Archive for June 2011

I Heart Rock   2 comments

During a trip to southern California recently I was walking along a beach just south of Malibu with some family members, and I found this rock.  I originally gave it to my niece because she had gotten married a couple of years ago, but she gave it to me to take home.

The more I look at this rock the more lessons/analogies I can draw from it.  Now, I really like rocks.  I mean I notice rocks wherever I go.  I look for them on the ground.  I love climbing them.  I love having them in the yard, even on my desk at work.  A dream of mine would be to have a big rock (about 4 feet high) in the yard, with some rough steps carved on one side, a small flat place at the top, and the other side would be sloped and smoothed and carved to be a slide.  How cool would that be to have in your yard, huh??

So it was not a surprise my eyes spotted this rock, nor that I would be drawn to it.  Some of the things I’ve noticed about this rock:

It is, of course, heart-shaped.  Not smooth and clean with perfect, symmetrical sides.  But still noticeably heart-shaped.

It is hard (duh-it’s a rock), but it is smooth.

Picking it up it fills my hand – it is not small.

Looking at it, turning it over, you notice interesting patterns and worn spots.

It has been through rough times, because the edges and sides are smooth. Yet it has endured.

It has seen trauma – something broke it to make that heart-shape.  But it has endured. It continues.

I found it on the beach, which means it tumbled from a hillside or washed up from the ocean.  Which means it has traveled, probably being tossed and turned and rolled and squished in the process.  But it has endured.

It was a blessing for me to find this rock.  Thank you, God, for rocks.  And the enjoyment we can get from them, their usefulness, and lessons we can learn.

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Posted June 26, 2011 by Maureen in Musings, Randomness

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You Can’t Hurry Love   3 comments

On September 30, 2010 I posted an entry about song tracks.  You know, those songs that pop into your head, as a sort of sound track to your life.  Anyway, one of the ways God works in me is sometimes I wake up with a song.  And that song will be the answer to a prayer, or the theme for the day.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  As soon as I am awake the song starts, and it is clear and loud in my head.  I did not wake up to the radio this morning so I know it was not something I listened to while I was still asleep.

My song this morning was “You can’t hurry love” – remember Diana Ross singing that?

“You can’t hurry love
no, you just have to wait
You got to trust, give it time
no matter how long it takes”

I hate waiting.  Have I said that before?  This, combined with the dream I had the other day, tells me that God is telling me it will happen, but I have to wait.  “It” being marriage.  I hate waiting.  Good golly — I’ve been waiting over 20 years to be married again.  And that last line?  “no matter how long it takes”?  UG!!!  Picture me, standing with fists clenched, head back, screaming up into the sky, “NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!”

Yeah, that’s how I feel about that.  But still…… I trust God.  I know from many past experiences that He has my best interests in mind and that His way truly is best.  I’ve gone this long.  I guess I can wait a bit more.

Posted June 19, 2011 by Maureen in Being Single, Christian, Randomness

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Close, but no cigar   2 comments

I’ve been sick and then went out of town lately, but my “adventures in singleness” continue!  Just this week I had two experiences that perfectly illustrate the trials and tribulations of dating.

I had been talking with one man who found me very attractive and made that clear, but longer we talked online the more it became apparent that what he was really interested in was a sexual relationship. He was ok if that would last for months, but in the end he’d be moving on to the next lady.  No thanks, buddy.

The second guy was someone I seemed to have a lot in common with.  I was within his age range and he appealed to me.  I sent him my picture and never heard from him again.  What. The. H***?!?!?!  You can’t be man enough to say something like “Thanks for the picture, but I prefer (fill in the blank) ladies.”  (Younger, taller, fatter. skinnier, black hair, blonde hair, asian, hispanic….. whatever it might be)  You can’t even be man enough, polite enough, to say that to me??  No thanks, buddy.

Last night I had a dream where I was walking through shallow, clear running water.  Which is a good thing in a dream.  In the same dream I also spilled a cup of coffee, and I still haven’t quite figured out what that means.  The search for a husband continues….

