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.



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 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, 


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  I also have a line of jewelry and fun vintage style treasures for knitters that will be debuting in my 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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