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Wash day sure has changed!

Taking advantage of the beautiful day here in ever-sunny central Florida, I gathered up a bunch of masks, washed them by hand, and laid them out to dry.

Back in the house finishing up a few more chores, the masks caught my eye through the glass door. Shaking my head, I sighed at how much life has changed for us this year. It wasn’t that long ago it would have seemed ridiculous to have a bunch of masks drying in the sun.

Laundry Day

Wash day is pretty simple with just two of us. And because we live a simple lifestyle, we generally have only two piles to contend with: clothes and bedding/towels.

But now we have a third pile: masks. And I’m not about to toss them in with everything else. Most have been created and sewn by friends and they hold great meaning to me. I just don’t want to chance anything happening to them if mixed in with the general laundry.

The effort began.

Today you can buy masks anywhere, but in those early pandemic days, paper masks quickly sold out and the internet was not yet playing tutorial after tutorial on how to make them yourself. So, people dusted off their sewing machines and started experimenting. They shared ideas and materials with others. They formed assembly lines. Many worked hours trying to make enough to supply to their family, friends, and neighbors. Most were not asking for anything in return except donations of more materials.

We collected bread twist ties to be used for the shapeable nose pieces. Any material you had in a back-room drawer was donated. And the hunt was on for elastic. All of a sudden there was no elastic so the needs were posted on Facebook as more donations poured in. In our community, people came together to ensure everyone had at least one mask. One neighbor put a table outside her house with a pile of masks stating they were free for residents.

Doctors’ offices were out of masks as well. I remember when a woman came in without one. She was one of three adults in her household, all with compromised health issues. And she was frantic to find one for each person. I don’t sew, but thinking about the mask I was wearing, I volunteered to get her three. Since she came weekly, I wrote down her name and told her they would be there when she had her next appointment. And they were. Not because of me, but because of the giving nature of my friend. Despite all the other people she was sewing masks for, she made three more for these strangers.

Soon after that, my friend and many others, became part of a large volunteer team from our church. Together they made thousands of masks for the community, including very special ones for every graduating high school senior.

They have meaning.

My masks are many and diverse at this point. I have a few from the insurance company and some that our county provided but all the others were sewn by someone I love. Every single one of them has meaning and is precious to me. They remind me of God and His protection both directly and indirectly through others. And they remind me that I am loved and cared for by friends…people who don’t have to love me, but who have chosen to love me. And who demonstrate that love in oh so many ways. Masks included.

Love, Mimi

A penguin project to brighten your day.

Each year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, my loved ones come to our house where we all enjoy our annual Family Fun Craft Day (FFCD).

It entails crafting, sharing a meal, whiffle baseball or soccer in the backyard, cornhole, and often times a swim in the community pool. Even Poppy, our family’s patriarch at age 93, joins in the fun and at day’s end we finish by decorating his apartment door in his nearby residence.

The crafts are up to me and since I’m not a crafty person by nature, it’s often a bit of trial and error. Ideas are gathered, supplies purchased, and a week or two prior to FFCD, Greg will assemble the men’s project while I tackle the ladies’—just to be sure we have everything we need and to figure out if the proposed crafts actually are doable.

This year for the men: Project Penguin

The men this year are making a light bulb penguin. I’ve seen these for years and it turns out they’re relatively easy to make. And if you know you’re going to be making them, just save your burned-out traditional light bulbs throughout the year and you can cross that item off the supply list. Pictures and instructions are below. Give them a try and be sure to let me know how they turn out. (You can attach a hanging cord to turn them into tree ornaments or skip the cord and make them in several sizes to display as a penguin family. The ones we made this year are rather traditional, but you can get creative with different hats or outfits. Have fun!)

And be sure to share your own family Christmas traditions in the comment section below.

Light Bulb Penguins

Brought to you courtesy of: 66 Craft Happy Summer on YouTube (https://youtu.be/7HrmbGBOEMA)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Light bulb
  • Wooden (or cardboard) heart for feet (a little bigger than 1” square)
  • Red pom-pom (1)
  • Googly eyes (2)
  • Orange triangle for nose (we made ours out of felt)
  • Glue gun/glue
  • Ribbon for scarf
  • Thinner ribbon for hanger (if using as hanging ornament)
  • Paint: white, black, orange, red

Creating the Penguin:

  1. Paint feet orange and set aside.
  2. On light bulb, outline the front face/belly and paint white. Two coats.
  3. Paint the rest black. Two coats.
  4. Glue light bulb onto the feet.
  5. Paint the top socket red for hat. While drying, glue on two googly eyes.
  6. Glue on a triangular piece of orange felt for nose.
  7. Add ribbon around neck for scarf and glue into place. (One drop will do.)
  8. Glue red pom-pom on top for hat topper. If making into a tree ornament, first glue on thin ribbon for hanging. Then add the pom-pom.

