April 29, 2011

tote bag

I made this just now.
It started out as the cutest dishtowel ever... in the whole world. My friend Sarah gave it to me earlier this week.

In the dishtowel stage.


The front view of my dishtowel turned tote bag.


The back view of my dishtowel turned tote bag.

I took one look at the little birds and got this great idea...
It's way too cute to stay a dishtowel for the rest of its life, I'll just whip up a tote bag!
I saw the idea in a magazine and have wanted to try it out for the last two weeks.
You just fold the towel in half, add some wide ribbon to the top with interfacing underneath, sew it all up, add ribbon handles, and then add a big fat button and a little ribbon strip to close the opening.
Voila! Tote bag in an hour!
I love the outcome.

I'm sore from patting myself on the back so much.

April 28, 2011

some things

1)  I have laryngitis.
My voice is gone on vacation.
I can only whisper. Or occasionally bark, if I try really hard.
The last time I lost my voice, Emma helped me look for it.
She looked under the bed, and in the bathroom. Alas, it wasn't in either of those places.
When my voice came back she said, Sun!!! Where'd you find your voice???
I told her it had been in my purse all along.
Anyway, now I know how the Little Mermaid felt. Poor Ariel. It's a total bummer not being able to talk.

2)  Uncle Danny was here last week for Missions Conference.
We went thrift store shopping together.
Uncle Danny likes to buy old junk and resale it in his antique shop in TX for big bucks. It's pretty cool.
So he was looking for old books to buy and I thought, Oh, I'll help him out!
I had visions of me finding the best book ever, and he would resale it for thousands of dollars on ebay, and be able to retire, and he'd say, That, Sunny Jane. If it wasn't for her I'd probably be poor.
And then everybody would look at me admiringly, and I'd shrug nonchalantly and say, Oh, it was nothing. All in the line of duty as a niece.
But...
Every time I pulled out the best book ever, he'd look at it and say, Hmmmmmmmm.
Then put it back on the shelf.
So then I switched tactics and pulled out the worst book ever.
He put that one back on the shelf too.
So I gave up on that vision and finished drinking my Starbucks instead.

3)  I'm not a southern girl anymore. I mean, not hardcore. I don't run around saluting the confederate flag anymore, I've forgotten everything I ever learned about Robert E. Lee, and I no longer want a shirt that says G.R.I.T.S on the front. (Girls Raised In The South)
The west is my home now, and I'm not one to look back wistfully on my raisin' or my roots.
I like 'em, I just don't long for, or miss 'em. Except for all the family. I really miss the family. I wish I could see them more often instead of once every few years.
I'm sentimental, I'm nostalgic, I love family traditions, but I also know this is where God wants me and I've never pined to go back south.
But, listening to Uncle Danny tell story after story brought back alot of good memories.
My southern accent thickened instantly.
One thing I love about the south is the way everything seems slower. It's not really slower, it just seems that way. I have no idea why. But it's nice.
And I like the hospitality. It seems like everybody is always having everybody over for dinner every night.
I like the thunderstorms. We don't have those out here. And the oak trees with Spanish moss. And the sweet tea at every meal. And the comfort cooking. And all the family.
And the memories.

4)  My sister-in-law, Jenny, is visiting right now. And my niece Mikenzie.
If you ever want to laugh, you should hang out with Jenny. You WILL laugh. Even if you're a dry bone that hates laughing.
Here's what I love about Jenny:
She makes me laugh. And believe it or not, she laughs louder than me. So my horse laugh sounds like a very small laugh when Jenny's here. She even snorts like me.
She's big hearted.
She's dramatic. Everything she does has some element of drama. When she talks, it's like watching a movie because she stands up and acts out the whole thing with crazy, flailing arm gestures.
She loves my brother and makes his eyes happy.
We can sit and talk for hours together.
She said the other day that she noticed people staring at her in the stores. She said, What? Can they tell I'm not from around here? Is my hair sticking out? Is it because of my clothes?
But it's not that. I know why they stare.
It's because she's beautiful, inside and out, and she glows. And people see that, and wonder how to get it themselves.

My all time favorite pic of Jenny and Mik.

Jenny and nieces

Karen, Jenny, and I

5)  The other night in church, Tim said something about which came first: the chicken or the egg?
And then he kinda mockingly said, Come on guys... I don't have to tell you which came first do I?
And I laughed superiorly along with everyone else.
But really... for a spilt second, when Tim very first asked which came first, I forgot about Creation and was thinking, Now THAT'S the question... I wonder which came first?
Then I quietly inspected my fingernails to hide my confusion.
But seriously, guys. God coulda created the egg first and waited for it to hatch a chicken.

6)  I made my wreath!

In the beginning was a hot glue gun and a bunch of stuff...

