Friday, it’s Friday

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Soon, very soon, I will be singing this song.

Oh, how I have been counting the hours until Friday…you have no idea.

Since taking Financial Peace University, I have been learning things about money and myself. Sometimes I’m just learning about money. Other lessons pierce my heart. Usually both happen, I feel smarter about financial decisions and more convicted about my own spending habits. 

Oh yeah

With this new system of budgeting, we have an allotted amount of money for things. When the money is gone, it’s gone. I have never lived this way and it’s a struggle. Denying oneself of the things SHE wants or needs is my Achilles heel. I want what I want when I want it, especially when it comes to food. I’m do not have an eating disorder, we are all within normal weight guidelines but food is my weakness. I like to cook, I REALLY like creating healthy meals. What is wrong with that???

Working in a soup kitchen in a poor village in Peru

Um, I can answer that question. When you spend too much money on groceries and you throw away food, that is a problem. When you have gone to third-world countries and really seen hungry people, trust me, pangs of shame pervade your spirit. I have despaired over my wastefulness and lack of culinary creativity. I have felt embarrassed bringing in bags of groceries when the refrigerator was already full. It’s like I’m never satisfied and I really beat myself up afterward. 

My fridge and freezer are emptier than they’ve been in ages. 

I’ve always been able to justify my food spending. I don’t wear lavish clothing, I’ve had a manicure maybe twice in my life, we don’t live in a mansion. My indulgence is food. The Hubs knew better than to question GROCERIES! Hrmph! Did he want us eating JUNK? Did he want us to starve? Just keepin’ it real.

But the Lord is doing a new thing and when the money for groceries ran out this week, I didn’t run out to the store or farmer’s market. What a battle with my flesh to not go and get some food staples! Instead we have been surviving on what we have in our cupboards, freezer and fridge. No one is starving. No one is deprived. I live with a sweet and generous husband who isn’t a tyrant. If I wanted to go to the store and buy bananas, asparagus, flour, quinoa, sweet potatoes, firm tofu, carrots, kiwi, agave nectar, applesauce, butternut squash, rice milk, mozzarella cheese, onions, lettuce, cinnamon, milk, kale, aluminum foil, pineapples, wakame seaweed, etc., etc. (can you notice the zeal with which I wrote this list???)  I could have done that. 

It’s obvious Dawn dishwashing liquid is DEFINITELY on my list!

But this has been between the Lord and me. Not the Hubs and I. And oh how I have valued being in contact with like-minded women via blogs like Lizzie, and Mary and Jenn and Julia along with facebook, phone and just regular fellowship. YOU have blessed me and fed me in ways the food couldn’t. Thank you. 

I have about a tablespoon of gas in my car. Not complaining, just waiting until FRIDAY!!!!

God has been telling me to hang on until Friday. And with great confidence, He’s promised me that this isn’t going to be an April Fool’s Day joke with Him. He has been saying, “Girl, I got you. I am providing. Let me do this.”

I believe every word of this apron I made.

I’m still going to write my “obituary” but I just had to share. Can you relate? 

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Do you have a mouth guard?

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Since I was a little girl, I have loved puzzles. One of my favorite moments was when my dad would bring me home a puzzle.


In my daily life, I look for pieces of life. You know, things that inextricably fit together. On a good day, I’ll put those pieces together and have an “aha” or a praiseworthy moment. Other times I’ll be chastened because it’s obvious God is trying to teach me something.

Oh boy, if you have been following my blog lately, it should be apparent that we have had a lot of “puzzling” moments! OY!

And so I thought I’d share with you some awesome pieces I put together today.

Months ago, I attended a Winter Sports Meeting at my OS’s school. Not particularly thrilling or dynamic but I paid attention when the principle cautioned parents of basketball players to purchase a mouth guard for their athletes.