Great results or better luck next time?

How did your penguin turn out? Comment and include a picture. Would love to see what you came up with. Our son-in-law Chris got creative and made a University of Florida penguin. Check out his right hand. Very cute.

Mimi

Working Together for God’s Glory

I love this graphic. And it’s so true, isn’t it!

Back in the day, when the kids were young, whenever new friends would come to dinner the first time, we had a go-to meal. It never failed, was delicious, and looked a little bit fancy: Sweet and Sour Pork.

Early in the day I would prep by cutting up the pork, dicing the onions and peppers, getting the pineapple and other ingredients ready, and making the blueberry muffins I served with the meal. Of course, all the prep meant I also did lots of cleaning up as I went along, not to mention the straightening of the house and cleaning of the guest bathroom for our visitors. By 5pm, everything would be ready (and I sometimes exhausted!).

Just before 6 I would fry the pork, clean out the wok and get it ready for the final step: tossing everything together, heating it through, and thickening the sauce. Then at 6, as the guests arrived, Greg would step in to toss together those few remaining ingredients. With a few final tosses and about 5 minutes of heating time, dinner was ready. But instead of it being obvious that I had done the lion’s share of the work, to the guests, it was all Greg. He got the glory. (Did I mind? Not really. And over the years it became an inside joke to us to see how we fooled our friends.)

Has this ever happened to you?

Maybe it was a work project that you toiled months on, only to have your boss present it to your clients and take the credit for a job well done. Or perhaps it was a church bazaar that you gave countless hours to and then watched from the sidelines as shoppers complimented the pastor.

It can be hard to give so much to something and not receive the credit deserved. Yet, that’s exactly what should be happening in the body of Christ. We should work together so well, without concern for who gets noticed or thanked, that a newly saved life, a well-run life group, or a wonderful church service all point to God and God alone.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11)

Let’s Pray

Father, may I use the gifts you’ve entrusted to me in purity—for your Kingdom Work and for your Glory alone.

Mimi

A little fun to start off your week along with food for thought.

It’s been very busy lately around here so no time to put pen to paper. Instead, I share with you a few collages. First up is one containing some funny things I’ve been saving for awhile. And the second contains two images that are great reminders for us as we walk with God.

 

Hope your week is wonder-filled. That you are able to see God at work. And that gratefulness will permeate your soul.

Much love,

Mimi

Going with the flow.

Going with the flow…a phrase you don’t often hear me say. And until 20 or so years ago, it was a totally foreign concept to me.

Going with the flow evokes a kind of spontaneity I’m totally unfamiliar with because I’m more of an orderly, scheduled person. The idea of flying by the seat of my pants, without a plan is both mystifying and at times uncomfortable to me.

But a few decades ago, it was lovingly brought to my attention that though being orderly and scheduled can be very good qualities, they can also be confining. They can stop the creative flow. And they can definitely get in the way of a spontaneous adventure.

Change has come.

I haven’t changed overnight, but I certainly have changed over the years and have come to embrace a bit of spur-of-the-moment fun. It doesn’t always come naturally or easily, but I find myself more and more willing to go with the flow of whatever is happening and enjoy the moment.

And just to prove how much I’ve transformed, I’m going to share something with you. Take a look at the two pics below. I’m not sure if you can figure out what’s going on but here’s the back story.

Last week, Greg and I spent the day with Kate. Greg’s plan was to paint Callan’s bedroom and mine was just to hang with our daughter. Knowing we would arrive at her house before she did, I came prepared to take a walk by bringing my exercise clothes: shorts, lightweight tee shirt, sports bra, and unders.

There was just one problem.

While changing into those exercise clothes, I discovered I had brought two unders and no sports bra. What a predicament. I really wanted to get my walk in and no matter how many times I looked through my bag, the sports bra was not to be found.

But since I’m much more able to go with the flow at this point in my life, I got inventive. And if you look again at the two pics, you’ll notice what I did: I turned one of the unders into a makeshift bra!

