Surprise! Free Grace Friday

In his well-known “Free Grace”, John Wesley said that the “grace or love of God, whence cometh our salvation, is Free in All, and Free for all”.

It has been a rather bumpy week in the health department.  Odd, how the health card or lack there of trumps all else?  In a real and overall sense, I have the  feeling of swimming upstream.fish However, instead of complaining and grumbling about that, after this week, I somehow found a slight, ever so small crack in the armor.  I have a feeling of relief.  I feel proud that I am swimming in a different direction.  The stream of sunlight is showcasing my growth.  WHAT?  Did I just say, I felt proud that I am swimming upstream?  Whoa!  When did that happen?  It is pretty dang tootin’ freeing.  Giving myself a little Grace here.  Yes, it is freeing.  I know I am going in the right direction.  It is nice to admit it.

umbrellaDid I do it by myself?  Heck, no.  I have some really great friends (angels really) , floating in and out of my life, that are poking me with an umbrella, in the fanny and encouraging me to get a move on.

If you read anything from JM Griffith, you look at friendship under a microscope.  She tries to figure out the friendship “thing”.  No, not the “how many friends do you have on face book”.

We are, all of us beholden to each person we’ve met and loved or wronged or ignored.

The friends you share secrets with.  The friends you can ask for help without actually asking.  The kind of friends that will read with you, learn with you, grow with you and sense when you need a little help.  Share your bittersweet moments as well as the best moments of your life.  You know, that moment when you need help and a true friend, laces their hands together for a step up?  Yeah, that kind of friend.

The word “friendship” alone can sound cloying, shallow, sweet, feminine.  JM Griffith said, she wanted it to be rough and gruff while sharing a pint of ale and debating theology.  I guess I want a bit of both.  Friendship as Grace are both free, so why not ask for the whole enchilada?

So on this Friday morning, I am rounding up my list of trusted friends who have bathed me in Grace this past week.  It is good to sit back and review.  Feel the love and pure goodness twice.  I am grateful, so grateful for the gift of Grace in the form of friendship.

This week, I received a jaunty homemade card.  Yep, she is there for me.  Phone calls and emails and a text here and there.  The friendship I receive from her is always encouraging and uplifting and she somehow manages to bathe me in Grace. She casually mentioned that she had gotten the book I was reading and will read it along with me.  Just by saying that, she lifted our friendship to another level of respect and Grace.    Without asking, this week, somehow, mysteriously she knew I needed a boost.  A pick me up.  She trusts me with her life’s stories.

After a mini meltdown about GMO’s and toxic laden foods, I reached out to a friend and she bathed me in the Grace of kindness and education.  She has an amazing way of listening to my spirit and reminding me to breathe.  She helps me with stories of real people and how they are worried too.  Even thou she lives on the other side of the country, she said she would hang out sarkin my sewing room with me and hide.  I took a couple of pictures to show her what I was doing.  She and I are twirling through a book by S.A.R.K.  , together.  Twice the goodness.  She trusts me with her life’s stories.

I was lucky to visit in person with a new friend.  She shared her passion.  It felt good to try out the “new” friend shoes.  Oh, my, they are a good fit and sassy.  Yes, very sassy.

I talked, strike that…………..I LAUGHED on the phone with my sis in law.  I almost couldn’t breathe, I laughed so hard.  She bathes me in Grace everyday of my life.  She trusts me with her life’s stories.

I received several emails this week,  from a friend who has walked with me through the muck and mire.  She is walking through a bittersweet week and has plenty of her own health issues.  However, she finds a way, a unique and lovely way of bathing me in Grace.  She has a kind and silly way of reminding me to laugh and giggle.  We celebrate our grands.  She is the one person I can brag about my Grandgirlies and Grandson on the way and she brags right back about hers.  It is a connection that helps me over the rough parts.  She trusts me with her life’s stories.

Another friend, made  two breathtaking beaded bracelets to give as graduation gifts.  (and did it right before her holiday)  Yes, I am supposed to take the class and learn how.  She did it for me for now.  She bought me a little time.  I really wanted to give those as gifts to two very special graduates.  She has a very unique way of bathing me in Grace.  She never makes me feel less, she always makes me feel like a better person.  We share girlie secrets and talk about kiddos and family and crafts and shoes.  She always has time to talk about shoes.  She is even kind enough to share a picture or two of her vacation while on vacation.  I get to “go with her” to the quilt shop or out to dinner.  Such a lovely thing to share.  She trusts me with her life’s stories.

Friendship is Free.  Friendship is pure Trust & Grace.  It means the world to me.  I try to be a good friend.  I try to Bathe my friends in Grace.  Because I was lifted up this week, I will be able to try a little harder next week.

