Category Archives: Daily Life

Catching Up!

I thought I would share a little since it’s been so ridiculously long since I posted here.  I do have a good excuse – we have moved!  I thought I would also share bits and pieces of my new studio as it’s coming together.  I always enjoy seeing where my artist friends work and thought you might enjoy a sneak peek as well.  My color palette in the studio is a little retro.  The wall color is from Martha Stewart’s paints “Smokey Aqua” it’s an aqua that pushes almost to the green.  It’s sunny and bright and goes really well with my totally fun red glitter vinyl 50’s stool we got from Target about 10 years ago.   I have a mix of some great chintz fabrics, the window chintz is butter yellow with tan, pink, burgundy and a touch of red.  I’ll show more of that later when we get the tools out of the way so I can do the important stuff – ie DECORATE!

As we are nearing the end of our family’s move I realize, I hate moving, but am loving it now that we’re almost done.  We moved half an hour closer to town though still very much in the country.  We have another fabulous (though different) view, are near friends and church and enjoy an almost non-stop summer breeze.  There are still boxes in the corners of several rooms, but almost everything now has a place and I’m actually starting to REMEMBER where that place is, LOL!

My sweet husband worked until 1 o’clock this morning getting my art studio nearer to completion.  He has created a corner work space repurposing items that have been in almost every art studio I’ve used for the past 30 years and yet he’s making them new and wonderful.  You would have loved watching him carefully “distressing” my newly painted but repurposed shelves.  He’s mister anal-retentive and he actually very carefully “randomly” distressed them while I just grab a piece of sand paper and go at it.  It made us laugh so much looking at how different we are from each other and yet how well we work together.  I have a couple of in process pictures today and I’ll post things as they get set up and finished.  Any suggestions you might have are greatly welcomed!

It’s been fun rethinking how I do my work and getting a chance to reorganize my work areas.  I’ve thrown and thrown and thrown away some more.  I’ve donated things I realize I’ll never use (like my wooden mannequins for drawing) since I just don’t paint people!

My computer/office work area is public as part of the great central area of the house.  No chance to hide my mess any more so I’ve actually been doing better at keeping it organized.  Wonder how long that will last, LOL!?

I’ve discovered new ways to organize that are working really well with my own natural bent.  Costco has great plastic “shoe box’ sized stacking boxes that are 100% transparent so you can see what’s in them.  I was able to condense all of my crafting supplies into a single shelf in my studio closet and will only need to bring out the box when I’m working on a project.  Soooo easy!  I was amazed at just how much fits into one of those boxes and how sturdy they are when stacked.  Living in the country, lids are VERY necessary as dust is everywhere at all times.  My tools got dirty and dusty in the open drawer system I had before.

The view out my window goes all the way to the high sierra, snow-capped peaks which you can’t see here.  I have a beautiful pastoral view close in and my beloved mountains as well.  The flowers in the window are my window boxes that line the front of the house and patio.  I loved where we were before and I love where I am now.  I am learning with the Apostle Paul -to be content in any state that I find myself.

All of this brings me to today’s devotional thought – sometimes God wants to move us whether we like it or not!  Being comfortable isn’t very high on His list of priorities for us.  In fact, in my experience He’s pretty happy when I’m UNCOMFORTABLE enough to let Him change what He needs to in my heart.  Has that been your experience as well?

I’ve also learned that “Father truly always does know best!”  His plans for me are always for my good and he imagines so much more for me than I would have ever thought for myself.  I’m learning every day to trust him more and to delight more in His surprises.  One of my favorite things about our new location is that I get drop-in guests now.  We were soooooo far up in the mountains that nobody came by unless they had really good reason or time to waste, LOL!  Now friends pop in on a whim and we love it.

Ps 40:3-5
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be astounded.
They will put their trust in the LORD.

4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD,
who have no confidence in the proud,
or in those who worship idols.
5 O LORD my God, you have done many miracles for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.


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Spring Quilt Market Here I Come!

