Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pondering Joy

"Don't tell God how big the storm is.
Tell the storm how big your God is."

Just wanted to share some thoughts and these quotes from my desk calendar entitled: "God Cares -about every little thing in your life - 365 Uplifting Reminders on Faith, Friends & Prayer" (by Product Concept Manufacturing, Inc.).

"Consider a day well-spent
not by the amount you harvested,
but by the number of seeds you planted."

"The invariable mark of wisdom
is to see the miraculous in the common."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I especially like the last quote. After a major snowstorm, aren't we so thankful for clear roads, driveways, and sidewalks again? After a hospitalization, aren't we blessed to simply be at our kitchen sinks rinsing our own dishes? After an especially difficult week at work, aren't we comforted to lean back in a chair and just breathe in the soothing ambience of our homes? All these are far too easily taken for granted when they are the "common occurrences" of our lives.

Dear Ones, let's make it a frequent practice to take an inventory of our many blessings and be grateful for them. 

Yes, it's wonderful to have dreams and goals. Progress wouldn't be made without them. But I think we need to also move toward being able to say to ourselves: "If few or even none of my dreams come to pass, even so I will be content. I will choose to delight in the common days of my life as a way to honor God for giving me life in the first place. The Blessed Lord deserves to be praised by my sacrifice of joy. I will be happy for His sake." 

And oftentimes it is a "sacrifice of joy." Like Paul, I'm not there yet, but I press on. With the help of God's marvelous grace, I continually work on choosing positive thoughts over negative thoughts, and gladness over sadness. I sing His praises as I go. (Note: If one is in a period of grief/mourning at this time, one must go through it, of course. It helps tremendously to take God with you.)

Click to sing along with Paul Baloche: ALL THE EARTH WILL SING YOUR PRAISES!
(Give it a few seconds to begin, then get up and sing and dance with joy!)

... count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach,
and it will be given to him.
James 1:2-5  NKJV  

Hoping you are able to lap up all the beauty in your everyday ordinary moments,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Two to Read for Spring

I first learned about Jeanne d'Arc Living's beautiful book Fairytale Easter from Julie Marie at Idyll Hours. She shared such a lovely post about the book here that I splurged on a copy for myself. She then shared her lovely take on one of the book's suggestions here. Don't we learn about such wonderful things in blogland?

The quality of the paper and photos is wonderful.

And of course, I'm savoring my Spring issue of The Cottage Journal:

I think maybe Cora was wearing a necklace similar to this one
in the last episode of Downton Abbey. The one she wore was longer, though.

(back cover)

Some of my photos are rather dark. The sunshine was starting to fade as I began taking pictures. We are awaiting another snowstorm here in the Central Plains, but I will peruse my pretty pages while looking forward to:

This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24   NLT

Be happy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Reading Forays

Old Rose Tea Set

I did a fun thing not too long ago. (Well, for me it was fun, but then I like my fun extremely low-key!) I put the word "tea" into the search bar of our local library system's website.  The result was ten pages of books somehow tea related (a few duplicates, though).

I perused all ten pages, making note of those at our local library. I have since read two of them, one being my first Tea Shop Mystery: Dragonwell Dead by Laura Childs. For me, it was ... so-so. As I've said before, I don't care for mysteries, and I guess it still holds true. I do intend to put a hold on the first book in the series, however, and give it another go. For one thing, I couldn't discern how old Theodosia is supposed to be. Are there any others in the series you would recommend I read?

The other "tea" book was a light romance by Jan McDaniel (1996) entitled Two for Tea. Before I began reading, I was doubtful I would like it much. I haven't read "formula" romance books for many years. (I don't think. Although, the library did have The American Heiress labeled Romance, but it was so much more. Would you call Downton Abbey simply a Romance?)

BTW, does it seem to you as it does to me that the voices of blogland are fairly ageless? At least the part of it I visit. Many of us share our ages at some point, but I think for the most part, the voices we write in all sound ageless ... or even young! I mean it's usually not obvious to me from her typical posts how old a blog author is. But I digress.

