Wednesday, February 27, 2008

DELIVERANCE......

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers them out of them all."
Psalm 34:19
I am inviting you to come and sit and sip a cup of encouragement with me while we journey into the past. I am only going to share a little part of this story; the part that I think might help us garner strength in adversity. A few years ago I found myself walking through a very dark time indeed. I was feeling overwhelmed by shifting emotions and circumstances beyond my control, helplessness coupled with fear settled in. When no one else, including myself, seemed to understand my plight; I knew that the Lord knew not only what I was feeling but what I needed to garner a measure of peace. My only recourse was to cry out to Him for deliverance.

Some days it was difficult to read my Bible or to pray. I mostly lived in the Psalms, God’s beautiful poetry, which often echoed my very hearts cry or emotions. Some days I had to rely on others to pray for me when I could not pray for myself. Some days I simply thumbed through the Psalms scanning all the previously underlined or written beside passages and let them minister to me. Some days the words of a hymn would sustain me. Some days it was just knowing that God’s Word was true, His promises sure, and His peace permanent. Other days it was a hug, a kind word, or a friendly note that kept me going. Some days it was demand of duty and others it was sheer will power and determination. But every day in this time of darkness I found His grace in my time of need. He never left me even in the times of silence. It must have pleased Him, been His will, for me to walk this dark path, yet He sustained me.

He did not remove the duty and demands of each day. He did not move me swiftly through the valley. He did guide me through it, every step of the way. He provided me with nourishment from His Word. He let me express myself freely to Him in prayer. He had a compassionate and understanding heart when no one else understood. He had an ever listening ear when my cry was a feeble as, “God, please help me!” He had an ever present extended hand for me to hold onto and to pull me up when I was down. He had a heart of compassion and eyes full of love that were ever watchful over me. He made Himself evident in the little cups of kindness offered through others. He never hid Himself from me. His deliverance did not happen all at once, but in His timing, it slowly dawned.

No one but God knows the depth of our emotions or our most intimate needs and He is the only one who can really help us. Friends and family support us but it is God who sustains us through all trials. His Word is true and His promises are sure. One such promise that I truly love in His Word is Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers them out of them all.” This verse speaks of preservation and deliverance from all. This is one of the verses I literally clung to during my trial.

My prayer is that the following entry penned in my journal on February 3, 2005, will encourage, sustain, and preserve those of you who may be walking through a season of discouragement.

DELIVERANCE

“Father, today, all that I can do

Is to lean wholly and souly upon you

Weak, infirm, and frail I be

All I can do is lean on Thee

My body is sick, my emotions scattered

My feeble attempts at prayer seem to hit the ceiling and shatter

The weather is dreary, dank, and damp

My thoughts drift off to a place where I wish not to camp

Despite the fiery darts of the foe

One truth invades this gloomy state, Jesus loves me so

He will lift me from this pit of slime

He will renew the thoughts of my mind

He will put the Son back in His place

He will return the smile to my face

He will provide for my every need

I have His Word and promises to read

All I need do is sit here quietly and wait

He will show me the path narrow and straight

He will strengthen and patch up my heart

He will repel every fiery dart

"This battle is mine He whispers to me

Be still, wait, watch, and see

Knowing that I am greater than he who desires to have you

Stand firm and pray, this is what I want you to do."

Oh to Him be the glory, honor, and praise

Someday I'll be able to look back on these days

And see the deliverance of His mighty hand

As He moves me from Egypt to the Promised Land

Oh what glory and praise there will be

When from this dark place of bondage I am set free

Oh to watch the work of His hand

And to know that this was all part of His plan

To grow me and stretch me and to strengthen me still

That I would be better equipped to do His will

He may send someone to me who travels in this present dark place

And maybe He will use me to point them to His saving grace

Oh thank You, Father, for letting me

Travel this dark path with Thee

Open my eyes and heart to see and hear

All that You want me to learn while I’m here

Help me to discover Your wisdom and truth

I don’t want to remain an unlearned youth

Or be as the foolish woman in Your Word

Ever learning but never understanding or applying what she has heard

This is my hearts cry, my prayer, my plea

Oh dear Savior, draw me closer to Thee

Though I walk through this valley dark and steep

I know no mountain is too high or pit too deep

For us to travel, traverse, or climb

Especially when my heart and hand is in Thine

To You be the glory, honor, and praise

Even on these, the most difficult of days!”

May your cup of encouragement runneth over with grace, mercy, peace, and divine deliverance in your time of need!
Miss Sandy

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Really Bad Day.....

