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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ode to the Unwritten Pages – A Poem


Ode To The Unwritten Pages

Midnight strikes and the old year's gone,
We close the tablets we've written on.

Pages soiled with blunder and regret,
Stories written with eyelids wet.

But within our reach, before us now laid,
Are twelve new volumes which the Lord has made.

With unmarred pages, pure and white,
For us our daily lives to write.

A new year dawns, with new hopes and goals
New lessons to learn and victories untold.

Please help us Lord to cherish each hour
And fashion our lives by your mighty power.

So with hope and doubt, with joy and fear,
We write the story of another year!

by Paul Taylor

Psalms 86:11  Teach me thy way,
O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite
my heart to fear thy name.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Others May, You Cannot


Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

My Gramma Hoover kept this little piece in her Bible.  It is a good reminder.

Others May, You Cannot

By G. D. Watson

If God has called you to be really like Christ in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility and put on you such demands of obedience, that He will not allow you to follow other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Others can brag on themselves, and their work, on their success, on their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

The Lord will let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hid away in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice fragrant fruit for His glory, which can be produced only in the shade.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making money, but it is likely God will keep you poor because he wants you to have something far better than gold and that is a helpless dependence on Him; that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day - out of an unseen treasury.

God will let others be great, but He will keep you small. He will let others do a great work for Him and get credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when He comes.

The Holy Spirit will put strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.

So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do what He pleases with His own, and He will not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealing with you. He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and let other people say and do many things that you cannot do or say.

Settle it forever, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that others are not dealt with.

Now, when you are so possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this particular personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.

Exodus 34:14  For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

Psalms 91:1  He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Evening Song – All the Way My Savior Leads Me


John 10:2-4  But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Sew Happy Friday – No. 6 Table Runner


Here is a tutorial for a beautiful table runner that is pretty easy to make.  I really like the blue snowflake version, but this could be made for other seasons and events with other fabrics “fussy cut” for the feature squares. 

One thought that occurred to me is that this pattern could be used to showcase some vintage embroidery.  You could fussy cut embroidery pieces, fabrics or handkerchiefs for the 6 1/2” feature squares and then use complementing fabrics to set them off.  This would be a neat way to repurpose some vintage items and get some enjoyment out of them.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Disappointed with Your Christmas?


There are so many ways that Christmas can be a disappointing holiday.  I have friends who had a horrible stomach bug one year on Christmas Day.  They tried to celebrate anyway, but it was pretty pathetic. 

Then there are the annoyances of family contention that sometimes mar the day.  Let’s face it, not everyone always gets along and “plays well together” at family gatherings.  If someone who has a strong personality happens to be in a bad mood they can ruin the day for everyone else.

There are also the disappointments when plans go awry for one reason or another.  Maybe someone can’t make it.  Maybe the weather was too bad for travel.  Maybe you ruined the dinner.  Maybe the family you were counting on to come be with you decided to go somewhere else or are sick.

Then, if we’re going to be honest, some years your gifts just stink.  You don’t get a thing you wanted or the budget is so tight that you have to forego your own wishes in sacrifice for others.  Sacrificing for others is a good thing to do, but there was quite likely a small part of your own heart that was just a little disappointed.

Of course, a lot of people are disappointed in the holiday because they don’t have other people to be with who really care about them.  Maybe you are alone.  Maybe no one invited you to join them because you don’t have any family near by or just because they were thoughtless and selfish.  Maybe you are depressed or suffering from SAD and can’t enjoy the day.

Whatever the case may be, if you are child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, I’d just like to encourage you to remember that the Lord loves and cares for you and that He is touched by your feelings in this disappointment.  Hebrews 4:15-16  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

If you are not a child of God yet, you can start having a better day now by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and putting your faith in Him for the eternal salvation of your soulRomans 10:9-13  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The scripture says this of Jesus Christ:

Isaiah 53:3-6  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Here are more words of comfort:

No Greater Love

Our Sanctuary

Jesus Knows Thy Sorrow

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Random List of December Things


Lately I’ve been:

