Tag Archives: inspiration

Cute and Easy Frig Magnet Craft

Please join me at my new web home JessieGunderson.com and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

I finally got sick of looking at “Bob’s Plumbing” (no offense Bob) and several random chipped up porcelain refrigerator magnets. How about you? What’s your worst magnet?

To remedy that, the kids and I had another craft day. This was so easy and cheap. I think I’ll do it again and next time I will splurge on stronger magnets for all the pictures and cardstock I hang.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • cute bright colored papers (even recycled cards and mail work)
  • large glass gems (I got mine at the dollar store)
  • magnets
  • glue (so far Elmer’s worked)
  • scissors

We cut out squares of paper and glued the decorative side of the paper to the back of the gem so the pattern shows through the bubble. Be sure to spread and smash the glue across the entire gem. Then we let them dry for at least an hour. This was a nice project to start before nap/reading hour and finish after. Once they were dry we trimmed the excess paper and stuck magnets to the back, pressing down hard to attach. Now write yourself a note and try out your new magnets! When the kids drop them all over the floor and break every last one of them, it will only cost pennies to update.

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Letter Crazed, wall art craft

Please join me at my new web home JessieGunderson.com and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

I know its kind of a fad now to have words, phrases, letters on your walls. This is one band wagon I have gladly jumped on.

Remember this picture?

These are wooden letters with paper, salvaged wrapping paper and even gift bags, wallpaper, tissue paper and even cutouts from pretty gift cards glued on. The nice thing is if I decide I don’t like it I can glue something else right over! I have also since found cardboard letters that are less expensive at a local scrapbooking store.

Here is what I did with my wooden letters.

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Counting my Blessings

Sometimes it’s an automatic response for me to dwell on the things I can’t have, my kids can’t eat, those aspects of my life that aren’t working… and then came Fab Friday and as I thought about what to post I realized that perspective is like hanging from my toes. All it accomplishes is clouding my vision.

God wants our worship. He requires our adoration. Not as a chore but as a response to the wonderful things he does. This world is not our home. He has a plan to restore a far greater dwelling that does not decay, disappoint or cause grief. Why worship? Because everything good comes from the Father of Lights.

All that bad junk? A consequence of our fallen world. Not God’s idea. Our idea. OUR idea, to do it on our own to make our own way, to pursue our dreams.

Look around you today. What can you praise Him for?

Of all the things Loud Kiddington can’t eat I’m praising God there are thing he can! Check out Gluten Free 4 Goofs to see what yummy breakfast treat is all over his face.

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Filed under FAB Friday Carnval, Thru the Lens

I’m a Reading Rainbow

I did finally get to read to my neighbor.  It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

My friend whom I met with in regard to God’s harebrained plan about reading to her husband the doctor, was glad to see me and optimistic about our arrangement.  Unfortunately her husband had fallen asleep and she was not able to readily wake him so instead of introducing us she left me with her eleven year old daughter while taking her other kids to youth group.

Waiting made my anxiety worse.  My husband had asked earlier in the day if I was nervous and at that time I was not, even when I showed up I was not but sitting there I began to entertain my reservations.

What will he think of this crazy plan?  Will he think I intend to evangelize him without compassion.  I bet he is wondering if whatever I have planned will allow him yet another chance to sleep or let his thoughts wander.

I chatted with my heart in my throat, nervous about what to do if he woke.  At last we heard him coughing in the other room and that darling little girl got up and ran into his room exclaiming, “Good morning, sleeping beauty!”

It was actually six at night!

“Do you wanna meet a new friend?” she exclaimed and beckoned with her hand for me to enter.

Thank you Lord! 

I had been so nervous about how to approach him and yet this lovely little girl had taking away all tension with her plucky introduction.

Lord, help me not to talk down to him, help my conversation to be comfortable and respectful.  Lord give me the right words so that I don’t pity him but that your love shows through me and your hope is evident without my having to preach at him.  Jane and I want so badly for him to learn to trust you, help me to understand your timing.

She left us alone and I sat beside his bed and began to explain why I had chosen the book that I did.  Despite the fact that God clearly directed me to read House, by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, I had many other reasons for agreeing with Him and I shared those. 🙂

As I spoke I took in a couple quick glances at the pictures above the bed, they were of healthier times for the doctor and I was shocked at the stark difference.  Though he had thick cotton white hair even then, it was silky and bright .  Now his hair was a coarse gray mat against his head.  He had been a big man with a broad inviting smile.  Now, emaciated and limp, his smile ghoulish, his head appearing too large on his skeleton frame.  My heart ached.

