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Archive for February, 2010

Peace is an interesting word with many connotations as well as denotations.  Perhaps you first think of it as being the converse of war.  Or perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is holding up two fingers in a “V.”  For me, peace is a sense of being.  There have been many times in my life where I have not felt peace – after Jason’s car accident when he hovered near death then spent 13 months in the hospital, coupled with years of intense rehabilitation and surgeries – it was a stormy, rocky time.  Peace was not easy to find.

However, since experiencing something often helps us to understand the opposite of it better, times of distress have only helped me to more fully recognize and value the concept of peace on a personal level.  For me, peace is a state of being.  It is a sense of calm that is possible even when chaos surrounds me.  Whether it is in the busyness of life in general, health issues, a family crisis or anything in between, peace is possible.

When Jason was in the hospital, I went with my sister’s family to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a week.  I had no responsibilities and my sister was truly creating an escape for me.  As I sat on the beach with the ocean breeze blowing the sea grasses and the picket fences lining the walkways, I found peace in the middle of my personal storm.  It was one of the most treasured gifts that I have received because in that moment I learned that peace was possible despite my circumstances.

Now, it would be nice if every time I felt stress I could head across the country to the ocean for a moment of meditation.  But that’s not reality and so I had to learn how to create that feeling without the waves crashing on the beach in front of me.  It’s a mental thing.  So whether it’s through exercise or listening to music, crafting, reading, going to church or spending time with family, we all have things that help us feel more calm and settled.

One way to feel peace, that I believe is true for everyone, is to choose not to be offended, let go of grudges and see the best in others.  Criticism and finding fault in others, in life, or in ourselves is a guaranteed way to drive away inner peace. This is the message that we learned more about at a Women’s Conference that I attended this weekend.  James Ferrell, author of “The Peacegiver,” spoke to us about the sense of peace that comes from each individual’s choice to see the good in one another.  This is the activity that we are doing for the month of February in our “Every Needful Thing” program.  I didn’t have anything to do with planning it (ahh…bliss!) but it is certainly part of helping us determine what is “needful” in our lives.

We received the following message at the conference:

If we want peace in the world, we can create it by having peace in our thoughts and hearts, in our words and in our actions.  As we develop a more peaceful home, that attitude will ripple out into our communities and then out into our world.

If not Me……who?

If not Now……when?

If not Here……where?

We can create individual peace in our lives and it often starts in how we choose to approach our relationships with others.  Chaos is inevitable.  Hardship is unavoidable.   Stress is just a part of life.  But peace, in spite of it all, is still possible.

Be the peace you want to have in your life and enjoy the download (with 3 color choices!) to help you create that.

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Daily LIfe

Another day to love Project 365.  Nikki, Cole’s babysitter and my friend, snapped this photo while Coleman watched the kids play from his favorite spot at my office window.  Not much could be better than a sippy cup, a sunny day, and a window that is one foot off the ground.  Although I didn’t take the photo personally, it’s going right into my Project 365 album for the year.

This is daily life.

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Let’s Do a Stamp Giveaway

I have received my shipment of the latest batch of clear stamps at AC Moore stores that I designed.  Don’t feel bad if you don’t have AC Moore near your house – the closest one to me is 1547 miles.  I don’t think I’ll be able to make it there this weekend…

So, if you’re like me or even if you have an AC Moore nearby, you will probably be interested in our giveaway today.  I have an entire collection of clear stamps right here, ready to be sent to a random comment-leaver.  Here’s what you’ll get and remember, each “set” has different designs so this is a TON of stamps:

  • 16 sets – Valentines stamps
  • 16 sets – St. Patrick’s Day stamps
  • 16 sets – Easter / Spring stamps

Whoa!  That’s a lot of stamps just waiting for you to create fabulous projects with!  Most of them were designed by yours truly, but a few sets were from some friends of mine – you’ll love them.  This is how Cole uses them (don’t worry, I pulled your set out of his collection already).  I’m sure you will be inspired by his work of genius that you see here.  He’s already showing signs of amazing creativity, don’t you think?

This is what we’ll do:

Think of at least 3 people you can forward one of my blog posts to.  It doesn’t have to be this post – it can be any post from my blog that you think is interesting or funny or useful to someone in your sphere of influence.  Then come back here and leave a comment that you have done it (we’re going with the personal integrity approach).  That’s makes you eligible for the fabulous stamp giveaway.

