Monday, April 12, 2021

Full Spring

  Hello, dear friends! We are busy here at our place, as I know you are at yours. I'm loving this, my perfect weather of the year: No hurricanes yet. No mosquitoes yet. No terrible heat yet. It's a joy to go outside in the morning with a jacket on and drift into some flower bed and begin picking weeds. There are always weeds.

We haven't traveled anywhere quite yet, but my son and his wife and baby traveled to West Virginia to visit my mother. Isn't that the sweetest photo? She held him for hours. He is such a sweet baby, very content. That was over Easter weekend. I hope to go visit her in May after I'm fully vaccinated against Covid. It's hard to wait.

My other grandbabies are in Mississippi, of course. These are Easter photos of them. I miss them so much! Ellie Kate is growing and thriving now, and we are thankful. Isaac is happy and cute as ever.

My Lady Banks Rose, of which I'm inordinately proud, is glorious right now! I've had so many plant failures that it's a comfort to have one thrive like this.

I'm gazing at her right now, out my studio window.
Adam is starting many spring/summer projects. He wants an outdoor cooking area, and he eyed my clothesline area as the desired location. So the clothesline came down!

That grassy area between the deck and the carport poles will be a small eating area. He'll build an outdoor brick cooktop/grill just about where he's standing. He'll also cut new stairs into the decking, there in the middle of that white lattice. It's not an ideal area -- the carport limits its size -- but it will be nice, I think. He'll make pavers for the area too. He makes concrete leaves, using our elephant ear leaves as molds, and they would make good pavers there.
I've fallen into a nice rhythm these days. I eat my toast and coffee in my favorite chair in my room and slowly wake into the day. Then I drift into my studio sometime between 8:00 and 9:00, and I start painting. Now that we're back at the farmers market, my cards sell each week and I must replace them to keep my inventory up. So I paint needed cards, perhaps do a bit of work with my soap/balms/shampoo bars, or I ship packages to customers. It really is time-consuming in that it takes my morning, which is excellent. I feel useful, and I'm not bored.

There are a few recent cards.
I must say, it's wonderful to see Adam active again. All last year he generally felt awful and was unable to work outside. He barely kept the grass mowed with his riding mower, and that was all he could do. There's much outdoor work to catch up on, but he has more energy. He needs to rebuild his stamina and strength. What a discouraging year it was! But the Lord has brought healing and help; we are thankful. It seems as the years go by, and we learn a little more to trust Him and be content, He provides more and fills in all the needy gaps in our lives. 
I would say that we are content here, content now. Life is far from perfect (as perfect goes), but perfection is not necessary for contentment and goodwill; Love is. I need daily reminding in myself, that patience, forgiveness, helping others, and hope are the ingredients of a happy spiritual diet. And prayer. I'm always deficient in prayer!
I hope all is well with you dear friends in blogworld! If you want more details of our daily life, my youtube channel is the best place to look. Meanwhile, wisteria:

Youtube videos of late:

Eating on the deck with Adam:

Knitting a mitred square blanket:

A day at the beach alone:

Creativity as mental health:

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

I've Been Remiss --

 It's certainly time for a blog post! We've been busy, and I'm sorry to say much of it has been the drudgery of doctor appointments. However, we are so thankful for healthcare, aren't we?

This stunning sunrise greeted me one morning ... Sunday, I think. No one else was awake; no one drove by on the road.

Adam and I are trying hard to be healthier. His health is very complicated with so, so many medications with various side effects. It's nearly a part-time job to keep up with his health, poor fellow! Diet plays a big part.

I'm eating his healthy, nuts-and-bolts bread for breakfast, farm-fresh eggs, and avocado. Pretty yummy!

He made this for lunch: red pepper stuffed with chicken and Mexican rice, and a kale salad.
And this: "sliders" (mini-burgers) and that same Mexican rice. The burgers are steamed over a bed of sauteed onions, topped with cheese, and then a smear of mustard.
Here's a recent photo of adorable Ellie Kate, our newest grandbaby!
I know!! Those EYES!

I'm painting quite a lot. Roses:

Apple blossoms:
Finally I am cracking and picking the pecans I gathered in the fall. They needed to cure, but it's past time to get them into the freezer!

Adam and I spent several good mornings in the veggie garden, which I had rather given up as a lost cause. We did no weeding last summer ... and you can just imagine the carnage! But he is ready to get back outside and gradually build some stamina. Together we cleared the strawberry bed, put in new (well, transplanted from elsewhere) strawberry plants (lots of them!), cleared the asparagus bed, cleared the bed for sweet peas and lettuce. That was a huge start. I wish I had a photo! I would go TAKE a photo for you, but it's raining steadily outside and has been doing so all day and last night. This is a blessing; we've been quite dry, and all those new plants need moisture. 

I'm so very busy with my little side business -- making soaps, shampoo bars, painting cards, filling and mailing orders, contacting customers. I desperately want to get back to spinning and weaving, but there's no time (yet). I am still knitting that slow blanket.

Not very elegant looking! This is just the first row. We'll see if it looks pretty ... or looks jakey! At least it keeps my hands busy.

