Thursday, October 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Halloween Edition

  Raggedy Ann


My Mom is so creative! Look at the adorable Raggedy Ann costume she put together. My favorite part is the pom-pom wig!

What was your favorite Halloween costume?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Operation Christmas Child: Mini Album Project

This time of year has many fun traditions. There are trips to the pumpkin patch! You might carve pumpkins or enjoy a pumpkin spice latte. I love going on rides to take in the brilliant colored leaves. 

Every November, for more than five years we have enjoyed putting together a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.  Operation Christmas Child is a project of  Samaritan’s Purse that demonstrate's God's love in a tangible way by partnering with local churches around the world to share the Good News of Jesus. Samaritan's Purse collects and sends simple shoebox gifts filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to children affected by war, poverty, or disaster. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered shoebox gifts to over 124 million children in more than 150 countries and territories. 

Back in January, I set a goal to put together ten shoeboxes. Each box is in honor of one of our young nieces and nephew. Every week, throughout the year  we collected an item or two for the shoeboxes. Next week we will assemble the boxes to get them ready to take to our local Operation Christmas Child collection location.  Be sure to check back soon for a post with ideas of what to put in a shoebox. 

Samaritan's Purse suggests adding a personal note to the child who receives your box. Many people also include a family photo. I have had the wonderful blessing of receiving a letter from a recipient of a box that I put together. Adding a note and picture makes the shoebox even more personal and special. 

These mini albums are going to be added to our boxes this year. They are super easy to put together. 

1. To create the cover, cut up a cereal or snack box into two, 4.5 x 4.5 inch squares. Cover the squares using decorative scrapbooking paper. 

2. I added five, 4.5 x 4.5 inch squares of white card stock. I mounted a photograph of one of our nieces or nephews onto a piece of card stock. 

3.  A little note to the child is added to the album. 

4.  Punch a hole in the corner of all the pages and covers. Bind them together with a metal binder ring.

5. Finish off the album by decorating the covers using stickers, washi tape, or scrapbooking paper. 

Be sure to explore the links below for more information about Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

5 Reasons Postcrossing Should Be Your New Hobby

Hobbies are my thing. Last month I sat down and made a list of my hobbies. Maybe I should have added "making lists," to my list of hobbies. I have always been a hobby girl. Friendship bracelets and journaling were among my first.

Back in January I discovered Postcrossing. You may wonder what that is! Postcrossing is a site that connects people who enjoy receiving fun mail in their postbox. The site boasts members from all over the world. Cards have arrived from Australia, Finland,Germany, Japan, China and many other countries. You send a postcard out and you receive a postcard back. 

 5 Reasons Why Postcrossing Should Be Your New Hobby

1. Receiving Something in the Mailbox Other Than Bills is Fun!

Do you remember the days when you would receive an actual handwritten letter in the mail? Times have changed. Communication now is primarily digital. The art of sending and receiving cards and letters has gone out of fashion. Warm birthday wishes are now made on Facebook rather than with a card. Bills and junk mail are what fill up most people's mailboxes these days. 

One of my favorite things about Postcrossing is having something besides the electric bill and sale flyers in my mailbox. It's a surprise. You never know when a sweet postcard will arrive.

2.  A Piece of the World Comes to your Doorstep. 

The constant stream of information coming at us can be overwhelming. You can have almost any question answered within seconds. With that uninterrupted flow we have lost a lot of our personal and tangible connections. 

Receiving an actual something from another part of the world is a tiny gift. You may find out the best place to visit in Krakow. Someone might share a unique recipe from Japan. Maybe you will hear about a popular book that people are reading in Germany. It is fascinating to find out brief tidbits of life from people all over the world. 

3. Share with Others About What Makes Your Location Unique

Kentucky is well known for horses and horse racing. Ale-8 is the most popular soda in my area, It also happens to be produced  a few towns away. Sharing what makes my area unique excellent part of Postcrossing. Find what makes your city interesting and share it with the world!

4. Let  Your Creative Juices Flow

When you receive the address of a random Postcrosser, your next step is to choose the perfect card to send. Along with the address you also receive a brief bio of the recipient. The biography usually includes possible suggestions of what kind of card to send. With that being said, you are more than welcome to send any card you will like.

Some people create mini pieces of art. I have seen beautiful collages, photography, and even a hand sewn masterpieces. Send your art out into the world. The possibility of having one of my photographs displayed in a home in Japan, Russia, or Indonesia excites me!

