Good Works Guild

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph. 2:10

19 Days and Counting! — June 2, 2014

19 Days and Counting!

It’s day 19.  We’re expecting our chicks to hatch on day 20.  Or 21.  We’re doing it the old fashioned way…no fancy schmancy incubators here!!  Oh no, our two broody Buff Orpington hens are taking care of the job quite nicely.  Well, except when they steal the eggs from each other.  And the other 3 unsuspecting hens.  Or desert the nest to go sit on the one plastic decoy egg.  Or luxuriate in dust baths while the poor babies catch their death of cold.  Other than that, we’re doing quite well.  We’ve stayed up past our bedtimes just to “candle” our eggs, (a misnomer, should be called scaring the baby chicks out of their wits with a brilliant flashlight pointed at their eyeballs.)  So far they all look healthy and hatch worthy.  This is actually somewhat of a worry.  I’d planned on about a 50% hatch rate.  Our little playhouse turned chicken house can handle 3 or 4 more baby chicks.  But 7 more?  That’s a bird of a different feather.  Actually, 7 birds of different feathers.  5 Appenzellar Spitzhaubens ($4 per egg!), 1 Plymouth Barred Rock, and 1 Black Australorp.  (They were $5 a dozen.)

Sweet hubby assures me not to worry.  There’s always the dog, and the three kitties who love to “play.”  Not to mention possible homicidal mother hens.  Or jealous sister hens.  And hawks.  And bobcats.  And visiting children swinging rakes like baseball bats.  I’m sure our chicken population will be reduced to a manageable number in no time.  Of course, their is the possibility of roosters with nasty dispositions and no real purpose but to provide us with Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie.  

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Or your chicken pot pie.

For Princesses everywhere — August 18, 2012

For Princesses everywhere

I’m writing this book, and illustrating it (someday), for my girls.  And for all little girls.  You can’t help but notice the “Princess” theme in the world of little girls.  It’s not all bad, but I want my girls to know there’s more to this Princess thing than Disney is letting on.  They belong to The King, no matter what they’re wearing, or where they live.  When I finish this book, I want to publish it and give all the profits to Amazima’s ministry in Uganda.  And hopefully someone will read this book to those little Princesses, and tell them they are loved, their Daddy loves them, and He’s coming back for them soon.

This is the story of a Princess, it’s true,

but this Princess was actually quite a lot like you.

She tried to be good, most of the time anyway

and only threw tantrums once or twice a day.

She lived in a castle as most princesses do,

surrounded by toys, even her very own zoo.

Her Daddy’s love for her was never in doubt,

but he’d been away at war so long

Princess Hannah was beginning to act out.

———————-

Of course life would have gone on in its usual way

if this princess had only learned how to listen and obey.

The day started out fine, but Hannah was bored

she started to fuss, and time-outs she ignored.

Mother looked at her sternly and said with a frown

“We all do our part, even those with a crown!

Princess or not, all your chores must be done

before you can go out and have any fun!”

“What, no fun?”  The Princess rebelled!

She pouted, she fussed, she kicked and she yelled.

No matter how loud or how shrill her tirade

still no one came to the Princess’s aid.

“That’s it.  I’m done!  They can’t treat me this way!

They’ll all be sorry when I’ve run away!”

——————————————

A princess, of course, is always well dressed

with closets full of clothes, the finest and the best.

Sneaking out to the stables in velvet and furs,

she saddled her mare and put on her spurs.

Not leaving a note, not saying goodbye,

with no thought of her mother

or the tears she would cry,

the Princess rode nimbly on through the trees,

until at long last she could smell the sea breeze.

“Freedom at last!” she thought with a laugh

as she came to the gate hidden in the path.

And then she was free to do whatever she pleased,

with no one to tell her to eat all her peas.

——————–

Now was her chance for the life she’d been craving,

no longer would she have to do all that behaving.

