Monday, February 29, 2016

From Frustration to A Great Day!

It was a beautiful Sunday morning and so I decided to write a cheerful post on the Sonrise Christian Fellowship Facebook Page.  You know, something like, "It's a great day to rise and shine.  To worship together.....".  I meant it.  It was a sweet kind of a morning.  AND THEN......I had conflict with a family member, I pinched my finger in the refrigerator in the weirdest happening ever and my happy, oh so spiritual morning went in a very different direction.  I huffed and puffed around here, then grumbled on the way to church.  As we pulled into the parking lot it hit me.  This was an attack. The enemy was answering my cheerful and "inspirational" post with a test.  Well, that changed everything. That really made me mad.  I called him out right then and there in the name of Jesus.

My poor friend, Kelly, got an earful when she got there as I told her how I would rip that enemy to pieces if he happened to be right in front of me.  lol  I may have realized why things had taken a sour turn but it took me longer to get out of that grumpy state of mind.  It was while we practiced the music I had so cheerfully posted about earlier that my spirit calmed and I got over the anger and into His peace. I love the mornings I am not playing the piano but singing instead.  I can better focus on the words of the songs instead of being tense about missing the notes on the keys.

From that moment on yesterday became one of my favorite days ever.

After church we came back to Mom's house where we carried the stuff in to make burgers on the grill.  Mikey is working long hours as the new show, Samson, prepares to open so he couldn't make it but Emily had the idea of a family dinner and it was a great day for it.  Chelsea and Chadd, Mom, Emily, Warren and I all ate together.  After a while Georgia and Jonathan showed up.  Georgia had been out of town and Jonathan got up early from his sleep before work because he is tired of missing all the family stuff since he works overnights all weekends.  It was great to spend time with everyone!  And the grilled burgers were a taste of hope.  Hope that we will soon be grilling all kinds of things.  Yum.

This drummer is fantastic and had the cutest little cymbals she pulled out for just one spot in one song.  I mentioned them to her afterward and she said she found them at a second hand store for a couple of dollars and grabbed them.
The tone was pure and sweet.

Next up on the agenda was a concert.  The National Christian Choir was planning to sing at a nearby church.  We know one of the singers and had enjoyed watching the concert with his wife in 2013.  However, Annie, passed away just over a week ago and so this year would be different.  Paul still came and sang.  He needed that "normal" and the support of friends he has been singing with for years.  We were happy to be there to "support" him as well.  Not that he really needed us and we got way more benefit from our experience.  This choir is made up of regular people from all over the Washington D.C./Maryland/Pennsylvania area who come together each Monday evening to practice. They then tour on the East Coast and beyond.  It was announced that you have to have at least the following two things in order to be accepted into the choir:  A love for the Lord and the ability to SING.  Now, I was curious about the audition process.  Have been since I saw them the last time.  But I know that this is not a commitment I could make at this point in my life.  I mean, it would be 2 hours each way, minimum, every Monday night.  But still I wanted to know how the auditions work and if I ever did find myself in other circumstances if I thought I would have a chance.  As it happened I was standing in the right place at the right time as a woman came up to ask to audition.  We got to talking and I asked if I could stay and watch her try out.  I still don't know her name but we bonded as I stayed with her until it was time.  We tested out a couple of songs.  It was so much fun to see her audition.  I'm pretty sure she is "in" if she wants to be.  They will send her a letter to tell her for sure....but I think they were pleased.  I have photos of her audition but since I didn't ask her if I could post them I'm not going to.

During the concert, itself, I was so torn as to what to watch.  As you may know, I teach two choirs at our former home school co-op.  It is such small scale in comparison... but it is still a rush to direct and get a group of people (kids in my case) to do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it. There is nothing that compares for me.  In the beginning of each year they are individuals who all think their own way, come in to the song when they feel like it, sing loud or soft as the whim hits.  By the end of the semester they have become a choir.  A group of people who start and stop at the same time, get louder and softer together and who understand the story of a song and tell it as a whole.  That in itself is amazing but then when you take all of that and put it in front of parents, family and friends it is the cherry on the sundae.  I can only imagine what it would be like to direct a group of people who were ALL their by their own choice and not as a part of a required class.  WOW!  However, I totally enjoy the challenge that comes with having "non-singers" as part of my classes.

