Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Craft: Valances

Here is the post I sat down to write, but couldn't write because God had other plans.

I am embarking on my first major sewing project/craft: making valances for our living room, dining room, and kitchen. I have chosen a fabric that will go well with our furniture and the paint in our living room. I was going to choose a different fabric to make full length curtains, but my "troubleshooting" husband made a good point, "If we cover the windows, when we put solar screens on the windows, it'll make it pretty dark in here." So glad he knows me. I do NOT like dark living spaces.

Anyway, I figured I'd share the fabric with ya ... while I'm now waiting for it to come via snail-mail ....

ONLY for Valances

I'll post a few pictures of the window treatment "creations" when I finish in a couple weeks. :) Wish me luck -- I have 8 windows to do. :) Looking forward to the challenge.

P.S. This is going to be a task that only I will be doing ... no help from hubby or kiddos. I hope they turn out great!!

Hebrews 1:1-13 .... His Child

I am so excited!! :) I am about to embark on a journey. Well, it's really NOT a journey. It's more like I'm about to take on a task ... all. by. myself. Actually, I'm never alone. God is always with me ... leading me, guiding me, and even at times I picture Him wondering, "Ok, daughter. I Am right here. Where did you go? I'll wait for you to regain where your focus needs to be." Seriously. I do imagine that He says that from time to time about me and my "I think I got it under control" or the "Oh I can do this" -- but I forget, I can do NOTHING with Christ.    N.O.T.H.I.N.G. Absolutely Nothing.

I am so grateful for His patience. And I'm not going to lie. Sometimes God's love can feel "strong". As in the type of strength like you're a child receiving a spanking for doing wrong. In the scripture God says He chastises those whom He loves.

Hebrews 12 (New International Version. I prefer King James Version, but for level understanding, I chose to write the scriptures in NIV)

"1.Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
-- I need to pause right here. As I mentioned above. Sometimes I think I have it all under control. I don't. Let me be honest here. If it weren't forJesus, I'd be lost. Literally. Going to hell. Lost. Failing in my classes. Losing. Failing as a mother, a wife, and everything in between. I'd be so far lost it'd be terrible. No person would be able to find me in the thick of my OWN will. My own wrong doing. My own troubles. The only ONE who can and has and continues to lead me and guide me is Jesus. I have to continually 'throw off' those things (pride, selfishness, aggression, etc) which are not pleasing to to Him.

Ok ... we're going to continue with the Scripture .............

"2.Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
-- He did this for you. Jesus did this for me. He has done this for EVERYONE. Have you accepted it? Your salvation? The Crown of righteousness? Yes. Jesus has called YOU to a life of righteousness. No matter what you have done. No matter how far away from God you THINK you are. You're not.

"3.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4.In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
5.And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

        "My son [daughter], do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6.because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son [daughter]."

Here comes a part in scripture where many people, even Christians, feel, "Well, if God loves me, then why are 'bad' things happening to me?" Or here's a saying that you may have heard ... "If there's a God, then why are bad things happening?" If you're a Christian, and bad things are happening, sometimes it's not for your own good, it may be for the good of those who are around you or who may come in contact with you at some point. If 'bad' things are happening to you and you're a Christian, it's for your benefit, your good. God may be trying to work something out of you that is of no benefit TO HIM.

7.Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8.If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.
-- Oh man! So count it joy (even though it may be hard to do) when you're going through hard times. That doesn't mean you'll ALWAYS go through trials. You'll have seasons in your life where things will be 'smoother' than at other times. When I haven't had a trial in my life for a while, I'll start to ask God if I'm doing things right or if He's pleased with me. There's nothing I want more than to please my Heavenly Father! :)

9.Moreover, we have all had human fathers who have disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
-- Notice, that this isn't a question. This is a statement. Actually, it's more of a command. If we can respect our parents for them disciplining us and still love them for it, then why is it so hard to accept the discipline that God gives? Notice that if we aren't being disciplined (steered in the RIGHT direction, on the straight and NARROW), we aren't HIS children. That's a scary thought!!

10.Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for OUR GOOD, that we may SHARE IN His holiness. 11. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace FOR THOSE who have been trained by it.

12. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13."Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

-- How bumpy is the road you're on? And I'm not talking about the trials that come our way as part of being God's children. I'm talking about those things that we continually put in front of having or deepening a relationship with Jesus. How bumpy is your path? Strengthen your arms (and hands) through praising Him. Have you ever simply lifted your hands, pointed to the sky, and said, "I love You, LORD" ... have you ever? Maybe now is the time. What about your knees? Have you prayed on your knees? Okay, some may have troubles getting on their knees. But when was the last time you prayed and talked to Him WITHOUT asking Him to give you this and give you that? Talk to Jesus AS your BEST FRIEND. You can tell Him everything. Even though He knows everything, He still wants to hear from you. It's like my relationship with my mom. She pretty much knows everything that goes on in my life, but we still talk, and even talk about what she already knows. :)

Proverbs 4:20-27
"My son [daughter], pay attention to what I say, listen closely to my words. 21.Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22.for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's [woman's] whole body. 23.Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 24. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25.Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. 26.Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. 27. Do not swerve to the right or the left, keep your foot from evil"

Sooo ... God evidently had another plan for me when I sat down to write a blog about the new task (craft) I'll be undertaking (I'll blog about that very soon). It was to give you a Word -- HIS word, from scripture. I hope it has touched your heart, dug deep into your soul, and taught you something that you didn't know about the Holy Scriptures of God. :)

Blessings ....


