Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I've been studying the book of Matthew with BSF this year, and really enjoying it. I like it because it gets me out of the house, meeting people, but also because I've been able to do a little more in-depth study of a book.

Last week we talked about the passage in Matthew where Jesus feeds the 5,000. I had not ever really paid enough attention to notice its surroundings, but Jesus finds out about the death of John the Baptist, and then tries to get away by himself. He has just spent a lot of time speaking to crowds of people and no one seems to understand his teaching, not even his disciples.

Boy, could I identify with him there.

As a mother, I frequently find myself wanting a little break. A little retreat. 5 minutes of peace. Naps don't go well, Naomi is teething, Judah persists in his disobedience, or I'm just impatient for no good reason (the most likely). When I want a break and don't get it, my reaction is pretty much the opposite of Jesus' reaction. 

When he saw the crowd that followed him, he "had compassion on them and healed them." He didn't sigh, or inwardly seethe, or get annoyed at the great swarm around him. And yet I find myself sometimes doing that with my own two children. Children I love. That are gifts from God. And yet Jesus compassionately healed, taught, and then fed over 5,000 people, most of whom he didn't even know.

I feel like especially lately I have really confronted by the selfishness in my own heart. This passage was like another huge arrow pointing at me. Jesus didn't hesitate when his attempt at a peaceful retreat was interrupted by the needy crowd, but instead saw the opportunity to serve.

I want to see the interruptions in my own life the same way.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jesse Tree/Advent Calender

I did say in my last post that I wanted to do more writing here about deeper things than just what I've made, but I have been wanting to blog about our advent calender/jesse tree for a while. I worked on the ornaments over several years, mostly because I was making several sets for various family members.

First off, here is the advent calender I made for myself several years ago. When I first made this, I knew I would eventually make some kind of homemade ornaments for each day. I think next year I'm going to add maybe a little chocolate to each pocket or fun Christmas-related activity in addition to the ornament.

When I decided to do ornaments I knew I wanted to do a Jesse Tree. A few years ago, the printable one over at Ann Voscamp's blog was really big, and I used her list of ornaments as my starting place. We tried using her readings once, but the very, very flowery language was a little too much for us. (I know lots of people love her style and that's cool but it just wasn't for us. Hopefully no one will hate me for saying that. ) Plus when I was looking at her list of ornaments, there were some I was very surprised she left out. I mean, there was no reading for the Passover!! The Passover, which is arguably a climax of the OT that has huge Christological implications. Anyway....

So I did some research about Jesse Trees and found some other lists that included different symbols, so I was able to pick and choose the symbols Jeff and I thought were most important. So here is where we landed:

  1. The world - Creation
2. Apple/Snake - the fall
3. Noah's Ark
4. Abram's Tent


5. Ram for Isaac
6.Jacob's ladder
7.Joseph's coat of many colors
8.Doorway with blood for the passover
9.Tablets of law for Moses
10.Red rope for Rahab

11. Wheat for Ruth
12. Crown for King David
13. Menorah for Zechariah's prophecy (this is what you get when your husband writes a master's thesis on the topic.)
14. Altar for Elijah
15. Stump for the prophecy about Jesse
16. Heart for the passage in Ezekiel about getting a new heart

17. Lion for Daniel
18. Whale for Jonah
19.City for Micah's prophecy about the city of David
20. Shell for John the Baptist (This one seemed weird to me, but apparently the shell is an ancient symbol for him. And trying to make a felt locust seemed too hard for me.)
21. Lily for Mary
22. Hammer for Joseph

23. (Not pictured because I couldn't find it) Shepherd's crook for the shepherds.
24. Star for the wisemen
25. Manger for Jesus (the symbol on the manger is a symbol for Jesus - The Greek letters Chi and Ro, which are the first two letter of his name.)

If anyone is curious about what passages we used or readings that coordinate in the Jesus storybook bible, let me know I can email you a document. I might also be able to create a PDF with patterns since I still have most of the papers I used as my patterns. If there is interest I can work on it. Just let me know.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Back to Normal

It's been a slow and somewhat difficult transition back to our normal routine around here. Naomi has been sick/teething/fussy for unknown reasons leading to less sleep than normal for this mama. Although our Christmas tree is down, we still have some of the other decorations up (maybe I can take care of them today?) and I've been struggling to stay on top of the laundry, meal-preparing and grocery shopping.

I'm also getting a little more nervous about the upcoming transition back to working outside the home. (Nervous and excited!) We have a tentative schedule planned (wednesday morning, thursday morning, and all day friday) and are just waiting for final approval to get my credentials from the hospital. That should come on monday, hopefully.

