Wednesday, March 31

Gimme Back My Cadbury Eggs

Is there anything better than Easter candy?  I must confess I have a serious relationship with Cadbury cream eggs - you know, those chocolate eggs filled the creamy fondant that looks like the inside of an egg?  Oh how I adore them!  For those of you who have been keeping track, I actually blew my Lent rule of no sweets because of those delicious Cadbury eggs.  The other night, I arrived at home to find that one of my dogs had eaten my last egg, and I swear I pouted about it the rest of the evening.  Sigh....  I know.  I have a serious problem.

It is interesting to me how some of us wait all year for certain Easter treats.  My friend Amelia waits all year for the SweetTart jellybeans.  And my friends Jocelyn and Sam love Peeps - especially if they are stale.  I am appalled at the thought of this, but who am I to poo-poo someone's candy addiction?  In honor of those crazy Easter candy love affairs, here are some interesting recipes I came across today (Sorry, Amelia, I couldn't find one for jelly beans...).

Shelly from Cookies and Cups featured a post about making homemade peeps, so of course I had to share it with all of you!

Sue from Country Pleasures featured a post about homemade Cadbury eggs - I am intrigued!!! Especially considering that my eggs will soon disappear! Gasp! Cadbury Eggs all year long?

Enjoy everybody!!  Hmmm...  now to figure out how to make candy corn...

Tuesday, March 30


We live in the woods, mostly in the shade, and that makes flower gardening tough. There is also so much wildlife, that any plants that do happen to adjust to the climate are usually eaten or dug up. So, I pretty much don’t bother. But oddly, there are a bunch of daffodils that pop up each year – and they grow in the most random places – in the middle of the yard, in the forest, even in the driveway. They seem to pop up almost everywhere other than the flower beds. Ha ha! There is an exceptionally pretty patch of them right at the edge of the driveway, coming up through a pile of dead leaves and debris we dumped there. Every time I look at it, it strikes me how something so beautiful and alive can spring up from something so ugly and dead.

Reminds me of Ecclesiastes 3:11 - Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.  As Pastor Alan would say, "Good word."

It also reminds me of this little ditty I used to sing in Sunday school:  In His time, in His time, He makes all things beautiful in His time. Lord, please show me every day, As You’re teaching me Your way, That You do just what You say In Your time.

Hmmm... I need to be more mindful of that.  God makes all things beautiful.... God does just what He says.... God's got it under control....  What a comforting thought!  Yeah, I definitely need to be more mindful of that!

Monday, March 29

Time Flies

I’m not quite sure where March went… Seems like we were just celebrating Valentines’ Day yesterday, but the calendar tells me that April is only 3 days away. I can’t believe how fast time flies sometimes!

I got a few more photos from my sister-in-law Ronnie’s baby shower (Remember the one for which I made the peony brooches?). My sister Lynn is so good at taking photos and sharing them.  In a way, it's sort of her way of blogging.

Here’s Mer’s dining room table, set up in all sorts of gorgeousness – see the brooches on the napkins?

Here’s a photo of the mom-to-be, Ronnie. She looks so happy! That’s one thing I always think of when I think of her – she smiles a LOT! What a beautiful person! I know she and Jim will be great parents.

Here’s two of my older sisters and my niece (Left to Right, Britt, Merry, and Lynn). I miss them!

And here’s a photo of just Britt. Isn’t she beautiful??  I remember getting the phone call from Texas saying that Mer had just given birth to her!  And now she's in med school!

There goes that time flying by again! 

Sunday, March 28

Palm Sunday

Today was Palm Sunday.  Church was great!  Awesome music.  Plenty of people.  Communion.  We even had the chairs set up "in the round" all facing inward to the table where communion was set up - sort of a remembrance-centered service.  My favorite thing though was that they gave each person a nail with a little purple ribbon tied on it.  We are supposed to take it with us each day this week, to help us remember the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf.  We're also supposed to bring it back with us next Sunday - not sure why yet though.  :)

Wednesday, March 24

Sweet Friendship!

