Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Keepin' It Real at Christmastime

For those of you overwhelmed by jingling bells, perfectly decked halls, and chestnuts roasting on an open fire, WELCOME TO DOWN ON THE FARM!!!

I just put my FAKE Christmas tree up last night.

I can't even find my tree skirt -- seriously, I thought it was in the box with the tree???

My ornaments don't match.  They don't even have a theme.  And I only put them on the side of the tree that people can see.

I put my tree in front of my front door (uh, nobody EVER uses our front door) because it's the only place I can put it where I don't have to move something.  To be brutally honest I haven't even put up a Christmas tree the past two years.  It's just too much trouble!!!  But since my kids no longer live at home, I want it to seem Christmasy when they are here.  I had to have the tree up by this Thursday when our daughter comes home from college for winter break!!  How's that for giving yourself a deadline!!!!!

I have no Christmas lights on the outside of my house, and when I asked my husband this morning on a scale of 1 to 10 what his interest was in putting up Christmas lights he responded "zero." But I'm still working on him!!

Just this past weekend I had my sweet husband take a scoop shovel and scoop up the remains of the dead, frozen, deflated, mushy pumpkins from the back steps.  I'm not kidding.  They were GROSS.

I still have DEAD FERNS in the pots on my front porch and back porch.  (Note to self -- THROW THE DEAD FERNS AWAY TONIGHT!!)

I haven't mailed any Christmas cards.  Who am I kidding, I haven't ORDERED any Christmas cards.

I've not baked one cookie.  I've not wrapped one gift.

Am I stressed??

NO!!!

Why am I not stressed?

BECAUSE IT'S NOT ABOUT ALL THAT!!!

Yes, I will have gifts for everyone by Christmas.  They will be wrapped.  They will be pretty, not fancy.  There will be plenty of good food to eat, but no artfully decorated homemade sugar cookies. My home would not impress anyone, but it is full of love for my family and my friends.  And it is my desire that all who enter our home feel loved.

But make no mistake, Christmas is about one thing -- Jesus.

Luke 2:10-11  Fear not: for, behold, I bring
 you good tidings of great joy, which shall
be to all people.
For unto you is born this day
 in the city of David a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord.


So today, if you find yourself in a whirlwind trying to keep up with the "Joneses" of your world just STOP.  Don't do that to yourself.  It doesn't matter.

IT-DOES-NOT-MATTER!!!

Embrace the real meaning of Christmas.  The Son of God, sent from heaven to save an undeserving world.  A Baby born in a stable, raised by a carpenter, crucified on a tree for the sins of the world, MY RISEN SAVIOUR!!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!!!!!!!!!!
 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Keepin' Your Ears Warm

You may know that I am a knitter.  Which is to say I am a BEGINNING KNITTER.  Which really just means I have a few needles and some yarn and I can knit and purl.  

My beautiful daughter has been begging me to knit an ear warmer for her.  She says it's COLD when she walks from class to class.  So I have searched online and finally came up with a pattern for a really cute ear warmer that doesn't have very many complicated stitches.

'Cause us beginning knitters can't do complicated stitches. But I don't want to make something that isn't cute.  If I'm going to put the time and effort into knitting something, I want it to be something I am proud of, and that my daughter will be proud to wear.  Does that make sense?

So a couple of weeks ago I found a pattern for a "Lacy Earwarmer."  It was under the heading "One Hour Projects."  So I figured hey, one hour project, how hard can it be?  Sounds simple.  I can do simple.

I had some yarn I bought a couple of years ago because I wanted to knit myself some fingerless mittens.  I haven't made the mittens, so I still have the yarn.  I had to make two trips to JoAnn Fabric to buy the right size knitting needles.  I bought the right size needle the first time, but after I got them home I noticed they were too long.  This project is knitted on circular needles, and the ones I bought were too LONG.  So I took them back and exchanged them this past Monday for shorter circular needles. 

Last night I told myself SIT DOWN AND KNIT YOUR DAUGHTER SOME EARWARMERS!!!  I mean, it's only a one hour project, right?  I have plenty of time to do this, I said.  It will be easy, I said.

I had to cast on the stitches THREE TIMES because I kept running out of yarn.  A simple beginners mistake I guess, but really, can any of you professional knitters out there tell me how in the world you know how much yarn to use in a long tail cast on??  'Cause its BEYOND FRUSTRATING to have to cast on THREE TIMES!  UGH!!!



