Might As Well Go To Mt Rushmore

Life sure can be unpredictable. Especially when living with my hubby. On his birthday a few days ago, I gave him a birthday card that said he is my biggest adventure, and it’s true. We were only supposed to be going to Illinois to see family for a couple weeks, but suddenly he said, “Well, since we are going that far, we might as well go to see Mt Rushmore.” That man knows how to make me happy. I packed with a huge smile for this trip. Not only would I see precious family, but I’d be going on an adventure too.

First we spent almost a month with our son and his family, which includes our three adorable grandchildren who have absolutely stolen my heart. We were able to see Jonathan fulfilling his role as campus pastor at New Hope Newton church.

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We experienced lots of rain and even a couple tornado warnings while in Illinois. I smiled as I did my Bible reading this morning. It was Mark 4:37-41 where Jesus slept in the boat during a terrible storm. His disciples were terrified and woke him with the question, “Don’t you care?” I admit that storms do scare me a bit. It might have something to do with watching the house next door burn after being struck by lightening when I was 4 years old. But as I get to know Jesus a bit better, I am learning just how powerful and loving he is. He said, “Quiet! Be still!” and the waves and wind totally died down. During the storms of life, I am learning to trust that God will still the storm. So as we waited in the basement of our son’s house during tornado warnings, I attempted to share the faithfulness of our almighty God with my granddaughter. With all that rain, we had plenty of time to do art.

Oh, how those children love art! Even one year old Aaron will not be left out. If he sees me sitting down with his sisters to do “arting”, he fusses until he is on my lap and holding a pencil. He’s happy that way for an hour!IMG950460

My daughter-in-law, Johanna, and I learned a new artform: mosaics. Here we are with our instructor, Dinah Nuelle.DSC_7894 3

And I had the privilege of teaching my first two students how to do rug hooking. Johanna and her friend, Morgan, enjoyed designing their own projects and I got them started.  Aaron wanted to get in on the rug hooking too. I started calling him Leonardo because he seemed interested in so many things.

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It was difficult to leave those wonderful people, but it was time to explore. After stopping in Nebraska to visit Matt’s sister, we made our way to the Badlands in South Dakota. I found the lovely green plains and the big sky fascinating. I could see forever! It was the first time I had seen a speed limit sign for 80 mph! Don’t worry, I didn’t go that fast with the rig.Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Beautiful bright blue butterflies flitted around and I snapped this pic of two mating.Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

I had made reservations right in the park for our camping. It’s almost boondocking, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. There is electricity at the site, but no water or sewer. So, we filled our holding tank with water ahead of time. I like that we are one step closer to being able to camp with no hook ups! The Cedar Pass campground is right next to beautiful Badlands formations.Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

Our neighbors were lovely people that actually knew of the college where Matt and I attended and met, Houghton College. Not many people know of it. We enjoyed visiting with Max and Betty for a bit and then went driving in the Badlands.Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

What lovely formations!

Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

The mounds had stripes and the ground looked quite parched.

Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.comBadlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

What a great day. The sunset was amazing and bathed our camper in warm light. We hadn’t made it to Mt Rushmore yet but that’s next! Stay tuned.

Badlands Photo by Janine Broscious www.joyfulwonder.com

DIY 6-Sided Snowflakes

Through the years, my family and I have decorated in the winter by making snowflakes. It all started when I was a little girl. My folks had Childcraft books and one of them had instructions for making six-sided snowflakes. I made a lot of those as a kid. But then life got busy and I forgot how to make them. snowflake collage www.joyfulwonder.com

Enter a really smart husband! Shortly after we got married, we had no money to decorate for Christmas. I wanted to make snowflakes, but could not remember the special fold. Matt figured it out and we’ve been making them ever since. Every year, our sons and I would make snowflakes and hang them all over the house, especially in our big living room window. snowflakes in the window www.joyfulwonder.com

When facebook came into being, I posted photos of the snowflakes and got many questions about how to make them.Six sided snowflake www.joyfulwonder.com

So, Matt and I decided to make a video showing the secret fold. I hope you enjoy it! And I’d love to see your snowflakes!