Finished product


It took me two hours and eight bucks to make it.
Incredibly, the hardest part was finding a stick.
There aren't a whole lot of trees around my apartment building.
But there are bushes!
So I casually strolled over to the bush closest to my door, stuck my arm way down in it, acting like I do that all the time, broke off a branch, pulled it out and said, Oh look! This was broken!
And then I ran for dear life just in case someone was watching, and might maybe report me to the office manager for defamation of property, or whatever that's called.
It was nerve wracking. I've decided any time I need a stick in the future, I'll get it under cover of darkness.
I love, adore, and am immensely proud of my wreath.
I say good morning to it.

7)  Life is so good right now.
Sure there are problems. Sure there are setbacks. Sure there are tears and heartache some days.
Not every day is a Pollyanna day.
But under those problems, setbacks, and tears is safety.
Peace. Surety. Wonder. Love. Amazement. Contentment.
The good makes the bad seem small.
And I likey.

April 25, 2011

too wonderful...

Resurrection Day.
Easter Sunday.

Either way you say it, it makes me think of new life.

Yesterday was so wonderful. If it had gotten any better, I would have died. Really. I couldn't stand much more.
It was just that the Easter lilies looked so lovely beside the pulpit.
Everyone was looking spiffy and smiley.
The ham was at home baking and filling the house with its delectable aroma.
The church singing lifted the roof a little more than usual... there's nothing like singing Christ Arose when everyone means it.

My heart was pretty full at that point and service had barely started.
Then the Stedman's, the Lowes, and Sarge sang Ten Thousand Angels...

They bound the hands of Jesus,
In the garden where He prayed,
They led Him through the streets in shame.
They spat upon the Saviour,
So pure and free from sin,
They said, "Crucify Him, He's to blame".

He could have called ten thousand angels,
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone for you and me.

Upon His precious head,
They placed a crown of thorns,
They laughed and said, "Behold the King".
They struck Him and they cursed Him,
And mocked His holy name,
All alone He suffered everything.

When they nailed Him to the cross,
His mother stood nearby,
He said "Woman, behold thy son".
He cried, "I thirst for water",
But they gave Him none to drink,
Then the sinful work of man was done.

To the howling mob he yielded,
He did not for mercy cry,
The cross of shame He took alone.
And when He cried, "It's finished",
He gave Himself to die,
Salvation's wondrous plan was done.

He could have called ten thousand angels,
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But He died alone for you and me.


And I heard His voice say, Just for you, darling. Just for you.
And it was too wonderful for me.
I heard a preacher say one time, that Christ didn't think of us individually when He hung on the cross. He thought of us collectively.
Well, he can think that if he wants, but I know my Beloved thought of me when He died.
I know He thought of me when He shook Hell's gates, and conquered death.
I know He thought of me when He rose on that third day.
I know He thought, Because I love you, Sunny Jane.
And it's too, too wonderful for my little brain understand. Too, too wonderful for my little heart to contain.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us...   -1John 3:1

I thought my heart couldn't possibly take any more, but God said, I'm not done yet. Are you kidding? This day has only just started!
So Tim preached wonderfully. Very wonderfully.
Then after service, I was sitting on the pew talking to Ms. Bette, and heard Tim yelling in the foyer.
I normally shoot out of church as soon as it's over so I can go home, put on my sweats, and hug a bowl of chocolate ice cream.
But I'm so glad I stuck around after Sunday morning service this once.
Tim was yelling because a guy in our church had just gotten saved in his office. And so did his little five year old daughter.
Father and child on the same day!
Resurrection Day no less!
The angels in heaven rejoiced, and I hugged my box of Kleenex a little tighter and laid over on the pew to soak up God's goodness.
Talk about new life.

Then we all went to Sherry's for lunch.
Friends and family all together.
Sherry made an Easter bunny cake...


Cute, huh? I loved it. Even with the evil red eyes.
We were sitting around talking after the lunch clean-up, and I suddenly realized... I was wearing my new Easter clothes! The clothes Karen paid for to bribe me to go shopping with her!
I needed a picture so I could share how cute my new outfit is with ya'll.
Because it's super cute. I'm in love with this outfit. It makes me feel like a girly girl.

Karen was my photographer.
Remember I'm not photogenic? This is proof...

Here we have Sunny Jane with her mouth open.
Huh, Karen? What'd you say? What?


Here we have Sunny Jane with her eyes closed.
And a pained expression.


My Olan Mills pose.


And finally...
The outfit! Cute, right?
You can buy it at Down East Basics if you like.
I don't mind if you copycat me.
It will make your waistline look itty bitty.


Okay...
I have to share one more thing, even though it has nothing whatsoever to do with Resurrection Day.
But because my Olan Mills pose reminded me of it...
Because I feel brave...
Or reckless...


