Hobbling the Hobby Horse

The vocational calling is a magnetic pull towards a specific course of action that is believed to be be of Divine design. Most people consider calling in relation to the ministry or medical field. Few consider what they do everyday to be a “calling.”

The fourth song on my CD Are You Ready is titled “Dear Lord, You Have Called Me.” This calling was in the nature of being. Called to BE and called to DO are entirely different callings. Yet who we are and what we do could not be more intertwined than when someone is a believer.

The first twenty years began with bustling pitter patter of feet through the house. whether the noise of children or pets, life alternated between hectic and peace. The last nine years were rather still. Being still and Doing still nothing is entirely different also. It is during the stillness that we find out most what we are made of… And quite often I find myself lacking.

Searching for a new vocation found me unsuccessful. My wanderings of late led me to a new author. She put it this way, “Novels are written out of the shortcomings of history” -Penelope Fitzgerald. The fact that she came to her career as a writer later in life is not lost on me. I find it very hopeful.

Fitzgerald’s life is full of mishap, adventure, and difficult life circumstances. Her belief in the underlying strength of women buoy’s me up. These days of the “fool’s spring” have me in quite the state of perpetual allergy induced asthma. When I should be out finally enjoying the balmy weather, I find myself indoors sucking on the nebulizer pipe. And taking up smoking is the last thing I have on my mind. Penelope Fitzgerald also suffered from asthma and COPD later in life. The fact that she pushed forward with her writing is very inspiring.

During my youth I was quite the bookworm in the family. The calling from my mother to come and help with the supper preparations often found me buried in pages. One time in particular, my mother called me from the bottom of the stairs to fetch the potatoes in the cellar. Yes, we had one of those. With a pine box full of sand, carrots, and potatoes and shelves lined with jars of preserves, we braved the damp, dark hole in search of the daily sustenance. This day in particular involved a hasty response, a slip of the hand across the banister pole, and a crash through the window at the landing. The stairs make an about face which I neglected. My mother’s voice still ringing in my ears, was now clouded with the sound of broken glass. She returned to her post at the bottom of the stairs to find that I was unharmed. The window, however, would need to be replaced.

This hasty response whilst in the midst of my reading was probably delayed by the “finishing of the paragraph.” Who would stop mid-sentence? My feet could not make up the time lost in the book. Sometimes, I feel like my whole spiritual journey can be summed up in that instance.

Indoor gardening began in middle January. This little lavender sprout is now one month above ground. I was successful at nine seeds. Not really sure how many I put in the soil. Touching them is the best aroma therapy. The greenhouse is is ready for spring planting. and the greanium planters number over 50! Flowers are abundant year round in my life.

For nine years now, life seems a tug of war between doing and being. The parenting years come and go so quickly. For just a brief moment in time we are gifted with little souls to teach being and doing as Christ ought. Then the birds leave the nest and mothering seems completed. Is it ever really complete? Now as a distant cheerleading section, the sidelines are ever so quiet. The calling to motherhood is such a blessing.

What am I to do now?

I face that question frequently. From my place in the library surrounded by the books that made us, I wonder what am I to do now? Being a wife, a mother of grown children, an Oma to my grandchildren, why does my heart yearn for something more? I want to do and be more than a pet parent, a gardener, a crocheter, or a prayer warrior. Why am I so unsatisfied with my life now?

Is this discontentment at it’s ugliest outcropping? Have the weeds of this world taken over the garden of my mind?

Crochet. Here are the first six suqres for my temperature quilt afghan. I am getting so excited about the project. Doing all of the strips in season will be next. Then the strips in between the seasons. I will be doing the months in intervals of three. So these are Jan-Feb-Mar and Apr-May-Jun. I still have my “crojo” on the plan so that is good.

Writing…

Writing my thoughts is part of my self preservation. If thoughts are not written they will blow away in the breeze. If self-analysis does not involve writing, then how can conclusions be made? Am I stuck being me and doing written self-analytical jottings just for me?