Friendship ends up being another mystery, another place where God surprises us.

Take up the challenge!  Surprise one of your friends by bathing them in the Grace of Friendship.  It feels delicious. Go on, give it a try.

 Happy Friday, Friend, Happy Free Grace Friday!

pure chance, pure happy, pure grateful

police carBefore I was born and throughout my toddler years, my father was a policeman.  I used to love hearing his stories about that time of his life.  No, I don’t remember being an infant and sleeping in the back of his patrol car.  My mother had reached her limit and apparently I would “sleep like a baby” in a moving car.  So every once in a while, that was their solution.  Good thing they lived in a quiet tiny town and he didn’t have many high-speed chases or arrests.  Really?  I want to be all high and mighty and say, gee, that wasn’t very good parenting and yet, who among us has  not sat with a baby in a car seat on the dryer to imitate that car sound and movement?  I know for a fact that if I knew a policeman when one of our boys was an infant, I would have wrapped up that noisy bundle of joy and gladly handed him over for a ride in the patrol car.

On slow days he would stop every 7th car that went by that was red.  He said, he just picked a color (usually red or blue if that means anything to any of you embarking on buying a new car) at the beginning of his shift and that was the color he counted.  It was a border town, so all he had to do was wait for the cars to stream by.  He needed to meet a quota.  He chose his color, began counting and usually he could find a tail light out, a speeder or some other infraction on red car number seven.

I have been told a story of my brother-in-law choosing their first cat.  The story goes, a box full of fuzzy adorable kittens, he taps each one gently on the head.  Only one looks up.  Hello, Mittens!  Would you like to come home with me and live happily ever after?

One day, a couple of months ago, I was meandering through a jaunty quilt shop.  I saw their bulletin board and curiosity moved me in that direction. They had several business cards to choose from.   People offering their sewing skills, quilting and repair skills.  I was looking for a machine quilting lady in my neck of the woods.  I looked at several of the cards.  Only ONE had writing on the back as well as the front of the card.  done.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting a new friend.  The instant her door opened, I knew.  Friendly greeting, kind eyes, sweet happy dog, charming home, decor well-chosen and so clean and homey, I either wanted to sit and stay awhile or race home and run the vacuum around our home.  I found the end of the Rainbow.  Yes,that good.

First of all she called me by name and said it correctly.  Oh my goodness, music to my ears.  I knew the moment I walked into her studio, I had chosen wisely.  I had stepped into a place of passion and goodness.  My new quilting friend is one smart cookie.  Intelligent, obviously craves order, neatness and a splash of creative magic all swirled together.  All those traits and a warm personality with style and a dash of humor, seamlessly blended, so much so, that I got that  “good egg”  giddy feeling instantly.

DSCN1757She got me talking and smiling and asking all sorts of questions.  Yes, I was there to discuss a modern cross wall hanging in oranges, cream and a dash of aqua.  Somehow, it almost seemed secondary.   Her kind and warm spirit drew me in and encircled me with more than enough.  Within a couple of minutes I fell in love with her goodness, her uplifting spirit.  You know those kind of people? You feel better just by being in their circle.   They bring out the best in us.  In a flash, you know she is one of those people you want to add to your Christmas card list.

In this day and age of pairing down and deleting a name here and there, what a lovely, charming thought to want to add a name to your address book.

This chance (some would call fate, luck or good karma)  encounter has happy, blessed, thankful, grateful written all over it.

Yesterday morning, I wrote about looking  for happy.  I looked for happy. My eyes and heart were open and willing.  Last night, I wanted to take a HUGE red-letter stamp and mark the word THANKFUL over the whole day’s events.

I found it.   It came in the form of a hug from a new friend.  It came in the form of pure goodness.  It came in the package of a charming, intelligent, talented, lovely lady.

Last night, I slept like a baby. thankful

 

 

 

look for happy

bread peddler 3Don’t you just love those little moments in the day that make you giddy with delight?  The moment the phone rings and you see the name and you all but clap your hands together in glee.  You know the caller is the bearer of great news?   The moment when your friend drives into your driveway, and you are bubbling over with happy as you recognize her car?   That very moment when you hear/feel the dog’s tail swishing against your bed to say good morning, even before you open your eyes?  You smile before you do anything else.  look for happy.

Even when it doesn’t happen to me.  I look for happy in others.  We gather joy just by sharing in others goodness.

That moment when your seasoned, tough, rough, gruff,  Sargent Major of a brother-in-law calls and uses a word like “bubbly”.  One of the best phone calls of my life.  Yes, I am giddy with happy.   I adore that they shared their happy.  Sometimes, you don’t have to look very far, happy bops you on the head.

