Out of Orbit

Our changing world

Office sounds in my house, white noise cafe chatter, constant keyboard clicking, and a new normal… what a changing world we live in now. This past week has been one for the history books. My son-in-law read a social posting from one of his friends that stated, “Does anyone else think that a fourth grader got ahold of our world leaders and is writing the news head lines right now?’ While it does certainly feel very surreal, our connections to the whole world through the social media outlets helps us to understand that we are not alone in this thing.

A friend of mine teaches on-line English lessons and was given the low down on Covid-19 from an eight year old. Along with the pantomimes and the demonstrations. It sounded something akin to the game Telestrations. Of course I remember our older version of Pictionary that use to bring us to the floor in laughter. These connections to international students and relatives around the globe help us to comprehend the needs of our time. They are also the reason the whole mess has happened.

Genesis chapter 11 is the story of the Tower of Babel and the Creator God who confuses the languages. In the story, the people decide to make a name for themselves and build a tower to the Heavens. God sees that His creation has forgotten Him in less than five generations from the events of the world wide flood. So He puts an end to the togetherness by confusing their communication. Imagine the chaos as workers in one part of the project do the exact opposite as another group. Imagine the driving discord as bosses and employees no longer understand the acronyms and decisions of the corporate leaders.

This whole week, I have been listening to the four or five chapter in Genesis and the beginning of Exodus at night. The Scriptures are always applicable to our day. We just have to open our ears and our eyes to the message behind every story. Why have I been so drawn to these two stories about the masses. The first is the story of God’s decision to spread people throughout the earth. The second story is His gathering of His chosen people from Egypt to the promised land. The next story that I am focusing on is the book of Acts. In this book the spread of the gospel is taken from the apostles to the Gentile world of that day. Acts tells the acts of the Holy Spirit, the apostles were only the tools of God’s flaming tongue. Each of these Bible passages have this in common: God is writing and making His story.

Today, we are a world on the fast track of travel to wherever, whenever we want. God has brought out planet of people to a screeching halt with a little tiny bug. This is not the story of “Because a little bug went Kachoo!” Or is it? Because a little virus makes people sneeze an cough-Oh, my!

How quickly a virus spreads has nothing to do with how the gospel is shared…well, maybe. My thoughts also turn in amazement and awe to the gospel of the Billy Graham era. Back when mass amounts of people gathered in woodstock fashion to hear someone from a stage tell them the need for a savior. Today the masses have been sent home to hunker down and what? They all spend time on the internet still trying to connect with others. People need people.

Gratitude ripples through the air as I hear people calling others on the phone. Sending text messages of comforting words. Sharing in the use of technology to gather via streaming church, conference prayer meetings, and on line portals. Thank God I live today instead of during the plagues of 1918 or earlier pandemics.

In my life, I have gone from home school teacher and kids club leader to the moment when my driver’s license could no longer be renewed. My eyesight gradually changes who I am on a slow eroding process. My feelings of loss and impending identity crisis plague me. However, I have never wished that everyone else could feel as I do. The sense of grief and the constant shift in my world often brings me to tears. I would never wish this lonely, exile, isolation upon anyone. Yet here we are. How can I be there for others?

Many people I know have immunity disadvantages. They have just fought cancer or some other illness and will not be able to fight this virus. Staying home away from other people who might share the bug inadvertently is their best option. Wow! Now there are people all over the globe in isolation. Now there are people everywhere trying to come up with things to keep themselves busy. Preoccupation is the best weapon we have against boredom. How long will the work last? Hopefully families can reconnect and learn the art of communication and proper scheduling disciplines. Those that are home schooling now? Well, there are even more resources than ever on line. Parents will be doing a little more homework, I suspect.

Today, if you feel like the planet Pluto once again taken off the planetary list, look for a new hope. Hope in Jesus. He often challenged his disciples to get away from the demanding crowds and pray. Now, once again the prayer warrior in me has taken up the battle cry for God’s story to be told. While the world waits for a hero (a vaccine against the virus) we who know Christ Jesus as our Lord can proclaim His name.

I already have my hero. I know whom I have believed in! Below you will find a beautiful rendition of one of my favorite old hymns. This hymn written by Daniel Webster Whittle from the late 1880’s. His story includes time in the Civil War army. His New Testament scriptures that he carried with him during wartime was given to him by his mother. Check out his story in The Story Behind the Song. Then go find the New Testament that someone gave you, or look up the Bible readers on line. Wow! We have so many tools available. Praise God!

