Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Powder Room Photos



Just a few more touches to finish up in the Powder Room until I call this project complete. So here are the pictures of the project and what are for all intents and purposes the final results.

A Basic Before Photo:

During:

The Same Wall After:

I robbed my bedroom to get these blue and white pieces but I love them here.

Then there is the cupboard that needed a fresh new coat of paint...since I couldn't change the countertop at this point I used the wall color which pulled in the colors on the countertop.



Painting the shelf made a difference in how the focus is now on the pottery, rather than the brown shelf:




The walls after the paint but before the decorative touches...

The New Shower Curtain...


The view from the doorway:



I am grateful to my sweet Sister-in-law, Bev, who searched high and low for those beautiful burgundy towels. Bless her heart...I answered a question at Thanksgiving about what I wanted for Christmas with what I thought would be a simple request...nice burgundy towels. Turns out Burgundy is not "in" this year and they were hard to find. But Bev found these and I love them. Thanks Bev!

When my Mom saw the color in the border she remembered this valance that was tucked away in storage. It certainly catches that red color and pulls it all together. Thanks Mom!

While I wouldn't call this my favorite project I am glad to be nearly finished with it. Warren is glad that it will be done by the time he walks through the door tomorrow...at least that is what he told me this evening.

I love seeing projects and crafts that you work on...thanks for sharing. It is inspiring!

Thank You!

Thank you so much for your sweet well wishes.
I feel the love!

Mom has been so amazing bringing in dinner
a very delicious stew with biscuits on top,
last night and
helping out with the kids.
She has also helped get
Mikey back and forth to work.
She helped me finish hanging the border
in the bathroom today.
Thanks so much, Mom!
I am so glad you live close!

The pain is some better today on tylenol.

It is, however, still extremely bothersome and so I
am attempting to pace myself on the various projects that
I so want and need to have done.

At this minute I am taking a small break from writing
a silly opera for my music class tomorrow. It is going along
with the already crazy theme that I have going this semester regarding
Prince Bob and his fair land of music and Greased Pig Catching.

I told you it was silly.

I'll post the opera lesson when it is finished with the
rest of the craziness over at Homeschooling at Hospitality Lane.

I have a very strange mind. It seems to be very well matched up
with 4th to 6th grade boys. They find me amusing...scary!

This will be the third lesson of the ten week
semester and I am having the
time of my life! No where else can
I make such a fool of
myself...
and actually be popular for it!

So, tomorrow will find me in my bright pink
bathrobe and curlers
with dramatic makeup as we
"prepare" to "perform" this Opera for Prince Bob...
I, Matilda,
of course, am the soprano Diva
who is the most important part of the Opera!

Immediately following this class I will be returning to my
prim and proper self, ha!, and taking Mikey to a Doctor Appointment.
My fear is that I will miss a curler or some of the makeup...
I don't think the doctor would understand!

Then home to prepare for the return of my
dear husband from his
very long time away on business.
If the weather cooperates he will be
here in time for dinner,
that is supper here in Lancaster County.

We have missed him.

We will share a pork (this has absolutely nothing to do with the pigs in music class, I promise!) and sauerkraut dinner with my Mom and
a friend from church. Then we will watch the season premiere of Lost.

Any Lost fans reading this? I do not know if we will watch it all
season. Sometimes over the past year we nearly stopped but we are
curious as to what the writers are up to.

Well, this is a truly strange post!
I am only on Tylenol, I promise!!!!

Thanks, again for all of the well wishes. I'll be back to reading your blogs very soon!
For now, back to the opera!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hobbling!

Soon after I posted this morning a pain set in my side that nearly made me cry! You know the kind of pain where you break out in a sweat and have nausea? That was me this morning.

So, my running day turned into a hobbling day....hmmmmm....

I have struggled with Ovarian Cysts since I was a teen but they are not usually this bad...

I got the candles poured and kids school assignments given and then have spent the rest of the day at the doctor and then off having ultrasound testing done.

The may be the third year in a row for surgery depending on how this one behaves!

2006 - Hysterectomy - that was pretty easy but caused a grapefruit sized absessed ovarian cyst. I was in the hospital for a long time and very, very sick for longer.

