Wednesday, March 30, 2011

She quotes

ElizaJane LOVES to quote movies.

Recently Michael and I and our three still at home children were in the car together. The kids were being a bit crazy, especially ElizaJane, and Michael got a bit stern. We were headed to a restaurant, and I'm sure visions of an uncontrolled 7 year old in a public place were flashing through his mind. He began to remind ElizaJane of how to properly act when we arrived. You must sit still he instructed, and speak quietly, no jumping or skipping, he reminded, and if you are spoken to, remember, look them in the eyes . Yes sir she respectfully responded in her trademark southern squeak, yes sir, yes sir, at each direction she responded the same. When he was done she added firmly and with the perfect low voice effect.

"all of my training has prepared 
me for this moment"
(BOLT by Disney)

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Our story part six the final chapter

Soon after arriving at the fellowship of college and career people, it was discovered that the lid on my baked beans was stuck fast, and I mean REALLY stuck fast! No one could budge it, and it was the joke of the evening. It was all in good fun, and after much prying some was eventually to be tasted, but not so much enjoyed. The fellowship was uneventful otherwise, small talk, bible study, worship, discussion, and then it was time to say good-night. Michael and I climbed back in his car, sticky glass dish in hand, and I sighed to realize our time together was coming to an end, and we really hadn't had the chance to really chat. He must have been feeling the same, and asked if I would mind stopping at Burger King for a soda.

We shared a large Coke, and fries, and talked BK closed, then we drove to the Lexington dam, and talked some more. We broke the cardinal rule of talking about old flames on the first date, and laid it all on the table. We talked about our families, jobs, favorites, dislikes, pet peeves, childhood stories, memories both good and bad, dreams, plans, faith, we talked about it all, and somewhere between the words, and the laughter, we fell in love.

I returned home that night floating on a cloud of disbelief, knowing that the Lord had handed me a very special gift, and I immediately thanked Him for it. Michael called his Mother that night and told her he had met the girl of his dreams. The next morning he picked me up for church, and we worshiped together, this time in the same pew. We had lunch together at Ryan's, and then spent the rest of the afternoon getting to know each other even more. There was never an awkward silence, no red flags of distrust, or unsettled feelings. I was completely comfortable with him, and I wanted to hear and understand everything he communicated to me. He led us in prayer, and enjoyed talking about spiritual things, and I couldn't believe how God had blessed me. From that first date, we spent every moment together that we could.

Our courtship lasted 3 years and 8 months before we blissfully exchanged wedding vows on a warm evening in November. I could probably get to "Our Story part 86" writing every thing that happened in that time, but that would bore the three people reading. In hindsight it was crazy that we waited so long before we married, considering we both knew on that first date that the other was "the one". We took road trips to Greenville to meet Michael's Mom and extended family on Easter, Hilton Head to meet his Dadand his wife Susan and their two children, and Michaels Grandma Dee, Michigan, to meet my siblings and their families, and a few old friends, all in those first few weeks and months. I left for that far away school in Florida that next fall, because I thought that was what the Lord told me to do before our meeting, so I felt I had to go. I only completed one semester of Hell before returning to Lexington, a semester full of florist flowers, daily letter writing, and long distance phone calls. Those were the days before e-mail, and cell phones. Shortly after returning, Michael took a job in North Carolina, working on top of Sugar Mountain, that meant more letters, and more phone calls. Because of those circumstances, ours was mostly a long distance relationship. The Lord used that time to grow me up, and teach me a lot of important life lessons. 

I am so very grateful for the gift of Michael, and although it is not an amazing story, or particularly riveting, it is our story. It was, and has continued to be for many years, a story of God's faithfulness, provision, and love. We will celebrate 25 years of marriage this coming November, and I would do it all over again if I had the chance. We have the most amazing relationship, and although it sounds incredibly cliche' Michael completes me. Our God brought us together, He has sustained us through much heartache, and He has blessed us beyond measure. To Him be the Glory!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our story part five

With out my knowledge, the man I would later learn preferred to be called Michael, had been sitting a few rows behind me in church for four weeks before our “chance” meeting at the sanctuaries front! He had been observing me, and trying to work up the courage to speak to me. In our brief conversation that day in the lobby of first Baptist, I learned he had quit the University to work full time on a real estate project of town homes there in Lexington. That would explain why I never met him all those cold mornings on campus, I thought. We exchanged very little information in our short dialogue, and he ended the pleasantries with “well, maybe we can have lunch sometime”. I remember walking away thinking to myself, how lame, lunch sometime??? Seriously? He is obviously not interested, lunch, nobody that says” let’s have lunch sometime” ever REALLY has lunch, and besides that, he doesn’t even have my number, how is he going to call me?

