Ellie and the Weeds

I have a new post up on (in)courage…feel free to hop over and read it!

Ang

A Needle and Thread


It’s no secret that I have an affinity for all things simple and lost in decades of technology (Note the irony of me posting this to the internet from my computer as my children watch a movie). I am obsessed with Anne of Green Gables, Little House, and the eras of life that involved a fireplace and Pa playing a fiddle. Todd needs to learn to play the fiddle. Also, I could use a dose of Ma’s patience. I wonder if there are a series of “lost episodes” where she goes ballistic over the fact that she needs a night out or tells him she is really sick of doing all the laundry. I think it would give her a little more street cred. Bonus points for whipping her hairpins out and flinging them on the ground while Pa whittles something.

In the past several years (and by “several years” I mean since birth) I have been on a quest for simplicity. Despite the fact that I have failed miserably, I still consider it a good goal.

I bet that is one of the reasons I love sewing so much, at least in theory. I have a computerized machine that connects to my computer, so Ma wouldn’t exactly be impressed but the sentiment isn’t lost on me. I have set up coloring books, a kiddy sewing machine (that DOES. NOT. WORK. Seriously), scraps of fabric and other creative things so that the girls can sit with me while I sew.  I am so blessed to have a sewing “closet” off my bedroom but as most of you know from my last post, I am not likely going to have it for long. I’m already thinking of ways to be creative in a small space (and any ideas about setting up a sewing area in a bedroom are appreciated!)

I started sewing just after Todd and I were married and I taught myself the basics. I loved it but mostly focused on straight lines for quite awhile and then picked it up a little more once the twins were born. The last thing I remember making was going to be for Audrey, and after her diagnosis, I shut the door and ignored it. Even months after we lost her I would walk by the door and stare straight ahead, too emotionally fragile to see the pieces of a dress that wouldn’t be worn.

I finally did go back in several months ago and I sat in there and let myself mourn again. I keep all of her little keepsakes in there-her little footprints on clay, snippets of her hair, the graph of her heartbeat that the nurses gave me, and the half sewn promise of reunion one day.  Unless you have been in a similar situation, it might not make sense, but there are certain areas that have just become “safe” for grieving. I can go in, close the door, and forget that the world is moving on outside my house. I light a candle, listen to a good audio book or music, and piece together my thoughts and memories.  I have a little desk set up there where I can have a quiet time and be still with the Lord. I remember Ann Voskamp talking about having an area like this and she is right…it makes a difference to have an established spot with everything ready for study, prayer, and reflection.

I have told Todd that Ann also mentioned this should preferably be a large, shabby-chic, bead-boarded room with a fireplace, a rustic brick wall, wide-plank weathered floorboards and several bay windows. I can’t find the exact post on her blog but I also remember something about it needing to have a spa area with an on-call masseuse. I’ll find it and post it here for you all too. Anyone who reads Ann’s blog knows she has a flair for over the top glamour. It’s just who she is, you know? (Ha).

So, I wanted to share my special spot with you all and ask if you have any questions about sewing that I can answer. I feel like I am enough of a novice to relate to basically anything you are wondering about, so don’t be intimidated :) I have also gotten several of my friends hooked. My most recent convert is Audra, who came over and worked on a sewing machine next to mine while we laughed our heads off while creating skirts for all of our girls (6 and counting at this point…).  In typical Audra fashion, she surpassed me in ability and creativity in approximately 25 minutes-one of the many, many reasons I love her. Seriously, there is nothing the girl can’t learn in under a half hour. Now that I’m thinking about it, it’s actually really irritating.

Let’s consider this post #1 just to get some conversation started (for all 7 of you who like to sew/are interested in sewing) and I will do a follow-up when I know what sounds interesting to you all. Feel free to leave links to your blogs/sites if you want to share any sewing tips, products, tutorials…whatever!

I do realize that most of you are going to be bored stiff with this post. My apologies :) To those of you who aren’t, let’s all get together at my house once I get the ginormous prayer/sewing room and we can form a quilting guild.

