Sunday, December 29, 2019

Weekend Words

Psalm 96:1  "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth."

I knew the Eva Cassidy version, but in searching on YouTube I came across this one.  Audrey is a new to me voice, and I love the images with this...

I've been considering a Bible verse to take into 2020 and decided on this one:

Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me."

I mostly use the NKJV.  Some other versions use the word right or resolute or faithful, rather than steadfast, but I like the word steadfast (def: resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering). 
 That is the sort of spirit I would like to have regarding my Christian walk.

Do you have a Bible verse for 2020?


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

So...this is Christmas?!?!

Another year almost over.  I'm not sure what I did, but I seem to have no trouble filling the days.  I hope 2019 has been a good year for you, and 2020 will be even better.

I did not decorate this year, the house or a tree.  So I am stealing Natasha's house...

I managed to get the family to send me recent photos.  Not an easy task when they are spread far and wide.  

From Canberra...
Jefferson, Rafe, (Santa), Anushka, Jaya

And Adelaide...
Hayley, Hazel, Ben

 On the Vermont ski fields...
Patrick, Zak, Dylan, Natasha, Oliver

And back in Tassie Land...
Marnie and Denver

I hope you all get to spend some quality time with those you love.  

No family around?  Then invite a friend to share some Christmas cheer with you. 

No friends?  Then go out and be a friend to some else who is alone.

No excuse to be alone at Christmas unless you want to.  And that is fine too.  A good time to rest, relax and reflect. On the past year, and expectations for the coming one...

And this morning, this popped into my email box. Stephanie has written a beautiful post.  So if you are looking for something to reflect on, try this...

069: When Christmas Is More Broken Than Merry

I stepped up to the counter as Jenica slid a shoebox toward the Kohl’s cashier. The lady smiled, a quick, automatic reflex, as she greeted us. “How are you this evening?” she asked.

What popped into my head wasn’t the right thing to say, not to a stranger whose job was to give us a pleasant shopping experience. She didn’t need to know that five minutes ago I had leaped to catch my daughter as a seizure took her down. I lowered Tarica to the floor and held her as she convulsed next to a display of Christmas sweaters, while a man and woman on the other side of the display loudly debated what gifts they still needed to buy. What was I going to say—that even though department store speakers were belting out lines about the weary world rejoicing, my own world felt broken?

“Fine,” I said. “And you?” I tried to ask as if I cared about her answer, but a week later, I don’t recall what she said. It was a polite, forgettable exchange.

Forgettable, except for this: It has become my metaphor for a Christmas that feels more broken than merry.

I play Christmas music. I help Jenica make the Christmas fudge that I used to stir up by myself. I belt out lines about the weary world rejoicing. I ask friends about their Christmas plans and brace myself for ours. I pull out recipes for food that appears on our table only during this season. I tell strangers that I’m fine and wish them a merry Christmas.

That’s one part of my Christmas.

I count seizures. I struggle to parent one child on four drugs and three children who act like they aren’t getting enough attention. I contact Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and make a January 10 appointment with their epilepsy specialist, calling it a second opinion even though I know it likely means more than that. I raise my—I lose my—I yell at my boys when they trash the living room during the seven-and-a-half minutes I’m upstairs. I tell strangers that I’m fine and wish them a merry Christmas.

That’s another part of my Christmas.

The contrast knocks me off balance. How can there be peace on earth when I live afraid? How can I sing about a “thrill of hope” when I’m fighting off despair? What does Christmas mean when I’m broken?

But wait.

I forgot.

We are the ones who have wrapped Christmas in merry and bright. We have collected exultant Christmas hymns and carols but failed to remember that we are not angels. In loading our tables with goodness, we have forgotten that this goodness is not guaranteed to us.

In the years when peace reigned inside and out, I have rejoiced in the scents and songs of the season. But when the trappings of Christmas, the human-made additions to our great joy, clash with an internal discord, I don’t know how to celebrate. When everyone is in such good spirits and I am not, I feel worse, not better.

But. He is the Light come to those who sit in darkness. Merry and bright isn’t wrong, but neither is it Christmas. He is. If I can’t celebrate with the intensity our culture demands, that doesn’t mean I’m rejecting Him. I can still celebrate His first coming, perhaps as quietly as He arrived.

Christmas isn’t for the merry. Christmas is for the broken. If we hadn’t needed something more than what we have, Christmas never would have come.

I share a piece of my story because this is the only story I have the right to share. But I know so many people right now who are grappling with a reality that contrasts harshly with the joy of Christmas. A baby in Jesus’ arms instead of snugly tucked inside his nine-month home. A family saying a long goodbye to a husband, father, and grandfather. Health issues that complicate a friend’s daily life. A godly man ravaged by cancer. A marriage torn apart. A family celebrating their first Christmas without their father. Loved ones turning their backs on God and embracing bitterness. When will the pain end?

For those who aren’t sure how to celebrate, I write this. You may have more tears than laughter this season. You may be more weary than rejoicing. You may be sitting in darkness.