I know whom I have believed!

Horse sense

If only I had an ounce

Crafting is really not my thing. I own a glue gun so that repairs can be done. It never fails that at some point in using the glue gun I burn myself. Part of the reason is simply not having the peripheral vision to see where the other dots of glue landed in comparison to the one that I want to use for adherence. Bother, I tell myself. Why am I fixing this broken thing anyhow? Maybe I should just toss it and buy a new item.

This morning the horse had his date with the ferrier for the second time. Trimming hooves could be a dangerous job without the aid of a good bridle and hitching post. Thank goodness my husband had enough sense to put in a hitching post after the pony was here for a year or more. It makes any chore with a horse safer. Coco still stepped on my daughter’s toe when she took him back to his stomping grounds. He has such good aim when he wants to express his opinion.

Common sense is hard to find these days. The advertisements for the covid-19 all talk about washing hands. It’s as if people have forgotten how or something. I remember the fall the H1N1 was here. My whole family fought the illness and I did not. I was washing my hands so frequently with the canning season the virus never had a chance to stick.

So it’s time to pick up the soap bottle once again. Hopefully with our ready access to hot running water and the soap dispenser more of my family will be spared from the illness that has spread throughout the rest of the world faster than fire.

That’s perhaps the part of the virus that people misinterpret from the media. While there are other illnesses like the influenza that cause havoc on society, it is the fast vast far reaching spread that is the hype here. Common sense says that people aught to stay home some. But very few know how to live more than 3 days without a grocery store.

I remember hearing my grandparents say something about someone and then following up with “that fellow does not have an ounce of horse sense.” It took me a number of years to understand what they meant. My dad use to break horses for people. So the only thing that I had to relate the statement to was those times when I go to go along or ride along with him.

Having horse sense to me at the time meant that I should stay where the horse could see me. Being in the “blind spot” near the rear or behind the horse was dangerous. I never saw anyone get kicked, but I understood. Horse sense meant staying in the safe zone around the large beasts.

Now that my peripheral vision is disappearing, slowly but surely I have to set up new safe zones for myself. Puttling rails on all the decks and steps was key to staying upright. Having an open area of the yard to throw frisbee and launch the chuck-it balls is important also. I do not enjoy nursing the scrape wounds on my hands from being too close to a tree trunk.

Life at the hitching post is a thing of the past. Today there are still some that enjoy the comradeship and conversation that happens here. It does not take long in the company of those there to find out who the nearest relatives are. And not long into our first visit, we discovered the connection. Around these parts there’s usually some fifth cousin married to another’s third. So there, you have it, we’re related.

Maybe people that own horses have more in common than just owning a horse or two?

I am not a horse person. Neither am I a crafter. But I do crochet. So that usually helps me find a connection with someone who either knits, or sews, or has another hobby like painting. My cousin is a painter. We enjoy talking “shop” during out visits.

So whether you are in the line at the grocery store or on the phone with an aunt, find the connection. Use a little horse sense and keep your distance for the blind spots. And wash your hands a few more seconds longer. Stay in the safe zone everyone!

Now give

Snags, snarls, and clumps

Woke up this morning to the weather report. Knowing how many layers for morning chores is critical to my survival. Not much to chores with just one scoop for the five or six mousers that we feed. Morning feeding for cats on a farm keeps them doing their job at night: hunting mice. Some times Honey the doodle-dog needs a reminder to get to business rather than herd the feline’s. Out we went with my wind breaker, hat, boots, and mittens.

Then it was time for my own fast breaking with a solitary muffin and some water. Next to the radio voices, mine was pretty dry and scratchy. On to the dog’s grooming routine. It will probably take all day. She was out in the wind and sunshine for a couple of warm springy days. So all that diving after the frisbee made for some pretty good tangles.

This week has a few scheduling trespasses. One for the horse and one for Honey’s spring spa date. Should have made a nail salon date for myself also. The problem is that the farrier for Coco is the same day as Honey’s salon appointment. Or maybe that’s a good thing. No dog to add tension to the pony’s anxiety.

The weather took a dive back into winter this week, so we are back to hats, scarves, and gloves. This bomber’s hat is a crochet version made from two previously not so warm beanies. The ear muff wrap attached inside adds an extra layer of warmth for my sensitive nerves.

