Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Learning the Lesson Just One More Time

From the ages of approximately seven to ten I had an Ethel Barrett
story record that I listened to regularly.
Ethel Barrett was so good at telling stories.
You could imagine her face all scrunched up as she 
made the story come alive...
or a huge smile as a lesson came to a happy conclusion.

One of the lessons I remember well was about a 
monkey in a cage at a zoo.
This monkey was offered its freedom.
However there was a problem.
You see, the monkey had found an apple just outside the cage
and was holding onto it

While his hand went through the bars easily enough
without the apple it just would not fit
back through as long as that stubborn
primate kept the apple in his grasp.

The visual of this has stuck with me over the years.

Last weekend I realized that I have been just like
that monkey in at least one area of my life.
The Candles.
I LOVE making candles.
I truly enjoy everything about it.
I've put blinders on to how it effects the rest of 
my family....
not that I don't know.
I just wanted IT more than I wanted to please them.

That was wrong.

One week ago Sunday, God did some surgery on my heart.
I truly felt the snipping as He pruned and poked 
around in there.

He changed my heart.
I could finally say with all that is in me
that I want to please my husband more than I want to 
make candles.

I shared this with a friend one day as we walked.
She's a new friend so who knows what in the world she 
was thinking as tears ran down my face.
However, I'm pretty sure she has kept this matter in prayer.

Not only did I share this with my friend, 
but on that Sunday I wrote a letter to my darling 
husband telling him that he comes first.
Not because it is the "right thing", 
but because I just love him that much and don't 
want to waste our time together working in 
opposite directions.
We talked.
He is so unbelievable.
He didn't say...
"Great!  Now you'll give it up."
Instead he was totally understanding and 
supportive.  I couldn't believe it.
Not only did I give up the apple
but I gained freedom.
Freedom from the  underlying current of discontent.
Freedom from the guilt.
Freedom from resentments.
We have agreed that this candle season will be 
the trial period to judge the ultimate potential for 
Good Neighbors Candle Co.
Some time round about the New Year 
we will, together, decide if this is something that will 
continue or if I will become a hobby candle maker.
Man, does it feel great to be FREE.
So glad I let go.
Are you holding onto something that is 
keeping you from having ultimate 
happiness and peace?
Take it from this silly lady.
It's not worth it.
Let go.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Broken Table Breaks the Ice

As you probably know Saturday was a big day for me and my candles.
I had been invited to participate in an event in our local mall.
It was for up and coming artisans.

I was the only candle maker,
There was a soap maker, several seamstresses,
a lady who put together packets of premixed baking products,
a jewelry maker, a photographer, a leatherworker
and more.

We all showed up bright and early and set up the tables provided 
for us by the mall staff.
Mine was fully loaded with candles.
Heavy, heavy candles.

 It was fun to use the crackle candle holders to prop up glass shelving.
It was a last minute thought before we walked out the door
and Warren grabbed the glass shelves from the garage
so that I could try it once we got here.
 Years ago Beverly and I had picked the shelves up 
with a hope, even then, that we would one day have 
a little shop.
They have just been waiting......
still waiting.
But at least they got a little use on Saturday.

Two bears came along as cute filler.
The flower arrangement would probably have 
sold if I had offered.
One woman just kept commenting on how pretty it 
was....but I resisted setting a price
because I love it too.
It is one of a kind. 
I made it from a canister picked up 
on clearance because it had no lid.

The prices in the frames were a fun little touch I did this time.
They seemed to work for most people.
Some, didn't read them though.

So, anyway, back to the story.
I was all set up facing the way the organizer had intended.
But, it seemed that all of the traffic was behind me and the other vendors.

So, the ladies behind me approached me about turning our tables around
to face the crowds.
They turned theirs.
A while later we decided to turn mine.

That's when it turned nearly tragic.
With two of us on each side we began to move the table.
The brace that ran from one end of the table to the other
came out and the table began collapsing.
It was terrible.
The candles were hanging on by some miracle.
The ladies said they had the table and I'd better get over 
there and pull all the the stuff down to the floor 
before it fell there.

So, there I was apologizing to them and grabbing candles.
We ended up with quite a mess on the floor.
Mall security came over and alerted the organizer 
that we had an issue with the table.
They all agreed it was broken.

What we are not sure of is if it was already 
defective or if we caused it by lifting it while full.
But either had to be replaced.

So....I waited.
Beside my pile of candles and decor.

Then when they brought me a new table
I set it up facing the crowds of people.

I felt so embarrassed. 
It looked as if I got there late and was just setting up.
However, I just had to put the pride aside 
and get it done!

