Thursday, July 29, 2021

On the home front...

The blanket I've been working on is finished...



A close up of the border rows and edging...


I'm pleased to be done with all that bright colour and enjoying getting back to something a bit more subdued.  And a new craft!  Well, not really new, but I haven't done any for many years.  So I printed off these simple cross stitch charts from Owl Embroidery.  These are three of the free charts she offers...



While I was searching our my Aida cloth and embroidery cottons I came across this sampler I did when I was in cross stitch mode many years ago.  1999 to be precise...
I'd never got it framed, so it's way past time


I decided to start on this very simple design to get me back into the swing of it...
see my tiny owl!  it only took me about an hour to do it!! :))


And of an evening when the light is not good enough, I'm knitting a scarf for charity.  Using up more of my left over bits and piece...
5mm needles and 2 strand of yarn.  The cream I will use throughout, as I have plenty of that, and then the colours I'll change randomly.


A trip to the library yesterday, and I picked up an Elizabeth Goudge book as Lisa had mentioned her on her blog and I'd never read any of her books.  Really enjoying it...


In the kitchen:  I made a blackberry and lemon loaf recently...


And a vanilla slice...



After all this recent rain, the river is up, and again, the walk track is under water in places...

river deep


won't be going over the bridge today


picnic anyone?  


Despite it being cold, wet and wintery, with snow on the mountains, there are signs of Spring in some of the gardens I  walk past...

And because I'm enjoying The Scent of Water so much, I'll leave you with a little sample from the book...

"Between that memory and the next the cuckoo called in a warm darkness, its note changing imperceptibly to the pealing of a bell, for the clock in a square church tower was ringing the hour.  The grey rock of the church towered above a graveyard where the buttercups were gay about the slanting gravestones.  There was a village green with thatched cottages about it, one of them the village shop and post office, and opposite the lychgate of the church lilacs grew in a tangled mass behind a garden wall.  In the wall was a green door under a stony archway.  It had a round brass handle and beside it was an ancient rusted iron bellpull.  Cut into the stone on the other side of the arch was the name of the house.  It was called The Laurels, though there wasn't a laurel in sight.  The lilacs had grown so tall that their branches hung over the wall and over the arch above the door.  Four steps led up to the door and they were very worn in the middle.  What could be behind the door Mary couldn't imagine.  Not the world she knew.  The thicket of purple and white blossom, the door and the step, were like a picture painted a long time ago..."

setting the scene :)

"Those times of my life when I have been entirely at peace with myself and in tune with the world, when I have felt happy and relaxed, satisfied and light of heart, have all been spent either by the sea, or in the country." - Susan Hill - The Magic Apple Tree

I hope you can find your 'happy spot' and spend some time there...

xx

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Weekend Words

From Our Daily Bread...

Artwork: Thrush's Nest - John Atkinson Grimshaw

 Not Rushing Prayer - read Psalm 46

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

Alice Kaholusuna recounts a story of how the Hawaiian people would sit outside their temples for a lengthy amount of time preparing themselves before entering in.  Even after entering, they would creep to the alter to offer their prayers.  Afterwards, they would sit outside again for a long time to "breathe life" into their prayers.  When missionaries came to the island, the Hawaiians sometimes considered their prayers odd.  The missionaries would stand up, utter a few sentences, call them "prayers", say amen, and be done with it.  The Hawaiians described these prayers as "without breathe".

Alice's story speaks of how God's people may not always take the opportunity to "be still, and know" (Psalm 46:10).  Make no mistake - God hears our prayers, whether they're quick or slow.  But often the pace of our lives mimics the pace of our hearts, and we need to allow ample time for God to speak into not only our lives but the lives of those around us.  How many life giving moments have we missed by rushing, saying amen, and being done with it?

We're often impatient with everything from slow people to the slow lane in traffic.  Yet, I believe God in His kindness says, "Be still.  Breathe in and out.  Go slow, and remember that I am God, your refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble."  To do so is to know that God is God.  To do so is to trust.  To do so is to live.

- John Blase

Artwork: Rustic Anglers - Charles Edward Wilson


****************************

Taken from Food for Lambs...

God Our Guide

Why are there so many anxious hearts, so much unrest, so many discontentments and fears?  It is because man is attempting to direct his own way.  He feels his weakness, and fears; he knows his ignorance, and becomes anxious.  How blessed to walk out upon life's way trusting in God and casting every care upon Him!  The waves may sometimes dash around our feet, but we are looking up unto Him who shall guide us continually.  The secret of a happy and successful life is to let God lead us.  When we get in a hurry and pass on ahead of the Lord, devising, contriving, planning over our work and way, then come fears and failures.

