Our Western Adventure: The Hoover Dam

Today I am embarking on a mini-series based on our recent trip out west, an adventure that has actually been in the works for a number of years. It was one of those trips that we’ve talked about and wanted to do before the kids all grew up on us, so this year we decided to just go for it! I’m so glad we did, because it was awesome and we had many amazing adventures together.

The first day involved a flight from Baltimore to the Las Vegas airport. This was the first time our youngest three have flown in an airplane, and they did remarkably well. We definitely had a “you’re not in Pennsylvania anymore” moment right away as we immediately encountered rows upon rows of slot machines, literally upon stepping off of the airplane. They were everywhere!! We flew to save ourselves many days of driving and so we could use our vacation days to really focus on the things we most wanted to see. After picking up our rental car, we decided to take a little jaunt to the Hoover Dam before driving on to our house in southern Utah.

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I obviously knew the Hoover Dam was huge, but it’s really nothing like seeing it in person. It is enormous. We took what was called the Power Plant tour, which lasted about an hour.

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Some of my boys are very into engineering, so I thought this was a neat opportunity for them to learn about how it was built, the turbines, water flow, etc. The tour itself was pretty interesting overall, and you go underground quite a ways for part of it, so a bonus was that most of the inside tour was nice and cool! I was amazed that it was only built in less than 5 years, a really remarkable feat given that it happened in the 1930’s.

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The inside museum part also has some neat interactive things for kids to do. I was really taken with this series of sculptural panels.

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Seeing this clock outside should have prepared me for the different time zones. In Nevada we were 3 hours behind our norm. In Utah it was 2. In Arizona it should be 2, but they don’t observe daylight savings, so it was 3 hours behind when we were out there. Are you confused? Because I surely was for the first day or so, especially as the clocks in our rental were set to several different times as well and we traveled between those three states.

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We honestly did not spend a ton of time outside and walking along the whole thing. For one thing, it was very crowded. Number two, it was literally 111 degrees there when we visited. Number three, we had just traveled many hours with several hours to go, and were ready to be on our way at that point.

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With all that said, I really was glad we made this a stop. It was worth seeing, and I felt like the tour was worth doing as well. Below is a very large sculpture of one of the workers who helped build the dam.

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My next post will be on our experience at Zion, including our hike of The Narrows!

Kidnapped!

As it is my 19th wedding anniversary this week, I thought I’d re-share a story I wrote 5 years ago. It’s a fun one and still makes me laugh!

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This is a true story. A true story about me–ON my wedding day.
I’m writing this, not as a serious piece or wannabe public service announcement, but to make you have a little chuckle at my expense.
You see, today is my 14th wedding anniversary.
Ah, the memories…

Here’s the things that stick out most in my mind when I think back on my wedding day:
It was hot. REALLY hot (just like today!). And humid.

The church we were married in was small and not air conditioned. Plus we were brainiacs and chose to get married at 2 in the afternoon on a mid-July day. Why not, right?

While I was waiting for my “big moment” after getting my wedding dress on, I waited in a basement room of the church, parked in front of a box fan with my dress hiked up over my knees. I was such a classy bride. Somehow a photo of this did not make it into our wedding album.

When my handsome groom was repeating his vows, I focused on a droplet of sweat that was making its way down his nose and hung on the end of it. Oh, and a fly buzzing around his head. Not because I’m shallow or flippant about my marriage, but because I was nervous about being in front of the crowd watching us. Something to focus on, you know?

Apparently he was just as nervous because when ring time rolled around, he was trying to put his ring on me. Um, it was way too big. Finally we figured it out and put the correct ones on each other. See, I told you we were brainiacs.

Since our reception was outside under a big rented tent, my wonderful parents had arranged for buckets of water ice to be available as a snack while we had our pictures done. People LOVED this idea. You know, in that awkward time span after a wedding while you’re waiting for the real food to start.

During cake time we were so NOT nice and sweet. Somehow I ended up with wedding cake up in my eye. A picture of this is in our wedding album. We kissed afterwards, so it’s all good.