Princess Hannah rode on, pell mell, down the street

until she came to a place not quite so elite.

The people were dirty, their houses not nice

in fact she was sure these kids all had lice.

But just when the Princess was about to retreat

her gaze fell upon a small boy named Pete.

His eyes, they were teary, his nose always sneezing

on this cold winter’s day, what kept him from freezing?

Without even a coat, or shoes on his feet

no wonder he’s sick, poor, dirty little Pete.

The Princess’s heart just broke at the sight

of a boy dressed in rags and in such a fright.

————————-

An orphan, no doubt, with no one to care

if his nose is all snotty or he brushes his hair.

The Princess, she sniffled, and wiped away a tear

with her fancy kid gloves no worse for the wear.

“Ah ha! That’s it!”  She knew then in her heart

how she could help give this boy a head start. (??? this is silly, help here, please??)

She took off her gloves and gave them to Pete,

surely he could trade them for something to eat.

He thanked her and smiled, a smile of pure gold

and off rode the Princess, on down the road.

—————————–

Princess Hannah rode on, forgetting the cold

until she came upon a woman so old

that wrinkles were etched deep in her face

like canyons and rivers but still there was grace.

She sat in the square, in spite of her age

selling hankies for pennies, her only wage.

The woman worked hard, this work was her art

that no one was buying just broke Hannah’s heart.

She reached in her purse, pulling out all her gold

and placed it in the hands of the woman, so old.

“In trade for the hankie, with flowers and birds.”

The princess bade farewell, without any more words

but the old woman cried, as a single tear fell,

“That girl is a princess, anyone could tell!”

——————-

With a purse so much lighter, the Princess rode on

joy filling her heart, though her money was gone.

It wasn’t until she smelled hot apple pie

that her stomache began to give out a cry.

Now, the feeling of hunger was something quite new

to a Princess who rarely even said “Thank you”.

She’d never given a thought to who made the food

that was catered to fit her whim and her mood.

So she didn’t feel rude, not in the least

when she walked up to the cottage

and demanded a feast.

The woman who answered, she wore only rags

and the babe on her hip cried in hiccups and jags.

Bewildered the woman said, “This is our last meal.

but you’re welcome to it, we’ll share it with zeal.”

The Princess, ashamed, realized her mistake

alas, it would seem it was too little too late.

She had no more gold, what else could she give?

The woman before her was barely a girl…

no more than her size, and so with a whirl

the princess exchanged her furs and her dress

for the poor mother’s clothes, which fit, more or less.

———————–

The princess rode on, now dressed as a peasant

but soon stopped short at a sight quite unpleasant.

A man walked before her, her Father’s own soldier

wounded in battle, he’d soon die from exposure.

She pulled her horse short, looked into his eyes,

blue eyes, like her Father’s, not one of them dry.

His tears for his family pulled at her heart

and she knew deep inside that she surely must part

with her dearly loved mare, the horse she was given

on the day she turned ten, or was it eleven?

Princess Hannah dismounted with an awkward leap,

said goodbye to her friend and tried hard not to weep.

Giving reigns to the soldier, she turned slowly to go

when he stopped her gently and bowed ever so low.

“My lady, I thank you, with all of my soul.

You may be a peasant, but the Lord sent you, I know.”

—————–

Princess Hannah watched sadly as they rode off together,

the soldier and her horse were soon gone forever.

It had been quite a day, and now she was alone

no money, no horse, and her hair all wind blown.

She realized suddenly, she was in quite a pickle…

miles from her home, without even a nickle.

Why, what if she got home and they didn’t let her in!

She didn’t look like a princess, or even her twin!

At this she just blubbered, boo hoo’d, if you will,

at the end of a day that had just gone down hill.

——————-

It was then that she heard them, oh glorious sound,

the sound of the trumpets, all playing out loud!

She’d know that sound anywhere, her Father’s band!

The war must be over, then came the command

“All bow for the King!  Give praise to our Lord!”

