Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Complete

 

I recently finished a couple of my longer-term projects.  First, this sweater.  I've been making a habit of crocheting myself a sweater beginning in January, after the bustle of the holidays calms down.  And by the time I finish, we don't have sweater weather anymore.  But I have something new to wear next winter.

The yoke pattern of this Huldra sweater really caught my eye, and it was fun to work with Brava Sport yarn. 

The sleeve motif turned out to be interesting, too.  Of course I made some adjustments.  I started out with the wrong size, and had to add a few rounds to the neckline at the end.  And I found that decreasing once every three rounds was just right for shaping the sleeves.  The roundness of the yoke makes the sweater kind of stand out in back.  I'm not sure what to do about that, except wear it and not worry!

This quilt has been in the works even longer.  I admired the Seville pattern from Cluck Cluck Sew for several years before buying it.  I finally got around to planning out a queen-sized version last June, so actually making it spread over nearly a year. 

I wanted to use Asian prints, but knew I could never choose between all the lovely fabrics available.  So I ordered two ten-packs of fat quarters, trusting to someone else's eye to select them.  They came with a wonderful variety.

The piecing went pretty well.  The straight-line quilting was frustrating, even using the walking foot.  I had to send the machine in for repairs on the stitch regulation system.  It made a difference, but slowed the process down.  I'm not going to show you the back--it wouldn't win any prizes.  But it is all together now, and I am happy with it.

 I'm sure other people could produce these things faster.  Probably I could if I tried.  But I enjoyed having these things to do for a while.  

What should I make next?


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Grateful for My Savior

 At this time of year, the ladies at church usually celebrate Christmas with dinner and a nice program.  This year, dinner was off the menu, but we still had the program.  They asked me to speak.  So I had the opportunity to express my gratitude for my Savior, for his invitations to come unto Him and to hear Him, and for the many witnesses who bring those messages from him.  You can watch the whole thing at this link, which includes some beautiful music and the fascinating story of "Oh, Holy Night," or just read what I had to say here:

 

On the night that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born in Bethlehem of Judea, “there were in the same country shepherds, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them . . . .”i Have you ever met an angel? When we describe people as “angelic,” we think of calmness, serenity, and benevolence. Paul even says that “some have entertained angels unawares.”ii But there was no mistaking the power of this messenger, for “the glory of the Lord shone round about” him, and the shepherds, who didn’t know how the story was going to go, “were sore afraid.”iii Not just startled or curious, but “sore afraid.”


Historically, this was not an unusual reaction. The glory of God has been recorded in ancient and modern times as being “like devouring fire”iv, “above the brightness of the sun, . . . [defying] all description.”v Prophets and priests such as the Brother of Jared, Moses, and Zacharias have been “afraid to look upon God” or His representatives.vi Even the pure and righteous Mary was “troubled” by the really rather complimentary greeting of Gabriel, when he came to announce her unique life work.vii And just like Gabriel, Moroni, and angels before and since, the messenger who appeared to the shepherds began by telling them to “Fear not.”


“Fear not,” he said, “for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.”viii Was the angel a bit excited? This was, you know, the best news that had ever been given in this world. The Savior, the promised Messiah, had finally entered mortality. Things were going to change. The human family’s hope for salvation was that much closer to being fulfilled. And the first to hear about it, beside the infant’s own mother and stepfather, were these shepherds.


The angel concluded his message with an invitation to go and see the miracle for themselves. To come unto the Savior. And this invitation has been passed down through the centuries to us. “Oh, come, let us adore Him.”ix


How did the shepherds react to this astounding opportunity? They did not hesitate. They did not worry about whether they were worthy. They did not wonder whether it was really true, or whether they could trust the messenger. They did not excuse themselves for having nothing to wear, which some painters of the nativity have taken to be literally true. They didn’t complain that it was the middle of the night, or stop to check for other messages. They don’t even seem to have been too concerned about leaving their flock for a little while. They said, “Let us now go, . . . and they came with haste.”x


How do we come unto Christ? The angel’s directions to the shepherds were clear, to search the mangers in the nearest village. Our destination is not so literal—or is it? We have been commanded to “stand in holy places.”xi Our church and temple buildings are obvious places for seeking the Lord. They are His houses, dedicated to and accepted by Him. We are invited to come to these places oft, to participate in ordinances that reveal His nature and purposes to our souls. Or, usually we are. In these trying times, our physical access to these holy places is currently limited. But the blessings of which we partake in the church and temple can be with us always, as we strive to remember and maintain our worthiness.


