Color My World Pumpkin

John 8:35 “And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.” NKJV. Abiding freedom that comes from Jesus the Truth brings us up out of slavery to the past, sins, and bondage to world views that are not His way.

In actuality, this blog was written nearly twenty five years ago. At the time I was putting together the song track for my music debut. The result was twelve songs that told my life story. Each one shared a slice of both my spiritual journey and my coming of age. While the music continues to sneak back into my thoughts now and again, the sharing of these songs came to a standstill at some point. Perhaps looking at each one still give me some peace. So for the foreseeable future, I am planning a “focused writing clinic.”

Right now the creativity in my life has gone into fast track. Keeping up with all of the ideas has forced me to start making lists again. I have lists for everything: what I want to write about, what I plan to crochet, what books I want to listen to, what music I should look up, what plans I have for the garden and greenhouse, and anything else that comes to mind. And for some reason, I am not wore out before I even get started. Yay!

First up Stained Glass Windows. This song was written in my college years as I sought to understand my early growing up years. Originally focused on the first ten years, I think that it actually goes clear through my teen years. what the words mean to me now is different than what it meant at first writing.

Sundays during my childhood always meant church. This past year when church has become a time on Sunday when we sit and watch a live feed, is simply not quite right. All those years of pretty dresses, fixed up hair, shiny shoes, and church music really had a strong influence on me. I loved the music part of church of course. The clothes were just a bonus. (However, getting me to put on a dress these last few years requires summer temperatures.)

The churches that we went to always seemed to have stained glass windows, and so did the houses that we lived in. Old buildings have a history to them that is undeniable. These windows were not my focus as a child. Though they were beautiful works of art and I can picture them in my mind’s eye to this day.

It is what happened during my thirteenth and fourteenth year of life that changed me to the core. I had already had my “Come to Jesus” moment by the time that life would change me forever. I knew who I was, or so I thought I did.

Then came the “mean people” years. Mean classmates, mean men, mean peers, mean parents, mean church people, mean friends. Though I guess if they were mean, that would declare that they really were not my friends in the first place

God chose to color my world pumpkin.

Color my world pumpkin?

Yep. And being a spring baby (birthday in April) this was not my favorite color. I remember when I asked my parents to let me have a yellow room. All was not really my choice, as they proceeded to put up pink wallpaper and gold carpet, and my Grandmother made me a pink with grey bedspread. I never liked any of it. The room was just not quite cheerful enough. Of course, I also lived in one of those houses with a tower room and the windows were at sky level. Talk about the real life “Tangled” experience.

I suppose if you mix pink and yellow, you get orange.

And so that’s what happened.

About the time I could get a drivers’ permit (in my state it was fourteen) my mother decided it would be best to get my eyes examined first. Off to the eye doctor she took me. The only local doctor that had any experience with Retinitis Pigmentosa was alarmed at the progression of the disease in my eyes, and he took drastic measures He prescribed pumpkin colored spectacles.

Well, that about sealed the deal with any hopes for friendship that I might have with my peers. Growing up in small town America meant that since I was no longer athletic material, I was out of IN. Yeah, I said that just the way I wanted to. Mean came into my life more that it had ever been before. I was picked on, teased, called names, and basically treated terribly by everyone who had a capacity for ruthlessness.

Coloring my world pumpkin may have saved my eyesight so that I would be able to drive for the next twenty eight years, but it gave me an “orange tinted” view of all those around me. Some people are simply rotten clementines. I hope they grew up.

Everyone has rose colored glasses. You really can’t deny it. No matter what has happened in your life, all of these situations and experiences effect one’s worldview. Knowing this about yourself, and about others is what makes us human.

It’s when we can take off our pumpkin colored shades and put on someone else’s color for just a moment that makes us relatable, friendly, and healthy.

I don’t know what color glasses you look through. Maybe like me life has handed you some very difficult set of circumstances. Maybe you are one of the lucky ones, with the “rosie” view of the world. I doubt it. Everyone has stained glass windows in their worldview. We don’t have a choice about it. It’s what window pane we choose to look through at others that matters.

Sometimes we have to take the spectacles off. Sometimes we have to put the glasses on. Sometimes we have to clean the lenses to get a better view. Blindness is not always a physical disability. Sometimes blindness is in the heart and soul. Sometimes pink blends with yellow and makes orange.

