Saturday, August 30, 2008

Swap Sneak

I spent the afternoon stitching a necklace.  Very autumnal, right?  I started with a lot of beads I did not choose and a skepticism about them working together.  But in the end, I think it looks just fine.

I am participating in a bead swap through the Bead Unique Magazine community.  A swap works like:

- 15 people particpate
- each person sends in 15 of the same bead
- the administrator mails each person one bead (or set of beads) from each person
- each of us makes a piece of jewelry or several pieces of jewelry using the beads from the swap...we can add things, but we have to use all of the pieces we received
- we send the finished pieces back to the magazine, they photograph them and in the big reveal, show them on the Bead Unique online community and in the magazine

So, you see above all of the beads I received in the swap.  There are a couple that I did not work into the necklace so I will have to make a second piece.

I am not sure I should be showing this before the big reveal, so if you are in the swap and reading this, pretend you didn't see it.

That was fun,
Normal Girl

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bagging the Nest

My darling woodchucks Chooey and Tooey began to prepare their burrow for winter today. 
When I went to bed last night all of these returnables were in a big black trash bag next to the garage. When I got up this morning, here they are.  What bag you ask?  Exactly.  They emptied all of the cans and bottles out of the bag and took the bag.  It is nowhere to be found. Did they need something waterproof?    Will I find it in the trash can tomorrow full of the stuff they have stolen from me that they no longer want?   

Rotten woodchucks!
Normal Girl

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Round Robin Dragonflies

This beautiful dragonfly bracelet belongs to BH.  In her journal, above, her description for us to follow:
I wish I was a dragonfly
With iridescent wings of light
I'd dart across the fields and ponds
And lift myself in graceful flight
I'd sprinkle magic here and there
And bring a smile to your face
- BH
So far five of us have added charms, three more to go.  It will be nice and full.  More of the story:

Charmed by the dragonfly,
tiny tulips grew in my garden,
eager to join in the dance.
- DB

Another dragonfly joins the dance
And together the two flit and float
Just enjoying.

A damselfly on a lily pad
Join a butterfly on a flower.
That lazy spider finally produced.
Just as I was winging my way onward,
the specifically ordered gold gossamer silk
from "Sir Lazy" arrived and 
another dragonfly wove himself.
- VA

Dragonflies circle higher
into the cool shade of the trees
fresh green leaves
whisper stories of adventure.
- KB

I am enjoying this summer project,
Normal Girl

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Jesus Loves Me

I heard a lot of buzz about this book, and so I read it.  I am hoping you have read it too.  It was an easy read.  It is a novel about God.  Basically, it is the story of a man, Mack, whose young daughter is kidnapped and killed on his watch.  Understandably, that huge loss colors his life...until he gets a note to meet God at the shack in the wilderness where the murder of his child took place.  He goes and meets God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  He gets to ask God questions, tell Him about his anger, and see his daughter again.

Of course, it is a human's view of how he imagines it might be to converse in person with God.  There are parts that seem odd, like God takes the form of a woman in the book, even though He explains He takes the form that will make Mack most comfortable.  Heaven is right there, kind of in another dimension not visible to humans.  I am sure that we cannot even begin to guess what God is like in person or what heaven is really like, but, it is fun to read what is in Young's imagination.

There are some things in the book that made me think about what God wants from me.  The story says that God does not want a piece of me and a piece of my life.  He wants all of me and all of my day.  He doesn't want to be the first of a list of values.  He wants to be the center of everything for me.  Another interesting God concept in the book is that He does not have any expectations of me.  He knows me completely and everything I will do in my life was determined by Him before time. If He did have expectations of me, that would mean law is a part of the relationship and I have to behave to live up to His expectations. He loves us without rules or requirements.

It made me wonder if we spend too much time trying to be what we think God expects.  Should that time be better spent just being with Him?  

But the best thing I read happened at the first meal Mack had with the Holy Trinity.  No, of course they do not have to eat, but they do it to join with Mack.  Jesus ends the meal by saying He wants to have a time of devotion.  He holds his father's hands and looks Him in the eye and tells Him how much He loved the way He helped Mack that day, what a joy He is to watch and how much He loves being His son.  Isn't that a much better definition of devotion that what we do and call devotions?  I have been praying with more devotion since I read it.  Try it, it opens up your heart.

