Tuesday, February 24, 2015

40 Bags in 40 Days 2015

Years ago I completed my first 40 bags in 40 days challenge. It was amazing.  I was SHOCKED at how many bags of junk and clutter that I filled and easily got rid of. 

This year, I'm starting late to do the 40 bags over the 40 days of Lent, but ANYTIME can be a great time to declutter our lives.  We don’t have to wait for Lent to be mindful.. or spring cleaning to sort.. or summer to slash.. or the looming holdiays to finally clean things out from the previous year.. 

We just need to START!

So here is my handy chart.  I've saved it as a JPEG so that you can save it and use it too.

Good LUCK! 

And did you notice that I didn't put dates on it?  Just Day 1 and so forth.. so NO PRESSURE and NO GUILT! So what if it takes you all year to get the 40 days of decluttering complete.. that's at least 40 bags more than you would have otherwise!!

Won't you join me? I'm starting today.. And I'm going to start with my craft stuff. OUCH!

Art and Soul: A Burlap Lent Banner

Saturday we had our first Art and Soul event at First Presbyterian Church Stephenville! We had a blast! I was nervous because I wasn't sure if we would end up with anyone able to come cause of the horrible flu that has hit every household in town!

But we had a good turn out and I think everyone went home with a banner that they were proud of.

The set up was that we use burlap banners that one of the ladies in the church made. What a huge, huge help this was! Burlap is so messy I don't think Linda is going to be willing to do that again.. glad she made extras! 

I cut out the word FAITH in vinyl letters for everyone.

We strung hemp rope and a dowel rod through the top of the banner and the participants took the letters and placed them anywhere on the banner that they wanted.

They then painted over the letters and anywhere else they wanted on the banner. They had raw umber, burnt umber, black and white paint for this step.

After getting a base coat down, they painted a tree or flowers or something of their choosing.  This was hard for some as they wanted me to tell them exactly what and how to paint!

They did have my sample to look at for inspiration...

And Charlene wasn't shy about offering tips and suggestions!

I also made a few window cross cut outs.  Alisa cut one up to make a big F and one of the boys placed one in the middle of his banner.

The finished banners! I absolutely love the variety!

Even Maddie made one... under duress.  She was hoping that there would be a baby there that she would "have" to hold and take care of.  But I think she and her friend enjoyed the project too!

I love this couple. They are adorable.  They laughed through the entire project about the difference of their personalities.  They remind me of my grandparents.

And isn't this banner nice! I love that she made one that tells the story of her farm.

And woohoo! Lexi got to make one.  After being sick for three weeks and missing two weeks of school, it was nice to see her out and about!

After we painted, we shared a meal together.  

I'm already dreaming up plans for the next Art and Soul event!! I'm thinking a landscape painting...maybe with a palette knife.... :)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Faux Stained Glass

I'm quickly running through my stash of fun and easy kids activities for church! I'm going to have start branching out and creating new things.. but for now, I've still got a few tricks!

Anyway, last week I had the kids look at the stained glass windows in the sanctuary and talk about them.  We looked a little at the colors, the symbols and all of that.

Then I gave them each a transparency that I had printed a line design onto.  The internet is a great resource for "coloring book" stained glass designs!  I wanted the patterns to be interesting, but not too hard as I have from 4 years old to 14 year olds!

(Side note..it is super easy to print onto a transparency! Just change the setting on your printer to transparency and put it through the side feeder of the printer.)

The kids colored the transparencies with oil pastels.  I use oil pastels because I have them. You might could use crayon.. I'm not sure.

Purple was the hardest color to get to go on smoothly.. for whatever reason. What is pretty cool is that if the kids color a section and they don't like it, they can just color over that section with a new color.

After they finished coloring, I took a blank transparency and sandwiched the pastel between the two transparencies.  I then used masking tape to secure the two pieces together.

And that was it! The kids LOVED them.  I was thinking we would make them to hang at the church.. but they all took them home! We will make some to hang at the church another time!
And that's it. Another super fun and easy craft project for kids!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A new level of crazy!

So I turned in a 20 page paper on Religious Issues in Schools this morning.  It was a group project on steroids.  And I turned in an 8 page paper on Curriculum Design this morning (all my own analysis).  I have about 100 pages of student's rights law to read tonight and another 10 page paper of my own analysis of that due in a couple of days.

But that's not my new crazy.

This is.

My BRF (best running friend) and I got up and started running this morning at 4am. yes that's 4. and AM! 

We are insane. But we were supposed to do our long run on Saturday and she was going to be out of town.. so heck.. why not do a 10 mile run before work?! 

Right. :)

Here we are at the end of our run.
And I made it to work on time, interacted with my students and am getting ready to make dinner.

Not too bad for a Thursday....

