10,950 days

And What of the Nights, my Love?

Every day, Every hour, How do we count the ways?

Only one love for me, but all 12 months, all 52 weeks and all 365 days for the past 31 years, I have been his, and he has been mine.

All twelve month squares are done for my temperature blanket. I started putting them together, and then we went to the eye doctor. I left my readers to get new lens, and unfortunately the lab broke my frames. I am kind of grumpy about the whole thing. I had that gut feeling that I should just buy new frames since mine were three years old. But my mother has had the same frames for the past 10 years. Surely, mine were not very old. Ugly thoughts. But I will keep my writing sane.

How do I count the days, my Dear? And what of the nights, my Love? We will never tell, my Sweetheart. We will never tell.

Am I to consult the stars? Or the sand? Could I count the raindrops? How can I tell others how much I love thee? Shall the hours apart take you from my heart?

Oh, my love, my one and only ever love

The fifth song on the CD is dedicated to my Only Love. Written during the poetic year of engagement, it is the melodic theme of our romance. How do I talk about the one who holds such sway on my being?

Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty days of wedded bliss will soon be ours. I though 25 was a special year. Maybe for the significance of our children going off into the sanctimony themselves, but thirty? How do you some up thirty years with no less words than the days we have spent together? It seems so impossible.

Think of holding hands for nearly 31 years. The first date ended in the hours of darkness. The advantage of blindness meant holding hands on the very first date. It’s like we never let go.

Once upon a time, my first daughter was in conversation with one of her elder professors at college. He attested to the fact that her parents were so cute always holding hands. She stated in matter of factness, “Well, it’s because my mom is blind.” The gentleman protested her bluntness. She continued in factual manner. “No it’s true. She can’t see in the peripheral, so he holds her hand., That saves her from getting lost.” Honestly, my husband would rather she replied, “Oh, but he rather likes holding her hand.”

Nah, kids will be kids. They never look at the romance involved with their parents. Until their time comes, romance is disgusting. Holding hands does keep me from tripping, or otherwise loosing my way!

This is why we don’t marry our brothers. One time I went to a hospital visit with my brother to see my uncle. At one point in the maze of hospital halls there was a split. I went one way and my brother went the other. He was not into holding my hand I guess. He did come back to get me though. At a later date, I was with my youngest brother to the zoo with his family. He had no problem holding my hand. I was very grateful for the face saving gesture. And there have been a couple of times at night that my son-in-law has had to grab my hand to keep me from finding a pole in the dark of the night. Thanks! But all the same, I rather like having my husband help me.

How can you remove the cream from the coffee? Especially after the beverage has already been processed? Once the black turns cafe latte, it is not going back. Creamed soda could never return to its seltzer water and syrup. Once the two have blended they are unchangeable, completely integrated and the fizz though it return to air, cannot take with it the taste. Thoughts of the worst soda ever that I tasted remains in my memory. One of the children’s medicine bottle, the bitterness of illness and happiness of recovery exist altogether as one.

Here are the first three months of the year in a quilt strip. January, February and March are put together with a mosaic triangle pattern. I decided to use a more contrasting color scheme because the ones close in ….. are hard to see. Making it easy on the eyes makes the project fun rather than a chore.

March is nearly half past. Like an hour at thirty minutes, it seems the time goes by too quickly. The herbs are up. And some are ready to go into the next size pot. Some were a fail and needed to be resown. Today is St. Patrick’s Day. It seems a good time of year to sow something green! So I will probably spread some more grass seed out in the dry patches from last fall.

Recently, my second daughter purposely misquoted a familiar statement.

“Spice is the variety of life!”

I decided that it is probably a better motto than the real quote. Sometimes it feels like life is so full, you can hardly stand up. Other times, life feels incomplete and missing much. While considering this song on the CD I decided that one other little story ought to be told.

When we were still in our honeymoon phase, our kitchen spice cabinet had five spices. Salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and cinnamon. I really had not had my own kitchen up until that point, so spice variety was not something that I knew. My mother-in-law laughed at me to see such a simple palette of spices. Now, years later, I have more spices that she does. And much of what I cook with regularly, I grow. I cannot imagine cooking without parsley, oregano, cilantro, or marjoram. And the benefits of cumin, turmeric, and ginger are not lost on my cooking. And who would have though that nutmeg goes in meats?

Anyways, spice is the variety of life! And Spice must surely add variety into our lives. Even though we do not cook meals as often as we use to, spices are still a big part of our kitchen experience. It is pretty difficult to remove too much pepper out of the meatballs also. That day was a migraine day for me and who would expect a six year old to read the recipe properly. My husband was the lifesaver once again and took us to the drive inn for hotdogs that night. The many experiences that we learned from in life keep us together.

I am so glad that the rough patches were just a little sandpaper to smooth the surfaces. The many woodworking projects that we have done through the years have taught me that also. Not only have we done life together, we enjoy it. You can’t compress 30 years into one blog any more that one tree with all of its memories can be just a wooden table. That project is still waiting to be completed.

So now you know. We enjoy being married. We recommend it. And 10,950 days went by so fast that it seems like only just yesterday we were posing out behind the church for our pictures! We smiled so much that day that our cheeks muscles hurt. Haha!