After the cake and all that stuff, we were just about getting ready to go in, get changed into real clothes, and finally leave for our honeymoon. Just at that moment, my Aunt Beverly called us over to tell us something. That’s when the kidnapping occurred.

Yep, it’s really true. I was actually kidnapped on my wedding day.
Now, before I tell anymore, I have to explain a little more about who kidnapped me. To fully appreciate the story, you have to get a word picture of my uncles.
My Dad comes from a long line of farmers. So, pretty much 95% of his family is involved with farming somehow. And, at 6’6″, my Dad is the “little” one of his brothers. They’re both just about that tall, but much bigger than him. Not fat, just big and burly and farm-boy strong. They also have always had the mountain man beards going on, sorta like these guys.

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Anyway, are you getting a picture in your head?

Good, because here’s what happened next….

My Aunt Beverly calls us over. At that moment, a friend of ours (also extremely big and burly) grabs my new husband from behind. I was all like “What the…?” when I feel myself being lifted up by my elbows and see my Uncle Wayne on one side and my Uncle Frog (his real name’s Bob, by the way but I’ve always known him as Frog) on the either side of me, both with an iron grip on my arms. They half toss me (only because they’re super strong;)) into my Uncle Frog’s farm pickup. “Well Raquel Welch, (that’s been Frog’s nickname for me since I was little. I have no idea why, other than the fact that my name’s Rachel. Rachel, Raquel. He also calls my Dad Jesse James and my brother Honky Baloney. Everyone gets a cool nickname in this family.) we’re going to go for a ride.” Before I know it, we’re pulling out the parking lot of the church, and I still have no earthly clue what’s going on.

If you had a good picture of what Uncle Frog looks like, I’m sure you can imagine his pickup. Yes, my friends, I spent a small part of my wedding day sitting crunched (in my wedding dress on a 98 degree day, no less) between my mountain man uncles, gear shift in between my knees, and old Mountain Dew and green Skoal cans rolling around my feet. Oh, and baler twine and straw flapping around the back.

See, I told you I was a classy bride.

Anyhow, they start driving around the back roads near the church that I was married in, discussing crops and the weather like they hadn’t just snatched a newly married bride a mere 5 minutes before. I still had no idea what the heck was happening, but since I’m usually an easy going person, I was rolling with it. After a few miles, they looped back around to the church parking lot. They slow down and drive by the reception tent, where I see the guy who had held down my groom with a microphone in his hand.

“Did they get enough money yet?” one of my uncles hollers out the rolled-down window. “Nope, keep driving!” the other guy yells back. I also see my husband with a hat in his hand and a miffed expression on his face. Okay, so I’m starting to get a clue now. Apparently I’m being held for ransom. Why, I have no idea. But all of our wedding guests look like they’re enjoying themselves (as much as you can on such a hot day), so I guess it’s all some kind of big joke.

After more riding around and discussing farming, we pulled back around to the church and they were informed that I could be released now. I hop out of the truck in my wedding dress and see what’s up.

So, I guess my man had to go around and ask the guests for money to buy back his bride, then they planned to give us the money to spend on our honeymoon. My poor husband, who is very proud, especially when it comes to money, was mortified. Every time my uncles see him, they still love to tease him about it.

Right after this happened, and even for months afterward when the subject of our wedding comes up, people thought we were somehow in on their plan. A couple of people were like, “Rachel, you must be a good actress, because you looked really surprised.” Um, that’s because I WAS. Definitely no acting going on here.

So, there you have it folks. How I was kidnapped on my wedding day. It’s a pretty funny memory, and our kids just recently heard the story.

A day that will live in infamy. Ha ha, not really.

This picture was snapped a little while after, when we really WERE leaving for our honeymoon. This is one of my absolute favorite wedding day pictures. I’m sure we were like “Finally!”

