Wednesday, December 23, 2009

for the darker days...

December 23 - Evening

“The night also is Thine.”–Psalm 74:16

Yes, Lord, Thou dost not abdicate Thy throne when the sun goeth down, nor dost Thou leave the world all through these long wintry nights to be the prey of evil; Thine eyes watch us as the stars, and Thine arms surround us as the zodiac belts the sky. The dews of kindly sleep and all the influences of the moon are in Thy hand, and the alarms and solemnities of night are equally with Thee. This is very sweet to me when watching through the midnight hours, or tossing to and fro in anguish. There are precious fruits put forth by the moon as well as by the sun: may my Lord make me to be a favoured partaker in them.

The night of affliction is as much under the arrangement and control of the Lord of Love as the bright summer days when all is bliss. Jesus is in the tempest. His love wraps the night about itself as a mantle, but to the eye of faith the sable robe is scarce a disguise. From the first watch of the night even unto the break of day the eternal Watcher observes His saints, and overrules the shades and dews of midnight for His people’s highest good. We believe in no rival deities of good and evil contending for the mastery, but we hear the voice of Jehovah saying, “I create light and I create darkness; I, the Lord, do all these things.”

Gloomy seasons of religious indifference and social sin are not exempted from the divine purpose. When the altars of truth are defiled, and the ways of God forsaken, the Lord’s servants weep with bitter sorrow, but they may not despair, for the darkest eras are governed by the Lord, and shall come to their end at His bidding. What may seem defeat to us may be victory to Him.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Frozen water droplets on a leaf

Just one pic at 1280x960 for wallpaper purposes. Pretty, isn't it?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

String quilting!!!!



Oh boy I've wanted to do this for, like, ever. I just took a moment tonight. It was so much fun! I'm the kind who loves scrounging AND loves jigsaw puzzles, and this is both. I used an old dress that was practically threadbare for the foundation pieces. I was going to use 12"x12" squares, but that was impractical because the strings would have to be too long, so I cut that in half. I love the lack of planning and I love the way they look! This is a project that can be kept somewhere and gradually added to until one day there's enough for a quilt.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Math class

It's week three in math class. We have an exam every Tuesday. There's usually four sections in the math book, so I try to do the test first thing Tuesday, then a section each day. Saturday's available for spillover (which I haven't not needed yet) and then I do review on Monday. I've been having a real problem with attitude the last couple weeks, I just feel so frantic and panicky, "I can't possibly do this". Not that the math itself is so hard, but there's so many distractions around here, and my mind itself is the worst distraction. I daydream! I learned that word in second grade. The teacher accused me of doing it, and I didn't know what the word meant, so she enlightened me. If I had the luxury of a quiet white-painted room to study in, the daydreaming would be worse. I know I'm daydreaming, actually obsessing or fretting is more like it, and that causes me to expect even less success. Depressing thoughts multiply, you know. A few days ago I was in complete despair, just could not get my brain to settle on the problem and actually think. I took the math book outside in the sun, and got through a bunch of pages with no problem. So the key is a little distraction...

The KEY is to keep a few of my senses busy, so that a narrower section of my thoughts are free. If I sit outside in the breeze, or treadmill or knit while looking at the math book, it soaks right in, no problem. The other key is to read the section through first. It's usually eight or ten pages, and it doesn't take long to read that while knitting, and it's usually less terrifying than it looks. I get a basic grasp of what it's talking about, then I have a feeling of success-- after all, I did just get through a whole section! Then go back and do all the exercises in a better frame of mind, and they go quickly.

I'm practically the only one to post on the message board in this class. It's very puzzling. It's a full class, and it's an online class, so where is everybody? The last two classes always had lots of people posting questions and comments. There's only one other lady who's posted more than one question. The teacher's very good about answering questions, better if they're specific. He reminded me to watch the videos. I'm letting two of them load right now. After reading the section and writing this message, one video is half loaded and the other, oh hey, it's almost done. Dialup!! I remember when we chose among 14.4 and 28.8 modems and 56k was lightning fast. Yes, I'm an old bat. I'm the old person in class now. Always there's been one old bat to make the rest of us feel comfortable, but now I'm the old bat and everybody else is twenty. Sigh.