That's me on the left, and my life friend, Aubri on the right.
I was twelve.
And unphotogenic.
Look at my poor face. I don't know what was wrong with it. Probably puberty had something to do with it.
Or just being in front of a camera was all that it took to give me that retarded, I-just-woke-up-and-haven't-had-any-chocolate face.
Or I could have been insecure about my hair.
*sigh*

Anyway, yesterday was too, too wonderful to keep to myself.
It was marvelous.
Lovely.
A perfect day.

April 24, 2011

resurrection day

He is not here:
for he is risen,
as he said.
Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
-Matthew 28:6

............................

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose! 

April 19, 2011

His voice

I don't know if I'll be able to make sense of this, but it means a lot to me so I'm going to try.

I used to think to hear God's voice was this: to hear it in my ear.
Literally. 
I'm not talking spooky ghost voices, but I guess it's something like that. Only it's God, not a ghost.
If I couldn't hear God's voice in my ear, I considered Him silent.
But I thought that was okay since I could hear Him on a regular basis.
I would ask Him what I should do, and He would answer... in an almost audible voice; like He was right next to me.
I was satisfied with that Voice. I never looked for It anywhere else. Not in the preaching, not in good counsel, not in my Bible reading.
Not that I didn't get anything out of the preaching or Bible reading. Just in my opinion, God only had one voice- the audible one- and I never even knew there was more to it than that.
I never realized I was confining God.

But, then I went without God's voice for a long time.
And when I wanted it back... I had to hunt for it.
I had to search.
Seek high and low.
I had to unearth it from beneath a pile of me.

But what's so wonderful is that after all that searching, I not only found that audible voice again, I found God's voice in so many other places.
It's made Him feel so much closer.
There's His voice in my ear,
in the preaching,
in good counsel,
in the singing at church,
in the smiles on my friend's faces,
in the thunder,
in my family,
in the daily blessings He heaps upon me,
in the gratefulness welling up in my heart,
in the everywhere and everything.

When I've had the most wonderful day, it's like God is saying, See how much I love you?
When something I've been fretting over gets taken care of, that's God saying, I've got you in my Hand. As usual.
When something goes wrong, it's like God is saying, Whoa Nellie, slow down there. You're getting ahead of Me.
When I'm beaten, my face in the gravel, and I feel myself lifted up, things somehow turning out in my favor, it's like God is saying, Hey, I'm your Defender. No one can mess with you and get away with it. I'll teach them Who's really Boss.
When I hear the thunder, I remember that... God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.     -Job 37:5

It's like I can't get away from His voice.
He's always speaking.
And it's sweet, sweet music to my ears.

Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty,
give unto the LORD glory and strength.
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name;
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
The voice of the LORD is upon the waters:
the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests:
and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.
The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.
The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
-Psalm 29


The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
-Song of Solomon 2:8

April 18, 2011

creative outlet

I've decided to try being crafty. Like arts and crafts kind of crafty.
I'm not normally that kind of person.
I don't sew. I don't cook. I don't clip coupons for the best deals. I don't decorate cakes. I don't knit, or crochet, or embroider. I don't grow a garden, and harvest the growth, and then can the bounty in mason jars.
I've always felt kinda bad about that. Other women do those things... shouldn't I?
I mean, shouldn't I enjoy baking fresh bread?

But, I've come to terms with my lack of crafty talent.
I hate doing those kinds of things and I'm not going to force myself to love them anymore.
I can cook and sew well enough for when I need it. That's good enough.
I have other talents, things that I love, and I'm going to focus on them instead of beating myself up because I'm not the next June Cleaver.

So, back to being crafty.
I'm creative, thanks to the genes from Moma's side of the family, and sometimes I need an outlet.
Gardening is a creative outlet for me. It satisfies me to pick out the right plants for the right spot, to design the flowerbed, and then to make things grow. I love it! I love everything about gardening... except weeding. I hate weeding. Weeds are dumb.
Playing house is another outlet. Might sound silly, but you have to be creative to play house. I like making my little home homey. I like putting things in their place and making it pretty. I like neat and tidy. I like flowers on the kitchen table, and making sure the girls have everything they need when they come over- like juice and sunshine.
Writing's another one, but that goes without saying. Obviously.
And I think I've discovered another creative outlet! A truly hands-on, crafty one that doesn't involve the dreaded sewing machine, or scrapbooking, or making homemade pasta...

I love The Lettered Cottage. I think they have the greatest ideas ever. I love how Kevin and Layla whip up little projects with hot glue and yarn. I love the way they repurpose things, like using an old ladder for a magazine rack.
So, they gave me some great ideas which I'm going to try out.

Project #1: I have an old dresser that belonged to my grandmother in my guest room.
It's a beautiful dresser, but not really what I would run out and buy.
So I'm going to paint it. And add new hardware.
I think I'll have fun and paint it some funky color. Like green. Or aqua. Or something like that.
And I think I'll find some fun hardware for a couple of the drawers too.
Something like this:
(I have a big fat weakness for all things little birds.)