I’m packed and headed out the door.  Hopefully I have everything with my, if not I’ll survive, LOL!  I am very much looking forward to seeing the big wide world of quilting and seeing the “Deja’ Brew” Quilt fabric line alive and in person for the first time.  Also it will be fun seeing what pretties they made up out of it for displays.

Cheryl Briggs is going to be keeping me company so that will be really a joy.  The contest will happen when I get home since I won’t be able to connect up reliably.  I am taking my daughter’s laptop but don’t always connect well on the road.  My site was malfunctioning this morning on orders so if there are any problems I’ll attend to them as soon as I get home.

Blessings and I’ll talk to you guys on Monday.

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Overcoming Fear, Anxiety and Worry (and a Little on Grandchildren!)

We took 5 rolls of film when we visited our grandbaby, Ellington.  My daughter forgot to pick up the film this afternoon, so she’ll pick it up for me tomorrow.  Then I’ll be able to post pics of the family-tug-of-war we held over him.  Since he was not only the first grandchild all around, but also the first nephew to each of our children, we fought over him incessantly!

It’s such an emotional journey becoming a grandmother.  You don’t have control.  You struggle with that concept then you discover that’s actually the fun of it!  You let go, and let someone else enjoy learning to be a mother/father.  Your job is to just enjoy the baby.  Watching your child parent, you have flashbacks to your first days as a mother — and you try to remember that there ever was a time you weren’t known as "Mom!"  You hold a tiny bundle in your arms, knowing more than you ever have before, how fleeting that moment is and how soon you will look up to the little boy that now fits into your arms and nestles under your chin.

Remembering back to my first days as a mother, I recalled the wonder and adventure it was to learn everything about the new little child that was mine to care for.  I was sometimes overwhelmed and afraid and the rest of the time felt like I had been her mother forever and knew exactly what to do!  It was a time of great growth and incredible sleep-deprivation.  It was fun to watch Ariane go through all of the same emotions and experiences and becoming so proficient at being Ellington’s mother. 

Being in touch with my memories made me think of something I would like to share with you, just in case some of you are struggling in difficult financial (or other) times right now.  When I was first pregnant with my daughter Jennifer, her dad, my late husband Jim, lost his job with Sears.  It was during the 1980-81 recession and unemployment was over 10%.  It’s easy for us now to have a heart attack when the rate is just over 5%, but that rate is lower than almost every other time in our country’s history.   For perspective, we’d have given anything to see that rate when Jim was unemployed because when unemployment reaches 10% you can’t even find a job at McDonalds! 

At each stage of my pregnacy I had so many things to worry about.  How would we pay for my prenatal care and birthing costs since it was now a pre-existing condition?  I worried and worried.  I thought about it night and day.  I would turn it over to the Lord, then take it back.  After a long battle I was finally, half-heartedly able to pray "with thanksgiving."  That meant my prayers went from panicked cries for help to ones like this, "Thank you Lord that though I can’t figure out how you are going to take care of this, I trust that you will.  Thank you for providing the money for us to have this baby." 

One day, three months into the pregnancy I received a very plain little post card that was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen before or since!  It asked us if we would like to continue paying for our Kaiser Health Insurance at the cost of $35 a month for the family.  You have no idea how fast that postcard was back in the mail with a check attached!  I had battled to trust the Lord and he provided a way where there didn’t appear to be a path forward.  I had no idea how he could provide, but he did.  Each month we were able to make the insurance premium and in the end it cost me only $2 to check her out of the hospital — which was to pay for the phone service!

There were many other financial stresses during that time.  We lacked groceries at times and just when the cupboard was bare four bags of groceries would be left on the front porch after someone rang the bell and ran.  At one point we got three months behind in our house payments and came very close to our home going into foreclosure.  Because of pride, my husband had not told his parents that he had lost his job.  The crisis with our mortgage finally brought him to the place of opening up to them.  He was afraid of their reaction, but of course they came to our rescue in amazing ways.  They had the resources to save our home, provided for our needs and even more importantly helped their son get moving towards finding a new job.  I’m in tears as I recall the incredible loving support of my in-laws.  They are amazing people who have blessed my life in so many ways.