Making: progress on my sewing room
Cooking: extra food to get ahead on meal preparation
Reading: the book of Ezekiel, which has some fascinating things in it
Marveling: at some of the things God showed and told Ezekiel
Wanting: to carve out some time for sewing and crafting
Looking: at fabric sales
Playing: Snap Attack
Deciding: how to better organize my sewing room
Wishing: I’d done more grocery shopping over a week ago when I was out.  Now I may have to shop in a holiday week. :-P
Enjoying: Pumpernickel bread, family time and having an occasional fire in the woodstove (but not in that order)

Waiting: on the Lord to answer some pretty complicated prayer requests
Liking: that I finished my challenge to get rid of 365 things this year!!  And, I went a little over and even finished ahead of time! :-)
Wondering: how bad “cedar season” will be this year
Loving: being able to be a little more busy and involved with other people without serious negative health effects
Pondering: the image that the Duggar family is giving the world and why it seems false or unbiblical to me
Considering: which projects to work on next
Watching: thought-provoking videos on relationships
Hoping: to get some sewing done!
Needing: to get the house ready for company and catch up on email
Smelling: the winter woods and freshly shredded cedar
Wearing: leggings and leg warmers to keep my legs warm
Noticing: how things could possibly be painted in watercolor
Knowing: that I need to reorganize and/or rethink some of my interests/hobbies
Thinking: about various writing projects
Admiring: the beautiful, rich greens and blues on the peacocks
Buying: a couple new bath towels in lovely colors
Getting: older
Opening: some new thoughts and ideas of things I’d like to do in the near future
Giggling: at my own and my husband’s silly jokes
Feeling: the need to take full advantage of sunny days!

Our cat loves the extra “blankets” she sometimes finds on the couch this time of year. :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Evening Song – Heavenly Sunlight


Malachi 4:2  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Berry Fun Friday – Strawberry Barrettes


Here’s a tutorial at “Pink Tea” blog for some cute little barrettes that feature strawberries made from ribbon.  They would be fun for a little girl and also for a “bigger” girl’s craft project.  The last step doesn’t quite make sense to me as it wasn’t clear how far the wrapping was to be done on the inside.  However, just keep in mind that you want the ends tucked in and the barrette still able to be closed and hold the hair.

Photo property of “Pink Tea”

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What Do We Tell Them? – Answering Questions About Christmas when You Don’t Celebrate


For those of us who do not observe the Christmas holiday or who don’t do so in all the traditional manner, the questions from others regarding why can sometimes be difficult to deal with, especially for children.  In this article I attempt to give some positive ways that this can be addressed, and with your children in particular.  This was prompted by a reader’s question/comment that I received earlier this year.

Proverbs 22:20-21 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

A reader whose family had quit celebrating Christmas asked me what we say when someone wishes us "Merry Christmas" or asks about Christmas.  She wondered how to help her children specifically to deal with such questions and comments.  Kids have a tendency sometimes to state the facts in a less than gracious manner, or they can be confused about what to say or to whom.

This has been one of the tough issues for so many Christians who have chosen to abstain from certain celebrations.  Whether it's Christmas, Halloween, cultural or tribal customs, or whatever, there can be uncertainty about how to answer questions.   An added challenge, at least to the Christmas equation, is that too often it's the other believers who are most offended when we choose not to participate.  Weirdly enough, unsaved people often "get it" because they are more focused on the carnal and lustful aspects themselves.  This complicates things considerably at times…

Continue reading here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lord, How I Long – A Poem



Lord, how I long with eager mind
Men's souls to save and bless!
But yet, alas, how oft I find
Much failure, small success!

In self-dictated haste to serve,
With prayerless zeal I run,
Then weep with weary mind and nerve
To find so little done.

Lord, clear my misted eyes to see
That nothing can avail,
Until I learn, alone with Thee
Through praying to prevail.

What means my busy work to Thee,
If done in vain self-will?
What power or guidance can there be,
Till Thou Thy servant fill?

Lord, help me learn to wait until
Thy will I clearly see;
Then fill me, guide me, and fulfill
Thy perfect will through me.

Author unknown.

2 Thessalonians 3:1  Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

Colossians 4:2-6  Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Evening Song – Heartaches


Luke 4:18-19  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sew Happy Friday – A Friend’s “First-ish” Quilt


My friend Jo at “Finding Joy In the Everyday” has completed a quilt.  She is a beginner and the project had its challenges for her, but the results are beautiful.  She did a Disappearing Nine Patch quilt for her sister-in-law who has been through an amazing health crisis this year.  I think the colors are very cheerful while still having a mature look to them.  Congratulations, Jo! :-)  Nicely done.

