Tuesday, September 12, 2017

It's a Wonderful Life

There's excitement whipping through the air in my small hometown as we've finally reached the evening before the Pumpkin Festival once again! I love sitting on my front porch, where, as you know, much of my knitting takes place, and watching the rides roll in. I live on Main Street just a stones throw away from the festival grounds.
This is the view from my porch swing of some of the rides now peeking over the top of a building across the street, just waiting for some screaming passengers to board tomorrow. One of my favorite things about the Pumpkin Festival is going to bed every night while it's in town and listening to the music and yelling and general buzz of activity coming from the crowd that's so close they seem to be in our driveway just outside our bedroom window. I love the great big festive feel it brings to this little corner of the world, if only for a few days. Mind you, I'm sadly unable to join in on those fabulous rides without tossing my cookies. I can ride the Ferris Wheel as I have no fear of heights. I do, however, suffer from serious motion sickness. 
So I enjoy watching grandkids on rides and taking part in the Craft Faire, which is this Friday and Saturday, where you'll find my cousin Kathy and me in Booth Number 62. We hope to see you there! I'm still finishing up a couple of last minute items. Every year I promise myself I will be completely ready by now and every year.... well....
I just got this shawl on the lace blocking wires this afternoon...
And... I'm still knitting my last pair of fingerless mitts. 
But they'll be finished in time. As of a few hours ago all of my items, except these final two, are tagged and ready to go. 
In my defense, we had a busy week around here last week. 
Not only was Scott on vacation all week but we celebrated his birthday along with our son-in-law Brandon's and our grandson Archers. 
Archer turned three years old on Sunday and we celebrated at a local park.
His Grandma Charmain took this darling picture of him coming down the slide in his Paw Patrol cape and mask {and Batman t-shirt!}. 
His cousin Parker, our grandson who turned three in May, was there to help him celebrate along with a few other little cousins and friends. It was a fun day!
The other thing that occupied two very full days earlier last week was that we painted the kitchen, along with the help of our nephew, Brendan. 
What a job!
We painted walls, cabinets, trim, a stairway down to the back steps,
kitchen chairs and table legs.
Everything got two coats.
Nothing like cramming a whole lot of work in just before Pumpkin Festival!
But I'm so happy it's done. And I love my new kitchen.
All of the paint came from our favorite paint store here in Morton:
The wall color is French Gray Linen and the trim is done in Silvery Moon.
Fresh paint always makes everything seem so clean.
It makes me happy.

I have one final thing to share with you that makes me very happy...
Today marks 6 years for this beloved husband of mine
in his freedom from his battle with pancreatic cancer
Thank You Jesus.
It truly is a Wonderful Life.

"Of course, of course I'm grateful.
How can I not be grateful?
I have been afforded such a wonderful life."
Katherine Heigl
{and Danette Bartelmay!}

Friday, September 1, 2017

Truth and Beauty

There's a Japanese Proverb that says...
"If man has no tea in him,
He is incapable of understanding truth and beauty."
I have to admit this hits home with me on so many levels.
For one thing, I have come to realize that a properly brewed pot of tea is as essential to my work day when I sit down to my knitting or crochet,
as are the tools of the trade such as needles, hooks, yarn and scissors.
I simply cannot concentrate on the texture of the fiber flowing through my fingers or the soothing flow of rhythm unless I have a steaming cup of tea within my reach.
When I think about it even further, I believe the tea helps my clarity of mind by relaxing me, therefore enhancing the overall experience of beauty,
both tactile and visual, that my fiber art provides for me. 
Tea most definitely helps me to understand both truth and beauty.
"Our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty."
James Norwood Pratt
Speaking of beauty, my granddaughter, Gabriella,
went on Pointe in ballet for the first time this week.
I have always loved ballet. Not only does it bring beauty into the life of the dancer but it has the potential to grab hold of every heart that experiences it and fill it with pure joy.
When I watch a ballet performance I am totally enraptured and lost to the world around me...
Lost in a magical fairyland where there is nothing but music, grace and beauty. We all need to be taken to a place like this once in awhile.
As we all know, it is inescapable that the world will always have its natural disasters, there will always be those who choose to tear down rather than build up; those who walk in the darkness instead of the light and do not know to seek truth and beauty. They don't even realize they exist. But they do.
Truth and Beauty are all around us at all times. They are in the things we do that give us great pleasure such as knit or dance or even enjoy that perfect cup of tea.
We also have only to look to the natural world
that God has so richly blessed us with.
Watching this dogwood tree change with the seasons gives me a deep sense of serenity. This photo has a somewhat overcast effect to it because it was raining when I took it but I like a good rainfall every now and then. We all need a cleansing rain to wash over us from time to time.
There are many kinds of beauty in nature.
I think God means for us to study nature and find the truth of ourselves within it. It is ever changing, bright with promise and constantly budding with possibility. This is the way He sees each of us I believe. Just as one who absorbs the beauty of a ballet from the audience, God not only has surrounded us in so much loveliness, He must be experiencing the same thrill the dancer gets from, not only His expression of beauty, but also our complete delight in it.
There will always be great sadness and suffering in the world. Please let me say here and now, in the face of so much that goes on, I am in no way ever turning a blind eye or deaf ear to any of it. Nor do I ever want to be perceived as doing so.
I take all of it to God in prayer...deep prayer.
What I am saying is this...
I believe that God wants us to always be seekers of His Truth and Beauty.
He wants us to have joy and peace in our hearts and our lives.
"A tranquil heart is life to the body..." Proverbs 14:30
In his book, The Greatest Thing in the World,
theologian Henry Drummond said this,
"No fever of unrest can disturb a soul which has
breathed the air or learned the ways of Christ."
When we do not seek truth and beauty
we are unable to walk in the light
and be the light that this world so desperately needs.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
God has blessed us in so many ways. His fingerprints are absolutely everywhere.
Never stop looking, never stop seeking truth and beauty.
No matter how young, no matter how old...
We all have them within us and within our reach.
"The kingdom of God is within you..." {Luke 17:21}
All we need to do is open our eyes and our hearts.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable-
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-
think about such things."
Philippians 4:8