Five Minute Friday – Focus

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Here I am workin’ it in my “progressives” hanging with my Soldier, Nate and my goofy, orange hair, freckle face OS Ike.

I swallowed my pride this year and got bi-focals. Thankfully I waited until they began calling them, “progressives” so I was able to feel better about myself and another sign of my mortality.

I wanted to get “progressives” because I wanted to see. Yes, I have high expectations.

It was annoying to put in my contact lens (I just wear one) and then run all over the place to get my “readers” for more up-close things.

My world opened up more easily with the new glasses because I was able to see up close and far away.

Sometimes I would really appreciate spiritual progressive lenses. I see things in my personal life that are blurry. They don’t make sense, I want resolution and selfishly, I want peace and restoration. Or at least MY version of what that should look like.

And then it’s frustrating because I can’t see far away, what will happen next, how things will turn out. Turmoil close to home, with people I care about. Turmoil in the Middle East. Terrible things going on so I try to slip on any pair of “glasses” I can find but  there is only one prescription that works.

This is the kind of focus we need to remember in times of trouble.

I go to God’s Word and ask Him for help. He has perfect vision and sees all things clearly. Motives, background, history, past, present and future, it all makes sense.

Today I’ll continue to do my Bible Study in Psalms. Father, help me FOCUS on YOU in this unclear earthly world.

To participate in Five Minute Fridays go here, it’s really fun.

Sew far away – Guinea Pig Girl doll memoirs

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So many beautiful faces just like this one

I had to go to the bathroom.

#1

in the outskirts of Lima, Peru

Dust-covered village, not a porta-potty in sight – understatement

so I ask my translator and soon we’re following a man to his house

Dirt steps, hollowed out rooms, feels kind of like the Flintstones

The father tells his family someone is here and they come out to briefly greet us

Yes it’s awkward

because I have to go to the bathroom

#1

Over to the side is a makeshift curtain

And I step inside and observe a hole on the ground

which I use

This was the common landscape in Lima

And soon I thank the family who has graciously offered a stranger into their house

But in the corner

over to the side

So many moments like this meeting people and sharing the love of Christ – I will never be the same

I see

a doll

that looks like it belongs in a dumpster

but it is in a house

Is this filthy doll a little girl’s toy?

That image has stayed with me, humbling me many days

Years later, I sew and I pray sometimes

“God, use my simple sewing skills for others, keep me open to your ways.”

I wish I had been making Tess the Guinea Pig Girl dolls back then

because I would have given her one

or two

or a dozen

Tess and Esther, Joy and Leah hang out together. On Friday, Tess’s friends will begin their journey to live in Madagascar.

I want the Guinea Pig Girl dolls to go places

Near and far

Mission trips

Operation Christmas Child boxes

Regular places too

To be loved

and hugged

Three of them go to Madagascar on Friday

Esther, Joy and Leah will meet the Mahafaly people 

On Saturday, Tabitha, another Guinea Pig Girl doll,  goes to Nepal with an anti human-trafficking advocate

Can you imagine?!

Although Tess will miss her greatly, she’s excited for Tabitha and her big move to Nepal.

To bless a little girl or a hurting soul

In my own comfortable land or continents away

My sewing machine feels happy, just wish “we” would have started sooner.

“Heavenly Father, mightily use my human brothers and sisters in Christ. Protect and anoint every aspect of their journey. And for my fabric friends, Lord, whoever receives one of these little dolls, may she receive it with the love with which it was made and sense the everlasting love which only comes from you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Read more about my friends’ travels here and here, I hope to have some pictures of the GPG in their new homes.

To order a Guinea Pig Girl doll, check out my website at oliveshootinstitute.com.

Five Minute Friday – celebration time, come on!

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As much as I miss the high-pitched voices of my OS when they were little –

As much as I cling to those chubby snuggles and hilarious toddler sayings,

I’ve got to say, there are things about this stage of life that have perks!

“Woo hoo! Gonna take my beautiful sweetheart out for a date night!”

I got a text from our oldest OS on our 25th anniversary. A $100 gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris was on its way!

He and his brothers had pitched in to make this possible

When I was a kid, I remember celebrating my parents’ wedding anniversary but my OS haven’t done this before.

2/3 of my OS even publicly acknowledged our special day on their facebook pages and it sincerely made me happy.

Because it’s not like we made 25 years easily.

In the past, we threw the “L” word and the “D” word with regularity. When my oldest OS was a toddler, we took him with us to the marriage counselor.

He played with a little toy on the floor as the Hubs and I sat on separate couches. We were at impasse. Would we stay together or would we go our separate ways? As we celebrate this hallmark anniversary, I can still see that toe-headed fella on the carpet. He is now an Army officer.