Disclaimer Alert! I don’t really like pumpkins. Okay, it is fun to watch them grow and it is cool to watch them change colors. I use to love the taste of pumpkin pie, but these days even that does not agree with me much. I would rather have a “squash” pie that tastes just like pumpkin only better-because it agrees with my system. And I am not a fall lover, so the loaded pumpkin decorations are not really my thing either. So it is now obvious to me why my CD failed. The picture was taken in the fall and the coloring is fall. For this “forever spring” garden lover, the CD should have had a spring picture and it should have been color toned to my spring palette with some yellow on it. Oh, well.

Ready Or Not

Life happens

Thoughts following my album from 21 years ago

Today is a mental battle day. It is common for these days when I am also fighting my right to breathe. Yesterday my asthma snuck up on me after a warm bath. i did not even know my breathing was labored. It become so shallow that I blacked out twice. I sent my dog out to “find dad” and convince dad that I was in need. (She simply went back and forth until he followed her.

That’s another one of those problems with living in a glorified hallway. Someone in the back eighty can holler all lungs depleted and the front room occupant will never hear a thing. On a couple of past occasions people have come to the front door and i never knew knew they came. Of course, for me being in the back end and partially deaf does not help much for the matter.

Anyways, asthma is like that for me. Sometimes it catches me off guard. My trusty Honey was sticky enough that her “find dad” worked and the nebulizer was administered. I lived.

This picture below was taken in November after Coca’s bi-monthly nail trimming. We were teasing that we could paint his nails pink. It seemed to lighten the mood and make Isabelle less scared. Until Coca tried to tast her little boots. The moment was funny to me, not so much to the two year old.

So this morning, once again the air pump was used before the days activities. Today it was an appointment with the local horse shoeing specialist. Cocoa was amazignly well behaved for the sub-zero weather. Today I did not hunt him down. I simply said, “Come on Cocoa, Bradyn is coming today. You know that I can’t see very well. We are the same that way aren’t we buddy? So you come and put your halter on nice and easy. I’ll give you some oats and an apple if you behave. Now that’s a good boy.”

It worked. All went so smooth. And the good little pony received his apples and oats. I’d like to say with gratitude. But he devoured the apple so fast, I’m not sure the juice even squirted on the oats!

I have been watching a new Amazon prime series that was put together in the late nineties . “Dogs with jobs” continues to impress me. Sometimes it seems it is really all about the inteligence of the handler rather than the good senseof the dog. Other times it is obvious the dog is superior in intelligence and their sixth sense. So from now on I am just going to expect more out of my animals. If a horse can be used to lead a blind person around New York City, well, then my horse can put his halter on nice and easy. And Honey can learn to fitch my inhaler. (Now, how do I teach that, again?)

Every one of the dogs on the show works for some sort of reward . My daughter told me that there is a new style of parentying that removes the reward system. That’s the stupidest idea that I ever heard. Really? I grew up with one parent taught motto, If You Don’t Work, You Don’t Eat!

Really! Even as a small child, we were taught to help with the meal. From settign the table, to picking up the dishes, to simply putting away our toyw before the meal. As soon as a child can dump out the blocks, they can also put them away. My mother made games out of so much of what we did, it hardly felt like work.

So today the mental battles loom large. I find sitting and resting very heavy. Not only is my body weighted down by it’s lack of oxygen, then my mind gets to going into the past mistakes until I want to scream or cry.

So then, I tell myself to pick up the prayer list. but concentration is hard. I have to force myself to think about other people. Composing a compassionate thought for someone else makes me remove myself from the “woe is me” trap.

We all have cages and kennels to break free from… perhaps yours is more fiancial, or spiritual, or physical than mine. I believe that God gave us dogs so that we can learn lessons and know true unconditional love at some point in our lives. The capacity of a dog to go from extreme abuse to full trust is so amazing. I wish I could remove my inhibitions and trust in God like that.

Why do I find so much comfort in the company of animals? Maybe it’s because they do not talk back. Because they simply do what you ask of them. They do not whine at the task you give them. the love to work their reward drive is so strong. I have been trying to “promise” myself things more. Like when this blog is complete, I’m going to have a chocolate covered blueberry. Not before!

I am so tired.

I took a break the other day and it is now Monday morning while I revisit this journal entry. Morning is usually my favorite time to be in the library or office. Today it was subzero weather for my morning rounds. It looks like the cold will hand around for a few days. what this week holds will probably be more of the same asthma struggles as my lungs tend to twinge in pain when the cold air hits them. Even with a mask, a scarf and limited time, trouble will arise. Teaching Honey to retrieve something that is not “hers” will be quite a challenge. I’ll have to tie the inhaler to a toy for a few sessions.

