Category Archives: Things on my mind

My New Obsession

I love making things.  Mostly sewn things.  It was my goal years ago to have at least one hundred quilts before I died.  Well, with having a quilt shop and making so many display  projects, with family loving quilts too, and with going to auctions for years, I finally accrued, created and found at least one hundred quilts.  I don’t own all of them.  Many of them have been sold or given as gifts.  All my grandchildren have at least two quilts I made especially for them.  I have made quilts for charities, for church projects and for Samaritan’s purse.  I wish I could see all the quilts I have made in one big pile.   I have quilts for every season.  Quilts are on every bed, on both couches, on every chair and hanging on walls.  I have a big box of unfinished quilts in my shop.  I have one quilt on my sewing machine in the process of being quilted.

But……..a new obsession has taken over my life.   At the beginning of the year I read Lucy’s blog, Attic 24, where she was learning how to knit socks. She made it sound so appealing, I immediately ordered the Minwick Mum’s Sockalong book that took you step by step through the sock knitting process.  At first, it was all Greek to me.  I read it over and over.  Tried knitting socks. Tore more socks out than I care to mention.  Learned that tearing out your knitting stitches was called “frogging.”  Dropped stitch after stitch.  Knitted more ribbing and sock legs.  Learned how much fun knitting the heel flap is.  Found out turning the heel was easier than I ever could have imagined, picked up stitches even when I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing. Knit the gusset and finally decreased the toes. Decreasing the toes is when everything usually fell apart because the book said I had to use double pointed needled to do it.  Then, the other day I just went ahead and decreased the toe stitches on my little circular needle.  No dropped stitches and easy as can be.  I can’t tell you how many times I would get to the toes, dropped three or four stitches and tear out the whole sock.  But, I didn’t give up and have finally found what works for me.

Now, my quilt is still sitting on the sewing machine waiting to be completed.  I hardly look at my fabric even though I have a purse needing to be finished and material for a skirt.   Now I  surf the web looking for yarn companies and drool over yarn like I would drool over fabric.  I have several circular needles, sock blockers, and other knitting paraphernalia. I have looked up my old knitting books from the seventies when I knitted sweaters, booties and hats for my children.  I have baby things on my mind.  I even ordered yarn for a baby project.  And there are no babies ahead in my family. At least I don’t think so.

I have finished two pair of socks and have two more pair almost done.  Today I ordered more yarn. For four more pair!  I think this obsession is going to stay with me for a time.  David has had to listen to me when I could not get it into my head how to knit socks.  He kept encouraging me and said I would figure it all out and he was right.  One day it all just clicked.  The fear was gone.  Now the socks glide off my needles with ease. Oh, I still drop the occasional stitch, but with a small crochet hook, I usually can pick it up.   I wish I could explain to you how euphoric I feel that I finally figured it all out.  It was like a dark cloud of doubt that was hanging over my head just went “poof” one day.     The lesson I took from this is “never give up.”  And I didn’t.  Despite several attempts that went all wrong, I now know how to knit socks.  Now I am looking at fancier socks like ones with cables or other designs.  I’m hoping I can knit socks for gifts.

I guess I owe Lucy and Minwick Mum a huge thank you for turning me on to sock knitting.

I am sure you are tired of reading about my sock obsession.  David says when I decide to do something, I jump in feet first and start swimming and don’t stop.  When I start making things, like purses, quilts or dolls, I never stop at one.  I make a dozen or more.  Now I probably won’t stop knitting socks.  EVER.  I love the process and the finished product.  But, enough about socks, although I could talk about them all day!

We have been doing some things other than me sock knitting and David helping me wind the yarn.  I am trying to start my walking regimen again.  I was up to walking five miles a day a year or so ago and then I hurt my right leg and then by the time it was feeling better, I tore a ligament in my left leg that has taken months to repair.   I just noticed the other day my leg didn’t feel stiff any longer and I wasn’t walking with a limp.    Molly is bound and determined to run into that leg every time I go out in the yard with her.  She loves to play and takes it that I want to play with her every time I go out the back door.   Many times I will play with her, but when I don’t, she follows me as close as she can and then she and Belle get into a tussle right behind me and sometimes slam into my legs.  I’ve taken to carrying a rake and holding it behind me so they won’t hit me.  I really don’t want to have a sore leg all summer.

Last Christmas my older son gave me a cute bench.

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A painted Santa face peeking out.

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A kind of creep Santa peeking out!

