Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hairy Dinner

I had dinner tonight at Applebee's in Twin Falls, ID.  As an aspiring writer, I'm working on people watching to observe habits, mannerisms, speech patterns, etc.  So here's what I noticed...

Seven of the eight waitresses had the same hairstyle.  Four of them were exact; the other three were variations on the theme.  I almost told my waitress (the only original hairstylist) she neglected to finish putting on her "uniform" but the words stuck in my throat after she called me honey, sweetie, and darling while taking my drink order...which was water with a slice of lime.

As I ate my dinner, I struggled to find words to describe the style for you all.  Nothing seemed to do it justice.  Halfway through my steak, a trio of women came in as patrons, and...wait for it...they all had that exact same hairstyle, too.  I looked around the restaurant, but the general female population had the standard variety of styles. 

I finished my dinner, still trying to paint a word picture, when a man came in guessed it...the male version.  And I finally had my word picture.  Imagine, if you will, a baseball cap perched on top of a man's head.  The hat is one size too small, so the crown doesn't lie flush with his head.  In back, there is a long ponytail sticking through the sizing hole.  Now, imagine that with hair.  Flat bangs, pouffe crown, high ponytail, and you can see the waitresses.  For variety, throw in one with a colorful headband between bangs and pouf, two with flowers of various sizes either behind an ear or stuck in the ponytail, and one with both the headband and the flower.  Even their accessories were copycats.  The variations all include the flat bangs and pouffe crown, but the ponytail part was either a bun or french roll.  Oh...and we can't forget the flower dotting a couple of them.

What would cause all these young women to mimic each other so exactly?  Hmmm.  There's a story in there.

Until next time,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Baby Memories

About a month ago, we received the tragic news that a young couple in our family lost their baby three weeks from delivery.  They courageously invited a photographer to take pictures of their few hours together.  The photos are heartrending beautiful.  I offered to make them a scrapbook and they took me up on it.  The photos below are not great.  I took them at the last minute so I could share them with family members who contributed to the cost.  There are no pictures of the baby and family because I was unable to print them...some computer glitch I think.  But it's probably best not to splash their grief all over the internet.

I also made a card to include and express our deepest sympathy. I used the Mojo Monday #182 sketch, and then realized it would also work for OWH's Scallops challenge.


The paper is "Bliss" from CTMH.  I also used "Lyrical Letters" from Cricut for the page titles and small embellishments. 

I prayed over each page: that the comfort of God's embrace would reach out and touch them each time they remember their precious son.

Until next time,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Black and White

There aren't many things good about being home sick.  I hated missing church today, but I decided to use the unexpected time to make some cards for Operation Write Home.  I looked at my stash of paper, and there's a ream of white glossy cardstock which I rarely use anymore.  So I decided to challenge myself and see what I could do with it.  The results are black and white...with a pop of color.  At the bottom is the card for this week's OWH Sketch Challenge #60.

These stamps are so old, I don't even know where I got them.  The heart accent is much more red up close and personal.
These stamps are all from CTMH, but the calendar one has been retired for years.  I stamped the "I miss you" on the ribbon.  Love how small that sentiment is!  The black ribbon was actually wrapped around the calendar and over the clock so the ends are tucked behind.  I then lay the white ribbon over top loose, and using a small piece of more black ribbon, tied the knot over the top so I could move it where I wanted.
I also secured the white ribbon with a small dot of adhesive to ensure it stays put.  No use spending that much time and energy if it's just going to come out.

I played around with stamping more things on the clock face, but by the time I added the heart jewel, there wasn't enough room and it looked too crowded.

These are also old CTMH, but I love them.  The corner is actually a border called "Poetry in Motion."  I just stamped it at an angle.

Since the rose is stamped on glossy, and I was too impatient to let it dry before coloring, I simply sponged it with a small dauber.  After cutting it out, I hit the edges with an extra bit of daubing to make sure my edge was outlined well.

And now for the challenge card...

This was one of those happy accidents.  I used another old CTMH stamp, but to make sure the image stayed true, I secured my nine 1" pieces of white glossy to matte black first.  Then I stamped.  If you look really, really closely, you might see where the image hits the black.  To stay with the heart jewel theme, I tried putting one on this, but it just didn't go.  By that time, the red ribbon was already tucked behind the nine patch.  Hmmm, what to do.  I decided a bow was too much, so I simply tied a knot and wrapped the image again, tucking the ends behind the black matte.  I then lined up my top red ribbon with the bottom one, and voila...happy accident.

It's after lunch or just before -- depending on whether you go by the newly sprung forward clock or my internal body clock.  Either way, the tummy is rumbling.

Until next time,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Our Father...

“I’ve always thought of God as…good,” Helen Hunt whispers brokenly in her film Then She Found Me. “But what if…”

Bette Midler’s character says, “He’s just like us,” and she goes on to name human failings like busy, distracted, unreliable.

Sunday morning, my pastor preached one of those stay-with-you-and-forever-change-how-you-view-something sermons on The Lord’s Prayer. It was on the first line only: “Our Father, which art in heaven.” That’s it. That one line.