Twenty one years ago I put together a music CD that I titled “Are you ready?” It was a music business flop. But the history is still there. The melodies still find their way into my mind on occasion. The song that is a one hit wonder is for another blog. But the title track was such a “God-thing” for me. I remember constantly asking what the Lord’s will for my life was and this song being His answer.

“Are you ready?

Are you ready to do My will?

Are you ready?

Are you ready to do My will?

When you seek Me

The you’ll find Me

You will know My will.

Search for Me, Watch for me. And be still.

And she listens,

yes, she listens for the voice of His word.

Oh, she listnes,hush! She listens for the voice of His word.

When He speaks out her name,

She’ll rejoice at His word.

Search for Me. Watch for Me And be still.”

-Are you ready? Written by Yvonne age 30 in 1998

Today, I have a new thought…

Ready or not…

Yep, ready or not, God’s will for our lives is done. Whether we recognize Him or not.

Isaiah 55:6. “seek the Lord while he may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.”

Out of sight, out of…

I have never claimed an out of body experience, but lately these nightmares have me wondering. Sleep does not always come easy as the winter days keep us cooped up indoors. Honey begs for exercise. I just crochet another row…

“Out of sight, out of mind” is my policy when it domes to cleaning. but last week as the winter slipped into a January melt, there was no denying the need to clean. My allergies and asthma demand an environment something like a hospital clean zone. (The idea of hospital triage in an empty parking lot really scares me.). So when I could not figure out where that smell was coming from, well< I tried. Then vertigo took over as my ears plugged up to the Hilton top floor. So finally after enlisting the the aid of my husband I think we finally found that smell that was no longer able to stay out of sight and out of mind.

“Out of gas” is how I felt much of the past week. The medicine for the vertigo did help me feel not so nauseous. At least I could eat something other than jello. If this is what spring in January is like what will spring be like when it actually arrives? Never-the-less I was able to start a new crochet project for my hours of stillness.

It is not however, the plan to keep the greenhouse warm during the bitter cold nights. The little propane furnace keeps the temps above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. I added two compost bins and a few other thermal water containers. We have discovered that our water tank made out of two tractor tires is just a little too deep. The depth allows the tank to stay at fifty degrees rather than actually warming up. So we are making plans to remake the water tank this summer. It should be only four feet deep and have a larger surface area.

Out of house and home is how Honey must feel after I took her old bed away. we bought a raised bed cot for her so that it will be easier to clean. The first night on the cot was really more like her usual of sleeping on the hard floor all night long. I honestly don’t know if she rather likes being uncomfortable or if that’s just her nature. I did make a new comforter/twin fitted sheet pad to put on the top of the cot. We will see if she has more “staying” power tonight.

She has taken to the new bed, but still does her floor flopping a few times during the night. I also started watching some dog training shows again. We play a short game of hide and seek before her morning breakfast. She loves this intelligence sharpening tool and we seem to get along better throughout the day. It is all about “communication.”

Out of orbit continues to be our status with friends and family, because of the pandemic. The little kiddos were sick the last two weeks and their mama, so I have only had face times with the grandees. Kids really do bring a lot of hope and cheer into the world. So glad for the video visits.

Out of sugar use to be the reason for many a neighborly visit in the long ago days. Lately I wish I had a neighbor that would take that as an excuse for a fence chat. Seems like the pandemic has made people even afraid to pick up the phone, let alone take over a cup or two of sugar for the batter in the mixer. Sometimes we regret moving closer to family. The friends that we had in our previous two inhabitations were worth much more in terms of friendliness and comoradery. Sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings. No, not sorry. It’s just the way it is.

Out of toilet paper is not an option anymore in the family’s toddlerhood. Out of diapers gave my daughter the drive to potty train her two year old. It was successful. We had an enjoyable visit the other day and no accidents!

Things that run on empty sure had me feeling in the dumps for a few days. Finding something new to listen to, something new to do, and someone new to thing about sure helps. Was so glad to get a few phone calls to turn the tide. I also had a visit to the chiropractor and that gave my lungs some renewed capacity. Yay! Life feels better again

.Out of yarn is not something I can claim very often. But when I ran out of aran for the pillow that I was working on, I began digging through the stash. Actually trying to find the inspiration for the next project, I was unsuccessful on the mosic crochet front. So the idea as to clean out all of the old crochet swatches from patterns that i had tried for the last so many years. This pile was in the bottom of the yarn basket.