I opened my book and read stopping now and again to take a sip of water and allow him to cough.

We finished one chapter and I paused to talk a little about myself.  I told him briefly about each of my kids and that I felt blessed to know his family.  His daughter came in to check on us and I took another drink of my water while conversing with her.

I read another chapter and twice I made major mistakes that sent us both into laughter.  His eyes sparkled and he tried to laugh but it caused a coughing fit.  I winced at the pain it seemed to cause him as he gagged and sputtered.  I could not believe that I was sitting there, next to a man who was so incapacitated and yet the Lord was allowing us to fellowship.  I was not disturbed by the monitors and wheelchair.  My mind was filled with compassion and my heart longed only for him to know my Jesus and accept the promise of complete healing whether on earth or in heaven.

I read a total of three chapters and in the third had another laugh fumbling around with my voice attempting to recreate a “booming” male voice.

Though I had seen the sparkle in his eye and thought I made him laugh it was hard to be sure how he was taking it until his daughter ran to her mother the minute she arrived and exclaimed “He was so into it, I haven’t seen him that alert!”

My reservations were wiped away and the Lord graciously confirmed that His thoughts are completely different from ours…and His ways are far beyond anything we can imagine.

I read again soon and will be sure to keep you updated.

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your way and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.  They cause the grain to grow producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.  It is the same with my word.  I send it out and it always produces fruit.  It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it.  You will live in joy and peace.  The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!  Where once briers grew, myrtles will sprout up.  This miracle will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Isaiah 55:8-13

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Filed under Faith First, True Tales

The Doctor’s Doctor

It wasn’t even Sunday and I got that feeling in my stomach that happens when you know you are supposed to go up during the altar call.  The very same butterflies that urge you to speak out on something important.  The unrest that does not settle until you take action.  I’m sure you’ve felt the same feeling in one situation or another.  But this was the middle of the week.  No pastor preaching, nobody challenging my ideals just me driving my car down the road in peace and quiet!  Maybe that was the trouble, I’m usually unable to think, let alone pray with my Thinglets poking each other and Pee Wee squealing along with them, my radio blaring to try to drowned out the noise.

I knew what it meant. We have a new neighbor in the valley whose house I pass each time I go to town.  The  family had moved into the single level home six months after the man of the house had suffered a major frontal lobe stroke that put him in a nursing home and made it unable for him to return to their multi level house only a few miles away.

Matt and I had stopped by one day and offered our assistance when we saw them moving in.  Jane told us the whole story about her husbands stroke and how he was unable to return home to her and the kids until they moved into a house that was better suited to a wheelchair.

When we left I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could serve them better.  What could I do to help out? 

Drop off a meal?  Ugh!  No offense to any kind soul who serves meals in love but I always cringe at the Christian cliche, “Just serve them a meal!”  Although this common practice is how I was introduced to one of my favorite meals to date (so I had better not frown too obviously) it’s just not my cup of soup.

I could babysit the kids but anyone who knows me IRL knows that I am not the gal for that job! While I love my kids and have an absolute blast with each and every one of them I’m not the little kid type. Please send me all your teenagers but not your babies!  Only one of Jane’s children would fit my category so I didn’t think that would be my job either.

“How then Lord, how can I help?”

Have you ever asked a question and promptly found you regret the resulting answer?

I did get a clear answer.  Not in the form of actual words but a vivid and real epiphany complete with the thought process behind it, none of which I came up with on my own.

For months the Lord has been preparing me to stop and present His harebrained plan of which I am supposed to happily facilitate.  I’ve prayed many times since then, ” let me know when it is time Lord,”   and yet even when he made it distinctly evident, I didn’t want to go through with it.

***************

Imagine an intelligent and mature man who had spent a lifetime pursuing a successful career as a doctor, a family practitioner.  He has a beautiful wife many years younger than himself, loving and devoted to him, his three darling children and his time consuming  job and passion.  They live in a grand custom home on a private lake and lead a life of ease.  The family entertains many friends and attends church every holiday.  They are the ideal American family.

Now imagine you are that man and one night after you lay your head to rest you awake to the bright lights of the ER.   The smells and sounds as familiar as your  jobplace. 

