I have been doing a lot less blogging these days and more of these things.
I am working on a quilt. It is the first big (and it's king size) one I've ever done. The top is all pieced. My Mom helped me put the top, batting and back together, and now I am handquilting 56 squares!! I've let it sit for months - never having time to get to it. Now I'd like to get it finished so I can do some other things. I love to knit. I have several cross-stitch projects to do. I am learning to do tatting. The finished product is so beautiful.
Piano lessons are now beginning to require a lot more practice time. I'm afraid it's rather late in life for me to become the next great pianist, but I would like to learn as much as I can. I love music, and I am enjoying what seemed like such tedious work when I was a cranky teenager.
Therefore, I have been giving less time to blogging. It seems to take far too much of my time (as I am rather undisciplined once I turn the computer on). I want to continue writing as often as I can. I am keeping up reading everyone's posts. It's just the commenting I've had to cut down on. I have decided that I need to give more time to the some other things in my life. My parents are at an age where I feel I want to spend as much time with them as I can. And I have seven precious grandchildren.
I'm afraid this post has an all too familiar ring to it. I've taken myself to task over time on blogging in the past. It has take me time, but little by little I'm coming up with a plan that works. Excuse my lack of commenting please; I will try to visit with everyone at least every few days. I seem to be such a slow learner - and an undisciplined one at that. The Lord and I are working on it.
This past week our family was in “travel mode”. Our son and daughter-in-law were in San Francisco for a few days, our daughter was in Philadelphia visiting friends and my husband and I traveled to Houston to watch our five grandchildren while mommy and daddy were in San Francisco, and our other son and daughter-in-law and my Mom and Dad remained here at home.
As I prayed for safety for everyone, I pictured my family literally scattered from one end of the country to the other, separated by hundreds of miles – so far apart. Yet we were all just as close to the Father as we have always been – as close as a whisper. He is never far from us no matter where we are. Prayer brings us instantly into His presence.
This Thursday we will celebrate the National Day of Prayer. I thought I would share some thoughts on prayer that have been very meaningful to me:
The rest of my Tuesday post is here at the Laced With Grace site. Please meet me there.
"The unthankful heart...discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!"
Henry Ward Beecher
133 - time with my husband and daughter trimming her trees; then homemade chocolate mufins together
134 - teaching my granddaughter to weave on a tiny loom; making a little purse together.
135 - my granddaughter shyly walking out to the car with us as we were leaving to go home and handing me the little purse, "I want you to have this Grandma." A gift I will always treasure.
136 - time with our five grandchildren - laughter, love and drawing close.
137 - playing piano with my sixteen year old granddaughter
138 - tucking little ones into bed
139 - braiding a little granddaughter's hair
140 - "Let's get ice cream. Follow me Grandma." (four year old granddaughter)
141 - the pleasant weariness after two days with five grandchildren
142 - the bliss of my own bed
143 - the flash of lightning and gentle roll of thunder as I lay safe and warm under the covers
144 - sitting on the front porch on a beautiful spring day - listening to the birds, watching the trees bend in the breeze, drifting off to sleep....
145 - talking with Dad and hearing the joy back in his voice. His physical therapy has encouraged him, and he is feeling better.
146 - the smell of flowers in the air on our bike ride - heaven's perfume
147 - a special letter from a dear friend
148 - a little gift from my Mom; "just because".
May He fill your heart with gratitude and joy this day.
I will be "closed" for a few days. We're heading out at the crack of dawn tomorrow to watch the grandkids for a couple of days. Can't wait! With five, ranging in age from four to sixteen, there is always something going on. We always have such fun.
We would appreciate your prayers for safety, and I will hold all of you in my prayers as well. See you in a few days!
I must begin by saying I love birds - really I do. I have a bird bath on my front lawn right where I can see it from the kitchen windows. I love to watch my little feathered friends come to bathe and drink. I even keep it clean for them, which, believe me, is a selfless job on those days where I have let it go for far too long.
I have a humming bird feeder, which I diligently fill with honey water (and I even boil the water before I put it in the feeder lest there be anything in it which could harm my little friends) and clean on a regular basis. I really do love birds.
With the possible exception of Grackles. They are, to my way of thinking, just totally unlovable. First of all they aren't pretty - something I could overlook because I would hate to think I only care about the outward appearance. No, it isn't their looks. It's their irritating birdy personalities.
When I looked them up, I found them listed under pests at one website. I rest my case. They seem to travel in huge numbers and prefer to congregate wherever they think they can get a free meal. Just down the street from where my parents live there is a corner where there are several fast food restaurants. I am not exaggerating when I say that every tree, electric wire, sign and light post is absolutely filled with Grackles. It looks like something out of the movie "The Birds". I confess to just sort of shrinking into myself when we stop at the traffic light on that corner.
Our Chamber of Commerce has spent untold amounts of money trying to convince these pesky pests that they shouldn't hang out at the Riverwalk because really the tourists don't appreciate having them as dining companions. They have tried everything from crazy reflector things to loud noises. All to no avail.
