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September 11, 2013 / dcwisdom

Chalk Paint Projects

Oh, how I’ve enjoyed my “new-found” freedom from homework!   When I didn’t register for classes this semester, I realized how much I missed my artistic, creative right brain.  I jumped head first into some new projects after I spent a few days sleeping in and staying in my gown til noon, and no kids in the house made it even more delicious.  I didn’t realize what a treat an empty nest is!  Can you tell I’m lovin’ it?  I know I’ll probably have comments like Enjoy it for now.  They come back with more people than they left with!  For now, I savor every moment.

One Saturday, I spent a few hours at the local hardware store learning a new way to paint – with chalk paint!  FUN!

Here’s my first project – before and after.  As you can see, only the support frame is finished with chalk paint, and you can see the condition of the mirror frame.  One of my children, who shall remain nameless for now, left this old beauty under a tree “to weather” and, by George, almost ruined it, but Mom to the rescue!

First Chalk Paint Project

First Chalk Paint Project

The awesome thing about chalk painting is that the condition of the object doesn’t have to be perfect to paint, just clean.  The paint is Country Living, similar to Annie Sloan’s chalk paints.  I looked up Annie Sloan paints online, and the company has strict requirements about who can sell her paints; therefore, most small hardware stores will sell another brand.  The closest Annie Sloan Chalk Paint dealer is 120 miles from here, so I do what I have to do.  If only Annie weren’t so picky…

But, beware!  The paint is pricey.  Twelve ounces of color is $9.99!  So you know me.  Wherever I can save a buck, I will.  Reviewing online recipes for chalk paint via YouTube, I found that folks use either plaster of paris or baking soda to thicken their choices of latex paints.  I figure working with a pint – or a quart if you have larger pieces to paint – is more economical than buying gallons of paint, especially if you are mixing custom colors.  The three Country Living colors I used were chocolate as the base, bayberry, and wisteria.  (The picture doesn’t show the colors very well.)  The paint consistency – no kidding – is like pudding.  Spreads and covers like a dream!  And it goes on any paintable surface – metal, wood, plastic, glass, fabric, etc.

Also, I like to mix my own colors, so I bought primary colors (red, blue, yellow), black, and white.  I can make any color with those five cans of paint.

Lookey-lookey at how much fun I’ll be having!  And I bought more junk today.

Chalk Paint Projects

Chalk Paint Projects

More chalk paint projects

More chalk paint projects

I’ll keep you posted on these pieces of fun!

I jumped into Christmas music, a labor of love.  A young friend and I are writing and directing our church’s Christmas production, and rehearsals have begun.  The vision for the project is something I’ve never seen written or performed, and I’ve labored in prayer over it.   I listened to hours upon hours of music, trying to find the right music for the scenes in my visions.  This week, I finish selecting music and get it assigned to groups and soloists. I am so excited and anticipate so much fun putting it all together.

In all my running around lately, a couple of times I misplaced my keys.  I usually make a conscious effort to keep my keys with my purse; I have one of those telephone cord thingys with the clasp to attach my keys to my purse hardware.  (Yes, I know…it’s very old lady-ish.)  It helps me not to have to dig through my purse to find my keys, and I don’t have to hunt for misplaced keys.  But twice in the last two days, I detached my keys from my purse and laid them elsewhere.  Thank the Lord, I didn’t have to look far to find them, and I didn’t have any trouble like locking myself out of the car or the house.  Thank the Lord again!  In relating my story to Rick, he quipped this joke:  Do you know one good thing about growing old?  You can hide your own Easter eggs!

I hope you enjoyed that!  The sad part about the joke is that I can sorta relate.  When the kids were little, I hid my candy – the kind I buy just for myself – under my mattress and forgot about it.  Months later, I found the bag and the wrappers but no candy.  I still hide candy, and now I have no reason to do so.  If only I can find it.

Peace and love.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. God bless Israel.  God help America and have mercy on her.