Wait… you can not turn your head, you can’t sit up and reach over to turn off the monitor beeping in your ear.  Your heart begins to race, your eyes dart from the lights on the ceiling to the IV in your hand.  The blue coats rushing around are not your nurses, but you’ve seen them before while attending surgery at the local hospital.  Why can’t you speak?  You want to ask “Why am I laying here?”

***************

I thought about these things and I imagined myself in Dr. Smith’s position.  I feared the inability to move myself, to express myself, to learn.  When I climbed into his shoes I was terrified and lonely.

It’s been a year since his stroke but mobility has not returned, speech continues to allude him.  People come to the new house to wish him speedy recovery but most of them don’t know what to say, they talk to him like a child.  He can’t lift his hand to shake theirs, he can not assure them he is still as sharp as ever in thought.  He can only sit alone with his  thoughts hoping to either get well or die.

If I were in his shoes I can only imagine the struggle I would have pondering the apparent either/or.

Armed with compassion I would not have mustered on my own and the harebrained plan that made me blush each time I explained it to those who were praying, I drove up the driveway to the new house and parked reluctantly at the barn.

I was really hoping this was another practice run since I’d parked there once before (another time when the butterflies made me do it) only to find that Jane was not home.    This time she slipped out the back door almost immediately and strode confidently toward my Suburban.  A lump formed in my throat.  I conjured up a front for my visit and began to converse about our kids, 4-H, the Mariners (not really) until finally the swirling, fluttering, shaky feeling could no longer be ignored.

“Jane, uh er, I uh…,” I took a deep breath then spit it all out, “the real reason for my visit is to see if your husband would like if I was to read to him on a regular basis.” 

I didn’t look for her reaction before I continued, “I have a book in mind that I have not read yet, it’s a supernatural thriller that honestly sounds a little scary.”

Then I took another breath and tried to blur the next sentence into an unrecognizable muddle, “It has a faith based component, so I believe it ends well.”

To my surprise my lovely neighbor whom I barely know anything about latched onto the whole idea like I was sent by God to help ease her burden.  Imagine that! 😉

Before blurting out the whole plan I had thoroughly convinced myself of the stupidity of reading to an intelligent man, like I was Mr Rogers.  The Lord told me clearly to read  to a scholarly doctor who despite his medical condition I was convinced  could certainly read on his own.

After I had settled my fluttering friends, I confided in Jane as to how stupid I felt for even suggesting the idea.  The only read aloud forums I would let myself imagine were juvenile gatherings; the library story hour, Saturday nights as a kid listing to my dad read “Little House on the Prairie” and visions of my own children nestled around reading “The Indian in the Cupboard.”  What in the world would a full grown man think of me READING to him.  “I’m sure he can read on his own, maybe he would prefer to borrow my book!”  I explained.

“Oh, no,” Jane grew solemn “He would not be able to hold the book.”

The stroke had been severe enough that even a year later the doctor is still unable to sit fully on his own or steady his hands for anything other than a squeeze or a meager wave.  His speech is nearly non existent and if he stands at all it is only with the help of a strong adult.  Most of the time she said he doesn’t even lift his head to watch the TV.  “He just listens,” she assumed aloud.

At the mention of faith (a word I had used hoping to avoid the subject of Jesus all together) a whole new conversation emerged and I spent the next hour sharing a spiritual connection with Jane.  I learned that she is a believer herself and concerned about her husbands salvation.  Before the stroke, he had been successful and preoccupied, not the one to persue Christian gatherings but never in the way of her endeavor to educate the children on “religious” matters.  She told me about how more and more people have been pursuing him and telling him that Christ wants to be a part of his life.

She told me, with an embarrased but mischievous glint in her eye that she had been reading her Bible to him and dragging him out to church every Sunday. 

As she described it, they had recently had a discussion where she told him that he needed to give his burdens to the Lord and allow Christ into his life.  Things that day had been really bad, he was weak and unhelpful when she tried to get him up, she had struggled to lift while he resisted and in the end he had fallen.  She knew that her prayers could only go so far since the Lord will not make a person believe so she urged him to pray and ask God for assistance.  The next day his strength was back and his face a little less ashen.  

The Lord hears and the doctor is beginning to ask!

There was an urgency in Jane’s mind in regard to her husband knowing the Lord’s healing.  We talked about the possibility of the Great Physician bringing total healing and she insisted it won’t happen until Dr. Smith allows it.

I invited them to a bible study at our house and she said they would be sure to come.

