Posts by tonja

THE OWENS FAMILY CHRISTMAS…2017

This year’s mantel…

 

Levi’s tree…all vehicles carrying trees on top.  We started this collection the year he was born and love adding to it every year!

 

 

A few days before Christmas, John Thomas and Levi and I had a craft day.  We decorated cookies, painted trees, made ornaments, and ate lots of decorated cookies!

 

 

 

 

As soon as the tree went up, Levi put his nativity scene in place…

 

Christmas Eve, lunch after church.

 

At Church, Christmas Eve

 

 

Making that important visit…

 

5 teeth gone…

 

Christmas Day started with a gourmet breakfast by none other than Chef Ian.  OH! MY!  So yummy!

The Owens Family…

Don and Pop…

My sweet sister…and her sweet sister…

My children and my Pop…

 

Alex and Ian…

My sweet daughter in love…

Joy and her boys…

Lori and I…

Adam, Suzanne, Levi…

 

 

My eldest, Adam…

 

A gift to all, Alex celebrated the day with us…

Pop telling Alex something important….

Alex and Pop…

Someone’s getting a little tired…

Don’t know what they are looking at, but it sure has their attention…

Lori and Joy…

Joy and Tommy…

Tommy and Don…

Lulu and Levi…

Love comes in many forms…

Taking it all in…

Lori and Ian…eating buddies!

Though unable to be with us (John Thomas had the flu)…Will and Tara celebrated, too…Sure missed them!

 

Pop, Joy and Tonja…

Don and his boys…

Closing up the Nativity…He said it was time for them to rest…

Beautiful Nativity from Europe gifted by Joy and Tommy…

Our sweet Levi…

The sweet memories we make linger in our hearts long after December 25 is past.  We are blessed in so many ways.  Even though we could not all be together on Christmas Day…we were together in heart.  I thank God for his mercy and grace and for every good gift he sends our way!

To my dear Mom, who celebrates Christmas in Heaven now, I missed you today as much as on the first Christmas without you.  Your touch resonates in our hearts and souls.  You are forever in our hearts.

A LITTLE EYE CANDY FOR CHRISTMAS

Oh, how I love beautiful ornaments at Christmas time!  Even though my taste runs to a more rustic, old fashioned style…I can certainly appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of other types.  I love all those fancy mercury glass ones, and the really old Shiny Bright.  I adore the ones made by my children, and grandson…and I love the rustic ones that depict the beauty of outdoors.  Glitter is usually not my thing…but on a Christmas ornament…it feels right.

And, even though we see most ornaments adorning the famous Christmas tree…there are a myriad of other ways to display those treasured jewels.  Today, I thought I’d share with you some pictures I’ve amassed of lovely ornaments displayed in unusual or different ways.  You will see some of the pics are just of the ornament itself.  But, to my eye, I think it deserves special recognition!  Hope you enjoy this little feast for the eyes!  Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s hoping you and yours have the best holiday celebration ever!

PROVING FAITH

My sweet Levi has learned many lessons at the tender age of 6.  From walking to talking to ‘going potty’, to riding a bicycle, to riding a little motorcycle, to sitting quietly in class, to diving and swimming like a fish.  He knows how to apologize, he has learned what it means to hurt someone’s feelings.  He has learned to read and he has learned try new foods (with coaxing).  He has learned to perform on a stage and he knows how to sit quietly in an adult setting (though it is very hard).  And, he has learned that he is a sinner.  That Jesus came to this earth to pay a price for us, so that we may live with him forever.  He understands what means to sin.  And, he understands forgiveness.

I say all this, to say that he has been surrounded by learning since he was born.  So has every child.  They will learn…whether we choose the lessons or not.  As it has been said, “You can be a good inspiration or a horrible example”.  But it is seen and tucked away…part of that learning process.

We (his parents and 5 grandparents and aunts and uncles) have always tried to mirror that strong sense of faith that we all understand so well.  We have found our faith tested and seen it proven true and real time and again!  And we wish to show to our little man just how faithful God is.  We know God keeps His promises, and we want him to know that.  We know that God answers prayer, and we want him to have the joy of seeing that for himself.

And while none of his family is perfect…we all try to use those ‘teachable moments’ when they arise.  Lessons to be learned are so much easier if the teaching is done while the situation is close in mind and heart.

Now that he is in first grade, none of us ‘grands’ get as much time with him as we would like.  But life moves along and we have developed our own routine.  Every morning Levi is dropped at my house, gets dressed here, eats breakfast here, and Don or I take him to school.  Then his other grandparents pick him up from school and start his homework with him.  How I love getting to share a meal with him and pray with him and send him into the school building with an ‘I love you’ and ‘Have a great day’.  His other grandmother gets the joy of hearing all about what went on that day and all his adventures…and spelling words.

We prepare breakfast and always call Uncle Alex on the intercom and ask him to come join us.  Most times, he can’t.  But sometimes we are blessed that he can.  Such was what happened yesterday.

After breakfast, as Alex was going back to his room, and Levi was putting on his shoes:

ALEX…I enjoyed having breakfast with you this morning, Levi.