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With bird house posts on either side.

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With birds painted on each post.

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Snowmen on the armrests.

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Even Santa’s belt painted on.

Well, it’s almost Summer now and it still sits on our porch.  I tried covering it with a quilt, but it kept getting blown off.  Every time I passed it, Santa was looking at me and creeping me out.  David and I could not lift it because it was made from really heavy wood.   I had no place to store it anyway, so…………

I probably did the unthinkable to some people, but I feel very happy with my new little bench.

I painted it.

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Now, it’s suitable for year round and I can decorate it at Christmas with tiny lights and a wreath, so I am happy with it.   And we don’t have to move it.  It also provides a nice place for the UPS man or the FedX man to leave packages out of the weather and off the floor.   So it’s a win-win for me.

I don’t get up very early any more.  For the first decades of our marriage we had to get up for work or to get the kids up for school.  The alarm rang at 5:30 most mornings.   Lately, I have been sleeping until 9:00 or later.  One day David worked until 11:00 a.m. and when he came home, I was still asleep.   You see, I love staying up late, but I really love the early morning so one of them had to go.  Today, I woke up at 4:30, laid awake and said my prayers until 5:30 and decided to get up.  It’s amazing how many things you can get done before 8:00 if you get up early.   I did a load of wash, did all my ironing and knitted half a sock.  This getting up early seems to be a good thing.  Now I have the whole day to do other things.

When one gets up early, they get to see the sunrise.  I sat out on our front porch and watched the sun come up.

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I have been missing some beautiful sunrises.  The hummingbirds were out feeding and the birds were waking up.  It was glorious.    Still don’t know if I will give up my late nights.  I love to knit and read in the evenings and the time just gets away from me.

I will leave you with some pictures of the late May garden.  It’s peony time and I am loving it.

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And last but not least.  Two years ago when our new porch was being built, I saved some of the concrete pieces from it and planted flowers in them.  I had this one plant I didn’t know what it was and it stayed green all Summer and all Winter. But it never bloomed.  I watched it all last Summer and it didn’t do anything.  Just some green leaves.  This Spring I looked at it and thought to myself if it didn’t produce anything this year, I was going to tear it out.  Well, I am so glad I was patient with it because it is now my header picture.

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It’s phlox and I really do not remember planting this.  There are two different ones and they are so vibrant and pretty.

Here’s to sock knitting, early mornings and the patience to wait for a flower to bloom.  Bye.

 

Rainy Day

See that beautiful redbud and bright blue skies above?  That is what we had a week ago.  Then rain, sleet and snow came and we are back in winter weather.   It is suppose to warm up again and none too soon for me.

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During the cold days there is potato soup making. (This is actually broccoli soup, but I did make potato soup also.)

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There is yarn winding.  Here’s my very patient husband helping me wind a ball of new yarn.

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There’s outdoor fires and sitting around the fire with friends.

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This is one of the friends. Ha.  Look at that toothy grin.

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Despite all the problems she has caused us(David), I love her so much.  She is definitely my dog.  Looking at me with her doe eyes.  Trying to pretend she wouldn’t do anything bad.  No, not at all.

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It rained all day today.  Looking out the window it looked so misty and mysterious over in the now empty lot beside us.  Still getting use to not having a big house there.

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That muddy place is where the big, beautiful house once stood.

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David says he would love to buy this lot.  I sit and imagine planting hundreds of flowering trees and flowers and making our own park in it.   The grandkids could really have a great Easter egg hunt there.  I see wandering paths and benches for people to sit upon.  I already have it all planted and landscaped and it isn’t even for sale!

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Our back yard is coming to life.  It looked so awful just a few weeks ago and then the miracle happens like it does every year.  I never stop being amazed at the change in such a short time.  David has mowed the grass once already and it needs it again.  Note to self.  Plant more flowers and trees and get rid of more lawn this year.

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The garden is in its pink phase.  My very favorite.  First there’s the yellow daffodils. Then all the pink flowering bushes and trees burst into bloom.

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Love it.

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Rain pouring off my shop roof. I haven’t been out there to work on anything for a few weeks.  Knitting socks has been consuming my time.

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I do have this pretty, Spring like fabric that I will be using to make a skirt.

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So cozy sitting in a warm house looking out on the rain.  It’s really beautiful in its own way.

