Blankets and Blessings

Sweet Dreams Baby Blanket.JPG

A couple months ago my husband and I got the news that we were going to be grandparents again!!!  Our youngest son and his wife told us they were expecting some time in September.

We were also instructed not to tell anyone at that time as they were waiting to tell their grandparents first. I will have to be honest and tell you that waiting those weeks to tell anyone was extremely hard! (Maybe it is a woman thing….my husband didn’t seem to have a problem at all!)

I needed something to take my mind off my need to keep my mouth shut so I started crocheting a baby blanket. The pattern I used was one I found years ago in a book at a local library. I have no idea what the name of the book is anymore but I know the blanket was called Sweet Dreams.

I love the lacy look of this blanket and when using the soft Caron yarn it is a great baby blanket. I also modified it a bit as the pattern ends up making a rectangular blanket and I wanted a square one.

I am very sure the newest addition to the family will not care one way or another what size or shape that blanket is…….but I do! I kept the baby blankets in my cedar chest that were used for my son’s baptisms. I treasured those blankets….not for the fabric in them but for the babies that were wrapped up in them.

When our first grandchild was born I gave his parents the blankets that his dad had used. There is something to be said for passing things on. There is something wonderful about seeing your grandchild wrapped in the same blanket that his father was. Maybe it is just a mom thing or a grandma thing…..I am not sure….but I thought it was wonderful.

Passing those blankets on spoke of legacy to me. They spoke of the love that had been wrapped in them and continues on to this day. I am always slightly surprised when I realize how many years have passed since those blankets have had a baby wrapped in them.  Maybe I am surprised because I then also confront the age that I am now!

I love the fact that wrapping new grandbabies in those blankets seems to give us a do-over. We get that chance to have those conversations with the little ones that we didn’t seem to have time for when our kids were young.

It gives us a chance to take time to marvel at ants crawling on the ground as we hunker down with a child to watch. We get to feel the smoothness of stones on the gravel road and to find the adventure in the big and small things in life.

As a grandparent we have more time to enjoy those times. We have to say “No” less often and have more time to answer the “Why?” questions.  As a grandparent we are given the gift of time to really enjoy seeing life through the eyes of a child.

It is a blessing to have grandchildren. It is a blessing to see your family grow. May you have a blessed weekend. If you don’t have children or grandchildren I pray you have a child you can borrow so you may have the blessing of seeing life through the eyes of a child.

“The simplest toy,
one which even the youngest child can operate,
is called a grandparent.”

Sam Levenson

My life is blessed; I have held my children’s children.
Jeremy Taylor

 

Wanderings

IMG_4255 The Black Hills, SD

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”
Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

Today was one of those odd days where it seems like you are busy, but when you look back at the day you realize you haven’t really got much to show for it. I did get the dishes done. We did get to town and get some groceries. It just felt like we worked so much harder than that!

It has been rainy, gray and drippy here the last few days. Maybe that is why everything seems like it is harder and takes longer to do. It might just be a whole mental attitude thing.

I was at a loss as to what to post today so I went on over to the dailypost to check out the  prompts. It is always a helpful place to give you some ideas to get your brain working. The words for the last couple days were gray and roots. This did make me laugh out loud as my first thought was of my own hair!  Only…..mine is gray on a lot more of my head than just the roots.

After thinking on those words awhile I knew that in my digital files of photos I had some pretty cool pictures of tree roots. I am going to share a few of my favorites with you. They were taken on various vacations through the past years.

The tree pictured at the beginning of this post was photographed on a family vacation years ago to the Black Hills in South Dakota. (My husband’s favorite place!) The roots on that tree were so amazing to me. They just seemed to snake around the rocks and hang on. Eventually the tree died but those roots spoke of such determination to anchor themselves firmly into something solid.

It kind of reminded me of a song we used to sing in Sunday School about the wise man building his house upon the rock….when the rains and winds came…his house stood firm. I suspect that tree stood pretty firm through many storms.