Project #2: I have a nightstand in my bedroom, and I feel the same way about it as I feel about the dresser.
It needs paint and hardware.
I haven't decided on the color. My room is kind of an ashy purple, golden yellow, and grey. (Anyway, those are the colors it will be when I'm all done decorating the room.)
Any ideas? Should I be safe and go with black, since I love black furniture? Or should I go crazy and do a metallic silver like the legs of this chair that I found on Centsational Girl?

I love it, but I can't make up my mind.
What to do, what to do...

Project #3: I'm going to make a wreath.
I know. A wreath? Sounds boring.
But it isn't! I promise!
This is the one from The Lettered Cottage (Click the link to find out how to make one for yourself!):


Cool, huh?
They took a foam wreath form and covered it with yarn.
Then embellished it with buttons and things.
It's all put together with hot glue... no sewing required!
I could totally make this!
Only I'm not going to copycat it to the last detail. I want more vibrancy. Some pinks, and yellows, and reds. I love color.
And I have a different idea for the flowers. I'll make rosettes! Like Franchesca's from The Flourish Shop. I also love rosettes.

Totally sweet headband from The Flourish Shop.

So those are the projects on my horizon.
Who knows when I'll get them done, but who cares?
I'm looking forward to branching out and discovering me some new creative outlet!

April 17, 2011

sicky

I'm sick.
Everybody else at church was doing it, and I felt left out.
So I joined the sick crowd.

You know how in the movies, the girl with the hangover is walking into her prestigious office building, and she discreetly leans over a trash can and pukes, and nobody knows the difference?
She just kinda says, bleh, and wipes the edge of her mouth when she's done...
And runs her fingers through her glowing, beautiful hair...
And all the guys are like, we love you will you marry us?
She doesn't even have to use mouthwash or anything.

I'm NOT like that.

If I puked at work, it'd clear the building and I'd get fired.
I'm a violent vomiter.
When I puke, it comes out my nose, and gets in my hair, and you can hear me vomiting all over the house.
It's embarrassing.
I never just say, bleh, and run my fingers through my glowing hair. And there's no time for the guys to ask for my hand in marriage because I'm too busy lying on the bathroom floor, shivering, and crying, and shaking, and looking for mouthwash.

When I'm not groaningly clinging to the toilet, I'm in the tub.

I've never understood the whole soak-in-the-tub attraction that some people have.
Candlelit bubble baths? Relaxing? Huh?
I'm afraid of drowning, people. And getting in the tub raises my risk of drowning.
I can't relax in the tub: I'm too busy locking my knees, frantically clutching the edge of the tub, and generally doing whatever it takes to keep my head above water.
But when I'm sick... I remember how when I was a little girl and my Moma would put me in a hot bath, and say soothing things to me like, It's alright, Moma's here. It'll be over soon.
It always made me feel better.
It's not quite the same now though.
For one, Moma's not here to save me from drowning. And second, when I tell myself, It's alright, Moma's only 3,000 miles away in Alabama. No biggie. It'll be over soon... it's just not as comforting.
But when I'm miserable, I'm willing to try anything. Even if it involves possible death by drowning.

I can't eat, my back hurts, my head hurts, my left leg hurts, my hipbone hurts from sleeping on my side on the bathroom floor all night, I'm sore from puking, I had to stay home from church today, I might miss the Mission's Conference, I look like death, I feel like death, I wish for death...
I hate being sick.
It's miserable at best.

I hope you feel sorry for me.
Because I deserve your pity.


{UPDATE, the next day: I'm much better everyone. Thanks for all the pity... it helped tremedously...}

April 14, 2011

ten on thursday

1)  I have connections.
My main connection is Jerry Marlowe, my friend on the golf course.
Remember I went out to lunch with him a couple weeks ago and had such a good time?
Well, I mentioned to him that unemployment really sucks. So he got all up in my business.
And now I have work! Not a job... but still work.
He made a few phone calls, and then people started calling me, and now I go to their houses and act all professional and clean out their flower beds for big bucks.
I use big words like Dichorisandra thyrsiflora, and they stare at me in awe, and pay me pretty much whatever I want. (They have no idea Dichorisandra thyrsiflora only means Blue Ginger, and I've never even seen Blue Ginger in real life.)

I love having connections! It makes me feel so... connected.

2)  Have I ever mentioned that I hate shopping?
And shopping hates me?
Me and shopping hate each other?

Karen loves shopping though. It does something for her deep, inner, soulful being.
Karen also likes to have company when she shops.
My company in particular.
It's a dilemma...
Here's Karen loving shopping, and me hating it, and us in the store together with my frowny face glaring at Karen's eager, cheerful one.