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See the rain pouring from the gutter?  It really came down hard for a time.  They say rivers are going to flood around our city.  A few years ago we had a major flood. Our hospital was flooded, patients having to be evacuated.  Many people lost everything when the water came up to their houses.  We have several friends who lost everything and had to completely redo their houses.  I can’t imagine how horrible that was.  We were not affected at all.  In fact, I didn’t know it was that bad until a day later.  Our town is surrounded by rivers and a flood can really devastate.  Hope it never gets that bad again.

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But the garden loves this rain.  It’s true.  April showers bring May flowers or in this case, April flowers.

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I planted grass for my chickens.  Yes, my chickens like grass and crack.  What can I say?  Ha. Actually, I am growing lawn grass and when it gets tall enough I will put these in the chicken yard so that they can have a salad.

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So hopefully glorious Spring  will return tomorrow.

Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Day and An Old House

  We celebrated Easter this past weekend.   Resurrection Day for Christians all around the world when we celebrate the resurrection of the living Christ who died on the cross for every single person on earth.  Took all our sins upon Himself so that no one  would perish.  All one needs to do is accept Him as your Savior and you are saved for all eternity.  How wonderful is that? 

I love Easter and all it means.  But I also love all the renewal in nature with the trees budding, the flowers growing and the birds nesting and making new families.  I love to be with family on Easter and have a big dinner and an Easter egg hunt for the kids.   We had seventeen at our table this Easter.  Friends and family and I felt so absolutely blessed.

 

We had a big Easter egg hunt.  We put money signs in some eggs and candy signs in others and the children had to turn their eggs in for money or candy.

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They were all excited about the money.  Yes, money wins over candy, but not by much.

Here they are ready to start the hunt.  We made it a little harder to find the eggs this year as they all found them way too fast last year and they are all getting bigger so we wanted them to be challenged.  One hundred and seventy eggs to find.

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And the race was on for the eggs.  We hid them in the front yard, in the back yard, in the side yard and in the tiny woods next to our house.

 

 

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When the hunt was finished, they all lined up according to age and Grandpa counted their money out and they picked out their candy and I think they were all excited and happy to receive their prizes.  I told David that next year I want to make it bigger than ever.

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And as in past years, we had a contest to see who would get in the pool first.  It was 54 degrees cold.  All the boys(and that big boy)  jumped in the pool.  Immediately they all ran for the hot tub.

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Fifty-four degrees to one hundred and one degrees in five seconds.  I think these two were numb from the cold.

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The biggest boy of all had to get in also.

Yes, it was a blessed and fun Easter.  I am so thankful we can have this time together to make memories.

And in other news.  I love old houses.  Our house is over one hundred years old and I love everything about it.  Yes, it can be drafty and hard to keep dusted and it’s not open concept like so many people want nowadays.  Yes, it’s a lot of work and we have spent a lot of money through the years to make it up to date and liveable, but we would rather have this old house than any new one.

We had a beautiful older house right next door.  It belonged to a doctor who had his office in it.  When we first moved here, his office was a bustling business.  People in and out all day.  He was an OBGYN and everyone I met through the years knew of someone whose baby had been delivered by him.  He and his wife were nice neighbors.  They let us use their yard when we were building our pool for all the equipment needed to build it to come through their yard.  They even gave us flowers for a gift for our pool.   Then he closed his office and retired and they moved to a house not far away, but kept this old house. Every week they would come and mow the yard and clean up around the house.  They would pick up their mail every day. But the house stood empty for years.  One time some kids broke into the house and David went over and caught them and we called the police, but the doctor and his wife let them off.  They were nice people like that.  So through the years the house stood there.  David and I wondered what would become of it.  Would some family buy it and bring it to life again?  Would it become a business?  One time David offered to buy it for our quilt shop, but it was the family home so it wasn’t for sale.

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It was a beautiful old house. Notice I wrote, “was.”

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For the almost thirty-nine years we have lived next door I could look out any of our southern facing windows and see this beautiful old house.  There was something comforting about it.  Knowing it had stood there for years sheltering families and a doctor’s office.

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A grand old home with a big front porch.    But then…….

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This pulled into the side yard the other day.  David and I speculated what was going to happen.  David thought they were going to dig a new sewer system.  I had a premonition that the old house was going to be torn down.  Sadly, I was right. It seems the house was uninsurable and had to be torn down for liability reasons.

So yesterday I woke up and heard a noise next door I wish I would never have heard.  The sound of an old house dying.

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Piece by piece, it was torn apart and the pieces put in a huge dumpster.  It would take eight dumpsters to haul away all the pieces.