5. The Stamps

Other countries have some pretty interesting stamps. My favorite stamp is a lovely  multi-flowered stamp from Japan. You can see it in the picture below. Look at the breath taking colors. The stamps are an additional fun little surprise

Postcrossing is a great hobby. It doesn't require  many materials.You receive something tangible in return for your effort.  It's educational and would make a wonderful project to do together as a family.It's free to join the site. The only cost is postage and the price of a postcard if you choose to buy one.

What are some of your hobbies?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Remembering Laura

This is Laura. Laura was smart and funny, with a dry sense of humor. She had a unique fashion sense. Laura's signature style was punctuated by her red pants and platform shoes.She was an up- and-coming journalist. We met in chorus, bonding over our keen ability to mockingbird sing. Laura was one of my best friends. 

As what often happens after High School, friendships tend to drift apart and change.We would send weekly e-mails detailing the small bits of our new lives. We would attempt to get together over school breaks. 

I hate talking about Laura using the word,"was." Laura was beautiful. Laura was smart. Laura was funny. Adding that word is infuriating. She should be married. She should have a soaring journalism career. Sadly, Laura was lost to suicide fifteen years ago.

According to the World Health Organization(WHO) there are about 800,000 deaths by suicide each year. Most people have been touched by suicide in some way. Looking at that number is shocking. Each of those numbers represents a person. Each number represents a son, a daughter, a parent, a friend, a classmate, a co-worker or even a grandparent. The highest increase in suicide rates are among men 50+.

Another statistic from the World Health Organization states that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Even with so many people suffering with depression, there is still so much stigma attached it. It's something that people only whisper about. Often when people think about someone who is suffering from depression and mental illness they think of people in mental institutions with wild hair and a straight jacket. In actuality many people that you may not even expect struggle with depression. It might be your Pastor. It could be your grandpa. It may be your teacher. Depression transcends age, gender, race, profession and socio-economic status.

Depression is often suffered in silence. People may be too afraid to ask for help. They are worried that their boss or co-worker will think that they are "crazy." The person might want to seem as if they have everything under control. I have been there. I have been in the deep and dark pit of depression. Getting out of bed and getting ready was completely overwhelming.

If you are suffering with depression and suicidal ideation it is important to talk to someone.  Don't suffer in silence. Tell your spouse or parents. Talk to a trusted friend or teacher. It takes time, but things can get better.

Laura left behind a family who loved her and many friends. I am not sure of the specific pain that Laura was suffering.  Laura is missed. I will remember our walks to the local convenience store to buy snack cakes and soda. I will remember our almost endless discussions about boys, fashion, and Antonio Banderas.

If you or someone you know is suffering with depression, please get help. You can help save someone's life. You can prevent someone from being described as, "was." 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pumpkin Perfection

This time last year we were deep in the process of moving. It's unbelievable that we have lived here for almost a year. There are a plethora of things I miss about our old home and many things I enjoy about our new home. I wouldn't complain if a Target was a bit closer. I plan to do a post soon about our new life in eastern Kentucky.

Autumn has arrived quite quickly here over the past week! Last weekend the weather was amazing. It was sunny, yet cold enough to be comfortable in a flannel shirt. Bringing 1993 back again! 

Every year when autumn arrives I always want to visit a pumpkin patch. Some years we go and other years we miss it. Last Saturday was the perfect opportunity to make our autumnal pilgrimage. 

  Two Sisters Pumpkin Patch is a quick drive from our home through some beautiful Kentucky country side. It's owned by a wonderful Christian family. I was impressed to see scripture proudly placed throughout the grounds. 

Another thing I noticed was how impeccably clean the animal area was kept.  It didn't have the usual barn smell, if you know what I mean. 

These bumpy pumpkins remind me of one of my favorite children's books for fall, The Bumpy Little Pumpkin by Margery Cuyler. 

They have quite the selection of non-traditional pumpkins. I adore these pumpkins that have a gray-silver look to them. I believe they are called, Blue Moon pumpkins.

Michael humored me and consented to a photograph. He was such a good sport during the entire afternoon. He had lots of homework, but he came along anyway!  He even carried the pumpkins, walked the corn maze and went on a tractor ride with me. What a sweetheart! 

This is what we brought home with us. Still undecided if I want to paint the large one or keep it natural. Leaning towards keeping it natural, but adding a bit of twine. 

What are some of your favorite autumn traditions?