Monday, March 17, 2014

Toddler Matching Game

I wanted to make my two-year-old grandson a small gift I could mail inexpensively, so I decided on a matching game.

I started with a double-sided 12x12 sheet of cardstock, and cut it into 3x3 inch pieces, which gave me 8 sets of cards.   I used the Cricut cartridge Boys will be Boys to cut images that I knew would be perfect for Logan.

After piecing the image layers together and attaching them to each card, I realized the cardstock wasn't really as sturdy as I had hoped.  I decided to cut another heavier sheet of 12x12 cardstock and glue it to the back of each card. 

I then laminated all the cards using my Xyron Creative Station and the two-sided laminate cartridge.

Did you know you can cut the laminate right up to the edge of your paper?  I only recently learned this in the product description on the Xyron website.  I do suggest that you make your layered image small enough that you have a wide, flat margin around the edges of the card to allow the laminate to stick firmly to the card base. 

Eight pairs of cards is probably a lot for a two-year-old, but I figured his parents could start him off with only a few and gradually add more as he progresses.  (Okay, I admit that as his grandmother I think he's a genius and can match as many cards as you put in front of him.)

I thought a small drawstring bag would be the perfect container for the game, so I dusted off my sewing machine and made one.  I decided to personalize it with iron-on vinyl.  I used the Cricut Craft Room design program to size and arrange my letters (from the Cricut cartridge Plantin Schoolbook) so that I could easily transfer them to the fabric bag. 

In hindsight (which seems to be my preferred method of looking at things), I probably shouldn't have used the cord lock since it could possibly become detached and create a choking hazard.  I guess I just got carried away because I was actually making something!

My sweet grandson sharing his new toy with his sister.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

My far

This is the story of who I am.  It's about God's grace and redemption.  And how it's there for everyone.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my fragile mental health and just how much time I have left before my impending complete nervous breakdown.  I struggle to get through most days.  The reasons are complex and span 55 years.  Suffice it to say...I'm broken.

Some nights things are so bad I lie in bed and hope to take my last breath.  I don't want to live.  I don't deserve to live.  I've let so many people down.  So many people have let me down.  Life is hard.

Sometimes I have a good day and I feel like the pieces of me are starting to mend.  Then something happens and I come unglued.  God keeps picking up the pieces and carrying me to where I need to be.  I don't know why He doesn't just leave me where He found me, and move on to someone with more potential.  But He loves me.  For some reason, He loves me.

I've tried too many times to navigate my life without my GPS (God's Plan for my Service).  I veer off course, but He's always waiting for me to turn to Him to help me find my way.  Usually I listen for a few minutes, then my mind starts telling me, "We got this.  Bootstraps.  Pull.  Yeah, we can do it."

I can't.

I've been asking the wrong question.  It isn't "Why is God allowing me to suffer so much pain?"  The question should be "Why am I not willing to listen until I'm completely broken?"  And broken I am.

My heartache and disappointment aren't God's way of punishing me for my sinful, willful ways.  It's His way of calling out to me, "I'm still here.  Just reach out for Me."

God has a plan for each of us.  We might never know exactly what that means.  At least not here on earth.  But we aren't here by accident.  Each of us is here for a reason.  I try to recognize that fact each and every day.  But more often than not, I convince myself that I'm not making any difference in the world.  In my self-centered, distrustful way, I believe I'm God's one big mistake. 

I always feel like such a failure.  I let God down on a daily basis.  Multiple times.  But God doesn't really need any of us to do His work.  He allows us to do so for our own good.  He can do anything He wants without any help from us.  He wants us to need Him.  He wants to be our friend.

I might never be bubbly and happy, or the person who lights up a room.  That just isn't who I am.  I'm human and I carry a lot of baggage.   Huge, heavy baggage.  But deep within me, joy exists.  I know God loves me.  And that gives me a sense of peace like nothing else.  Maybe I can't find a reason to LOL.  But within my soul there's happiness.  Sometimes it's buried deep within.  But it's there.  God loves me.  Me.  He loves you, too.  I hope you know that.  I hope you feel it.

I've heard it said that even if you were the only person on earth, Jesus would have died just for you.  If you can wrap your mind around that, you will understand what keeps me going.  Honestly, I have a hard time comprehending that most days.  I feel insignificant.  I feel unworthy.  I am unworthy.  But Christ died for me anyway.  Or for that very reason.

Sometimes I think my existence on earth hasn't made even the smallest difference.  I'm raising my granddaughters, but I'm doing a lousy job.  I'm tired and resentful, and unfortunately, it shows.  I try to be loving, but honestly, I'm simply burned out.  But in the midst of the chaos of our lives, both girls are growing into loving, thoughtful young ladies who strive to be Christ-like.  I'm not sure how much of that is because of me or in spite of me.  But I do know that God can use even the most flawed humans to do His work.

Despite my reluctance to go on sometimes, I'm still breathing, thanks to God's neverending grace and mercy.  If you haven't already, I hope you will reach out and take God's hand.  He's there waiting just for you.