As a great cheer arose, all in one accord.

Their beloved King had come back to his land

after saving his people with his very own hand.

But poor Princess Hannah, she was so ashamed,

what would Papa think of how she’d behaved?

First running away and look at her now

Would the King even know her without her fine gown?

But then with a glance in her general direction

His gaze suddenly stopped, as if he’d seen his reflection.

He leaped from His steed, and running to his love

with kisses gave freely forgiveness undeserving of

“My daughter, my love, everything is just fine,

I’d know you anywhere, I made you, You’re mine.”

Wiping away all the tears, the dirt and the grime

He put her on his steed, and then in no time

they were back at the castle, back home to stay

but she never forgot what she learned on that day…

1 John 3:1

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

written by Saundra Traywick, 2012

Oops.  I forgot to mention the best part.  God gave me this entire story.  Really.  The story “came to me” during an early morning quiet time with Him.  I haven’t rhymed anything since 4th grade.  The first night I tried to write it in verse was like pulling teeth.  The second night it all just sort of…flowed.  I couldn’t stop writing until I was done, I was afraid I’d never be able to rhyme again.  If this sounds cheesy, then it’s just proof that what I’m saying is true, I can’t write a lick on my own.  I just really hope He helps me with the illustrating part too!

Change — August 17, 2012

Change

You know, I’ve heard lots of sermons on repentance (change).  I’ve taken Bible classes and explained the meaning of repentance for the required “A”.  Until today I don’t know if I’ve ever heard it put this way….”to DO something.”  (Thank you, Francis Chan podcast.)  Not just to STOP doing something that you were doing that was BAD, but to DO something good.  Do something for God.  Yes, change your hearts, but don’t forget that part about changing your life.  Not out of guilt (that’s tough for me…guilt), but out of LOVE.  Love for God, love for His children.

Here’s the thing, this blog, this whole idea, if it’s from God, He’s going to make it into something… a blessing for orphans, a way for people to share their talent and give it for God.  Because I’m the first to admit, I don’t have the time, or the talent, or the resources to make this into anything.  Nada.  Nil.  None.  It’s got to be God, or it’s not going to happen.  And that’s ok too, I can always be folding laundry or doing some other noble task like that.

“…whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”  John 3:21

ps.  I feel odd posting anything about God.  There are so many great bloggers, preachers, know-it-alls out there.  I’m not remotely “there”.  But I’m going to try to share, even if it’s inadequate.  Maybe if I can write about God to the crickets, someday I’ll be able to actually talk about Him to a real person that needs Him.

Cookbook Art —

Cookbook Art

Well, for everyone who says they have no talent to give…here’s an example of an un-art talent.  Unless you call cooking a talent.  Or Baking.  Or compiling a ginormous amount of Grandma’s and Great Grandma’s and Mom’s and Sister’s and Aunt’s and 2nd Cousin’s recipes into a cookbook while on bed rest so as not to pull my hair out, a talent.  This thing ended up being crazy expensive in hardback form (around $40.)  But, you can now download it for FREE to your iPad as an eBook.  All I’m asking is that you donate $5 (or more, your choice) to the orphan’s charity of your choice.  I’m suggesting Amazima if you don’t have a favorite of your own.

Here’s the link to the ebook.  You won’t regret it.  Your thighs will thank you.  Your children’s dimples will thank you.  Your husband will think he married the best cook in the world.  Your boyfriend will propose.  Your exercise bike will be put to good use.

Oh, and try the cinnamon rolls.  Waaaay better than Pioneer Woman’s.  Sorry Ree.  Love you, but you can’t top Mennonite Bakers.

Oh, and you can also enjoy some delightful pictures of your’s truly pre-braces.  Now that alone is worth $5.