Still, night after night I had fearful dreams, racing thoughts and battled fears of what would happen in the near future.  But I began to learn that the worry never changed anything.  What changed our circumstances was being transparent with family and friends (and the Lord in prayer).  When we were able to confess our need, they were able to step up and meet it, AND BE BLESSED BY DOING SO.  Help came from every side.  All we had to do was let go of our pride and ask for help.  Help came in many forms, some inexplicable and heaven-sent, but most often God met our needs through the loving hands and hearts of those who shared our lives.  

In retrospect those tough times were some of the most fruitful in my life.  They changed me forever.  I wouldn’t choose to go back for anything, but I also wouldn’t trade a single day of the struggle either.  It was the struggle to overcome that  made me who I am today.  In all these things God taught me the truth of the verse: Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  NIV

If you’re struggling with anything today that is just too big for you to handle, too painful to cope with, or too fearful to contemplate, please stop and pray this prayer with me.  God is able, but more importantly, God is willing to handle every burden you entrust to Him.

PRAYER:  Lord, I’m struggling with some of the most overwhelming things I’ve ever had to deal with in my lifetime.  I don’t know where the answer is going to come from.  My mind cycles over and over, worrying about it, being anxious and fretting.  Help me to learn how to "be anxious for nothing but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving" to present my requests to you. 

Teach me to trust.  Give me courage everytime my heart races with fear.  Give me hope when all around me looks hopeless and use my current circumstances to make me a better, stronger more faithful person.  I’m trusting you to lead the way through this circumstance.  Amen


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I Once Was Blind but Now I See…

I have loved the words to Amazing Grace my whole life and will instantly tear up if I hear a beautiful rendition of it sung, but now it holds an extra special place in my heart for entirely different reasons.

For the past aproximately 15 years I have had a battle that I haven’t spoken openly about except to a few precious friends and family members.  I have wrestled with my vision getting ever weaker for reasons I didn’t quite understand or know.  About 13 years ago, my optometrist told me that my eyes were getting worse at a much faster pace than he would expect of a woman of my age (at the time 36) but he didn’t look any deeper for the cause.  In fact, my eyes went from rather far-sighted to near sighted within the space of 6 years.

About 4 years ago I began to notice difficulty with head lights when driving and seeing double images of lights (like the moon) and other items that would seem to overlap each other.  About 2 years ago I saw such a difference that I began to search out answers and looked for an optometrist that could help me understand what was happening.  After a thorough exam that included detailed photographs of my eyes, my doctor told me that I had cataracts.  He told me that I needed to wait until I couldn’t stand it any more and then he would refer me for surgery.

Well… the first surgery happened a month ago on my worst eye and it was nothing short of miraculous.  My second surgery happened  yesterday, on Friday morning (March 14th) I will have my bandage removed and will see clearly for the first time in decades.  I’m so blessed and amazed at how wonderfully I can see with one good eye, I can’t wait for the final unveiling.  It’s a whole new world. 

I won’t even tell you how ridiculous it was in the last six months to try to draw or paint, but God gave me the grace and ability to do so.  I should have had my husband take photos of my set up with my glasses and giant magnifying lenses over the top of them!  So, as you can imagine, this past two week’s painting has been such a relief, joy and delight.  I’ve painted more in two weeks than the total of the six months prior work .

I’m sharing this with you because so many of you have become dear friends through this blog, and I try to share as much as I can about my real life, including both my struggles and my victories.  I also want to help educate you in case you are suffering with cataracts and don’t know it. 