Back to Two for Tea: I enjoyed it! Although I would have liked more of the setting to be the tea shop (seemed very little of the story took place in the tea shop). Light reading to be sure, but I liked the writing/story. For one thing, it didn't introduce twenty characters in the first two chapters as an attempt to obscure "who done it" until the end. But again, that's probably enough formula romance for a long while.

I certainly don't want anyone to take offense if she doesn't share my opinions! To each her own, and aren't we glad?!

Another quote from my kitty desk calendar:  "If you would be happy, cultivate passion and nourish delight." Isn't that exactly what we're doing with our blogs? Perhaps that's one of the main reasons blogging is so fun: It nourishes our souls and cultivates happiness (to steal their verbs).

Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow ...
Isaiah 1:18

Hope "Q" (who was here) isn't causing any of you too much inconvenience! 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Strictly Utilitarian Handmade Dishcloths

Pattern at end of this post.

I love all the pretty patterns for dishcloths around blogland, but I've abandoned them for handmade dishcloths much smaller than the typical larger cloths.  Circa 2000, I knit some dishcloths from a pattern book for my mother, myself, and a friend.  But none of us liked them!  My friend was honest enough to say she preferred smaller dishcloths, and my mother just plain wouldn't use them after she first tried them.  They were heavy, the yarn stretched or became loose when wet, and they were awkward to use.

So now I always make my dishcloths in a tight, close stitch, foregoing many patterns that otherwise might be intriguing, making them about 6" x 6".  And for me they do work much better than the larger size.  (I tend to knit and crochet loosely, though, so I use smaller needles/hooks, too.) 

CD-sized; a bit larger with a border.

How about you? Am I the only one who doesn't care for the large-sized dishcloths and washcloths (although they definitely are pretty)?

A well-used, faded dishcloth that's still holding up. 

And of course, one has to have some pretty music to listen to while doing dishes. (I haven't had a dishwasher since 1977, so over the years I've put a lot of my time into dishwashing by hand.) Hallmark makes some lovely easy-listening CDs.

Spring is definitely in the air here today!

May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Wishing you a joy-filled week ahead,
PS: The extremely simple pattern for the knitted dishcloths above: Cast on 22 stitches; knit for first 5 rows; then - knit 5 stitches, purl 4, knit 4, purl 4, knit 5 - across each row until cloth is close to desired length; knit 5 rows; bind off loosely. I use size US 5 (3 3/4 mm) needles and inexpensive cotton yarn.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Songs to Sing

A big thanks for the above to Megan Berry
at Lilac & Lavender.

You know how some days a song will be stuck in your head? Every time you turn around, you start singing that same song to yourself. So as I said here, it is so very easy for a song to get into us, if we but try to get into the song.

For me, I'd just as soon have godly, wholesome songs running through my mind. To that end I'm always adding to my repertoire. Sometimes I sing to myself the same few songs for several days, then "out of the blue" (which is really from the Spirit), I'll be thinking of different songs with which to praise the Lord and displace negative thoughts.

I thought from time to time I'd give you just a small sample of the songs I enjoy singing. If I can find a song on YouTube, I'll give a link, and I'll try to give you the title and a line or two, and then if you aren't familiar with them, perhaps you'll be able to find them with your search engine, e.g., lyrics: Have Thine Own Way, Lord.

Many of my favorites come from the Maranatha! Music Praise Chorus Book, Expanded 3rd Edition, 1993. Here are three "slow," soothing, and restful songs (although I probably sing them a little faster):

"There's Something About That Name" by William & Gloria Gather (probably the song I sing to myself and the Lord the most often): "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there's just something about that name! Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain ..." Listen to it here.

"All Hail King Jesus" by Dave Moody: "All hail, King Jesus! All hail Emmanuel. King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Bright Morning Star ..." Listen to it here.

"I Love You, Lord" by Laurie Klein:  "I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You, O my soul rejoice ..."  Listen to it here. (If you only have time to click on one, these young people are delightful!)