Our homes, where we may have been spending extra time lately, should also be holy places. It is just as important to seek the Savior in our own homes as in any chapel—maybe more so. For there we can introduce Him to our families, or find solace in His company when we are alone. And we can find sacredness and signs of the Lord’s love for us in nature, in other people, even in challenging circumstances, if we keep the Holy Ghost with us.


More important than physical places, though, are the things we do to come unto Christ. “Oh, come, let us adore Him.” The word “adore” comes from the Latin roots “to” and “pray to.” To pray to our Father in the name of Christ is an excellent way to approach Him. But “to pray to” is an incomplete form of communication if we do not listen for His answers. Thus, President Nelson’s repeated invitation to “Hear Him.”


Isaiah issued the same invitation from the Lord: “Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and you shall live.”xii To come unto Him, we must not only tell Him our concerns, but listen for His, His advice, His love, His directions. These come through the still small voice of the Holy Ghost, not always immediately, not always as we expect. So as we seek the Lord, we must learn to listen always for these promptings.


And not only must we pray and listen, but follow the promptings he sends. Jesus has invited us, “Come unto me . . . take my yoke upon you, and learn of me . . .”xiii We get to know Him better by joining in His work of saving souls. It may sound daunting, but he has promised to do the heavy lifting if we are willing to do our best. “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, . . . and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?”xiv


Try as we might to follow the Savior’s course, we all fall short of complete obedience. Thus he invites, “come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit.”xv Through repentance, we come even closer to our Redeemer. When we lay our burdens upon Him, we realize what he has felt in our behalf, and appreciate more fully the amazing “love Jesus offers” us.xvi


We also come unto Him by seeking His words. “Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ.”xvii And while glory-laden, fear-inducing angelic visits may be few and far between, prophets are also messengers of divine words, servants of God. “Whether by mine own voice,” revealed the Lord, “or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”xviii The scriptures and teachings of latter-day prophets are before us. Let us seek Him through them.


The shepherds were successful in their search. They did find “Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”xix While the infant Jesus would not have had much to say at the time, the shepherds certainly received the Holy Ghost’s witness of the holiness of the child, the truth of the angel’s words that he would be their Savior.


Did they scurry back to their flock after seeing the marvelous sight? No. “They made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning the child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things.”xx The news was too good to keep. The angel had told them that it would bring joy “to all people.”xxi So they shared the miracle, their witness, their gratitude for the Savior with all they could reach. Should we do any less?


Come unto Him. Hear Him. And let His love light the world.

 

#givethanks  #hearhim  #lighttheworld

 

 

iLuke 2:8-9

iiHebrews 13:2

iiiLuke 2:9

ivExodus 24:17

vJoseph Smith—History 1:16-17

viExodus 3:6; see also Ether 3:8, Luke 1:12

viiLuke 1:28-29

viiiLuke 2:10

ix“Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful,” Hymns, no. 202

xLuke 2:15-16

xiDoctrine and Covenants 87:8

xiiIsaiah 55:3

xiiiMatthew 11:28-29

xivMosiah 5:13

xv3 Nephi 12:19

xvi“I Stand All Amazed,” Hymns, no. 193

xvii2 Nephi 31:3

xviiiDoctrine and Covenants 1:38

xixLuke 2:16

xxLuke 2:17-18

xxiLuke 2:10


Monday, November 30, 2020

Grateful for Creativity

I always like to make things, but in these uncertain times, I have found much comfort in being able to take things I have, or things I can get, and organizing them into something beautiful and useful.  I've been busy!

Since the beginning of March, I've sewn

a dress for a friend's baby, using the last of one of my very favorite fabrics,

an apron, to keep Scoot's white shirts clean,

masks for others and ourselves,

a bookmark with my motto for the year,

a shirt for Rollo,

a weighted blanket for the Caterpillar,

curtains, and a couple of outfits for myself. 

I've crocheted
a blanket for another friend's baby,

a Dragon Neckwarmer, with coordinating hat,
 
and this All in the Family afghan.  I started it in the spring, using yarn I had at hand, and set it aside when it was getting too warm to sit around under an afghan and my colors were starting to run out.  I picked it up again this fall, added rounds in three more colors, and decided it was big enough.
 
I've done some painting:  




I have also enjoyed offering some advice, but mostly watching as the boys expressed themselves

with cakes,
costumes, and other creativity.

I have more projects to enjoy, ideas to realize, inspiration to express.  I'm thankful for the skills I've learned, and the resources to practice them.  It's one way to emulate our great Creator, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to do so.
 
What has kept your hands busy?
 
#givethanks
 
 


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Grateful for Music

I am grateful for music.  I can't say I like all kinds of music, but I enjoy many.  I usually listen to classical and jazz music when I drive.  Not only are the local stations ad-free, but there's such a wide variety of pieces, and I can usually enjoy what they play.  I appreciate YouTube for making even more old and new music available.  The Caterpillar is really a connoisseur of interesting music from around the world, and his selections add a lot of variety to our atmosphere.  