This morning I sat in my little writing cottage, in my little chair at my lovely little table and I found myself distracted to no end. First I kept seeing flashes of feathers so I had to investigate and discovered I had company for brunch, my neighbor’s rooster. He looked so sweet I thought I’d better photograph him. About twenty or so clicks later I came back in and sat back down. OK down to business but first I’d better check my email. I did and I responded to it all! Now I’ll work, but I’d better check my blog also, so I did. What is that shiny thing in the woods? I’d better go see! Like a crow after a bit of bling I shot out of my seat and down the hill, nuts, it was just a soda can! I toss it in the trash on my way back when I see Thomas, my neighbor’s cat, creeping up the hill and I go out to shoot him, with the camera silly!

OH, and there goes the mailman, I tell myself I’ll be right back to work honest I will, after I check the mail! Sophie needs a walk anyway, so off we go to the mailbox. I got the sweetest card from Denise, my Mermaid Swap partner.I managed to waste another hour and wow, noon already, lunch break! Sophie and I had lunch and flick on the TV. Aspiring Women was on so I need to sit through the entire thirty minute episode to see what neat thing God did in the life of a woman during her second battle with cancer. That’s when I made the discovery.

I have encountered yet another casualty of war that my body is having with itself. I have no tears! Now to some this might not be so tragic but I am sad none the less. They were my tears, my way of expressing myself in grief and sadness, my way of showing elation in happiness and joy, and now I don’t have any! It is truly an odd sensation to feel the sense of crying with totally dry eyes. The gland that produces my tears and saliva is not functioning properly.

I finally decided to learn my fate and read the paperwork that came with the diagnosis of this faulty piece of equipment I now posses. Well, let me tell you somethin’, I ain’t havin’ none of it, no siree Bob! That nasty little paper says that the damage is irreversible and more doom and gloom is inevitable! Well, I am not falling for that! I am choosing to believe that I can be healed or at the very least that no further damage will occur! So, I am not going waste anymore of my time on reading that rubbish!

Now, where were we? Oh yeah, I was having the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, finding out I had no tears and all, plus being wildly distracted, just like Alexander, I am contemplating moving to Australia. It is right there to my left, see on my table top, right next to the Werther’s? Fremantle looks like a nice place to live. It’s right on the coast of the Indian Ocean, or perhaps Brisbane or Toowoomba on the South Pacific side.

Some of you may not know who Alexander is so I’d better explain. He is a character in a book entitled, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. His story begins when the gum he was chewing at bedtime is caked in his hair by morning. Among his other trials: his teacher doesn’t like his drawing of an invisible castle, there is no dessert in his lunch, the dentist tells him he has a cavity, there is kissing on TV, and he has to wear his railroad train pajamas. He copes with all this angst by telling everyone he wants to move to Australia. The book closes with his mother’s assurance that everyone has bad days, even people in Australia.

Trust me, I have had worse days and I know someone who had it worse than even I, a man named David. He was being pursued and had to go into hiding fearing for his very life. He cried out to God in his distress telling God that he was feeling fearful, trembling, and horror had overwhelmed him and he wanted a way of escape. He wished for the wings like a dove, for then he could fly away and be at rest. He says he would go far off into the wilderness where he could hasten escape from the windy storm and tempest. He had no relief day or night save his sweet counsel with the Lord. He declared that he would call upon God to save him. He cast his burden upon the Lord and was sustained. He declared that he was delivered from the battle that was against him and within his own heart and emotions, and he experienced peace.

Haven't we all felt like Alexander and David, if we could just change our circumstances, our geographical location, our finances, our relationships, etc. then everything would be better! No necessarily so, as Alexander’s mother pointed out, everyone has bad days, even people who live in Australia.

On February 16, 2005, I was having a very real very terrible, horrible, no good, really bad day and these are the words I penned in my journal: “Father, so often I want to rid myself of every inconvenience and discomfort. I want to be like David in Psalm 55, to have the wings of dove, to fly away from it all and to be at rest, to run to the solitude of the wilderness, to make a hasty escape from wind and storm. How human that reaction is!”

I want roses without any thorns.
I want breezes without any storms.
I want sunshine without scorching heat.
I want life all pleasant and sweet!

How wrong these wants and wishes be,
Shallow and selfish they make me!
Every hardship a
nd trial provides opportunity to grow,
You will give me Your strength to keep me on the go!

Trials and testings will either increase of flatten my faith,
None of these will the Christian escape.
Your yolk is easy and Your burden is light,
If I just remember that it is to You I need to take flight!

Only when I run to You can I find peace and rest,
The shelter of Your Word is always best.
Overwhelmed definitely describes me,
To think that You love me so completely!