After a few games, I had legitimate fears of Ike’s teeth flying all over the court and immediately purchased the mouth guard. Ike was threatened within an inch of his life if he didn’t wear it while playing. Yet there was one game where he forgot the mouth guard completely and many others where that mouth guard has been perched partially out of his mouth providing absolutely no protection for his pearly whites. My eyes would bulge out of my head and he would experience my wrath from the bleachers if I didn’t see the mouth guard exactly where it needed to be. We affectionately call them motherly death rays…

Then we had our “humbling moments” and our Apology Tour. On Friday night, after Isaac was fast asleep, I decided to future torture myself by folding a load of laundry. I opened the dryer door and what did I see staring right at me? Yes, Isaac’s mouth guard. (This photo is a dramatic re-enactment.)


At first I felt like Satan was poking me in the eye. Like the Devil was sayingHaha, Loooser! Some mom you are! I guess you won’t be needing that mouth guard anymore now will you? Hmmmm?” I could see the Father of Lies snickering and doing some serious knee-slapping revelling in the misery of our sadness and disappointment. Jerk.

Along with the clean clothes, I held the mouth guard and truly felt a profound sadness clutching it in my mama’s hands. It represented embarrassment, shame, hopes dashed, hurt and fear. I wanted to throw it out.


But as the weekend pro- gressed, we could see some rays of hope. Ike was repentant and willing to make amends. Parents were willing to forgive and offer mercy. Three generations – grandmother, daughter, brothers, sons, father all held hands Saturday morning and prayed out loud, one after another for all aspects of this situation. And the mouth guard stayed away from the trash.

There are other puzzle pieces I might share in future posts regarding these recent incidents but I truly believe that the Lord placed that mouth guard in the dryer as a reminder to me.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

In every day, Ike (and me and maybe even you, no offense) need to wear a mouth guard. Maybe not an ugly plastic one but one that protects us and others from unkind words, filthy talk and gossip. My orange hair, freckle-face teenage OS confessed to me that nasty words fly out easier on the basketball court. No duh! Now we have yet another reason his mouth guard must remain in the position where it was designed. From the bleachers, I am on the look-out making sure my OS’s mouth guard is where it’s supposed to be.

Puzzle pieces everywhere. When this whole thing started, I thought the nice mom calling me was placing an order for an apron – WRONG! But I am ever thankful for what she ultimately gave me – refining moments which are teaching us as we relentlessly, endlessly love each other and our Lord.

Iron Gym Commercial

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I have a blog post that is nearly ready to publish but on this, the last day before my oldest OS goes back to West Point, I have chosen to preempt my scheduled post.


The one thing that Nathan said he wanted for Christmas was an Iron Gym. We are such amazing parents, we not only got Nate one, but another one for the middle OS Aaron. Yes, it’s true!


After dinner last night, (and I must share with you the really awesome thing we have been doing as a family), the OS cleaned the kitchen and then scurried upstairs. The next thing I know Aaron bounds downstairs in a skinny t-shirt and a crazy wig. He had applied camo paint all over his face and created slightly lifelike facial hair. Aaron has a flair for the dramatic which is an understatement. But this time Aaron had enlisted the help of his bros. They were going to make a video about the Iron Gym.

As I was sewing aprons downstairs, the Hubs and I could hear the chatter of our OS rehearsing their own Iron Gym commercial. See for yourself and then you’ll know just one more reason why I am going to miss my big boy and all the wacky things the three of them do together.

All I want for Christmas is WATER!

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Guess what Santa brought us for Christmas? A broken water heater and valve!!! This might not have been the work of Santa but of that sinister Grinch or Scrooge. I would have preferred coal because at least we could have done something with it. Apparently Santa also doesn’t read this blog because if he did, he would know all the good will and cheer I attempted to spread onto others through apron making. He would never have done something like this if he had read my blog and seen what a wonderful person I have been lately. Hmphf.


Thanks goodness I have been on two mission trips. In Peru, I learned the fine art of dumping water into a toilet to force it to flush. In El Salvador, I learned the fine art of pouring clean drinking water into a cup and submerging my toothbrush and toothpaste into it to maintain proper dental hygiene. On some very microscopic level, and I emphasize microscopic, it has helped me salvage a bit, and I emphasize a bit, of sanity which isn’t saying much.

Here is a picture of a toilet in Peru outside of an elementary school. The orange bucket is full of water, the white bucket is using for pouring.

