusiastic "yea" or "nay" as to whether you want to join in the frienship quilt project. Again, in a frienship group, each person makes a block. The background on all is the same or similar (eg. dark blue, or "stars" or light green) and the motifs are similar (eg. everyone makes a six-inch truck or a red wagon or a weather icon liek a raindrop, sun, cloud, etc).

We won't start the actual project until January, so don't sweat it.

Let's Make a Friendship Quilt

Can you cut a straight line? Can you measure? Can you sew? Do you love children? Do you have a heart for missions? Would you like to try your hand at making a friendship quilt?

If you answered "yes' to any of the above questions, please read on.

I've been asking the Lord for an idea to bring all my talented and gospel-minded friends (including those I haven't met personally but just in blogworld) together to further His kingdom in a practical way. I think He has spoken.

Sacha is most likely going on a short-term missions trip next summer. Lord willing, Sarah and I are going with her! We are awaiting the green light from Paul. Either way, I'm going to make one or more quilts to take or send through GAiN.

What I'd like to propose is this: A Rainbow-Colored Tic-Tac-Toe Quilt.
It will double as a blanket and toy. I can make small bean bags to toss on to it.

I hope 8 people + me would like to join in. Each person who wants to be part of this friendship circle will be asked to make ONE square. (TTT board has 9 squares.) It'll be either an X or an O on the center of your square. We'll have 9 squares total.

Squares would be due in April. That leaves time for someone (me or someone more talented) to join the squares to sashing (the strips in between the squares), border and backing in plenty of time for our (Lord willing) June trip.

I'll get back with details (background color, X color, O color, dimensions, etc.) This will be a cot quilt, finished size about 44x72 per GAiN's guidelines.

The patchwork picture above was taken with my dime-store digital way back when. OH, my , how thankful I am that thing is history! Thankfully the patchwork became part of a quilt I sent to Warm the World who will take it to Romania.

Who's in? Oh, if you can't sew but want to cut, please speak up!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

From Labor Room to Delivery, I Was There!

Tonight I was in a birthing center. Not physically, but spiritually. It was such a thrill, such a joy to witness the new birth of a "baby girl" named Brandi tonight. In many ways it was just like the moments everyone experienceS when they see their own child, grandchild, niece, or nephew born. Tears and laughter flow uncontrollably. The waiting is over. All heaven rejoices at new life! This is the greatest blessing of being on the Alpha team. To be there when God breathes His Spirit into someone, that's an indescribable moment. Chesapeake gals: please be sure to meet your new sister on Sunday. She may not be wearing pink and I seriously doubt she'll have a binky in her mouth, but she's already smiling and has her Father's eyes!

Monday, November 06, 2006

"Marianne" Needs God's Love

Dear Praying Readers,

Today as I was driving to my hair appointment (to a salon I haven't been to for a couple of years) I prayed that God would give me an opportunity to connect with the stylist.

"What I should ask her?" I prayed.
"Ask her what she's looking for," He answered.
"Ask her what she's looking for?"
"Yes. Everyone's looking for something but not everyone knows What It Is."

So I got into the shampooer's chair. She was not the stylist. We made small talk about her getting over a cold. Then supernaturally, or so it seemed, she launched into telling me not just about her kids, but that she has been a mother to her nearly 12-year old niece for almost a year. Her nephew, 5, is with a different aunt and uncle. The reason? Social Services took them away from their mom because she's a drug addict and child abuser.

The shampoo gal (I'll call her Niki) shifted in tone of voice between compassion, anger, helplessness, fear, and back to compassion.

"I love my sister," she said, "and I pray for her every day. She appeared in court wanting them back, but has done nothing in the past year to prove it. Went to no classes on parenting like she was supposed to, didn't make efforts to find out how they're doing in school, none of that."

"What's her name?" I asked (thinking she had told me already and I'd forgotten). She hesitated a moment and then told me. (I'll call her Marianne.)

"Like I said, I pray for her every single day."

"What is she looking for?" I asked.

"What is she looking for?" she asked. "Um..."

"Yeh," I said, "everybody's looking for something--"

"Love," she interrupted. "I really think she's looking for love. But she doesn't seem to have any desire to change. She's a violent, messed up person."

