MamaCreates

Behind the Scenes of One Mama's Life

Sewing Lesson

I’m not a seamstress. I’ve sewn a few things, but none of them very well. I think my most ambitious project to date was a set of bloomers from Marie-Madeline Studio. There are several errors, but my daughter really likes them:

I enjoyed making it for her, but I haven’t done anything since. However, earlier this summer, Diva and I were looking through a class list for JoAnn’s Summer Camps and she decided she wanted to take a sewing class. Since I wasn’t sure I had much to teach her, I let her pick her favorite class. She selected a beginner’s quilting/applique class.

We selected her fabrics and a tote bag (on which the applique would be sewn), and I was not at all surprised when she selected pink fabrics, with a little green and sparkles.

Today was the day.  We took my sewing machine and her fabrics to JoAnn’s. She met with the instructor and the one other student, and I left. I really wanted to stay with her, but they highly encouraged parents to let the girls learn on their own.

Near the end of the class, I returned and was able to snap a few photos of her work.

Diva really enjoyed herself! She said, on the way home, that she wanted to continue to sew.  I was pleased, but now I need to learn right along with her. I am looking forward to helping her; and learning along the way.

Here’s her finished project:

I am proud of you Diva!

This post is being linked to Building Our Homes Together, Raising Homemakers, and Women Living Well Wednesdays. Be sure to head over and check them out!

Thrive90 – Day Two

Well today I actually had to exercise – the kids even did it with me. It’s good for them to see their mother doing this and to take part.

Why am I doing this again? Oh, that’s right, for my health (and I wouldn’t mind some clothes other than sweats and Ts).

I had to do a workout called Core Blast. I was happy that I could do a few of the exercises for the full number of reps or the full time. However, there were a few that kicked my you-know-what! Either I couldn’t complete the suggested number of reps or I couldn’t hold the position for the suggested amount of time. But since I am scheduled to do this workout a total of four times, I am hoping that will change. Wow, was I tired at the end.

Here’s what I liked about it:

  • there was a variety of exercises,
  • there was a combination of exercises and stretches,
  • to complement the video, there was a ‘worksheet’ that told me the exercises in the order completed; and provided room for me to make notes & record the amount of time I held a particular pose –  a way to measure my progress over the four weeks,
  • I felt like I got a total body workout (especially the legs after yesterday’s 30 minute walk),
  • there was enjoyable music playing in the background; it wasn’t too loud or obnoxious,
  • it showed a husband and wife team working out together,
  • it showed a couple of possible modifications to assist beginners (like me!),
  • Tony D. (the instructor) sometimes turned to show the correct form of a stretch or exercise,
  • the fact that it was on the computer, I could easily hit the pause button if I needed to make adjustments or get a sip of water.

There was really only one thing I didn’t like (not counting the physical pain :>). Since this was downloaded to my computer and I do not have a compatible TV, it was difficult to find a height that worked for the standing up exercises as well as the floor exercises. I actually had to move the laptop from the table to the floor, and back again, in order to see everything well. But it really wasn’t that much of an inconvenience.

My diet has actually improved over the last two days and I really hope I can continue that trend as well. I know how important it is to change eating habits when you’re trying to lose weight and/or improve health. I have a love affair with all things chocolate – Coconut M & Ms, Hershey’s Kisses, ice cream, cookies, fudge, etc. And I have made a deal with myself that I will cut it down, but not eliminate it. Now I realize that this may slow my weight loss a little, but I also know that if I completely deprive myself of this indulgence (which has admittedly gotten out of control), I will not succeed at all.

So yesterday and today, I ate more sensible meals than I have in recent past. I even made this:

It actually has more green in it than any other color – I was proud of myself. And you know what? It was delicious! I also made myself (and Diva) a strawberry-banana smoothie for breakfast today. Now, like I said, I have a chocolate addiction, so I did have a little each day, but the amount was tiny in comparison to what I was eating. I limited myself to about 1/2-3/4 of a cup of low-fat ice cream. And I stopped. I enjoyed the little taste I allowed myself and didn’t feel like I needed to have more. Yay!

