Thursday, December 26, 2013

An Encouraging Quote for Today

"It actually takes a lot of trust to follow a compass. By definition you only need to use it when you are lost and can't see where you are going. It is easy to want to follow our feelings instead. ('I know the compass says to turn right, but I'm sure its to the left...') It is also easy to default to walking the path that we already know rather than the one God is leading us to. Yet if we will trust God's biblical guidance and strike out on the road He lays before us, we will end up right where He wants us."
--The Life-Ready Woman: Thriving in a Do-It-All World by Shaunti Feldhahn and Robert Lewis

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Joy to the World!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Ramblin'

To say I'm feeling overwhelmed these days is putting it mildly.
It seems surreal that Christmas is the-day-after-tomorrow. I keep turning on Christmas music (even though I usually only enjoy it in very small doses) to remind myself that we really are in the midst of the Christmas season. Mostly my mind is whirling with trying to figure out how we are actually going to manage to move in two weeks.

In the midst of everything, life goes on. So here's a little glimpse of what we've been up to lately besides packing.
Early in December, the girls and I enjoyed a lovely ladies' brunch at church.

The next morning Lyle and I flew to Colorado for a week to check out the situation there and to make our decision about moving.
While we were there I crocheted almost non-stop because pre-Christmas orders for mug cozies were pouring in from my Etsy shop. I haven't yet taken time to tally up how many I actually made this fall, but I know it numbers in the hundreds! Just crazy!
Last Sunday night we sang in a cantata at church. We enjoyed participating in the choir. It was a fun cantata to prepare for. What was so amazing to me was that our choir director was a 19-year-old young man, and our accompanist just had his 15th birthday! They did an outstanding job.

Wednesday night we had a "farewell" social time with our Bible study group. We have been hosting a weekly Bible study in our home for the past 6.5 years, so we've formed some very special relationships. It is hard to say good-bye.
The girls have been enjoying Christmas activities and time with friends this month. Laura hosted a party for her friends Friday night.
On Saturday afternoon she went sledding with friends and banged up her knee pretty badly. The wound was very deep and ugly, so we decided she should probably go to the Immediate Care clinic. As it turns out the covering of the knee cap was even torn, so it required 6 internal stitches and 4 external... plus a tetanus shot and a round of antibiotics. Lyle said, "We are so glad the accident wasn't worse, but the timing couldn't have been much worse." She is getting around pretty well, but is limited in what she can do.

And so... that brings us up to Christmas week. My shopping is done. I just have a few last-minute gifts to wrap... and countless boxes to pack.

As always... life is an adventure!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A New Adventure

You may have noticed that I haven't been blogging actively for the past few weeks. There's a reason for that.

Lyle and I have been carefully and prayerfully considering a major decision for our family. Both of us have unexpectedly been offered full-time jobs in the Denver area... and while we certainly weren't anticipating making a 1,000-mile move at this stage of our lives, it seems that there are too many open doors and details falling into place for it to not be God's leading.

And so, right here in the middle of the holiday season, we find ourselves packing up our household and working on all the tedious details that go along with a cross-country move. We'll be headed for Colorado shortly after the New Year.

My new job is in actuality, somewhat of a "reincarnation" of  my current job. I will continue to work as an advisor for Sonlight Curriculum, but as an employee in the main office in Littleton, Colorado, rather than as an independent contractor from home. Lyle will be working at Unique Litho, a print shop not too far from the Sonlight offices. We are excited about this new chapter in our lives, but a little apprehensive about the changes, as well.

Life is always an adventure!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Our first family picture with all five children--
December 1970.

They say the greatest gift a man can give his children is to love their mother.
This man does that.
He also loves his children and isn't ashamed to tell us so.
I've noticed that's rare in a man of his generation.
We don't take that lightly.

Happy 71st birthday, Daddy!
I love you!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Once Upon a Time...

My love of books started very early...
November 24, 1967

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

At the Crossroads

Road trips are always an adventure for Lyle and me, whether we are in a hurry, or we have time to linger along the way. We just never know what might be over the next hill or around the next curve. We enjoy the scenery along the way. We find the unexpected interesting.
And then, sometimes we come to a crossroads. When we're following the GPS, the crossroads don't slow us down much. But there are occasions when we're not sure which way to turn... which will be the best route to take.

At the crossroads, if we're going to move forward, a decision has to be made. We can't stand there looking down the road indefinitely. And we can't know what lies down either road around the next bend. That's what makes it so hard.

I have learned that life, like a road trip, is always an adventure. Even here at the crossroads.

Your prayers are appreciated as we make some important decisions regarding my work in the weeks ahead.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Canyon of Danger - review

Book 3 of Susan K. Marlow's Goldtown Adventures series has just come out!

