Saturday, April 30, 2011

Grace Moments

The snow is finally gone from our yard.
Mud season has officially begun.

Seasons are shifting here in northern Maine.

Last evening my husband called from his shop across the road.
" There is a beautiful rainbow out here. The first of the season."

I grabbed my camera and headed out the back door. How can an electronic device ever capture the fullness of God's creation? But I try.

I close this month of April with hope of spring.

Seasons shift
Life stirs
Seeds lying dormant
Break open
Green presses upward
toward the Son.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Simple Life

A few years ago, several Amish families moved into our community. They are friendly, hard-working people and I enjoy having them here. Often I hear the clip-clop of the horse's hooves on the road outside my home as they pass by. It's a comforting sound.

Yesterday was a grueling day in the office in my home. I was behind on everything, plus I had to set up a new account for a month's worth of work. The computer wouldn't cooperate and I couldn't figure out how to set up a certain part of the invoice in Excel. By 3:30 I was exhausted and ready to call it quits. My neck hurt and my eyes were weary. At that moment I heard the familiar rhythm of an Amish buggy coming down the road.

"Life would be so much simpler," I thought.
Back to basics. Do the work, get paid for it. No computers, invoices, or excel. I could be sewing right now instead of giving myself a headache over not taking that class on Excel when I had the chance.

It's tempting. No fuel prices to worry about....
But then again, no electricity, no hot shower to soothe my aching muscles, no indoor plumbing (Brrrr), and no blog sisters to read each day.

There are pros and cons to everything.
I turned on my electric teapot, made myself a cup of hot tea and relaxed.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Did anyone notice that Lauren sang the Gilmore Girls theme song on American Idol last night?

I had to vote for her after that.

  a die-hard GG fan :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Amazing Grace

I had to share this. Watch the whole thing. I guarantee goosebumps at the end, if not tears.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Measuring Sticks


"Don't you get it? No one is using the same yardstick. Their idea of a full measure is rarely yours - or anyone elses."
          The Season of Second Chances

I was in a favorite shop of mine over the weekend, where I purchased an old measuring stick.

"Is there something special written on this that caused you to choose it over the others?" the clerk asked.

"No, I need a yardstick and I wanted it to look old."

The one I chose was well-worn with use. As I type, I wonder about the woman who used it before me.
 What was she like? Did she make all her children's clothes? Was she a mother at all? Was she a perfectionist?

The yardstick by which I measure life is well worn with use.
How do I measure up as a mother, a wife, a woman, a writer, a seamstress, ......?

Then I read the quote at the end of my novel last night.

Who am I trying to measure up to?

My own ideas of what a full measure is?

I love the thought that no one is using the same yardstick. So who's to say mine is right.
Better to lay it down and be who I am, to the full.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Little Off Track

It has been one of those days.

I had to make an exchange at Walmart. After 3 trips to the back of the store for the item needed, I finally got it right. On to Lowes to purchase one item and pick up paint chips. The clerk led me way to the back of the store only to discover that item was out of stock.

By the time I arrived home and put groceries away it was  time for lunch. Checking the caller ID, I noticed a call from our local television station, but I was too busy to check it into it.

Hubby came in discouraged by a truck breakdown at work.

I made a quick salad and was finishing up lunch when a friend dropped by.

 The phone rang and a long conversation ensued.

It was 6:30 pm by the time I even got a chance to turn my laptop on. I had an email  asking if it would  be okay to use my pictures of a local train upset for the news. The news was already over by that time and I had missed by photo debut.

Never got to my office work, my sanding job in the bathroom, my book ...

Yep, it's been one of those days.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

 Happy Easter

Friday, April 22, 2011

Women of Strength - Day Five

My granddaughter and I had a great time shopping yesterday.

I struck up a conversation with the clerk at Payless as we were checking out. She was sharing about her son being home from Texas and I inquired as to where he lived in Texas. That's when she shared that he is stationed there and only home before he deploys.
I  asked for his name and then offered to pray for Joe. As we departed the store, I added that I would be praying for her as well.

Today's post is dedicated to all the women serving our country, active duty as well as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers and every woman loving and supporting our soldiers.

They are truly women of strength.

If you think of it, say a prayer for Joe today and don't forget his mom.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Women of Strength - Day Four

It was a battle from the beginning.

I was sick the entire 9 months.

At one point I surrendered her to God before she was even born.

That would be the first of many surrenders over the years.

I surrendered her to school too soon. I was too young to know.

I surrendered her to friends when I wanted her home.

