Sunday, February 26, 2012

In Quiteness and Solitude

Bow the Knee

There are moments on our journey following the Lord,
Where God illumines evry step we take.

There are times when circumstances make perfect sense to us,

As we try to understand each move He makes.

When the path grows dim and our questions have no answers, turn to Him.

*Bow the knee;

Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.

Bow the knee;

Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.

And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,

In the presence of the King, bow the knee.

There are days when clouds surround us,

And the rain begins to fall,

The cold and lonely winds won’t cease to blow.

And there seems to be no reason for the suffering we feel;

We are tempted to believe God does not know.

When the storms arise, don’t forget we live by faith and not by sight.

*Bow the knee;
Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee;
Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King, bow the knee.

I hope you have enjoyed the lyrics to this beautiful song on this Sunday evening. Our choir sang it this morning. It is one of my favorites.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gorgeous Aisle Runner

A sweet bride asked me to make an aisle runner for her wedding. I was thrilled. It was a fun project. I used black Casa Satin for the field and red Casa Satin for the borders. The finished project stretched a length of 75 feet. The bride knew just what she wanted and it was a joy to create her vision.

Once the decor was complete and the bride and groom and all their attendants were standing in place, I was amazed to see how this one splash of color seemed to tie everything together. Unfortunately, this is the only photo I have and it was taken with my not so very good camera on the phone I had at that time.

Even though the photo isn't the best, I like the soft haziness of it!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Caramel Coconut Cream Pie

Our son wanted Aunt Dee's Caramel Coconut Cream Pie to take to his small group. Aunt Dee said the recipe was in our family cookbook. Well, sure 'nuf...right there it was. I'd never seen it in there OR made it, of course. I bought ingredients for four pies and in one hour had all of them chillin' out in the freezer! Two pies were for his small group and two for our guests who were coming in from out of town.

It's yummy! I won't tell anyone if you make one pie just to eat all by yourself. No I didn't do that, but yes it is that good.

Susan, who is the sweetest cashier in probably the whole world or something like that, wanted the recipe. She saw all these yummy ingredients beeping across the scanner and thought they added up to delectable goodness. Susan, I hope your hubby enjoys it as much as we do.

Caramel Coconut Pie

1/4 c. butter

1 pkg (7 oz) flaked coconut

1/2 c. chopped pecans

1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1 container (16 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 jar (12 oz) caramel ice cream topping

2 baked 9" pastry shells


Melt butter in larger skillet. Add coconut and 1/4 c. pecans; cook until golden, stirring frequently. Set mixture aside and let cool slightly.

Cream Filling:

Combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Assembling Pie:

Layer 1/4 of cream cheese mixture in each pastry shell. Drizzle 1/4 of caramel topping over each pie. Sprinkle 1/4 coconut mixture evenly over each pie. Repeat layers with remaining cream cheese mixture, caramel topping, and coconut mixture. Cover and freeze pies at least 8 hours. Let frozen pies stand at room temperature 5 minutes before slicing.

Yield: two 9" pies.

The first two pies that were taken to small group only chilled for about 45 minutes. They still set up nicely and brought home rave reviews, thanks to a nice group of hungry and very complimentary young adults.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Yellow Fluff

A dozen little miracles have been nestled in this climate controlled environment.

All by themselves, one fluffy yellow chick after another emerged, much to the delight of the children in the classroom. Have you ever seen a chick hatch? It's exciting!
They are anxious to eat and drink and look up to the camera and say hi to you!

Baby chicks...aahhh. They are like a sweet promise of Spring.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Valentine Desire

Floral arrangement made for a client

Valentine's Day can bring great joy or immense sorrow. I've observed this from year to year. I suppose our emotions are in direct response to our perspective or life experiences. I've attended weddings on Valentine's Day and witnessed the pain of loss on Valentine's Day. You know as well as I that life is so very...well daily...isn't it? Moment upon moment days are built and life happens.

I love Valentine's Day. I do! Call me crazy if you want, but it makes my heart smile when I see the Valentine merchandise start to line the store shelves before the Christmas decor is adequately sold from the clearance rack. It's all such a commercial gimmick but still I enjoy seeing the cheery red and pink hearts and cupids adorned with fluffy roses and delicate little bows and arrows. In my mind the colors and whimsy of the decor bring a bright spark to the dreary winter days that linger long between Christmas and Spring. And besides all that, anyone can express love whether or not they have a "sweetheart". It doesn't hurt to buy flowers to decorate your table just because they are beautiful. They don't have to come from "someone special" in order to properly celebrate the day.

And so, in reality the love and caring shown on Valentine's Day can be expressed all year long between lovers, or family members or friends. I remember when our first child was born, on several occasions I ask my mother, "How will he know that we love him? He has come into the world without expectations. He has no option for existence but to totally trust us. How will he know we love him?" I'm sure this sounds quite silly, however as an emotional new mother I wrestled with this concept of a baby learning to comprehend this expression. Even today, I want my spouse and children and family and friends to know that I love them. It's important to me that the words we speak when we say goodbye are kind and loving. We never know when it will be our last word spoken. I want to love expressively. I don't want my children to wonder if I care.

