Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time Out

I'll be gone for a few days to Southern California for my mother-in-law's memorial service.

When I get back i will touch base and we'll start off the new year together.

Until then, I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas.
Give lots of hugs to family and friends and tell them how much you love and appreciate them.
Give a smile to a stranger, do a good deed, talk to the Lord.
It's His birthday you know. =0)

smiles and blessings coming your way.

Barbara Jean

Monday, December 22, 2008

Being Thankful

I just read a blog on Contentment, and how the key to that is being thankful.
I totally agree with that.

It's easy to be thankful when wonderful things happen in your life, like having a new grand baby, and that your family lives close and you get to see them all the time.

But what about when you have lost someone? Can you be thankful?

My husband's Mom, and my Mom for 40 years, went to be with the Lord earlier this month.
This is a very sad and hard time for us, and, mixed with the joy of a new grand daughter, very confusing too. We are happy one minute, and sad the next. Under the joy is always the feeling of sorrow, and the loss sometimes lessened a bit with the joy of new life.

So, what can we be thankful for?

We can thank the Lord she lived to be 91, and for most of those years was in good health.
We are thankful for Scott's brother and his wife who have had Mom live in their home for 15 years, and have cared for her so lovingly the past couple of years since she began to decline.
We are grateful she was able to have her last days in her own room, her own surroundings, with family near, even though it did not seem she knew who they were or where she was at times.
We are thankful that she did not suffer long with the fear, anxiety, and paranoia that the dementia caused in her, and that her passing was peaceful and in her sleep.

I'm glad my husband saw her at Thanksgiving. He walked with her, sat with her, fed her, and was able to give Ron and Kathy a break they really needed.

I am grateful that I have grown to understand Scott enough to know how to support him through this period of grieving. To give him space to process, but be available when he needs me.
That he needs time to be alone, and time to be together. That sometimes he needs to fill his mind with busyness to get through that moment. And that those moments may come and go for a long time.
I'm grateful that he is including me in his grief, and not shutting me out, which he might have done a few years ago, and that he holds me and lets me cry when i feel overwhelmed by it all.

Most of all I'm grateful for a God who knows us and understands us, better than we know ourselves. A God who hears us when we cry out to Him, and even hears us when we don't.
A God who sustains us through our grief, and promises to turn our sadness into dancing again.
And a God who has welcomed Mom into His loving arms, and has given her peace.

Thank you for letting me share with you, my friends and family, and for all your prayers and support through this time.

We leave Christmas Day for the drive to San Diego for the Memorial planned for Mom.
Please pray for safety, and that the Lord will use us to share His love and message with others.

Blessings on your day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Family Photos

Here is the whole happy family.
Three girls and little Remy.
Boy are those guys outnumbered now!!

Ben and Angie, the proud parents, and little baby Rowan.

Mama and baby doing great!

Dad's holding up well too.

Here's Grandpa and his girls.

Grandma and her girls.

Baby Rowan.

Isn't she a cutie!!!

We are surely blessed with a wonderful family.

PS Thanks for your prayers for brother Remy. He was much better today, but not quite sure what to think of little baby sister. He saw her and said "baby!" with a big smile, but then wouldn't go over to see her for a minute. He soon warmed up to her, and was taking turns holding her and kissing her like everyone else.
Blessing to you all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's a Girl!!!

It's a girl!!
Arrived this morning.

Rowan Zeve. 6 lbs. 13 oz 19 1/2" long.

beautiful little girl, and we all love her already.
You should have seen her sisters with her.

Mama and baby doing great!

I'll post photos tomorrow.

Thank you all for praying.

Have a wonderful weekend!

It's Snowing! Prayer Please!

I love the snow, but this morning our 5th grandchild is being delivered, and the roads are slick.
We all live in Eugene, but some further out than others.
Please pray for safety for those traveling to be there, especially the other grandparents.
They come from further out, and over hills, and they have the other Gkids with them.
Thank you.
Blessings on your day!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stocking done, and oranments too.

Well, it's done! And I can't believe how many things can go wrong on one project. Good thing it was a labor of love!

If you missed the blog before this one, it was a photo of a wool stocking i was making for our new grandchild (to be tomorrow morning!)

Each time a new GC came along, I made them a wool stocking. That is the more simple style my kids like, as opposed to the Victorian I made for the store.

I had a call out for help, because i was stumped with what to do with it.