The fourth song on the CD is more about being than doing. It is in my doing that I discover my lowly ME will never measure up to God’s calling. “Be Holy” is impossible without Christ living through me. Some people love to sign off their writing with “In His Grip” but do they really understand what being in the mighty hand of God means? Sometimes it means that we are last years zinnia blossoms and He is crushing the dried blossom so that He can bury the resulting seeds under some soil and have new bushes.

I Peter 5:7. “Therefore humble yourselves under the might hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.”

“Dear Lord, You have called me. Called me to be, to be holy. You have called me, called me to be, to be yours only. You must know what You are doing, to have made me so lowly. You have called me so I ask that You would make me Yours only.” -Yvonne Annette 1998

Here I have added July-August-September. And while taking a break from this blog, I completed October. Only two left. Stay tuned for the finished project. Mosaic crochet is my newest hobby.

My avocational hobbies have turned into my full time contemplations. Hobbies are often hobbled like a little pony in need of discipline. Much of my hobbled hobbies comes from the fact that my visual capacities are failing. Dwelling on the past hobbled hobbies could bring me much grief. And for nine years, trying to discover what I can still do is often lassoed by my failing eyesight. These moments will probably continue to cause me pain and humble me to a lowly state. Learning from my disability requires being humble as well as doing with aids and help. Tools are not always as readily useful and letting go of doing is never easy. Physical ailment and the gradual decline of the body is part of living. Every day we die a little bit.

A Rock And A Hard Place

Designing my temperature blanket this week. Yep, South Dakota has quite the variety of average temperatures. From a low of 5 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 85 degrees Fahrenheit requires ten different colors based on increments of ten. The first few times that I tried to set up the colors, it seemed wrong. After about five jottings, I think each month will turn out okay. There are a few months that look quite similar. Time will tell if the blanket turns out nicely.

Choosing average temperatures for each month, I decided to just do twelve blocks. The Mosaic Hope Square by Tinna T. T. From Ravelry is my choice. After learning it last year it is a favorite of mine. Thanks Tinna!

The second song on my CD is God Rolled the Sone Away. Rolling away stones today is a little out of the ballpark. Maybe I could go out and roll up some snowballs to make a snowman! I took some time to listen to the music and here is my take away.

Shame

“For shame, for shame” I can hear my Grandmother’s titch, titch as she says this phrase. Today is seems no one has any sense of guilt of wrong doing. People seem to think that just clearing the news feedon their social media account will clear the path to a whole new life. I am thankful that the stupid decisions that I made as a teenager are not plastered all over the social networking sites.

But shame never-the-less still was part of my teen into twenties experience. Some of the shame was placed on me from others, some just my own doing. The thought that someone could clear the slate and give me a new start really found home in my heart.

Jesus rolled the stone of guilt and shame away for me. Knowing His obedience to God meant that I could now have a direct link to the Father up above was important to me. I needed the shame that I felt for wrongs done to me and by me to be lifted away from the heaviness in my soul.

Blame

This was something most people ignore. Genesis chapter three goes through the account of the Fall of man from the Garden of Eden. In the story, each one casts blame on the other. This blame game has been going on ever since then. How do I relate to this epic fail? First, blaming anyone else for my problems or challenges becomes obsolete.

I could no longer blame my peers and classmates for their bad behavior. I found being me meant that each and every day I choose to ignore the taunts and jeers. Lashing out like a viper from the fruited tree would do me no good. I also had to learn not to blame my family heritage for the genetic disorder that would someday cause me full blindness. Tough bananas. Let it go.

And finally,m I could not resort to anger with God for the rest of my life for the hand that He had dealt me in life. Blindess was a result of the fall of humanity, not God’s fault. So blaming God for my eyesight is not an option either. Asking Him for help however, is an everyday plea!