Kathy Bowman, the director of the National Christian Choir, held me spellbound as her hands and face were so expressive in communicating to the choir.  By the time the choir reaches the performance stage they know that music so well that her direction is almost supplemental.  Almost.

There is never a time that a choir will stay completely together without that same direction. Individuality will begin to take over again.  Chaos will begin to ensue.  And so, I sat there and just watched the beauty of her work and the hearing the resulting responsiveness of approximately 150 singers.  Exceptional.  Truly!!

If you ever get a chance to see this choir?  Go!!  Don't miss it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Crazy Weather!

The weather yesterday was hostile.  Although, I did manage to wear flip flops to Bible Study in the morning with the argument that it was to get up to nearly 60 later in the day.  Many didn't buy the argument but my feet were happy..... so it's all good.  And our topic of the day was putting on the footwear of peace from the Armor of God.  My flip flops are very peaceful to my feet.  Just sayin'.

We had a luncheon leadership meeting after our regular study time and then I came home to pack up some orders to go to the post office.  Our little friend, J, was here and Chelsea had to go pick up Chadd at work so J became my little buddy for the trip to the post office.  We headed out with the skies getting more and more black all the time.  First stop was to drop some big boxes off with our Pastor's wife.  It was just dripping as we made the transfer.  Next up was the post office but as I pulled away from Mike and Jenny's house the rain let loose in sheets.  I pulled into the post office and debated leaving and coming back later but as we sat there for a couple of minutes the rain eased up once again.  J and I made it in and out of the post office without becoming too soaked.  Then it was off to get Chinese food for Jonathan.  I had already called it in so not going wasn't an option.  J and I were once again happy to have just moderate rain for our short walk into Peking.

Now, the plan was for me to head up to Lancaster to meet up with Chelsea and Chadd after J was picked up to do some wedding shopping but Warren notified me that there was a tornado watch for the rest of the day.  Having just seen the crazy downpours and felt the ominous heaviness in the air I let Chelsea know I wouldn't be heading North.  I decided, instead, to spend the evening in the candle workshop.  I was relieved when before too long Chelsea and Chadd came home.  Where they were planning to be wouldn't have been too far from where all the storm damage happened.

These got accomplished last evening anyway.

I'm glad I did decide to work downstairs because it was while I was there that my phone alerted to a tornado warning.  The Storm bearing tornado signatures was right over Quarryville.....our town.  Usually you hear those warnings and it is somewhere else.  However, with the storm raging outside and thunder clapping loudly we took it seriously and gathered near our laundry room door but watched the television in my workshop.  We discussed our plan should we hear the wind pick up.  Thankfully it was just minutes before it was obvious that the storm had moved quickly to the north and east.  It appears that the rotation actually touched the ground just a few minutes away from Sight and Sound where Warren had been an hour before.  There are no reports of injury locally but there is MUCH property damage.  40 houses have some damage, at least.  An Amish schoolhouse has been completely destroyed and a couple of chicken houses collapsed.  Sadly, they had thousands of chickens in them.
I know that other parts of the East Coast were harder hit.  They are in my thoughts and prayers.  My dear friend, Shelley's, parents lost their roof in Alabama.... and it flew over and landed on their cars.  They are safe, though, so there is that to be thankful for.

Today will be a busy one.  Off to pick up my friend Mindy and take her to work before an afternoon of teaching music.  Poor Mindy, a skunk got in a fight just outside of her small apartment room.  It sprayed and her room is now permeated with skunk stink.  I fear her clothes and everything might be bad....we'll see...but I'm taking some odor neutralizing spray to share with her just in case.  Anyone who has been that close to a spray event knows how horrible it truly is.  Nothing like what you smell as you pass one on the road.  It is way more acidic and harsh up close and personal.

So, while it is shaping up to be busy, I'm hoping it will be less adventurous.  More predictable and calm would be just fine.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Sometimes Fun Projects Don't Work.....

These tins from Hershey Chocolate Factory aren't sealed.  Bummer!  They don't put anything liquid in them and so it doesn't reflect badly on them.  This was just an experiment performed at the request of a friend and co-worker of Warren's.  I happened to have two also and so I filled mine too.  I'm still burning mine.....and sent the other one in to our friend with the warning to only burn it on a plate or some other protected surface.  No doubt that wax will escape.