My friend Lynn made a couple of suggestions. Just couldn't quite get it all together.
So today, I just had to jump in and do it. I was running out of time. (Angie, my daughter, wanted to have it at the hospital to decorate the room while she was there). Cute idea I thought.

Anyway, long story shorter, I ended up changing it several time, smeared black paint across the face, and then smeared the bright red paint where it shouldn't have been. I did manage to get all that cleaned off quickly and saved it. Then I sprayed it with the wrong finishing spray. =0/

All that said, it is done, and OK. They will probably all love it, and I will try not to tell them all the mistakes I made.

Then the ornaments. I needed to paint one for our 14 year old granddaughter. She is so sweet, and loves the tradition of me painting them all an ornament every year. It does get harder as they get older though. I settled on what I wanted to do for her, and it turned out fine.

Then the new babies ornament. You know, baby's first Christmas, even though the little one will never even know it is on the tree, and will only care about being full and dry for awhile. It all went exceptionally well, until.... I sprayed it with the same wrong spray as the stocking.

Then I noted i had "baby's 1st Chistmas". See anything wrong with that?

Fixable, but not before tomorrow. Maybe everyone will just think it's cute and I'll leave it. =0)

All are done and all will love them. They were a a labor of love for me, and that's what it's all about.


Oh, I just posted new photos of the store on the other blog.
How many shopping days till Chistmas? (I did that on purpose) =0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stocking Help!!

OK my creative friends, I need help.
This is the stocking I am making for our new grand child due to arrive on Friday. I have made each one of the kids a wool stocking out of the same fabric, (wool coats from Goodwill).
I am having trouble with this one, and thought maybe some new eyes would help.
It is obvious at this point that the problem is the gingerbread person is too small for the stocking.
(the lesson there is get away from your work before you go on, and not go by what it looks like when you are sitting a foot from it).
I do not want to start all over, and don't have enough of the deep red trim fabric anyway.
So, what do I fill in all that space with?
I've thought of hearts (wood or stenciled), buttons, more very small ginger people, but nothing seems quite right.
The ginger person still needs eyes, nose, and mouth, but that will not effect that huge blank space. After the baby is born, I will add a bow to the top for a girl, or a bow tie for a boy.

So put on your creative thinking caps and get back to me.

thanks friends. =0)

Blessings on your day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More Decorating

OK. I've been decorating a bit again.

The beautiful white and silver trees are from my store,
and made by a local family. Eight in the family and all
participate in making craft items for the Christmas season.
We still have some at the store for $8.00 each.
I'll try to put some new Christmas photos of the store up on the other blog.

I also added the doilies and mini-wreaths to the doors.
I saw this sweet idea on another blog. (sorry, I don't remember which one).
She had hung wreaths on her kitchen cupboard doors.
(no doilies, that was my own idea). =0)
The little wreaths are 6" candle rings that I made into hanging mini-wreaths
for the store.
This is the centerpiece i made for the store.
It is large, cream colored, ceramic casserole dish.
The Christmas balls, beads and other trim are just sitting in the bowl,
so after Christmas you can just pop them out and use your dish again. =0)
You can use this idea with anything, birdcages, plant stands,
wire baskets, and change it for the seasons.

This is the crocheted table cloth I mentioned yesterday that
my Mom made us several years ago.
I could never bring myself to use it. It is so beautiful, and I
didn't want it to get ruined. Well, out it comes!
Why have it hidden in a drawer?
We even ate dinner there the other night.
(we used place mats of course.) =0)

This is just one of my little Teddies I collect.
Didn't have the heart to put him in the cold back bedroom,
so here he is on a side table.
The drape on the table is a curtain,
and the "doily" is a vintage crocheted collar.
I have just basically scrounged around here and
found things i could use that I had on hand.
Nothing too fancy (hard for me not to compare to
all the gorgeous things on the Internet, but it's what I can do for now,
and I'm learning.) =0)

This is another of those "put together" decorations like the centerpiece.
It is actually an upside down hose hanger.
You know, the fancy kind that hangs outside your house?
I got it at a garage sale for 50 cents.
It hangs there all year with ivy in it to cover
our thermostat. (since we heat with wood we don't need it.)
I just love to re purpose things! OK. That's the little tour for now with a couple of ideas thrown in.
I'm excited to get even this little bit of decorating done.
Blessings to you this 16th day of December, and as my husband said this morning, the first day of our 41st year together! =0)
Have a sunshine day.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Decor

To those of you who have requested photos of our Christmas decor, and have been for warned that we don't do much even on a good year, here we go.
(for those of you who don't know, my wonderful mother-in-law went home to be with the Lord last Wednesday, so not our best Christmas. However, good news to follow!)

