Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Leaving and Cleaving

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.  Genesis 2:24

Hello friends,

Maybe I should say, hello stranger!  I realize it's been quite a long time since I've posted anything in my blog.  Have you missed me?  I have fond memories of blogging, but have found myself with a few life changes that have put blogging (and often crafting) at a lower priority level in my life.

No worries though... it's all good!  So, without telling you everything about my life today, let's just sum it up with this statement.... I had put my career on hold for the last 15 years as I raised my family and am happily now pursuing a career in pricing and finance.  I went back to work full-time a few years ago and for the last 18 months have been in a pretty exciting and demanding job.  What do I do?  Well, here is my elevator pitch.  I manage and provide strategic direction for pricing for strategic customers.  I have a small team and together we help the global sales and business unit managers succeed in pricing negotiations with a lot of pricing analytics and con-calls! My favorite thing to do at work is present and communicate and lately I've had lots of opportunity to do presentations at all levels of my organization  - from presenting to the c-suite, to presenting to the people who answer the quotes and process the orders.  I also have had a few opportunities to present to the pricing community.  Just last week I presented '5 ingredients for successful deal negotiations' for the professional pricing society on a webinar.  It takes a lot of preparation, but I love it!

I'm happy to focus most of my attention to my work and when I'm not working, I am trying to spend my free time not in front of a screen, thus the blog has gone unattended.

But today seems like a good day to update my blog post about a topic many of you, my blog readers, will face someday.  Today's topic is - 'How to beautifully and loving releasing your son to his wife.'

So my baby, my adorable and beloved youngest son Eric, got married in early June.   We adore his wife Jessa and have known her since she was 16 years old.  We had a glorious day celebrating their marriage and a few weeks ago we drove them to the airport (at 4am) and kissed them goodbye as they started their new life across the country in northern California.
On their way!  CA here we come!

We've known they were moving to CA since April, when Eric told us her was pursuing a job opportunity there.  For the last few weeks and months, many people have asked me how I feel about this move and while I must confess I am a little sad about it, the mature part of me knows it is a healthy and natural thing to happen.  When the sadness creeps in, I hold firm to the goodness of God and the wisdom of all those who have faced this transition before me.  So what does God's word say about this?  It clearly says that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.   I think we all know what leave means but what the heck does cleave really mean? Here is what Merriam Webster says
  1. 'to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly
'

So basically, what God's word says about this topic is that the wise thing to do is for a young couple to leave behind their lives as single people and join together with their spouse in a solidly new relationship.
I do's are done..... now onto the party!  Mr. and Mrs Eric Monroe...

They are so stinking adorable.   Love them both sooo much!
Part of me is sad that they are so far away (and in a different time zone) but it's fun to talk to them and hear all their new grown up adventures.  And it will be fun to visit them when we go this fall!  Since they only have each other and are starting out with new jobs, new apartment, new friends, it will actually be easier for them to leave behind their old single lives.  What won't be easy will be navigating through all the challenges of being young and poor and learning how to love each other and live together!  I have faith that they'll make it.  They are both wonderful people and solidly committed to loving each other with a real sacrificial love.  It won't be easy, but if they work at it, it will be worth it!  I pray for them and know God will meet their needs if they seek Him.


So what's next for my blog?  Well, I'm not planning to abandon it!!!!  Instead, I'll probably post once a month or so, so please do stay as a follower and leave me comments!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Cards

Hello friends,

Well, I did it.  I got all my Christmas cards finished and in the mail.  Every year I tell myself I'll start earlier, but every year I find myself scrambling at the last minute.  Hopefully all of them will arrive by the day after Christmas, maybe some will get there Christmas eve!

Speaking of Christmas eve, what are your plans?  We are heading up to Little Bear Lodge.  In the town of Bradford they are having a Christmas Pageant.  I do not know if I've ever been to a Christmas pageant, but I'm going to try to talk the family into going.  Its outside and involves kids, caroling, hot chocolate and animals.  I'll be sure to take pictures.  I'm guessing it's going to be adorably small town.


Since we'll be away for Christmas, we went to Christmas eve service last night (12/22.)  I know, isn't that crazy that they offer Christmas eve service on Christmas eve, eve, eve?  It was really nice.   There is a lovely church in Lexington, Grace Chapel, that I've been checking out.  They did a very nice service, lots of traditional music and an uplifting message.  I counted over 50 musicians - it sounded awesome as they led us all in traditional and modern Christmas hymns and carols.  Of course it was a candlelight service and of course we ended with silent night.  It was really nice.  I wish I could go back Christmas eve!!!  I'll be definitely going back in the New Year.



So, back to the cards.  Below are all the various designs I made.  For those that know me, I do not like make 'assembly line' cards, so I pick a few designs and make 4 or 5 of each.  Which is your favorite?









I'll be back with two more Christmas cards and a project to show you on Saturday December 26th for the papertrey ink blog hop.  

I wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas!  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Create along with us Papertrey ink

So one of the first Christmas cards I worked on this weekend was a card that was inspired by Papertrey Ink's December release.  Here is the card I made.