Friday, October 9, 2009

But this is the fabric I HAVE :-)

There's just barely enough of each color if I make it a tricolor!
Here's some spirals cut and sewn. Progress is being made... despite
math class :-) I'll fail math class before I do math on Sunday, but
surely it's okay to sew on Sunday. Sewing is fun!

The fabric I'd really like for the spiral dress

Rose, and roses on green! That would be so pretty!

Pumpkin Fail

It looked like a pumpkin. It weighed a ton. I opened it up in all
innocence, not using any discrimination skills on the color of its
flesh. Only after baking it into a pie did I notice that all was not
pumpkin. Oh well, squash pie still tastes pretty good with whipped
cream :-)

My happy place

Pics of my sewing area in the sunshine.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Next pillow, Irish Chain

That one went together easily and came out great!






And y'know what? The previous three color denim pillow's already gone. Sis gave Dave $20 for it :-)
So I've bought another pillow and got to make Dave a new one.
The pillows are just regular bed pillows @ $3! The small square kind like you get for a couch are $8, phooey on that.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flying Squares Patchwork Pillow Cover

The girls threw white, black and blue jeans in the giveaway bag all at once, and I saw them together and couldn't resist.
Had yet another learning experience. "Flying Squares" looked easy until I tried it. Ha!



Back of pillow, more recycling :-)



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Carob Blobs

The thing with carob is to just get chocolate out of your head. It's not chocolate, it's not a chocolate substitute either. It's just a nice-tasting brown bean ground to powder that's good for you (just like chocolate is!)

CAROB HONEY BLOBS

2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 - 3/4 cups honey
3 - 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp soda
1 cup carob

I dropped by ice cream scooper onto cookie sheets and baked at 350 for 15 minutes.

FROSTING

2 packages cream cheese
2 big mixing spoon scoops of carob powder
1/2 cup honey
2 TBSP butter
2 tsp vanilla

The boys said, "This is way better than some kinds of ice cream we've had before, but not better than all kinds."






Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cookie Blobs

No recipe! I just mixed stuff up and baked it by scoops. It was a couple cups of barley flour, a baggie with some leftover oatmeal, all the bananas on the counter that were getting too ripe, dried papaya cut into chunks, raisins, chopped walnuts and honey to texture, and a bit of baking soda dipped out with the tip of the wooden spoon.

I call them blobs so I don't have to say "cookie". If I said cookie the kids would be disappointed, but they're perfectly happy with the blobs.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A fabric memory, but vague

When I pulled out this particular strip to iron it, I got a whole shiver up the back thing. I think my Mom made me a dress out of this fabric when I was a little kid.




That's pertinent to nothing, isn't it? Well it's just one of those human memory things. I'm tickled to see that fabric again and gotta share it with the internet.

Monday, August 31, 2009

New Fabric!

I've had three loads of fabric arrive in this house. When I first had kids and started sewing somebody suggested I put a wanted ad in the paper, asking for people's unwanted fabric. I did, and got a couple boxes full. That was long before the internet.
I recall the first phone call I got was from a guy who offered me his piles of old blue jeans if I wanted to cut them up, which was pretty depressing! But there were better phone calls after that.
A couple years ago a crafter friend who had gotten busy and changed direction cleaned out her craft room to my benefit. Another couple boxes.
I'm not in danger of "winning" (should I die right now, I would by no means have the most fabric) with only about... let's say... probably at max 20 cubic feet of stacked-up fabric. It's a good stash though! There's a variety of very useful large pieces.
Now the lady who gave me the Pfaff gave me a whole pile of quilting fabric. I guess she's been a quilter all her life. It's NICE quilt scraps, the quality stuff you buy at quilt shops and specialty places. There's also several pieces of pretty calico large enough for making a top or combining for a skirt.
I'm really having a blast looking through all this, just imagining all the possibilities.
It wasn't prewashed. I only put fabric on the shelf after washing it, that way I don't have to remember what's been washed and what hasn't: nothing comes up the stairs without being washed first. So all this new stuff's gotta be washed. It will be a bit of a job, it'll get twisted and tangled, and have to have strings snipped and some pieces get ironed. A fun job though, to do a little here and there as I pass by and have a moment.
The kids helped me shake out all the folded fabric last night. I'm so thankful for this! I can quilt my fool head off now.
I still don't see the good in cutting up perfectly good fabric only to sew it back together again. Quilting only attracts me if it's truly made from scraps. Half or most of the joy to my "scrounger" nature is to produce something pretty and useful from what would otherwise be wasted. So I just LOVE inheriting the 1/2-yard leftovers from someone else's lifetime of quilting.






