Saturday, March 16, 2019

Every Perfect Gift

If you've been a long time friend of mine here,
you may notice I've made just a few changes recently. 
As of April 2nd Google Plus will shutdown,
therefore I updated my profile and returned to using Blogger this week.
 My profile was long overdue for a serious tweaking so that's a good thing.
 One thing that might not be so good however,
is that I seem to have issues with comments while using Blogger.
 I have people telling me they try repeatedly
to post a comment to my blog and are unable to do so.
 So if this is happening to you, I am so sorry!
Actually, this was happening with Google+ sometimes as well.
 I'm not sure what the problem is or what to do about it.
 But I will continue to try to figure it out.
I may decide to switch everything to Wordpress in the future.
 It's something I have considered and am still mulling over.
Another recent change is the addition of a Sponsorhip 
tab at the top of the page for you to click on if you are 
interested in contacting me to promote your business or products.
You can refer to the Sponsorship page
 then contact me via email for more details.
I've been blogging for over a decade at this point and I have
thousands of readers and followers around the world. 
I would love to be an avenue that helps you gain more exposure
 for your business by helping you to grow your online presence.
Over the years I've taken, and excelled in, many college classes 
in writing and am currently taking more to further hone my skills.
I also plan to take professional photography classes in the near future.
It is my belief that when we all work side by side,
 bringing our individual and unique talents and gifts together, 
we can accomplish amazing things that make the world
 a better and more beautiful place for all of us.
We are creatures of togetherness and as such,
we were created to build one another up; 
to unlock and enhance the potential in each other.
Every single thing we have in this life is a gift
that must be valued and offered wholeheartedly to others.
No matter what our specific set of skills,
 talents or gifts may be, we are meant to use them to
 build the Kingdom of God and further humankind.
Each of us has a light within waiting to be sparked.
Our lights shine more brightly as they absorb and reflect
 the energy from other creative, talented individuals.
Together we are stronger, healthier and happier.
It's the only way our gifts ever truly reach total fruition. 
As human beings we were designed to
 complement one another and work together.
I am thankful every time I log onto this blog
 and read your comments and see the overwhelming 
amount of views and readers I have every day.
Your presence here matters so much to me. 
Thank you for shining your light into my world.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
Helen Keller

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above,
 coming down from the Father of lights,
 with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." 
James 1:17

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Sands of Time

Have you ever felt that the sands of time flow incredibly fast?
It certainly seems like it to me as I peer into the faces of my grandchildren
and see two little girls giggling together on a swing set mere moments ago,
only to realize they are now the grown up mothers of these precious young things.
 I hear and feel the redolent echo's of their long ago laughter 
embodied in these fresh, youthful souls. 
What went on in daily slow motion now feels
 as though it all happened too quickly somehow.
The hand of time stretched out, the hourglass was flipped,
 and suddenly...
 I was no longer the mommy in charge of wiping away tears,
chasing butterflies in the sunshine, reading bedtime stories,
saying prayers and giving goodnight kisses, as I tucked 
blankets up to those sweet sleepy faces each night.
While I was living and breathing those days;
the days of raising my own two girls, I had no idea
of the passage of time or the day to day progress being made.
We were just simply living life.
 The good, the bad, the messy and the in betweenness of it all.
 The ordinary and the extraordinary.
As a mother I just kept on keeping on, like we do.
Time kept on moving like it does too and before I knew it,
after what felt like no time at all, those little rosebud daughters had 
blossomed into the most beautiful full grown flowers I had ever seen.
I hear the word, "Mommy, Mommy...Mom".
I turn to look and there before me stands a little girl, a teenager, a woman.
Where did the time go so suddenly?
Ahh... but it's still here, right here with me.
I see it and feel it and sometimes even smell it.
It's in my mind's eye on a quiet day,
 as I stand at the sink looking out
 across a backyard that once held a swing set...
It's in the glow of three faces that look to me now calling out, "Grammy"!
My heart is still captured, carrying me backwards, by snatches of fairy stories,
 remnants of songs, and the fresh smell of laundry hanging to dry,
as I stand there again with two laughing girls chasing each other in and out of 
the sheets as they hang on the line in the warm summer sunshine. 
And the true joy of it all is that it never really ends.
It just becomes redefined and continually refined as those
lovely jewels we raise up come into their own, find their way
in this world, spread those glorious wings and fly...!
Layer upon layer upon layer, our relationships with them and to them change.
It is a bond that needs perpetual nurturing for an entire lifetime of blooming.
This love we share with our adult children is multi-faceted.
It grows and develops in a whole new dimension.
Although we are not needed in the same childlike ways we once were
for them, we are still needed in their lives and in their hearts.
They often enjoy our company and sometimes seek our advice.
Thankfully, they have reached that time of valuing our opinion, finally.
 And our need for them has experienced a metamorphosis of its very own.
We have been relieved of the primary care and responsibility for them
and yet we still need, on some level, to be needed by them. 
Or maybe it's more that we need for them to know that 
we are always here if and when they have need for us. 
I love the way mothering has grown me as a person.
How it has changed me and continues to do so.
I know so many different things about the world around me, 
other people and myself than I ever did all those years ago,
all because of this one vital, life-giving role in my life.
I love knowing that my daughters are on this same journey.
They are each taking their individual paths in their own ways.
Just as it did for me and my mother before me,
one day the hourglass will suddenly be flipped over and
 the sands will slowly start to release a new beginning
 into the wonder of their lives,
 as they step into truths that can be known only
 by the living and never by the being told.
 They too will be captured in moments when sights,
 sounds or smells transport them back to the childhood 
sweetness of their own offspring and maybe even further back
to the days when they were the ones laughing, swinging, chasing
and knowing nothing but the beauty of this moment.
I hope they will find me there, waiting in a continual circle of love.
 For memories are not bound by the flow of sand
 and love will always be stronger than time.
"Of Roses and Bunnies"

