Thursday, May 31

cling to the never fails

To have and to hold from this day forward.  For better or for worse.  For richer or for poorer.  In sickness and in health.  To love and to cherish.  From this day forward until death do us part.  

I think we've done all the above.  Some parts well.  Some parts not so well.  Both of us brought a big suitcase filled with our family background that we've unpacked through the years.  Layer by layer.  It brings with it smiles and tears.

Yet here we are thirty two years later still being molded as the new creations that Christ made us when we found Him during the early years of our marriage.  Although we will often disappoint one another attempting to live out that common marriage Scripture verse found in First Corinthians chapter thirteen, we can trust that Jesus Christ does have all those characteristics.  In a recent sermon, our pastor didn't have us put our name in the place of love, but the name of Jesus instead.  So, verses four through eight looked like this:  Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind.  Jesus does not envy, Jesus does not boast, Jesus is not proud.  Jesus is not rude, Jesus is not self-seeking, Jesus is not easily angered, Jesus keeps no record of wrongs.  Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  Jesus always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Jesus never fails. 

And there's the key - Jesus never fails.

You can get through each part of the wedding vow if you know in your heart that Jesus never fails.  He will always love you abundantly more than you can imagine (Ephesians 3:14-19) and nothing will separate you from that love (Romans 8:38-39).  His perfect love for you allows you to cast out all fear (I John 4:18) as you travel through the layers of life with all its smiles and tears knowing HE will never disappoint. 

God's love for you will never fail.  And with His love comes His grace and peace.  What more do you need to get through life and marriage?

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, May 30

dare to bank

Still recovering from the long weekend, so passing on a challenging quote I read this morning:

"We act like pagans in a crisis, only one out of a crowd is daring enough to bank his faith in the character of God." ~ Oswald Chambers

We tend to react to situations in life with common and see what happens when you take a step - or LEAP - of faith trusting God!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, May 25

happy blossoming

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~ Marcel Proust

Enjoying spring here and thankful for all the things that make my soul blossom whether people or plants!

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, May 22

Grammy's Flower Garden

During the last Bloggers' Quilt Festival in the fall of 2011 I didn't have a quilt made and ready.  This Bloggers' Quilt Festival I had one in progress, but had to work hard to finish it in time. Before I show you pictures, can I share that this event gets hundreds of quilters posting their amazing quilts and stories AND you really don't want to miss it.  Visit Amy at Amy's Creative Side at her Bloggers Quilt Festival link

Of course, I should say that this event stalled out my current quilt for a long time.  The quilters who enter the festival are simply amazing talented creative wonderful quilters.  So, I decided I wanted to get real creative with the baby quilt for my granddaughter.  I started cutting pieces for one quilt, gave up on that one, then cut pieces for the second quilt gave up on that one - both quilts  never got much further than minimal sewing.  Too complicated and time consuming.  I put the whole quilt project aside.  The reality is....I'm not a fancy quilter.  I learned basic quilting from my grandma and mom always wanting to someday take a class, but time was never on my side for such an adventure.

Then when Randi was busy playing with her little granny squares in February, I was inspired again.  Simple plain square blocks.  I knew I could avoid those triangles that she had and go straight up. Besides, I wanted a quilt that wouldn't be too fancy to NOT be used and really wanted my granddaughter to love it wherever she'd take it.  So these beginnings:
turned into this quilt:
I'm calling it Grammy's Flower Garden.  
Made out of "grammy" squares with the same yellow in the center of each block. 
Each block has a pink flower with either blue, purple, or orange as the extra petals.  The corners of each block have a different green leaf. 
I handquilted the strips and binding with a handful of bowties thrown in. This was a great way to use up a variety of flowered fabrics - can you say scraps? - for a simple quilt. 
I picked a pinky flowery backing to tie in my flower theme.  
And I needed to update the quilt's back patch since I had originally begun the quilt ideas in 2008 when this granddaughter was born.  
Now it's dated properly.  