This year as Valentine's Day approached, I grew sad that I couldn't do more for those I loved. Ggggrrr...everyone has the same 24 hours in their day, but there never seems to be enough time for what is demanding my attention and the little things that are important to me. So I try my best to make wise choices and be OK with that.

Our little girl was excited about her Valentine party at school on Tuesday. The night before we made heart shaped sugar cookies with glace' icing. With great anticipation, and just the right amount of consideration for which friend got which Valentine, the Valentines were all addressed well in Saturday night...well in advance. When we dropped her off at her classroom that morning, the teacher who was a substitute asked if I could come back later and help with the party since there would be no other parents available to help. I dashed off to work knowing that I had a limited amount of time before going back to the school to assist the teacher.

Upon my return to the school, as the children stood in line waiting for the party to begin, I noticed one little boy was standing with his face to the wall. Closer observation revealed that he was sobbing, not crying, but yes, absolutely sobbing. Since our family is friends with his family, I felt that it was OK for me to ask him what was wrong. As tears dripped from his cheeks, through his sobs he answered, "It's about my dad." My heart broke. I wanted to put my face against the wall and sob with him. Instead with the tips of my fingers I traced a line back and forth back and forth from shoulder blade to shoulder blade in hopes that some form of human contact would comfort him. When I could speak, I said, "Do you miss him more because it's Valentine's Day?" Through tears he shuddered, "Yes". I attempted to assure him of his Father's love. At an age much to young for any little boy to bear, he had been hit squarely with the reality of losing a Father in death. Within myself I contemplated the possibility that he might not have yet comprehended his Father's expression of love. You know the thing I said I worried about our firstborn son being able to comprehend? Again, I considered when does this knowledge of understanding begin? As the Valentine party started and progressed I saw him attempting to gain composure and go through the festive motions, but his heart wasn't in it. From my vantage point I realized that in spite of anything I might try to do or say to cheer him...the reality was...there was absolutely nothing I could do to change his heartache. There was nothing I could do to take this burden away. He had a deep Valentine's Day desire to feel the tangible love of his Father. He needed that feeling of knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was loved. Let me assure you this precious child is very loved. But how do you appropriately convey that to a heartbroken little boy in the midst of his overwhelming emotions?

My contemplative mind began to think through my own feelings of all the things I wanted to do to send expressions of love to those I cared about. With the life circumstances that I deal with every day, do I do enough? Really, do I? I'm sure I truly fall so so so very short. I thought about the gamut of emotions that other people feel on a day like this from despair and rejection to great joy and happiness. Valentine's Day, by the very nature of how our culture celebrates it stirs the desire as I saw in my little friend, the desire in each of us, to know the same thing...that beyond a shadow of a doubt...we are loved.

This past Tuesday, with the experiences that I was unexpectedly called to embrace, I was once again reminded of how important it is to me that I speak and write love to my spouse and my children. They are my first responsibility. I want it to be a language so clearly spoken to them that they never doubt or question it. When my time on earth is spent and I am gone, I want them to know I loved unquestionably and expressively without hesitation, beyond the shadow of a doubt.

I know that ultimate joy and peace is found in the loving arms of the embrace of Christ. Only HE can fill that void shape of Himself deep within our spirit. Each one of us will only find true love there. However, in my flawed and imperfect way, I want to do all I can to assure my children of my love.

It's a Valentine desire.


This blog post was written with full disclosure and approval from the child's mother.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sports Again? Really?

On Friday Philip left. I told you about that a couple of postings ago. There were morning tasks and appoints and then the typical hurry scurry to get to my particular responsibility that was calling. As I drove I turned on the radio. I typically do not enjoy listening to the radio. I enjoy the peace and quiet. I enjoy looking at the trees and nature around me and observing the activities of other drivers. I enjoy the absence of noise and chatter that sometimes fill the airwaves. I like to think up new ideas for design arrangements or figure out how to make a fashion that I'm working on fit the client the way it should. I like to think my own thoughts.

When I do happen to listen to the radio, I'm selective in my choice. On Friday as my ear tuned into the mid-sentence of a speaker who caught my attention, I was captivated as he told a story about playing basketball that I cannot begin to repeat for lack of recalling all the details. However the essence of what he said, that was of interest to me, was this: In basketball, you cannot just simply stand on the court and hold the ball. The clock is running. AND he went on to say life is like that: The clock is running, the players are in place, you've been put in the game, this game. The ball is in your hands, so play ball. Get in the game and simply PLAY BALL.

At that point I quickly reached up and with a flick of my wrist, flipped the switch to turn off the radio. I already knew everything he was saying was true, but I wanted to ponder and mull his words a little more, in silence. Somehow through what the speaker said, my courage was renewed. I love it when that happens!

Once again, I realized that I was to play the game, in which I had been placed, to the best of my ability. I was to focus. I was to work with those around me as a team. I was to score and if possible win. Nevertheless, I was to play to the best of my ability.

As my day took shape, I attempted to stayed focused on the goal and the score clock. I kept putting one ball in the basket after another and now here I am. It's Tuesday. I can't change any of those past days. I just know I was in the game and playing ball to the best of my ability. I'm STILL in the game.

