Friday, November 30, 2012

AOC

Speaking of my good friend Jessica (taught the photography class I took mentioned in the last post)....

Adam, Jessica's husband is our worship leader at Cahaba Park.  He also happens to be the lead musician in the band Act of Congress.
Act of Congress is awesome! 

And they put an awesome Christmas album out last year!  (the only bad part about the album is that it only has 4 songs!  Adam, we want more!)  

And last week, they were listed as #1 Christmas Album on Pioneer Woman!  Pretty good exposure!  

Way to go Adam and Act Of Congress!
You can get the Holiday Album on iTunes.

O Holy Night is especially awesome!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Photography Class

I took a photography class a few weeks ago.  
It was just a one hour, quick over view of getting better  acquainted 
with your camera and all that it does.  
I have spent a little bit of time reading about my camera and tried to grasp those bizarre terms... 
ISO, aperture, F-Stop, shutter speed....  
On my own, I have become vaguely familiar with these terms 
and made several attempts at using the manual setting on my camera.  
But after about 10 minutes I usually just give up and go back to that safe "green box."
My good friend Jessica taught the class.  I have by no means become an expert, but I have taken more pictures on the manual setting than the green box since the class!  
Big improvement!!  
There have been lots of times that I just cannot get the light right 
and give in and turn that dial right back to the green box.  
But I am not giving up.  I am going to keep trying.  
And hopefully with the help of Jessica (lots and lots of help!), my pictures will get better and better:)

 **These pictures were taken (all on Manual) on our Gruffalo hunt over Thanksgiving.  The Gruffalo is one of The Lee Kids' favorite books (there is actually a dvd out now which we have not seen) and over the last couple of years we have seen lots suspicious Gruffalo activity at the lake.  We make sure to try to rid the lake of any Gruffalo every chance we get!


***Jessica is planning on hosting more photography classes in the next year.   For all of my Birmingham friends, I will let you know when these classes are open to the public.  







Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Thanksgiving Psalm

Psalm 66

Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.
Selah


Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in deeds toward the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations --
let no the rebellious exalt themselves.
Selah


Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip,
For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.



I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will perform my vows to you,
that which my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.
Selah


Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.



Blessed by God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!














Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful

I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the Lord who does all these things.
Isaiah 45:7

This verse was mentioned at church this past Sunday.  I have held tight to it this week.

It goes on to say...

"Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it,
'What are you making?'
or 'Your work has no handles?'"
45:9-10

and even further on...

I made the earth
and created man on it,
it was my hands that stretched out the heavens,
and I commanded their host.
I have stirred him up in righteousness,
and I will make all his ways level.
45:12-13


I am Thankful today for a God who is the creator of everything.  And not only the creator, but actively working.  Even when it seems like calamity in my eyes, there is nothing that is outside of God's work.  He is just as much responsible for the well-being as the calamity.  Everything, EVERYTHING (even when we don't understand) is for God's glory and our good.  I am thankful to be in the hands of a God who is always actively working for our good!


*Miller's asthma flared up again last week.  This is the first time he has gone on a steroid since MAY!  That is a huge praise!  Last year he had steroids July, August, September, October and November.  So, we have much to be thankful for!!!  But in the middle of dealing with asthma, even when we can see how much better Miller is from last year, it is still hard.  But we know God is the author, even of Miller's asthma!  And so, we praise Him for that!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

T-Shirt Dress

I have not made one of these dresses in years!!!  
All Ella wants to wear are comfy knit dresses with leggings or tights.  Because of this, I have not really sewn very much for Ella lately.  It is just much easier (and usually cheaper) to buy knit dresses.  (Not to mention the fact that I am not the best sewing with knits, I just find them very tricky.)  
I have found some really cute/not too grown up dresses here and there and felt like Ella's closet was full.  But when I started using this fabric making the sandwich bags, I could not stop thinking about it as a dress for Ella.  I have not sewn a dress for Ella in sometime, so she was thrilled to have something that I made just for her that met all of her wardrobe requirements.
 

As I started making the t-shirt dress, I remembered just how easy these dresses are to make (not to mention they are super cute!).  You may have made tons of these for your little girls.  If not, you may now.  They are very easy, very cute and 100% guaranteed to make any little girl thrilled!