Whew!  Now I need to work on a grandson's baby quilt and then start on the quilt for the expected new grandbaby who is due in November.  A quilter's work is never done!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, May 21

a stitch for a thought

May is traditionally a busy time.  Seems more so this year. My husband has been busy with work (praise God!).  Son home from college.  Son about to graduate from high school.  Finishing up everyone's schooling for the year. Fundraising events for the ministry I'm involved with as well as meetings and trainings.  Yard work to be completed.  

And a quilt.

Can't give too much away at this time since the recipient's mama may see too much.  All those blocks have been sewn together into a quilt top which is on my quilt frame almost completed.  Hope to finish the quilting today so I can hem it, then send it.  Ahhhh, how I enjoy doing this!

What's strange about this spring though is my seeds are bought and the garden is tilled, but my desire to get out there and plant is missing.  I look out there, I smile at the neat furrows of dirt, and I turn to do something else.  I don't remember this happening ever before.  I mean, there's been years when we had new babies or weddings or whatever that I considered not putting a garden in.  During those times there was a strong desire to have a garden;  the lack of time was the factor. 

This year I can make the time, but the strong desire is gone.  

Maybe it's the making the time that is the problem. Gardens take a LOT of time.  There's planting, weeding, thinning, watering, harvesting that takes place over about the four month period and our garden is fairly large.  My family is growing up and the four oldest at home will all have jobs that will take most of their weekdays throughout the summer.  That leaves me and my almost nine year old daughter for garden tending.  Do I really want to take my "free" time at home to garden?

Because life has changed.  My life has transitioned over the last few years to nurturing relationships.  Lots of relationships.  Family.  Friends.  Ministry volunteers. Complete strangers.  And relationships take time.  Time to connect.  Time to listen.  Time to encourage.  Time to love.  

Gardens need time, too, to be nurtured into growing a bountiful harvest.  

And yet, I keep getting pulled back to how the time spent in my garden always nurtures me.  It's my quiet time outdoors.  I can think, pray, and get some sunshine.  It refreshes, recharges, and renews.  It's those very things that help me to nurture others.

Hmmm, I think I'll ponder this a stitch at a time today as I glance above the quilt at my garden outside the window....

Tammy ~@~

Friday, May 18

do it unconsciously

"If you want to be of use to God, get rightly related to Jesus Christ and He will make you of use unconsciously every minute you live." ~ Oswald Chambers

I loved the challenge of these words this morning from my devotional. Short, simple, and right to the point.   It's all about Jesus...and YOU!

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, May 17

reach out your hand in prayer

Seems it's just about every day of the week that I don't want to read or hear the national or world news anymore. There isn't a whole lot that is encouraging, you know? Selfishness and sin seem to be the root of each news story and believers in Christ aren't immune.

One sentence from my devotional this morning gave me the encouragement I needed for the day - "Let us believe that when God's people reach out their hands to each other in spirit, there will be power to resist the terrible influence that the world can exert. ~ Andrew Murray

Yes, we all need to live in this world, but we don't have to look like this world.  As we live our lives for Christ others will notice the difference not in a way that repels, but in a way that makes them wonder what makes you different in a positive way.  

Can you do it by yourself?  Yup.  But it sure is a whole lot easier when you have other believers around you to offer support and encouragement to walk in obedience to Christ and to walk in the joy and peace that comes from Him.

Whether near or far, we can always tap into the power of PRAYER for other believers as we pray for the strength to resist what the world has to offer in order to follow Him wholeheartedly.  That is how the world will see God's love in action!

Praying for YOU today!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, May 14

the tears come

A tradition that goes to back when I was a little girl consisted of going to the small town cemetery every May with my mom and grandma to plant flowers on the grave of my grandpa who died before I was born.  Grandma always planted bright red geraniums by his headstone and brought along other flowers to plant on other family plots on my grandpa's side of the family.  We'd trim the large spirea bushes, clean up the peonies, and watered everything well.  

