Monday, 16 December 2013

13 Frugal, Romantic Gifts that Mean a Lot

Since it is the season of giving, and I am all about being cheap frugal, I thought I would share a little list I have compiled for gifts for your significant other.  Each Gift should cost you anywhere from free (using your own grunt work and things around the house) to less than $50, and that would be being extravagant.

You may want to send the link to this to your spouse, that way there are no excuses, he has seen the list, and all he has to do is pick one and personalise it to you.

I am basically giving him Awesome Husband Bonus Points!  ( And none of these involve flowers! unless you want them too)

Frugal not Cheap, Romantic Gifts that Mean a Lot

1. Create a book out of all of your communications while dating. 

When Hubby and I started dating, and even before that,  we had to send a lot of emails back and forth to each other.  He went away on a missions trip after we had only been dating for a few months and once he got back we continued to email back and forth as well as call and message.

A year or so ago I went through both of our emails and found any that we had still  (apparently we are both email hoarders so it was really simple to find them all).  It was really easy to just search his name or email on my own email to find any that he had sent to me, and the reverse on his email.  Then I went through them all and put them in order on a word document and sent it to a printers to have it printed and bound. The book ended with a new letter from me to him.  

 I didn't do anything fancy with the book but I am sure there are a number of sites that you could use to create a book or keepsake with your notes or emails.

2. Create a Memory Box

If you and your spouse have been together for a while I am sure that there are tons of ticket stubs and knickknacks around that would be great as keepsakes, if you could ever find them and get them into one spot.
There are a number of great ways to do this.

  1. Use a Shadow Box and fill it with the items. (Like the one found here)
  2. Find a nice wooden keepsake box and fill it with knickknacks from trips or other special mementos.
  3. Use a photo book or book with envelope pockets to store your trinkets.
  4. Create a Scrapbook. There are many tutorials on line for simple scrapbooks that are made like accordions or done as a small fold out scrapbook.

The most important part of doing this is that you need to write a note or two talking about what you loved about your time together on that outing and why its a favourite memory.
If you don't write a note, set aside time to go through the book/memory box together so that you still have a chance to share your feelings about the memories.

3. Compile Special Dates or Places

I don't mean special dates that you went on but dates (15/12/13) that are important to you.  Ie.  the date you met, your first kiss, the day that you got married, when your kids were born etc.  There are also a ton of different ways that you can create this gift. Here are just a few:
  1. Create an art print of special dates to you, there are a lot of sites and stores that can do this for you but you can also do it fairly easily by yourself.  You can find a great tutorial at this site here  or you can purchase them from some great Etsy stores by searching " special dates prints"
  2. A fun way to make this would be to create a gift using a map to mark the special places where you met, grew up, owned your first home, travelled, etc. 
  3. For a fun way to make this gift for a guy who loves to use gps and maps but without having to cut up a bunch of maps and things, you could make a print using all of the gps coordinates of the special to you places in your life.  A good tool to find the locations is found here 

4. Creatively List the Reasons You Love Them

There are quite a few tutorials out there of how to make this using a deck of cards, but I think that the best way is to find something that is special and significant to your relationship.
You could:

  • simply fill a jar with little notes folded in origami or tied up. 

  • Write on a deck of playing cards or any kind of card game that is significant to you. ( there are also a few sites like shutterfly where you can create your own deck of cards with your picture on it) 
  • You could buy a bag of their favourite wrapped candy and attach to it or write on each with the reasons you love them.  Then if you seal up the bag like it was never opened, what seems like simple bag of treats becomes a huge surprise of romance. 
  • If you have an old copy of a favourite book that they love, you could write on the top or bottom of every page or every chapter if it is a really long book. If you don't want to write in the book you could always leave sticky notes on pages of a book they are currently reading. 