If you have ever been a vendor at a craft show
you know that cautious feeling between vendors.
Well, if this was there before it was certainly gone
after that near catastrophe.
We became great friends and had a wonderful
day together.

Sales were meager...because it really isn't
gift buying time at the mall.
It was back to school time.
However, I did meet some wonderful
people who happen to love soy candles enough
to buy them on a hot day in August.

It wasn't just me.
All of the vendors felt the pinch but we agreed
that we would love to do this event in time for
Mother's Day or Christmas.

I would love to spend the day with them again.

I also have to thank my friend Melissa
for coming just in time.
As I was working alone you can imagine that
I needed a break now and then.
She came just in the nick of time!

She also helped me eat fun mall food.
Everything from Auntie Anne's pretzel dogs
to peanut butter and chocolate custard. 
If that wasn't quite enough she bought
a mini Cinna-bon and split it with me.
Now that is a friend.

Also appearing were our friends
Dave, Mindy and their daughter Hannah.
We had a blast laughing at with Dave
who had worked all night and hadn't slept.

I'm so thankful for friends.
Friends make life so much more fun!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Quick Trip to Maryland

Chelsea is our event coordinator.
Or at least the inspiration behind getting out of the house
and doing things.

When she knew that she would have yesterday off
she began asking what we could do with the day.
Then at dinner with the Moms last Thursday evening
the subject of North East, Maryland came up 
and we decided that this would be the thing.
Warren took a vacation day and we were off!

Mom and Georgia knew there was a lighthouse
but that was all they knew about it.
We decided to check it out.

Turns out you hike nearly a mile one way on a gravel trail.
One which would definitely feel better in sneakers.
If we had known a hike would be involved we would have worn them.

We made the best of it and were rewarded with really
great views

and even a friend for Warren.

This vine swing was right along the trail and most of us had
to check it out.  
That was fun!

Mom went first.
'Cause she is the bravest among us.

Then Chelsea....
I suggested that she stand on it.

 So cute!

 Next up was Miss Graceful herself. 
This was right before the swing bottomed out.

Georgia did well with it.....

Warren saved his adventure for the cliffs.
The ground that you see is what there is.
And it is being held in place by a few tree roots.
Other than that...
it is a straight drop 
Far down.

It was lovely.
The perfect day...since we got going early. 
It got very hot later but we were done with the hike by then.

One last story before I close this chapter of the day.
More later but when we got back into the car Chelsea told Grandma Ruth
that she had butterflies on her shoulder.
Grandma Ruth got out of the van but the butterflies weren't interested 
in flying away.
When I took a look I understood why.

Mom was mortified that they should 
be so bold on her shoulder.
We all had a great laugh about that one!

Hope you find something to laugh about today.
It is sooooo good for you!!
I'll post more from our day as soon as I can.
Tomorrow promises to be a very, very busy day.
I'll be at our local mall all day long.
If you are within driving distance to Park City Center 
come by and see me.
I'll be in center court with my candles.
Hoping to sell a bunch!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beautiful Night for a Walk

I have a standing date with my friend, Melissa, to walk on Tuesday evenings.  Admittedly it has not happened more than it has happened.  This being blamed on illness in the Spring and heat over this Summer.  However, on the occasions that we have walked my reaction has been anything from enjoyment to pure torture.  Poor Melissa.  This is not me at my best.  For sure!  I get cranky.  But bless her heart she just bears with me and keeps encouraging our Tuesday dates.

Last night we went to a new place to walk.  It was way better than our usual walking spots.  This was a park deeply hidden in the woods of Lancaster County.  It took us a while to find it again.  You see, Warren and I had been here before with our church group, but that was about five years ago.  So following the directions in the phone we attempted to find it.  The phone knew what it was trying to tell us but we did not get it.  We wandered a bit until Warren just went the way he thought it was and we arrived.

To this:

Shortly after I took this photo I realized what time it was.
We were due at another park to meet more friends for 
Ultimate Frisbee....the kids, not me...
Time had flown 
such was the beauty here.
My camera and I were having a ball.

So up to the park in Lancaster we went.
Chelsea was already there but we were delivering Jonathan
and meeting up with friends Amy and Deanna.
One of the things I miss most about home schooling is meeting 
with friends while our kids take sports or play together.
This was kind of like that.
Even though our presence is no longer required 
for our offspring to get together it is nice to 
make it happen from time to time.
Especially when we can choose a nice Summer evening
for the occasion.

There were a lot of young people out to play 
last evening.

 As the moon became more distinct in the sky 
the kids stopped the game and ate their traditional 
ice cream bars.

It was just a perfect way to spend an evening.