Saturday, February 28, 2015


I don't even know what to write about regarding powers. My creative juices have dried up momentarily. I think that's to be expected given my current location (I'm still at the scrapbook retreat). I have coordinated a lot of photos and pages. I have cut and glued glittery bling. I have journaled and looked up dates.

Please don't ask me to write about a word with such depth as powers right now. There is a lot of power and creativity around me. But power is not the same as powers

Friday, February 27, 2015


We have done a lot of waiting for our raffles at this retreat. There are a lot of women here and it takes Bianca (the woman who is brave - or crazy enough to put this event together) awhile to get around the room collecting money and handing out tickets.

We also waited in line for dinner. But we weren't complaining because we didn't have to cook it, clean up after it, or figure out what to do with the leftovers.

We wait for the Cricut to cut out the fancy shapes and letters.

I know this is all deep and thought-provoking. But it's 11:20pm and I'm just trying to keep up with the other gals. I'm also waiting for the midnight sale (or something equally as exciting). I'm not here to solve the world's problems or wax poetic about love.

I'm just here to scrap. And I'm getting really sleepy. But I'm going to wait and see what happens at midnight.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


What a perfect word for today.

I'm at a scrapbook retreat in Shipshewana. I'm in a happy place.

My happy place.

I know not everyone is a scrapbook kind of person. I get that. But this is right up my alley. I'm a crafty, creative person. I have been scrapbooking for a long time. I've always enjoyed making things. Hence my love of baking. And crocheting, and stamping cards, and playing with Lego's.

I'm with three amazing women, one of whom is a close friend, the other two were merely acquaintances but I'm getting to know them better by the minute.

We are all in a happy place. The swag hasn't hurt either.

I am taking pictures with my phone, which I will scrapbook. At some point. Just like my blog, my scrapbooking has fallen behind. I am currently working on Bill's and my 10th anniversary. I blogged about that many faceted trip starting here.

But that was five years ago. I have a lot to catch up on. I hope I don't get overwhelmed in the next couple of days. This is what I needed to get me back on track. I'm in the right place.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


A week ago, it was Ash Wednesday. It's important to remember the symbolism of that during this Lenten journey.

I am participating in a book study during Lent as well. It's called, "Whose Gospel?" (Did I mention that already? I can't remember.) Tonight, we were reminded of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral which is made up of Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. These four things are important to remember, not only in the United Methodist Church, I believe, but in any faith.

We are not a stagnant piece of this earth. We are living, breathing, changing humans and we are fortunate to be able to think, reason and move. It's whether we move forward or backward that makes a difference. It's important to look at our past and remember. Remember the mistakes we have made, the mistakes made by others, and the lessons learned. It's important to learn from each other. I don't have to agree with what you say, or think, or believe, but I will learn something by listening to you. I believe we can agree to disagree and still love each other.

It's all about remembering that call Jesus gave.

Okay, so I went to look up that verse on and lo and behold, it's their verse of the day! So here you go:

Jesus answered him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’
Matthew 22:37-39 GW

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Depending on the winter/amount of snowfall, our driveway gets wider or narrower. The factors of snow removal are a huge part of the equation.

Since I shovel, I tend to start the season by going to the grass and stopping. If Bill has to use the snow blower, it's usually because we've had a significant amount of snowfall. Depending on the temperature, this can either mean Bill widens the driveway because he can't find the grass (it is buried under too much snow and ice on the driveway makes it impossible to find the edge) or the driveway gets narrower because of the exact same reason. Regardless of Bill's snow removal, the same conditions exist if I am shoveling.

When we have exceptional amounts of snow, Bill will often use the snow blower and purposefully widen the driveway so that one can get out of their car, and walk around it to get to the house without having to walk through two feet of piled snow.

This also helps when I go back to shovel the next time, as we learned early on, the piles aren't so high that I can't shovel. (Nor am I shoveling above my shoulders. Yes, that happened in 2007.)

Backing out of our driveway is a challenge but during the winter months it becomes a thrill-ride of sorts. Backing out while it's snowing is an interesting scenario, because the snow often blows between the houses and white on white is difficult to navigate.

Even though my fancy new car has a back-up camera, it does me no good in these fine winter months because all I can see is white.

This means I usually make my own path out of our driveway. Which means the path of the driveway shifts once again.

It would be really easy if our lot lines were straight and if our driveway were straight. That is not the case. We have some weird lot line that runs at a five degree angle (or something ridiculous and minute). The driveway follows that line until it gets past the front of the house. Then it sort of straightens out and spills out into the street in a nice perpendicular fashion.

