Show me Your ways, Oh Lord; teach me Your paths.
Guide me in Your truth & faithfulness & teach me,
for You are the God of my salvation;
for You [You only & altogether] do I wait [expectantly] all the day long.
Psalm 25:4-5

Friday, May 1, 2015

Catching Up

My thanks to everyone who wrote me such nice emails & made such nice comments on my last blog post.  I haven't had the chance to respond to anyone yet.  Please be patient with me.

John & I have been busy getting the house ready to sell.  The almost constant rains these past few weeks have really put us behind on outside work as well as having people come to make needed repairs.  It seems we are in for a bit of a dry spell for the next 10 days so we are scrambling around trying to get all that work scheduled & done before the rains come again.

One thing about the rains ... everything is so green & growing beautifully.  Even our willow bushes, which we were sure were dead, have sprung to life.

I haven't posted any finishes for the longest time. I kind of lost my stitching mojo in mid February ... I really don't know why ... but prior to that I had completed three designs.  Carol of Stitching Dreams inspired me to stitch this first design.  I had actually put it into my no-longer-want stash pile because I decided it was bigger than I liked. When I saw that Carol had stitched it on 40 ct to make it into an ornament, I retrieved it from the pile & began stitching.  Who would have thought to do such a thing?  Well, Carol would have thought it!  I'm so dense sometimes ... lol!

      Designer:  New York Dreamer
Design:  Frosty Night
Fabric:  I believe this is Examplar or Light Examplar
Floss:  Can't remember

I really should take notes while I'm stitching something so I can accurately tell people what I used.  I know I changed the red color as the original leaned more toward pink.  

I love this next design.  The Little Stitcher has so many great designs.  It was a fun stitch   : )   
Designer:  The Little Stitcher
Design:  Little Red Bird
Fabric:  I believe this is Examplar or Light Examplar
Floss:  DMC as suggested by designer

I stitched this next one but am not really thrilled with it.  I used the suggested fabric but changed the floss, not taking into account that it might not look so good with the fabric.  It also turned out much larger than I anticipated, & I didn't like stitching with 2 strands.  I don't know what will become of it.
Designer:  With My Needle
Design:  A Needleworker's Pocket from
2003 JCSCO
Fabric:  32 ct Light Mocha
Floss:  Gloriana Silk Black Cherry

You might remember that in February someone sent me an RAK from my Wish List.  I had loved this design for a long time but could never find it being sold anywhere.  I plan to stitch it again ... maybe on a smaller count.  Maybe a few of them! I stitched this last month during a time of frustration with "that" pair of socks.  I just had to put them down & work on something else.  This was it.  Thank you once again, whoever gifted this to me   : )  
 Designer:  primitivebettys
Design:  My Favorite Kitten Pinkeep
Fabric:  30 ct Old Salem linen by The Primitive Hare
Floss:  DMC as suggested by designer

Of course I have to finish this into a kitten shape. I wish me luck on that ... lol!  When I do get it finished, it will be a little commemoration of Sophie.  I will place it with the paw print heart our vet sent to us.  Now that I'm thinking of it, I probably should have changed the date to either the year she was born or the year she passed away. 

When I lost my stitching mojo I began knitting socks.  It has been a wild ride but I did finish two pair & have another pair on my needles.  The socks  shown below haven't been blocked yet.  I just put them on sock blockers to take photos of them.  I'm not too happy with how either pair turned out, but I can wear them & it's a learning game so I am cutting myself some slack   : )   The first pair are knitted from a sport weight yarn. They will be warm & toasty.  The second pair are knitted from regular fingering weight (sock) yarn.
  
So I guess that's it as far as catching up goes   : ) I've been having good eBay sales for my no-longer-want cross stitch stash, & yesterday I went through my stash a third time & pulled out even more things to sell.  I've also listed rug braiding stuff (still need to take photos of the wool strips), & I have some yarn, knitting tools, & primitive doll/ornament/decor patterns still to list. eBay only lets you list 50 things for free each month, so after I get that number listed over the next couple days I'll get to have a break until June. Of course I'm wishing that my break will be longer because we'll be busy packing to move to an unknown destination because our house will have been sold.  Wouldn't that be wonderful   : ) 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

An Editorial

If You Can't Say Anything Nice ...