Once I felt fully covered and prepared, off I went, not at all self-conscious at all and actually feeling pretty good about myself and my great invention.

There’s nothing to worry about.

Really, don’t worry. I’m not going to let this become a regular thing or part of my walking routine. And it’s definitely not a new fashion trend I will be embracing. It was simply me being quick-minded and carefree enough to be able to take my walk.

And to that end, I’m claiming this verse from Exodus 35:35:

The Lord has given them (me) special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers.

I think the verse really fits, too. After all…my unders were blue, somewhat woven, and I designed a new use for them!

I’m just having fun with all this.

It was just a silly situation that I made the best of. I was actually proud of myself for not giving up. I easily could have stayed inside Kate’s nice, cool house playing games on my iPad. But I was willing to think outside of the box, perhaps look a little unusual, and go with the flow to accomplish my goal.

How about you? Do you have any go with the flow stories you want to share?

Love you all, Mimi

The end of an era.

 

The photo to the left marks the end of an era. It’s the last newspaper delivered to us since we’ve been married. For nearly 45 years we’ve been having the daily newspaper delivered but just as we did away with the house phone and switched to cell phones only, we’re giving up the paper “paper” and going all digital instead.

It’s taken some thought.

It may not seem like a really big deal to the younger generation, but it’s really taken some thought on our part. The paper has started my day for all of my married life accompanied by a hot cup of tea, a tall glass of OJ, or a bowl of oatmeal. As a busy mom raising kids, the morning paper was often read in the afternoon or evening. But in retirement, it’s been an enjoyable ritual I looked forward to each morning.

Interestingly enough, I began to notice something.

For about two years, however, I’ve noticed much of the day’s news was actually a bit old. My iPad newsfeeds keep me much more up-to-date than any paper possibly could. And except for a few local tidbits, I found I had already read many of the articles.

But what about the comics or advertisements and coupons? I’ve never been a comic-reading person and while I have to admit I’m a little concerned about missing out on coupons, I tend to subscribe electronically to specific stores that take great joy in keeping me alert to sales and coupons via emails and text messages.

The Ritual Will be Missed

I do still think it’s going to take time to let go of the daily ritual. For instance, I’m writing this on Sunday which is, of course, the day when the biggest edition of the paper is delivered. So, there was no lingering at the table this morning as in Sundays past. Instead I flicked through pages, still finding mostly “old” news, and finished up in record time.

Things Will Change

First noticed is that I tend to read through the paper in about half the time. Secondly, Greg said “We’re going to have to switch to a smaller recycling can.” And thirdly, when working on a project today that required a layer of newspaper for protection from the strong glue I was using, I realized the lack of newspapers would require a different protection strategy in the future.

Way back when…

Giving up the newspaper has also brought back some childhood memories. Newspapers were often used as school book covers until it became much cooler to use brown paper bags. Every October they collected the insides of our pumpkins as we carved them for Halloween. They were used as stuffing in our boots to help them keep their shape while drying out after a fun afternoon playing in the snow. And who can forget the many paper mache projects where newspaper was a main ingredient.

Time marches on.

But time definitely marches on and we learn to adapt to change. Only time will tell if this transition ends up being as easy as it was to give up the home phone. My hunch is that it will. So, tell me, have you given up your paper “paper” yet?

Mimi

Are you kidding me?

 

Recently, I found myself in the mood to be creative and artsy crafty. Since it’s not my general nature to be this way, when inspiration hits, I like to jump on it. I looked at a few Pinterest ideas and came up with making my dad a spring wreath for his door.

Time to gather the supplies.

Since I already had a grapevine wreath, I stopped at Dollar Tree to pick up a few flower sprigs. While there I came across a cute metal welcome sign and brought that home as well. Next up was some burlap “ribbon” that a friend kindly got me while she was at Walmart.

First up was finding a YouTube video showing me how to make a great bow. Found and watched one a few times and I have to say—the bow looks great! With glue gun in hand I got to work on the rest of the project and in no time at all I had this very pretty, very affordable spring wreath.

Let’s do it again.

After hanging the wreath on Dad’s door and seeing how nice it looked, I decided to make another for myself. I still had the flowers so just picked up one more welcome sign, another roll of wired burlap, and an additional grapevine wreath.