This may not have turned out exactly as we had hoped but it is NOT wasted.  This gives me a chance to see how this wick configuration works on a shallow, but wide, candle surface.  My theory is that it won't work all that well.....but I would be happy to be proved wrong.  :-)

Hope you are having a great day......and by great, I mean, I hope it involves chocolate!  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Favorite Morning at Bible Study

I think that even with a headache that wouldn't quit, this morning had to be my favorite ever morning at Change of Pace Bible Study.  There isn't one reason that made it just was.  Chelsea and I got her babysitting charge loaded into the van and off we went.  Since Chels works with the 2  year olds while their moms attend the study she goes with me each week.  I love that!  And now when we have J she comes along and learns too.

We arrived and I walked into the sanctuary to be reminded that the church had installed a new sound system.  Oh, man!  This was a huge contribution to making today special.  There were just three of us singing this morning but for some reason it seemed stronger and clearer than when there are five or six of us.  Some of it was likely song choice....and the fact that I knew the music....but there was also the clarity of the new system that was such a blessing!

The best part, though, was getting lost in the words and message of the songs.  The entire sanctuary of ladies worshiped dearly.  I'm often guilty of being distracted by some technicality or other such thing, but this morning ....not.  We finished singing and you could feel it in the room.  We were all reluctant to disturb the spirit settled in the room.  It took a few seconds for any of the ladies to move. To get up and head to the small groups waiting for us.

Getting to lead a small group is very important to my involvement in a study.  Not for the reasons you may be thinking though.  I have mentioned before that this makes me do the homework.  I'm not kidding about that.  Being accountable beyond simply participating in class is vital to me actually sitting down with my study materials.  It isn't that I don't want to do is simply a matter of the week flying by faster than I can imagine.  All of a sudden a week has passed and my best intentions will not have been met.  I'm just not disciplined.  Period.  This forces the issue.

Anyway, our discussions today were so good.  The dozen ladies in our room are thinking, involved and really soaking up the truths about putting on The Armor of God.  Today we talked about the Breastplate of Righteousness.  Ahh.....there was so much discussion.  We talked about how it is Christ's Righteousness we put on....not our own deeds of righteousness.  But if we are under His righteousness anyway why live a righteous life?  Or on the contrary, since we are instructed to live a righteous life how do we keep our efforts from becoming something we use against others or that we judge ourselves or others by.  How do we start in love, share in love and live in love all while honoring truth?  Oh yes!  It was soooo good.

I've been enjoying the memories of this morning all day long.  Don't you love days like that?  Sweet worship.  Sweet fellowship.  And the JOY of the Lord.  So very, very good!

Chelsea and J both had great mornings as well.  With 10 or so two year olds for Chelsea to care for you never know if it was a "happy day" or an "everyone cried all morning" day.  Today was a "happy day".  And J came running to me with her craft project, eager to show it off.  Apparently they learned about the little boy with his bag lunch because she had a brown bag with some paper fish in it.  And then that little sweetheart sang and chattered the entire way home.  Chelsea and I just had to look at each other and smile.

This next week I'll be studying how to put on the footwear of the Gospel of Peace.  Peace.  Now that's something that sounds good about now.  Should be convicting and inspiring.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hey, We've had Snow, Ice and Rain!

And we have had all three weather conditions within the last 24 hours.
What a crazy winter.
Kind of like it gave us months of beauty and peace along with 
passable roads by accident and now it is like...
"Wait a minute!"

And so we are experiencing the craziness that comes with 
these storms.
I remember this from last year.
Not fondly.

But the difference is that this year we didn't get a flooded basement.
That was right up there as some of the worst times of our lives.
The sickness, the water that wouldn't quit, the stink!
Oooh, that stink!
The nearly broken toe that took months to heal.
It was soooo bad.

Perhaps we have been subconsciously afraid to commit and 
finish that space all year.
Maybe now we will git 'er done.
We do have that little thing coming up....
Chelsea's wedding.
It is a bit of a money sponge and a time taker.
But we wouldn't change a thing.

There will be time to get it all back to it's proper order.
We are using the space in the meanwhile.

Warren has a table desk in one room and his workshop set up in another.
Jonathan has a corner for his electronics and super recliner.
I have my workshop in great working order.
It's just that nothing is very pretty....except my workshop.

