Friday, May 22, 2009

Sweet Babies, A No-Brainer Makeover and Gone to Therapy?

Aw, admit it!  All of us need a sign like this at LEAST one or two hundred times in our lives.  I saw it on display at the Shop (aka, the Corner Nest in Elizabethton) and just had to share it with you.  
And, how is this for a cheap, no-brainer makeover?  It's my "new", romantic outdoor candle-whatever:
Okay, maybe it's not a true trash-to-treasure item.
In fact, it might look a little more like Phantom of the Opera (although that's my favorite musical), but adding some old candles is keeping it out of the landfill and gives our friends something to giggle about when they see it.  Personally I like it.  Adds that little extra to the patio at night, you know?
Oooh, oooh, I almost forgot to tell you:  I bought a Magic Jack a couple weeks ago.  Have you seen them advertised on TV? Magic Jacks are just simple little attachments for the back of your computer that you plug your phone in and VOILA!  You have practically free phone service!  What a deal!  The Magic Jack is about $20 and the annual fee to use it is about the same.  So, for an investment of $40, you get a landline for the rest of the year!  That's it!  No monthly anything!  And you get free calling to almost everywhere in the WORLD, free directory assistance PLUS it's completely private.  Nobody will have your number unless you give it out because Magic Jack has no phone directory.  Yes, you still get 911; you have the option of setting that up (free, of course) when you plug in your phone.  It's great.  I'm excited, can you tell?  We're saving about $70 monthly.  I love it!
And, what you're waiting for:  The babies!  
Check this out:  She has a baby (in the middle of a field, no less), cleans it up and nonchalantly walks to the fence.  Wow, what a woman!  Uh, I mean, cow.
     And this little Sweetie flew in to our basement, right behind me.  He's a baby BlueJay.  The adults are meaner than tormented snakes but this baby is just so cotton-picking cute!
I had to run for the camera before I took him outside.  He perched on my finger!  Of course, I apologized to him for getting the camera and his picture before letting him return to his awaiting jabbering daddy.
AND, congratulations to Kris Allen, the NEW American Idol!  The top three (actually, top four) contestants were all exceedingly talented.  It was great to see Kris and Danny Gokey, both Christians, in the final three.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Proverbs 31: Portrait of a Godly Woman

The Proverbs 31 woman was the wife of a city elder (verse 23) and a respected figure in her own right (verse 31). Some of her many responsibilities included buying and selling merchandise. Illustration by Larry Salk

For thousands of years, God-fearing women have looked to the noble, or virtuous (KJV), woman of Proverbs 31 as their ideal. Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, probably had this role model of the virtuous woman in the forefront of her mind from earliest childhood. Most Jewish women did, for this poem was traditionally recited in the Jewish home every week on the eve of the Sabbath.

But what about today’s woman? Of what value can this ancient poem be to the diverse, complex life-styles of women today? To the married, to the single, to the young, to the old, to those working outside the home or inside the home, to those women with children or without children? It is more relevant than you might at first expect — although it is also too good to be true.

When we examine this ancient biblical ideal of womanhood, we do not find the stereotyped housewife occupied with dirty dishes and laundry, her daily life dictated by the demands of her husband and her children. Nor do we find a hardened, overly ambitious career woman who leaves her family to fend for itself.

What we find is a strong, dignified, multitalented, caring woman who is an individual in her own right. This woman has money to invest, servants to look after and real estate to manage. She is her husband’s partner, and she is completely trusted with the responsibility for their lands, property and goods.

She has the business skills to buy and sell in the market, along with the heartfelt sensitivity and compassion to care for and fulfill the needs of people who are less fortunate. Cheerfully and energetically she tackles the challenges each day brings. Her husband and children love and respect her for her kind, generous and caring nature.

But with all her responsibilities, first and foremost, she looks to God. Her primary concern is God’s will in her life. She is a woman after God’s own heart. Let’s examine the characteristics of this remarkable woman — a role model for Christian women today.

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." The Hebrew word chayil, translated here "noble," or "virtuous" (KJV), means a wife of valor — a strong, capable woman with strong convictions. This description of the ideal wife does not agree with those who associate femininity with weakness and passivity.