So now, if you have read this book, I am dying to know what you thought.  I have read positive and negative reviews, but want to know what a real person thinks.  If a book makes me think about things that I have known my whole life, I call it good.

Normal Girl

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Magic!

One of the things we had the most fun with in our bedroom redo last weekend was magnetic paint.  I had read about it but had never used it before.  So the application was kind of an experiment.  I rolled it on over the primer coat.  It rolled like tar, kind of disgusting.  It also took awhile to dry enough.  And then, I rolled the regular wall paint over it.  It really covered pretty well in one coat, but I added another just in case.  If you had not seen me roll it on, you would not have been able to tell it was there.  I made the wall magnetic between John's desk and shelf.   He can use that wall as a magnet board.  Think of the cool applications for magnetic paint.  I am thinking of doing walls all over my house!   

Here is is spelling his name on his wall with magnets. 

It is almost like a parlor trick; easy to do and it amazes people.
Normal Girl 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Life Changing?

I read a blog today on which the blogger and her readers were discussing books that changed their lives.  I read something like 60 comments from readers.  They did not have any problem listing books that changed their lives.  Some listed six or eight books.   I have read more books in my life than the average person, I am guessing.  I read alot.  Since the summer before first grade when I won a reading contest at the library, I have been a voracious reader.  Do I have a list of books that have changed my life?  Changed the way I live my life?  Change the way I think about life?

I can tell you books that I really enjoyed, books that made me think, and books I have read several times.  But, a list of books that changed my life?  

I am not a total loser, I did read one book that I can honestly changed my life: The Purpose Drive Life by Rick Warren.  It really is true that the focus of my life is different because of the things I read in that book.  It changed the way I relate to people.  It changed what I do with my time and energy.  It changed the way I trust God.

Don't you think that to be life changing, a book comes along at the time you need it?  I read alot of the books listed on that blog today and did not even find some of them interesting.  But they changed someone else's life.  

Now I need to know.  Any books that changed your life?
Normal Girl

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Move That Bus!

The Divine Design team is made up of women who physically work at the site, women who do support jobs, and those who pray during the process.  The work that is done in the house is important, but the most important part of what we do, is encouragement for those who can use some.  

The best stories from the weekend are about team members who sat for a few minutes and talked face to face with a child or the Dad.  It is not always easy to allow people to serve you and give you things.  We on the team understand that, and also understand that we receive as much blessing from the process as those we try to encourage and serve.  God always does an amazing work through the women on the team as they speak one on one with those we are helping.  It helps everyone to understand that this is God's work and that He blesses all of us through it.

This week, we had the opportunity to serve a sweet family.  

For more pics of the kids and the before and after pics of the rooms we did:

Normal Girl

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Say Cheese

The Divine Design house project was this weekend and we finished up today.  THis morning, we sent the kids off for a photo shoot and a day of swimming.  Our really great photographer captured the personalities of the kids.  Looks are not deceiving, these are awesome kids.

Room photos later............

Normal Girl

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today I Feel

Painted the living room today and did more shopping for this week's project.  I am dragging it.  I have no understanding of how people find shopping exhilarating.  Would someone please explain?

Normal Girl

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Needed a Few Things

Today was hunting and gathering.  Oh yeah, and I got a chair we needed, off the curb here in town.

All I have to say is 14,000 steps baby!
Normal Girl

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Faye is Coming to Call

Faye has scheduled a visit, and has already arrived in the country. She is bringing gifts. Rain and wind. Sometimes she gets a little carried away in her enthusiasm and things get broken. Once Faye gets going, you just feel trapped by her. So, this time, I would like to avoid her visit and am planning to get out of town before she makes her appearance.

Some other time, Faye!
Normal Girl

Sunday, August 17, 2008

No Talk - More Rock

This week while working in HPB's office, I was introduced to a cool website by her amazing graphic artist.  Working so much on the computer, she knows piles of stuff about it and the internet.  Try this website: Pandora.  It is like a radio station that you program, and it has no commercials and no annoying, talking DJ.  It has every musical artist you can think of.  You type in the artist you want to listen to and it will program your station.  It will play music from that artist and artists that are similar in genre and time period.  It is pretty cool.  We did Wayne Newton, Frank Sinatra, The Jackson 5, and Third Day.  You can also put in just a genre like Christian Rock or Electric Blues or whatever you feel like listening to.  