  • If your spouse is a big tea drinker, you could even sneak into the box of tea bags and leave notes on each of them. 
  • For a Golf Lover, a bag of golf balls with notes written on each. 
  • You could even buy a box of Bandaids and write on each one, that way next time they are hurt they not only get the bandaid, they get to see your love written on their pain. 
  • You get the idea, find something specific not just the same as everyone else. 

5. Set up a Scavenger Hunt

Depending on the skill and amount of adventure your spouse enjoys, you could do this by setting up a simple clue by clue hunt (extra points if you use romantic spots you have visited before and you use "remember when..." kind of clues). But if they are on the more adventurous side (or they just love their new gps) you could use the same website as listed above in idea 3, to create a geocaching type scavenger hunt.

6. Create a What I Love About You Gift Basket or Bucket  ( this one could get pricey, it just depends on what you fill your basket with) 

This is one that needs a little more visual explanation and will take a little more work for you to pull off well.
The idea here is to fill the basket with things that signify what you love about them.  ( they don't have to be puns but it is kinda fun to try)
For example:
( this would be good gifts for a Handyman type Husband)   (Each is listed as Item - Note)

  •  A telescoping Magnet (for picking up dropped screws or something?) -  You are magnetic. 
  • A small bag/jar of nuts (the metal ones) - Nuts about You
  • Work Gloves - You are so Handy 
  • Roll of Shop Towels - My Mess Doesn't Scare You (or a sexier twist- I love to Get Dirty with You)
  • Measuring Tape - No one Measures up to You
Again this is something that should be built around Who they are and what they value.  The basket could be filled with things that are all similar theme or they could just be a jumble of things they would really enjoy.  Even a basket full of their favourite candy or chocolate can be something wonderful when it is covered in meaningful notes and reasons you love them. 

7. Write them a Song. 
There are a lot of helpful tools on the Internet that can give you tips and tricks on how to create your own song. 

8. Make them a Mixtape style CD.
It doesn't take long to search for and download a few great memorable songs, but what sets your mixtape CD apart is that you can take voice memos with your phone or computer. Put the track of you speaking to your spouse before or after each song telling them why the song makes you think of them or why that time you first heard it, danced to it, etc., was so special and how you will never forget that special moment. 

Give a gift that lasts all year. 

9. Buy them a new Organiser and write a love note in each day or each week. 

10. Find a desktop calendar that has space to write a note in and write a little something for your spouse on every day. 

11. Fill a jar with their favourite treat and a whole bunch of notes (365 of the two together) Give them the option of taking a treat or a sweet nothing each day of the year.

12. Write 52 Love Letters and send one weekly on the same day every week, all year long. ( the big price in this is the postage) Who doesn't love getting real snail mail.  You could include photos of fond memories or special times to give you more ideas of what to write about.   Some great tips are found here on the Art of Manliness Website.

13.  Create a Book or Journal with fun Date Ideas on Every Page.  
If you do this one as a Scrap Book you can add a photo of you on the date as you complete it. The goal here is to actually do dates that you are going to want to do so that you can accomplish every one in the book. (ie don't add - ride a hot air balloon,  unless you really mean to do it. )

Basically anything you give as a gift will receive extra value of meaningfulness if:

  • Its for no reason other than that you were thinking of them
  • It is specific to them 
  • It took effort and time to bring it together
  • It expresses your love in a new and different way. 

Hope this was helpful,  and happy Gift Giving. 


Friday, 13 December 2013

"So Proud of My Naked Self"

I know, I know. That title is kinda ridiculous. But trust me, it fits this post perfectly.

So the other day my kids were eating their breakfast in their pj's. My little man was just covered in milk and cereal by the time he was done so instead of just wiping his face and hands I pulled of his pj's as I wiped him off.  Of course, wanting to be like her little brother, Little A asked if she could have a naked time too and yanked off her pj's before I could say otherwise.  

The two kids went running circles around our main floor of our house E man in his diaper and Little A completely buck.  They were laughing and squealing and having so much fun chasing each other and surprising each other as they jumped out from around a corner.  