2007 - Gull bladder removal and adhesion (caused by the aforementioned pelvic infection) clipping...not such a big deal and very worth while for the relief obtained. My liver and diaphragm were stuck together with adhesions. Are you squeamish does that make you shudder? It hurt! A lot!

2008 - ???? I am hoping nothing...but the ultrasound techie was prepping me for another surgery...we will see...she is not the Dr. She was very surprised that they sent me home to wait it out on pain meds. The ultrasound showed a 3cm cyst. I do not know why some hurt and others just are a nuisance.

I am treating the pain and will see the doctor for a follow up in a month or so if nothing changes in the next day or so.

SO.... no bowling today. Sorry Mrs. Rabe...my cell phone died before I got to call you and it was one thing to the next!

Running...

I'll be very scarce today as I need to:
1. Make a candle order.
2. Teach the children.
3. Drop Mikey at work.
4. Go Bowling.
5. Make dinner - or pull it from crock pot.
6. Be my "official self" at the county-wide Grad meeting tonight.
7. Crash into bed-- and sleep!
Toodles....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bathroom Decor Progress

Well, it has been a very full week even without painting the bathroom. But I can see the completion of this project is within reach! Yeah!

Here is a teaser picture of the progress so far:

I'll do before and afters soon.

Are You Scared? Here is my opinion!!!!

Today's Economy and the Media:

I am about to share my personal thoughts on this topic. These do not represent the company I work for nor should they be taken as personal advice to every person out there. You should contact your financial professional for a review if you are concerned...see my disclaimer at the side bar...talking about money makes me nervous in this type of a setting, however, this is on my mind. I am so upset at the media during times like this and it drives me crazy that they are scaring people who are simply innocently unknowing about how things work...that is my rant for today! :-)

I shudder to think of all of those people selling at a loss because they are afraid thanks to those who are looking for a news story!

The media is doing its best to bring gloom and doom to our financial markets and to bring a recession to the States.

Are you listening?

Are you afraid?

Whether you need to fear depends on a few important things...

How are you set for emergency funds? It is wise to have some money set aside in case an emergency should happen...three to six months worth is good.

If you are invested in stocks or bonds is it the right mix and risk level for you?

I had a client for a long time who would panic each time the market fell. I would encourage her to hold on until prices came back and then we could move them to something less prone to the changing of the markets. However, when the prices were up she would not move that money...she loved the growth...so the cycle would continue. How are you when the market fluctuates? If you are in it for the long term and are continuing to invest on a regular basis you should be rejoicing during the "down" times. You have just hit the motherload of sales. Each dollar going in now is purchasing more shares.

If you are in the process of taking money from your retirement accounts, this drop in the markets is scary. I like to place my clients retirement into a few different accounts. A more stable returning fund for the money to be drafted from and then a couple of more agressive funds for the longer term growth. If you are set up in a similar way you need not fret the downturns that are healthy in a market.

Can you imagine a stock market that went only up? Pretty soon no one would be able to afford to invest. We have seen trends where the pricing has gotten pretty high.

History has shown that fluctuation in the markets is to be expected and is healthy.

As for a recession...are we headed for one? I don't know. One thing I am fairly certain of right now is that this is not it! We have only seen a slowing in the growth pattern...not the losses that must continue for a certain period of time before it is actually a recession.
Yell at those talking heads on the TV
any time they talk about this recession!
I do!

Work on eliminating debt...but not at the expense of growing a retirement account. It is possible to do both at once.

A review of your budget would show us the debt load and the income stream.

Oh, I had better save this discussion for another day...It deserves it's own post!

Love to all of you...
Fear not!
Do take the time to review
your plan
and make sure you are not
going to be hurting in case of
a severe downturn.
This should be a call to action
not a time of panic.
If you are not planning to pull money
from your retirement in the next five years
or you have enough money in the account
you are pulling from for about three years...
relax and invest all you can afford to put away...
after you have a little nest egg set aside
for the unexpected leaky roof
or the expired furnace.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Doing the Right Thing

Sometimes being a parent is all about doing the right thing even when it makes someone, like maybe your child, angry with you. This has been a week where that has been necessary. We have had to intervene in a friendship for Mikey that was taking him in a wrong direction.

I have not enjoyed this...at all!

Mikey is not thrilled with me, at this point!