Of roses and bunnies
And sweet childhood days,
When time was our friend
And life was just play.

We skipped in the sunshine 
And splashed through the rain,
As we chased in a land
Where time knew no end.

There were teacups and cartwheels
And butterflies and bugs;
Laughter and bike rides
And tears that brought hugs.

Oh how I'd love to go back 
If just for one day,
To that sweet land of roses,
Bunnies and childhood play.

~ Danette Bartelmay

Friday, March 8, 2019

Creativity Connected

I love the fact that we live in a vast world rich with diversity, color and creativity.
There's a never ending abundance of artforms for our enjoyment and use.
I am constantly amazed by the talent of others, those things which inspire them,
the mediums they choose and the unique outcome of their endeavors.
Today I have some gorgeous results to show you of what can 
happen when two totally separate forms of creativity come 
together to make some truly beautiful artistic design.
I have the most exquisite cookies for you to see,
 along with the two completely different sources of 
creative genius that it took coming together to create them.
First, let's talk about that delightful shimmering gold
 buffalo check pattern that's on these delectable cookies.
  Every artist must have the perfect set of tools and oftentimes 
the tools themselves are works of art, in and of themselves,
such as those required to make the various motifs
you'll see pictured on the cookies throughout this post.
This gorgeous work was accomplished by using a variety of 
 precision laser cut cookie stencils by Stencil Revolution.
This fantastic company is a small, family-owned operation based in
 sunny Spring Hill, Florida, where every item is made to perfection, 
packaged with great care and shipped on time.
This takes a team of people who put their heart and soul into it.
That's what I love about a family run business, they work hard together
to give every step of the process their personal touch, ensuring that each
 customer reaps the benefits of their creativity and cohesive teamwork.
You can see their happy faces and read their story right here.
You can't get such detailed results unless the stencils
 are cut by someone with an artistic eye who also 
cares about putting out the best product possible.
Just look at those magnificent scales on the mermaid tails
 that were achieved by using the Fish Scale Cookie Stencil.
And look at the detailed woodgrain pattern of the
How fun would it be to create your very own beach themed 
party with the use of these spectacular stencils?! 
The possibilities are endless!
They have so many more fantastic stencils for things other than cookies too.
Like the breathtaking Mandala Stencils that come in different styles and sizes.
There are two of these beauties that are my very favorites.
 Probably because they remind me of giant crocheted doilies.
My absolute first favorite is the Harmony Mandala
 but I also really, really love the Bliss Mandala.
Okay, so is it the whole crochet connection for me,
or am I just feeling the peaceful vibes from the thought of 
painting some harmony and bliss into my daily life...?
I think I just might find out in the future because I'm already
scoping out an area and dreaming of the colors...
One other stencil that I really love and already have is the
  I plan to show it to you in an upcoming post in the early Autumn,
 once I've done something completely awesome with it.
I have it in an 18"x12" size. As with the Mandala's, 
all of their stencils are available in several different sizes.
As for the cookie artist who worked her magic
 on these over the top, sweet confections, 
that would be my extremely talented sister, Bridget.
Nobody can take a little of this, a little of that
add a pinch of sugar here and there and end up with 
something that will enchant all of the senses like she can.
She's as remarkable as Mary Poppins with her bag full of goodies.
This world of ours is a truly astonishing place.
For all it's great breadth of many cultures and people,
we continue to find sensational new ways every day 
to connect to one another so beautifully,
 so perfectly, and sometimes even magically, 
in our own individual forms of creativity.
It connects us heart to heart across all boundaries.
 Sometimes it takes your work of art in
order for me to make my form of magic.
 Now tell me that's not a fantastic design.