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August 29, 2013 / dcwisdom

Birthday Season

Around my house, we have “birthday seasons.”   In August alone and up to September 3, we celebrate FIVE people!   That’s not counting two brothers-in-law and one nephew.  Today, I want to recognize those who I love dearly, and I am thankful for their beautiful lives:  Heather, Tim, David, Rick, Steve, Mary, Jeremiah, and Sam.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Two weeks ago, Rick and I deposited Kid#3 Jeremiah (our last chick to leave the nest – at 25 – it’s about time!) in another state to attend medical school.  For his birthday today, he and the Lord are communing together.  I love you, Jere.  Happy Birthday!

For those of you who pray, pray today for the Syria conflict.  I do not trust those in power who make decisions for our nation, but I DO trust in The One Who made them and ask the Lord to order their steps and grant them divine wisdom.  Where is OUR George Washington?  In the book The Real George Washington , page 175, Washington wrote to Congress, “On our side the war should be defensive…We should on all occasions avoid a general action or put anything to the risk unless compelled by necessity, into which we ought never to be drawn.”  Of course, in context, Washington was writing regarding his weakened army.  I don’t consider the US forces as weak, but I am of the opinion that Washington’s comment is appropriate for this occasion, and this is my two cents.

Peace and love.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  God bless Israel.  God help America and have mercy on her.

August 15, 2013 / dcwisdom

And now back to my regularly scheduled program…

College algebra is done!  When I checked out of the testing center, I cried.  Yes, I did.  The ladies understood.  One asked, “How does it feel?”  I said, “This was the hardest thing (college algebra in five weeks) I ever did, except birth five children.  I feel like I’ve been in hard labor for five weeks and finally birthed my sixth!  I feel relieved!”

One interesting thing about online study courses is that these programs instantly tell you, with plenty statistics, exactly what progress you make in the course.  And in these two conjoined rooms with 40 other people working on their own tests, I couldn’t very well express my elation when I submitted my test and immediately clicked to see my score.  My heart flipped.  The test score showed a healthy C!  Are you kidding?!  An algebra dummy taking college algebra online in five weeks?!  The C might as well have been an A!  I’ve never been more proud of a C in all my life!

And with that, I’m done with college.  I have many people to thank (gee, sounds like I’m accepting an Oscar or something):

  • Rick – for watching me hibernate and not cook, wash, clean house, or mow the yard for a month and for his moral support and encouragement.  But I did take his truck to the detail shop today, and my yards look horrible!
  • My kids – for their You can do it, Mom!;
  • Kid#3 Jeremiah – my patient/impatient tutor who spent many hours with me, bantering back and forth Jeremiah, help me!  Mom, listen to me!  We pulled our own hair out!
  • My tutors – Victor, Evelyn, Chris, and Gabriel, the math geniuses, who spent many hours imparting their knowledge and excitement about math to me;
  • My professor who exhorted me to push on;
  • My mom and sister K who encouraged me to finish what I started 39 years ago;
  • My choir that allowed their director to chase her own dream for a few weeks;
  • And finally, you, my friends who text me your prayers and words of encouragement.

Thank you all so much.  I didn’t do this alone.  I applaud you for being great, caring people.  Just what our lonely, hurting world needs today.

Peace and love.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  God bless Israel.  God help America and have mercy on her.

August 13, 2013 / dcwisdom

I have to write something – get my head out of the numbers…

For the last four weeks, a massive flood of mathematical information crammed its way into my unsuspecting, old lady head, every left-brain neuron firing away, trying to re-vitalize that long-ignored lobe.  There’s a limit for stored information according to the processing, however, and much hasn’t processed due to time, but much has.  As I labored over working matrices, I learned that it takes hours to figure them on paper but only minutes (sometimes seconds) by calculator.  So, I quickly learned about the calculator’s abilities to figure at sonic speed after I spent an entire evening working on only one problem.  Part of my warp-speed learning.

I only hope I pass.  Believe me, it’s iffy.

For those of you math brainiacs out there, please forgive me for whining over college algebra.  I realize how it seems to you since I have the similar perspective of parents who whine about having only two kids.  I recently heard a mom of two giving a mom of five parenting advice.  Please.  

And speaking of kids, Kid#3 Jeremiah is moving on with his life, leaving me at home, alone, with his dad.  *sigh*  Jeremiah leaves Saturday for medical school.  This kid and I have connections; we go back a long way.  And he’s the last one to leave the nest, and I’m sure I’ll shed a few tears.  Two or three.