Now I don’t know if I will post about every day of this Thrive90 program, but I’m going to try to post about each new element and any progress that I have made. I’m truly hoping that I see some results, even if they’re small, relatively quickly; as they will be powerful motivators to continue.

Wanna join me?

First Days

I’ve heard it said often enough, “This is the first day of the rest of my life.” This phrase usually implies that there has been a change in the person’s life, either for the better or the worse.

Well, I said that phrase yesterday and it was because something ‘worse’ had happened and it looked like it was on its way to becoming the ‘better.’

This has surely been one crazy month. There have been continued medical issues, like I posted about here.

But that’s not the worst of it… You see, something happened this month that turned my life upside down. It made me question so many things. It was devastating. Add the fact that there were others involved and you have multiplied pain. As in all things, God gives us free will; and with that free will comes the opportunity to make choices. I had the opportunity to choose to hold onto anger and to let bitterness fester or to let go of the anger and begin the the process of forgiveness.

I have chosen to begin the process of healing, forgiveness and learning to trust again. But it’s not easy. There’s one person involved in this situation who expects to be trusted immediately, just because they have promised not to do it again. I believe that trust is one of those things that can be switched off in an instant, but it cannot be switched on in the same way. I believe trust must be be earned. Now, that’s not to say that the person who committed the sin is to be untrusted for a specific amount of time, or a certain number of days without incident; but it still must be earned.

The person who sinned against me should want to do everything possible to earn my trust back, if truly sorry. Questions should be expected. Doubt should be a given. This is not a punishment – I don’t really want to punish anyone. Though I did want to punish everyone involved at first.

Then I had one of those “ah-ha” moments. Like I said, I wanted everyone to suffer at first. But something strange happened. I was driving Diva home from the hospital (she’s fine, just a doctor’s appointment), and mulling all this over in my mind, when a song came over the radio. I didn’t really focus on the verses, but the chorus stood out, “Hold on just a little bit longer. He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger. The pain ain’t gonna last forever. And things can only get better.” (from Stronger  by Mandisa)

I felt at peace. I no longer wanted everyone to suffer as I had; and I just knew that everything would work together for God’s glory. God’s Holy Spirit just filled me – it was amazing.

I will continue to pray and continue to walk the path of forgiveness. I know it’s going to take some time, but I also know that God has blessed me with His Holy Spirit to walk with me, to help me, and to lead me.

It’s the first day of the rest of my life…

COURAGEOUS: Honor Begins At Home

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)

Recently I was privileged to participate in an advanced screening of Courageous ~ the latest movie from Sherwood Pictures. You will remember Sherwood from their life-changing movie a couple of years ago called Fireproof.  And after what I saw in Courageous, I think God is using another movie to deliver a powerful punch.

In Fireproof, Stephen and Alex Kendrick reminded us that marriage is a covenant. In Courageous, they remind us of the importance of fatherhood. Courageous does deliver a powerful punch and more. It’s convicting (smacks hand to forehead ~ that’s the word I was searching for when I was filling out the comment card after the movie!). Like Fireproof, it makes you think. But the real question is, how will it make you act?

Some might ask why we need a movie on this topic. Don’t fathers know how important they are? Don’t mothers know how important a father is to her children’s lives? Of course, children know how important fathers are, right? Apparently not.

The Bible tells us that God created a man and a woman and told them to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:22). The man wasn’t told to plant his seed and the woman would take care of the rest. God created a family – with a mother and a father. God placed the father at the head of the family (1 Cor. 11:3; Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:25-29). He is there to lead, to guard, to guide, and to protect. The father has a vital role in the success of a family.

