Epiphany

20180107_101103-1_resizedChalk, a substance made of common elements of the earth.

We use chalk in this blessing as an ordinary substance put to holy use. 

Today we observe and celebrate Epiphany.  A day we mark to commemorate the visiting of the Christ Child by the three Magi with their gifts.

“Chalking the door” is a way to celebrate and literally mark the occasion of Epiphany and God’s Blessing of our lives and home.

With time through the year, as the chalk fades, may the meaning and symbols sink into our hearts and manifest in our words and actions.

All are welcome to adopt this custom.

Above our door are written in chalk the symbols and numbers20180107_101103-1-1-1_resized

20+C+M+B+18

Some remember the names of the three wise men:

Caspar, Melchior, Balthazaar

While others choose the abbreviated Latin words Christus Mansionem Benedicat

“May Christ Bless the house.”

The “+” signs represent the cross and 2018 is the year.

May Christ Bless your dwelling and Peace be to this house and to all who live, work and visit your home.

May all our homes be bathed in Grace & Goodness.

In this together,

Chat soon.

 

 

visions of sugar plums…

sugar plumsVisions of sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free plums danced in their heads.  (just kidding)

Right smack in the middle of the hustle and bustle that seems to hover over this month, have you taken time out for you and your person?  In between signing cards, wrapping boxes, baking treats, have you taken a few moments to bathe your master bedroom in grace & goodness?

Have you announced to the universe that your sanctuary is of value and importance?

Does your better half know without a shadow of a doubt that you hold your relationship in the highest of regard and continue to lift it up on a daily basis?

Have you taken 30 minutes to quickly deep clean, de-clutter, dust, vacuum, and gussie up your sanctuary? Are there fresh, ironed (yes, ironed) linens on your bed?  Have you brought in fresh flowers or greens or even a tree?  Have you brought in beautiful candles, a soft, cozy throw for the bed?  Did you place that festive pillow you found in your decoration box, just so,  to add a little something-something to your bed?  Have you sewed new, softer than mink, white pillow covers that look like they are covered in mini snowballs?

Or has it become the catch-all?  Wrapping paper leaning behind the door.  Gifts secretly crammed beneath the bed.  Clean laundry waiting to be folded.  Does your dresser top hold odd change, one stray button, and a broken necklace?  Is the room filled with stress?  Do you close the door to avoid looking in there?

Or the moment you step into your private sanctuary, does it fill you with calm and beauty? Can you feel it? Does it feel like goodness?  When you spy that bed, do just want to burrow in and surround yourself with fluffy coziness?  Just by walking into that room, do you feel fortunate, harmony and peace? 20171215_094358-1_resized

A gentle suggestion?  Take 30 minutes and create a little beauty.  Our world is harsh, tricky and can be brutal.  Some days it feels like more bad news than good.  We all need a place that we can go to breathe and feel the solitude and safety.  No electronics, no ugly noise, no demands.  We all need and crave a place to restore our spirit & soul.

May you make and enjoy a small corner of peace this season.

Sweet dreams.please do not disturb

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

Chrismons

crismon treeChrismon are Christmas decorations with Christian symbols on them. They were first made by Frances Kipps Spencer at the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia.  She also thought of the word Chrismon which is a combination of Christ and Monogram (meaning symbol).

20171214_212617_resized (1)

The simple symbols remind us of the story.

The ornaments remind of Grace and Goodness.

During Advent, our church decorates the sanctuary tree with white felt Chrismons.  Other years we have attended a church in another state and that tree also had Chrismons, however, those were made out of beads & pipe cleaners.

I cross stitched several of these ornaments years ago.  If I remember correctly, I have made this set three times to give away. As luck would have it, I did indeed make a set for our tree.   Each has Biblical meaning.20171214_212607_resized All of our ornaments were stitched with the same three colors of thread, same cloth and utilized the same small plastic frames.

We hang them every year on one of our trees.  This year the tall, tall skinny tree in the kitchen is decorated with German straw ornaments, Chrismons, antique chocolate candy molds and cinnamon ornaments.

Once the Chrismons come out of the box, or I spy them on the church tree…………it finally feels like Christmas.

Here’s to that happy feeling we all get while unpacking and seeing our treasured decorations.20171214_213706-1_resized

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

keeping you on pins & needles

I am sure you have been on pins & needles for a while now.  Did she or did she not achieve her goal of this year?  When will she give us an update?  Will she ever in a million years do something like this again?

2017 the year I proclaimed the year of the pincushion has come to a close. Thankfully.

Holy Toledo, I learned more than I ever imagined.  It took more time than I ever estimated.  My original goal was to cross stitch 12 pincushions for gifts.  I completed and gave 16.