A 20-something me would not have been able to deal with that fact.
This 40-something me is much more relaxed about that fact.

Yesterday was the perfect day to catch up on so many candle orders.
After a very fast start to 2016 there was a slow down.
Now things have sped up again.

This little test burn guy has been keeping me company 
over the past few weeks.
I let it burn ALL day yesterday.
Another day or so and it will be done.
Soy wax lasts, people.
Seriously lasts.

I made 80 of these yesterday.

It took a lot of back and forth with the couple to get these just right.
It was worth it!
I think they will be very pleased when they open this box in two days.

I made 40 of these....

I believe this is the third time I've worked with this customer.
She's so much fun!

I also made 21 Sweet Grace Candles.
These will go to families who suffer infant loss at Hershey Medical Center.
Sweet Grace did a fund raiser with me before Christmas and earned a nice
amount of candles for their other hospitals.
This is no small expense for them and the candles are just one of many 
beautiful items in the baskets that are meant to meet immediate needs.

And an assortment of other smaller orders 
were also made up and packaged 
 for shipping today.
Also happening today is a shopping trip for a tea cup to fill a custom order,
a stop at Staples to seek just the right size labels for another custom, quick turnaround order, 
and a stop at the post office to drop off yesterday's jobs.
Well, most of them.
Two finished orders are local deliveries.
Yes, I deliver.
Service....with a smile!

Thankfully, the rain is washing away the ice and we will also get to 
do another FUN thing this evening.
Chelsea's first dress fitting!
I can't tell you more than that because Chadd is in his curious mode.
Even suggesting that he should come along for this.
What a funny guy.
I told him there are no stupid questions....
except.....that one!
He's adorable in his efforts.
We are determined.

Hope you are having a great day.
Stop in and check out the fun news at 
Creekside Cottage if you get a chance.
Things are hopping over there!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sticky Snow

We had sticky snow.
So, so pretty.
This snow stuck to the trees for a long time.

Finally yesterday the winds picked up and huge clumps of 
snow were blowing and falling to the ground.

It reminds me of cake icing on the photo above.

Very pretty....very cold.
And all we needed.
For sure.
Spring is welcome at any time.

It won't be this week, though.
We are headed to single digits overnight.
Makes one very thankful for a warm cozy home
and a comfy bed with efficient comforters.

Now, to just convince our cat, Oliver, that he is better off inside
each night.  It isn't up for debate, really....
but he tries.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Special Dinner and Georgia's Orchids

Last evening we had dinner with Warren's mother, Chelsea, Chadd, Pastor Mike and his wife, Jenny. It was wonderful.  We used to have "family" dinners all of the time but you know how it goes. Schedules shift and people get busy.  We really need to make an effort to schedule them and just enjoy whoever is available that evening.

Anyway, after dinner talk turned to an orchid that Mike and Jenny had given Georgia a little over a year ago.  It turns out that Georgia is an orchid whisperer.  This plant has grown so that she had to replant it three times.  Right now it has amazing blooms on two stems.

Some close ups.
I was amused that Mike and Jenny want some of these to 
appear on our church bulletins.

 They are so supportive of others.
Both of Georgia's ability to help this orchid blossom
and of my meager photography skills.

I used PicMonkey to tweak these.

Such fun it is when we bring our unique gifts and personalities together.

The conversation that followed dinner and a delicious orange cake for dessert
was the faithfulness of God during the years we have known each other
and been part of our church.

We shared many of the direct interventions we saw God do to sustain
this group of Believers with Georgia and Jenny who weren't 
there for all of it.

It's the real deal.
It is uplifting and necessary.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Losing the Dizzies and Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Whew!  This was my worst episode of vertigo ever.  And I started getting episodes of it in my 20's so I know a bit about vertigo.  But a trip to the doctor and a strong course of steroids seems to be knocking it out.  Unfortunately this was not the kind that can be fixed by either of the series of maneuvers that helps if the crystals are displaced.  This was from clogged tubes in my inner ear.  I've heard of many, many cases of it right now and suspect that it is a part of the current virus that is going around.   Whatever the case it is so good to be able to walk without fear again.  I'm still being cautious about looking up and down since they are still triggers.  On Sunday I looked up to see a plane going over and ended up falling onto the hood of our van and holding on for dear life.  That's how Warren found me.  Haha.  I was so glad he came along to help me get into the house.  It is just so weird to feel like your body is trying to throw you to the ground as hard as it can.  But I know many of you suffer from this as well and it is more of a nuisance than a danger.  I just take a lot of care to have something to grab onto so that I don't fall down steps or somewhere else where I might get hurt.

