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

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.    

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Facing the Blitz

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 Facing the Blitz by Jeff Kemp.  I must admit that I was a bit put off when I saw the cover.  I am not a football fan.  However, I found that I enjoyed the book very much & gleaned a lot of wisdom from it.

Jeff Kemp is a former NFL quarterback.  He explains blitzes in football & how they can be compared with the trials we are faced with in life, & he candidly shares personal examples from his own life.  I really appreciate when an author is not afraid to talk about his or her own struggles & how they overcame them.  It helps me to see that they really understand what I might be going through.

I believe that Mr. Beck's purpose for writing this book was to get our eyes off ourselves & to put them on Jesus.  No matter what trials we face in this life ... illness, unfairness, the death of loved ones, & a multitude of others ... these trials are only temporary bumps in the road to heaven. Yes, they hurt.  Yes, they are difficult.  But if we focus on where we are going, not where we are or where we have been, we can face these things with strength & courage.  

I have several pages in the book bookmarked with sticky notes.  I believe the wisdom that Mr. Beck imparts on these pages is worth embedding in my brain.  

For a book that I didn't think I would like, it has turned out to be one of favorites.  It just so happened that I started reading this book a few days after Sophie passed away & after I had received a devastating diagnosis from my doctor. The book has helped me to deal with them & to "see the big picture."  I recommend it highly.   

Monday, April 20, 2015

Things are Looking Good

I want to thank everyone who offered their prayers & good wishes for my eye.  I was able to get in to see the eye doctor this morning. Although the eye is a little irritated & he could see where the branch tip poked me, the foreign body is nowhere to be found & things look to be on the mend.  He said that the eye drops the ER doctor gave me where very strong ones & that this was a good thing as no infection has occurred.  I am to continue to use the eye drops for another 7 days & then I should be "all better."

God is good   : )

Many of you suggested that I should invest in some sort of eye protection.  All I can say is that when this happened the year before last, I was wearing eye protection when a branch actually lifted up the eye protection & poked my eye underneath!  When I received another poke in the eye last fall, I was not wearing eye protection but I was not really weeding either.  I was just taking some cut-off tree branches to the end of the yard when I noticed some straggly growth underneath the myrtle bush, bent down to pull some of it out, & wham ... a poke in the eye.  And I was being ultra-careful while weeding & trimming on Saturday ... it was just this incredibly skinny branch tip that was invisible due to the way it was positioned.  

The eye doctor did suggest that I might want to invest in a welder's mask or a motorcycle helmet if I am going to go within 10 feet of bushes & trees in the future   : )

As I stated previously, Saturday was the first dry, non-rainy day we'd had in a long time ... thus my desire to get outside to tackle this overdue weeding & trimming.  Sunday brought rain again, & there's more rain today.  Last night John & I got to see a beautiful sight though ... a double rainbow!  I couldn't fit it all in the camera frame so I took 3 separate photos.  The second rainbow is a bit hard to see ... you'll need to look closely   : )



There is also a mama robin who decided to build her next in a willow bush below our front porch. We can at least see the nest from the window so we are careful not to go on the porch & disturb her when she is sitting on her eggs.  We look forward to seeing the baby robins when they are born   : )
Thank you again for your prayers & good wishes   : )

 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Asking for Prayer

It has been raining here almost nonstop, so when I saw that yesterday was predicted to be a dry, sunny day, I decided to spend a few hours outside doing the much neglected job of weeding & trimming around the trees & bushes.  I was out there for about 6 hours & got about half the trees & bushes done.  Things were going well, & then it happened.

Remember last November when I bent down to pull some weeds away from a myrtle bush after mistakenly cutting off two good branches & permanently disfiguring our little pine tree?

I did not see a little branch tip sticking out from the myrtle.  I bent down & it poked me in my right eye. I felt immediate pain & literally saw stars.  I called my eye doctor's office ... they said to come right in.  I was diagnosed with a corneal abrasion in my right eye (the second in that eye ... I had one the prior year due to a similar injury) & was told how serious this was (apparently branch tips in Kentucky have some kind of fungus on them which is not a good thing to stick in your eye).  He squirted a bunch of medicinal goop in my eye, patched it, & then after the patch came off I had to apply two different kinds of eye drops in my eye for a week or so.  My eye doctor is a joker most of the time (I like that) & he told me that I should give up yard work before I blinded myself.  
Yesterday I was nearing the end of my trimming & weeding.  I would have stopped with the back yard, but there was a grass that badly needed trimmed & weeded near the driveway.  I decided that would be the last of my work for the day. Near that grass were 2 bushes & I decided I would trim & weed those too.  

The first bush I came to was a wedding bush. Here's a nice one (not mine) in full bloom.
You may be able to tell from the photo that it has very long, very thin branches.  I was being careful ... as I had been with all my weeding & trimming ... that there were no wayward branches that would poke my eye, but one of them got past me. I bent over, & wham!  Poke.  I didn't see stars this time, but I felt pain.  I had a bottle of water with me & I immediately flushed my eye with the water, but it didn't seem to help much.  I continued my weeding & trimming (I had to get it done!!!), flushing my eye with water every now & then, & then went into the house to take a shower.  

I looked at my eye.  The poke caused bleeding.  I took my shower, then called my eye doctor's office.  I couldn't believe that they had no emergency backup on weekends!  All the message said was that if there was some kind of emergency, call the hospital.  I called.  The operator didn't seem to know what to do.  She put me through to the ER.  First the person who answered the phone asked me if I wanted him to page my eye doctor, then he started telling me how they have no eye doctors on call at the hospital.  I told him to go ahead & page my eye doctor, & then he told me he couldn't do that!!!  I don't think he knew what he was doing.  He told me I could come into the ER & see an ER physician.  I decided to do that.  

The ER physician confirmed that I have a corneal abrasion.  She also said there is a piece of something embedded in my eye.  She gave me a bottle of ciprofloxacin drops, told me to use those every 2 hours when I'm awake & to take Tylenol for the pain, & said to call my eye doctor first thing Monday morning.

My eye is hurting this morning & I can tell there is something in it.  John looked at it & said the blood is gone but there is a "big black piece of something" there   : (

Your prayers are greatly appreciated.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Giveaway Winner

I am way behind posting the winner of my giveaway for the Blessings in the Morning devotional for which I was supposed to draw a name on March 31st.  I'm sorry.  I've been having a difficult time, not only missing Sophie but with medical issues, stress, & trying to get the house & land looking presentable so we can list it for sale. We've been having almost continuous rain & storms which are making any outside work impossible.  Ah well, everything will get done in God's timing.

And now, the winner of the devotional is ... Maureen!  Congratulations Maureen!  Please email me your address so I can get it in the mail to you.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

An Unexpected Gift

My deepest thanks to everyone who offered prayers & sympathy regarding Sophie's passing.  I was able to personally respond to most comments.  However, about 18 of you are linked to Google+ & for whatever reason you come through as a no-reply blogger.

On Wednesday I received a most unexpected gift in the mail from the vet's office ... a little Plaster of Paris heart with Sophie's name, year of passing, & her paw print.  I cried & cried.  How thoughtful of them to do such a thing!  I will treasure it always.

The photo is not very good, but you get the idea. It's comforting to be able to pick up the heart & stroke her little paw print.  I always liked stroking her little paws.  They were so soft & pretty.  

Here's another photo of Sophie, napping on a chair which sits across from where I have my laptop.  It was another one of her favorite places to nap.