Finally, I was able to cast on 63 stitches and join in the round and away I went.  Or so I thought.  Some of the stitches were new to me.  I mean SSK??  What in the world is SSK?  YO?? Hello, what is YO?  But I have discovered that YOUTUBE is absolutely PRICELESS for us beginning knitters.  Did you know that you can find a YouTube video that shows every knitting stitch in the world????  I can now tell you with certainty that not only do I know what SSK and YO mean ("slip slip knit" and "yarn over" for you non-knitters out there), but I can actually knit those stitches!  YEAH ME!!!

Once I got the hang of the new stitches, the pattern was really pretty simple.  And here is the finished product.  Ta da!!!!!


I think it turned out very nicely.  It is warm and soft. Just what my daughter ordered.

But I would like to say this.  It took me a whole lot longer than ONE HOUR!!  I started knitting about 9:30 p.m. and finished this project at 1:00 a.m.  Yes, I am a beginning knitter.  Yes I had to cast on three times.  Yes I had to check the pattern -- a lot.  And YouTube.  Lots and lots of time on YouTube.  I am going to make another one, and I can probably do it in an hour or so, now that I'm not checking YouTube every few minutes!

I'd be happy to share the pattern if anyone is interested!  And if you have any knitting advice to share, I would LOVE it!!!



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hands to the Heavens


One of my FAVORITE contemporary Christian songs -- "Hands to the Heavens" by Kari Jobe.

We are your church
We are your sons and daughters
We've gathered here to meet with you
We lift our eyes
We lay our hearts before you
Expectant here for you to move
With our hands to the heaven alive
In your presence oh God
When you come
So pour out your spirit
We love to be near you oh God
When you come
You are the way
The truth and the life we live for
Oh how we long to know you more
Come like a rushing wind
Come light the fire again
Come like a burning flame
Have your way
Have your way


I am challenged to truly embrace the words of this song.  I want to lift my eyes to Him.  I want to lay my heart before God and EXPECT Him to move.  Yes, not just hope He moves, but expect Him to move.

When Elijah prayed for the fire to fall from heaven, I don't believe he doubted for one SECOND that God would answer his prayer.  (Read I Kings Chapter 18)  He KNEW that God was going to show up in a big way, and HE did!

In Acts Chapter 3, when Peter said to the lame man at the Beautiful Gate "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk" there was no hesitation, because He trusted God completely.

Oh, for a faith like that.

So today I say to God "Come like a rushing wind, come light the fire again, come like a burning flame, HAVE YOUR WAY, HAVE YOUR WAY!"

That should be the desire of everyone who calls Him Lord.  For Him to have His way.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lung Cancer Awareness



My Grandpa Howard was an amazing man.  He had a small farm near the town of St. Elizabeth.  He also did construction work on the side trying to provide for my Grandma Flo and their eight kids.  He sold a few hogs every year, and had a few acres of crop ground.  My Grandpa loved to laugh and joke.  He loved to bowl, and I think could have bowled professionally.  He also loved to play pinochle.  Back in World War II he worked in a bomb factory in 
St. Louis.

I have the most wonderful memories of my Grandpa Howard.  Even though I was one of 17 grandchildren, he always took time for me.  When I was a kid we would spend the night with him and my Grandma and he would take us up to the chicken house in the mornings and let us gather the eggs.  And then my Grandma would fix the eggs we gathered for us for breakfast. Every year my Grandpa would cut a huge (at least it seemed huge to me) cedar tree to decorate for Christmas.  And even though my Grandpa and Grandpa had limited means, there was always a gift for everyone of us under that tree.

My Grandpa Howard smoked Camel non-filtered cigarettes from the time he was just a boy.  My Grandpa died in 1991 at the age of 77 after a year long battle with lung cancer.

Mesothelioma is a specific type of lung cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos.  Sadly, I know two people who have recently passed away from Mesothelioma.  The first was the father of a young lady our son graduated from high school with.  He developed a cough that just wouldn't go away.  He went to the doctor and they treated him for bronchitis.  The cough didn't get any better, and he began to feel worse.  They sent him for further testing and he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.  He had surgery to remove one lung and the surrounding tissue.  He never truly recovered, and passed away about a year and a half after he was diagnosed.  He was 60 years old.  He never got to see either of his daughters graduate from college.  His eldest daughter got married this summer and her dad's friends walked her down the aisles.

The mother of a co-worked was also diagnosed with mesothelioma about a year and a half ago.  She only lived two months after she was diagnosed.  She had worked in a factory all of her life. She was 62 years old.

Treatment for mesothelioma is different from the treatment of other types of lung cancer. Please click HERE for more information on the treatment for mesothelioma!

Smoking is the leading cause of cancer among both men and women in the United States.  Men who smoke are TWENTY-THREE TIMES more likely to develop lung cancer than men who don't smoke.  Women and THIRTEEN TIMES more likely to develop lung cancer than women who don't smoke.   And people who smoke are MUCH more susceptible to developing mesothelioma.  You can click HERE to find out more about the effects of smoking on your lungs, lung cancer and specifically mesothelioma.