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Thanks for tuning in!
Rachel

My Thoughts on Turning 40

I’m not 40 yet, but soon and very soon I will be! Oh yes, that milestone birthday has crept up and will be here in a few short weeks. How do I feel about it? Well, I’m really not quite sure. I don’t feel almost-40, whatever that is supposed to feel like. No mid-life crisis here yet or anything, but it does make me think about life and what I’ve learned in these almost 4 decades.

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So buckle up, here are my random streams of consciousness and things I’d tell those in their 20’s-30’s about life at 40:

Family is precious. They might drive you crazy at times, but they are such a wonderful gift. Don’t take a single one of them for granted because they might not always be around. That goes for your parents, spouse, kiddos, and so on.

You know who you are…for the most part at least. All the pretty sides of you and the not-so-pretty ones that surface sometimes (or often). By 40 you have a decent handle on what you’re good at, what you’re terrible at, what you will forever need to work on, spiritual gifts you have, sins that trip you up, etc. Things have come to my attention in my 30’s that I probably wouldn’t have been able to totally pinpoint 10 or 20 years ago.

You can’t eat just anything you want. Well, you can, but in your later 30’s there begin to be repercussions for eating whatever the heck you want, whether it be heartburn or digestive issues or jeans that suddenly seem smaller. I’m not sure about men, but for women (or at least ones I’ve talked to), the metabolism starts to not be quite so hot in the mid to later 30’s. (Unless you have a seriously active job or are a workout fiend.) Sad but true, my friends! Sad but true…

I value real, genuine people. I have developed a low tolerance for flakiness and fakey-ness. Instead I definitely take a shine to those who are just flat-out real and genuine with me and aren’t putting on a false front. I love down-to-earth folks and hope to heavens that I am that way. Feel free to slap me if I’m not! While I’m on the subject of personal pet peeves, I also can’t stand the whole entitlement mentality that seems rampant these days.

Experiences totally trump stuff. By this point I would much, much rather travel to somewhere new or experience something cool than buy a new wardrobe or drive a fancy car. I’d also rather my kids get experience gifts than junk. Things that we get to experience as a family are the very best of all.

Keep on learning new things. Just because you’re out of college or have a houseful of kids vying for your attention doesn’t mean you can’t keep learning. Check out things that interest you and go for it. I had a hankering to learn how to sew and bought myself a sewing machine for my 30th birthday. Since then I’ve learned how to use it, but I’ve also taught myself lots of other skills just in the past decade. I don’t plan on stopping either!

You hopefully have gained more wisdom by this point. By 40 most of us have had a whole host of ups and downs in every aspect of our lives–and hopefully we’ve learned a thing or two from those ups and downs that we can apply to future stuff! By the way, this is not to say that 20 or 30 year olds can’t be wise–I know plenty that are, I just believe it can increase with age and experiences.

Be content. Easy to say, sometimes hard to truly do.

You’re never going to please everyone. Trust me. I know this one well. Just do your absolute best and focus on pleasing the Lord, not so-and-so.

It’s okay to not check everything off your to-do list. I am an avid list person and make myself one of these pretty much every day. I have given myself permission to not complete the whole thing and leave one or two things undone. They usually get carried over until the next day.

Every day is a gift. Don’t squander it. It’s easy to take our health for granted when we’re young, but you never know when that could be taken away from you. My husband was a vibrant 37 year old when he had a stroke. I could have easily died from a rare and severe pregnancy complication when I was barely 23, fresh out of college, and delivering my firstborn child 6 weeks early. Praise God we are all healthy and fine, but it might have gone the other way. Those experiences definitely put things in perspective for me.

And the most important one I saved for last:

God is always faithful. Always. Don’t ever forget it, no matter what may be happening in your life. Trust Him. He loves you more than you could ever imagine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

Happy New Year everyone!

I pray that you have experienced a joy-filled holiday season and are eagerly looking forward to a brand new year. I’m sure I’m not alone in that this time of year makes me pause and reflect on happenings within the past year, plus look forward to some new things as well.