So the other day, Karen called and tentatively asked me if I'd go shopping with her, and before I could say no... she offered to pay me $30 bucks to go with her. And even said I could take my car so I could leave whenever I wanted.

I felt kinda bad that my own sister has to pay me to go shopping with her, but...
I also really want an Easter dress from Down East so...
Long story short, I took her up on her offer.

3)  One time when I was about 8 yrs old, I woke up during the night.
I needed to go pee.
But we only had one bathroom, and my eldest sister was in it being sick.
I couldn't wait. When I gotta go, I gotta go right now.
So I had to improvise.
I ran to the kitchen and peed in the sink.
My moma was horrified, We wash our dishes and potatoes in there!!!
I had to scrub the sink out with an SOS pad and bleach.

I had thought my moma would at least be glad that I, for once, hadn't wet the bed.
Adults are hard to figure.

4)  Another time I peed in my bedroom trash can.
I got a spanking that time.
How come all my adults didn't understand that I couldn't wait?
Did they think I enjoyed peeing in random places?

5)  Another time I peed on the hall floor.
Dad had told me to hold it.

6)  So the other day I was working for some new people, and the wife stuck her head out the front door and yelled, Just so you know, there won't be any bathroom access!
She was kinda snippy about it too.
So I'm wondering, would they mind me peeing in their water feature in the back yard?

7)  We're having our annual Mission's Conference at church this coming up week.
My Uncle Danny is preaching it.
I'm looking forward to seeing him! He's one of those comfort people of mine.
The last time he came, he bought me the darlingest little antique bookshelf for my living room. It's one of my prized possesions. He also redecorated the tops of my kitchen cupboards with some old  tea sets, silver candlesticks, and crystal punch bowls that I had stashed away. He said he didn't understand why I had all my "pretties" stuck in drawers. I bet your uncle doesn't do that.
He staying at my house again this year with two missionaries.
Which means I need to fold my laundry.

8)  I keep a prayer journal. I'm way spiritual like that. I'll probably be sitting on the Right Hand of the Father because of my super spiritual prayer journal.
Just kidding. I keep a prayer journal because of my ADD.
When I pray in my head, it goes like this...
Lord in Heaven...
(I wonder how long it's going to take me to fold all my laundry?)
(It's only the whites... maybe it won't take long.)
Wait a sec... Lord?... I really need Your help with such and such...
(No, it'll take longer. I did the darks too.)
(I need to get milk today too.)
(I wonder if The Tourist is out yet? I love Johnny Depp. He's my fav.)
Lord? Such and such is really getting to me...
(I wonder what would happen if I wore my socks in the shower?)
(Where ARE my socks? Probably still in the dryer from last week.)
Dang it! Lord, I have to go to work now.
TTYL.
Amen.

Therefore, I keep a prayer journal because I'm forced to focus when I write.
It works for me.

9)  I wore my socks in the shower.
It felt weird.
And soggy.

10)  Sometimes God is so good to me that I have to run and stick my head under my pillow.
And yell real loud.

April 13, 2011

in the beginning...

Emma has her own ideas about Creation.

She has decided God goes to the store.
(He has lots of stores around Him. Because He's God!)
And He buys a little head.
(About the size of yours, Sunny!)
Then He takes it home and paints it white.
Then He adds little strings of hair.

Then He's done.

So I asked her, What about our bodies? How the heck does He make those?

She had to think hard.

Then she came up with the how.
He goes to the store.
(The different store. You know, the one with all the little bones? Not the one with all the heads.)
He buys a bunch of bones and hooks them all together.
(Like Legos!)
Then he screws the head on.

Then He's done.

But I asked her, But what about when we're born? How does He make us small if He's already made us big with heads the size of mine?

She was flummoxed. But only for a second.

Then she sighed and looked at me like I was the biggest dimwit ever...
He makes little ones of us, and then pokes us into the mommy's belly to grow up.
(Oh, of course! How come I didn't think of that!)

Then He's done.

Move on over, evolutionists.
Emma's theory makes more sense than yours.

April 10, 2011

new name

I've changed my blog name.
I really liked Sunshine on a cloudy day. It was a cheesy spin on my own name and it made me smile.
But, my life has changed alot over this past winter, and I felt like a new name was in order for the blogspot.
I just couldn't come up the right one until a few days ago when I was looking at a childhood friend's wife's website, Small Bird Studios. Their little baby girl died a while back, but instead of shriveling in bitterness she simply says, what a beautiful mess she left behind, and gives God the glory for His goodness to her and her family. It touched my heart. I thought it was so sweet. The whole website is sweetness itself.
Anyway, when I read those words I thought, That's what my life is. Just a beautiful mess. A big, messy mess made beautiful by a God Who loves me so.