Cataracts can come from several sources:  Diabetes Melitis, extended steroid use such as Prednisone, genetic errors of metabolism and chronic exposure to UV rays usually through exposure to sunlight.  I am likely the later and possibly even the genetic aspect as I think it quite possible that I’ve struggled with this the better part of my life.  I’ve constantly complained that my vision was blurry even though my eyes were "great."  If you get a new prescription but still don’t seem to see clearly, you could be experiencing the onset of cataracts.  I grew up in San Diego, body surfed and spent a lot of time at the beach, pool and playing tennis competitively — all without wearing sunglasses as I just didn’t really like them.  I learned my lesson and I hope you and your children will as well.

"Symptoms of Cataracts

Symptoms of developing cataracts include double or blurred vision, sensitivity to light and glare (which may make driving difficult), (AJ’s note: difficulties with night driving were one of the first major complications for me) less vivid perception of color and frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions.

 Cataracts are typically detected through a medical eye examination. The usual test for visual acuity (the letter eye chart) may not reflect the true nature of visual loss. Other tests that measure glare sensitivity, contrast sensitivity, night vision, color vision, and side or central vision help to nail down the diagnosis.

 Because most cataracts associated with aging develop slowly, many patients may not notice their visual loss until it has become severe. Some cataracts remain small and never need treatment; others grow more quickly and progressively larger. Only when a cataract seriously interferes with normal activities is it time to consider surgery. People who depend on their eyes for work, play and other activities may want their cataracts removed earlier than those whose needs are less demanding. (Quoted from ) "

You can find out much more simply by googling cataracts.  If you think that this might be an issue for you, I heartily recommend that you pursue seeing a doctor and having the surgery if recommended.  It was virtually painless, the only pain was the stick of the needle for the IV.  The results were instant and amazing.  Don’t let fear hold you back.  A friend of mine, Deb D here on my blog and the Daisie message board, told me that "The hardest thing will be the wait between your first and second eye!" and she was totally right. 

I was especially glad that I had had the first surgery before going to the Bahamas two weeks ago.  The colors were amazing and the ability to drink it all in was something I’ll treasure forever.   I am like the blind man who was healed and turned back to thank Jesus. 

 SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY: Luke 18:39-43  Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"  Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" "Lord, I want to see," he replied. Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you."  Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. NIV

PRAYER:  Lord, today, I am that blind man that has been given a gift too precious for words and I want to thank you first and foremost for showing me how to restore my sight and then using my precious doctor’s hands to accomplish that task.  (Doctor Nii in Fresno, CA)  I ask that you enable me to use that sight purely for your glory and to bless those you have allowed me to share it with.  Give me both the technical ability to see and the DESIGN ability to "see" creatively and may the gift you gave me be returned to you as a blessing to your heart.  My greatest joy in life is to create "refrigerator art" for my heavenly father!  AMEN

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Feeling Overwhelmed? Try Digging Out One Step at a Time

I know that there are those among my readers who simply will not relate to this post at all (your house is in order, you love neatness and orderliness and can’t imagine EVER letting things go so long that you’re going to feel this overwhelmed!)  You have permission to stop reading and go play in your craft room.  This post is for the rest of us that would categorize ourselves somewhere between "slightly messy" and "total slob."

Most of the time I would classify myself just to the right of "slightly messy" but right now?  There’s only one problem with taking a vacation when you work for yourself, the elves quit working when you’re gone and absolutely everything piles up waiting for your return!    As I am looking at my disastrous studio, a bedroom still filled with luggage to empty and stow and a house that might have gotten a little bit away from us BEFORE we left and hasn’t gotten any better since our return, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learned about how to proceed to wrestle life back into order when all is in chaos and disarray.

When life gets a little out of control most of us "messies" have coping mechanisms that enable us to wrestle it back in line, but when it’s REALLY out of control it’s so easy to just want to sit down and throw a pity party!  When no matter how hard you work TODAY it won’t look much different it’s hard to get motivated to get moving.  But the Lord has taught me a couple of things that have been so helpful over the years because this is a battle I face often.