I’ll give you some time to pass the blog along so comments will close the evening of Tuesday, February 9.  Then whoever wins can send me their address quickly and I’ll get the stamps out to you right away – hopefully in time for Valentines day.  But to be honest – many of the Valentines stamps can be used all year long because they are full of hearts and love and hugs and kisses!

XOXO to all of you!

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I’m pretty used to Jim’s comments and most of them go in one ear and out the other these days.  Sorry, Jim.  I know you think we hang on your every word while we are lifting serious weights and doing an obscene amount of sit-ups.

However, the following bears repeating.  I don’t really know what to say about it other than this was the statement that we got from Jim while we resisted his constant hounding to RUN from exercise to exercise.  As we walked…somewhat briskly (sort of)…then we got this profound quote of the day from the mouth of our wise leader:

If you scurry like a squirrel then you’ll be skinny like a squirrel.  -Jim

I couldn’t help myself.  I just had to make a bonus download from it.  I hadn’t realized that squirrels were all that skinny but the idea of scurrying is certainly sound advice when you’re trying to exercise…I think…

So our motivation today is a tiny woodland creature who seems to have skinny-ness all figured out.  I’m almost certain that the only resemblance I have to a squirrel is packing away tasty nuts.  Yum.

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Party, Party, Party!

Since our Every Needful Thing Kickoff Night was on Cole’s birthday, we finally had his birthday party on Sunday night.  All of Jason’s and my family who live nearby came to celebrate.  I love getting our families together because they are all easy to get along with and it helps us connect.  My mother-in-law knows my sister and brothers’ kids and asks about them.  My siblings know who I’m talking about when I share news about Jason’s family.  I love the connections.

I have learned some things about in-laws and families joining together through marriage.  I know many people who don’t get along with their in-laws and I never understood that.  First of all, Jason and I feel very blessed to have in-laws who have welcomed us in like we were their own children.  But it’s a two-way street.  Everyone has to decide that they are going to accept and get along with their new family members.  It doesn’t really work if it’s just a one-sided effort.

Yes, traditions and habits and opinions and behaviors will be different in each family.  That’s the point.  Our job, as in-laws, is to welcome the new ideas and blend the families together.  Jason’s family always has something yummy called Pumpkin Dessert for Thanksgiving dinner.  I have spent many Thanksgivings with his family because my parents have lived out of the country for many years.  I was surprised the first year that we didn’t have an array of pies like my mom always made.  I thought everyone did it the way we did it.  I happened to mention what my mom usually did about the pies to my mother-in-law because she asked about our family traditions.  The next year there were a variety of pies to choose from.  Sophia made the effort to help me feel at home by allowing my family tradition into their family celebration.

I’ve learned over the years that families become a way to interweave people and experiences.  We get to choose if those connections are positive.  There is give-and-take, making concessions for differing ideas and habits, and everyone has to work together to make it happen.  I hope you get to have in-laws that you love as much as I love mine.  Parties are always better when we can all be together.

Now that I feel confident using collage storyboards, I’m trying my hand at using digital elements for scrapbooking.  In the above pages I used parts of the Shabby Princess “Happy Go Lucky” collection.  And to make it better – the collection was free!

Also, we just got word that our winning essay for Ferring Pharmaceuticals is up on their website – a perfect way to celebrate our one-year-mark with this little miracle.  (click here to see our essay)

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What a night!  Our “Every Needful Thing Kickoff Night” was one of my favorite two hours ever.  As the women kept coming in and we added more and more chairs, I was thrilled to see so many people there.  Having these women use their valuable time to come together for this event meant that we were meeting a need.  I love that and I think that it was the perfect way to kick off the theme for the year.

Our ENT title poking out of the flower balls is just stuck into a wire photo holder that came from my desk. The tablecloth is a quilt my mom made me using fabulous Amy Butler fabric. Use what you have in a new way to create decor ideas.

Here’s what I learned:

ESTABLISHING ORDER: When it comes to organizing our lives, our goal is to create a sense of peace in our lives even though we are busy and active and have challenges to overcome.  As we create order, we create that peace so that we can focus on the things that are truly needful instead of frantically going from one task to another.  Kathleen taught us that this “order” comes from having a clean home, meals prepared, and all those domestic things that once they are in place, we can feel a sense of peace that helps us not feel so overwhelmed.  Order is the “needful” foundation for us to be able to then tackle all of the other things that come with being a woman and mother.

