Hey Y'all! Glad to have ya!!

Thanks for stoppin' by to read my humble little blog. This is where I ramble on about my everyday life and share the funnies and the not-so-funnies. I hope you enjoy your visit!

Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

You look like a turkey,

And smell like one too!!

I hope y'all have a wonderful day full of food, family, and friends. Don't feel bad about eating too much. God knows it's a requirement on this day, and therefore waives the rule about not being a glutton. Just for one day, though. What you do with the leftovers is on your conscience, not mine.

That said...Eat! Drink (non-alcoholic drinks, of course)! And be merry!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This is the kind of thing you only hear about happening to other people

My family and I were side-swiped by a HUGE blessing on Friday.

The morning started out normally, until I read my mom's text that said, "Ash, call me as soon as you get up. I have a problem I need advice for." I immediately thought, "this can't be good." I mean, what does my mom need advice from her daughter for? She's the one with all the wisdom, right?

So, I called her right away and she said there was something wrong with her eye. A floaty thing in her left eye that darted back and forth when she turned her head. And she'd been seeing the floaty thing for about a day. Uh. Oh. A floater? That could be really bad news. When I had my Lasik surgery back in April, the doctor told me to call immediately if I ever saw any floaters because they can be a sign of retinal detachment. Which, hello! That can lead to BLINDNESS!

Why is she seeing a floater dart around in her eye, you ask? Well, she's had a monstrously bad sinus infection-slash-bronchitis for about a week now. And apparently she's been coughing hard enough to tear a hole in her retina! Yikes!

Naturally, when she asked me to call my eye doctor and see if they could fit her in, I got right to it. The doctor's office agreed to work her in at 1:30 pm and I breathed a sigh of relief that she'd be seen that day. When I got there, my parents were already in the exam room with the doc and I came in on the tail-end of a conversation which contained the words, "Laser surgery...today...can not wait... must be done today...you came in early enough..." You get my drift? I think the doctor was adamant that it be taken care of that day, don't you? Oh, and in case you think I'm callus enough to show up late for such an important appointment, just know that my dad misunderstood the time I told them and my parents got there like 30 minutes early.

So, the doc told her assistant to call the local state hospital's eye clinic and let them know that my mom was coming right over and needed to be seen ASAP. Except that nobody was answering the telephone at the state hospital's eye clinic. Maybe they were all out to lunch. Or maybe they decided to start the weekend a little early. It was 2 pm on a Friday after all. Whatever the case was, the doctor eventually found out that the retinal specialist wouldn't even be there until Wednesday, which would clearly be too late. You know, seeing how my mom had a hole in her retina and all.

We ended up going right down the street to a privately practicing retinal specialist's office. And by private practice, I mean expensive. Don't you love the medical field's code words? Anyway, we waited for what seemed like forever but really wasn't, only to find out that Mama did need laser surgery today. Then, we waited another forever while I tried to remember that they were fitting us in and all the other people there already had appointments. To make matters worse, there were absolutely NO magazines in any of the waiting rooms. Just some decorative books that looked like they came from the thrift store. But then, if you're there to see a retinal specialist, I guess you can't really read a magazine, huh? And I'm sure the doctor doesn't mind saving a penny or two on magazine subscriptions.

Swerving back from the sidetrack...the actual laser procedure took about 15-20 minutes and Mama said it just felt like somebody was thumping her lightly in the eye. Gotta love those numbing drops! We walked up to the front desk to check out and my Dad asked the dreaded question, "So will y'all send us a bill?" And do you know what that receptionist said?

"There will be no charge today, sir."

What?!?! No charge? You mean, as in, we don't have to pay for the laser that just karate-kicked the hole in my mom's retina? For real?! Praise the Lord!!

Yes, it's true. We didn't have to pay a dime for that saint of a doctor's time and service. Apparently, he doesn't go to Mexico or overseas on mission trips and chooses instead to do his good deeds right here in our town. That came straight out of the receptionist's lips, y'all. And if I wasn't afraid of wackos knowing exactly where I live, I'd shout that retinal specialist's name all over this blog. Suffice it to say that, Dr. B, you are the man!!