Yesterday a  friend and I were lucky enough to spend the day together.  Of course we stopped at “our” place to enjoy lunch.  The Bread Peddler is an amazing establishment.  The French food is so jam-packed with flavor and the breads and pastries are delicate with just a hint of European flare that you wish you could eat there three or four times a week.  I am beyond grateful and thankful that we got to enjoy another meal there.  I am healthy enough to go to lunch and enjoy every ounce of goodness.  bread peddler 4

The folks that work there are intelligent, informed and friendly.  By the time we stopped in for a late lunch, read that as 1:45 pm.  Those bakers were just about ready to call it a day.  To get that bread baked and on the shelves, their day must have started at 3 in the morning.  Oh, and we do APPRECIATE it very much.

The floor.  The well-worn dark wood.  Oh, it makes me smile.  Yesterday, I looked down and saw my shocking pink tootsies peeking out of my bling covered sandals, resting atop that gorgeous wide planked floor.  I actually think the smell of bread and goodness baking has woven its way into the grain of all the wood.  look for happy.

bread peddler 2Besides a window seat, amazing food, delightful company and a treat for no special reason………….one of those little moments of goodness happened.  If you are not watching and looking for them, you might miss it.

As we were eating and laughing and talking and eating some more, just outside the window were some outdoor tables and chairs.  We happen to notice one of the workers from the bakery was taking their break.  He sat down with a lovely plate full of lunch.  The SAME lunch as we were enjoying.   look for happy.

Our daughter in law, started her new job (they are so lucky to have her).  look for happy.

The grandgirlies new play group is located right on campus & they all love it.  look for happy.

A friend accomplished her goal of hiking out of the Grand Canyon.  look for happy.

Mr. Right left a delightful card on my computer this morning.  look for happy.

A friend’s husband interviewed and was offered a new job.  look for happy.

A gorgeous yellow rose bud brought by a friend.  look for happy.

I am meeting a new quilting friend today.  I am looking for happy.

Laundry and chores are done for the day, dinner plans are decided.  look for happy.

Don’t you just love it when a worker from the bakery you are eating in,  sits down and devours the same food as you have ordered?  He obviously knows a good thing when he smells, sees and sells it.   Makes me swing my legs and smile while I finish my lunch.   look for happy.

When you look for happy, you find it.  Enormous and life changing or small and sweet,  happy surrounds us, we just have to seek it out.

Bon Appetit!

are you saving bacon grease?

flagFew of us save bacon grease or lard.  Even less of us have given up eating meat or butter so the United States Troops can eat better.  Do you know anyone at all who has planted a Victory Garden so they won’t be a burden on the food supply and their portion can be utilized for the troops?  None of us, that I know of,  have ration cards for sugar, gasoline or rubber.

To date, 1, 404 United States Troops have died while fighting in Afghanistan.  Our government calls it a Limited Military Engagement.

To be quite clear, I am tired.  Tired of sending cards and letters and care packages.  We have been doing it for years.  Yes, YEARS.  However, the military powers that be, have not asked for my opinion as to when to bring our troops home.

As we move along through our daily lives, there are United States soldiers who are defending our right to do just that.  We drive where we want to, eat what we choose, recycle or not, mow our yards with gas fed mowers, we plan big Bar B Ques, we plan our summer vacations.

I honestly do not know one girlfriend who has gone over to another girlfriend’s home and used a ball point pen to draw a “seam” down the back of her legs.  That is affirmative.  NO stockings, girls.  During past wars, the nylon was used for parachutes for our troops.

We have another soldier we are supporting.  He is a man of honor.  He leaves behind a young daughter and son.  This is his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.   By supporting I don’t mean I am all of a sudden cooking bacon and saving the grease  to use over and over.  I am not planning a party with girlfriends and sharpies to draw stocking “seams” up and down our legs.

By supporting another honorable soldier, that means we will do several things.  We lift their names up in prayer.  I write their name on a rock near my prayer candle so we remember.  We pray for the family and friends he has left behind.  We address cards with postage affixed and we ask others to sign.

Take a pre-stamped addressed card to your work, your quilt group, your 4-H Horse club, your car club.  Ask people to sign the card.  Yes, it is that easy.  No, you don’t have to give up bacon or use a ration card.  No, you don’t have to give up butter or limit your gasoline use.  You just need to send a card.

If you want to take it a step further, you can send a care package.  Or you can attend a little league baseball game and support his son or daughter.  You can do as little or as much as you wish.  But please, for the sake of Patriotism & being a Grateful American, DO SOMETHING.