After a few minutes of this loud and hilarious playtime, Little A slumped her shoulders and sauntered to the couch sighing, "I am just too tired and I need to have a rest." She climbed up on the sofa and laid down for only a moment before exclaiming, " I am so proud."

I chuckled to myself and asked, "Why are you so proud?"

She sighs again and says, " I am just so proud of myself mommy.  I just am so proud of my naked self."

I choked down my laughter as I watched her glance down at her little "naked self" with a smile on her face. 

Then she looked up at me and asked, " Mommy, are you proud of your naked self?"

A long pause.

", yeah honey I guess so," was all I could get out. And then she ran up to go and get dressed and ready for the day and I went to go and change the little mans diaper. 

But those words kind of haunted me all day. 

Well, those words and the fact that I had such a hard time telling her that yes I am proud. 

But the whole honest truth is, I am not proud of my naked self.  I don't know if I have been for a very long time. I don't know if I ever was, or if I was, I don't know when I lost it. 

Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
Genesis 2:25

Most people would tell you that they have struggled with a negative self image at some time in there lives. Some people would tell you that they have always struggled with a negative self image.  But, most people would also then blame the media; magazines, music,  tv, and advertising (and lets not forget pornography, both still and film), for their negative view of themselves (and others). 

I totally agree, what we see is totally messed up. But I think that by blaming our problems  on those things we are just seeing the symptom and not the cause of that symptom. 

We live in a messed up world. 

The day that Eve was tempted into her sin and shared that sin with Adam, the whole world changed. It is not that we made a choice and allowed sin into the world, sin was already there hiding out of the presence of the Lord and waiting for its chance to entice and corrupt. The choice that Adam and Eve made did not allow sin into the world, it created a divide between us and the Father, they gave into sin and their evil desires and they divided themselves from God allowing sin to be more evident and easier to fall into. 

When in the presence of the Lord, there cannot be sin. 

Increase the divide between you and God and sin and darkness have freedom to roam. 

Our world encourages a great divide between faith and life.  Most regular church attenders go to church on Sunday and spend the rest of their lives doing exactly what the rest of the world does.  

We are not walking with the Father. Our world, our society,  does not walk with the Father. Sin, Death and Darkness are allowed to roam free, no, not just to roam free, but to run rampant.  So no, it is not the fault of the media or all of the horrible things that we see, the fault lies with our distance from the Father.  Yes, those things suck to see, and yes they do horrible injustice to our image of ourselves.  


When we dwell near the Father, we hear his voice. And his voice speaks truth, it speaks truth that flows into us like honey to our souls and water to our dry and cracked neglected spirits.  His words build us up.  

Please sit back and allow His words to nourish your soul and to give you pride, not in yourself but in your naked beauty, the beauty that is unhindered, unashamed, and designed purely by a Father that adores you enough to make you how you are. 
(Not all of these are whole verses and emphasis has been added) 

Did you know that you were created.  

For we are his masterpiece,
Ephesians 2:10

Did you know that you were created intricately and exactly how you were intended to be.  

My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

Psalms 139:15-16

That He knows you intimately, that even down to the number of hairs on your head, He knows you. 

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 
Luke 12:7

Did you know that God made you in His image, that you were created to be like him.  That he has both a masculine, powerful side and a feminine, gentle and kind side. That neither is more like him, but that both together make a more whole view of who God really is. 

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

We are created in the image of God. A God that creates beautiful things and is beautiful.

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I will look for: that I may live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to look upon the beauty of the Lord, and to worship in His holy house.
Psalm 27:4

When God created man, he sat back and saw that it was very good. Not just good, Very good. 

God saw all that He had made and it was very good.
Genesis 1:31

Be reminded, that nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. 

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

God loves the work of his hands (you), he does not see a fault in what he has created, what you are looking at in the mirror and judging as a flaw or fault, the maker sees as perfection, the marks of the one that created you, different than any other creation.

How foolish can you be?
    He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay!
Should the created thing say of the one who made it,
    “He didn’t make me”?
Does a jar ever say,
    “The potter who made me is stupid”?