Posted June 17, 2011 by Maureen in Being Single, Musings

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Stepping Stones   2 comments

Taking a short break from posting about my singleness travails to post this DIY on stepping-stones.  I’ve wanted to try this for years, and now that the yard is slowly (oh so slowly) getting landscaped I thought some personalized, customized stepping-stones would brighten things up.  My sister has a co-worker who has done pottery for many years, and she got lots of “seconds” from her.  Pieces that had cracked or broken or for whatever reason did not turn out right.  So I had a lot of pieces of pottery to work with, in a variety of colors.  You can also buy mosaic material from web sites, or go to junk yards and buy pieces of different things there.  The junk yards will have tiles you can break up, broken glass, stones, etc.  Use your imagination and have fun with it.

I searched the internet for “stepping stone molds” and ordered a few that I liked.  I bought 10 pound bags of cement, which was a size I could handle myself.  The next size up is 60 pounds, which is too large to move by myself and if you don’t use it quickly it can harden.  Plus, I had no place to store it inside.  I also got a beginner mosaic “kit” from a mosaic internet site.  It came with some colored glass tiles, but it also had a tile nipper, glass cutter, and protective goggles.  All important equipment.

I already had a “saw horse” (Black and Decker triangle stand) and a piece of plywood to put on top.  You could do this on the ground also, but for me it is easier to work standing up.  I covered the ground with a blue tarp as the broken pottery ends up in little bitty pieces that I didn’t want on the ground.

Your designs could be as detailed or abstract as you like.  I do better with abstract, and with the pieces I ended up getting they lent themselves to that anyway, so that’s pretty much what I did.  So this was my work area:

The cement block is there to break the pottery on.  Once they are in small enough pieces I can make further cuts with the nippers or glass cutters.  I found, with my material, that the nippers tended to shatter and cut in unexpected ways, whereas the glass cutter could make smaller and finer cuts.  It does take strength to press them to the tile/pottery, and if you do a lot of it your hand can hurt.  I’ve got some piles of pottery on the ground already, as I broke up white brown and green for a mountain I wanted to make, and you can see the molds on both tables.  Here is a close up of some of my tools on the table:

Empty mold on the right (you can see I’ve used it before), and I’ve laid out a pattern in the one on the left.  These are 8″ squares, which are really too small for good stepping-stones, unless you put them together.  Once I have laid out my tiles in the mold, I take them out (laying them on the plywood in the same pattern) and then mix my cement.  These 8″ squares take 5 pounds of concrete each.  The 18″ rounds I have take a whole 10 pounds, but they could actually hold about 12-13 pounds to be full up to the top.  Follow package directions to add enough water.   What I found was that if you make the mixture a little on the wet side it is better.  Remember you can always add more water, but it is hard to take water away once it has been added.  Add, mix, add a bit more, mix again, and keep doing that until the consistency is right.  Make sure everything gets mixed.  This takes muscle and something strong to mix with!  Then, pour it into the empty mold:

You want to press the cement into the mold, not leaving any gaps or air bubbles.  This takes a bit of muscle.  Any flat surface will do – I used the back of a wooden spoon until I found a cement trowel.  Then I pick up the mold and bang it on the table a couple of times.  Make sure the top is even.  You have about 15 minutes before the cement starts to get hard to place your tiles. 

Place your tiles, making any adjustments necessary, and then press them into the cement.  These stones will be for actually walking on, so I wanted the surface as flat as possible.  If you are making something decorative or not to be walked on, just make sure the tiles are secure in the cement.  Smooth out the cement, as necessary, as you go.  Here is my “mountain”:

Now I will let this sit for two days.  Outside or in doesn’t matter. As long as it is protected from water and it is not too humid outside you can keep them outside.  I found a full 48 hours is needed for the cement to dry thoroughly. 

When I am ready to unmold, I move the mold a bit, pulling it this way and that away from the cement.  Holding onto the cement, I carefully flip it over (sometimes they slide right out, and you don’t want them to do that as you are flipping them) and place them on the ground or plywood.  I tap the bottom with a screwdriver and then hold onto the frame and jiggle it up until the stone slides out.  Sometimes I gently bang the frame on the ground or plywood.  It will slide out – just keep coaxing it.  Then, gently turn over — and you have a stepping stone! 

Here are some of the ones I’ve created already: