God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Thursday, October 31, 2013

God Has A Sense Of Humor

Before I write about God's sense of humor, I'd like to apologize for being missing in action for a while.  For most people, going without a post for 10 days wouldn't be unusual, but for me, someone who used to post on the average of every day or several times a week, it's unusual.  I want to thank everyone who has emailed me to ask if I'm okay.  I am, although I will admit that I was a little concerned about my health for a while. The totally ridiculous & unnecessary drama that occurred earlier this month, 3 weeks after my heart surgery, was not good for my recovery.  However, I'm fine.  Better than fine actually.  At least mentally.

One of the things I've been doing while missing in action is reading.  I just finished reading an excellent book by Kay Warren called Choose Joy.  
In this book, Kay explains how those of us who are Christians are to be joyful in all things.  This does not mean we have to feel happy when bad things happen to us ... illness, loss of income, the death of a family member or close friend, drama, etc.  If we were happy about these things, a visit to the nearest psychiatrist's office would be in order.  Being joyful is not the same as being happy.  Happiness is a feeling.  Joy is a choice.  Kay's definition of joy is as follows ...

"Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life,
the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right,
& the determined choice to praise God in all things."

We praise God ... with joy ... because He is in control of our lives & everything will work out in the end according to His plan.  It's as simple as that.  We cast our care (1 Peter 5:7) & trust that God is taking care of things in His own way & in His own time.  I think it's a good idea to memorize Kay's definition so it can be easily recalled during times of stress.  It is a proven fact in the medical field that worry, anger, jealousy, hate, ill will, grudges, vindictiveness, irritation, resentment, bitterness, & all other negative emotions & thoughts have a negative effect on the body & open the door for sickness & disease. When people go out of their way to be hateful to us, rather than retaliate in kind, we really need to pity them & pray for them.  Can you imagine being a person so full of hate & bitterness?  I can't. 

I highly recommend Kay's book.  It was as a result of reading one of the chapters in Choose Joy that I became personally acquainted with God's sense of humor.  I experienced firsthand that sometimes when God knows you need a good laugh, He sends you one.  Kay ends each chapter of this book with a short prayer & a point or two upon which to reflect.  At the end of the chapter titled "Adapting Heaven's Value System," Kay suggests prayerfully reading Psalm 119 & asks "Are there actions you need to take as you seek joy?"  I hadn't read Psalm 119 for quite some time, so the other morning I curled up in my recliner with my Bible & spent time getting acquainted with it again.  Here's where the humor enters in ... verses 69-70.

"Arrogant people smear me with lies....
Their hearts are dull & stupid...."

I laughed out loud when I read this!  I totally lost it!  Throughout the day when I would remember these verses, I would laugh again! I'm still laughing!  I decided to look up the same verses as written in The Message Bible.

"The godless spread lies about me....
They're bland as a bucket of lard...."

I'm laughing again as I write this!  Talk about putting things in perspective!  The author of Psalm 119 is unknown.  Some people think all the psalms were written by David.  Not so. Psalm 119 could have been written by David, or Ezra, or even Daniel.  Whoever wrote it described the plots, slanders, & taunts he was suffering during this particular period in his life.  The psalm ends with the writer declaring that he can trust God's character & His plans & purposes in his life, even when affliction & persecution are a part of that life. 

While preparing for this blog post, I found the following cartoon by Gary Larson, famous for his Far Side cartoons. Mr. Larson has a delightfully warped sense of humor. Having a warped sense of humor myself, I can really appreciate his work.  I don't know this for sure, but I will venture to guess that there have probably been people over the course of the years who from time to time have not seen the humor in Gary's work, especially when his cartoons tend to tread on religious toes.  (Note that I'm not saying Christian toes.  I'm saying religious toes. There's a vast difference between being religious & being Christian.)   However, I think God gets a kick out of Gary's cartoons.  God gave him his talent & his humor & I suspect God enjoys seeing him use it.  I'm guessing that Gary may have had the humorless critics of his work in mind when he came up with this cartoon.
Thank God for humor, including His own! Thank God for His Word!  Thank God for His love!  Thank God that we can trust that He is in control of all the details of our lives & that because of this, everything is going to be all right!  Thank God for Kay Warren who wrote a book to help us learn how to have a joyful heart.  Thank God for Gary Larson who makes life a little easier by extending to us the gift of laughter with which God blessed him.  Thank God for so many things! Always!

