A Few Good Things from this Past Week

Nothing amazing or earth shattering has happened, but this past week or so has been filled with so much goodness. My life is quite ordinary and I find such joy living in it. So here are a few of the high points.img_0584On their way from moving from Pittsburgh to Atlanta this sweet family asked if they could make a pit stop at our house for the night. They had been driving for I know, seemed like forever and around 8:45 that evening, I heard a little knock knock at my front door. I looked up and saw the happiest little boy waving at me! Hudson, Easton,  Bella and their mommy and daddy, Sara and Aaron blessed our home with so much joy. Unfortunately, it was a too quick of a visit. Early the next morning they piled back into the car and continued on their way. I’m so happy they decided to move closer to family.img_0585Two days later, I drove to Seabrook Island to refresh my weary soul. I am so blessed with such loving friends, like Angie and her husband Jack, who invited me to the beach. We rode bikes, snuggled with horses, walked the beach and found so many sand dollars! Luckily Charleston is on the way to Seabrook, so I made a quick stop to see my girl and her husband. Sometimes a momma just needs to hug her kid. My momma always said that ocean water is the perfect treatment for what ails you. I believe it…sunshine, salty air, waves lapping, toes in the sand and precious friends make the perfect medicine.img_5999On the way home from the beach, I decided to make a stop in Columbia overnight. Here I am with sisters Laura, Annie and Jane at my sister Jane’s house for lunch. That evening our brother David came by my mom’s for dinner, joining us girls. We were only missing sister, Susan. She was enjoying her grandsons Hudson and Easton! img_0586I could only stay in Columbia overnight because Superman, Adam, Elizabeth and I were going to our first hockey game! Watching the minor league, Swamp Rabbits, was so much fun! We have no idea how the players know when to hop on and off the ice, what the numbers mean that the announcer calls out when someone gets put in time out or what is this power play thing? It reminded us a lot like soccer in many ways. The adorable 4 year old little boys, who sat behind us, knew more than we will ever know. I guess we’ll just have to go to more games!

Hmmm….do you think they’d let me drive the zamboni?img_0587Guess what? Two days later Superman and I are driving to the Tennessee/North Carolina border to drop him off for his 6 day 75 mile solo backpacking trip. He packed and repacked his backpack for days. Measuring and counting each bag of Fig Newtons, freeze dried dinners and tea bags. It was forecasted to be cold and raining or snowing the entire time. Sounds fun right? This is the text he sent to the fam the first day: “8.5 miles today…almost all uphill with rain most of the day. Got to the shelter at 2:00 and chilled. It’s getting cold and it starting to snow–temp drops to 17 tonight. For dinner–2 cups hot tea + honey; Mexican rice with beans; cookies; almond joy bar; sipping on some merlot wine right now! Wine in first night only–have to rough it from now on. The shelter is full of young folks–an odd collection of weirdos who are out to do the 2000 mile AT in 4 to 6 months. It’s below freezing–one dude has no long pants so he is wearing a down parka with shorts. One gal is playing some sort of Indian flute–I’m waiting to bust out the “someone’s a crying me lord” song. All in all, we h she young folks don’t have a care in that the world–no job, no mortgage, no long term plan–I’m thinking about pontificating about Donald Trump is the greatest of all time and Obama’s a communist–I’m pretty sure I would be booted from the shelter so I’ll keep my mouth shut. All in all I’m as happy as a pig in mud right now. Everyone is talking about all the bears they have seen–I’m 👀 ING forward to seeing my share. I love all of you–a few of you should be here with me…” He is loves this stuff! Like Superman says “This ain’t no big deal”. img_0588This was his view the next morning. Beautiful.img_0589After dropping Superman off at the trailhead, I decided to stop off at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. As soon as I stepped through the doors, this lady was demonstrating weaving. Not only does she weave her own cloth, she sews it into gorgeous jackets and tops. I can’t imagine putting scissors into the cloth that just took me hours to weave! There were many artisans demonstrating their craft while answering questions and explaining the tools and process. I was mesmerized. As I walked up the ramp to the exhibition hall, I was taking pictures of everything. When I reached the top, I almost ran into a semi frantic woman looking for the person who was taking pictures! Who me?!? Not me, but some other unsuspecting soul. I get it. The artists don’t want their artwork copied. I respect that. So I put my camera down. Just remember No Pictures Allowed! img_0594I guess I’m so drawn to this type of artwork because it represents the common folk. According to Wikipedia: Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic. Take for example Grandma Donaldson in the photo above. She didn’t go to a fancy art school or travel the world to be inspired. She used the materials she had around her and made something beautiful. Whether it was the farmer who used his knife and a piece of wood or a stick to whittle a toy or the mother who took the outgrown clothes and repurposed them into a beautiful warm quilt. I LOVE IT! img_0596When I finally got home that day it was raining, so it was the perfect time to finish up some stuffed animals that people have ordered. Luckily for me, Joann’s had a big clearance sale on yarn among other things, so I stocked up for other orders of rabbits, elephants, monkeys and unicorns. I’ve got lots of work to do!img_0595This weekend, I have two more boxes of bees arriving! I need to get their supers and frames ready. Here are 40 frames that need the wax panel put in each. This requires I chisel carefully out a thin piece of wood, slide in the wax sheet then hammer the wood piece back on to hold everything tightly in.img_6043I went to the local hardware store to buy some very small nails and a small hammer. When I found this beauty, the young man assisting me kinda sorta rolled his eyes when I squealed with delight. He just doesn’t understand how things like this can really make me happy. I got 20 of the 40 frames done. Tomorrow is a new day. I was feeling a bit pooped.img_6049Are you feeling as tired as I felt? I had the house alone. It was quiet, just me, Sam and Lilly. I poured myself a cup of hot tea, snuggled down in my favorite chair and started reading my favorite book/magazine. Quiltfolk is a bi-monthly, beautiful magazine of 180 soft pages of no advertising, wonderful stories about the people behind the quilts and what inspires them to stitch. Each issue takes you to a different state or area and tells you their stories in the quilt world. The issue above takes us to Arizona. It quiets my soul and feeds my heart with inspiration.