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I get tears in my eyes just looking at this picture and realizing this house will be no more.

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How quickly decades of living and memories can be all wiped away.  A house is built and families come and go in it and it holds all the memories.  Where do the memories go when the house is gone?  Who will remember the things that went on in this house?   Who will remember the people?  I know I will remember Doc and his wife for as long as I live.

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Finally the last vestige of the house remains.  But it can’t withstand the machine pushing it down.

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A final push and it’s over.

While watching the house going down, David and I noticed all the things left inside.  It was almost as if Doc just up and left everything in it and locked the door.

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Clothes hanging in a closet upstairs.  Some look like army uniforms.  Probably from the second world war.   Why did no one want them?

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Painted cabinets and beautiful woodwork and wallpaper.  I wish I could have gone through this house before it was demolished.

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A coffee pot and medical records.  David found one that blew out and it was dated 1932.

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A sign on the wall about the first year’s growth of a baby.

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An old wooden cabinet.    Someone could have torn this out and used it.

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I saw this old door and really wished I could have gone in to save it, but in the dumpster it went.

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Beautiful old wallpaper.

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The old house sat in a big yard.  A yard my children and the neighborhood children played in years ago. Doc was nice about letting kids play in his big back yard.  Baseball games, kite flying, walking dogs.  There was even a “secret” gate into the adjoining field that my grandchildren loved to look for and go through.   Yes, many memories surround this house for our family.  My daughter played under a big old mulberry tree with two neighbor girls.  Neighbors met in the field to talk.  Now most of the neighbors are gone and now the house is too.

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I don’t want to remember the house like this.   Just like a person I have loved who has died, I want to remember them in the prime of their life.  That is how I will remember this house.

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Beautiful and stately with redbuds blooming around it.   Good-bye, old house.

Here’s to the hope of Easter and dear old houses.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Joy and Sorrow

This past weekend was my birthday weekend.  David and I had planned a getaway to northern Ohio to visit my brother and sister-in-law and go antiquing and sight seeing, but life got in the way.

Two weeks ago one of my favorite aunts passed away and she didn’t have a funeral so this past Saturday there was a memorial for her.  Most of her family got together to remember her.  There were pictures that made me cry.  She was my mother’s sister and my mother has been gone for a long time so to see her in pictures with her three sisters was a little sad.  Her two sons and daughter got up and spoke about their mother.  I don’t know how they did it. I would have been a basket case to do something like that, but they did wonderfully and I learned things about my aunt I didn’t know.  It was a day of nostalgia and remembering the good times and visiting with family I haven’t seen in years.  Two of my cousins were born about the same time I was and we always have felt a little close because of that even though we hardly ever see each other.  I met a second cousin who was named after my great-grandmother, Kate Driggs, just like I am.   We spoke for a while and she told me things about Grandma Kate I had never heard before.  I wish people would write their family history down because once people are gone, it’s lost forever.   As I get older I realize there are fewer and fewer people who remember me when I was a child.    I remember going to grandpa’s when the cousins were there and when it rained my cousin, Cathy, and I would put on bathing suits and stand under the rain gutters.  My cousin, Tim, and I would walk all over town talking and getting into trouble(not really) and having fun together.  It was always a special time at Grandpa’s when the cousins were there.

Sunday we were with family once again.  We went to eat at Scotty’s restaurant.  I have never eaten there before so was looking forward to it.  As we got near the door, two little boy bodies came bursting out of the door and enveloped me in hugs and as I tried getting into the door, my other three grandchildren came up and hugged me.  Nothing makes me happier.  It was so nice having them all together.  We had a nice meal and spent two hours talking and it went so fast.  The only thing I had against the place was they had these tall chairs and I had a dickens of a time trying to get up on one with my sore, short legs, but I finally made it with much coaxing from family members!

After a weekend of doing absolutely nothing but visiting and resting, I decided today to try to get some work done. As it was nice outside, I raked the yard and tried cleaning up all the things the dogs had scattered around the yard.  Our back yard looked like a junkyard dog lives there.  And she does!  Molly had brought up a few pieces of wood and chewed them up all over our back deck, so I got that cleaned up.  I transplanted some tomato plants I am growing into larger pots.  I did some ironing and made soup beans.  I fed and watered the chickens and gathered the eggs and cleaned up the garden area where the chickens play.  It felt good to get a few things done after such a lazy weekend.  I don’t do well with lazy usually.  I have to be doing something.

