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.

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.

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.

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.”

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!

We “paws” to reflect

From gratitude to warm fuzzy feelings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas to all of my readers.

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

It’s working

Rather maybe I am

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

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

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

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

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

Wait

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

Yet, wait we must.

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

Wait

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

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

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

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

Perhaps all this waiting does have a purpose.

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

Is Hindsight Really 20\20?

When we remember things with a skewed sense of reality…

Here is the thought that got me considering hindsight, and I’m not talking about the butt end of a roast or anything else of that sort. This year is in fact 2020, so why not think upon all of it’s various connotations.

Recently my mother started the whole sibling group on a “remember when” game and the focus was the earliest snow in our state. The consideration was in September, but now we are already into October. Snow is expected for our area within the week. The northern part of the state had snow and ice this week.

What each one remembers is truly based on the strength of that persons memory. I do not remeber any snow earlier than October 31st within the first year of our marriage. Then just a few years ago we had snow that landed the bean crop in disarray. That snow was earlier than Halloween, but the exact date just does not stick in my head. Lots of people lost cattle during that snow.

When considering the whole vision thing (20\20) is really about how well one can see on things put in front of the eyes. This has nothing to do with the foresight of whether to plant corn or beans for the best harvest value. If one sees best at close up or and distance we have names for that kind of vision. Well, in life experiences, some people are truly better at foresight, while others are good and hindsight. I will try to explain later.

Even more skewed in my mind is the memories that I have of our families first home in the northern part of the state. I vaguely remember running under the old metal table from the late sixties. I was so short and so young, it was a great spot to hide from my sisters. Funny how I do not remember the moment that stopped my under the table “cross country” home runs!

And answers that we were seeking are no longer questions to be asked. We can see clearly now. Hindsight brings us clear vision and the view is nearly 20\20. Is this the thought that we will have some years down the road? A few years from now we will look back. Right now we simply try to look forward and all that we see is the moment. The difficulties of the day seem insurmountable.

Foresight tells me that this is the plague that is taking away our history. So many elderly people are being lost to this virus. This disease seems to be taking the people that gave us our history. They are the ones of our past. The gray haired populous is considered at risk in this pandemic world that we live in. But hindsight is telling me they are not the only ones at risk of this disease. Some younger people suffer and just this week the world news exploded with the news of a 38 year old dieing in flight because of the virus.

We all have so many opionions about everything, and yet there is still only one breath between all of us and the future. The next breath could be our last. We never know.

But here’s a look at the past few weeks here in my neighborhood.

Our outdoor living space is complete. We made a 2×4 slat bench to add to the collection. The recitation bench along the east wall of the house came from our old grain shed in Iowa. The place that we lived had three delapitating buildings: the grain shed, a small animal barn and a garage. The garage was the first thing to go. After the spring snow melted and we discovered it was full of the trash from the previous occupants, we lit a match to the whole lot. Of course the fact that the propane tank was less than ten feet from the building was quite a frightful thought. The grain shed and the basement held a number of pieces of furniture that still grace my home today.

The swing is an old crib remodel. Haha. The crib was the one that Gavin’s dad and siblings all slept in when pre-toddlers. Today it would not fit the safety regulations as the bars are too distant in measurement. It makes an amazing back porch nap zone.

The focus of all the pets attention is the deck box. It contains their food. We have had to discard of a few wild critters in the past as raccoons can figure out how to lift the lid and help themselves. Thank goodness for the new addition to the family. Eva has kept them away since her arrival.

The slat bench has wood that came from the top of the barn. All the pieces were well over fifty years old and rough cut lumber. We spent quite some time getting each piece to the correct measurement. The staining of the top pieces made the construction of the slat bench really pop. It is a pretty good nap zone also. However, these cooler temps are not the best for such things. The finish is an old oil based recipe from Aussie Timber care. It has kept my benches and other outdoor pieces in tip top shape.

This mosaic crochet afghan is now complete. It does not have a new home yet. Because I was born in the spring, I prefer bright and bold colors more than fall. I have a perpetual spring in my greenhouse and could bore you with my pictures of flowers.

The pattern on the blanket is “What comes around, goes around.” The square spirals were really quite fun to crochet. The border and the separation lines are a simple steppe pattern. I think they kind of look like “z’s” and that makes it a good sleeper’s warmer! While I thoroughly enjoyed the process of crocheting the afghan, the colors just did not thrill me. So if there’s a friend of mine in love with it, they better holler quick. Otherwise my sister will find a home for the burnt orange delight.

Lately, I found the cold a bit too nippy on my fingers. So I decided to remake a couple of my hat and mitten pairs. I started with my everyday set that keeps me from the frost while doing the morning rounds. Honey and I go out to greet Eva. She sleeps in the heated hut outdoors. We scoop a bowl of kibbles for the cats then head out back to do the business. Next we run to the greenhouse to check the temperature. I give Cocoa a can of oats. Then we run like mad to the house because the north wind is so bitey.

