Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 27, 2009 When Peace Like A River...

I made this papercut for a cousin who just opened a store not far from our home. This was her "Grand Opening" gift, which happened to match PERFECTLY with the colors of her new shop. Yay!

Auguri, G ed A!!!

This cut is called When Peace Like A River. For some reason, I have often found myself feeling close to God in the embrace of the nature He created. While trying to decide on a title for this one, I sat observing the bench, wishing I could be in it, just observing, soaking in the peace. So, that is how the title came about.

I was reminded of the old hymn with the same words in it. May they speak to your soul, and comfort you and bring you peace. May your heart be open to drawing closer to God, so that He can draw closer to you. :-)

"This hymn was writ­ten af­ter two ma­jor trau­mas in Spaf­ford’s life. The first was the great Chi­ca­go Fire of Oc­to­ber 1871, which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a weal­thy bus­i­ness­man). Short­ly af­ter, while cross­ing the At­lan­tic, all four of Spaf­ford’s daugh­ters died in a col­li­sion with an­o­ther ship. Spaf­ford’s wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, “Saved alone.” Sev­er­al weeks lat­er, as Spaf­ford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daugh­ters died, the Ho­ly Spir­it in­spired these words. They speak to the eter­nal hope that all be­liev­ers have, no mat­ter what pain and grief be­fall them on earth."

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 23, 2009- Maestra (Teacher) Gifts...

The Deep Red Rose...

The Blue Bird (The funny thing about this cut is that one of my first cuts had a tire swing on it, and I cut that one EXACTLY a year before I cut this one...Interesting)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

June 2009 Write-Away Contest Entry- The Smell Of Love...

The Smell Of Love
By Celita

It is back. A deep, nagging, and overwhelming longing has come upon my heart, like a haunting memory that is somehow sweet, though barely recognizable. In an attempt to distract myself, I glance at my unmanicured hands with their unpainted nails and am momentarily disgusted by the deeper, drier lines that have formed across them. An image from ten or so years before slinks tauntingly before my eyes: my young hands, smooth, lotioned, well-kept, with nicely shaped nails which are long, strong, and glowing with two coats of my favorite nail enamel, "Pink Pearly Haze".

With a dejected sigh I drift back to reality. No matter. I brush at a stray hair that has caught firmly between my glasses and the eyelashes of my right eye, and after having conquered the offending strand, I promptly grab a dab of lotion from the tube on the shelf above the sink and distribute it skillfully into the innumerable and miniscule crevices of my hands.

As I stand leaning against the cool, dark-speckled granite counter, a breeze from the open kitchen window playfully teases a coffee-stained, dog-earred corner of a fruit-and-berry bordered recipe card that is clipped within the grasp of a springy- winged butterfly magnet on the refrigerator. The card waves in gentle response, and peaking words beckon for my attention between each sway of the prodding zephyrs.

Decidedly, I step forward and remove the card from its haven amidst the clutter on the freezer door-front. A sigh, this one full of desire, escapes my lips as I read the recipe for "Bread Pudding" which has been carefully scrawled out in loving detail. For a moment my breath catches, and I am transported back in to Memory's time.

I watch her while seated at her dining room table. My Abuela ("grandmother" in Spanish) scurries around her shallow-and-narrow kitchen gathering ingredients for our afternoon snack. She knows exactly which items she needs and how much to combine into the large, clear, Pyrex bowl, even without taking a single glance at the recipe card she has resting against her dormant microwave. It is present for Tradition's sake, not because of necessity. It is a pretty, rectangular card that has bright-colored plums, peaches, and strawberries perfectly scattered along the border. "Taste and see that the Lord is good" is printed within a narrow box along the bottom, just above the border. Thin lines guide the columned phrases from the list of ingredients to the very last cooking detail.

Abuela chatters on as I observe. While I was busy noting each element printed on the four-inch-by-six-inch piece of paper, she had joined half of the items needed in the bowl: bread, milk, sugar, and eggs.

I watch her hands as they deftly complete each step of the directions. They are not delicate hands, but ones dotted with age spots; and they have time and hardship pressed into them. From experience I know that they are gentle hands, just as adept at and at ease in carressing my chestnut tresses as I rest my head comfortably on her lap as when she is busy cracking eggs open to include in a dessert.

