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I led DA around some pretty stores last week in a last ditch effort to find bedroom lamps in Orillia.  I didn’t really expect to find any or at least not any that we could realistically afford.  To my surprise, we stumbled onto some lovely lamps that were actually a good price.  The best part was that DA and I were in total agreement on them.

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There was only one in the store so we had to wait for a second one to come in.

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They look pretty flanking our amazing bed.

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They look nice on too.

The  moral of the story is to check out stores that look hoity toity from the outside.  You might just find what you’re looking for and it may cost you less than you expected to pay.

While I had the camera out I snapped some pics of my tulips which are on their last legs but still looking oh so nice.

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Even the one that was totally exhausted looked pretty strewn out on the carpet.

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I don’t know why I took all these pictures.  I haven’t been able to launch my photo editor for over a week.  I’ve been getting by but not very happily.  I don’t know why today is any different from the last number of days but without explanation the computer uploaded photos and launced Picasa 3 without any problems at all.  Oh happy day!  Gorgeous lamps, pretty flowers and a computer that does what I want it to!  That really helps to make up for the mix up in the fitness class yesterday and the flat tire today.

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I don’t buy fresh flowers very often.  O.K.  Almost never.  When I do, I count it a big deal and really enjoy them.  I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve taken of these tulips.

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When I bought them I thought they would be white.  They have a pretty red stripe on their petals  and I adore having them in my bedroom.  Here’s where they are sitting so that I can wake up and see them first thing.

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I want to make a little black skirt for that makeshift plant holder (it’s not really designed to hold a chamber pot) and fill the vase all summer long with wildflowers.  It’s raining a lot here and things are starting to turn green.  It’s only a matter of time before the daisies and black eyed susans start blooming again.  If you need a little pick me up, I think there’s nothing like fresh flowers in the home to give it to you.

I got invited to a wedding shower so I tried making a towel cake for the bride-to-be.  I bought the best towels I could afford (it helped that they were marked down 50% at Sears) and then used what I had to put the cake together.

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It’s sitting on a washed off grocery store tray (the kind that used to have bread and artichoke and asiago dip on it) and the tiers are held together by a dowel from a dismantled scroll that I had made one time for children’s ministry.

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The crazy black and white patterned material I purchased last year when Fabricland was having their moving sale.  It was supposed to be used for curtains in the man cave.  That was when the cave had a black and white tile floor layed with love by moi-meme.  After the basement flooded, all the flooring had to come out even the one that was a labour of love.  Insurance gave me so much selection to replace that floor and none of the options were black and white.  I chose a lovely mottled beige vinyl floor so I have all this material that doesn’t match anything left for other things (like towel cakes!).  The hot pink ribbon was a mistake purchase and the yellow flowers came with a second hand purchase I found.  It’s a crazy combo but it kind of works for me.

I enjoy where I live.  I’m within walking distance to a small lake, some woodland trails and a marsh area.  Each have their own beauty and change in their own ways with the seasons.  It’s a joy to view them and consider the One who was behind them all.  Yes.  I believe there is a Creator behind all the nature that surrounds me.

I received this beautiful bowl as a birthday gift from my parents.

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I know nothing of the artist or the process that went into the making of this basket bowl.  What I do know is that my parents didn’t just find it in the woods somewhere.  It’s not the result of thousands of years of mysterious cosmic manipulation.  One look at it tells me that it’s been created and that whoever created it is an artist.  It’s beautiful.

I like the Biblical account of creation in the book of Genesis.  I like how each day God made something and then “saw that it was good”.  He’s depicted as a modern day artist examining the work of his hands and deciding if it’s worthy or not.  I can relate to that.  I agree with His assessment.  Even in its fallen state, creation is good, very good.

Genesis informs us that man was made in the image of God.  Like our Creator, we have creative abilities.  Some express their creativity through art, others through music and still others through dance.  Each of those broad categories can be divided into sub-categories.  Within the world of dance, for example, are ballet, tap, break-dancing, Highland fling and a multitude of others.

The artistic expression that I am most drawn to is interior decoration.  It uses furniture, architecture, textiles, colour, texture and pattern as its means to express.  There are some very talented people out there in this art form.  I rejoice in their abilities.  Whether they realize it or not, I think that by developing the talent within them they are showing forth that they are made in God’s image.  It’s my opinion.  Nature shows forth the glory of God – His great power, His creativity and imagination, His love.  In some smaller way, we too can show forth how great our Creator is by developing those tendencies He’s put within us.

