Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Thankful for me"..a child's perspective on gratitude

My oldest granddaughter Annabelle has been learning to pray for a few months now. Teaching a child to pray is both an adventure in humor and journey into the profound wisdom of one still so new from heaven, so joyful in her sense of self.

Our favorite prayer to date begins this way...
"Heavenly Father, Thankful for me, thankful for Annabelle, thankful for me!"
At first glance one may feel that another obnoxious diva is in the making, something the world does not need! After a good laugh at her exuberant declaration, I came to find a deeper meaning in her words. 

Annabelle talks to her Creator as a friend without hesitation and thanks Him for her very existence. She knows instinctively that she is His child and therefore of infinite worth. 
She then mentions her name Annabelle. A name carefully and thoughtfully chosen by her parents long before she made her earthly debut. A name which means "God has favored me; grace."
And then the final "thank you for me"....At this lovely and tender age Annabelle has no misgivings about her personality or physical features. She doesn't compare herself to others, or silently berate herself for failures. Annabelle is glad to be herself! As we say in the south, "Bless her heart!" for reminding us to be thankful for our very existence, our origins, and our unique set of personality traits, physical features, abilities and talents. 

Today I am grateful for me.... with a deep gratitude that I have been granted life by a loving Heavenly Father. 
Today I am thankful for Kimberly... even though my sister Mitzi was named after a movie star and my name came from the Kimberly-Clark paper company;-/ My name means "from the royal fortress meadow"...sounds important:) I am very glad my mother won with Kimberly Kay and not my dad who thought it would be fun to name me Jana Anna Mahana!

Today I am going to be thankful for me a third time without looking in the mirror with disdain, listening to the critical comparative voice in my head, or dwelling on my failures. 

Today I want the feeling that true gratitude brings, one of contentment. The desire that flows from such peace is to love more fully, to give all that I am to the world around me. This feeling of gratitude helps inspire me to a greater desire for improvement of self in a positive way... instead of being utterly overwhelmed at my deficiencies. Oh, to be an Annabelle again, blissfully unaware of the challenge of mortal failings!

Today I will put aside feelings of doubt and fear.
Today I bask in the love of my family.
Today with bended knee I will, like a child, be thankful for me.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pallet envy:)

I am in love with pallets...who would have thought! An interesting fact about design is when the economy is struggling people become more creative and innovative in DIY projects. I just plain love to take something old or ugly and make it beautiful:)
My love affair with pallets began with the creativity of my son-in-law Travis in the design of their new apartment. He designed pallet walls and ceilings and even a vent-a-hood. I was hooked when the first boards went on the wall and ceiling!
Pallets are made out of various hardwoods creating a multi colored look.

Travis carefully selected the boards to create this design.

Working with pallets requires quite an effort. It is no small task to cut the pallet boards off the frame...or so my hubby claims:) 

The pallets are quite dirty as you can imagine so we scrubbed them down with Dawn and gave them a good rinse. Annabelle was the boss..."Grammie, you scrub and I'll do the bubbles!" It doesn't take long for the pallets to dry in the sun.

Do not cut the pallets of the frame until you are ready to use them, they warp if left lying around for days.

After seeing Travis's pallet designs I simply had to find a pallet project for Nellie's Cottage. When we took down the wall between the kitchen and scrapbook store Michael framed the opening with pallets.
I love it! 
The whole cottage feels more roomy without sacrificing the cozy!


I am looking around to see what else I can cover with pallets:)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gorgeous Caramel Apples!

Another fabulous recipe from my talented daughter in law Janene! 
Aaron & Janene lived with us for a year between college and dental school. 
She was constantly whipping up something delicious to tempt even the most disciplined taste buds:)
These apples have a delectable, creamy, homemade caramel that is hand stirred on the stove. Double chocolate dipping and generous rolling in crushed candy bars creates a perfect autumn delight!
Caramel Apples

 Visit Janene's blog link below for the recipe.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Family Blessings..a fall layout

Family brings out the best in us and sometimes the worst:) These are the people that drive you the most crazy and also bring you the most joy. I had a bit of creative time today and wanted to design a layout for display during this season of gratitude. Holiday display layouts are my new favorite is almost instant creative gratification!

