faith


I feel a need to resurrect this-here blog of mine. Really just as a place for me to dump thoughts and ideas and the extra brain-luggage I have. It’s been a while. Lots has happened. Some things are the same. I still know how to stitch and do that once in a while. I’ve taken up knitting a bit more than stitching, but both languish a bit due to life. I’m not a caregiver anymore, in the sense that the one person I was caring for moved on to that grand adventure in January 2016, where I know she is renewing relationships with family and friends who have gone before her. And, she’s skipping and running, and hiking and doing. And for that I’m very happy.

My little Chloe May joined her last December. It was clear that Chloe had cancer like her grandma-ma, and she passed in my arms. So, she’s running and skipping by my mom’s side in that grand afterlife. I’m not alone though. I have Buster and Bob Marley. Bob joined my family about a month after mom’s funeral, when he was found wandering the neighborhood. We found each other, and it has been said by many that mom sent him so I’d have another soul to care for. Buster and Bob rule the house and it takes me almost a full Saturday to bathe and clip them both. Buster is a mini-schnauzer mix, while Bob Marley is, I believe, what you’d call a Schweenie (Shi-Tzu and Dachsund mix). His hair never stops growing, and when I found him he had obviously been on the streets for some time, or greatly neglected in the dead of a Utah winter. He had dreadlocks and a matte on his back the size of an R.O.U.S. Thus, when I took him to the vet for some care, and they asked me his name, I told them Bob Marley. Bob recuperated at our house, and wormed his way into our hearts. He goes by Bob, or Bobby now.

I’m just recovering from a long, long time of getting by day-to-day. Finding those small moments of life that I can enjoy, and not feel guilty about them. And, dealing with the added responsibilities that are upon me in my professional life. I’m very blessed. Life is good. Truly it is. I’m working to get to where life is “gooder”.

Hello again everyone! I am here to officially wish you a grand and joyous Christmas.  I hope that all of you are well and able to spend time with loved ones this holiday season, whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday.

I am enjoying a two-week vacation from the office.  That’s not to say I’m not checking e-mail and working on the odd item here and there, but I am at home, doing mainly what I would like to do!  I was able to finish my big Christmas shopping today.  Woo-wee!

I’ve been quite busy for the last few days.  I’ve had a couple of house guests (two of my favorite people).  My aunt’s father passed away this past week, and she and my cousin were at my home as they prepared for and we attended the funeral.  Their stay ended with a big group of family here for dinner on Saturday.  It was nice to see all of them, and I was happy I could help provide a place to gather.

Now, I’m on to some finishing of projects (minor) for some gifts I’d like to give. We’ll see.  I have back-up plans in case things don’t work out.  I haven’t decorated my home, other than the small Christmas tree upstairs.  At this point, I don’t think I’ll bother!  But, I am and have been listening to Christmas music, wrapping gifts, and sending good wishes to everyone.  And trying to spend quiet time remembering the reason that I celebrate this wonderful holiday.  It’s been wonderful.

I have also been stitching a bit!  Yay!  I’ve been switching back and forth between “Jenny Bean’s Christmas Sampler” and Prairie Schooler’s “Christmas Eve”.  And, I’ve picked up some fun items at local thrift shops, to help decorate my little crafting side of my office/sewing room.  I’ll show those in a later post.

Do any of you have the same problem I have when shopping?  Do you find more items that you would like than you do for your family and friends? I have found some really fun items, and I’m happy to report, I am wrapping a few for myself!  And, I’m not even wrapping the rest.  Hee, hee.  By the way, I just ordered from Down Sunshine Lane for the first time last week, and wow, is Amy fast!  I was so pleased with her service.  And, just the fact that when she has something listed on her site, it’s in stock…  Love that.

Anywho… do any of you seem to find wonderful items that you just can’t pass up during the holidays when you’re supposed to be giving to others?  I AM giving to others.  I’m just making sure I’m covered too. 🙂

This year, for some reason, I’ve been especially careful to have some of my old favorite Christmas songs playing on my iPod.  I’ve had these in some form or another over the years, but some haven’t made it to my digital library.  I’ve been reminiscing about my times at my Grandma Eva’s house, where she had a Gene Autry Christmas album which she played on her turntable…  My sisters and I loved it.  I think my favorite song has to be “Here Comes Santa Claus”.  I love to hear Gene sing:

“Hang your stockin’s and say your prayers ’cause Santa Claus comes tonight…

He doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor
He loves you just the same
Santa knows that we’re God’s children
That makes everything right
Fill your hearts with Christmas cheer
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight…

He’ll come around when the church rings out
It’s Christmas morn again
Peace on Earth will come to all
If we just follow the Light
Let’s give thanks to the Lord above
‘Cause Santa Claus is comin’ tonight”

So, tell me what your favorite Christmas carol/hymn/song is… I’d love to know.  I live my life to a soundtrack… I really do.  I love music.  What Christmas song is associated with wonderful memories for you?