Last night I watched the last episode of Downton Abbey and it was like getting a wonderful gift wrapped in a big bow and sent with love.   I loved every minute of it.  Sure am going to miss it.  How can anyone top Downton Abbey?  I don’t think it’s possible. Just like no one could make another Gone With the Wind.  Things like these only come around once in a great while.

Hope you had a nice weekend.  Bye.

 

Paper Dolls and Valentines

A friend posted on Facebook the other day, “do you remember paper dolls? ” Do I remember them?  I was the paper doll fanatic in my day.  I grew up in the fifties and sixties and during that time I cut out my share of paper dolls.

When I was a little girl, I would go to the grocery store with my mother.  While there, she told me I could pick out a couple of comic books.  Back then the comic books were on a revolving rack and there were so many choices.  While my brothers went for Superman and other Super heroes, I went for the comic books that had paper dolls in them. Veronica and Betty and there was another one who was a model and there were always several fashions to cut out.  My favorite by far was the Katy Keene comic books.  Katy was a model and while I read her stories, what I looked for were the paper doll cutouts of her in its pages.  I have not met anyone who remembers Katy Keene comic books. (Note: I looked up Katy Keene comics for sale and they are bringing up to twenty-seven dollars or more. Comics I use to buy for ten cents or a quarter.) But every week I would look for her comic books. Sometimes there would be extra thick comic books that cost twenty-five cents instead of the usual ten cents.   When those would be on the rack, I would be in heaven.   Through the years I gathered quite a few paper dolls.  They were really one of my most favorite things to play with when I was little.  One time I even designed a paper doll complete in her bra and panties and designed clothes for her and I gave my creations to my best friend at the time in second grade. She was happy to receive them.  I wish I could see that paper doll now.   At the time I thought she was really pretty, but being a second grader, and her artist, she was probably pretty primitive.  My creative juices were flowing even back then, though and continue to this day.

I was cleaning out a drawer the other day looking for Valentines when I came across some paper dolls I had been collecting.  Several years ago there was a magazine called Home Companion created by Mary Engelbreit.  There was always one framing quality picture Mary had drawn and always a page of paper dolls.  These were not simple paper dolls, but bright, detailed, beautiful dolls.  I began to look through them.

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Ann Estelle was one of my favorites.  I think she was Mary’s, too.

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If you have seen pictures of Mary Engelbreit, you will notice Ann Estelle looks a little like her.  I remember the first time I saw Mary Engelbreit in a magazine telling how she was given a closet in her home, when she was a little girl, to go into and create.  How neat was that?  Her creating turned into an empire of paper dolls, calendars, greeting cards, fabric, dishes and much, much more.  But I loved her paper dolls.  Sadly, Home Companion went out of circulation a few years ago.  Wish it would come back.

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As you noticed, I didn’t cut out many of the paper dolls.  I just couldn’t bring myself to, but I did cut out one Ann Estelle and some outfits for her. Here she is in her Halloween costume.

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Dressed for a rainy day in London.

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As far as I know, Ms. Engelbreit only drew one boy paper doll.  Tommy.

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I’m sure she copied him off someone she knew.  He was so cute.  And he got several pages in the Home Companion through the years.

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One year(2003) Mary Engelbreit came out with this paper doll calendar.  Now I am going to expose a deep,  dark secret I have held inside for years.  I bought this calendar to give to my only granddaughter and just couldn’t give it away.  I’m so ashamed!   But, it is still around and it would probably be gone by now if my granddaughter had had it because she would have probably actually played with it.  Now I can look at it and enjoy it once again.

Each month had a different outfit for four different paper dolls that were also included in the calendar.

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Really cute outfits. With accessories.

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Yes, I love Mary Engelbreit paper dolls. They sure brought this “little girl” a lot of pleasure.

Another paper doll I collected when I was a girl came in the McCall’s magazine each month. My mother subscribed to McCalls, but I was the first one to look through it to look for the Betsy McCall paper doll.

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Yes, I saved some of them.  Not many.  In fact, I forgot I even had them.

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Betsy came ready to dress with a story about her adventures.

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There was a game on the page.

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And a crossword puzzle.  So much fun in such a little space.  Some magazine needs to bring back paper dolls in its pages. I believe it would sell them even faster.

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I found these paper dolls in my stash.  I really don’t know where I got them, perhaps at an auction or in an antique store.

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Clothes to color and cut out.

Besides paper dolls, Mary Engelbreit  has designed some really cute Valentine’s Day cards.