That You would put into Your Word a man after Your own heart,
To teach me I am not alone or set apart!
In weakness, weariness, or downcast soul,
I too can take sweet counsel and let my tears roll!

I too can cry out to You for the battle to cease,
And in Your great mercy You give me rest and peace!
I can cast my burden upon You and me You will sustain,
I praise You for You alone remain faithful, forever the same!

Quietness comes at the end of my call,
My Lord Jesus can handle trials, troubles, and all!
Upon second thought I’ll take the roses with the thorns,
They will remind me of the crown that for my sake you had worn!

I’ll take the breezes as well as the storms,
You, in the midst of them bring stillness and comfort to those who mourn!
I’ll take sunshine and scorching heat too,
I’ll walk through the fire with You at my side, like the three Hebrew!

I’ll take the pleasant and the sweet,
And be reminded that these times are a treat!
A blessing and rest from the hand of God,
Sustenance for days that are harder to trod!”

“Dear Jesus, thank You for giving me help, hope, and a hand up out of this pit I am in. I learned today that you did not come to eliminate the darkness or to explain it, but to fill it with Your presence. Please fill that dark void in my life so completely, so fully, that I will only see the light shining in the darkness, chasing the shadows away. Please hold me up for the rest of this day. May Your will be done, in Jesus name, Amen”

Maybe it is not such a terrible, horrible, no good, really bad day after all!

Keep Looking Up,
Miss Sandy

Saturday, February 23, 2008

This Is The Way We Wash Our Clothes.....

Today I have been doing laundry of the traditional and not so traditional kind. Traditionally in my childhood home Saturday was major chore day. One of my jobs was to remove the mile high pile of clothing from the bursting basket in the hall closet and sort it into colorful piles down the hallway. Mother would swish through every so often and scoop up a pile and head out to the utility room under our carport to wash them. Wash day was fairly easy with the modern amenities of a washer and dryer that did most of the work. My other laundry job was to listen for the rinse cycle to kick in and run out and put fabric softener in the washing machine. This was before dryer sheets, downy balls, or newer machines that release the softener for you.
Laundry day was much different if you were to be present at my grandmother’s house prior to the early1970’s. Until then, my grandmother lived in a three room house with no running water or indoor plumbing. She did, however, have electricity. I dearly loved that old home place and laundry day was exciting indeed!
First Granny built a fire in a pit in the front yard and put her big black wash kettle over it and filled it with buckets of water hauled from the spring out back of the house. She set up the hand crank ringer to run the wet clothing through and gathered her clothes pins in their canvas stripped bag and metal pant stretcher frames. She checked the tightness of the line strung under the porch eve and got out her rub board and paddle. If I happened to be there she set up my little washing station on a nearby stump. A pot of soapy water, a mini rub board, and a pile of socks were all mine.
Granny would put on her cherry cobbler red apron and I’d don my little pink and white checked apron that my Aunt Katie helped me to sew and we were ready to begin. If whites were being washed, bluing was added to the water to act as a bleaching agent. Granny swished and scrubbed on her big rub board and I mostly slopped and spilled from mine. Once everything was washed it had to be run through the ringer and I loved to crank the clothing through. Next every article had to be put through rinse water and through the ringer twice.
Everything was firmly shook out, smoothed, and then hung to dry. I liked seeing my Uncle Charlie’s overalls hanging up. Granny would fill each leg with a frame which held them straight and stiff and hang them by the straps across the line. They hung there like denim flags in the breeze. Sometimes a wind would catch them and make them swing wildly back and forth. It was such a funny sight. Granny and I often fondly recall those wash days and times in the old house.
Today not only did I do up my real laundry but some paper laundry as well. I am participating in Sarah’s (Gypsy Mermaid) Hanging Up Springtime Swap and here is my little line of laundry: CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE FOR BETTER VIEWING!
We were to make six items: a dress, hat, a pair of gloves, bloomers, a bird, and a butterfly. The items were to be in a tea or garden theme, mine are a bit of both.
For Sarah’s garden tea party I will be wearing a sun dress with an orange handmade paper bodice adorned with vintage buttons and a pleated paper skirt with white crepe paper ruffles peeking out below the hem line. A green picot satin ribbon serves as a sash and ties at the side in a bow. As a final accent, I will wear a glittery rose and feather corsage.
To top off my ensemble I will be wearing a cloche hat, (made from an enlarged print of a teacup sticker) that is embellished with a matching feather and glittery rose corsage. If you were to look closely, tucked into the roses is a tiny teacup with a little yellow bird perched upon its rim.
Hiding under my sweet sun dress will be these lovely bloomers (made from stripped paper covered with tea pot and tea cup stickers). Real pretty pink ruffled elastic adorns the waist and ankles and is topped off by off white satin rosette trim. Across the derrière is a row of triple lace ruffles and matching rosette trim. The final feminine touch is the double white crepe paper ruffle at the ankles.
Every proper party guest will be wearing gloves and I chose classic white. (To make these I stretched white wedding hosiery, found at a flea market for $1.00, over rectangles of white card stock and spread mod podge over it to adhere and stiffen the layers. I then photo copied my own hand and made a glove pattern, traced it onto the back of the glove and cut it out gluing it to pink card stock for an extra stiffening layer and then embellished them.) My gloves are adorned with a floral tea pot motif crystal glitter swirls, white pearls, ribbon roses, with a cuff of pink lace and double crepe paper ruffle, finished off with vintage buttons and fluffy pink feathers.
Every party needs special guests and I invited two. First there is Betty Butterfly who is made out of three layers of handmade papers. She is sporting little topaz jewels on her wings and glass beads on her copper antenna. A sweet little ribbon rose rests at the throat of her glass bead body.
My other special guest is Bonnie the Blue Bird of Happiness. She is made from some blue paper; her details are done with chalks. She decided to bring along her dainty little tea cup nest, (made from an enlarge sticker), She lined it with fluffy pink feathers and added a pretty little blue button posy.
Wash day was never as fun as hanging up these little dainties!
Blessings,
Miss Sandy