While there, i rediscovered the tulip stitch shawl that I made a few years ago. then the idea occured to me that perhaps this pattern could be used in the mobius shawl. I do not really have enough of these, I am sure. And something homely for home wear sounded good to me.

After the finished tulip edging, I decided to see how many I really do have. there are only ten of them and each one has a story of it’s own. but the Pretty-Tulips-All-In-A-Row is the only one that was truly started in the figure eight crochet. And those first two rounds were difficult to get the right size on the shawl. I finally measured from the tips of my fingers to my chin and it fit just right.

Möbius twist shawls have a way of keeping the shoulders warm . And they kind of remind me of the pretzel. Of course the history of the pretzel is the monks bringing a simple lesson on prayer into everyday life. The folding of the hands in prayer and the bread of life come together in the lovely salt of the earth snack. Look up the story some time. (I tell myself, too)

The Mobius shawl is names such for it’s figure 8 twist. I had never done one from the center. The others were all twisted and connected after construction. And of course my history of the shawls goes from right to left in the picture. Oops. Blue and lime are made out of a cotton thread that is great for the cooler summer days. Then the yellow and white ones are also summery and great covers for an air conditioning chill. Wine was made for my daughter’s winter wedding. Then the fuzzy grey/green for it’s softness and visiting grand-kiddos and cuddles. Pink was actually the very first one I ever made. I keep thinking to do away with it, but actually have a lot of spring attire with a hint of pink in it. And finally there is the wool twistee that is great for those howling windy winter days. Oh, some war! Each one has purpose and I need them all. Haha

Once a moss stitch had that never really did the job of keeping my ears warm, this stocking cap finally came to life last week and now I love it. The fun ball on the end keeps the dogs eyes on me while I am outside. I think they find comic relief in it’s bouncing about my head while we play fetch.

While cleaning up the residue from Christmas, I decided to listen to some music on my prime account. It keeps me entertained more times that I can I can count. Being “out of Ideas” for musicians, I decided to run through some names on the country music women hall of fame.

My pleasant surprise was that Reba is such a spiritual inspiration to so many in the industry. I am not plugging her for any other reason, that this… when you are fresh out of music artists and need a lift-me-up from an old standby, the song below really surprised me. the past week while I spend much of my time Out of orbit with the happenings of this old miserable world. Prayer is such a vital part of my alone time, and this one is so important.

While country music is known for it’s ability to be played backwards and get everything back that you lost, perhaps the truth of this song will hit home. Instead of turning our backs on the ways of the world and all of it’s misery, we should give everything that we in our selfish pride call our own, give it all Back to God!

Check it out sometime. The practice of prayer in one’s life is more than a calling, a habit, a time buster, or any other function you might come up with to call it. Having a life filled with prayer does not mean that solitude is easy either. Some days I feel that my life is a constant prayer monologue. Other days it is more like breathing. And then there are days when it is a battle to focus on the list in my hand and lift up those desperate for God’s touch in their lives. No matter the day, I hope that when my life is done others will say that like some practice, law, or piano, or medicine… “she was in the practice of prayer.”

Psalm 143:1 NKJV “Hear my prayer O Lord, Give ear to my supplications In Your faithfulness answer me.”

I’m a groupie

Not sure if that is really a word or not. But after joining an online crochet group, I am learning a thing or two, I hope.

My first share was these lovely pillows for my daughter. Yeah there were two pictures, I just thought this one was most precious! The pattern is one of my favorites from the past year of crochet.

Of course finding the original proved a bit difficult. Who made the first pattern graph is beyound me. I tried to find it but failed. Nearly got kicked out of the group for sharing something that had a copyright. So my photo has it’s owner. ME!

It was a little frustrating to have someone answer the pattern possibility with something that was not even the same thing. Oh, well. At least it is perfectly okay to “dub” a pattern as my own if it relates to the creation itself.

Proof that there is really nothing new under the sun.

Some of my creations this past year came from old cross-stitch patterns. So I guess I may have to start writing out my patterns to share. The Christmas poinsettia was probably my most proud accomplishment. This pattern was very challenging to create. And I learned about the effect of angled overlay stitches. So the bottom half ended up different than the top. Because of my eyesight, doing this pattern into a graph is too hard. Maybe I can get my husband to write it out for me. Haha.

