Monday, July 29, 2013

Cyber-Samplers for Just One Train Wreck After Another

My friend Tim Fall over at Just One Train Wreck After Another has posted a couple of my designs today. I'm so excited! 

I like to call my quote pictures "cyber-samplers" because I used to create needlework samplers as gifts before I discovered the internet. The process of creating quote pictures feels similar to me. I get a thrill out of matching a quote to just the right image. And it's really fun to create a cyber-sampler surprise for a blog friend after he or she posts an especially quotable quote. I'm learning as I go! I'm sure I would benefit from some lessons in computer graphics; if you have any experience with such things, I would appreciate your tips!

The following two images are not the cyber-samplers I made for the Train Wreck; they are the photos I started with. I took these photos in a town near my home. Tim is asking his readers to vote on the images at his blog today. So please go over to the Train Wreck and vote, then read his great post on lust that inspired me!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Rainbow-Themed Post in Which I Open a Discussion About the Effect of the Internet

"Slide down my rainbow into my cellar door and we'll be jolly friends forevermore."

Hello there friends! Hope you are have a lovely summer/winter!

After battling an illness for over a month, I am at last feeling much better.

Today I want to say a hearty thank you. I've been blown away by all of the love and care that my kids, my husband and I have received from friends and family. There have been days when I've received phone calls that I haven't had the energy to take, but simply knowing that someone was checking in to see how I was doing has meant a lot. Many of you have sent me kind emails. Thank you so very much. It may take me some time to get around to responding, but I've read each one with a warm heart. Our community group friends have watched our kids, they've taken them to VBS, they've brought us meals. I could go on and on. When you have five kids, it truly takes a village to pick up the slack when Mom is down! And the prayers! Oh my word. I'm humbled.

There is something about this experience that gives me a pang though -- and that is you. It seems like the kind of support system I have is in global decline. Is this true for you? What would happen today if suddenly you crashed and could not get out of bed for week?  When the rubber meets the road all that matters is knowing you are not alone. I want to know where you are with that. Do you feel like you are literally holding everything together all by yourself? I used to be more of a loner. I used think I'm fine. I got this. And as I said, I am humbled.

The road home.

In my last post we talked about the subject -- "I am your keeper and you are mine." -- which is biblical, of course. A wise person once pointed out to me that the entire Bible could be viewed as a long reply to the question that Cain asked God after he killed his brother Abel in Genesis chapter four:
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?” 
The answer is YES! Yes, you are your brother's keeper! And God spent a lot of time and effort showing us what that is supposed to look like!

When I was a girl there was one family in my large neighborhood who had a computer in their basement. (My parents still don't have one!) I never would have dreamed then that I would one day be able to converse with friends all over the world!

Sitting in church last Sunday I looked around at all of the nifty new hair styles and I thought, Isn't Pinterest enriching? We are in a hair-renaissance!  Doesn't that just get you excited! It gets me really excited because it is a sign of how our global-connectedness is working it's way into our most mundane decisions -- like how we do our hair.

When you and I sit down to type out our thoughts or post pictures of a healthy, yummy bean salad we really have no idea how far our influence will go.

So in light of our Bible story today, the question I keep tossing around my mind is this: How does being each other's keeper work in the online world?

We are sitting here in front of our computer screens witnessing the dawn of a new era and we have no way to measure our influence over time. We are laying the groundwork for generations to come. The internet is a tool that meets needs in the here and now, but it is also a work of eternal significance.

So talk to me -- I want to know what you think being each other's keeper should look like on the web. Many of my readers are Christians like me, but some of you are not. I want to hear from you no matter what faith tradition you are speaking from.  Vision casters -- speak!

My online life did not start out incredibly meaningful. I had a homeschool blog in the beginning because I always saw myself as becoming a gloriously successful homeschooler. The plan was to show you how you could become a gloriously successful homeschooler like me. The only problem with that plan is that not too far into my homeschool journey, I realized I wasn't going to be gloriously successful. I found myself doggie-paddling, barely able to keep my head above water. Reading other homeschool blogs just made me feel bad about myself.

First I blogged the wrong way, now I'm learning how to get it right. (Yes, I'm still learning!) I know this much for sure: when you use the internet correctly it will have a positive effect on both your online and offline life. It is a powerful tool, but it takes time and practice and a lot of mistakes to get it right. 

