Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Where Never is Heard... a Discouraging Word...

Good Morning! It is a grey, almost rainy morning here at Meadow Lane, and I am thinking of 2022 a little, of course. I hope everyone had a good Christmas, and I know it went by as fast as ours! We did have a nice day, and many good laughs and delicious chili... Some understand and some don't, but I really love having chili for Christmas. My parents liked to make two kinds of soup, and one of them was always Oyster Stew, which is a personal no for my son and me...  so we just go with the one kind. I enjoy a day with just nothing to do in the kitchen whatsoever now and then. If we had lots of people, I would probably add in the Little Smokies and chips and dip and sliders...  but we were set.

So, with a little tidge of that after-Christmas Blues, I am thinking about Friday and Saturday and the dawn of another new year. All I know is that, Lord Willing, it will be another quiet weekend in our family. Year two of  "you-know-what" and really is there ever going to be an end?  I don't know, but my prayers are that we will see a healing and a return to better days.

And so I come to the time of year when I choose a Word of the Year. Those of you who have read my blog a while know I always choose one, and sometimes I don't even remember it by the close of the trip around the sun. 2021 saw me choose Whimsy....  and that was just exactly what I experienced. Hmmmm....  prophecy or just coincidence? I had some wonderful experiences and some sobering and scary ones. We experienced better health... and worse health..  Old Dickens got it right when it was the best of times and the worst of times (although I can't really say we had any worst of times.  Others did, though, and my empathy really was taxed.) 

So, without further ado, I will just tell you all my new philosophy for 2022. My Zoom Bible Study group also chose a verse of the year, and this is the fist time I've done that. My verse of the year is Matthew 9:22. 

        "Jesus turned and saw her. 'Take heart, daughter,' he said. 'Your faith has healed you.' And the woman was healed at that moment."

I just absolutely love that verse. I think it speaks directly to my heart because I so loved being a daughter. I miss that role, that relationship so much.  I love being a mother so much, and I had fun being a teacher, a granddaughter, so many things.  (I can't say my role as a wife brings much satisfaction because I really flubbed that up... twice) But DAUGHTER? I really thrived as a daughter to two fine parents who have never really left me...  Of course, I charge forward every day in a cheerful (usually) manner, and I don't try to be melancholy because they were not like that, and they wouldn't appreciate it in me. But to hear those words from scripture and realize that I am STILL a daughter? It makes me happy.
And so that leads to my WOTY, Word of the Year for 2022: 

Encourage. It just fits there so well, don't you think?  I need encouragement myself, and Heaven knows most of my friends and family need it, too.  If I can't be encouraged, how will I ever be able to be an encourager?  And that is a role I have been nominated to do time and time again. I think I have run on empty a few years and lived off the reserves of courage and a spirit that seemed to bubble, then gurgle, then kinda trickle with encouragement. I love helping others feel better if I can.  All those years as a teacher seemed one huge chain of encouragement after another...  and I don't want to hang up a sign that says, "Closed for repairs."  or worse yet "Gone out of Business. Supply unattainable." lol...  

Think one of my first tasks is spiritual replenishment and a good self-study of the things in my life that naturally encourage and discourage me. I already started that last week, and I'm a little surprised at some of my findings. Likely I will be sharing them (aren't you all the lucky ones?). Some will seem shallow, and some may seem a bit more grounded in God and holy endeavors. I hope so anyway.

I have plenty to do to keep me busy today. I hope to see my kitchen table surface again. It has been temporarily hijacked to hold mountains of just about everything from the one batch of homemade cookies I allowed us (Hello, Dollies!) to Christmas cards to bills to snippets and junk from drawers I've started to clear out to make way for the coming onslaught of  Organization that needs to accompany the kind of encouragement I seek.