Last week I spent some time writing about the changes that my eyesight did to my social life. It was rather depressing, so I tabled the idea for awhile. One of the hardest things for me to handle is the identity change.

Writing about the past brings a lot of emotional pain for me. There is a new note to myself on my white board in my library: “NOW.” We cannot live in the past, it’s over. The past is for books and history lessons. We do not live in the future, it is so very unforeseen and creates fear and anxiety. We live now. This moment. This hour, this day. I choose to live in the NOW.

Letting go of who I use to be means giving room to who I am now. I could go on and on about the me that wants to stay. Gripping the frisbee with all of her might does not give Honey the thrill of the next chase. She has to let go in order to give into her instinct of hunting the prey. The word that is on the training agenda for this week is GIVE.

Give the ball. Give the frisbee. Give the rope. Give the tug. Give the stuffie. Give. Give. Give. You think I would have gotten the message by now. But I still have a lot to learn I guess. Perhaps I should listen up a little better to my own repetitive voice.

The NewLiving Translation for I Peter 5:7 says it this way: “Give all of your worries and cares to God, because He cares about you.”

The run through

When music melodies crash like waves on the beach

This morning I played piano with my church praise band for the worship service. Most of the music is led by our pastor’s wife on guitar. Some of the pieces, we let the piano lead out the melody before the congregations joins in. The run through is usually about one hour prior to all of the other Sunday worship activities. This moning we began right on schedule at ten minutes past 8:30 am. It always starts late. Oops.

One of the songs we ran a bit fast, as it it is quite familiar. Then later just before the service, I spent some time looking through the praise song book to gather some familiarity with church music before playing the prelude. I do this because most of the prelude is all add lib for me. I find reading music quite tedious with my deteriorating eyesight. It is easer to play by ear. (Unlike my twenty month old grand-daughter who put her little ears down to the keys on the piano, my playing by ear involves fingers! But it was a funny she did one day.)

So needless to say a few minutes into the page flipping and tune reminding, I felt my brain was fully in-tune to worship at the keyboard and begin the prelude. Then, my memory played a trick on me. Suddenly, the tune to Chariots of Fire was racing through my head. Where did that come from, I wondered?

Perhaps, my brain in running through the tunes in full speed as fast as my fingers flipped through the pages, my brain had decided to play a funny on me! This was definitely not a church worship song! Now my spirit and the mood that I had tried to set was completely ruined. I had to move in slow beach running motion to the piano and begin my playing.

So much for getting my heart in tune with the Master before I sat down to help everyone else get ready for the sanctuary atmosphere.

I felt as if the atmospheric pressure was something like blowing up a balloon to the point of burst! POP!

Good luck with that!

There are so many things that go unsaid during the Sunday worship experience. This is one of them. And yes, I still go to church mostly for the children’s sermon. And today’s message did not disappoint me.

When we feel sad and alone as if no one understands, there is not a friend like Jesus. He knows when to the the Lion of Judah, of Narnia, or any other lion fierce and able to help in our time of trouble. He also knows when all we really want is a Great Big Teddy Bear to hug and make us feel loved and cared for. Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus.

Now, about that concentration factor and the fast paced run through of music and tunes to get me in the worshipful spirit….

Oh, well. Just hope I don’t slip up and start playing some pop theme or inspirational piece more from the song select by my smart speaker personal assistant.

Best of the worst

Or is it the worst of the best?

Some days, my memories take me on journeys. This week while recollecting the days of my second daughter’s arrival into the world, I remembered myself stuck in a lazy boy chair.

There are a lot of memories I could have focused on. The joys, the deep brown eyes of my newborn. The inquisitive nearly two older sister that drove me crazy. The sadness I had to overcome as I put the crying infant into her crib and listened to her settle herself to sleep. I loved rocking my babies, and this one would not have it. So many thoughts tumble through my mind. But the memory that stuck for me was the day I was settled into the lazy boy to nurse the infant and read to the toddler. They both fell asleep. Yay!

Then I realized that part of my cesarean recovery was the inability to use my stomach muscles to kick the chair back down. Now what? And what if I had to go to the bathroom suddenly? The moment is frozen in my brain. The stricken feeling of not being able to move. My two daughters had just become a strap over my legs, arms and stomach. I had never been strong enough to kick the lazy boy down with just my legs anyway. Figure it out-I am a tiny person. So there I say. In the days of no cell phone, no remote next to me, and a sinking sun. They would eventually wake up, right?

