Sunday, December 21, 2008


I was thinking today about the word "SIMPLIFY" and what relief it can bring. We have had snow for the past week. All the hustle and bustle that is the norm for this time of year has been slowed to a blessed halt. Such a week! Christmas is almost here and in the past I would be frantically shopping and wrapping gifts, staying up way too late and basically missing the spirit of the season. This year is different. It started out that way when our kids, aged 20 something suggested that we don't exchange gifts because money is tight. While I thought the idea was a good one, I love the giving part of Christmas. I think it is really fun to listen to hints throughout the year about a need or want here or there and try to surprise the receiver with a little something they weren't expecting. Well, I couldn't let the season go by without some sort of gifting so I suggested to my family that we all come up with gifts of our time for each other that would make the receiver feel cared about; no money involved. I have to admit that while it seems simple, it has been quite much easier to just buy something and call it good. My wish is that we will learn to love each other better through the giving of ourselves. A little sacrifice for the sake of another can only bring about good changes. Just look at our example; the reason we celebrate Christmas at all...the ultimate sacrifice... God's gift to us of His ONLY Son who eventually gave up His life for ours. A sacrifice that changed the course of this world in ways both known and not yet fully understood. What a thoughtful gift of love! May you all find the peace of God at this special time of year and cherish the most precious gift of all... JESUS!

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:8-11 NIV

Click the pause button to turn off music player before watching the video.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Las Rancheritas Rug Show

"In the small village of 'Augustin Gonzales' located in the central Mexican highlands a group of women and men spend what little free time they have hooking rugs. You will find them working at night by the kitchen table or perhaps you will see them sitting under a tree on a hillside tending the cows and working on their rugs. Their subject matter is the life around them, mountains, cactus, cows, horses, burros, flowers, little houses, a church, chickens, ducks and more. Each art piece is entirely unique as is the skill of rug hooking in Mexico."

Those are the words fellow rug hooker Joan Sample posted on a flyer for a recent rug show featuring the Las Rancheritas hooked rugs. The show was held in Woodinville, WA at the Crystal Lake Lodge. The log lodge is nestled in the woods on a lovely private lake and made a beautiful backdrop for the 83 bright colored rugs on display. Approximately 85 people attended, men and women alike, and the room was abuzz with excitement and awe at the unique talents apparent in these rugs. This show was an opportunity to help the rug hookers of Augustin Gonzales through the purchase of their handiwork. 100% of the sales will go directly to the commission fees. This is due in part to the generosity of The Sample family, the tireless commitment of Charlotte Bell and the creative marketing strategy of Barbara Hanson. All told, with the sale of the rugs, CD's and donations, just over $6,000.00 was raised! What a huge success! It was an honor to have played even a small part in helping these people.
I have posted a video/slideshow of the rugs below. (Be sure to click the pause button on my music playlist before you click on the video.) To find out more about the rug hookers of Augustin Gonzales or to host a show in your area, please contact Charlotte Bell.

"If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand."
Philippians 2:1-4 The Message

Friday, September 19, 2008


I know I haven't posted for some time...just sorting out alot of "stuff". I am very excited though to be taking an online class taught by Jane DesRosier of Gritty Arts Studio. Sadly the class is full but she will be doing more at a later date. Her videos are just like having her right in the room with you. I'm lovin it! I have made lots of dolls in the past but this is a new technique for me. What is it about seeing things anew and the possibilities they hold, that causes some of us to get so excited, so wired?!

I believe that God ingrained this in us. There are so many references to renewal, anticipation, and joy in relation to a new start in the bible. Of course the ones spoken of are all about what awesome things God has done for us and in us and the promise that He will finish His work. But on a simpler level, in light of beginning something new, isn't the Holy Spirit present in all aspects of our lives? When God created the world and humankind in His own image He put the emotions He feels within us all. We know what it feels like to be given a second chance (or 3rd, or 4th...). The Hope that comes with the promise of wiping that slate clean and starting again from that point as if it were our first step...That spark of anticipation we feel when we think of Jesus coming back to get us, a literal leaping of the's God-breathed!

"This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him! " Romans 8:15-17 The Message

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cuttin those ol' apron strings...

My "baby" turned 20 this year... We have two older children who have moved out one at a time, but we always had one more to go... He moved out for about 3 months and then decided he wanted to come home and save some money so he has been living here the last few months. There are high points and low points. The high points being when he calls me before midnight to let me know where he is... the low being he leaves messes around the house and does not take reminders to clean them up very willingly, at least not within my expected time frame. Then I get the look of exasperation which says...I'm not a kid anymore, stop treating me like one! It's that kid/grown-up merge that comes to all of us. A time when it seems there are just too many adults in the house...too many bosses. We all want our own way. And then we know the change is just around the corner. They have their own opinions and way of doing things, as it should be. But at first that is a little hard to take. It's a bit like stretching. When you stretch the way you always do, it happens with ease, but when you stretch something new it can be painful. You don't have that freedom of movement you were expecting and yet if you keep working at it eventually you get there. It's the moment when you know your job description as a parent has changed.