It is hard to believe that my little family of 4 children has expanded into a family of 16 individuals not counting the twins coming in a few weeks! I look at this picture and marvel because I know our history and our struggles. I am painfully aware of my failures as a mother, yet so happy and grateful for the times I succeeded. One of my dad's favorite quotes was "No success can compensate for failure in the home." To me it means that my best efforts need to be here, with my family. I have many other commitments and community projects that bring "pats on the back" however...
Family is where I learn to love.
Family is where I learn unselfishness.
Family is where I learn gratitude.
I am grateful for the blessing of family:)


Supplies include:
Kraft paper stamped with "Le London Script (Stampabilities)
Scalloped 8x8 cardstock- DCWV
Glitz design 6x6 papers "Yours Truly"
Chipboard kit-Little Yellow Bicycle
Leaf border punch-Martha Stewart
Trims-My Mind's Eye "Stella Rose"
"Blessings"-Cindy Loo cricut cartridge
Red burlap ribbon
Family clear sticker-DCWV quote stacks
Bird paper clip-Prima

Being a thrifty scrapper...I even use the packaging!
I will cut these out for another fall project:)

On the back I added a piece of thin
 cardboard (the kind that is on the back of paper stacks)
to give the layout more stability.

"The family is one of nature's masterpieces."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pinterest print embellished:)

We had a fun craft at our monthly Enrichment night activity at church. It was a fun chalkboard print in a simple 1x2 wood frame that we screwed together on the back. The wood pieces were pre-cut and painted. We have a fabulous Wendy in charge of these events and she keeps up with the latest and greatest trends. It is no small task to plan crafts for a large group of women! I love the this reminder from Psalms...perfect for this season of gratitude.

While I loved the modern simple design it wasn't totally me, so I did some embellishing:)
I needed to add some gold tones to the project to fit my decor a bit better. 
I began with 3 different designs of washi tape around the edges of the frame.

Pre-made flowers from Prima, Jolee's, and Spare Parts made a perfect addition to the frame.
I used pop dots to adhere the flowers to ramp up the dimension. style:) a pinterest print embellished!

p.s. I love this so much it will find a permanent home on my office wall!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Faithful to the end

A friend died today. She had a once beautiful golden coat, spectacular white markings, and a faithful love that never faded. Her name was Brandi and she was our boxer. Eleven years and eight months to the day she brought joy to our family. As one daughter said to the other "She was the best friend to have after a break-up!" I look at the pictures of her sleeping on and next to my children and realize they needed her more than she needed them. Dogs never judge, always forgive, and are always there to welcome you home even if it was just a trip to Walmart. She was the best of us:)

I think we could learn a thing or two about how to treat those we love from these four footed companions.... 

Dogs stare at you with genuine adoration and love. 

They are never too busy for a good snuggle:)

They are patient with little people who annoy them. 

When they are irritated they just turn away instead of yelling or trying to make a point.

They get excited about simple little things like balls, treats, a trip to the beach, or even a stroll to the mailbox. They don't need an expensive vacation or fancy car to be content.

Dogs can find happiness in laying by a warm fire,  a good rub behind the ears, and singing along with the bagpipes:) They don't need a designer bed, Italian leather collar, or name brand doggie treats!

I didn't really want our first boxer in 1992, nor the second one in 1996, and I was really opposed to the third one in the late 90's. Adding dogs to the chaos of children was a challenge for me.
How is it then that I have shed so many tears today over our fourth and final dog? Brandi was easy to love. She was obedient, loyal, and brought great joy and peace to our family. My teenagers had someone to love when they weren't very lovable themselves. My husband had a faithful running companion. I had a protector when I was alone. Brandi assumed everyone was her friend and never met a stranger. 

All of these qualities she had...I need, we all need. Someone once said that we will never have peace on this earth until we learn to be kind to animals. I believe that we learn that pure kindness from our furry family friends.
Farewell Brandi...thank you for the unconditional love, the lessons you tried to teach, the protection and loyalty you so freely gave....we loved you because you loved us first.