Father, daughter

Reflecting back on the third song from my CD

Is it a parent thing or a child thing? This relationship building as an adult is not easy. And is it really so tough to raise parents these days? Mother and child pictures are the most precious images. But those father daughter dances at weddings just about break your heart. The father – daughter dynamic in a family can be a fulfilling lifelong connection. Sometimes however, it takes a lot of work.

The third song from the CD Are You Ready? Published in 1999 by yours truly (Yvonne Annette) is titled Father, You Are My Father

“Father , You are my Father, And You have made me And in Your image We are the same. Father, You are my Father, And You have made me,And I will proudly carry Your name. You are my Father, You are my Father…”

This song was written as the witness song to my Bible college years of study. During which I finally understood that my view of God was colored by my own experiences with my earthly father. These circumstances caused me to put God at a distance and think of Him more on the angry wrathful and temperamental. The concept that a God who truly loved me and wanted good for me was brand new. Finally, I could clean the windows with the cross of Christ and see my Heavenly Father in the right perspective. Now I could really pray the prayer of my Lord’s example: “Our Father, which are in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name…”

Nothing like My Fathers’ Eyes, the song by Amy Grant, to line up my spiritual thinking. Her song written about the time of my college awakening, was not that influential to me. I still did not really want my earthly father’s eyes. However, I had no choice. My dad had gifted me with his eyes, literally. Now it was time to take my vision to a whole new level. What about my spiritual vision? I did not want my soul and spirit to be blind.

“Father, You are my Father And I will trust You, And I will gladly learn to obey. Father You are my Father, And I will listen And I will learn to follow Your way, You are my Father. You are my Father.”

This song was written during the rocking years. As a mother that was one of my favorite things to do with my daughters. Mother and child could be found in the glider downstairs for hours after morning’s first light increased to full brightness. Mother and child could be seen in the little granny rocker at bedtime in the old house on Nettle Avenue upstairs. Daughter on mommy’s lap could be found in any number of rockers. There is one for each room. I loved reading and singing my girls to sleep.

My second daughter was the inspiration for many of my song writings during her toddler years. Those peaceful moments were such a blissful memory. Who would have though that leaving that house behind would bring such rocky years to follow in our new residence a state away. Leaving the acreage where we prayer walked to gain peace from the past that hung over the land still puts a little twinge of pain in my heart.

My creative bone did not come from my father though. My mother is the creative juice in the family. She sews. Her seamstress career has taken her from exquisite gowns to heritage quilts. She sewed all of our clothing when I was a child. The most beautiful gown that she made was one my second daughter was blessed to wear for her senior recital in college. The details on the pale yellow dress are some of her finest workmanship. Today her handmade quilts for the grandchildren can be valued at two to three thousand dollars.

When does a father fall in love for the second time? The answer is the day his daughter is born. (For some grand-daughter). If daddy is blessed to hold baby within minutes of birth, handing over this second love to his first one usually means a heart bursting with love and pride. Asking a father to hand off this daughter to some one else’s son is also loaded with emotion.

My wedding day did not include dad passing me off to my new love. My father did not come to my wedding. I walked alone down the aisle. This act was so foreign to many of the people in our lives, that they did not understand it’s significance to my blubbering groom at the end of that walk. He and I talked about that moment beforehand. He knew that the one walking me down that aisle was the Invisible, Omnipotent, Ever-present Heavenly Father. I could not have walked that aisle alone without God’s presence in my life.

But now? Now, I have a father in law who is very creative. We have collaborated on some projects together, like my greenhouse grow beds. Others like the little wood turnings that he does these days, are just so inspiring to me. Each item is proof that the creative mind from Our Heavenly Father is alive and well in many people today.

This little kaleidoscope is a recent wood turning that he made for the great-grand children to enjoy. I swiped it up for my grandkids. The wood markings on the outside are so unique. Each little toy is different on the inside also.

This picture is from the large opening, the end that you are supposed to NOT look through. The hexagonal shapes are produced by the two mirrors and one felt side triangulation. The inside kaleidoscope was a kit purchase.

The correct view shows the coloring of the little glass pieces that are in tube. Of course, I watched a video on “How is this Made” after bring the toy home. There a times I just want to sit and stare though the lens and do nothing else. The tumbling glass objects are never seen in the same way twice. It is a very distracting object. Teasingly I told him, I would not get a thing accomplished the following day after bringing the toy home.

Then the inspirations arrived! Back to the world wide web of inspiring motivations I went. Crochet is my thing, so here is the kaleidoscope blanket that resulted.

The item is now complete (after this picture date). I took an old blanket that I did not particularly care for and did a MakeOver! Doing this is half of my time spent in creativity. Sometimes that’s the whole point. Fixing something so that I am completely satisfied with the outcome.

Malachi 2:10 “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us all? Why do we deal treacherously with one another By profaning the covenant of the fathers?” NKJV. My version would be something like this: Have we not all one Heavenly Father? Has not one God made us all in His image? Why then do me deal so harshly and un-lovingly towards one another? This unkind behavior is like cursing profanely and denying that God gave us fathers and mothers made by Him. Honoring our earthly parents blesses our Heavenly Father. Loving one another blesses God and our parents. It is treacherous to our soul and our lives to act profanely towards anyone.

Everything in my life is like adding a little shard of glass into the tumbler of the kaleidoscope. Who I am comes from all these broken pieces to make a thing of beauty with creativity and joy. I hope that when others look through my mirrored toy (this blog, and crochet projects that i do) they see some reflection of my Heavenly Father’s image.

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.

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.

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)