End-of-February musings

I’ve finally taken the plunge. Some of you know that I am in the process of writing a book. I have the rough draft finished and now have to go back through and work on editing and shaping up. Publishers these days want authors to have a public platform in place before considering their book. So I created an author Facebook page to keep separate from my personal Facebook account. I want to invite you to like and follow my author page here. I probably won’t link every blog post there – just the more devotional ones for now. And I’ll share updates about the book progress as well as general encouragement. I do have a Facebook page that my blog automatically shares posts to, as some prefer to read them there. If I end up posting the same content both places, I’ll probably close down the blog page and just keep the author one. But we’ll keep them as is for now and see how it goes.

February has always been pleasant to me, even though it’s still wintry and cold. It’s a short month, and it brings us one month closer to spring! Two highlights in February for me are Valentine’s Day and my daughter-in-law’s birthday. For scheduling reasons we celebrated each after the official day.

Valentine’s Day vies with Christmas as my favorite holiday. I made my usual “meat hearts” (mini meat loaves shaped like hearts) and chocolate heart-shaped cupcakes. My grandson’s parents suspect red dyes of giving him problems, so we’re trying to avoid anything with red dye. Since most sprinkles and colored sugars for Valentine’s Day have red in them, I looked for non-food decorations and found these cute little cupcake toppers at Target.

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My special gift to my family is making a card for each of them. I try to make them according to their color preferences, likes, etc. This was for my husband:

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The Cricut machine did all the heavy lifting of cutting that out. I just had to choose the design and glue it together.

This was for Jeremy, who likes foxes:

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The fox and paw prints are stickers.

This was for Jason, a coffee-lover who likes blue:

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This is for Mittu, my daughter-in-law:

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She likes lavender and purple, so I used a heart-shaped punch and several lavender pieces of scrapbooking paper. On the checkered one, I used a corner punch at the bottom.

This was for my grandson, Timothy.

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The top cookie shape was done on the Cricut, and I got it a little too big, but it worked out ok. The shape of the bottom one was also done on the Cricut, but the paper on top looked like sprinkles already.

And, finally the last one was for Jesse, who likes red and prefers non-mushy cards. 🙂

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Though you could say jam is mushy . . . 🙂 The jam jar and letters were done on the Cricut. The Cricut also had the “You are my jam” letters shaped in an arch, but for whatever reason, they would not come out right. So I found a clipart banner and typed the words on it. There must be a way to type letters in an arch on the computer, but I couldn’t figure it out. Normally I would ask Jesse, but the card was for him. 🙂

Then, it’s always a joy to celebrate our sweet daughter-in-law’s birthday.

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I found that cute little birthday cake banner at the grocery store.

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This is the card I made for Mittu’s birthday:

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The letters were stickers; the square and rectangle shapes were cut with my paper cutter; the hearts were made with punches. I actually did the cupcake freehand, which doesn’t usually work out well! But it came out ok this time. Oh, the texture designs on the background and icing were done with the Cuttlebug embosser.

Those celebrations are not only enjoyable in themselves, but they are bright spots in the long winter and wait for spring. We are starting to see some bulbs pushing through the soil, but we still have some cold temperatures predicted for the next several days.

We experienced a lot of major flooding in our area last weekend after several days of heavy rain. Our house was fine, as it’s on raised ground. But a lot of roads around us were flooded over, including an on-ramp to the interstate.

We’re still adjusting to the loss of my mother-in-law. I wrote a tribute to her here. Since my parents and my husband’s father passed a long time ago, we’re not new to or surprised by grief. But they lived 1,000 and 2,000 miles away, respectively. Adjusting to their being gone took different forms – like missing calling my mom. Since Jim’s mom lived in our home for the last five years, there were triggers everywhere, and changes affected everything from what I buy at the store to how I use my time even to how I load the dishwasher. But she was doing so poorly her last few months, it’s a relief to know that she is no longer in a non-working, silent, crumpled body, and she’s with her Lord, her husband, and her sister. And we know from previous experience that those triggers lessen over time. In fact, in some ways I have felt guilty over enjoying some of the changes, like being free to go anywhere any time without arranging for a caregiver, not having to set up the ramp on bath days, not having hospice people (nice as they were) coming in and out, my husband being able to transfer his work station back into the room she had occupied, etc.  But I tell myself that if she could talk to me, she’d probably say something like, “Thank you for your care, but please, go on and enjoy your life.” (Forgive me if I have said this before – I thought I had but couldn’t find it here.)

Something that just occurred to me recently was that my mother-in-law cared for her own parents in various ways for years. They did not live with her, but they lived near-by, and my in-laws were the go-to people when her parents needed help of any kind. Of course they visited other times than when they needed help, and probably needed more help the older they grew. In some way I can’t quite explain, it helped me to realize that she understood what was involved in care-giving, and that I was able to give back to her in that way.