Isaiah 29:16

Feeling proud of our naked selves, or our selves in general, does not come from us working out or trying to love ourselves more, or anything we can really do on our own. 

The only way to really feel pride in who we are is to feel pride in Who made you, why they made you, and that the one Who made you for a reason specific to you, loves you unconditionally. 

Go run around naked for a little while, its kinda freeing.  (just close the curtains and lock the door)  ;)
This photo was taken recently, it was a candid taken of me as a bridesmaid in my friends wedding.  I was really nervous about being in the wedding party because I have been feeling large and round as my belly grows, but I am also a good number larger than any of the rest of the wedding party.   This photo was snapped when I was unaware and it is my favourite picture of myself in a very long time.  Despite how I felt about how I looked that day,  (large, awkward, and in a lot of discomfort from wearing a dress that was too small) I can look at this picture and actually see beauty in myself.
Does help that the photographers were amazing!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Not Anxious? Well, Maybe a Little

Sorry for the quiet here on the blog, but looking at what will be happening in our lives over the few weeks and months, I think it will be history miss if I can find time and energy to sit still and have anything meaning full end up on here.

Our lives have been moving very quickly in many different directions but today I will only fill you in on one.

As many of you have read or been told, last time I was pregnant I had a wonderful pregnancy but a terrible recovery after delivery.  I developed an infection from being at the hospital and it caused my body to form a blood clot on my right ovary (ovarian vein thrombosis is what they call it). It caused me tremendous pain and I hurried back to the hospital thinking that my appendix had, or was going to, burst.

After much searching and a few scary hours of thinking it could be a few different things, the doctors finally came in to tell us what it was. And that they wanted to put me on blood thinners for the next 6 months.  At the conclusion of the six months, I was tested for anything and everything under the sun that could have caused me to clot how I did. They didn't find anything.

Fast forward to this pregnancy, at 20 weeks gestation, the doctor told me that he had been talking to some colleagues about me and they had decided that the best course of action would be to likely put me on blood thinners for the remainder of my pregnancy.  My GP sent me to an OB/GYN, it took a month for me to get in to see him.  Then he decided he didn't really know the best course of action so he sent me to meet with a Haematologist. That also took another month, good thing it wasn't a serious, potentially fatal thing, like getting a blood clot, having a heart attack or stroke, that they were worried about. (I hope you caught my sarcasm)

Anyway, yesterday, I finally got in to see my Haematologist. He believes there is nothing to worry about and that this time around I should be totally fine. (This was now 10 weeks after my GP saying that I would likely need blood thinners via injections 1-2 times a day for the rest of my pregnancy)

Throughout the whole ordeal I was able to feel a great peace with everything. I knew that really nothing would be gained from my worrying and, most of the time, I felt peace.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Matthew 6:27

Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down,
    but a good word makes him glad.

Proverbs 12:25

But one worry of the world gone and another takes its place. 

Yesterday, I also had a GP appointment. In which I commented on how differently this moves than my last two. She seems to do a lot more jerky movements and a lot less real hard kicks. Most often if I feel her move at all, it is minor shifts and adjustments like she is just trying to get comfortable. 

With Little A, I could put on music and watch my whole belly wiggle and roll as she kicked and squirmed to the music. She would also do the same thing at the sound of Hubby's voice. She just loved to move. 

I realise that every child is different as is every pregnancy so I didn't think anything of it at first. But as things continued I decided I should mention it to my GP.   He seemed a little more concerned and sent me for an ultrasound and a non stress test.  

The ultrasound was completed this morning and the non stress test this afternoon. During the ultrasound scan the Dr did what is called a biophysical profile test (BPP). The test looks for muscle tone, movement, breathing, and the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby.  Baby, (who is confirmed for sure as a girl), scored 6 out of 8 on her BPP at the ultrasound but the rest of the score comes from the non stress test.  