Thursday, August 27, 2009

Knit dishrag from scraps

Just an anti-boredom thing so I don't zone out when people are talking.

excerpt from Henry Drummond



Bought my copy in a thrift shop. It just jumped off the shelf at me. It was so OLD. Don't know why I respect old books so much more than new! I assume old books are worthwhile until proven otherwise, and the opposite for new books.
The cover looked nicer than this when I paid $6 for it. It was printed, and then some decade went by, and then a hundred years went by, and then nine more, and then I bought it and my daughter set a wet tub of pansies on it and made four ruined blotches on the pretty cover. ARGH.

It's still good for reading. The text is just wonderful. I'm glad I bought it, it speaks to me. 120 years old still speaks to me better than the text downloaded from Gutenberg, but here's a particularly good excerpt.

* * *

Effects Require Causes

Nothing that happens in the world happens by chance. God is a God of order. Everything is arranged upon definite principles, and never at random. the world, even the religious world, is governed by law. Character is governed by law. Happiness is governed by law. The Christian experiences are governed by law. Men, forgetting this, expect Rest, Joy, Peace, Faith to drop into their souls from the air like snow or rain. But in point of fact they do not do so; and if they did, they would no less have their origin in previous activities and be controlled by natural laws. Rain and snow do drop from the air, but not without a long previous history. They are the mature effects of former causes. Equally so are Rest and Peace and Joy. They, too, have each a previous history. Storms and winds and calms are not accidents, but brought about by antecedent circumstances. Rest and Peace are but calms in man's inward nature, and arise through causes as definite and as inevitable.

Realize it thoroughly; it is a methodical, not an accidental world. If a housewife turns out a good cake, it is the result of a sound receipt, carefully applied. She cannot mix the assigned ingredients and fire them for the appropriate time without producing the result. It is not she who has made the cake; it is nature. She brings related things together; sets causes at work; these causes bring about the result. she is not a creator, but an intermediary. She does not expect random causes to produce specific effects--random ingredients would only produce random cakes. So it is in the making of Christian experiences. Certain lines are followed; certain effects are the result. These effects cannot but be the result. But the result can never take place without the previous cause. To expect results without antecedents is to expect cakes without ingredients. That impossibility is precisely the almost universal expectation.

Now what I mainly wish to do is to help you firmly to grasp this simple principle of Cause and Effect in the spiritual world. And instead of applying the principle generally to each of the Christian experiences in turn, I shall examine its application to one in some little detail. The one I shall select is Rest. And I think any one who follows the application in this single instance will be able to apply it for himself to the others.

Take such a sentence as this: African explorers are subject to fevers which cause restlessness and delirium.

Note the expression, "cause restlessness." RESTLESSNESS HAS A CAUSE. Clearly, then, any one who wished to get rid of restlessness would proceed at once to deal with the cause. If that were not removed, a doctor might prescribe a hundred things, and all might be taken in turn, without producing the least effect. Things are so arranged in the original planning of the world that certain effects must follow certain causes, and certain causes must be abolished before certain effects can be removed. Certain parts of Africa are inseparably linked with the physical experience called fever; this fever is in turn infallibly linked with a mental experience called restlessness and delirium. To abolish the mental experience the radical method would be to abolish the physical experience, and the way of abolishing the physical experience would be to abolish Africa, or to cease to go there.

