Friday, November 20, 2009

New Obsession

So what kind of a person do you get when you mix a visionary with spastic tendencies? Yours truly. My poor husband who has been described as "steady" by my dear cousin Jenni, didn't realize he signed up for this roller coaster ride when he married me. Poor guy. I don't dare ask him if he'd hop on this ride with me again if he had known the curves and loopty-loops I would take (have taken) him on. BTW, does not have a definition for "loopty loop".

Being a dreamer and a visionary with a lot of anxious energy I tend to get an idea and become obsessed with it. I mean, really, really obsessed. It may last a day, it may last a year or a few years but until I expend a good amount of thinking, analyzing and sometimes acting on a particular idea then it just won't go away.

A new obsession has now entered my life. About 10 days ago as I was looking into making some soap for Christmas gifts the idea of candle making entered my spastic-visionary-anxious head. See, I was looking into different essential and fragrance oils when I came across a short video on how to make Soy Wax Candles. I was very intrigued! I thought to myself "hey, I could do that. Maybe I'll try sometime."

Well that led into thoughts like "I wonder if I could make and sell candles?"

It has been one week since that first thought came to mind and here I sit in my office with 630 candle tins waiting to be filled. As the last shipment of my supplies arrived yesterday I have made my first 120 candles. I'm not kidding. But I will tell you that thankfully, this isn't one of those things that I just jumped into all on my own. I mean yeah, I "kind of" jumped into it, but I did do so with my husband's blessing. And that means a lot. Because you know, he's steady. And if Mr. Steady thinks it's a good idea then it really can't be that bad (keep in mind that being spastic makes for some not-so-good ideas at times.)

I'm really excited about my potential candle making business. REALLY excited. I haven't sold a candle yet but I'm already chomping at the bit to order some new fragrances online to try out! What I am most excited about is that if this works it will not only, possibly, be a source of income as a stay-at-home mom but each candle that sells will receive 50 cents to contribute towards 1 of 3 ministries. All three ministries minister to children in third world countries. India, Rwanda and Thailand. Two of those ministries feed, educate and train children in the poorest of the poor conditions. Not only giving them hope in this earthly life but introducing them to the One who gives them eternal hope. The third reaches out to children who have been rescued out of the sex trade industry (a growing problem in the world today).

So as I expend some of my nervous energy into making candles it is so cool to think that I am not only doing it for my family but for the Lord.

Maybe I jumped into it too quickly. Maybe not. If I did then all of you who are related to me or live in close proximity to me know what you'll be getting for Christmas for the next 10 years. ha :-)

Here are a few pictures of the candles I made last night and this morning. About 120 all together. Some have more noticeable "frost" on top that I guess should get better as I actually come to know what I'm doing. I'm thinking of calling my business Abiding Fragrance after the verse in 2 Corinthians 2:15, which is a constant reminder to me that I have a choice to be a pleasant fragrance or a not-so-pleasant fragrance to those around me. But does anybody else have another idea for a name that has the word fragrance in it to go along with that verse? At first I wanted "Lasting Fragrance" but that is already a perfume business. Ok, here are the pictures.....


I love how they look in their little tins. I hope we can figure out a way to make cute/cheap labels for them! Any ideas?

All candles for 4 oz and $2.50 each, just in case you're in TN or FL (where we are headed tomorrow) and you want some great Christmas presents. Oh, and they're buy 10 get 1 free! What a deal, huh? I'm a horrible sales person but thought I'd give it a shot anyway.

Here are a few non-candle pictures...

Karis had her friend over this morning but spent the first hour calling him Jagger. He didn't seem to mind at all!


We're headed to FL tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving week with the fam. We're thankful that we can do this before Jonathan gets a full-time job and traveling becomes much more difficult. He and Karis will drop me off in the Atlanta airport so that I can fly out to Dallas to help Stace drive with her two cutie-patooties over to FL. I'm so excited we get to spend this time together! After they drop me off Jonathan and Karis will continue driving down to FL.

I doubt I'll get around to posting again as I'll be spending the week with family and the Good Cents store. So Have a great Thanksgiving, everybody!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And then she was 4.

My baby girl turned 4 today (*sniff sniff). As someone recently commented to me "the days go by slowly as the years fly by" (or something like that.) And that is what it feels like...has it really been 4 years since my puffy-asian-looking-baby came into this world?

I know all of you who have grown children don't see turning 4  as a huge milestone. But for me who's life ambition was to be a mom, seeing my only child grow up way too fast is so bitter-sweet. Each stage brings new challenges and joys and I know this year will be unlike any other. But you know, sometimes I just want to shrink her back into a 6 month old and enjoy the time I had with her as a baby (I'd prefer not to send her back any further as she was rather colicky :-) Then I'd like to re-live the stage when she was just starting to walk and babble.  Or before she could talk and she spent 80% of her time going up to anybody who had food in their hands and doing the sign for "more".