All you need is a t-shirt and about 3/4 yard fabric (fabric length just depends on how long you want the dress).
Measure the length of the t-shirt from the shoulders (I used a different dress of Ella's for the measurement).
and cut the bottom off of the t-shirt.
Measure fabric to desired dress length plus 1/2 inch for seam allowance and desired hem length.  I think I did an 1.5 inch hem on this dress.
One thing that makes this dress so easy is there is only one seam.
Sew the fabric together, selvage to selvage, making a big tube.
 (fyi, it was very difficult to take a picture of a tube of a piece of fabric this big.  this was my best effort)

Finish the edge.  You do not have to have a serger to finish your seam nicely.  Your zig-zag stitch works great.
 Next, sew in your gathering threads (set your straight stitch to the longest length.  do not finish the stitch at the beginning or the end so that you can pull the threads).
Side note:  even though I had read in lots and lots of places you should always sew two gathering threads, I never did because when I am sewing I am usually trying to get the most amount of sewing I can in the shortest amount of time.  Sewing an extra gathering stitch seemed like extra time I did not want to take.  That was until I got almost all the way through gathering a skirt or ruffle and my thread broke.  I now always sew two gathering threads!  It is time well spent!

Mark the middle front of your dress (the middle back will be the seam)
and the center front and center back of top.

Gather the skirt.
Gather the skirt to match the top.
Match the centers together with right sides facing each other.
Pin the top to the skirt.
Sew top to bottom.  Finish the seam with either zig-zag or serger.
 I really debated using elastic thread to attach the top to the skirt like I did here in the dress I made for myself this summer.  I never used elastic thread when I made these dresses for Ella when she was younger, but with more fabric pulling on the t-shirt, I don't think it would be a bad idea for older girls.  It might help give a little more shape to the dress.  I will let you know if I try it:)

Sew in the hem.
 And I could not resist adding my new tags to the back of the dress:)
 Ella loves having the tag on her dress!

If you need a quick, easy dress for your girls (or you are just beginning sewing) this is the project for you!  I hope your girls are as happy as Ella is about her new dress!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Lessons From the Carpool Line

I am going to be honest, this is a post I really don't feel like writing.  But I definitely don't want to present myself as mom who has it all together, always happy go lucky, making cookies and doing crafts all day long with the kids.  That would not be an accurate portrayal or our life.  Nor would it be a clear picture of how the Lord is continuing to work in my life.
Today was a good day.  Yesterday... that is a whole different story!  I think it is very fair to say that the wheels fell off.  After spending a day with two children on breathing treatments, one who is also on steroids, I had been pushed all the way to my limit.  Considering all things, I had held it together pretty good all day, I was just exhausted.  Things changed in the carpool line.  There is no way around it, I just lost my patience with the child who is "supposed to be easy. " 
The really sad part about the whole thing is that driving to the carpool line I realized things could get difficult (I was heading straight to the grocery store with all three kids) and prayed for the Lord to give me patience.  At the first sign of stress, I did not turn to the Lord.  All I could think was "I cannot believe this is happening.  How could you be acting like this???"  Instead of drawing strength from the Lord, I turned to myself and could not believe how the kids were offending me.
Like I said, today was a good day.  The Lord is very merciful, very gracious and very patient!  This morning I prayed Proverbs 29:25 for the kids, "The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe."  And that is when it hit me.  
Yesterday, immediately after the debacle, I was so sad that I responded that way to my children.  How could I loose my patience so easily with my children (I mean, seriously, look how cute these kids are!)?  But this morning I realized how it was possible.  I feared man more than I feared the Lord.  
I was more worried about the people in all the cars behind us in the traffic that we were stopping than I cared about showing my kids the love and the patience that the Lord shows us everyday, even when we mess up (over and over again!).  
As moms, we have to just get over what we think other people might be thinking!  Our number one job is to raise kids who love and fear the Lord.  And the way we do that is to fear the Lord in all of life, especially parenting!  Most of the times it is not ok for the kids to be running up and down the grocery aisles (or holding up traffic).  But sometimes it might be.  What must motivate our responses in those tough situations is not "what other people are thinking" but "how are their little hearts right now."  So easy to say!  So hard to live out day to day!  
My prayer for myself (and all of you) is that I would love God more than I love man.