Now this holds good for all other forms of Restlessness. Every other form and kind of Restlessness in the world had a definite cause, and the particular kind of Restlessness can only be removed by removing the allotted cause.

All this is also true of Rest. Restlessness has a cause: must not REST have a cause? Necessarily. If it were a chance world we would not expect this; but, being a methodical world, it cannot be otherwise. Rest, physical rest, moral rest, spiritual rest, every kind of rest has a cause, as certainly as restlessness. Now causes are discriminating. There is one kind of cause for every particular effect and no other, and if one particular effect is desired, the corresponding cause must be set in motion. It is no use proposing finely devised schemes, or going through general pious exercises in the hope that somehow Rest will come. The Christian life is not casual, but causal. All nature is a standing protest against the absurdity of expecting to secure spiritual effects, or any effects, without the employment of appropriate causes. The Great Teacher dealt what ought to have been the final blow to this infinite irrelevancy by a single question, "Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?"

Why, then, did the Great Teacher not educate His followers fully? Why did He not tell us, for example, how such a thing as Rest might be obtained? The answer is that HE DID. But plainly, explicitly, in so many words? Yes, plainly, explicitly, in so many words. He assigned Rest to its cause, in words with which each of us has been familiar from his earliest childhood.

He begins, you remember--for you at once know the passage I refer to--almost as if Rest could be had without any cause; "Come unto me," He says, "and I will GIVE you Rest."

Rest, apparently, was a favor to be bestowed; men had but to come to Him; He would give it to every applicant. But the next sentence takes that all back. The qualification, indeed, is added instantaneously. For what the first sentence seemed to give was next thing to an impossibility. For how, in a literal sense, can Rest be GIVEN? One could no more give away Rest than he could give away Laughter. We speak of "causing" laughter, which we can do; but we can not give it away. When we speak of "giving" pain, we know perfectly well we can not give pain away. And when we aim at "giving" pleasure, all that we can do is to arrange a set of circumstances in such a way as that these shall cause pleasure. Of course there is a sense, and a very wonderful sense, in which a Great Personality breathes upon all who come within its influence an abiding peace and trust. Men can be to other men as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land; much more Christ; much more Christ as Perfect Man; much more still as Savior of the world. But it is not this of which I speak. When Christ said He would give men Rest, He meant simply that he would put them in the way of it. By no act of conveyance would or could He make over His own Rest to them. He could give them His receipt for it. That was all. But He would not make it for them. For one thing it was not in His plan to make it for them; for another thing, men were not so planned that it could be made for them; and for yet another thing, it was a thousand times better that they should make it for themselves.

That this is the meaning becomes obvious from the wording of the second sentence: "Learn of me, and ye shall FIND Rest." Rest, (that is to say), is not a thing that can be GIVEN, but a thing to be ACQUIRED. It comes not by an act, but by a process. It is not to be found in a happy hour, as one finds a treasure; but slowly, as one finds knowledge. It could indeed be no more found in a moment than could knowledge. A soil has to be prepared for it. Like a fine fruit, it will grow in one climate, and not in another; at one altitude, and not at another. Like all growth it will have an orderly development and mature by slow degrees.

The nature of this slow process Christ clearly defines when He says we are to achieve Rest by LEARNING. "Learn of me," He says, "and ye shall find rest to your souls."

Now consider the extraordinary originality of this utterance. How novel the connection between these two words "Learn" and "Rest." How few of us have ever associated them--ever thought that Rest was a thing to be learned; ever laid ourselves out for it as we would to learn a language; ever practised it as we would practice the violin? Does it not show how entirely new Christ's teaching still is to the world, that so old and threadbare an aphorism should still be so little known? The last thing most of us would have thought of would have been to associate REST with WORK.

What must one work at? What is that which if duly learned will find the soul of man in Rest? Christ answers without the least hesitation. He specifies two things--Meekness and Lowliness. "Learn of me," He says, "for I am MEEK and LOWLY in heart."

