Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Opportunity

"She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night."
Proverbs 31:18
Michelle and I are going to step into the world of Avon. I have been an Avon supporter for some time now, appreciating the cost effective quality, however, had been content to purchase from someone else. Last week, my good friend, made me an offer I couldn't refuse. She invited me to become an Avon rep which will allow me to enjoy the products for an even more reasonable price, as well as, easily generate some additional cash flow for our home. Initially, I was not too interested, having been down the Direct Marketing route before. Then, as I pondered the opportunity, I found value in being frugal (deodorant for $.99 vs $3.99 at the store); setting my hands to something that can contribute to our household resources; and create a learning experience for Michelle and I. I am actually excited to play in this area! Avon has done amazing things to make the shopping experience easy as well. I appreciate this, given my desire to invest my time wisely. I continue to aspire to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and believe this season will add new opportunities for learning and growth.
This particular opportunity was not something I specifically choose - I did not wake up one morning shouting, "I want to be an Avon Rep". I had been praying for opportunities where my talents and experiences could bless our family and others. I had envisioned what this might look like and had been waiting not-so-patiently for something to show up. I wonder how many times in my life I've missed an answer to a prayer by overlooking opportunities that were right in front of me. I also wonder how my own agenda and prerequisites have limited my opportunities. I have recently been considering my prayers and communication with my Heavenly Father. Have I become self-centered? Have I been praying for blessings, and then lay out before God what I think I need, how things should look, etc.? And then wonder why I don't feel deeply connected to Father, and my heart. What is my purpose? How would I ever reach my destined plan if I am running on automatic self. Free will is the greatest gift our loving Heavenly Father gave me, and I've spent a lot of time expressing my will on demanding, self-centered, flesh driven choices. I realize just how I have been a poor steward of my time, talents, and faith. I feel I've contridicted myself in praying; Father, please bless me but here's how I want to be blessed. Where has my faith been?
How grateful I am for the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ!! His loving sacrifice not only offers grace to me when I loose sight of faith, He also modeled what it is to lay down self and truly align with the will of Heavenly Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane, as he plead with Father; "take this cup from me" - that was a prayer of self; but Jesus did not stop there. He continued his plea, "not my will, but thine be done". In that moment, the ultimate sacrifice was made. To lay down my will immediately allows Father to step in and move things according to His greater perspective. What an amazing plan!!!
I pray that this understanding moves me with greater faith! I pray that as I lay down my own agenda, I will connect with the opportunities and plans the Father desires for me. I firmly believe that my God is a good God all the time!! He wants to bless us abundantly, and it is my will to align with Him moment by moment. Enjoying the journey!! Being grateful for the happy mess of goo because I experienced the joy of my children's imaginations and play. Taking time to swing with my kids at the park, rather than just observe from the sideline. Connecting with my daughter's heart as she openly shares her dreams and desires even though it's WAY past bedtime. Being in a place of gratitude to enjoy all of the opportunities God affords me!! I am so grateful to be a daughter of such a loving Heavenly Father!! I commit to move forward with an open heart - available to see and share all that my talents, experiences, and opportunites can bless and be blessed.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Columbus Day!!

Last week as we were reviewing the family calendar for this month, Jeff shared fond memories of Columbus Day Celebrations from his youth. Most people who know us, KNOW how proud we are of Jeff's Italian Heritage! Jeff grew up in a small town in New Jersey - 1 traffic light small. The town was primarily populated by families with Italian Heritage. Each year the entire town celebrated Catholic Feasts and holidays, Italian style with lots of food and fun!! Columbus Day was no exception given Christopher's "Goomba-ness". As Jeff shared his memories, I desired to create a special day, as a family, we could honor this courageous Italian (Christopher Columbus). So, with that in mind, Super Mom went into overdrive. I began looking for fun ways to learn about Christopher Columbus and to create a memory for our family. What a fun journey, I know I'm on overdrive when I'm dreaming about Columbus Day Craft Ideas.
Here's what we created:
Time: 10:30am - 1:30pm
Place: Mesa Riverview Park; Mesa, AZ

I packed a picnic lunch, library books, scooters, and craft supplies; and we headed off to the park. I was very excited knowing that our local park has a fishing pond we could utilize today. The kids even went to bed last night with a renewed sense of excitement for a fun day of learning. When we arrived, we found a covered pavilion placed between the pond and the playground - Perfect!! We set up camp so to speak, and began making our Walnut Shell Ships as a souvenir. Supplies needed:**

  1. Walnut Shell Half
  2. Small Ball of Playdough
  3. Construction Paper Triangle
  4. Straw and Tape

Cut the straw to desired length, tape paper triangle onto straw for the sail; place small ball of playdough into walnut shell; stick sail into playdough ball. Fabulous!!

