Here are my votes for the Apron Power! Photo Contest. You can view the pictures I am talking about here.
#1-Grandmother of the Internet Apron Movement
#2-Connie, who made that apron, and might make me one if I don’t win this contest and have to order one from her!
#4-Laura, my favorite of all the apron photos-so typical of my household, too
#6-A Mongolian ger on hers, very one-of-a-kind
#8-just a sweet picture!
#9-funniest picture
#10-Victorian doll appliqued aprons, loved the story behind them
#14-Me, gotta vote for myself
#29-Love the apron tied above the belly
#39-Meredith, from Like Merchant Ships; I just like her!
Now, those of you who haven’t voted (for me) yet, you can copy and paste the numbers I have chosen (leave off my comments) to an email, and send it to megamommy12[at]aol[dot]com. Voting continues until Friday. Then I promise to remove the banner.

Vote For Val (#14)!

Over the last couple of weeks, I have accumulated some new readers. Welcome! In order for you to continue reading my blog free of charge, there is just one teensy thing I’d like you to do for me. First, go to this web album, where you will see photo entries in Barbara Curtis’ Mommy Life Apron Power Contest. See me there, in my blueberry apron? Good. Now browse through and pick nine others that you like the best. She will only count emails with 10 choices, so please don’t skimp. When you have the numbers written down (psst- I’m number 14, put that first so you don’t forget), email them to Barbara by Friday at megamommy12[at]aol[dot]com. Just that simple. Tomorrow I’ll be posting my votes for best apron, so if you are feeling lazy, you can wait until then and cut and paste my post to your email. Of course, you’ll switch what I put down as my first pick with your first pick of #14. šŸ™‚

I submitted a picture of me in one of my aprons for the Apron Power! Photo Contest. See all the entries here, on the Mommy Life site. This is what I wrote, to go along with the picture:
Here I am wearing my blueberry apron, serving up blueberry muffins to the kids for breakfast. I got this apron last summer, while blueberry-picking at a local patch. We love blueberries around here. There is a slight ultramarine hue to my hands in the picture; I had the bright idea of sprinkling the berries over the tops of the batter-filled muffin cups, instead of folding them into the batter while still in the bowl like I usually do. I didn’t think about how that would stain my hands! The children appreciated not getting a mouthful of berries when they bit into their muffins this morning, so I guess the extra effort and mess were worth it.

Now, I am waiting to see what Honey’s photo entry will be. I hear she is having some kitchen difficulties at the moment, and probably isn’t thinking about posing in her apron in front of the offending appliance. (psst, Abba, you just might win the contest if you did that! You’d get my vote!) Fun stuff.

She Who Wears The Apron Rules The World

Isn’t that the way the poem goes? Well maybe it should. Check out the Apron Power! Photo Contest at MommyLife! I have enjoyed collecting pretty aprons over the past year, and have appreciated how they save so many messes from getting on my shirts. Last night I dribbled something on my top at dinner, and for a few seconds, I was a little stunned. Then I realized I didn’t have an apron on.
My photo entry for the contest will stay under wraps (pun intended) until after Christmas. Oh, the anticipation.

Only The Lonely

I have started reading a book, Witness, by Whittaker Chambers, and in it he talks about how at times he enjoyed and preferred being alone.
“If I had really wanted the fellowship that lay on the other side of the wall, I would have battered my way or scrambled over. The real wall was my own indifference and my liking for solitude.”Witness, p.115
It hit me that I am like that, too. Most of my memories of childhood, I am playing alone. My siblings must have been around, and I am sure I played with them plenty, but I remember spending so much time alone, and not minding. I’m social enough when circumstances require it, but if I had my choice, I would prefer to be alone most of the time. The circumstances of life with a husband and large family do require me to be in a crowd :). So I have to figure out how to make my personality (ah, solitude) blend with the needs of my family (Mommy, help!). I can give and give, but sooner or later there has to be some down time for me or I and everyone else will suffer for it. Sometimes when things seem to be getting really crazy around me, the reason is that I haven’t gotten alone much lately, and especially I have not gotten alone with God, who made me this way, with a need for solitude.
An article I read today was talking about the benefits of waking early and going to bed late, because in those hours a person has time be alone, to reflect on things and to do meaningful Bible study. It occured to me that there is nothing wrong with wanting to have time to myself; the problem is when I choose to take it. In fact, I would have plenty of that time in the mornings and nights if I stay disciplined. If I am sleeping in until the kids awaken and going to bed right after the children do, my days feel so crowded and unpleasant. There is such wisdom in Proverbs 31.
She gets up while it is still dark…her lamp does not go out at night. from verses 15 and 18
Something I realized anew after reading Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, by Anne Ortlund, is this. At at the end of time, when I stand before the Lord, I won’t have the job descriptions of mother, wife, or daughter to hide behind and make excuses. I will just be the person God created standing there, and He’ll want to know what I did with the life He gave me. I hope that I have something good to show for it and make Him happy.

End of a Church

Tomorrow the very few of us that consider ourselves members of Hope Community Church will gather together to officially disband, over grilled hot dogs. This seems a very appropriate way to close up shop, too- it really isn’t that sad. We are celebrating the friends we have made and the things we have learned. Back when we lived in Plain City and attended a big church, I thought of a church being more where you meet rather than who meets there. Now I am so much more aware that God’s beautiful body of Christ is people, and just because this plant didn’t work out doesn’t mean there aren’t many vibrant possibilities in us for growth somewhere else. Still, I really thought this would work. There isn’t another church like ours in the area; we loved what made us unique and thought that many others would be drawn to that, as well. It is almost as if God prevented people from coming; as if He did not want it to succeed. As my mother-in-law has said, “Even the strangest cults would get a visitor once in a while!”
We are not sure what God wants us to do next. It is very scary and exciting.