Thursday, January 30, 2020

This week I've been...

Knitting beanies for charity and watching Goodnight Mr Tom...
the blue/grey one on the right I made for myself

This is the pattern I'm using.  Very quick, easy, and stretchy, to fit all head sizes :)


Using 2 strand of 8ply yarn together.
With 7mm needles, cast on 70 stitches.
Work in k2, p2 rib for 20 cms.

Shape Crown:

Row 1: K2, *P2tog, K2, repeat from * to end (53 sts)
Row 2: P2, *K1, P2, repeat from * to end
Row 3: K2, *P1, K2, repeat from * to end
Row 4: As Row 2
Row 5: K2tog, *P1, K2 tog. repeat from * to end (35 sts)
Row 6: P1, K1, to end
Row 7: K1, P1, to end
Row 8: As Row 6
Row 9: K1, *K2 tog, repeat from * to end (18 sts)
Row 10: P2tog, repeat to end (9 sts)

Cut off yarn leaving a long tail. Run tail through remaining sts, draw up tightly and secure. Sew up seam.

Pulled these Land Girls DVDs off the shelf, and might start watching an episode of an evening after the news while I knit.  Only have Series 1 and 2, but I'm sure I'll have had enough of it by then anyway.  I do like shows set in 40s, 50s and 60s.  And prefer British to American.  Nothing personal :)

Shows like Heartbeat, Inspector George Gently, Home Fires Foyle's War...

Baking jam drop cookies...

Enjoying my breakfast...
quinoa, buckwheat, stewed apple/rhubarb, peaches, banana, blueberries, goat yoghurt

Browsing the latest Victoria magazine and this article on Moments of Solitude...

And this quote: 

"When I am all alone envy me most, then my thoughts flutter round me in a glimmering host."

She is a poet I had not heard of, but have googled some of her work and like it.

Working in the back garden jungle when it's not too hot...

I was watering the front garden early this morning, and looked up under my front porch and saw three pairs of eyes staring at me...

I don't think they were too impressed because I had removed a nest (which was empty) a couple of weeks ago.  They had build it right above my front door and the mess was not very welcoming.
 I confess I was tempted to leave it, to discourage visitors :))

And a couple of early morning reflections taken yesterday...
sunrise from my kitchen window

from the riverbank

And as it's too hot to venture out (Oh winter, where art thou?), I am going to sit and knit.


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Weekend Word

From one of the devotional books I am using this year: Hearing from God Each Morning - Joyce Meyer

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God..."

Talking has always come easily to me, but I have had to learn to listen.  I once felt my husband did not want to spend time sitting and talking together, so I told him we needed to talk more.  He responded, "Joyce, we don't talk.  You talk and I listen."  He was right, and I needed to change if I expected him to want to spend time with me.

 I soon discovered that I treated God the same way as I treated Dave.  I did the talking and expected Him to listen.  I complained that I never heard from God, but the truth is that I never took time to listen to Him.  The verse for today teaches us to be still, and know that God is God.  Many of us find being still difficult to do because our flesh likes to be busy and active doing things, but we must learn to spend time alone and to be still if we want to hear God's voice.

For many people, listening is an ability that must be developed and practiced.  Sometimes this means sitting quietly in God's presence without saying anything.  We should practice listening!  One way to do this is to ask God if there is anyone He wants you to encourage or bless - and then be still and listen.  You will be surprised at how quickly He responds by placing someone on your heart.  He may give you specific things you can do to encourage them.  As we listen for God's direction He gives us creative ideas that perhaps we have never considered.  Take time to be still and listen carefully to Him and then be obedient and do what He shows you to do.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Another week...almost

Nearly to the end of another week.  And another month.  Time flies when you are having fun.  Or busy.  Or both.

A sunrise one morning this week...

When I was in the op shop (Vinnies) the other day, I picked up this unfinished English piecing, with the extra bits to finish it off included. Someone has done a lot of work (all by hand).  It will make a lovely table runner.  Just have to finish it...

And also these two books to go on the shelf...
remember...second hand is allowed :)

Knitting beanies for charity.  They wanted plain colours...
 but I got a bit sick of that, so am doing some variegated ones.  I'm sure there will be a charity down the track who will be in need of them.

I finished my grey cowl, and am reading The Orchardist's Daughter (from the library)...

Yes...I know.  I said I wasn't going to use the library for awhile, but it was sort of forced upon me.  I had to go to Devonport with Marnie yesterday, and while she was in her hour long appointment I needed to fill in time.  So I wander around the Devonport library.  It is much bigger than our little Deloraine library, and I came across this book, set in Tasmania.
Although I will not read  Australian rural romance novels,  I do enjoy books set in Tasmania.  Hopefully this will not turn out to be 'just another romance novel'. So far so good, and I love the setting (southern Tasmania, mountains, rivers, forests, the sea).  

Another good Tasmanian book I read a couple of years ago was The Better Son.  
Tasmania is such a unique place.  
Oh (while I'm on the subject), these short stories set in Cradle Mountain: Floundering by Jillian Brady.  are also very good. 

 Anyway...that's how I came to be reading a library book :)

And after nearly 2 inches/50ml of rain a couple of days ago...
the water at the spillway is back to a respectable level

Au revoir pour l'instant mes amis!


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Weekend Words

Here is another post from Stephanie.  She writes beautifully and is in need of prayer.  So, if you feel inclined, please read and pray...

070: A Mountain as High as Heaven

On the last Sunday of 2019, I sat in a church not my own and listened to a preacher I had not heard before. But God found me there, a stranger in a strange land, and gave me the nearest thing to a vision I’ve ever had. He knew I would need it.

The preacher said—in my own words—that prayer is an essential work of the church even the least of us can do. He moved on to another point, but I didn’t go with him. Instead, I saw—as clearly as if I were standing beside it—an enormous mountain made of Bible-sized stones. Beside the mountain was a pile of dirt, maybe the size of a garden shed owned by a disinterested gardener. People carrying more stones kept walking up to the mountain and adding their stones to it. With each new stone, the mountain grew a little taller.

I knew instantly that pile of dirt was epilepsy and the mountain was prayer. Each time someone prayed, be it me or Linford or anyone else, the mountain grew higher and the dirt pile grew comparatively smaller.

Not that the dirt ever disappeared. Not that it ever turned into gold. There was no analogy here about dirt becoming a rich bed where flowers bloomed. Nothing would make the dirt pile beautiful.

But prayer can be taller and wider and deeper than epilepsy.

I shared this scene with a friend’s mother, who is herself becoming a friend and watching her husband drift toward eternity. No one can turn this tide for them.

When I was finished describing the scene, she said, “You know what I saw when you were talking? I saw those stones becoming a stair that went up to touch the heart of God.” A stair of prayer, built by His people, on behalf of the suffering.

Prayer feels like such a small thing, a mere pebble sloshing about in an ocean of tears. But together, the people of God can construct a mountain or build a stair that reaches to heaven. Prayer is a united effort, you on your knees and me on mine, or words whispered in the night watches and wept into the dishwater. We do Kingdom work when we pray, even though often it feels we toil alone.

I knew the importance of prayer, but this scene showed me how much others have worked on our behalf. Even as life dumped epilepsy on us, God’s people had built a beautiful mountain of prayer that dwarfed the pile.

I have returned to that scene over and over again this past week.

As 2019 turned into 2020, a switch flipped in Tarica’s brain. On January 2, she had 15 small seizures in 30 minutes at school. We started seeing a new seizure type, longer and harder than usual. On Saturday, we counted 15 seizures, and on Sunday, 12 seizures in 12 hours.

On Monday, she was admitted to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to be put on a massive dose of drugs by IV. If the once-an-hour seizure pattern could be broken, it was hoped her regular drugs could grab hold and gain some control. When IV meds didn’t work, she was transferred to the ICU for a drug infusion that needed to be done while she was closely monitored. The initial dose made her nearly comatose, which is dangerous without a breathing tube, so they halved it. She regained consciousness and promptly restarted seizing. They put her on a three-quarter dose, and she became comatose again. There was no sweet spot in the middle for her.

On Thursday morning, the doctors came in and said they could do nothing more for her. Short of inserting a breathing tube and sedating her, a procedure with many risks, we had no more options. She had created a new baseline, a new normal—one seizure an hour. And her brain wasn’t budging.

Linford and I have been praying for God’s guidance as we consider the next step for Tarica. We believed it would be reasonable to seek a second opinion at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Not because we had a problem with Pittsburgh—far from it. We simply wanted a new perspective. Our appointment was on Friday, January 10.

Instead, she spent the week of that Friday in a children’s hospital on the opposite side of the state. Any other week would have held little significance. Why this one? The door we thought was opening in the east had swung ajar in the west.

Tarica will return to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on March 2 to start the surgery process. Nearly five years have passed since our first attempt at surgery, and in that time, neurosurgery technology has leaped forward. I’ll explain more some other time, when my eyes aren’t so gritty from crying, except to say that there is now a robot involved, although it will be programmed and guided by the aptly named neurosurgeon, Dr. Abel.

The week could feel like a waste, but it has clarified how truly drug-resistant her seizures are. It aborted our move toward Philadelphia. It made our path forward clear. After Linford and I said yes to surgery, we felt such peace, even as she seized beside us. I wish I could have bottled that sensation to drink of deeply in the ICU when I realized we would be going home as we had come, with perhaps two months of continual seizures ahead of us.

But even surgery offers us no guarantees. It may not work. It may be too dangerous to touch the area of her brain from which the seizures spark. Nobody is making us any promises these days.

Except God—and we cling to His.

This week, we have been well-prayed for. Our mountain towers over us, and from it flows living water. But it also looks like our dirt pile has grown. I do not know how we are going to live like this, nearly every waking hour marked by a seizure. I come begging: Will you pray for us? Please help us build this mountain up to heaven, to touch the heart of God.

And please, I know you care, but I can’t handle suggestions for alternative treatments right now. We are not deliberately ignoring some miracle cure and most likely know about the one you think might work. She is in the care of doctors who consider many possible treatments, not only the traditional ones. If you believe we might benefit from a different approach, ask our Lord to make that clear to us in His own time.

In the last few weeks, there have been a number of new subscribers. One disadvantage to email over a blog is that new readers can’t flip through recent posts. Here are links to the last few emails.

069: When Christmas Is More Broken Than Merry
068: A Brokenhearted Summer
067: Saplings in a Hurricane

I'm shocked to see how little I have written for Serendipity in 2019. Last year was full of seizures and the many ways we tried to stop them. At times, I resent how wholly epilepsy consumes both her and us. It has upended our lives and broken our hearts.

What has upended your life? If you share with me the story of your dirt pile, I promise I will help add to your mountain. I cannot promise I'll reply, but I will pray for you. Prayer is taller and wider and deeper than the things that break our hearts.

Her website is HERE if you would like to sign up to receive her 'posts' via email.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Then and Now

This was then...
knitting a cowl with some hand spun and dyed merino yarn, 
and my bedtime read is My Amish Childhood

In the garden...
the beans are up

On my walk...
the roses are blooming

And here's another beauty...
my youngest grandson Jaya

We have quite a bit of smoke around from the fires on the mainland...
the water at the spillway is quite low

This is Now...
finished the cowl, and enjoyed knitting it so much that I am making another one

And the baby blankets I've been crocheting for charity (ICU at a Sydney hospital) are finished...
and will be mailed off at the end of the month

I hope your week is going well, and you find some beauty in your day!


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Weekend Words

This  year, one of the devotionals I am using is A Year's Journey with God - Jennifer Rees Larcombe.  This is the entry for 1st January 2020...

Doing it with Jesus

Forgetting what is behind, and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

How are you feeling about stepping out into this New Year?  Perhaps you're 'straining towards what is ahead' like an Olympic sprinter, full of hope and confidence?  Or you could be limping up to the start, exhausted by Christmas and crippled by endless problems.  You might even be hanging back, dreading some of the forthcoming events in your brand-new dairy, or unable to face life without someone you have recently lost.

As I was writing that, an email popped into my inbox from my friend in Australia.  She finished by saying, 'Oh well, here's another year to do with Jesus.'  I like that!  Feels like a large injection of faith.