Right now, I come full circle to the fact that I am discouraged when I see clutter and actual grime all around the perimeters and even in the center of my home. Oh, daughter...  I was born into the center of a home of collectors, and I will probably never aspire to become anything like a minimalist.  I just need some clean, and I need some order. I loved a book in the 70's or 80's by Anne Ortlund called Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman.  I even bought her tapes. She talked about how to focus (which is a word chosen by one of my Zoom Sisters. Others chose Shalom, Joy, and two are still deciding.)  Anne said we need to  Eliminate and Concentrate in our lives. I can really see that for myself. 

So...  do you choose a word of the year?  A scripture? If you feel inclined to share here, please do!  I will be checking out your blogs in a few minutes. I so appreciate your words here and your beautiful posts. May you have a truly blessed New Year. "Take Heart, Daughters!"

Whimsy and Hugs!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Busy moments!

I really hope you're having a kind December. I have been finishing a few projects and decorating a few places. 

I just have to share this priceless picture of my dear friend's granddaughters with Santa this week. How adorable! One is so happy, but one is totally terrified! I called it The 2 Faces of Christmas!

I finished this at midnight for a gift exchange today! 

I purchased a few rag rugs hand loomed in Mulkeytown, Illinois. I love to decorate with these. Etsy, you are too ready! Lol

And these are precut  kits to applique.  So fun and pretty fast. I made this for a dear friend and also some other designs for others. 
Bless the Small Towns and the country and the cities! This is the town where I taught so many years... 

 My heart goes out to anyone who was in or who had loved ones who were in the path of that unbelievably destructive tornado! 200 miles on the ground! So awful! Bless you all. 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Merry Christmas!

I realized it had been a few minutes since I posted, and I had not shared the 
Christmas joy that has slipped into place almost effortlessly this year. I did open my 
Christmas Closet, took one look at the 13!!!!! totes in there, and shut the door.  The only thing I miss desperately is a quilt and the Nativity Scene. However, I will just have to suffer this year and hope for another year to do it differently. Unbelievably, all this finery was tucked in cabinets and storage actually in our living areas.  Mom had a Christmas Closet/Santa Closet, and it provided most of the decor except for little touches I robbed from the china cupboards and, of course, the Snow Babies, who were waiting in a hutch nearby.  My Son didn't have to do very much (which is just the way he likes it), and we were done.

Santa is right here with his reindeer!

She loves to tuck herself in every little nook on every little couch...

My son bought me some cool color-changing lights. They are hooked up to Alexa!  I think some white bottle brush trees would be amazing in the back of the village.

My dear little Christmas stocking made for me by my mom...  I was glad I never put it away too far because I would have had to dig out those totes if I hadn't found it!

My son starts a new job on Monday, working from home. Actually he will be doing the same job as he has been, but will work directly for the company!  He is a computer developer for Little Caesar's. It will be a better salary, and he feels much more appreciated.  So important for our little spirits in the workplace. 

Whimsy and Hugs!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Christmas Memories

Merry Christmas! Hope you are all okay and getting ready to enjoy the season. Our plans are to stay in and take all preparations slowly and gently... (good to plan to be slow, huh?) These photos are from a Facebook Country Christmas Site.

Outside of some projects, we're finished with our shopping. My paper is not here from Current. I AM GUESSING IT MAY NOT EVEN COME SO I MAY BE WRAPPING GIFTS IN LOVE! 

I decided to try a new plan for 2021. My parents had an extreme amount of Christmas decorations. We have been trying to store efficiently and put things close to our needs. We'd noticed closets, cabinets, and drawers in prime locations full of Christmas extras and collections. So instead of pulling out all the totes, I emptied these places and placed those collections here and there. After New Year I will store these somewhere else and have... wait for it... empty space for storage!

Stay tuned for a peek at this year's decorations! 

Chicken Italian in oven, and it's smelling good. We will have it over a salad. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Thankful, Grateful, Blessed

It's almost time to say a lovely goodbye to November. I really hate to join the Cliche Club, but wow! time sure does fly by when you're having fun! We had such a warm and happy Thanksgiving (inside, though it was quite chilly outdoors!)