With Alexa playing some great soothing music, I got to work assembling everything. With the leftover burlap from the first roll, I created my second absolutely wonderful bow. I trimmed up the flowers, made sure the welcome sign was clean, and got to work. The first step was to wrap the burlap ribbon around the wreath. But there was one big problem: WHERE WAS THE BURLAP?

The hunt began.

Figuring I must have left it in the car, I checked there first. Then my purse (which is silly because I carry a rather small purse). Then in the office. I looked in the three bedrooms, on the floor, back to my car, over to Greg’s car, throughout the kitchen and dining room. I then checked the tables and under the tables. I went through old, used Walmart bags. All the closets were torn apart. Back to the car for a third time. And I went through the huge garage trash can as well as all the smaller ones in the house. Then a call to the neighbor asking if I brought it to her house for some reason. (Hey, I was getting desperate.) I actually threw in a few prayers along the way, but that roll of burlap could not be found.

What to do?

My quick repeat project was quickly becoming a pain in the neck but I refused to get upset and just figured I’d hop in the car and return to Walmart to purchase another roll of burlap. But at this point I was in no hurry as I had lost my original enthusiasm, so I decided to let everything sit and I would get back to the project tomorrow.

New Perspective

Do you every notice how walking away from a problem often brings new perspective? When the kids were growing up and having a hard time memorizing their monthly Bible verses, I would often have them read through them at night, then simply go to sleep. Somehow, that restorative sleep coupled with getting their minds off the situation, did wonders. Often, by the next morning they were able to recite the verses without a hitch.

Having learned that with them, I try to do the same thing. It’s not always easy because I’m one of those “let’s get it done” gals. Once I start a project, I really like to finish it. But in the case with the wreath, leaving it alone was the perfect answer.

Because once I stepped away from the project, and got my mind on other things, and once I stopped looking for the missing burlap and simply went about my day, I knew what would happen. And that it did. Without any effort at all, I just happened to look over at a small cabinet I have in the kitchen next to the table where I was crafting, and as you can see, the roll was there all along.

So yes, the title “Are you kidding me?” certainly applies. Something that was right in front of me the whole time finally came into view.

What’s the lesson?

For me the lesson is to simply slow down, to not be so intent on finishing something right now that I drive myself crazy in the process. And I share my recent crazy game of hide and seek with you should you find yourself in a similar situation in the future.

Mimi

A little fun for this beautiful Monday.

Oops. I goofed. Just didn’t get anything ready to post this morning. But I’ve been saving some messages that have tickled my fancy at one point or another so I’ll share them with you.

Proverbs 17:22 tell us that “A happy heart is like good medicine, but a broken spirit drains your strength.” Sometimes your heart is naturally happy. And sometimes you just have to happy it up.

Either way…enjoy…and let me know if you have any funny sayings that are sure to brighten someone’s day.

         

Appearances can be deceiving.

We recently received a text from our daughter showing a picture of a shark her hubby had caught near New Smyrna Beach. To me, it was rather impressive.

Then I thought…hmm, wait a minute. That can’t be a real shark; it must be fake. I haven’t heard of anyone catching a shark with a surf rod and line. So, I texted my thoughts back and was assured it was definitely a live shark. And apparently, it put up quite a fight, too.

Of course, it needed to be returned to the sea. So, they opted for the safer method of cutting the line rather than trying to fight the creature to remove the hook from its mouth. (Smart move!)

Then came the next picture…

…and boy did I laugh. In the pic above, it looks like it could have been a 3- or 4-foot shark. I was imagining the strength it took to land the thing. But without anything else in the photo, my perspective was obviously skewed as you can tell with a quick look at the happy fisherman holding his catch!

Without anything else to add information to what I thought I was seeing, my perspective was off. Way off.

It’s just what happens in our everyday lives.

We may blow something out of proportion (like I did with the shark’s size) or we may not pay enough attention to something important. In my personal experience, I see this most often with my initial impressions or reactions. So, I’ve learned I need time to investigate, research, contemplate, etc. And I need time to look to God’s word and talk to Him to get His perspective rather than relying on my own.

This becomes imperative because often I don’t have the whole picture. But God does. If I remain close to Him, if we’re communicating with each other, there’s a better chance my eyes and understanding will see and know what He sees and knows. And that, is a good thing indeed.

Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Both pictures remind me about the importance of having the proper perspective. And today’s Bible verse reminds me that above all, God’s perspective is what really matters most.

Mimi