Eleven days later his voice was on the other end of the telephone line. He had spent the previous weekend at a Christian conference, and was anxious to share with me what he had learned. His voice was strong, and sure, and he talked as if he already knew me. "We can call him Abba Father” he explained with emotion, “that is like saying Daddy, Daddy, and climbing up into his arms of safety”, I remember his excitement. It was as if it was not really a new concept to him, but as if it had just become alive in his heart. I was hooked on his enthusiasm over a spiritual concept, and blown away that he was so open and honest about his “experience”.

 Then it came... his invitation for dinner the next evening. My spirits shrank, I had already accepted a date with a boy for that night, “well” he rebounded quickly,” how about lunch?” Oh, how embarrassing, I had already agreed to tennis with Rob. I explained apologetically, then without hesitation, I invited him to join me for a college and career fellowship at the teachers house the next night, Saturday. He agreed, and we settled on a time for him to pick me up as I gave him directions to my house on Summerfield lane. I was so glad that my silly insignificant social schedule with those boys hadn’t prevented him from making plans with me.

Fridayflew by as I floated on cloud nine, and dreamed about my date with Mike. He was a great looking man, seemed to love the Lord, and wasn’t the least bit afraid to speak of it. By my account he was my dream come true. I couldn’t wait for Saturday night’s fellowship, so I could get to know more about this guy.

On that evening I chose to wear my black velvet Calvin Klein’s, and I remember spending a lot of time on my hair. I do remember that I wasn’t very nervous though, considering how excited I was. He came to the door just as I was pulling the baked beans I had made to bring to the fellowship, out of the oven. I noticed his bright smile as he entered the kitchen; he was so confident and friendly, as he chatted with my mom. He told me I looked nice, and his big brown eyes sparkled, then we were off, the two of us, and my baked beans.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

special delivery

Remember these little beauties? 
Well, they are finally paying their rent.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

spring wreaths

I think this paper roses wreath by Stephanie Lynn at Under the table dreaming is really to-die-for. I have been keeping my eye out for a pretty wreath idea to make my doors a bit more welcoming, and this was the first that really caught my attention. I have double doors, so making a wreath, means making two:). Here is the line up of the favorites I found. I am enlisting your help in choosing which one to try to make.

In the etsy store Itzfitz there are some really pretty wreaths like this one,

and this one,

aren't they just so pretty?

I also found this nice image online, but the etsy seller no longer exists, and doesn't have a blog anymore, so I can't give credit where credit is due, but I did want to share, it is so very feminine. I am not certain that I could recreate it, but I could try. I would change the sign to perhaps He is risen, or Happy Spring, or He's alive, or maybe leave it off so It can stay on my door longer.

and, this from Home Confetti
don't you just LOVE that little sign stuck on top??

Or, click this to see some goodness from under the sycamore!

And, at the spotted sparrow look at this, so simple, but the vintage feel really appeals to me. I'm not sure how I would hang it, perhaps by a ribbon attached to the back. My doors are also glass, so the back has to be at the least tidy, and at best pretty.

Here's one from etsy seller DanaAndCarol,
 it really screams spring doesn't it? 

The always beautiful and fresh Layla shares a how-to for an equally fresh and beautiful wreath HERE, at the lettered cottage. If you haven't found her decorating blog, you must stop by for a visit. 

What about this braided wreath from Carolyn, she also shares the how to for this one, on her blog Homework, with a robins nest complete with tiny blue eggs that I adore! 

So, there you have it,
 anyone with spring fever out there? 
Which wreath do you like best from those I've chosen?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

platters, splattered on the wall

This post went out without any words first,by mistake, so for the three people who read my blog, if you read it through a reader you received that post, and must have thought I was a bit random. So sorry!

Anyway, since I was on a plate hanging rampage, I decided to finally hang all these white platters I have been collecting.

Here they are on the left,

and from the right.

They were so much bigger before I hung them up!

There you have it, platter splatter.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Our story part four

I was not aware that my mystery man had dropped out of college to run a town home development full time. He was not aware that I had quit my job as a pizza server to lead women in aerobics to the beat of "it's raining men". So while I sat on a cold brick wall on the campus of USC hoping for a "chance" meeting, he continued to order pizza in hopes of spying his new favorite waitress.