The reason, I was told, for her being docked the two marks was that she didn't move as much as he would have liked to have seen. He also informed me that her cord was wrapped around her throat. He said that he had to look at it a few times to make sure it wasn't wrapped around twice, at first it appeared to be but after further examination it became apparent that it was wrapped once then had the cord resting on top of the wrapped portion. 

The non stress test was interesting. Of course it could have been a lot less stressful and frustrating if the nurses I had were at least somewhat compassionate, or could have at least faked it.  Baby was hard to get a good heart rate on because she is still so small at 30 weeks, but they did eventually get a good reading and then I had to lay still for 20+ minutes while the machine watched her heart rate and movements. 

The nurses seemed uncaring about my concern or fears and treated me like I was just some silly woman who was fretting over nothing.  I tried to make it clear to them that it was actually my doctor who sent me for tests, not myself, and that he was the one that had some concerns. They just continued to tell me that maybe I should pay more attention to the movements and its probably hard to with two other kids running around. 

Sadly, the nurses were not present for my ultrasound in which they would have seen that all of the movements that their machine was picking up and they were saying I was just not feeling (I was by the way), were actually really small twitches and wiggles, not kicks like I would normally expect to be feeling. 

Anyway. I have no idea what is happening and really all of the tests and things do not tell me anything.  And if they do tell me things, most of the time there is nothing I can do to change it. 

This little girl is and has always been, in Gods hands. 

I am constantly reminded that my worrying and fear will not change a thing.  This is his baby, he has a perfect plan for it, and I just get to enjoy being a part of that plan. 

But, if you remember to, please pray for me and my little one. We have come through a lot of needless stresses and we seem to always have more added on top. 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:27

This was what I was greeted with when I woke up to go to the washroom. Hubby new that I would need a little boost and since he couldn't go with me to the tests he left me this.  It brought tears to my eyes, he is so loving.  

I kept this verse Hubby left for me with me all day and held to the truth in it. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Christmas Excitement

I am so excited for Christmas, I just have to say it.   

We have done nothing to start preparing for Christmas here in our house though. There are no decorations up and the only reason I am nearly done my Christmas shopping is because really I don't like Christmas shopping and I have been looking for deals and sales since before the summer. Well, its because I don't like shopping for Christmas with all of the people who have left it last minute and are frantically running through the stores.  

What is really getting me excited about Christmas is that my kids are starting to exclaim "Happy Birthday Jesus!" with every house decorated in Christmas lights. We started this fun tradition with Little A last year, she was always so excited to see the lights and we told her that they were to remind us that Jesus' Birthday was coming.   It has continued on since last year and I have actually really enjoyed the few houses that have left up their lights all year since it keeps the kids celebrating Jesus' Birthday.  The kids are also very excited about the cupcakes that we are making for Jesus' Birthday party, Little A has decided that he would probably like strawberry cupcakes with strawberry icing (this is something she made up and has never had them before). 

The second reason that I am getting more excited is that with every song about Christmas that the kids hear, they ask me questions about the story of Jesus. 

So far this week we have not only talked about Mary being Jesus' mom and that she had to have her baby in a barn not a hospital like mommy. (The look on Little A's face was pretty priceless with this one, she was shocked and slightly disgusted) 

Today I had the pleasure of discussing the Little Drummer Boy song with the kids.  Little A and E Man loved listening to this song and "pa-rum-pa-pum-pum"ming along. 
Little A was so intrigued with the whole story told through the song. I told her that it was just a story but that there was really people who brought Jesus gifts. And then we got to talk all about the wise men and their gifts. 

We also had an interesting discussion about baby Jesus and big grown up Jesus. For some reason Little A has it in her head that they are two different people.  So we talked about how Jesus grew up and how once he became bigger he started to do God's work and then died on the cross for us. 

Then, to my surprise she asked with a very serious and sad look on her face, "But why did he have to die mommy?"