"Creative collaboration is awesome."
Alicia Silverstone

"Creativity is just connecting things.
When you ask creative people how they did something,
they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it,
they just saw something.
It seemed obvious to them after a while."
Steve Jobs

*This post is kindly sponsored by Stencil Revolution.
All sentiments and stencil selections are my own.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Let Us Dance

March is the time of in between. That time that cannot make up its mind.
In early Roman days it was the first month of the year. 
January and February had no place as of yet,
 making it a ten month calendar year. 
The new year began on March 1st 
and in many cultures and religions
is still celebrated as such to this day.
Why was this the case for the long ago Roman civilization? 
Because the hardships of winter were finally over, 
meaning they could return to the battlefields of war.
Today, March is the month that blesses us, once again, 
with the glories of an all encompassing,
 long anticipated Spring.
In the great order of the universe,
it perpetually brings back the fresh renewal of life.
For me there's always a return to bunny knits 
like the organic cotton baby hats
that I enjoy creating for little ones over and over. 
I don't know what it is,
 but there's something about seeing bunny ears 
on top of a child or infant sized head
 that just captures my heart and puts a smile on my face.
The joy of the process is in the finishing details
 of choosing the color for each crocheted rose,
whether to use a creamy glass pearl in the center
or a sparkly iridescent Swarovski crystal 
 and what type of ribbon to tie around the ears.
This particular March is bringing me back around to something else.
Something that was deep inside me long before I ever touched that first 
strand of yarn or took up my first set of knitting needles or crochet hook.
It has been embedded into the fiber of my being from the very beginning
and has always coexisted with all else I've done in life,
whether I chose to ignore it or give it voice...
My abiding love for the written word.
Reading it, yes, but what I mean here is writing it.
So in February I made a decision to nurture this part of myself again.
Now that March has arrived, bearing its promise of rebirth,
I am finding myself settling into the tempo of taking
 online courses with a goal of honing my writing skills
and eventually having some works published
 in the forms of poetry and freelance writing.
I spend my days in a merry dance of knitting, reading and writing.
This is an easy fit for me, as these are my favorite things to do already.
But it's been a lot of years since I had to do the reading and writing
part as assignments that will be graded by an instructor or professor.
Also, over the last few years, 
the knitting has worked itself into a full time job.
Therefore, getting all of these things accomplished, 
as well as living a packed full life in general,
is like watching my graceful granddaughter
as she performs a beautiful ballet.
It all has to flow in rhythmic step together.
I am currently taking three classes and am learning
once again the importance and value of time management.
It's all a bit challenging but I find myself loving every single moment.
I feel like I am in the early Springtime of my personal journey.
There is a road of adventure and growth in every step.
Words chase each other around and around inside my head
all day and night until I grab hold of them and work them into 
the order they are begging for.
Knitting, reading, writing...
Knitting, reading, writing...
This is the dance I am doing these days.
The song of my here and now soul...
The dance of my once and future heart.
"Let us read,
and let us dance;
these two amusements will never 
do any harm to the world."
~ Voltaire