When my younger and only sibling died, we included her as part of the planting always putting a pink geranium with a mix of other flowers on her grave.  

When my grandma passed away, my mom and I took care of this task every May.  By this time, I was married and brought my children along for this annual planting.  
When my mom passed away seven years ago, my step-father took over the annual planting job.  Unfortunately, he often chose Memorial Day weekend to travel there which didn't work out for me as that long weekend is when family comes home.

Until this year.  He has surgery scheduled next week which will make it impossible for him to travel for the next few weeks, so he asked me if I could go with him this past Saturday.  Packing two daughters into the car with me, we picked him up and traveled a couple hours away to that familiar cemetery.

Meeting an uncle there, we dug up the dirt and planted the traditional geraniums.  The spirea bushes and peony plants that had been there for years were now gone.  The headstones were tipped a bit more and needed a little brushing as mold and moss had crept onto them.  We wandered through sections of the cemetery looking at the headstones of family who had died many many year ago as my uncle recalled information that I didn't know.  
I peeked into the chapel that is onsite remembering that cold winter day that I huddled inside there with extended family as we awaited my mom's burial.  Walking back to our car, we then packed up all our things and left to meet an aunt and uncle in their 90's for lunch.

We traveled back home and my heart was oh so heavy.  The day had unexpectedly brought back so many things of the past.  The wound of grief had been opened and prodded with an intensity that had not been experienced in a long time. The reflections that have come as I've thought about family in the past and family in the present brought spontaneous tears throughout the weekend.  Best to face it, walk through it, and open my eyes and heart to what the Lord wants me to see.   To be teachable knowing there is purpose and value for the future for He can bring good out of all things. Even through tears.

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, May 10

the bear who is no longer little

Known to his mama as "Little Bear" with those curly locks of hair in the back that his mama had a hard time cutting off and as our only thumb sucker, this laid back kind of kid has officially taken the Little out of his name as our youngest son celebrates his 18th birthday today. 

As a mom it's always a fascinating process of watching your children grow up and develop into young adults.  As I think about this particular son, here's some of what defines him: 

A young man guitar strumming...graphic and dog calling...motorcycle riding...eating huge bowls of ice cream...regularly hanging with a best friend from toddlerhood...loving his siblings...rarely complaining...garbage taking player...patient as a saint...all around COOL!

He's finishing up his homeschool career right now, working hard all summer as he tackles two jobs, then heading off to his next step of schooling this fall.

Sure has been a blessing to be his mom :-)  Happy birthday, Bear!

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, May 9

seeing progressively

A sign of the times.....changing eyes.

After fighting with it for quite awhile, I finally admitted defeat and went in for an eye exam knowing what was coming.  With changes both in distance and close-up vision, welcome to my world progressive lenses. Although initially it was a challenge, I'm learning to find the sweet spots in my glasses more often now to get the clarity to see well. Unfortunately though there does seem to be a problem with the distance vision as it's just not as sharp or clear as it should be and I'm headed back to the doctor tomorrow for a re-check to see if there needs to be a correction.  

It's kind of like life as you grow older.  There's a lot of challenges until you learn to find the sweet spots where there's clarity and contentment.  And sometimes your future vision isn't as sharp or clear as you'd like it to be, so you need to get back into God's Word for a consultation from the Great Physician.  Sometimes you need to make corrections in your own life to put things into proper perspective.  It's a progression of spiritual growth that takes a lifetime of trusting Him for each step.  

May you delight in each step as you walk by faith this day!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, May 7

Simple Woman's Daybook for May 7

For today May 7

Outside my window.....the skies are gray and misty.  

I am's my husband's turn to till our garden this week.

I am thankful.....for finding something important in my cleaning this weekend that I thought I had lost.

I am wearing.....a denim skirt, white t-shirt, with a dark pink fleece thrown on top.

I am hearing.....the birds chitter chattering outside my windows.

I am wondering.....if I should call this morning to see if I can get my eyes checked again as my progressive glasses are definitely "off" for faraway vision.