Kids, Caves and Camper Catastrophe

Lots has happened in the last month or so. I had fun coming up with a title. It could have also been Children, Chattanooga and Challenge. Or Baby, Bliss and Blowout. It all started when we went to our son and daughter-in-law’s house in Illinois to be there for the birth of our grandson, Aaron Matthew. What a beautiful baby! I suppose I should say handsome since he’s a boy. Isn’t that a sweet little face over PopPop’s shoulder?Aaron Matthew

We were still with them for Matt’s birthday so we all ventured out to see some history. Illinois is famous for President Lincoln and we visited what was nearby, his parents’ home.Lincoln's parents' home

It almost felt like we were back in our homeschooling days. So fun to watch Beth and Emily learn about wool and spinning.wool carding

Our time with family always goes too quickly. Soon we were off on more adventures. Our first stop was to see the longest cave in the world, Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.Mammoth Cave

We went on a two hour tour of the cave and learned about the various explorers that mapped out over 400 miles. It was a bit startling to realize that so much of the above ground places in the area had these massive holes under them! Such an interesting and impressive place. My photos didn’t turn out so well, but I did better at our next cave. It was fun seeing this “Stay in a Teepee” motel along our travels.Teepee motel

In our quest to visit and get a geocache in every state, we determined to stop in Tennessee. At first the plan was to go to Nashville. But we seemed to struggle with that plan. I keep telling myself that we need to learn how to enjoy cities, but that’s not us! We headed towards Chattanooga instead. It’s a beautiful place right along the Tennessee River.Chattanooga

We enjoyed another cave, that was actually part of our campground, Raccoon Mountain. I wasn’t thrilled about spending more time in a dark cave, but Matt really wanted to so underground we went.Raccoon Mountain Cavern

Even though Mammoth cave was, well, so BIG, Raccoon Mountain Cavern had more interesting formations. And cave crickets that had never seen light.Cave Cricket

We rushed around over the weekend to see all of Chattanooga that we could possibly fit in since we would be leaving on Monday to continue our trek towards Florida. Matt was due there in a week to do some work. We visited Rock City where supposedly on a clear day you can see seven states. I’ve heard that it’s not true, but it was still a wonderful view.See Seven States

We were glad not to be crushed by Balanced Rock.Balanced Rock

I often refer to TripAdvisor to figure out what to see when we go places. One of the top activities listed for Chattanooga was to walk over a bridge. So, of course we had to experience Walnut Street Bridge for ourselves.Walnut Street bridge

As far as cities go, I was beginning to appreciate this one. There were sculptures and other artistic expressions all over the place.1-DSC_2406 5-DSC_2222 2

And then we visited the Hunter Art Museum. I had just completed my first self portrait and had struggled with trying to paint a face. So, we had fun looking at all the art and analyzing all the faces. We noticed that some of the paintings looked like quite a bit of work was done in the face area. Some of them even looked like the artist had had to cover up parts and redo them. The end result was great, but it became apparent that painting a human face is a challenge for even the best artist. I had fun looking at this face, Il Mostro, by Tony Scherman.Il Mostro by Tony Scherman

It was so large!Il Mostro

I have so many more photos from Chattanooga that I’d love to share, but I don’t want the post to get too long. I had really enjoyed the area but it was time to head to Florida. We packed it all up and started on our way, with me driving as usual. Twenty miles out of Chattanooga, we heard a strange sound and I felt like suddenly we were on ice. I pulled over and we found that a tread had blown off one of the tires. Matt went about the difficult task of changing a tire on a camper next to a highway. He’s awesome!Matt changing the tire.

Then he realized there was more than just a tire problem. He suggested that I take a look inside the camper under the kitchen sink. Yeah, definitely a problem.camper damage

It looked a bit better cleaned up some…maybe. The tread had exploded into the camper creating more damage than first realized. camper damage

We had to head back to Chattanooga to an RV place for repairs. We were so thankful that we were not hurt! And also for Allstate Insurance and Camping World. Even though the damage was extensive, we were back on the road in 5 days! Our camper, “The Palace”, looks good as new.  And, while Matt worked those days in a hotel room, I had more time to explore Chattanooga. You never know what a day will hold. Life is always an adventure and a puzzle.Matt and Janine

 

Art Along the Way

This crazy life of mine has kept me traveling a lot lately. I’m thankful that art supplies don’t take up much room. I just “art” along the way. This flower doodle was fun, but I wonder if it’s too bright?Flower doodle bright by Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

So, I did another and took a pic before I colored it in case of wanting to do it another way. Flower doodle #2!

Flower doodle by Janine Broscious. www.joyfulwonder.com

Flower doodle by Janine Broscious. www.joyfulwonder.com

This time I used pastel markers, They are Faber Castell PITT artist pens. You’ll have to let me know which you prefer: bright or pastel.Flower doodle colored. Janine Broscious of JoyfulWonder.com

I decided to try another one with a word in it. Rejoice in the Lord always!Rejoice by Janine Broscious JoyfulWonder.com

It was wonderful to spend time with my grandchildren who live 12 hours away from us. These sweet girls kept asking if we would be “arting”each day. I had no problem complying!Beth and Emily "arting"

Our oldest granddaughter, Beth, was really watching as I drew flowers. She helped me decide what colors to paint these roses. I’m always relearning to trust God…no matter what. I used InkTense pencils on this one.Trust by Janine Broscious of JoyfulWonder.com

The girls say such sweet encouraging words to each other while arting. Both of them loved on each flower as I did this “Be Still” page.Be Still by Janine Broscious of JoyfulWonder.com

Beth surprised me by showing me her page the next day.Beth's artwork

We had a lovely time discussing what it meant to “Be Still.” I explained that we need to get quiet with God and learn about Him and trust Him. At times it means to take a deep breath, stop what we are doing and remember that He is in control. We don’t have to worry! I don’t know if she understood it all, but I think she got some of it. And she loves looking at her page which I know will not only be a reminder of our time together, but also of God. What a thrill to be able to have a conversation like that with her…and all because of art!