IMG_6912 Lake Thompson, SD

This picture was taken at Lake Thompson, South Dakota. I just could not pass up taking a picture of this huge ball of roots. It made me wonder what it actually took to bring that tree down! Even in it’s present state there is such a rugged beauty to it.  The roots have been worn smooth by the rain and bleached by the sun. It may no longer function as a living tree but I have a feeling that it is probably used by many people as a place to sit and rest. It has been repurposed and made beautiful again by time.

This grouping of three pictures, are probably some of my all time favorites. They were taken at Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota. Just seeing these pictures gives me a wanderlust to go back and wade in the cool waters of the falls, marvel at the twisted trees that are still alive and feel the texture of the lichen covered rocks that line the stream.

It is the perfect place…..running water, sparkling waterfalls, gnarly trees, multi-colored rocks and pebbles, and there is always a refreshing breeze on a hot summer day. It is a joy to watch the little kids (and the old kids) splashing in the water and just enjoying being outdoors.

I am starting to think that if tomorrow is also a rainy day it might be time to get out the well-worn Rand McNally atlas and do some vacation dreaming! I have found that sometimes the dreaming is over half the fun.

Perhaps just planning a vacation and dreaming on one can be like taking a vacation and never leaving home. Perhaps the slow pace of our “gray, drippy” day was a mini-vacation of sorts. I may need to rethink vacations in general.

Vacation memories can be like those tree roots that are sunk deep into rock……those memories are firmly and solidly rooted in shared experiences with family and friends….shared joys, laughter and fun……..and that is a blessed, wonderous thing.

The richness of life lies in memories we have forgotten.
Cesare Pavese

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cesarepave400608.html

 

 

 

Security Under a Corn Tunnel

Tenacious Rhubarb.JPG

I was really surprised today when I looked out my patio door. I could see rhubarb growing underneath it’s “cages”. I had not expected those plants to be that large already. It did not seem that long ago that my husband suggested I put some corn tunnels over them as they were just starting to break through the soil.

Rhubarb is a tenacious perennial; but I think the “girls” out-tenacious the rhubarb.  Before we put the protective corn tunnels over them the girls would spend hours just scratching and digging for whatever they could find in the dirt around those plants. It was getting to the point that the poor plants were losing the battle against the chickens.

I have found that if I want to have any rhubarb to freeze for muffins or use to make jam I had best protect them till the leaves are really big. A few years ago my husband brought me some corn tunnels to use to protect them.

I should probably explain what a corn tunnel is for those of you who have never dealt with storing ear corn in a corn crib. When you put ear corn (field corn that is picked and not combined) in a crib you put these wire tunnels along the bottom of the crib to help with aerating the crib so the corn will dry on the cob and not rot and turn to compost.

We have found these corn tunnels work great for a lot of garden plants and flowers that you want to protect from rabbits and chickens and who knows what else. Once your plants are mature enough you can remove the protective tunnels and let them thrive on their own.

I think there are times in our lives when we are like those new shoots coming out of the ground in the early spring time. We need “corn tunnels” to help protect, shield, and give us security from the things that would scratch and dig at us before we are ready to handle that kind of treatment.

In these last few weeks of recuperating I have felt like those rhubarb plants with their corn tunnel protection. I have been shielded, nurtured and protected by so many friends and family. It is truly a humbling experience; but oh so very appreciated!

I have observed others during their times of needing that same kind of help and it is wonderful to see people close in around them to take care and nurture. I have also found that it is such a blessing to part of the nurturing crowd.  It does take a conscious effort to do that and I find you cannot blindly ignore those hurting around you.

In this week before Easter I would encourage you to be the security……. be the corn tunnel for those put in your path. Be the one to step up and nurture them, give a word of encouragement, and be the blessing to someone else.  I have a feeling you will be greatly blessed in return.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verse-about-helping-others-21-top-scriptures/#ixzz4dtpppWYn

 

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully,
everyone is blessed.”

Maya Angelou

 

 

 

Wallowing or Marinating?

Grace on a Gray Day

Grace and Gray Days

 

There is a haze hanging over everything today. It is gray, somewhat foggy, and the air holds a hint of moisture that puts a fine mist on your skin when you venture outdoors.