Below is my inspiration from Amy Scheffer.  You can see the details of her card on her blog.

http://pickledpaperdesigns.blogspot.com/


I hope you are enjoying pre-Christmas festivities.  We had a fun weekend up in NH at Little Bear Lodge, our little cabin in the woods.  Sarah, Ivan, Eric and Jessa all joined us.  We found a great tree (at a nice last minute price) and did some very simple decorations on the tree.  We have a pile of pinecones still to add, once they dry and open.  We can do that when we are up later this week.  The lights are on and some red berry garland. We also added a bunch of white crochet snowflakes.  It looks rustic and pretty with the burlap and fleece tree skirt.

Sarah decorated this adorable sled she found at a yard sale this summer and it looks great under the sign Bob had made for us.  Even though there is no snow (and no expectation for snow this week) Little Bear Lodge is all festive.


After decorating, I got busy making cards.  I'll post them over the next few days.  Today we got to go for our traditional long walk.  To go to the top of the hill and down to the road again is 4.2 miles. Today we didn't go all the way, we turned around early, but it was a good 3.5 miles.  We don't bring Joey, he's not up for those long walks anymore, but Tank enjoyed the brisk winter air.  Don't you love the New England stone walls that are just out in the woods?  It's kind of a neat and unique feature of a walk in the woods in these parts.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Preparing for Christmas

Hi friends,

Well, Christmas is one week away and I have lots to do.  I still haven't made my Christmas cards, much less got them ready for the mail and I have not started holiday baking yet either.  Thankfully I have all of next week off from work, so if I get busy, I still can do these things - but the cards may not get mailed till Tuesday.  Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

I made a few Christmas themed cards a few weeks ago.  Let me show you those.

This first one is quite retro and fun.  I actually really like it and plan to make several more.

This one is a fun new image I found at a stamping store in NH.  There are two versions of this image on a card.  The first is a 'flat' image where I just color her outfit and face.

The second version is with the button.  In the store this looked super cool and fun, but now that I have the card in front of me, it looks weird to me.  It is a fun technique to add the 3 day element, but somehow I'm not a huge fan.  What do you think?
So, in addition to having some cards to make, I also have some baking to do.  I found the following fun Christmas food on pinterest.  I love chocolate covered pretzels, so I'm sure these will be delicious.  I also love that they are super easy.  

How do you make these?  Super easy.  I used Snyders butter pretzel squares.  Layer your cookie sheet with the pretzel squares.  Unwrap the rolos (this was the most time consuming part of the whole process) and put a rolo on top of each pretzel square.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes (250 degrees) then take them out and put your other pretzel square.  Smoosh it down.  After it's cooled, melt some white chocolate and dip the corner in.  Dip again in colored sprinkles.  Yum.

What else am I baking?  Betty Crocker Christmas cut-out cookies.  These will take much more time to make.  Make the dough, refrigerate it, bake the cookies, then frost them.  I usually set aside 2 days to finish these and every year I wonder if they are worth it, but I love them.  Best Christmas Cookies around.

If you want the recipe for these, here is the link.

Hopefully I'll get my cards & cookies made and my gifts all wrapped by Tuesday.  Then the rest of next week I can start reading some of the many books I've recently checked out of the library and relax a bit to start the Christmas vacation.  I have two work books ('Multipliers' and 'the Challenger Sale'), one social justice book ('Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria') and one self help book ('Thanks for the feedback') all on my shelf to read.  Oh and I have a few movies as well.   How about you?  What does your week before Christmas look like?

Stop back next week, if all goes as planned I'll have some cards and cookies to show you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Another Blue and Green Christmas Card

I was inspired to make two cards for the Papertrey Ink challenge so here is the second one.

This card uses soft stone card stock with white and shimmering white card stock with just an accent of Hawaiian Shores and Simply Chartreuse.  The stamps and dies are from Dawn McVey for PTI. This set is called Spruce and Sprigs.  At the bottom of the blogis the inspiration photo for the blog hop.






Thanks for visiting today.  Make it a great day.

Blue & Green Christmas Cards

Good morning friends,

I have two quick posts this morning to join the fun with Papertrey Ink and the November blog hop.

No time to chat today, I have visitors today (my mom and her husband Peter are with us this morning) and I have some pies to make for Thanksgiving.

My first card uses Betsy Veldmans Petite Places Holiday Lane.  What an adorable set of images in this set.




Below is the inspiration image I worked with.



Thanks for visiting today.  Make it a great day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fairy Garden and Mouse Town

Hi friends,

Do you ever give in to a total impulse buy?  I'm usually pretty good when I shop to not buy things on impulse.  I haven't always been that way, but as I got older I found I had bought things in my youth that either never got worn or used or added unnecessary clutter to my house.  So I started making shopping lists and I try to only buy things that are on my list. But every now and again I get caught up in a beautiful display and a hearts longing and I find myself at the check out with items in my cart that were not on my list.