To paint, or not to paint…Antique Rocking Chair — August 15, 2012

To paint, or not to paint…Antique Rocking Chair

I’m going to post this before my aunt (who gave me this rocking chair when my first child was born) discovers this blog.  I must admit, I tend to keep things because of the memory behind them, and because “someday my child will want this.”  Kind of like a hoarder, but not…I’m sure, not.  Still, there are only so many rocking chairs a girl can have.  And this one is better suited for someone under 5’9″.  And my kids will probably prefer everything modern and metallic silver or something hideous like that.  And this gorgeous rocker would end up sad and alone at an estate sale in 50 years when they move me to the home.  Awful thought.  She is pretty, isn’t she?  Reminds me of a longhorn steer.  In a good way.  And she’s actually really comfortable, as far as wooden rocking chairs go.  I mean, she’s not a La-Z-Boy, but she is a lot prettier.  100% of the proceeds from this chair will go to Compassion International.  Comment below or click here if you want her!  (And once I again, I apologize that this isn’t art.  Until you other artists start bucking up, there’s only so much one mama can do!)  If no one buys her the way she is, I’m thinking about painting some Geogia O’Keefe-esque stuff in the center.  It seems to be begging to be painted….what do you think?  Paint?  Not paint?  OR, I could do some custom paint job for a nursery…any takers?

My amazing new Headers and Backgrounds —

My amazing new Headers and Backgrounds

My sweet friend (who also happens to be an amazing artist, missionary, heart of gold, beautiful inside and out, athletic, and available…guys, I’ll hook you up for a finders fee, donated to the orphans charity of your choice…) donated these amazing images of her artwork from her time working with kids in Saint Louis.

Unfortunately for you all, the originals have already been sold.  Ginny, you rock!  Here they are in full view (instead of awfully cropped.)

 

 

Don’t they make you want to laugh, and cry, and buy a bunch of art to love on some orphans?  I know.  Me too.

 

 

Did you notice what this purple shirt girl one says in the background?  (Ginny, you’ve got to give me the real names of these pieces…”purple shirt girl” is just lame.)

Relic Coffee Table — August 14, 2012

Relic Coffee Table

Since I’m out of “art”, I’m posting another piece from my days of past single-hood…back when I lived in an old historic neighborhood, never worrying about stepping on a lego or potty in the hallway.  I’d never trade this suburban mommy life for my old “cool” one, but I’m ashamed to say this table has lived the last few months as a platform for a toy barn, covered with an old quilt.  Horrors.  It’s much to cool for that life.  (Oh, and the history of this one…I found it at an antiques place in small town Kansas.  The old guy who owned the place had no idea how cool it was.  He may have even suggested stripping it!  Eeek Gads!)

Image

I used to put fresh greenery around the candle in the center for Christmas…now I’d be petrified of actually lighting a candle at a height below six feet. And it sat on a gorgeous white Flokati rug from New Zealand.  (Whatever happened to that rug?)  And just in case you were wondering, I’m not giving up the chairs.  Not yet, anyway.  I have an unhealthy attachment to them.

The proceeds from the coffee table will go to Amazima’s ministry in Uganda.  Click here to give it a new, cooler home.

Someday maybe I’ll have a separate section for “furniture”, “fine art”, etc.  Someday…

Birds and Flowers Painted Armoire —

Birds and Flowers Painted Armoire

This is an antique armoire that I recently “reinvented”.  It lives a very useful life holding my plethora of china and miscellaneous knick knacks out of view and out of reach of little fingers. The profits from this piece will go to Amazima.  Click here for details on how to purchase.  And for those of you who’d like to DIY…

Here are the before pics of the armoire…well, halfway before.  (I’d already started painting when I thought to take a picture.)  I painted it with Annie Sloan Old White,  deliberately using vertical and horizontal strokes to try to give it as much texture as I could and offset the chevron diamond pattern in the veneer.

And then I started painting on the vines.  And a few flowers.  I used a Royal Albert cup and saucer for inspiration on my roses.  And this bird chest and this Italian painted furniture were the inspiration for the birds and vines.