After Abuela adds and stirs together the salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, butter, and raisins, she pulls out a baking pan, greases it, and pours it all out evenly and perfectly into the confines of the teflon container. I am amazed because she does not drip one bit. A wonderful thing to a nine year old.

Once it is baking away in the preheated oven, the apartment is inundated with one of the most wonderful aromas I have ever savored. It is what love smells like, a sweetness not just appealing to the belly but also to the soul.

Mesmerized by its apparent deliciousness, I can only sit and count along with the tick-tick-tick of the food timer. I stalk the moving arm with my eyes and anxiously wait for the "ding" to sound. When it does, I jump for having been concentrating so intently on the circling arrow.

Abuela notices my anticipation and beams with pleasure. After the allotted time, she retrieves her favorite oven mitts, the ones with the roosters on them, and checks for "doneness". A prick of a toothpick confirms that is has baked thoroughly and is pleasantly honey-brown on its surface. She removes it and places it on the stove to cool. Oh, how my mouth is watering!

Content, Abuela pulls out two glasses from one of her cabinets and fills them with milk. Once the bread pudding had cooled enough that it does not cling to the knife when being cut into wedges, it is time to indulge. Both of us have a slice in hand, and we aim to take a bite at the same time. This mutual enjoyment only adds to the memory of the tradition.

As I chew and swallow that first bite, I think of how I wish I could preserve this very moment and remember it always, in full color, with senses precise and recalling each portion. In that moment, Abuela leans towards the recipe that is still propped up dejectedly against the microwave. She turns, looks at me with a smile in her eyes, and hands me the card. She explains that she wants me to always remember her love for me and the moments we have shared together. I hold the not-yet-coffee-stained paper close to my heart and feel as if I have been handed a wonderful treasure.

I remember that day with fondness. Not only did we make special memories and just enjoy each other's company, but Abuela gave me a gift of her trust. That simple, fruit-bordered recipe card was written out by her very own hand, and so it was part of herself. And, she had willingly shared that part of herself... with me.

I long to call Abuela and see if she is making her "family favorite" bread pudding, but... I can't. I have the memories. I have the recipe. I have hands that are looking worn like hers used to. But, she is gone now.

Now I am the one who rests the recipe card against the microwave. I gather the ingredients needed without looking at them because the words are ingrained in my heart. I mix each item together, watch the timer arm make its rotation, and remember the old times while still anticipating with joy.

When the bread pudding is ready, I take it out with my red oven mitts and let it cool on the counter. I prepare a tall glass of milk, slice out a piece for myself, close my eyes, imagine Abuela sitting next to me as before... and bite.

To me, it still smells like love.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 17, 2009 Busy Bee-ing Alive And Buzzing Around...

Busy Bee-ing Alive And Buzzing Around... :-)

This is a papercut I created as a swap with my friend, Snippety Gibbet, whom I mentioned in some previous posts a couple of weeks ago. I asked her to trade one of her 3-D cuts for one of my "stained glass" ones, and I was ecstatic when she agreed. I truly love her cuts- 3D or not. Anyhow, the swap topic was "Bees", and here is mine. I am hoping that she likes it!!! It is certainly not as detailed and beautiful as her own insect creations, but, I like it- in a much simpler way.

Oh, and if you had not noticed, I have a "thing" for puns (plays on words), and I could not resist this title. :-) Tacky? I like it!!! So Fun!

June 2, 2009 A Time For Trials, A Time For Rocking Waves...

A Time For Trials, A Time For Rocking Waves...

I will be honest... Life has recently been tremendously challenging. I have been challenged to face my insecurities and failures with courage I do not have, and I have had to face them blindly, except for One thing: the love, care, and faithfulness of Jesus. No matter how high the "waves" of my life get, I am reminded about the story in Mark 4:35-41:

"And that same day, when the evening had come, He said unto them,"Let us pass over to the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took Him even as He was in the boat; and there were also with Him other little boats. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was now full. But He was in the hind part of the boat, asleep on a pillow; and they awoke Him and said unto Him, "Master, don't you care that we perish? And He arose, and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, "Peace, be still." And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith? And they feared exceedingly and said one to another, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

How spectacular and AWE-some!!! No matter how bad things get in my life, Jesus is always in control. He is our Victor, the Lover of Our Souls, Our Redeemer, Our Life-Saver!!! We can trust Him to take care of us.