Just had to add one more pic of my lovely fellow artists!My fellow artists

Easy Family Letter Craft

Lately, I’ve noticed an abundance of large paper mache letters in the craft stores. I had been thinking that I would like some things on the wall that didn’t have right angles so I decided to buy a big B. In fact, it’s two feet tall!DSC_6937 2

Since I’ve been working on that guest room, I decided that the B would go in there. I mulled it over a bit trying to figure out if it should be bright and bold or subtle, if indeed a letter that large could pull that off! The sheer size of it convinced me that I should go with a neutral color.DSC_7178 2

Off to Walmart to buy more of the ivory color paint since I ran out. Of course, they didn’t have the same paint, but I thought maybe a shade more yellowish would look good anyway.DSC_7176 2

This big B, for Broscious of course, was to be a celebration of our family. I wanted all our names on it. At first I considered buying stick on letters or stamping the names. I even looked at wood letters. In the end, after some practice on paper, I handpainted everyone’s names in brown.DSC_7182 2

So far, so good! I liked it. But it needed more. Out came my stamps.DSC_7348 5

The trick is knowing when to stop stamping. Sure do love butterflies!DSC_7183 2

I had read about making stamps from a styrofoam tray like meat comes on. Just draw your design and press down the places you don’t want to stamp. I tried it and had to laugh. Backwards letters! I did use one of the hearts by each family member though.DSC_7186 2

More stamping and more mess on the kitchen table. I was starting to really enjoy this project!DSC_7187 2

Periodically, I would set it in the bedroom. Some projects just come quickly, but this one needed some pondering. It still lacked and I gazed and pondered some more.DSC_7194 2

Maybe it did need more color!DSC_7195 2

Out came the pumpkin colored paint for the sides.DSC_7333 2

A brown edge to make it stand out more.DSC_7337 2

And antiquing medium to give it a weathered look. Finally, a couple coats of satin finish.DSC_7335 2

And it’s done! Well, done until we are blessed with another Broscious and then the paint will come out again!Easy Family Letter Project

What a fun project. And so easy! Everytime I see this B, I will smile and celebrate our family.

10 Things I’ve Learned From My Mother-In-Law

I’ve been thinking lately about all the things I learn from other people. You know, you really do become like the people you hang out with. It reminds me of Proverbs 13:20 “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Well, after being married to my sweetie for 31 years, I’ve had lots of opportunity to learn from my mother-in-law, Joan. I just visited with her yesterday and realized that she has had quite an impact on me. Here are just a few things I’ve learned from her.

1. Keep going no matter how much it hurts. Joan is a cancer survivor. She bravely faced breast cancer soon after I met her. After surgery and radiation, her body has never been the same, but thankfully, alive! She has suffered the consequences of no longer having lymph nodes which means she is constantly threatened by infections. She is now in constant pain since she needs a knee replacement and it is not safe for her to have surgery. And yet, nothing stops her! I often ask if I can do something for her, but she says no. As she explained, “I need to keep making myself do things or I’ll just get weaker and unable to do anything.” It’s so true! And she does keep going through the pain.IMG_2699

2. Give and then give some more. Missions and missionaries are a passion of Joan’s. Through the years, she has given not only her money towards missions, but her time and talents. Missionaries have stayed for prolonged periods of time in her home. And for awhile, Joan was a missionary herself with Wycliffe translators, JAARS. That meant she had to sell her home and move away from family. I’m always amazed at all the missionaries that she knows by name and prays for.

3. Make your home beautiful. Joan has a way of making her home a lovely oasis. I remember shortly after Matt and I moved into our first home, Jo brought a beautiful floral arrangement to us. She arranged it herself and put it in our bare bathroom. She said, “A room should have beauty and not just be utilitarian.” I’ve never forgotten that and often hear her voice as I decorate our home.

4. Take crafting with you.  As a young mother anticipating my in-laws arrival, it was quite intimidating. Our home was a mess with three little boys and I felt overwhelmed. I was usually able to clean up and prepare meals, but I didn’t always have anything else planned for us to do. That was quite alright. I did not need to worry about entertaining Jo while the men did, well…manly things. As the boys napped, she would take out a quilt she was working on and be happy as we chatted. She didn’t even mind if I snoozed a bit. Oh, and she always brings food! Such a wonderful help to a young, cash strapped family.