I am offering another giveaway for my followers   : )   Read carefully!  As usual, my giveaways are for my current followers only. DO NOT mention this giveaway on your blog. To have a chance to win the giveaway, leave a comment here telling me you want to have your name added to the hat   : )   Also tell me one of your favorite Bible verses & why it is meaningful for you.  I know we all have more than one, but for the purpose of this giveaway, you just need to share one   : )   To recap, (1) tell me you want a chance to win the giveaway, & (2) tell me one of your favorite Bible verses & why it is meaningful for you.  The winner will receive a brand new, burgundy bonded leather, Pocket Thin New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs (NIV) by Zondervan.  It's always good to carry a bit of God's Word with you in your pocket or purse.  You have until Thursday, November 7, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to enter the giveaway.  A winner will be chosen on Friday morning, November 8.  If you are a no-reply blogger, please be sure to add your email address to your comment so I will be able to contact you should you be the winner of the giveaway.  If you add your email address to your comment, I will not publish your comment so do not worry that your email address will "out there."  

Best of luck to all who enter ... in joy! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Big 6-0!

Today is my birthday ... The Big 6-0.  God played a funny joke on me this morning.  I got out of bed & made my way to the bathroom.  While preparing to brush my teeth, I looked in the mirror & saw what appeared to be FOUR age spots on my face!!!  AGE SPOTS!!!  FOUR OF THEM!!!  On closer inspection, however, they were just odd little marks that were the result of I don't know what ... feathers poking through my pillow maybe?  Whatever they were, I had a good laugh, looked up toward heaven & said "Good one God!"  I'm sure He was laughing too   : )

The Happy Birthday card you see above is a treasured gift I received a couple years ago from my dear friend Jo (Serendipitous Stitching).  I display it as part of my birthday decor every year.  You're probably thinking "birthday decor???"  Well, no ... I don't actually decorate my house for my birthday, but I always put Jo's card on display with any others I might receive.  It makes me smile every time I look at it   : )   Jo also stitched an Easter card for me that I enjoy seeing on display every Easter.  Her stitched cards are so beautiful &, well, you know me ... Easily Influenced & all ... they have sort of been planting the idea in my head that maybe I ought to stitch a few cards.  When John & I last visited Barnes & Noble, I looked through the British cross stitch magazines, as I always do, & found one called Cross Stitch Card Shop.  I squealed (silently) as I removed it from the rack & saw the beautiful card designs staring back at me from the cover. There was even a Free Card Kit attached to the magazine which you can see in the magazine cover photo below!  I haven't any idea who Fizzy Moon is, but if you look closely, you'll see that the kit says that I can make it a fun Christmas with Fizzy!  A fun Christmas ... what a wonderful thing for the publishers of Cross Stitch Card Shop to promise me!  I clutched the magazine lovingly to my breast with dreams of stitched cards dancing in my head.  
I haven't actually sat down & closely perused the magazine yet.  British cross stitch magazines can't just be flipped through.  One must take one's time going from page to page, soaking in the designs & reading every word written ... letters from the editors, letters from readers/subscribers, local stitching club news, & even the paragraphs written to introduce each series of designs!  For me, it's truly like sitting down & enjoying a gathering with friends.

Yes, I'm looking forward to stitching some cards one of these days, but can you see some of the ones on the cover there?  You should see some of the ones inside!  They are like miniature HAEDs!  An enormous amount of stitching is required for some of these cards, not to mention an enormous amount of confetti stitches for some designs!  Since I'm not a big fan of confetti stitches, it's doubtful that I will ever stitch any of these miniature HAEDs, but they are lovely!  I should definitely stitch Fizzy with that promise of making it a fun Christmas & all. Next month there will be another Christmas-themed Cross Stitch Card Shop magazine on the stands.  I know I will be bringing that one home as well   : )

It was IHSW weekend, & I did stitch, but I can't show you what I stitched because it is for an ornament exchange I am doing with a dear friend who follows my blog.  I can tell you I used linen fabric, some kind of floss, & made a lot of cross stitches   : )

John will be taking me out for a birthday dinner at my choice of restaurant later today but I don't know what other birthday plans he might have up his sleeve for me   : ) The restaurant I picked for my birthday dinner is the same one I pick every year ... Fontana's in Iron Mountain, Michigan.  The most delicious Italian food you can imagine! Homemade pasta!  Yum!  Unfortunately, John can't take me there this year because he has some dental surgery scheduled for tomorrow.  I therefore picked O'Charley's instead.  O'Charley's has delicious food as well.  I'm thinking steak, but who knows what I might end up with after seeing the menu   : )

As I have done every year, to celebrate my birthday I am offering a giveaway!  My giveaway this year will require a bit of effort on your part however   : )   

Three things are of the utmost importance!!!