So, next time you're questioning whether or not human kindness is just a fondly recalled myth, remember our story. And remember that even though they don't get front-page status very often, many followers of Jesus are still out there just trying to be His hands and feet in a really mean, uncaring world.

"He who is generous will be blessed..." Proverbs 22:9a

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yay! It's Kelly's Bloggy Baby Shower Day!


Jenna, Faith, and Heather are throwing Kelly a baby shower today and we're all invited! Click on the link to Jenna's blog to mingle with the attendees!

Kelly's blog was one of the first ones I found when I started my own blog about a year ago. Her cute layout and fun personality had me hooked from the start! I've been keeping up with her almost daily since I found her (she updates way more frequently than I do!) because her blog is such a fun place to be! There are yummy recipes to try, super-cute outfits to see, sweet friends, and encouraging words from the Lord. Even in the midst of a very real and very emotionally draining struggle with infertility, Kelly kept her eyes on the Lord and her faith in Him was unwavering. She claimed Ephesians 3:20 as her promise from God, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us..."

And we were all so ecstatic when she announced on her blog that she was, indeed, pregnant!! Kelly, and her husband Scott, had waited for that day with great anticipation and it was finally here! Yay! Praise you, Lord!

kelly and scott

See their huge smiles? Yep, they're happy alright! Actually, they were at a Razorback game supporting their beloved team, but you know little Harper Brown wasn't too far from their minds. Oh, did I forget to mention that they're having a girl? That's right, they're having a sweet little girl who is going to be every bit as beautiful as her parents. She's already got a gorgeous room waiting on her and it's filled to the brim with all kinds of pink frilly stuff! There's even some zebra and giraffe thrown in for a little extra sass. She will be a very stylish baby, that's for sure!

Kelly, thank you for sharing your life with all of us bloggers. I have so enjoyed getting to know you and your family. And, it has been a pleasure to pray with you through your struggles. Each time I open up your blog, I am blessed in some way. I pray that Harper arrives safely into your arms and that her presence fills you and Scott with a joy like you've never known. Enjoy this day to honor you and your precious baby. God bless you!

"I have prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him." 1 Samuel 1:27

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's her official debut, so be kind, please

The sewing project I mentioned in my last post? It is done! Finished. Finito! I wasn't able to finish it before church on Sunday morning but I made a lot of head-way and got it done late that evening. Late, as in, 1:00 Monday morning! And I had to work, so I was going on 4 hours of sleep! It was so worth it, though! I have lots of pictures to illustrate the process (well, some of it. I got impatient) so lets get to it.

I found an entire yard of zebra print suede-like fabric in the remnant section of Hobby Lobby awhile back. At the time, I had no idea what I would make with it, but I was 900% positive I could find a use for it at some point. This fabric was just too fabulous to pass up! Scrumptious, even!

Then, at JoAnn Fabrics (I'm sorry Hobby Lobby. I'm not cheating on you, I swear! You'll always be my first love!) I picked up several fat quarters in various blue patterns. Once I brought these new pretties home, it hit me! A purse! I shall make a zebra purse with blue lining! And I'll use the fusible fleece that was supposed to be used for our stockings last year as the interfacing! And I'll put a zippered pocket in the lining even though I've never even looked twice at a zipper that wasn't already sewn in something! Oh, and I'll put one of those magnetic clasps in there too! Oh boy, I can't wait to get started on this purse!

Yeah, excitement & enthusiasm will only get you so far, ladies. Once I came down off my creative high, I realized I had no idea how to put in a zippered pocket, a magnetic clasp, or interfacing! Therefore, I commenced to researching the process. I typed in "how do I sew a zippered pocket in the lining of a purse?" (not joking) into Google and this is what I found. Autum, from Creative Little Daisy, has several amazing tutorials.  It was exactly what I was looking for, and even had pictures!! Yay! I am such a visual learner. You can try to tell me what to do all day long and all you'll get is a blank look with an occasional nod. But, you give me a picture, and watch out! Sista's goin' to town!!