Name

Naming names of those who have done me wrong?s. Nope, not going there. But you know, their grandparents were all on my paper route. Their grandparents were my friends. Even if old Frank at the Cafe never tipped me a dime and clanked his coffee cup with a spoon to get another cup. It just made me understand the bad behavior of the grandchildren that much more.

Being called by a new name means that I pray others will see Jesus in me. I remember my most disliked classmate having to write the “future” for me. He wrote that I would be a missionary like Mother Teresa. I never lived up to that calling. But at least he had sensed my heart in some way.

Choosing not to cast stones when others do me wrong is hard. Sometimes if feels like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Saying nice things about others even when Penelope throws a rotten egg my way, well that is hard too!

Stones or stitches is the choice here. I’d rather cast stitches for good. Lots of people have wounds from the fallen rocks in life. How can I choose to cast stitches on their behalf?

In college I made a beautiful rainbow pastel afghan for my roommate only to have the relationship dissolve into shame and blame. It was such a rough time for me. I vowed to never choose friends over family again, if that perhaps was indeed what I had done. To this day I am not really sure exactly what went wrong. Except that I was weak in the friendship ring and let myself be walked on

In the end, I learned that even good people can do wrong things and choosing to love did not mean that I could give up on me. I am glad that i made the afghan. I hope it is well used or falling apart by now. Casting stitches was a good plan.

January is done. The temperature scale was the low end. Pink Blush and Aran represent the first 20 degrees on the thermometer. And January was cold, but not as bad as this week here in February. The sad part is skipping a color for the February square. Don’t worry it comes around in March or April, I can’t quite remember right at the moment.

Between a rock and hard place for me belongs to choosing colors that are so close in light reflection. The above square is so close on the color spectrum that my retina cannot decipher their differences any more. Shades of colors are like that in this disease. Navy and Black should be eliminated from he options. Along with shades of red, or colors without enough contrast.

Once upon a time I took some leftover yarns and made a shawl that I was quite proud of. Wearing in public was my mistake. The first person to comment on the item asked about the line of yellow in an otherwise cream colored garment. The statement hurt my feelings considerably and I simply responded that the colors all look the same to me, because I am blind. My intention was not to look like a bag lady.

But since then, this happened.

“Dear JML,

We received your mail the other day. I am not sure if that was your plan or if you are trying to scam me. Anyways, since their is no return address, we are keeping the grocery shopping containers.

My apologies if you are a veteran.

For the mean time, the sacks have been filled my some of my yearn stash.

If I find someone in need they will get your gift for the donation.

Why did you use our address, anyways?

Thanks,

YAC”

Most of the casting stones letters that I have written should have been burned. I can remember a few of them throughout my life. My age has taught me the error of my ways. And on occasion my attempt to cast stitches towards others has also been met with jab from a knitting needle. Yes, it did hurt. I have never given someone a crocheted item with the thought that scorn or scoffing will be returned. Those unaccepting people will just have to live the rest of their lives without a stitch from me. A stitch of prayer? No I still pray for them. But the item goes to someone else.

The second song from the CD

“GOD ROLLED THE STONE AWAY. HE ROLLED THE STONE AWAY. HE TOOK AWAY MY SHAME. HE CALLED ME BY HIS NAME. HE ROLLED THE STONE AWAY.”

Ezekiel 18:31 “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have commited, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die O haouse of israel?” NKJV. I usually put my own name in place of the transgressor. In this case the verse ties to Romans 6:23 where it states that the wages for sin is death. My favorite part is the second half of the verse that confirms John 3:16 “but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen! Thanks, for the gift of life, God.

Below is the continuation of my temperature blanket. February’s square is done now. It’s yellow and white displays how very cold this month has been. Who.would ever have though one week ago that the deep freezer dor would get left open and the whole country in such an icy mess. The stories of devastation have made me feel so sad, I decided to start work on July’s square!. The other quilt-afghan block completed is April. That’s my birthday month, so of course I had to do that one.