Here are some highlights from our year as a family:

*Our oldest two boys were able to go to Sea Base, a high adventure base in the FL Keys. They had a wonderful experience there, including paddling across the ocean in a canoe, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, and kayaking. They loved it. Oh yeah, it was the first time they’ve ever flown as well. My highlight was watching a video someone took of my boys’ faces that first time the plane really took off. I was dying!!

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*My husband left his job of many years and began afresh in a completely new career. This time last year we had no idea what the future held in this regard. God is SO good and brought about a new place of work that has been a refreshing change for him, and for us as a family. (Plus now he brings home really cool wood and makes things out of it.)

*My oldest turned 16! And got his learner’s permit! Want to feel completely powerless? Be a passenger in a vehicle where your oldest child is driving YOU for the first time. We’ve been cursed at, almost rear ended, had a line of traffic behind us multiple times, and passed in dangerous ways about every time we venture out. Fun times.

*We are experiencing our very last year in elementary school. We have loved it there, but I’m certain my littler guys are ready to move on. Me too.

*My daughter and I took a day trip to New York City. It was the first time her and I did something like that. Though it rained a good part of the day, we still had fun and got to see many neat things.

*We had a couple day excursion to the Jim Thorpe area. It was a good way to wrap up the summer all together.

Some things we are looking forward to:

*A vacation out west. Yup, this is my main one. This has been on our family bucket list for years and we decided that this is the year to just do it! The plan is to fly (instead of driving many days cross country), rent a vehicle, and spend most of our time near Zion National Park. We also plan to visit the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Parks, plus maybe a couple of other things. I’m super excited!!

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*Turning 40. This happens in May. Pray for me. My 20’s were terrific, my 30’s have been great, what will the 40’s bring? Who knows?? I don’t really feel “almost 40″…time flies.

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*Having another driver in the house. It terrifies me a little, yet I am ready for someone else to be able to take on chauffer duties a bit. Even if the oldest just drives himself to work and his own activities, that will help.

*Having kids all on the same bus/school schedule. I’ve had approximately one school year where everyone was in the same building, and that year the twins were in half-day kindergarten, so I still had 3 different bus times to worry about. Since then it’s been 4 different bus times. When they hit middle school this fall, everyone will have the same bus time. I may feel like I’ve gained another hour each day! Woo-hoo!

Well, those are the main things, but really, it’s a lot of little everyday things sometimes, isn’t it? I pray that you will have a blessed 2018, full of lots of those moments that bring joy. May you look forward to what the Lord has in store for you this coming year.

 

 

 

Our Jim Thorpe Getaway

Several weeks ago our family squeezed in a mini vacation. We were looking for something that was just a couple of days, very low key, and not far away. Jim Thorpe was an area we’ve been meaning to explore, so we decided to head there this year. Here are a number of pictures taken while we were there:

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Our first stop was to Hickory Run State Park. One attraction there is this huge boulder field. It’s a great workout to work your way any distance across this jumble of boulders, though I did wonder how many broken ankles and twisted knees it has claimed. Don’t worry, we came through unscathed!

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Our next stop was a hike to Hawk Falls.

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The last thing we did at Hickory Run was a trail called “Shades of Death.” It was my favorite!

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Despite the name, this trail had lots of beautiful sights to behold. It was slightly challenging, but well worth it.

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It was the perfect way to end our adventures at Hickory Run.

After a fast food supper, we stayed overnight at a Holiday Inn Suite. Actually, we stayed both nights there and had a great experience. The free breakfast was probably one of the best I’ve ever had at a hotel. Lots of hot foods and even a pancake machine, which my gang was kind of fascinated with. For this big family, it was well worth it. The free hot breakfast, along with a packed lunch and snacks meant we just had to buy dinner out.

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The next day brought us to the actual town of Jim Thorpe. We first stopped at the Jim Thorpe Memorial, which is where I took this cool statue pic.

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Next we went to town, which is pretty and has plenty of neat architectural building details. There were a bunch of cute little shops and such, but traveling with a pack of boys was not conducive to my checking out “cute” shops. So…we were in the town for maybe 55 minutes and they were itching to leave. Nice, huh? (This Real Family Vacation moment brought to you by the Craig family! You’re welcome.)