So that's what's going on out here.... I really do want to start writing more here. As in, actual writing about more than just my cute kids or things I make. Maybe starting a job will give me more to write about. Maybe not. Right now, though, the dishes are calling my name. As is the dinner than needs to be prepped. And those pesky decorations...

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Back to the Science Center.

Judah has been asking to go to the Science Center pretty much since the last time we went, so we went today. This time, I also remembered my fish-eye lens so I could get some fun shots of the space shuttle.

Judah continues to enjoy the space shuttle but prefer the activities involving joysticks or launching balls, which are numerous in the science center. Naomi and I loved the jelly fish, but Judah really doesn't care as much for the aquarium. I love this museum. I especially love that it's free.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Rainbow Party!

We had Naomi's first birthday party while in SC so we could have it with family. Since I already had a cute rainbow bunting, I decided to go with a rainbow theme. Also because she really came into our lives after a tough pregnancy loss and her birth has brought a lot of joy into our lives.

 I went to the fabric district with a friend a few months ago and bought a rainbow of paper lanterns for decoration. I have also been keeping my eyes open for other rainbow party supplies recently, and found the plates and napkins at Walmart and the paper hats at Target. The rainbow candy canes were a dollar store find and I served a rainbow of fruits and veggies. And a huge Thank you! to Andrew and Melanie for hosting our little shindig at their house.

 The cake was super fun. I followed this tutorial on Martha Stewart, but used this vanilla cake recipe from Annie's Eats I had made before because I knew it was delicious. I used the frosting recipe from the Martha Stewart site (my first time making a swiss meringue butter cream!) and it was delicious. Naomi really didn't eat any cake (I think she had filled up on tomatoes and pizza) but the rest of us enjoyed it.

 Her birthday dress is one I made a few weeks ago from the geranium pattern (first blogged here), but now you can see how cute she looks in it. You can also see her perfecting her newest skill - walking! She starting taking steps right around her actual birthday but now seems to prefer walking and is interested in trying more and more.

 Her Nana got her a very cute baby and she immediately knew what to do with the little bottle.
Happy Birthday, Naomi Ruth!

Friday, January 03, 2014

Christmas gifts, part 2.

The other sewing project I made this year were explorer vest for my nephews and Judah, another pattern from Little Things to sew.


I put little flashlights and tape measures from the dollar spot at Target in the pockets. When I first floated the idea of explorer vests by Melanie, she was excited since it would mean less new toys at her house. I don't know if they'll get used, but I loved how many pockets these had, perfect for collecting rocks, sticks, and any other "treasures" they find when they go outside. The pattern includes an option for bellows on the pockets, which makes them seems very "explorer-y" to me. I also got a pair of inexpensive binoculars for Judah in his pocket, which he really loved.

The best part about this year's Christmas sewing: I didn't buy ANYTHING. I used up a lot of cute fabrics from my stash, especially from my stash of boy fabrics. I was really tempted to go to Joann's several times, but realized that I really had plenty already for these projects. The buttons are all from my big button box I bought on ebay a long time ago, and I made my own bias tape from other fabric in the stash. (I sort of hate making bias tape because it involves lot of ironing and cutting, my two least-favorite sewing activities, but I now have enough cute bias tape to last a while. If anyone cares, here is my favorite bias tape tutorial.)

Although this is a great boy project, I also love that with some girly fabric it could be great for girls who like to play outside and explore, too.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Christmas gifts, part 1.

I definitely dialed back the Christmas crafting this year, although I did still manage to make a few things.

I ordered a new pattern book, Little Things to Sew, that I have been wanting for a while. It did not disappoint. First I made a very cute messenger bag for my niece Ashlyn. I love all the details in this bag - the flaps, the use of bias tape and all the cute pockets.

And here she is, modeling her bag, as well as the infinity scarf I made. (Which might be the easiest sewing project I've ever done. 15 minutes start to finish. There are numerous tutorials out there; this one has good photos. Mine is obviously made with  a knit fabric, so I used my serger for most of it.

I will definitely be making this pattern again. It would make a great birthday gift. I also love that by using boy fabrics it could definitely work for a boy.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year!

We are still having a great visit in South Carolina: Lots of food, family, time with Nana, a cute birthday party for our little one-year-old, meeting our newest nephew, and generally lazing around.

2013 has been a good, hard, challenging, exciting year full of change. I look forward to see what 2014 has in store for us.