See her lovely photos and read about the process here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Easy Cheesy Crackers


Here’s a simple Hors d'oeuvres to make for a special meal or just for a snack.  They present very nicely on a special occasion but are easy enough to make for a family movie night or even lunch.  They would also be nice for tea.

Triscuits (or other cracker of choice)
Cheese (I think used something like Jarlsburg or Edam, but many types would work fine with this as long as they don’t melt into a goopy mess.)
Sun dried tomatoes in flavored oil
Garlic powder (optional)

Lay the Triscuits or crackers out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  (You can skip the paper if you don’t mind the clean up. In either case, I recommend you use a cookie sheet with sides to keep them from sliding off when you’re moving the trays.)

Cut cheese into slices in a size that will fit on the crackers and add.

Using kitchen scissors, snip sun dried tomatoes into small strips putting 2-3 strips on each cracker.

You may sprinkle lightly with garlic powder if you wish.

Bake at 450F just till the cheese melts to your preferred point.  Keep a close eye on it!  I think mine was a little overdone.

You can make this in any size batch.  I suppose you could heat them in the microwave, but pay close attention so that your cheese isn’t ruined.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas Challenge No. Six: Seeing with Compassion


But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Matthew 9:36

Last year I put up a blog post on December 25th entitled "Because Christmas Isn't Always Merry..."  A reader  made some comments on it in which she talked about what a painful time of year Christmas is for some people.  She pointed out that some simply can't be "merry" or keep the tradition of celebrating with family as it's presented by the world.  This can cause real distress and depression for those people.

I hadn't really expected to post a holiday challenge this year, but recently it popped into my head that one problem with the heavy celebration schedule that many people keep is that they fail to really see those who need to be seen the most - the hurting, the lonely, the ill, the downtrodden. I've written at length about remembering the poor and touched on the hurting and lonely people in that challenge as well as in the one to simplify your holidays.  Perhaps this might seem like repeating myself, but sometimes we need to hear something from more than one angle before we really see it.

Continue reading here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Evening Song – What God Hath Promised


Hebrews 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sew Happy Friday – A Poll with A Giveaway and A Tutorial for The Falling Triangles Quilt


The Poll and Giveaway

My sister-in-law is doing a poll on handmade gifts for her Etsy shop.  Please help her out by taking it.  I think you have to be a Facebook member to do so.  If you take the poll you will automatically be entered to win a free handmade gift in her drawing which she plans to do December 11 (USA time).  Here’s the link to the poll: Handmade – Your Opinion!

There is a “button” on the right hand side of my blog which will take you to their Etsy shop.  She has added a lot of new items recently – all patterns.  So take a look if you’re interested. :-)  I could put the link here, but I want you to remember that you can enter the shop any time through the main page here at my blog. ;-)


The Tutorial

After you get done with the poll, please come back and watch this tutorial for The Falling Triangles Quilt by Jenni and MSQC (Missouri Star Quilt Co.).  This is not a terribly complicated pattern, but it will make a huge quilt top fairly easily.  Winter is a good time of year to work on a bigger sewing project.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Thousand Word Project – Sun Catchers


Isaiah 1:18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Random Thoughts On the End of November


So, November is over.  Another Thanksgiving week has come and gone.  Ours was different from any we’ve had before, but I suppose one could say that about many others we’ve had as well. :-)  This one…well, I’m glad it’s past in many respects!

The last week and a half of November certainly had some big challenges for me.  Things I’d been forewarned about that I knew wouldn’t be “nice” along with some surprises that were far from pleasant.  One surprise is a new health issue that I was hoping was a fluke, but apparently it isn’t.  (What is it about being in your 40s – all of the time new things popping up and not wanting to settle back down?)  There were also some trials that I’m not free to discuss, but that were emotionally draining nonetheless.  (At least they didn’t affect our household directly!)  Also, the evening before Thanksgiving the daughter/sister of some friends had a serious health problem which added a real burden to the holiday.  (Thank God she is doing well, all things considered, and is home from the hospital now!  She could have died!)

