Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fall Wonder



I came home to this delightful scene...





The air is crisp and cool.

The sky is grey with the hopeful promise of the coming rain.

The grass is only slightly faded,

choosing to cheer up the earth for a few more glad days.

Yellowed leaves crunch delightfully underfoot.



The trees that stand bare, 

finally relaxed after the hard work of seasons past.

Their newly lightened limbs stretch out 

like an ornate and treasured pen and ink drawing.



Standing proud as a peacock beside these sleepy giants

are the kings and queens of the forest.

They wear their exquisite shouts of color with refinement and grace.





I'm Humbled... 
Thankful...
And Filled With Wonder...
Wonder for the Creator of all Wonders.

God of all Creation.

My God.



"I give thanks to God with everything I've got... God's works are so great, worth a lifetime of study - endless enjoyment!  Splendor and beauty mark his craft, His generosity never gives out.  His miracles are his memorial - This God of Grace, this God of Love..." Psalm 111:1-10

.




Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Morning Pick Me UP!


  • Grab a cup of coffee
  • Sit in your favorite comfy chair
  • Shhhh... be very, very quiet...



I love you, Linda :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Promises Promises

Promises, Promises...

I PROMISED my lovely sister-in-law Ruthie from Sugar Pie Farmhouse that I would begin posting again, after getting a bit derailed early on in the year.  I have been doing many things but telling YOU nothing about it.  I suppose that DOES defeat the purpose of having a blog.  lol

Ruthann, is a great cheerleader as you might imagine.  Having prompted my journey into blog-land earlier in the year, she keeps nudging me to take "Baby Steps" and just begin posting.

For those of you who haven't seen "What About Bob?", here is the "Baby Steps" scene.




She has modeled great blogging and great life skills for me and still I  have yet to consistently follow her example.  But, TODAY is a new day!

TODAY is a new day for you too!

Choose just one thing that you have been PROMISING yourself to do for a long time.  Forget about procrastinating, perfection, embarrassment, shame, guilt or fear, put one foot in front of the other, take a baby step and DO one thing.  If I can do it... you can too.

So here it is... The PROMISED post!

Portuguese Knitting Pins
I have created, I'm guessing, just under 200 knitting pins which Andrea Wong has graciously sold.  She takes them to shows and classes that she teaches.  So Yippee for Sales!  More to come soon.




Jewelry and Etsy Store
I've made a few pieces but they were for gifts.  So far no lovelies for the store.  

I'm helping to moderate a few groups there... Tabitha's HeartPortuguese Knitting GroupMarket Bags  You must join Ravelry to check these out and joining is FREE!  If you love the fiber arts, in particular knitting or crocheting, it is THE place to be for inspiration and sharing your love with other fiber enthusiasts.

Knitting
Sweet Lucy (Arielluria) has lured me into the idea of living a little greener by making reusable bags instead of contributing to the landfill.  So, I have knit market bags in an attempt to be a little greener.


Little Evan was born in MAY and he is a delight.  I haven't knit for any of the grandkids yet because I wasn't feeling confident of my skills.  I decided that has got to change so I PROMISED myself I would knit him a blankie and a matching sweater, which I did... hoooray!!!  Gabriela (Gabyknits) designed and sewed the most beautiful bags to match it too.  The largest bag will eventually store the set as a keepsake.  Until then Brianne gets to use it however she pleases.  (Gaby also blessed us with gifts of yarn and toys and dog treats!  Gaby is a generous friend.) With regard to the sweater?  Well Evan has already outgrown the sweater before he could wear it.  lol  Goooooo Evan Gooooo!


I knit socks for me!  Yes I AM a sock knitter now.  PROMISED myself I would improve my sock knitting skills this year.  Knit socks designed by the fabulous Tabitha and didn't cry even once!  (I knew you'd be proud.)  These socks were actually very fun to knit.  Yes you heard me right. ;)




I even knit some for Ailish!



That's a few of the knitted projects I've finished.

Crochet
Yes I dusted of the crochet hooks after about 15 years and have tried a few projects. I'm really enjoying crochet.

This was a gift for OliviaAmber of Ravelry fame.  It holds a cake of yarn so that it doesn't get all jumbly and tangled.