That’s my best of the worst of the memories from the days following my second daughter’s entrance to the world. It’s not much to complain about. There are other semi-awful memories. It is no wonder I struggle from mild claustrophobia. Part of me still believes that my mother use to hold me down to get me to sleep. (Though I did have stitches twice and optic surgery once all under the age of five-so I was probably strapped down then.)

Celebrating birthdays of adult children is different than the fancy cakes and family gatherings of yesteryear. As an adult myself, I took to calling my parents on my birthday instead of them calling me. It’s something of a change when leaving home and parents don’t do the grand parade for you anymore. I simply call and state that I am ready for my greeting. There have been a few times the greeting is not given. Oh, well. I am still happy to celebrate another one and be able to call my dad or my mom.

Today was a sad day for some in the family. My sister-in-law will never get a warm hug from her sister this side of Heaven. The week of gathering and mourning is not the end of grief. It will come unexpectedly and often catch us off guard. How do we capture the best of our memories when the worst has finally arrived? Lots of conversation will end in tears and sometimes even in laughter. It is the age old circle of life. Others have done this also.

I think especially of my Grandma Millie. She saw all but one of her sisters buried before it was her time. And she was the oldest and held them all as wee-little ones. Oh, the precious memories of holding babies. So for us, we look forward to two new babies in the family this year. And our church is holding a baby shower for the newest infant in our midst. Babies do help us think futuristically.

And so for the best of the best!

My little 19 month old granddaughter is picking up new words daily. The funniest thing she says right now is telling me the Winnie the Pooh characters. There’s “Pooh, and Owl, and Llelele.” That would be interpreted piglet! This morning with our subzero weather, she wanted to know if I was “cold?” And was “cocoa (the horse) cold?” And the “kitens?” And “Honey (the dog)?” It was almost a conversations. Next thing you know, she’ll be asking me about some family recipe or something!

Okay, I know, life does not march by quite that fast. But knowing that moments of yesteryear have escaped our grasp, today becomes pretty special.

While the COLD wants to snap our noses off, I will keep trying to think of the best of the best, Leaving the worst of the worst for it’s own moment in time.

Here’s a sample of what the fingers have been busy doing lately. I purchased a basket that I just had to have, and then tried to make one like it. Now, I know that I can do this, there will probably be more. I was not super pleased about the color that I had to practice with, but it is still functional!

A new decade

Not for me…

A new decade brings to the speakers and columnists a challenge of the millennia. One that I did not necessarily like to hear. These will be the first words of the new year, the new decade. Once published they will be out there for everyone to read. Like the feathers of the proverbial puppy pillow. Just try to get them all collected. Just try.

Well, for me half the month passed and the holiday season long ago, I still cannot find the feathers that would best stuff this pillow. If it were only to be a pillow, I think that an easier task. Many days come and go with yet no words, and the day is gone to me. I wonder if perhaps some saying that I heard as a child is actually true.

“Choose your words wisely

for there are only so many words alotted to your tongue

and when those words are all used up,

there will be none.”

Of course, I don’t really believe that exactly any more than I only have so many steps in this life. Do I believe my days are numbered…? Well, let’s not go too deeply into the hairs upon my head, and that also God has just so many for me. Yes, but perhaps going back to the words is safer. It is all just too confusing. And deep.

This year at the dawn of the new decade, we once again neglected to make solid resolutions that would soon be broken. Instead, I chose to focus once again on my prayer life and the purpose of praying scripture into people’s lives.

The Christmas giving came and went with some disappointment but mostly counting the blessings of each giver. Having little people to share gifts with is more fun than the practical gifts given to the adult peoples. Their joy and pleasure is so contagious. (As was the seasonal flu for some relatives.)

Now marches in the cold wintery new year with it’s constant drifts of white snow. The deck sweeping and snow shoveling is consistent or the postal mail server leaves large print notes in the mailboxes that say SHOVEL. Out here in the country we are trying hard not to curse the snow plow driver for his deliberate hit on our mailbox. The thing is our mailbox is quite well constructed, so there is no fix until warmer weather arrives. The welding joints will have to wait for spring. For now, an industrial magnet holds unto the mail inside.

We sat down just before the new year to praise God for all of His answered prayers from the previous year. I will continue my “prayers in the bottle” process this new year. It sure reminds us of God’s ever present comfort and guidance when we look back over the requests.