LEVI…I did too, Uncle Alex.  I’m glad you are not hurting today!

ALEX…  Well, Buddy, I am hurting today…just not as bad as usual.  Today is a ‘better’ day.

LEVI…(raising his hands in the air)  That’s what we have been asking God to do!

ALEX…And He did, Levi.  He gave me a morning to enjoy with you.  He is so good.  He always hears us when we pray.

Wow!  What an affirmation in a little boy’s mind that God was busy about answering his prayers!

Today was a little nerve wracking for me.  My health has taken a nose dive lately and I am facing 3 operations in the coming months.  It’s hard to get old and ‘wear out”!  This morning I had the first of the procedures, because this was the most urgent.  Without going into too many details, I have a kidney that is not doing what God put it in there to do.  We’ve known that it was ‘different’ for a few years, but until today, we did not know how ‘no good’ it really is.  Suffice it to say, although it may continue to reside in the place it lies…it is of no use to my body.  The only thing it could do is affect my other kidney.  You know, the one that ‘gets with the program’, the one that does its job mostly without complaining ( except for throwing a few stones at me through the years), the one that goes about its life following the rules.  If it gets too unruly, it will be tossed out…but for now…it stays.

So today my faith was tested.  I was nervous about the results we would find, as it looked on CT scan as if there was a mass on it.  However, yesterday, as I was reading or flipping through Pinterest or catching up with you on FB…Bible verses kept coming before me…“Do not be afraid”….“The Lord goes ahead of you”….“He is with you wherever you go”….“I know the plans I have for you.” ” I knit you together in your mother’s womb.”  All reminding me and encouraging me of what I knew was truth.  But, fear can override our good sense sometimes, can’t it?

Then this morning, Don and I had prayer in the waiting room…and put our trust in Him again…asking Him to guide the doctor’s hands and give him wisdom as he performed the surgery.

As I waited in my room, a dear friend texted me and began going on about some nonsense about me wearing my ‘crown’!  She made me laugh.  I sent her a ‘selfie’ of me in the bed.  She sent me funny emoticons!  What a respite that was as I waited!  I received other texts from friends who assured me they had been praying and would continue.  I was confident that I was being covered in prayer!

And, when I arrived in Pre-op…there was my friend of some 30 years waiting on me.  She is an anesthetist at the hospital and we have been in church together since our children were small.  She took my case.  She brought me warm blankets.  She gently started my IV.  She ran to the pharmacy and got me some nose spray so I could breath (darn allergies).  She reminded me that she would be there through it all.  Her kindness and gentle spirit calmed my soul.

 

It was God who led me to a doctor I had confidence in…it was God who put words of affirmation and truth in front of my eyes…it was God who arranged it for my friend to be by my side.  Perhaps you were the one who posted a Bible verse on FB yesterday, or perhaps it was you who was remembering me in your prayers.  Maybe it was you who sent me a text reminding me of your love and concern or held my hand and prayed with me.  Let no one ever tell you that doing and speaking about the Lord …about His kindness and care…His love…is ever is in vain.  I may not be able to thank you in person…but I know…and God knows.  To those of us who are Christians, God expects us to act at all times as if we were serving Him.  And, we are.  We are God’s hands.

 

I am resting at home now…taking my pain meds…uncomfortable, but satisfied.  A trying day to, to be sure.  But a day when God once again proved to me that He is faithful!  He works in our lives when we need Him.  He works in our world…just for us…and so many times, we don’t even realize it to acknowledge it.  But, friends…this I know is true:  God is who He says He is.  God does what He says He will do.  God is always with me.  God watches my every move and sends people or words or scripture, even hymns (‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus) straight to me when I need it.

He will do the same thing for you.  Because as much as He loves and cares for and protects me…He loves and cares for and protects you just as much!   Just keep looking.  He’ll prove it to you!

 

 

 

COLLAGE

Today Levi was with me and he asked if we could make something ‘artistic’.  I told him that would be fine and asked him if he remembered how to draw the different kinds of leaves we learned in art at school last year.  He thought he did, so I got out all the supplies.

I had told him how in my last art lesson at the preschool, I had showed the children how to paint with Kool-Aid…and of course, he wanted to do that, too.  We made a run to Winn Dixie, and a side trip to Chicken Salad Chick…and came home to start our work.

First we practiced drawing leaves.  When he got some he was pleased with we started the painting.  Luckily, I’m a smart Lulu and I had put a whole king size sheet on the floor!  To paint with Kool-Aid…first you spray your picture with spray starch.  Then lightly sprinkle different colors of the powder onto the wet starch.  Using a sponge brush, brush in a downward motion in long strokes…overlapping to mix the colors.

OK…Ours did not always show the differing colors because we were pouring out of the package and we got big globs.  At school, I transferred the powder into salt shakers and it was much more controlled.  But, I did not have any extra salt shakers…so we made do.  That’s the thing about giving kids freedom in art.  They make mistakes and use their own minds to figure out a solution.  Levi thought we needed more starch, before I could say that was probably not a great idea.  And so it got a double dose of starch which turned the dry powder into a liquid.  Therefore some of his leaves are solid and that’s ok, too.  The main thing is that he was so pleased with how they looked.