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I found this room on the web yesterday and think that it is stunningly gorgeous.  This lovely sitting area in the DC Design House didn’t happen by chance.  Sally Stepankus and Heather Safferstone are the creative duo behind it.  It’s obvious to me that a lot of thought went into it.  Beauty like that doesn’t just happen.  This room was planned and carefully executed and I’m glad it was.  I don’t know who will get to enjoy it but I’m sure that it will bring enjoyment.  It already has to me and I haven’t even seen it in person.  In my humble opinion, their work is good, very good.   God is good, very good, to have given to us the minds and abilities to bring  joy to others through the works of our hands.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

That’s apparently a misinterpretation of a quote by Lao Tzu but it’s one that I like very much.  Sometimes the realization of a goal or dream seems far, far away but by turning oneself in the right direction and taking even a single step one is that much closer to one’s destination.  One step can lead to another and if one continues one can actually do what once seemed impossible.  One can actually traverse that thousand miles.

I have some simple dreams that I am trying to accomplish.  One of them is to have a beautiful home.  By beautiful I don’t necessarily mean something that would be featured in Better Homes and Gardens.  I mean something that is functional, clean, organized and comfortable.  I want my sons to be able to invite their friends over without having to apologize for the place we live in.  I want my husband to come home from work and find the house a haven, a place he can kick back and relax in.  I want friends and family and even strangers to be able to come in and feel invited and at ease. I want the place I spend so much time in to bring me great joy.

The easiest path to achieving this would be to hire Sarah Richardson to come and do it all for me.  I’ve learned that the easiest path isn’t always the best one.  I plan to reach this destination one step at a time and really enjoy the journey.  I know that it will be a lengthy one.  I won’t get there in a day or a week or even a year.  I will get there little by little.

My parents came for the weekend to celebrate my birthday with me.  A little job that’s been on the list for some time got done and I’m loving it.  The light fixture that I found at 50% off at the ReStore and carefully painted black replaced the boob light in our bedroom yesterday.  It’s a little thing but in my mind it totally improves the room.  It was just one more step in the right direction.

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I also put some tulips in that chamber pot I painted.  Another little step towards my destination I think.

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You have to see these blooms in the warm glow my camera sometimes gives.  So pretty.

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I probably still have about 500 miles to go in this room but I’m getting there.  Slowly but surely I’m getting there.  Step by step I’m getting there.

mrshoward_008Isn’t this a pretty sitting room?  It was put together by Mrs. Phoebe Howard, a decorator I really like.  All of her rooms look classy and coordinated.  It’s rooms like this that make me want to learn to sew.  Wouldn’t it be grand to make designer curtains and pillows and ottoman covers all in coordinated prints?  You could make “outfits” for your rooms and change them up for the seasons or even for special occasions.  Hmmm…I do have some birthday money to spend…

woman-runningDear Diary,

The route that I have chosen to start running is a quiet tree-lined road with woods on one side and a meadow on the other.  It’s quite pretty.  The other day I noticed the farmer out in the field with his tractor and today I could tell that he had been at work.  As I ran, I took in great, big mouthfuls of very stinky air.  It was like I was running in a barn.  I think I may have to choose a different route for a while.

Maybe the smelliness helped me to push myself a bit.  My first two runs were elongated to three and a half minutes each and I shortened the walk time in between to one and a half minutes.  I also managed to clock two and a half minutes for the last run.  I finally feel like I’m starting to come into my stride and it’s encouraging that I am feeling fit enough to run again with less walking in between.  I ran half a minute longer than last time I went out and I cut the in between walking by a minute and a half.  I’d call that measurable progress.

Yada Yada.  A few meaningless syllables to most people.  Two small words that will forever be associated with a group of incredible women in crazy socks to me.  I had the privilege of being involved with the Yada Yada Sisters for a season of my life.  It was one of the most difficult periods of my faith walk and I’m not sure how I would have made it to where I am today if God hadn’t brought me into contact with those special ladies.  They listened to me, prayed for me, walked alongside me as I struggled, encouraged me, cheered me on and got me to laugh again.  How can I forget all those dear gals stretched out on every square inch of my living room for a soaking session?  Or the time we racausly laughed our way through mini putt?  Then there was the time we posed wearing our outlandish socks for an ad for women’s ministries.  And I’ll never forget the night they threw a makeover party for me because I was feeling so glum about how I looked.  Of course, I also think of all the times we shared where we were really at and joined hands in a circle to pray together.  The Yada Yada Sisters made a difference in my life.