And now on to the next year.

Plillipians 4:6 says “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplications, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”. And the following verse I prayer for all my readers. That in so doing verse six, the “peace of God which passes all understanding” would be the guardian of your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus of whom we name our year. This the year of your Lordtwo thousand and twenty.

In your stocking feet

Wool, cotton, nylon or spandex?

Now is not the time to dilly, dally around. The weather outside is frightful indeed. Get some warm boots on or grab your furs, those warm socks will be full of snow and ice in no time, child. You get your shoes on by the time I count to ten and close that door. You’ll catch the death of ye, chillin’, what are you doing out in your stocking feet?1

Rant and rave all you want mother-mine, but sometimes a child has to get cold before they appreciate warm.

Where is your favorite place to be this time of year in your stocking feet? And how well do you like the static shock of wool socks? Do those spandex compression socks even work to keep your toes warm? Who wears nylon stockings to the knees anymore, anyhow?

While some prefer inside fur boots strapped into snow shoes or skies, I prefer the carpet. However, with the new trend towards hardwood flooring, I am more often then not sitting in a chair that leaves my stocking feet wanting for slippers. These floors aren’t that warm you know.

I haven’t tried walking a mile in another person’s stockings before, but even if the shoe does not fit, trying to understand where another person’s trials is still relevant. There are so many kinds of stockings these days. One’s for heart problems, diabetes, pregnancy, drug addictions, cancers, and the many different occupations that there are in this world. My mind is so analytical, I am always trying to see the other person’s point of view. But guessing where someone’s heart lies is the business of God.

In my stocking feet is how I spend the majority of my days. In the comfort of my own home next to my doggie. There are times I strap on my boots for a jaunt outside, but the inclement weather drives me indoors. So life here in the frozen land doesn’t seem like much of a wonderland to me. Except for me wondering every morning just how cold it is outside and how many layers I need to put on to survive without frostbite.

This week I’ll be sending greetings to our many friends and relatives through the mail. We started receiving the Holiday Cheer just after Thanksgiving. It is so enjoyable to gather these people near to us once more. One night at a recent supper outing, I wore a plush jacket that felt like a teddy bear. So I offered all the ladies I greeted a “teddy bear hug.” It was effective. I reached my quota of seven hugs per day that evening. I made the decision that I should become a new kind of super hero: Super Soft!

The cabin socks have found their way into our bedding. Even though we have flannel sheets at a wool blanket, and an afghan across the foot of the bed, that initial shock when climbing into bed is not so bad with socks on. So we sleep in our stocking feet also! My mother thinks we should give up the sufferance with an electric blanket. But I can sense the electricity coursing through my body and I just can’t handle that feeling. Being falsely warmed has always bothered me. I can’t handle sauna heat, or hot tub temperatures either. An electric blanket in the arm chair is so addicting that I would never get up and do anything. Give me a hot cup of Joe, or tea, or milk. That works better.

In your stocking feet you might find that you would rather be able to put your shoes on. In your stocking feet you might find a whole new appreciation for summer sandals. In your stocking feet you might be getting waited on while you would rather be serving others. In your stocking feet you might be relaxing with a good book by the fireside. Wherever your stocking feet find you, may you know the warmth of another’s thoughts towards you this Christmas season.

Take up some tea, Thank God for the post man bringing you those greetings one by one.

Hang the stockings

Tradition monition

On the first day of Christmas this year my true love gave to me…

A few hours of labor as he turned the frame of the closet door around so that the door swings into the closet. For the past 18 years it has swung into the bedroom and always been a source of “ouchies” for me. Since we are not big at hanging all of our clothing, we use a set of dresser drawers for most of our clothing, it just makes sense to turn the door in. Of course I did not think of this when we redid the flooring in the bedroom. So it was a bit of a trick to remove the whole frame in tack and replace it at a complete 180. We also did not have the queen sized bed and an extra large dog mattress taking up so much of the floor space. A third of a foot of floor space makes a big difference now. Thanks truelove!

This past week I learned it really is true that a rescue dog loves you more. My phone did it’s lovely update thing and now I have Googledrive photos on it. In one of the albums it has full collections of facial recognitions from the pictures I have taken. There is a full album of Seymour. He was the rescue dog that after two years of discovering so many familiy members were allergic to him, we re-homed to another family. He is happy. Many days I still miss him. He was very grateful and loving. It makes me feel like a traitor at times. But he walked away with his new boy with such confidence and solid affection that my guilt is gone quickly.