I took my walk up the road this morning, as I wasn’t sure if that gray sky would turn to full-fledged rain later in the day. I could have listened to the weather man, but so many times he doesn’t hit it quite right and I would hate to miss out on my walk.

You would think, with the air so dense and heavy and the sky so gray that it would be somewhat depressing out there. I found it really wasn’t, because in that dense, gray, moisture laden air there was also the faint smell of Spring on the breeze. You know that smell that smells of dirt, rain and things ready to grow…..that smell….and it was good.

As I walked I could hear sounds from a couple miles away; where a farm machinery consignment auction is going on today. You could not make out the words but you could hear the sing-song chant of the auctioneer on the distant breeze.

You could also hear a variety of birds calling, singing, and just going about their business. It was really rather peaceful in the grayish world this morning.

It made me pause and started me thinking that there can be a peace and a wonderful stillness (Psalm 46:10) in the gray, heavy times. It can be a time to reflect. It also got me thinking about the mission trip my sister took a few years back to Guatemala.

A few weeks after their church group came back they held a Guatemala Sunday. We went and listened to the stories the group told about the time that was spent there. One of the things that hit me most, was when one of the group told of their experience standing on a hill, high above a huge landfill. Down below they could see people digging through the refuse, looking for anything usable or salable.

This gal related, that as tears rolled down their faces at the poverty they saw, their guide told them not to cry. He told them “Grace is like a river that runs down and pools in the lowest places. Those that are in those places marinate in it.”  That quote has stuck with me ever since.

On those days when life seems too hard, too gray, too heavy, too dense to carry on; we can either choose to wallow in our misery or we can choose to marinate in His grace. I am thinking it is our choice to make.

I must admit there are times I choose to wallow. I suspect more of you do too. I must also admit wallowing can be enjoyable but that enjoyment does not last long and then just feeling lousy sets in. Fortunately, I have a husband who does not allow me to wallow too long! (That is a blessing.)

I do find that when I choose to marinate in Grace, life is much more bearable. There is a peace and that wonderful stillness of being who you are supposed to be and where you are supposed to be.

If you are presently in a gray time…..what will you do? Will you see only the grayness or will you see the blessing of stillness. Will you see only what is visible or will you see the promise of life around you? What is your choice…..what is my choice?   Will we wallow or will we marinate?

Like any other gift,
the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it.
Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.

Unknown

For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith
–and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God
–Ephesians 2:8
New International Version

Rainy Days…..

Thank You Card.JPG

The last couple days we have been enjoying some really nice weather that gave us a taste for summer…..at least it gave me a taste for those warm summer days.  This morning our territory was once again sent back to a rainy, gray day. I have to admit it really wasn’t so bad once my husband got the woodstove going…….in fact it was downright cozy sitting in my living room today.

It seemed like the perfect type of day to do a little more card making. I think I was rather inspired by the day I spent card making with my sister last week. This time around I only made one type.

After sorting through my stash of stuff I discovered a bag of cards and envelopes I had purchased at a second hand store. One grouping of ten looked promising to be re-purposed into Thank You cards.  The only thing I needed to cover was a small square on the front that originally had featured a pair of wine glasses .

I made some small blue squares for that space and stamped the Thank You stamp from the set, Lotus Blossom.  I then used Stampin Up sets; Gorgeous Grunge, Four Feathers, and the Feather Framelits Die Set to cut the feathers out. I used a brad to attach them to the card stock……and I was good to go.

I was pretty pleased how they turned out……especially using repurposed note cards.  Now I need to spend some time writing in them. I have people I need to thank for the graciousness I have been shown in the last couple weeks. My husband and I are amazed at the visits, food, and well wishes sent our way since my surgery.

All those actions have filled my heart.  It seemed fitting to make these cards on a rainy day that is sustaining the earth with moisture.  Just as the rain waters the ground….. so many of you have watered my soul with your caring and love.