USING THE SPIRIT: What is “needful” for one person may be completely different than what is “needful” for another person.  Melisa taught us that one way we can determine what is needful in our own lives is by following the Holy Spirit as we are guided through those decisions.  At one point in our lives we may make a decision to do one thing whereas another point in our lives we need to head a different direction.  The more we are in tune with our own selves and the Holy Spirit, the better we can determine what is important at each phase of our lives and for our individual families. (See the first half of this talk to gain more information about this topic.)  This is the quote card that we gave the women that relates to this idea.

please click on image to download pdf


GRATITUDE: Gratitude is a vital tool in helping us determine what is needful in our lives. The more grateful we are the more the less important things fall away to leave room for what is truly important in our lives.  We are able to see things more clearly as we use gratitude to help us sift through our wants vs. our needs.  Our attitudes change and our hope for the future is brighter the more grateful we are.  As Staci taught us, “Gratitude is not just a tool, it’s a POWER TOOL!”  How true that is.  Gratitude brings us power.  It replaces despair with hope and defeat with strength.  Deciding what is needful in our lives starts with being grateful for what we already have.  We used the quote from President Henry B. Eyring to support this topic in our notebooks (see notebook downloads here for that excerpt or click here for the whole talk).

An easy centerpiece idea - use glass bathroom blocks in stacks and tie ribbon around them. We will use these glass blocks in many ways this year as a pretty way to add height and levels. We added chocolate to the bowls because everyone knows that chocolate is truly "needful!"


Here’s what I loved:

1.  So many women participating in making the event happen.  Thank you to all of you on the committee as well as those who aren’t but were willing to help us!


2.  Having to keep setting up more chairs because women just kept coming!

3.  Helping the women in our neighborhood feel successful with a craft that is beautiful and useful and will help them all year long.


4.  Listening to the women who gave messages that were exactly what we were hoping they would say and teach.

5.  Lingering to chat and socialize when it was all over.  That’s the sign that everyone wants to be together and are enjoying themselves.

6.  Women compiling and then taking notebooks to their neighbors who weren’t able to come.


7.  Our “Post-it Girl” marketing strategy – it was a hit!  Who wouldn’t relate to this????  Thanks for taking the photo, Rachel.  And Tanya – you’re now famous even though you don’t want to be!

8.  We tried a new thing – each of the committee members helped to kit the project and they put their notebooks together before the event.  That way we had multiple people who knew how to do the project and were invaluable as they wandered the room, providing one-on-one help as all of the women created theirs.

9.  I loved that we also pre-made notebooks for our Relief Society Presidency to allow them to be free to manage the personalized notes that went to everyone as well as being available to nurture and minister to the entire group.  It was a huge help and as I was teaching the project I kept thinking how grateful I was that they were free to help in this way.

10.  I love knowing that it is possible to have an activity full of inspiration, coming unto Christ, craftiness, and laughter all in one.  It was the perfect evening together.


Here’s what we ate (which is also something I love):

BEST EVER APPLE PUDDING

(from the kitchen of Kolette’s Mom)

CAKE
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. margarine
2 eggs
2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
6 large, peeled, grated apples (Granny Smith or other tart version is good)
Mix ingredients with beaters.  Pour into a greased & floured 9×13 pan.  Bake @ 350 for 40-45 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan.

SAUCE
1 1/2 c. butter
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 1/2 Tbs. vanilla
1 Tbs. nutmeg
Melt butter in saucepan.  Add other ingredients and bring to a boil.  Boil over low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring often.  Pour sauce over cake to serve and watch everyone lick their plates!

One More Thing…

It was brought to my attention that I have a typo on the scripture quote that we are using for Every Needful Thing.  Thanks, Connie for catching that!  I have now fixed it and you can see it here.  Plus, I have had a request for this scripture in sepia tones so I am offering that as well.  You’ll find it below.


Consider taking the downloads and the information I have provided here and adding it to your ENT notebooks.  We will do this all year long and end up with a wealth of tips and information that all of us can use to help us determine what is “needful” in our lives.

Enjoy!


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