Then his mind went into overdrive.  “Lulu, I want to make a big picture  like a collage and put it in a frame, but I want it to be fall things behind the leaves.”  Get that?    So, I got out my 300 sheets of scrapbook papers and he set about going through them to find the ones he thought looked like fall.  He found these 4.  I just wait to see what would come next.  He got the tape and taped all 4 together on the backside (My suggestion to turn it over).  He missed a few spots in his taping and things got a little wonky.  But, he said he would just put some green paper there like that part wasn’t fall yet.

After getting the background ready, he was ready to glue down the leaves.  I suggested he plan it out first to see how he liked it before we glued.  He did and came to the conclusion there was not enough leaves.  I asked if he wanted to make some more…but he said that he thought he would build a tree.  And he did.  Two trees actually!  We painted and cut and I ironed them all to dry them and make them lay flat.  Then he began designing again.  We quickly discovered school glue and glue sticks would not hold, so we got out the glue dots.  These worked very well.  And here you see the finished masterpiece…

 

Now he wants it framed and hung on the wall.  I’ve got to do some thinking on that part!  (He wanted to be sure his Providence logo on his shirt was in the picture, too.)

Friends, if you are able, DO ART WITH YOUR CHILDREN OR GRANDS!  The mess is well worth it.  I like the fact that Levi gets so relaxed and calm when he is creating, that we are able to talk about so many things.  For instance, When he was so delighted with the final product, I told him it was a ‘masterpiece’!  “What’s that”, he asked.  I explained it to him and then told him there was a bible verse that used that same word.

We were able to talk about how God made him and all of us just like he wanted us to be and he was just as proud of us as Levi was of his artwork!

We talked about the colors of the leaves and why they changed colors.  How God has a plan for our world and He says it will always be this way.

We discussed if we thought leaves were prettier when they were green or if we like the changing colors.  We talked about how God used so many colors in His world.  And, that led us into talking about colors of skin and how God created people with the skin he wanted them to have…and that they are all beautiful.  We talked about how different people do different things well.  God gave us all talents.  Levi said, “Like me, I am a great artist!”  And so you are, Little Man!

 

It would be near impossible for me to sit him down and  just talk through all the things we discussed that day.  He would not sit still long enough in the first place and his mind would be on too many other things.  But, art frees the mind and nourishes the soul.  It allows you to relax and let thoughts and ideas come easily to the forefront.

I realize that many think ‘I can not do this…I’m not artistic’.  But, it really is nothing more than having some materials…a safe place to explore…and lots of towels!  It about making it available and then just sitting back and watching the magic.  Levi has his own art area.  He has markers, crayons, paints, pencils, tape, glue, old magazines, stickers, colored and white paper, scissors, colored tape, popsicle sticks, stamps, inks,etc.  And, it is there for him to use anytime he wants.  He has learned from just a toddler that we always put something on the floor and he either puts on play clothes or his painting apron.  Crayola makes wonderful art supplies and almost everything we use is washable.

Just some thoughts to share with you this morning.  Our collage of fall things turned into a collage of beautiful thoughts, as well.  Thanks for listening…and please give it a try with those little ones who you love!

 

 

FALL ART

Hooray for fall break…and 2 whole uninterrupted days with my Little Man! I’d take him the whole week, but his other grandparents would surely not agree! Yesterday was mostly spent in the outdoors doing ‘guy stuff’ with his Pa. But today was mine! We played Star Wars, and grocery shopping, raced with Finn, played a game or two with Uncle Alex…and had plenty of time left for some art!

I found these little burlap drawstring bags at Hobby Lobby in a pack of 4 for around $3.

We had a few ideas of what to do with them…but decided on making a stuffed scarecrow face for Levi’s fall tree.  I sectioned off a portion for the hat, then Levi drew a face on the bag with chalk…following a picture of a scarecrow in a book. Chalk is good for an initial outline, as it wipes off easily. He then drew right over his chalk lines with his Crayola Markers. Grabbed the fiberfill and filled the bag…then tied it off with a tight knot. It looks great on his tree!

You could get darker colors with Sharpies…but they bleed through burlap…and I really don’t like using Sharpies with children.  They stain their fingers and everything else they touch.  And, they stink!  Now, I use them all the time…but with Levi…not so much.  You could even use craft paint and get a better coverage…but, we wanted a quick and easy project and paint is more tedious.  And, there are days when tedious is NOT a good thing!

I also found these great raw wood pieces with an easel back…Hobby Lobby, $4, differing sizes.

I bought them without a project in mind…knowing they could be painted all sorts of ways. Levi decided on a pumpkin. Again, we used white chalk to draw first…erasing with a wadded up paper towel. Took him a while to be satisfied, but once he was, we used a chip brush and acrylic craft paint.  I showed him how you use red and orange and yellow to get variations on the color.   After it dried, I showed him how to take off a little of the paint by sanding lightly with sandpaper.  This helps the wood to show through in spots and gives a nice look…not so shiny!   I think he did a great job with his design and his painting.

Well, the title got a little wonky…but it only adds character.  Right?

Another Lulu/Levi project.