I was once told that when you visit someone's blog, it's like you've been invited to visit their home, & you should act accordingly.  Somehow, I can't imagine being invited into someone's home & then being rude to that person in any way.  For example, if they were to show me a quilt they had made for their child, & I thought that quilt was the ugliest thing I had ever seen, would it be nice of me to tell them that?  No, of course it wouldn't.  I would instead find something nice to say about it. And if during our visit they were to tell me a story about how they got so fed up with trying to get their roses to grow that they just dug them all up & put them out on the curb on trash day, would I sympathize with their plight, or would I tell them what a horrible person they were to throw something away that someone else may have wanted?  I would, of course, sympathize with them.  This is a part of having manners.  Being kind. Being a decent person.

Likewise, when I visit someone's blog & I disagree with something they've said or something they've done, I mosey along my way.  What purpose would it serve me to belittle someone, call them names, accuse them of being lazy, or wasteful, or thoughtless, or ???  It's none of my business.  If I find that their blog (or their home) is not a place I enjoy visiting, I simply don't visit there anymore.

A long time ago, I learned "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Apparently not everyone has learned that.  

The Great Blog War of 2013

Most of you will remember the great blog war of 2013.  I'm really not sure I can call it a war.  To have a war, you need to have two warring armies.  This war had just one.  I had just gotten out of the hospital after having heart surgery.  I was struggling with a cross stitch design &, as I often do when I'm frustrated about something, I wrote a humorous post about my pathetic inability to get this design to look like the model photo, & I jokingly added that the model stitcher must have chosen their floss colors & stitched the design in the dark, then didn't remember which colors they chose so they just chose some colors randomly to include with the directions.  I even included a sentence or two about how I loved this particular designer's designs.  The designer (long established & popular in the cross stitch world) saw my post & wrote her own post about it making her feel inadequate as a designer, wondering if she should give up designing, & reaching out to other designers for comfort.  Her followers turned into a mob of hatred against me. These people knew nothing about how long I had struggled to get this design right, how frustrated I was, what a perfectionist I am, etc.  They knew nothing about me at all, yet I received dozens of emails so nasty ... calling me names, telling me the designer should sue me for defamation of character, & telling what a lousy stitcher I must be.  

When I read the designer's post & saw that she had taken mine out of context, I immediately removed my post & sent her an email explaining to her that she had always been one of my favorite designers, & that my post was a put down of myself, not of her.  I even pointed out where I had written how much I loved her designs (which, for whatever reason, she completely ignored).  I apologized for inadvertently hurting her feelings, & told her I had removed the post. Yet she continued to let the war go on for an entire week after receiving my email, before she posted simply that she had received an email from me & she was letting the situation drop.  She never responded to my email.  

One week after heart surgery ... during this one-sided war ... I had a small stroke.

The Yarn

A couple days ago I posted a photo of  a sock which I attempted to burn in my kitchen sink.  The title of my post indicated it was "Frustrating Knitting Stuff."  I received a few comments, which I posted, & then I received more comments, which I did not post.  

If anyone knows anything about me, they know that I will stick with something until I get it right.  I did not just knit this sock once, discover I wasn't able to get it right, & then try to burn it.  I spent three weeks knitting, frogging, knitting, frogging, & knitting & frogging again.  I hated the yarn from the start.  I don't know what possessed me to buy it when I did ... whenever that was.  I hated the pink & blue combination, & it felt rough in my hands.  The yarn split constantly while I was knitting with it.  I looked up reviews of the yarn on Ravelry.  Everyone posted glowing reviews.  My skein must have been a lemon.  

After three weeks of knitting, frogging, knitting, frogging, & knitting & frogging again in order to get this sock pattern to be the way it was supposed to be, the yarn was a mass of splits & pills.  No one could have re-knitted the yarn if they wanted to.  I could have just thrown it in the trash bin & been done with it, but no.  I enjoy entertaining my followers.  I thought seeing the end of my frustration with this sock, with me trying to ignite it in my sink, would give my followers a laugh. Some of you did laugh.  Others made comments & sent me emails telling me that I should have passed the yarn along to someone who could have used it, that perhaps I should try knitting something else other than socks, telling me that I was childish & ridiculous, & accusing me of being wasteful.  

Where Were They?

I know they shouldn't, but emails & comments like these never cease to amaze me.  Many of these people rarely, if ever, comment on my blog.  They never commented to say "I hope everything goes well" when I had my first & second heart surgeries.  They never commented to say "I'm sorry" when Sophie passed away.  But I post a silly photo of me trying to burn a frustrating knitting project in my kitchen sink & these people come out of the woodwork to tell me what I should have done with some stupid yarn ... yarn which I bought & paid for with my own money & can therefore do with it whatever I like ... & to call me names.