The spa people will care for the children, just like in the old days…

Much love,
Ang

A Crazy Little Month

*** I don’t know why the spacing for this post is so wonky…it’s not for dramatic effect:) I need to go do laundry so I can’t fix it…sorry it’s so weird looking!!!***
So this month is just nutty, and it will continue to be nutty until it’s over. All the sweet people working with me to promote my book have graciously limited my appearances and time away. I am such a homebody that it’s a miracle I’m doing anything :) I will let you all know about that kind of stuff if you’re interested, but mostly I wanted to ask for prayer. The baby is my first priority for all of us, so we are squeezing in a couple things before the month is out and then will pick up after Charlotte is here. Which, would have been pretty easy and reasonable had that been all that had come up…
BUT.
There’s a new degree of head-spinning at our house as we pray over a very unexpected turn and if you have a minute in your prayer life, could you add us to the list?
Here’s the deal (I will make it concise for you all so you don’t get too bored:))
1.  We live in a beautiful, large, very-nice house (BLVN:)) (in my opinion).
2.  I go to India. I see a lot of things I have never seen and have several conversations with Shaun
     Groves and his wife Becky about their lifestyle and am genuinely blown away at the choices they
     have made. They don’t see sharing a car or living in a small house (with lots of kids!) as a
     compromise. There is absolutely no sense of righteousness or judgment for anyone else. They are just
     flat out filled with joy and its infectious. Todd and I pray about it, and we decide that maybe we
     don’t need to be living in the BLVN house. We put it on the market.
3. We have 2-3 showings in the next 10-ish months. I switch real estate agencies and it goes off the
     market.
4. We pray about whether or not to put it back on the market with the summer we have ahead of us,
    and don’t feel like we have a clear answer from God yet.
5. (God decides to show off as only He can)
6. With our house NOT on the market, we get a phone call from someone in a nearby neighborhood
   (who does not have a real estate agent) and they let us know they would like to come see it. They
    proceed to make a very solid offer. The offer is contingent on their house selling. We literally sit in a
    family room with them, laughing our heads off together and write up the contract so that we’re all
    satisfied with it. It was like an old-fashioned handshake deal. Seriously, the best real estate transaction
    ever. Doesn’t hurt that they are a total blast and our kids have become obsessed with playing together.
7. Todd and I begin looking in a quaint little neighborhood we have always loved. See a couple houses,
    nothing seems like home. A new one comes on the market and we go to see it THAT day. Fall in
    love. As we are praying for wisdom, I call my dad to come look at it (he lives just a few minutes from
    the house) and with the sun bright and shining, there is suddenly a completely unexpected downpour.
    Kids hide from the rain and we laugh because the rain thing keeps following us. By the time dad gets
    there (10 minutes later), the rain has stopped. He walks up to the front door and makes me follow him
    with my eyes closed. We are standing in the driveway and he says, “Well, if you believe in signs…” I
    open my eyes and see that a complete rainbow has formed over the house. Yes, exactly over the
    house.
8. Todd and I have a Lifetime moment in the driveway. I don’t spin or have a monologue though.
9. We have a contractor come out to the house to see about some renovations. It’s a little more than we
    expected. Meanwhile, the people who own the house (a youth minister and his lovely family, who
    have painted scripture on the walls) and the very nice agent (who went to school with Todd and who’s
    hubby is a drummer for Christian artists) are all praying with us to see if this is God’s will.
10. We have had a number in our head for months for what we wanted the purchase price to be. This
     one was pretty far off, and given the fact that 60 people came to the open house, it didn’t look like it
     was going to get where we wanted it to. We keep praying.
11. The family who owns the house also owns another one. They are moving to a third house. The other
     one (in another state) that was about to close completely falls through (yesterday). The agent, having
     no idea what the number we have prayed about is, calls to tell me that if we will agree to such and
     such, we can have the house. We quickly realize that once my real estate commissions are accounted
     for, we will be (literally, exactly) at the number we prayed about.
12. It all sounds great, right?!?!?! There’s an itsy-bitsy, not so itsy-bitsy catch. We have to close by the
     end of THIS month in order to get that price. Remember me telling you about the month??? And in
     addition, the people buying ours still have to sell theirs and there’s always a chance it could fall
     through, which would leave us in a very tough situation. No pressure, though. We have 48 hours to
     decide all of this. Oh, and we’ll be on the big bus for that 48 hours.
That’s a lot of information and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most of you aren’t really all that interested (it’s okay, I wouldn’t be either!) but for the few of you that do want to pray, we would really appreciate it. We went into this whole thing because we wanted to do what we felt we were being called to do, and we know He is in it. We just want to remain in His will and right now we aren’t sure what that is.
Also for the record, I grew up in a large, beautiful, everything you would want home, and I have friends who live in multi-million dollar homes. I am certainly not suggesting that what we are doing is better than that, because the fact of the matter (IMO) is that if your heart is right with the Lord and you are being obedient, the square footage and counter style are not the issue. I just want all of you to know this was a move of obedience, not anything else. If I felt we could have stayed here and been in His will, we would have done it. It’s just not the case in this particular situation. As a sidebar, you may remember me talking about wanting Guess jeans (and overalls) and my father explaining they were way too expensive. I had no idea how much money they made because we drove modest cars and while the house was nice, it wasn’t absurd. So one day I’m filling out my college applications and I tell my dad I have to check a box showing our family income. He checks one and my jaw drops. “WHY COULDN’T I GET THE JEANS IN SIXTH GRADE?!?!?!” He smiles. And we all know how that affected me. I nearly ended up co-habitating with a plastic clown. Awesome.
Phew. Sorry that took so long, but that’s where we are and we would love your prayer…
I don’t take the fact that I can come here and ask this of you lightly. I don’t take any of it lightly…I feel that I have been given much and I want to be faithful of following through on what I feel like is expected of me as a steward. Thank you for walking this crooked road with us and for allowing me to share my heart.
What’s on your mind? Any stresses we can all be praying about? Please leave them in the comments and know that this community will join you as well.
Much love,
Angie