Ailish is rockin' the crochet sun hat I made and then embellished with a handmade silky flower from a kit by Lisa Cruse.  She calls the flowers "Raggedy Ribbonry Roses" and she makes it easy to create one yourself.


I tried this slouchy hat which is popular right now.  Not sure I can rock the slouchy hat look but it was fun to make. (This puffy stitch was used in a hat I wore in Junior High so it was a lovely memory to knit!)




I have lots of other crochet projects that I'll post about later, lest I bore you further.

Church Youth Group
Things are in reorganization mode at church and so for now, my job as Sunday Morning hostess to the youth of the church is finished.  I must admit I'm sad about not seeing these guys.  They are fabulous.  I'm looking for how I will contribute to our church family now.

House
I PROMISED myself I'd tame the jungle that is the closets of my house.  I've conquered a couple of them.  Yaay for me!

Family
I welcomed so many loved ones in the past few months.  Baby Evan was born to Brianne, Bryan, Owen and Ailish.  Heather came for a visit by herself and Heather AND Spencer came again after Evan was born.  I feel spoiled to have already had two visits so early in the year.  I finally got to meet good friend Tabitha who I tease without ceasing on the Tabitha's Heart group.  She and her family were sweet to stop by on their vacation and let me tag along for some great family time.  What a treat!  My sister, Holly of Life Laugh Latte came to visit with her family (except hubby couldn't make it.  :/)  Holly is good for everything that ails me.  She is the caffeine in my coffee.  Lastly, we are now sharing our home with our good friends for a short time while they build their home nearby.  The arrangement will benefit us both and our boys have been good friends since we moved here so it should be a great and memorable experience for everyone.



Many of you, my friends and family, have also blessed me with your presence over the past months.  We have shared stories and laughs, projects, ideas, pictures and prayer. You mean so much to me and I'm praying God's best for you.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------

The last PROMISE of this post is a thought that my daughter, Heather, shared with me yesterday...

Let me first say, we are not unlike many of you, who find our finances a source of need in our life.  We have been doing our part for better or worse, whilst trusting God to provide for our needs. Though God is completely trustworthy, we still find trusting Him a challenge.

At those times, when we are at the end of everything we can do and the only resource we have left is God, trust can feel like walking blindfolded through a mine field.  Though you know God is more than able and WILL get you to the other side, you also know what is at stake.  Your rest, that is supposed to be peaceful "beside still waters" (Psalm 23), is work.  It is looking at the hurricane of disaster heading for you and choosing instead to SEE the truth of God's PROMISES.

The burden of our finances falls on my sweet husband's shoulders.  He is the hardest working man I know.  There is not a lazy bone in his body and he gives everything he has to provide for us.  It's really hard to exhaust yourself working and still find it not enough.  He carries himself with hope but there are sometimes chinks in that armor.

Facing the hurricane, is challenge enough, but you throw in an accidental encounter with a wood splitter...

Hubby was preparing us for winter by splitting wood.  Three of them were lifting what he estimates is a 500 pound section of tree into the splitter, and the tree got away from them and rolled his hand right into the cutting edge of the splitter.  Once he was able to yank his hand out, he found the end of his right ring finger hanging on by a bit of skin.  Though thankful for the fact that he was spared a worse injury, it was just something he didn't need on top of everything else.  Over the last week, that bit of finger that the ER tacked back in place, has been slowly darkening until it is black and hard.  We were pretty sure that wasn't a good sign.

Close your eyes if you don't want to see...


At our appointment with the "Hand Specialist" yesterday, we braced ourselves for what we thought should logically be bad news... the dead tissue needs to be removed and the finger needs to be shortened.  Instead, what we heard was... the way the injury occurred might mean the damaged tissue could grow back and he could retain not only his finger but the feeling in it and the ability to grip tools and work.

On the way home we were thanking God for the good news and I wondered out loud if God allowed this to happen to be a daily visual reminder to us, that just the way he is taking care of your finger, he is also working out our financial issues?

I was on the phone with Heather at the time, and she said something that hit me right between the eyes...