This is our tree.
We weren't even going to get one because we did not know when we would be going to California for Mom's services. It just kind of seemed like a lot of extra work right now, and our hearts weren't in it.
But, I came home from the store Saturday, and there were pine needles all over the kitchen floor, and our two old boxes of decor sitting in the kitchen. I turned the corner, and there it was, the tree we weren't going to get.
Scott had it already in the stand and trying to decide whether to cut another foot off or not as it was kind of scraggly on the bottom. I tired not to let on my true feelings, feelings of just another thing to do when i felt so far behind already. So, I said to him "i thought we weren't getting a tree".
His response was that he thought it might lift our spirits a bit, and brighten things up. Still less than enthused, i helped him put on the lights, then went in to check emails.
When i came out he was ever so precisely putting little bits of those really tiny tinsel strips on it.
He was doing such a fine job, i told him i would let him finish that part and i went to finish emails.

Well, he did finish that, and sat down, and said he thought the tree looked nice just like that.
(we usually have a lot of old ornaments we've made or bought over the years).
We added the heart ornaments he has received from the local hospital the last 17 years (he is a volunteer cuddler), and the creative twist angel i made 15 years ago, and the tree is done.
Then I looked over at the buffet which is usually a conglomeration of things, some ttht belong there and some that don't. Some of you cluttery people probably know what i am talking about.
I thougt if i just cleaned off the top i could put a garland and lights up there and that would look decorated too.
Well, I ended up cleaning off the whole thing, went to the shop and got some extra lights and trim, and came back and decorated it too. It's not done, but here is what we have so far.
Nothing earth shattering, but a bit more lights and glitter to brighten things up around here.
There are a couple of the cream pitchers, and tea pots i "collect", (I collect collections ).
Some of my Teddy Bears are there and seem to really be enjoying the change in surroundings too. The painting on the bottom right is something i did years ago. The two pretty serving dishes i treated myself to last year at 70% at a local drug store. I absolutely love the design on them but never entertain so have no clue what i will use them for. But, they are sure pretty to look at. =0) I know, I'll just use them for us! I took photos of the lovely crocheted tablecloth my Mom did for us years ago, but don't have them on here yet. It's another thing we don't use because i treasure it and don't want it to get ruined.
But, out of the drawer it came! It is on the table. No centerpiece yet, but it's coming.
I am inspired by all the beautiful things you all do. Thank you for your encouragement to share.
In doing this it made me realize just how much we have.
Not only has the Lord provided us with a lovely home, food to eat, and clothes to wear, but I have been blessed with good friends and a close family.
I had a mother-in-law who always loved and accepted me the way I was.
She gave me the wonderful man i am married to, and because of that we have beautiful children, and, our 4 grandchildren.
The good news i mentioned at the beginning of this post:
Another grandchild to be born Dec. 19th!!!!
Blessings to you and your families this Holy Season.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thank You

First of all, thank you friends for your words of hope and encouragement. We are doing OK off and on.

I was just thinking this morning, how grateful i am that God doesn't dump all our "sad" on us at once. Even in grieving, it does not hit us all at once, but there are waves of it that come and go, and they are interspersed with encouragement and life's little joys.

For instance, we were not going to get a Christmas tree this year. We didn't know when we might have to go down for Mom's memorial, our daughter will be at the hospital with our newest family addition, and the kids will be at the other grandmas for the time she is in the hospital. So a Christmas tree and decorations just seemed like one more thing to do and who would even see it.

Last night though, when i got home from the shop, Scott had bought a tree, and had our two boxes of Christmas decorations down. My first thought was " oh, my, this is just one more thing to think about and do". Fortunately my outward response was one of pleasantness. He thought it would lift our spirits to have a tree and some lights and cheerfulness at home. As my heart was not really in it at the start and I was tired, Scott started decorating right after dinner, starting with the lights. You have to know this is the guy who usually sits there while the grand kids and I decorate. I helped with the lights, and then while i answered email, he started carefully placing tinsel on the tree. He was doing such a wonderful job that i let him finish. It looks wonderful with just the lights and tinsel, so we have decided not to put the other ornaments on.
In the midst of this, I started to get more excited about decorating and thought some greenery and lights on top of the buffet would be nice. I ended up cleaning off most of the shelves, and decided if nothing else we would have two rooms that resembled a Christmas celebration. Today I will bring some extra garlands and lights home for the shop, and will enjoy decorating the buffet.

