Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Carrying a Weight

We are now deep into the last two weeks of the college semester. This has been our daughter's first full semester of nursing school. While the first two years of college, filled with all of the basics, were not easy, this semester has definitely stood out as the most difficult one yet.

Classes like Pharmacology have challenged her ability to study while maintaining her position on the cross country and track teams. Tests that ask for "all the correct answers" rather than the "choose the BEST answer" have caused her to second guess herself. Test scores that have been lower than she would have liked have depressed her........

and ALL OF THIS has created a heavy weight on me as a mother.

I offer encouraging words. I whisper prayers for support. I listen when she wants to unload. I offer whatever advice I can, but all of this has certainly taken a toll.

Tonight, while thinking about how difficult nursing school can be on the parent, I had a sudden epiphany. Knowing how heavy my burden has been, trying to support my daughter, and carry some of her emotional weight, I cannot imagine the heavy burden and the personal pain that it caused for Jesus to carry the weight of the world's sin to the cross with him.

How many pounds that sin must have weighed! Oh, the amount of emotional pain it must have inflicted on our savior! Yet, he was willing to do it, for us, the sinful humans that we are. He did it so that we might have a chance for renewed life through his resurrection and God's forgiveness.

The semester will end. My pain from emotional stress will ease, but God's love for each and every one of us will not end. No matter what we do, he will always be there, willing to forgive us and wash away that sin. All we have to do is ask.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Five Minute Friday- Surrender

Black Friday- the day when most of America is out shopping, trying to get the best deals that they can for the upcoming Christmas holiday. Not me.... no.... I have spent my day trying to make the clothes and hair for a Raggedy Ann and Andy doll set that a friend of mine requested quite a while back. The doll bodies themselves came together weeks ago- much easier than I expected, but not the clothes and hair.

My sewing machine has been on the fritz.... no tension, then too much tension, Threads breaking off right in the middle of a seam. I even had one calamity that I have NEVER seen! I had a bobbin literally break in two IN THE MACHINE!

After a bit of what my mother would call "belly-aching" I did finally manage to get the clothes finished. Then I set about the dreaded task of getting the hair done. The instructions that came with the pattern involved wrapping the yarn around a large 12X18 piece of cardboard, then gently removing those loops from the cardboard (keeping them intact) and sewing them to a base. I managed to get the loops off more easily than I expected, but trying to sew through all of that yarn created a huge headache (for ME... Not Raggedy Ann). I could not see where the fabric was beneath the yarn, so when I sewed it I got way off track.

One side of the yarn wig looks pretty good, but the other is just a jumble of yarn.

Here I sit now..... after a long day at the sewing machine. My back aches, my head hurts, and I am not much closer to having these dolls finished. I think the fates have spoken and they are telling me to call it a night.  Oh well! I SURRENDER!! In the words of Scarlett O'Hara..., "Tomorrow is another day." Perhaps things will go better then.  In the meantime..... anyone got any great tips on making a wig for Raggedy?


Oh what a difference a day makes! It is SO TRUE!!

I got up this morning with a fresh outlook, two new pieces of red cotton cloth, and my red yarn. Having read several posts on the internet I had some idea of how I could possibly make the hair work on these dolls and I finally was able to succeed!

Not too shabby, huh? I am pretty pleased with the final results, although I have already warned my daughter that when she has a daughter she should NOT be expecting a set of these dolls! LOL! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's Up Wednesday?

This Wednesday I have been busy with preparations for tomorrow's meal. My family and I will travel to my parents' house where we will enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. I have spent today preparing desserts, the ham, and the turkey. Tomorrow morning I will be the first one up- ready to prepare the sides: sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, and dressing. 

This has become my yearly tradition- cooking at my house and taking the food there. It is a lot of work, but I enjoy it. 

I am so thankful that I still have my parents with me, though my mother is not in the best of health. Her memory has faded a great deal in recent years, a form of dementia according to the doctors, not actual Alzheimer's. At times she does not remember who I am, and, while it breaks my heart, I know that she does remember how my presence makes her feel. She truly loves when we visit, if only for a short while. 

This year I tried a new dessert. While I have not actually tasted the REAL thing,  I am fairly sure that it will be a HIT! I came across this recipe for Pecan Pie Cheesecake several weeks ago and I knew that I wanted to give it a try. 

I have never really been a fan of pecan pie, but I LOVE a good cheescake. When I made the topping for this one, I licked the spoon and I have to admit that it was YUMMY! I will try to check back in later this week and let you know what everyone thought. 

Until then, I hope that this holiday season finds you healthy and happy. As you gather with family, friends, or whomever, please remember to give thanks to God for his many blessings. I know that I will!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What's Up Wednesday?