Being a creative person, I work in insane spurts.  I’m either "full on" or "full off" and when I’m working full speed ahead, I often let other areas of my life go a little bit unattended (okay, must be honest as husband reads my blog — A LOT unattended!)  Then when my energy is spent and I can’t take another step I look up and see chaos and feel utterly overwhelmed.  The truth is, virtually every top level artist or crafter that I know has exactly the same pattern and struggle.  And since many of you are also creatives here’s some of my tips for digging out:

  1. Don’t look at the big picture or you’ll just quit before you start!  Look at the overall picture just enough to decide what is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you must attend to and do it.  If you have no clothes to wear it’s probably to attack the mountain of laundry!  Is there a stack of bills on the kitchen counter?  If you want electricity to operate your computer you’d better handle it.
  2. Once the most imporant, life-impacting things are attended to, look for the tasks that you can do the most easily and quickly.  Why?  Because when you can see improvement you start to feel better and build momentum to finish the rest of the tasks.  During the winter we often end up with 4 quilts strewn around the living room.  It’s amazing how much better the room looks when those simple items are folded and put away.
  3. Be realistic.  It’s better to have one room (or area of your life) totally cleaned each day than scatter gun your efforts in such a way that you don’t see any improvement at all.  Start with the most visible or used areas (leave the guest room alone until you’re going to have guests!)
  4. Get your room/house into okay shape before you attempt the super-detailed cleaning projects like washing windows or dusting the china cabinet.  Don’t get bogged down in extreme cleaning a single area.
  5. Make it a game.  I’m really good at playing head games with myself!  I set a timer and race to see what I can get accomplished in 15 minutes.  It’s really amazing how much difference you can make this way.  I also will mix rewards in so if I’m reading a really great book I’ll tell myself that I can read a chapter if….  After a while, I don’t even want to read the book anymore because I get on a roll.
  6. An empty trash can is an invitation to quick cleaning!  I love to bring in a giant trash can and start filliing it with the left over papers, magazines or stuff that builds up in my studio.  It really motivates me to deal with things realistically.  If I am not likely to ever need it again and it has no value to the Goodwill, it’s gone!
  7. Set a reasonable amount of time a day you can devote to the project and do it.  Then stop when that time is done.  If it’s 1/2 an hour a day in a week you might see huge results, but if you do an explosive evening’s work that tires you out for the week, you’ll just end up being in a worse place.  It’s really amazing what small consistent bursts of energy can accomplish and it’s one of the worst areas for those of us who are creative to master.
  8. Know that no matter how good you clean and organize, realisticaly it’s going to fall apart again.  Just work at stretching the times between the falling apart and how badly you allow it to fall apart and you might just discover that you actually like keeping on top of it more than you thought you would!

Unfortunately,I’m not going to be able to implement my strategy to take control over my house today as I still have work projects to deal with, but I’m getting myself psyched up to do it and might tackle an hour or two later today!  Good luck to those of you that will be able to do so. 

THE SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY: Ps 65:1-4  Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled.  O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come.  When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.   Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts!  We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.  NIV

PRAYER:  Lord, over and over I have "vowed" to make changes in my life and yet find myself right back in the same place, battling the same sense of being overwhelmed again and again.  It doesn’t surprise you, and I know you don’t want me to run away and hide.  I know you want me to come to you again and again if I must, to gather the strength and wisdom to make changes in my life. 

Remind me that You want to bring me near to you to live in your courts, not chasten me and drive me away.  Give me the ability to make the changes that I need to make in my life and the strength to continue in them.  AMEN

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Well… We’re Off to the Caribbean for a Week!

I feel kind of bad leaving my girls to shovel the snow that’s supposed to be coming tomorrow (hehehehe!  NOT!)  They’ll have to hold down the fort for the week while we’re off sunning ourselves in the balmy Bahamas.  Assuming we don’t have any weather/travel problems flying out today we will be home next Saturday and I’m not taking my laptop with me so I won’t be posting for the week unless I hook up with the onboard computers or borrow a friends.  I decided to REALLY, really rest on this trip.