I was able to give three of those beauties in person.

Now, before you fret, yes, I have a beautiful,  rather large pincushion of my own.  I have used it almost daily for quite a few years now.   I stitched the tower to remember our trip to Paris.

If you remember, here was my original challenged issued to me.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/poke/

To make it even more interesting, I added another element, pins.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/a-good-luck-poke/

 

I used an entire bag of crushed walnut shells to fill each.  I had to go and buy a second bag to fill the last two.

All of the pins I glued beads onto were used and my button jar came in mighty handy this year.

What did I learn?

I still enjoy counted cross stitch.

I liked personalizing the pin keeps to each person.

I learned that I most likely will never, ever do a project like that again.  It requires a whole bunch of heart & soul and time & effort.

I wanted to lovingly, slowly stitch goodness into each, piece, however, the deadlines and mailing times sort of took the fun out of making each.

My plan was to stitch each cushion and fill it with grace and well wishes for the other person.  Not everyone is excited or appreciates handmade gifts nor do many understand the hours it takes to produce them.

I put more good karma, energy, time, effort, money into each than need be.

I figured out, that while I was not looking for a “proper thank you note”, of which I received four, I was secretly hoping for a personal connection.  A conversation.  Some type of tie to the person I gave the gift to.  A reason to talk and spend time with the person.  A way to jump-start a conversation that would linger and fill us each with a wonderful memory. That did not happen.

If I ever do a counted cross stitch piece for anyone other than family, I will most likely keep track and share the number of hours it took to complete.  Not to be boastful, but to share the time that was spent on that person. I came to realize that folks that do not do handiwork, have no concept or understanding of how long each project takes.

I learned for Christmas this year, I am buying gifts.

The only handmade gifts I am making are for our Grands.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was going to say, I will most likely never cross stitch another pin cushion again.  However………I already have a person in mind (she herself is a beautiful cross stitcher) that I might like to make a pin cushion as a surprise in 2018.  We will see.

So here are a few of my 16.  Some, I forgot to take a picture.  One, I took a picture of the back and promptly deleted the front picture after it was already in the mail.  sigh.

Thanks for following along and keeping me company this past year.

I would dearly love to have a conversation about gift giving and making/giving handmade gifts.

I have a counted cross stitch pattern, thread, and fabric all ready to begin January 1, 2018, for me!

Also, we have a new GRANDBABY on the way in 2018 so my hands will be flying as I make oodles of goodness for the new one in our life.

Here’s to accomplishing my goal and then some!  Setting a goal and working towards completion is very satisfying.

In the coming year, I hope you are planning and setting a goal or two of your own.  Would love to hear your plans.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is saving you today?

Life at times can be tricky.  It can feel tough and brutal.  Life feels hard sometimes. Life can be very loud.

It seems as though for the big huge troubles, we pause, pull up our bootstraps and face it head-on.  Not pleasant, however, we all have the ability to rise up and fight something big.

It’s the small things that add up & sneak up on you. You don’t realize how full your heart & soul & plate are until the tipping point and things start to topple over.

buffetBefore walking up to the buffet table, you actually are not physically starving.  Coffee sounds good, then you spy the potatoes & take a few.  Next, you notice the fruit.  Oh my,  look at that spinach quiche it is calling my name.  Wait!  I spy with my little eye, a freshly baked croissant.  Oh, cappuccino.  And just like that, my plate is piled high, I have both hands filled and I have to ask for help carrying my coffee back to my place.

That moment when you ask for help.  You instinctively know the moment has come to politely ask for assistance. We can’t do this alone.

That’s how I feel lately.

A friend’s son is sick.

Two friends are very, very sick.

I miss playing board games with my kids. I miss hanging out and talking.

I miss our grandkids.

I’ve baked a couple of times to take to friends.  My stash of sympathy cards is dwindling at an alarming rate. A couple of friends are in the hospital.  (I can’t be around germs, so I send cards.)  I need to replenish my “thinking of you cards”.

Working from home has its advantages for sure, however, sometimes just talking with the dog does not fill my need to chit-chat.  I miss dressing up, driving to work, checking in with co-workers, hearing about their day, eating lunch, teasing, banter etc.

I picked up my phone yesterday, I was going to send a text message to my friend ( I have two happy things to squeal and share about), then I remembered she doesn’t have a phone in heaven.

This time of year, the weather is dreary and it’s not easy to go out and work off some frustration through yard work.  It is pouring down rain as I type.  If we get a slight break in the liquid sunshine, my boots are ready….. I am headed out to rake leaves and breathe in some fresh air.