Yes, I will gladly share the name and address of our latest soldier.  The more the merrier.  Please share with your friends.  I guarantee you, if he gets a care package or a couple of cards…he will share.  It’s what they do.  It’s who they are.

May God Bless our Troops and keep them safe until they all come home.

Sincere and Heartfelt thanks from Mr. Right and I.

 “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”  Winston Churchill

 

May BOM, take 3

Why the title, take 3?

DSCN4591Block one was reading too dark and mysterious to me.

Block two was most assuredly lighter and more cheerful, yet, had a mistake.     Same pattern, same block, different fabric placements.

I must say, I am not a fan of using the handy-dandy seam ripper, however, I do love my new one.  It gets the job done lickity split.  (hardly any cuss words needed)

 

Ah, take 3, just right.  DSCN4596

DSCN4600Following along with a Block of the Month is a challenge and a mystery all rolled into one.  I am not sure the direction of this piece.  I want it to be balanced, so I am trying for equal blocks of light and dark.  I am trying to incorporate enough of the same fabrics that it will blend nicely.  On the other hand, I want to have unique and different fabrics to keep the interest alive.

Block of the month for May, is called London.  I made it way more difficult than it needed to be.  Looking forward to June’s surprise.

I am headed outside for some fresh air, sunshine and work.  This quilter needs to clear her head.

Christmas tree in May, (not so festive)

DSCN2921Each year we have a gorgeous fresh evergreen tree on our outdoor deck.  White lights and some bird seed balls. I even hung some bells made out of bird seed.    With a light dusting of snow, it is really picture perfect.

The calendar page is turned and come January 8 or 9th…. not so magical.  Somehow, what was  once breath-taking, lush, full and lovely just a few weeks before, now just looks sad and ready for the recycle bin.

DSCN4560I am trying my very best to be  knowledgeable and natural when it comes to raising chickens for their fresh eggs.  One way I keep bugs at bay, is with fresh herbs and plants.  I change out their bedding weekly.  I use cinder vinegar in their drinking water, I provide fresh straw, hang fresh herbs, make my own natural cleaner & sprinkle lavender around.  Smells lovely, calming (to lay better eggs) and in the colder months I line the laying boxes with evergreens for warmth.   We have several trees around, so it is rather easy to find my weekly branches.

DSCN4530Ah, back to the Christmas tree.  We kept it and have been cutting branch after branch each week.  A couple of days ago was the last of it.  We upcycled or recycled the tree for the chicks.   The timing was perfect.  The weather has turned warmer (for us, sorry Colorado).  We used the last tiny bit at the very top of the tree.  It sure has past it’s prime.   Time to move on.  Not quite as festive as it once was.

Unless there is some holiday tradition I don’t know about?    Some holiday, where the people celebrate with a 7 foot bare tree, with just the top couple of branches to decorate with?   Let me know and maybe next year, I can plan accordingly.

 

fa la la la la la la la DSCN4545

J-O-H-N

When I was little, my sisters and I shared a red, plastic, small, toy cash register.  We played “store” all the time.  The drawer opened and we put plastic play coins in there.

Back in 1968-1974 my father was on the Washington State Parole Board.  At that time, there was also a woman on the board.  (pretty amazing when you think about women in business during that era).  When we visited my father’s office near the state capital, we would always go say hello to Miss Helen.  She collected owls.  A LOT of owls.  Compared to my father’s very proper, organized, man’s, boring brown and black office……….her’s was amazing.    It was overrun with owls.  Funny how I still remember that.  It was wild.  Sort of felt like all the owls were looking at me.  Creepy but in a I can’t stop looking, way.  Weird how I still remember?

One Saturday, we were on our way somewhere and my father had to stop by her home and drop off some papers.  She had us come in.  She said we could go into the family room.  My mother was nervous, you could actually feel her tense up.  Miss Helen and her husband, did not have any children at home and they collected rare and precious antiques.  My mother told us not to touch.  Miss Helen said, “of course they can touch”.  🙂

cash registerIn a flash of an eye, we spotted it and never saw another thing, the entire time we were there.  A REAL cash register.  It was gilded in gold (we of course assumed it was real gold) and when the drawer came out, there was REAL money in there.  Miss Helen said sure we could play with it.  She showed us how it worked.  We each took turns over and over and over.

In the late 80’s, Mr. Right and I were sitting in our living room, listening to our boys play “store”.  We kept hearing them making a beeping sound.  We tiptoed to their play room and looked in.   They had turned over a cardboard box and drew a screen on it.  Then they were passing the grocery items over the area and making it “beep” to capture the price.

