Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lookin' back....

I make a point of not writing about bad things, bad times, bad attitudes. Those are easy enough to remember without having a permanent written record. This year has been...

Okay, so in order to leave any kind of review of my year I will have to write some things I wouldn't normally write. I feel it is important, for my own sake, to do so - this time. I am extremely grateful, though, that there were at least a few events of this year that have totally blessed my socks off! While this year has been truly horrible in so many ways, between physical pain, depression, and certain individuals who have sought to try to destroy our family, it has had some sweet moments. I think for my own healing I need to reflect on this year, including its horrors - partly to move beyond it, and partly to NEVER allow it to happen again.

I came into this year wounded from a car accident that I had just before the previous Thanksgiving. Yes, Lord, I thank You that You guarded my life in that accident! I don't really understand why the pain, but we do rise above when we have to, right? Right. I began physical therapy in January. My spine was twisted, I had ribs severely out of place, my neck was locked up and still had the after-effects of whiplash. I could barely walk. I found out I had scoliosis. Fibromyalgia was making things worse, and for the first time in my life, it began to affect my upper back and neck. All this because a man who wasn't licensed to drive and had had few drinks was driving a company van, and decided to drive across my side of the road even though I was there. It was awful. I thank God for my physical therapist, Rachel. She worked and worked and worked for 8 months this year to get me beyond the effects of that accident, and taught me much about how to care for my back.

One of the most precious events of this year was the birth of my granddaughter, Isabella Rose, in March. She is truly precious to me and makes me so happy. What a great girl she is! Very quick to learn, very agile, very happy. Truly a precious baby! I believe she is a gift, and I do cherish her, and I thank her precious mommy for letting me have so much time with her. She is good for my soul! :)

One of the horrors of this year has been an inability to get out to church. I think I have only been able to make it about 7 times and that is devastating. Now if you really know me, you know that I believe God is my Healer, my Strong Tower, my Refuge. My trust - and my HOPE - is entirely in Him. Still, something happens when you can't fellowship with His people... it's like you have to work harder and harder to remind yourself of His promises. Then you begin to doubt yourself and your ability to shine with His light and love. You get lonely, even though you are never alone, and it is horrible. You become convinced that everyone else thinks you have turned your back on Him, and when you feel like you are clinging to His neck with every ounce of strength you have, it cuts you to the core. Very few people call to see how you are anymore, and those who actually do call tend to say things like "you don't have to be sick, you know..." Yes, I know! I know, I know... I am the healed! I am the whole! Body, catch up with this Truth! Truth trumps facts!

The fact was that I was hurting and growing more tired and that is an awful place to be. I still had to run to others' rescue on a nearly regular basis, yet I found no rescue of my own. I guess you can tell I sunk pretty low.

Then something new came up, something exciting, something creative, something fun. My daughter has a photography business and she and I began to work together to photograph weddings. I had helped with a few weddings last year, but this year I became an integral part of the company. I cannot tell you how very much I LOVE it! I feel useful, and even though it can be exhausting, it is so rewarding. We have photographed some of the most beautiful weddings you can imagine. How refreshing to have this outlet! My sweet friend Yvette also sat as a model for me so I could learn how to work with Rachel's fancy camera. That was so much fun! I have a vision for down the road to run Naturally Captured Photography for Rachel, doing portraits, weddings, whatever! THAT will be FUN!

I spent much of the year knitting. It's one of those things that I can do to distract myself from whatever else is going on. I got so depressed because of the constant pain and my inability to get to church... Knitting truly helped me get past that! I have been truly blessed to make friends through the knitting experience. There is a local group of knitters whom I had the distinct pleasure of meeting through a website called Ravelry. They are such unique and wonderful women, and I loved the few opportunities I've had over the past year to get to meet and know them. There are also a couple of women in particular whom God has used to brighten my life significantly. I am so grateful! I call us "Evil Triplets." We are totally NOT evil, of course, but we sure do all think alike and enjoy similar things. It is so odd to forge friendships through the void of internet... You have to be so careful! I know, though, that these girls are a Godsend. And I thank Him for them!

In July, just as I was finally able to start using my TENS unit less (electrical pulses that help block pain signals) I had a huge setback. I went to pick up a cup of coffee off of the table and blew out two discs in my lower back. The pain was down both of my legs and was excruciating. Again. I had my physical therapist begin to concentrate on that instead of my upper back. I was sent to a pain center and took a series of shots in my back that were supposed to help the pain go away. After all these months I am glad to say that the pain has decreased a good deal, although I still feel it every day. I am looking forward to complete relief in that area!

In October I was in another car accident (not driving this time.) I ended up breaking several ribs. We were on our way to photograph a wedding when it happened, and I could not bear to ruin the bride's special day, so rather than go straight to the hospital, we went and took care of the wedding first. That was a unique experience! I praise God that my ribs have pretty much healed up.