I heard from my dear friend Emma today – we go way back to the college days. She lived across the hall from me my freshman year, in good old Griffith Tower. Oh my! Such a long time ago! She and her husband Steve live in Orlando, so the 4 of us hung out a lot while we lived there. Oh the fun we had! And the trouble we caused!
Or dreamed of causing…

Emma and Steve are probably some of the strangest people I know – and that makes them really similar to me and Bruce! So it’s no wonder we got along so famously. It’s not just anyone who would eat pie for dinner with you. Or sit through Soul Plane with you. Or ask how you would dispose of a body. Ahhh yes…precious friends!

Emma was my closest friend when I was really not a nice person – when God was the farthest thing from my mind – and she loved me in spite of it. And she still loves me. She wrote me today to tell me that she is overjoyed at how happy Bruce and I are now, and that she can “see” a big difference in us. And her opinion means a lot to me. Emma is the kind of friend that, even though I rarely chat with her on the phone anymore, and we rarely see each other, I know that she is a part of me and always will be. And I love that.

Philippians 1:3

BTW Check out Steve’s book here! He’s gonna be famous!

Tuesday, March 23

Showers and Birthdays

My sister-in-law Ronnie is expecting her first baby, and I made some cute peony brooches as favors for the baby shower.  Above and below are some photos of  the brooches attached to the napkins.  Aren't they adorable?  You can make your own - I used this tutorial by Yoonie at Home: Tutorial

This weekend was amazing:  Saturday, Scarlett, Kelly and I drive to Durham to check out this amazing little shop called The Scrap Exchange.  In a nutshell, it's a bunch of "scraps" that you can buy to make art with!  I bought some pieces of vinyl, some bottle caps, some puzzle pieces and some empty spools.  I will post pics once I figure out what to make! 

Sunday was Come and See at my church, The Journey.  It was sort of a "bring a friend" service - we had 298 folks there!  Everything was done in excellence, and folks had a good time.  I participated in a cardboard testimony - the jist was each person had a piece of cardboard.  On the front was written one of their sins, and on the back was written how Christ had made a difference.  Mine dealt with bitterness.  It was awesome to be a part of the skit, but I was really glad I didn't have to say anything.  ha ha!  

Sunday was also a very important day - Bruce's birthday.  20 of us went to Chili's for lunch after church to celebrate.  Happy birthday, babe!

Thursday, March 18

Happy Friday!

It's my Friday!  And it's been a great week!

The college peeps are all back in town, so we had small group Monday.  So good to get caught with them!  And we have our second small group tonight - Good times!  Bruce is teaching from Philippians 3:12-21, which is quite applicable to them as they now face the back half of the semester - and for many, graduation.  We also did a little something special, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow... 

Tuesday we went to a Lacrosse game with Glenn and Julia - always fun hanging with the Records!  And then Scarlett came over to watch LOST.  It was really good to get my "Scarlett fix."  She graduates in May, but she is staying here in High Point!  I am so, so happy!

Last night, Bruce and I visited with Pastor Keith and Leslie for a bit.  While the guys talked about carpet and vinyl (blecch!), Leslie and I talked about the upcoming Women's Retreat.  She had me take a friendship test, which told me that I am a "hostess-therapist" type of friend.  I think I'm happy about that.  We all also discussed the upcoming Come and See Service at church this Sunday - all kinds of fun things going on for that!  I even got a fun project out of it!  And also for Palm Sunday!  Whoo hoo!  OH!  And Leslie was amazing and bought a bunch of baby stuff for my sister-in-law and a bunch of amazing FIBERS for me to do my art with!  And she also gave me a cute flowerpot full of goodies since I am not going on the Retreat (I know - I am lame)!!  But wow - such awesome people!   