I surrendered her to college, to work, to motherhood, too soon.

I surrendered her to her husband, praying he would care for her.

I surrendered her to moving away.

I surrendered her to the military.

I surrendered her to walk through hard times year after year.

I surrender her to love and joy, tears and beauty.

Surrender breeds strength, both in myself and the one I surrender.

I surrendered her to Promises.
I surrender to the One who keeps them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Women of Strength - Day Three

My journal is nearly full, which I began in January. I try to write daily, recording the weather, the day's events, my feelings, letters to God and His responses, scripture etc. Often the answers I am searching for come through this discipline.
 I didn't feel like writing this morning, but sensed a gentle prompting. My words seemed stilted, disorganized, pointless, but after I had them on the page a picture formed in my mind.



Tiny stitches holding together heavy quilts.

I'd heard that word before. To mend with stitches.

Picking up my Bible, I flipped through the pages until I found the passage I was looking for. In Hebrews 13, we are told that our Shepherd equips us. Isn't that a strange combination? You would think equipping would be paired with a teacher, a commander, a leader.
I had noted Beth Moore's teaching on the word "equip." In the original Greek it means to prepare or repair. The root word means to mend by stitching i.e. as the disciples mended their nets.

Sewing can be a tedious job, leaving our hands sore with pinpricks and our eyes tired after many hours of working with tiny stitches.

Becoming a woman of strength can be the same - day in and day out, performing the menial tasks necessary for our families' lives to hold together. The work is ordinary, seemingly insignificant, mundane in itself. Women can be worn out, overwhelmed, sore from all the constant pinpricks of life.

It is in these very places we turn to our Shepherd who cares about the slightest detail of your lives and we see the needle in His hand. He is all the time repairing emotions, mending hearts, using various colors, no two the same.

Remember the illustration of the cross stitch. If you look at the bottom side, you see a tangled mass of threads and knots. Only when it is turned over does the gorgeous pattern make sense of it all.

God sees the pattern, even when we don't. He knows which stitches to tear out and how to mend the broken places.
His handiwork holds.
And we become women of strength.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Women of Strength - Day Two

"Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss..." 

In recent months, heaviness of heart has accompanied my thoughts of  several women I've been friends with for decades. They have changed. Life has chewed them up and spit them out. The optimism and faith that once caused them to rebound has morphed into survival mode. What happened to joy, to hope?

Loss wears many faces. In November of 2010, I began to pray over this year,"No more loss, total restoration." It became my mantra. In the midst of winter, it became my battle. Slowly, it became forgotten.

In the Bible, Naomi experienced loss after loss, until grief caused her to change her name because it had changed who she was. Ruth came alongside of her, shoring her up and ushering her into restoration.

Are we the Naomi generation, desperately needing our Ruths to come alongside? 

I know these Naomi women and the strength that lies buried beneath the ashes of sorrow, disillusionment, disappointment, and hopelessness. 
Breathe on us, oh, breath of God and blow away the ashes.Let our beauty arise once again.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Women of Strength - Day One

I believe women are amazing creations, who rarely realize our potential, our value, our influence.

I am in a prayer group with  five of these incredible ladies. 

For a season we were able to meet on a weekly basis. Now, however, we can barely manage to get all of us together once every three months. God prepared us for this time by dropping the idea in my heart for an online group where we can post to each other, sharing our ups and downs, along with an occasional SOS prayer request.
Just this week one of our ladies shared a serious request for her husband who is battling depression. The response was beautiful. Written prayers, encouragement, and a simple "I am praying..."

Not a one of us would call ourselves strong women, but women of strength - maybe. There is a scripture that talks about a three-fold cord that is not easily broken.  We need each other more than we know.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Brag Alert

This is where I was this weekend, why I wasn't posting - with my beautiful grandchildren :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Inspiration

April is half over and I am just getting around to making my Journal Box Tag for the month.

Ann Voskamp's little booklet was the perfect inspiration and a good reminder to watch and be grateful for everyday gifts. I've been slipping a bit in this lately.

 Completed Journal Card for April is #172.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Time to Rest 
-the blog that appeared behind this image. I'm not sure why it came with this image, but I like the blog :)
It actually says "Time to Rest" but you can't see it on my black background.

I have been struggling the last couple of days with more allergy symptoms, which I haven't had before. As I pray for wisdom, the word "rest" pops up everywhere.

I am tired of this word and it's challenges to me.
I'm tired of my body fighting me.

I remember eucharisteo.

Thank you, Lord, for the word rest. Open my the eyes of my understanding today.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Girls

Three reasons why I didn't post this weekend.

