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Monday, February 25, 2013

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Alan Jackson

It is All Worthwhile

Sometimes I wonder if writing a blog is worth the time and effort. I know I enjoy the blogs of others even though I can't spend enough time reading them all. But when I get a reply to a post like the last one and knowing it resonated with at least one person, it does have a purpose. I believe it helps to share experiences and how we handled them. Maybe we didn't handle it well, or in the best way, but when others see that we went through it and came out the other side, it might give them courage.

When things get hard, you can know that others have gone through the same thing before you, and others will go through it after you as well as some going through it at the same time as you. Sometimes we have a choice which road we walk on, but other times we have no choice. We are thrown onto a path we have never been down before, and as much as we hate that path that is full of obstacles and huge, jarring potholes, and we can't see what is ahead of us, the only way out is to keep moving forward. Reverse doesn't work and there is no place to make a U-turn. The scenery doesn't seem to change for such a long time that we think we are standing still, but we really aren't. Maybe it is a long, dark tunnel that seems to never end but just goes deeper and deeper. But as we keep putting one foot in front of the other, we come to a bend in that tunnel and begin to see a faint light ahead. And it grows bigger and bigger. We might think it is a train headed right for us, but remember, this is a one-way road. Nothing can be coming from the other direction. So it must be the end of the tunnel up there!

If you believe in Jesus, you can know that you aren't walking that road alone. He is always with us. He is there to support us when we stumble. He is there to carry us when the mud gets too deep. He is there.

When my husband was being diagnosed with terminal cancer, the chorus to the song "Turn your eyes upon Jesus" kept running through my mind. The words became very real to me. Think about them.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of this world will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace."
I have included a video of the song. 

I asked that this song be sung at my husband's funeral.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Some Serious Thoughts

I did some decluttering yesterday. . . . . a small drawer of my bedside table. I had shoved in greeting cards I had received in the past few years - Christmas cards along with annual Christmas letters, and birthday cards with a few other holiday cards mixed in. I finally decided that these were things that my kids would not be interested in and would just throw them away someday. There were also some photos inside Christmas cards or printed within the letters. Some I had to keep, some weren't so necessary so out they went. Some Mother's Day cards are special so they have been kept as well. You know the ones, those that are just too special to get rid of. In the end I have a small stack of cards, letters and pictures left that will either go into another drawer with other keepsakes, or in photo albums. But I got rid of a whole lot more than I kept, and I have an empty drawer to put other things in that I want to keep handy as it sits next to my computer desk - which doesn't not have drawers.

In the process of going through all those things I ran across one Christmas letter someone had written several years ago that I would like to share with you. It is on a serious subject, and relates to a previous post here on January 11, "Most Hated Month of the Year". This came from a couple who had been facilitators with "Growing Through Loss" in their community. The following are tidbits from some of the speaker's statements thought to be good, and added, "I hope some of this will be helpful information that you can use someday." So I am using it by sharing with you today.

GRIEF IS: Grief is a feeling -- mourning is what we do, grieving is honoring that which we miss. Grief is slow and hard work, grieving is a healing process, grieving never ends (memories), and grief can help us see more pieces of life. For each family member it's like grieving for someone different because of their relationship to that person. We all grieve differently, even husbands, wives, siblings or children.

SOME NORMAL GRIEF FEELINGS ARE: loneliness, feeling lost, emptiness, hopeless, helpless, forsaken, angry at self, angry at the one who died, angry with God, sadness, pain, anxiety, being overwhelmed, confused, numb, guilty, powerless, and denial.

ROAD BLOCKS TO GRIEF: We don't talk about death, we don't tolerate open expression of grief, we think some losses are more tolerable than others, we think all grief experiences are the same and the last road block -- we don't want to be in pain.

TOOLS THAT ARE HELPFUL: Listen to your feelings, it gives you a place to start. Put grief into words -- show pieces of our souls with others, give sorrow words (silence breaks us), give yourself permission to express your feelings. Write a letter to God, write a letter to the deceased, write stories about the deceased and journal. Reminisce. Talk to the person who died, talk to God, read about grief in the Bible. Remind yourself "It's my grief", find a survivor -- what did they do right or wrong, slow down, listen to music, surround yourself with life, trust people, let other people reflect to you how you are healing. Celebrate being -- not doing. Care about others.