5. Share the things that are precious to you while you still can. Jo never minces words and I felt some shock as she gave me a gift and said she wanted me to have it now while she was alive. “You never know when you’ll go and I want you to have this now.” I opened the present to find a beautiful piece of Depression Glass. My sweet mother-in-law knew that I was interested in this antique glass and she had some. Why would she keep this treasure when I could enjoy it? What a giving heart!IMG_1845 2

6. Share your home with others. Even now when Jo is in pain, she opens her home. It sounds like they have people over more often then we do! I still have lots to learn in this area of hospitality, but she sure is a good example. Just open your doors and let them in.DSC_9874

7. Encourage others in their talents. Each time I visit with my mother-in-law she fusses over the things I do. Jo always notices my handmade jewelry and wants to examine each piece with great enthusiasm. She makes me feel like I could do anything! And always prominently displays the handcrafted gifts that I have given her. Jo is an example to me to make gifts for others too. I still have a Noah’s Ark baby quilt that she stitched hanging on my wall.

8. Laugh at yourself. Some of the stories Jo tells are ones that make herself the butt of the joke. But she doesn’t care. One of her favorites is the time she and another woman got lost (before gps systems) and asked for directions. They were driving to the Friendship airport but couldn’t find their way. Finally, she stopped a man on the street and said, “Excuse me, we are looking for friendship!” I guess the man looked shocked and she still laughs to think of what he must have thought of her. But then there is the time that she was with her husband at a conference. He was one of the main speakers and the hotel was full of people that he would be addressing. One morning at the escalator to the lobby she kissed him and said, rather loudly, “Last night was fun! Let’s do it again next year. What did you say your name was?” She sure has kept Dad on his toes!IMG_0967

9. Love your man with all you’ve got. She and I have one of the few Broscious men. They are treasures and we know it! Every time I see Jo, she makes a point of telling me how wonderful her man is. And they’ve been together for a long time.3281_1085900560586_5745015_n

10. Most important, praise God though it all! Life has not always been easy for Jo. In fact, she has been through a lot. And yet, whenever I see her, she encourages me in Christ. She loves Jesus with her whole heart and it shows. No matter the pain, she praises God. What an example!

Thank you, Jo – Mom, for all you’ve taught me. Lots of love, Janine

Art Endeavors at Sun-N-Fun

As you’ve probably already figured out, I enjoy art in many forms: making jewelry, photography, mixed media collage, crochet, embroidery and scherenschnitte. I’ve made attempts at drawing and painting, but have so much to learn. My time here in Florida gives me opportunity to work on it. There are several free art classes here in the park that are led by very talented volunteers. I have gone to two drawing classes. The first one covered perspective.DSC_4953 2

The second one did too, but he also had us look at our hand and draw it. We had to start drawing and never look at our paper and couldn’t lift the pencil either. The teacher said this sort of exercise would help train our observing skills. Here is my attempt.DSC_4961 2

The class has not taught us any painting, but I really want to learn how to use watercolors. I ordered a DVD, but it hasn’t come yet and all my books are at home. Unfortunately,I don’t remember anything I learned when I did it with the kids for homeschooling. I decided to break out my little watercolor set and just give it a try.DSC_4860 2

First I played with each color in my art journal. It gave me something to do during the Super Bowl!

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Then, I decided to sit outside and draw the mobile home across the street. I figured it would be good practice in perspective. The spiky palm trees were more difficult than I anticipated.DSC_4960 3

I feel pretty vulnerable putting that one out there, but thought I’d just share my painting journey with you. Next, I decided to add color to a sketch that I did in Maine at the Doubling Point LighthouseDSC_4957 2

It was fun to add color and to think back on our Maine trip. I think each time I use the watercolors, I am learning a bit more. Maybe I’ll get brave and go to the class tomorrow where people just bring something they are working on and learn from others. Can’t hurt to go once, right?!

Speaking of art, I got a package in the mail. It was from Matt’s niece, Melissa. I have only seen her a couple times but we are facebook friends. I couldn’t imagine what it could be. It was something handmade!DSC_4962 2

Melissa said as soon as she saw the fabric that it just said my name to her! There are butterflies on the outside and look at the fabric inside. I love the words: cherish, be inspired, be joyful, be grateful.DSC_4967 2

It’s a gorgeous quilted tote bag! Beautifully made! Just perfect to carry all my art supplies to my classes.DSC_4950 2

Thanks, Melissa! That sure does make me inspired. Now, should I paint something or start a new embroidery project?