I need to brag on my grown daughters for a minute. I am so proud of them both - they are amazing young women! Rebecca is the worship pastor in a church in Cincinnati, and she is the creative director at a Christian radio station up there. I am often stunned at how much she does, and how well she does it! God's hand is strong on her, and it is beautiful. Rachel, who had a baby and found it absolutely necessary to have to leave her husband this year, has continued to do very well in school. She has been accepted into the pre-med program at Shenandoah University and will be starting there in about 2 weeks. She is studying to become either a physician's assistant or a doctor, and I know she will succeed at either one. I am so proud of her!

I do have to say that Thanksgiving, my second favorite holiday of the year, was so nice. We had a peaceful day, I didn't go super-crazy cooking like I usually do (although it was still amazing!) We enjoyed each other's company so much. I loved that! Also, Christmas, my absolute favorite holiday, was wonderful. This is the very first year in a very long time that we were able to buy gifts for our children.I know, it's not about gifts, it's about the Giver of Life. We honor Him at Christmas before all else! It was still nice to be able to get the kids gifts. Also, we had a terrific two-foot snow storm that week, so our Christmas was white! We haven't had that in many, many years! It brought everyone in this house a great amount of joy!

There have been some very serious heartbreaks and betrayals this year that I cannot write about because they involve other people and their bad decisions, attitudes and actions. I can't bring myself to spread other folks' business, or gripe about their evil deeds in writing or in public... We'll just leave it that this year has not just been hard for me, but hard for all of us. Still, deep inside us we are convinced that God is greater - bigger - stronger - more loving... Nothing can take that from us!

I need to mention one other thing. I have the most wonderful children, like EVER. Oh yeah, they have their typical rotten moments (don't we all,) but I stand amazed at how dear they are, and how much (and how often!) they show me that they really love me. A game, a smile, a song, a picture they drew, a surprise breakfast in bed, a joke, a cleaned up room... these are some of the precious ways they try to cheer me up, and it works. Some of my favorite memories of this past year of horror have been those times that my kids have spontaneously come up to me and laid hands on me and prayed for my healing or for my heart to feel better.

I wish I had done a better job of blogging this year! It truly is easier to remember the negative stuff. I know there have been positive things, but I am still somewhat overwhelmed by all of the physical pain of this year that i am having a hard time pulling the good report together. That is so disheartening! Although, Rachel just stopped by, and I asked her to help me remember the good times of this year, and she drew as much of a blank as I have. It has been a horrible year for us.


We are determined that we are victorious (because Jesus causes us to walk in TRIUMPH according to His Word!!!) and that 2010 is going to be a whole lot different! How can we say that??? Here's how:

1. Ask, Believe, and you shall receive
2. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God - I bought myself a new Bible, since my dog decided that my old one made a better bed than book, and I am digging into it! My Bible says that I am more than a conqueror, I am FRIEND of God, I am healed, whole, prosperous, inspired by Him! It says that when praisers have led the way into battle, the battle was won! I AM A PRAISER! It says that when you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you have all that you need! It says a whole lot more, and I believe it.
3. New beginnings. Each new day is a new beginning.

So, 2009 - you stunk. Royally. I'm glad to see you go away! 2010, I have high hopes for you. By the grace of God, you will be awesome!!! And, Lord, I know You will never, ever leave my side. I love You with all of me!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Moms can be Patriots, too..

My sister-in-law is an amazing, smart woman. I treasure her influence on my life! One of the influences she has had is to get me to think more about my role in this country. I have a voice and have never bothered to use it, save for elections days. I have come to realize that if I want to raise Patriots, children becoming adults who love their country and will fight to guard their freedom, I must set the example.

I am not about political brow-beating. If you know me, you know that. I hate debating, arguing, politics... but I do love this country and will fight to keep her "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." If you agree, check out this awesome site:

God bless America! (He certainly has for so long...) and AMERICA! Bless God!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Happy Monday

Hello, Monday, How've you been? I'm not dreading you today; instead, I choose the greet you with a smile and hopes for an awesome week!

5 Things I'd Like to Accomplish This Week:

1. file taxes
2. Knit some socks
3. Clean my craft room (ACK!)
4. Enjoy my birthday for a change
5. Have some special one-on-one time with each of my kids and my honey.

I had physical therapy this morning and my ribs are actually starting to move back into the position they're supposed to occupy! I have hope of becoming pain-free soon! YES!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Great Way to Dye - Finale

Drumroll, please - We have YARN! I took some pics of it, and I'm sorry the indoor light isn't great for this. There is beautiful color in the yarn that I am not sure will show up here, but we'll give it a shot.

I am so pleased with the results from this experiment. Given the four colors I used this time, I can see many different combinations I would LOVE to have. Then to think of all of the other colors that are out there - I am giddy!