It always amuses me as the snow starts to melt; to see where our shoveling/snow blowing led us. How far into the grass did we go? How far off the path did we wander?

Monday, February 23, 2015


We've been talking about this word in Sunday school. Our lessons have been the well-known Bible stories, but the students are asked to engage and fully listen to the stories. We have looked at the whole story, not just the children's version. There have been murders and deceit. There have been promises and prayers answered.

That sounds kind of like a movie, which is interesting because I had to tell the youth to stop using Hollywood when they talked about the Bible story we had just heard. I want them to use their own imagination, not what someone else has already shown them. It is not easy to do. There is a movie for every story.

Which makes this post all the more interesting because as I write it, I'm watching the Oscars. Yes, it's Monday. I recorded the show. Not knowing what time I would have to get up this morning to wait for the plumber, I decided to go to bed like normal last night. Now I'm trying to avoid social media and all news outlets so that I can be surprised as each winner is announced.

I'm not really avoiding the news or social media. I don't live or die by the awards. In fact, I'm so far behind watching award winning movies, I think the last one I saw was from the 90's. The winner of Best Movie, that is. And I don't think I watched it until the early 2000's. I'm clearly not your entertainment fanatic.

So the word for today is covenant. A promise, an agreement, a contract. We make them every day. The plumber kept his when he called to say he was on his way and then he arrived and fixed our pipe.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Today did not start as a day to celebrate.

While I was in the shower, Bill came and knocked on the door. He told me not to waste time.

It turns out all the freezing and unfreezing of our pipes caused our powder room toilet pipe to burst.

Then, when I walked through early morning lit living room something caught my eye.

We have a dead mouse in the living room!

Atticus is a good killer. But where did it come from? Oh right, the crawl space that is flooded because the toilet pipe burst.

I'm celebrating my cat and his killer instinct. I'm also celebrating the fact that while our crawl space isn't insulated, it is also not a poured concrete space. The water that leaked out of the pipe went straight into the ground and not into our basement. I'm celebrating that our basement didn't flood.

While I celebrate these small things, I'm also celebrating that we still have electricity. And that with the water main shut off our pipes can't freeze because it's going to get really cold again.

I will also be celebrating when the plumber comes and caps off the pipe. Then again when they come back and give us an estimate for plumbing the entire house. And I'll definitely celebrate if the price doesn't knock my socks off.

I'm also celebrating that I finally called someone to come and insulate that space so that the toilet pipe didn't burst and that person is going to be here Tuesday. Two days too late.

I think you'll agree that you can celebrate too. You don't have dead mice, frozen/burst pipes/no water.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


By the skin of my teeth (that really is a weird saying, I personally don't have skin on my teeth, I just brushed them), I'm writing today's post.

Joy. If I'm writing about joy I saw today, it would be about the little girl sitting behind us at the hockey game when the song "Let It Go" started playing. Her face was full of joy.

Oh, to be a child again and experience such simple joy. I remember it fondly. The joy of Christmas morning, the joy of my birthday, the joy of getting a special treat like ice cream.

As an adult I have forgotten how to experience the simplicity of joy. At least I had for awhile.

A few years ago, I volunteered at a lunch. It was hosted by Quota and was for deaf adults who had no family. There were only fifteen men and women in the group. Our Quota members purchased gifts for them. We had wish lists, so the shopping was simple.

Watching them open their gifts and seeing the joy on their faces reminded me of the joy I am talking about here in this post. That Christmas season, I was renewed by the spirit of joy. I had seen a light shine in each person. I had seen the simplicity that is joy.

It's not complicated or difficult to experience. I think sometimes I have started to experience joy when I have been quieted by stares and awkward glances. I like to dance and I don't care if I'm not good at it. When I'm at a concert and I'm in the moment, joy is going to emit. But social graces have sometimes told me otherwise. Or friends have asked me to stop. I guess it's because I'm embarrassing them. The question is, why have I let them stop my joy?

I haven't always let them stop me.

I will leave you with this photo that says it all (from Chandra and Jason's wedding in 2009)

Friday, February 20, 2015


Somewhere on this blog, I have mentioned that I actually like shoveling snow.

There's something about the peacefulness of the outside. There's a stillness that is in the air after the snow has fallen. The powdery fluff dampens the noise of everyday life. The scraping of the shovel along the driveway is a soothing sound to me. It is as if I am alone in the world.

When I am out shoveling and the snow is still swirling around me, I prefer to think of myself in a snow globe. Someone has just shaken it, and I am mesmerized by the swiftly falling flakes.