Now back to Courageous… the Kendrick brothers introduce us to four police officers and we hear about their experiences with fatherhood; whether it was as fathers themselves or their relationships with their own fathers. They did a good job depicting families that exist today – families with two parents, a divorced family and a single man. One of them grew up without a father, but had a father-figure as a mentor. One is a so-so father, another is a good father, and still another is just a weekend father. We see how their individual situations have shaped their views of fatherhood. We also see varying degrees of faith, and journeys toward developing deeper faith. A little later in the movie, we are introduced to another father who really brings a lot to the story.

The major themes running through the movie are that honor does indeed begin at home and that every home needs a father. Courageous hits us hard, right out of the gate. This movie is not a chick-flick (but ladies, you may want to have a tissue or two…). But, like one of the other attendees at the screening said, of the four movies Sherwood has done, this one outdoes them all in terms of acting, action, cinematography, message, and story.

Throughout the movie we see situations that many families face on a regular basis – busy schedules, feelings of inadequacy, fear, a need to forgive, anger, and more. More importantly, we see how to handle some and not to handle others. When tragedy strikes one of the fathers, it sends him on a journey to discover what God says about fatherhood, and he eventually confronts his own mistakes as a dad.

While you may think that this alone is enough for one movie, Sherwood Pictures takes it a couple steps further. After discovering what God wants a father’s role to be, the other men want in. They put it into practice and vow to hold each other accountable. Now here’s where you expect the typical Hollywood ‘happy ending’ – so not the case in this movie. There’s more excitement to come when one of the fathers truly needs to be held accountable for his actions.

This is a movie where there is no typical Hollywood ending; but there is resolution. Each man in this story is taken on a journey; and each has a different path with a different ending. The solidifying factor is that they all commit to the journey, all are held accountable, and all find the true meaning of fatherhood.

Be prepared for a couple of amazing ‘Daddy-Daughter’ scenes – they will tug at your heart and leave a lasting impression. But also be prepared for some intense moments – remember that the main characters are police officers.

The movie initially received a rating of PG-13, but that rating has been surrendered, leaving the movie currently unrated. The initial rating was for some violence, as well as gang and drug references. These things are certainly understandable in a movie dealing with officers of the law. One thing I noted, and appreciated, was that some of the necessary violence was implied and not directly on camera. For instance, in one scene you see the police officer tackle the ‘bad guy’ on the ground. When he loses the advantage, you see the ‘bad guy’ throwing punches but you don’t see where they land. The cuts, bruises, and blood are mostly left up to your imagination. This is especially helpful in one of the defining moments of the movie. That being said, parents need to be aware that there is some violence; and there are scenes involving drugs and gang activity.

The emotions I experienced during this viewing were many. To quote Larry the Cucumber, “I laughed. I cried. It moved me.” But that does over-simplify things a bit. Alex and Stephen Kendrick have a God-given talent for being able to insert humor at just the right moment; and at just the right level.

Thank you Alex & Stephen Kendrick, Sherwood Baptist Church, the City of Albany, and the many people involved in making this film. I believe it will change many families. Most importantly, thanks be to God for the inspiration, talents, and abilities of these men and women.

Now, Don’t Let Go of the Wheel   —   See. The. Movie! September 30th, 2011. Buy tickets, buy a show time – do it opening weekend. Show Hollywood what types of movies really matter! For more information, visit Courageous online.

NOTE: I know there are some fatherless homes that can’t change the way they are right now for a reason. I have been there, and I understand. This is a movie review and not a judgment. However, there are some families in this position that can change, and should. See the movie. Pray about it.

One of my favorite quotes from the movie

… seek the Lord, even if it means you’re standing alone.

WHERE ARE YOU MEN OF COURAGE?

* Images provided by Courageousthemovie.com

Lessons in the Kitchen

We homeschool. That doesn’t mean that we have just moved a classroom into our home. It means we learn at home. And there are many additional important lessons that can be learned while at home. Don’t get me wrong, we still learn the required subjects, it’s just that we can also learn by living our daily lives.

Today we have new neighbors moving in across the yard. They are moving into a house that is owned by the same landlord who owns ours, so we had a little notice about the move. I wanted to take the opportunity to teach my daughter a few things about hospitality and generosity.

