a secret stitch

By noticing the dates worked into my counted cross stitch pieces you can tell where I was in life and what I was doing. 20161130_080450-1_resized

Some pieces are dated during those Home Schooling years.  I would pull out my stitchery and sit at the table while the boys were working on writing projects or reading.  They didn’t really need my help, more they needed direction and for me to be quiet so they could flourish.

As an Army wife, while the movers took an entire day to pack our belongings at each duty station, I wasn’t allowed to touch anything, so, out came my stitching.

In the days, long before the TSA had their silly rules about tiny scissors, oh and as well as me needing bright sunshine or my stitching lamp, I used to stitch while I waited in airports or while travelling by plane. (yes, I can use a dental floss holder to cut my thread.)

Today, nightly, Mr. Right spends an hour making juice for the next day.    I sit on the other side of the counter and we talk about the days events.   His hands are busy washing and preparing vegetables and fruits.  My hands are kept busy with needle and thread.

Yes, I have made beautifully large pieces for my daughter in-laws.  I have given many pieces away.  Believe it or not, a few years back, I started keeping a couple of pieces for myself.

I tease my kids, that while I enjoy and use my china & beautiful pieces of Wedgwood, I am quite sure some of the “priceless” pieces  will be sold at a yard sale for 25 cents, fingers crossed some will go for $1.00.

20161130_074613-1_resizedHowever, when it comes to pieces of stitchery, I hope that because I have secretly slipped in a birth date, or highlighted certain family members initials into other pieces…..that those will be kept as treasured heirlooms.  A snippet of family history that is theirs to keep and tend to for a while.

Pieces of thread that binds them as a family and their history.

Today, a six-year-old little grandgirlie is not interested in a20161129_113122-1_resized stuffy sampler.  30 years from now, when she spies her birth year under glass, stitched into a beautiful piece…..she will know it was stitched with her in mind….. A few more evenings of stitching the flower and this piece will be ready to be framed.

 

I love stitching special pieces for a celebration or person.

20161130_074654-1-1_resizedA pin cushion to celebrate a retirement

An ornament to celebrate a life

A beautiful bird for a Christmas treasure

A pillow for a birthday gift  ………….

I use samplers to celebrate my family.  Every stitch, making the ties that bind so tightly woven that it will be nearly impossible to take apart.

I know it is not popular.  I understand there is no glossy advertisement about buying fabric and thread.  My guess is that you are quietly making things for your family.

I would love to see what you are creating.

Secretly we are using needle and thread to stitch a piece of our family history.

In this together,

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a little cheer

This morning, I offered up a little Monday morning cheer for Mr. Right.  Perfect for sharing with his co-workers.

Reindeer Noses.

Easy, reasonably priced and a bit festive.

I filled a container with Malt Balls (grocery store) and a couple sour cherry balls (found them in bulk foods).  20161123_102802_resized

Printed a free tag ( http://www.lifeanchored.com) and tied on with a ribbon.

20161123_102807_resized-1Super easy and quick.

Now, I ask you????????….. Wouldn’t your day-care worker, babysitter, Sunday School teacher, mail carrier, dog walker, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, teacher, Secret Santa person….. LOVE to get this little container of cheer!

Tis the season of spreading good cheer!

Let it begin with me/us.

tip the balance

Pair of scales is made of stones on the cliff

I am having one lou lou of a time finding balance.  While I recover from being extremely ill, I still have to go about my daily life.  It’s really a dance.  It is two days forward and one step back.

Balance.

As a matter of fact, just yesterday, my eyes filled with tears as I learned about yet another favorite food I have to say good-bye to.

While I am grateful, truly grateful for another day, in my mind sometimes, it seems I should be glowing with gratitude and grace, moving gently about, pleased with everything and everyone. Yet, there are days, I am still a normal girl who wants to complain about her hair style, fuss about paint color, and whine about what to make for supper.

I am supremely grateful for walking a path of healing and yet, I somehow find the energy to grumble under my breath about having my medicine in place of lunch daily.  Yes, I know how lucky I am to have the money to pay for the protocol.   The stubborn 4th grade girl in me, still complains now and then.  It’s not pretty, it’s just the truth.

