Month: November 2010

The Written Word

Every now and then we come across something that takes us back to our childhood.  I saw something recently that did just that.

This photograph is of an item that was for sale in an Etsy shop, and I have to admit that it wasn’t the bookmark that attracted my attention at first, it was the book on which it is displayed.  (The shop is worth checking out, by the way, and I have asked permission to use the photograph)

A copy of this very book stood on the bookshelf at my grandparents house.  When we visited I would take it down and read an entry or two.  It seemed to me that it held all the wisdom of the world, and I believed every word that I read.  At some point it moved from their bookshelf to ours at home.  I would still dip into it, and would be fascinated, amongst other things, by the descriptions of some of the towns and cities that were featured.  One day, after a little persuading, we went on a little family trip to one of these.  It was an historic town, and from reading the book we knew that it featured a lovely church, pillory, stocks and town walls.

The walls were evident.  We wandered around, up and down.  The church was there too, and I distinctly remember the stained glass windows, however no matter how hard we looked we couldn’t find the pillory and stocks.  Finally my father spotted a policeman (these were the days of tall helmets and friendly ‘coppers’ on the beat), so who better to ask?  ‘Sorry Sir, they were removed in 1935!’  I’m sure the rest of the ‘coppers’ laughed when they heard the story, but I was shattered.  I had every confidence in that book – and it had let me down.

Since then I have read many books, they all let me down except one.  The bible has never let me down, and I dip into it constantly.  It really does hold the answer to everything, and, if you search within it, is inspirational.  So today my thanks goes to the word of God.  It is a priviledge to read it, and even more to begin to understand it.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path  Psalm 119:105

Just be thankful

Monday was a day I want to forget.  It was really busy, a lot to do and a lot that HAD to be done.  That’s quite enough to make one realise that it’s good to be busy.

So that’s it for Monday – just ‘Thanks’, for no reason other than the fact that I can choose to be grateful and say thank you for anything.

God knows…

Today would have been my father-in-law’s birthday.  He was a lovely man, and I was very fond of him.  I knew him for only a short time and he was closer in age to my grandparents than my parents.  He retired very soon after we married and died shortly after.  I was already a Christian, and so too was he.  We were very close, even in such a short time, and his death rocked me.  It wasn’t the fact that he died that was so difficult to bear, it was the way in which he was looked after in his final hours- and how he finally died.  I don’t need to go into details of this, but suffice it to say that it really rocked my faith. To make matters worse I visited my local vicar, being sure that he would be able to restore my faith only to be told that he was sorry, but didn’t have the answer.  At this point there was nowhere else to go!  How can you solve a problem like that? I wrestled with it for a long time, until I realised that there really was nowhere to go except to the one with whom I had the problem.  No man could answer, only God.

Today I want to say thank you for forgiveness.   You see, I was only looking at the picture from one side.  I didn’t see all the other things that were going on at the same time, and in retrospect there was shock, fear and uncertainty involved as far as the carers were concerned.  When I was finally able to forgive I could see all the sides to the story, and I was also able to face my own need for forgiveness in the situation.  This may sound very complicated, but it isn’t necessary to go into any more details.  The truth is – God knows – and that is all that matters.

John 14:16   ‘…. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—’

Acts 2:38 Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

Snow, snow, quick quick, snow

Snow was forecast today.  We had a long journey to make, so allowed plenty of time and took a shovel, blanket etc, just in case.  As it happened we needn’t have worried, we saw no snow until we were with a short distance of our destination.  It was cold, though, and there was a little fog here and there.  The countryside, however, was lovely.  In places it was clear and crisp, and as we were driving across Salisbury Plain we could see for miles.

This is the view that  greeted us when we arrived.

You can see how little snow was lying, in fact it was more  like icing sugar.  It was sprinkled everywhere.

and I could have taken many more photographs to prove it

but I think these are enough for you to get the picture.

There were a couple of workshops going on.  We saw all the students and they very kindly bought supplies from us.  I was invited to go and view one workroom, they had set up a colour wheel and were working from what was in front of them.  Do you know what a colourwheel is?

This is a fun one which I found here roughly speaking it shows how the primary colours of red yellow and blue mix together to make other colours.  Not only is it fun, it is colourful.  This is the sort of thing I was expecting to see, so I was totally unprepared for the riot of colour that met my eyes.