Honey does not take pictures well. I had to put peanut butter on my finger and hand onto her collar and threaten her with a hot dog stuffed with a pill just to get this picture. She does not like the phone. Especially when the phone is on speaker and the “ghost” of the person is in the room… She gets highly agitated and has to leave the house. She is highly demanding of attention and cannot bear to think why anyone will not do her bidding. Nevertheless, she has not become the service dog that I had hoped and instead I have become her servant-opening and closing the doors at her command.

Christmas is now less than three weeks away. We have the stockings draped about the base of the tree this year. In all my life there has never been a place to hang the stockings. We had wood stoves and brick walls behind them but they were for utility. Stockings are a fire hazard. The only time the socks were next to the stove was after my feet were frozen from doing paper route in the winter time. I would try to warm my toes and my wet socks and get the feeling back while hugging the heat that blew out from the underbelly fan on the stove. My husband, however, grew up with wide fireplace that had stockings velcro-ed to the bricks at Christmas. The stockings were not stuffed and they were not used.

While the girls were home, we stuffed a stocking. A store bought red velvet soft one was used to hold gum, breath mints, chap stick, and gift cards. Sometimes there was an orange, a pair of socks, or a pomegranate. But there was never a very good spot to hang the stockings. I tried the window sill, the china hutch, the book shelves, the railing on the steps. Why are we trying to hang the stockings by the chimney with care, if we don’t have one?

So this year I say…

Hang The Stockings!

I mean “hang the stockings! Christmas is going to have to be done OUR way. Why do I keep trying to do things the way other people do things. Where is the fun and joy of doing Christmas that way that I can do Christmas with what I have?

Okay…

Here’s an example or two.

My dad put up Christmas lights on his new covered porch. My dad is blind. He has never decorated for Christmas. We never put up lights outside when I was growing up. Why did he have his friend take him shopping, and then hang the lights around the porch when he can’t see the lights? Because he is telling the neighbors that the spirit of Christmas is alive in him. The automatic timer tells his neighbors that joy of Christmas is for them. It is what he can give to the kids at the school that are leaving a basketball game. The twinkling of a lit porch. Giving at Christmas comes in so many different shapes and sizes.

My cousin does not have grandkids, but she works at a day care. She loves those kiddies and enjoys making crafts with them. Yet she is decorating her house for Christmas and having people over. She has not decorated for years, because no comes to see it. She decided to decorate for herself and her husband. Cleaning and finding room for the nativity and the tree. Christmas for her is new and fresh this year.

There is an elderly lady at my church (no names mentioned as there a quite a few of them). This particular one will not have any company over the holiday and will go to her granddaughter’s house in a nearby town. Yet she put out a little ceramic Christmas tree on her table in the window. Just to remind herself and the passersby what time of year this is… Christmas her own way.

So here’s my tradition monition: Hang the stocking and do Christmas to your own ability, in your own way. I am not an episcopal prophet or a Biblical nay-sayer, a seer, or a preacher. I am just telling myself what I should have told myself years ago. If you don’t have a fireplace or mantel, don’t hang the stockings. It just makes you and your hubby dear sad that you gave up the fireplace you built 22 years ago in the house that you sold SAD. Don’t remind yourself of what you Do Not Have. Think about what you Do Have.

Hang the stocking

Out on the washline

Use a clothespin

Or just nail it to the tree in the yard

Hang the stocking

Santa Claus only comes to town

Anyways

That’s what the song says

Hang the stocking

Why should I care

Iffen we don’t do the Santa thing

Anyways

Hang the stocking

As long as we can sit

At the table for a meal

To gather together and

Tell stories with laughter

Hang the stocking

Reading the story from Luke

And give up fairy tale flukes

Santa Claus is for the world

The baby in the manger is for me

Hang the stocking

Give up false hope

Put up true faith

Show off real love

–written this day December 6, 2019 by Yvonne Annette

P. S. I am really not trying to be Scrooge or bah, hum, bug! I am only trying to help myself get over the fact that life does not always hand us pretty pictures of “stockings all hung by the chimney with care.” This year my brother-in-law will be celebrating Christmas without his dad for the first time. My sister-in-law is walking through the valley with her dear sister. My nephew is still going through one monthly chemo treatments for brain cancer. My mom-in-law is wearing a neck brace because of a rare deterioration of the spinal column at the base of her neck. My little grand-baby is fighting the feverish flu this week. And there are so many other prayer requests that lay heavy on my heart. Life is messy. Sometimes it is ugly. But life is only what we have for the moment. Love the ones that you have to love. Do Christmas because God first loved us, by sending His one and only son into the world to show us His love. Believe the Christ of Christmas.