The times they were a changin’.  

I have a friend who is one of the good guys in life.  You know the type, responsible, smarty pants, great Dad, great husband, dog lover, adventuresome, great sense of humor, can pull off a jaunty hat and is a lover of Pacific NW sports….?  I know he is one of the good guys in life because he is a man who stops and buys lemonade from road side stands.  You gotta love a man who buys lemonade from kids on the side of the road.  Something tells me, they receive a nice tip as well.

Last week, May 2014, he pulled over.  He walked up and placed his order.  The little girl asked, “can I get a name for that”?  He said, John.  Once his drink order was ready for pick up, she called out “JOHN”!  Sounds like a little Starbucks Batista in the making.  John coffee

The times they are a changin’.  

(yes, I did indeed ask permission to share his name and his story.)

I am still smiling.  I bet he is, too. Thanks J-o-h-n!  Oh and Happy May Birthday.  I hope your day is as happy as you made Lemonade Barista girl!

a jaunty tip of the hat

DSCN4529For some odd reason, I feel like an 9-year-old boy who is digging in his heels about writing thank you notes.  I have a great selection of cards to choose from. There are plenty of postage stamps ready to use.

I was showered with amazing, lovely, cheerful, funny, delicious birthday gifts, cards & wishes.  I do indeed have oodles to be grateful for.

It is a divine feeling to be washed in Grace and Goodness.  Having so many people to thank is a blessing not a drudgery.  Somehow, I have decided that each note should be heart-felt and sincere.  Not just perfunctory.  I want them to have meaning.  I want to add stickers and maybe a picture from our trip.  I want the thank you card to feel almost like getting a gift.  I want to use words that convey, gratitude and happiness.  I am swirling ideas around and thinking of fancy Nancy words.  I want to use grown up snazzy words that express a GRATEFUL spirit. TY 2

I want to write the perfect note for the givers thoughtfulness.  Oh sure, I know that thank you cards have gone out of style.  A quick  thank you on face book seems to be more the normal venue now a days.  I don’t want to be normal.  I don’t want to slide under the radar.  I want to be genuinely grateful and gracious and share my happiness with the giver.

The moment the person opens my thank you card, I want them to “feel” the goodness.  Oh no, not like filling with confetti, that when you open the card and it all flutters, like in slow motion into the stove top…………………………….. don’t ask………………………………  I want them to feel…… like they were just given a hug and a jaunty tip of the hat for the thoughtful and kind gift.

The pressure is all from me.  There is no stern mother hovering over me telling me what is proper, use good penmanship, no….. young ladies don’t doodle on thank you cards……..  Yes, I am the proud owner of several well written books on etiquette.  I have attended  many “White Gloves and Party Manners” classes.  I even have lovely pens to choose from.  (between you and me, I prefer the $1.99 pack of 10 Black Bic pens)

pen 2Hey, remember those pens we all had in Junior High School?  It was rather chunky and had 10 different colors to choose from.  You somehow (magic)  clicked the button down and you instantly got a different colored ink.  I used up the cool mint green ink.  Gee, I wonder if anyone could actually see the cool mint green color on white paper?  Did anyone try to push down two of the pen colors at the same time?  I wanted to write with two colors at once.  Pink and Green.  It got sort of jammed up, so I panicked and pushed it back and never tried again.  Even I admit the yellow ink was hard to see.

Now that I think about it, my proper mother must have been exhausted.  So many, many rules.   I wonder why she didn’t just say, use whatever pen you want?  Just get the notes done.   Why so many rules?   Yes, I have an arsenal of valuable information that I have ingrained in my being.  Yes, I know the proper way to write a variety of notes.  Maybe it’s like having a very powerful car?  You don’t utilize all that power all the time, it just makes for a better running machine.  As much as I complain about the rules growing up, I am grateful for the resources.  I live my life by them.  They help guide me and give me comfort at times.  It is like a security blanket.  I do indeed know what to do and how to act in all sorts of situations.

We tried to teach our children that thank you notes were a gesture on their part.  A kind and considerate way to say thank you.  No, people will not disown you if you forget to write one.  It is just one small gesture that helps our civility.  It is a small act that helps define who we are.

Good Manners are appreciated as much as bad manners are abhorred.  B. McGill

I like adding stickers and doodles.  I like drawing arrows and stars and swirls.  I like slipping in a picture and writing a funny caption.

Thank you notes are indeed a lovely way to let the gift giver know how their kind and thoughtful gesture made you giddy with pure happy.

Pep talks to ones self are a good way to move forward.   Excuse me please, while I go find my snazzy pen.