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A New Path To Follow.....

"Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles."
Philippians 4:14

Thank you all so much for your prayers and well wishes. I can’t tell you how much they mean to me. As I got ready for my appointment on Tuesday, I felt such a peace and your prayers were like a warm blanket wrapped around me throughout the entire day.

Upon check in, the lady at the front desk caught the birthday mistake after looking at my insurance card, she said I was very well preserved and that she would send a note to clerical to correct it. I had a delightful wait, about one and one half hours, and I spent the time skimming through a little prayer book I like to keep in my purse and praying for those in and around the waiting area.

When it was my turn I entered the inner sanctum of modern medicine only to be confronted with the first piece of beastly testing equipment, the dreaded SCALE! The nurse said she needed to get my height and weight. I quipped that I could give her that information and she was impressed that I knew. I told her that was easy to answer, I am short and fat! I thought about singing the Winnie the Pooh song, “I’m short and fat and proud of that…”, but I don’t feel proud of the recent weight gain so I refrained, she laughed. We had a pleasant discussion about my new sweater and my hairdo and then it was off the next holding cell.

Doesn’t it feel like you are in a little holding cell when they put you in a frigid room with a duck picture on the wall, neat little plastic models on the counter, icky charts showing your innards ,outdated magazines, and tell you the doctor will be with you in a minute, which really translates into after lunch, his, not yours? I am quietly shivering and waiting for the interrogation to begin when I hear a young mans voice outside my door. He is telling someone, with a little awe in his voice, that today they get to see a patient who is 101 years old. I rub my cold numb little hands together with glee and know this is going to be fun.

The nurse pops in to take my blood pressure, temperature, and photo. Yep, I not only got pricked, poked, and prodded, I got my photo taken to boot and, uh, I broke their camera. Seriously, they came in to take my picture and the camera suddenly stopped working. She came back twice more and finally I think they got my mug shot for their files. I should have known this was a bad sign.

Next I get to meet the illustrious Dr. Chi. Now in some circles chi is good, right? Well, I think his feng shui was out of whack, he was way too serious and he never smiled. I have to give him credit; he did not ask the stupid question most doctors ask when they walk into the room, “How are you today?” “Well now, let me see, I’m hunky dory, I just wanted to drop by on a purely social visit.” DUH! I am here because I do not feel well! He did disarm me a bit when he said, “What can I do for you today?” That was a loaded question ~ tell me what is wrong and make me better ~ what else would I want out of the visit? We got down to the interrogation and I was getting frustrated because he kept asking me the same questions over and over and my answers were always the same and then he started a quirky line of questioning about holding cold cans of soft drinks and such. I was wondering if maybe he was thirsty.

Now we get to the fun part, testing! The first test they did was to stick some little pieces of paper in my eyes and tell me to keep my eyes shut until he came back into the room. I sat there with these little strips of white paper hanging out of my eyes when my eyes popped open and all I saw was a flutter of white paper strips going up and down. I panicked a little wondering if I dislodged them and if the doctor would be able to tell when he came back in. I clamped my eyes shut and reached up to shove the papers back in but I couldn’t tell if they were in or out and decided to just accept my fate. It felt a little like one of those Lucy moments, when she is in the chocolate factory and was shoving all those chocolates in her mouth. I couldn’t help myself, I laughed.