As days turned into weeks, the semester changed, and so did my class schedule. I eventually gave up my quest for the stone khaki clad prep, and other boys came a calling. I dated muscle man Mark, the older brother of a high school friend for a few weeks, only to determine that he was a very nice boy, but not for me. There was Rob, a boy whose father worked at the same plant mine did, and who had come to the south under the same circumstances. We had several lunch dates, and he had been a good friend, but that was all I saw him as. Rafe was a boy from the hut, that never really asked me out, but asked for rides to school sometimes, and we had spent some time together at his house. 

The Lord continued to work in my heart, as I sought him and his plan for my life. Months prior to this my mother and I had visited a college in Florida that I was interested in attending. I felt like God was calling me there, and was saving and planning for that to happen the next fall. That was seven or eight months out, and I was looking forward to that change. I had spent the last eight months grieving the deaths of two very important parts of my identity. 

The death of the relationship to my high school sweetheart was painful, although I had accepted that a future with him would have been a disaster, and that it was truly God's will that I move on, and I was grateful. 
It was clear to me at that point that he would not have been the spiritual leader that I longed for in a life mate.

 The death of my parents relationship however was not something I was learning to accept. I could not see God's hand in that fatality, and I was growing bitter and uncomfortable in my roll as a daughter. The holidays had been pitiful, as my thanksgiving was a Burger King whopper alone in my bedroom, and my Christmas had been a painful attempt at a insincere reconciliation. I felt abandoned by my older siblings, and often felt like I was bearing the burden alone. My Dad was like a walking dead man, and I longed for the stability that he had always been for me. I watched as the Mom I knew wasted away, plagued with a chronic nervous cough, and I was being used as both a confidante and a sounding board, caught in the middle of their pain. I hate to admit it, but I longed to escape, and an out of state college sounded like a good option.

I was getting more involved in the college and career group at Lexington Baptist, and we were getting together as a group every weekend for food and fellowship. Between school, and work, church, and my social life, I was a busy girl. Spring was fast approaching, and my second semester was in full swing. It had been three months since the night I met the mystery man.

One Sunday morning as the service came to a close, I reached for my purse and bible, and as I rose to leave I glanced up to see Steve and Kathy at the front of the sanctuary. It had been a while since we had talked, so I decided to go up and say hello. As I approached I noticed there talking to them was a man whose back was toward me. Kathy warmly smiled at me, and welcomed me into their circle. I turned, and there he was, a heavenly chorus broke out that all of Lexington county could surely hear, as Kathy introduced Mike, the man they had tried to set up with Steve's sister....her voice trailed off as our eyes met. "Aren't you the girl from Pizza Hut" he asked, smoothly. "yeah" I replied, "I waited on you." 

to be continued

for part one
for part two
for part three

Friday, March 11, 2011

jumping lenses?

You will have to excuse my pictures for a while, as my favorite lens decided to jump off the highest shelf in the TV cabinet in my bedroom. It was the middle of the night, and there was a big thud that woke me up, and it was my very stylish, but still padded camera case, that was on the shelf, but was now on the floor. How does that happen? It was the middle of the night, no one was moving, just the earth rotating the sun as usual, and splat goes my beautiful Nikon 18-135 loveliness, and now she is scrambled eggs inside, rattling like the pit full of snakes in that Indiana Jones movie. Tragic I tell you, eye leaking tragedy, and now my pics are, well, not very good, because I have to use my long lens for everything, and well, I don't know, it just doesn't work like my scrambled friend did.

So any way, here's what I did with some plates....whatever!

Funky Junk Interiors

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The latest in slipcovers

Who knew that our small town was so very hip, and  right on the cutting edge of the latest home fashion?

Case in point,

They slip covered their water tower!

How cool is that?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Our story part three