Yesterday we got out our paper and rubber stamps and made welcome cards. We had fun creating together, learning that bringing a smile to someone else is fun.

Today, I decided that we should make some brownies to take over with our cards. but then I remembered something else. I have been couponing for about a year now, and one of the things I learned when I first got started was to always give back (thanks, Claire!). I also remembered what it was like for the first week or so when we moved in – difficult to find everything necessary to put a meal together. So, I combined the two ideas and decided to create a ‘meal basket.’

Diva and I got together and made some brownies. We doubled the recipe so the kids could have some later too, so I took the opportunity to reinforce some math as well. Since she is working on fractions, I asked her how much flour I would need if one recipe called for 2/3 c, then I told her that I had already added 1 c of flour and asked how much more I needed. It was fun, and I let her lick the spatula at the end!

While the brownies were baking, we made some biscuits – I forgot to take a picture of that – oops! Then we took the bottom of a cardboard box and covered it with tissue paper. We inserted two square paper plates for the bottom and began to fill it. We added spaghetti sauce, pasta, biscuits, some peach jam I made last summer, the brownies, and the cards.

While it certainly isn’t everything they’ll need, it is a good start to a home-cooked meal. I am so grateful to God for these little opportunities to model true Christian behavior to my daughter. I hope and pray that these lessons don’t get lost over time. I pray that she will fondly remember spending time in the kitchen with Mama, practicing fractions, learning baking skills, and loving thy neighbor.

Now if I can just contain her excitement as she continues to look out the window eagerly anticipating her new friend’s arrival – you see we found out they have a little girl just about her age…

This post is being linked to Titus 2sday over at Time-Warp Wife

Happy Birthday

Today, October 9th, is a special day in our house. Nine years ago today, I gave birth to my first-born son. To say it was a traumatic experience would be an understatement. I was due on September 30th and they finally brought me in on October 8th for an Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI). They found absolutely no fluid and told me that I would have to stay. I asked them to tell me how big my son was, but the technician told me that she wasn’t allowed to check as it was not on the doctor’s orders. I was induced shortly thereafter and was then in labor for 25 hours. Toward the end of that time, the doctors tried to assist my son with forceps – boy was he stubborn! At that point both my blood pressure and my son’s began to drop. While I didn’t want to do it, I was told I had to have an emergency c-section. When I was finally able to hold my son in my arms, I was informed that he was 11 pounds, three ounces; and 23 1/4 inches long. His head circumference was over 15 inches! The doctor told me that even if they had been able to get his head out that they would not have been able to get the rest of him out without breaking his collarbone. So, I am very grateful for the way God worked it out to protect my son. The nurses told me that he was the second largest child to ever be born at that hospital! Now, if that technician had just looked at his size during that AFI…

But fast forward nine years… He has continued to grow, just coming back on the charts last year, but still in the 95-98th percentile in height. We’ll see where he is officially next week at his annual appointment. He is an intelligent, happy young man who makes me smile and laugh on a daily basis. Though we struggle with allergies, asthma, Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD, none of that gets him down. He smiles, he laughs, he imagines, he creates – he absolutely amazes me.

I love you, my son, thank you for making me a Mama.

I love, my God, thank you for blessing me with my son. Thank you for trusting me with his upbringing.

Happy Birthday!

The Next Sherwood Movie…

From the makers of Fireproof comes…

Courageous_Title

COURAGEOUS
Honor Begins at Home


ALBANY GA – Nov. 15, 2009 –
Sherwood Church, home of the hit independent movies FLYWHEEL (DVD only), FACING THE GIANTS, and FIREPROOF (2008’s top indie film), at its Sunday evening service tonight, announced the theme and title for Sherwood Pictures’ fourth movie.  Senior Pastor Michael Catt, Executive Pastor Jim McBride, and ministers Stephen and Alex Kendrick—collectively the leadership team of Sherwood Pictures—made the announcement.

