Thursday, March 25, 2010

How Its Made

I love shows about how things are made. It always boggles my mind just how much work goes into making something as simple as bubble gum or sewing needles. Since I've been busy, busy, busy making necklaces for the spring tour I thought I'd do my own rendition of "How's It Made"~which may or may not be interesting to you.

The MM guys are kind enough to let me sell a line of jewelry inspired by their songs at their concerts. I've been doing it for a few years now. The necklaces are not heirloom quality pieces, but I have a lot of fun making them and they seem to sell well at the shows (maybe because they're cheaper than a t-shirt?)

I currently have six designs. Here are two examples, the oldest and the newest:

So here's the process:

First, I print the necklace design on ShrinkyDink paper. That's right...ShrinkyDinks. This is before...

Then I bake them for about 2 minutes in the oven. The plastic shrinks to 1/3 its original size and becomes 9 times thicker. This is after...

Next I color each piece and bake them a second time for the glaze to cure. (Not too many details here...sorry..."trade secrets")

Finally, I assemble the necklaces and package them. The insert usually includes some of the song lyrics, with the exception of this one. The new album that comes out in May is called "The Generous Mr. Lovewell" and the concept is that the fictitious Mr. Lovewell goes around showing the love of Christ through his deeds of service and encouraging us to do the same. Bart says,
“For some of us, it means that we need to put hands and feet on our ideology and rhetoric. For others, it means that we need to continue in doing well, but to not stop there. We need to let people know why we are called to make a difference. Our prayer is that this album would mobilize the body of Christ to encourage people in word and deed.”
(In that vein, we are donating $1 of the proceeds from each Mr. Lovewell necklace to the orphan care ministry in Peru.)

Well, that's about all there is to it...not nearly as impressive as watching how bubble gum is made...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Its Official

...Well, at least about as "official" as anything gets with the life we lead around here...
The girls and I have been planning to spend a month in Peru this summer working at the children's home with Elizabeth. But as of this past week, Joel will be joining us for part of that time! Can I just say how excited I am?! Actually, I can NOT~because words are totally inadequate to express my feelings. So instead, my heart is doing a little Happy Dance. (Fortunately for you, that is not nearly as frightening as if I myself were doing the Happy Dance.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Weekly Pic--Monkey Business

Dallas Zoo, May 2009
Monkey on the right: ...98, 99, 100! Ready or not here I come!
Monkey on the left: *snicker* He'll never find me here. *snicker, snicker*

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Breakthrough

I love these girls. (This pic was taken in Arkansas at Thanksgiving.)
This past week was Spring Break and I must admit I was not looking forward to it. BigJoel left on Monday for a ridiculously long run of shows and Elizabeth, well, she's still off in Peru doing God's will. So honestly, I was afraid that this equation would add up to a week of whining, pouting and arguing (and that was just my part~I had no idea how the girls would act).
But I was pleasantly surprised. HanK worked with the youth group doing some local mission projects. Hallie spent one day with her Grammy. Both girls had friends over numerous times. We had breakfast for dinner at Monday Night Supper Club on Wednesday. We saw some movies, went shopping for Easter dresses and they helped me with a jewelry order.
So our break was nothing fancy or elaborate, just the girls enjoying a break from school and me enjoying the girls. I'm reminded that sometimes its the little things in life that make the best memories. And I'm also reminded how blessed I am to have two pretty awesome girls. (They definitely take after their daddy.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Un-Commercial

Here's a video the LandRover people probably don't want you to see. This was taken during our Thanksgiving getaway to the Shepherd Of The Ozarks retreat center last Thanksgiving. The best line of the day came from 4 year old Sydney who said, "He should've just walked."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Winter Jamming

A few weeks ago, BigJoel scored us some tickets to WinterJam, a Christian concert featuring about a bajillion different bands. Ok, not really a bajillion, but a LOT~Revive, Robert Pierre, Fireflight, Sidewalk Prophets, Tenth Ave North, Newsong, Newsboys, and Third Day. I didn't get a lot of pictures, (I don't know why) but here are a few highlights of the evening.

Hallie wasn't so sure what to think of a particular band (who shall remain nameless).

Michael Tait, formerly of DC Talk, is the new lead singer of the Newsboys. I love DC Talk. I love the Newsboys. But I still can't quite get on board with this recent development. It's kind of like the old Reese's commercials: "You got chocolate in my peanut butter!" "Well, you got peanut butter in my chocolate!" Sorry guys, in my humble opinion, Tait and Newsboys do not a peanut butter cup make.

