Friday, June 28, 2013

I am Sixteen Going on Seventeen...

If you're anything like me, these words bring to mind one of the greatest musicals of all time, the Sound of Music.  I remember watching this movie when I was a little girl, seeing Liesel in her beautiful dresses, and secretly wishing for a dress like those.

Well, when I saw that this pattern company had started making patterns for Liesel dresses, I was excited  to get started.

The last two years for my homeschool formals, I have made my own replicas of two of Liesel's dresses, and I realized that I have never properly validated them by sharing them here on my blog *gasp*.

The first one I made was a replica of this dress:

using this pattern.

I decided to use a dark blue chiffon, so it is not quite as easily identifiable as I would like, but I still think it turned out nice. This was for the formal of 2012, when I was 15. 

This pattern was fairly easy to use, but chiffon is very difficult to work with, so I would suggest making a mock up first, as the pattern says. 

The second dress I made was a replica of this dress:

I was originally going to make this one out of purple fabric, but the only color my fabric store had was very light and "easter egg" color, so I decided to use a teal color. This was for the formal of 2013, this last spring. 

On the neckline of this dress, I used a wider bias tape than the pattern called for, because the small one was difficult to work with and looked kind of messy. Also, the organza was pretty scratchy to wear at a dance, so next time I would probably use chiffon. Other than that, the pattern was great!

There you have it!  My belated formal dress posting/pattern review. Hope you enjoyed it :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Very Essence of Summer Vacation

For me at least, when I first get out of school for the summer it feels like this:

*Yawn* Finally I can catch up on all that sleep I lost during the school year. 

Then it feels like:

YEAH! I don't have to go to school for three months! I can run around and do whatever!!!

 At last, reflecting on the seemingly wasted summers of past years it looks like this:

Nothing will waste these precious summer hours. 

But eventually, after playing board game after board game and running outside during the few hours of sun we do have (ah, summer in the great Northwest), we have to use all our inner creativity to find ways to pass the time of day.  

One thing we have done lately is play the "Writing Game." In this game, each person writes a sentence to start a story, fold the paper over, and passes it to the next person.  The next one writes another sentence based on the first, and folds the paper so the next person can only see the second sentence. This continues until the paper is filled up and then everyone reads the story they started. Some make no sense whatsoever, but others turn out rather hilarious.  

I have just two of the stories to share with you.  If our sense of humor is a little childish for your taste, I apologize. Perhaps we are the same as my anthropology professor, who claims that her sense of humor stopped maturing at the third grade level. Or perhaps it is because three of the participants in this game are elementary school age. Anyway, here are the stories.  Keep in mind that each sentence was written with only the one directly above it for reference. 

Cotton Candy Angels

Once upon a time, there was a gorilla who was lonely. So he got his car's emission checked. The car's emission was so bad that the car blew out cotton candy instead of exhaust. The cotton candy fell on to the road and the little children ate it, not knowing it was exhaust. So they blew up and floated to the sky. Then they became tiny angels. Their favorite angel activity was dragster racing on clouds. But the angel mothers wished their daughters to sew stars together and make a big blanket.  They did make a quilt and then the stars became real. In the end, everyone was happy because they got to take a star home. 

Barney and his Teddy Bear

Once upon a time, NASA found Barney floating in space with the Doodle Bops and rocking out. NASA was thrilled to find some new astronauts, and started Barney in the rookie astronaut position— making pizza in the NASA food court. Barney failed his job as a food court employee at NASA because he tried to hug every customer. The boss said, "Fired," but Barney thought he meant "Fire!" and ran out of the building. He was very sad to have lost his favorite job, so he ran home and hugged his teddy bear and sobbed. Then the word got out that he still used a teddy bear and people made fun of him. But he loved his teddy bear so much that he started an organization called the Adult Teddy Bear Lovers of America, also known as ATBLA. The ATBLA had meetings every Tuesday in the president's hot tub. Some people brought teddy grahams, so the president took them and flavored his lemonade with them. This made the lemonade taste like calf's foot jelly, so when he tried to make the people drink it, they rebelled and impeached him. Then they elected a new president who liked strawberry lemonade instead. 

So besides working and studying for Bible Quizzing, this is what I'm doing this summer. 
If you or your family finds yourself with nothing to do this summer, give this game a try. Even the crazy ones are funny when the person reading it can't stop laughing at all the inside jokes and movie references. :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Swimming in the Pool and Walking on the Water

For those of you who don't know, I recently got a job teaching swim lessons at my local YMCA.  I usually work with the little ones, the preschoolers.

Even though  those kids are the ones who are often afraid of the water and nervous about new strokes or activities, I still love working with them. The reason?  I was the exact same way.  I remember being three and four and five and never wanting to jump in the water, except in one situation.

The only time I wanted to jump in was when my dad was there to catch me.  I trusted that he would hold on to me when I jumped into that big scary mass of water.

Hmm.... trusting in a father.... anyone else see a spiritual parallel here?

The truth is, God is just like my dad in the pool, always ready to catch us when we fall, or when we jump in.  Sometimes though, we forget that He really will catch us, and we stay on the side of the pool, afraid.  Sometimes, when God asks us to do something big or hard, what holds us back is the fear of failure.

Because what if we jump in and we forget how to swim? What if he drops us?  Or what if the pool is a lot deeper than it looks?

Fears aren't something that can be brushed off as nonsense.  A lot of times, they are real and important.  But the truth is, we serve a real, big, amazing God who is stronger and more powerful than all our doubts and worries.

One of the little girls in one of my classes always reminds me while we're swimming, saying, "Don't let me go." Aren't we blessed that we never need to say this to our heavenly Father?  We even sing songs about how he "never lets go."

Those of us who are afraid to jump in can trust that our God will always be there to support us, even when it seems like we're falling.

But what about the other type? Those who jump in and then see how scary the pool is.  The ones who jump into something and then have second doubts. To me, this is so much like Peter walking on the water to Jesus.

{Matthew 14:25-31}
During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost!" they said and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them, "Take courage, it is I; don't be afraid.

 "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

This is so easy for me to fall into. I can praise God and trust in him when everything is going great, but once the going gets rough, it is so easy to cry out, "Where are you, God?" when he has been there alongside me the whole time.

This is can be seen in the little swimmers too. They want to strike out on their own, but once they get tired or start sinking, they immediately reach out for someone to hold onto. And every time, their teacher will catch them and help them keep going.  Just like God catches us.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It really is true.

Time flies.  Really, how did the end of the school year come so fast?

Wasn't it just yesterday that I was so excited for my first class on a college campus
That I was starting the first verses of Matthew
That I started out with new kiddos in my AWANA group
That I went to my first event as a youth group leader
That I was wondering how I was going to make it through another year in teen gym

How did I even get here?
With a new job
With registration for classes next fall
College searches
Bible Quizzing Internationals practice
With end of year picnics
With graduation parties for my friends
With finals

God has been so good this year.  Even when I am working as hard as I can just to understand why Mayan architecture has any significance in my life, He is faithful.  So many times, I thought I had it all together, but He turned my life upside down and backwards and showed me a far greater plan than any I had come up with on my own.  I know this summer will be a great adventure in His plan.

I can't wait to see what He does.