Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Lite Brite Life

My children were playing with their Lite Bright the other day. It was fun to see them working so seriously at it. It reminded me of when I was a kid...until the Uber-Princess asked me to help. Thanks to upgrades to the modern version, I was able to help her complete it in the fraction of time it used to take. How is that? Cheater pegs! They now make the pegs fused together in groups of two's, three's & four's. So when you can pop them in four at a time, imagine how much faster it can go (and believe me, I made heavy use of those ones on Uber-Princess's design).

Afterward I began thinking about the Lite Brite and how it works. You start with a blank sheet, or maybe one with some lettered spots. Slowly you piece in the colored pegs and a shape begins to form. Yet even with all the pegs in place, while you can see the shape, the actual figure is still dull. But plug it in and let the light shine through and all sorts of details and dimensions come out.

Aren't we like that as people? We're born, albeit not blank sheets, but with a design imprinted on us by God that has no color or shape yet. Then we begin to live and one by one opportunities and circumstances begin to fill in our outline. Over the years our shape becomes recognizable, but perhaps still somewhat undefined. Then one day we find ourselves doing and being what we were made to be. Suddenly God's light shines through us and we're made aware of all the brilliance of color and subtlety of substance that makes us who we are!

Those cheater pegs? I think we have those in life too. Maybe they're shortcuts we take toward our life goals. Or maybe on the positive side they're people who have believed in us and invested in helping us grow.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

WFMW: Alternative Cleaning Solutions

Today I ran low on my regular bathroom cleaning spray. As I stood staring at my other cleaning supplies, a thought occurred to me: why not put all the left-over glass-cleaner to use? You see a few years ago I started using micro-fiber cloths to clean my windows and mirrors. They work very well and eliminate the need for any chemicals. So my industrial-sized glass cleaner has languished in the cabinet ever since. However, necessity being the mother of invention that it is, I read the suggested uses for the window spray and low and behold it listed counters. Off to my bathroom I went with the window cleaner. And here I am a few minutes later to tell you - it worked! Which has me thrilled because I now have a means for using up all that cleaning solution that I hadn't the heart to throw out.

Another good alternative cleaner for bathrooms? Shampoo! I had gotten an off-brand shampoo in a gift basket once and never liked what it did to my hair. It has stayed in my shower, but now I use it for wiping down the shower walls. Hey, it's a soap and it gets things clean.

So next time you've got a cleaning solution whose original purpose no longer fits your needs, repurpose it. Remember it's just a marketing thing with the manufacturers where they position their cleaner to be used for a single function.

It's a different kind of "recycling". And it Works For Me!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

You've Got Mail

I got the idea for these cute mailboxes from Jenn's Stamping' Corner. Can't say mine turned out as cute as hers, but since the Musing girls haven't seen hers, they won't care. And I tell you what, it's a good, but cheap Valentine's gift. A buck for the mailbox, less than that for paper, find a few embellishments in the scrap bin and you're all set.

A quick tip: do not try to seal with acrylic spray. It just soaks through the paper. Jenn's idea to use Mod Podge is probably the best route to go.

Then you just tuck a love note inside (or a coupon for a free Krispy Kreme donut, like I did - yum!) and you're all set. I know my girls will be thrilled because a) they love to play post office and have resorted to making do with flimsy paper mailboxes and b) these mailboxes are "American Girl doll"-sized and anything on that scale is a hit with them.

Friday, February 08, 2008

I Think I'm Starting to Understand Archaeologists

I cleaned out the bottom of my closet today. It had been much neglected since I'd done a wardrobe overhaul in it last April. Things were strewn about:shoes, boots, purses, beach balls (three), sunscreen, board games, and more. So I rounded up Uber-Princess to go on a dig with me. We pulled and hauled and tossed until the floor was empty on one side. Then I ran the vacuum and we sorted through what would go back. Simple enough. Not an eventful dig, but thorough and...done.

Then we turned to side two. This one didn't seem so bad. How could it be with a wedding gown box taking up over half of the real estate? Simply a few pairs of boots and a pile of magazines to dig out. So dig we did. And that's when the discovery happened! Sifting through the pile of magazines I came across a library book that had long been given up for lost. I turned to the Uber-Princess, holding the book triumphantly in the air.

"Look what I found!", I said.

"The Lion King!", she exclaimed and took the book from my hand, threaded her way through the debris to an empty spot in the room and sat down to read.

I was a little disappointed that the celebration was so short-lived, but I went back to the magazines...and found a SECOND missing library book!

"Woo hoo!", I hollered.

The Uber-Princess didn't even look up. So I tossed the book in her direction, figuring she'd devour it next and with another joy-hop, went back to my cleaning.

The magazines have been recycled and the closet put back to rights again. The books will go back to the library (which had graciously overlooked their misplacement) this afternoon. All that's left of that fortuitous project is the question: just HOW did those books get into that pile anyway?).

Monday, February 04, 2008


I still remember trying to help my Russian friend, Dmitry, understand the slang term "bummer". He spent a lot of time hanging around us Americans and I suspect part of it was to glean some American idioms from us. In Moscow the English that is taught is purely British (they live in "flats" and take the "lift" to get to them, among other things). At some point though, he'd heard someone use the word bummer, but didn't get it's meaning, so he pressed me.

I don't remember quite how I answered him then, but if he were here today I might answer something like this:

Bummer: getting a rejection letter from a magazine that you submitted to six months ago? No, that's good news. It means you mattered enough to get a response.

Bummer: losing your glasses/sunglasses (again!)? Sort of, but not so much so if your vision coverage allows for a new pair this year (phew!).

Bummer: forgetting to thaw the meatloaf for dinner and resorting to chicken patty sandwiches instead? Naw. The meatloaf can wait.

Being this guy today?

Now THAT'S a bummer!