Wednesday, April 09, 2014

GRATEFUL HOPE



Each day new. 

Blessings will spill forth. 

Will you recognize the gifts? 

Even in the ugliest moments there are gifts. 

Do you believe that? 

I do.


I also believe that sometimes we miss them. 

Looking ahead, rushing through, distracted by. 

Whatever the explanation is, we miss them. 

And another thing I believe is that we forget them.

We swear we will remember, but then time slowly erases the color from the memory and finally we lose it.

Until something reminds us. 

A smell, a note, a photo, a word spoken, a song. 

Reminders. 

What if. 

We take the time to NOTICE.


Then to record. 

What if we look into God's word and see a way of living. 

One that allows us to see how he fills. 

Pours out.

Overflowing. 

Allowing us to FULL, FULLY, BEAUTIFULLY live. 

Coming this fall --- 

a day of learning.

in a small group of supportive, encouraging friends.

1000 Gifts - a DVD based study. 

Good food.

Pampering.

Encouragement. 

Laughter.

Tears. 

Grace.

Growing.

Blessings.

GRATEFUL HOPE

More information to come.

Here is the original post about why this retreat is so very important to me.

4/10/2014 EDIT
GRATEFUL HOPE
OCTOBER 4, 2014
NEAR DANIELSVILLE, GA


Friday, March 28, 2014

Counting ....


This book made such a difference in my life. It is gritty, real, honest, and I can see me being friendswith the author if she lived near.

It is also one of those books that sent me looking and studying the scriptures she referenced.

I vowed when I was in the hospital - having just been diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma - that I would live as fully and beautifully as I possibly could. This book is one that has helped me keep that promise.

I make journals - pretty ones - and it's really funny, the list of my blessings is in one that is just a plain old store bought one. I could have thought and planned and made one for myself. But honestly - that didn't seem important at the time - I needed to get those first few blessings on paper. I started counting and I count them constantly.

But that is not why I am discussing this here.

Please pardon me while I ramble.

I've learned a lot about self-care in my years too.

And the very moment I finished this book, I have felt called to share the gift that this brought me. The gift of living in full recognition that being thankful really means living aware.

For instance - at choir practice Wednesday night, I was able to single out the voices and hear how each different voice adds to the whole, all the while being aware that the voice I was really listening too was the one that encourages me to be most aware. And I wear the smile he gives me often.

I am going to share pictures that you may have seen before, but from the awareness level. The kind that makes me realize about self care and gratitude.



This is what I call the dirt road to heaven.

I will leave this place, having relaxed, smiled, shared good food.

I'll breathe fresh air.

Feel the wind on my face and in my hair.

Look at natural beauty.

Laugh when we spot a burl on a pine tree.

Marvel at the way dancing campfire flames can entrance me.

and there may be laughter at my own or some good natured others expense.


I love the colors of this cross stitch piece.

I have a huge stash of craft stuff to work with. 

My mama taught me to make. 

It is a wonderful relaxing way to end my day.

It is also a wonderful way to "kill" time normally wasted waiting. 

All of these "blessings" are actual ones from my list. 


Since April of 2010 (yes that's when the C word happened), I have chased and celebrated 100's of sunrises and sunsets. 

Several of my friends say I have a "thing" for the sun.

I do -----


Blue Berry Muffin coffee. 

I love the Green Mountain K-Cup coffee in the wild mountain blueberry flavor. 

Coffee man gifts me with a supply for my birthday each year.

It is seasonal and difficult to find, I appreciate the effort. 

I don't drink it everyday, I save it to really savor and enjoy. 

It is wonderful with just the coffee and creamer.

But here is how I make it really special
brew my coffee
add creamer to my liking
add a dash of vanilla flavoring (a capful to my travel mug size cup) Amaretto works too.
add one packet of Stevia (I can no longer tolerate anything with aspertame in it) 
sprinkle with cinnamon. 
MMMMMM BlueBerry Muffin Coffee. 


Brew a cup of that coffee on a cold Saturday Morning. 

Add running shoes - sweatshirt - jacket - cell phone (to capture the image above) 

Take a long walk down the side road and watch the sun come up. 

Answer the phone because coffee man is calling wondering if you have noticed the sunrise.

Laugh with him because you are walking to a better view of it. (Chasing the sunrise AGAIN)

Pray thanksgivings for how blessed you are. 