Yesterday, while listening to a podcast interview, Jen Hatmaker asked her guest the final question.

“What is saving you today”? 

 

I listened then I proceeded to answer it as well.

“What is saving me today”?

Mr. Right (fancy date night over the weekend, talking on the phone like high school kids,Date night_resized doing a 550 piece jigsaw puzzle in 3 hours, reading the same book or studying and then discussing together, stitching and talking while he makes juice every day…………my list goes on and on)

Floss Tube ( a group of worldwide cross stitchers who make videos and share their passion)

coffee cupCoffee

Counted cross stitch

I don’t really need finger shaking and rules right now.  Reading Psalms uplifts and psalm rockencourages me to move forward.  Even when the world seems all wackadoodle & topsy-turvy.

My Sweet Dog

my guilty pleasure, looking at “Hello” Magazine pictures online

Crocheting

Funny videos during medicine time

Reading the latest FBI thriller

Baking

holding handsHolding hands while wearing mittens/gloves on evening walks

 

So on this wet Tuesday,  my question to you friend is,

“What is saving you today”?

Maybe we can share answers & grace with each other?

Maybe by sharing we can smooth out the rough edges of this thing we call life?

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

something we can agree on

heart crossMy heart hurts.

I can’t stop thinking about the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.  I woke up this morning at 3:14 am thinking about them.  Thinking about the mom’s, the wives/husbands and the families.  My mind wouldn’t stop swirling.

I will freely admit, I am tired of just sending my thoughts and prayers to victims of unspeakable violence.

I think we can all agree, the time has come.  We need to do more.

The very reason I started this blog was so I could leave my heart on the page and sleep through the night.

Our church sings a song with the words, “Let peace begin with me“.  I have always loved that song, memorized the words, sang with gusto, the melody sounded so smooth and easy.   La, la, la…. look at me being peaceful.  In my nice dress and high heels, so nice and clean and calm. 

Move over Blue Haired Methodist Ladies!

The new younger, more vocal “Medium Golden Brown” with Cappuccino highlights” lady is ready to speak up.

Never in a thousand years would I have believed that “peace” would begin with me by contacting my congressman/woman.

This morning while listening to a fellow cross stitcher, Bendy Stitchy aka Michelle Garrett (a wonderful stitcher, kind soul, giving, nurturing spirit, open-minded)  in amongst talking and sharing about stitching, she shared a brilliant idea.

I liked her idea.  It’s the first time I have thought of it this way.  It is not huge, it is a teeny, tiny step.  Maybe, fingers crossed, an idea in the right direction?

This is NOT about gun laws, gun sales, taking away hunters rights, questioning the Second Amendment.   This is not to ban fertilizer sales or knife sales, this is not a never-ending circle of red-faced, screaming loud, ranting and raving.

THIS IS ABOUT the people who were injured or killed and their families. 

I repeat.

THIS IS ABOUT the people who were injured or killed and their families. 

This is something we can actually do.  Physically write, email or phone your congressman or the white house.  Yes, we can do this.

Allow me to paraphrase her thoughts:

Back in the early 80’s then-President, Ronald Reagan asked the CDC to study why so many Americans were dying in their cars.  The CDC takes a long time to study things, however, in the end, what they deduced is:   car restraints were needed.

That study resulted in a seat belt law.

Do people still die in car accidents?  Yes, of course, every single day. Did the study reduce the number of deaths due to seatbelts?  Yes.  The study was worth it.

Let’s ask our congressmen/women or President to have the CDC  commence a study of multiple deaths by gun violence or other lethal means (fertilizer, knife, car etc) by one individual.

This could very well be a step toward the “WHY” question we all have.

Just take a look at it.  No political slant.  Just take a look.

It is a beginning…….a place to start…….at the very least a jumping off point to try and figure out the “why”.

As the victims and their families, walk through this horror,  May God cover them with a blanket of Love & Grace.

May we all be bathed in Grace as we AGREE.

YES, we can all agree, WE CAN AND SHOULD ALL DO BETTER.

In this together friends, chat soon.

 

 

spinning soul sisters

I hobbled across the street and up a block from my junior high school.  I had a full-length leg cast.  (Back in the olden days’ casts were plaster and boy howdy were they heavy.)  I was back at school after weeks at home.  I missed my friends.  I was more than happy to hand over saved babysitting money (my portion of some salty, greasy fries)  and willing to use those ugly crutches if it would get me where I wanted to be.

The promises of a pile of french fries we all shared and the latest gossip were more than enough of a carrot to get me moving towards the “Herfy’s” fast food joint.  I wanted to hang out and fit in.  Golly, I wanted so badly to be a part of the “gang”.  I wanted to have real grown-up conversations and figure out where we each stood on vital and important topics.