It has brought a spark of excitement back, and since we are getting a late start we will probably just leave the tree up till Valentines Day! =0))

Seriously, amazing what a few words from friends, even ones you've never met, and few twinkle lights can do to brighten your spirits.

So, Happy Birthday Jesus. Thank you for all your blessings, for calm, and a smile in the midst of the storm, and thank you, that you only give us life's 'sad' in little bits at a time.

"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the Heavens, your faithfulness to the skies."
Ps 36:5

Blessings and peace as you celebrate the birthday of our King.


This is an interesting month for us.
well, maybe interesting isn't the word, but not quite sure what to call it. Maybe confusing.

This is usually a wonderful time of year with all the celebrations, beautiful lights, and decorations, and especially our Saviors birth. All this, and this year our 40th anniversary the 15th, AND a new grand baby arriving the 19th, should all be reason to celebrate.

But this year is different.
We have just lost my husband's Mom to a battle with dementia. She was a wonderful woman, and after her 91 years here, and much suffering at the end, she is at home with our Lord.

We are left with an empty spot in our hearts and a need to grieve the loss.

It is a confusing time, because a part of us feels sad at losing her, and yet we have these other
joyous things to celebrate. So we bounce back and forth, sad one moment, celebrating, as much as we can, the next.

The Lord is good, and promises He will see us through.

We would appreciate your prayers, for ourselves, and for my husband's brother and his family, who cared so faithfully for Mom over the years.

Thank you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Today was a good day.

I had more customers than usual on a Thursday, my first day of the week. I got 2 out of 3 ornaments done for my youngest grandchildren. And, I found a bit of my falalalala, as Lynne (http://www.lynnesgiftsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/) had hoped for me. =0)
Thanks Lynn.
(Keep praying, pain still there, and yes, I am trying to take it easy)

It has been suggested that i put first things first, and that is good advice. In other words, do my chores first, then play. I actually did that one day, but it was short-lived. =0)
Maybe I'll try again. =0)

Better go post some new photos for the store blog.

Blessings and hope you have your falala......

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Learning from Mistakes

This is a subject change from the past couple of posts.

I've made a mistake. Not my first mistake, but I certainly hope I will learn and not do this again.

Being a creative person I'm sure some of you will relate to this.
I always have a gillion ideas going through my mind at once. You know, craft ideas you want to do? Often I will get an idea for something I want to do, and then go on a frenzy in accomplishing it. (present example is the Victorian stockings I made a week ago.) This has gotten worse since I opened my store in May, and have a place to put these creations.

Well, I did it again, and now I am paying the price, suffering the consequences, reaping what I've sown.
I got on a frenzy doing those stockings . I spent days at the sewing machine at the cost of other things I should have been doing. I'm not just talking about the house work, grocery shopping, or other everyday things, although those did suffer. I'm talking about other commitments and responsibilities that should have come first. Like orders from other people, and my own grand children's Christmas ornaments. (I make them an ornament every year.)
On top of that, I set off the herniated discs in my neck. Now I am having constant discomfort and numbness that was part of the problem this last summer, and a bit of fear that the extreme pain I had then will come back. This is all keeping me from doing the things I should have been doing to start with, the gifts for my grandchildren, taking care of my home, and taking care of the things at the store. All this because I could not control my creative urges and I let the "tyranny of the urgent" excitement control me.

So I hope this time I have learned something, and hope not to make this mistake again.
It is not worth the price I'm paying now in pain, pressure, and guilt.
And those stockings, as beautiful as they are, were certainly not more important than keeping my commitments, and creating ornaments from my heart for my grand children.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Many Thanks

Many thanks to all those who have written with words of encouragement and scripture since my last blog.

We are still facing the same trials, but our load is lighter because of all your prayers and support.

Thank you.


Barbara Jean

Monday, December 8, 2008

Peace in the Midst of the Storm

I mentioned yesterday taking a bit of time for myself. It helped.

But, as life would have it, today we are back to reality, at least the reality of this world.
It is hard to look around and see those we love suffering.

I know how much God loves us all, and that He can see the whole picture, and that He works all things out for good for His children.
I also know the word says that in this world we will have trials. We will suffer. So why should it surprise me when we do? Or maybe it's not that I'm surprised, but that I just get comfortable when things are going well. I sort of think it will always be that way. Or, really I don't think about it at all. I'm just busy enjoying the good life, and I'm grateful to Him for it.