But, as my dad says, the Lord always balances our experience.  There were some sweet blessings from my Savior just when I needed them most to help me over the hurdles or pick me up on the other side!  I had some sweet emails and messages that were an encouragement.  We enjoyed the Lord’s supper with our church family the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We had visits with family and friends that were a blessing and a help.  There were times for self-examination that, although not pleasant, were useful and hopefully productive.  We had some interesting and busy times as well.  Some things got done.  Some friends joined us for Thanksgiving dinner and we had some food adventures too.  I thought it might be fun to share some of these things with you.

First of all, all three of the working men on the property were off the whole week, which was nice for all the families.  Also, the weather was beautiful most of last week – mostly sunny and warm.  The fall colors were splendid here!  There are oak trees on our property that put on a gorgeous show some or most years.

[Colors may appear brighter than they actually were. :-) ]

One day my brother and sister-in-law loaded up the majority of the metal junk we had sitting around waiting to be sold as scrap and actually took it in.  My husband helped them load the truck and rented trailer they used.  This was a happy thing because it got rid of some real eye sores as well as giving them a little income they needed for housing expenses (unexpected repairs)!  There were 6 defunct appliances sitting behind our well house!  Yeah, you might say we’ve had some lousy experiences with appliances on this property over the last 6 years!  On average, one dud per year!  I won’t try to explain why they sat there as long as they did.  :-)  But, they’re gone!  That’s the main thing. :-)

I also had the pleasure of seeing my husband use my rotary cutter and cutting board for the first time!  (I keep trying to tell him that he would enjoy some aspects of quilting.) :-)

He was cutting little fabric loops to hang some string lights in our bed room.  These lights are not for Christmas, but for ambiance.  They’ll be used all year.  Of course, this is the time of year to buy them and he wanted LED for the lower watts, so we picked some up when we were in Costco one day.

This is how he used the tabs.  The fabric blends quite well with the trim.

For various reasons, not everyone we invited for Thanksgiving joined us, but our friends who recently moved here did as well as my parents.  We were a smallish group of seven.  (I blurred the picture for their privacy.)

They are also all three not supposed to eat gluten, so SURPRISE – we had our first gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner! :-)

Chicken baked with coconut flour, butter and spices.
(This is something I had done before.)

Potatoes baked with coconut oil and herbs.

Tabouli made with quinoa, gluten-free pasta salad and rolls, two kinds of hummus, and watermelon rind pickles (made by me).

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t take a picture of the desserts.  They were mostly store-bought.  There was one pie and cookies and an interesting dessert my mom made with brown rice flour.  (It didn’t turn out the way we expected, but it was good.)

The gluten-free foods that were styled after traditional ones varied in goodness.  I’d say the rolls, tabouli and cookies were the best.  Everything tasted good, but some things had a different texture.  The food also affected my system a little differently than the usual gluten foods do.

Thanksgiving weekend is also my husband’s annual baking holiday.  He loves to bake bread, but he doesn’t do it much because of the time commitment that it requires.  So, he sets this time aside to try to bake at least one bread of some sort.  (Some years he does two!)

This year he made cinnamon rolls!  Yes!  He made them the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day and part of our local family joined us to eat them warm from the oven.  We had more the next morning when some of us ate breakfast/brunch together.

Maybe it’s been too long since I had cinnamon rolls, but even with all respect to my mom, I think these were the best I ever ate!  They were SO good. 

If you have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, he used the recipe in the cookbook that came with it.  He made some slight changes, the most significant being that he used half white whole wheat and half all-purpose flour (plain white).  He also used a different glaze recipe since we didn’t have the ingredients the cookbook called for.  He found one online that was made with butter, powdered sugar, water and a generous amount of vanilla.  It turned out great.  (But, they were more sugary than what we usually eat!)

Even with the extra work of having company (I did start early and pace myself) and all the extra things going on last week, my husband and I were still able to make it to church Sunday night.  (We usually go for the evening service since we drive quite a distance.)  I am very thankful for that since usually I wouldn’t have expected to be up to going!  Then the Lord brought these verses to my specific attention during the preaching of the word - 2 Corinthians 7:5-6  For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us

Praise the Lord for His kindness and for the many blessings!