I started out by using the measurements from one of my favorite purses to make a pattern. I just rolled out some parchment paper and used the measurements on my cutting mat as a guide. I wanted a not-quite-rectangular shape so the bottom is 18" wide, the top is 16" wide, and it's 12" tall. I like 'em big, y'all.


Then, I ironed my fat quarters and pinned the pattern in place.


I cut it out and voila! The lining is born!


I did the same with the outer fabric. I get excited all over again just looking at it!


Next, I laid my pieces onto the fusible fleece and cut it out. I had to be careful because that stuff can shimmy around on you even when it's pinned! I fused the fleece to the fabric, which was kind of frustrating, because you can't have the iron too hot or it will melt your fabric. And you can't let the iron touch the fusing medium cause your iron will become gross and sticky and have to be washed with soap 500 times. And you have to go slow and count to 10 another 500 times while pressing really hard with the iron or it won't stick to the fabric. Yes, experience is the best teacher.

Once all the pieces were fused, I cut a 1.5" square out of the bottom corners of the lining & outer fabric. This is to make a gusset, which will help the purse stand up on its own. I cut out a 9"x14" rectangle from a contrasting blue fabric for the zippered pocket. I'm not going to go into all the details because I only took a few pics of the process. If you want to see exactly what I did, and I mean exactly, then go check out Autum's tutorial.


Here's a closer look at the 0.5"x7" rectangle I drew for the zipper opening. You may have to click on it to get a good gander.


The zipper opening all sewn and pressed. Isn't it purty?


The zipper in its place. Autum said to use fusible tape to hold the zipper in place while sewing, and I do believe that's the best tip I've ever gotten! That stuff rocks!


And...the pocket open. See the little polka-dots? Gotta love 'em!


Okay, so this is where I got impatient and just wanted to get it done. I don't have step-by-step pics anymore so you'll just have to settle for the end product. I'm sorta glad, though, because if you could see what the top seam looks like on the inside, you would be scared. Let's just say a zig-zag stitch combined with about 3 inches of fabric and a needle on its last legs makes for a less-than-tidy look. Good thing all is well on the outside! Ha!

I needed pockets on the inside for my cell phone and card wallet, so I whipped one up out of the same polka-dot fabric and used a little Pellon Craft Fuse to give it some oomph. Oh, and see the magnetic clasp? Super easy. I just followed the instructions on the package!


All my stuff. This is stream-lined, mind you.


The straps. Those little tabs connecting the D-rings to the straps were, oh, how should I put this? A pain in the patooty! But only because I'm a genius and didn't exactly follow the directions. And, I didn't realize I didn't follow the directions until all four of them were done. I tried to fix one but only made it worse. Thankfully, you can't tell I had technical difficulties. Can you?


The finished bag. Oh, how I heart her.


That little silver button is actually the center of the black velvet bow. See?

**Never mind all my clutter. I can't make stuff and be tidy at the same time.**


Maybe this is better? I really hope you can see it. I know it's hard since it's such dark ribbon. But did I mention it's velvet? Fabulous, I tell you!


Okay, now where can I go today so I can wear my sweet little purse on my arm? And what should I wear so we'll coordinate? Hmm, I'm gonna go peruse my closet. And I think Hobby Lobby is having a sale on some stuff I need *ahem, want*. Y'all have a great day, now!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Achoo! God bless you!

Me, that is. God bless me since I'm the one sitting here trying not to sneeze and let nose juice run down my face.

We had a Sunday School party last night and the hosts had 2 weenie dogs, dachshunds is the proper name, I believe. Don't get me wrong, these little dogs were super cute and I would puppy-sit any time. It's just that some animals wreak havoc on my allergies. It's crazy, really, because I live with an enormous black lab and he doesn't mess up my sinusoidal cavities at all. And my in-laws have 2 cats, whom I couldn't even tell were there, when we stayed at their house for a week this summer. But you put me in a room with rabbits, or certain breeds of dogs, and watch out! Here come the wheezy, sneezy, snot works!