The Light has come for you. He does not need you to be merry, but He does want your heart, even when—especially when—it is weary and broken.

Be happy!
Count your blessings!
Enjoy what you have!

Joy to the world...


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Weekend Words

Lo, in the silent night
A child to God is born
And all is brought again
That ere was lost or lorn.

Could but thy soul, O man,
Become a silent night!
God would be born in thee
And set all things aright.

15th Century

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Catching up. Again.

Have been laid low with migraines and headaches due to this hot, windy weather.  Needless to say, summer is not my favourite season...
but this little corner of my garden is looking pretty

Here's a bit of a catch up from the last week...

Finished one lap blanket for Wheelchairs for Kids...
 and started a second

One more square to go, and a bit of rearranging, then to sew it up...

Browsed my bookshelves for something to read and decided on this one...

Cooking stir fries...

And turkey and vegetable soup...
I've also made a carrot cake and date scones...and eaten them :)

Still getting out for my morning walks when heat and headaches permit.  Some recent photos...

Denver had his school leaver's dinner last night.  We went for a few photos before they headed off on the bus to their mystery location...
Marnie, Denver, me

And this morning...the large garden bed of red roses at the river is in full bloom...

Will leave you with this quote I read recently by George Eliot...

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns"

My sentiments exactly!!!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Weekend Words

O Holy Night is my favourite Christmas song, and I particularly like the version by Josh Groban.
But I came across this one, and rather than wait till the weekend before Christmas to post it, I am doing so now, as it is very thought provoking...

What can you do for someone this Christmas?


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Weekend Words

Children's Choir

Tonight I heard some children sing,
And Jesus Christ was praised.
I'm sure it blessed the Lord to hear
The joyful noise they raised.
So sweet and dear, all dressed in white,
Their songs have struck a chord
Within my heart, and now I hope
I'm singing to the Lord.

Oh, may my heart pick up the strain,
And sing their humble verse.
And may I learn their simple trust,
That shall all doubt disperse.
The melody of love they sing,
The harmony of praise,
The lyrics of forgiveness,
May I sing it all my days.

I long to bow at Jesus' feet
Along with saints of old,
And sing with them and children sweet
Upon the streets of gold.
I long with them to raise my voice,
With hearts of love to sing 
Our grateful praises to our God,
And Jesus Christ our King.

(Lyndon Christner)

white winter wonderland outside Natasha's Connecticut kitchen window

Friday, December 6, 2019

December Yarn Along

It's Yarn Along time again, but Ginny hasn't put the link up yet, so I will go ahead and publish my post anyway, and add the link when it goes up.

This blanket I was working on in last month's post is finally finished...

Finished reading The Last Runaway and really enjoyed it.  Might search out some more of her books...
and working on  this month's Knit 4 Charities request.  Lap blankets for Wheelchairs for Kids

A selection of books and music I like to read and listen to at this time of year...

And your nature shot...
at the river this morning

Here in Tasmania we have snow on the mountains and cold, gale force winds at the moment. 
 And this is summer! 

 On the mainland they are having drought, high temperatures and horrific bushfires.  
And this is Global Warming!!

Stay safe wherever you are.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

Weekend Words

My Diary - 1883 - Sarah Jane S.

November 21 - Pa came home this morning with prairie chickens for dinner tomorrow.  Ma said we will have a feast.  She started cooking yesterday and Pa said he couldn't stack wood as fast as Ma could use it.  We are going to have lots of company.  Mr and Mrs Logan and Charity are coming.  Ma says Mrs Logan makes the best cream layer cake ever.  Mr Turner and Harriet and Hiram are coming.  Pa said Mr Turner had a ham to bring.  I hope they bring their checker game.  I have to get up early tomorrow to help Ma with the rolls for dinner.

November 23 - We had a good Thanksgiving.  I wish Aunt Ivy and Uncle Henry and Gramma and Granpa could have come.  Then it would have been perfect.  All the food was so good.  Pa read from the Bible a long time and I was so hungry and I could smell food.  Pa and Mr Turner and Mr Logan went outside after dinner.  Ma and Mrs Logan washed up the dishes, so I played checkers with Hiram.  I would have won but Molly grabbed the checkers and we couldn't remember where to put them.  I sat on Pa's lap when he played checkers with Mr Turner and Pa won.  Mr Logan started singing.  He knows so many songs.  I wish I could remember some of them.  When we were singing Muffie ate some of the chicken.  I was afraid Ma would smack her but she just laughed and said it was Thanksgiving for cats too.  I am sorry Thanksgiving is over but Christmas is coming.

(From the Prairie - A Child's Memories by Joan Vibert and Linda Brannock)

Friday, November 22, 2019

Catching up

Finished my sweater, and worn it once, but it might need to be put away till next autumn/winter now as the days are certainly getting warmer...
 A skirt and book from the op shop.  I've read and enjoyed the book by Patsy Clairmont.  

 Working on my autumn colours granny blanket...
 And reading another op shop find: The Last Runaway.  About Quakers, slaves and quilts.  Unfortunately she has added the standard 'love story', almost ruining a good book :)

Finally have all 80 squares in this blanket sewn together and am working on some border rows...
While dipping in to this one from my bookshelf: Amish Front Porch Stories.  Delightful, uplifting, short stories.