Dr. Chi came back in and removed the papers, they were still in place, and held them up to this little light source and said, “Oh Wowwwwwwwwww!” To which I replied, “That can’t be good.” He said, “It’s not, you failed.” Oh great I am having a flash back to a tenth grade math test, times up and I have nothing on the paper, I failed then too! He abruptly left the room with his coat tails swishing behind him and left me to amuse myself with his plastic models. Yes, I did make the little knee flex, poked the rubber hand with bones in it and examined two bone structures one before and one after taking a medication to restore bone density. He finally came back and said I needed x-rays.

The x-ray technician started into the room, looked at me, looked at the chart, backed up and looked at the room number, came back in looked at me again with a total question mark on his face. He stood in the doorway for a minute and finally asked in a very tentative voice, “Um, are you…Sandy?” I smiled really big and said yes to which he replied, “Oh wow! Somebody goofed, your chart says you are 101 and I was fascinated to see a patient that age.” He gave me a groovy gown and the biggest pair of navy blue bloomers I have ever seen. They gave a whole new meaning to Granny panties! I slipped those babies on and they came down to the middle of my calf and I had to pull the waist up to my bra line. As I went down the hall they began to slip down and the crotch ended up at my knees, I was saggin’ with the best of them!

I got to do a little yoga in the x-ray room, butterfly position so they could take pictures of my feet. I go to pose like an Egyptian goddess with my arms lifted straight over my head, elbows slightly bent, and palms flat together. Then best of all I got to sit in a really tall chair with my feet dangling about 3 inches off the floor in big blue bloomers and a groovy gown right in front of a very big glass window to the main waiting area while the x-rays were being developed. I just swung my feet and smiled.

Now that all my bones had had their picture taken I got to go to the office of the resident vampire. She was a really good vampire and found my tiny rolling vein on the first stick but I seriously thought she was going to drain me dry. I had a few other tests done and then I got to go back to where they keep you on ice and wait some more while Dr. Chi paced up down the hall doing dictation spouting out all my personal business into his tape recorder.

He came back in and told me he was pretty sure what was wrong with me but I would still need more testing. I did not have to see the hematologist after all so thankfully I avoided the painful bone marrow test and quality accommodations of a hospital stay, at least for now. He thinks I have an auto-immune disease or possibly a combination of auto-immune diseases. There are 150 plus types of these diseases and you can have one or a combination of several, they are all inter- related. Basically an auto immune disease is a bit like a skirmish in war. The good guys (your anti bodies) fight off the bad guys (germs that make us sick). Occasionally and unfortunately in battle confusion can happen and there can be friendly fire (your system starts to fight itself). For some reason your anti-bodies don’t recognize who the enemy is and begins to attack healthy tissue, organs, blood, and bones, breaking down healthy systems.

Right now he suspects that I have at least three auto immune diseases present but will not know for certain until all the test results are in, which will be in two to three more weeks and then other tests may be added at that time. This may explain two previous diagnoses in the past year and my lack of response to treatment. One may have been totally misdiagnosed because it is often done so as the symptoms are the same.

Right now I am to keep doing everything the same as I have been as I may have to have more labs drawn in the next few weeks and he doesn’t want any medication in my system to skew the test results. There are potential risks with these types of diseases as they damage major organs, cause rheumatoid arthritis, and some treatments increase the risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There is not cure but the ability to control the symptoms. I am showing some joint damage in my ankles, heels, and knees. I was sad to learn that my knees are older than me. He says my knees are that of a 60 year old. I have no pain in my joints to date but he says it will come.

So, I am still plodding along waiting to see what kind of journey the Lord is going to take me on next and glad that I will not travel it alone, He leads, I follow. I am grateful that the path is well lit because it looks a little rocky ahead. I can’t wait to see what amazing things He will do, how He will touch my life, change it, and how it will affect others. I feel truly blessed, it could have been so much worse. One thing I always keep in mind when face with physical suffering is that it is nothing compared to what He suffered for me. He can take my pain and transform it into a thing of beauty and use it to glorify Him. It is a risky prayer when we pray, “Lord, use me.” We know not what we may have to go through to be useable.