Today, it was a greenhouse day.

The growth in the dome is prolific. The fig tree even decided to start growing. So I cleaned out last spring/fall growth and started some more new geranium babies. I also finally got my lavender started. Growing the lavender from seedlings should be fun. I hope I can keep the seedlings just “barely” damp or a little dry. The videos all seemed to say that the grow light is the key to the lavender germination.

For a Monday, today was very productive. So much for the forecast of snow showers. The sun was out all day. So glad to be active and find some activity that really puts spring just around the corner.

Deuteronomy 32:2 NKJV. “Let my teaching drop as the spring rain, my speech distill as the dew, As raindrops on the tender herb, And as showers on the grass.” Today was very refreshing. Just like cleaning out the closet and giving away our unused clothing, cleaning in the greenhouse makes me feel better. A day well spent is so very much spring in the winter.

The Twelve Days After Christmas

My favorite after Christmas gifts

Yep we are still making them and we’re still receiving them. Something so significant happened last year that it just put a few of us behind the times. Waiting to get sacked by the worldwide illness, puts a mind ill at ease. And then suddenly, winter arrived with Christmas right on it’s tail. Oh, dear, the wheels started turning and it was here and gone faster than the snowplow after the blizzard.

Who said anything about 12 days of Christmas I think it’s like 37 or 18 days of Christmas. For some of those holiday music lovers, it is 364 days and still on the favorite playlist. When it comes to the Nutcracker, of course, but Nat King Cole, and merry old souls on my Christmas music list it will have to stay on the November and December playlist.

We have some spill over though. Of the gifts, there is no end. Making Christmas every day and trying to complete the tasks of gift giving is not so easy when one side of the family did not even get together at all. With the virus rearing an ugly head, that was probably a wise decision. But alas without even using the technology to gather on zoom, there is a hole in my heart for missing them. How do you express to “close” family members that you miss them and we all just are not “close” enough for your own liking. I know this is a lot to be missed around the holidays, and nothing says someone is not here anymore like the holiday gatherings and an empty chair.

So on go the gift givings and perhaps if you are reading this and a family member, yours is still on the way, or sitting next to me here on the desk.

This beautiful lilac bush mulberry scoop is probably the best gift we received after Christmas. My father has a wood turning lathe in his finished porch. He is busy turning out gifts daily. The fun part is having him come over to the place and find pieces of wood out of the pile. The stack of wood is holding all kinds of gems that are best turned into beautiful pieces of useful items. Some chunks of mulberry tree, maple tree, or other such woods have turned out to be more beautiful than imagined.

“You can scoop ice cream in the bowl until you say ‘wow! that’s a lot of ice cream” and then that’ll be enough.” This was my son-in-laws sister at a family gathering pre-pandemic. Her response after the asking, “How much ice cream do you want?” Has stuck with me ever since. Most people answer with one or two scoops, but her’s was such a classic that I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

How much ice cream do you want? How much Christmas is enough for you? Are you satisfied with one or two scoops? Are you okay with just one day? Or do you want the overflowing abundance that makes you feel full and miserable, and like you never want to eat again for another year?

Honestly, the “little is much when God is in it” is sometimes hard to accept, right?

Enjoying the present in each day was part of my vow or motto for the year 2020. Finding the present in each day is a bit like hide and seek when the two year old forgets to tell you that they are now playing the game. Aaahhhh!

Above is one of the presents that I am learning the value of. I have always wanted a wood turned crochet hook from my father in law. And here it is. It takes a while to get use to the shape and size of a new hook style. My plan is that the larger hook handle will force me use a larger stitch and make a softer fabric. Yep, it’s working. The first item that I am trying it on is a pair of mittens and hat combo. The mittens feel like a pillow on my hand. Hopefully they are just as warm. Thanks, Dad! i might have some ideas for a secon hook soon. Teehee.

This gift above is for my daughter. It will be a pillow case for her re-decorating attempt in her living/family area. I’ll have to take it with some Tuesday to finish it over the pillow. That is probably the only drawback to this pillow cover style. It is rather permanent. Oh, well. I do love this pattern for mosaic crochet. It is one of my favorite so far.

And of course, after the Christmas tree was all put away, I went to the storage shed and pulled out the wooden vehicles that were my husband’s toys as a boy. Many of them were made by his father. We repaired them for our girls when they were little to play with. So I pulled them out for our grandchildren to enjoy for the next few years. Some found a keeping place in the wide window sills of my living room, while others are just on the table or floor. It was like Christmas all over again as our little granddaughter found them one by one. It was good to have them enjoyed. And in a another year her brother will surely argue with her over which ones he gets to drive!