Oh well, our next stop was enjoyed by all.

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Our next destination was the No. 9 Coal Mine.

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I was able to get about zero good pictures within the mine, but I can tell you that we all learned a lot and enjoyed our time there. Our tour guide, Larry, was hilarious and made it even better. My take-away was that I would never, ever want to work in a coal mine.

This next picture was from the museum portion of the tour.

I think the sign says a lot, don’t you?

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After the mine we stopped at Lehigh Gorge State Park, which boasts a gorgeous waterfall trail called Onoko Glen Falls. This sign is what we first saw once approaching the trail. A little disconcerting, especially while hiking with kids, but we pressed on.

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Onoko Glen was SO beautiful, though And we didn’t die. Or fall. Or anything like that.

This is a shot looking down some of the falls.

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My photos do absolutely no justice to this place. In person I found it breathtaking.

We wrapped up our day by stopping at a Butterfly Sanctuary and eating at a fabulous Italian restaurant. The third day we were planning to drive to Ricketts Glen State Park and do some hiking and exploring, then head home in the late afternoon/evening. However, a very ugly forecast (which included extreme thunderstorms/hail/etc.) for the whole area convinced us to pack it in and head home early.

Well, that’s it for this trip. Next year we seriously hope to travel out west, specifically looking at Zion National Park and a few others in that vicinity. I am super excited for this to possibly finally happen!

Dear Kiddos…

Dear Kiddos,
We are only a couple of days away from a brand new school year. Are you excited?!? I kind of am, though a quiet house will take some getting used to again. I enjoy it, but boy am I glad to see that bus roll up in the afternoons! It’s not the same without you here.
I can’t believe you’re all as old and as big as you all are. I am blown away that this will be the last year our family will have kids in elementary school… AND that we have not one, but TWO in high school!! And yes, once again I am writing you a letter to prep you for a new school year. Bear with me please. I’ll keep it short and sweet this time.

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First, I’d like to remind you to be kind and respectful to each one of your teachers. There will be some that you love and some that probably won’t be your favorites. You know this already. Each one is to be treated with the utmost kindness and respect. Teachers have one heck of a tough job these days, so please do your best to brighten their day. Look for ways to help them out in any way you can. You have no idea what a big influence you may have on them!
Try your absolute best, even if you have a subject that doesn’t come easy for you. We are at the point where you older guys are required to take some subjects that may not be such a piece of cake. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! A teacher would rather you ask for help than see you struggle and not admit that you need a bit of help or need something explained in a different way. Dad and I are always here for you, in whatever way we can assist. Yes, we are old and our school days are long past, but we’re not total dummies either. Please don’t forget that we are always on your team and are cheering you on.
Now onto your classmates. Oh boy, what can I say? Pretty much what I always have, and that is to be a little light to everyone around you. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. It’s very cliché but oh-so-true. Boys, respect the young ladies around you and be good role models. Act like the godly young gentlemen we have strived to raise you to be. Daughter, continue to be a godly young lady. We are SO glad that you all don’t try super hard to “fit in.” It’s not worth it. Be who you are, but more importantly, remember WHOSE you are. No matter what.
You guys are awesome. We are so stinking proud of each one of you. I pray that you will all have a great school year! Dad and I are here for you.
Love you all SO much.
Mom

****To read the letter I have posted the previous two years, click here.

Textile Lovin’

Here’s a little update on what I’ve been working on lately….

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I’ve been digging through my fabric stash and creating pictures with them.

This farm scene was my first attempt.

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The clothesline with “quilts” was a last minute inspiration, but really my personal favorite part of this piece. I was going to do a garden at that spot, but couldn’t bring myself to actually sew it on there. It just wasn’t quite right.

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My second piece was this sweet little cottage scene. Little is not the correct word though—it is actually quite large, measuring over 16″ by 20″.

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Vintage yo-yos discovered at a yard sale make perfect flowers, especially with a sweet button sewn onto the middle.