If you know me that’s not something I ususally do very well.  My husband says I have two speeds "Full On" and "Dead Stop!"  We’re travelling with my agent and his wife who are dear, dear, dear friends.  We will have a blast together.  Angela and I are pajama-wearers-to-work type girls and we’re thinking formal pajamas will work perfectly for the formal dinner night on board ship, what do you think?! 

Let’s see, clothes packed, swimsuit packed, pictures of new grandson packed… we’re ready!!!!  Have a great week and I’ll tell you all about it (including pictures) when I get home.

THE SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY: Matt 11:28-30  "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."   NIV

PRAYER:  Lord, sometimes I’m not very good at resting (Okay, MOST of the time I’m not very good at resting!)  Instead of resting from my labors I think that I need to redouble them to catch up!  Help me to understand that if I am diligent and faithful and give you my best efforts and it is stll not enough, I need to rest and in that resting I need to trust you to make up for me what I cannot do for myself. 

When my work seems heavy and burdensome, help me to turn to you and learn your ways, learn what your plans for my life are and rest in your goodness, mercy and love!  AMEN 

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Fresh Grandson Photos!

My son-in-law, Michael’s Dad, "Grandpa Jim" has been keeping us in pictures as we wait impatiently to get to go see our grandson.  He just sent these to us including the first picture they were able to capture of Ellington smiling.

Ariane, Michael and the baby have been trying to catch up on the sleep they lost in the past week (good luck :-)!)  It seems that parenthood is an exercise in sleepless nights!

This second picture is of his other two grandmothers.  Grandma Pardubsky (Gloria) on the left and Grandma Byrd (Cheryl) on the left.  Cheryl is Ariane’s mom and Gloria is Michael’s mom.   They both are blessed to live in the same city so they will get to love on Ellington frequently.

The black hair is definitely from Michael who affectionately refers to himself as a "Chech’s Mex."  Gloria was born and raised in Mexico and Jim is of Chechoslavakian ancestory.

Steve is feeling better but still not well.  He’s scheduled to finish up his tests tomorrow (fingers crossed!)  If he passes, and maybe even if he doesn’t, we might make a short dash to San Diego so we can see everyone before we head out on our cruise Saturday.

 I read Spurgeon’s Daily Devotional on my PC Study Bible program almost ever day and today’s reading was so awesome I wanted to share it with you.  The writing is old English as it was written probably in the 1800’s (I’m not exactly sure when Spurgeon was alive) but it is still quite easy to understand.  I hope youll enjoy the selection.

February 18 PM 

"Father, I have sinned." –Luke 15:18

It is quite certain that those whom Christ has washed in His precious blood need not make a confession of sin, as culprits or criminals, before God the Judge, for Christ has for ever taken away all their sins in a legal sense, so that they no longer stand where they can be condemned, but are once for all accepted in the Beloved; but having become children, and offending as children, ought they not every day to go before their heavenly Father and confess their sin, and acknowledge their iniquity in that character? Nature teaches that it is the duty of erring children to make a confession to their earthly father, and the grace of God in the heart teaches us that we, as Christians, owe the same duty to our heavenly father. We daily offend, and ought not to rest without daily pardon. For, supposing that my trespasses against my Father are not at once taken to Him to be washed away by the cleansing power of the Lord Jesus, what will be the consequence? If I have not sought forgiveness and been washed from these offences against my Father, I shall feel at a distance from Him; I shall doubt His love to me; I shall tremble at Him; I shall be afraid to pray to Him: I shall grow like the prodigal, who, although still a child, was yet far off from his father. But if, with a child’s sorrow at offending so gracious and loving a Parent, I go to Him and tell Him all, and rest not till I realize that I am forgiven, then I shall feel a holy love to my Father, and shall go through my Christian career, not only as saved, but as one enjoying present peace in God through Jesus Christ my Lord. There is a wide distinction between confessing sin as a culprit, and confessing sin as a child. The Father’s bosom is the place for penitent confessions. We have been cleansed once for all, but our feet still need to be washed from the defilement of our daily walk as children of God.