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Homemade Beefy Spaghetti Sauce

I made spaghetti and garlic bread for dinner tonight. Apart from burning my wrist on the baking sheet of garlic bread, I made homemade spaghetti sauce. It's almost completely homemade ... the only thing left is for you to puree and dice your own tomatoes. If you have time for that ... by all means, go for it. Oh - and if you have your own garden, I'd say definitely GO FOR IT. Someday I'll have my own garden where I'll be able to pick tomatoes from the vine and will can my own tomato sauce! YAY!

Okay ... so here's the recipe:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I use 93% beef because it has LESS fat which makes the sauce LESS greasy.)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (Sometimes I omit this, just depends on the amount of time I have. Like tonight there was NO onion chopping going on.)
2 cloves garlic, minced (to taste) OR 1-2 tbsp Garlic Powder.
*1 tsp oregano
*1 tsp dried basil
These above to astrik ingredients were omitted from my sauce tonight. I just used extra Italian seasoning.
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I really like Italian seasoning, so I probably added about 2 tsp of the seasoning.) :)
1 tbsp (heaped) brown sugar (I used Splenda to keep the calorie count lower.)
You can add salt, but I don't. Actually, I'm not a HUGE fan of adding salt to my dishes because most foods have salt in them already.ground pepper (I give about 6-8 turns on the pepper grinder.)
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 (16 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes

In a skillet with 2-3 inch sides, add beef and pepper to skillet. Cook beef until browned. *If you have the time to chop the onion and use fresh garlic, add them to the skillet and let cook while beef is cooking.* If you have lots of fat from the beef, drain fat. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, seasonings, and sugar to the skillet. Stir until all ingredients are combined thoroughly. Add the whole can of tomato paste to the pan. Stir. Let simmer on low heat for at least 35 minutes. I think mine cooked for about 45 minutes because I like a thicker sauce.

Enjoy with your favorite pasta noodle.

Bon Appetit! :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wait for it ...

Have you ever came across an idea that got you so excited that you couldn't wait to take it on ... only to realize that, well, you're still many months away from the idea becoming reality? That's what happened to me. I'm just going to have to WAIT. FOR. IT.

I was reading a blog the other day about scrapbooking. The gal does a December Daily scrapbook album. I have come quite accustomed to scrapbooking lately, except for some reason I can't manage to complete any pages at home?? Scrapbooking, to me, is a release, it's relaxing, and at the same time ... it's tiring! There's LOTS of thoughts that go into make ONE page. But each page has its signature -- love that was poured out through cutting, taping, pinning, tearing, stamping each page ... to make each page special ~ UNIQUE! --- there's that word again. {Remember I started off January with a blog about Special. Unique. Peculiar. things that are going to happen this year?}

Anyway, I'm not going to do a December Daily because I don't want to just scrapbook the happenings of December. I'm going to do a Holiday Herald that will run from Thanksgiving to New Years. So our first Holiday Herald 2011 is still MANY MANY MANY months away. :( At least it's something to look forward to, right??

Family is important to me. Most people know this about me already. I love spending time with my family and taking pictures to capture the moment I look forward to, too. Actually, dad and the kids LOVE to look at the photos of the time we had together, as well!! :) Photos are a great way to spark conversation and bring up memories. Photos can also tell about the occasion without a person saying a thing. This is why I am really trying to get back into scrapbooking. I want these photos to be in books that our children's children will be able to look at and say, "Grandpa! You look like you were so much fun!" Or "Grandma! So that's how dad (or mom) learned how to bake?!" <--- yes, I'm looking way ahead of our time, but at least I can dream right? HA!

Anyway, during the major holidays our family is always planning special things to do during that time of the year to make it extra special and MORE family-likeINSTEAD of commercial-like. Sometimes it may be things that we've never done. Other times it may be repeats from previous years.

It can get pretty busy for a lot of us from November THROUGH December .... take time to make it extra special, too, WITHOUT the hustle and bustle of life. Your kids will remember it for MANY MANY MANY years to come.

Scrapbook Pages so far ...

So I started scrapbooking with a dear friend of mine, Aulbrey ... her and I went to a Winter Crop at the Scrappin' Time store here in Vegas on Jan. 22nd. I can't believe it's only been 2 weeks ... it feels like a couple months!! We both got 4 pages done ... well, technically I got 3.5 pages. There's one page I need to add some wording to, but for the most part it's done.

Here are the pages I've completed so far ....

Mariah's favorite!!

My favorite!!

My favorite page that was done still needs some wording, etc. I'm going to add a poem actually. Our next crop is on Feb. 19th!! :) Not sure how, but I manage time for a bit of peace and quiet for scrapbooking. I wish there was a way for me to do some pages at home. Aulbrey and I went out to lunch with a couple ladies and one of the gals said she quit scrappin' at home because everything around her was distracting. Long story short, she got caught up over the years of going to one or two all day scraps per month. So we're making the 19th an all day scrap.
I better get my pictures and such in order for that day. The first main thing I'm working on ... Andrew's first year scrapbook. :) CAN'T WAIT to get that one done!! I wonder how long it'll take me?? Hmm .... Any guesses??