The top picture shows the gauge I chose to spin this yarn to start with. After I had two bobbins each half-full (or is it half empty?) I plied them together onto one other bobbin (middle photo.) I think you get a good idea from this middle photograph how the colors play in the yarn. Maybe it was a bit much yarn for one bobbin- all said, it comes to just over 4 oz by the kitchen scale.

The final photo shows the end result: a lovely skein of colorful yarn! (Too bad the colors don't show so well in this pic.) I spun this a little thicker than my usual, and i love it. I am going to make some toe-up croc sox out of it. There are about 330 yards of 2-ply yarn to work with.

I have almost 4 oz left of the roving. I think I will spin it about the same and use it, single-ply, as laceweight for a shawl or scarf.

I am so pleased with the results. I will definitely use the Wilton's icing coloring to dye more roving, once this is used. I am trying not to become a stash-aholic; I will use what I have (or at least have it on the needles!) before I go investing in any more.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Great Way to Dye, Part II

Wow! There is SO much more color than I anticipated! I can see things I will need to work on, such as keeping extra dye from pooling in the bottom of the roll. The final colors are really more like the colors on the bottles of dye rather than what it looked like as it was applied, too. I will have to remember that next time, because I wasn't sure when I was putting it on.

Check it out! The first picture is the roving (coopworth wool) right after I unwrapped it and put it in its first bath. The colors are so vibrant! It makes me think of hippy tie dye shirts!

The next picture is the second bath, and you can see it didn't spill much dye at all! I expected to see alot of color in the water, but it looks like it took very well. To be honest, I looks like alien snakes in my bathtub!

The final photo shows what the roving looks like as it is hanging to dry. Honestly, it reminds me of the tie-dye shirt still, so I am going to call it Hippy Daze! :)
Now I can't wait to spin it up!

A Great Way to Dye

Over in Ravelry Land I've seen so many folks who are dyeing their own fiber or yarn. I bought some recently that someone else had dyed, and it spun into such *lovely* yarn! ==>

I have been itching to try my hand at dyeing my own fiber, so tonight I am giving it a shot. I wanted to try for some greens, browns, purples and blues, with alot of white left in it.

I am finding much conversation about dyeing yarn and fiber with Kool Aid, mostly because it is so much safer to work with. I don't have KoolAid, but I have a ton of Wilton's icing colors left over from the many wedding cakes I've done. I'd MUCH rather dye fiber with it!

With my handy tutorial from, some Wilton's icing dyes, some vinegar and a syringe, I got started. I wanted to keep lots of the natural color mixed in with the dyed areas, so I decided to basically drip the dyes in rows over the coopworth roving.
I am using violet, delphine blue, leaf green and golden yellow.

I am hoping that the yellow and violet will make some warm brown in some areas... We will see!

After I got the dye splattered all over the place, I rolled the roving up in plastic rolls and put it in a steamer. The roving should just about be done with steaming now, so I'll go take care of it. I'll post the results, good or bad, later!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

If I Am Not Careful...

If I am not careful, the fear that gripped my heart at hearing the election results could wrap itself like chains around my heart...
If I am not careful, the complaints I hear about our economy could control my thinking all day long...
If I am not careful, the cares of the world could run me and ruin me...

I must be careful!

Like I read in DarthKnitter's blog this morning, Some may trust in horses, some may trust in chariots, but I will trust in the name of the LORD! The astronomical number of heart attacks and other stress-related illnesses and injuries is a really big clue that our thinking has gotten us in trouble - as a nation, as a people, as a race. Stress, fear, and depression are without any doubt the largest contributor to ill health and early mortality around us. They are the biggest and most effective weapons that the kingdom of hell has to throw at the human race in order to distract it from God.

We have the capacity to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." I look at Jesus' example: He knew what was going to happen to Him, yet He consistently was the example of grace and mercy and love to all around Him. He didn't walk around depressed, drunk, fearful or neglectful; rather, He witnessed the love of God to all around Him! He fellowshipped with His brothers and with those who were rejected by the masses. He brought joy and hope to all around Him who would receive it. What an awesome example! I have the ability to measure every thought I think to see how much it allows me to live the Kingdom life. If it does not, then I should choose not to allow it any more time in my life!

Jesus is my joy. He is my hope. I trust God with all of my heart, no matter what the world says or does.

I will be careful! I will pray for our new president, that he listens to the voice of God Almighty and develops a personal relationship with Him and breaks ties with any false gods he may have ever known.
I will be careful! I will show the love of God to those around me however I can.
I will be careful! I will pray for the heart of this country to turn back to God without having some horrific act of terrorism instigating it.
I will be careful! I will guard my heart and give thanks to God in every situation, because I ALWAYS have something to thank Him for: His love and my salvation!

I will be careful!