It is no accident that I sat in that waiting room reading the following passage from my little prayer book about our high calling: “Keep me at tasks too hard for me, that I may be driven to thee for strength. Deliver me from fretfulness and self pity; make me sure of a goal I cannot see….May your Spirit of peace and illumination so enlighten my mind that all life shall glow with new meaning and new purpose…”

That is exactly what God is doing, taking me on a new path, giving me new meaning and a new purpose. He is putting me in a new place where I will have to rely more heavily upon Him, humble myself to ask others for help when I need it, and He is surrounding me with a new sphere of people to encourage, pray for, and share Him with. Life is very good indeed!

Resting In Him,
Miss Sandy

P.S. One of my new goals in life to make Dr. Chi smile!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

We Interrupt This Blog For Medical Testing.....

Just a little note to let you know that I'll be away from the computer for a couple of days. I am getting ready for my big appointment on Tuesday and rumor has it that I may be sent striaight to another appoiontment where a rather nasty and painful procedure may take place which may require an overnight stay in plush accomidations where the room service includes gourmet cuisine fresh from the microwave delivered to your room and a staff who are so concerned about your well-being that they take your temperature and blood pressure on a regular basis. If you are just too tired to swallow they will fill you up with fluids through an iv. Plus, they care about each and every guest so much they will wake you at all hours just to see if you are OK. The rooms come with cable tv and plastic coated mattress adjustable beds and everything! Whoohoo! Wanna come with?

Seriously, this is the appointment where they think I am 101 years old. I am really hoping to have fun with this. It is unknown if I will have to have the above mentioned test done or not, they just told me I need to be prepared just in case. I have had two other appointments one with good results ruling out one possibiliy and the other confirming that I need to see this specialist, so I still know nothing.

Well, I can tell you one thing there is nothing wrong with and that is my ability to scream. For some reason I have been as jumpy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs! I went on a simple errand, only five things on my list, easy, that is until I scared a poor cart collector to death, embarrased us both, and drew stares, parking lot security, and became the subject of some cell phone photos in the process.

I went to one of our local super stores to pick up a few items and had myself another little adveture. First item on the list is a four pack of facial tissue. I get to the isle and the brand I want is sold out save one lonely package all the way at the back of these really deep shelves. Try as I might my short arms would not reach so I thought I'd just duck in and retreive them quickly and no one would be the wiser, wrong! I dive in up to my waist, grab the package and shimmy back out quickly only to be met by the grinning face of a little old lady who quipped, "Did you get the orange juice?", refering to the commercial. I reddened and laughed and said they were fresh out but they gave me these instead, holding up the tissues.

Next I need some vanilla extract. I get to the isle and there is only one bottle left, it's on the top shelf. I have to stand back across the isle to see it. I am frustrated becasue I can't reach it. I glimpse around and no one is looking so I climb up the shelves, grab it, and hop back down only to be facing the same grinning little lady who says, "Did you get it this time?" "Uh, no, just this." I said as I held up the vanilla.

OK, on to the dog food isle. First I hoist and wrestle a fifty pound bag of dog food for our two big outside dogs into the buggy. Then I find the brand I want for our inside dog and can you believe this, it too is the last one on the second shelf from the top all the way at the back! I looked around for a store clerk and couldn't find a single soul so I decided I just retrieve it myself. I didn't see anyone looking so I hopped up into the shelf and scooted in grabbing the bag of food and started to scoot back out when something caught my clothing and I got stuck. A large button on my jacket had slid between the two by four slats on the shelving and was wedged in really tight.

I have a sudden vision of a scene from Winnie the Pooh where he visits rabbits house, eats too much honey and gets stuck on his way out. Rabbit plops a shelf across his bent legs, draws a face on his rear and ties two sticks on to look like antlers. I put my forehead down on the wood and began to shake with uncontrollable laughter wondering if the security camera guy was watching or if the old lady stalker was living vicariously through my expolits. I fianlly managed to get one arm out of my jacket and slid out with dog food in tow. I rescued my self and my jacket with button still intact, my pride not so much. I jetted off that isle noting that I didn't see any spectators.
I managed to get a whole gallon of milk without any problems and headed to the check out. I am minding my own business, even remembering where I had parked my car this time, when I start to unload my purchases into my trunk. I turned from putting in the smaller items to hoist the fifty pound bag of dog food out of the buggy and when I did, right behind me hovering over over me was a huge man. I screamed bloody murder which translated into, "Back off buddy, your in my personal space!" He threw up his hands and I screamed again thinking I was about to be shoved into my trunk! He took a step and I screamed again. He kept trying to shush me and I wasn't having any of it. The third scream died on my lips when I saw the logo on his shirt and looked up into his face and recognized him for the very sweet and helpful cart collector that he was.