And this is a picture of a toilet in a poor village in El Salvador. This is actually a very nice toilet compared to what a wonderful pastor and his family used to have.


If I look on the bright side, at least the broken water heater and valve waited until our Christmas Eve company left before deciding to act the fool.

And if I continue to look at this as a glass half-full moment, than I must continue to be joyous that Isaac was feeling sick after our Christmas Eve company departed.

That’s because instead of going to a late night Christmas eve church service, Ike, Aaron and I stayed home. Isaac was trying to go to sleep but heard this annoying tick-tick-tick sound in his room.

I thought I found the culprit to the sound and turned off a few ceiling fans. However, the tick-tick-ticking continued. Being the mama of a Soldier, I thought it sounded like a bomb. Freaked me out a little. The sound was relentless and I pressed my ear to the walls trying to figure out from whence the maddening noise was coming.

Aaron saw me listening to the wall completely dumbfounded as to the source of the problem. Pressing my ear to various places on the wall, I told him this reminded me of a close family member who had suffered from mental illness who also heard things in the wall. It was one of those awkwardly funny comments and Aaron wasn’t sure what to say. Thankfully I wasn’t the only one hearing this sound.

When the Hubs and Nate returned from church, Aaron was fast asleep, Ike had relegated himself to another room to sleep and the Hubs and OS began to hunt for the sound.


That’s when we discovered that the tick-tick-tick was actually a drip-drip-drip coming from the attic and Christmas Day arrived with a very unwelcome gift…no running water. You can get batteries on Christmas Day but you can’t get a new water heater and valve at a gas station! Where’s a Jewish plumber when you need one?

We’re Day Two of this annoyance and the saga continues…ergh

Sew messy

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For the last six weeks, I have been a mad seamstress. Not mad as in angry but mad as in crazy, frazzled and ridiculously blessed. As of this post, I will have made almost 70 aprons for Christmas. Since I am the mama of three OS, I have used nearly half a football field worth of material. I have sewn aprons for people who aren’t even related to me, people who would not feel morally indebted to purchase something made by my hands.

Beyond my wildest expectations, the Lord has spoken to my heart deeply and when I have time, I wish to share with you my personal history as it relates to aprons. For me, aprons are more than an “outer garment one uses to primarily cover the front of the body.” But alas, let me say that I am nearly without words to describe the depth of happiness and fulfillment it has brought me to make them for others including some of you who will read this post.


If there is a downside, it’s that my house has been a wreck. Seriously. Sew messy. And it seems as if there hasn’t been a room in my house where the Fabric Monster hasn’t touched. Threads, pins, remnants have invaded this once fairly tidy domicile.
Since I do not have a craft room, my kitchen has served as the Command Center for this operation. One evening I took a few pictures to offer you a glimpse of the vantage point from my sewing machine. It looked worse at other times but I didn’t have the courage to capture the chaos.


To me, it looks like one of those photos you’d see in an I-Spy book. “I spy with my little eye an orange dinosaur…” (I made dinosaur aprons) or “I spy with my little eye a Christmas ornament in a box…” (I personalized an ornament for a friend). We have a beautiful new room outside of our kitchen and to the Hubs’ chagrin, the ironing board became a new piece of furniture. It didn’t exactly match with the existing decor but I’ve had no choice.


And then there’s Tess. Tess is the name of my dress form. When my oldest OS returned home from West Point for Christmas Break, I asked him if he had met Tess. He said no and when I introduced them to each other, he told me I was seriously freaking him out.

At this moment, our house is less cluttered as my apron making frenzy has calmed down. I am proud of myself for working hard and so happy to being slightly relaxed until Wednesday…aka Christmas Cookie Making Time!

Merry CHRISTmas!

Sew blessed

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Since I will never have a daughter, I have missed out on shopping sprees for dresses. I’m not complaining or feeling sorry for myself, it’s just a fact. I have also missed temper tantrums, crying fits with a moody daughter who can’t find anything to wear which is totally fine with me. Since I’m wildly crazy about my OS, I don’t spend a lot of time lamenting the fact that I don’t have a daughter, I just yank up my big girl panties and move on. Sorry for that word picture.