"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value." Her husband trusts her management of their resources. Her industriousness adds to the family income.

"She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." This woman does not do right only when it is convenient and profitable. Her actions are not based on how she is treated by others or by what others think. Her character is steady. She is reliable and dependable.

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands." This woman enjoys working so much that she plans ahead for what she needs in order to accomplish her responsibilities.

"She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar." The trait not to settle for the mediocre is portrayed by a woman who goes the extra mile for quality items.

"She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls." Though the woman described here has servants to take care of many of the household duties, she sets the pace. She understands that good managers have a responsibility to take care of those under their authority. That is one of her top priorities.

"She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard." Every woman doesn’t have to go into real estate and horticulture  the principle here is that this woman uses her mind. She does not act on a whim, but logically analyzes a situation before making a decision. Her goals are not only short term  she envisions the long-range benefits of her decisions.

"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." We get a picture of a woman who vigorously goes about her duties. She keeps herself healthy and strong by proper health practices — good diet, adequate rest and exercise. Many people depend on her.

"She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night." She knows that her merchandise is good and takes pride in doing a good job. Night or day, no one worries that her responsibilities are not taken care of.

"In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers." The example she sets is one of skill and industriousness. Whether this woman would be a computer programmer, a concert pianist, a mother, or all three, she develops her talents and hones her skills through education and diligent application.

"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." Although it’s good to donate to needy causes, this means far more than writing a check. This woman shows personal concern. She visits the sick, comforts the lonely and depressed, and delivers food to those in need.

"When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet." Providing clothing for the family is one of her responsibilities. She takes this seriously, and plans ahead. She does not practice crisis management.

"She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple." This woman has high standards and dresses properly for the occasion.

"Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land." This man does not have to spend half his time trying to straighten out problems at home, and his success in the social world comes partly from her support, just as her success comes partly from his support. The original woman of Proverbs 31 couldn’t phone her husband for his opinion on matters. She made many of the day-to-day decisions about their property and goods. He trusted her to manage the estate efficiently.

"She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes." This woman runs a business from her home. Her efforts and industry add to the family income.

"Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come" (NKJV). Not only does this woman benefit each day from her wise and diligent actions, long-term lifetime benefits and rewards lie in store for her.

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." This woman is well read and has the facts. She knows what she is talking about. Whether about her job, her personal values or her opinion on world events, she is able to express herself intelligently, tactfully and diplomatically. People come to her for good advice.

"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." She is an organized, energetic person who carries out her responsibilities.

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." This woman is not a doormat, slavishly trying to appease and please her family, no matter how unreasonable their demands. She is honored in her home. Here we gain an insight into the character of her husband as well. He teaches their children to respect here and the virtues she personifies.

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." High praise for this extraordinary woman — a role model for women of all time.

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Here is the key to this woman’s effectiveness. Her priorities are determined by God’s will, not her own. She is concerned about what God thinks, rather than with what other people think. Physical beauty and clever conversation are admirable qualities. But if a woman’s beauty and charm are the extent of her virtues, what happens when time and the trials of life take their toll? This woman does not depend on beauty and charm for her success. She recognizes her need for God.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to Tell Whether That Tree is Too Close to the House...