I take a break from my usual craft updates to offer my own commentary on something that has been on my mind this week. 

Since my two children have grown and started making their way into the "adult" world, my family has spent a great deal of time talking about the pros and cons of living in a small town. 

When our firstborn, Keenan, selected a college, he wanted a small college, but he wanted it to be located in a big city. He ended up in Louisville at Bellarmine University. Over the past four years he has continually told us about the benefits of big city living: always something to do, proximity to shopping centers, and lots of convenient roads to get from place to place. 

Kari has always drifted more toward small town living and when it came time for her to go to college she selected Union College in Barbourville. She is right at home there, even finding a "home away from home" church to attend on Sundays (whenever student duties do not interfere). 

As for me, I tend to be more like Kari. I have always thought of myself as a small town girl. 

Events of this week have helped to re-emphasize to me all of the many reasons why I enjoy living in a "little town in the middle of nowhere". In a big city you would not find a whole community coming together to help a family who had just lost everything in a house fire. There might be a community food bank or something like that, but the number of people who knew the family and understood their loss would be few. In a town like ours, nearly everyone has been touched by this event in some way. I have heard about so many people who are trying to gather clothing for them, offer kind words and prayers, and reach into their own pockets to help provide money.

Over the years I have seen Booneville and Beattyville come together to help pay for funerals for individuals whose families could not afford them, provide meals and financial support for cancer patients, and even help do house repairs and maintenance for those who were physically unable to do them on their own. As a teacher in a small town I have personally seen teachers, aides, and school personnel help to provide the needs of individual students- whether it be a pair of tennis shoes, a warm coat, a prom dress for a girl who could not afford one, or food for the weekend. 

Yes.... Booneville may be a small town- but one of the BEST things about it is its BIG HEART! 

I am glad that I was born in a small town and that I live in a small town........... Yes, there are issues and problems, as with any town, but I would not trade it for the world!


Friday, November 11, 2016

Five Minute Friday- Common

Here it is Friday again and time for another round of Five Minute Friday journaling. This week's word is COMMON......

Ready..... Set...... Go!

I have always considered myself to be a very common, down to earth type of person. As a young girl and into my teenage years I even described myself as "homely". With my long, straight hair and plain clothing I did not stand out and I never really wanted to. I preferred to fade into the woodwork and just "BE".

Over the years however, I have come to realize that there are things that make me a very uncommon, unique person. I have my own unique way of organizing things; as a young mother I could tell whether one of the family had moved something on the coffee table by even a few inches. (Not so much anymore. I have mellowed with age. LOL!) When I am attempting to color match an outfit or home accessories I like to have a "perfect" color match. (This often gets on my son's nerves, as he is more willing to look at broader color strokes.) I just cannot abide certain food textures. Things that are too mushy, or too lumpy just do not appeal to me. When I eat a meal, I tend to eat it one food item at a time, not going back and forth with a bite of this and a bite of that.

I have been involved in conversations with other people as we discussed things that we liked and things that we didn't, our customary ways of doing things, and our own preferences about those little things that make us who we are. Often these conversations end with one person saying, "I just don't know how you do that", or "I could never do it that way."  It is at those times that I realize just how unique and uncommon I am.

God has molded each of us into the person that he wants us to be. He gave me my delight in chocolate, my need for order, and my unwillingness to choose sage green when I wanted a dusty green. I am NOT as common as I would like to believe. Regardless of this, I can rest in the confidence that I am God's perfect product!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

What's Happening Wednesday

It is me.... checking in again to give you an update on what I am working on. I wish that I could show you my REALLY BIG PROJECT..... BUT..... I can't. I don't want the recipient to see it.  As far as I know the person does not have any idea that I am even working on something for them. (That is part of the fun with these things.)

I did recently crochet a doggie sweater for our lovely dog Rudy. You see, Kari was getting ready to run in the conference race at the end of Union College's Cross Country season. Glenn and I were going, sporting our Union gear of course, and I really felt that Rudy needed something too. A quick Pinterest search and I came up with a pattern for THIS:

Isn't he adorable? He was a hit at Saturday's race in North Carolina. Everyone kept oohing and aahing the sweater and I even got an order from another Union doggy momma for a sweater for her dog! I love crocheting, but I love seeing others enjoy my work even more!

I actually have a couple of Christmas sewing projects in the work, all for another sweet returning customer. A couple of crochet orders also..... then I will get back to work on my own projects. I am loving the fact that retirement has provided me with time to do some of the crafty things that I enjoy so much! When I taught full time it seemed like I was always trying to just squeeze things in. Now I can find the time to try new things and do projects for customers too!