Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 9 comments

Tips for Tuesday

The last time I spoke at a MOPS group, my friend Shelly asked, "What are you going to talk about, how to stuff a baby into a pumpkin?"  Actually, I talked about organizing, but I do know a thing or two about stuffing a baby into a pumpkin!  I thought I'd take this opportunity to share some of my ideas for baby photos with you, featuring my two favorite models, "Dude" and "Bubba".



I used an artificial pumpkin for this photo of Dude back in 2011. I purchased the matching hat and socks on clearance after Halloween the year before. After cutting off the top I cut out a couple leg holes, making sure to make them extra high since babies don't always bend their legs when you want them to.  You can use a real pumpkin, but that just seemed super-messy to me.  Instead, I used a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby.  Little did I know I would be reusing the pumpkin just a year later for Bubba!



As with Dude, I used a towel underneath and behind Bubba to keep him propped up.  This time I also had some gourds to add to the mix and again, Dude's shirt came from Halloween clearance the year before.



Here Bubba is sporting a Thanksgiving bib and hat set over his regular outfit that just happened to coordinate nicely. With me, you can assume everything came from the clearance rack until otherwise noted.



As you can imagine, things get more complicated with each child you add to the mix. I've found that with children this young, you have to be evenly matched (1 adult per child).  Outnumbered is even better - then you have an adult to help each child plus one more to hold the camera!



As you can see, there was not much holding still going on here!



This is the one article of clothing I paid top dollar for but when you're a new Grandma on a mission trip to Alaska, you can't help but buy a cute onesie from the North Pole! Dude wore this under a super-cute Santa suit I picked up at a garage sale for next to nothing.



Here's Bubba the following year in the onesie and Santa suit.



I also found some reindeer hats and a moose shirt for Dude (all on clearance after Christmas) for our group photo.  The hats did double duty; since they were nice and warm the boys used them all winter.  



I haven't had much luck with New Years photos since the guys hats are so big, but I did use a favorite photo of Dude in his "lumberjack" shirt to make this Valentine online.



For Easter, I picked up these bunny ears added some fresh carrots and viola!



Just to change it up a bit, for the next year I gave Bubba an Easter basket instead of the carrots and he went to town!



I took advantage of the plethora of Trillium growing around us every spring and plopped Dude down into the middle of it.



You can also use props you may find around your house.  Dude had a Superman cape minus the PJ's it came with, but it worked great for a photo with Bubba.  It also helps to be flexible.  I was aiming for one of those cute "sleeping baby" photos here, but as you've seen, these guys don't do "sleeping baby" - not even at just a couple weeks old.



Our most recent photo is another example of "going with the flow."  I'd seen one with the younger boy in the bucket and the older one standing over him with a watering can, but that didn't happen.  Dude decided to join Bubba in the tub, so we went with it!



Dude quickly lost interest, but Bubba enjoyed having the tub and the watering can to himself.



With a few quick alterations, you can also create a costume.  When he was little, I called Dude my "round-headed boy." I gave him an outfit to match his head :) by turning around a onesie with a logo on the front (Go Blue!) and tacking on a piece of felt cut out in a zig zag.  



I'm so thankful to be a grandma who gets to watch her boys every week and has time to take these fun photos.  I hope they've given you some ideas for your little ones!  


Lisa

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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 6 comments

Yes, you read that right: Traveling Without Pants.  It may sound funny but unfortunately it appears to be a recurring theme.

I definitely need to do something about that...

Last weekend I had the privilege of speaking at a women's retreat in Kansas. Not wanting my clothes to get crushed, I made sure to wait until the last minute to pack my nicer clothing.  My plan was successful and my clothing was wrinkle-free - including my pants, which were still hanging back at my house where I left them. That was NOT a part of the plan!


Thankfully I was traveling in deep blue denim slacks which went well with the other clothing I'd brought along.  I was temped to share my pants story with the ladies at the retreat, but decided not to draw attention to my situation since it might otherwise go unnoticed.  

As I said, this appears to be a recurring theme.  On our most recent trip to Kenya we also found ourselves to be without pants, though this was a different situation entirely.  