Interestingly, though, this week has also been hard for two of my friends in almost the same way. They have had to parent the hard way.

You know, I guess that is truly what parenting is. It is natural to love our children and to enjoy their company.

It is hard to do those things that bring their wrath.

We put this intervention off as long as we could and as long as Mikey was taking steps to get himself out of the situation but the friend just could not take "no" for an answer.

We only get a few years to help these young people learn how to make the right decisions and then they are on their own. We are very proud of Mikey for the conclusions he came to. He was really trying to do the right thing.

We hope he forgives us soon for stepping in and amputating the diseased friendship.

Anybody been there? Is there hope?

We are continuing to include Mikey in every family activity so he is not left alone in the house. He grumbles at the beginning but eventually warms up to the fun going on around him. We had a nice dinner, ok it was getting nice towards the end, at a local pizzeria last evening and then came home for a Wii nine hole golf game.
Mikey won!!!!
Of course!!!
He beat his Grandma who has golfed all over the country.

My prayer is that one day he will be glad for our help in this situation that was over his head. I am thankful that we were able to take this step before he got his driver's license next year. Hopefully this person will be out of his system by then.

Please pray with me that Mikey will come to see himself through the love of Christ. He hates himself right now as he deals with a very bad case of acne. It is tough. But he is so funny and likable. So popular with everyone but himself.

I think of Mark Lowery's song, This Too Shall Pass!
It will...so soon our children will be out on their own and we will be remembering these days and shaking our heads...then we will whip out those 50 gazillion photos of the grandchildren and B-R-A-G!!!!

Then we will say a prayer for our children as they, ahem, get back everything they gave us? As they parent their children!

Thanks for listening...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Gift



My friends, Joe and Carol moved to Lancaster County on a whim...literally. One weekend they were tourists from New Jersey and that same weekend they bought a home here.

They could not be happier!

I love to hear them tell that story of sitting in a Restaurant and Carol, being near the end of chemo for breast cancer knowing that life can be short, wanted to make it count and not waste a moment. They did some figuring and decided what their budget would be and went off to find the very cutest of cottages.

The former owner was a landscaper so this cottage had a little pond with goldfish, an abundance of perrenials and plenty of room for a small vegetable garden. They were delighted.

Joe and Carol moved to Lancaster County the day after Carol's final chemo treatment!

While packing up their apartment in New Jersey, Carol decided to bring her dining room light fixture along. After moving into their new home she decided not to use it so it sat in her attic for the past ten years.

At Christmastime Carol asked me if I would be interested in it. I was willing to look at it and actually have wanted a new light in the dining room for some time.

Now, to be honest, I wanted something black...but I have always loved the tiffany style and this one actually has the color of glass that goes perfectly with my dining room. I love it!

I love it, especially, because it came from this friend...who so normally cautious and deliberate about every thing she does in life made the choice to live, one day. It changed her life, and ours.

I do not recommend making those life changing experiences and acting on them all in the same twenty-four hours, normally, but this time it worked out
just fine!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dreams

Alicia at Renewed in Him has posed an interesting question and it has brought back a flood of memories for me. She was wondering what role dreams play in our lives. Do they have a specific meaning? Does God use dreams to tell us things as He did in Bible times?

It made me think of this experience that began just toward the end of our first year of marriage.

As is so often the case for young couples, I began longing for a child. I could see myself snuggling and cuddling a little one. Of course, it was all romanticized. There were no dirty diapers, this imaginary baby didn't get ear infections....you know. I was ready to begin our family. Warren was not. He was quite happy just being the two of us.

I decided that one of two things needed to happen. Either my desire to have a child needed to be put on hold for a while, or Warren needed to want our family to grow, as well. So, I pulled out my favorite weapon. I prayed that Warren would want a baby to hold and to love.

The very next morning he said, you won't believe the dream I had last night. There was a sweet little girl looking up at me with the most adoring eyes. He was nearly in tears. He was ready to start a family.

Over the course of the next few years we had one boy, then another boy. We would comment that his dream must have gotten it wrong because we felt that we could be done having children...and yet there was that little girl in the dream. Who was she? Why was it so crystal clear and why was that what God used to change Warren's heart?