I  remember the noise of all of us talking at once.  I can recall the sound of laughter.  Talking with mouths full, talking over each other, talking…… it was the sound of friendship.  Somehow we all felt a bit important.  We each had something to share.

Yesterday, while having coffee with a friend we noticed a group of 8 junior high school friends.  They each had a coffee drink in front of them.  They all sat at a table 4 facing 4.  Each had either a cell phone, laptop or a tablet they were individually engrossed in.

They were silent.

Each absorbed in their own world of technology.  I wanted to tell them, put down your phones, close your laptops………your friends are right before your very eyes.

I kept my lips sealed, however, my heart cracked a little.

Spinning Elementary school

I was very grateful to be sitting with a friend from Kindergarten.  Neither of us could actually pinpoint when (at least 35 years ago) we actually last saw each other, face to face.   We have reconnected via social media (yes, we are mighty grateful for technology)…. however, we needed to sit and be in the same place.

We both felt an invisible thread tugging at our hearts.   I liked seeing her beautiful hair glimmer in the sunshine.  I needed to touch her bracelet, smell her perfume and hear her story.  My heart raced as I listened to her talk about her husband with respect and love.

We both played the “dance”.

Oh, you know?  The dance where you gently slip in little thoughts to see how the other reacts.  Religion, politics, television, hobbies, food……polite yet very interested and you actually care if it is all well with her soul.  You gingerly talk about the miracle love affair of your life and see where it lands.   When I caught a glimpse of a sparkle in her eye, my heart swelled.  I knew in a flash she had long been with someone who had loved her and held her heart.    During my turn, I could share how Mr. Right is my world and how well I am loved and cared for.  I could tell her and not hold back because she was telling me the same story.  We were speaking the same love language.

You don’t share sweet secrets like that via technology.   You just don’t.

Over the years, of course, we have both been forced to our knees with tragedy.  We shared our lost parents, our concerns, our troubles, our sickness, our fears as well as our glories and triumphs. We discussed new things we were trying on for size.   We asked about mutual friends and each other’s siblings.  Oh yes,  we shared how AMAZING our grands are.

WAIT  

Imagine for a moment, what if, when we were young school chums we didn’t talk about life and who we wanted to marry, our ridiculous siblings, or mean teachers?  What if after school, we didn’t sit and talk about the world, how we stood on issues, what we wanted to be when we grew up?  What if we didn’t say much?  What if we sat and ate french fries (or drank coffee) and did our own private thing on an electronic device and we never actually connected on a personal level? What if we had not shared our souls even before we knew what souls were?

Would any of us now be curious enough or feel the pull of friendship to contact our old school chums?  Would we make an effort and carve out time to reconnect?  Would we just check the box  (yes, I accept you as a “friend”)  or would we thirst for personal time together? Would the ties that bind us, hold our hearts and souls together while we went out into the world and came back again?

friendshipThe thing about childhood friends…. they know you.  They were part of you when you were still trying on who you were.   They are woven into our hearts from a very young age.

We were five or six when we met.  We didn’t know we were being given a gift.  It felt like the luck of the draw.  Our parents happen to live in the same school district, by chance we ended up in the same schools.

It didn’t seem serendipitous or magical.   I just knew her as my schoolmate, tall, pretty, a twin.  It wasn’t until we talked more and grew through the years that I figured out she was also kind & smart.  Part of being young friends is learning & listening & then borrowing the good parts we see and hear in our friends and tying them to our hearts.

I never dreamed she would be part of the thread that made up part of who I became. When you are with a lifelong friend, somehow you feel safe and comfortable.  You feel accepted because we already accepted each other back in 1967.  You open your mouth and spill things you don’t share with others.

Here’s the inside scoop:

She is much prettier than I remembered.  She has a beautiful spirit and soul.  She is kind-hearted, loving and smart.  She turned out to be an amazing wife and mom and mother in law and grandma.

She has always been part of my circle.  My chatty, talkative, opinionated, giggly, serious, thoughtful, tricky, hard, glorious circle.

Without end.

TeresaGentle suggestion?  use technology to find an old friend.  Figure out a way, make an effort to have coffee or french fries with that friend, in person.

You owe it to yourself and to her, turn off your phones and then talk, hold hands, giggle and talk some more.  Talk for 4.5 hours over coffee.  Yes, yes, everyone in your life will worry and fret because you didn’t answer your phone.

Tell them the truth.  “I turned off my phone because I was TALKING with my friend.”

I am here to tell you it is good for your soul.  

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

friendship 2