How do I tip the balance?    I am feeling so lucky and happily teeter tottering one moment and then bam, my fanny hits the ground and I need to re-group and gather some strength to push-off with my feet to send myself back up into the clouds.

There is nothing lofty about cleaning under the kitchen sink nor scrubbing the bath tub grout.  I still need to vacuum out the car and feed the chickens. I need to grocery shop weekly and purchase or make gifts for others.  I cannot sit each day, all day long, with my hands folded in prayer of thanksgiving.  I need my hands to pull on work gloves and work.  Hey, that garden hose, isn’t going to roll itself up.

I am healing every single day however,  I don’t live on a movie set where I am dressed in a beautiful, embroidered gown and float among everyone being happy and serene and grateful.  I still get ticked off by some folks.  I still burn food.  I still cuss now and then.  Occasionally, I still act like a spoiled child when the “want” platform outweighs the “give” platform.

This excerpt from,  The Year of Pleasure by Elizabeth Berg,  has help nudge me in the right direction.

“…I know you are hurting!  But what if you determined to find one thing every day that you-“

“I know. Count your blessings.  Remind yourself every night of every good thing that happened to you that day.”

“No, I’m not talking about things that happen to you.  I’m talking about things you make happen.  I’m talking about purposefully doing one thing that brings you happiness every single day, in a very conscious way.  It builds up the arsenal, Betta.  It tips the balance.” 

It tips the balance.

I like that way of thinking.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself, (which, honestly does happen), I look for ways to build up the arsenal.  I look for one thing that brings me happiness each day.

Somehow, one day has turned into the next and those days turned into a couple of months and somehow, every now and then, I forget to count the exact days on the calendar.

teeter-totterThat jolt of the teeter totter slamming down?  That happens when I panic and fret about a sore thumb or small bruise on my toe.  ( Um, no, you are not sick again, maybe it is just a hang nail?  Maybe it is just a bruise from stubbing your toe?)  I spend way too much time each day wondering if I will get sick again.

I want to spend my time, building up the arsenal of happiness so that I tip the balance.  I want to spend more time looking for happy than worrying about the bad that may come.

I look for leaves.

I look for a recipe to try.

I buy two new dresses for  the sweet grandgirlies in my life.

I buy socks for Mr. Right.  Somehow, seeing a man well dressed in “go to work” clothes and then knowing he has on goofy socks, makes me chortle.  thanksgiving-socks

For me, wrapping them in gift wrap with a pretty bow adds to the humor.  Just out of the blue on a Monday night, he comes across a gift tucked into the utensil drawer or set on his desk.  chess-socks

A couple of weeks ago, before his chess lesson, he unwrapped chess socks.  This week, because he loves pumpkin pie………Thanksgiving socks of course.

 

Just for happiness, every Saturday, I trade pictures of eating a banana with grand #3.  We each eat a banana then trade pictures.  This is HAPPINESS pure and simple folks.  Makes me happy to see his picture and he gets to yell, “NANA” when he sees my picture.  haha

While on a walk , I found this ginormous leaf and it made me happy.  I had to share it with the grands. Golly Wally, a leaf is as big as my head?  That’s happy, pure and simple.  20161112_125639_resized

 

With my heart and soul I am going to continue to look for happy. Even on the crummy days, I will continue to search.

On my search, I have stumbled upon…….ginormous leaves, shared bananas, sweet dresses and goofy socks.

It all balances out.

Chat tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

1,000 eggs

It was a dark and stormy night……………..

No, wrong guess.

Picture this:  It was a beautiful, blue sky, warm, sunny June afternoon, 2013.

I was extremely sick.  It wasn’t pretty.  It took effort just to get dressed and put lipstick on. Not the “movie star” kind of sick.  The real life, not good kind of illness.

My wise friend was stopping by to visit and bring something. I was thinking a nice, pretty card or a cheerful bouquet of flowers.