So once again I'm off to...what ball! Um or fix supper!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Score and Win

Monument Circle with the Super Bowl 46 numbers

In light of the events of the week that our family has experienced (previous post) it seems most frivolous to speak of "the game" but still I do have something to say about how it relates to life.
Sports mania and hospitality and event planning have been fever pitched here in Indianapolis for the last year but especially so in the last two weeks since Super Bowl Village opened up downtown.
Today I have heard the steady drum of helicopters. Earlier in the day it seemed as though they were probably transporting people (um like maybe important people...whomever they may be) from the Indianapolis Regional Airport (also known to locals as "the Mount Comfort airport") over to the Heliport downtown Indianapolis. Now as the evening deepens and the sky grows dark the hum overhead is steady and as I've squinted into the night sky I have counted up to five helicopters hovering overhead at one time. As game time approaches there may be more. I will go outside and look and see when the time comes...yes, I really will. Still helicopters hovering over my head create an ominous sensation. I know they have reasons for being there...I'll just say I've convinced myself that it's just those fabulous news crews doin' their job...reporting from a first hand account of traffic patterns and crowd flow and a close up view of our fabulous Monument Circle, a unique landmark in the heart of downtown.
I will digress to say that if it can't be Peyton Manning and our own Indianapolis Colts, well may just have to be Eli Manning and the Giants...yep Eli and the Giants!
Each year, in May, the city of Indianapolis hosts people from all over the world for the famous Indianapolis 500. Because I enjoy event planning it has been interesting to observe the things that have been done differently preparing for the Super Bowl vs the Indy 500.
Game stuff and sports mania is not really my first love, but I will say that I do like to have a healthy knowledge of what's going on, because well, my sons know all about it and I like to appear semi-informed when we are discussing this stuff. Ya know the stuff like timeouts and turnovers and touchdowns and such. To me these terms sound more like things you do when you raise and feed kids, but it's all all applies.

So this brings me to the reason of this post. I think about life A LOT and how it is lived...well, by me, for instance and my husband, and my children. In life you get one chance. It's sorta like "the big game". There will be timeouts and turnovers and touchdowns, but ultimately living life with focus and intensity to win well is what counts.

As I ponder my life and how I'm playing "the game", I don't want to grow old yet remain immature and shallow in my thoughts and attitudes. I want to grow and learn from each and every play and learn from the plays of my team members and my coach, God. I want to win well. I want my plays to count and hear my "coach" say, "Well done."
I know you do too.

And so how 'bout you? Didn't I hear you say Eli and the Giants...well of course since it can't be Peyton and the Colts?


Saturday, February 4, 2012

To Honor A Life

On Tuesday this week, physical and tangible life came to an end for the great grandfather of my children. It is the only great grandfather they have known. At 95 years of age, he and his wife would have celebrated 75 years of marriage, in June. I can't begin to imagine her without him. I've seen them live the commitment of their vows, made before God, so long ago.

My husband's grandfather, on his dad's side, was a hard working man who upheld integrity and honesty. He was a business owner. I have been told that he provided outstanding customer service in the days when gas stations were "service stations". I remember him saying that a time came in our culture when his employees no longer had work ethic. My husband has fond memories of life that revolved around Papa's work.

Though it has been several years since our family has had the opportunity to make the 12 hour trip to visit him, hug him, talk to him, still I can see his smile and hear his laugh. Life just has a way of preventing some of the things that we long for. There are times when the right thing to do isn't the easy or fun thing, so it was with agony that we made the decision for Philip to go alone to pay his last respects to his grandfather. I'm so glad Philip could go.

There is an unspoken language to life. It is sensed and felt and seen with our heart and emotions. We may even hear it, but it is a language interpreted through the filter of our individual life experiences and personal perspectives, making it a different language to each person. I wanted to wrap my arms around grandma and absorb some of who she is, absorb some of her character and commitment to the man she has loved all these years. I wanted to sense the unspoken language, spoken to me, in this situation of life.

So as Philip drove away in the chilly darkness yesterday morning to make the 12 hour drive alone, I wanted to sob, and sob some more. I couldn't talk. I wasn't ready for it to be like this. We have committed to experience life together...the ups and downs...and now life was separating us in this. Our family couldn't...shouldn't go.

On many occasions when our children leave to go out to do something, I say to them, "Remember who you are. Your daddy has given you a good name. You want to always live up to the honor of it." Today, as family is gathered so many miles away to honor Papa, I am reminding our children that their good name has come from their dad and his dad and his dad, Papa. Their name has passed down through the generations and they can be proud. It's not a name to which they hang their head in shame when someone finds out who they belong too.

One moment, one action, can change the course of life forever. I am grateful for the choices Papa and Grandma made that are benefits to me and my family today. I didn't get to hug Grandma, or say a final goodbye, so to speak, to Papa, but I know that when my husband returns early in the morning, I will hug him and absorb some of the integrity and commitment of his grandparents. Part of them, lives in him.

His legacy lives on...

Thank you Papa. I will see you again.

Floyd William Going
August 30, 1916 - January 31, 2012