Speaking of noises - they make the most annoying sounds. They sound like out of control metallic toys squeaking and shreiking. Multiply that dozens of times over and you get quite a racket.
Having said all that I am now going to issue an apology for all those unkind thoughts. We have been invaded by Grackles. They don't usually live near us (thank You Lord) but they do show up for a couple of weeks every year at this time. It isn't Fast Food Restaurants or Outdoor Dining that has lured them here. It is web worms.
The little eggs those moths (I don't know their scientific name) laid last spring are now hatching and our trees are loaded with them. They spiral down out of the branches on whispy threads like spider web threads and fan out to eat every growing thing they can get into their little wormy mouths. Then they spin huge cocoons in the trees and on every available surface, and in a few weeks hatch out as moths who then lay eggs - and on and on the cycle goes.
The Grackles are absolutely feasting on web worms. The trees and ground are full of them. You can hear them through closed windows - squeaking and "shrilling" as they fly from tree to tree feasting on those little suckers. It is a wonderful thing. They are doing a great job of keeping the web worm population under control.
So I apologize to any Grackles I may have offended and issue a heart-felt thank you for the beneficial work they are doing. I should have known, Lord, that You have created everything with a purpose. I most humbly offer my thanks for Grackles.
I sat at the little kitchen table in my Mom’s home yesterday, and we shared tea and conversation. She is one of the most precious gifts the Father has given me. When I am in her presence, I am no longer the one who carries the titles of Mom and Grandmother and all the inherent responsibilities. I am simply her child. The times of sharing my heart with her, without fear of judgement or censure, are some of the most precious in my life. She shares her heart with me as well, and I am honored by her trust and enriched by her wisdom.
It was her turn to share some thoughts with me yesterday. She spoke about a conversation she had had with my daughter-in-law. They were talking about the difficult circumstances our family is facing right now. They loom so large as do the times of suffering in any family. My daughter-in-law, in a moment of pure honesty said, “I sometimes wonder if God hears my prayers.” Mom’s reply, “I sometimes wonder that too honey.” Even after more than sixty years of walking with the Lord….”I sometimes wonder that too honey.”
We have prayed fervently over the circumstances – beseeching God over and over again to intervene; to work miracles where that is the only possible answer. They are not frivolous things. They are life changing things. Yet heaven seems so silent.
I thought of that last night as I lay in bed and watched the flashes of lightning and listened to the roll of thunder. The heavens opened and it rained. I have been praying for rain for weeks. It has been so dry here. The grass was brown, the creek beds dry and rocky, the water level in the ponds and lakes dramatically lower. Farmers were becoming desperate. I prayed and prayed and for so long heaven was silent. I began to wonder if it was some sort of judgement. Surely I am not deserving of any good thing. (As you can see, I am of a rather dramatic bent.)
The weatherman said there would be rain last night, but there was a good chance it would stay north and west of us. I resigned myself. Then the lightning flashed – and my hopes rose. It rained!! And I thought to myself, He heard. He heard the very first prayer, and He answered – in His time. Suddenly there was new hope for all those prayers we have prayed and continued to pray. Of course He hears and of course He will answer. We become discouraged because it does not happen according to our timetable and the way in which we have planned. But He hears, and He has promised to answer. There will be rain.
“I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears.”
111. a beautiful new header: Susie’s creative gift
112. new opportunity for our son
113. an unexpected gift to our younger son – amazing generosity
114. long conversations with my daughters-in-law; so blessed by their faith and love for the Lord
115. a new plant (a gift from my Mom’s friend); it is a Crown of Thorns with tiny orange flowers and huge, lethal-looking thorns. Did such thorns pierce the flesh of Jesus?
116. the pleasure of a good, wholesome movie- getting lost in the story and the magnificent scenery.
117. watching the Final Four with my husband and splurging with chips (not worrying about calories or cholesterol for one evening!)
118. all the windows open; fresh breezes blowing through the house
119. working in my flower garden
120. new shoes – two pair!
121. the tiny leaves of a new violet plant poking through the soil
122. a long nap on a quiet Sunday afternoon
123. sharing cooking duties with my husband, working together
124. Jane Austen’s exquisite writing
125. celebrating our grandson’s 13th birthday
126. seeing the faithfulness of God in the lives of those experiencing devastating tragedy
127. time with my Mom and Dad – sharing conversation and wonderful memories
128. a sweet little granddaughter playing soccer
129. listening to beautiful music
130. raspberry iced tea – with lots of ice
131. a letter from our special boy in Albania – with a picture!
132. the feel of my small, old devotional book in my hands, the uplifting words of Spurgeon.
“Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from
the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.” James 1:17
I want to start by thanking all of you for your sweet comments. You are always such an encouragement and blessing. I'm feeling much better. I'm not sure if it was allergies or cold; I don't know how to tell the difference never having had allergies before. In any event, I was a total slug all weekend (I even took an hour and a half nap yesterday) and am now pretty much back to my old self (old being the operative word here).