Remember Jesus stands with us in grief, Jesus wept when his friend died. Blessings are 'God things' and they will come through the goodness of others.

I will add here that grief isn't always for someone who died. It comes with the death of a relationship with a friend or family member, a divorce because it is a death of a marriage. It is suffering a loss of anything - home, job, way of life, moving far away from family and friends, and anything else you can name.

I know I went through a grieving process when I got divorced. It is difficult after being married for 25 years. When I got married I expected it to last forever, but it died. It really died many years before the actual separation and finally divorce, so the grieving process lasted a long time. I have done a little grieving recently at the loss of the friendship of a couple who had been close family friends for over 50 years. I still don't know why they pulled away but it hurts.

On the back page of that letter was this, which I will close with:

S Simplify
E Eat well
L Let go of stressors
F Feel your feelings

C Calm your soul & listen to your inner wisdom
A Ask for help
R Rest when you can
E Exercise every day

Monday, February 18, 2013

Frugal living

We all love a good bargain, don't we? All my life I have shopped clearance sales and "Crazy Days" events - you know - when all the stuff the stores needed to get rid of was put outside on the sidewalk, or even in the street and had crazy cheap prices. Some of it was junk but often found many good things as well. I always found new clothes for my kids before school started. I am not sure that is done as much anymore. The small mall in the next town has a tent sale that is similar. They set up a large tent in the parking lot for a couple of days. Plus the shops in the mall put their clearance things on tables and racks in the center of the mall. But it seems to me that they aren't marked down all that much.

Recently one of my internet friends said she had to throw some meat away because it had turned green in the fridge, but the other roast bought the same day was still good when she fixed it the day before. So the meat must have been old when she bought it. But that sparked some replies and the idea for this post. Before I could get around to writing I received an email with several pictures of old WWII posters. Among them was this one ~

Take notice of the words at the bottom. "Buy wisely - cook carefully - store carefully - use leftovers."
Many things, including some foods, were rationed during the war. Sugar was one of them. Gasoline was also, and tires. I don't recall the other things right now. There was limited supply at the time, and our soldiers needed food to keep them going so they could fight. Gasoline and rubber for tires was needed for army vehicles. Many factories were taken over and adapted to making war supplies so they were no longer making consumer goods for the public.
As I was looking for the pictures of the posters to include here, I found one that I wasn't able to copy. It said, "Give it style, leftovers can taste good and look good." Isn't it interesting the the government was constantly reminding people with these posters, and making suggestions on how they could help with the war effort right here at home. I wonder if they also had newspapers and magazines telling how to make those leftovers look and taste good. I am sure Good Housekeeping had lots of articles about that.
Back to that discussion of the bad meat, here is what I said ~

"No matter how good the sale was, or how cheap the meat (or anything else), if there is no room to store it or use it before it spoils, then it is not a bargain. I know you ladies are great at saving, and buying lots of bargains for stocking up, but you can get too much. Some of you have mentioned that all your freezers are packed full as well as one or two fridges. So why are we buying more? . . . . .  I know you don't throw food away very often unless it would be some leftovers that no one wanted. So I am not pointing to any one person. I have been guilty of not cooking something soon enough too. I either forgot I had it, or didn't realize how much time had gone by since I got it.

That is one good reason to do these pantry challenges and freezer challenges. Use up the stuff that has been there the longest before buying more! My little freezer is far from being packed full, though I do wish I had a whole lot of space filled with precooked foods or at least pre-prepped, but I haven't gotten around to doing that yet. It seems when I do cook I just keep eating it until gone because I don't feel like cooking. I probably throw out more lettuce and fresh produce because I buy too much at one time. Everything looks so good when in season and I get hungry for it all, but can't eat it all before it spoils. And lettuce, I like green salads, and it is really easy to fix when I cut up a bunch ahead of time, but I get tired of it, plus it is usually the last thing I feel like eating."