HELLO, EMPTY NEST!  After 34 years of kids at home, I’m due!

Plus, I’ll be done with algebra.  Hot dog!  It’s a good week!

Peace and love.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  God bless Israel.  God help America and have mercy on her.

August 8, 2013 / dcwisdom

Algebra-In-Five-Weeks=Craziness

I can see the end!  And count the days on two hands – 5+1.  Later this morning (it being 1 a.m.), I will travel yet another 70 miles round-trip to see my tutors before taking test #4.    Following the test, I come home to do the last two chapters of homework – probably about 70-80 problems – between now and Sunday to take yet another test on Monday and my final by Wednesday afternoon.

The final push!

Next week,  (a)  either my brain will turn to mush (unlikely, but it feels like it could),  (b) the tutoring center will hire me as an algebra tutor (highly unlikely), OR (3) I’ll take a very much-needed vacation, whether I leave the house or not!  It will be NCIS reruns, chocolate, lots of sleep, and pajamas for DAYS!

I’m waiting for/hoping for/wanting (3) and to get out of Dodge.

And I want to read a good book.  Any recommendations?

And let me tell you, NOBODY can learn algebra in five weeks.  NOBODY!  Prove me wrong.

August 3, 2013 / dcwisdom

The Last Class: The Dreaded Algebra

My brother and sister bloglanders who still bother to click to this lonely, forlorn blog (I have been so willfully neglectful of posting anything this summer/year and for good reason), bless you!  And thank you.  You have crossed my mind many times, but keeping up a blog costs time and effort – much of neither I’ve had lately.

A few times, I had interest-worthy events to post, like the early morning a Copperhead snake could have taken a nice bite of my arm quite easily but just sat curled up looking at me and my heart didn’t stop racing for an hour.  Real interesting stuff like that.

Regarding my collegiate activities, I can FINALLY see the light glowing brightly at the end of the tunnel.  I’m almost there.  In two weeks, I will complete my BAAS degree…If I pass algebra.  I signed up for both summer sessions in May, but the class didn’t make (meaning not enough people enrolled to pay a professor to teach the class).  The only class offered this summer was an online, five-week course through the local community college.  Not wanting to postpone the class until fall, I eagerly signed up.  HOW STUPID WAS I?!?! 

So here’s a word of advice for any idiots like me.  If you haven’t formally studied any kind of math in 40 years, DON’T sign up for the five-week/online summer college algebra class!  Talk about something that will beat your brains out!  That’s one entire chapter and test every six days!  Only real idiots, like myself, do stuff like this!

That’s where I am now, with reams of paper surrounding me…bleary-eyed…Fortunately, I haven’t dreamed in algebraic equations.  Tomorrow’s another algebra marathon. 

Take care, dear ones, of your algorithms, theorems, polynomials, and y-intercepts.  I’ll get back here in a couple of weeks and we’ll celebrate!

Peace and love.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  God bless Israel.  God help America and have mercy on her.

July 6, 2013 / dcwisdom

In the Yard – A Quiet Post

The critters in the yard out my kitchen window entertain me everyday.  Sometimes, I prop myself on my elbows, stare out the window, and study the animals.  Because I live on the edge of the woods, I dare say, I might have seen every resident forest creature cross the wood line to meadow and back to forest.  Except for the black panther.  I’ve heard her scream, but she’s an elusive cat.

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The rabbit population increased the last few years.   They chase each other around the trees and jump up on each other like they’re doing the bump or the high-five.  Their nest is behind the firewood against the shed.

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This rabbit ran too fast for Gray!

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I, Squirrely Shirley, finally out-smarted the squirrels by hanging the bird feeders on a galvanized wire, but, not to worry; they get their fair share of the peanuts, corn, and sunflower seeds.  Along with the song birds, the dove and pigeons visit.   The animal scene amazes me at times – that they all come together, the squirrels, birds, and rabbits, and peacefully share a seed meal at the my wild pet cafe’.

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And where is Gray, the cat?

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Today, with a yard full of feathered friends around him, he hugged the barbeque grill for a peaceful snooze.

Peace and love.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  God bless Israel.  God help America and have mercy on her.