That's where the fairy garden comes in.  But first, let me share a pretty card I made for a women I know who is undergoing cancer treatment.  I started up again with Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) last year.  This  year I am serving as the treasurer.  Ruth trained me this summer and has been my 'go to person' since she has been the class administrator.  She had to step down from her BSF job because of cancer. As we met at the bank to transfer the account from her to the new admin,  I wanted to give her a little encouragement card.  Thankfully, she'll still plan to attend the class, so I can stay in touch.


So back to my impulse buy.  This fall, Bob and I visited the Warner NH Fall Foliage festival and while there, I purchased some really good jelly/jam from a local vendor.  Her products are often made with wine (red, white and sparkling) and they are very unique and delicious.  I wanted to get a few jams to have as gifts - in particular - one bottle of red wine jam for a thank you for hosting Thanksgiving for Bob's aunt.  So I went on-line to see where I could buy these Laurel Hill jams.  I found a garden center (http://www.bedfordfields.com/) that she listed on her website (http://www.laurelhilljams.com/)  A few Sundays ago, I stopped in to get my jam. They had several jars of jam and I had fun choosing a few to have on hand.  But then I made the mistake of looking around to see what else they had.  Even though it was November, not peak garden season - too late for gardening - too early for Christmas - they had lots of really nice things.  I went into the greenhouse area and discovered an entire room full of fairy garden supplies.  Now if you were like me, you are probably saying 'what's a fairy garden.'  Good question.   To quote from their website it is ' a fascinating hobby creating green places in small spaces.' 

Below are some samples of some indoor fairy gardens.  Of course I was intrigued.  Hobby, small spaces, green... all of that is right up my alley.   Combine that with whimsical and I was totally on-board. I spent a long time looking over all the samples and products for sale and selected two figurines to get started.

Being the major cheapskate that I am I then headed to Savers (the next day) and bought a mid-sized wood bowl and plate for $4.00.  I had Bob drill holes in the wood bowl and filled it with potting soil from the summer containers.  I found a $1.99 plant at Market Basket and split a few of the small houseplants I had at home and created my very own indoor fairy garden.

Voila!  Small, Green and Whimsical.   I love it and can't wait to continue to fine-tune this garden and make another.




I think the reason this fairy garden hobby is so appealing to me is that it makes me think it's 'Mouse Town for Adults.'  Mouse town was a very fun thing from my childhood.   Let me see if I can describe mouse town for you.   My husband says it's like a girl version of hot wheels, but I insist it's nothing like that.  Yes, mouse town took over the whole house (just like his hot wheel tracks did for him) but mouse town was so much more than that.  Mouse town was an experience that could not be contained - literally.  Mouse town was everywhere.

I heard that mouse town originated with a kitchen sponge that was cut into the shape of a mouse with a mouth, eyes and ears.  My sister started creating things for this mouse and it grew from there.  My memory of mouse town is that it was adorably eclectic.   My memory of the actual mouse was a delicately crafted figure made of  wool that walked on two legs and was male.   A little bit like this picture only with clothes on and more regal looking.

We would collect anything that was small and pretty and we would use these things to create mouse adventures.   Mouse town was like a dollhouse without a roof.  We had sofa's, chairs, tables, boats, skating rinks and ski hills.  Skating rinks were created with a shoe box top and pouring glue (and letting it dry) to make a slick surface. Ski hills were created by putting a white blanket on the stairs and a doll house living room chair attached with string to the chair banister. Ski's were probably crafted of tongue depressors attached using rubber bands.   If we could make it ourselves - we did, but we also loved doll furniture and spent hours in toy stores looking for things to add to mouse town. We had modern furniture (well, it was modern back then, now it would be retro 70's style) and old fashioned furniture (think wing back chairs in blue floral prints.)


We had various critters - but of course - mice were always in the mix.  The funny thing was everything wasn't proportioned correctly.  Often the mice would be too big to fit in the bed or chair, but we didn't care,

And we moved mouse town all over the house, yard and neighborhood.  Through mouse town, my sister and I let our imaginations go wild and our creative, problem solving brains get busy.  We also learned {sigh} about tragedy.  A memorable moment came when we took the mouse town crew down to the little stream at the bottom of the hill for a boating adventure.  I think the boat was made of cardboard and my sister released the mice (in the boat) at the starting place in the stream.    I was stationed a few feet away to help the boat safely dock at it's destination for a mouse town picnic, but sadly the mice never made it. The water was moving quickly and the boat went over the small waterfall and capsized.  Mr. Mouse (our favorite) sank to the bottom and got pulled away in the current further down the stream. My sister and I searched in vain for the fallen mouse, never to be seen again.  {tear.}

I have no photos of mouse town (remember folks this was the 70's - photo's were reserved for special occasions) but I do have fond memories of many a pajama clad day spent with my sister in the basement of our house (or back yard) creating adventures with some doll house furniture, some cardboard, some glue, some stuffed miniature critters and lots of imagination.

Do any of my blog followers remember mouse town?  Please comment (or e-mail me) with your mouse town memories so I can refresh my memory further!  Do any of you have a similar childhood memory of a favorite thing like Mouse Town?  Please do tell.  I love taking a walk down memory lane.  And stay tuned.  As my new 'adult mouse town' hobby kicks in, I may have more fairy gardens to show you.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.