We've got to 'do' this year, however we feel about its shadowy uncertainties, and it is uncertain for all of us - even if we've planned it out to the last detail.  Life on this planet is always unpredictbale.  Yet one thing is rock solid sure: we don't have to face the future alone; we can 'do it with Jesus'.

His promise to us rings out like a glorious peal of church bells, ringing in the New Year: 'Do not be afraid...for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you' (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Thank you, Lord, that nothing is going to happen this year that you and I can't handle together.  Amen.

I had another hymn chosen, but then at church this morning we sang this as our closing song, and it was so uplifting that I thought I'd share it instead.  And the photos are beautiful too!

And the photo in the song with the rainbow is over The Nut at Stanley, Tasmania.  If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I love that place :)

Have a blessed week!


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Starting another year

A few random thoughts and photos...

I have finished one baby blanket and almost done with the second.  I should get another one crocheted before they have to be mailed off at the end of the month.  They are only small (50cm x 50cm) so quick to make.  For RPA Little Wonders (intensive care unit for newborn babies at a large Sydney hospital)...

And these ones I was working on last month for Wheelchairs for Kids have been mailed off...

I'm setting myself a challenge regarding buying new books.  It is unrealistic for me to say no new books for 12 months.  I think even 3 months is a bit daunting.  So I am going for a month at a time.  At the end of each month I will review.  I'm hoping the longer I go the easier it will get.  I'm also going to give the library a miss for awhile.  I took my current books back this morning (unread), and am going to concentrate on reading some off my shelves.
I am not excluding the buying of second hand books though :)  And this morning I picked up these two at the op shop.  I'm going to start "And the Mountains..." tonight.  And the Miss Read one will go with a few others I have of hers that I have picked up at op shops over the years...

My summer breakfast...

The apples are doing well...
Lord Lambourne

And what my camera saw this week...
 pink sunrises



 early morning mist


That's probably enough randomness for one day!


Sunday, January 5, 2020

Weekend Words

Walking with God 

The beginning of a new year is perhaps a good time to consider how our walk with God is going.
How can we walk with God and please Him?

1. Walk according to the Spirit - Romans 8:3-5 not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

2. Walk properly/decently/honestly - Romans 13:13
Let us walk properly.....

3. Walk by faith (doing good works) - Ephesians 2:8-10
.....for we are.....created in Christ Jesus for good works.....that we should walk in them.

4. Walk in unconditional love - Ephesians 5:2
And walk in love.....

5. Walk in wisdom - Ephesians 5:15
.....walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.....

Colossians 4:5
Walk in wisdom.....redeeming the time.

6. Walk in truth - 2 John 4
.....walking in truth.

7. Walk in His commandments (in love) - 2 John 6
This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.....

8. Walk in unity - Ephesians 4:1-3
.....walk worthy of the calling.....endeavouring to keep the unity.....

9. Walk in light - Ephesians 5:8-10
.....walk as children of light.....

10. Walk worthy - Colossians 1:10
That you may walk worthy of the Lord.....

Do not walk according to the flesh - 1 John 2:16-17

Imitate Christ - 1 Corinthians 11:1 - He is our example!

There are probably many more verses that talk about how we should walk, but there is plenty to consider in the above.

Also, my favourite verse in the bible sums it up well I think...

Micah 6:8  
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

How is your walk going?


Wednesday, January 1, 2020


From Stillmeadow Sampler - Gladys Taber...

"My New Year's resolutions are simple.  I resolve to be more patient, less selfish, cherish my friends, and in my small way help whoever needs help.  I cannot conceivably influence the world's destiny, but I can make my own life more worthwhile.  I can give some help to some people; that is not vital to all the world's problems and yet I think if everyone did just that, we might see quite a world in our time." 

The annual selfie...
I guess once a year won't kill me :))

May 2020 be a special year for you.  
New beginnings.  Exciting challenges.  Issues resolved.  Relationships restored.  Dreams and desires fulfilled.

Here's a thought:
Have you ever noticed how God often answers our questions before we ask?  Often before we even know there is a question!!