Disclaimer Alert! In knitting one will cast on a stitch in crochet we yarn over and hook through. The use of the term “casting stitches” is used loosely here in this writing. I have never picked up a knitting needle except to prepare my hair style. The hooks that I use are all crochet and if there is a needle involved I am usually complaining. So my plan for the quilted-afghan will involve stitching the blocks together with a crochet hook. If a darning needle is required, it might be just that. Uffdah.

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.

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.

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.

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)

Autumn falls into winter

From dry to snow to shirtsleeves again

Where else do we scoop snow on Sunday and mow the following Saturday? Wo, this land of infinite variety sure has us busy with all three seasons in one week.

Since when have we called this “God’s country?” Sometimes I think people are a little too proud of their place of origin and not giving full credit to whole scope of things. Oh, well, the soap box is all soggy and won’t hold me up any longer!

Years past I have collected the zinnia seed late in October, and this year I picked them off in September. The lawn is so dry that the grass is crunching under feet like french fries left in the fat too long. I was tempted to water the yard before it go cool again. We may be re-seeding more of the yard than planned.

A few years ago, my daughter’s retreat from wok place took her to the hammock while she was home. And then she had to work the weekend that we worked on the Greenhouse erector set. There are so many pictures of the construction in my pictures from four years ago. We just replaced the pond pump that filtered the water and added humidity to the room. It’s great to hear the sound of the water again when I walk in there. The plants will all soon be happy again.

Four years since we built the greenhouse and a name and a logo are still in the works. I have done some drawings or sketches but a marketing or graphics helper would be better at it. Anyone want to help? It is soon coming I hope.

Saving seeds and sharing goodies is my favorite part of the building. I hope next spring is even more generous.

Planning ahead for the next year, or the next growing season is so much fun. I know that I am a perpetual spring-aholic!! The plans always seem to be more in the head than on pater. I tried to keep things in a notebook once and got a little confused Suddenly it was three seasons later and I had not even looked at the list. Oops!

The beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder. For some reason, I just love this picure of the dired cone heads after the harvest was all complete. Three days late it snowed and we were digging the carrots up in the snow. Brr!

So I am back to crochet. I take a “warm” break in the greenhouse in middle of the day. It is so lovely to go and get warmed to the bone. Hats and mittens take up a larger portion of my busy time and they are a great in between thing for the larger projects to be set aside and rest my brain some!

I am so grateful for the chance to watch plants that God created grow. And I am so thinkful for the ability to be creative with my yarn projects. And NO-I have no plans to rais flax and make thread from it. Nor hemp, or cornsilk, or any other plant material that might make my allergies go completely bananas! That is the honest truth, because I am allergic to those little yellow buggers now too!

So Thanksgiving has come and gone. The goose is still getting fat. Which in our case the goose might be the bank account actually getting smaller, so that’s not true either.

This fall, my poor hubby is learning the value of a good strong spine. An old injury that he had, has turned into quite a physical challenge. Physical therapy seems to be the answer in discoving most of his nerve impingement. My heart aches for him as he tries to figure it all out and get answers from medical staff during this world health crisis. I pray for his safety every time he has a meeting with someone.

My health improved considerably with the onset of cold weather. However, my eye sight continues to be an issue. So many things do not even get attempted because of it. And then when I do try something new, technology just does not seem to aid me as much as you might think it should. Oh, well.

Ecclesiastes 12:1. (ESV) “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, ” I have no pleasure in [birthdays anymore] them.”

I am not picking on the birthday people really, it’s just that this month holds significance for some and this verse seemed appropriate for all the happenings in the world and the memories I have of all the people celebrating this month. I sure hope that Christmas still holds some excietement for you and that celebrating Christmas as the birth of our Lord brings you some pleasure this year. Even if you do spend the day alone. Find someone to call. Find someway to give something this Christmas.

Patina

I Chronicles 16:11 “Seek Lord and His strength; Seek His presence continually.”