I like the meaning behind a name. I think it's important. All throughout the Bible, the names have meaning. Even the names of towns and buildings.
My middle name means God's grace. How wonderful is that??? I'm so glad my Moma named me what she did. It suits me. And every time someone says Sunny Jane, it's a reminder of God's grace to me. It's a good name to have.

This blog isn't just about me. It's more than that, it's about my life.
It's about the people I know, the places I go, the decisions I make, my friends and family, my struggles, my triumphs, things that strike my fancy... etc.
It's about what God's been doing for me, how He's blessed me so beautifully.
Sometimes my life can be messy, but with God, it's always beautiful.

The messy parts are about me.
But the beautiful parts are what God's doing in spite of me.
A beautiful mess...

April 09, 2011

it's here

I've been working outside, raking and weeding.
I hardly shivered at all today.
I've been wearing flip-flops.
I pulled out my hot pink nail polish to celebrate.
I've been going to the Garden Department to price window boxes. Because I plan on having some really cool ones around the railing on my itty bitty deck.
And I bought strawberries... red, luscious, sweet strawberries.

It's official... springtime is here!

(If it snows tomorrow, I'm going on strike.)

April 07, 2011

the church

I'm on a church kick.
Sorry. I've just spent two solid days soaking up a lot of 'church' and I can't help it.
My cup is overflowing and splashing out all over the place.

Know what one of my other favorite things about church is?
The friends, that's what.

I was sitting in that meeting with Connie beside me, Brandi and Tina and Jacky behind me with their families, the Stedmans in front of me, the Millers over to the side, the Hoovers on the other side, my family scattered all over the place, the Bemis' over there, the Thompsons, the Havemans, the Hansons, the Baileys...
It was like here a friend, there a friend, everywhere a friend, friend... EIEIO.
So many hellos to say, so many hugs, so many I haven't seen you in forever's, so many memories. It was a whirlwind, I kept turning and turning and turning around only to be grabbed by someone else and hugged.
And I love being hugged!

I stayed with Connie the Monday night of the meeting. Let me tell you something. Connie is the salt of the earth. She's one of those life-long friends. We stayed up until 2:15 am, talking and drinking orange spice tea. She cried with me and I cried with her. She laughed with me and I laughed with her. Then she gave me a goodie bag full of Bath and Body Works and Clinique samples and I nearly died in delight. Connie is the sample queen. I don't know where she gets all of them, but I'm glad she does. Now I have luscious lips, covered in lovely Clinque lip stain. I love lip stains. They look so nice on. She also gave me root beer candy, coffee beans, ten bucks, a boiled egg, and some burnt toast. It was like Christmas. About the toast though... she gave me the bread and the toaster and let me make my own. So I did, but it wasn't brown enough for me so I stuck it back in. And forgot it. So it burnt. So I ate it real quick, trying to disappear the evidence. But then Connie's kids came upstairs and said, Who burnt toast? And since Connie was in the shower, I had to tell them the cat did it. But they were onto me and said, Geez. Seriously? You burnt toast in the toaster? And I said, Shut up. You're both grounded for life. I regret sharing my Zingers with you last night.
But I love Connie. She's dear to my heart. She's reliable and trustworthy. Like Brandi said the other night, she's great.

When Bro. Hoover got up to preach, I felt this surge of affection well up in me. The Hoovers are my friends. They love me. They watch over me. They care about me. They've wept with me, and they've rejoiced with me. When I looked behind me and saw the Millers sitting there, I felt so happy that I know them. When I caught Brandi's eye at one point, I felt warm and fuzzy and thought, That's my friend. When Anna hugged me during one of the songs, I felt contentment. And when I looked around and saw all my church family scattered thoughout that auditorium, I felt... blessed. Very, very blessed that God has given me so many good friends. Not just one or two. Not just a few people here and there, but an entire church full. When I need them, they close ranks 'round me and hold me up.

There's nothing so wonderful as the church and it ticks. me. off. to hear people bad mouth the church or its Pastor. That's when I want to take out my shotgun that I don't have. Don't tell me the church shunned you, don't tell me they abandoned you, don't tell me they don't understand you, don't tell me you're bitter towards them, don't tell me they're too strict and uptight, don't tell me they weren't there for you. You can take your whining and shove it where the sun don't shine because the church is the best thing ever. The church is God's way of giving us some of Him on earth. And if you think the church wasn't pulling up the slack like they should've, you were probably the one in the wrong anyways- in the wrong and not wanting to get it right. I realize there might be some exceptions, maybe there's some church out there that just gets a kick out of hurting people. But I've never been to one and I've been to hundreds of churches all over the place. The church is God's and it was a wonderful idea that He thought up.
Whew. I'm getting off track. Felt good to get that off my chest though. Been wanting to say that for weeks.