Be patient with yourself and be patient with others. 

There is only love.

Now I want to hear from you. Tell me about your experience with the internet and it's effect on you. Tell be about how you use it and give me some suggestions on how to make our online experiences more enriching. 

Oh and before I forget, here's the recipe:

"Jolly Friends Rainbow Salad":

1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 orange pepper, diced

1 red onion, finely diced (optional -- it adds a nice purple color to the rainbow, but I rarely use it.)

1 can chick peas, rinsed
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 bag of frozen shelled edamame, rinsed to thaw

(In the above picture I used fresh parsley, b/c I happened to have some on hand. This recipe is really flexible. Just have fun with it. I added some peas to the baby's meal.)

Let your children help you mix this salad. Their eyes will pop when the colors start to blend. Season liberally with seasoned rice vinegar to taste. Take to a grill-out and and enjoy with friends.

Much love,

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I Am Your Keeper and You are Mine: A Stroll in Springtime

I have some more old pictures for you today! I'm still recovering from an illness that has kept me in bed for three days. My strength is starting to return, but I'm taking baby steps. When I haven't been dozing, I've been spending time in my rocker on my front porch in my pajamas and wrapped in a sheet. My husband has taken the week off work to be my nurse and to care for the kids. My mom brought over a chicken dinner last night. After sleeping nearly all day, I found Mother's comfort food to be very comforting indeed!

As I think I said yesterday, looking through my photos feels therapeutic. I can't believe how many pictures I have meant to share with you that I haven't yet got around to sharing! These are some I took on a Spring Sunday back in April when I took my baby for a stroll after church.

I keep hoping that one day I will have time to blog the way I want to: lots of pictures and insights into the classics and useful tips for successful living. But the truth is, though life is a beautiful gift, sometimes it is very hard. Sometimes it takes all I have to just give my family the basics for their survival with a smile on my face. Sometimes the edge is gone and I have no energy left to be creative. I have nothing clever to say and I feel like I need to just lap up wisdom from everyone else!

Sometimes I just need to sit still and watch a bee pollinate a flower and feel the breeze on my face and listen to a mourning dove. 

I  wish people wouldn't say, "I don't want to be a burden on anyone." (Even though I admit I have sometimes said this myself -- I don't want to cause anyone any trouble.) Guess what? Being a burden is part of life so get over it! And praise God the whole world isn't full of evil Nazis. Sometimes your friends and family need you to be a "burden" so they can be whole. Caring for others is not a curse! Caring for others is a blessing!

But I think most people are just trying to be considerate when they say "I don't want to be a burden." We all know negative draining types that will just suck out all of a person's energy and demand more, more, more! But I'm sure you are not like that. If you have a need, call out for help! And receive gifts of love with a grateful heart. I know you will carry the goodness forward and many others will be blessed by your life in time.

I'm very grateful for the friends and family who have stepped up to care for me in the last few days. I hope you have someone to care for you when you are ill or depressed. It is awful to be hurting and to be alone -- especially if you have dependents who require your constant care! I hope you don't struggle with pride like I do. Are you too proud to ask for help? Too proud ask others to share your burdens?

I am your keeper and you are mine. I need your prayers and encouraging words and sometimes I need you tell me when I'm wrong! (Kindly please, but yes -- do tell me.) And I am responsible for each person who comes across my path -- whether in the blogosphere or in offline relationships. I am responsible for everything I teach, say, and show. I must ask myself:

Am I being loving or spiteful? 

Are my motives toward this person pure or selfish? 

When I say "I'll pray for you." Do I actually stop to pray for more than a second?

 Am I building others up or tearing them down?

I think I'll stop here. Maybe soon we can talk about what this looks like in our online relationships.

For now I'm going to take a shower, then rest a bit until Mom gets here. Tonight she's bringing a roast.

Love and blessings!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Traveling with Gulliver: A Photo Essay

Hi friends,

Hope you are well. I've been a little under the weather lately, but I'm doing what I need to do to get back to health. Thought I'd share a photo essay with you today. These pictures are from a trip we took with extended family back in March. I took my Kindle along and listened to Gulliver's Travels.

 Uncle Indy


Gifts from my son: "Mama Pinecone", "Baby Pinecone", & "Daddy Pinecone"