Weathering artfully is something that copper does naturally. by attracting the elements to its surface, the patina of copper has colors that change almost imperceptively year by year. When I look in the mirror, I wonder if my aging process contains as much beauty to the beholder. The verse from 1 Chronicles chapter sixteen also has the ending option of “seek His face evermore.”

During our recent drive-inn church service, our sister church’s Pastor gave a message about the likeness of Fathers and Sons. She shared how some father and son duos look so much alike, that in the year by year comparison it was hard to tell them apart. Through the week following, I thought about my family and who was like whom… I am not going to implicate anyone.

When we look at our face in the mirror, whom do we see? So much of the world is a comparison of images that we forget whose image we are really suppose to reflect. Genesis chapter one verse twenty-six says that God made people in His image. The message of the sermon was that we are to look for God in His Son, Jesus. We are to look for little rays of the Father in the images of His children.

Lately, with all that has happened in our country and around the world, we have to look a little harder it seems. Seeking the face of God the Father in the images of people as they flash past on the social media scroll is not easy. We are ever more scrolling through the latest news and we by pass the glimpses of an eternal God over and over.

While I am not trying to make my face into the most angelic figure ever seen, what do I spend my time “facing?” What do I seek? Once or twice a week, I am blessed to visit the little faces of my grandchildren. The rest of the hours I spend facing the task of filling the time wisely.

My newest age defiance is putting together the old and new yarn into a mix of stitches. The old and the new together unlike any other . Being creative is one of the joys of life for me. And I believe in a creative God. If you don’t, I am sorry for you. There is so much joy if searching our His creativeness in life and in others.

The wonder of how something will lokk drives me to work at a pace my back and neck don’t like. My breaks from the project at hand usually means house hold chores. So I wont talk about the constant clean up after our goings out and cojmings in.

Just finding this pattern was fun. There were so many plaid variations on the mosaiac crochet, but this one really caught my eye. Somehow it looks like the plug of the outlet, the buckle of the overalls, the continues flow of energy of a two year old grandchild. I love the mis of the old and new yarns. The Seafoam spray of the gray and the bold undertones of copper turning old… Fun.

The dogs and I are enjoying the cooler temperatures out of doors. I have kicked Honey outside more than usual and the two don’t seem to scrap nearly so often. Eva still won’t sit on command, but at ten years old, she probably won’t learn a new trick. She is so short it does not much matter.

The endless hours alone can be almost exhausting. Hubby spent more of his days on site for work rather than at home. It is understandable, with the majority of what he really does being an on sight requirement. But this morning after rising and seeking His familiar face in his temporary office and then not finding hime there… i was sad.

Pandemic isolation was not something that I saw in my life’s plan. I would not choose to give in the Alaskan wilderness. Watching television shows about the hermit life seems ridiculous. Yet some people seem to be making a living doing just such a thing. Selling their life choices on YouTube via video footage of the alone time.

While I do watch a number of “how to’s” on the channel, I just don’t see how sorting through hours of my go-pro footage would be interesting for anyone. My crochet story would have to be put into high speed to make it even remotely entertaining.

For now I will continue on in my endless hooking of yarn. Days will turn into nights. And weeks, and months end in project after project. This one more than likely will take about two to three weeks to be complete. However, while it occupies for its hours, there are other things to do also. The garden will soon demand harvest time. I completed two or three other little items in the last two weeks . And there is the library book time project that is nearing completion. That one is another blog.

The rest of the world seems to continue on it’s path to nowhere, anywhere, or somewhere. I’ll just stay here making my crochet hook march through time. Not having a spleen makes the virus epidemic seem really scary. So this distancing thing gets old, buts it is the answer for the moment on letting me age artfully. Haha.

Keep seeking strength from the One who gives it. And keep seeking for little glimpses of the Heavenly Father’s Image in the faces of those around you.