No, wrong guess.

Out the kitchen window, I saw a huge truck pulling a horse trailer pull through our circular drive way.  Along with her, were 4 teenagers.

Next they unloaded a brand new chicken coop, 3 chickens, bedding, organic feed, treats, water & food containers.  They caried it and set it all up in the backyard.

In the same whirlwind that they arrived, they left just as quickly.  They were headed out to pick up a load of hay for their horses.

That left me and our Golden Retriever, peeking into their coop, looking at 3 very young chickens.  Alone.

How the heck is this going to work?  (She had made a side deal with Mr. Right, if it didn’t work out, she would graciously take them back to her ranch.)

Remember earlier, I called her my wise friend?

Somehow, she knew I would have to turn on the computer and read.  She guessed I would have to get dressed and have Mr. Right drive me to a book store, to buy a couple of books.  In her smarty, awesomesauce, cowgirl way, she knew, I would have to get up off the sofa a couple of times a day to feed, water, fluff straw, check on my new animals.

My wise, amazing girlfriend had a feeling, that I would need to clean the coop.  Carry water, lift bedding, fill the food container.  In the beginning,  I was not able to lift a 25 pound bag of bedding, so I took small buckets.

My wise, amazing, thoughtful, beautiful friend, Kristy, knew that I needed organic eggs to eat.  She knew that I needed to be around “farm dirt” and straw and outdoor good germs to build my immune system.  In her wisdom, she knew I needed to feel grateful and thankful every single day.

Surprise, surprise, Mr. Right, only helped when he absolutely needed to.

I took care of them myself.  I never skipped a day.  Some times, it took me a half hour just to change the bedding and straw and give them fresh water.

One day, my little grand girlie was helping me and she said, “egg”.  WHAT!  I couldn’t actually believe that we had gotten an egg!  I had to take a picture.

Then somehow, a week went by and another.  People asked me how many eggs I had collected.  I kept track on the calendar.  I started taking pictures to share.  I didn’t want the eggs to roll off the counter during the photo shoot, so…….. one thing led to another and ……..well.

I started setting the eggs in things.  A basket, a dish, a creamer shaped like a frog, I put them in a fruit basket, and a bowl that had coffee beans.  I used anything I could find. I even made a calendar showcasing 12 pictures.

Here’s the update:

I still have one of the original chickens.  Since then, a couple more chickens have joined the party.  I currently have four chickens.  Yes, I still keep track of how many eggs I collect.  (It’s the best part, sort of like an Easter Egg hunt everyday!)  I am healthy enough to lift the bag of bedding.  I can move the coop.  I can walk to the neighbor’s to share my bounty.  We donate 20 chicks a month, so others can flourish, just like me.

Today, Friday, November 18, 2016, I am celebrating my 1,000 egg!  20161118_123658-1_resized_2

I am grateful.

I am healing.

Thanks in a huge part to my friend.  She was the only friend who believed I could/would do it.  She knew that I would get out of bed, put on my boots and tend to other creatures that needed my help.  I felt needed.

DSCN3160

 

Those dang chickens need me in the beautiful, blue, sunny skies as well as the blustery, wild wind, cold, pouring rain, boot wearing, dark stormy days.

Oh, I get it!

My friend.  She was there for me in the dark, stormy days…and yes, today, on a clear, beautiful day, she is in my corner, celebrating 1,000 eggs.

Boy Howdy, I am one grateful chick!

Who knew chickens could help me heal?

She did. 

 

 

 

 

the need to knead

Some weeks just feel out of sorts.

Emotional or stressful, whatever the heck you want to call it……it sort of hangs in the air.

Like when you accidentally burn beautiful little orange pieces of carrots for fried rice.  Then you have to stop and toss and take out the garbage and scrub & clean the pan five times.  Then you start over, and yet somehow that smell of burnt carrots is still lingering, hanging in the air, for quite some time.  Come back into the kitchen, windows open, 3 hours later, yep, it is still faintly floating in the air.