I no longer live where the Sisters do.  At least one of them reads this blog and several of them are on my Facebook account.  Still, I miss those gals.  I think they miss me too.  Today DA and I got a package in the mail.  Look at what those dear, dear women stitched for us.

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I took pictures of each of the handstitched panels but my crazy computer won’t let me launch my photo editor again so you’ll just have to take my word for it that each section of this quilt is beautiful.  I will show you one that doesn’t need to be cropped or turned.

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I had no idea this lovely gift was coming.  What a surprise when it arrived.  My Yada Yada Sisters, they really go the extra mile for me.

I had a light bulb moment this week.  It finally came to me why I liked school so much.  It’s because of the assignments.  I never had to wonder what I was supposed to be doing.  The teacher decided that and assigned it to the students.  Assignments usually came with scoring rubrics which told me exactly what the teacher was expecting.  That’s the sort of thing I can run with.  When I know what someone wants done and how they want it done, I’m in my comfort zone.

I think this is why I enjoyed my first marriage so much.  I married a military captain who was used to taking charge and had no problem handing out orders.  It irked some people but not me.  He was clear in what he wanted and pleased when I delivered it.  I’m always eager to please.  That’s just my nature.

I think that’s why I’m struggling a bit now.  I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing and no one is handing me a scoring rubric to measure myself against.  My current hubby is a wonderful guy but he wouldn’t dream of handing me a list of what he wants done each day.  If I ask him what I should be doing, he’ll shoot back, “What do you want to do?”  He puts the ball back in my court and forces me to decide for myself.  That’s not my comfort zone.  In the last couple of years, my life has gone from being very structured and busy to much more open-ended.  I find ways to fill my time but I wonder if I’m doing what I should be doing.  I’ve prayed a lot about that question but so far I’ve gotten a lot of silence.  I continue to try to do what I think are good things to do but life seems kind of random like it’s made up of  a lot of story lines with no central plot.  Maybe one day all the threads will come together and be beautiful but it’s hard to see that today.

My latest random thing is gardening.  I’m digging up the front and side yards making the existing beds larger.  My digging yielded some interesting treasures – bricks and paving stones- that were buried from someone’s past attempts I guess.  I don’t know what to do with them so I’m digging up the back yard trying to make some kind of path with them.  The path feels a bit like my life.  I don’t really know where it’s headed or how it’s quite going to turn out.  I’m just using what I have hoping for a good outcome.  I hope one day to look back on all my inexperienced gardening attempts and find in my wake a gorgeous garden.  For now it’s spadeful after spadeful, a stone here, a plant there, a kind gesture this day, volunteering the next.  Is that the way to a beautiful life?  Anyone with an assignment and scoring rubric for me?

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Pykrete and non-Newtonian fluid.  Those were the ideas on D’s 13 year old brain today.  While I rejoice that he is an independent learner and that he’s gung-ho about science, I don’t always get excited when he wants to make things like pykrete or non-Newtonian fluid.  He sees himself practically advancing his scientific knowledge while making something totally cool;  I cringe at the mess that I know from years of experience with this particular child is coming.

I tend to think that D is just like his father but I realized today that he’s a bit like me too.  I get an idea in my head and charge forward to carry it out too.  I’m more careful to clean up after my experiments but, like him, I like to experiment.  Today’s challenge was to paint a chamber pot.  This jug was given to me as a gift many years ago along with a basin.  It’s pretty but its colouring doesn’t suit any room in my house and has never really been to my liking.  The current mode of thinking seems to be that if you don’t like it the way it is, paint it white.  So I did.  I’m not ready to photograph it yet.  It needs touch-ups still and I want to fill it with flowers before I snap away.  For now, I’ll show you some pretty inspirational photos I pulled from the internet.

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As an update, both D’s experiments are proving successful and I’ve only swept the kitchen three times so far and cleaned it twice (after I made him sweep and clean that is.  Our definitions of “clean” are still not the same but he’s obeying when I say,  “Whoa…what about the mess?”.  I see that he’s trying to accomodate me.)  As for my pot, D just came in and said, “Hey, that’s actually looking pretty good, Mom.” and didn’t even follow that up with a request for anything.  We are a little bit alike after all.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.