I also enjoy making music.  I miss singing in the choir at church, and fiddling with a group at the mall.  But I can play our piano, and practice those fiddle tunes on my own--maybe I'll be able to keep up with the others when we meet again.

 


I'm grateful that the rest of the family is musical, too.  Dandelionslayer is a percussionist.  The Caterpillar plays brass and bass, and whatever he can get his hands on.  Scoot left his saxophone home when he set out on his mission, but he shares music in Europe with his recorders.  School band isn't really an ensemble thing these days, but Rollo enjoys his trombone and piano lessons.  D2, who used to claim that he hated music, is doing well with his clarinet lessons, and enjoys listening to classical strings.  

 


Sometimes we can even persuade them all to play together!

I've also been grateful for some inspiration to arrange and compose a few pieces myself.  Here's a link to one I wrote about a year ago.  At a Young Women activity, one of the girls lamented the short supply of Thanksgiving carols.  I challenged her to write one herself.  I don't know if she had any good ideas, but a few days later, I did.  I'm grateful to be able to share it at SacredSheetMusic.org, where I've shared a few others, and found many other pieces to enjoy from talented composers.

I love all the concerts and musical events that usually come at this season of the year.  I'll miss going out for those this year, but I've been finding some online opportunities for enjoying good performances.  I hope you will, too!

Music has such a powerful influence on our feelings, and I'm grateful to be able to listen and participate in music that soothes, peps, inspires, and pleases. 

What music do you love?

#givethanks

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Grateful for Books

 I am so grateful that my parents taught me early to love stories and reading.  They read to us and with us, and told us stories from around the world.  I am grateful for libraries, too, sources of more books than we can fit in our house.  For the first five years I went to elementary school, the library was only a couple of blocks away.  My sister and I were frequent visitors in the summer, and always found more good books to bring home.  The closure of local libraries this spring was really disappointing.  I'm so grateful for the curbside pickup system we have now.  And, since I still can't wander and browse the shelves there, I'm grateful for Goodreads, where I can find new destinations for my reading adventures.  


 We have plenty of our own books, too, which were very helpful this spring.   Here are a few of my favorites from the permanent collection.  They provide information, inspiration, beauty, amusement, escape from worry, and perspective on the real world.

What books are you grateful for?

#givethanks

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Grateful for the World

 

Washington, USA

 

I am grateful for this world that we live in.  I think I live in a particularly beautiful part of it, full of mountains and trees and lakes, surrounded by the sea.  

I've been privileged to live in other beautiful places, to have visited forty-nine of the United States, two of their territories, and five other countries.  I've found lovely scenery, intriguing history, and kind people in all of them.

England

Japan

Puerto Rico

Canada



And that isn't enough.  My wanderlust frequently manifests itself in dreams about rushing to catch airplanes, road trips that turn into hikes, or odd things happening with boats.  Someday I'll explore more, but I am truly grateful for the places I have been.  This is a beautiful world, in an amazing universe, and I'm glad to be part of it.

Where would you like to go?

#givethanks

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Give Thanks

 

 2020 has been quite a year, hasn't it?  Who expected a pandemic to swoop in and plague the world?  Because, you know, this definitely fits my definition of a Biblical plague: something unpleasant and attention-getting that affects everyone.

As far as the effects go, we're pretty well off.  We've stayed healthy.  Dandelionslayer and the Caterpillar have kept their jobs and worked all this time.  Scoot is still happily serving as a missionary in the Netherlands.  Remote school is not ideal for the younger boys, but it is possible, and the technology works pretty well.  Church discussions at home have been good.  Most of us are introverts, and don't mind quiet time and family entertainment.

Which is not to say that we're immune to disappointment, discouragement, or feeling boxed in.  But it feels so much better to focus on the good things.  

That's what Russell M. Nelson says so much more eloquently in the above video.  A man of long experience with faith, science, and family, he encourages us to seek out the healing power of gratitude, and to share it with others.  

So, today I'd like to tell you that I am grateful for my family.  My parents, who brought me up with love, faith, curiosity, humor, skills, encouragement, and adventure.  My sisters, who were silly and busy and active with me.  My loving, fun, faithful, creative husband.  Our talented, capable, hilarious sons.  

I can't tell you how grateful I am for them, but I can tell you that I am, and that my life has meaning because of them.  Thank you!

And thank you to you who are reading this.  I know I haven't provided much for you to read lately, but thanks for stopping by.  I'll share a few more things I'm grateful for in the next few days.

What are you grateful for?

#givethanks