This past week, some of us have dealt with wedding stress, the stress of being unwell, injury, memories of the past, poor sleep, missed talking to grands, stubbed our little toe on our right foot,   however, I can safely say, we all have felt the punch of our election.  Boy Howdy, did we all feel the stress.  yikes.

No matter what side you were on or if you were balanced precariously on the fence……..political stress packs a wallop.  (I won’t mention the poor behavior of talking badly about others.  They all better be on their knees thanking the Good Lord, that I am not their mother.  My kitchen floor would be spotless!  If you have time and energy to talk bad about others, then I guess you have time to scrub my floor or rake my leaves, or wash my windows?)  If you would like, you can certainly ask our grown boys how I feel about talking poorly about others.  I am quite sure they will fill you in.

The stress is still lingering, floating all around us.

Back to basics my friend.

When I can’t seem to move gracefully forward, I notice that I stop and stay put.  I do things that I can control.  I take extra time to wash dishes, by hand.  I don’t grumble about folding laundry, I just find the calm in the process.  I don’t mind plucking weeds or raking leaves.  I can see the results of my efforts.  I send cards.  I write actual letters & walk to the mailbox and send.

I bake.

I measure and stir and use a whisk.

Oh sure, I have a great machine with a wonderful dough hook.  I didn’t use it.

I used my hands.  I needed to knead dough.  I wanted to work with my hands.  I was making something to give.  Not to sound to “Medusa Mom crazy”….. however…………..I needed to feel connected to it.

20161111_142418_resized_2All with the idea, there is no way, we could ever eat all this food before it spoils.

So instead of fretting and fussing over things I couldn’t/can’t control , I decided to bake rolls for some neighbors.   No other reason than just to share with our neighbors.

To remember and to remind myself that we belong to each other.  Not what the news reporters tell me nor what I see on face book.

Plain and simple:  We belong to each other. 

rumi

hello backyard beauty

Though no one uses our back door, we do.

The “before” was rough-looking.  Boots, flip-flops, gloves all strewn/tossed/stacked/hidden on the porch.20161104_110833-1_resized  Less than appealing to see each time we came and went.

I venture out a couple of times a day. Always something to do….. pick herbs,  feed and tend the chickens, let the dog out, fill bird feeders, you get the idea.

We have had over 37″ of rain this year in the Pacific Northwest.  Our backyard is soggy. I need dry boots.

I found this small bench.  It’s main purpose is to use near a pool.  It keeps cushions or pool toys dry.  Why wouldn’t it work for rain water as well?  Ordered.

While I waited for the bench to arrive, I decided to paint the back door and make it a bit more inviting for us.  Oh sure, we all fuss and decorate the front door.  I believe they call it curb appeal?20161104_133923-1_resized

Why oh why shouldn’t we do a little fussing over the back door?  A little backyard appeal for us.  The “after” looks so much neater and way more appealing.

ps.  I made the grapevine wreath with our own vines.  Skinny enough to fit between the door and the glass outer door.

Now, instead of grumbling about needing to “do something” for the backdoor, I just smile. Actually, a small amount of effort for a huge payoff.

housekeeping note:   I purchased the bench from Wayfair. It was amazingly easy to put together (I did it myself) and yes, it is completely waterproof. Also, strong enough to use as extra seating or to sit a moment and put your boots on.

Please stop by the backdoor any ol time.

Backdoor friends are best.

wake up 10

flowering-kale-arrangement

I live in the middle of gratitude, so, each morning, even before my feet touch the ground, I list off 10 things I am mighty grateful for. Some make the list daily, others change on a whim.

 

Boy Howdy,  I feel lucky & bathed in Grace to start fresh, every single day.

 

1.  Mr. Right

2.  four kids

3.  three grands20161023_152356_resized

4.  Sweet Liberty

5.  amazing, healthy, healing body

6.  cushy, lush, wonderful, bed

7.  remembering: ironing leaves between wax paperwax-paper-leaves

8.  fluffy, extra-large, soft socks

9.  morning letter waiting for me from Mr. Right

10.  coffee (duh, being honest)