My favorite part of this scene is the little fox curled up in his den at the corner. (Or you could call it a cat, it sorta looks like one!)

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Part of why I enjoy making these is using up such a variety of fabrics. It is a good excuse for my fabric hoarding I guess! I love finding just the right piece of fabric, ribbon, or trim for a certain area. Some are newer materials, but I use a LOT of vintage finds, which I really love!

My next attempt was based on a real place, not a made up one.

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For this one I loosely based it on a picture of the Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Maine.

A variety of corduroy and wool tans and browns create the rocks. If I had to redo this one I would make the sky a tad bit brighter blue.

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The last piece I finished represents the Bodie Island Lighthouse in North Carolina.

I don’t *love* this one as much, it’s just kind of okay for me.

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As each one has been rather large, I decided to scale down a bit. Pictured above is a piece I just started. Nothing is sewn on yet, just pinned down. Typically I pin a bunch of possibilities down and edit from there. Here I am recreating a scene from the Jordan pond area of Acadia National Park. I have a lot of work to do on it yet, but I wanted to show a bit of my creative process.

First I usually sketch out a rough idea, then begin to pull fabrics that may work. I strive to not only use color schemes that work, but to incorporate lots of texture too.

Not a single one ends up exactly like what I originally envisioned, and that’s okay…sometimes it turns out even better.

So there you have it, this is what I’ve been working at lately! This is fun for me and I so enjoy the creative process in this. This is how I unwind!

A New Artist in the Family

The last time you’ve heard from me, I gave an update on the new job situation with my husband. If your recall, he began work at a fancy wood place. They import specialty hardwood lumber from literally all over the world, then sell it to artists and craftsmen who seek out such material for furniture and many other projects.

I have to kind of laugh sometimes when people assume that I’m the “artsy” one in the family. Sure, that’s my gig and I love it. I sometimes say that I can’t NOT make stuff, it’s just how I weirdly operate.

Well, though I kind of knew it before, there’s another artist in the family, and it’s definitely not me….

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You see, my guy has been making these beauties.

Lots of fabulous vases, all made of highly figured woods.

The neat thing is these were all either dug out of the rubbish bin, or purchased from the bin of stuff that is all basically “off-cuts,” end pieces of wood that are a size/shape that is not optimal for selling.

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So he takes these cast-offs, uses their natural shape, and turns them into something gorgeous (and useful). Some are fairly rare woods, like the one pictured above. Koa grows only on one island in Hawaii. (This was a spalted piece of Koa with other figure in it too.)

Pretty much ALL of them are super figured, even to the level of what he would call “instrument grade.” Check out this one…

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My pictures truly don’t do them much justice. They are amazing in person.

We just figured out a neat way to mark the bottom with what species of wood they are made from:

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This particular piece is Tasmanian Rose Myrtle, a neat variety from…you guessed it, Tasmania.

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Pictured above is a beautiful piece of Tiger Maple. Check out that striping!!

He left the bark on the back side to add even more interest.

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All have a glass test tube insert for holding water and the stems. Jeff is also experimenting with using interesting bottles as well.

He has enlisted me to be his saleslady, so if you have any interest in purchasing one, we would love to hook you up. You can contact me directly, or I do have some listed on an Etsy site. (I’ll be adding more to Etsy soon.) Each makes a timeless gift, and they are all so unique.

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Place a showy bloom in them and you add instant class to wherever it sits!

 

 

Taking a Different Path, Part 2

I’m back again, this time with Part 2 of our story. (If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, take a minute to do so. That way you can have a clue what I’m talking about!)

I pick up at the point where my husband went to his first ever interview since deciding to leave his job of many, many years. He had been injured that very morning, but went ahead with the interview, and did NOT get the job. Bummer, but we figured it was not meant to be.

Within the next week there was a big meeting to discuss future plans within his company. Since all of the head honchos were there at the same time, he shocked the lot of them by telling them he meant to leave the company, plus some reasons why. Within the next several weeks he was convinced by them to at least stay on through the holidays, which he finally agreed to do (He is truly my better half—he was so much nicer and more gracious than I think I would have been.)