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My Grandson is Here!

I don’t have a picture yet as my son-in-law was staying at the hospital through this afternoon and probably will hit the sofa when he gets home this afternoon and remain unconscious for a significant length of time!  He was up for close to 36 hours or more including a long work day on Monday.  As soon as I get a picture I’ll pass it along for those of you who are waiting to see my beautiful grandson 🙂

Here’s the vitals:  Ellington Israel Pardubsky was born at 12:30 PM on February 12th, 2008.  He weighed in at 8 lbs. 11 oz and was 20 inches long.  He has a thick head of dark hair and steel blue eyes like his father.  We will be heading down to see them probably on Friday.  It’s so hard to keep my mind off of him and on to some work so that they time passes a little more quickly.

I’ll keep you posted once I have some pictures to show off!

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Have You Voted Today? (USA)

freebie, sigtag, I voted, free downloadWe have such a privilege and an honor in that we are allowed to participate freely in the selection of our leaders.  Some years it’s very easy to decide others it can be excruciatingly difficult, but always it’s important.

If you haven’t voted yet and are a registered voter, please take the time and make the effort to make your voice heard.  I created a little piece of digital art  as a little gift for those those that would like it.  Feel free to use it as you wish, no strings attached!  Just click on the image and it will take you to the download.  It’s a png file, only 100 dpi meant mostly for online sigtag usage.

THE SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY: 1 Tim 2:1-2  I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  NIV

PRAYER:  Lord, we are electing new leaders for our country and  we do not know the heart of each candidate like you do.  We don’t know the best choice, only you do and we ask that you guide us in our elections that we might place the best men and women in each position.  We pray that their hearts would be led by you, changed by you in some cases and strengthened by you in all.  We pray for wisdom, character and integrity for each office holder and that any evil, crooked individuals would have what they have done in darkness exposed to the sunshine.  Help us Lord, by giving us not who we deserve, but who we need to keep our land safe, our children protected and our feet headed towards the right path.  Amen

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Need a Little Advice

Have any of you had the awful stomach flu that is going around?  If so, any suggestions?  My husband, myself and my youngest daughter all have it and it isn’t pretty.  Fever, chills, aches, in my case vomitting and in my daughter’s the runs.  We have Immodium AD and are drinking plenty of fluids.  Would charcoal tablets be helpful?  We picked this up from Everett’s house when we were there to support his mom and our dear friends. 

I’ll be watching for comments and suggestions so thanks anyone who’s been through it.

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I was Going to Have a Freebie Today But it isn’t Done Yet.

So come look tomorrow, I should have it done then.  We’re going to a dinner theatre tonight to see "42nd Street" and I have to live shortly.  Next week I’ll try to be better in writing, I’ve been sooooo busy this week I haven’t had time to think.

Please pray for my niece Staci Geiger (2 1/2 years old) she’s in the hospital with breathing problems and has been in since Sunday.  Her oxygen levels won’t hold, she’s on an anti-pneumonia regiment and the doctor’s don’t feel that they’re getting a handle on things.  Thank you so much, I’ll give you updates when I get them.  Got to run!

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I am soooooo Bad! I Forgot the Contest Drawing!

Someone reminded me today that I had forgotten to do the drawing.  OH MY!!!  So the blog contest winner is the 7th comment on the 29th day.  Congratulations!  I know that this particular person has a lot of my kits so she will win her choice of one of my kits, so all she has to do is let me know and I’ll send it her way (or she can choose the next kit that is coming which is for Valentine’s Day).

I am working on some new art for Valentine’s day so I hope to have some previews up for your early this week.  Keep checking in!  Also, those of you that pray, my agent has some very important meetings scheduled this month that I have been preparing product mockups for so throw up a prayer for me, okay?! 