Exercise is GREAT self care. 


Take off on a trip to where ever. 

No idea where you are going. 

Just ride. 

Turn the radio on.

Stop - look at junk.

Get a snack.

Explore an old building. 

Eat good food. 

Sing loud with yourself ---- or a buddy if you have one with you.

Allow yourself to have NO agenda. 


Walk somewhere - run somewhere 
Move your body. 

Alone - it gives you time to think.

Add a buddy - or two or 20 - celebrate being together. 

Walk in a public place.

Stop and look at the grey color of the underside of the crane's wings. 

Pet a dog or two walking with their owners.

Say hello to those owners. 

oh and ALWAYS smile at kids. 
99.99% of the time they smile back or at least wave. 

Walk in the sun --- the rain --- the wind --- the heat --- the snow. 
Move your body. 

Celebrate the fact that your body is amazing and capable and can be encouraged to become stronger.




Accept GRACE from others

Give GRACE to others

Share the beauty of GRACE with others

And above all else give and accept GRACE to and from yourself. 


All of this being grateful is so good for your heart.

It is one thing to be grateful and to lift thanksgiving for blessings. 

We are human and like so many "thoughts" we may forget.

We swear we are grateful and I believe we are. 

But when we take the time to savor and RECORD our blessings we start becoming more aware.

And like much of our lives, being good stewards will allow us to gather more. 

Which brings me full circle to the original reason for this post. 

I have share my reaction to the book with many people - many have read it and been affected. 

But I still feel led to do something else. 

I really really want to have a special Retreat using the devotion package from this book. 

Not like a "normal" womens retreat. 
but one that helps us "see" more of the blessings. 
A small gathering of just a few.
I sent a text to my sweet friend Patti about this here are phrases I used. 

My copy of the book is dog-earred and marked up (I want each person to have a copy)
I want to gift these ladies
I want them to feel special - and individual
Pampered
restful
With time to explore and create and discuss with one another
Be gifted and surrounded by loving moments 

I do not want money (or lack of it) to be a roadblock for this. 

I see this as an all day thing. 

Breakfast - lunch - dinner - between meal treats nothing fancy and we may even try a potluck kind of thing for the foods.

Beautiful decor 

Special SWAG

A comfy setting - not the church fellowship hall

This is a yoga pants and sneakers acceptable event.

The five sessions of DVD led study.

Discussion

Music - from all genre

A creative project. (some thing easy and non-messy)

a time for a nap or a long walk after lunch.

interaction with each other or alone in a natural setting.



Now here is where all of you come in. 

I need a place
I need helpers - food prep - decor - taking care of needs
I need the stuff (or a way to provide it) 

I covet the prayer for making this successful. And for some reason, I know that this is just the thing needed for someone I know and love and I am so hopeful God will work this miracle for her.

I've put this on MaggieGraceCreates, because, well, I feel like I am trying to CREATE a special feeling. 

Please think about it.
Share your ideas for the "perfect" retreat day.
Lift prayer and big blessings.
And if you have resources to help make this a reality - i thank you in advance.


edited 4-10-2014
THIS RETREAT HAS A NAME NOW
GRATEFUL HOPE
WILL BE COMING 
OCTOBER 4, 2014



Monday, March 03, 2014

roses are REALLY AMAZING red


I watched the Oscars. 

Can't tell you too much about who won what. 

But I can tell you I LOVED this stage design. 

Simply amazing. 

Does anyone know who designed the sets?

I would love to see their portfolio.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

My HOPE is found



I have often expressed my Faith here. 

I am a fallen - very human - sinner.
Saved by Grace.

This is not a post about all of that.  

It is a post about is HOPE. 

Every time I think I am at the end of my rope, HOPE is there. 

It may come in the form of a smile. 

An unexpected blessing. 

Even as a stillness of peace feeling in the core of my being. 

Every single time I need HOPE, it has been delivered. 


 Photo taken in Jones Chapel UMC cemetery Danielsville, GA

I knew when I was selected for the design team, that I would try to make an angel. 

I kind of knew what she would look like. 

But even I am surprised at her. 

Wonderfully surprised. 

She's a tribute piece for so many people. 

So many thank yous that need to be said.

Over and over. 

Photo taken in Jones Chapel UMC cemetery Danielsville, GA 

Sunday morning was glorious. 

I took her out in the sunshine.

In the church cemetery, with the idea of her picture at the foot of Jesus.

