Nostalgia from a 1950’s Diner

February 18th, 2019

1950s-diner

Recently my dad has been in and out of the emergency room as he is getting blood clots, has difficulty breathing, and is fighting cancer. He’s at home now, although weak. When I was sitting in the hospital room, watching him sleep, I had plenty of time to think back over all the years I’ve known him, special memories of growing up. One of those memories was my dad getting out his 1950’s records, blasting the tunes while my sisters and I danced all silly and slid across the floor in our woolen slippers. It still makes me smile.

So when I came across these pictures of my husband and I with our children in a 1950’s malt shop in Spokane, I stopped and thought about why the 1950’s meant so much to me, even though it was long before I was born. It meant a lot to me because it meant a lot to my dad.

diner-from-the-1950s

I remember back when I lived in California, I took my dad to a fun 1950’s malt shop where we were able to experience the ambiance of my dad’s favorite decade, from 1950’s music to the decor to the flavors of the food. His face lit up with joy because he was transported back in time.

strawberry-malt

My dad looked so happy, sitting in the booth with me, eating his burger and fries with a malt. He was quite emotional. It was like going back to your grandma’s house after many decades, breathing in the familiar environment where so many happy memories were made. The aroma of my own grandma’s house would always transport me back to childhood, and I felt young and free again, with the whole world opening up before me, full of endless possibilities.

flipping-burgers

Now I sit looking at these photographs of my own husband and kids, enjoying a modern history field trip where we were able to experience the 1950’s as if we had lived through that time period for real.

Some day my own kids will look back on their own memories of their parents blasting through the house our favorite decade music–the 1980’s. My own kids have a love for 1980’s music because it was played the same way my dad played his music, with joy and nostalgia.

To see the 1950’s birthday party I threw my dad several years ago (including pictures of my jukebox cake and poodle skirt), click here.

New Look, New Life

February 4th, 2019

new-look-new-life

A huge change happened in my life at the end of September 2018, and my main ministry friend thought I should change my outer look to match the change that had happened inwardly. She said that highlights in my hair would lighten my look to give it youthfulness, and she found a picture of just what she was talking about. I loved it!

Normally I don’t cut my hair for years (except for trimming my own bangs) because of the monetary cost of hair cuts. But now my ministry friend was telling me that God wouldn’t let her accept the money from cleaning the pirate’s house (the man in the wheelchair) because she said the money was supposed to be for me. So I suddenly had the money to get my hair cut and highlighted.

We prayed about it, and God prompted us to go to a specific Walmart about ten minutes from my house, and God also chose the day. It would be Friday morning. I didn’t even know that Walmart cut hair, but there is a Regis salon in many Walmart stores. I drove to Walmart and asked for an appointment for the specific time God had indicated during our prayer time.

Come to find out, God was making an appointment with a hairdresser. I love how He does that. The woman who cut and highlighted my hair prayed to receive Christ that day, after talking with her about the Lord for several hours. She was ready. Only God knew that. It’s so funny, because I never get my hair cut, much less highlighted, but we needed the time. My ministry partner came with me, of course, because this morning had nothing to do with me. It had everything to do with the hairdresser.

The three hours that we were there, the first two hours were spent leading up to her stopping to pray to receive Christ. And the last hour was spent equipping her for what her life would be like now that she was filled with the Holy Spirit. My ministry friend had said things about the hairdresser’s life that she couldn’t have possibly known—about her heart and her circumstances. She was stunned like all the people are when my ministry friend speaks to people. I’m so glad that we each have different gifts in the Spirit, and they all work together in the body of Christ. We are all valued.

I was surprised at how young and flirty I looked after going to the salon! I loved the curls, too. My ministry partner told me to start wearing lighter colors. That’s hard for me to do because my entire wardrobe is dark.

It’s interesting that even though my situation has not changed (and yours may not either), God supernaturally brought a breath of fresh air by showing me a new perspective on life. Instead of life’s impossible challenges and deep suffering causing us to despair, we can ask God to give us new eyes. Our own suffering doesn’t matter any more compared to the glory that is to be revealed in the people that we are able to reach for Christ, who will be in heaven with us forever just because we didn’t give up in the middle of our suffering.

Friends, if you love Jesus and are in despair, it’s because the enemy wants you incapacitated. The enemy tailor-made your circumstances to be your worst nightmare. And if you suffer deeply for many years, you eventually feel that you can’t go on.

At this point in my life, I cried out to God in my bed, almost a primordial scream. I just said, “Jesus! Help!!!”

Shortly thereafter God sent me my ministry friend. God changed my perspective through this woman who has a completely different background than I do. And we began our ministry, leading people to Christ, praying for people, and ministering to hurting Christians. My life is more worth living now than ever.

You can choose to cry all day and give up (and Satan wins). Or you can rebuke the enemy, rise up, put on some praise music, and dance before the Lord (even if you’re a klutz like me!) Then ask Jesus what you should be doing, and obey Him. You will gain energy as you do His work, and you will once again be glad to be alive.

Surprised by a Pirate (a true story)

January 28th, 2019

surprised-by-a-pirate

As I stooped over to open the pirate chest full of treasure, I sighed. Memories flooded my mind, from a treasure hunt in the backyard for a pirate party after reading Treasure Island, to painting the chest gold to transform it into King Tut’s treasure back when we studied ancient Egypt. We shoved that treasure chest into a closet under the stairs as a tomb for my toilet-paper-wrapped kid in a cardboard sarcophagus. Fun times.