Many Christians find it difficult to know the will of God and understand His leadings.  Many hearts are longing to know God's will and way.  You may always know.  Do not hurry, only wait, pray, and trust, and God will plainly and unmistakably teach you His way and give you a sweet consciousness in your soul of His guidance.  Sometimes it may require long waiting.  I have for months been almost daily praying and sometimes rising a great while before day to seek God beneath the stars to know His will in a certain matter.  Sometimes it seems I must act, but God whispers in sweet stillness, "Only wait."

- Charles Orr

Artwork: By the Fire - Alfred Carlton Smith

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Weekend Words

 From Amish Peace... (and you are getting two that I read this week, because I like them both and couldn't choose)


Artwork: A Cottage Flower Garden - Arthur Wilkinson

Contentment

True godliness with contentment is itself great worth. - 1 Timothy 6:6

When I was growing up, a perfect summer day meant riding my bicycle to the library.  I would also set up a 'house' for my dolls under the tall bushes near the back fence.  There were trips to the lake, where I'd float on my back and stare up at the blue sky.  There were no video games in the 1970s.  No malls near me.  No all-day cartoons to keep me entertained, and yet life was good.  The same can be said of an Amish childhood.

These children's days are not given shape by a line up of soccer games, piano lessons, camp, or play groups.  Instead, the morning sun, chore-time twice a day, and the coming of evening set a structure for their time.  So, too, do the days of the week and the seasons.  In this largely rural, soil-anchored world, life follows the lead of the weather and the promise of productive fields and gardens.  The children are not removed from this daily interplay with nature.  They learn it, they begin to sense it and read it alongside their parents, who interpret what is happening while they go about their jobs, who point out the signals as they come, who invite their children to join them in responsive work.

Not dulled by television or computers, not distracted by telephones, these children grow up to be keenly alert both to the natural environment and to the interests of their church community.  They are fully occupied but not frenzied.  They learn a contentment still available to those who focus their energies on the earth and its requirements, who devote themselves to giving and receiving from others.

When you were growing up, where did you find the most contentment?  Has your life grown easier or better from all the wonderful things you added?  Or do you sometimes realize that more is really less?

With God, it's possible to be content wherever we are, with whatever we have.  Sometimes it takes looking back at our childhood to realize that simpler is better - for ourselves, our children, and our whole lives.


Artwork: An Orchard in Spring Time - Basil Bradley


Quest towards Quietness

Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind. - Ecclesiastes 4:6

Amish have been referred to as 'the quiet in the land".  Their refusal to rely on modern conveniences such as radios, televisions, and various appliances prevent a great deal of noise in their lives.  But the Amish also have quiet hearts and minds.

Advertisers spend billions of dollars to send thousand of messages into our minds every day.  The internet connects us with an endless stream of friends and associates who have something to say.  There is an increasing flood of information, facts, and advice.  We get tired of sorting through it all.  We pay big money to go on summer vacation.  To get away.  To find quiet.

Is it possible to discover quietness in our everyday lives, too?  To work less, not more?  To turn off electronics and listen to the still, small voice of God's Spirit?  Better to have one handful with quietness...

It's up to us to stop chasing the wind.  To say no to more commitments and yes to more peace.  But we can't do it on our own.  Jesus said, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 ESV).  He knows the realities of this world are too hard to face if our minds are too full and our backs are too burdened.  We must turn to Him. (And being attentive to Him may mean turning off a few electronics.)  We must confess that we are trying to do too much and ask Jesus to take our burdens.

Sometimes God answers us by giving us strength.  But sometimes He answers us by asking us to lay down burdens He never asked us to carry in the first place.  Will you hand over those burdens today?


Artwork: Flitwick - Henry John Sylvester Stannard


Saturday, July 17, 2021

Winter rain...

We've had a lot of rain this last week and the river is up, with the walk track being under water in places...

walk track along left side of river under water


Although the rain has eased today, the river level continues to rise as water comes down from the mountains...


Makes for good inside days, and crocheting...

working on the border rows and then an edging

Good reading weather too...

read THIS years ago but am really enjoying it again


And there are these from the library to get through...



In the kitchen (because it's also good cooking weather)...

fried rice


soda bread (I make two loaves, slice, and put in freezer, and they last me a couple of weeks)


cold tea loaf (with sultanas, currants, dates and walnuts)


And for lunch today...
chicken stirfry with cashews (rice underneath)



It was Marnie's birthday a few days ago so I made a trip up to visit her.  We bought fish and chips for lunch and ate them by the sea...




In the safety of the car, away from the 'friendly' seagulls...



Here's my quote I read this week...

"Still another step towards simplicity is to refuse to live beyond our means emotionally.  In a culture where whirl is king, we must understand our emotional limits.  Ulcers, migraines, nervous tension, and a dozen other symptoms mark our psychic overload.  We are concerned not to live beyond our means financially; why not do it emotionally." 

- Richard Foster


You can 'walk in the sunshine' even when it's raining :)

Have a good week!

xx

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Weekend Words

 


From Be Still and Know...

"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." (Proverbs 16:3)

Many times we face the uncertainty of knowing God's will for a particular need.  It may be a decision we must make.  It may be a solution to an impossible problem.

We may say, "If only someone could make the decision for me." "If someone could tell me what to do."

It is a relief, releasing the pressure and relaxing the tension in our lives, to know that we have Someone who CAN make our decisions and solve out problems for us.

How wonderful it is to commit every detail of our lives to God; our plans, our needs, our problems, everything that touches us.  As we commit them to Him, they become His details, His plans, His work.   "Commit your way to the Lord - roll and repose [each care of] your load on Him; trust, lean on, rely on and be confident also in Him, and He will bring it to pass." (Psalm 37:5, Amplified)

As we commit ourselves and our plans for our day to Him, our thoughts are brought into agreement with His will and our plans become His plans.  "Roll your works upon the Lord - commit and trust them wholly to Him; [He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to his will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed" (Proverbs 16:3, Amplified).

As we commit our works to Him, we no longer choose the outcome, but leave it with Him.  "We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God's hands" (Proverbs 16:1, LB).  This means we must not try to get His approval of OUR plans, but accept HIS.  In the Living Bible we read, "We can always 'prove' that we are right, but is the Lord convinced?" (v2).

He doesn't want our plans, but our lives, so He can work His plans through us.  As our minds become agreeable to His, we experience peace.  "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee" (Isaiah 26:3)

"A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure." (Proverbs 16:9, Amplified).


Thank You

"Oh bless the Lord," my soul will say When all His benefits I see.

I want to thank Him every day; His mercies are so kind and free.


Bu help me also thankful be When storms of life sweep o'er my way,

To trust in Thee most cheerfully Though dark the sky and long the day.


Lord, fill my heart with love divine, And by Thy grace, my life refine.

Help me to choose Thy will, not mine, And live each day with hand in Thine.


To those about me, let me be Most kind and true in all I do,

That they may see Thy love in me So they may thank and love Thee too.

-J. D. M.


...and live each day with hand in thine...

son Ben and granddaughter Hazel :)


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Weekend Words

 From Our Daily Bread...


Choosing to Honor God - Read Psalm 18:20-27

"To the faithful you show yourself faithful." - Psalm 18:25

In the novella Family Happiness by Leo Tolstoy, the main characters Sergey and Masha meet when Masha is young and impressionable.  Sergey is an older, well-traveled businessman who understands the world beyond the rural setting where Masha lives.  Over time, the two fall in love and marry.

They settle in the countryside, but Masha becomes bored with her surroundings.  Sergey, who adores her, arranges a trip to St Petersburg.  There, Masha's beauty and charm bring her instant popularity.  Just as the couple is about to return home, a prince arrives in town, wanting to meet her.  Sergey knows he can force Masha to leave with him, but he lets her make the decision.  She chooses to stay, and her betrayal breaks his heart.

Like Sergey, God will never force us to be faithful to Him.  Because He loves us, He lets us choose for or against Him.  Our first choice for Him happens when we receive His Son, Jesus Christ, as the sacrifice for our sin (1 John 4:9-10). After that, we have a lifetime of decisions to make.

Will we chose faithfulness to God as His Spirit guides us or let the world entice us?  David's life wasn't perfect, but he often wrote about keeping "the ways of the Lord" and the good outcome that came from doing so (Psalm 18:21-24).  When our choices honor God, we can experience the blessing David described: to the faithful, God shows Himself faithful.

- Jennifer Benson Schuldt

When was the last time you made a difficult decision that honored God?  How did it affect your relationship with Him?

Dear God, help me to honor you with the choices I make.  Thank you for loving me faithfully throughout my life.


From Be Still and Know...

Then Jesus turned, and saw two following Him, and sayeth unto them, "What seek ye?" (John 1:38)

One day Jesus saw two men following Him.  He turned to them, asking, "What seek ye?"  It could have been to satisfy their curiosity.  Or they may have wanted to know more about Him.

He invited them to spend the day with Him.  We are not told what they talked about, but when they returned, Andrew said, "We have found the Messiah."  His search was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

If the Lord were to ask us today, "What seek ye?" what would our answer be?  Are we seeking material things, a new home, new furniture, a new car, pleasures, fame, social position?  Many of these things are attractive, many are good.  Yet we have to confess they have not brought the satisfaction we expected.  We are still longing for something more, something we do not have.  Only inner peace and fulfillment, not material possessions, bring satisfaction.