So naturally, by the time we left D & A's house last night, I had that deep-down wheeze goin' on that made me sound like a smoker begging for one last drag. And this morning I awoke to a constant tickle in my nose that has me keeping a box of tissues close at hand. Good thing the box is cute (it's covered in Gerber daisies) or I'd already be getting tired of this. Hey, y'all think about me today whenever you're able to look at a light without sneezing, ok? I'd appreciate it. Meanwhile, I'm off to try and finish a sewing project before church this morning. It is only 5 am after all.

Oh, and by the way, we had a great time fellowshiping with all our Sunday School peeps last night! I don't want y'all to think the night was a bust or anything. The hostess fixed 985 appetizers which were all delicious (my fave were the green bean fries from TGIF's). My hubby fried some awesome fish/hush puppies/french fries. And we laughed non-stop. I love gettin' together with friends. I just wish we weren't all so busy so we could do it more often! We missed y'all that weren't able to make it!

Have a great day, y'all. And don't forget to think about me when you look at those lights!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

First Down and Found

After my last post about the amazing concert we went to got a little long, I decided I should break that post up into a couple bite-size posts. I just didn't think that telling you about my hubby's first buck of the season went very well with tales of Christian band good-ness and starving children. Although, I'm sure those starving children would be very grateful for a bite or two of Nathan's grilled venison tenderloin...yum!!

Yep, on his very first day out hunting this season he brought home a 10-point buck. The antlers of which are lying on the recliner waiting to find their new home on one of our walls. They've been cleaned, of course, and just need to be mounted on one of those antler-mounting-thingys you can get from Bass Pro Shops.

He was so excited! He called me at 7:15 that morning and I just knew he'd fallen out of his tree stand or something. I don't think too clearly when being woken up out of a dead sleep, ok? I said, "Are you okay?!" and he said, "Yeah, but the buck's not!" At that point I got really excited for him, all while exclaiming & proclaiming in a whisper. Hey, he was whispering so it was my natural instinct to whisper as well. He shot the deer with a crossbow he had borrowed from his boss and apparently it was "like shootin' ducks in a barrel" (his words). After we hung up, I promptly fell back asleep for a few hours and that afternoon he came home with this...


The serious hunter pose...


My personal favorite...gorgeous man + nice buck = great picture!


That afternoon we took the deer out to a processing shop in my parents' neighborhood after stopping by Mama & Daddy's to show off the goods, of course! They were duly impressed but also a little grossed out, I think. Ha! We got the meat back about 4 days later and had those grilled venison tenderloins for supper a few nights ago. Nathan had marinated them all day in some kind of concoction and they were absolutely delicious! Better than the steak at Outback even! And venison is a very lean meat so it was even good for us!

After all the excitement on Saturday, you'd think we would be ready for a quiet Sunday, but it turned out to be busy too! We had church in the morning, and we drove separately because Nathan went early to set up chairs and I had a wedding shower to go to after church. I ended up driving all the way back home after church anyway because my high heels were killing my feet, the weather warmed up more than I anticipated and I was burning up in my fleece sweater, and I needed to go to Wal-Mart to get a gift card! Whew! After rescuing my feet and braving the Sunday afternoon madness at Wal-Mart, I headed to the shower where I got to "ooh" and "ahh" over all the pretty gifts. The yummy shower food and getting to chat with friends was a plus, too.

After the shower, Nathan and I had to run an errand and on the way home I saw that several people had already put their trash out for Monday. In our town, the trash guys will pick up anything you put out so I always keep my eyes peeled for trash that I can turn into treasure. I had never seen anything I wanted to save until that day. We pulled over and I hopped out to put it in the truck bed just as the owner was coming around his truck to walk his dog! Talk about embarrassing! Not only was I dumpster diving, but I got caught!! Eeek! I calmly asked the man,"Do you mind if I take this?" (I knew he wouldn't care since it was in his trash pile, but I had to say something instead of standing there like an idiot!) And of course he said, "Sure, go ahead. It's a nice...chair." Were you getting antsy wondering what I was risking my dignity for? Ha!