It was, in fact, a three-dimensional still-life

These pictures don’t really do it justice.  Not only was it bright and cheerful, it was a very good idea, and I wish I had time to do some work from it.

So where is this leading today?  Maybe you are already there.  Today I would like to give thanks for my sight.  To be able to view such a range and variety of colours and textures is more than amazing.  It is so easy to take it for granted, to think of sight as a right, but it is a gift in the same way as everything else.   Thank you Lord for my sight.  May I appreciate everything I see as a gift from You.

This post is one in a small series.  Links to the others can be found here






The Bread of Life?

Today I made some bread.  I make some regularly and it doesn’t take long.  It goes through several processes and the final result is heralded by the most lovely smell.  Of course it  is easy to pop to the supermarket to buy a loaf if we run out, and the corner shop is only a short walk away.

Bread, however, is just a small part of our diet.  I have plenty more foods from which to choose, including several choices of other starches.  Protein, vegetables etc are all easy to come by, and I can cook them in whatever manner I choose.  Not only is it easy to obtain, I can also afford to buy it.

It isn’t like that for every one, though.  I was shocked to earlier read that more than 6,000 people will already have died from hunger today and also that nearly 1 in 6 of the world’s population is undernourished.  It rather puts things into perspective, doesn’t it.  How dare I complain if I don’t have jam to spread on my bread.

Today, therefore, I am extremely thankful for food.

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these
brothers of mine, you did for me.”
(Matthew 25:37-40)

Reason to be thankful – part 2

Today is destined to be a busy day.  Later I have to do something that I have been putting off for months.  Yes, months!  There was a lot of work involved, and I really didn’t want to face some of it because I knew that it would involve contention.  I don’t like contention.  I will run from it and do everything in my power to avoid it.  Of course, it came, I was expecting it, so it was inevitable.  Well, in retrospect I’m thankful for the contention, because it wasn’t as bad as expected, but today is still the day to which I am not looking forward, and contention isn’t my main area of thanks.

In the past a day like today could have been preceded by nights of endless tossing and turning.  Not now, however.  My nights are not long, I don’t seem to need a lot of sleep and often get by on very few hours, but those few hours are always restful.  I awake feeling refreshed and ready for the day.  Last night, though, I was granted a full 8 hours of uninterrupted slumber!  Praise the Lord, and I am so thankful for sleep whether it is 3 or 8 hours.

Psalm 127 …. the Lord grants sleep to those He loves.

It’s nearly Christmas

If we believe in the true meaning of Christmas we have reason to be thankful for everything.  The good and the bad will bring us blessing in the end.  We don’t need to know why or what – just get on with life and see what happens.  Today is Wednesday, and apparently the worst day of the week for most people as it falls half way between two weekends.  I decided that for the next month I will make a point of being publicly thankful for one thing each day.  Today I was sent this psalm, a really good point at which to start

Shout for joy to Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and  praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(Psalm 100)

Today I want to say thank you for something that is really personal.  I am in the middle!

My Grandmother (no longer with us), my Mother, (me) my Daughter and my Grand-daughter are all born again Christians.  We all came to know Christ as our personal saviour in individual ways and in spite of everything that was thrown at us!

For that I give a really BIG THANKYOU

Inspiration comes when it will….

An unexpected message arrived this morning.  It was from a customer of one of my Etsy shops and included a link to an item that has been made using some of my hand-dyed paper.

Not only was I very pleased to see the lovely item (click the picture to find it) I was also interested to read the description.  I quote: ‘when it arrived I knew it was perfect for my ‘Winter Beauty’ aceo (truth is I was stuck for inspiration until then)’

I know this feeling so well.  Inspiration strikes in strange ways.  Sometimes the finished item is there, in you head, and all you have to do is grab the bits and pieces to put it together.  Sometimes a blank canvas is all that’s needed to allow colour and design to flow into a work of art.  Sometimes… yes, sometimes there is just nothing there…..

Suddenly, however, ‘something’ happens, it could be a thought, a word, a chance comment, maybe even a headline – or just THAT particular piece of paper or fabric.  Suddenly everything comes together and the piece is finished.  I had a similar experience recently.