My kids are now teens. Having outgrown the treasure box, I put it up for sale. A man claiming to be a pirate contacted me. He wanted to buy the treasure chest, and he needed me to deliver it because he had only one leg. My son Stephen drove me with the treasure chest over to his house, where he lifted the pirate treasure one last time. The man with the one leg not only gave me the $20 I was asking for the box, but he paid me another $20 for delivering it just ten minutes down the street from my house. Since I needed the money for groceries, I burst into tears and hugged this wild gray-haired man in his wheel chair.

There was something about his eyes that tugged on my heart. His appearance matched his description of himself as a pirate (he really did look like a retired pirate, with the personality to go with it). The surprised but happy look he gave me when I hugged him was priceless. As I drove away, I pondered how I could go back. I knew the compassion in my heart was from Jesus, and I wanted to make sure he knew that he was loved.

He was too interesting a person to just pass by and move on. I couldn’t let him sit there all day in his wheelchair, house-bound, just waiting to die. Yes. I said it. That’s what I saw in his eyes. I saw it because it was a mirror of my own soul, longing to be set free from the suffering, sorrow, and evil of this world.

I sat at the computer, pondering the meaning of life. Since I sold the treasure chest through Facebook, I clicked through to his profile. Without any thought, I pressed the button to add him as a friend. Within the hour, he mentioned that he needed a housekeeper. For some reason I sensed danger. Not knowing if the danger was real or imaginary, I asked my ministry friend if she would like to come with me to clean this man’s house. She said yes.

The fact that I hate cleaning became obvious when I wrestled with cleaning the walls of a shower that had a seat attached to the middle of the tub. There was no space. My ministry friend did not want to touch the bathroom with a ten foot pole, so she sang sweet songs about Jesus as she swept and mopped the living room. She asked him if it was okay for her to sing, and he seemed pleased with it. I prayed for his soul as I struggled to keep my balance.

Kicking at the grime, my back aching from the scrubbing, I sighed a bit too loud. My pirate friend laughed, shouting to my ministry partner that I was cussing in the bathroom. “No, I’m not. Are you trying to get me in trouble?” I responded, laughing.

We finished up, and the pirate paid us way more than seemed right, so I put some money back, returning it to him. He pressed me to take it and I said no.

I’m actually glad that I said no because after two times of cleaning his house, he said that he had run out of savings. This was after canceling the third time of cleaning due to going in and out of the hospital. I was sad for some reason, not just because I needed the money, but because there was something about the pirate’s eyes that was compelling. When I went to return his key, I told him that Jesus loved him, even though it seemed like He didn’t because of his amputated leg. I was sad that he had to suffer, and I told him that Jesus is with us in our pain. I didn’t know what else to say, so I hugged him one last time before I drove away.

Johannes Vermeer Art Projects for Kids

January 21st, 2019

vermeer-art-projects-for-kids

This post contains affiliate links. I was given access to the class to blog about it.

This is the third post in the series Mixing with the Masters: Volume 2, which includes six famous artists, with three works of art for your kids to re-create from each artist. The first week we showed you our projects for Henri Matisse, which were really colorful. Last week we did some fun art activities for Albrecht Dürer, including charcoal, ink printing, and watercolor. Today we will complete our short series of our favorite three artists by doing some fun art projects by Johannes Vermeer.

Girl with a Pearl Earring Mixed Media

The first work of art by Vermeer that we created is this mixed media girl. We painted a canvas black the day before starting this project. My kids chose different colors of scrapbooking paper for the turban, scarf, and shirt. You can print off the template if you need help with the face, but since you have to paint over the face anyway, you will need to look at Alisha’s artwork in the video to add the finishing touches to the eyes, nose, and mouth.

girl-with-pearl-earring-vermeer

I don’t know how my son got his eyes to look so life-like. (His is the first pictured above.) I think it’s because the eyeballs looked off to the right rather than the middle. My son’s picture reminded me a little of the Mona Lisa, which we did for another mixed media class in the past. Her eyes follow you as you sway to the right or to the left.

The Milkmaid Gouache Painting

This was a fun watercolor painting where we used brighter gouache paints. This milkmaid is pouring water into a bowl. The food on the table reminds me of a still life picture I did back in high school when I lived in Guatemala. We had a fruit bowl in the middle of the table that we had to sketch and then paint. Still life is a classic assignment for students learning to draw and paint.

milkmaid-gouache-painting

The Little Street–Line & Wash

I loved this cartoon-like line and wash watercolor painting! We started by sketching the buildings and street with pencil. We added the details of brickwork and window panes. Then we painted in an exaggerated, messy way, leaving some white space to create the cartoon-like effect.

little-street-line-wash

My daughter loved the way her sketch came out. If you look closely, you will see the wooden shutters on the windows, drawn with precision and detail. I like the perspective in her doorways. She does a lot of drawing in her free time, mostly Japanese-style cartoons. She decided to lean a broom against the wall inside one of the doorways.

building-sketch

We really enjoyed the three artists that we studied, and some day we might come back and do the other three, since there are six artists in the series. If you would like to grab this set of classes for your own kids, you can get them here. This is a high-quality art course, and my kids learned so much!

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