Alone, but not lonely, for the world continues on around me. Somewhere in the distance I can hear the wailing cry of a siren. A car drives down the street, crunching the cold snow under it's tires. Kids are sledding on a kid-made hill down the street. Their laughter and dogs barking break the silence.

I finish shoveling and walk around to the front yard. I step up onto our yard covered by a two-foot blanket. I fall back into the snow, landing on a light bed of crispy snow covering a layer of ice. I make my snow angel. I carefully climb out of the heavenly shape. I admire my guardian as she alone protects our yard.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Look at forty days

In my own words, Lent is about sacrifice, devotion, perspective, and reflection. Instead of giving up something, most years I try to do something new (or add in something regularly such as reading a daily devotion conveniently provided by the church's Lenten devotional booklet). 

Most of the time I don't give this choice much thought until Ash Wednesday. Then I sit there going, "hm what did I think of last year that I should do this year?" Because inevitably, I think of something great on Easter Sunday.

This year, I saw a post on Greg's Instagram of Lent 2015 Photo-A-Day. Each day has it's own word assigned to it. Each day, anyone can post a picture that represents that word on Instagram. It will be great fun to see what Greg posts, because I find his artistry to be magnificent. 

I saw something on my way to work this morning that I want to write about, because I couldn't take a picture of it. I'm going to try to blog about each word, every day during Lent (minus yesterday). That will be a challenge for me, and a sacrifice, so I'm willing to take it on.

This morning the sun is shining, the sky is a pale blue. Lake effect snow is to the west of us, but we sit here in this tiny sliver of light. As I head east to work, into the beautiful sun, I spot something. Dropping out of nowhere is a rainbow. I am wearing my sunglasses, so it wasn't too faint. It stretched out of a pale-barely-there cloud and fell toward the earth. I looked at it without my sunglasses and could barely make it out. I put my sunglasses back on and enjoyed the beauty of this small reflection. 

I wonder, how many other people saw this glorious wonder? How many people were too busy to notice? 

Isn't it strange that in order to see it I had to put on my sunglasses? How many times do we talk about what we see through "rose-colored glasses", which I have always taken to mean what are we seeing because someone else is telling us how to see. But maybe I've misunderstood that phrase. Maybe it really means to put on glasses to see clearly the things around us. With glasses, one who has poor vision is able to see clearly. 

Whoa, deep right?

Then I looked at today's word.

It's look.

Oh  my, well doesn't that fit? From that, and my lack of ability to take a picture of the rainbow that I could see, I decided my sacrifice this Lent is to write about the words. Not that I'm better with words than I am photos. 

I hope you'll join me on this journey. Be sure to look around and see what is right in front of you.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The guest room's secret

Bill took a week of vacation time to get the guest room finished. It's not quite there, but it's close. Very, very close. I am excited to share the pictures with you once it's complete.

Last week, we made our trip to the big box store to purchase supplies. While there, a nice employee asked if he could help us with anything? We were looking at scrapers for the ceiling so Bill told him that we're frustrated by how difficult scraping the ceiling has been and how "they" make it look so easy on tv. This employee told us the secret.

I'm not going to share it with you because I think more people need to know.

Popcorn ceilings over plaster are easily removed by spraying the ceiling with warm water.

That's what this man told us.

At first I was skeptical. Really? Some warm water in a spray bottle? It turns out it makes sense. The ceiling is likely a latex based  application; with plaster underneath that the latex will need to be loosened up a bit. Water will do the trick.

When we got home that day I found an empty spray bottle, filled it with warm water, and started spraying the ceiling. I let it sit for a few minutes (okay, really more like thirty seconds, I was impatient to see if this was really going to work) and started scraping.

The bad popcorn/textured ceiling scraped right off. Underneath was a beautiful, smooth plaster ceiling.

The longer I left the water to soak, the easier it scraped off of the ceiling.

Bill and I scraped the entire ceiling in four hours. Sure, there were a few cracks. It is plaster in an old house after all. However, Bill worked his magic on the cracks and got it primed and painted. The results are stunning! I cannot tell you how excited I am to have a smooth ceiling.

I only wish we had known that trick when we re-did the home office.

I wonder if we got lucky. Will the other room ceilings scrape off that easily?

Are we ready to tackle another room?

Not for a year or so. It will be our bedroom next, and that has wallpaper that has been painted over so it's going to be a process (on the walls and ceiling, yes and the ceiling has texture over the wallpaper).

In the meantime, I'll work on the hallway to get that finished (our built-in linen closet has been neglected, so it's time to knock that off the list).

But for now, we still have the finishing touches to work on in the guest room. Stay tuned!