So, when God is busy doing His thing to help us all grow, I don't much like it. So today I am fluctuating between sadness for my friends and family who are going through hard things, and a little upset that God isn't fixing it all according to how I think it should be. =0/

I know God understands how I feel, and His love for me doesn't change. He is a gracious and merciful God. Nothing we do or say changes His love for us, including how we respond to adversity, or others adversity.

Now I'm going to thank the Lord for who He is, and the good things in our lives. And I'll thank Him that He is with us in the middle of all life's other circumstances, and that He knows what He is doing. And I will try to trust Him.
I know it will help others have strength and peace , and will lift my heart too.

Thank you for letting me share with you.

Blessings on your day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rat Race? or Peace?

OK, how many of you are in a frenzy of getting things done for the Holidays?
And how many are having trouble keeping your priorities straight and having any peace and joy?

I've decided this morning to slow down a bit, and instead of racing to get to Sunday school, I will slow down and just go to church.

So you are probably thinking, "why is she sitting here writing on her blog when there is so much to do? And why skip Sunday school to relax?"
You know, I'm not sure. Just seemed like the right thing to do this morning.
And I thought maybe someone else was in the same boat I am in and could use a word of encouragement.

So this verse came to mind to share:
"Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest".
Matt 12
I think that means spiritual rest, not necessarily physical, but maybe we need both.

So I'm taking a deep breath, asking for the peace that only Jesus can give,and for the filling of the Holy Spirit, and His fruit. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control."
If you are missing any of these, like I've been lately, take a deep breath with me,ask the Lord for His direction, His priorities, and enjoy today.

"This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Blessings as you celebrate this day.

Barbara Jean

Friday, December 5, 2008

Another Birthday Idea

Here is another idea for a fun and different way to celebrate your birthday.

Several years ago, instead of waiting to see what everyone did, or did not, get me for my birthday, I decided i would get everyone else a gift. It was a very fun way to take the focus off myself, and surprise everyone else.

Needless to say, they were all surprised, and thought i should do that every year!!

Must be time to do it again. I have till September to think about it.

Right now, on with Christmas.

Some ideas about that next time.

Have a wonderful weekend and be sure to tell someone you love them, and why.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Special Gifts

Have you ever received a gift from someone that blessed you over and over and over again?

Well, I have that kind of gift from my daughter.
For my 60th birthday in September she gave me a small, decorated file box with a tag that said "60 Good Things".

Inside that box are 60 assorted hand-made cards, notes, photos, scriptures, and sayings.

There were no specific instructions for the gift. I could open and look at them all at once if I wanted. Or open 1 each day for 60 days. However I wanted to use it was up to me.

I decided to just periodically pull one out and look at it, and enjoy it for a few days, then put it in the back in the box. I pull out whichever one catches my eye that day, and when I am done with it I file it in the back of the box.

Some of the cards have said, "Dream Big", "Praise the Lord", "Never forget to pray" (that one was done by Isabel, our 8 year old granddaughter), and "I hate housework!" (so true).
There have been sweet pictures of family members, and some crazy pictures of family.

So, once in awhile I pull a card out, and it is amazing when it is just what I needed for that day, whether it triggers a memory, encourages me, reminds me, makes me laugh, or sometimes even cry.
What I love about this present is the time and thought and love that went into it, and the wonderful example to our grandchildren about what giving is all about.

It is a gift I will always treasure..

Thank you, Angie, for your gift of love.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Well, I had a long story all written out, and decided what was important was to ask for prayer from all of you.

Scott's Mom is 91, and is not in good health. She has dementia, and her world right now is one of fear, anxiety, and not knowing those around her.

She is in the tender, loving care of Scott's brother and his wife in California.

We are so grateful to them for the home they have given her for years, and for their care for her.

Please join us in praying for Scott and Ron's Mom (Margaret) for a peacefulness beyond understanding.
And for strength from above for Ron and Kathy as they care for her.
Give us all wisdom and help us to keep our eyes on our Creator and Savior.

Thank you.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Most of you know I'm a new blogger. My wonderful daughter set this whole thing up for me, and i have been learning to use it, but i am stuck on something.

I usually get an email that let's me moderate comments that have been sent.

problem: They are just being posted (spam) and i don't know how to get rid of them!
I receive lovely comments from people, and want to enjoy reading those without having to go through the spam first.

Any ideas how to either get rid of them, or get back to having them go through my email to moderate them?

Thanks for helping.

Have a wonderful day.