Next, we did some word search puzzles and worksheets on Christopher Columbus. While we worked on these, we talked about what made this man memorable. I was happy to find the kids interested in the conversation. We were able to discuss character traits like courage, passion, patience, vision, inspiration, and determination. We talked about how things don't always go as planned, but that we can always find value in the journey. Overall, I was SO grateful for the inspiring time!!

Now, it was time to play and get ready for lunch. Michelle and Anthony surprised me by using the playground euipment to "act out" their own sea adventure. They wanted some sailor tools, so we made a telescope and binoculars.**

  1. Papertowel Roll
  2. Toilet Paper Roll
  3. Bendy Straw
  4. Construction Paper
  5. Tape or Glue

We first cut the TP Roll in half and measured the distance between Tony's eyes. Next, we rolled the TP Rolls and the PT Roll in construction paper. We cut 2 small slits in the side of the TP Rolls. We then cut the bendy straw so the the bendy part coule be our "nose piece". We were able to insert the cut bendy straw into the slits in the TP Rolls, and taped the insides. We decorated the Telescope and added additional tape to our binoculars in secure the ends, and tahdah, we were ready to explore!

After lunch, it was time to create our Masterpiece Replicas - The Nina, The Pinta, and The Santa Maria.**

  1. 3 empty plastic gallon jugs
  2. 3 paper napkins
  3. 3 plastic knives
  4. 3 straws

We began by cutting the plastic jugs about 1.5 inches from the bottom. We'll save the top part to use as sand scoopes and funnels. We then labeled the ships with a permanent marker. Next, we taped the straw to the inside to attach the sail to. We then decorated the paper napkins as our sails, and taped them to the plastic knives. Finally, we taped the plastic knives with sails onto the straws, and we were ready to set sail. We then launched our ships into the pond, and imagined what it would have been like that fateful August day in 1492. We were almost as excited and nervous as I'm sure the sailors were.

It was SO fun to watch our ships float across the water, and then 1 took on water and began to sink, and then a 2nd one did the same. It was fun to again talk about how things did not go exactly how Columbus had anticpated, just as we experience in our lives.

We had read from a library book, I Sailed with Columbus by Susan Martin. In this book, it described sailing through green sludge at one point. We decided to come home and make green goo** to experience what it might have been like to sail through it.

  1. 1 cup of Cornstarch
  2. 1 cup of COLD water
  3. food coloring

Slowly add the Cold water to the cornstarch, stirring as you go. This mixture will be both dry and wet - which makes it SO cool!! Then we added green food coloring and mixed it in. This goo looks wet on the counter, but feels dry; and then, as soon as you pick it up, it is slimy and wet. Messy Fun!!

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to loose sight of the shore!"

I think this quote totally sums up what we've learned from studying and celebrating Columbus. It is by faith and courage that great things happen! When we are willing to "set sail" with the "Great Captain", life becomes an adventure!! May we also leave a legacy of faith, courage, action, and inspiration!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sew for Service

Proverbs 31:13 She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.
My daughter, Michelle and I began our beginner's sewing class yesterday with Dawn Brown's Sew for Service. Dawn is a home-school mom/grandma that teaches the art of sewing along with the value of serving. Our final sewing project for this semester will be to make hospital gowns and bonnets for preemie babies and then to deliver them to the hospital. What an AWESOME opportunity! We began by learning the basics of a sewing machine - how to turn it on, what essential parts of the machine are, and how to thread it; and then we made a Cinnamon Scented Sachet from scratch (as seen above). It was such a joy to take pride in something so feminine along side of my daughter and 4 other girls. My mother is an incredible seamstress, however, it wasn't until recently that I really had the desire to acquire this skill. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with Michelle!! She is certainly gifted in working with her hands, and like her big sister, Theresa, came equipped with the ability and desire. I suppose this is part of our nurturing nature as women, however, I've spent most of my life focusing on my musical talents, rather than my homemaking abilities. Now, after almost 20 years of marriage, I am finding this incredible passion to honor the nurturer in me!! I am finding a desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman! To rise up in contribution and inspiration of my family, especially my daughters. To prepare and equip them to honor the woman in them. I am equally grateful for a mother who, through her example and skill development, modeled the value of being a homemaker. It is now my joy and honor to be the maker of our home, and not just an emotional female resident. I am certainly not suggesting that the only way to be a nurturer is by sewing and canning. I am, however sharing my newly awakened sense of joy in learning new skills that set me a part from my manly husband in contributing to our family. May the Lord bless us as we Rise Up For Such A Time As This, and may these new skills glorify the One who instilled them in me!!