"Do you have a hard time loving her?" I asked.

"Yes, I do have a hard time loving her. I mean I love her, she's my sister, but she's 40 years old and shouldn't be doing this. I mean what kind of people just hit their kids for no reason?"

"Miserable people," I said. "She must hate the way she is. She probably feels totally out of control."

"She does. But she hasn't asked for help. The day she calls and says, 'Niki, I need rehab. Will you help me? I'll drop everything for her and help. But so far she has shown no desire to change."

"Only God can change people," I said, while she continued to pour her heart out while
massaging my scalp with wonderfully warm water and great-smelling shampoo.

"I know, but I think people can help, too--by praying."

"Absolutely," I agreed. "Let's be praying that God changes her so that she wants help."

By this time Niki was fighting back tears. I resisted the urge to hug her, and resisted the urge to say anything more except, "That water temperature feels great!"

"I'll pray for Marianne," I said, as Niki wrapped the towel around my wet head.

Would you please join me in praying for Marianne? I will go back for another haircut in about 2 months. I hope to have a report that she has sought help, or better yet, found Love.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Field Trip--Literally (Part 1)

Our homeschool group took a literal field trip to Brad's Produce, a local farm with pumpkins galore, fresh apples and other edibles , an a-maze-ing maze, and an array of eye-popping mums in full bloom.

Joel sat on the really big pumpkin in the produce pavilion. He couldn't pick it up (it was probably 200 pounds) but said, "Ben could if he was here. He's frong."

Joel and his buddy Caleb Z--
Would you believe these smiling friends had just finished arguing about who got to be in the pumpkin for the picture?

Dana & Daughter Ally on the hayride.
Little kids were tossing straw around which was all very cute and funny --till a handful went right down into my shirt. Then it was hysterical (for everyone but one). I still itch.

Ellen and Lydia

Ellen's husband is deployed.
Some argue Ellen has the tougher job. Not more dangerous, but at least as adventurous.

Hmmm, which one should I choose? Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 02, 2006

On Not Understanding: Blessed is He who Waits & Arrives

A few days ago I was reading the last chapter of Daniel. This chapter is one with more questions than answers for my brain, mostly because it is full of symbolism and prophecy. Someday I'll go back and study it further. In short, I don't understand a lot of it.

Not understanding. That phrase alone became the theme of what I read in Daniel 12. Please read this passage from the ESV (courtesy of BibleGateway.com):

5Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream. 6And someone said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream,[b] "How long shall it be till the end of these wonders?"

7And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the stream; he raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven and swore by him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end all these things would be finished.

8 I heard, but I did not understand.

Then I said, "O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?"

9He said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end.

10Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. 11And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.

12Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days. 13But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days."

From my journal 10/30/06:

Question: How content am I to accept this answer: "Go your way, your answer will not come til the end of time "?

Realization: Such an answer is an answer.

Vs. 12: Blessed is he who waits...and arrives....But go your way til the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.


I seldom appreciate having to wait for an answer. But I do appreciate someone saying "I don't have an answer for you, but I'm looking into it." Or, "If you don't mind waiting, I'll have an answer for you ASAP." At least I know they're not just ignoring me or "dissin'" my request. However, I had to look at God's Word from the viewpoint of eternity. Some things I ask in my heart, my mind, on paper, out loud--whatever--are put into God's Wait File. (Kind of like the way I used to think that pressing "delete" meant a document was gone forever. Then I learned that almost everything goes into the Recycle Bin where I can retrieve it. Certain answers I am waiting for will necessarily not be retrievable--by God's design and decree-- till the end of time. Can I wait that long? )

I think I've learned to trust God enough that I understand that it's okay not to understand. To God's credit, I wrestle with the "what ifs?" and the "why me" kinds of questions less often than I used to. I have also grown in waiting for His answer because I have seen time and again the better thing He had in store than that which I asked for or expected. Not that I don't ask any questions about what I don't understand or agree with. I can be very impatient and demanding, to my shame. I'm just saying I've seen growth in this area.

No, it's not that I have arrived. But this verse reminds me that I will arrive and I will stand in the place He's allotted for me at The End of Time.