Marked By Love

***Link is working now! Sorry about that…GO ENTER TO WIN!!!***

A few weeks ago I alluded to something I was really excited about and today I get to share it with you all:)

After I lost Audrey, I got so many emails from people who had either lost a child or had a friend who had and they were looking for something special to honor the child. I found a few pieces that I thought were really beautiful but when I was working on the book and making suggestions about these kinds of things, I immediately thought of Lisa Leonard. I have talked about her several times here and the fact that my computer pretty much crashes whenever I do one of her giveaways tells me that you all love her work as much as I do. I am honored beyond words to introduce you to her newest necklace, called “Marked By Love: Audrey’s necklace.”

Isn’t it beautiful? I have several of her necklaces but this one is much heavier. When she created it she remembered the comment I have made several times about Audrey having weight in this world. She also told me that when you wear it, it warms because of the way it’s made and I found the same. I periodically just lift it away from my skin and feel the heat, a sweet reminder of her life.

All of us who have lost a child are aware that we have been marked by love. Only Lisa could put her heart and soul into such a project and create a piece of art that is a beautiful, tangible way to remember our children. I have attached two of her little pearl/beads to mine-they originally came on her “By Grace Alone” necklace and they make this little tinkling noise when I move around. I use it as a reminder to pray, and the Lord uses it at the best times. I just hear it and immediately I think, “by grace alone, by grace alone…” With this one, I think about Audrey and remind myself to pray for others who have walked the same road.

She has generously agreed to give away 2 of these beauties, customized with whatever you would like on the back. Please make your way over to her blog and enter to win one…

Thank you, Lisa. I am so blessed to have this opportunity and I am praying that many, many people treasure it as much as I do…

Love to all {and go enter!}
Ang

Planting Seeds

*** contest winners are listed on my giveaway blog…i had to modify this post so i would be in compliance with blogher, so i deleted most of it. do click over to see if you won!!!***

Here is the link to their site…www.seedsfamilyworship.com. If you have a few minutes, spend some time exploring what they’re doing-I hope you love it as much as I do :) They are also on Facebook HERE.

If you want to go ahead and order now from them, they have given me a code to pass along so you will get 20% off of all CD’S!!!! Just type in ASMITH and it should apply your discount.

Have a fabulous weekend!
Angie

KENYA!!!!!

Just a reminder to please be praying for the bloggers who are now en route to Kenya with Compassion International. Click on the button below to get more info about the trip and keep us with them as the Lord breaks their hearts and inspires all of us to share with those in need.

You can also follow them on twitter HERE. I can’t wait to hear more about what the Lord is doing!!!

It’s Todd’s B-day today so I’m going to make this short and sweet but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to ask for prayer…

Love to all,
Ang