One day, out of the blue, I found out I was expecting...again. This would be just after I sold every baby item we owned! We had no maternity insurance, no baby things and no expectations of having another one. I had to "adjust"!

Round about the fourth month I began having early contractions and extremely high blood pressure. The doctor said he had never seen such high blood pressures so early in a pregnancy. He was a veteran OB not a newbie just out of school. There were many tests. I was on bedrest from the end of the fourth month. One of those tests was an ultrasound. This is where I fell in love with Chelsea. She got her name then. I began buying little dresses.

Several times I was in preterm labor in the hospital and was told that if I delivered nothing could be done....Chelsea was too little.

As time went on....the OJ Simpson trial had at least one person that saw it from beginning to end...from the couch I watched friends from church clean my oven, deliver meals, care for my two toddlers, family take off from work to care for us. The blessings just poured into our lives.

I learned the power of prayer. For someone who is a "do-er" lying around all day, every day, gets very old. God taught me that my value is not in me...it is from Him...I joined a woman from church in praying that her son and a young woman from the congregation would fall in love and be married. They did and they are so happy all of these years later. There were so many things to pray about. I miss so many of these as I am so busy "doing".

There was a nurse who would come to my home every day to check on my well being. She ended up coming to our church after this and really grew in the Lord. I am just saying that the Lord's ways are not always our ways. I was so frustrated with the circumstances but kept falling more and more in love with the little girl fighting to live inside of me.

Finally, the doctors agreed that if Chelsea made it to July 6th they would induce me a couple of weeks early. Warren had a huge part to play in the local Fourth of July Celebrations. The big happenings were at Nittany Stadium in State College which happens to be very near the hospital. He would not assure me that he would come if labor began. He said that I just could not have her that day. Ha! Well, while I did have contractions she waited and I was induced as planned.

Today, we have the loveliest daughter named Chelsea. I know that she made an impact on this world before she even took her first breath of air! Chelsea does look up at her Daddy with adoring eyes just like he saw in his dream.
Doesn't it just make you wonder?

Does God still speak to us in dreams? Was that a coincidence? We held onto the hope that she would make it, in part because of that dream...Hmmmm....I don't really know but I know that God used it in our lives in a big way.

Another faith building experience...as you get older you look back on your life and see the handprint of God so clearly. When you are in the midst of it sometimes it is harder to see His plan.

Well, this post was a lot longer than I even dreamt of posting today. I am sure that this story was told on this blog before...in some form...so if you have already read it, I apologize. I just had to reflect on this today after reading Alicia's Dream Post.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Prayer for our Mikey

I will not share details but would request your prayers for our Mikey, the middle son, as he works through some hard times right now.
It is not easy being a teen!
Also that Warren and I will have the wisdom to know how to help him.
Thanks,

Counting my Blessings!

I am overwhelmed by all of the blessings
in my life.
A husband who really loves me...
for me...in spite of me...

Three children who are very
good...most of the time.
I love spending time with
these guys!

A home that is comfortable
and more than sufficient
for our needs.
Even if I do complain about
sharing that one teeny tiny
closet! Ok so sometimes I miss
the major blessing focusing on
the minor irritations.
Yep, I can do that!

Many friends! My lifeblood!
I love my bloggy friends!
To talk through words to
new friends all around the world!
Ah...a dream come true!
From Norway to Croatia
this is a true delight!
I love you, friends in Missouri,
California, here in PA, Georgia,
Canada, Tennessee, the big midwest
...all over!
What a blessing you are
TO ME!!!

I love my real life friends!
To be able to share an afternoon
while the children play
chatting about the things
we care most about.
These opportunities I find
get less frequent as the children
get older and there are fewer
playdates...at least so closely
supervised.

I love my Lord!
He is oh so
PATIENT
with me!

So many, many blessings...

I could go on and on...

Are you counting yours today?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Candle Making...

I have been MIA in the kitchen making Valentine Themed Candles. Oh, is this fun!
My goal is to create products that are frilly and pretty.

This is what I have come up with so far...

Peach Colored Victorian Rose Scented votive inside this pretty vase. I have two of these and I can just see them on my seller's table. They will be so pretty.

Then there is this:

It is so much prettier and cuter in person. An Apple Cinnamon Soy candle in Gorham Cut Crystal Votive. Then this is tucked into a precious little cardboard bag and finished off with a handwritten tag and raffia bow.