I am creating.....a quilt for my granddaughter.

I am stop by the local farm market to pick up some seed potatoes before they are all gone.

I am reading.....Church Unique by Will Mancini.

I am praying.....for a friend of mine whose husband died suddenly as she and her family adjust to this difficult loss.  

I am very much I dislike the wood ticks that also arrive in spring :-/

I am hoping.....the weather warms up again and we see some SUN!

On my my daughter who isn't turning the corner with the "bug" she's had for awhile as I try to determine if this is perhaps something that isn't viral.

From the learning rooms.....we're finishing up many of our studies for the year!  YIPPEE!

I am learning....that applying learning is something even moms need to do.

Noticing that.....the grass is almost ready for its first mowing.

I am looking forward to.....planting my garden in the weeks ahead.

Pondering these words....."The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." ~ Joseph Joubert

From the a new batch of kombucha tea sitting on the counter.

Around the house....are dog fur dust bunnies as the dogs are shedding their winter coats in a big way.

One of my favorite things.....are new gel pens!  (I know, I'm just like a kid, aren't I?)

A few plans for the rest of the week.....include a bit of work, an annual congregational meeting, sewing quilt blocks, a birthday celebration of a son turning 18 years old, doing some cemetery flower planting with Grandpa, and spring yardwork. 

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....
A picture of my spring daffodils in all their glory!

Thank you for stopping and visiting my daybook on this day. If you'd like to visit others who are participating in the May daybook or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, May 5

critically listening

This morning I read the most interesting quote - "Listen to your critics.  They will keep you focused and innovative." ~ Author Unknown

The first thing we often do when criticized is become hurt and reject what someone has said about us.  We tend to see the other person more at fault than ourselves.

But this quote flips that situation into something positive and puts you into the position of being teachable.  It causes you to stop.  LISTEN.  Examine yourself.  Explore how much of what was said is accurate, how much is inaccurate, what could you do to make it favorable without compromising your beliefs.  Take the negative and turn it into something positive by staying focused and being innovative in your approach.  

I can see this working in many areas as I consider my critics such as the teens in our household.  Oh my!  They are so easily critical of everything I say or do or wear at this point of their lives.  Their comments do allow me to ponder, consider, and focus on what is important as I live my life out in front of them.  Their thoughts often do have some validity and I'm reminded that our children learn best not from what they hear but from what they see.  Am I living what I'm saying?  Do I need to change things around in an innovative way that allows me to stay focused on the purpose God has placed in my as a mom to these teens?

Think of the other possible critics in life....a spouse, a friend, people involved in ministry areas, people in the community.  Take a moment to stop, listen, pray, and turn the negatives into positives!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, May 4

count to seven

Only seven seconds.

That is how long it typically takes people to settle on their first impression upon meeting someone.  

During those seven seconds very little of that impression has to do with what words are spoken but how they are spoken (tone and inflection) and the body language that comes with them.  Is there a kindness to your voice?  A sincerity in the greeting?  A warmth in your smile?  A connecting of your eyes?

Isn't it interesting though that as people are preparing to meet someone new they are more concerned about what they are going to wear or what they are going to say?  None of that will possibly even be remembered by the person or people they are about to meet if there is a genuine interest expressed in those brief moments. Whether your hair looks good or you are wearing your favorite shirt will not make a difference when a person senses you have a true desire to connect as your caring spirit is what will be remembered.  

Only seven seconds for someone to sense whether there is a heartfelt friendliness or a forced pretense.  

So before you meet someone new or will be in a situation with lots of people you don't know, check your heart attitude before the Lord.  It's His love which will shine in the tone of your words and how your body eases as you meet and greet each person He places across your path.  

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, May 1

spring fullness

"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof....."       ~ Psalm 24:1

My favorite season - spring!  My favorite spring flower - lily of the valley!  And the reminder that the earth is indeed the Lord's as it springs full of new life during the season of spring.  

Happy May!

Tammy ~@~ 
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