1.  You must be a current follower as of the writing of this post.  My dashboard is telling me that I have 400 followers right now.

2.  You have to be a follower who actually leaves comments from time to time. 

3.  DO NOT mention this giveaway on your blog.  

If you ignore 1, 2, &/or 3, you will be disqualified from the giveaway.  

I cannot tell you at this time what you will receive in the giveaway, but it will be something good   : )   The giveaway is open to both US followers & followers from other countries.  However, followers in other countries may end up receiving a gift certificate to their favorite stitching store due to the high cost of mailing a package overseas.  I don't think you'll mind a gift certificate though   : )   To enter, you must comment on this post making sure to tell me that you want to be included for a chance to win the giveaway.  If you are a no-reply blogger, you must be sure to give me a way to contact you.  I fully understand you not wanting your email address made public on a blog.  Therefore, do not feel concerned about including your email in your comment to me because my comments are monitored & I will not post your comment if your email address is included.  Finally, you must tell me in your comment who your 3 favorite designers are.

The deadline to this giveaway is Friday, November 1st, at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

For my non-stitching followers, you can still enter my giveaway but I will not send you a stitching prize.  Just tell me what you are interested in other than stitching & if you win I'll take it from there   : ) 

Good luck, & be blessed   : )  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Morning - Philippians 4:11

"...for I have learned in whatever state I am,
to be content."
Philippians 4:11
_____________________

The verse I'm sharing today is probably the very first verse with which I felt a deep connection.  Paul is, of course, talking about his circumstances here.  When I discovered this verse, however, the word "state" had a literal meaning for me.

We had been living very happily in Helena, Montana when my husband, in order to take advantage of a huge promotion, accepted a job offer in Nashville, Tennessee.  Within an hour after getting in the car & heading out of state, we had second thoughts but we brushed them aside.  We told ourselves we were just being silly.  We told ourselves we had made the right choice.  However, deep down inside we both felt we were making a big mistake.

The minute we arrived in Nashville, we hated it.

John worked in Nashville for 5 years & during all those 5 years he attempted to get transferred back to Helena, but the office there had not been happy that he left & therefore punished him by not allowing him to return.  We finally gave up & decided that if we could not get back to Montana, we would try to get as close to Montana as we could.  John started keeping a close watch on job announcements & finally one was posted for a job in the North Dakota office. He applied.  Meanwhile I had been trying to deal with my unhappiness in Nashville.  There were a lot of things to be unhappy about when we were living there.  The school system had to have been the worst in the nation, & it seemed like every night you heard on the news about a murder or rape or burglary or drug bust that occurred in the Nashville area.  We couldn't let our children walk by themselves across the street to visit their friends because there were so many cases of child abduction.  John & I always had to walk with them & then go get them when they were ready to come home.  The cost of living was extremely high.  I'm sure there are other things I've forgotten but those are enough in themselves.  We weren't living in a bad part of town either ... we were in a nice area in the suburbs.  I hated living there so much that I used to tell our children a little story that went like this ...

"One day a very, very, very bad man died & stood before God.  This man had been so bad that God said to him "Hell is too good for you!  You are going to spend eternity in NASHVILLE!"

Anyway, one day during my Bible reading I came across this verse & it really made me sit up & take notice.  We had originally lived in Pennsylvania, then moved to Florida, then to Montana, & now we were living in Tennessee.  The word "state" is what jumped out at me, so I read the verse as if God was telling me that no matter which state I was living in, I should be content.  I started looking for things to be content about & tried to focus on whatever positive things I could come up with.  What I came up with was that if nothing else, Tennessee was a great place to sell crafts.  I began to plan to make various crafts to sell in the local tourist shops, at craft fairs, etc.  I began to tell myself that if God wanted us to stay in Nashville, that is what we'd do.  