I’ll share some progress pics of my stitching and my workroom after Christmas.  I’m going to spend time this week finishing up the final preparations for the holiday, and spend some quality time with family and friends.  I hope you all do too!

Vintage Santa Postcard

I’m grateful for so many things that there isn’t space in this big world wide web of ours.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are celebrating tomorrow.  It’s so fun connecting with other people who have a passion for needlework and creative things and who are some pretty amazing people too.

I’m most grateful for a loving God, my faith in a Savior who helps me along this path of life every day, my great family and friends who are on the path with me, and those who have gone before to make it easier for me now.

I’ll be back soon with more stitchy news.  I’ve been working on a little ornament for a good friend whose birthday is coming up, and on some knitting projects.  Nothing new, but hopefully I’ll have a finish or two by the end of this long weekend!

Enjoy the turkey if you’re in the U.S., and are into that kind of thing tomorrow, and make time for some creativity in your day!

Hello my friends in the blogging world!  I want to share in the celebration of my nephew’s safe and honorable return from a two-year LDS mission to Slovakia.  He says he has left a part of his heart with the people of that nation, and having served a mission myself years ago, I know what he means.  The best thing about my nephew’s return is the gathering of family and friends that we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks, and the memories that have been created and remembered.  I want to extend this feeling to all of you, and get us all into the spirit of the holiday season from Thanksgiving through the New Year (and whichever holiday you celebrate be it Christmas, Chanuka, Kwanza, etc.).  So, I have been gathering some items for a giveaway.  The rules for the giveaway are these:

1) I will give one chance to you if you comment on this post and tell me how you found my blog or know me.

2) I will give another chance to you if you share your favorite family holiday memory on your blog, and include the link to your entry in your comment so that others can find it from my blog.

3) I will accept entries through Sunday, November 8th, and will draw the winner’s name on Monday, the 9th.

And, here is what the winner will receive:

Jolly Holiday

Lizzie Kate’s “Jolly Holiday” chartpak (includes 30 ct linen and buttons)

Four skeins Week’s Dye Works, and one skein Gentle Art Sampler Thread called for in the kit

John James Tapestry Petites needles, size 24

Four coordinating fat quarters of fabric

A Utah Quarter needle magnet

— I’ll also throw in the two skeins of DMC called for in the chartpak when I send the package.

I will ship internationally as well.  So, folks, I hope you enjoy this little giveaway, and that it helps you to kick off a great and memorable holiday season with those you love!

I’ve also made progress on several WIPs, but I’ll save those for another day.  I hope your weekend was relaxing.  I spent most of the day yesterday driving up in the beautiful Utah mountains taking pictures for my photography class.  While the fall colors are pretty much finished, there were some great views up high, with a bit of snow and icy streams and lakes.  I enjoyed myself very much.  And, now, I’m going to prepare for what will be a very busy week.  We are expecting some continued wonderful weather, with skies clear and daytime temps in the 60’s.  Wonderful!

It has been suggested that there are some themes we could use each day of Blogtoberfest if we lack ideas.  Believe me, I’m not lacking ideas.  But, since the batteries in my camera died, I thought I’d also tell you that my clock that is set to Slovakia time also needs batteries… Seemed appropriate, given the suggested clocktober theme for tomorrow.  I’ll explain a bit.  I have a dear nephew who has been serving as a missionary in Slovakia for the past two years.  Thus, the clock that tells us what time of day it is, where he is.  He will return home on the 15th of this month…I figure the batteries lasted the two years, and he went over (as of 9/19).  I WILL get batteries for my camera tomorrow, so my posts can be a bit more interesting!

If you’ll note, I skipped over rocktober, but I love music, so I may save that for another day, when my next set of batteries dies!

Okay, I give up.  This is my post for today!

You know that great song from “The Lion King”?  It’s been running through my head lately.  Might be because it was part of the opening for the Tony Awards last Sunday.  I didn’t watch anything but that really.  But, anyway, the past few weeks have been particulary poignant for me.  And, on Sunday night as I watched performers on TV run around in animal costumes, singing “The Circle of Life”, I cried.  Because one of the world’s best women and one of my best friends was about to journey Home.

Lulie Blackham passed away early Tuesday morning with grace and acceptance of the Lord’s will.  I first met Lulie over 25 years ago.  She was called to serve as the president of my LDS Young Women’s organization.  This was the second time in her life that she agreed to serve in this capacity, and at the time, I just didn’t realize how fortunate and blessed I was to have her in my life.  I learned quickly how much she would mean to me though, and my love and respect for her has deepened so much more.