Peachy Victorian Rose appears again here:


And an Apple Cinnamon in an Apple jar with lid:

There are more...but I guess I have spent enough time here..if I intend to get these completed and to my seller this evening.

Blessings on you and yours today.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Changes are happening...

Sometime, long ago, I mentioned that when my
husband goes out of town on business I get
inspired to get as much done as possible.

"Little" projects that I may otherwise
put on hold for fear of his
"gentle guidance" during the process.
Our work styles are different.
Once completed, however,
he is fine with most of my projects.

I find, therefore, that we are both
much more satisfied
if these projects happen
from start to finish
in his absence.

For example,
one time while he was gone
for a week,
I took down every last window shutter
and painted them.
Oh, was I sorry about halfway through that project
but they were back on the house
a good hour
before he arrived home.
LOL

This serves a few purposes:
I am occupied and not as lonely,
Things get done that normally would not
and... he doesn't really like to go away
for fear of what I may do
while he is gone!
See the logic?
You'll only get that
if you are as crazy as I am!

As he is more than likely checking this
blog to see what I am up to,
I will have to be a bit sneaky in the
progress you get to see, as well...
but the boys were put to good use yesterday...



Today, I hope to patch the damage
to the drywall that happened because of
the type of border the previous owners had used.
It was a self-stick and while most of it
just pulled right off there were a few
spots that held on to the paper layer of the drywall.

Dear Mrs. Rabe of Creekside Cottage,
is planning to come
and help me with this
project later today.
We have shelves to paint and
design to consider.



I'll take pictures...
we'll see when I post them.
If they reveal too much of the
project they may have to wait.

Hope you'll check back and let me know what
you think as this project rolls along.

Here is an idea of the color palette:

I will be using these things
in the freshly painted room,
along with others of similar hue.
The wallcolor is the taupe of the
Williamsburg Pottery seen here.
I have a small collection of these little guys
and will be displaying them
on a freshly painted shelf...
We will see.
I am sure some of my ideas won't
work out exactly as
I picture them so I will be flexible.

Have a great day!
I am off to teach the children!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Very Good Buy!

My husband’s 40th birthday was approaching.

It was hard on him.

This was a milestone that he was not eager to reach.

The year was 2004.

Suddenly he began talking about a cute sports car that he wanted to buy from a friend at work.

I kind of thought that was wishful thinking and when I heard the asking price of the car,$500, was sure that it was a heap of junk and there was no way I was interested in getting something like that. Why add a sports car to our insurance policy. I knew that would cost more than our very reasonable minimal coverages on the older vehicles we always seem to have. ( I cannot bear the thought of purchasing a new car and having payments or being the one to pay for the depreciation that is inevitable.)

Call me cheap…it doesn’t hurt my feelings!

We discussed the possibility of getting this car…which would seat, exactly two people at a time…there are five in this family…and I promptly forgot about it. I just put it completely out of my mind.

One day I came to the computer to check emails…and what was on the computer screen as the screen saver but this…


And this….

And this!


Oh, it was cute! I began to see the reason my dear husband was not giving up on this dream. I asked him for details so I could run it by the insurance agent to see how much it would cost to add it. Surely we couldn’t think of replacing a family car/van for this!

The asking price on the car truly was $500 if Warren bought it from this friend at work. If this man had sold it to anyone else, I am sure he would have gotten quite a bit more for it. Much work had been done on it not long before this.

I began to hatch a plan. I emailed and called family and asked them to help make this a 40th birthday present. I asked Warren if he would rather have this than a 40th party – yep! (Remember…I am cheap!) He was thrilled at the prospect of not having a party…and about getting the car.

I am sure that this was Warren’s favorite birthday gift… ever!

This car has been such a blessing to us. Most days it is Warren’s transportation to and from work. With gas prices being so high this car has saved us a bundle!

This is the car that carries Warren and a different child to their father/child breakfasts each week. The schedule rotates and the children almost never want to miss their turn! They always feel very special riding around in the convertible with Daddy!

There has been very little that has been needed to keep the car running happily along.