My son slept in while I did the usual things --- making the turkey and fixing up the tables, cooking the sides... having cups of Cranberry Harvest tea.  It's from Bigelow, and while I'm usually a Harney girl, I have to say this is wonderful. So pretty and red and clear. 
I made a Fall journal for a dear friend's birthday. She was sixteen years old the day President Kennedy was shot.  She said her grandfather died that very same day. I know she waited until her 70th birthday to have the huge party she had planned for the sweet sixteen since, of course, it was cancelled. It was one of the last things I was able to attend, and it was wonderful! She is a Fall Lover, as well....  and I put little family photos tucked in everywhere.

My Millennium Honeycomb turkey made his annual appearance. I ordered him from China on Amazon for Mom in 2000, and he has been perched in first one place and then another every year. Pretty smug faced for an old gobbler in November, don't you think? He must feel pretty secure.

A very dear friend stopped by in the windy cold on Wednesday to drop off this gorgeous centerpiece.  It is filled to the brim with real flowers, and it really set off our table to a t.  I am so grateful for dear, dear friends.

Confession. With the cozying in  of our home during the Pandemic, we have all but abandoned eating at the table.  It is so fun and comfy to grab a plate and go to our little nest chairs in front of the telly and watch something fun.  Right now we are trying to start Seinfeld (spelling?) and watching Hart of Dixie. It is a little too girly for my son, but he's such a good sport.  I heard there is a new season dropping today of The Witcher, which we both liked. We watched Clarkson Farm for the second time and finished the fourth time (for me and second for him) of watching Everybody Loves Raymond.

My gramma's turkeys (or my Mom's. I have seen them on both tables, and I always thought I had two pair...  Lost in the shuffle I guess and probably you know where!) I love these old guys who were evidently for sugar and sugar...  Both lids come off, so ????  Cranberry Sauce and jelly?  Lol... They, too are safe every November unless I drop them...  knock on wood that I don't. 

Still not framed, this piece made just a small showing on Thanksgiving to remind me that I could finish something huge and cross stitched.  I really am slow at it, and it seems like a process others can do while they think or watch TV...  If I do that, the silly thing just goes to pieces and I am lost! I am quite dyslexic like my father...  especially when I'm tired, and cross stitching makes me tired so fast.

We are living in the tomorrow for which they wrought!  That is the phrase that caught my eye and captured my heart.  For that I decided to stitch this monster! We set sail on the project in a Facebook group the day the pilgrims set said, September 6 or 7.  And we landed on the day they landed.  I was two days early, for goodness sake! Lol...  I'm not usually early on much.

Most evenings I can be found reading a little of one of Mom's diaries. I love to think back and listen to her talk about the times we spent, the places we went, and the good things we always enjoyed. She didn't write much each day, but I am blessed to have about a dozen or more of these pretty books by Mary Emmerling. I gave them to her each Christmas, and she filled them up most days...  She really never let me read them during the years, but I see such a positive attitude in them. Mom was a positive pessimist, really.  She dreaded the bad so much, but she tried like a warrior she was to promote the positive. She often said she didn't want to get her hopes up... She was always prepared in case she had to face disappointment...  as if that really fools anyone, least of all, ourselves. Daddy was a positive optimist.  If anything bad happened, he was immediately all about trying to remedy it as soon as possible.  

Mom embroidered the old way, with little stamped guides and perfect stitches. I love these samplers and I am so glad she framed them under glass. They do glare, but I can safely say they wouldn't be fit to hang on the wall if she hadn't after 50 years in my house.

I made (and ate more than my share) of this pecan pie. Well, yum! Today I have dyed my hair ...  it was really needing it! and of course, laundry.  I hope to start decorating a little more for Christmas and work on some gifts and cards. Have a lovely end of November and a beautiful December!

Whimsy and Hugs!