So maybe Christmas really is not over when the tree goes away after all. Each day holds so much potential for enjoyment. I hope like playing hide and seek as a child, your heart will squeal with glee at the gifts that God has in store for you in 2021!

The story of the little boy’s lunch is told in all four gospels (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6). Some people call it the Miracle of Feeding of the Five thousand, but I like to think of it as the Miracle of the Little Boy’s Lunch. Of course , the four gospel’s all agree that the miracle did happen. This year I want to understand the “multiplying” power of God’s touch on little things.

The law of the multiplying seed is visible in so many ways. From the bread dough rising, to the pounds gained after eating cinnamon rolls the effect of the law God placed in nature is evident. And the most obvious is the seed itself, which is such a vast part of my life each and every day in Greenfield Greenhouse. This year, I plan to pay more attention to this law even in my thoughts, my words, and my actions. It is not just a cute Sunday School song from years gone by. “Little is much when God is in it” is a fundamental truth that I believe in.

Spend a few moments of your day to listen to this dynamic truth as song by David Phelps with the Gaither Band some twelve years ago. Be mindful of God’s touch on the faithful and find your small part of His Big Heart!

Turning a new leaf

From the old to the new

Everyone wants to run away from 2020 (the year) as quickly as they can. The book has a new cover and we have all turned over a new leaf of the book in the story of our lives. This past year brought so many challenges and trials to everyone.

This little “Hope Square” pillow commemorates what the past year and the hope for the new year entails. The square below was the first mosaic pattern that I crocheted during the past year. When I decided to make a pillow out of the little square, I used up some lefties. The ugliness is just to remember that the past year was that for so many.

Turn over the pillow, just like we turned over the calendar page.

It is a new year, new hopes and dreams. Most of the hope I have is for those that I love dearly.

Recently there was a lot of “hoopla” around the Star of Bethlehem. i only got to see it one night, on Christmas Eve. The rest of the time we had clouds in the way. Having a star on the top of my Christmas tree is part of our tradition. Some put a bow, some an angel, and others just leave it empty.

When we came home that evening, the yard light was lined up with our little outdoor pallet Christmas tree just right. I had to get this picture. There are so many things that this picture reminds me of. From the doggies and the outdoor play, to the bridge symbol of old and new, to the pathway to the geodesic greenhouse. I love this little lighted blessings photo.

And again, I can’t seem to get these Pink Blush geraniums out of my minds eye. I just love they way they show no shame for blooming in the middle of the winter. The plant is shy about giving me more legs to start more plants. I think I only have three shoots from this one. It is just so pretty!

These cold winter days require some ingenuity. Below is my recent re-make on a poncho that is a year or so old. The Hoodie was very unacceptable to me. So I replaced it with the sweater cowl neck.

I know, I was supposed to be working on those Christmas letters that are all now belated. The New Year’s grettings are being delayed also. And I am trying to make some more of the hope square potholders for my family members. Oh, well, I guess there is nothing wrong with being a bit behind on the schedule.

We will just pretend that since the whole world is backlogged on the vaccine orders, it is all just falling in suit. I am back logged on my crochet projects. I am behind on the letter writing. The salutations will keep for another row or two.

My husband says that since the weather is so delightful, who cares whether I crochet another row or two before the next envelope goes into the mail? They do not know any difference anyways, do they?

So if you are expecting a Christmas card for me, it is on the desk in the other room. I am curled up under my blanket poncho and crocheting another square.

Crochet is not just what I do, it is kind of who I am.

Ecclesiastes 1:11, “Things are forgotten nearly as quickly as they happen, and as soon as things are new they are suddenly old.” Okay that is my paraphrase of the verse, but it really does say that we don’t remember what happened in the past, and everyone has to make therir own mistakes and learn from them. Blessed is she who learns from the mistakes of others. There’s my proverb for the new year. Haha.

We “paws” to reflect

From gratitude to warm fuzzy feelings

This is the time of year that many people take a moment to reflect on the happenings of the past year. Some people that I know are skipping their “usual” in light of this very unusual year. Guilt over their abundance seems to make them pause their reflections and feel overwhelmed by the lack in others lives. That is not the case for me. I just decided to not stress out about writing a holiday letter this year.