I am also waaay behind on everything. I will have to face my piano teacher with a red face tomorrow - because I haven't done much practicing. I just hate it when I fumble around the keyboard!! There is a layer of dust on everything in this house that you can easily write in, and the carpets are in desperate need of vacuuming. I really do think that when one is not feeling well these things should all just take care of themselves. However, it doesn't seem to work that way.
I will be at Laced With Grace on tuesday. The words of an old praise song suddenly popped into my head the other day, and I thought I would share them with you. They really touched my heart.
Thank you again. I love you guys.
In any event, I have a scratchy throat, runny nose, cough and the general all-around blahs (not to mention not being able to sleep last night)and am feeling sorry for myself. So...a cup of tea and Jane Austen - that should do the trick.
I shall now make my way to the living room. Don't feel too sorry for me though. I'm not really terribly sick (in fact I'm one of those people who rarely get sick) - just enough to have a bit of an excuse to goof off this afternoon. I'm sure I'll be feeling better tomorrow.
Our bike ride takes us past ranches and farmland. The farmers have been out plowing the fields, preparing them for the crops they hope to grow. However, we have had such a severe drought here it is hard to imagine how anything will grow. The soil looks rich and dark - ready to accept the little seeds that contain the potential for life, but the farmers say that if we don't get rain there is little point in putting those seeds into the ground. So the land waits...
There are no beneficial plants growing in those fields, but I noticed today that the weeds are flourishing. They don't seem bothered by the lack of rain. They are ready to take over the whole area.
It got me thinking about my life - my heart to be more specific. I imagined the weeds as those besetting sins, those pesky "little" sins that so easily trip me up and take up residence in my heart. Those selfish thoughts that come so quickly, the ungodly thoughts, the pride, the over-eating, the mismanagement of my time.... They seem to grow with no effort at all on my part. All they need is the right soil and up they pop.
On the other hand, if I want my heart to be filled with the things that the Lord has for me it will take some effort. They will not just automatically grow. I believe the Lord gently places the seeds in my heart and then it is my part to water them with time spent in prayer and in the word; time spent drawing close to Him so they will flourish and grow. I must allow the gentle wind of the Spirit to come and bring with it life-giving nourishment. I must also be diligent to keep after those "weeds" that want to choke the life out of the good things growing there.
When I do those things, I will find a beautiful bouquet of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22,23) flourishing in my heart.
Monday morning will find me here at Laced With Grace. Come join me and we'll talk about Heaven's Technology.
All is quiet here on our little Texas homestead. Jane is safely back in England, and we have stepped back into our normal routine. We've had such beautiful weather the past couple of days I just couldn't bear to stay indoors. So after our bike ride yesterday I worked in my flower garden for about an hour and a half. One would think I had attempted to climb Mt Everest judging from the aches and pains I woke up wiht this morning. Honestly - getting old is not for the faint of heart.
However, My little garden is looking all neat and trim - and terribly dry. I watered it right after I finished working. We are in desperate need of rain here. We had several days of very muggy, gloomy weather, but it only sprinkled now and then. We could use a good day of a gentle, steady rain.
I did manage our bike ride this morning (I figured maybe I could work out some of the kinks), and I now plan to sit for the rest of the day! I'll sit at the piano, sit and work on my quilt and sit and watch "Sense and Sensibility" tonight. Sounds like a perfect sunday to me.
I hope you all have a restful, blessed day as well.
"The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving." Ps. 28:7
98. - tears coursing down cheeks as we listen to the words of a loving Savior preparing to give His life for ours
99. - joy overflowing as we hear the story told again - the story of love and redemption
100. - little girls in white dresses dancing to the soul-filling words: "Behold He comes, riding on the clouds, shining like the sun, at the trumpet call."
101 - one hundred fifty one people surrendering their hearts to Christ - receiving the priceless gift of new life on this resurrection day.
102. - my Christmas cactus heavy with gorgeous magenta flowers. It has always preferred to bloom at Easter rather than Christmas. I can understand that.
103. - the live oak trees shedding their old leaves, littering the lawn with the old and immediately putting out new fresh new growth - a picture of new life in Jesus.
104. - my husband surprising my Mom and Dad by buying lawn food and fertilizing their lawn for them
105. - a letter from a great-grandson to his great-grandfather just to say he loves him and is praying he will feel better soon.
106. - lavish love and appreciation from my parents for the little things we do for them.
107. - a phone call from our daughter just because she wanted to hear our voices
108. - my very old rose bush, looking like it has seen better days, still producing the most beautifully fragrant roses I have ever smelled. Heavenly.
109. - sharing a walk, conversation and laughter with good neighbors
110. - the amazing grace of God that covers my life, in spite of my failings
I want to add a little apology for not being around much this past week or so. We have been busy with our friend from England. We've had a wonderful time showing off this wonderful place we call home, but it has left me little time for anything else. She will be returning home tomorrow - and I promise to get caught up as quickly as I can.