Maybe it's a reminder that God's provision (his PROMISE keeping) doesn't come because of the work of our hands either.

God PROMISES to take care of us because that is WHO HE IS. He is Jehovah-Jireh, my PROVIDER.  I don't earn his provision because I'm so good, or a hard worker, or nice.  God provides for me because it's who HE is.

I guess that means so much to me because I always feel I'm falling short.  I don't post to my blog enough. lol  I don't clean enough.  I don't do enough at church.  I don't read my Bible enough.  I'm not nice enough.  I don't keep my PROMISES enough.  I'm not a good enough friend, or sister, or mom, or daughter, or wife.

I never feel worthy of God's blessing (receiving the gift of his PROMISES) because of me and my failings.

But God, My Provider, is not depending on ME.  He is more than able to bring about his good plans for my life and my family's life because of who HE is.

What a relief!  What a burden lifted!  What a comfort!  To know that all I NEED to BE is HIS.

If you belong to God, his PROMISES are for YOU too.

And He wants EVERYONE to belong to Him.  Just do it.  Baby Steps!  :)

Love ya, Linda  xo

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Skeletons and Roses? Really! It'll Make Sense...


Everyone is a-buzz with the Winter Olympics.  

Tabitha and I have been discussing it.  In fact, she gave me the highlights via text last night because I couldn't watch.  My favorites were "barber pole swiss wins the gold", a reference to his uniform I later found out.

And I laughed at her observation that the "flowers they gave the medalists looked like heads of broccoli." 






I've caught a few glimpses of the excitement.  I saw some of the opening ceremonies. I loved the way they turned the floor into a giant undulating ocean, using light.  And I saw some Luge practice where they were discussing whether the sport is dangerous...  Most anyone knows the answer to that is - YES!  

My favorite is, as always, the ice skaters. I marvel at their ability to stay upright and graceful on a slick surface when my damp bathroom floor is challenging for ME.  

BUT THIS MORNING... Tabitha told me about the SKELETON event!  



Seriously?  

What makes a sane person VOLUNTEER to hurl themselves down a slippery slope HEAD FIRST?  The only thing I can imagine is that the overwhelming desire to accomplish something BIG must override that paralyzing fear, and little voice in your head that screams SSSSSTTTTOOOOOOOOPPPPP.

All this talk of accomplishing big things by physically challenging oneself with DANGEROUS Olympic events, of course, got me thinking about the ways I face DANGER to challenge myself physically...

Stop laughing :)

I have recently taken up using wire to enhance some of my handmade projects.  With bits of wire and a chasing hammer you can make some really interesting things.  

I had just one DANGEROUS problem.  I learned that I needed a special cushion for my steel pounding block.  There is just too much vibration without one and your cute little hammered objects end up deadly projectiles.  I don't mind living on the edge, mind you... (Well that's not true.  I don't like to even be in the same time zone as "the edge.")  But I REALLY didn't want to INJURE someone with my art.

So I decided to solve two problems with one project.  My grand plan, my Olympic event, if you will, was to create my own pounding cushion and learn some new needle felting techniques at the same time.

One of the masters of needle felting is, in my opinion... Ambrosia Cottage's Lisa Cruse.  She creates art from wool, of all things.  I especially love her soft wooly roses.   
(You may start drooling with admiration right now.)

A brief detour... I have always loved roses.  My husband has planted roses for me at almost every home I've lived in.  He surprises me with them, just because he loves me.  Awwww.  I know. Isn't he sweet.  And you can imagine my delight to discover that my Dad, who dabbled in art in his youth, had painted this lovely red rose.  He gave it to me before he passed away and I really treasure it.  



Back to the topic at hand... So last Sunday, while the Winter Olympians faced their biggest physical challenges in their quest for the prized gold, I determined to create a lovely pounding cushion AND learn how to needle felt a wooly rose that would make Lisa Cruse proud.  

I knitted up two Fibonacci squares.  Felted them into a solid fabric in the washer and laid them out to dry.  (Are you seeing the beads of SWEAT on my forehead yet?)  

Then I spent the afternoon poking fluffs of wool into those squares with long pointy, very SHARP felting needles.  (Do you sense the DANGER?)