And in the kitchen...
 sprouting seeds

cooking vegies

baking jam drops

And there is always the garden: mowing, weeding, watering, pruning...

But made time last week for an outing to Devonport...

To enjoy fish and chips from the lookout...

Busy Days!!


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Weekend Words

Thinking Positive Thoughts

...Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honourable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things (fix your minds on them).  Philippians 4:8

If you want to improve your life, one of the first things you can do is improve your thoughts.  There is tremendous power that comes when we choose to be positive people...  

Having a positive mind-set and attitude does not mean you are not facing reality or ignoring real problems.  It simply means that you are agreeing with the Word of God and dwelling on God's promises rather than the negative, depressing things of the world.

Notice that throughout His life Jesus endured tremendous difficulties, including personal attacks, and yet He remained positive.  He always had an uplifting comment, an encouraging word.  He always gave hope to those He came near.  We can follow that example today.  When we choose a positive outlook, maintain positive expectations, and engage in positive conversations, we are following the example Jesus gave us...

Your life will follow the direction of your thoughts.

(Closer to God Each Day - Joyce Meyer)

sunset in Canberra (from Jefferson)

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Weekend Words

Take time to Listen

In the morning you hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].  Psalm 5:3

In order to hear the voice of God, it is necessary to find times just to be still.  This is an important part of living in close fellowship with God.  It is how you recognise God's leading in your life.  A busy, hurried, frantic, stressful lifestyle makes it very challenging to hear the Lord.

If you are hungry to perceive God's voice, find a place to get quiet before Him.  Get alone with Him and tell Him that you need Him and want Him to teach you how to receive His guidance and direction.  Ask Him to tell you what He has for your life and what He wants you to do that day.

And then I encourage you to do this: Take time to listen.

Even if you don't feel an immediate prompting in your spirit, God promises that if you seek Him, you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). You will get a word from God.  He will lead you by an inner knowing, by common sense, by wisdom, or by peace.  And each time, however He leads you, His leading will always line up with His word.

I have found that God doesn't always speak to us right away or necessarily during our prayer time.  He may end up speaking to you two days later while you are in the middle of doing something completely unrelated.  Though it may not be in our timing, God will speak to us and let us know the way we should go.

(Joyce Meyer - Closer to God Each Day Devotional)

Friday, November 8, 2019

November Yarn Along

Joining Yarn Along again this month.

This granny blanket finished...

Still sewing together these squares...
Three top rows done.  So many ends to weave in!!!

Working on an 'autumn' (even though it's spring here) blanket, and almost finished A View from the Buggy...
 Such a delightful read!  
Short (2 or 3 pages), varied, true stories from 'real' Amish folk

My sweater is almost done.  Just finishing off the second sleeve...
And these two books came in the mail today: Wilderness Essays, and One More River...  (which I will start tonight).  Even if I never read them I could be content to just gaze at the covers :)

And your nature fix...
After the rain.  At the river this morning

Reading, knitting, crocheting, walking...

A blessed life!


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Weekend Words

"But I want first of all ... to be at peace with myself.  I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.  I want, in fact - to borrow from the language of the saints - to live 'in grace' as much of the time as possible.  I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense.  By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony.  I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, 'May the outward and inward man be at one.'  I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.

Vague as this definition may be, I believe most people are aware of periods in their lives when they seem to be 'in grace' and other periods when they feel 'out of grace', even though they may use different words to describe these states.  In the first happy condition, one seems to carry all one's tasks before one lightly, as if borne along on a great tide; and in the opposite state one can hardly tie a shoe-string.  It is true that a large part of life consists in learning a technique of tying the shoe-string, whether one is in grace or not.  But there are techniques of living too; there are even techniques in the search for grace.  And techniques can be cultivated.  I have learnt by some experiences, by many examples, and by the writings of countless others before me, also occupied in the search, that certain environments, certain modes of life, certain rules of conduct are more conducive to inner and outer harmony than others.  There are, in fact, certain roads that one may follow.  Simplification of life is one of them."

(Gift From the Sea - Anne Morrow Lindberg - p29)

Monday, October 28, 2019

Another week

Marnie and I had a day trip to Wynyard (and the sea) last week...
 Fossil Bluff beach

from Table Cape lookout

Bought fish and chips at the wharf for our lunch...
Inglis River

And on the home front...

Tried a new fruit cake recipe.  It's good, but next time I will add more fruit and spices...
tea and fruit cake anyone??

Working on the border rows on this blanket...
and picked up this lovely Herbs book at the op shop for $1

Have laid out the squares for this blanket I started last year.  Need to sew it up now...
just as well I have a large lounge room because my crochet projects invariably end up on the floor

My next project is an autumn toned crocheted blanket...
which colour co-ordinates beautifully with my new book that I'm eager to get started on

And sunrise from my kitchen window this morning...

Hoping your day brings you some unexpected pleasures!