Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday --- Parenting Advice

I have long enjoyed the "Works for Me Wednesdays", hosted by Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer. I'm thrilled to finally participate! And today is the "Great Parenting Advice Edition"!

My parenting tip today is one that many of you will already be familiar with, but maybe some need reminding. It is simply to allow your children plenty of free play time.

We live in a society that is always on the go. We teach our children from the time they are toddlers that WE are on a schedule and it is time to GO! Children spend all day at daycare, then preschool, then school, then college, then work. What little time they have in the afternoons is often taken up with extra curricula activities or homework.

I would encourage parents to create an environment for their children, where they can just be children! Give them days on end of unstructured free play. This is the only time in their lives that they have an opportunity for time to go slowly for them. They will be busy enough in just a few years and for the rest of their lives.

I used to worry about my children being bored. And sure enough, I've heard "I'm bored", more times that I can count. But given enough time to be bored, that boredom turns to creativity. It took some time to deprogram ourselves from always having to have something to do, but I have enjoyed watching the progress my children have made in being creative and imaginative.

So that's my "Works for Me" thought for today. Check out Rocks in My Dryer for more great ideas!

Our $1000 Dog

We have a Puggle. Have you ever heard of a Puggle? It sounds like some kind of strange creature from another planet. But really, it's just a dog. A cross between a Pug and a Beagle.

Puggles are part of the growing trend of "designer dogs". Like the Labradoodle. Puggles can be quite expensive, from $600 to $1000. But we got ours for free. That's right. FREE!!!

And then we learned the hard way . . . There's no such thing as a "free" dog.

This lonely little puppy was abandoned to roam the wilds of rural southeast Missouri, where my sister lives. As the dog was spending way to much time at my sister's house, (and eating her chickens), she called me to see if we might want to drive up and adopt him.

To make a long story short, we did.

We took him to the vet for the routine shots and to be neutered. His little boy parts looked a little funny to us, but we didn't think anything about it. Until our vet said "I've read about animals like this, but I've never actually seen one in all my years of practice."

You don't want to hear that from your vet, or any other Dr. for that matter.

The next words out of his mouth were, "You need to take him to a specialist."

I didn't even know they made such a thing as a veterinarian specialist. I thought the vet was the specialist. Shows what I know.

What followed then was a series of trips out to a Vet School in Oklahoma, surgery, and a lot of money.

And when it was all over, I thought The Big Question could finally be answered, so I asked one of the surgeon-specialists, "Would you consider this a male or a female dog?"

He hesitated, then breathed out, "I don't know."

Seeing the look on my husbands face, he hastily added, "But I would call it a male dog."

That's good, because his name is Buster.

The Women in My Family

As you can see from the photo above, I come from a long line of strong women. They are my inspiration, my goal.

In the photo, I am the 3 year old girl in the front. My sister is the baby. Holding me is my mother, then her mother, then her mother, then her mother! My mom, my Mam-Maw Jim, my Mam-Maw Tillman, and my Great-Great Grandmother Smith.


I often feel I am not worthy of their blood coursing through my body.

Then it pushes me to keep going, to try harder, to never give up.

Just like them.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Victorian Wedding Bouquet

Here is my passion . . . French Beaded Flowers.

If you've never heard of French Beaded Flowers, you are not alone. This is an art form that dates back to the 1500s, and consists of stringing tiny glass beads onto wire, and then shaping the wire into petals, leaves, and flowers.

I've been learning how to do this for the last 6 years (I'm a slow learner when it comes to anything artistic or creative!)

The picture is of my Lily Bridal Bouquet.

Here is a top view:

It's so much fun to have a passion for a certain craft or art form!

In all the years that I prided myself for being a left-brained logical Spock, I never realized how much I was missing!

Now I know . . . .

Beaded Doily

My most recent summer triumph --- A beaded doily!
I've been working on this on and off since last February, and finally finished it last week. The pattern came from the February issue of Bead & Button Magazine.
I love the feel of it. It has weight and substance and beauty. I am always amazed to find that I can create something beautiful! What a gift from God!