I also know you're not supposed to get too emotional on a blog knowing that others are reading. Pardon me, but I'm feeling really emotional. My baby girl is 4! When I'm struggling with the thought that she may be my only child I am always overwhelmed at how thankful I am that Karis was given to me. I don't think I'll ever not want to have more children but I am so, so thankful to have her. She has brought so much joy into our lives. I tell her (probably not often enough) that she was my present from the Lord. She knows she was/is a gift and her birthday is more exciting than my own as she is a better gift than any I've received on my own birthday!

Alrighty, I'm done with the emotional part of this post. Behold pictures from her party that we had on Saturday since my family was in town...

Decorating for a birthday is a whole lot easier and cheaper when you have The Dollar Tree in town!

Just family and Lorraine were invited to the party that was planned last minute.

After a few cheesy games we let Karis open her presents....

Everyone loved the 3-d Hansel and Gretel book...

Yep...enjoyed by everyone...

Can I take this moment to ask an honest question here? Are there any parents out there who actually read this horrible story to their children? I remembered as a child having a nursery rhyme book and at the end Hansel and Gretel tricked the old mean lady into getting into a candy house stove (this is my child-hood memory of the book.) But after the party when I actually took the time to read this book to Karis I was horrified at what the story line is. What kind of sick person wrote this story? A man remarries, the family goes through hard times so the mean step-mother forces the wimpy husband to take his kids out into the middle of the woods and abandon them there so that the family doesn't starve together (how gracious, the children can starve on their own in the middle of a scary forest.) The two kids find their way home only to be returned to the forest a second time. They find a candy house with a witch who tries to fatten them up to eat them but Hansel tricks her into getting into the oven, they cook her and then eventually find their way home where their dad is happy to see them again and they live happily ever after since the step-mother is dead (it doesn't mention how she died.)

This book inspires me to begin writing children's books.

Ok, back to the party!

Another great present. Besides almost losing a few eyeballs this entertaining toy has been fabulous.

Cake time!

Thank you for noticing this amazing piece of art. A piece of art which only consumed about 2 hours of my time. You will only be able to truly appreciate this year's masterpiece if you saw last year's roach cake. Take a closer look at this beauty.

I kept asking Karis over and over what kind of cake she wanted. I kept asking 'til I got a satisfactory answer! For the longest time she said she wanted a grasshopper cake (or hop-grasser, as she says) but I knew that wasn't an option unless we bought a cake so I just kept asking over and over again. Finally when she said "a flower cake" and I had visions of a simple round cake I jumped at the idea and made her feel like the idea was ingenious. Thankfully she stuck to that idea 'til we had her party on Saturday. I'm so excited because with this great improvement in cakes I look forward to being a professional baker of cakes by the time she's 30.

But I made a huge mistake, folks. Because I figured a strawberry cake wouldn't be so tasty (her request) I thought I'd make a more adult-appealing cake, like red velvet cake, to keep both young and old happy. Now the cake itself wasn't amazing but the icing was. After almost 12 weeks of no sugar I could not keep myself from eating a piece with the out-of-this-world icing. Then the next day I lost self-control again when I saw Jonathan pull the cake out. Then yesterday...he did it again. Pulled it out right in front of me. Now I was doing really good today 'til I started writing this and now can't stop thinking about that icing. I'll be right back...

Ok, make that four days in a row. I'm so weak. If you are reading this and you live close by please come take this cake away...I need help! If you think I'm crazy and you have the time and money to put into a batch of icing to see that I'm not crazy then here ya here, make the icing and then come back and comment, letting everybody know that this icing is irresistible. Next time I'm just going to make a batch of icing and serve it in small cups.

Happy birthday to my Karis Joy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Christmas in October

Yes, dear friends, I realize that it's already November. But our Christmas in October really happened in October, hence, the title of this post.

Wow, Christmas in October is a very exciting experience! And you know folks, you too can enjoy this experience by following three not-so-simple steps. Keep in mind that you may feel discouraged after reading the first two steps but if you persevere and follow through I can guarentee you that you will have a great Christmas in October. Promise.

Here they are...

1.) Pack up everything you own that is dear to you and get rid of the rest.

2.) Move overseas and reaccumilate new stuff as you can afford it .

3.) After 6 years take all of the "new" stuff you've accumilated, sell or give it away in 4 weeks, move back to the original location and then unpack everything you packed up the first time.

It really is exciting. What is so great about this is that during those 6 years when you're adjusting to life in a different culture, learning a language and uh, contemplating who-in-the-world you really are as a person you WILL forget everything that you had to pack up in the beginning. When was the last time you were able to open 20 boxes which contained surprises in each one?

Unpacking the initial 10 boxes. I sure hope Jonathan doesn't see this picture.

So we've added a few items to our 20 boxes, thanks to the Good Cents store and garage sales.