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I can’t show them all because some people I love will be getting some for Valentine’s Day.

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Valentine stickers by Ms. Engelbreit   I love them.  I love stickers anyway.  If I can stick a sticker on something, I will.

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These are especially nice.

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I’m still coloring in my adult coloring book I got for Christmas.  I ordered a tin of seventy-two colored pencils.  This is half of them.

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The tin is really nice to keep them in.

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A picture by Mary Engelbreit.  Since this Sunday is Valentine’s Day, I want to wish you all a happy day.  You are loved by someone.  And you are the apple of Jesus’ eye.  Just wanted you to know.  Love you all.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Brand Spanking New Year

What is it about the start of a new year that makes a lot of us want to make resolutions, make plans, get nostalgic, and think of all the possibilities? I don’t know about you, but when I wake up on a new year’s first morning, I feel like anything is possible. I can finish all the projects I’ve started, clean every room in my house, learn a new skill, walk several miles, meet the newest best friend I have ever had in my life, save the world and do things I didn’t do in that old, rusty last year.

My only plan I have made thus far for this year is to knit a pair of socks. Not a big venture for most people, but I have never knitted a sock, so if I can manage to get a pair knitted, I will feel quite accomplished. I also want to learn to crochet. For all you sock knitters and those proficient in crocheting out there, you are thinking, well, that will be easy. But you have not seen me try to knit a sock to the heel and have to rip the entire thing out, or start a baby sock and find a hole in the middle of it and tear it all out or start a sock on my new sock loom I got for Christmas and find I am all thumbs. I am now starting my third sock. So far it is going well and I have high hopes I will get this one completed. You will know if I do. My first sock is now almost a completed scarf. It’s pretty, but it’s not a sock. I’ve ordered some beautiful sock yarn and should be getting it next week. I am an optimist and believe I will make socks from it.

I plan to read more this year. I read quite a lot of books last year. Ever since I got my Kindle White, I feel like I read so much faster. I am reading a book by Liane Moriarty. She is my new favorite author. She wrote The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot. I just finished her book, The Last Anniversary. It was so good with a twist at the end I wasn’t prepared for. Now I am reading Big Little Lies and have The Hypnotist’s Love Story waiting in line on my Kindle. Another book I really loved was Stephen King’s 11/22/63. Now let me preface this by saying I quit reading Stephen King books years ago because they got too gruesome and scary for me. But, my son told me that it was the best book he had ever read and it wasn’t gruesome or gory. It did have its places, but this story is about a man who goes back in time to try to stop President John Kennedy’s assassination. I was fourteen years old the day President Kennedy was killed. I can remember it almost as if it were yesterday. I remember sticking by the television watching all the news and seeing the funeral and John John saluting his father’s casket. So heart wrenching. Well, this book brought back many memories. It starts when the lead character goes back into the fifties. I remember the fifties as I was growing up then. So much that Mr. King wrote was so true to what the period was like. Anyway, this is one Stephen King book I would recommend. It’s long. Almost nine hundred pages, but I read it so fast and it didn’t seem that long at all. If you were alive during that time, it will remind you of all that was going on then.

I bought tomato seeds today and two books on building tiny houses. Ever since David and I bought three acres in Brown County, I have thought about us building a tiny house in the woods where we could go and stay for a day or two. We could have a bed to sleep in and lanterns and a cooler and fluffy pillows and quilts. For cool weather we could have a small heater. If I had a book or two to read, I would be all set. Plus, our grandboys would be within feet of us and would visit and we could walk in the woods. It would be rustic, like camping out, but that is all I really want. There are so many ideas for cute tiny houses, some not much bigger than the chicken coop David built, so I know it would be possible. Who knows, maybe that will happen this year.

We want to go on a vacation this year, but haven’t decided where to go. We have been just about everywhere in the United States. I think Martha’s Vineyard would be a wonderful place to visit. We loved the Outerbanks and being on the ocean. But then, the mountains call to us and we think we would like to go out west again or Alaska and take the ferry up the coast. That was one of the most wonderful trips we have ever taken. Who knows where our wanderlust will take us? I pray we have good health this year so that we can do all these things.

What are your plans for this shiny new year? Are you going to plant a garden. sew a quilt, raise some chickens, take a wonderful vacation or just stay at home and work on the old homestead? No matter what you plan to do, I pray you do it all with gusto and enjoy the ride. It’s going to be a very interesting year, I believe. We have a big election here in the states this year. A brand spanking new president. Lots of exciting things happening.