The women on our mission trips always plan to wear skirts in the village since this is the acceptable attire.  (The idea of wearing slacks is so foreign that at the end of our trip we can't even give slacks away!)



However, when we arrived Pastor Elisha informed us that since it was the tail end of rainy season and the mosquitoes were thick, the women should wear trousers while building houses to protect against malaria.  Having experienced malaria first-hand I heartily agreed and we set out to the market to find the proper clothing before heading to the village.  



Can I just insert here that nothing in a foreign country is as straightforward as one might think?  We walked through the market looking for used clothing, stopping on occasion to ask for directions. (We're women, we do that sort of thing.)  We would explain that we came from America but didn't bring any pants with us because we didn't think we would need them in the village we were going to.  Now we understood we did need them, and could you please tell us where we might find some pants.

Evidently our lack of pants was very humorous because our inquiries were always met with a grin followed by more grinning, chuckling and discussions in Kiswahili with those around them.



Even though some of the people spoke English, it was British English, which you may think is the same as American English, but you would be sadly mistaken. Finally, someone explained to us that what we were actually looking for was trousers while what we were asking for was underwear.  Evidently in Kenya what we call underwear they call inner pants, or pants for short - hence the chuckling. I'm sure incidents like this add to the reputation Americans have of being strange!

This incident brings home an important point.  Just because we think we understand something doesn't mean we have the full picture, especially if it's coming from a different culture.  It's crucial we remember this when reading Scripture, which was written in a different culture and time.

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” ~ Romans 12:20

For a long time I understood this verse to mean that we should be kind to our enemies because it will be more irritating to them than responding harshly would be.

That would be wrong, in oh so many ways.

If we understood the culture we would know that this verse was actually quoted from Proverbs 25:21-22, which was written a couple thousand years before matches were invented. If your fire died out the easiest way to start it again would be to get burning coals from your neighbor. How would you carry burning coals?  In a pot.  And how were things carried? On their heads.  So you see, heaping burning coals on someone's head in that day was a great blessing, not a curse. God is calling us to show kindness to everyone, even those who are not kind to us.

So the next time something you read in the Bible doesn't make sense, do a little digging.  Read the notes in your study Bible or look up the verse in a good commentary (I like Mathew Henry's).  Always start by asking the Holy Spirit for guidance.  He wants you to understand God's Word even more than you do!

Father, we thank you for the gift of your Word and for the Holy Spirit, who is always here with us to guide us into all truth.  Thank you for your presence, your provision and for a sense of humor when we run into little obstacles like pants!


Lisa



I've been known to link up with: Living Proverbs 31, Soli Deo GloriaInspire Me MondayTitus 2sdaysTell Me a StoryTeach Me TuesdaysCourtship Connection, Into the BeautifulGod Bumps & God IncidencesWord-Filled WednesdayWinsome WednesdaySimply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, Inspire, Thrive at Home, Knick of Time, Hope in Every Season, Funky Junk Interiors, Frugal Friday, Inspire Me Please, Feathered Nest Friday, What Have You Redone, Home Sweet HomeThrifty Things Friday, DIY Sunday Showcase , Think Pink Sundays
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 1 comments


A big THANK YOU to all who were praying for the retreat in Kansas last weekend!  All my flights went smoothly and I made it through O'Hare with time to spare!  This is the message that greeted me as we entered the Living Waters Ranch.


The weather was absolutely fabulous, the view was spectacular, and best of all, God showed up big-time!  Apart from a few minor glitches on my part, the weekend went off without a hitch!


I'd have to say the best part was feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit as I taught on Saturday.  There's nothing in this world like it!


I couldn't have asked for a better group of ladies to spend the weekend with. Such love for Jesus!



Of course, whenever I'm doing something for God there seems to be obstacles, usually physical ones.  This time I woke up the morning I was to fly to Kansas with a pinched nerve in my neck.  Not only did it hurt like crazy, but I had a hard time turning my head. Interestingly enough, it settled down right after the retreat was over. Hmmm...I think my friend Steve up above hit the nail on the head!

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. ~ Romans 8:37


The beauty of the retreat center helped draw us even deeper into God's presence.