I also pulled out my recipes and found one from my friend Stacy for Baked Oatmeal.  It is DELISH!  I made a dish, and have been enjoying it for "brunch" every day this week.  Here's the recipe:

3 cups blueberries tossed in 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
18oz container regular oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cups white sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 lg eggs
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
  • Lightly grease the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.  Sprinkle the berries in the bottom of the dish.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, and combine all wet ingredients in a different bowl.
  • Combine dry and wet ingredients, and pour on top of blueberries.
  • Bake at 350 degrees covered for 30 minutes and then uncovered for 20 minutes.
NOTES: I have used raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and chopped apples and pecans.  All are amazing, though the apple is probably my fave. 

Hope you all have been having a great week too!

Wednesday, March 17

Stop Pinching Me!

I did not wear green today. I do not plan to go to any parades. I do want to eat corned beef and cabbage or drink green beer. It would be nice to find a leprechaun, but I don’t think that’s likely. I guess that makes me a horrible person, or at least a very bad Irishman. (See, even though I was adopted into a Norwegian family, my true heritage is Hungarian, Irish and English).

But I was curious about St. Patrick’s Day, so I did a little poking around on the internet and found the following compilation of tidbits:
  • St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17 because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick was born in 385 AD somewhere along the west coast of Britain, possibly in the Welsh town of Banwen. At age 16, he was captured and sold into slavery to a sheep farmer. He escaped when he was 22 and spent the next 12 years in a monastery. In his 30s he returned to Ireland as a Christian missionary. It is believed that he died on March 17 in 461 AD and is buried at Downpatrick.
  •  Legend has it that St. Patrick used the native shamrock as a symbol of the holy trinity when preaching. Other legend says that each leaf of the clover means something: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the highest number of leaves found on a clover is 14! One estimate suggests that there are about 10 000 regular three-leaf clovers for every lucky four-leaf clover.
  • St. Patrick's celebrations were originally religious festivals; up until the 1970s Irish law mandated that pubs be closed on St. Patrick's Day. In 1995 the Irish government used St. Patrick's day to drive tourism to Ireland. (Oh how times have changed!)
  • St Patrick was said to have proclaimed that everyone should have a drop of the "hard stuff" on his feast day after chastising an innkeeper who served a short measure of whiskey. In the custom known as "drowning the shamrock", the shamrock that has been worn on a lapel or hat is put in the last drink of the evening.
  •  It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland. In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The "banishing of the snakes" was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick's arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.
  • The actual color of St. Patrick is blue. Green became associated with St. Patrick's Day during the 19th century. Green, in Irish legends, was worn by fairies and immortals, and also by people to encourage their crops to grow.
  • Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure. The story is that if you catch one you can make him tell you where he hides his gold.
Pretty interesting, eh?

Go n-ithe an cat thĂș is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat!
(May the cat eat you, and the devil eat the cat.)

Friday, March 12

Don't Feed the Bears

I am having one of those days. And I am oh-so-tempted to not blog about it, and yet that wouldn’t be very transparent or honest of me, right? To make you all think that my life is hunky-dory? Nay. Besides, you all know better.

Well, I had it out with one of the girls who report to me at work. And I feel like crap about it, kinda ticked off, wondering why I took this job, wondering why I STAY at this job… Pastor Keith says, “Don’t feed the bears,” meaning don’t let yourself get caught up in the drama of those who try to suck you in. I guess I lost my picnic basket this morning…

But like He always does, God has reminded me that He is here for me – through others. I have heard from Sam and from Lizzie (who is going to get me Dutch Blitz while she is home in Ohio! AMAZING!). I have heard from my sister Merry. And dear Leslie just checked in on me too. It is good to be loved, and to be reminded that I am loved, especially on these types of days. When I feel like the bears…are eating me.

Romans 8

Thursday, March 11


So this morning I got a disturbing phone call around 6 am. A friend of mine had to call the police on her boyfriend for threatening to kill her. :( SO NOT COOL! And as horrible as I feel it is for her, I cannot help but be oh so thankful for my husband, who would never, ever do that, not in a million years. So, in that mindset, here’s a list of things that make me hysterical for him.

The way he loves God – It has been AMAZING seeing him grow in the Lord, especially as he prepares to become a pastor. The way he lives is so much more Christ-centered, and it is so incredibly sexy. And I swear his servant’s heart grows bigger each day!

His sense of humor – We are both total weirdos, and I love that! It’s nice to be partners with someone with the same twisted, weird way of looking at life.

The way the college students and church peeps love him

His love of all things soft-serve vanilla

The way he listens – to me, to the pastors, to the college students, to friends and family, even to the dogs

His music addiction – even though I might not like all of his music tastes, at least he keeps me singing. And that’s the only hobby he has, so I cannot complain (especially when I am standing in a room FULL of my hobby supplies!).

His hair – I should say, the way he loves his hair! It’s that gorgeous brownish coppery color, and now that he’s growing it out, it’s fun to watch him style it with the hairdryer and shake his head like a model to feel it swish back and forth on his neck. Ha ha!

The way he can’t lie

The way he looks first thing in the morning – OH THE HAIR!!

The way he makes me coffee on Saturdays

His willingness to kill all hideous insects and creatures on my behalf

The way we play “punch bug” when we’re driving around (especially because he loses so well!)

The way he would give me his last bite of something really, really yummy if I asked him to… now THAT’S love!

The way that he works a boring, underpaying job because I need him to

But most of all: The way he loves me – I am not an easy woman to love with, let alone love. Yet he does it with such depth and conviction, it takes me breath away, even after 12 years of marriage! He taught me that I was loveable, when I thought I wasn’t. And his love has helped shape me into the woman that I am. He is my very best friend. I love you, Bruce!

Wednesday, March 10

RIP Corey Haim (oh and pass me my legwarmers)

Corey Haim died! He was only 38 – that’s 2 years older than I am. Whoa. The heartthrob from The Lost Boys and The Two Coreys is gone. Sad day.  Hearing his name brings me back though....

To yuppies and Apple computers. To MTV and the shuttle explosion and the fall of the Berlin wall. To Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper and break dancing contests. To Cabbage Patch Kids and Care Bears and Smurfs. To ET and Back to the Future and Indiana Jones and Empire Strikes Back. To legwarmers and Swatch watches and dressing like Madonna. To Jelly shoes and friendship pins.

Oh yes, it brings me totally.

Monday, March 8


The crocuses are here!  The crocuses are here! 
Is there any better reminder that spring is coming?  I love it when those tiny little pops of color start appearing from under the ground, bursting through the brown leaves and sticks and mulch that winter left behind.  And as small as they are, they bring with them such a BIG promise - that even more new beauty will be coming soon!

Friday, March 5

Repeat After Me

The Weatherspoon Art Museum (where I work) publishes a quarterly newsletter called ARTicles that features our event calendar, latest exhibitions, etc. Our Summer 2009 newsletter featured a photo of Durham audio artist Sherri Wood’s Mantra Trailer. It’s a 1950’s era camper that’s used as a meditative space where people can record their personal mantras. They are then broadcast online and outdoors, and the words of each mantra are featured on the side of the trailer. Fascinating! The one that we featured on our ARTicles cover was "I Release All Fears and Doubts." Here’s the photo. And here’s the audio recording:  (hopefully these load for you…)

Today has been a pretty cruddy day at work (yes, even though it’s Friday)! So I have been looking at the picture of the trailer, which I have cut from the newsletter and tacked to my bulletin board, and I have been repeating that mantra to myself to keep my blood pressure down. I can almost hear the Heavenly Father saying those words to me over and over.

I release all fears and doubts. I release all fears and doubts. I release all fears and doubts.

Normally, I wouldn’t think of myself as "one who chants." Mindfully repeating this mantra feels a little strange to me actually, like I am participating in some type of religious practice that may or may not be right. But I am also realizing more and more that I do actually already have many of my own mantras that I regularly chant to myself (and sometimes to Bruce). And they aren’t good ones.

I am weak. I am weak. I am weak.

I am ugly. I am ugly. I am ugly.