Saturday, January 31, 2015


It's been a difficult couple of days.  On Thursday evening, while I was in Houston for work (5 hours away from home) Doug went to the emergency room with chest pains and shortness of breath. He called from the hospital and said that they were running tests.  My friend Mindy, that I was in Houston with, and I discussed what to do.  We decided to wait to see what the results showed. A couple of hours later the numbers that look at to see if you are having a heart attack were up a little, so they did the blood test again.  After a couple more hours, and conversations with the nurse at the hospital and my sister that is a nurse, Mindy and I loaded up our stuff and headed home.  About half way home,  Doug called to say that he was being sent home with "unspecified chest pains."  We got home at 4am.

I don't know what I would have done without Mindy.  She drove the entire trip and never batted an eye at leaving early and not being able to stay for important meetings. I am so very thankful for her!

I finally got in bed and dozed a little from 4am to 6am on Friday morning, but Kylie was on top of me and sleep was elusive.  I got the girls to school and worked on my grad class some while Doug tried to figure out what to do.  My sister Libby went to work, so thankful that she is a cardiac nurse.. and talked to one of the cardiologists that she really respects.  He said that Friday was a really bad day to try to get into a cardiologist, that he could see Doug on Monday, but that given Doug's family history, if he continued to have pain and shortness of breath to come to Ft Worth to the big heart hospital and tell the ER that Doug was a patient of his.

Well, after a couple of hours of Doug still not feeling well, I finally just asked him if he was going to be okay feeling like this till Monday. He said no. So we packed up our stuff, got in the car and drove to the hospital in Ft. Worth.

One thing I can say, when you walk into an emergency room with chest pain, they don't play games or make you wait! I was really impressed with the level of concern, how quickly they worked and the quality of the staff.  Doug was immediately put on an ekg machine in the triage area and within probably 5 minutes he was in a room in the ER. They did some repeat tests that they did the night before and asked a truck load of questions.

Libby got off work and walked over to the emergency room and found us.  I have to say, having a sister that works in a big hospital is a blessing.  Having a sister that works in cardiac care is gift. But having a sister that is well respected and loved by others in a big hospital is beyond compare.  We were sitting in our ER room and I heard Libby's voice and then a chorus of "hey Libby" 's and greetings and asking what she was doing over here and such from the staff as she made it to our room.  Then as staff entered to work on Doug, they would stop and talk.  The doctor, the nurse, the pharmacist, they all new her and respected her.. you could tell by the way they interacted with her.  WHAT A GIFT!

Anyway, the cardiologist on call with the group that Libby wanted Doug to see came and consulted with us and suggested a plan of action.  We were in complete agreement and Doug was admitted.

They did a CT scan with dye of Doug's heart.  This is not the typical protocol, but one used for athletes with major family history of heart disease.  

I left the hospital and made it home around 9pm.  I had to get a couple of my discussions completed for my grad class and finally got to bed around 10:30.  That was a LONG, LONG time between sleeps!

This morning Maddie had to be at school at 7:30 for her first WinterGuard contest. I dropped her off and worked on school work for a little while and drove back into the city. I got to the hospital a little before 11. 

The cardiologist on call came in at 11:45am with the all clear. No plaque, No calcium. NOTHING! This was HUGE.  Doug's dad had his first heart surgery at 38 with many, many problems in the years following until his death eleven years ago.  Doug is 47 and has been on blood pressure and heart meds for 20 years. As Doug and the doctor discussed, these tests results were equivalent to a huge burden being lifted that has been resting on Doug's shoulders for years.

We then spent the next 6 hours waiting to be released from the hospital.  THAT WAS NOT FUN! It was crazy.  The nurse even said at one point, well... it is raining... that was very frustrating.  But given that Doug had just been given the gift of a clean bill of health, I was trying to be patient.

We finally made it home about 8pm.

It is now 10:15 and I'm waiting to go get Maddie from school...she won't be home for another hour.

Needlesstosay, I am exhausted.  I am beyond thankful for friends and family that have stepped into the gap these last couple of days. I don't want to think about how hard this would have been without them.

So where do we go from here? I don't know.  I know that Doug didn't have a heart attack and that his heart is healthy. Something we did not expect.  As to the "unspecified chest pains," that's the official statement on the release papers from today as well.  But as I told Mindy on Thursday night, I am used to living in the land of no easy answers and in the middle of grey area.  Why did Doug have horrible chest pains? no clue. Probably a mix of a respiratory virus, asthma, allergies and stress. Amazing what a few doses of morphine and nitroglycerin will do for a body. 

And how am I doing with all of this? Good. except for a few tears when talking to one of Doug's best friends and asking him to go to the hospital to be with Doug while Mindy and I drove home, I've been pretty even keel. but now, I am tired.

And I have a dirty house and lots of laundry.

But I have a healthy husband. Thank God.