I spent hours arranging, poking, sewing, embroidering... Actually, I was playing with wool like a kindergarten kid with a fresh box of crayons.  I was so enthusiastic in my poking of the wool, in fact, that I broke all three of my felting needles.  

Now I'll admit that my first attempts are childlike in quality but I'm as proud of them as an Olympian crossing the finish line for the gold medal.  


I finished the day off by filling this little baby with copper bb's I got from Amazon and promptly placed my pounding block on the cushion and started smacking some wire with the passion of a burly ice hockey player at the Winter Olympics.

Low and behold, the wire stayed where it belonged and no one had their eye put out.  Not as much can be said for my fingers.  I poked my fingers with the felting needles three or four times, and I hit my finger with the hammer twice.  

I guess my point is this... Every SPORT has it's inherent danger.  Some risk their lives for the Skeleton event and a shot at gold.  Other "athletes" risk their fingers for the thrill of creating fluffy roses out of wool and for the joy of pounding metal.

I keep finding myself on a recurring theme on this blog lately.  Probably because it is what I need to hear.  So here is what I'm telling MYSELF today, and if it helps you that's great too.  

Find SOMETHING you are passionate about
and pursue it like an OLYMPIAN.  

Live the days God gives you to their fullest.  He gave you these days for a purpose.  Spend them doing the things He lays on your heart to do.  

Don't compete in events that you weren't designed for. 
But whole heartedly give yourself to the race He made you for. 
Your Heavenly Father is your biggest fan... He thinks of you... a lot!

Psalm 139 (New Living Translation)



  16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.




 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
     How vast is the sum of them!

From My Cottage To Yours....

With BIG ATHLETIC OLYMPIC size HUGS,

Linda :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Gift of Love...


The Gift of Love... 
It was last year around Valentines Day, on a shopping date with Ruthann, that we visited a favorite little shop in Ozark, as we so often do.  It is called the Market Basket.  The owner enjoys more primitive, and country antiques and collectibles.  She has a knack for displaying the odd bits she finds in a very appealing way.  You feel at home from the moment you walk in the front door.
On this particular day, a vintage Valentine caught my eye.  I have a small, but meaningful to me, collection of vintage ephemera that includes, among other things, old postcards and now it includes this sweet little Valentine.  They were collected simply because they make me smile.  I keep them in this keepsake box that my other Mom, Sue, gave me many years ago.

It seems right that these keepsakes, that were important enough to someone to so carefully preserve them for years, are now being cared for by me, someone who appreciates them.  

I love the colorful graphics, the charming scenes.  But even more, I love the handwritten sentiments.  They provide a little window for me to get a glimpse into life a time long ago.  That's why this Valentine just had to come home with me.  



I like to imagine what inspired the writing of this valentine.  


I think... who was this woman "HW"?  I'll try to imagine a name, let's call her...  Harriet Witherspoon.  What do we know about her?  She has a sense of humor and so I'm pretty sure I'd like her.  


And who is Harold and why was he needing "the girls" to throw him a party?  Was he an eligible bachelor?  A widower who needed cheering?  A neighbor who needed a friend?  No one will ever know now, but what is clearly evident is that "the girls" didn't want Harold to feel alone.  They wanted him to feel loved.


Most of us don't handwrite notes so much any more.  But today our loved ones and friends still need to know how much we love them, as much as folks did in simpler times.  The need to love and be loved doesn't change.   It's not a fad or a passing thing but a fundamental principle to live by.


In the Bible I read that God's best rule for us to live by, the key to a life lived well, is that we should:
"... love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence -- and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself." Luke 10:27 the Message
 Loving God
It's time to take a personal inventory here.  The magnifying glass needs to be pointed at my own heart.  It seems pretty clear from the Word, that the evidence of our love for God is in everything we are and do.

  • What is my passion...  What about this relationship with God has me so excited that I have to talk about it?
  • What do I pray about... Do my prayers venture beyond my own desires and into concerns that are after God's own heart?
  • What do I spend my muscle/energy on... Am I doing God's work on this earth?
  • What do I think about... Am I worrying my way through the day or trusting Him to care for me just as He has promised?