She looked so sad, I felt a little like I was ruining this exciting story of Christmas and new life of a baby king.  But within an instant I was reminded that without Easter there would be no reason for Christmas. 

Without the death of the Saviour, there could be no forgiveness. 

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Hebrews 9:22

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
Hebrews 9:14-15

I told Little A that Jesus died for our sins because without his blood we could not have been forgiven.  She nodded sternly in agreement and went on her way. 

I know that everyone has wonderful, happy things that they love about Christmas, I just feel so blessed that my family and I have something so wonderful to celebrate that means more than just presents and family time. 

This is the photo from our Christmas Card, from 3 years ago! (thats Little A in my belly)
We made those Ugly Christmas Sweaters ourselves

Thursday, 21 November 2013

A Faith that Works

Hello Dear Friends.

Life is wonderful, hectic and full of new and sometimes stressful adventures for us lately.  I was reminded the other day that there are 5 weeks until Christmas. That also means that there are only 11 weeks until baby should arrive (give or take a few days).  The next few months hold many new challenges, as I am sure the time to follow will also.

Our Moms group just completed a wonderful study of the book of James. We were blessed to have one of the volunteers, that would normally be watching our children during our study, come and bless us with some wonderful testimony and wisdom.  It was such a blessing and it renewed my spirit as I studied and read through the book of James and to hear the Lord speaking through it.

The following was not a part of what we studied, being that our sessions are short and there wasn't nearly enough time to cover it all.

My Christian brothers, what good does it do if you say you have faith but do not do things that prove you have faith? Can that kind of faith save you from the punishment of sin?  What if a Christian does not have clothes or food?  And one of you says to him, “Goodbye, keep yourself warm and eat well.” But if you do not give him what he needs, how does that help him?  A faith that does not do things is a dead faith.
Someone may say, “You have faith, and I do things. Prove to me you have faith when you are doing nothing. I will prove to you I have faith by doing things.”  You believe there is one God. That is good! But even the demons believe that, and because they do, they shake.
You foolish man! Do I have to prove to you that faith without doing things is of no use?  Was not our early father Abraham right with God by what he did? He obeyed God and put his son Isaac on the altar to die.  You see his faith working by what he did and his faith was made perfect by what he did.  It happened as the Holy Writings said it would happen. They say, “Abraham put his trust in God and he became right with God.” He was called the friend of God.  A man becomes right with God by what he does and not by faith only. 
 The same was true with Rahab, the woman who sold the use of her body. She became right with God by what she did in helping the men who had been sent to look through the country and sent them away by another road.  The body is dead when there is no spirit in it. It is the same with faith. Faith is dead when nothing is done.
James 2:14-26 (New Life Version)

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
James 2:24 (NKJV) 

This statement that James makes could be taken by some as a contradiction of what Paul teaches, that salvation is based on faith alone. 

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Romans 3:28

The study notes in my bible put it nicely, "A faith that knows for certain that God exists but fails to trust him or to manifest itself in a transformed life is not faith at all."
James views our works as the acts of living out a Christian love that inevitably accompany real, genuine faith. 

I love that James gives two really profoundly different examples of the kind of faith he is talking about.  Firstly, he goes to the story of Abraham, this story would be one that the Jewish followers of Christ would be able to easily understand because he is the patriarch of Judaism. 

Abraham shows his faithfulness by being willing to take his son as sacrifice to God. But he shows it even further by actually doing it. It was not enough for him to say "Okay God I'll do it" and then not go. He had to take action and live out the faith that he had. Abraham was tested in his faith and because of it his faith was strengthened. 

The second illistration is of Rahab who protected the spies of Joshua. Again, it was her actions that demonstrate her faith. She protected the spies because she believed in the power of their God, she had heard of stories of the great things that were done by God to save his people and she had faith. 

I love that James goes from the patriarch to the prostitute. I talked a while back about God's grace being sufficient and how he uses sinners to do His works, despite their sins. Find It Here  What a great show of how God's people, those that are "great" in our eyes and those that are not, He gives them each opportunity to act out their faith.