We should have snow by tonight or Sunday (yippee!!!!)  If we get a good one I’ll post some pictures.  Our high Sierra are supposed to get 7-10 FEET of snow or more out of this series of storms.  That’s especially good for our water replenishment from the drought we’ve been in, but it could be devestating to Southern California with its naked hillsides after the fires.  The heat of a fire as intense as these were actually "fires" the soil a bit so that it doesn’t absorb water as it normally does so the danger of flash floods and mud slides are much higher than normal.  For my friends in So. Cal, keep safe.

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Our “Down by the River” Adventure!

Oh My did we have a bit of an adventure coming home from San Diego!!!  We were driving our new, old van (a 1989 Ford E150 van conversion Steve’s parents gave us to use for camping) on New Year’s Day.  It only has 130,000 miles on it and runs great, or so we thought when we began the trip.  But when we got about an hour outside of San Diego it started overheating going up the hills.

We couldn’t reach Michael and Ariane to decide if we wanted to turn around and go back to their house, so we let it cool off a bit and took off for Temecula.  Being New Year’s Day, even though stores are open to shop, there isn’t much available for car repair.  So, after searching around Temecula we continued limping up the highway a little stretch at a time.  The van actually did pretty well until we hit Rancho Cucamonga and then realized that since the rest of the trip was hills for the next 100 miles, we should stop pushing it and settle in for the night.

We stopped at a Sears garage and the very sweet crew there looked at the radiator and determined that we needed a new one and directed us to the best local shop which of course wouldn’t be open until the morning.  The boys fell head over heels in love with our puppy, Sequoia and any one of them would have taken him in an instant if we had wanted to let him go!  Sequoia is now 35 pounds and is 4 months old.  He lost his first puppy tooth on the trip and is growing up so fast!

We decided to explore the town of Rancho Cucamonga and went to dinner and a movie at a great mall called "Victoria Gardens" which is designed like an old town main street and you actually drive through the mall rather than just walk it.  They have sidewalks and the stores all look like fun old facades.  It’s really cute and it was hopping with the crowds.  We ate at California Pizza Kitchen, watched the end of the Rose Bowl game and then caught "National Treasure 2" at the theatre. 

Since we had the puppy with us a motel/hotel wasn’t likely to allow him in the room with us and I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of leaving him in his crate in the van, sooooooo….. I decided that we should have our Chris Farley "Living Down by the River in a Van" adventure and we decided to camp out in WalMart’s parking lot!!!  It was hilarious.  We got our "bedroom" ready by buying curtains and tension rods (color coordinated of course!) and setting the puppy up in his crate in the front of the van.  I slept great, Steve was much less comfortable but too much of a gentleman to let me know he was sleeping in a crack and rolling off his side of the miniscule mattress.

By the next morning, I was really pretty much done with this adventure, I wanted my shower, some new clean clothes and to watch some news, but the radiator shop would take all the way until 4 PM to be finished.  We were in Fontana (let’s just say a town that’s not quite as upscale and nice as Rancho Cucamonga) but we did enjoy a great Mexican take out lunch in between sitting, sleeping, waiting, walking the dog and waiting some more.  All I could think about was getting home to catch up on my emails and start the New Year’s creating.

We arrived home at 10:30 PM last night and I was never so glad to see home, EVER!!!  I think I’m done adventuring for a while.  But then I am thinking how we can make our van more comfortable for some quick summer get aways up in the mountains… hmmm…. perhaps a platform extension to allow a larger blow up mattress…..

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We’re Having a Delightful Time With Family

We went to the Leathernecks Aviation Museum yesterday at Miramar, we’ve gone to see “Christmas Card Lane” which is several square blocks of painted plywood Christmas cards, lit, decorated and many animated and is in Penasquitos, a suburb of San Diego. And then we’ve vegged! It’s been pretty much a perfect get away!

I hope you’re enjoying your family as much as I’m enjoying mine. We’ll head home Monday so if I don’t “talk” to you before then, Happy New Year to you all.

P.S. Don’t forget to post your comments from the 16th through the end of the month to be eligible for the random drawing on the first of the month. The winner will get a free digital clip art kit.

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