There was once a young girl who had a strand of pearls which she treasured very much.  One evening when her father came home, he asked her if she would give him her pearls.  Although they were only imitation, she prized them highly.  How could she part with them?  As her father continued to hold out his hand, she quietly considered his request.

Finally she slowly went to her room for her pearls.  As she returned, she dropped them into his hand.  Then he reached his hand into his pocket, drawing our a box which he placed in her hand.  As she opened it, she gazed on a beautiful strand of real pearls.

What are you seeking today?  Satisfaction from material things?  Satisfaction from that which is just an imitation? True satisfaction will never come from things that have only earthly value.

Only in Jesus Christ will you find that which has eternal value.  Complete fulfillment comes not from possessions, but from a Person, Jesus Christ.

"What seek YE?"  God promises, "And YE shall seek ME, and find me, when ye shall search for me with ALL your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13) 


Friday, July 2, 2021

Winter Wonderland

I think I'm in hibernation mode.  Still getting out for my winter walks each day, but don't seem to accomplish much else.  A bit of cooking, sleeping, cleaning, sleeping, eating, sleeping, walking, sleeping...

A round of medical tests has also kept me busy, and the ever present headache days, on which I avoid the computer screen.

My slow headache days do leave room for reading, knitting and crocheting...

The Amish blanket squares that I mentioned in previous posts have been put on hold as I work on 'random grannies'. Using up leftover bits and pieces of yarn from previous projects...

love seeing how all the different colours come together


They now look like this...

and so it grows...

Borrowed some books from a lady at church and recently finished reading Faith and Flames...

 now reading House of Strangers


Have had a couple of outings, and (slightly) different scenery, but you will notice I still prefer those quiet, grey, places of solitude :)...

Rubicon River estuary at Port Sorrel


ditto

We do have blue skies sometimes...

Mersey River at Latrobe

But I prefer these...

my Meander River


And from my walk this morning...




But see...it's not all gloom and doom...


Winter colour...



And what post would be complete without a quote...

"Learn to limit yourself, to content yourself with some definite thing, and some definite work; dare to be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not and to believe in your own individuality." 

- Henri-Frederic Amiel


Till next time...

xx

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Weekend Words

 From A Year's Journey with God...

When His Power is Greatest

"My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak." - 2 Corinthians 12:9a

In 1822 Charlotte Elliot would have described herself as a very religious young woman - until she had a chance encounter with a man who infuriated her by asking if she was a Christian.  She quickly snubbed him, but for three weeks she thought of nothing else.  Fortunately she 'chanced' to meet the man again and told him how she had been trying to find Jesus.  "You have nothing of merit to bring to God.  You must come just as you are," he replied.  Charlotte later wrote the hymn which has brought thousands to Jesus all over the world:

Just as I am, without one plea

but that Thy blood was shed for me

and that Thou bid'st me come to Thee

O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

All her life Charlotte suffered from illness and crippling fatigue.  Confined to her home feeling useless, she often wished she could do wonderful things for her Lord like her brother, Henry, who was a clergyman with a highly successful ministry.  She did not live to hear him say one day, when his work was being highly praised, "I feel far more has been done by a single hymn of my sister's - 'Just As I Am.'"

O Lamb of God, I come.



Be All at Rest

"Be all at rest my soul." O blessed secret

Of the true life that glorifies the Lord:

Not always does the busiest soul best serve Him,

But he who resteth on His faithful Word.


"Be all at rest," for rest is highest service;

To the still heart, God doth His secrets tell.

Thus shalt thou learn to wait and watch and labour,

Strengthened to bear, since Christ in thee doth dwell.


For what is service, but the life of Jesus,

Lived through a vessel of earth's fragile clay,

Loving and giving, poured forth for others -

"A living sacrifice" from day to day.


And what shall meet the deep unrest around thee,

But the calm peace of God that fills His breast.

For still a living voice doth call the weary

To Him who said, "Come unto Me and rest."


Therefore "be all at rest, my soul," toward Him,

If thou a revelation of the Lord wouldst be:

For in the quiet confidence that never doubts Him,

Others His truth and faithfulness shall see.


"Be all at rest," for rest alone becometh

The soul that casts on Him its every care;

"Be all at rest," so shall thy life proclaim Him,

A God who worketh and who heareth prayer.


"Be all at rest," so shalt thou be an answer

To those who question, "Who is God, and where?"

For God is rest, and where He dwells is stillness;

And they who dwell in Him that rest shall share.

- Freda Hanbury Allen