Daughter in the middle, two granddaughters.

Aren't they wonderful?

Friday, April 8, 2011

In the Nick of Time

My first ever full-size quilt!

My 15 year-old granddaughter picked out all the material. It is crazy beautiful :) Makes me smile.

Got it finished just in time. She arrives tonight for the weekend.

I haven't been this excited in a long time :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


My friend, Vicki, shared with me yesterday that she has been praying this prayer every day recently.

"Delight me, Lord."

"And He has."

When I awoke this morning that prayer was on my mind so I prayed it.

Then I thought, Okay, a quick post before I head out on this busy day. I'll post about delight. I googled delight images. What a bizarre variety of images! I went to a few other places, but nothing. I think I went back to google and found this one.

Why? I'm not sure, except that it comes back to this premise -  it can be the simplest things which delight me.

I love light. I'd love to visit Italy. Somehow this image conjures up the two.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ordinary Days

There is something special about old-fashioned ordinary days.

So far, today is one of those days.

I got up and made my bed. (Okay, it's a habit now :) I fold the quilt and put it in the closet because it is the extra one we use when it is cold. I place the purple throw on the bed. It doesn't really match anything but I don't care because I love it. It's a Nate Berkus, by the way.

I did a little of my puzzle while I ate breakfast, spent time with my Bible and journal, and got dressed in an old pair of jeans and turtleneck. This is a stay-at-home day, so simply ran a brush through my hair and put a little makeup on.

A friend stopped by to drop off a quilting needle.
Another friend came over and I highlighted her hair.

After lunch, I cleaned the upstairs bedroom in readiness for my girls arrival this weekend.

Went in the office and paid a few bills.
Now I'm blogging.

You know what I don't like about ordinary days?
They go too fast!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Movement in the Mountains

There is movement in the mountains.

Isaiah 40
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
   every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
   the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed

Much time spent listening to the words of my Lord today.

"I know the way has been rough, daughter.
Remember your drive last week- the rough road, mere glimpses of the mountain and then
you broke through into this place where you saw its majesty?
But it was worth it."

Yesterday I saw glimpses.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mountains Needing Grace

I lay in bed early this morning with two things heavy on my mind, so heavy that they seemed like mountains.

I think I have been having a crisis of faith this winter or maybe it's that my faith is going through some sort of metamorphosis/transition.

I didn't know how to pray this morning or even how to think.

Two thoughts drifted from my spirit.

1. Eucharisteo (giving of thanks) always precedes the miracle. I began to give thanks.

Thank you, Lord for my husband's strength to go to work every day and for the work to go to.
Thank you for my home. Thank you for the sunshine this morning...

2. The verse from Zechariah that says to speak, "Grace , Grace to the mountain"
I spoke Grace over my mountains this morning.

Lord, thank you for speaking Grace over my life today, over my family...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Marathon for the Heart

On Friday I was deleting a few things on my Itunes, trying to clean it up a bit.  Oops. I deleted all of Joel Osteen's podcasts by mistake, but I still had them on my ipod. That's when the thought came to me.

  Why not have a Joel Osteen marathon before they were wiped off ?
So while I worked around the house and in the office I listened to Joel, one podcast after another

.By suppertime I realized how boxed in my thinking had become of late.

Saturday afternoon I worked on tacking a quilt, popped my ipod in the little stereo, and continued my marathon.
Joel told story after story encouraging faithfulness, breakthroughs on the horizon, uncommon faith and hope, the timing of God and His goodness toward his people.
Simple devotion to Christ and He to us.

When I was looking for an image of a marathon to go with this post, I found a lot of grandiose pictures. The shadows stood out to me.

When I clicked on it, the title was none other than:
 "Are marathons good for your heart?"

Sometimes life can seem like a marathon. We train over and over, day after day, waiting for the BIG Race, the huge accomplishment , the applause, the recognition that it was all worth it. As we focus all our energy on the future, we miss the "holy moments" as one blogger put it recently.

As I was slowly tacking my quilt yesterday, needle in, needle out...pricking my fingers on the occasional stray pin...I prayed for my granddaughter who would be covered by these stitches and material when completed. Simple prayers for faithfulness, hope, knowledge of God's love for her, breakthroughs and timing, protection, His drawing, His plans.
Holy Moments.

Are marathons good for your heart?
This one was.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek of the quilt I've been working on. If all goes according to plan, I will tack it today :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools, I Wish

 This is the scene outside today- a Northeaster and that's no April Fools!