Here's a tip:  It shouldn't block the entrance to your porch.  I TRIED to tell my husband to move it out more but...okay, OKAY!  So I'M the one responsible!  But it was such a sweet, LITTLE Japanese Maple when we first brought it home and the description said that its width wouldn't be this large.  
     I guess I COULD hang a sign on the railing warning of an unfriendly Japanese Maple that eats door to door salespeople and other unwelcome visitors.  
     Have you ever noticed how photographs reveal things you really didn't want revealed?  Like the extra ten pounds and a double chin that the camera always adds?  Well, I've noticed a few other things that are revealed as well.  
     For example, when did this birdbath become heavier on one side than on the other?  I'm SURE it was level when we first pushed and grunted placed it in this garden.
Well, here's an area that definitely needs sprucing up... ...especially since it's right next to the house.
Look what happened to this rose trellis when I wasn't looking!
On second thought, maybe I'll leave this alone.  I kinda like it this way.  This chair, on the other hand...  My neighbor can use the boards from the seat in his wood stove this winter.  (He uses it to heat his garage)  I can repair the rest of it and replace the broken seat with a planter.
The brick path I started laying in this garden a couple years ago doesn't look too bad.  And, when you consider the fact that I've spent the equivalent of about 90 hours weeding (so far this Spring) and consider the size of this particular garden AND the fact that I'm a little old lady (well, according to my son, I am), this garden is starting to come along.
     However, SOME day, I WILL move this pink azalea from behind a lilac bush to a place where it can more easily be seen.  
This orange azalea will have brighter, prettier blossoms in another day or two.  They will, of course, fall off the bush and mound on my head as I viciously tear remove those pesky weeds from under the branches.
This lilac bush was looking pretty before the rain beat all the flowers off.
The yellow azalea in front of our house looks good.  It looks especially well in this picture, since I cropped all the unwanted growth aka weeds out of the picture.
Thus ends today's mini-tour and swift tree-planting lesson.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Win for Me, A Win for You, A Bird Bug & A Dodo Bird

I had to show this off first! It's a gorgeous, beautifully designed and crafted pillow that I won by spinning the Make Mine Pink slot machine! The pillow is from Janets Creative Pillows! It soo reminds me of the beautiful florals and dresses in Hawaii. I just love it and appreciate all the work that went into every stitch! Many thanks to Make Mine Pink and to Janets Creative Pillows!
Speaking of Hawaii (did you like that segway?), I was in a mood the other day to do something creatively different, something with an underwater theme, something with melted WAX...and came up with this strange looking can. You know how you start out with something obscure and know what you want to do but have no idea what you want it to look like or how you're going to do it or what you're going to do with it once you've done whatever it is that you kind of had in mind?
Well, this is one of those projects. I think I accomplished the underwater theme and it definitely used a lot of melted wax. And, I actually like it. I'm not too sure what I'll do with it or where I'll put it. But, I really like that I found the cute little plastic fish with the big eyeball during my gathering process.
Last week was an exceptionally busy week. Ever notice that, during an exceptionally busy time, something major happens in your household that has to take priority over everything else? Our cockatoo, Bailey, got sick. He stopped eating, stopped playing, stopped talking and his stool droppings were discolored. This was reminding me too much of years ago when my children were little. He was definitely one sick birdy and if you don't know much about birds, rest assured that it doesn't take a long time for them to perish from dehydration or lack of nutrition.
Our feisty, strong-willed cockatoo had become relatively docile; he generally doesn't hold still for his checkups but didn't argue much about having a cold stethoscope pressed against his body and barely flinched when our vet, Gina Robinson, checked his nasal cavities and throat (...say "ahh-h-h-h...").
Blood and stool samples were taken. Thank Goodness he didn't have anything immediately life threatening, but he did have a nasty staph infection that we are treating with antibiotics and now he's back to his noisy, raucous, playful self.
This next picture probably looks very boring. Big deal, sheets on a clothesline, right? Wrong! It only took me a few short years of begging before Hubby finally got around to finding some laundry poles (that part happened early last summer) and getting them cemented into the ground (this happened last week). I celebrated by annointing the lines with just-washed bedding. Yaaaay! I've said it before, I'll say it again - It's the little things, Girls...
You've seen my win, my bird with his bug and now to reveal the dodo bird part of this post. Maybe I should call it dodo bird brain. See this cute little clothespin bag I made? Isn't it sweet? This is the front side...
(BTW, if you know me at all, you'll know the only time I use a pattern for anything is when I'm making clothes for myself or the grandkids.) ...and here's the reverse side...
Notice anything strange? Here's a hint: Do you see an opening for the clothespins? *sigh* Me, neither. An easy fix, but I still can't believe that I did that! Or, didn't do that, whichever way you want to look at it.
And finally, what you've REALLY been waiting to find out - the WINNER for my March Blog Giftaway is: MICHELE of Country Vintage! Michele is a great gal and a loyal commenter, just several of you and this is the first time she's won one of my Giftaways! So, congratulations, Michele and as for the rest of you, keep reading (I miss you when you don't come around) and commenting (I love to hear from you!).
Hugs and blessings,