Psalm 51:10-12 says:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit."

We must repent before God for those things that we do that are wrong and keep us from being in His presence. The littlest wrong thing we do- a white lie, an impure thought, a feeling of hate in our hearts, lust, bitterness, envy, jealousy- these are sin in the eyes of God. And sin keeps us from knowing His presence, hearing His voice, living in His ways as we should.

I choose to stay on the boat and wait on my Jesus to calm the waves that sometimes seem to overwhelm me. I choose to "rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction/tribulation, and continue steadfastly in prayer..." (Romans 12:12)

I may fail, but I will trudge on, journey on, and give my heart, soul, mind, and strength to the One who I can trust the best and most- Jesus.

Oops, From December 4, 2008- No Shades Of Grey...

No Shades Of Gray, Only Black And White...

I forgot about this cut until I found it recently in some things I had not yet unpacked from our trip back to the States during Christmas. When I was considering what to title it, I could not get away from the idea that there are not really any grey areas in faith in Jesus. The Bible is a map of faith, leading us into Christ's love and redemption and salvation and sanctification (holiness) in Him. God has added alot of "color" to our days, in many forms, in many ways. His creation dots our paths, whichever way we may go. It speaks of His wonder, and I am in awe. The cross speaks of His amazing love for us, which is unconditional but not to be played with. He is never unjust, and always faithful. No matter the dark clouds that surround me, He is there. I must continue to trust in, cling to, rely on Him- I must continue to BELIEVE.

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

I believe!!!

Do you?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 2009 Write-Away Contest Topic- FOOD...

I have given it a break, now I am ready for more... Please consider joining in Scribbit's Write-away fun. June's topic is "Food", and you can find all related information here at this link...

Hope you have fun getting your creative gears going for this one. Should be fun!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June 10, 2009 Maestro Carlo...

Benedizioni Innumerabile (Innumerable Blessings)

These days have had just an edge of sadness as we prepare for a summer that will usher in a very different school year in September. My son's, Antonio's, main teacher is retiring this year. It took me over two years to adjust to how this teacher taught. I cried too many times to count over frusteration, feelings of inadequacy, and more frusteration. Learning new teaching methods in a different country are not so easy. Every year there is some new and interesting challenge for me in the academic world.

As we prepare to say goodbye to Antonio's teacher, I feel weepy inside. Things will not be the same without him. This was the best year we have had with him so far, and now we will have to adjust again... to another teacher, new and different teaching methods, etc... Not Comfortable!!!

But, I cannot help thinking about this song based on a verse in the Bible... I learned it so long ago, but it is ingrained in my mind...

"Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man/ they are ordered of God, They are ordered of God/ Rejoice for the steps of a righteous man/ They ar ordered of God

In the time of trouble God will uphold you/ God will preserve you/ God will sustain you/ In the time of trouble God will lift you up/ So rejoice your steps are ordered of God..."

God is in my tomorrows, He is in today, and He is every moment along the way.

I pray that Maestro Carlo will be safe, health-ful, and be filled with God's many blessings, His guidance and direction, joy, peace, and "strength for today and hope for tomorrow". I pray that he will relearn to enjoy the simple blessings and beauties of life and be refreshed. And I pray that this coming school year will be touched in a very special way. May we all have a renewed sense of WHO JESUS IS!!!

Auguri, Maestro Carlo!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

June 5, 2009 A Birthday Cut for 3 Year Old Joe...

Pablo, Joe, And Tyrone Dancing...

My friend's son is turning 3 this weekend. The theme... The backyard/playground, and all that goes with it. That includes some things by the BACKYARDIGANS. Combining two themes into one can be such fun!

So, here I tried to do just that. Here we have the birthday boy with the Backyardigan's characters, Pablo and Tyrone. Not exact, but... You can guess who they are. And they are doing one of the things they love to do best- DANCE!!!

Happy Birthday, Joe!!! You are such a great little man!! Have a great day! See you soon!