Let me see if there are any new youtube videos to share ...

This was a lovely day trip with two friends:

This is more soap-making:

And this is just an ordinary day of various little activities. Not sure why I thought that would interest viewers!
Much love to all of you in blog land. Stay healthy, stay hopeful, and I'll give you the MOST helpful advice I've heard in several years: Go get a therapist if you need one! It's past time for anybody to be embarrassed about going to a therapist, like we used to be embarrassed about going to the gynecologist 40 years ago. We must all attend to our mental health, and as with all health, sometimes we need a little professional help. That's my pitch for the day 😀

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Home Comforts

 Adam missed me when I was gone. He keeps telling me so. He makes me delicious brown bread for my breakfast toast.

For lunch he made tortellini and Kaiser buns.

I, in turn, mended his favorite mask by shortening the elastics.
I packaged some lavender soap today too.
We have daffodils blooming now -- hooray! I look forward to this each year, a true start of spring and all the new, fresh beginnings for all of us.
Adam is weeding out parts of our veggie garden, starting with the strawberry bed. There ARE strawberry plants in there, I promise! About ten of them. 
He's also working on the asparagus bed, and then will clear out my pea bed. Lettuce will go next to the strawberries. It's a struggle because he's been pretty inactive since last spring, while he was ill. He is still having some health issues -- medication and peripheral issues -- but he wants to get back outside.

I've started a long knitting project, a blanket. The pattern is called a "mitered square" blanket. I found it at a youtube channel that I like, and thought, "I can do that!" I'll share more about it in a youtube video soon, but here it is so far:

My sprained knee is much better, and life is stumbling along as usual -- I won't pretend that it's all easy sailing! But we are getting along, just like you are, I hope. 😀  Adam is a lobbyist/advocate volunteer for people with Rare Diseases in North Carolina right now, and he hears about the most harrowing illnesses that some people have, much worse than his own. It is a reminder to be thankful for each normal day, no matter how many things go wrong. 
Ah, pancakes. Those are strawberries from our garden last summer, frozen all through the pandemic. They slept peacefully in the deep freeze and came out for this delicious appearance, haha.

Tomorrow I go off for a day jaunt with two friends to a rural area renowned for good bird-watching. Mostly, it'll be a fun day out with two ladies I enjoy very much. I'll tell you about it next time!

I'll end with some cards I painted in recent days, and maybe a youtube link or two to my latest videos. Thanks for coming by for a chat, friend. Take care of yourself.

In which I admit to making a daunting To-Do List:

In which I tackle Item #1 on that list!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Understanding the Sacred

Three little recent events have synced in my mind now and formed an idea.

1. Many political people said that the Capitol building was "desecrated" during the Jan. 6 riot.

2. A friend, who posts stunning sunrise photos, asked if an unimpressive sunrise was any less holy than a glowing, orange one.

3. The daughter of the maker of the Lombardi trophy (Super Bowl) is upset that Tom Brady lightly tossed the trophy from his boat to another boat (quite close by), to his tight end. She wants an apology for the distress Brady caused by not properly respecting the trophy.

We long for sacred things in our lives -- a building, a sunrise, a trophy. What does "sacred" mean? Technically, it means the same as "holy" -- a term for something set apart for God, for use in His worship, His purpose, His will. Only something that is first set apart for God -- consecrated to Him -- can then be desecrated.

We can disagree about what is sacred, but not about what "sacred" means. It doesn't mean "beautiful," so my sunrise-photo friend can safely say that an unimpressive sunrise (is there such?) is as holy as the most beautiful one. In the Old Testament system, only the most pure, unblemished, perfectly-made things were dedicated to God's use -- kind of. God chose Israel, of all nations the most difficult, rebellious, complaining, and disobedient -- very imperfect. So He described them. In the end, it seems nothing is truly worthy of the term "sacred" except Jesus Christ Himself, and even He was humbled and made very low, given a fallen human body, before His sacrifice of Himself. He is holy. He was dedicated to God, and also perfectly pure.

We are told to be holy as He is. I struggle to wrap my mind around that.

Every time someone said that the Capitol building was desecrated, I twitched a little in discomfort. I agree wholeheartedly that we should treat such a building with deep respect and protection. But I don't believe it's sacred. It is set apart for a special use, yes, but not a spiritual one. The Capitol is for temporal, political use, not eternal, spiritual use. The same would go for the trophy, of course. Just because we greatly value something doesn't make it sacred, not even "sacred to me." There is no such thing. By definition, things are sacred to God.

The sunrises, however, I'm willing to consider as sacred, made by God, delighted in by Him, and used for His purposes. I wouldn't argue with that one.

Perhaps one of our greatest struggles now is misapplying that term, slapping "sacred" on anything we value. Forgetting God. Forgetting that we are asked to dedicate things to Him, in life -- taking something we value and cherish, and handing it over to Him for His use. If we consider something sacred, we must sacrifice it. Instead, we've generally twisted that idea, loving something and dedicating it to ourselves (as if we were God), and jealously attacking anybody who dares to lay a finger on it. I consider this kind of thinking as blasphemy.