I often feel like I am not living out my faith like I should be.  I feel as if my job as a wife and mother leaves me with so few opportunities to show God's hand in my life and show that Christian love that goes with my faith.  I do not want to live out a faith that is a "dead faith".

My prayers have been full lately asking God to show me opportunities to live out my faith, to act on it, and to be more like Christ in what I say and how I act.

May you also find opportunities to do, to act and to live out a living, genuine faith.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Paper Bag Garland

Next up for my Thanksgiving Decorations, Paper Bag Garland.

I was hoping to find a fun and simple decoration that I could hang up on our piano. The kids had fun helping my with this one too.  Little A had a blast helping glue on the paper pieces and threading the hemp string through the holes.

 The pumpkin was created using the same scallop circles that I used for the Turkey Place Cards and were also done in the burnt orange color with a red distressing done to the edges.  I placed one flat onto the paper bag and then folded three more in half before hot glueing them onto the center, holding in place until the glue hardened.

The paper was a scrap pack that came with some fun Harvest colors and patterns. It made it a lot easier to put them all together nicely and made them coordinate.

Turkey Place Cards

I am a little behind with my decorating lately, technically Thanksgiving here in Canada has long passed. I am just now getting my house decorated for it.  I enjoy fall and all the tasty treats and warm colors that it brings. It seems sad to pack away all of our fall things already and bring out the Christmas decor but it is already snowing and winter white here and Hubby is already asking when we get to start our Christmas decorating.

But I have told Hubby that he has to hold off until December 1st.  We are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving for the second time this year and will be carving up a giant turkey around America's Thanksgiving.  We are having a few close friends over to celebrate and we will be doing a potluck so we can all share the burden of cooking for 15 people.

I have been working on a few fun little decorations with the kids in honour of the occasion and I thought I would share them with you.

First up is our place settings.  Cute little turkeys still don't have the names written on them yet, I am having my sister write them since her writing is much prettier than mine.

Aren't they just adorable.   The kids loved helping stick on their googly eyes and using the big cutter to cut them out. 

This is my lovely Big Shot Cutter. I love it, but have barely been able to use it lately.
The kids thought turning the crank and seeing that the paper was cut was amazing.
They couldn't get enough. 
Scallop Circles in a burnt orange and mustard yellow.  I added some extra
color to the edges by inking a sponge and distressing the edge. 
Two Brown circles for the bodies. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Love is... Partnership

I have a few paths that my brain is running down here and a lot that is just exploding out of my head (Sorry a tad graphic), but on top of all of that, it is almost one in the morning and my brain just will not quit.  God and I have been in conversation about this topic secretly for a while and I myself am just fully coming to a realisation of the conversation we have been having.

So, since Hubby is up sleeping peacefully and our kids are out like lights and so is the baby down in the basement, my brain wont turn off as it is finally enjoying the quiet and is working through some things. I have a few key points, hopefully they become clear.  (  This didn't get fully posted online at one in the morning, but if it makes you ignore any spelling/grammar mistakes, it totally did ;)  )

Firstly, I am going to begin all of this by saying that yes, I think love, and respect, is a partnership. Yes, it is a partnership between you and your spouse, and yes I think that God, like any good teacher would, would appoint a lead.  You know, like when you would be doing an assignment in school and you were put into groups, there was always someone that would have to take the lead or it would be chaos. Well, I believe, my Hubby has been given that huge responsibility. And thank God its not my role, that's a lot of pressure and responsibility and I would totally mess it up.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Ephesians 5:22-25

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 11:3

To the woman he said,“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.Your desire shall be for your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16

I know that these verses often really bug people. And the society that we live in today is hugely at fault for how we choose to run our lives and homes.  Please bare with me, I know that there are probably a lot of women that if this were a book, would have thrown it across the room already, there is a point to this, I promise.    The way that the world treats our men, and the way that they live because of it is hugely detrimental to our homes and marriages.  This is because the world has been treating men like they are incapable of everything, that they are only useful for some things, that they can act like animals, and that really, we would be better off without them. 

