As Numerous as the Stars

This past week seems to have gone on for a long time. Some weeks, days, and even months are like that. Overall though this year has seemed to have wings in flight! I was happy to have hand made the birthday cards I mailed so far this month, but I need to get back to working on the Christmas cards. The date is moving closer at warp speed!

My time has mostly been spent on researching facts about the state of America during the Great Depression and World War II. I remember when history was the one subject I disliked in school. It was so boring and I couldn’t understand how these old dates and happenings would benefit my future. Now I wish I’d studied better in this subject. History to me now is exciting. Learning what life was like just before and at the time of my birth is giving me new energy and inciting the necessary passion to write again…this time a true story to leave as a legacy to my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

God has blessed me so richly over the years, especially during times I didn’t even see Him working in my life. From a lonely little girl, ripped away from her brother and sister before she turned four, my family has grown exponentially! Sometimes I look at the stars and know what Abraham must have been feeling about God’s promise. This book I want to bring glory to God, to shine the spotlight on His goodness. And so, I will write for God what He has provided through the years. I’m happy to be working in my writing program again as I gather information and ideas.

Also, I did finish another puzzle, and completed some coloring pages. The first is done with markers in a 3D mandala book I had forgotten I purchased about a month ago. I love how it turned out. The second is in the Chibi Girls Grayscale 2 book colored with alcohol markers. I tried to capture the sparkle of the windows and water created by the glitter pen I used on those items, but it didn’t turn out. The third is from a color by number Christmas book. I used Black Widow pencils to color this one. The next two are mandalas colored with glitter gel pens. And last is the puzzle I completed.

I lift my cup of tea with a smile as I look forward to a beautiful week. I pray each of you who read this will realize how your life has been enriched by many blessings from God. Keep hoping, reaching for dreams, and never give up. God is still in control. Trust in His timing! Until next time…

Faith Held Firmly Together by Hope

Looking back over the past week, there have been a lot of changes in my life. Changes can bring stress but as long as I am walking with Jesus, I have hope. My faith sustains me because I believe He can do all things. There is no reason for stress in my life if I hand over all concerns to Him.

Very strange things are happening as I type this blog. I realize Satan is using every tactic he can to distract me in an attempt to steal my hope. Ha! No way. Jesus is stronger than Him and Jesus loves me! I’m just taking it slow and fixing everything Satan tries to destroy in my words.

Okay, changes:

I stopped taking a prescription blood thinner. I’m back on an aspirin maintenance and am able to take the anti-inflammatory medication. I’m no longer seeking my recliner due to pain.

I learned one of my daughters is moving to North Carolina. I’m very happy for her and her hubby. Their new home is awesome and the weather will be so much better than they have been experiencing in Wisconsin. The downfall is she will now be further away. No longer a one day trip by car to visit. But we can still Skype!

My cat, Templeton, seemed to be doing much worse. In fact, I thought he was going to die in his sleep one night. We ran out of cat food, so I went searching through the stores to no avail. Then I found a recipe from a veterinarian. I purchased the necessary foods and made some pureed food for him. He is eating good and his health seems to be improving.

I’ll stop with these three rather than bore you with repetition. Do you see all the BUT GOD goodness that resulted in each of the above changes? No reason to stress!

As for hobbies, I finished another puzzle. A really cute one with curious kitties doing their thing. I completed a picture using oil pencils in one of my longest owned coloring books by artist Hanna Karlzon. Those are the last two items shown below. The other pictures are the progression pictures I promised to show you of the completed buddy color for the month. I colored it using StarJoy oil pencils. The first picture is the blank canvas. This is called grayscale. Each subsequent picture is a day’s worth of coloring.

Lifting my cup of tea this morning with a smile on my face and in my heart. Yesterday was the love of my life’s heavenly birthday. No matter what this world might bring, I can be strong standing on my faith because I know that death is something that can happen to my body, but I have an eternal soul and Jesus has prepared a place for me in heaven. There I will be reunited with my family, my friends, and the love of my life! Hope is eternal! Until next time…

The Busy Life of a Winter Person

The past week, I had appointments every day except for Saturday. This isn’t usual for me. As I advance in these winter years of life, my best time of day is in the morning hours. By afternoon, I’m pretty tired. Most of my appointments were morning ones, so by the time I had finished, eaten lunch, and stopped to take a deep breath, I realized I was done for the day. This is the only downfall I see to aging. It’s the imbalance between the eternally youthful spirit and the aging body!

Each week I have a “to do” list (not including appointments and regular chores). Yes, I will forget if I don’t write them down! I try to finish all of them so I have a sense of accomplishment when I look at the list on Sunday morning. At the end of the week, only one item remained. Make two new cards. I’ll move it to this week. My goal is to have all my Christmas cards completed the week before Thanksgiving. That will leave a week for adding personal notes and addressing envelopes in preparation for mailing the first week of December.