Try it!
Normal Girl

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Zen Beading

This week I learned the art of zen beading....the art of instantly finding enlightenment in beading.  I became one with the bead.  I strung so many beads in the last couple of days that I can close my eyes while stringing.  It is all about the zen training.

And the fact that I can hardly see those tiny little beads and I just had to learn to feel my way!!!

Normal (getting older and blinder) Girl

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Imaginina Does Orlando

I am in Orlando with Normal Girl and the Human Pin Ball. Orlando. The weather is perfect. So many great things to do. Wet & Wild?

Cocoa Beach. Sand castles. I brought my boogie board.

My all time favorite. The Kennedy Space Center. History. Space Shuttles. Astronauts.

Disney. There is enough to do at Disney to last days and days. Something for everyone, even me.

I would even enjoy a trip to Gatorland for pity's sake. But, where am I? All day and half of the night?

In the office! HPB and NG can work non stop for 876353 hours. It is sickening. Who are they trying to impress? How did I get invited to that party? Well, I feel food poisoning coming on. My rental car is getting a flat tire. The dog ate my car keys. I hear my Mother calling. I lost my map to the office. I am pretty sure I will find it at the Mexican pavilion at Epcot.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Round Robin Round Robin

I got the next Round Robin bracelet in the mail this week. This one belongs to DB. How cool is her bracelet? I love the mix of three colors of metal. Did you make the bracelet yourself DB? I have never seen one like it.

Here is the page in her journal that she wrote for us to follow. I like how she started a story for us. You will see how we have followed and kept it and added to the story.

If you look back at the first picture, you see that round little robin at the far right of the bracelet and her home at the far left. You can see that she is far from home with lots of stops in between. Here you see a pewter nest charm with seed bead branches and leaves. When DB started the bracelet, she put the round robin and the nest on, at opposite ends.

The Diplomat got the bracelet first.

Here is her part of the story, captured in the journal.

Next, the bracelet went to VA. Read her chapter in the story.....

These are some of the charms that VA added to go with her addition to the story.

Then I got the bracelet next.

Here is the resting place for the round robin and the note that tells her which way to travel to get home. I wonder what she will encounter on the rest of her journey.

Great job Round Robin designers!
Normal Girl

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Round Robin Bracelet, MINE!

I was not going to see my bracelet until the very end, but The Diplomat took a shot of it when she had it.  I started it as a bracelet about desert, and I made the cupcake on the far left. And the rest.  Looks good enough to eat!  Click on it to make it bigger.

Normal Girl

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Where Pine is King

Once upon a time, Michigan was covered in white pine forests.  There were 10 million acres of pines here.  Now, there is a 49 acre stand near Grayling: Hartwick Pines.  Imagine the whole state of Michigan once looked like this.  When the logging industry cleared the state of its white pine forests, lumber became the state's first profitable industry.  Growing up in Bay City, home to several saw mills and the huge homes that once belonged to the lumber barons, I have always had an interest in logging and lumberjacks.  And I love the forest.

Here is one Sequoia Niece and one Redwood Nephew in the forest of virgin white pine.

And here they are with the famous Monarch.  This tree is 325 years old and 155 feet tall.  I took the kids to Hartwick Pines to experience some of Michigan's history.  But, wouldn't you know that the most memorable thing from the day was the man with his pants hanging down and Niece 3 laughing until his wife pulled them up for him.  Don't do crack!

Normal (lumberjack wannabe) Girl

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Local WIldlife

Cervus Canadensis also known as wapiti also known as elk.  Isn't he handsome?  See his antlers in full velvet? And there are his pals in the background.  

This guy is already losing his velvet.  Elk and deer antlers are living body parts when they are covered in velvet in the spring and summer.  In late summer, the antlers turn to bone and the elk rub the velvet off.  That is what is happening here.  In the fall, the antlers fall completely off and they start over growing a bigger better pair next spring.  Antlers are the fastest growing tissue known to man.  Sometimes the velvet is harvested and used in medicines.  

Hey baby.

Teenagerus Americanus.  Look, she found a stone at Torch Lake, the third most beautiful lake in the world, according to National Geographic.  The name is from the Ojibway, Was-wa-gon-ong meaning Place of the Torches.  That was from the native American practice of using torches at night to  attract fish for harvesting.  For a time, the European settlers called it Torch Light Lake and now it is called Torch Lake.

The male of the species, also proud of locating a stone at Torch Lake.

Educating the Masses,
Normal Girl