Somehow, the common boasting about all that we have done, everywhere that we went, and all of the other things that find a way into the holiday news… well, what is wrong with saying “All is well” during a pandemic? Perhaps, that very statement should be our focus, and praise to the Maker of all things for our blessings.

Our lives are so full this year, it seems to overcome the emptiness of social distancing and quantified gatherings.

My favorite thing about this mild winter so far, is the abundance of geranium blooms in my greenhouse. The new baby plants get their blooms plucked before they have a chance to sneeze their fragrance. But the older plants are allowed to do their thing. The red, white and green keep me feeling so very blessed with new growth. But the “Pink Blush” geranium is my favorite. And of course it is taking it’s own sweet time in multiplying. I have only been able to take one slip from the mother plant so far. The construction hub and the bloom sum up the large majority of my time this year.

We “paws” to reflect on how our lives changed during this year of world wide health crisis and the conflict that spilled over. Anger was just something that I do not choose to live in. The constant upheaval of other’s inappropriate actions will not be my guide to how I live my days.

My consistent browsing on the internet at puppies, found me an old doggie to ad to our farm yard collection. Eva is an old breeding retiree. Her yellow Labrador retriever attitude has brought some upheaval. Otherwise, we just buy more food. She simply does not want to leave anything alone that does not belong to her. I think her years in the kennel have left her wanting. She will spend most of her retirement plainly being a dog.

Honey does not know how to behave with such a mild momma. We discovered that she was snapping at Eva a bit excessively. At one point Honey even caused a blood vessel to rupture in Eva’s left ear. We had to put Eva on steroids. Our little yellow “Ewok” has nearly recovered. She looks like a little Gremlin greeting us in the morning because that ear sticks out some.

Most days the two of them get along okay. They have their own ideas about companionship to me, so we get along okay also.

Christmas would just not be the same without some woodworking project to keep us preoccupied during the preparations. This year our stress level could not handle any large project like tables or desks. So we chose to make a new piggy bank for the newest member of the family. Of course if I say too much, someone will not be surprised. So, you will just have to wait for a full view! Nevertheless, i was rather pleased that making the poly-shade green was easily done with a little tempra paint I found in the back of the closet.

So far, so good! These two unlikely pet-sisters managed to sort of stay for a photo moment. It took over a dozen pictures to find one that is just right for the Christmas card.

However, because we have a new grandson this year, he and his sister will get first pick. Sorry puppies! Christmas at our house will be about the little grand babies!

Merry Christmas to all of my readers.

Thank you all so much ofr the feed back. It is much appreciated.

It’s working

Rather maybe I am

It’s working! The pattern is working. Or rather maybe I am working. Counting in sequence is fun. At least I think so. I can hardly wait to see this little table runner with the Christmas Poinsettia finished.

This past year has been a real challenge for many people.

With the healthcare crisis and the changes on the horizon, some of these challenges have entered my life. Others have not.

In my circle of friends and family, the pandemic has not changed the way that we live a whole lot. There are only a handful of healthcare workers in the family so I have to search the friends list to find those most impacted in that manner. But the rest of us have felt the ripple effect.

My husband has been searching for answers to his back pain most of the fall, and will barely get into the doctor before the holidays. Some healthcare systems are indeed taxed. It is frustrating to wait but that seems to the word for the year, and this season.

Wait

Was not the whole story of Christ’s coming the idea that a nation was waiting for the Messiah to come? Waiting for the Deliverer is not something people spend much time thinking of anymore. However, these days, there are a lot of people waiting for the vaccine for this nasty virus. Of course those in the initial receiving line, are not expecting mothers. And the vaccine is not a blanket of salvation to all those who wait.

Yet, wait we must.

Christmas time seems to be the appropriate time for this “gift of salvation” to begin it’s work. However, the correlation to the young virgin Mary in her expectant phase traveling to the little village of Bethlehem to attend the census seems so very fitting to me. She waiting for the child to come. The people of that time waiting for the Messiah to come. And the many people now hoping for some end to this world pandemic thing.

Wait

So while I spend the year waiting, I have not been idle. In the book of Esther, the young queen takes it upon herself to invite the king and his closest confidants to a meal. She does not sit idly by, but involves herself in the fast while preparing a feast. It all turns out well in the long run, and it is one of my favorite stories.

For such a time as this, it is no time to be idle. So I learned something new this year. Mosaic crochet was not on my radar as a new pastime. But it has indeed become my waiting activity. I never though that I could learn to read the charts with all of their little circles and dots and such. Give me a simple picture, and maybe I can copy it.