In August we took a big family vacation to Maine. It was truly a time of refreshment for our family, and also the time we sat our kids down and told them what was up. We had a time of honest sharing and praying over the whole situation. I asked Jeff what HE would really like to pursue as a future job, not taking into account wages, benefits, etc. Topping his list was anything involving wood, a longtime passion of his (when we had free time, which was not very often). Other then that he had no one thing that he was honed in on trying.

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Post-vacation, Jeff went back to work, but with a very clear sense that he no longer belonged there. Before we knew it, the holiday season was again upon us, historically their company’s craziest time of year. In the back of our minds was always the question of “what in the world is going to happen to us after this?” However, working oodles of hours doesn’t allow one to complete a job search very well. I watched my husband working himself to death, trying to do a good job and making sure the company was well prepared for his leaving. He would leave super early in the morning, come home maybe by dinnertime, and be sound asleep by 7 pm every night. He was working like a madman and I was feeling like a single parent.

Well, Christmas soon came and I nervously wrote out our situation in our Christmas card letter, asking folks to lift up our family in prayer. At this point he hadn’t applied or sent a resume anywhere else yet, and I started to get very nervous. On January 2, the kids went back to school, but Jeff had a day off. He had by then compiled a list of possible places to apply and I helped him sharpen his resume. Many of them had no job openings listed, but he took a chance and sent or dropped off a resume anyhow.

For the place at the very top of his list, he physically stopped in to drop off a resume. The owner of the company, who often travels, happened to be there and ended up giving my husband about an hour-long tour of their facilities and talking with him. The owner told him they had no openings, but they were thinking about maybe hiring someone else. He took his resume and Jeff came home wound up, excited about this particular place. About two weeks passed and we had no leads, other than one other place that was maybe interested in him. At this point he had already given his company a final date, even though there was not a new job lined up. I remember one day I was feeling incredibly anxious about the whole thing, having no idea what our future held. I was lifting the whole thing up to God, and had a clear comfort from Him: “My daughter, don’t you fret. Trust me. I’ve got this.” Immediately I had a calm that can only be attributed to coming from Him. I laid my trust in Him and recognized that His plan would be revealed in the right time.

In mid-January, Jeff had an unused week of vacation time from the previous year to use or lose. He used it to keep on the job hunt, still not having much luck. That same week he got a call from the wood place he was most interested in. Could he come in for an interview that week? Sure! He went in for the interview and was offered a position that very same day. (Of course, he said he would consult with his wife first before making a decision.) I really felt like he should go for it, and it was set that he would start in February. He went immediately from one job to the other, without any period of unemployment, so that was a huge praise.

Well, that’s the long-winded back story on how my husband decided to leave his career and start completely fresh somewhere else.

How has it been? Well, strange for him to start out as the new guy who knows the least, especially coming from somewhere where he had worked there pretty much the longest and knew all the ins and outs of the company. Great in that he now is home for breakfast with his family every morning, has about a 10-15 minute commute, and has great hours. Oh, and a long mandatory lunch break. We’ve been sneaking little lunch dates at least every other week together. Not so great is a huge initial drop in income and navigating new insurances and the like. I had to learn about COBRA and  rollover benefits and fun little things like that. We’ll survive, it’s just a matter of adapting for awhile. With money we had diligently scraped up and saved, we paid off our mortgage 2 years early, so that’s been a big burden lifted. (Another praise item–one of our kids had an injury needing stitches at the ER. It happened the same week we all became insured again! Thank you Lord that my boy wasn’t hurt worse–and for that timing.) But it’s all been worth it to see my husband not completely burnt out and passionate about learning new things. His new company does some very interesting things and has “interesting” customers that he tells us about at dinner. He now has more time for us and is toying with different wood projects. (Let this shock you–he is now on Pinterest! It’s too funny, actually. Never saw that one coming….)

Thank you to those who have prayed for us these many months. I give God the glory for lining things up the way only He could do, and we are completely trusting Him for whatever the future may hold.