Life truly is about relationship and I have witnessed true relationship so often these last weeks while I have been recuperating and it is beautiful.  I am so grateful for all of you.   You truly set the standard for caring. It has challenged me to pass that caring on to the next person in need of it. You have paved the way and have been an inspiration……I am blessed and I thank you.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…”
John 15:12

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verse-about-helping-others-21-top-scriptures/#ixzz4cll6o200

Card Making and Sister Time

Card Making

I had a great day spending time with my little sister making cards today. In the weeks before surgery we picked this date as a good day to get my mind off recuperating and onto something fun.

She came before noon with dinner in hand…..chicken, broasted potatoes, and cactus bread from our local Pizza Ranch. That was a great way to start and was delicious!  Once eating was out of the way we got down to figuring out what cards we wanted to make.

She got her “stuff” out of her vehicle and then we scavenged through my craft cupboards. We also looked through Pinterest to find ones we thought we could make with what we had. The picture above shows the ones we decided on and ones we put our twist on.

We decided early on that perfection was not the goal.  This was a good decision as our cards ended up not always so perfect. The stamps and ink we used were mainly ones from Stampin Up. Our cardstock and paper came from anywhere we could get them. (Michaels, Ben Franklin and/or Hobby Lobby).

We spent a lot of time today making cards; but what was so much fun was the time spent visiting about anything and everything. We rehashed past surgeries, family history, good jokes we had heard, recipes we have tried and so many other topics. It was a good day spent laughing and connecting.

The time spent turned an ordinary day into something more. It turned it into a time of family and the memories that family carries. We have already made plans to do this again….only next time we are inviting the other sisters and friends. I have one sister who tells us that, “crafts make her sweat.” She will also be invited and we will try to make it as sweat free as possible!

The thing to remember is not what the cards end up looking like ……but how much fun it was gathering to make them. So much of life is like that….it is not what you accomplish but how and who, you accomplish it with.

What do you like to do with your sisters? What makes for a great time spent with your family?

May your weekend be filled with family, friends and fun. May you make memories that will last a lifetime and be the kind you can’t wait to revisit when you gather.

“The only ones who truly know your story are the ones who helped you write it.”
Unknown

 

Provision

Splitting Wood.JPG

Time does seem to have a way of flying right on by. I used to laugh when my folks and grandparents would comment on the swift passing of time. In my “youthful wisdom” I always kind of thought they were, perhaps, just moving slower so time seemed faster. That concept may or may not be true……at this phase in my life I might not want to think to deeply on that one.

In looking through photos I had taken this past year I happened upon the one of my husband and youngest son splitting firewood for the winter. They were splitting the entire year’s worth in anticipation of my husband having a hip replaced during the winter. At that time is seemed like a huge pile of wood to conquer and stack in our garage. It also seemed like there was no way that we would go through all that wood. It also seems like they just split this wood just yesterday.

This past week I ventured into the garage, as I was tired of just sitting inside recuperating. I was surprised to find there is really not much wood left stacked in there. When my husband told me, earlier in the year, that we would use it all during the winter season I really did not believe him. I am guessing wood, like time, tends to fly when one doesn’t keep track!

I have been having more time to reflect the last while. (Sometimes my reflections get a little short-circuited, due to that wonderful post-surgery brain fog.) There are so many seasons in life that we pass through. Some seem like they will never end. If you had asked me the middle of last week how long it would take for me to start feeling physically better I would have answered, “forever.”  I am feeling so much more hopeful this week.

I have been amazed at the prayers, well-wishes, cards, food and abundance of support from friends, family and even people I have never met in person. You are all making this recovery time fly by and if I could put one label on this rather odd time in my life it would be “Blessed”.

It feels odd to realize that in this “weak” time, blessed is how I feel.  Extremely tired…..but blessed. It make me wonder if sometime, God decides it is good to have a slow down time to really appreciate Him and His people. A time when time does not seem to fly by. I have been gifted lots of time for conversations with Him. (To be honest……most of those conversations ran along the lines of asking for health results I wanted.)

I am so grateful that God’s timing is perfect for whatever season I am in. I am grateful He knows what I need; exactly when I need it……and He is never late. I am so grateful that God’s provision and love, unlike our pile of firewood, never runs out.

 

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19