Then John got the job in North Dakota ... lol!

I still hold this verse close to my heart although now I read it with Paul's intended meaning.  The Message Bible translation of Philippians 4:11-13 probably says it best.

"Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally.
I've learned by now to be quite content with whatever my circumstances.
I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little.
I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry,
hands full or hands empty."

If we can all get to this point in our lives, I think we've done very well.

I wish you all a very blessed week!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Matthew 5:44

When I came to God, I had a thorn in my flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).  My thorn was & continues to be my perfectionism.  If I'm cross stitching something, I want it to look exactly like the photographed model because, after all, that's what it's supposed to look like.  Or if someone else's project has inspired me, then I want it to look exactly like what they've done.  The same holds true when I knit something, or crochet something, or quilt something, or when I do any other type of craft.  It must be perfect.  Even something as silly as stacking my dishes in a kitchen cabinet or the cans & boxes of non-perishables in my pantry.  It all has to be perfect.

After my conversion, the friends who led me to Christ, Gene & Brenda, instructed me to buy a Bible, begin reading it, & join a good church.  As ridiculous as this may seem, I went to the local Christian book store & nearly fainted.  This was probably when the seed was planted for my current need for Xanax.  Buy a Bible?!?!?  Good grief!  What kind of Bible?  There on the shelves before me were study Bibles, amplified Bibles, chain reference Bibles, & life application Bibles ... just to name a few.  Then I saw that these Bibles were all broken down into different translations ... KJV, NASB, NEB, NIV, RSV, TLB ... AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!  I had to "do it right."  I had to read "the right Bible."  I had to have "the right translation."  I just had to!

I went home empty-handed, called my friends, & told them of my stressful experience.  They instructed me to go back to the store & buy the simplest translation which at the time was the TLB (The Living Bible).  Back to the store I went & back home I returned, happily clutching my TLB. Then I sat down to begin reading, but uh-oh. Where was I supposed to start?  What was I supposed to read first?  Once again I called my friends who I'm sure by that time thought they had helped to bring a real loon into God's kingdom.  The told me to start reading the Book of John.

I then needed to "join a good church."  I looked in the Yellow Pages & found that there were more churches listed than there were Bibles displayed at the Christian book store.  Once again I called Gene & Brenda who were undoubtedly considering changing their phone number at this point.  They just told me to visit a few churches where the Word was preached & join the one that was a good fit.  I remember visiting a few but not really feeling at home in any of them.  One day I was walking back from the grocery store, praying about finding a church home, when suddenly God ... yes, it was God ... simply said "Go to Northeast Park Baptist Church."  It was not an audible voice.  It was a voice inside my head.  A real voice.  Not my mind thinking something.  It was His voice. This was the first of two times when God spoke to me like this.  No one can tell me there isn't a God.  He spoke to me!

The following Sunday I went to Northeast Park Baptist Church & became an active member.  I grew closer to God.  I made many friends.  I worked with two of these friends teaching Sunday School for second graders. I joined a witnessing team.  One Mother's Day the pastor asked me to speak during the church service about the loss of my first two children & how God took the pain away. How I knew that they were not really lost to me ... that I would see them again one day.  

There have been times in my Christian life when obstacles sprang up in my path & I am ashamed to say that I allowed these obstacles to take my focus away from God. During one very long, very painful time, I actually turned my back on Him!  Can you believe it?!?!?  But you know what?  He never turned His back on me.  He was always watching over me.  This particular time in my life, you just can't imagine how horrible it was.  However, it taught me about the grace of God.  To have a time in your life that you can look back on & actually see God's grace, it's a wonderful gift.

God has been the top priority in my life for a long time now.  I will soon be 60.  Age, no matter what the media tells us, is a blessing. Those of us who have reached this milestone & gone beyond have had many life experiences which have taught us many things.  That's really what life is ... a series of learning experiences.  For example, when I was in my 20s, I was quick to retaliate if someone hurt me in some way.  Now, approaching 60, I am quick to pray for for them.  Matthew 5:44 is a challenging verse.