I have decided on this position as I'm typing, which is rather scary. But I think it's true. I need to ask myself: When's the last time I took something I loved and said to God, "Here. This is for You. Not for me. Do with it as you wish; it's dedicated to You and no one else. I take my hands off."?

Which is, of course, what we are supposed to do with ourselves, with our lives. Maybe that's what Jesus meant when He said, "Be holy as I am holy." 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

My Go-Home To-Do List:

Being away from home has put a bee in my bonnet to accomplish some long-overdue tasks when I do return home. To hold myself accountable, I'm making a list! Here it is, thus far:

Improve the silverware drawers
Refinish the little bathroom table
Paint the kitchen ceiling on the edges
Clean up the front porch -- this is several days' worth of work
New curtains for the dining room
Hem the dining room sheer
New blinds for the bedroom
Get rid of the bed frame
Clean off back porch near doorway
Price a new mini-dryer
Paint my studio
Paint the shutters (I'm scared of this one.)
Find a new headboard for our bed

I'll make a youtube video also, so I can tell myself, in no uncertain terms, to get after it! When I'm home, I sit around looking at the tasks to be done, and struggle to motivate myself. But away from home? I have all the motivation in the world! 

What has inspired me? Stephanie Jarvis, at Chateau de Lalande in France. She has a youtube channel (a sheer delight!) called Chateau Diaries. I'll put one video below for anyone who might be interested. If she can restore an entire chateau the size of a small village, I can certainly make a few needed improvements to my tiny house!
I'll be adding to my list ... I think ... as I remember other jobs that need doing. Y'all -- keep my nose to the grind stone!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Early Morning in Mississippi

 Good morning. I'm still in Mississippi. Little Ellie Kate had a harder time than we expected, and she's up in Memphis at a NICU in a children's hospital for a bit. She has fluctuating bilirubin, and the doctors are evaluating that. 

Having a sick baby is very hard on parents. Anna was our sick baby, and the stress puts you "through the roof" in a way that other worries just don't. So these young parents are juggling lots of things right now, and Nana is still here to help. I'm holding down the fort with Isaac and enjoying that so much! I didn't expect to have this much time with him by myself, but it's delightful to start building that grandbaby/grandmother bond.

We listen to a lot of classical music. He especially likes live performances where he can watch the conductor waving his arms and the players with their fascinating instruments. We go on walks every day that the weather allows. It's so cold and wet right now! We play with toys and do tickle games, bath time, lots of yummy meals, and reading with Teddy, his favorite friend. We watch little videos of Mommy and Daddy with Ellie Kate, so he knows her when she comes home.

We spend so much of life feeling torn between two things. Between this person and that person, this side and that side, home and work, youth and age -- the list goes on. I love time with Isaac, but I long to be home. That's part of living, and having two places that you love so much is a blessing, is it not? 
I've been a grandmother for a while now, but I've never felt so much like a grandmother as I do now. It feels right: the achy back, the wrinkly skin, the old hands, the sleeping in a strange twin bed in a baby's room. It's all part of it, and I feel so privileged that God has given me this. 

Blessings to all of you out there in blogland!
He loves popcorn! Yay!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Far Away From Home

 I'm over here, a stone's throw from the Mississippi River. Mississippi feels vaguely familiar still - a memory of a home -- but it's not home anymore. Still, I'm enjoying my time here so much. The pandemic makes it so that I pretty much stay in the house, a comfortable place for us introverts. 

On my way to Mississippi, I stopped in Tennessee to see another sweet grandbaby boy who I had not yet seen (because of the pandemic). I spent a whole DAY with him myself, and what a dear, precious blessing he is. This is John:

He is just as sweet and even-tempered as he can be. Don't you love that little shirt they bought for him? (MELT....)

Anna had her baby this weekend, little Ellie Kate. We are all pleased as punch! She has a head full of very dark brown hair like her mommy did all those years ago. She needed a little extra time in the nursery at first, but is coming along nicely. Right now I'm at home with Isaac by myself because Gramm is not allowed to go in-and-out at the hospital, of course. Covid makes everything just that little bit more difficult!

I've been cooking like mad, and I'll throw those photos in here somewhere. I spend hours playing with Isaac, or watching him entertain himself with his toys, which he is masterful at. He's a good sleeper, a good eater, a good player, a generally happy little boy -- just like John! I'm so thankful to have this time with them, real one-on-one time. They won't remember this particular visit, but it still goes into the whole pot of soup that will be our relationship. They will remember me each time they sees me, and at some point they won't remember life without me. Isn't it supposed to be thus, with a grandmother?

We've gone on several walks with Isaac. (I walk; he's in the stroller.) That always calms him down. He loves the outdoors. He loves objects, handling them, figuring out how they work. He concentrates well. 

I've cooked: beef stew, chicken and dumplings, spaghetti, chicken and rice (twice), Clementine Chicken, chocolate chip cookies, and peanut butter cookies. 

And lest I forget, Anna and Gramm have a gorgeous rag doll cat, Chauncey.

I don't know when I'll go back home. Nanas stay where they are needed 😀 Blessings to all you dear friends out in blog land. Keep heart! Stay safe and keep hope in your hearts.