The church is full. Full of lovingkindness and compassion. Full of strength. Full of encouragement. Full of help. Full of grace. Full of wisdom. Full of... all kinds of good stuff.
And mostly, full of good friends. Church is the best place to find the right friends.
I'm so blessed and I don't deserve it. God knows me. He knows I need good friends. So He went out of His way and positively encased me in good friends. I can hardly turn around without bumping into one of them. They're all up in my business and I love it.

The church is where my face is cupped between two wrinkled, old hands and the voice of kindness itself says to me, I know God has something very special planned for you. You just wait and see. And then I feel hot tears prick behind my eyes, not in sadness, but in deep down gratefulness. Because those two hands cupping my face belong to my friend and I know that what she's saying to me is true.

I love the church, my church. To the point of fierceness. The same way I love my family.
I know they would do anything in the world for me, and I hope if the time ever comes, I'm able to repay them in kind. I hope I can be to them, what they are to me.

There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother... I kinda think that's talking about the church.
Because the church certainly sticketh.

April 06, 2011

meeting

I love church. I really do. Even just the words Sunday morning make me happy. Church is like... dark chocolate, very satisfying. I like church singing. Especially our church singing- everybody belts it out like there ain't no tomorrow. I like preaching. I like the fellowship. I like coffee break when we all stand around blabbing. I just plain like church. It's fun, and it's good, and it's needed.

Bro. Haveman's April meeting is like church overdose. All day, for two days.
I love it.
It's one of the highlights of the year.
If you didn't go, you missed out.
If you don't go next year, you're a retard. Plain and simple.

There's no way I can cram the whole two days into this post, but... I'm gonna try and cram as much as I can.

Know what I love best about the meeting?
The undercurrent.
There are these moments when the preacher will say something, or one of the songs really gets going, and you hear the sharp intake of breath from the entire congregation... waaait for it... there!... then you feel it. That undercurrent. It just ripples thru the church and pulls you along with it. It's the Holy Spirit and I like to feel Him moving around us. I know it's not all about feeling, but still.
It's wonderful.

I drove over to the meeting with the Hoovers and on the way we went by this sign that said, Next 13 miles watch for sheep on road.
I was like, Sheep???
And Mrs. Hoover was like, Wild sheep, Sunny. Not domestic. Like mountain goats.
So I was like, Right. Of course. Duh.
But... what I really want to know is, how did she know that I was picturing Little Bo Peep herding her innocent lambs across the highway, frantically trying to protect them from all the semi trucks on her way to Heidi's house? And all the little sheeps were rolling their eyes around in terror and Little Bo Peep was saying soothingly, It's okay. Mommy's here. I won't let anyone run over you. It's not that much farther to Heidi's, all the while adjusting her bonnet?
I've spent way too much time with the Hoovers... they know me way too well. It's like she read my mind.
(In my defense, I have never in my life seen wild sheep on the road, nor a sign that said to watch for them.) (... never seen tame sheep on the road either, but that's beside the point.)

Have you ever listened to about 200 people, crammed into one small building, singing the old, old hymns with all their hearts? There is nothing like it. *insert goosebumps* It's LOUD. I'm talking VERY LOUD. I love, love, love the singing at the April meeting. No band, just the piano being playing for all it's worth. No theatrics. No fuss. Just whole hearted singing with the intent to glorify God. And all those voices singing When We See Christ? Holy moly. I can hardly stand it, it's so wonderful. *insert me being thrilled* You can't get any better than that. You just can't. It's for real.

There was a lot of preaching. I lost count of how many preachers we got to hear.
And I don't take very good notes, I just write down what sticks out to me the most...

Bro. Bemis said, Write this down. Got your paper ready? I'm gonna talk about A Lump in Your Throat. He said sometimes it takes a lump in our throats to get us closer to God. Too bad that's what has to happen to get us to wake up and pay attention to how important God is. But getting closer to God is worth the lump in my throat.

Aubrey Kinkade. What an absolute dork! He had me in stitches. (He and his family sat behind us and his little boy shot Mrs. Hoover in the back of the head with a popgun. During prayer.) He said, when you're having a hard time with sincerity in prayer or Bible reading... try being thankful. Looking around and being thankful for what God's done for you has this way of putting things in perspective.

Terrence Calvin. I've never heard Bro. Calvin before Monday. Wow. He was great. I was glad Bro. Haveman had him preach twice. He went to 1 Kings 22:29-36, where the Syrians are going after the king of Israel and they get all confused and chase after Jehoshaphat instead. But there was this one dude that didn't chase after Jehoshaphat, he shot and killed the real king instead. With one shot. We have one shot... make it count. We only have one life to live for God, what are we going to do with it? It was such a great message.

Tim preached about going thru the valley and keeping on walking. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. We can keep on walking because He is with us and we can do all things thru Him which stregtheneth us. Tim also mentioned how great nightlights are because they keep you from stepping on legos and matchbox cars on your way to the bathroom during the night. And I just wondered, did he mean to say Barbies and princess wands? Because he has six little girls... and they don't even know what a matchbox car is.