Of course, one thing I am into every month is reading. I read and reviewed these books (titles link back to my reviews):

  • Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy, a nice imagining of what Anne’s Marilla might have been like as a girl.
  • Murder in an English Village by Jessica Ellicott, kind of a cozy mystery involving a jet-setting American and a homebody Englishwoman who are friends with opposite personalities and who stumble across buried secrets in a sleepy little post-WWII English village.
  • Katie’s Dream by Leisha Kelly, the continuing saga of the Worthham family in the post-Depression era. This time Sam’s brother, recently released from prison, brings a little girl he insists is Sam’s, even though Sam never even met the girl’s mother. The story involves untangling the confusion and deciding what’s best to do with  a little girl who only wants a home.
  • Read the Bible for Life: Your Guide to Understanding and Living God’s Word by George H. Guthrie. Excellent resource for just what the subtitle says. Especially helpful in discussing the different genres we find in the Bible and how to get the most out of them.
  • A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, classic riches-to-rags-to-riches story that I had never read before. I am so glad I have now.
  • Journaling for the Soul: A Handbook of Journaling Methods by Deborah Haddix. Good resource: covers just about any journaling method you could imagine. (Congratulations to Kathie for winning the giveaway!)
  • I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel. Pleasant musings on the reading life.
  • On the Way Home and The Road Back by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The first is Laura’s record of moving with her husband and daughter by covered wagon from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri; the second is her journal of traveling back to South Dakota to visit her two remaining sisters 40 years later in an un-air-conditioned Buick.

I’m currently reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis by Patti Callahan, Love Is Not a Special Way of Feeling by Charles Finney, and Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey.

Around the blog, besides the book reviews, Friday’s Fave Fives, and Laudable Linkage:, I’ve shared

  • It’s Okay to Say It Hurts. “Enduring hardship as a Christian is not just a matter of a stiff upper lip or a smile that glosses over painful circumstances.”
  • Praying to Love More. “In my ongoing quest to understand what Christian love is and to grow in it, I compiled Bible verses which specifically spoke of praying to love.”
  • Smelting the Soul. “Instead of being discouraged that God continually shows me the ways in which I fall short, I can rejoice that He is continuing to refine me.”
  • Why Laura Ingalls Wilder Is Still Worth Reading. No, she and her family were not perfect. But we can still learn from them.

And that about wraps up February! I have an adventure coming up that I look forward to telling you about a little later on.

(Shannan invites us to share our end-of-month round-up posts, what we’re into, what’s keeping us sane. Sharing also with Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Monday, Tell His Story, Porch Stories, Let’s Have Coffee, Woman to Woman Word-filled Wednesdays, Faith on Fire, Grace and Truth, Linda’s Book Bag)

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13 thoughts on “End-of-February musings

  1. Thanks for linking up over at my place, Barbara … and for sharing the wealth of your creative energies! Mittu’s card is my favorite … the colors, the textures … so very pretty, all of them!

    There’s nothing like a beautiful card with some lovely, heart-words handwritten inside.

    Fun!

  2. Lovely! I made a few handmade cards for Christmas but didn’t get around to making Valentine’s cards… but you have inspired me to get back to my art table and set aside some crafting time soon!

  3. Wow! You read a LOT of books during the course of a month. Good for you! I am struggling right now to finish “The Overstory” for my Sunday book club! 🙂

  4. I’m sure you’ll be adjusting to your MIL’s passing for quite some time. And that’s so interesting — and meaningful, I think — that you realize her doing a similar type of care for her parents. Circle of life. I will definite “like” your author page. Ah, the platform 🙂 Love seeing the cards you make!

  5. Much success on your book outline and proposal. Pleased for you, Barbara. You are an excellent, articulate writer – a publisher should snatch you up. When my mom passed away almost 7 years ago I found myself floundering on Saturdays because that was “our” day. Took me a long while to realize she was enjoying the best SaturYAY’s ever and I could leave the guilt behind. Great post, great cards, loved it all.

  6. Wow, what a meaty post! Congrats on the start of your book! I’m so impressed that you are delving into this new venture.

    I appreciate your sharing Grandma’s comment (if she could’ve spoken) because of her own experience of caring for her parents. It’s a great example to your kids and grandson, though he is very young, to see how you loved by example.

  7. I still haven’t made time to do a monthly wrap-up and it’s already March 4. Sigh. But I’m glad to be back reading others’ blogs again so I enjoyed your wrap-up, Barbara. And I just liked your author FB page!

  8. Wow! I marvel at your creativity with the cards you make! They’re fantastic! My mom makes cards for everyone’s birthdays, always catering to the individual’s tastes. It has become something my kids look forward to and really value – even as adults. It’s a beautiful expression of love and care.

    Also, the books you mention all sound good! I’ve added many to my to-read list. Thanks for the inspiration!

    And congrats on writing your book! I followed both your Facebook pages as Wield The Word. I look forward to updates and exciting news.

  9. I always enjoy reading the monthly wrap-ups of others although I have yet to do one. Your cards are just beautiful & I am sure they are enjoyed by your family. Congratulations on your book! I followed you so I can read your exciting news when it comes out 🙂

  10. What sweet cards! And I appreciate your book recommendations. I just finished reading Deborah Haddix’s journaling book and enjoyed it very much. It gave me some new ideas for my own journal.

  11. I’m so glad you provided a glimpse into your February. You’ve been busy. What a gift to make cards for your family. Each one is better than the next. I hope March is filled with much joy too.

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