Monday, August 27, 2012

Welcome to Bellville, Ohio!

It was a warm day in June that Mimsie and I ventured north to visit Bellville - a charming community on State Route 13 as you head toward Mansfield. It is not far from Lucas, Ohio - site of Malabar Farm where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were famously married in 1945. 

 Bellville's charming Main Street is lined with gracious homes f and quaint shops brimful with relics from days gone by. 

Hop one road west to Bell Street and find an array of older homes with well-tended gardens, waving flags, and inviting porches. 

Bell Street also houses the Post Office and Library. The mural below was done by students from the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). It depicts rural Ohio in its progression through the four seasons and is really quite impressive to behold. Across from the mural is a large alcove with tables and magazines. I enjoyed cozying up over here as there was a plethora of arts and crafts periodicals including the latest crochet magazines. Quite impressive for such a small town!

Even though my sweet summer time is over and gone, I look forward to continuing to share with you about the other small towns Mimsie and I were able to explore, so stay tuned! :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Scripture

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."
~ Galations 6:4-5  from The Message 
        Some real food for thought, huh? I've been chewing on this verse all week. I had written it out on a note card years ago and stuck it inside my linen cupboard door along with a lot of other paraphernalia over the years, but this week it caught my eye as if it were brand new. Perhaps because I feel pulled in so many different directions. The summer is over and done. I'm once again juggling a full-time, career-calling to teach as well as maintaining my relational roles as wife, daughter, sister, friend, in-law, church member.... and the list goes on. It seems for every single role I fill in this life, there are a million different facets of responsibility that go along with it. Wife, for example, is also synonymous with cook, homemaker, budget balancer, bill payer, laundress, and more. Teacher means tidying up loose ends from the school day hours after the children have all gone home. Don't get me wrong. I treasure every role I have been given. But it can be overwhelming, too, which makes it easy for me to get caught in the trap of comparing myself to other teachers, wives, daughters, and friends who appear to be keeping up with it all far better than I. By participating in this negative cycle of comparison, I end up putting myself down and feeling lousy on all counts.  (Doesn't help I am a neat freak. Makes it hard for me to truly relax when I see things undone everywhere).  
        As I fall into the rhythm of another school year, it is going to be imperative for me to focus on the things I am doing well and try to curb my habit of negative comparisons by replacing them with positive thoughts that focus on the good many things that I have managed to accomplish in spite of a packed schedule. It also means I am going to have to weed out the less important items that can seem so urgent, but are in reality something that won't be bothered with a year from now. 
        It will take a lot of prayer, but isn't that what a thorn in our flesh (as the Apostle Paul dubbed such continual issues) is supposed to accomplish? A closer walk with our Lord and Savior?  So I am committing this school year into His hands like never before and praying fervently for his Spirit to guide my thoughts along positive pathways so I can have the strength, wisdom, grace, and energy to run this race with joy. 
May you ever draw closer to Him!

P.S. In case you are wondering, this version of Galations 6:4-5 is from Eugene Peterson's The Message which is more of a modern paraphrase of the Bible than an actual translation. I like to read The Message as a commentary on the KJV or NLT versions. Can sometimes help me broaden my understanding of the passage or put it in a deeper perspective. If you are not familiar with it, I recommend it highly. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Before & After with a Kitchen Sneaky Peak

How do you like my pink chair? The color is watermelon from the Krylon family of spray paints. I crocheted the stool cover from the pattern in Nicki Trench's book Cute and Easy Crochet - a book which has been popularly circulating the blogosphere and for good reason. The title perfectly encompasses the patterns that fill this delightful book.  

You can see from the before pictures above that there was nothing wrong with the chair. It was a great buy - only $4 instead of $84. However, I wanted to happify it for my kitchen redo. 

Hubby was a little sad to see the brown and cream go bye-bye, but Lucy whole-heartedly approves. As a matter of fact, she seems to think that this chair was made for her own especial benefit. I was going to sew the crocheted cover onto the stool, but Mimsie had the good suggestion to leave it as is so I could easily remove it for washing. Glad I followed her advice! Little One loves leaving her fur all over this piece, so it is wonderful to be able to simply toss it in the wash without a thought. 

I just love how the light illuminated the bright whiteness of her whiskers. Oh, the simple joys of life!

May you, dear friend, find many simple pleasures along the path of your life today and always!

Friday, August 10, 2012

So Swiftly the Summer Goes

My heart is sad that I have been away from the loveliness of the blogging community for so long. Out of the blue, the summer began to speed up in a swirl of home projects, classroom preparations, and family fun. While it was a wonderful, though highly unexpected break, I still missed all my blogging buddies during the interim.

I am looking forward to returning to blogging on a more consistent basis; however I will most likely be posting less frequently than I did earlier this summer. My goal is to still post at least three times per week.  

Why this sudden change? I am a school teacher and not only is school about to resume full-time, but this year I will be teaching in a totally different capacity than I have the five previous years. New curriculum, new grade level, and a very special set of students will be exciting, but also demand a lot of extra time on my part. Blogging is an amazing blessing in my life, but my kiddos, my health, and my family come first. I have learned that means I have to cut back even on things I enjoy doing if those three very important items are to be truly given my all. 

But please do not worry, dear friends! While you may be hearing less from me, I will be on here more than I was these past couple of weeks. I just wanted you to know what life changes were happening so you do not wonder where I was or if I was ignoring you. I would never want that!

There are many happy projects reaching completion, so check back later this coming week for some brand new posts.

In the meantime, may your days be blessed with sweetness!