Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bean Dolls

For the past week or so I have been working on getting ready for today. Since about February we have been a part of a homeschool book club for girls centered around the American Girl books and their time periods. We meet every other week at a library and do crafts and activities together about the girls and the time period. We have enjoyed it so much. Every month a couple of moms have worked together to prepare activities for our gathering. It was amazing to see the creativity of the different mom but I hadn't been one of the moms yet. I had wanted to do Kirsten because I love learning about immigrants and I'm Scandinavian too but moms volunteered before I had a chance to. This month we were studying Addy and the Civil War time and there were no volunteers. I knew nothing about Addy and I knew that we were going to be busy moving and packing but I didn't want it to go without a leader and since I hadn't done a month yet I volunteered. The mom that got the group started offered to help me out and do it with me. At the first meeting I read a book to the girls about Harriet Tubman and she had the girls make puppets and put on puppet shows. It was a lot of fun.

To start off today's class I read a choose your own adventure book (I always loved those books as a kid) called The Underground Raiload: An Interactive History Adventure to the girls. I let them vote on whether to be a escaping slave, a slave catcher, or an abolitionist. The girls voted to be the escaping slave and enjoyed the story but in the end she died on her way to freedom. I hadn't read that ending so was a little unprepared to be up there reading it to the girls and confronted with, "oh no, she dies, what do we do now??" running through my head. We talked about it a little bit and I think that everyone ended up understanding that not everyone who tried to escape made it to freedom but I, personally, was not prepared for that ending so it left me a little shook up.

I had checked out The American Girls Party Bookout from the library (great book by the way full of terrific ideas!!) it had the pattern to make a bean doll like the one Addy had gotten for Christmas from her mom made out of scrap material and filled with beans. I got excited about the idea but didn't want 4 full sized bean dolls added to the collection of dolls around our house so I decided to try a half sized one one day with the girls to see if it was even possible for a group of 13 4-8 year old girls to do it. My girls had fun with it and it seemed doable so I decided to sew the dolls and take in some beans to fill them with and some old clothes that weren't nice enough to donate for the girls to make clothes for their dolls out of. I also made some bean bags out of the legs of jeans and camo pants of Caleb's that were too short and the knees were blown out of for the boys to make. It was a lot of work today too but the girls had a lot of fun and the moms were a terrific help!! I really couldn't have done it without all of the help from the other moms! It was fun watching the girls play with their dolls afterwards. I am so glad we took the effort.

There is another reason why I am glad though. It was a lot of work to get ready for the bean doll project but I always need something to do to distract me from packing when I move, a procrastination tactic, and this was it. Usually it is a book but this time it was sewing. Sewing gave me a chance to be out on the porch watching the kids play but still feeling like I was getting something accomplished. The neighborhood girls were fascinated with me sewing and would sit and watch me. I was able to start to build relationships with them that I wouldn't have taken time to do, especially not in the last month of living in a place, if I didn't have this project to make me sit still. I am thankful for the bean dolls in that. I now have 4 other little girls who have become a part of our family. Today when my kids were outside playing and I was making dinner one by one 5 little girls wandered into my kitchen to watch me cut potatoes and help (with my Ultimate Mandolin). One of their moms came in too to meet me and introduce herself (our apartment is in upheaval - totally not in any condition for normal visitors but the girls didn't care - it isn't a clean house that attracts them but I really think it is a caring heart). The girls all want to make bean dolls and bean bags now too. I told them that if there were extra dolls I would let them make some when we got home but we used all the dolls up so I'll have to make a few more for the girls to make another day. Those bean dolls were a lot of work but the reward, not only in seeing the book club girls make them but also in getting to know these other girls made it all worth while.

I am sad that we are moving. We are only moving 5 or 6 blocks away but we live only a block from where we lived last summer and we don't see the people that live on that block hardly at all. I have loved living here but God has plans in having us move as well. It is so hard to leave people and so hard to have people leave us. So often I am tempted to block off my heart and put walls up and not let anyone in but that steals the blessing from me and others. I was challenged a couple of weeks ago to "enjoy people while they are here" by a woman who has worked in campus ministry for a couple of decades. She has seen lots of people come and go and I think that it is very good advice. You don't know how long you have with anyone so make the most of the time that you do have.

Thanks God for the bean doll project and how You used it in my life to teach me things that I needed to learn.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

An Expensive Trip to Rochester

This past weekend we went to Rochester. Here is a blog that I scratched out on scrap paper Sunday night:

“'So let Your name

be lifted higher,

be lifted higher,

be lifted higher.'

At this point I can't remember anymore of the words of this song but it is on my heard right now and going over in over in my mind.