He was trying to explain that he was only going to help me out by lifting the large heavy bag into my tunk for me when the parking lot security arrived. He squinted at me and I thought uh oh, we have met before! I was at least ten shades of red and falling all over myself apologizing to the poor man and trying to explain that he had startled me and I had not heard him walk up behind me. By this time we had drawn a crowd and some one even snapped a cell phone photo! I think I will make the National Enquirer yet! We finally got it all worked out. Now I will have to go all the way across town to shop at an identical super store where no one knows me, yet.

Anyway, I hope you all have a good week and I'll probalby post again on Wednesday or so.

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

Friday, February 15, 2008

Seaside Dreams and Mermaid Things.....

"Alone I walked the ocean strand,
A pearly shell was in my hand;
I stooped, and wrote upon the sand
My name, the year, the day.
As onward from the spot I passed,
One lingering look behind I cast,
A wave came rollng high and fast,
And washed my lines away."

Hannah Flagg Gould ~ A Name in the Sand
I think I may have a little problem and I think I am going to have to go to Swapaholics Anonymous! These little swaps can get addicting! I am here to post on yet another swap I recently participated in, the Mermaid and Seaside Inspired Swap hosted by Michelle of Hold Dear. I came across this swap on a very gray day when I was longing for the sunny sea shore and decided to participate. I am an avid collector of all kinds of beach finds from our vacations and had plenty to share and create with and the mermaid angle made for a bit of fantasy fun crafting.

Having never crafted a mermaid I thought I would browse a bit to find some inspiration and I came across this wonderful art piece on a flickr group and tracked it back to the artist, Dale McClain, and visited her blog, Sea Dream Studio. With her permission I’d like to share a couple of pictures of her art work and invite you to visit her lovely blog.
My Swap partner was Denise, of Shabby Cottage Boutique. I had a lot of fun going through my vacation memories and scouring my favorite haunts to find items for this swap. I started out with, of all things, two pieces of clothing for my inspiration pieces, a sweater with beading around the neck and a skirt with an organza overlay.
The beading was secured with tons of clear drying glue and turned into a mermaid body. The pattern of the overlay on the skirt reminded me of water and became the covering for the box which would house all the swap goodies: I included art pieces which I hand made or painted, beach finds, and mermaid or sea inspired crafting supplies. Here is a tiny sampling of what I sent:
I had a bit of trouble when it came to my actual mermaid, first I began to paint one and she came out looking very Ariel like, but I included her anyway: I then resorted to fabric and my daughter laughed herself silly saying she had shoulders like a football player! I told her to hush and reserve judgment until she had long flowing hair and it would cover it up, which it did! Well, she had to have face and I goofed on her lips and they ended up looking a little plumped up with 60’s pink lipstick. My little swishy friend ended up with groovy emerald green 60ish eye shadow. I realized with a start that I had channeled up a replica of Mama Cass or Janice Joplin, I expected her to belt out, Take a Little Piece of My Heart, at any given moment. (Crafty Cindy, get up off the floor and quit laughing, yeah, I hear ya!)
I put her in the box and took her back out, put her in, took her out, put her back in, took her back out, gave up and placed her right on the very tip top in all her groovy glory and I think she took a little piece of my heart with her as I hated parting with her.

I also sent off a little something beachy to Dawn at The Feathered Nest. She is working on a nature shore inspired assemblage and I offered her some of my bounty if she would like. Here is a sneak peek:
These sunny summer projects made me a little weepy. I had sealed some beach finds and sand in plastic zip bags and when I opened one I caught a salt and sea tinged whiff of summer. I opened the bag further, closed my eyes, and inhaled deeply and became instantly weepy. In one breath I was on the beach again, many beaches all at once.

I was twelve years old in California near a pier playing in the surf with my beloved Aunt Susie. She was young, vibrant, healthy, and alive. This would be the last time I saw her so, two short years into the future, at age 28, she would pass away from colon cancer. I was fourteen on Virginia beach getting stung by a jelly fish, learning to body surf and nearly being knocked on conscious when a wave tumble me slamming my forehead into ocean floor, and being in serious like with a boy named Rick, whom I met there.