Then as I strolled through the cemetery, I saw all of the children's graves.

Made me wonder about those families. 

Made me wonder if they kept their HOPE after such a horrible loss.

Wonder what HOPE for better things means to me. 

And to others. 


A close up of one of my favorite creations ever. 

A full tutorial for her can be found at the Globecraft and Piccolo blog today. 

Life is Beautiful.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just for fun - and just for me....


I so very rarely create with absolutely no idea what I'm going to make or where it is going. 

Even less often - do I make anything for myself. 

This post is all about both of those things. 

It's also about this little issue I have with  hoarding 

 uh - 

 I mean keeping good stuff. 

I have this storage box - and even though I posted that it was an organizing tool - the damned organization just magically undid itself. 

I got into the habit of stuffing floss leftovers in the top compartment. 

Resulting in this. 



This is all good quality floss - but not numbered. Most of it is left from kits. Or came in a sewing box I gathered up while thrifting.  Just a jumble of threads. 

I'll be 49 in July. (I know that seems random, but it isn't)

I was stuffing yet another bit of floss into the compartment and I decided that I MAYBE could make an "inchie" sampler for myself out of this box. 

So off to the studio for a bit of 14 count cream AIDA cloth. 

I put inchie in quotes because I'm doing 10x10 stitch squares instead of 14x14.

But I started a square with the first color I grabbed from the box. 
It will be 7x7 squares - each a different color. 
Then I'll embellish it to MY liking. 


Well - I had lots of that floss color left - so I gathered me some scraps of other cross stitch fabrics.

Because I keep all kinds of good stuff

Then I randomly started stitching. In repeat type patterns using that color. 

When I get one finished (or to a stopping point) , I tuck it in my cheese dome. 


Then I wind the remaining floss and put it into a compartment in the bottom of the storage box. 

Not tangled and easy to use. 


Yes - the button was in that danged mess from the first picture. 


This is one of my favorites. Three stitch stair steps.


I keep the whole shebang in a plastic bag by my chair. Grab it and stitch a bit most nights. 

The repetitive stitching and easy patterning are relaxing and since there is no "deadline" or even a "planned use" for the these I feel no pressure working on them. 


In the picture above, see that bit to the far left. Well often I have just enough floss for a few stitches left in the needle. For those bits, I grab this strip of the fabric and add stitches until that bit is gone. TOTALLY random numbers of stitches. It's a fun little piece. 




Then there is this little bottle. 

It came from Cracker Barrel

Held a single serving of their syrup. I kept it with the idea I could use it. (Remember - I keep all kinds of good stuff.)

I have stuffed thread bits in it for years. 

I started stuffing when I made the stitching for the pillow from this post.

Mostly because so much of that stitching was done in the car and or at various ball games and I needed a way to corral them. 

I keep stuffing - and its funny, I can remember where a lot of the visible threads were used. I'll keep saving them and then someday it will be full. Then I can sit it on a shelf and one day, my kids can say 

"see my mama had issues, she even kept this REALLY GOOD stuff." 
As I wrote this - I actually giggled out loud. 

It's really just a fun little bottle that has no purpose at all other than to corral the trimmed bits. But it makes me smile to look at it. 

So there - 

I'm organizing stuff.

I'm kind of using the stuff. 

I'm creating and I NEED to create for my sanity. 

This creating is NOT costing me any extra money. 

But - aside from the "inchie" sampler I'm making to commemorate my 49th year - now I need to find a use for these little stitched bits. 

Or maybe I can just keep them. 

Because - well - you know - I KEEP SOME REALLY GOOD STUFF.

Life is beautiful. 



Thursday, February 20, 2014

denim blues

It's new release week. And my-oh-my are the new items wonderful. Teresa here today with some great earrings that are just prefect to dress up my daily blue jean and t-shirt wardrobe. 


Lets get started.


From Globecraft and Piccolo you will need:
Vintage Corner Flourish Piccolo Set A157
Glasstique Gloss Finishing Glaze
- Embossing Adhesive
Deep Blue Sky Embossing Powder - this is a fine detail powder that can easily be used for stamped images.
French Loop Earrings 

You will also need
- assorted beads for the charm in the center
- jump rings
- 2 short pieces of fine silver chain
- assorted jewelry assembly tools
- heatgun


Now then let's get started.