We've had a good weekend. After Glenn's exam we made a quick-ish stop at my grandparents to sign some papers then we headed out to Farmington to see my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew to spend the night. It was fun to visit with them. I don't know how much longer they'll be in NY so I'd like to visit as often as possible. On Saturday we headed to Rochester to pick up something Glenn had found on Craigslist and to go to Imagine RIT (which deserves it's own blog but I will leave it to say it was amazing and well worth the trip!) After we closed up Imagine RIT we stopped at Aldi and picked up food for a picnic and headed to Highland Park to wander around. I love Highland Park. It is so gorgeous! We were excited that even some of the magnolias were still in bloom as well as the cherry trees and tulips and daffodils and, of course, the lilacs. Combine Imagine RIT with a walk through Highland Park to get an almost perfect (though exhausting) day, especially with starting it with breakfast with Russ, Camy and Malachi! We quickly fell asleep at Dave and Hannah's after quick baths.

We finally got to see Dave (Hannah and Hudson were out of town) in the morning when he came in from his 24 hour shift and visited with him some before church. It was great to be back at Northridge Church. We hadn't been to see the new building yet but it was the people that we wanted to see the most. David was giving his last sermon in his destinations series where the theme was: “Your direction, not your intention, determines your destination.” We were challenged to intentionally share life with people who will help and challenge us to grow spiritually, to have mentors to listen to, and to be careful to choose to focus on the right things because where you look is where you'll head. It was really a message that I needed to hear because I need to be purposeful in all of those areas.

After church we got subs from Wegmans and took them to Zach and Maryellen's house for lunch and finally got the meet Matthew who is 5 months now. It was so fun to visit with them for a while. We hurried back to meet Dave's brother Dan and his wife Sarah and their kids who are home on furlough from Paraguay. I'd met them before but Glenn had not and it was neat to talk to them briefly about their ministry training youth leaders in rural communities.

We then went to Vertical Worship and afterwards got to visit with a number of people. I didn't get to catch up with or connect with everyone I would have liked to but we did have the lights turned off on us. (It wasn't the first time that has happened after Vertical Worship.)

After we said our final good byes, filled Naglenes and went potty we started down St Paul and as we were passing RSD we heard something funny “chunk” under our car. There hadn't been anything on the street so we turned back to find out what it was and Glenn found what looked like a big section of spring on the street so we drove back to the church parking lot to see if we could determine if it was from our vehicle or not hoping that someone would still be there that would be able to give us advice. God provided both – Glenn determined that it was from the front right driver's side tire area and the small group leaders training was just getting out and God provided several men to look at it and give us advice. It was determined that we really shouldn't be driving it to Syracuse with how it was broken.

I was amazed at how God worked out the details. Within minutes we had a place to stay and more than enough volunteers to give us rides to get there. On the ride in Mr. G's car to get to Chris and Miranda's house I had a chance to talk to the kids about how important it is to have wise advisors like had been talked about in church this morning. I am so thankful for teachable moments and that God is in control. Though this was a surprise to us it wasn't to Him. I am still learning to depend on Him and trust Him and to allow others to help me. You'd think that I'd learn not to be so fiercely independent after all the times God has tried to teach me but I still haven't learned yet.”

That ends what I wrote. When we got to Chris and Miranda's house my sweet Caleb was crying over how grateful he was at God's graciousness to us. When we got back home to Syracuse we made this list of praises from our experience with a broken strut:

* we didn't get on 104

* we were so close to church when it happened

* the van was drive-able so we didn't have to stay parked on St. Paul in front of RSD and that driving it didn't damage it more

* the tire didn't pop (that was the mechanic's first question)

* small group leader training was that night and it was just getting out so people could help and advise us.

* Mr. G and Chris and Miranda gave us rides and others offered.

* Chris and Miranda's hospitality at the last moment

* Glenn was driving and I wasn't alone with the kids somewhere (with Glenn in school, more often than not I am alone in the car with the kids when )

* Glenn's 4 or 5 lectures that he missed on Monday were videoed so that he can watch them even though he had to miss them.

* We had the funds available in the bank to fix it [I was thinking about it yesterday – everything that we have is God's and we are just entrusted with it for now but it is still His. I guess that He wanted almost $1000 of His money to go to JG Autowerks. I can trust Him that He knows best what to do with His money that sits in a bank account with our names on it.]

* we were in Rochester: many friends to help us out, close to a mechanic that is trusted by many from church

* the kids wanted to add that they were thankful that they got to ride with Mr G and that they got to meet Bella (Chris and Miranda's dog).

God is so good. I am so thankful.