I spent one afternoon trying to set up a home network so my laptop and desktop could communicate. I managed to get the laptop to connect to the desktop, but not the other way around. Diagnostic testing says all is set up properly, so perhaps it is just the less powerful desktop that is the problem. I’ve never been intimidated by learning new things on the computer. I’ve replaced hard drives and added memory back in the day! Today, I do have a computer tech guy. He will try and look at it soon. I don’t like working on the desktop and not being able to access a picture I’ve saved on the laptop.

I never add coloring or any hobbies to my to do list. More important than hobbies are my Bible study time and devotional time, journaling, and blogging. Honestly, it probably seems as if I don’t do a thing to the younger people who have such busy schedules. For me, though, all these things make for a busy day. During last week, I was blessed to spend time with some friends I hadn’t seen for a while. I also spent one on one time with my middle daughter. As I look back over the week, I see how richly I was blessed.

No, I didn’t spend much time with hobbies over the past week. I colored two pictures and finished working a puzzle. Since one of the finished pictures is the buddy color with two daughters, I can’t show it until next week. I plan to show a progression gallery of the picture from the uncolored page to the finished product. As for now here is what I can post. The first is a picture (colored with markers) from the Colouring Heaven Steampunk Special book by artist Hannah Lynn. Only four more pictures and I can call this a completed book! Yay! The puzzle was fun to work. There were so many little things in the picture, I was constantly revealing something I’d missed in the sample picture!

As I look at my calendar for this week, I see three days with no scheduled appointments. I’m hoping to get a few cards made, color a couple of pictures, and finish a puzzle I started Saturday. Lifting my cup of tea and thanking God for filling my calendar and giving me hope for each new day He provides. May you all find yourself blesses profusely this week! Until next time…

What Drew Me to Jesus?

In our small group Bible Study last week, the first question asked was “What was it that first drew you to Jesus?” I had to think about it since it was over 64 years ago. I was 13 at the time . As I thought about this for several days, I finally realized the truth was seated deep inside. I was looking for someone to love me.

When I was four years old, my mother left me with my grandparents and moved away. My two year old brother was taken by his father (my stepfather) and my sister by my stepfather’s brother. I didn’t have a relationship with my brother and sister until we were adults, though we saw each other occasionally during the summer at my grandmother’s house.

I remember longing for my mom to come to see me. On the few times she did visit, I honestly don’t remember anything about those short stays other than my grandpa would make potato soup since that was her favorite. I didn’t see her for my birthday or for Christmas. I remember getting one present from her for Christmas…a white stuffed cat.

A few months before I turned 8, my grandparents told me my mother was married again and was coming to take me away. The thought of being with my mom and having a dad was something I’d longed for, but the idea of moving far away from the only secure home I could remember was sad and scary.

I won’t go into details, but my childhood wasn’t one where I felt loved. My mom wasn’t one to hug me or tell me she loved me, and I heard often how my stepdad wished he had a son. Though those things weren’t meant to hurt me, they did leave scars which I didn’t talk about and even pushed so deeply inside, it took a Bible study to draw out the truth.

My parents never went to church, but I would walk to the little church in the community every Sunday and attend Sunday School and church. I had friends there, young and old. I wrote poems for the Sunday bulletin and participated in the youth group in my teen years. I went to revivals. During one of these, I felt a pull to be baptized, to belong to Jesus. I knew from attending church that He loved me and I loved Him.

As I look back over the years, I see where God always had His hand on me. Through my adult years, I made mistakes. Lots of them. Mostly because I was still searching for someone to love me. My first marriage was one of both verbal and physical abuse. I had low self esteem and he knew how to guilt me into staying. Was I in love with him? No, but I did love the broken man he was and I grieved the loss of the marriage., and deeply loved my children born of that union.

God turned my life around. He brought happiness into my life with a new marriage. That’s when I learned the truth about love. And church once again became a part of my life. God brought me out of the pit into the light. As I study His Word today, I am overwhelmed with the love I know He has always shown me. I trust Him completely, and am deeply grateful.

So what did I do last week? I did hang the Trinity of Peace puzzle on my office wall. I also started and completed another puzzle gifted by my youngest daughter and son in love. I completed some coloring in my Inspire Bible gifted by my oldest daughter, and colored two pictures in coloring books. I also made two more Christmas cards.

Not sure what this week will be as far as hobbies. I have an appointment every single day this week, and I will fit in time for my Bible study on 1st and 2nd Peter. Best of all, this week my appointments are all spending time with friends and family! It doesn’t get better than that. Lifting my cup of tea this morning with a heart overflowing with gratitude for a powerful and loving God, my Father, my Savior, my Comfort. May your week be filled with many happy days. Remember love can change lives and change the world.