The Future of My Blog

The great blog war of 2013 changed the focus of my blog.  Whereas I always enjoyed posting funny stories to make my followers laugh ... all of them obvious put downs of myself ... I started to obsess over every post I wanted to publish.  I don't even publish half the number of posts that I used to. To this day, every time I publish a post, I ask myself "Who's going to be offended by this?"

No doubt some people are going to be offended by this post.  I feel sorry for these people.  I will pray for them.  They must have sad, empty lives when they feel they need to criticize others, call them names, etc.  

A few of the blogs I follow do not accept comments.  Perhaps the blog owners have experienced the same sort of criticizing & name calling that I have.  If I continue my blog ... which I will need to do if for no other reason than to post my book reviews ... I will perhaps likewise turn off my comments.  Of course that won't stop the emails.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blessings

God gave me a most beautiful gift this morning which I feel led to share with you.  It is a song by Laura Story titled Blessings.  I have included the lyrics.  I pray that it fills your heart as it has filled mine.

  
We pray for blessings, we pray for peace,
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep.
We pray for healing, for prosperity.
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering.
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way to much to give us lesser things.

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear. 
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near.
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is
not enough.
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe.

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us,
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home.
It's not our home.

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?

What if my greatest disappointments,
or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?
What if trials of this life ...
the rain, the storms, the hardest nights ...
are Your mercies in disguise?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Frustrating Knitting Stuff Doesn't Burn Like Frustrating Cross Stitch Stuff Does

Cross Stitch Stuff

Knitting Stuff

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

eBay Cross Stitch Sale

After a year & a half, I've finally gathered my no-longer-wanted cross stitch stash together & have begun to list it on eBay.  It is going to take me several days of listing to get it all on there, & I am still going to weed through my kits & charts one more time so I anticipate there being even more.
 
I'm also going to eventually be listing a bunch of primitive ornament & decor sewing patterns, 80 pounds of wool fabric strips from back in my rug braiding days (not all 80 pounds at once, of course), & all my tatting books & supplies.  That's not all ... but it's a start for now   : )

In case you are interested in trying to get in on some good deals, my eBay ID is lv2stitch53. Please note that first character is a small letter L, not a number 1.  People often get confused by that.  

Okay, that's it   : ) 

Everyday Grace: Infusing All Your Relationships with the Love of Jesus

I am pleased to be a book reviewer for Bethany House.  Each month I am provided with a book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.  

The book I am reviewing this month is Everyday Grace:  Infusing Your Relationships with the Love of Jesus by Jessica Thompson.

In the first chapter, the author states that her book is different from other relationship books in that it does not give you a list of things to do in order to be a better mother/wife/friend/daughter/etc.  She indicates that following such lists never results in the happy relationships we desire.  We do these things, the other person does not respond like we are led to believe they will, & then we only become more frustrated.  Her answer to mending relationships with other people is to simply show them the love of Jesus.  I agree that we should show everyone the love of Jesus.

What really bothers me about the book is that the author states on at least two occasions that if there is physical abuse in a relationship, one should remove oneself from that relationship & seek professional counseling.  I certainly agree with her on this point.  However, she totally ignores the damage that can occur in relationships where there is emotional abuse. HelpGuide.org, a website focusing on mental health & well-being, states the following:

"You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital & leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, & they run deep.  In fact, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse - sometimes even more so."

To totally ignore the damage that results from being in an emotionally abusive relationship is unacceptable.

I agree that we should show everyone the love of Jesus.  In Matthew 22, a man asks Jesus, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?" Jesus replies, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart & with all your soul & with all your mind.  This is the first & greatest commandment. And the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself."  All Christians know this.  We are to love everyone ... even those who are considered to be "unlovable."  But does this mean we have to be in a relationship with them?  No, it does not.  If your mother, sister, daughter, friend, or anyone else is emotionally abusive to you, you do not have to be in a relationship with them & subject yourself to the abuse.  You can still show them the love of Jesus by praying for them.

A Sad, Sad Occurrence

The morning after I posted the photo of the beautiful eggs in the robin's nest below our front porch ...

... I found this   : (
The nest torn & the eggs destroyed.  I really hate the cruelty that is found in nature.