Thursday, January 12, 2012

Six years ago...

Yesterday marked six years since my younger brother’s death on January 11, 2006. I have never been one to post things on Facebook on certain days of the year. I prefer to keep those things close to my heart. Honestly, those certain days don’t hold any uncommon emotions for me. I miss Ben every day, not just that one. And I miss him at random times, not necessarily the times in which I am ‘supposed’ to miss him.

Before I write any more, please understand that this post is not a knock on anyone who publishes their thoughts about Ben or other loved ones that have passed away. I truly appreciate those who posted things about him, both yesterday and at other times as well. It’s wonderful to know that people still think about him. He made an impact on a lot of people in his short life here on earth. I just feel an overwhelming prompting to share my thoughts with you tonight.

If you know me, you know that I am a pretty private person. I’m not typically loud and, most of the time, I try to not draw attention to myself. I treasure time alone. That’s just who I am. Ben was the exact opposite. He was always the loud one. He thrived in front of crowds. People were drawn to him. All he had to do was walk into a room and people flocked to his side. I think Ben got all of the extroverted genes in our family. Mom must have saved her social butterfly genes for him because I don’t think I got any of them.

Okay, side story finished. Back to the purpose of this post.

This year, I have been thinking a lot about Ben and his death in particular. When I think about it, I don’t feel sad. That would be the logical emotion. Instead, I am absolutely overcome with gratitude to my God. There are a lot of reasons for this emotion, a few of which I will explain:

1. God was glorified through Ben’s life. Ben was a person who truly sought the Lord. He wanted to glorify Him in everything he did. Sure, he messed up. We all do. But his heart’s desire was to make much of Christ and he did that while he was here on earth.

2. God was glorified (and is being glorified) through Ben’s death. Through this tragedy, God has changed the course of lives. I have heard stories from people whose lives have been deeply affected by his death and they tell me how God has drawn them closer to Himself as a result of that situation. And I speak for myself and tell you that He definitely changed the course of mine. My life is entirely different now than it was six years ago. I never wanted to go to seminary. Guess what? I’m in seminary. I never thought I would be preparing to move to another country for a long-term mission trip. Yep, you guessed it. That’s what I’m doing (and that alone deserves an entirely different post).

3. God works all things together for our good and His glory. God is sovereign. While we may not understand why things happen, we can rest in the fact that He is in control. He holds all the details of the world in His hands, even down to the number of hairs on our heads, and orchestrates them all perfectly. He has our very best interests in mind. And, by the way, our very best interests are what will give Him the most glory! God knows us intimately and He wants a relationship with us. That’s why He sent Jesus! Jesus Christ became the sacrifice for our sins on the cross so that we may be restored and reconciled to Him. I don’t fully understand why Ben passed away at age 22, but I have faith that God knows the reasons. He is working everything together.

Do you know what I think Ben would say if we were to ask him about his death? He would say that it was worth it! It was worth his life for God to be glorified.

If anything, January 11 is a day of celebration. Ben is not dead. He is HOME! He is right where he wants to be. He doesn’t want to be back here. He is with his Creator, the God of the universe, the One he adored while he was here on earth and the One he worships now with all that he is.

We will always selfishly miss Ben while we are on earth. But I know that there will be a sweet reunion one day! A reunion unlike anything I can imagine. And I will do with Ben what I am unable to do with him in the flesh right now…worship! We will be able to worship our God together for all eternity along with every tribe, tongue, and nation!

If that doesn’t make you grateful, I don’t know what will!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Color Book

As I mentioned earlier, my friend's daughter, Izzy, turned one this past weekend. Izzy is so sweet and just has the sweetest smile and cheery disposition, so I wanted to make her something special. The funny thing about all my friends having children is that I feel like I have about a hundred nieces and nephews! It's wonderful! Anyway, back to the task at hand. I looked around on different blogs and came up with my version of a color book. Here it is!

I used different fabrics and textures for the book to add some interest for Izzy. I used different fabrics and ribbon and sewed each onto pieces of felt while leaving the raw edges of the fabric showing. Then, I sewed the pages together to hide the back of the felt pages and connected them together with binder rings. The book is probably around 6x8 inches or something like that. Izzy seemed to like it when she opened it up, so that is a bonus! I hope you like it too!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Birthday Party Game

My friend at church has a daughter, Izzy, who turned one this past weekend (ps-I think that all my friends' babies should remain in the baby stage until I have them so my children will have playmates! ha!). She had a wonderful party with a monkey theme and Lindsay, my friend, asked me to make a pin the tail on the monkey game for the party. We looked at her invitations and all it showed was the monkey's head. So, instead of making up a body for the monkey and trying to make it look right, we decided to play "Pin the Flower on the Monkey". You can see the invitation in the picture above. I drew the monkey as close to the invitation as I could and then used a template to make all of the game flowers uniform in size and shape. I think it turned out pretty cute. Lindsay liked it too, which is all that really matters!