I often sing to myself off and on throughout the day. Of course I also ponder things, do my work, converse, and so on. (However, like the robin in the song "A Spoonful of Sugar": "He knows a song will move the job along.") And if I'm trapped in a negative thought(s) process/cycle, as soon as I realize I am I begin to sing my songs in my head to help me escape those dreadful, totally unproductive negative thoughts. Singing just makes life more pleasant.

I did realize there is one instance where singing songs to myself at night won't help me fall asleep, and that's when I've had too much sleep over the weekend. But even then, singing helps pass the time, or I can sit up in bed and read or whatever.

Finally posting this from my drafts! Thanks to Megan's beautiful work (such as the bookmark above), I can skip my own photography every now and then. The more I explore her blog, the more I'm totally entranced! Hope you'll visit her, along with the other blogs she credits!

Sing a song and carry on! Oh! And Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Fun Find

Hello Everyone! Sorry to only have posted once this past week. I just ran out of steam, so I didn't get on my computer at night.

I do want to welcome my new followers to my blog, along with any new visitors and my faithful readers. I appreciate each and every one of you! Thank you so very much for your kind comments. Please forgive me if I don't always respond either on my blog or yours. I want to, but it will just depend on available time and my energy! 

Gotta keep my recliner covered
because the kitties think it's theirs!

Yesterday I was in the mood to hit up one of our local thrift shops. I tried on a few things (bought a blouse and a sweater half-price for a total of $4.50!), and as I left the dressing room, I spotted these framed prints. Their backs are stamped Marsel Mirror Brooklyn NY and written in ink pen is the year 1978. No artist signature or name. Don't you think they look like and maybe are Audrey Hepburn? 

They were only $5 each and the right coloring for my bedroom, so I splurged. Plus they reminded me of Downton Abbey as well ... and the book I'm reading entitled The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin, which is very Downton Abbeyish, and the writing is well done, I think. The main character is even named Cora! So far there have only been a couple paragraphs I've skipped over because I'm just not interested. But really, it's 99.99% good story.  (I'm about 2/3 through.)

Anyway, I had wanted something for over my recliner, but my grandfather's paintings were either too large or not right. I had looked through my old calendars and didn't find anything that grabbed me either. In time I'll rearrange the Audrey prints and add something else because of there being a little too much space. 

Seek the Lord and His strength;
seek His face continually.
1 Chronicles 16:11  NASB

Hope you have power wherever you are and can keep cozy, read, and sip tea today!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

When We Need a Break from Life

I was looking through a couple of my journals (commonplace books) last night to see if there were any quotes I'd jotted down that I hadn't already used and/or moved me. Isn't it amazing how everything has its time? A book to read, a quote to ponder, a letter to write, and so on.

Anyway, I thought the following quote from the book Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes by Joyce Meyer was helpful when going through tough times. Speaking of Elijah and the angel (and cake and rest), Joyce then writes: 

"... the answer to some of the most difficult times in life is to get some rest, eat something we enjoy, do something we enjoy, take a nap, and keep repeating the process until we feel we can go again."

Which is really taking care of first things first by pampering ourselves a bit when we're worn out. Sometimes we only need to do the above for a day, a weekend or a week, and other times we need to do it for a year or two, although the latter usually requires taking care of other responsibilities besides our responsibility to ourselves. 

Joyce Meyer (looking at my journal) has also said: "Our daily life and what we do each day is our pulpit-- our ministry." (I don't indicate a book, so she probably said that on her TV show.) So it seems to me it is important that we recover from our trials, or lighten our burdens, by taking care of ourselves so that we can be good representatives for our precious Lord.

Just pulled some placemats and doilies out of my old cabinet earlier this morning for a simple photo op. Some posts I just want to "slap up a photo," but you lovely ladies are so talented with your vignettes and photography! I have learned so much by visiting your blogs.

Then as he [Elijah] lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat." Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, "Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you." So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
1 Kings 19:5-8  NKJV

Whether we need rejuvenation or strength for the journey, taking care of our basic needs is vitally important. But let's also remember to depend on this:

The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms.
Deuteronomy 33:27  NKJV

And whether you'll be watching Downton or the Super Bowl,
I hope you enjoy a fun day today!