I can’t do that. I can’t do that. I can’t do that.

I don’t understand. I don’t understand. I don’t understand.

Hardly uplifting, right? So NOT part of the life that God wishes for me! - The life described in Ecclesiastes 3:11-13: “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.”

Obviously, my mantras need a makeover! I should be saying:

My house is on the Rock. My house is on the rock. My house is on the rock.

Be transformed. Be transformed. Be transformed.

I can do all things through Christ. I can do all things through Christ. I can do all things through Christ.

The peace of God transcends understanding. The peace of God transcends understanding. The peace of God transcends understanding.

If strength and peace and joy and love and all good things are what God desires me to have, and He will give them to me, why do I consistently deprive myself of these treasures by filling my mind with distress, self-hate and depression? Shouldn’t He – the One who knows all of my faults – be the only one who judges me? Who points out my flaws? Who brings me down? And yet, He delights in me. He fearfully and marvelously made me. He loves me enough to die for me.

Maybe what I should be saying is
Help me, Lord. Help me, Lord. Help me, Lord.
Words are powerful.

(BTW Hear more mantras in Wood’s audio art collection here.  Many of them are AMAZING!)

Thursday, March 4

Random Icebreaker

Every time we have our college small groups, we start the session with some kind of icebreaker - just a question that everyone has to answer.  Sometimes they are serious, sometimes very strange, sometimes funny.  I've decided to start throwing out some of them to my readers so they can join in the fun!  So every time you see a post titled "Random Icebreaker," get ready!  

Here you go!:
If you had to eat a raccoon, how would you cook it?

Wednesday, March 3


I recently finished some collages for my bathroom that I think are pretty cute, so I thought I'd show them off here. 

I have always loved the sight of birds sitting on a telephone wire, so I did my own version of that.

These are on 8x10 canvases, and are placed on either side of the bathroom mirror.  The background is actually a pretty robin egg blue.  I used a cool technique using saran wrap to give it texture and a more modern feel.  I drew the lines with a Sharpie (my favorite marker brand!).  And then the bird shapes on assorted red scrapbook papers, cut them out, and used mod podge to adhere them to the painted canvas.  I then mod podged the whole thing to seal it.   

The  biggest one hangs over a shelf I have in the bathroom.  I think it's 18x24 or something.  In my head, I call it Butterfly Storm.

The background is actually red with beige (not orange like the photo makes it appear).  I used the saran wrap technique again, but also used some baking soda for a really cool effect and texture.  I used a butterfly stamp to cut all the little pretties out of assorted scrapbook paper, and then used mod podge to adhere and seal.

It's amazing what can be created out of necessity (Bruce and I really needed some wall art for the bathroom, but we couldn't find anything that we liked - or it was too expensive).  The stuff I made was affordable, and it kept me out of trouble for a few days.  :)

Tuesday, March 2

Funky Chicken

I am stuck in a funk – not motivated, feeling sort of down, just generally out of sorts. Not sure why. But I definitely do not like it. In an attempt to chase away the blues, I have been listening to praise music on Pandora today, and one of my favorites came on. I am trying to make it my mantra today, so thought I would share it with you.

Jesus, Bring the Rain by MercyMe
Click here to hear the song and see the video

I can count a million times, people asking me how I can praise You with all that I've gone through. The question just amazes me. Can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You?

Maybe since my life was changed, long before these rainy days, it's never really ever crossed my mind to turn my back on you, oh Lord, my only shelter from the storm, but instead I draw closer through these times. So I pray…

Bring me joy. Bring me peace. Bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings You glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You,
Jesus, bring the rain.

I am yours regardless of the clouds that may loom above because you are much greater than my pain. You who made a way for me, suffering your destiny. So tell me what’s a little rain?

Bring me joy. Bring me peace. Bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings You glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You,
Jesus, bring the rain.

Holy, holy, holy - Holy, holy, holy
is the lord God almighty - is the Lord God almighty.
I'm forever singing.