I took two of the Flourish Piccolos and decided quickly that I did not want those extensions on them. These are laser cut from book board and are easily trimmed with scissors.  The top flourish has the extended parts and the bottom one has been trimmed.


After trimming the Flourishes, I embossed both sides of each with the Deep Blue Sky Powder. (every time I try a new powder it becomes my favorite)

I put three layers of powder on these.  The process of embossing takes just minutes,  so layering is easy to accomplish.


Just look at those gorgeous blue tones.


To strengthen and gloss up the finish, I cover the shapes with gloss Glastique Glaze. For the fine detail on these, I squeezed a bit of the Glastique onto a tiny paint brush and simply brushed it on.

Then I patiently waited for it to dry.



I gathered up my other bits while those were drying. You see two different charms there. I had a difficult time deciding which to use.


Just look at that blue.

After the shapes were dry, I added the chains to the tops of the curls with jump rings.

Added the charms (I finally decided the blue grey and silver looked best) and hooked through the earring loops.

Ready to wear.


The book board is light weight so these are VERY comfortable to wear. They can easily be customized for your wardrobe. Just pick your favorite color of the embossing powders.

There are some wonderful items in the NEW RELEASE section of the web site.

Have a beautiful day.

Friday, February 14, 2014

snowcation



So, I live in the south of the good old USA. 

Yes, that South. 

The one that completely had gridlock in Atlanta a few weeks back with all of 2" on the ground. 

And we just had a huge double whammy of a snow storm for here. 

This is unusual and I was super excited. 

Cabin fever --- nope absolutely not.

I also got out with my camera and cell phone and took a load of pictures as well. 

Like about a mile and a half worth of a long walk.

Even with all these pictures, my favorite sight is not in here. 

The red birds (cardinals) eating off my front porch was my favorite. Just beautiful, but the pictures were through the screen and while they make me smile, they just are not good enough to publish. 


My "big barn" from the back side. 

This is the most photographed barn in the county. 

All those vines are Trumpet vine and when it is full bloom,  IT IS STUNNING.



There was a time that I would have hated being out in the weather. 

Cold hands, feet,  ----- hated it. 

I really probably owe my children a big apology for that. 

But things have changed for me, living fully, INTENTIONALLY brings me out and into doing big, beautiful, new things. 

I am not who I used to be. 

Life means so much. I am so grateful. I love who I am becoming. 

It took having cancer twice to have this kind of appreciation for all kinds of experiences. 




The neighbors fenceline. 

It is beautiful here, and I smiled as I remembered Molly and Ben having their save the date pictures made here by little sister Abby. 

I am so glad those girls are close to each other. 



See those curved steps. 

I love those. 


The smokehouse out back. 

It sure would clear up this view if I took down that little cedar tree. But I happen to love little Charlie Brown trees and I cannot bring myself to cut it. 



And my RED porch swing. 

I don't know if I have shared that story. 

I had this unfinished porch swing. 

For Christmas, the man asked,  "what do you want for Christmas?'
I answered "my porch swing painted red."

For Valentines, he asked "what do you want for Valentines?"
I answered "my porch swing painted red."

For my birthday - same question
I answered "my porch swing painted red."

For our October anniversary - same question
I answered "my porch swing painted red."

For Christmas, the man asked,  "what do you want for Christmas?'
I answered "the same thing I wanted last year." 

And what seems like an eternity later, (reality about two years), I come home one day. 
And my porch swing is painted RED. 

I do love it ---- RED. 

And I have spent hours in this swing. 

and now for my favorite image from the storm. 


The wedding candolier has been sitting on the porch corner 

Waiting to be hung. 

There it was immersed in the snow and it is quite lovely. 

I spent hours making this and so many other details for Molly's wedding. 

 One of the many labors of love to give her a special wedding day. 

I hope she knows how much of myself I poured into that day. 
The wishes for more help instead of feeling so alone, and the hopes she never feels that way.

But in pouring myself out, I was able to focus on beautiful things.

The prayers lifted for her and her future. 

The tears shed as I feared over disappointing her.

The joys I felt as I knew she was moving forward with a special man. 

I do hope both of my girls see the beauty of this place as HOME. 

I do hope I get the chance to spend many more beautiful moments with them in this place. 

My Snowcation was a wonderful reflective time. 

Cabin fever --- NOPE.

Loving my cabin sized HOME - yup. 

My life is beautiful.