I was in Gulf Port, MS on Ship Island watching sand pipers play in the surf and my newly married son and daughter-in-love walk hand in hand on the beach, our first family vacation after they married.
I was in Florida, on so many beaches visited all along the coast. Bird Island being a favorite, sitting beneath a sand dune for a wind break at sunset, watching the fishing boats return to harbor, listening to the seagulls cry and karaoke music from a club floating across the sound. I was on the Big Island of Hawaii, celebrating my 25th Wedding Anniversary, standing shoulder to shoulder with the one who loves me, watching the Pacific swallow up the sun and set the sky on fire with the colors of twilight.
I was in Georgia on Saint Simons Island, standing, quivering; firmly grasping the balcony railing of a light house, triumphant that the call of the sea, at least for a moment, helped me conquered my fear of heights.
I was in the land of make-believe where my mother allowed my Barbie to swim in the fish tank with our tropical fish and she was a mermaid princess. I was a little girl once again laying on the floor in front of our console stereo listening to a favorite story record, Clytie of the Deep, about a little water nymph. I was in my wading pool on a sunny summer day on my back with my knees bent over the edge, feet resting in the sun warmed grass, pretending to have ridden in my pink cockle shell boat drawn by two sea turtles to the shore. My long hair was splayed out in the water as I swished my head back and forth. I was Clytie of the deep, turning my face up to the Sun King waiting for him to notice me, while my toes became roots, just as Clytie’s did when she was transformed into a sunflower.

I was Sandy, at all these sea shores!

I smiled while closing the bag, sealing inside it not only my beach finds but my treasured memories. My longings for the scents, sights, and sounds of the sea were stilled. I never even left my cross legged position on my studio room floor as I had taken these trips through memories door. The gray outside no longer mattered. I had enough sunny seaside memories stored away to warm and brighten even the most dismal of days.

Sea Side Dreaming,
Miss Sandy

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day.....

"There is musick, even in the beauty and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument."

Sir Thos. Browne~Religio Medici Pt. II. Sec. IX.

Happy Valentine's Day!!! I participated in the Secret Admirer Valentine's Swap hosted by Jenn of Sweet Eye Candy Creations and Cheryl of Rosey Posey Confections and today is the big reveal. Each participant sent another participant a gift that consisted of something chocolate, something with a heart theme, and something with a cupid theme. One item was to be handmade. We were to post what we recieved on Valentine's Day and hop over to Jenn or Cheryl's to follow the links and find out who our secret admirer is! Below is what I received and I also posted what I sent. You will also find an edible rose boquet recipe sure to please any sweetheart on your list. They are super easy and my guys want these every year!

I have a secret admirer and I don't know who it could be,
They sent me a pretty package and I squeeled with glee!

Inside I found a pretty pink paper pocket heart,
A place to tuck a Valentine from my own sweetheart!
Then out fluttered a pretty pink butterfly with golden tipped wings,
It was filled to the brim with yummy chocolate things!
What's this more chocolate that I see?
Not for long if I don't hide from my sweet hubby!
Out danced a fancy maiden all dressed for the Sweethearts Ball,
She is so adorable, she is such a doll!From her rosebud hat to her silks, satins, and lace,
She is quite the cutie, just look at her sweet face!
I've got a secret admirer and I don't know who it could be,
But I thank her and I adore everything she sent to me!
And my admirer is.....KARI of Artsymama!

Here is what I sent to my secret admirer...LORI OLES of Vintage Flair! A box covered in sheet music sewn to cardstock with a speical delivery label:
Inside the box I placed these packages:
Inside the box I tucked a hand decorated envelope and tag:
Tucked inside the envelope was a vintage Valentine:
I included some chocolate, funny, I bought the same type of chocolate bars as I got! I thought the wrappers were so pretty!
For my handmade piece I included the cupid and heart theme in my very first assemblage project! I had a backup plan in case this didn't work out but I really loved it when it was done.

~Strawberry Roses~

Wiltons Milk Chocolate Candy Melts
Wiltons White Chocolate Candy Melts

~OR~

Wiltons Pink Chocolate Candy Melts
Wiltons Red Chocolate Candy Melts

Optional toppings:
Pink or Red Sugar Crystals
Fine Chopped Pecans
Coconut
Mini Chocolate Chips (ice cream topping type)

Strawberries
Wax Paper
Silk Rose Bush or Single Stems

Optional Embellishments:
Ribbon
Baby's Breath

*Wipe strawberries off and allow to air dry.
*Melt the chocolate of your choice in seperate containers according to package directions.
*Dip strawberries in chocolate, if desired, roll in optional topping and place on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.
*Place filled tray in the refrigerator to chill berries and to set chocolate.
*Pluck silk flowers from the stem.
*When you are ready to gift the berries tie on ribbons and baby's breath then cap side down, slide the berry onto the end of the silk rose stem. You can wrap single stems in green tissue paper and present to your sweetheart or arrange an entire boquet in a vase. You can also present and entire boquet wrapped in green tissue paper in a box or on a tray.

NOTE: Do not palce the berries on the stem until you are ready to gift them because after a bit they tend to get runny.

I hope each of you have a very special day!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy
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