Happy New Year to all my friends around the world. May you be blessed with health and blessings far beyond your wildest imaginations. God bless you all. Bye.

September or Fall’s a Comin’

It’s here, whether we want it or not. Fall.  You know, that glorious season right before the bitter winds of winter?   The season of beautiful foliage on the trees as they make their last hurrah before they loose all their leaves.    The season of trips to the orchards for crispy apples, trudging through pumpkin fields to pick out that perfect pumpkin, taking drives down country roads to see all the beauty of the season.

In the past September was, for me, the time for the start of a new school year.  Going shopping for new shoes and clothes.  It meant the smell of new crayons, getting new yellow tablets, and new  school books.  I have always loved the smell of books.  Somehow you don’t get the same smell from a Kindle.  It was meeting the new teacher, getting your seat assigned, and hoping your best friend was still there for you as you had not seen her all Summer. It was seeing the big yellow school bus coming down the road and wondering if the driver would be nice or grumpy.

September meant that Summer was officially over and it was time to get out jackets and sweaters and knee high socks.  No more shorts and sleeveless tops.  Early evenings and homework before bed.  No more hide and go seek games in the yard.

On the farm September meant harvesting.  The corn was ripe, ready for picking and I would ride in the wagon behind the corn picker as it threw the corn cobs out into the wagon. Oats combined and shoveled into the oats house so the animals would have something to eat during the long winter.  The Spring calves were almost grown and would be the new milk cows.   Time for butchering a hog or a cow for meat for the table.

September meant  my mother gathering in the last of the vegetables from the garden and canning  or freezing all she could for our family to eat.  Winter was coming and we must be ready.

Some people are sad when September comes.  Songs are sung about September.  September is both a beginning and an ending.  But September will come no matter how much you want one last day at the beach, one last ride at the amusement park, one last lazy day to dream.  It will come and stay for only a moment like all the other months as the year rapidly draws to a close.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas come one after the other before you know it. September has the last holiday of the Summer, Labor Day.  This weekend we will have our grandsons staying with us so it won’t exactly be a holiday, but we will plan some fun things for them.  It reminds me how quickly the boys are growing and how we must grab the little snatches of time we have with them.  They have been in school for a couple of weeks already. No child should have to start school before Labor Day in my opinion.

September means a lot of things to me and as I grow older it means different things. I watch as others send their children off to school and feel nostalgic for those days, yet glad I don’t have to take part any longer.  It means time for a new haircut, a new exercise routine, more books to read, less lawn mowing, closing the pool, getting the house ready for winter.   It means more sewing and quilting and antiquing and being able to take a vacation during the school year.  Yes, September is a month of change and I am glad of it.

I saw a bright red Maple leaf on my porch yesterday.  Yes, Fall’s a comin’.   Bye.

 

Being a Witness

Being a born again Christian, I am called to be a witness for Jesus Christ.  Being a witness is testifying that you believe on Him and that He leads your life.  If I have already lost some of you, I understand, but this is who I am and I must be truthful about my beliefs.

I have not always been a good witness, I am ashamed to admit.  I know there have been times people didn’t even know I was a believer because of my actions.  I am sorry for that.  Losing your witness is the worst thing that could happen to a Christian.

Through some tough circumstances and a realization that I cannot make it through this life without Jesus, I have recommitted my life to Him.  I try every single day to live my life as if it were my last day and that I will be coming face to face with Jesus.  How will He judge me?  I know He will be righteous, but if I got what I deserve, I would not be spending eternity in heaven.  Jesus took what I deserve on the cross so that I wouldn’t have to.  I should never, ever forget that and never stop being thankful for that.  To think that our God loved us enough that He sent His only Son to take our sins upon himself so that we might be saved.  The only thing God asks of us is that we accept His son for doing that.  How easy is that?  But people think they have to do all kinds of good things to get into heaven.  Good things are not what God is looking for(not that good things are bad or that God doesn’t want us to be good.)  What God is looking for is repentance of our sins, an acceptance of His son and a life lived for Him.

Every day I ask God to make me a good witness and a blessing to others.  I ask him how I could witness for Him and He always gives me an answer.  One day he grabbed me by the nape of my neck and took me to a Sunday school classroom in our church and said, “See, you are needed in this classroom to teach these little children about me.”  Okay, He didn’t literally do that, but at the time it seemed like it as I was not thinking about being a Sunday school teacher again as I had done it for decades and was taking a break.  There are no breaks with God when you are following Him.   Now I enjoy the little children so much and love each Sunday I am with them and I pray I am teaching them about the love of Jesus through my words and actions.

