February Reflections

Once again the end of the month is still a few days away, but there will probably be other posts between now and then. So I thought this might be a good time for my end-of-month post.

February is when winter starts getting old. However, the month has its highlights. One is my daughter-in-law’s birthday. Another is Valentine’s Day, which we celebrate as a family. Another is that the daylight that has been steadily increasing since the winter equinox finally becomes enough to be noticeable.

This year we had the added benefit of the Olympics in February. I rarely watch sports on TV except when the Olympics are on. We watched mostly figure skating, but caught some skiing, bobsledding, and snowboarding as well. One night when we were looking for something from the Olympics to watch while eating take-out, all we could find was a curling match between the US and China on the NBC app. There’s a reason curling is only shown in clips in prime time! It’s not the most exciting sport to watch, though I am sure a lot of strategy is involved for the players.

My favorite Olympic moments: Nathan Chen’s gold medal free skate program, Lindsey Jacobellis and Nick Baumgartner’s win in the mixed snowboard cross (with the two of them being among the oldest Olympic competitors), and Shawn White’s last run and then closing interview with Mike Tirico.

Home and family

A couple of organizing projects had been tugging at me since before Christmas without the chance to do anything about them. I finally got to them this month. It would be too long and boring, probably, to tell all about them. But one involved getting things I only use once or twice a year, like seasonal cookie cutters and pumpkin-carving tools, out of a kitchen drawer and into the pantry. I didn’t take “before” pictures, but here are the bins in the pantry afterward:

And here’s the drawer, the deepest one on the kitchen. Imagine it with most of the stuff in those bins in here in plastic bags. It seemed whatever I wanted in here was always at the bottom of the drawer. I’m so much more pleased with it now.

I used to post Timothyisms, funny little things my grandson would say. He still says cute things, but I don’t think to write them down. He likes jokes now, so I collect them and share them with him. My favorite recent one: Why don’t anteaters get sick? Because they’re full of anty-bodies. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jason just took this picture of Timothy and me last week. He’s only 8 (next month), but is almost as tall as I am!

And, yes, he’s in the making-funny-faces-for-the-camera stage of life. ๐Ÿ™‚

Creating

February was a banner month for card-making, between Valentine’s Day and a couple of birthdays.

Going in chronological order, this was a card for a friend’s birthday. Only . . . I had the date wrong. I had it on my calendar and gathered a few things together and made her a card. Then the night before, I thought maybe I should check the church directory and make sure of her birth date. And I discovered it was in July, not February! I decided to go ahead and give everything to her since she’d probably get a kick out of it. We could almost call it her half-birthday. ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus, I didn’t want to have to keep up with the things until summer. As it turned out, when I dropped the things off at her house, she had had a very draining couple of days. So an unexpected non-birthday gift was a day-brightener.

She likes blue-green and sunflowers. The flowers here were multi-layered stickers.

Here are the Valentine’s cards:

This one was for Jim:

The heart and EKG-type readout were done with the Cricut. The original idea I had seen for something similar to this said, “You make my heart beat faster.” Since I have afib, I thought that might not be the best wording. ๐Ÿ™‚

This was for Jeremy, who likes foxes:

The fox here is a puffy sticker. I used a heart-shaped punch for the cut-out and did the wording for the sign on the computer. Everything else is scrapbooking paper.

When I saw this, I couldn’t resist it for Jason, even though it meant downloading and printing a file rather than cutting and pasting. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you are not familiar with these characters, they are from the Mandalorian. I don’t know much about Star Wars and haven’t even seen all the movies, but we loved this series. Jason especially like the fatherhood theme in it. “This is the way” is something the Mandalorians say repeatedly. This was designed by Karen, which she generously offered as a free download. It’s designed with multiple cards on one page that can be cut out and distributed to kids’ friends. I adapted it for a single larger card.

This one was for Mittu:

The cupcake was made with the Cricut, the hearts with hole punches, and the words with stickers.

This was Timothy’s:

It’s also Mandalorian-inspired, designed and generously offered free by Mandee. And she even included a link that explained how to download this into the Cricut to be cut there, so I learned a new facet of the Cricut. I hadn’t thought about Baby Yoda when I was at Hobby Lobby buying supplies, and I was relieved to have just the right shade of green paper among my stash.

This was for Jesse. I just liked that paper for him, as he likes red but doesn’t like overly mushy cards.

The “love” and “hugs” were stickers.

Finally, this was for Mittu’s birthday. She likes sunflowers and purple, but until now I had not seen paper that combined the two.

The “Happy birthday” and sunflowers by it were stickers. The rest was from a scrapbooking paper set.

Watching and Listening

As previously mentioned, the Olympics took up most of our viewing time this month. Though I enjoyed them, I’m kind of glad they’re over.