So here we go. As much as I loved the “sow in tear” prayer shawl, I now have many other patterns to choose. From my Prayer Chamber Shawl, to the Hope square, to the Mulberry Bush Shawl, and a pillow, now I have a Christmas Poinsettia to learn.

Having the worldwide web at my fingertips to find pictures and patterns has been amazing. I wish I could do the more complicated pictographs, but they are not usually simple mosaic crochet. So I will continue on through the designs that I find.

Perhaps all this waiting does have a purpose.

Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage. And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord.” (ESv)

The dog ate my Christmas

No, really! She did it, Mom!

This old girl’s name is Eva. Sometimes I think it is a misspelling if you get my gist. But most of the time she really is an angel. I suppose it’s our fault. We didn’t put a water in the kennel, so to lock her, there will have to a lot of cord juggling and such so that her water would stay thawed out and the bucket not get cracked.

Meanwhile, we decided to use an automatic food service delivery and she learned that the packages contain food. Well, that started the whole ball rolling and even though we do not have snow right now, there was a mighty large snow mountain in the yard and the mess nor our attitudes towards her could handle the ice and snow!

So this particular day, we tied the box to her collar and made her drag around “Christmas” all day so that she would stop eating it. I honestly do not think it will work, so we will just lock her up if a package should come when we are gone. Which by the way it did several times this past week. And I am not gone from home much these days.

This one day I decided to crochet another remake. The hat was so thin and not very warm. Also the mittens were a pair of fingerless mitts that I wore on the motorcycle some. The job took me a couple of days but it was just in time for an outing on a warmer day.

Honey must have felt a little bad that Eva got in so much trouble for the package thievery. She has taken up one of her toys to tell me that “Somebody in a car is here!” I was both pleasantly surprised and a little bit in awe when it was the mail-lady with a parcel delivery. Yeah, Honey kept Eva out of the dog house! Haha!

The tethered box, got me to thinking about solving one of my walking problems. The dog’s compete so much to be first while on separate leashes, that we often get tangled up or my shoulders hurt really bad after the exercise.

So I tried the tethered walk with the two dogs one day. Amazing! Eva gets the harness latch on her collar and I run the leash through a slip hook on Honey’s collar. Wow! Solved my problem of sore shoulders all by myself. Neither one of them pulls on the leash anymore. And Honey has to be the dog-in-charge like she really is supposed to be. No more pulling! the double sided tug on Honey works like the harness. Yay! And I have my hands more free to swing my arms as is natural to walking.

We finally found someone to reupholster the old day bed from Gavin’s folks. She did such a beautiful job. I had a picture of the whole day bed, but don’t want to spoil the beauty by giving away the picture! So Here’s the little story. We cleaned up the wood a couple of summer’s ago and it sat in the old house next door for two years. Then we ought the fabric pre-Covid. I had one lady lined up and she canceled on me with the “mask shortage.” She was busy sewing masks for the healthcare etc.

This fall I got on the phone and made a few calls to find a new person. I forgot that my husband was buying the fabric based on touch. The feel of the daybed is both luxurious and simple. This little pillow was another one of my mosaic crochet studies. Now that I know how to make the continuous crochet tapestry fabric, more pillows may find their way into my loved ones lives. It was so much fun to do, I could not put it down until it was finished.

Meanwhile, out on the ranch… haha. My husband pampered me by trying this mulberry stump rocket stove. We burned it three weekends in a row, putting the fire out with water each time. The third time it began to fall apart. It was a fun way to warm up while the forty degree weather tempted us to stay outside awhile longer. Don’t judge us for using up good firewood. The stack by the woodshed/chicken coup would supply someone for at least two winters. If the racoon’s don’t destroy the stack too many times.

Only two weeks until Christmas and I have not done any of the usual things. My gift making still seems to be far delayed and not near enough time. Letter writing is still on the back burner, and the thought of trying to do a Christmas card seems overwhelming. The gatherings so few, there really are not very many pictures to use.

Looking forward to the Holiday holds a hint of apprehension. Some have already had the virus, but others have not. So caution will probably hold a great big yellow yield sign over every thing that we do.

Hopefully, I can get you another update on all the happenings around here sometime soon. Trying not to get overly “busy.” It seems like focus on the true gift of Christmas is far more important than on all the trappings of the holiday.

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (ESV)