Loving Others


Here is another chance to check myself.

  • Do I love myself in the way God intended?  
  • Do I love others with the same godly love?

So how am I doing?

I'm not where I want to be but I'm not where I used to be.  


What can I do about it?

I can do better starting today...

I can cherish this act of loving as the sacred thing that it is.

I can choose to truly love God, myself, and others - EVERY DAY - Not just Valentines Day.


So here it goes!



I really do thank God for you and I LOVE you.  


Thanks for stopping by for a chat.


Be blessed and be a blessing.


Love,


Linda

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Queen for a Day!


Queen for a Day is a tradition I grew up with. My Grandma Naomi lived to spoil us kids and we loved it.  Being the Queen meant I got to  watch cartoons in her bed. She'd make homemade doughnuts for breakfast, read stories from my Dad's old story books, make paper dolls from a Sears catalogue, and if I was very good I could string buttons into a necklace! 


I loved that button box.  It was actually just an old cigar box filled with buttons that she had collected. These weren't just any buttons.  They were the most beautiful buttons I have ever seen.  


At least, that's how I remember it.
It is such a fond memory that I have always had some sort of a button collection since I was newly married.  It was housed for years in a lone mason jar that was tinted blue from years of exposure to the sun I suppose.


Well a while back, on another fun excursion with my sister-in-law Ruthann, we found a crocheted necklace that was embellished lavishly with lovely mother of pearl buttons.  It was stunning but it was also way out of my price range.  
I still go back and visit it every once in a while so it doesn't miss me too much.  :)
From that day, I began searching out buttons to recreate that necklace.  It has since developed into a button obsession and those buttons, treasures old and new, are now sorted and happily awaiting my creative inspiration in a nook in my bedroom. 
Ok that sounded so nice when I typed it, but I must be honest... the nook is actually a long folding table smack in the middle of my bathroom.  I'm trying to get organized and since everything was packed into my closet it seemed a logical place at the time.
I'm ready to begin creating masterpieces with my little treasures. I just had to share a few photos of them for you to admire. These are the ones I am working with now. They will become lovely Portuguese knitting pins for www.andreawongknits.com and limited edition wrap pins for lovely knitted things.



Please try to contain your squeals of joy.  Oh ok!  Go ahead and squeal... I am!


Perhaps you need a closer look?  These are a lovely shade of cranberry red.  Be still my heart.  I won't force you to look at each button, though I am enormously tempted.  Just know I am enjoying my work.



Wouldn't my Grandma Naomi be proud to know she was such an inspiration?


Be blessed, my friends, as you do you the work God has given you to do.  Enjoy the gift of this day he has given you...  every sight, every sound, every taste, every smell, every touch. Make yourself Queen for a Day and re-discover a long forgotten joy from your childhood.  You have my permission. :)


Until next time, 


Linda

Friday, January 8, 2010

There's a time to dream... and a time to just START!

Little Girl Dreams
Since I was a little girl I have always loved dreaming and creating. 

I started writing and illustrating a book at the age of 11 or 12.  I called it "The Lillifoot Club." I smile when I think of the name of its pivotal character "Heckett."  I remember how soft and romantic that name sounded to me at the time... "H-e-c-k-e-t-t"   It doesn't seem to have the same sweet ring to it now that it did to me then.  :) And I never finished that novel but I do remember the joy creating it gave me.  Whistfully, I imagined someday my writing would be discovered and my novel would be there right next to "Little House on the Prairie" books in my hometown library.


Young Woman Dreams

Over the years I have achieved some of my fondest dreams.  I married my high school sweetheart at just 19 and I have loved him for over 32 years now.  I have 4 kids who love God and are really great people.  I not only love them but I like them.  I always wanted to be a Mom.  My two daughters have married good and godly men and I now have 3 sweet grandchildren to spoil.  
I've also had the chance to fulfill my dream of writing a book when in the 1990's my sister-in-law, Ruthann, and I were published by Harvest House Publishers.  Ruthann, who now writes the inspiring Sugar Pie Farmhouse, had a great family oriented product that God used to open the door for a book deal.  The books were beautiful and I'm proud to have had the honor of working with her to fulfill that dream.