Bless people who hate you?  Pray for people who use you?  Really?  But this is what God tells us to do.  We can't just become Christians & claim the "nice" verses in the Bible ... the ones that, for example, tell us that God gives us a future & a hope (Jeremiah 29:11) or how He will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19).  No, God asks us to do some pretty difficult things sometimes. Things that we might think are humanly impossible.  Humanly, they probably are. However, as Christians our lives are not governed by our humanity.  Our lives are governed by the Spirit of God.  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).  

I don't know about you, but when I look at life right now, I don't see it with my physical eyes.  I see it with my spiritual eyes.  Wealth, fame, popularity, losing great-grandma's wedding ring, overhearing someone say we're ugly, our breasts getting caught in the waistband of our pants when we aren't wearing a bra ... it all means nothing.  The only thing that matters is our relationship with God.  Our only goal should be to grow closer to Him.  

My prayer for you today is that you will grow closer to Him. 

Be blessed! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday Sharing

I am sorry if my sharing excerpts of Chuck Swindoll's devotional prayers is getting to be a bit overdone, but I've got to tell you, the prayers in this devotional (The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume I) are like spiritual bolts of lightning hitting you out of a clear blue sky.  There is also a Volume II which I am looking forward to spending time with as well   : )

Below is an excerpt of today's devotional prayer with the accompanying verse.  I hope it is a blessing to you as much as it is to me.

_____________________

"Even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.  And do not fear their intimidation, & do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness & reverence; & keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame."
1 Peter 3:14-16

"Our Father, as we acknowledge Your Son as Lord over all, it is with a sigh, because we cannot deny the pain or ignore the difficulty of earthly trials.  

...Quiet our spirits.  Give us a sense of relief as we face the inevitable facts that life is difficult & that there will be those moments when life will not be at all fair.  Erase any hint of bitterness.  Enable us to see beyond the present, to focus on the invisible, & to recognize that You will always be with us.  

...Thank you for the joy of this day.  Thank you for the pleasure of a relationship with You & with a few good, caring, loving friends.  And especially, Father, thank you for the truth of Your word...."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Horrible Thing Happened On My Way to the End of Stitching an Ornament

As most of you know, I have been busily stitching ornaments from back issues as well as this year's Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments magazine.  Since last month I have stitched 7 ornaments & have attempted 2 which nearly put me in the loony bin, both of them having been designed by, well, never mind   : )   Seems like 7 ornaments are a lot to stitch in this period of time, but I've counted them & recounted them.  There are indeed 7.  I still have 17 ornaments kitted.  Will I succeed in stitching them all in time for the holidays?  We shall see   : )

I will now share with you the story of the horrible thing referred to in my post title.

The Design:  Redbirds Rejoice
The Designer:  Blue Ribbon Designs
The Magazine:  JCSCO 2013 

Before I tell my tale, let me say what an absolute delight it was to stitch this ornament!  A cross stitched ornament filled with cross stitches!  God bless Blue Ribbon Designs   : )   Anyway, this ornament is stitched 1 over 2 on 40 ct linen.  I never noticed before I began stitching that the words Joy, Hope, & Love are stitched 1 over 1.  No matter though ... they are cross stitches.  Hallelujah!  Amen!
  
Stitching 1 over 1 on 40 ct linen isn't a big deal unless you make an error & have to pick it out.  I was about 75-80% finished stitching this ornament when I did indeed make an error, & my greatest cross stitching fear happened.
Please don't freak out at the ornament colors as they appear in this photo.  I was, needless to say, quite frustrated when I photographed it which happened to be on a very dark & rainy afternoon.  I couldn't have cared less about coloring ... all I cared about was getting a picture of that hole down on the bottom right side.  It was in my mind to send this photo to someone who might be able to either help me repair the hole or otherwise talk me down off the ledge, so to speak.  To whom did I send the photo? I sent it to my good friend Marly at Samplers & Santas   : )

Marly has a reputation for being a rebel  : ) She has described her unconventional approach to cross stitching on her own blog many times.  Off the top of my head I believe she has, among other things, dyed her linen after having stitched a design, eaten a variety of culinary delights while stitching, & thrown her stitching into her clothes dryer. It was Marly who taught me that it's okay to make knots with your threads on the back of your work rather than weave your starting & ending threads underneath other stitches. I thought surely she had encountered a hole in her linen at some time in her stitching life & surely she would know how to fix it, & she did : )   She told me to simply pull the ends of the broken thread out a bit & to the back of the piece on each side of the hole, then pull a thread from the edge of the fabric & weave it in.  Worked like a charm   : )
I am now stitching another ornament but I can't tell you anything about this one as it's for an exchange.  You will have to wait to see it after the exchange is completed   : ) 

Tomorrow I am heading to Lexington for my one month followup appointment after my heart surgery.  I don't anticipate any bad news.  I actually wish I could just cancel the appointment but I have to follow through.  