Through obedience to the Lord, I have made a new friend, been given a new prayer, and am a participant in the healing process of the doctor in heart and health!  I am confident this won’t be the end of the story.

Click here to read what happened next.

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Three of my Favorite Christmas Traditions:

Christmas, ideas, budget savy, creative, crafts, handmade, charity, adopt a family, different kind of tradition

Three of my favorite Christmas Traditions:

I’ve never been accused of being too prissy (unless you count 3rd grade).  Never been one to overdress for the occasion (unless you count Jr. High).  And I’ve definitely not been one to spend exorbitant amounts of money on Christmas for anyone but I’d venture to say I make up for it in creativity.

1. Homemade/Handmade Gifts: 
The boys’ cousins wanted “Noah’s Ark” for Christmas and though I looked I couldn’t find something reasonably priced.  When I mentioned it to my husband he decided that would be the “guy” project for the week.  It took Noah years to build the Ark but it only took three boys and a lot of creativity to build this replica in a day.  I am so proud of their effort.  My boys were excited to create something with their own hands!  Pictures here!

Pee Wee got a crochet humanoid last year that I spent hours on.  An incredibly talented crochet “guru” I found online made a similar doll  (but much better) and I love the blue color.  My mom happened to have just the right shade!   During that creative endeavor the boys had many opportunities to peruse online pictures of amigurumi animals.  Each of them picked out a favorite of which I promptly forgot.  THIS year I overheard them describing to their grandma what they were hoping to get for Christmas.  Each of the older boys outlined the details of an alleged animal Mom was making for them.  OOPS!  So I made the boys crochet creatures.  Thing One requested a Polar Bear.  Pictures here!  A cute little robot for Thing Two, see him here.  If I can crank it out in lightning speed, a frog for the Bubba.

2. The Greatest Weirdest Christmas Ornaments Ever:
My first Christmas with Matt I believe he was a little surprised when I pulled out my box of Christmas ornaments.  Why?  Where most people have an annual ornament exchange with the family, quaint things like a globe with the year or another teddy bear bell I had things like a perfect miniature replica of a container of granola, an Odyssey of the Mind mini trophy, a red pickup truck (for the year I hoped my parents would buy me wheels for Christmas – they did, it was about 2 inches long).  

In my family’s tradition the token ornament had to signify the most significant, strange or memorable event of that year for the person.  We have continued on that tradition by including some of the strangest things you’ll see on a Christmas tree.  See pictures here.  A potty, a circular saw, a nice plump pig, an outhouse, a tooth, motorcycle, a surfing alien; all with equally strange explinations.  But none that are “just because”.

3.  Adopt a Christmas Family:
The most fun by far is our annual game of Ding-dong Ditchem”.  After much prayer and consideration, sometimes accompanied by a little kick in the pants also known as divine intervention, someone identifies a needy family.  On the sly we learn all we can about the needs, wants and desires of that particular family and then our family divide and conquer to get gifts chosen especially with the children in mind.  

It is a blast when four or five families pool their meager resources to buy something big, fun and completely unexpected for kids who are likely to get only a small toy and a pair of socks for Christmas.  If possible we choose a complete outfit for each child and fill another box with a feast for the Holiday!  Many times we include gift certificates for food and gas as well.  We always include a letter of explination where we share the meaning of Christmas and that Christ is behind our tradition.

This year the resources were quite slim and we feared a gift giving recess but the Lord came through!  One of the family members received a “pay it forward” bonus from work and were challenged to spend it on someone needy.  Someone else went through hand me down clothing that is still in great shape and filled a box with that.  When all else fails we still have plenty of pork to share! 🙂

Nowdays The Drop doesn’t look quite like it used to.  As kids we could drive up in the dark, deliver the bounty and run.  Not so in the post terrorism era.  This year we elected an outside party from our church to call and let them know there was someone who would like to bless them this Christmas.  Yet another person is sent with a pickup load of presents and in this way even the “delivery” person is blessed and able contribute. 🙂  We remain anonimous and God gets the glory!

This post is linked at Extravagant Grace, Bringing Holy Back!  Join the movement.

Bringing Holy Back

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Memory Verse

I want to share the scripture passage that I’m memorizing between now and the 15th of Dec.  I just love what Beth Moore shared about the image this verse conveys to her.  Check it out!  She talks about this particular verse toward the bottom of the post.

When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, With your other hand save me. Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now. Psalm 138:7-8, The Message.

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