Its been a long week or so. Thanks for stopping by!

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So yeah…I forgot my bible. Like I was sharing yesterday, although I was one of the organizers of the Womens’ Retreat, God really didn’t need me to make the weekend so fabulous.With my car completely loaded down with all the food, drinks and craft supplies, my sweet vehicle had a hard time making it around this corner which had been washed away by recent rains and on a pretty steep incline. I, personally, thought it was funny watching the group of gals trying to figure out how we were going to make it up this mountain. Zina is here placing rocks under my tires hoping it would give my wheels something to grab onto. It was a good thought, but I only ended up burning a few layers off my tires as they spun and spun in place. In the end, we unloaded the heavy coolers and packs of water and put them on the side of the road, which helped make the car less bottom heavy. I rolled back a few feet, gave it a little gas and up I went. We worried about the others traveling behind us. Would they be able to get up the mountain? No need to worry, everyone made it up without a problem.What was the house going to be like? We originally had plans to stay at a home in Gatlinburg, TN, but tragically, it burned down in the wildfire they had up there last year. Amazingly, this home, the Sabbath House, was perfect. Not only were the accommodations clean, roomy and had every comfort we needed, it also had a covered porch, which ran the length of the house. The main building was situated in the center with two wings of rooms on either side. All bedroom doors opened to the outside. Friday night and Saturday morning it rained. We were so thankful for this covered porch, in which we not only were able to stay dry coming and going, but when the sun came out, we soaked up the warm sun sitting in the rocking chairs. In fact we brought a table outside to enjoy our lunch on that beautiful day.After the morning session, we had lunch and an afternoon break. Ladies could go for a hike or stay in the porch and be First Responders , in case anyone on the hike needed emergency help. Fortunately for us all, the porch sitters got rest and sunshine and the hikers got a bit of exercise.Many took a nap or worked on a jigsaw puzzle. It doesn’t look like much here, but these gals were able to finish this puzzle by the time we said good-bye on Sunday.When everyone woke from their naps and returned from hiking, I invited anyone who wanted to to paint a canvas. This was another concern of mine, I realize that not everyone is crafty or even wants to be crafty, so offering this painting project seemed risky. I didn’t want anyone to be thinking “Ugh. What a waste of my time.” I promised a “No Fail ” project that even those who claimed to not have a creative bone in their body could do. And again, my worries were for not. I don’t think anyone felt pressure to sit there. And I actually believe that those who hadn’t painted before gained some confidence in their creative abilities. With painters tape, paint, a good old black Sharpie….a few easy tricks to get the scripture onto the canvas…Everyone went home with a beautiful piece of artwork. It was late afternoon, so big pots of coffee were brewed,  the junk food laid out in the tables…and we let the games begin, dice games,card games,and THE MOST FUN OF ALL…Heads Up!This is where our true personalities shone. (Amber, there in the front, is a fish waiting to be fed.😜)It was fun to see how the players would interpret each clue.We did discover that Judy’s technique of getting right up into the clue-giver’s face wasn’t always helpful. I guess she hoped that since she couldn’t say anything, that by getting closer she could send the answer mentally. Wayyy too funny!After dinner, we settled down for our evening session. Amber led us through scripture, then we broke off into small groups to talk and answer questions that had us draw on the scripture Amber presented. When we were in the planning stage, the four organizers didn’t really know how we were going to put the ladies into groups. We wanted a mix of age, life stages and yet have the comfort of being open and vulnerable to share. Not everyone would know each other before this weekend, how was this going to work?Sissy, that sweet thing on the right, suggested the simple idea of just counting off. Sure enough, we counted off, 1,2,3,…on and on. All the fours came upstairs to the loft with me.As God had planned all along, the right people ended up grouped together. What seemed like random counting turned out perfectly where mom’s who have adopted were put together and another group was comprised of an almost engaged, newly married and one married over 30 years. My group was so tender, open and encouraging. Sunday morning came way to fast. After breakfast, Zina wrapped up our weekend by reminding us how much God loves us. We broke bread and served one another the Lord’s Supper. Holding hands with our sweet new sisters, we sang the Doxology. 

What started as a whisper from God, ended with hugs between new friends.  He chose the women who would attend. He filled that house with love, tears and laughter. He refreshed and filled our spirits. All glory for this weekend goes to Him.

The next time a weekend like this comes up, just say yes.

Thanks for dropping by!