Now these two things are not chosen at random. To these accomplishments, in a special way, Rest is attached. Learn these, in short, and you have already found Rest. These as they stand direct causes of Rest; will produce it at once; cannot but produce it at once. And if you think for a single moment, you will see how this is necessarily so, for causes are never arbitrary, and the connection between antecedent and consequent her and everywhere lies deep in the nature of things.

What is the connection, then? I answer by a further question. What are the chief causes of unrest? If you know yourself, you will answer--Pride, Selfishness, Ambition. As you look back upon the past years of your life, is it not true that its unhappiness has chiefly come from the succession of personal mortifications and almost trivial disappointments which the intercourse of life has brought you? Great trials come at lengthened intervals, and we rise to breast them; but it is the petty friction of our every-day life with one another, the jar of business or of work, the discord of the domestic circle, the collapse of our ambition, the crossing of our will or the taking down of our conceit, which make inward peace impossible. Wounded vanity, then, disappointed hopes, unsatisfied selfishness--these are the old, vulgar, universal sources of man's unrest.

Now it is obvious why Christ pointed out as the two chief objects for attainment the exact opposites of these. To meekness and lowliness these things simply do not exist. They cure unrest by making it impossible. These remedies do not trifle with surface symptoms; they strike at once at removing causes. The ceaseless chagrin of a self-centered life can be removed at once by learning meekness and lowliness of heart. He who learns them is forever proof against it. He lives henceforth a charmed life. Christianity is a fine inoculation, a transfusion of healthy blood into an anaemic or poisoned soul. No fever can attack a perfectly sound body; no fever of unrest can disturb a soul which has breathed the air or learned the ways of Christ.

Men sigh for the wings of a dove that they may fly away and be at Rest. But flying away will not help us. "The Kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU." We aspire to the top to look for Rest; it lies at the bottom. Water rests only when it gets to the lowest place. So do men. Hence, BE LOWLY. The man who has no opinion of himself at all can never be hurt if others do not acknowledge him. Hence, BE MEEK. He who is without expectation cannot fret if nothing comes to him. It is self-evident that these things are so. The lowly man and the meek man are really above all other men, above all other things. They dominate the world because they do not care for it. The miser does not possess gold, gold possesses him. But the meek possess it. "The meek," said Christ, "inherit the earth." They do not buy it; they do not conquer it; but they inherit it.

There are people who go about the world looking out for slights, and they are necessarily miserable, for they find them at every turn--especially the imaginary ones. One has the same pity for such men as for the very poor. They are the morally illiterate. They have had no real education, for they have never learned how to live.

Few men know how to live. We grow up at random carrying into mature life the merely animal methods and motives which we had as little children. And it does not occur to us that all this must be changed that much of it must be reversed; that life is the finest of the Fine Arts; that it has to be learned with life-long patience, and that the years of our pilgrimage are all too short to master it triumphantly. Yet this is what Christianity is for--to teach men the art of life. And its whole curriculum lies in one word--"Learn of me." Unlike most education, this is almost purely personal; it is not to be had from books, or lectures or creeds or doctrines. It is a study from the life. Christ never said much in mere words about the Christian graces. He lived them, He was them. Yet we do not merely copy Him. We learn His art by living with Him, like the old apprentices with their masters.

Now we understand it all? Christ's invitation to the weary and heavy-laden is a call to begin life over again upon a new principle--upon His own principle. "Watch my way of doing things," He says; "Follow me. Take life as I take it. Be meek and lowly, and you will find Rest."

I do not say, remember, that the Christian life to every man, or to any man, can be a bed of roses. No educational process can be this. And perhaps if some men knew how much was involved in the simple "learn" of Christ, they would not enter His school with so irresponsible a heart. For there is not only much to learn, but much to unlearn. Many men never go to this school at all till their disposition is already half ruined and character has taken on its fatal set. To learn arithmetic is difficult at fifty--much more to learn Christianity. To learn simply what it is to be meek and lowly, in the case of one who has had no lessons in that in childhood, may cost him half of what he values most on earth. Do we realize, for instance, that the way of teaching humility is generally by HUMILIATION? There is probably no other school for it. When a man enters himself as a pupil in such a school it means a very great thing. There is much Rest there, but there is also much Work.