Check back later for my homemade gift to Miss Izzy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Sewing Project: A Car Mat!

I'm so excited to finally show you my fun sewing project from a few weeks ago! I have some sweet friends from college who recently adopted their first child from Ukraine. Their son is so adorable! I wanted to make him something special that he could use both now and in the future. I decided to try my hand at a toy car mat.

I saw some on various blogs, but they all just had one straight stretch of road. I wanted my car mat to have a little more action, so here is what I camp up with:

I'm not really sure why that picture is showing upside down. Anyway, you get the point. I found some cute car fabric at Joann Fabrics and got to work. This mat used a half yard of fabric for each piece. I cut the fabric on the factory fold, so you could potentially get two mats out of one half yard. I didn't even think to take pictures of the process because I don't use a pattern and make things up as I go along. Anyway, I used two pieces of fabric (inner and outer fabric), felt for the interfacing, and gray felt for the road. I drew a pattern of a road on a piece of paper and then cut it out of the gray felt. Then, I laid everything out and sewed it up! The mat has a velcro fastener to keep everything snug. I'm going to make another one soon for someone else who has ordered one, so I will be sure to take pictures again and write up a tutorial for you. I am still just beginning to sew, so if I can do it, anyone can do it!

Here are some more pictures of the finished product:

The cars in their homes...

And on the track!

The best part about it is the mat folds up so the cars can always stay with it! I think it would be great to use as a quiet toy to keep little ones occupied during meetings and other times where they don't need to be running around acting wild and crazy. I really hope that my friends' son likes his gift. Welcome home Artem!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Giveaway WINNER!!

I am so excited! A Feather Fancy made it to 25 followers and now I can give something away! The lucky winner chosen by is:


Sandra is one of my sweet friends who used to be the Children's Minister at my church, but then moved south to Georgia almost two years ago (I think). I'm so excited to find out that Sandra won because she is currently celebrating her one year blogiversary! She is giving away some fun items this week. Check out her blog, the girl named tennessee. Now she gets something in return! Sandra, I think I will surprise you with your homemade gift...I already have some fun ideas for you. Yay!

NCAA Tournament Party

I had to share this really cute idea with you! I work at a church office and this year we had a bracket challenge for the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament. It was so fun and the winner was promised a fun prize! I wanted to have an awards ceremony after the tournament ended, but I couldn't figure out what prize I was going to give out. I thought about it for weeks and couldn't come up with anything creative at all. There were 10 people who participated in the challenge and before the final game, all of our brackets were busted but there were four ties among our group of participants. It all came down to the final score of the championship game. The winner got a bucket of popcorn (which was perfect for him since he eats popcorn in the office all the time), the person with the worst score got a Zero bar (thanks to a suggestion from a sweet friend), and we drew two names and gave away Nerf basketball hoops to the winners of the drawing. It was so fun!!

My favorite part of the "ceremony" was the treat portion of the afternoon. My mom had a fabulous idea to make red velvet cupcakes and color the batter according to the favorite teams of each participant. Here is the end result of our efforts:

Blue Velvet for UK:

Red Velvet for U of L:

A combo cupcake for Belmont:

There was also one unfortunate UNC fan in the crowd, but the North Carolina blue proved to be very hard to get. It ended up being green. I had to apologize in advance for that disaster. I don't think it phased him too much, though. He ate both of his cupcakes with no problem!

We topped the cupcakes off with homemade cream cheese icing and basketball themed toppings. I printed each person's team logo out on cardstock and taped it to a lollipop stick for one of the cupcakes and stuck a basketball-shaped Easter egg on top of the other one.

Here is one final picture of all the cupcakes:

As you can tell, the UK fans outnumbered everyone else (and all is right with the world). :)

We are planning to make this bracket challenge an annual event. Do you have an ideas for prizes? It may take me all year to come up with something!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What I'm Learning Wednesday: Silence

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:1

So, my last "What I'm Learning" post was about God screaming at me (click here if you want to read it). This post is about silence. Specifically, my silence. I was reading in, you guessed it, Psalms and this verse immediately made me think of my situation with waiting. Recently, I tend to ultimately do what God asks of me in this area, but argue with Him about it the entire time. I think that I know best and I constantly try to justify what I think I need to God to get Him to get on with it. I mean, God should listen to me, right? Because I am the one who is all-knowing and all-powerful!

This verse immediately convicted me of all the times I was "patient" with God while being highly impatient at the same time. That is the epitome of a prideful heart. God knows the desires of my heart and He can choose to honor those desires or not. It is not up to me. I think I know what is best for my life, but really, I don't. I have no idea. God has my very best interests in mind. He has my days laid out. This verse says it all. HE alone is what I need. HE alone is my salvation. All the other stuff doesn't matter. If He is there with me, rooting for me, nothing else compares!