After taking the food order of the two young men, I delivered their drinks. Water for the one on the left, and  Michelob lite for the one on the right. Small talk ensued, and the one on the left asked if I was in school. It was about this time that the guy on the right seemed to disappear, I don't remember much else about him from that evening after this point.
"Yes", I replied, "I'm a freshman at USC". I cringed, knowing what the next question would be. 
"Oh" he said pleasantly, "me too, what is your major?" I stuttered a bit, I hated to share my major. It had never occurred to me when I had enrolled as an art major just a few months before, that I would ever be ashamed to be associated with the art department. "I'm an Art major", I haltingly revealed, "but don't hold that against me." They both laughed out loud, knowing instantly what I meant. It was well known back in the early eighties that if you saw someone on the gamecock campus that, well, that stuck out in the way of purple hair, excessive tattoos and or earrings, or just outlandish clothing, then nine times out of ten they were most likely an art major. I returned the question and found out he was a business major. After more small talk it was determined that we had 8am classes in the same building on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. "Maybe we'll see each other on campus someday", he remarked. Soon their pizza was up, and the small talk was over, as I left them to enjoy their late lunch. On my way back to the wait station to freshen their drinks, I glanced back at the table. The young man on the left was praying over his meal. 
While they ate, I shamelessly re-wiped the surrounding tables hoping to catch some small snippet of their conversation. When I delivered their bill, I signed their ticket, as I did everyone, "It was a pleasure serving you, amy", but this time I really meant it. 
I took a longer look at the young man as he stood at the register waiting to pay. He had very broad shoulders, and a large build, and he stood straight and tall with a very confident gate. His auburn hair was cut short, but appeared to be very curly. He wore stone colored flat front trousers, with cordovan penny loafers, and matching thin leather belt. His shirt was a light blue pinpoint button down oxford polo. His smile was easy, and he engaged the manager in conversation at the register. I remember in that moment thinking that there was a special place in my future for that man, and although I tend to think love at first sight is most usually vanity at best, and dangerous at worst, if there is such thing as love at first meeting, then this was surely the case. He smiled a goodbye as he passed me on his way out, and left a very generous tip on the table to seal my affections. It would be some time before I would see the young man again.
That evening I returned home to find my aunt Eileen and uncle Roy visiting my mom from Muskegon Michigan. I told them all about the handsome man I had met at work, and as I remember, my mom was unusually interested. Perhaps it was obvious that there was something different about this chance meeting. As a waitress you hear it all, from seemingly harmless obnoxious flirtation to beer induced marriage  proposals. She had heard me relay them all, complete with eye rolls, and feigned humiliation. This time the story was not littered with insincere flattery, or sordid innuendo, it wasn't anything really, but a chance meeting, containing harmless small  talk, and punctuated with a good looking, nice guy at the end, but for me, I hoped it was anything but insignificant.

The problems at work had grown worse, and I was offered a job at the women's health club Spa Lady, that my mom and I frequented. I jumped at the chance to get out of waitressing, and although it was nice to not spend those long late hours on my feet any more, now I was teaching three or four aerobic classes a day. It was a challenging job, and I was exhausted at the end of a shift, but I completely enjoyed it.

The weeks that followed found me shivering in unusually cold South Carolina mornings, outside my 8:00 class building. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I sat on the low brick wall surrounding the old building that housed my French class, hoping for a glimpse of the nice young man to whom I had served pizza.

to be continued

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"big girl" party

ElizaJane wanted a big girl party this year, and by that she meant she wanted to invite the big girls. She calls these girls her friends, and frankly they are! She met them all last fall at Kartwright's football games for our local Christian School. The school allows home schoolers to play for their team. Three of these "big" girls also go to our church, and they are all so very sweet to my girls. 

ElizaJane has never had a party with anyone outside the family, simply because we have moved around so much the last 4 years, it just hasn't worked out. This was a big deal for her. What began as a fairy princess theme, kinda morphed into just a colorful frilly theme. I found some  frog picture holders at Joann's fabrics, and painted them all the same. I then used sparkly letter stickers to spell out the girls names on card stock, and used the picture holders as place holders (they are on the far top left). Strips of pink, purple, and green tulle were tied in bows around each chair, topped with satin flowers I made to give the girls as favors, each was a different color. I backed the flowers with a pin and Velcro so the girls could wear them, or attach them to a head band, or their purses. I also used the tulle to dress up the chandelier along with tissue paper puffs. I found the tutorial on the Martha site. I used the frog place cards as a pattern to paint a larger frog on a canvas for the game, Pin the Crown on the Frog.  

We had lots of yummies to eat, including white chocolate popcorn, marshmallow fruit dip, and chocolate cupcakes.

The girls were game for everything on ElizaJane's agenda. They visited our chickens, jumped on the trampoline, walked down to the pond,and even danced, they were so sweet, and so much fun. This was a birthday that  she will always remember. I sorta slept through the dancing part, cause I may or may not have stayed up all night making everything perfect.

Thank you girls for making a little girls day. She loves you all so much!

Haven, Jocelyne, Jenna, Angelina, Peyton, and the birthday girl.

Happy seventh baby girl. You can stop now.