I found these great free images from the Graphics Fairy for vintage French postcards with these adorable birds, and attempted to decoupage them on (cheating, I know, but I have a 2 and 4 year old!)  It worked, but ended up looking…well, decoupaged.  Not like the amazing original art I had in mind.  So I ended up painting over each of them.  It probably took way longer than just painting the birds in the first place, but I like the way they turned out.

Then I painted the verse on the center panel.   “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  So don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”  This part freaked me out.  I have a major aversion to those cheesy “word art” vinyl things.  And I didn’t want the words to detract from the piece.  I printed the verse in a font on my computer, then painted it on using this technique.

I loved it.  But it was still too new and bright, so I took a deep breath, put the kids to bed, and started waxing.  Wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off.  (First the whole thing in Annie Sloan clear wax, let dry, then wipe on dark wax, then before it has a chance to dry, wipe off with clear wax.)  This gave me the look of that hand painted Italian Furniture that I was going for.

The inside was rebuilt by my ever so talented hubby with shelving galore.  I will really miss her when she goes…maybe if I just keep repeating “it’s for a good cause…” I won’t cry.

You can see on the inside of the door where I painted my “practice” stuff.  Because I was shaking in my boots about diving in on the front.  And I’m too lazy to paint a practice board.  Keeping it real.

And this is a very bad photo of the finished piece.  It really looks way better than this.  Really.  If you don’t believe me, I’ll have you over for brunch and prove it to you.

Am I dying? — August 13, 2012

Am I dying?

From my sister on my “Favorite Chair” post.  “I love that chair. Are you dying? That is sweet and all but that is the best chair in your house. It needs to be in your will to go directly to me. Seriously, what is up?”

I answered her flippantly, because that’s what we do, but here’s the real answer.  “Yes, dear sister, I’m dying.  If our family genes are any indicator, I’ll probably be 90 something when it actually happens.  Hopefully I’ll go quick and not lie around in a hospital bed beeping and peeing on myself.  But, on the off chance that I do end up in that hospital bed, I’m pretty sure I won’t be thinking, “hmmm, I wish I hadn’t sold that gold chair back in ’12 and given the money away.”

Someone said, “If it were your child dying of hunger, what would you do to save her?”  Well, I’d sell a lot more than my favorite chair.  Remember that scene in Schindler’s List, the one at the very end when Schindler is about to get in his car and make a break for it?  He’s crying and saying “I could have saved 5 more if I’d sold this car!  I could have saved two more with my wedding ring!”  I’ve always thought, “I hope I’d be like that, if I’d lived when there were people dying and I could have done something to save them.”  Well, it just occurred to me…I do.  Each generation has their holocaust and their chance to do something about it.  The way I see it, I can sell stuff and give the money away…and hopefully someone else will sell their stuff to give the money away, and then I can buy it and feel good about it. 🙂

Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes. That’s one child every five seconds. 

Luke 12:33 Sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor. Make yourselves wallets that don’t wear out-a dependable treasure in heaven, where no thief can get close and no moth can destroy anything.
Dream World —

Dream World

Here’s my dream.  I’d love to be able to buy ridiculously expensive little black dress from a designer on this blog who’ll give the money to save an orphan.  I could be proud of wearing that.  “Yeah, I paid a ridiculous amount of money for this gorgeous dress, and 3 kids ate dinner in Africa!”  I’d brag about that.

I’d love to furnish my house in awesome furniture from artists that donated their talents to give a kid a mosquito net so they wouldn’t die of malaria by the time they’re five.

I’d love to buy my kid’s next birthday cake from a super talented baker who donated the money to give an orphan their first real birthday party.  Ever.

Maybe this is a crazy dream.  But I hope God would smile and dream with me.

Oh yeah, and I’d love for some amazing graphics / web designer to donate their time to make this a reality.  Anyone?  Anyone?