He said, when Jesus began teaching his disciples how to pray with “Our Father,” the term father would have stunned his listeners. Old Testament Jews viewed God with a distant awe, a reverence for His majesty which kept their faces averted. We have become so accustomed to thinking of God as our father, we have lost something invaluable. He also said “heaven” wasn’t an address. It’s not so we know where to look when praying. Instead, it is a testament to God’s authority. He is the one who rules the heavens and uses the earth as a footstool; the only One to command every knee to bow and every tongue to confess He is LORD.

God is not like any earthy father. This is important. Really, really important. He is not just like us. What’s so critical about that? The girl sexually abused by her father (or any father figure) needs to know. The boy abandoned by his father needs to know. The woman kicked out of her home needs to know. The man unsure how to raise his own children for lack of a role model needs to know. Children who worshipped their fathers only to find they had feet of clay need to know. Let this truth permeate your soul: God isn’t like your earthly father.

In the movie, Helen Hunt’s character makes bad choices out of her overriding desire to become a mother. Then, when it doesn’t work out, she blames God. How can He be good if He allowed such pain and misery in her life? God is not like an earthly father. He doesn’t always protect us from our home-made messes. He doesn’t rush in to save the day or sweep aside the consequences just because we’re sorry.

But He is also the Father with all authority in heaven and earth. He can take all our chaos, the ones we create ourselves and the ones forced upon us by the sin of another, and work it for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” For several years, I’ve known the “all things” included sin perpetrated against me when I was innocent. But now God tells me the “all things” also means my own sin…the muck I got into all by myself. Imagine that. Even when I have blown it, even when the pig sty I’m wallowing in was my own choice, even then God can take it and (after I’ve repented) work it out for my good.

No, God is not like any earthly father. He’s much better…infinitely better. He rules the universe, bends all power to His will, and we get to crawl into His lap and say, “Daddy, I need Your help.”
Until next time,

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dotty Birthday

Another birthday card for you, but I must give credit to Pamela O'Connor for this one.  Operation Write Home is having a challenge to use dots.  Here's my entry:

I was having trouble with my sewing machine, so there are little bits of thread poking out in various places.  Got it fixed, though.  Whew.

The paper, ink, ribbon and stamps are all CTMH, although only the flower is in the current catalog.

This one is headed to California for my beautiful niece who is turning 21 on Saturday.  Boy, does that make me feel old.

I also thought I would show you a few more pictures from my recent trip to Texas.  I went to the Dr. Pepper Museum and the Texas Ranger Museum.  While both were fun, I must admit there was something special about the on tap Dr. Pepper from their soda fountain.  It really was extra yummy.  Add to that my first taste of a moon pie, and...well...yeah.  Pretty much YUM all the way around.
The wind was whipping that flag (which is huge) so perfectly for pictures, I took three. 
This was the best of the bunch
The Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, TX
Me with Kayla, Josh and Kimberley Woodhouse (the world's greatest Dr. Pepper fan). 
You can see the server in the background making "fresh" soda.
Mmmm...Moon Pie! 
And, yes, my hair is being held back with a bandanna.  Remember the wind...whipping that flag?

And, just so you know, I did pick up two research books at the Texas Ranger museum, so it was ALL fun and games.  Just most of it.

Until next time,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Monday

Since the writing creative juices are all stopped up, I thought it might be time to catch up on some card making.  I have a couple important birthdays coming up and decided to combine the following challenges:

Heart 2 Heart "Times 3"
Mojo Monday "181"

This card has a little bit of everything.  The paper and stamped images are all by CTMH, as are the brown scalloped stripes.  The ribbon with the leaf pattern is Martha Stewart.  The scalloped circle is Nestabilities.  And I have no idea where the rest of of the stuff came from...just used up a bunch of left overs.  The three stamps come from the following sets:  Piece of Cake, Connections, and For Every Occasion.

I am also including some pictures from the writer's retreat held in Round Top, TX a couple weeks ago.
My room was on the top floor, the first one on your left.
My room.  There was a door to the covered porch just to the left of the wardrobe.
The covered porch, where I spent time reading, writing, meditating and relaxing.
And the sitting area where I also did some writing but mostly where the girls gathered to giggle, plot, encourage, and just hang out.

I guess it's about time to put my writer's cap back on...after lunch.

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What a Difference

Two weeks ago, I looked forward to "the REAL WRITERS and me" retreat.  A week ago I attended what soon became "the REAL WOMEN who write (most of whom just happen to be published)" retreat.  And do you want to know what made the difference? 


We celebrated, cried, and opened our hearts to each other in one of the most precious prayer times I've ever experienced.  I found kindred spirits in that circle.  I knew those women instantly because they struggle and rejoice over the same things I do.  The same things you do.

Why does that surprise me?  I don't know.  It shouldn't.  Writing touches us because it explores the deep things in our lives.  It moves us because the characters wrestle with authentic situations.  It challenges us to examine our own actions vicariously.  It comes from people who reach into their own lives and experiences to breath life into fictional characters. Real people compelled to write.  Authors.

I am a real person who is compelled to write.  God gives me stories and, until they are written, I am restless.  To not write would, for me, be disobedient.  God never said anything about publication, He just asked me to write.  He also provided me with opportunities to learn the craft of writing from people who know how to do it well.  And so I will study, learn and write to the best of my ability.  I will tell the stories inside my soul.

But most of all, I will pray for the authors whose stories are published and read by thousands.  Because that's what it's all about:  Real people touching the hearts of real people for God.

Until next time,