Our house continues to be on the market but our contract will end on November 1st.  I received an email from our real estate agent a few moments ago.  He said someone might want to come see it on the 18th.  It will depend on how long a morning meeting will last & how long an afternoon wedding will last.  I'm keeping good thoughts   : )

Be blessed my friends!

Pattern Corrections

I promised Stephanie ... the very talented designer we have to thank for the wonderful Lone Elm Lane designs introduced at the
St. Charles Market this year (& a real nice person too!) ... that I would post about pattern corrections for her fabulous Snow Angel design shown above.  Isn't it beautiful? I can't wait to stitch this   : )

There are two corrections in the list of symbols.  The symbol for GAST Chives should be a right triangle.  The symbol for GAST Brick Path (the chimney) should be a dot with a circle drawn around it.

Stephanie has added her designs to her website ...

http://www.loneelmlane.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=20

... & of course you can also look for them at your favorite ONS or LNS (online needlework shop or local needlework shop)   : )

Happy Stitching!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Welcome New Followers & Thank You No-Reply Bloggers

I noticed that I have garnered some new followers lately so I just wanted to do a short post to welcome all of you!  I am glad you dropped by & I hope you enjoy your visits with me   : )

I also want to send a special thank you to all my no-reply bloggers who often leave great comments which I am unable to respond to personally.  I never get to tell you how much I appreciate your comments & thank you for them.  I am doing that now   : )
I hope all of you ... established followers & new, reply bloggers & no-reply bloggers ... will have a great week!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Morning Sermonette

"In light of your sovereign grace, we thank You for blindness, for paralysis, for loss, for death, for broken dreams, for dissolved partnerships, & for disillusionment.  In faith, we praise You for times of insecurity, failure, divorce, & even those when others have treated us unfairly."

Chuck Swindoll
The Prayers of Charles R. Swindoll, Volume I
_____________________

I came across this except from the above referenced prayer devotional several days ago.  It struck me like a bolt of lightning out of a clear blue sky.  Many people question the sense of such things happening, but then to have it suggested that they should thank & praise God for them?  For blindness?  For paralysis?  For broken dreams?  For divorce? Praise Him when others have treated us unfairly?  How?  How are we supposed to do this?

We do it in faith & we do it in obedience to God.  Of course it's difficult, but we can't let these or any other negative things that happen to us in this life tear us away from Him.  

In Philippians 4:4, Paul writes "Rejoice in the Lord always!  I will say it again!  Rejoice!" Paul wrote this while he was unjustly arrested, beaten, & thrown into the inner cell of a Roman prison.  I have read various descriptions of what prison life would have been like for Paul back in the first century AD when Philippians was written.  It consisted of little food, extreme filth, & darkness.  Men were crowded into the inner cells.  There was no privacy, no means of hygiene.  Historians tell us that when prisoners died, they were piled up in the corner of the cells & the bodies were collected at a later time.  Paul found himself in these conditions, but what was his response?  It was to rejoice.  

To wallow in despair & complain because of what we consider to be injustices in our lives builds a wall between us & God.  To accept that these things are a part of our world & to seek God's help in getting through them makes us stronger & brings us closer to God. Being closer to Him should be our #1 desire.

Whatever happens to you today ... whatever happened to you in the past ... whatever happens to you in the future ... I urge you to rejoice & grow closer to God.  We are not rejoicing because we have these circumstances in our lives.  We are rejoicing despite them!  We are rejoicing because no matter what, God is with us!

Have a great Sunday, & be blessed   : )     

Thursday, October 3, 2013

An Open Letter to Homespun Elegance

I have removed the original content of this blog post.  I thought it was as obvious as the flab on my thighs that I was simply using my sense of humor to illustrate my deep frustration at not being able to stitch what I clearly stated within the first 3 sentences of that post to be this person's lovely, beautiful, creative, splendid, magnificent, & awesome cross stitch designs with the perfection shown in her model photos.  Apparently not.