I began reading the card and then Ike took it from my hands and said he wanted to read it out loud to me. ❤

So as the orange hair, freckle face OS stood in front of me (the Hubs had to go to DC to attend to a speeding ticket (!) he got on the way home from Nate’s graduation from West Point), Ike presented me with a homemade anniversary card.

It’s unlikely Ike will be a great artist in the future but we love him anyway. I love these goofy cards and I really, really hope I don’t look like this in real life!

Funny how his drawings look kinda like Tess the Guinea Pig Girl dolls

Here’s what he said,

“Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you for setting a wonderful example for us on what a faithful marriage is. Raising 3 great children and the last one possibly being the great is not easy to do.   You have shown us what leadership and sacrifice is and have blessed us by walking beside us in our Christian walks. We love you and thank you for the love you have given us. 

Isaac, Nate and Aaron 

PS. Thanks for making us”

Ike has always been such a funny guy!

Ike’s drawings look quite similar to my Tess the Guinea Pig Girl doll collection, don’t you think? Not sure what to do with that!

Jesus alone has salvaged the Hubs and me. Individually, the Lord has also redeemed my children’s lives when they repented of their sins and asked Christ into their hearts. Aaron and Ike exist today because of the mighty work Christ has done in this really human family.

My OS know our story and they see our flaws on a daily basis. And they celebrated our marriage anyway. I’m looking forward to a festive date night.

Here’s the link if you want to see more of the Guinea Pig Girl doll collection!

T(h)anks for the memories

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Last week I began a small business called Olive Shoot Institute. Since January, I have been faithfully using a 100% biodegradable, organic laundry detergent called soap nuts. Now I’m selling those delightful non-edible nuts/berries along with a host of other cleaning supplies for personal and home use. Got me a Olive Shoot Institute facebook page too!

Just a sample of the products we are offering. I love doing this.

Seriously if you have known me for the last six months, I have probably talked to you about soap nuts. I don’t want to be one of those people who deluge friends and family with endless convos only about the products they are selling because that gets old but it’s exciting to begin a new endeavor. Whoever said that my OS are the only ones who get to branch out this year? Seriously!

So now my life duties include maintaining a website, shipping products and talking about the merits of soap nut stuff. This in addition to sending my middle OS off to college at Moody Bible Institute and the orange hair, freckle face OS beginning sophomore year in high school. While the younger OS are in the throes of transitioning, praise the Lord, Nate has adjusted to life away from West Point and as an Army officer at Fort Benning. To hear the voice of a happy child, be it the high-pitched squeak of a little boy or the deeper, richer tones from a young man, ah, it’s like massaged kale salad – zesty, fresh and satisfying. If you know me, you also know I am a BIG kale fan!

Nate sent me this picture of a little sumpin/sumpin he was making. Couscous with fresh tomatoes and feta! Impressive my little man!

Nate and I bond marvelously over food and domestic life. He talks to the Hubs about politics and tanks and recants to me the lovely meals he is preparing for himself and his housemates. It’s a good compromise. My 2LT is also a Dave Ramsey fan (so are we) and he follows many of Dave’s principles.

So when he moved to Georgia, Nate promptly got on Craig’s List, found a washer and dryer for only $100 and with nary a second guess, bought it.

How many guys send their moms a picture of their washing machine? And how many guys post a picture of their dead washing machine on facebook? I’m pretty sure there’s only one and I gave birth to him!

The guy was so proud of himself and talk about convenient! He loved being able to throw his stinky Soldier clothes in the wash and not have to traipse his clothes to a laundromat. But last week, the stupid thing died. On facebook, Nate bemoaned, “The spinner of my washing machine is now sideways. It has always sounded like a small man was in there but ran like a champion. Unfortunately those days are over.” Another person put it this way, “actually, it sounded like a small man was getting murdered in there ;-)”

So in memory of my OS’s short-lived first appliance purchase and in honor his thriftiness,  I’m saying “Tanks.” I mean, “thanks” to my readers
and I’m offering a 10% discount of Extreme 18X until August 22nd. You just need 1/2 TEASPOON to do a load of laundry!  Crazy, huh?

1.No harsh chemicals

2. No harmful toxins

3. Hypoallergenic

4. No need for fabric softener either. Clothes are fluffier than ever!

5. Only about .20 cents a load (you’re probably spending more if you add up your fabric softener)

6. Takes up a ton less space

7. And can replace 70-80% of your household cleaners, it’s that versatile!

8. Fragrance free but your clothes smell fresh and clean.

9. Perfect for HE (High Efficiency) washing machines.

I love this stuff, I love my OS and his silly sense of humor! You need that in the Army, trust me. Rest in peace noisy washer, you were good while you lasted. Enjoy the 10% discount, friends.

Traffic at Fort Benning. Not like regular people traffic!