God sent me a clear sign this past week to be a witness.  I was asked to mentor a high school senior girl who wanted to make quilts for the Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.  I was not even thinking about it, but I had been asking God what I could do to serve Him.  Next think I knew, someone telephoned me and I was teaching a young girl how to sew and make quilts for children in the hospital.  Then I started making quilts  for them, too,  and got all enthused about it.  God amazes me sometimes in how He can get things done if we just ask Him for advice and listen to Him.

God has a plan for all of us if we just ask Him and listen.  You will know if God has called you.  Don’t be fooled into thinking if someone asks you to do something and you don’t feel called to do it, that you should go ahead and do it.  I did that one year. I was asked repeatedly to teach a class.  I didn’t feel called to do it, but begrudgingly agreed.  It was the worst year of my life.  I did not look forward to one Sunday in that class. I know the children were not witnessed to as I should have done.  Someone else who felt called would have been a better teacher than I was that year. I regret that year and learned a lesson very clearly from God.   Man does not decide what your calling is. God does.  You have to ask Him, though, and be open to what He tells you.

Another calling I have had is helping start and keep a women’s Bible study.  David and I felt called to purchase the DVDs for the classes and I have taught a few and other ladies have taught and we formed a bond in our group and learned so much about the Bible.  I am having a Beth Moore Bible conference simulcast in our home in a couple of weeks with several friends from church.  I feel like God is going to bless it and I can’t wait.

If you are a Christian and have not found your calling yet,  seek God’s advice and counsel.  He will gently, or in my case, not so gently lead you into what you should be doing.  Perhaps you are good at writing.  You could write the shut-ins of your church.  Maybe you like to visit people.  There are a lot of lonely people who would love to have you come to see them.  Bring cookies and they will really love to see you!  Maybe some family you know needs a babysitter so that the parents can get a break once in a while.  David and I sit on our porch and wave at people.  I wonder how many of those people get a smile out of it.   Little things can mean a lot.  You never know who you are witnessing to.  A looooong time ago, when I was a teen-ager, I had a Sunday school teacher tell us that someone is always watching us and seeing what we do.  It’s true.  No matter what you do, someone is watching.  If you do something good or nice, they will notice. If you are mean and hateful, they will notice too.  I don’t ever want anyone to ever see me mean and spiteful ever again in my life.

What is your calling?  Is it important to you?  Do you believe you have one?  Everyone does, you know.  Some are just closed minded about it and don’t want to see.

Be a blessing to someone today.  Bye.

The Death of Grandma Moses

I use to play with puppets when I was a girl.  My brothers got marionettes one Christmas.  I was so jealous and I played with them as often as I could.   My hand puppets had rubber heads and cloth bodies and just enough room for a small hand to be put inside.  I would put on my own puppet shows to entertain myself and my little brother.

A year or so ago David and I were in Nashville and I came across these really nice puppets.  I thought they would be good to use as a puppet ministry with my Sunday School class.  I did it a few times, but they have been sitting in a small chair in my girly room and once in a while when the grandkids come over, they get them out and play with them.

There is Scar, the pirate.

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There was Grandma Moses.

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And there is Molly the puppet.

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The grandkids were here the other day.  After they were gone, I noticed Grandma Moses was missing. I just thought she was someplace in the house and I would find her one day.

Then David brought in a little dress that he had found Molly playing with.

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I didn’t recognize it and just assumed Molly had dug up something under the deck.  Then David started finding feet and hair.

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When I saw it all together, I realized what it was.  It was Grandma Moses.  Someone had taken her outside and left her to the mercy of a dog who chews everything.   I was not a bit happy that she had been taken outside because we have told the grandboys several times not to leave anything out in the back yard they don’t want chewed on.  Well……….

One day the grandboys will be over and Scar the Pirate and Molly the puppet will have a talk with the boys about who took Grandma Moses outside.  Scar and Molly miss Grandma Moses and want to know who would have taken her outside and just left her.  She was a poor, little grandma who never did any harm to anyone.

We will have a proper burial for Grandma Moses when they get here.  I hope they bring flowers.

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We lost a good friend this week.  When my heart doesn’t hurt so much, I will write about her.  Bonnie  died yesterday after eleven and a half years of being a part of our family.  I will miss her.  Bye.