It is a nice little chair. Slightly uneven legs, a seat that completely comes off, and a paint job that's decent but dirty. What does that spell? POTENTIAL, my friends. There's no telling when I'll get around to potentializin' (I just made that word up & spell checker is having a cow) it, but you'll be the first to see it when I do. What do y'all think? Leave it brown and paint antiqued white over it, then sand it so the brown shows through? Or should I paint it red, then black to have red show through after sanding? Help me out and give a girl some suggestions! It could also be a cute little plant stand since the seat is just laid on the frame and comes completely off. Oh, the options! How will I ever decide?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Unexpected Blessing

A couple of weekends ago we got an unexpected blessing. A friend of our's called Nathan at work to say that he had 2 extra tickets to see Mercy Me in concert if we'd like to go. Of course we decided to drop all of our Friday night plans to go see one of the most popular contemporary Christian bands ever. Actually, we had absolutely nothing going on and it was a double blessing just to look forward to going somewhere. Sad, huh? We like to keep things low-key around here.

We got to the church where they were playing in time to park a million miles away and walk uphill in the pouring rain just to get in the doors. No, not really. I would totally have made Nathan drop me off at the door if it had been pouring rain. But we did have to walk quite a-ways! Once we were inside, we found our friends and our seats, which were really good, and waited for all the wonderful-ness to begin. And let me just say that before we got to the concert, I had been having one of those blah days where I was happy to be going to the concert but not super-excited. You know, one of those days where you don't want to stay at home but you can't think of anything to do or anywhere to go that would just make you jump up and down? That was me on Friday. I can't believe I forgot how much concerts, especially Christian concerts, touch my heart and pump me up! This was probably the 4th time I've seen M.M. live, and every time it's amazing. And in case you've never heard of them, they have a song called "I Can Only Imagine" that you've probably heard on secular radio.

Mercy Me's opener was Bebo Norman, whom I was not very familiar with, but now love. In a I-can-listen-to-that-song-all-day kind of way. He sang with just his guitar and his back-up-buddy-musical-genius friend and it was amazing! He has a great voice but he sealed himself into my heart when his back-up guy broke out the dulcimer. There's just something magical about that instrument, I think.

So since I was having a wonderful time worshiping the Lord, I had to take pictures to share with all of you. Hopefully, some of the moment will come through so you can feel it too. Remember to click on the pics if you want a better view.

This is Bebo and his back-up guru praisin' the Lord.


Back-up guy playing the dulcimer while the crowd sings along. I love when the whole crowd is lifting their voices in song!


Mercy Me's lead singer, Bart, sharing something riveting with us. Probably about how his son has Juvenile Diabetes and asked his dad one day, "How come we can't send doctors to the poor kids all over the world who need them?", which led to Mercy Me creating a foundation called Imagine a Cure that helps do just that. Told you it was riveting!


Rockin' out for Jesus!


This was so cool. They had a Q&A time and Bebo went out into the crowd to hold the microphone for the fans who had questions. We found out how they got their name, how Bebo got his name, what their favorite songs to sing were, and other interesting tid-bits. See on the big screen there? That's Bebo with a guy wanting to know how he can get closer to Jesus. Awesome!


Up close and personal...


The crowd listening intently to this guy's question...


Mercy Me and Bebo both work closely with Compassion International, which is an organization that provides financial & spiritual support to impoverished children all over the world. For only $32 dollars a month you can sponsor a child and help provide clean water, food, education, and love to a little kid who might be otherwise forgotten about. Nathan and I sponsor 2 kids through World Vision which is another organization along the same lines. If you're interested in sharing your wealth, then click on the links and help somebody! Oh, and if you're saying to yourself, "I'm not wealthy!" just know that if you didn't have to worry about where you'd sleep last night or what you'd eat today, then you're one of the wealthiest people in the world. That's pretty sobering if you ask me! And don't feel guilty if you can't do it right now. It's not about guilt, it's about a desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus in places that most of us will never go.

P.S. If you want to read some stories from someone who is getting first-hand experience in what Compassion Int. does, go read Big Mama's blog. She's in the Dominican Republic right now with Compassion workers!

P.S.S. I think this is a record for number of links I've put in one post! Have fun clicking through them! There's some neat stuff there. I know, because it's taken me almost 2 hours to write this post! I had to look around and make sure I was sending y'all to the right places! *wink*