Yesterday I was so thankful to be able to go to Change of Pace.  That Bible study is so good.  It was strange, though, to have a newspaper photographer in our faces as we led worship.  I'm "in our faces".  Worries me for what might appear in our local paper this weekend.  However, it is that our local paper is interested in this community study.  They are fascinated at the fact that this many ladies from so many churches have gathered together for years and years to sing, pray and study The Word together.  I hope lots and lots more ladies see the article and come out to join us!  Any humiliation is worth that.

My small group is bonding and learning together.  This study on the Armor of God is practical and so helpful in times of frustration and stress.  I found myself worrying about being late yesterday and words from the lessons come back to keep my stresses well under control.  When our small group sat around our table we talked about having an action plan for those times when we are attacked with doubt, worry or fear.  Due to the Winter storm we had last week we weren't able to meet to talk about the Belt of Truth and so that was our subject yesterday.  For all of us who tend to worry it is so key that we already have that belt on our spiritual waist so that we are able to withstand those attacks by employing the truths established in the Word. Some have special verses they turn to which they shared with us.  At least two came from the book of Isaiah.  I love that Old Testament remains relevant to us.  Oh, so relevant.

Last evening we headed over to Chelsea and Chadd's new apartment to do some work on the bathroom.  Chadd moved in Monday and so we have been over there a good bit.  Chelsea worked and worked at getting the wallpaper off the walls.  Thankfully it was a pretty easy removal job as they go.  We have had much worse experiences in our many years of home rehabs!  Now to choose the paint color and get that project all finished up.  I love this cute little apartment.  What a sweet nest for them to begin together in just a few months.

Today I will take my friend to work and then head over to co-op to teach my choirs their new music. It seems that they are going to do great.  Last year I didn't have an accompanist until the very end and so spent countless frustrated moments trying to work with background tracks while teaching.  This year I can look at dear Johanna and say, "Would you be able to transpose that?" and she sweetly says "Let me try" and then makes it look easy.  Ahhhhh, I am one blessed choir teacher!!  I could do this forever.  One class has 24 students and the other 26.   They are very nice group sizes.  Usually the older class is a bit larger.  But, I'm telling you that each group sounds very nice.  Sweet, sweet voices.  It was also fun to have a voice student here this week who is making beautiful progress.  We did a "before" videotape of one of her favorite songs and I cannot wait to see the after when she adds her personality to the song.  She is full of personality and drama and this is going to be good!

Yesterday I headed back to the candle workshop to get some orders underway and room sprays mixed up for the shops.  Fresh Vintage by Amy is almost sold out of the French Lavender spray and there was a request at The Painted Chair for Lilac room spray.  Both are made and I look forward to getting them delivered this week.  Hopefully I'll make it to the Painted Chair this morning before heading out to take Mindy to work.

I also must get back to the candle workshop to make multiple orders and some special requests from Back Home Again in Lititz.  We'll be making a Boutique line there.  Also at Fresh Vintage by Amy we are working on a special project that will be fun to reveal.

So you can see that there just isn't time to be dizzy.  I'm so thankful for doctors and the tools they have to help us heal.  I think I want to look up Luke when I get to Heaven and see what medical knowledge he utilized back in the days when Jesus walked this earth.   Well, probably not because there will be no sickness in Heaven.  But, still, it would be cool just to chat.  And since we will have forever it might happen.  :-)

Heaven is greatly on my mind since I lost a friend two weeks ago under very sad circumstances.  Her pastor relayed a vision shared by her sister that was just beautiful.  One in which my friend crossed over and all of her pains, worries, anxieties and griefs were removed from her and she entered her new home singing praises.  Don't you love how God meets those who grieve?  He is so good!

Well, I've been quite chatty today.  Hope you are doing well.  It it time to get myself off this couch and on with this very full day.  Hoping your day is full of those things that make your heart sing.