Pencil and paper are always to hand, and I try to sketch every day.  I don’t manage that exactly, but I do try.  On my table is a pot which holds some ancient seedheads.  They are well past their ‘sell buy’ date, and I suppose I should dispose of them, but they have been a constant source of inspiration.

They are not beautifully arranged, in fact some of them have been removed and just ‘poked’ back in, but that is good – it gives me permission to remove something else and draw it, then replace it wherever it goes.  I never need to search for something to draw – it is always there.  I don’t get bored with the subject because they almost feel like friends, and who gets bored with friends?  I have masses of drawings of the poppy heads.  I have added colour to some, but others are detailed drawings or quick sketches, some in pencil and others in ink.  Some in books, some on scraps of paper stuck or clipped into books, and others on pieces of abaca tissue which are patiently waiting for their next destination.

There are roses too.  Small flowers that started life as a gift from a newborn grandchild.  These have not been professionally preserved – just hung upside down in the airing cupboard  and left to dry out.  I have watched them turn from pink to this beautiful caramel colour.  Who says that decay can’t be beautiful?

This teasel came from the garden of my late mother-in-law.  She died more than 10 years ago, and this was picked before that.  There are a few in the pot, and they are a constant reminder of family and how things must pass.  Don’t put off something that you can do today – you may not be able to do it tomorrow.  Our children would love to play in her garden, full of cottage flowers and very old-fashioned.  It was a delight.

What strikes me most about this collection is the wonderful colour and  texture that it holds.  Even the colour of the leaves has turned to this beautiful dark cream.  No enhancement at all, nature has done its work and continues to do so.  But where is this leading?

Every day I work with brilliant and exciting colour.  Fabrics, fibres, yarns, threads, paper, all are transformed into new colour combinations, but at the end of the day I return to my desk and the quiet calm of neutrality.  There in front of me is my pot, and my sketches continue to overflow!  Last week was no different, I had papers to make and colour, and lo and behold, one really spoke to me.  It was, of course, created by accident!  The finished design was unintentional, but as soon as I saw it I wanted to use it with some of my sketches.

The background ‘spoke’ to me of winter and bare branches.  I was able to do a small series of 4 tiny ACEO’s, but that’s it – no more paper, so the other sketches must wait for more inspiration.  Thanks for sending me the link to your lovely ACEO, SunshineShelle, it provoked this post!

Sometimes it is good to have a large piece of art on your wall, but sometimes, it is perfect to have a piece of art you can hold in your hand.

Spam, Spam, more Glorious Spam!

I have written about email Spam before, and, of course, it continues to come.  It still makes me laugh, so I thought I’d share just some of the spam I received overnight.  I had a number of invitations and offers

1   Buy REAL Rolix watch (from realrolixCo)

2   Genuine Offer  (This was from Captain General Sir Richard Omgobwe, how could I refuse?)

3  Your HSBC acoint has been acsesd by a thrid party (Do I have an HSBC acct?  Hmm, better click on the link to find out…..)

4   Dear Friend (a kindly barrister sent me this, it says so in the ‘from’ heading)

5   Your company needs us   (Free Cash Investments were kind enough to offer me their services

6   You have won $300,000,000 in US lottery  (Now you know why I’m giving up work!)

7   You have won £300,000,000 in UK lottery (Thank goodness I can put my money into that HSBC account..)

8   Please confirm you HSBC acunt details  (Not until I’ve invested all my money, no doubt)

Please note that all spelling mistakes in this post are from the original mails.  I did not open one of them, these are just retyped headings etc.

Where are they now?  All in that great big junk bin in the sky?  Will they be incinerated?  Will they add to global warming?  What will we do when that is full?  I don’t know the answers to any of these questions – but there is one to which I do know the answer:

Will I get any more Spam?

You betcha!

Do You Like Gadgets?

Gadgets can be fun, especially those that you didn’t know you needed – you know – the ones that you are given as presents.

We have one of those.  I’d forgotten all about it until I was woken in the night by a noise.  Listening carefully I perceived that it sounded like the microwave.  Now why on earth was the microwave calling me at 3am?  Of course I had to investigate, and that’s when I found it.  Not the microwave at all, but that really handy gadget that tells you when the weather is going to be bad.

Bliss.  Now I’ve remembered we have one I’ll always know when it’s bad weather.

Previously I’ve had to look out of the window.