Stuff in the Stocking

Whimsy elf stocking hat

Waiting for another round of snow to blast away any holiday plans, I decided to crochet a whimsy elf stocking cap. So I looked up a few patterns, then did it my own way. The stuff in this stocking hat is a little different than the stuff under another’s hat. Here are the boring crochet details…

This has to be may favorite hat yet! The Elf hat crocheted in a totally new fashion. All the other patterns that I found had such large stitch designs. This one is done from brim to tip. The single crochet ribbing on the brim is down by working each row on the back loop. For this hat I did eight stitches per row. Then sewing the brim together at the desired head circumference, the hat body is begun with continuous rounds. The moss stitch is what I chose for the elf hat’s body. It is my favorite”warm” hat stitch lately. After doing thirteen rounds with no decrease stitches, the rest of the hat was done with a decrease every 25, 50, and 75 stitches. No real consistency, just gradually making the point appear. I finished the tip with more decreases at just eight stitches on the round. And added a tassle with the remaining twenty inches of yarn. Not a lot of guess work. And now this elf is ready to think about Christmas after Thanksgiving has been completed.

Now that I got all that our of my system. I am happy to see my “old” yarns stash dwindling. Until we went shopping the other evening and bought some cake yarns. Oh, well. I am trying to be diligent at cleaning up my unfinished projects.

Givng thanks for the ability that I have to whittle away the time by helping my fingers dance with a crochet hook.

We have learned that this energetic doodle could care less for creature comforts. We got a goot sale on the bed that she won’t stay upon all night. It still often wakes me to hear her flopping from one surface onto another. Of course the bed that she chose was rather large and we still have not found a good resting place for it. We have to move it to get into the closet because the door swings into the room. I think moving the hinges to the other side is an easy fix, but apparently I know nothing about carpentry. Sliding doors would be helpful in our small hallway house, but that hasn’t happened yet either.

Giving thanks for a warm roof overhead and a house that suits our purposes. Even if the dog won’t live up to our expectations of a “working” class mutt.

My husband put up our Christmas tree early this year. With my eyesight reduced to looking down points of a cone shape (never mind the reference to the hat shape above) it gets more and more difficult to get the decorations on the whole of the tree. Too many times they would end up all in the same area. I think he did a marvelous job with my tutelage. I was a good teacher wasn’t I? Everyone is having a fit about the trees up before the Thanksgiving holiday is complete. But this year it is so late that one month from today is actually Christmas Eve. I nee all the help I can get to get in the mood for the holiday shopping. (Everyone knows how much I love shopping.)

Gving thanks for my dear hubby who does ALL of the shopping in our lives now. He even takes instruction of yarn type and color. Now, if I can just get the list texted to him before the end of the work days that he wants to eat gas station pizza for supper. Haha.

This year I don’t think the Christmas letters will get the attention I use to give them. The news except for the news about my kids, is rather doldrum. Funny how life gets a bit that way in the “empty nest” phase. Pictures tell more than words at this stage of the game. So perhaps a picture card will have to suffice.

Giving thanks for my lovely daughters, their loving husbands, and my granddaughter. We are so blessed to have celebrated my dad’s eightieth birthday, an aunt’s 75th birthday, my in laws 60th wedding anniversary, and to hear my baby sister has entered motherhood and is expecting a wee one next spring.

My month of November was taken up with a study of the book of Psalms with one of my favoite radio preachers. Many of the Psalms that he focused on were one of my favorite passages also. My cousin and I have had some blessed spiritual conversations the last month and I am so thankful for my answered prayers in her life and having someone to talk to about my Lord’s presence in my life.

Giving thanks for sisters in Christ and the challenge to be more like Him. We all need that reminder that others are watching us to see how our faith holds up. Just remember that even when we fail, God’s faithfulness to us is not dependent on our faith in Him. God is always faithful.

Psalm 108:3-4 “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”

P>S> The snow arrived in the night. All 4 inches of fluffy white stuff.