I have written an email to this person to apologize for any misunderstanding caused by my original post.  I will leave it at that.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Another Stitching Finish

Last night I finally finished stitching the ornament I started last Thursday.  I would have finished it sooner if I had made better use of my free time, but there always seemed to be something else I needed to do instead. In any event, it is finished & here it is   : )

Designer:  Milady's Needle
Design:  Regal Red Christmas
(JCS Ornaments 2010 issue)
Floss:  Gloriana Threads Luminiscense
Black Cherry
Fabric:  40 ct Buttercream linen

I used the fabric & floss the designer suggested & I must say I am impressed with the silk Gloriana thread.  The color blending is so much nicer than the other silk thread I used on a project recently (CC Belle Soie).  

I am now moving on to my next project which is going to be from this year's JCS Ornaments issue ... Majestic Bird by my nemesis, Homespun Elegance.  I think I can get through it without reaching for a box of matches.  We shall see   : )

As many of you know, Sophie loves boxes. She has her favorite, a small U-Haul moving box still packed with heaven only knows what, on which she enjoys hanging out most of the time.  However, if we leave any box or box lid unguarded for even a minute, there she will be, climbing on top of or inside of it & making it her own, at least for a little while. The other day I received a small package of books in the mail.  The box measured maybe 12 x 12 & the company where I made my purchase used a lot of packing paper to keep the books safe & secure during shipping. After removing the books & replacing the paper inside the box to save for another time, I didn't think anything of it & placed the box on a step for John to take with him on his next trip to the second floor.  Again, it was a small box stuffed with paper.  I was sure that Sophie might give it a sniff or a head rub but that would be the extent of it. Well, I sat down at my computer & not even 2 minutes went by before I suddenly heard papers rustling.  Here's what I found.  Silly cat   : )
I did a de-stash (twice) over the past couple months & found quite a few charts & kits I purchased in the early days of my stitching life #3 that I know I will never stitch.  I have made page links for a list of these charts/kits & also for my Wish List which you can see (barely) at the top of my blog underneath the header photo.  The page links for some bloggers show up very well as little file folder tabs that visitors can click.  How do you people do that?  Please let me know   : )   Anyway, the charts/kits I've listed are for sale or trade, so if you are looking for anything in particular, maybe we can make a deal   : )

Yesterday I had my brain MRI & echocardiogram.  I hope my doctor calls soon with the results.  If I don't hear from her by Friday, I will give her a call.  I still have a little residual weakness/tingling in my left arm & both upper extremities are mildly shaky at times.  Hopefully this will all go away soon.

I was reading someone's blog post this morning who told the story of being in a grocery store & a bag boy helping her take her groceries out to her car.  As he turned to walk back to the store, she thanked him & wished him a good day.  His response was "Be blessed!"  Isn't that wonderful?  Just two words, but so very meaningful ... & such a joy for another person to hear!  I am going to try to remember to respond that same way when I part company with someone   : )

"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul & healing to the bones."
Proverbs 16:24

 Be blessed   : )

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Great Online Cross Stitch Shop!

I discovered Stitch & Frog a little over two weeks ago while doing a Google search for a particular chart & I placed my first order shortly after.  I just can't say enough good things about them   : )   The owner, Marty, is dedicated to customer service.  You receive a confirmation of your order after placing it & then receive an update when your order is complete & ready for shipping.  If you email Marty with questions about anything, she responds!  This shouldn't be a big thing, right, because all online shops should show this level of service, but of course there are those who don't even bother to send you an order confirmation, never update you on the status, leave you in limbo for weeks ... even months ... wondering where your order is, & don't bother to respond when you email them (Mary Jane's Cross 'N Stitch & Stitching Bits & Bobs are two that come immediately to mind).  However, it's a joy to deal with Marty & to shop at Stitch & Frog.  You have your choice of a wide variety of cross stitch patterns, kits, floss, fibers, accessories, & more!  The website is easy to navigate & I have found things offered there that I haven't found offered anywhere else.  Marty packages your order with the utmost care so it arrives safe & sound.  If you aren't familiar with this shop, click HERE to visit when you have a few minutes to do so.  I'm sure you won't be disappointed   : )