But in lieu of dress shopping, I have the privilege of guy shopping. Recently my OS Aaron announced to me, “Mom, you have to take me shopping!” I wasn’t sure of the reason until I inquired. That’s when Aaron emphatically reminded me of the Snow Ball, his school’s upcoming dance. It was like a V-8 moment…you know where the guy gets whacked up the side of the head? How could I forget?

However as soon as my 15 year old OS told me that, I also translated his sentence. Really what he was saying is, “Mom, I need for you to buy me some new clothes for the dance.” That’s when I asked my son, “Aaron, with what am I going to buy you some new clothes? I’m not sure we have the money for that.”

I could see that he was dejected but attempted to understand. I felt badly because I desperately wanted to do this for him.

That’s when I started to pray. “Lord, help me find a way to get Aaron some new clothes for the Snow Ball.”

I didn’t tell the Hubs of my prayer, it was just between God and me. I didn’t tell my friends so they would feel indebted to buy an apron so Aaron could have a new pair of pants or a sweater. I kept it just between the two of us, the Lord and myself. And do you know what happened? He heard my prayer, as He always does and this time, He honored it with a yes. In a week’s time, I had enough apron orders that I was able to say to my boy, “Aaron, I’m going to take you shopping and buy you some clothes with the apron money I earned this week.”


So last Saturday I took my middle OS out to lunch (used a coupon) and then we went shopping (with a coupon.) Our time was even more blessed because of who got us there (the Lord) and why (sweet folks wanting an apron). In my wildest dreams and prayers, never did I imagine that God would bless me so richly through aprons of all things!

The hugs and love my OS lavished upon me were reward enough. We had silly times as we tried to find pants that fit his trim frame and less than tall stature. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The pants were too big or too long, nearly impossible to get the perfect size but alas we found a handsome outfit worthy of my boy! We left the store excited about the upcoming dance and envisioned all the ladies swooning around him as they admired his muscles, beauty and fancy new threads! HA!


I have been sewing like a crazy woman. My sewing machine is whirrrrrring all the time. There is fabric strewn throughout the house and I’m having a blast helping my family and being creative. The Lord truly does give us the desires of our heart and this moment with Aaron is one of many blessings I’ve received through His goodness manifested in APRONS. More to come, I can’t wait to tell you more stories like this!

Sew sweet

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“OUCH!” the Hubs screamed from upstairs. I wondered what in the world had happened and when he told me that he stubbed his toe, I must admit, I shrugged it off. Big whoop, everyone has stubbed a toe and it hurts like mess but seriously, it’s NO big deal.


Besides I was busy sewing my aprons for unknown people for an unknown purpose and if he wasn’t incapacitated, I had mounds of material awaiting construction.

However as the morning lingered, the Hubs continued to complain about his stubbed toe. When he eventually showed it to me, it was ghastly! Dark shades of red and purple melted together on his little middle toe, ew! It didn’t look stubbed, it looked mangled! Talk about gee-ross.

So how do you know you married a good man? When your hubs traipses your handmade aprons downtown with a broken toe and tries to sell them at local stores. That’s how you know you are loved.


The Hubs has successfully passed many “tests,” – last year when I broke my foot, he proved his love for me and then there are scores of other times that are none of your beeswax when he has shown me sacrificial, undeserved love.

How many aprons did he sell? I can hear you wondering. He sold nada. Nothing. Zilch. They didn’t kick him, his fractured phalange of the foot along with my aprons out of the stores, thank the Lord! Nor did they say they would never, ever consider selling such rubbish! But did it matter to me? Heck, no!


For me it’s the humbling image of a man who believed in me enough in me that despite his discomfort, was willing to limp down the sidewalk with my aprons in hopes that he could sell them for me.

Lemme tell ya, making these aprons has turned into a spiritual endeavor. I have so much to learn and tell, isn’t it amazing how God can use the simplest things to teach us?

The idea of my sweet hubs limping through our quaint downtown trying to sell his wife’s wares is seriously a better gift than if he had sold every last one.