Canyon of Danger continues the adventures of 12-year-old Jem Coulter and his sister Ellie during the waning days of the California gold rush. Pa has to be gone for a few days and leaves Jem in charge of the ranch. Jem is excited about this new responsibility... until everything starts to go wrong. It's a great story for tweens about making wise choices and being dependable. You can read an excerpt here.

 Susan's books are well-written and engaging, even for us "kids" who are a "little" older than her target demographic. She offers lapbooks and free study guides to go along with each title which makes them great for homeschoolers.

The fourth book in this series, River of Peril, will be out in the Spring of 2014. You can also read my previous reviews of Book 1: Badge of Honor and Book 2: Tunnel of Gold.

Thank you to Kregel for sending me a review copy.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fragmented Thoughts for November

I have a love-hate relationship with the month of November. 

It's the month I was born, 
as well as the month I was married, 
so double reasons to celebrate, 
in addition to Thanksgiving.
My children presented me with this lovely bouquet of mums 
in honor of our anniversary last week.
They bought their dad candy.
The other part of their gift was a series of pictures
they had a friend take of them at a local park.
I was so pleased!
I told them they could do that as a gift for us for any occasion.
 Speaking of mums, the ones in my flower bed 
have been blooming since early September.
Some of the blossoms are beginning to fade, 
but the plant is still putting out buds, too.
That's two months and counting of bloom time.
This is the fourth year I've had them.
Isn't that wonderful?
 With the ever-shortening daylight hours and the drizzly gray skies
(which is what I hate about November),
I appreciate the bright spot in my front flower bed...
 ...and the still-fresh Jack-o-lanterns on the front step
which I plan to leave up until after Thanksgiving,
or until they start to soften, whichever comes first.
 An early snow this week reminded us that, ready-or-not, winter is upon us.
We've winterized the trailer and put away the bikes and lawn furniture,
and are turning our attention to more indoor pursuits.

Happy November!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

 I don't know about tomorrow; 
I just live from day to day. 
  I don't borrow from its sunshine 
For its skies may turn to grey. 
 I don't worry o'er the future, 
For I know what Jesus said. 
 And today I'll walk beside Him, 
For He knows what lies ahead. 
  Many things about tomorrow 
I don't seem to understand 
But I know who holds tomorrow 
And I know who holds my hand. 
~ o ~
 I don't know about tomorrow; 
It may bring me poverty. 
But the One who feeds the sparrow, 
Is the One who stands by me. 
 And the path that is my portion 
May be through the flame or flood; 
But His presence goes before me 
And I'm covered with His blood. 
 Many things about tomorrow 
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow 
And I know who holds my hand.
--Alison Krauss

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Workbasket (Installment #15)

This installment from my collection of vintage Workbasket magazines comes to you from July 1953. I thought the cover doily was so pretty that I made it myself! That was a fun project.
And while they got off to a good start with such a lovely crochet pattern, it must have been the month recruit Christmas card salesmen... er, salesladies.
 Page 4. "Ladies! Make Good Money Selling Exclusive 50 for $1.00 Christmas Cards!"
That does seem like a quite reasonable price. But what's the deal with a 'bonus' of "Low-Cost Hosiery to New Agents!"? We're supposed to sell nylons alongside the Christmas cards? That seems like an odd combination to me. And I have no idea what "60 gauge 15 denier" means. Do you?
Page 7. "Think of it! ...there are $$$ and $$$ of CASH PROFIT waiting for you in these wonderful boxes..." Presumably "$$$ and $$$" means "dollars and dollars." 

"...cards so handsome they'll be remembered and treasured through the years!" Yep. Grandma hoarded the ones she received through the years. She really did!

"Your own good sense will tell you there must be literally hundreds of folks right in your neighborhood who'll thank you for introducing them to these cards." I'm pretty sure that's not what my own good sense is telling me.

"If you are a fund raiser for an organization, please check here." Oh, yes. That would be me. Not a person with neighbors. I'm a fund raiser.
 Page 9. "A balanced selection of 21 lovely, heart-warming cards... just right for every name on every list." Yet there's a little note that says "This is only one of our 50 assortments." If the original "sensational" box is just right for every name on every list, why do they need to offer 49 other assortments?
 Page 13. "Meet Your Santa Claus for 1953: The Hedenkamp Family." It's unclear to me what makes this family my Santa Claus for 1953... and exactly which one is Santa Claus. They can't all be. Can they? And how are they a family? Mama, Daddy, and the three children? Their pictures don't exactly give me that impression. Maybe they're siblings.
 Pages 16-17. "Just let your friends and neighbors and co-workers SEE these lovely Doehla Christmas and All Occasion box assortments. YOU don't have to say another word!" All ya gotta do is smile and nod. No need to speak at all.
 Page 19. "$50--$100--no limit to what you can earn in spare time..." and they "sell themselves," of course. What else would you expect?

