It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What's cookin'?

Several evenings ago as the dogs and I were finishing our walk we came around the corner of our street, on the home-stretch.  At that point we were greeted with the delicious smell of something cooking; mmmm I thought.  Whose house is that coming from I wondered.  It smelled so good!  I wished to myself that I could knock on the door and invite myself in!  I could tell that it was some kind of meat, probably being fried.  I wondered if it was country fried steak, one of my favorites that I haven’t had in ages!
As we walked along, enjoying the aroma of the frying meat, I then had the shocking thought that it was a week night and someone was actually cooking supper!  Really, do people still take time to cook on a week night I wondered?  And, then I realized that, yes, they do!  I remembered that I cooked every night for my family for many years; no matter what our evening activities I still put a meal on the table.   The idea of cooking a meal on a week night seems strange to me because now I live in the world of making a salad, reheating leftovers from the weekend, or putting a frozen what-ever in the microwave for my evening meal.  And, then, there’s the convenience of just picking up something up on the way home, too.  By this point we had left the smell of someone’s supper behind, but for a brief moment I had enjoyed the smell and the thought of the pleasantness of sitting down to eat a home cooked meal after a day of work.  Just one of the small, simple things of life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lenten Thought #2

In the first thought I asked the question, what is Lent all about?  My first answer was:  Love.  My next answer is:  Peace.  It is about peace, and the concept of finding peace and contentment in our lives.  So, I ask more questions.  Do we have peace in our hearts?  Are we content with what we have and the way we live?  Deep down inside are we really happy?  Do we try to have peace in our lives?  How do we find peace, happiness and joy in our lives since this world does not offer us peace in many forms. 

To find peace you’ve got to look for it and recognize its absence in your life. If you are grumbling and complaining all the time it is time to get rid of those thoughts since they don’t bring peace to you.  Why are you grumbling and what can you do to improve the situation (or better yet, is it really worth complaining about?).   I’ve posted about this before, but when I find myself grumbling a little too much I’ve found that the quickest way to stop the unhappy thoughts it to quickly think of five things I’m thankful for.  Rarely do I stop at just five things!

Finally, you have to invite peace into your life.  The opening verses of Psalm 23 describe lying down in green pastures and letting God lead you beside still waters.  You can’t sit peacefully by the still waters if you are in the water thrashing around.  You have to get out of the water, sit down quietly, and let God lead you in the stillness.  Then there is peace.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Where is Baby-Girl?

This is Baby-Girl
She is 9 years old and is really Stephanie's cat, but she lives with me.  She is very sweet and loving, doesn't ask for much.  Just a little attention and she's happy.  Mostly she sleeps on the back of the sofa, but sometimes she surprises me when she appears in an unusual place.


I almost closed this open drawer before I realized she was napping in it!

I couldn't figure out why Bentley was staring at the bookcase, very intently, until I saw Baby-Girl hiding behind the books.
I dashed in the sewing room one night on a quick trip for something and she was as surprised as I was when I found her napping in this cabinet!
 Sometimes she supervises me to make sure I'm doing a good job!
She can't resist a box
She's also not afraid of the dogs (not a great picture, but you get the idea).  The dogs learned early on that she was not afraid of them and would not run from them; that's no fun for a dog so they accepted her as an occasional nap partner.
 I just never know where I will find Baby-Girl!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lenten Thought #1

We are into the first week of Lent.  As I've shared before I wasn't raised in a family or religion that observed the season of Lent; I didn't really know what it was until I joined a denomination that does observe the season. However, I still don't feel compelled to give up something as a form of a sacrifice.  Giving up chocolate or sodas really has no meaning because we have plenty of other forms of indulgences that make up the temporary loss.
Is Lent really about making sacrifices?  I've read articles that suggest alternatives to giving up something.  Things like perhaps doing a kind, caring act everyday or not gossiping. That's nice, but really those are things that should be done all the time, not just during Lent.
So, what is Lent really about?  I think it is about love; God's love, the love that sent His son to earth to die for my sins, a love that I can't comprehend but enjoy every day.  During Lent we should be  opening our hearts to His love, and sharing that love with all those around us. 
love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul
Deuteronomy 11:13

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Mask

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile
And mouth with myriad subtleties,

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
      We wear the mask.

We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile,
But let the world dream otherwise,
     We wear the mask!

Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1897

Isn't this true? We are the person we want to be in the situation we are in; we hide our true self to be what others think we should be or to be the person we think others think we should be.  Who are we really, deep down inside?

I'm just glad that God knows my thoughts and my heart.  He knows the real me and loves the real me. I'm thankful I don't have to hide behind the mask when I'm with God.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Still spinning

Continuing on with the subject of spinning and spinning wheels...I forgot to mention in the last post that I think the wheel that belonged to my mother's family is referred to as a "Great Wheel".  My mother belonged to a spinning/weaving guild in Jackson.  I think she went to a few meetings and was very interested in both crafts, but as far as I know she never started a project.  We went by there one day for me to see their weaving area, but they were closed.  I could get a good look at the looms through a window in the door; it was very interesting to see all the projects in progress!