To top it off, Kansas is one of the few states where I know someone.  My friend Sue lives just a few hours away, so I was able to spend the rest of the long weekend catching up with her.

Thank you, Lord, for the fabulous weekend.  What a privilege it is to share your Word with others who also long to know you deeper and more completely!  Thank you for your guidance, your protection and the many blessings you've bestowed on us all!

Lisa

I've been known to link up with: Living Proverbs 31, Soli Deo GloriaInspire Me MondayTitus 2sdaysTell Me a StoryTeach Me TuesdaysCourtship Connection, Into the BeautifulGod Bumps & God IncidencesWord-Filled WednesdayWinsome WednesdaySimply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, Inspire, Thrive at Home, Knick of Time, Hope in Every Season, Funky Junk Interiors, Frugal Friday, Inspire Me Please, Feathered Nest Friday, What Have You Redone, Home Sweet HomeThrifty Things Friday, DIY Sunday Showcase , Think Pink Sundays
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 0 comments


ORGANIZING

Tips for Tuesday
 
No, it's not Tuesday, but it just was, and will be again soon!  I have a great organizing tip to help you with travel and since I'm getting ready to travel to Kansas, I thought this would be a great time to share it with you.  Why am I traveling to Kansas?  Keep reading and you'll find out.  I'm so excited!
 
I find that one of the bigger chores when traveling is to pack all my bathroom essentials.  This task became much easier when I started keeping these items packed in a small bag so when the time arose it would be good to go!
 

 
I just recently purchased this Timeless Beauty Bag, which I like for several reasons:
 
 
- It opens up and is clear so I can easily scan it and see what I have and what I need.
 
- It has 3 separate pouches, so I can keep like items together (such as my contact lens supplies, shower items, etc.) and easily find what I'm looking for.
 
- There's also a section for pencils and brushes.  Initially, I wasn't sure what I'd do with all this space, but I've found it works great for lip balm, nail clippers, tweezers, bobby pins, tube of pain relievers - anything small that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle.
 
- It has an elastic latch, allowing me to fit everything in this one case. (Ok, I'll admit someone told me they've never seen one so full before, but hey, it all fits!)
 
 
And finally, it has a latch on the handle so you can hang it up in the bathroom, saving counter space and making everything visible.  No more digging!
 
Regardless of the bag you choose, it's just handy to keep it ready to go.  Here are a few of the items I always make sure I have (in addition to those I've already mentioned):
 
  • Face cleansing towelettes.  I find these much handier to use than a washcloth.  I use the dry ones when I'm traveling in the US, and the pre-moistened ones when  traveling in areas where I'm unsure of the water supply.
  • Small eyeglass repair kit, just in case.
  • Ear plugs.  These come in handy on the plane, when someone is "sleeping loudly," or to give to someone if I happen to be the one "sleeping loudly" (right Kami?)
 
I replace items like deodorant and make-up when they're not quite empty and keep the older one packed rather than buying a duplicate of everything.  There are always some things that I can't pack until the last minute, so I've made a list of these on a sticky note and keep it in the bag so I quickly know just what to grab.  After returning from a trip, I make sure the bag is stocked and my list is up to date so I'll be ready to go the next time. 
 
Tomorrow's trip?  I'm flying to Kansas to speak at a women's retreat at Living Water's Ranch!  Will you join me in prayer, please?
 
Here's how you can pray -
 
- pray for safe travel, and that I make the tight connection in Chicago.
- pray for recall, and that I would speak only the words God would have me say, nothing more, nothing less.
- pray for protection from the enemy, who tends to attack me physically and emotionally.
- pray for every woman there, that each would hear the message God has for them!
 
Thanks dear friends!  I can't wait to tell you all about it!
 
Father, I thank you for the privilege of teaching your Word!  Please bless this retreat and everyone involved in it!
 