Then Third Day took the stage. And now I remember why I didn't take a lot of pictures. I was sitting behind this kid~the brother of the Freakishly Tall Girl who normally stands in front of me at concerts. I believe his name is "Obnoxiously Oblivious Boy".

But in the end, the show received Hallie's stamp of approval~she fell asleep. Seriously, Hallie sleeps through all the best concerts: David Crowder Band, Evenstill and Third Day. After seven years, she still can't stay awake through an entire MercyMe set. Have you ever been to a show like that? It is loud...and there are lots of bright lights and flashing videos. How anyone can fall asleep in the middle of that is beyond me! (I have a theory that Hal's little brain is so busy with imaginings and stories and Lord-only-knows-what-else that a loud, blaring, rock concert is actually a peaceful retreat in comparison...)
So the concert was great, with the exception that my favorite band in the line-up, Tenth Avenue North, didn't get to play nearly as long as I would've liked. But all in all, we heard some great music and spent a wonderful evening together as a family. Who could ask for anything more?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Peru or Bust

Hallie recently brought home a composition she'd written in school. It sounds suspiciously like someone we know, even though she wrote it in first person perspective. I have to say it brought a little tear to my eye, so I thought I'd share it here. She's only ten, but I think "someone" has already rubbed off on her.
by HallieB

"Snap! The lady at the drugstore took the picture for my passport. I have never liked planes, but I was willing to do anything for those poor little orphans in Peru. Every time I get on a plane I blank, so I have to take these things I call my "Happy Pills" which make me drowsy and I soon drift off to sleep. When they called my flight to get on the plane I hauled my luggage up the ramp, sat in my seat and took my happy pills. The pills sent me to sleep quickly so I am unaware of what happened on my flight.

As I awoke from my daze, I realized that I was in Peru, South America. When I emerged from the airport I was very confused and did not know where I was going, so I just walked to the first American person I could see.

When I got to the orphanage I got teary eyed seeing all the little children. I knew I had done the right thing. I walked nervously into the orphanage, when I caught the sweet innocent eyes of a little boy who's name was Edwen. He had dark hair and big brown eyes. Then I looked around and saw many sweet and precious faces. Then I heard a sad story of how most people in Peru do not want little daughters, only sons. And that most boys in the orphanage have special needs. Some poor children looked as helpless as newborn kittens. I felt like I was doing the right thing although I was going to miss my friends and family. I felt like a good person. And I think it would be pretty easy to get used to this style of living for just one year. I may not even want to leave my new family in Peru."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Weekly Pic--Hard Hearted

I took this picture of rocks in a riverbed in northern Arkansas during our Thanksgiving trip to Shepherd of the Ozarks last year. I *heart* SOTO.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Alice and Change

I remember being so excited last summer about the movie Alice in Wonderland coming out in March, and then being so sad when I realized that Elizabeth wouldn't be here to see it with me. Well, today was the day. BigJoel is snowmobiling in Alaska and due to scheduling conflicts, none of my friends were able to go with me; but HanK was sweet enough to let me tag along with she and her two friends. She even let me sit with her. As nice as that was, it just wasn't the same as seeing it with Elizabeth. I laughed out loud several times, but the three teenagers with me were either too cool or didn't get the humor. If Elizabeth had been here, I know she would have laughed even louder than me.

After the movie, I took the kids out to eat. Again, at least they let me sit at the table with them. At one point, HanK and Tiff went to the restroom leaving me alone with JamesBond (the third "friend"). Man, was that awkward! But as uncomfortable as it was for me, can you imagine what that poor kid was thinking? If Elizabeth had been here, I wouldn't have been stuck by myself trying to have a conversation with a 15 year old boy.

People keep asking me what I'm going to do without Elizabeth, and I usually just change the subject. I've tried to avoid thinking about a day like today. A day when something so small, like a movie premiere, would bring the realization that everything has changed. I have "prayed" Elizabeth back to Hometown more than once, but I know I cannot do that this time. Of the last two people that have held her job at the albergue, one came back with 5 kids and the other one found a husband and decided not to come back at all. She says it will only be a year, but I know that things are forever changed now. Maybe that's why this song, "Shine" by David Crowder, is stuck in my head.
After night, comes the light,
Dawn is here, dawn is here
Its a new day, its a new day
Everything will change
Things will never be the same.
We will never be the same.
We will never be the same.
We will never be the same.

Oh the glory of it all
Is You came here
For the rescue of us all
That we may live
For the glory of it all.
For the glory of it all.
That kind of puts things back into perspective. Change is a small price to pay for a rescued life lived for His glory. It can also be the greatest reward.

But I still wish Elizabeth could have been here for Alice in Wonderland...