Lulie always had a smile for me when things were tough, a quick wit when I needed to laugh, and such a grasp of common sense that I never could find a reason not to take her advice.  The most important thing that Lulie shared with me though was her love of Jesus Christ; her knowledge that He is the Savior of the World, and of individuals like me and her.

When I first met Lulie, I had recently moved from California.  It was tough moving right before I was to start high school.  Most of the girls in my neighborhood and school treated me as an outsider, and sometimes worse.  My academic plans were turned upside down, because the Utah schools just didn’t believe I should be in advanced classes, and they didn’t teach the variety of subjects that I had been interested in.  I felt like I had been taken back 20 years into the past, didn’t know the language, and had some sign on my back that said, “I’m not like you”.  As an example, on the first day of school, I wore my usual Levi Strauss cords, with my khaki-green M*A*S*H t-shirt and a comb in my back pocket for my long blonde, California hair.  I had white Reeboks on, and I stuck out like the sorest of thumbs.

I didn’t realize that the pre-requisite in Utah for social acceptance was to wear buttoned shirts with little ribbons around your neck, and have your hair-bangs stick out like a shelf.  I will admit though that if I had known, I would have done all I could to stay away from that style.  It was like a mix of pioneer-bonnet-like hair and a calico shirt.  Anyway, I digress.

I had one friend in high school that welcomed me that day.  I had one adult mentor that loved me for who I was, and more importantly who she knew I could become.  The mentor was Lulie Blackham.  The friend was Susan Olsen, but I’ll write about her another time.

I couldn’t understand at the time why so many of the kids two to three years older than me were paying attention to me.  They invited me to hang out with them, to go to the dances, ball games, and other high school events.  Since then, I have suspected that Lulie played a part in all of that.  Her daughter was part of the slightly older crowd, and I found that I had new friends who took me in and made me feel welcome.  I was clueless as to why they took such an interest in me.  Probably better that I was.  I’m so stubborn I would have refused to do anything with them if I knew they had been encouraged to include me.  They were so genuine though that I never knew what precipitated their friendship.

I can’t really sum up Lulie’s influence in my life in a single blog post.  There are so many memories that I have of her, that have meant so much to me.  Some are personal and not something I want in cyberspace.  The reality though is that there are just too many to mention.  I understand now that Lulie was able to be who she was because of her loving family and a strength of spirit that she possessed before this life.  Her sweetheart, Gus, is also one of my heroes.  They were and are a team like no other that I have seen.

I have learned so much about life and the purpose of life from this woman.  She wasn’t perfect.  Sometimes she was wonderfully imperfect.  But, she was the closest thing to perfect in a person that I have known in my lifetime.  And, probably for the rest of my life.

I know she has had a wonderful reunion with her parents and other family, and with her Savior whom she loves so much.  Those who knew her are coping with a big hole in our hearts though.  I haven’t cried this much since I was little and skinned my knee.  But, I keep hearing that deep, uniquely-Lulie voice saying, “Come on.  Buck up.  I’m fine.  The last thing I want you to do is wallow in this.  The Lord knew what he was doing.”

And so, I’ll echo that.  The Lord knew what he was doing.  I can’t promise that the floodgates of tears are going to end anytime soon.  I can tell you that I have a renewed sense of purpose and a love of life and loved ones.  No regrets.  Lulie knew where she stood with her friends, family, and most importantly, the Lord.  And, we knew where we stood with her.  She never missed an opportunity to hug you, tell you she cared and that life is good.  There is so much more I could say about her.

God bless us all to live so that she can continue to be proud of us.  And God bless Gus, her eternal companion, the partner and friend that she loves so much.

God is a god of miracles. If you want to know what I’m talking about, check out this blog: http://janandersonfamily.blogspot.com.
Jan and Allene are neighbors and friends of mine. In fact, my house is the one where Jan has fixed the sprinklers, helped to roof, and more recently torn down the deck that needed to be replaced, if you read on in the biography that’s posted. Mine is not the only house that he has spent time working and serving at. Our neighborhood is a neighborhood of service, and Jan is one of the most self-sacrificing individuals I’ve met.

I don’t usually post things that are so identifiable with me or my friends and family. However, in this case, I felt I must add my witness that we see miracles every day. Some are small. Some are big. That Jan is still with us is a major miracle. That he continues to make progress every day is a miracle. And, the bond that our neighborhood has felt as we’ve drawn even closer together is a miracle.

I’ve been privileged to see what can happen when we unite our faith. I have seen yet another example of how our trials will strengthen us, if we draw close to the One that can make us strong.

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