So the advice in WWII is still a good thing to do now, not just during a war, though we still have troops in the trenches, so to speak, in many areas of the world.

If your fridges and freezers are packed full, and there is a great sale on meats or other fresh food, and your pantry is overflowing, think twice about stocking up some more, because chances are, something will go bad before it gets eaten. So all that money you 'saved' on that sale, went in the garbage can along with much more than what was saved.

And fresh vegetables, fruits and other foods that don't freeze well (if you had the room in the freezer) and they are for sale at the lowest price you have seen for awhile, still only buy what you will be able to use while it is still edible.

Today too many families eat out too much. They may have food at home but don't feel like cooking or don't have time to cook (they think), so they go out or order in. That actually takes time too, and sometimes more time than it would have taken if you cooked at home. So by the time they get around to cooking, that food in the fridge has gone bad. I have to admit that I used to do that quite a bit myself. But now, on limited income, I can't afford to do that. I have $32 to spend on food until the middle of next month. So I will have to plan wisely as to what I really need to see me through. I know I don't need any meat or vegetables as I have plenty in the freezer. But I do need milk, eggs, yogurt and butter for sure.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We need to ask ourselves this question now as well, since gas prices have risen over 40 cents a gallon in the last few weeks, with talk of it rising a lot more before summer. Is it necessary, and can I combine all my errands in one trip instead of making several trips?

One more thought, I wonder if the government would even consider asking these things of the people now? And would the people listen? The people in DC seem more interested in lining their own pocket to live like millionaires after they retire, and spending 'our' money frivolously on unnecessary programs.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Auction Results

Now that I have had a little time to recover from a busy week, I will post what my projects sold for at the church auction earlier this week.

The scarf was auctioned off first. It made $20. The hairy caps went for $20 or $30. I can't remember exactly as things moved along quite fast and I couldn't always hear the final bid. I do know it was at least $20 each.

This afghan went for $90, and one of my two Bible study students got it. She said she had her eye on it every since I showed them the first strip I finished. Her young daughter also fell in love with the blue/green cap so she got it, and wore it the rest of the evening.

Afghans did not sell as well this year. I think maybe the church members all have as many as they want. So I am now searching for something different to take next year. I have afghans make $700 and over $1,000 other years and it is pretty hard to top that. When the auctioneer announces it was made by me, they seem to get better bids, and this year nothing was said. Do you suppose that might have been part of the reason it didn't sell as well? Probably not, but I would like to think so. ;o) I think I have become known as the afghan lady at church.


A big welcome to my new members! I am happy that you have found my blog and want to get to know you as well. I hope you find something of my life that interests you. As the blog title says, this is my life (often boring) and if you have read my posts, my thoughts are very random. When I don't post, I guess I don't have anything to say, but look out when I get on my soapbox!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Second Bedroom

This is my second bedroom. The closet. He decided this was a good place to sleep for a few days. Why do cats change their choice of sleeping areas? This one can sleep in the same place for weeks, and then decide to try another spot or room, and then rotating them often.

I really do need a second bedroom but would prefer one a lot larger where a human can sleep.

Ready. . . . Set . . . . GO!

 As I promised -
here are the pictures of the things I made and donated to the church auction.

"Hairy" caps and ruffled scarf

Mile-a-minute afghan

Here is a close-up of the stitches.

A mile-a-minute afghan is made in strips and then single crocheted together. This one has 8 strips using off white for the center of each strip, then a single row of beige, a single row of variegated to add a spice of color, one more row of beige, and one of off white. I added 2 rows of single crochet around the whole thing as I think it gives a more finished look. I am not real fond of fringe but I do think it adds a nice effect to this pattern. Would you say this would fit in the Victorian category?
I love the softness of the colors. Would you also agree that the colors would work in any home? That is what I try to aim for when making something for the church auction - something for everybody's home no matter what the decor, thought maybe it wouldn't fit in a modern one. It speaks to me more like country, Victorian or traditional. And I think those are more popular in my rural area.
I am so happy to get these projects finished! They are already at the church, and the auction is this Wednesday night. Now I can get back to decluttering and organizing. I hope I can also finish this project for once.