On my first visit to The Shelburne Museum in 2010 I was pleasantly surprised when I stepped into one of the buildings and there was a wheel that was very similar to the one in my family.

It was very hot in the building that afternoon; there was no ventilation and it had rained earlier so the humidity was high.  There was a lady in the shop working on a project, but it was just too oppressive to stay.  I snapped a picture and escaped.  When I went back to Shelburne a little over a year later I didn't have time to venture into this building again (there is just way too much to see so you have to plan your time carefully).  I wish I had tried to endure the heat and had spent some time discussing the wheels with the docent.
Every year we have a big artist festival here in San Antonio that is known as the Starving Artist show.  I saw this small, modern version at it about 2 years ago; it is foot operated.  Apparently there is a good size weaving/spinning guild localy.  If you look just above the wheel you will see scarves they were offering for sale.

Finally, to conclude this subject, years ago I was a Girl Scout leader.  One fall day I took my little group of girls, who were in 3rd grade at the time if I remember correctly, downtown on a walking tour.  The Council had put this tour together and the girls got a patch when the day was over.  We took a park and ride bus so the girls could experience public transportation (and the adults didn't have to hassle with parking).  The day had gotten warm and the girls were having fun, but they were totally uninterested in anything that had to do with the tour.  The last stop was at the Institute of Texan Cultures.  At this point I was just thankful for the air-conditioning and didn't expect anything to hold the girls' attention.  But I was so wrong. 
There was a lady demonstrating spinning.  She was in a large dark area that was lit by a spotlight on her and the spinning wheels.  The girls went to the light like moths and flopped down.  I commented to my assistants, let's see how long they sit still.  All I can say is that they were mesmerized, and so were the adults!  This lady knew spinning and little girls!  She made her demonstration interesting to them and interactive as well.  The girls took turns carding wool and helping with the wheel. She encouraged them to ask questions, and they did. They did not want to leave!

As I have been writing I've been thinking that it is so easy now to buy yarn for a project.  I just go to the local store, browse around, make my selection, pay and go.  There are so many beautiful colors, so many textures, and so many different fibers, all in one store.  But now I'm thinking back to the days when yarn started with your sheep or a source of the fiber, and not just a pleasant trip to the yarn store. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Spinning Wheel

This spinning wheel belonged to my mother.  As a child she remembered it being used by some of the female relatives in her father's family and it was a part of my great-grandmother's household.  It sat in what was referred to as her "front room" and when she died it almost slipped out of the family.  My grandfather gave it to a neighbor that worked at the furniture factory in Eupora and did furniture refinishing as a side business.  When my mother realized what had happened she was quite upset and insisted that my grandfather reclaim the wheel.  He did reclaim it, but I suspect my grandfather was a little sheepish about asking for it back.  Anyway, it sat in a storage room attached to my grandfather's barn for a number of years.

My mother brought it home with her when my grandparent's house was in the process of being turned over to the relative that bought out the other relatives.  It is large and very heavy so I'm sure there was some arguing and muttering as she and my father loaded it onto the truck.  I think it sat in their store room for a while, but my mother finally took it to someone to have it restored.  I can't remember where she took it, but I remember it was several hours away from them, maybe over into Louisiana.

After they picked it up and brought it back to their house I remember my mother telling me all the details that this restorer had told her.  Sadly, I can only remember the bits and pieces that I will share here.  I asked my mother to please write down all the details, but she never did (or if she did we never found them-she was a prolific note writer and left behind numerous notes!).

Traditionally, a spinning wheel was passed from generation to generation.  Usually it would go to the oldest female daughter of a family; a notch would be made on one of the legs at the time it was officially passed on.  (I guess you were just out of luck if you weren't the oldest.) There were several notches on the leg of this one, some were very faint, so it did appear that it had been passed through several generations.  I don't remember exactly, but I think the restorer thought it was quite possibly made in the 1700's.  Interestingly, he told my mother that the wheel had been greased with bear grease.  I remarked that I didn't know there were bears in Mississippi, but apparently there had been quite a few in times gone past.  I think it is also possible that the wheel may have come from the eastern states with earlier family.

Sadly, the wheel does not work.  It is missing a part, but I don't know what it could be.  But at any rate it sat in my parent's living room behind their sofa and it did make a great conversation piece.  It a not a beautiful piece of furniture; it had probably been hand built and quite possibly over the many years re-constructed as needed. 

I have often wondered about the spinning that was done on it.  Did they spin wool from sheep?  I don't ever remember any sheep stories.  I'm sure cotton was available, maybe flax (can you spin from flax?).  I remember a conversation at some time when we were questioning if my mother really saw the relatives using the wheel since by the time she was born (1933) yarn was being massed produced. What did they do with the yarn or were they making thread to sew with?  Those are questions that will probably remain unanswered.

I am the oldest daughter, and the quilter/yarn worker in the family.  But the wheel went to Virginia with my brother.  It was too large for my house, and probably for his, too.  I encouraged him to please give it to a museum where it can be studied and preserved. I have more spinning to talk about, but this post needs to end with one more picture!