Jason Murphy. Tim loves "Murf" and I can kinda see why. He's contagious. I mean his attitude is. He said, I'm going to tell you how to avoid a fatal mistake. Proverbs 10:17. One, make a commitment to keep God's standards. Two, Don't disregard warnings. And three, think about the consequences of what you're doing. Then he said that he can watch tv until he has one eyeball. So thru his entire message, I kept imagining what it would look like if his eyeballs kinda... merged... into one eyeball, with two pupils. I had a hard time concentrating after that.

Tim Shanks. He's one of my favs. He has a unique perspective on the Bible and he's funny. If he wanted, he could tell Brian Regan to move on over. I wanted to lay over on the pew and expire from laughing.

Here lies Sunny Jane Wood.
Dec 19, 1983 - April 5, 2011.
Died laughing while listening to Tim Shanks tell hunting stories.
RIP.

He preached twice too. Once on Me First Christianity and then on how sometimes we have things in our lives that we wrap in grave clothes, put in the grave, and roll the stone over the opening. But God's not done with it yet. John 11:30-44. We give up too early and don't give God a chance to work with it. (Whatever the 'it' might be in your life.) So what are we gonna do? Leave the stone there? Or take it off and let God finish? That was such a great message too.

Bro. Bailey said, Look at me funny and I'll straighten your grill out. He preached too, but that was all I wrote down. That's what stuck out to me... the image of nice, quiet Bro. Bailey straightening anyone's grill out. I'm intrested in seeing that.

You know, they have these shirts that say, I'M A BIG DEAL IN NORTH DAKOTA.     -Spencer Baker
(You'd had to have been there.)
(I want one of those shirts. Only mine would say, I'M A BIG DEAL IN POST FALLS.)

If the white man/Indian war was to break out again, the results would be different. We'd upgrade our weapons.     -Terrence Calvin
(You'd had to have been there.)

Part two, coming to a town near you.     -Aubrey Kinkade
(You'd had to have been there. See how much you missed by not coming?)

I never PS a message, but this time I'm going to.     -Bro. Haveman

I never PS a message, but I'm going to this time. You don't mind do you?     -Bro. Haveman

I hate PS-ing a message, but you guys need it.     -Bro. Haveman

I'll stop with the preachers now. There were a lot more though and it was all good. Really good.

I got to see some old acquaintances. Naime, newlywed to Jason and sooo happy. Daniel Nottingham who looks exactly like he did when we were little kids, still sporting the same huge, non-stop grin. Connie, my dear friend.
Got to eat some good food. Thank you, ODBC ladies. You did a great job with all that. And I loved the center pieces on the tables. Who came up with that idea? They were awesome!
Got to fellowship with good people.
Got to sit smack dab in the center of the auditorium and soak up the... vibes? I don't know what to call it, but it was really good and I liked being in the center of it all. I liked being surrounded.
Got to realize all over again that being a Christian is the best thing ever and that you might sit next to a perfect stranger in church meetings, but they're not really strangers- they're family and you feel comfortable with them because you have that Bond, our Lord and Saviour, in common.

It was such a great two days. I'm so glad I was able to go and soak it up.
Thank you, ODBC, for having this meeting and putting so much work into it.
I can't wait for our church's October meeting and getting some more soaking.


I was glad when they said unto me,
Let us go into the house of the LORD.
-Psalm 122:1

April 02, 2011

bucket list

If I had a bucket list... I don't think it would have much on it.

There would be the usual:

1. Travel around the world.
2. Ride in a hot air balloon.
3. Go see Niagara Falls.
4. Meet the president... or maybe the queen of England.
5. Give all my money to the poor.
6. Win at least one of Pioneer Woman's giveaways.
7. Et cetera.

(Except I've already been to Niagara Falls. But I could go again. It was pretty impressive.)
(Also, I don't have any money to give away. Maybe someone will give me money instead!)

Other than that, I think I would just stay home with my family and eat Hostess chocolate Zingers.

Zingers... let me wax poetic.

Zingers are imperative to my spiritual happiness.
And my emotional well-being.
And my mental clarity.
And my physical... something or another... anyways, I gain a pound for every 12 of them that I eat so they must be good for me.

The pros and cons of Zingers:

Pros-
They're fluffy.
They're chocolate.
They're filled with creamy stuff.
They have chocolate frosting on top.
They're individually wrapped.
They come in an easy-to-open box.
They taste good.
They taste really good.
They taste super good.
They're easy to double fist.
They come pre-cooked.
They will most likely be served at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Cons-
They only come 12 to a box.

If you come to my house, you may bring Zingers with you.
... just don't expect me to share.