We’re still watching The Amazing Race and the Holderness family podcast/video recaps the day after each episode airs.

Around the World in 80 Days wrapped up on PBS. As I said last month, though no film adaptation is going to be exactly like the book, they rewrote too much of this one. Really, I felt they just hijacked the characters and main story arc to write their own program, adding in modern-day dilemmas and sensibilities. But . . . if I stopped comparing it to the book and just took it as it was, I enjoyed it. My husband had never read the book and enjoyed the series a lot. I tried to resist saying “In the book it was like this . . .” too often, but I did let it slip sometimes.

All Creatures Great and Small on PBS Masterpiece Theatre finished its second season this last Sunday. I’ve only read the first book in Herriot’s series, and that was a long time ago, so I am not sure how much was changed between book and film. But I loved this series–so heart-warming. I’m looking forward to their third season.

Jim and I watched the old movie The Guns of Navarone one night. Another night, we watched Good-bye Christopher Robin, kind of a sweet and sad telling of A. A. Milne and his family: how he came to write books about Christopher Robin (his real son’s name, though he didn’t go by it in real life), how the fame affected all of them. I knew that Christopher had liked the fame at first and then resented his father’s sharing of his life later on. This might be a cautionary tale for those who write about their real-life children. In the film, Christopher eventually overcomes his resentment when he realizes the comfort and joy the Pooh stories gave people in their childhoods, the memories of which brought comfort to them even as adults. I had Christopher’s book, The Enchanted Places, in my Kindle app and immediately started reading it, hoping he came to a similar conclusion in real life. Pooh was a big part of my children’s growing-up years, though we were more familiar with the Disney videos and toys than the original books. But Pooh and Christopher Robin and the rest will always have a soft spot in my heart.

One other series I watched was on PBS was the two-part A Very British Romance, tracing romantic rituals through English literature. Pluses: the literature, courtship history, host Lucy Worsley’s dressing up as some famous literary heroines, some elaborate original Valentines. Minuses: the feminist lens through which much of this was processed, the looking down on virtuous heroines and equating virtue with weakness, the amplification of sexual liaisons or reading into books more sexuality than was originally meant. Since I recently listened to The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow, where Mary Bennet read much of Thomas Carlyle, it was interesting to hear more about him here.

Reading

The Olympics cut into my reading-before-bed time. But here’s what I managed to finish this month:

  • Half Finished by Lauraine Snelling (fiction). A group of friends starts a UFO club, not for exploring extra-terrestrial life, but for finishing unfinished projects while fellowshipping with each other. Relationships form and people band together to help each other through the sorrows and joys they encounter.
  • The Road Home by Malissa Chapin (fiction). A woman running from her past encounters a recipe box in an antique shop. An attempt to return the box to the owner’s family leads to a road trip in a pink Cadillac and the story of another woman who tried to hide truth. A very good debut novel.
  • Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope, the fourth of his Barsetshire Chronicles (classic fiction, audiobook). A young vicar trying to get in with society’s elite gets into trouble. The village matron’s son falls in love with the vicar’s sister rather than the beautiful but cold society maiden his mother had picked out for him.
  • The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You by Lisa-Jo Baker (nonfiction). Lisa-Jo discusses the impact of our middle years in eight areas: our bodies, marriage, parenting (which gets two chapters), in a breezy chatting-with-girlfriends style.

I’m currently reading:

  • 100 Best Bible Verses to Overcome Worry and Anxiety (still. Almost done.)
  • Be Successful (1 Samuel): Attaining Wealth That Money Canโ€™t Buy by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • IBS for Dummies by Carolyn Dean and L. Christine Wheeler
  • The Enchanted Places: A Childhood Memoir by Christopher Milne
  • The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope (audiobook)
  • Just 18 Summers by Michelle Cox and Rene Gutteridge

Next in the queue: The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis, Another Gospel?: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity by Alisa Childers, The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope, Wiersbe’s “Be” book on 2 Samuel.

Blogging

Besides book reviews, Friday Fave Fives, and Saturday Laudable Linkage, I had these posts on the blog this month:

  • Ways to Disagree Without Tearing Each Other Down. Disagreements are inevitable, even among those we love best. But we can disagree graciously and constructively without belittling each other.
  • Don’t Let Truth Become Cliche. If some parts of the Bible seem trite or overly familiar to us, the solution is not to scale back on our Bible reading. I share some ways to refresh our view and renew our love for the Word.
  • Does He Still Love Me? Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend God’s love for us when we continue to mess up. Maybe that’s why Paul prayed the Ephesians might “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledgeโ€ (Ephesians 3:19).
  • What Can We Know for Sure? Some say there is no absolute truth, even in Christianity. But, though people will argue about some things until we get to heaven, God has given us core truths that we can know for sure.