My little girl all grown up...  
Previous picture is our first born, Brianne, on the day she was dedicated to God in church. 
Above, Brianne is all grown up holding her little girl Ailish.  


Vintage Dreams
In the course of living I have grown in many ways, some of which I am proud of and others not-so-much.  


I've grown to be more FORGIVING of others.  I've also grown a fluffier shape.  lol.  
I think I'm a more THANKFUL person but I've always got too many things on my wish list.


One thing that hasn't changed fast enough for my own good, is a fair assessment of myself.  Unfortunate experiences early in life created in my mind a negative image of self that is still hard to shake.  


I love cheer leading others and find myself an eager and ready fan.  But when it comes to me, I am harsh, cruel, and even a bully sometimes.  It is an inner voice that conflicts daily with what I read in God's Word.  


He says I am His child.  His precious one.  His little lamb.  




And I'm created in His image.


It was on a Sunday morning this past December, that I was made aware again of how unfair my thinking was.  I was getting ready in front of the mirror criticizing everything I saw... name calling at the image in the mirror... it was a comfortable routine and seemed quite justified and rational at the time.  


I'm overweight, I have wrinkles and cellulite, my energy level is waaaay too low, I'm not a great cook or housekeeper. I'm not the best knitter, or crafter.  My wardrobe is unimaginative and if you could see inside me you would cringe to know how flawed my spiritual life and character is.  I'm not the daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend or child of God that I should to be.  


I asked a sincere question of God that day that I have asked Him before... 
"God what were you thinking when you made me?"


This time, I got an answer... In my heart I heard him say... "You say you love me and that you are a thankful person but you criticize me for my judgement in making you."  


The truth of it stung my heart.  I was being unkind to myself but I was being most unfair and critical of GOD.  I was focusing on every negative thing I could think of about myself instead of getting excited about the great things God had planned for me before I was even born.  I was treating myself in a way that I would never let my kids treat each other. And I was insulting God by telling Him that He didn't know what He was doing when He made me.  Somehow, I knew better than He did who needs to be on this earth.  The minute I heard it I knew how wrong I was.

  I'm not a mistake I'm a child of the King!


I've been thinking.  I know something has to change.  My thinking has often kept me paralyzed from stepping out and following the dreams God's put in my heart.  I've lived in fear... afraid of not measuring up, afraid of failing, afraid of rejection, afraid of being found out. 


Fear prevents God from blessing me with the truth of knowing why He made me.  Why He wanted me on this earth.  


So, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone.  I'm going to stop making excuses and just START!  I'm going to abandon caution and embrace the dreams that God has put in my heart.  I'm going to live a more thankful life starting with not judging my success by what other people say or think but on how obedient I'm being to what He lays on my heart.  Any success is totally His.


Starting this blog for Stoneybrooke Cottage is one of my first steps in living a life that is more thankful to God. It is the dream that has been in my heart for the past year.

I have designed a line of magnetic vintage style Portuguese knitting pins that as of TODAY are for sale at www.andreawongknits.com.  I also have a line of jewelry and fun vintage style treasures for knitters that will be debuting in my www.stoneybrookecottage.etsy.com Etsy store in the next month or so.








I'm going to use the blog to share my journey of starting up my dream business.  It won't be all serious and long every time.  In fact, I hope you'll find lots of occassions to smile.  Either way it will be from my heart.  I don't know how God is going to use this for His glory but I trust that He will. 

I've asked knitting mentors Tabitha and Andrea Wong, sister-in-law Ruthann and other member of my family for advice.  They have been kind enough to share their wisdom with me.  It's such a blessing to have friends to walk with me as I take this new path in my life.  And I'd love it if you would join me too.


Perhaps you've been thinking that you need a little encouragement to follow the dream God has put in your heart.  Maybe you needed to hear that you are no mistake, but God WANTS you here for His purpose.  Let's encourage and support each other.  I'm a little bit "skeered" and maybe you are too but I'm also excited to see what God has in store for us.  


Step Number 1... Send magnetic Portuguese knitting pins to Andrea Wong. (Done)

Step Number 2... Post a blog.  (Finally Done! Look what progress I've made already!)


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