Our society has also helped to turn our men into what has been so kindly referred to as Man-children.  These are men that act like children, they are immature, incompetent, and would rather just let their wife be in control and run the show.  This stereotype is all over the television and all sorts of media. The problem is that we often feed into this problem. I have too many times to count heard the joke about our husbands being just another one of our kids. (He is not and should never be referred to as such, he would likely be very hurt and upset by this reference to him)

Today was my "day off." Hubby stayed home with the kids all day so that I could go shopping in another city with a friend. It took a lot for him to do it, not because he cannot handle our kids, it was hard for him because he had to say "no" to a handful of people who asked him for his help on projects this weekend. Each time, Hubby said no, he was unavailable. I was so proud of him, I know it is hard for him not to help others ( A good problem to have if you ask me). 

There was a few times today when I wanted to call or text to check in and make sure that things were running smoothly. But I know that I married a man that was wonderful with kids, but he is even better with our children. I married a man that I knew would be fully capable of any task that was put before him, I had nothing to fear.     And yet, I have, in the past, referred to Hubby watching the kids as Hubby babysitting (Its not babysitting if you are the parent). 

When we treat our spouses like they are manchildren, or just another person that we have to take care of, we not only make them feel disrespected, but as less than and not in the role that they so desire to be in, the role they were made for.  

So, first we have the head of our partnership being the man.  But my second point is actually that God is the key to a healthy partnership.  A real, healthy working partnership will have a third member, God. And without Him, our marriages often fall apart.  

Gary L. Thomas wrote a book called Sacred Marriage ( found here)  the main question that the book asks us to consider is if marriage is about making us holy more than it is about making us happy.  

What  a challenge to think about.  Maybe marriage is not about all of those butterflies and happy feelings we had at the beginning. Maybe all of those flaws and shortcomings we have and our spouse has are about teaching us something, making us holy. 

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm,but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

This verse is often quoted at weddings, and for good reason.  But my favourite part of this is that it talks all about two being better than one, reward for their toil, lifting each other up, keeping warm, and in a fight.  But at the end of the passage it says "a threefold cord is not quickly broken".  All of those things about being a pair are wonderful, but a threefold cord is harder to pull apart, break and destroy. 

Somehow God knew we would work,
I never would have guessed it!
Our partnership with our spouse is wonderful, we benefit from it greatly and it is a blessing to have found someone to share our lives with.  But when we invite God into our marriage and he is the center of our partnership, we will not be easily broken and our lives and marriage can be a testament to the goodness and mercy of the Father. 

Lastly, God put us together to teach us more about His character.  

Often in movies we hear some version of the overly used and sentimental line, "you complete me".   I hate that line. It has always bugged me. I am whole on my own, God made me a whole person and has made me enough. But over time I have softened and I am able to take from that cheesy line and glean something that doesn't make me groan. 

We work together, we fit together. We are complete on our own but we will grow so much more because of having the other person. God has brought Hubby and I together because without him I am good but with him I am so much better. Hubby challenges me, makes me crazy, calls me on my crap, and forgives me when I mess up. He is a living breathing picture of two things, our sins and Gods love and mercy. 

Hubby's sin is so evident to me, even from the first day that we were married, his sin became more real to me. His little sins and big sins, little mistakes and mishaps, all of it and how it makes me feel shows me God.  God uses it to show me that I am not perfect either, that my sin is no better, and that it hurts loving someone so much and not being able to control them and keep them making good, right decisions. 

God's love through my Hubby is also very evident to me.  Through my sins and failures, Hubby has shown me forgiveness, just as God has shown me forgiveness.  Even through hard times and disappointments Hubby has shown me that his love, like God's, has not changed. 

God uses us and our partnership to show our spouse Himself, if we let him and don't get in the way. 

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 
1 Peter 3:1-2