Needless to say it's been an exciting month. I am so glad I didn't remember how awesome my kitchen pots were when we were living in Brazil or I may have taken them down there, only to bring them back here again! Cooking rice is an amazing thing when you can look through the glass lid and see what it looks like. Even though I've always known you weren't supposed to lift the lid to peek at rice...I always do. Looking at the rice never helps anything but I'm just a spaz that way. Gotta see it. Now I can peek 'til my little heart is content.

So besides opening up boxes and boxes of treasures (I do have a pile of stuff to take to Goodwill though, as some things that were dear to my heart are not-so-dear anymore) we have already accumilated some more used-treasures.

Did I ever even mention that we are in our own home now? We are. The Lord swung open some doors for us to live in a house just around the block from Jonathan's parents. And the only way we were able to do that is because we are able to work off 1-2 months worth of rent. Jehovah Jireh! That is the only reason as we are still making payments on our house in Brazil which IS in the process of selling though we won't see the funds for another month or two. We are so thankful.

One of the items we have been blessed with is a tv. Normally I wouldn't mention or write anything about a tv on my blog except....well, it's a great story and if anybody comes to my house and sees this tv, we really want them to know how we got it and how much we paid. To me a tv isn't a big deal. The dining room table and chairs were my big deal. Jonathan's big deal was the tv.

I got my table and chairs (which is an amazing story in itself)....

And so we were left looking for a tv. Really we were only half-hearted in our search but were amazed at how much money people wanted for their used tv's. We came close to spending $60 on a puney flat-screen at a garage sale (I think it was a 17 inch?) but decided to just wait since...well, we are capable of living without a tv for a while.

And then it happened. I noticed on Craigslist that somebody had a "big" flatscreen for sale for $50. Jonathan called, talked to the guy who said he just wanted it out of his house TODAY and the next thing I know J's in the truck headed to Chattanooga to pick it up. We had other shopping to do there so his folks, Karis and I drove their other vehicle down to meet him. When he pulled up into the parking lot I just started laughing. I mean, I could not stop laughing. God has a great sense of humor. Jonathan wanted a big TV and a big TV he got. This baby is 52 inches. I am not kidding. A 52 inch tv for $50.
The first time we put Karis' show "Hermie" on she exclaimed "Hermie is big like me!"

I have to admit we're kind of self-conscience about it. We don't mind admitting that we do enjoy tv sometimes but it's hard to not imagine what one might think walking into our home and seeing this monstrous thing. I can just see someone thinking "so, they can't afford to pay rent but they can afford THAT?" Which is exactly what I would think. What is even funnier is that as embarrassed as we are, Jonathan's mom is even more embarrassed. This is a small town you know, so everybody knows a certain extent. When the phone guy came over to install the internet Jonathan went on to explain the story of how we got the tv and how much we paid for it. But the guy said "oh yeah, your mom already told me. That's amazing!"

Enough of the tv story. If you come over, now you know :-)

It is so wonderful to be closer to family again. Though I haven't seen Stace yet (we will at Thanksgiving!) we've been able to see almost everyone else. And Karis is having a blast getting to know her cousin, Jagger. Isn't this picture too cute?

I LOVED having cousins growing up. My cousins in Orlando were such a huge part of my life that I feel so sorry for those who haven't been able to experience the same thing. I am happy to watch Karis get to know at least one of her cousins. And Thanksgiving will be great as all four cousins will be together. Cousins are awesome because they're family but they're more exciting than siblings since you don't see them all the time. Then again, when you're an only child like Karis I'm sure seeing anyone other than mom and dad is exciting!

Here are a few pictures of the munchkins dressed up at halloween....

We took them to a Fall Festival at a local church. It was a neat festival with lots of games and prizes for the little ones. But after about 2 pieces of candy my child (who doesn't get a ton of sugar) could hardly wait in line anymore, she was so hyper. Next time I'm not going to let her eat any candy until after the festival and then she's going to have a slumber party with one of her grandmas. Hopefully both of the grandmas will forget reading this by next October and won't think of anything when I casually ask "can Karis spend the night so we can go on a date?" ha.

Before I end this already-too-lengthy post here are a few Karis funnies from the past few weeks...

I was explaining to Karis the meaning of her name and how it is the Greek word for "grace". I wasn't sure how much she was understanding but tried to be as clear as possible. She seemed to really be soaking it in but after about 30 seconds of silence she asked "Is my name Grace Bible Church?"

When Jonathan's cousin Lorna was visiting here in August we went to a historic museum about Sequoyah,  a Cherokee who invented the Cherokee alphabet/writing system. The museum is located where he lived and when we were there Karis seemed fascinated that we were at a man's house who had already died. She kept asking "Is Sequoyah dead?" Well for the next 8 weeks we didn't hear or mention anything about Sequoyah until a few weeks ago when Jonathan was mentioning a job opening in Sequoyah. He was explaining the situation to his mom when all of us heard Karis' voice yell from the back room "but dad, Sequoyah is dead!"