Lisa
   



I've been known to link up with: Living Proverbs 31, Soli Deo GloriaInspire Me MondayTitus 2sdaysTell Me a StoryTeach Me TuesdaysCourtship Connection, Into the BeautifulGod Bumps & God IncidencesWord-Filled WednesdayWinsome WednesdaySimply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, Inspire, Thrive at Home, Knick of Time, Hope in Every Season, Funky Junk Interiors, Frugal Friday, Inspire Me Please, Feathered Nest Friday, What Have You Redone, Home Sweet HomeThrifty Things Friday, DIY Sunday Showcase , Think Pink Sundays,
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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 2 comments

A few days ago marked our 20th anniversary.  Since new flooring became a priority (I learned I'm allergic to dust) rather than taking a big trip somewhere, Bob and I celebrated by spending last weekend at the nicest hotel in Grand Rapids.  Actually, the stay was a gift from our youngest son. He works at the hotel and gave me an overnight stay and a spa credit as a Mother's Day gift. (Such a nice boy!) I thought it would be fun to stay downtown during ArtPrize, so at my son's suggestion I booked the room already last July.


Here's our hotel, center, with a beautiful sunset for a backdrop.

I have to say that staying in this type of hotel - a four star - is definitely out of our league.  In fact, I don't know if the hotels we usually stay in even have stars!


Not only were we staying in a four-star hotel, we were staying on the concierge level.  To be honest, I didn't even know what that meant, other than if you had to ask you couldn't afford it.  Our inexperience showed when we couldn't figure out how to get the elevator to stop at our floor.  If all else fails, read the instructions.  (See above photo) And to all those people in the elevator who commented, yes, we did need to insert our room key, even on the way down.  



Our room was on the 22nd floor, city side, of the 23 floor hotel.  From our window we could see the B.O.B. (which stands for Big Old Building - gotta love it), one of the ArtPrize venues off to the right (right edge of the photo, center) and Rosa Parks circle on the left (left edge of the photo, center).  


This is the Concierge Lounge, for the exclusive use of those staying on the concierge levels, located on the river side of the 23rd floor. Normally this room was packed with people.  There were always beverages and snacks available in addition to the breakfast, hors d'oeuvres, and desserts served at other times during the day.




The main room was full during breakfast, so we ate in the viewing room and this was what we saw.  To be honest, I was afraid we'd stick out like a sore thumb up there and it would be evident that we were WAY out of our league. It turns out, people were very friendly up there and I was the one guilty of judging.

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? ~ James 4:12

Have you every found yourself in that place where you're concerned with being judged, only to discover you are the one doing the judging?

While there was one guy talking very loudly about how difficult it was to choose which boat to take out onto Lake Michigan, everyone else was very down-to-earth.  When our son came up to bring us a key we were having trouble with, not one but two couples who were regulars at the hotel came up to us to tell us what a fine young man he was.  

Since the lounge was usually full, every time we went up there we shared a table with someone new, and every time we had a very enjoyable conversation.  


I totally forgot I told my daughter we'd watch Dude and Bubba on Saturday evening, but it actually worked out better for her to drop them off downtown so they joined us for some ArtPrize viewing.  


They were as good as gold while we were walking around, but they had much more fun back at the hotel testing out the bed.  That, and Dude thoroughly enjoyed the elevator (pushing TWO buttons) and going around and around (and around, and around...) in the revolving doors.  


Here Dude is wearing "Uncle's" hat and Bubba is with Momma as they get ready to go home (unfortunately Daddy is standing just out of the picture.)

Lord, thank you for allowing us to enjoy a new experience that we never expected. Forgive me for my judgmental attitude and thank you for such a wonderful weekend.
Lisa



I've been known to link up with: Living Proverbs 31, Soli Deo GloriaInspire Me MondayTitus 2sdaysTell Me a StoryTeach Me TuesdaysCourtship Connection, Into the BeautifulGod Bumps & God IncidencesWord-Filled WednesdayWinsome WednesdaySimply Helping Him, Weekend Whatever, Spiritual Sundays, True Vine Challenge, Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday, The Beauty in His Grip, Playdates With God, Inspire, Thrive at Home, Knick of Time, Hope in Every Season, Funky Junk Interiors, Frugal Friday, Inspire Me Please, Feathered Nest Friday, What Have You Redone, Home Sweet HomeThrifty Things Friday, DIY Sunday Showcase , Think Pink Sundays
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