Please, DO NOT SMOKE.  I wonder how many more years I would have had with my Grandpa Howard if he hadn't smoked??  How many wonderful memories we could have made??  Sadly, my Grandpa smoked up until the day he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  I wish he had never smoked the first cigarette.  

If you smoke, quit.  And don't say "I can't."  Yes, you can.  You can do anything you put your mind to.  If you can't quit on your own, get help.  There are support groups, medication, lots of options.  My dad smoked for over 30 years.  He quit the day they buried his uncle who died of lung cancer.  Don't make an excuse.  Don't smoke even one more cigarette.  You're worth it.  Your family and friends and the memories you make are worth it. And if you don't smoke, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE DON'T START.  It is a nasty habit.  If you smoke, YOU STINK.  Your clothes stink.  I've been around lots of smokers in my lifetime and they all stink.  Cigarettes kill.  It is amazing to me that in 2014 it is even LEGAL for stores to sell cigarettes.

PLEASE DON'T SMOKE!! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Early November Snow & Knitting

Oh my it has been cold this past week here in Central Missouri.  Now if it were January, this would not be unusual.  But it is NOVEMBER.  Last Monday it was 72 degrees.  Today the high is 22, and tomorrow's low temperature -- 12 degrees.  That is JANUARY weather, not November.

This is what my world looks like this morning.  Isn't it beautiful??


We rarely have snow in Missouri in November.  But we got a couple of inches yesterday.


I feel bad, because my husband is working outside in this weather.  He is busy making sure all the cows are fed.  Making sure the turkeys are fed.  He hates wintertime.  It makes a lot of extra work in very uncomfortable working conditions.  There is no rest for a farmer.  But he loves farming anyway!



And for all you knitters out there, I need some advice. My beautiful daughter (who is doing GREAT post appendectomy in case you were wondering) wants me to knit a hand band for her to keep her ears warm.  I've been doing some looking around online, and I've found a couple of fairly simple patterns.  I am really a beginning knitter.  That means I can make scarfs, and I can make little baby hats (knitting in the round!), but I don't know a lot of the fancy stitches so I'm looking for something pretty basic.  If you have any suggestions, I'd LOVE to hear from you!

These are a couple of patterns I've found so far.  The top one is a little more difficult, but very pretty.

Image by Craftsy

This second image looks very simple, even for a beginning knitter like me.

Image by Ratchadawan Chambers

So if you have any suggestions on an easy headband to make, PLEASE share!!

So whatever the weather is in your neck of the woods, I pray that you are blessed.  I pray that you are warm.  I pray that today you take a few moments to thank God for all of the blessings in your life.  And that, like me, today you will strive to be obedient to the verse below.  The world is full of evil, full of sin.  We are called to keep ourselves from this. 

Philippians 4:8   "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Stay warm!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Appendectomy

Last Tuesday our phone rang very early in the morning.  It was our beautiful daughter, and she was crying.  She said her stomach had been hurting for about an hour.

We threw our clothes on and began the two hour drive to where she attends college.

Thankfully my cousin and his wife live in the same town where Alex goes to college.  Alex tutors their oldest son, and babysits for them.  My cousin's wife is an ER doctor.

She went WAAYYY above and beyond and picked up Alex from her dorm and took her to the emergency room.  By the time we got there they had already put in an IV, drawn some blood and were waiting on test results.

Very long story short, they determined it was her appendix, and Alex had surgery about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon.  Her appendix had not ruptured (Praise the Lord) so they were able to do the surgery laparoscopically, so she just has three tiny incisions.

Amazingly, by 4:30 p.m. we left the hospital, and, after a quick trip to her dorm room to pick up some clothing and homework we were on the road home by 5:00 p.m.  We walked into our house at 7:00 p.m. that same day.

Alex spent the rest of the week, and weekend, recovering at home and yesterday afternoon I drove her back to school. While I hate that she had to have surgery, we sure enjoyed having her home for an extended stay.

She is feeling great.  She still has a little soreness, and I'm sure she will be tired by the time she is finished with her four classes today.  But she definitely has the worst behind her.

We are thankful for so many things.  Thankful that her appendix hadn't ruptured.  Thankful for no infection.  Thankful for my cousin's wife and all of the other doctors and nurses who took such great care of Alex.  And we are praying for complete healing, in Jesus name. 





We do not understand why Alex had to go through this, but we trust that nothing surprises our God.  And we know that He works all things together for our good.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Isaiah 45:5-7


Isaiah 45:5-7

"I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."