The fact is that you pray for their salvation and safety when they're young and you are there to guide them along. Then when they're grown you do the same yet there is a new level of adrenaline coursing through your veins. The control factor is missing. Emotions that have come over me have ranged from out and out panic to fear and desperation, to dependence and ultimately surrender to God and you wrap each "kid" in a hug and tell them you love them and will try to support their decisions.

I wonder how our Father (God) must feel about us when we decide we are all grown up and pull away. I believe it is painful for Him too. The difference I see is that He never actually controlled us...we have always had freedom of choice but there is still that separation thing.

Everything eventually comes full circle. This process is really just part of the human condition. I am no different than my kids. I still pull away and I want things done my way...only I should know better cuz I'm REALLY grown up-(I said grown up, not old):)

I thank God for his patience with me and count on the promise that He will fill my cup to overflowing. I pray that as my kids are morphing into who they will become some will still splash out of my cup onto them, those sweet, sassy, kind, compassionate, opinionated, stress inducing wonderful 3 kiddos whom I love with a fierceness unmatched by any other. They are an extension of my husband and me, truly a part of us, walking around making their mark on this world. Why would we think they should be any different? At this point I can only daily give them up to God and hope that they have ears that will hear.

"What can I give back to God for the blessings he's poured out on me? I'll lift high the cup of salvation--a toast to God! I'll pray in the name of God;
I'll complete what I promised God I'd do, and I'll do it together with his people.
When they arrive at the gates of death, God welcomes those who love him.
Oh, God, here I am, your servant, your faithful servant: set me free for your service! I'm ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of God. I'll complete what I promised God I'd do, and I'll do it in Jerusalem, God's city.
Hallelujah!" Psalm 116:12-19 The Message Bible

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Shepherd...

"I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They'll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father." John 10:14-18 The Message Bible

Another cool painting by the Jesus painter.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gettin Clean...

Today as I was staining the deck I was thinking about how much preparation it took just to get it to the point of applying the stain. Kinda funny to think of cleaning something up only to turn around and "stain" it...Hmmm... back to the cleaning part. Here are the steps that we had to take to prep...Sweep, take a big nail and flick all the maple helicopters and dog hair,etc... out from between the cracks, (alot of little details). Next mix up a smelly bleach solution and using a scrub brush on our hands and knees scrub all the algae and mildew off. Bear in mind our deck is surrounded by a picket fence too, also covered in 'green'...(alot of scrubbing). Then rinse with clean water and let dry. My knees were raw for about 4 days after that. Did I mention that we have neglected our deck for the past 3 years? A few boards even have some dry rot. Not a good practice when you live in the woods. The clean up was a great improvement but now it needed protection even more. The wood was completely exposed; bare. If left to it's own defenses, it would probably make it through another winter, but would suffer with the passage of time. It got me thinking about how really dirty we all are. We neglect the prep process because we are always in such a hurry to get to the next 'thing'... We procrastinate on some of the most important things, spiritual and physical because we think they take too much time. And besides, they can wait, there's always tomorrow. If you own a home there is constantly some kind of upkeep project on a list somewhere, but it's more fun to go ---fill in the blank---. I can be a great procrastinator when those "projects" cut in on my hooking time. But today as I was pondering cleaning and prepping it got me thinking of a parrallel between that and what God does for us. As we put things study and spending time in prayer, we are wandering away from Him. He is the one who makes us clean so as we step away we start to get dirty. As we stay away we get filthy, maybe even some dry rot sets in. Our protector is held at bay. At first we don't notice it, you know, you had a really good study time and you've drawn it out, used it and made it last for a good two months and all of a sudden you realize your cup is empty...Things just don't seem right, the lightness has gone out of your step. You find yourself standing ankle deep in the mud and there is some algae growing on your elbows. I am so guilty of this! When I think of the prep job Jesus went through to make a way to clean us up my raw red knees are nothing by comparison. We have it made as far as the spiritual laudromat goes. The cost for us has already been paid and now it's up to us to do our part, meaning making sure we first accept the fact that we can't get clean on our own and then get back in touch with God. He actually covers us with the stain of His sacrafice so I guess that "stain" concept wasn't so bizarre after all, although HIS stain is in place at all times and doesn't fade with wear. You might think this whole post is a bit too 'out there', sort of oversimplifying God's greatness. That's not my intent... Sometimes I just have these little sparks that hit me and feel compelled to share. If only my knees were raw due to time spent in prayer to an everlasting God who is ready to receive us at all times.

"And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." Hebrews 10:21-25 The Message Bible

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lion of Judah...

"Do not weep! See, the LION of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has triumphed..." Rev 5:5 NIV bible

This is an antique rug I am replicating. It is one of a grouping that I hope to offer in a catalog of primitive patterns this Fall.

Lion rug detail. Wool, #8 strips, Linen backing.