I should be wrong, even though my theme is the brighter side, to ignore the cross and minimize the cost. Only it gives to the cross a more definite meaning, and a rarer value, to connect it thus directly and casually with the growth of the inner life. Our platitudes on the "benefits of affliction" are usually about as vague as our theories of Christian Experience. "Somehow" we believe affliction does us good. But it is not a question of "Somehow." The result is definite, calculable, necessary. It is under the strictest law of cause and effect. The first effect of losing one's fortune, for instance, is humiliation; and the effect of humiliation, as we have just seen, is to make one humble; and the effect of being humble is to produce Rest. It is a roundabout way, apparently, of producing Rest; but Nature generally works by circular processes; and it is not certain that there is any other way of becoming humble, or of finding Rest. IF a man could make himself humble to order, it might simplify matters; but we do not find that this happens. Hence we must all go through the mill. Hence death, death to the lower self, is the nearest gate and the quickest road to life.

Yet this is only half the truth. Christ's life outwardly was one of the most troubled lives that was ever lived: tempest and tumult, tumult and tempest, the waves breaking over it all he time till the worn body was laid in the grave. But the inner life was a sea of glass. The great calm was always there. At any moment you might have gone to Him and found Rest. Even when the blood-hounds were dogging Him in the streets of Jerusalem, He turned to His disciples and offered them, as a last legacy, "My peace." Nothing ever for a moment broke the serenity of Christ's life on earth. Misfortune could not reach Him; He had no fortune. Food, raiment, money--fountain-heads of half the world's weariness--He simply did not care for; they played no part in His life; He "took no thought" for them. It was impossible to affect Him by lowering His reputation. He had already made Himself of no reputation. He was dumb before insult. When he was reviled, He reviled not again. In fact, there was nothing that the world could do to him that could ruffle the surface of His spirit.

* * *

(Here's some other cover images I found on Ebay.)

Rose pic

Pretty for wallpaper!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This is what a blog is for

It's to post that kind of nonsense that I really REALLY just WANT to share with everybody I know, but can't quite reconcile with my conscience putting it into their inboxes.
If I put it on my blog and they waste ten seconds of their life reading it, it's nobody's fault but their own.
So. Here we are:

US shopper charged $23 quadrillion for cigarettes

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/16/man-buys-cigarettes-23-quadrillion

A shopper in the US city of Manchester, New Hampshire, says he swiped his debit card at a petrol station to buy a packet of cigarettes – and was charged over 23 quadrillion dollars.

Josh Muszynski checked his account online a few hours after the purchase and saw the 17-digit number - a stunning $23,148,855,308,184,500.

He said he then spent two hours on the phone with Bank of America trying to sort out the string of numbers – and the 15 dollar overdraft fee.

The bank reportedly corrected the error the following day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Embroidery!


I went by the sewing shop to get some Pfaff bobbins. They wanted $6 for four of them, which is highway robbery. The other kind are $2 for ten and it's the same plastic.
Ed and Dave were looking at the embroidery patterns, and I tried to explain about embroidery machines, how they have their own hoop. I asked the lady if there was a machine with a hoop on it, and she showed us one that had a piece of fabric on which she had embroidered "Love." She asked Dave what his name was and added that beneath, then took the square off and gave it to us. How delightful! It can be a quilt square. I said I had another boy at home, and she said to come in again sometime and she'd make another square.
She showed me stabilizer for $12 the roll, I didn't buy it. I took home the piece she had just ripped off; it was enough for a couple more uses.

I've had this pillowcase in the top drawer for a while now, not exactly getting done. I used the cool new sewing machine and green thread to finish the leaves. Yeah, I know, pretty simple. I just drew the design on there with a pen :-)



Then looked at Walmart, and found stabilizer for $1.50 a square yard! Glad I didn't buy it at the sewing store!