Not feeling it

The lucky penny poncho pattern that I found in April is one of my favorites. The crocheted design was a follow up to the driftwood poncho. I made two of the driftwood in late winter. One with a white base and hooded, the other shades of red and cowl necked. What I like about this one is the incredible sweater border all around the edge. And the border is made while making the garment. The only finishing touch is the cowl neckline, in the ribbed sweater stitch.

The first poncho that I made was for my great niece in April. While she may outgrow it before it gets cool enough for her, I find mine quite comfy on the cool mornings. Or in the shock of the air conditioning after being outside. I like the fact that you can mix lefties or two different ombres to get a variety of looks.

Pattern sizing is quite simple also. Circumference of the head times two equals the width, and the length is foot to neck with a few added inches on the back side. Such an easy , cozy moss stitch fills the interior of the garment that it can be used as a lapghan on chilly mornings!

This time of year the heat can take the wanna right out of us. They use to call it the “dog days of summer.” When the heat in the shade reaches 101 degrees Fahrenheit, I feel like a long afternoon nap, too. But the shade of the old apple tree is not quite cool enough for me. We take up the Library floor, chairs and cushions. Ceiling fan on high, and away the crochet hook flies.

So while I sit in my air conditioned house with the air feeling like the fridge door got left ajar, the dogs snore. When I come back inside after a mailbox run, and giving the flowers a drink, this poncho or another shawl sits ready to provide it’s shelter from the breezey air.

Here is the photo I took of my first attempt at the “lucky penny poncho.” For this project I used a wool blend that is washable. Lion Brand mandala yarn makes lots of different cakes to choice from and this peachy flavor was one that I could not resists. I think the child’s size poncho turned out perfectly.

Someone suggest going shopping and I am simply not feeling it. No feeling the hectic panic of having to wear a mask. No feeling the endless search for what I might have on my list. Not feeling the hours on the internet looking for the best price.

“Not feeling it” is how I think of the riotous civl unrest that has followed the protest movement. Of all the busy no good actors that have nothing better to do with themselves, I am sorry, but I am not feeling it.

My compassion is better spent on the local gentleman whose mother just passed away after a life filled with prayer and faith. My compassion is better spent on the family of a local boy whose body was recovered from a nearby pond. My compassion? What compassion have I, but that the Lord first lent to me?

Laminations chapter three is one of my favorite compassion passages. The idea that the Lord gives His mercy new every morning and but for His compassion towards us, He would consume mankind in an instant. Wow! If only people could see, that God’s wrath is just beyond the next wrong thing they chose to do… Then my anger is dosed like the embers of the evening fire. I think about the flood and how God was sorry that He had made man… Genesis six.

Not feeling it? God’s mercies are new, His compassion tender. I feel His banner over me like love. This lovely blanket shawl warms my cool skin. Now, perhaps maybe I am feeling it and I pray that the violence ends. That people who need Jesus will find Him. That God in His tender mercies will protect my family. That our garden will bless more than just our own family.

Compassion and empathy does not mean that I jump off the bridge when someone else does. It does not mean that I won’t call the foolishness of others out as idiocracy. And that’s how I feel about the lack of common sense these days.

I live a peaceful, quiet, country life. We are blessed that my husband has a job that he has kept through this whole pandemic time. We know that giving of our abundance is what God sees as a generous heart.

Why am I here and those there are there in the city and in difficult circumstances? I do not know why the choices we have made have not covered us over with a flood of riot gear. But I am thankful for every little act of kindness that our Lord lends to me while here on this earth.

I am not feeling lucky at all.

I have never felt lucky.

Not feeling it, nope.

Blessed beyond my own comprehension. Yep. Blessed by God and filled with His compassion for those who think that lighting someone else’s things on fire or lashing out at any person in their path is the answer. Not the answer. The people who go at life with their arms flailing, their eyes darting, and their fist and tongues blasting everyone in their path will eventually be brought down. For those in the way, the others that they pull down with them, I am also filled with sorrow.

Life is too short to spend at war with God, others or yourself.