The best part…Warren still loves this little car…I tease him that if it stops running he can either pull a “Flintstone” and pedal with his feet…or pick it up and carry it home…how rude of me! But buying this car was a very good thing!!!

Now, if only we can convince it to keep running until Warren turns 50!


A Week of Many Projects....

This is an incredibly full week that follows a very full weekend. Here are, in no particular order, the things that need to be accomplished this week:

1. Make Valentine Candles for two fundraisers.Done for One!
2. Paint the bathroom. This is started!
3. Clean out our Master Bedroom of the accumulated papers and "stuff" that just
keeps finding its way into the room. Make room for the Scrapbook Organizer.
4. Teach 5, Now 4,Now 3, days of school to my favorite kids on the planet.
5. Be at the hospital with a friend while her husband undergoes a medical procedure.Done! Joe made out just fine...
6. Take two dogs to the vet...one of which gets extremely car sick. Done!
7. Go Bowling with the co-op friends.Done
8. A shopping trip to Reading with my Mom - because we want to!
9. Co-op afternoon - teach 4-6th grade music.
10. A Co-op planning meeting.Done!
11. Prepare bulletins for Church on Sunday.
12. Host the Youth Group to dinner on Friday.
13. Dogsit for our neighbor friends one more day. Done!
14. Blog for the fun of it!I must! I am addicted!
15. Catsit for my Mother-in-law.Currently...
16. Work in my part time job and see to client needs there.Daily
We will see what else comes up. There will be very little down time...but if all of these things get done, I will be doing a "happy dance" and relaxing next week.

IF I happen to be a little bit scarce this week...this would be why!

Have a wonderful day today!

Your Friend,

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Greetings!

Just checking in before I go back to watch more South Carolina GOP Primary results. This presidential election is the closest I've ever seen to a sports event. The pundits are calling the plays...the voters are "running the ball"...back and forth... back and forth. Who will win? We may not know that answer until the "fourth quarter".

I don't know if I'll be able to keep these eyelids open. After a late night last night with Small Group here and enjoying the company of our friends, I was out the door by 7 am with Mom to go to State College on business. We also got to see my Brother and Sister-in-law. We had a lovely lunch at a local restaurant called Prospectors. It was a favorite of ours when we lived there.

It was a lovely day. I enjoyed the 6 hours in the car with Mom all to myself! I also enjoyed the time spent with clients and family. I loved how it worked out at the last minute to see a client who had called me during the week but I had not been able to reach today. She called as we were about to pass her home on our way through her small town. How cool was that! Considering I live 3 hours away from her home I was pleased to have that detail work out!

Hope your Sunday is great and that you are able to Celebrate the Lord Jesus. He deserves our praise!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Happy Scrapper


Remember that little trip to Lititz that the Moms' and I took before Christmas? Apparently, I looked with desire at a certain Scrapbooker's cabinet at Ceanna Rita's because on Christmas Day I received a card from my Mother in Law stating that we were going to go back to Lititz and pick out one of those cabinets.

Yesterday was the day...Georgia and I loaded ourselves into her truck and went off in search of the perfect cabinet with cute little drawers to hold papers, stickers and other scrapping essentials.

I need to say that Mom also got me a huge travel scrapping bag this year for Christmas. So...I have no excuses! I need to get scrapping!

It was so fun to walk into Ceanna Rita's and walk straight to the cabinets. There really was very little debate because only one of the cabinets had a deeper drawer at the bottom. This seemed like the perfect setup. I can just picture my cutting accessories fitting in there very nicely.

Georgia and I went around to some of the shops again. We found some that we did not have time to visit the last time and then had mocafes in a wonderful little coffee shop. We sat in the front window and watched the quiet little town enjoying the winter break from the hustle and bustle of tourists. We felt very wanted in every little shop!

Back to the cabinet...I have not completely decided where this beauty is going to live yet. There are a couple of choices. Both involve moving other things... one possibility involves moving a dog crate downstairs and I am just not sure that Kimmy is ready for a change of levels. So, most likely this will be my new bedside stand with a pretty lamp and a couple of girly things to go with the pretty lamp...and most likely a Lacy doily.

All of this will have to wait until after this weekend. Just too much going on to play...

If you have one of these I would love to know how you have yours set up. What did you put in the drawers and is it functioning well for you?

See You later!