This little whimsical hat was part of my creations from last spring. It is a scrappy hat. In other words, I used some scrap chunks of yarn and made a hat that was one of a kind. So the other day after perfecting my mitten pattern on a different set, I sat down and pulled up some yarn chunks to make my “whimsy set.” Something of the Oma in me enjoys wearing such a silly little dunce hat. The ball always gets a lot of attention either from little kids (while shopping) or even from other peoples pets (they can’t take their eyes off of the ball dangling from my head). Well, with a Grandmother name like Oma, why wouldn’t I enjoy a little whimsy in my life? My favorite books were the Dr Suess and I still can’t resist buying one even if I can’t read them anymore.

People with foresight always seem to get things right. They dream forward. They plan ahead. They look to the future with hope and ideals. People with hindsight are always talking about the past, looking into history with new perspectives. Trying to discover the truth about how things really happened. Maybe even considering the latest conspiracy theory. Ahhh, now I don’t believe that’s all a blanket approach to the whole of living.

My vision into the distance has always been a little poor. Having someone else to explain exactly where the moon is has made it much easier to find. Even if I can’t see the “man on the moon” I can still imagine it. And now my closeup vision has gotten a little more challenged also. Losing the peripheral view of the world, does not mean that I don’t see what’s going on in the world around me. It just means that I run into things far more frequently than I would like. It also means that my husband has to sort my little yarn chunks into the right color coordinations. White and yellow seem to be so close in color these days.

Whether you like to look ahead and dream of the future or whether you are an avid history book reader, one thing is the same. We all breath the same air. We are all fighting for another day another breathe. Today I want to aknowledge that I believe that breathe of air comes from my Soveriegn, Invisible Source. God the Creator who breathed into that first man Adam the breathe of air,

Psalm 144:4 “Man is but a breathe of air, His days are like a passing shadow.”

These days I do not visit my grandchildren as frequently as I would like. The fear of covid probable keeps me away more than I would like to admit. Being high risk in the health area is not something that I want to frequent in this blog. So I will just say that looking to the Author of this vapor does give me meaning and purpose to make each and every visit of high value and very enjoyable. They bring me so much joy, even if it is just during a phone call with childish squeals in the back ground. Looking at each day, week, or month as a passing shadow is one thing, considering my life to be but the passing shadow is another thing entirely. For now seeing these little faces as a small token of my shadow cast into the future is almost too deep a thought for consideration.

Thanking my Creator for every breath of air. Looking to a brighter Future tomorrow.

Before dash cam-Dash Lamb

A monitor of a different sort

Once upon a time, there was a shepherd girl whose husband bought her a truck. That truck was actually a Ford Edge to replace the awful eight seater cargo van that she did not like very well.

We got the car the summer of 2010, and then took a family vacation to the east coast. Nothing like putting on thousands of miles right after a vehicle purchase. Other than the serpentine belt going bad this side of Chicago, it was an uneventful trip. The main event was the music camp that the girls attended.

The best McDonald’s toy ever

What is the purpose of those ridiculous Happy Meal toys anyway? Most kids don’t seem too happy after the thing breaks. This little Dash Lamb came at just the right time though. The girls were old enough to drive when we brought this car home. So not long after the first payment was due, they were driving the family truck to get dog food, sheep feed, groceries, and even driving to all of those music lessons.

Once and a while with the food runs, they let me get a Happy Meal. So instead of getting the meals for little kiddos, they were trying to keep their mother happy in the back seat. That was actually one of my requirements for the new car, the back seat had to be comfortable.

When this little lamb came in a meal, it found it’s home on the dash right in a pasture of sage vinyl (PVC). It was the perfect home for this little bobble head creature.

Who put the lamb on the floor?

This was always the first thing said when my first glance at the dash did not find the little lamb in it’s stead. Anytime the dash monitor lost it’s footing, we knew someone was overdriving the conditions. A lamb on the floor meant that the corner had been taken a little fast. A lamb in the defroster vent meant that the breaks had been applied with force.

Before there was ever a dash camera monitor system, we had Dash Lamb. So, it was a little sad when the new vehicle did not have a spot on the vinly for such items. Now there is some little drawer cover to hide the unsightly items.

No spilled coffee here in this family. Dash Lamb never lied. She always told us who was not driving with their eyes on the road or hands on the wheel. She always told mom who was driving with out taking care of her little bobble head. Over driving the conditions could mean a little lamb shaking her head to declare, “no,no, no!”

Poor little thing didn’t even have a name. All of our little special ones got names. There was Lucy, Who-Do, Spot, Moose, Triple-Wide, Smokey, Blackie, and Buck-buck to name a few. The girls had the first fifty or so all named. After that it was just the bottle lambs that received such special treatment. One after the other came and went, season after season the lams came and went. But Dash-Lamb was with us until the day the car died.

Oh, yeah, there was Bam, Bam-the twins that use to come and lift there poor mother ewe right off of the ground. They were the first season lambs that were on the mamas much too long. We learned not to let them be so harsh after those two kept that picture stuck in our minds. Poor mother.

Aside from the fact that the lamb was always rolling her eyes at the driver, or the passengers in their distracting fashion. God is always watching us when we drive, walk, talk, or sit. This little lamb was really a reminder that someone is always watching no matter what we do. But God is the all knowing, all seeing being who really watches me.

Good bye little dash lamb. Tahnks for giving our family car a lot of story time worthy history. We loved having you as part of our lives for ten years. Some things just can’t be replaced. We can get another car. We can get new tires. But a little lamb from a Happy meal? She is really shaking her head now, “No, No, No!”