Oh, we're not anywhere close to being done yet.
 Page 21.  "I Earned $57.04 In less than 2 HOURS showing the Phillips Christmas line to a group of my neighbors." Very important to be precise, you know. It wouldn't do to round it off. Also, I would like to see "Wags the Dog 'In Action'." Sounds interesting!
 Page 23. "New Easy Way to Make... Extra Money." I have no idea how Easy it was to sell greeting cards 60 years ago, but I'm sorry. This was not New! It just wasn't. They need to quit saying that.

"Sell New 'Life-Like' Greeting Card That Move!" What in the world is a 'life-like' card? When were cards ever alive? I guess that would be something new all right.

Whoops! Looks like  I missed an ad for selling Christmas cards on page 24... and there's another one on page 32. Oh, well. Moving right along...
 Page 35. "30 Actual Cards..." as opposed to... um, what? Fake cards? "You can make every day 'pay day' from now to Christmas." So you're thinking I would actually get out there and sell cards every day for 6 months, huh? What a novel idea!
 Pages 40-41. With testimonials! "I am nine years old and selling your cards is the only way a girl as little as I am can earn money and have fun!" Bless her heart! She probably wouldn't have as much fun with any of the other card companies.

"One lady bought $19 worth in one hour!" Some of us take longer than that to make up our minds how we want to spend our $19. Just be patient with us. We can't help it.

Skipping over another small ad for selling cards on page 43... and one on page 44... honestly, I thought I had scanned them all. I think they're multiplying while I'm not looking!
 Finally! Here are some ideas for making "cents" that don't involve knocking on doors with sample boxes of cheap greeting cards! And while these ideas wouldn't go over today, I thought they were pretty interesting for the time... making foot stools out of tin cans... and cookie jars... excuse me, "cooky" jars out of shortening cans. Grandma definitely knew how to up-cycle, didn't she? I especially like the one about offering country dinners to city folks who are out for a "ride into the country." Can you just imagine?

I'm surprised there's not an ad for Christmas cards on that page. Never fear, though, they aren't going to let that idea go.
 Page 51. "Do you need money? $35.00 is yours for selling only 50 boxes of our 300 Christmas card line. And this can be done in a single day." Sure. If I get that woman who is willing to spend $19 in a single hour, and one of her friends who is willing to do the same. Then they'd each have 25 boxes of cards, which they'd still be sending out to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren 40 years later, in spite of the fact that the cards were beginning to turn yellow around the edges.
 Page 53. "It's easy! No trick offers! No gimmicks! Just show prize-winning Elliott Christmas cards... to Friends and other Folks." And you can pretty much count on the Friends moving over into the Other Folks category if you're gonna bug 'em like that all the time.
 Page 55. "Aggressive Detroit Com-
pany can help You or your club earn EXTRA MONEY!" Gotta get that line break in there at the right place, dontcha see? They also offer a large assortment of geegaws if greeting cards aren't going over quite as well as you might expect.

And now let me show you the lovely dress patterns, which I always enjoy poring over in each issue of the Workbasket.

Oh, no... say it ain't so... yet another ad for selling Christmas cards on the opposite page?
 Page 57. "I Made $93 and I Know How Easy It Is to Earn Extra Money the Southern Way!" I was trying to figure out what Mrs. J.R. Shields meant by "Southern Way" since she's from Illinois. That's not the South last time I checked. Oh! Turns out the company is named Southern. That explains it.
 Page 65. "...startling NEW $1.00 box assortments" That's what I want. Startling Christmas cards.

And now, more pretty dress patterns.

Wait! What's that little ad about a quarter of the way down the next page? Sure enough, yet another opportunity!
 Page 69. "At last! Something new and sensational in Christmas cards!" Well, good. I was getting tired of the same-old-same-old.

Aren't we done yet? Not quite.
 Page 71. "Amazingly Different and Smart..." I guess I'm gonna have to order these, too, to find out what the amazing difference is, because this ad sounds suspiciously like the previous one.
 Page 73. And here's another company asking "Do You Need Money?" This one sounds a lot like the ad on page 51, but they are supposedly different companies. Weird!
 Page 74. By now I'm about to go cross-eyed reading the tiny print on these silly ads. The dollar signs fading into infinity aren't helping any. This one admits to selling cards from other publishers. I wonder how many of these companies actually did overlap?
 Page 77. "Run a spare-time card and gift shop at home." That's the one I want. No knocking on doors for me. Let the customers come to my shop! Because, I'm sure they will.

And on the back cover, guess what? Yet another ad for Christmas cards! Are you surprised?
 So, how many Christmas card ads is that? Let's see... I scanned 21 of them... plus the 4 I overlooked. 25 ads for pretty much the same thing in one issue of a small magazine like The Workbasket seems like overkill. I'd say they were staunch supporters of Free Enterprise! Or brainwashing.

Don't you want to get right out there and sell some Christmas cards in your spare time?