     “The movie is about fatherhood and the title is one word:  COURAGEOUS,” Alex Kendrick said, briefly outlining the plot.  “Four fathers who are all in law enforcement—who protect and serve together—go through a terrible tragedy,” he said. “They begin looking at their role as fathers . . . and they begin challenging one another to fulfill God’s intention for fathers.”

     That single-word title, Pastor Catt said, echoes God’s call for men to “rise with courage” in their homes and as leaders.  This at a time when 4 of 10 marriages end in divorce* and more than a third of all children live away from their biological fathers.

     “The statistics on fatherless children are devastating,” McBride said. “And because the family is the building block of society, one important place to rebuild families is through fathers who stay and lead and love.”

     “God led us,” co-writer and producer Stephen Kendrick said to the audience of church members, many of them volunteer crew, cast, or catering in earlier Sherwood movies.  “We believe God is calling men to rise up with strength and with leadership in their homes, with their families and with their children.”

     “For more then a year we’ve prayed to be sure that we’re pursuing God’s idea and not our own,” Catt said.  “With action, drama, and humor, this film will embrace God’s promise in the Bible to, turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.”

Focusing on Fatherhood     “We focus on the crucial role of father; it’s not just to be a father who loves his kids,” said Alex Kendrick, co-writer/director of COURAGEOUS.  “It’s to be engaged with a purpose—to be a father on purpose.”

     All four leaders of Sherwood Pictures are husbands and fathers.  Pastor Catt has two children; Pastor McBride has four; Stephen Kendrick has four; and Alex Kendrick has six.

More Than a Movie     Sherwood movies entertain as they touch audiences where they live, and they show the means to live more fully through faith in God.  FLYWHEEL focused on compromise and business integrity; FACING THE GIANTS on despair and hope; FIREPROOF on a dying marriage rekindled.

     With previous Sherwood movies, fans, churches, and organizations across the country (and world) became “partners” in the movie’s impact—giving prayer support for production, distribution, and the movies’ messages. Ministries and outreaches used the films in creative ways.  Churches built series and group studies on the topics; Sunday schools seized the momentum of good entertainment that emphasizes life-changing truths.

     “It’s been the Bible’s story of Jesus multiplying the boy’s fish and loaves,” Alex Kendrick said.  “God has multiplied these movies beyond our wildest dreams.”

     Principle filming of COURAGEOUS begins March 2010 in Albany.  Like the previous three Sherwood films, COURAGEOUS will be marketed by Provident Films.

     Sherwood Pictures is a ministry of Sherwood Church of Albany, Georgia, under the leadership of Senior Pastor Michael Catt and Executive Pastor Jim McBride.

To learn more, visit:

Reconciliation

Last night my daughter, Diva, made her first Reconciliation with a group of other young people at church. They did a short prayer service as a group and then divided up to go to different areas. Diva wanted to have her first confession heard by a certain priest but he was unavailable last night. So acting like the angel she can sometimes be, she was very agreeable and was blessed to be assigned to our pastor who heard Littleman’s first confession as well.

The theme for the evening was that of the Good Shepherd (Luke 15:4-7). After the Gospel was read, Msgr. began a short homily. Shortly after he began, Diva turned to me said, “That’s like a sin!” Any fears I had about her readiness faded away. She understood.

As we sat in the pew, her excitement grew. They were called to line up at their assigned confessional. She got in line and turned back toward me. She smiled, blew me a kiss and flashed the sign (ASL) for “I love you.”

Littleman and I began to pray for her. We prayed until she came out. When she did, she was all smiles. After her penance, she turned to me and said she felt great! She also said she wanted to do it again and asked if she could go tomorrow! I told her she could go any time she wanted, but just not to start sinning on purpose so that she would have something to confess!

To top off the beautiful evening, she met up with a friend at the exit. They shared their excitement of the sacrament and compared recently lost teeth. All-in-all ~ a perfect evening! I love you, Diva!

Diva

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