Incidentally, I noticed a while back that I had passed the 5,000 mark in posts. I’m at 5,059 now in 15 1/2 years of blogging.

As we wrap up February and turn to March, we look forward to my husband’s birthday early in the month and Pi Day (when we eat pie on 3/14). Then the calendar is pretty much free until mid-April. I hope to dig into some writing then.

I’m aware of the news, though I don’t mention it much here. I figure it’s mentioned plenty elsewhere. There’s not much we can do about any of it except pray, but that’s the biggest, best, most important thing we can do. Among my prayers: wisdom for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4), that events will cause people to turn to the Lord, “that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you” (1 Kings 8:43), that those suffering may know “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:9-10).

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

February Reflections

February seems to have flown by—and not just because it’s a shorter month. It’s been a busy month, but a good one.

Valentine’s Day is always a fun for us with some special treats. We celebrated our daughter-in-law’s birthday last weekend. We closed on the rental house that my son and daughter-in-law had been renting. My husband is so relieved not to have an extra property to take care of. My youngest son found an apartment and will be moving next month. I’m excited for him but also facing the reality of an empty nest.

February is also the time of year when winter starts getting to me: the sky is often grey, the cold seeps into my bones, and I long for spring. Thankfully we’ve had some sunshine and temperatures in the 60s this week. We still have several weeks of winter, but each day brings us closer to spring! My daffodils are blooming already!

Creating

February is a big card month for us!

Early in the month we celebrated my youngest son’s 10,000th day of life. This was the card I made for him:

It took me a while to figure out what to do—I haven’t seen any other 10,000th day cards to get ideas from. ๐Ÿ™‚ I printed off a February calendar and had a stencil with the shape for the saying.

Then I made a card for each family member for Valentine’s Day. I had seen several variations of this idea on Pinterest and knew I just had to use it since my husband is a scientist.

I cut out the beakers using Cricut. I tried various background papers, but they made the card look too cluttered.

This was for my oldest son, Jeremy, who likes foxes:

I used a stencil for the heart. I printed off the sayings or captions and inside sentiments from the computer since my handwriting is not good. I cut out this one with decorative scissors and then outlined it in black. I had the hardest time finding the right fox. I have several stickers and looked up clip art, but none of them looked just right. I had some wooden cutouts, but I wasn’t sure if the glue would be strong enough to keep it on, especially as this one had to go through snail mail. Finally I got the idea to scan the fox cutout and print it, and that worked pretty well.

This was for Jason:

The bear was from a scrapbooking paper collection.

This was for my daughter-in-law, Mittu, who likes purple:

I printed out the tree from some free clipart I found online, then used a paper punch on various scrapbooking papers for the hearts.

This was for Timothy, my grandson:

I had seen an idea using the moon on Pinterest, and then saw this moon and stars design on the Cricut.

And this was for my youngest son, Jesse:

I had seen several variations of this idea on Pinterest using typewriters. But since he types via computer, I used that. I cut the computer out with the Cricut and positioned the caption behind the computer “screen.”

And finally, my daughter-in-law also likes sunflowers, so I was looking to use them somehow for her birthday card. In looking for something else on the computer, I stumbled across a file that I had purchased on sale some years ago from Karla Dornacher using sunflowers. Since Mittu also has blue in her home, this seemed perfect. So it wasn’t exactly handmade, except that I printed it off and cut it out. But I liked it, and I think Mittu did, too.

I just checked Karla’s site, and she doesn’t seem to carry this exact collection any more. But she did use the sunflower design in this printable card set.

I made one more birthday card for a friend. But when I double-checked to make sure I had the right date, I discovered her birthday was in June! I thought I saw somewhere recently that it was in February. Oh well—the card is now safely tucked away until June.

Watching

I’m still working my way through the Lark Rise to Candleford series while using my exercise bike. Jim and I really enjoyed the new PBS series of All Creatures Great and Small. I was sorry to hear the story had been changed from the original—but we did like this version.

Reading

Since last time I completed:

I usually read much more fiction than nonfiction, but that hasn’t held true this month.

I’m currently reading:

Blogging

Besides books reviews and almost weekly Friday Fave Fives and Laudable Linkages, Iโ€™ve shared on the blog this month:

As we turn the calendar page to March in a few days, we’ll have a busy couple of weeks with my husband’s birthday and my youngest son moving. But life should settle down a bit after that. I hope. You just never know.

How was your February? Any signs of spring yet?

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire,Hearth and Soul,
Senior Salon, InstaEncouragements, Shannan’s What I’m Into)