Using My Christian Planner to Focus More on God than Me

The past week was a quiet week. I did accomplish chores, the big one being shampooing the carpet in three rooms. Otherwise, I spent time thinking, learning, and talking with God. My Bible time hasn’t been as deep as I’d like. I needed to do something to focus me on studying, not just reading.

You Tube has a wealth of information. It’s where I go instead of watching programs on television that don’t inspire me. It’s a place where I learn more about coloring…and now about Bible and Prayer journaling. About digging deeper into scripture to glean insights. I would love to be as creative as some of the ladies, but I’m not that interested in spending a lot of time on “pretty” additions. And I don’t want to spend money on something that could turn into a hobby instead of focusing on God.

I need to remember it’s not about me. What I decided to try is using my Christian Planner in a new way. This type of planner has served me well for nearly three years. (I’m anxious to see the 2022 version which is on preorder.) By adding the tabs I can easily flip to the months. The next thing was to add some stickers to the front to “make it pretty and appealing.” Then I turned to the inside and used stickers and washi tape to embellish the pages. On the weekly devotional/sermon notes page, I decided to change the way I took notes in church. I used a small notebook to capture the thoughts and questions instead of copying notes on the screen. At home, I rewrote and expanded on these in my planner. The weekly layout is now a place to write the to do’s for the week, blog ideas, and a daily reflection. All my appointments are recorded on the monthly calendar page. I’m sure this will expand and change as I begin using it in this new way.

As for coloring and other hobbies, I spared little time. I did glue the puzzle both front and back and this week I hope to glue it to a backing to hang on the wall. Most of my pictures were colored just before I went to bed. I’ve been having issues with falling and staying asleep. My brain won’t shut off. Coloring the mandalas while sipping a cup of chamomile and lavender tea seems to help me unwind. Another thing I’ve started doing is writing in a “prayer journal” notebook while I’m sitting on the side of the bed before turning off the light. I write down the blessings from that day first thanking God. Then I add praise and prayer requests, just talking to God with my words. This seems better to me than just speaking the words and later forgetting the blessings!

And below are the pictures I did color. The first mandala was done with colored pencils. The other two were with markers. The autumn picture I found in one of my older Hanna Karlzon books called Seasons. I’ve been in the mood to surround myself with autumn, my favorite season of all.

I’m lifting my cup of tea now with happy thoughts as I ask God to bless each of you this week. May your heart be filled with peace as you share love and kindness to all you meet.

Kindness, Smiles, Laughter, God’s Light

Often I think about shining God’s light and wonder if I’m truly living this way. I visited my local pet store last week and the minute I walked in the door a lovely young girl smiled at me and welcomed me. She was busy, but kept that smile every time I saw her as I went up and down the aisles. She was also the one who rang up my purchases. Always with a kind voice and a smile. As I left the store, I felt really good. I was smiling and feeling happy about my small shopping trip. I thought about that experience all the way home and realized I’d been in the presence of one who shared God’s light. I’ve had bad experiences while shopping, some which left me so sour, I haven’t returned to those establishments. Church is that way, too. I’m welcomed by happy, smiling faces on Sunday mornings. Not a single person is frowning and no one is treated like a stranger. That’s the light I want to shine to others. Not just sometimes, but always.

God’s light also shone in my home yesterday. My post of weekly reflections was delayed to today. Not because it was a holiday, but because my kitchen light decided to give me some indoor fireworks on Sunday evening and then all four of the florescent bulbs went out! Thanks to children who are willing to give up part of their day, the ballast was replaced and now the lights are working great! God answered my prayers through my youngest daughter and my son in love. My neighbor stopped by to help, too! We had times of laughter and my heart was full with knowing how richly God has blessed me.

Another thing happened…my youngest daughter finished the puzzle while I was supervising watching the electrical work being done. It is such a beautiful puzzle. It’s rather large–26 in. by 26 in. There is no way I’m going to take it apart! It is a beautiful reminder of God’s love. I want to seal it and then have it framed at Michael’s so it can hang on my wall. This was an awesome Mother’s Day gift that will keep on giving.

Though the week was fairly quiet, I did have some times where I felt a little stressed. When this happens, I turn to a color by number book and markers. I pray and commune with God while I color these picture. I did a record number of three! Those are all the mandala pictures below. The first picture is the buddy color picture I did with two of my daughters. It was done with Star Joy oil pencils. It is always fun to see how differently each of us brings the picture to life! The picture just before and the one just after the finished puzzle were done with markers. Just some fun coloring. The next to last picture was colored with my Black Widow wax based pencils. I enjoyed bringing this one to life and especially like how the berries turned out.

That’s all I have for this week. I leave you with these thoughts. Appreciate the beautiful colors in your life and try always to shine the light of Christ with kindness and love. Until next time…

Christmas? Diamonds? Puzzling Colors…

Most of my week has been spent making Christmas cards. Every one of them is different. I have six made so far. Only 20 more to go! I’m waiting until the Christmas paper pads come out. I went to Michael’s on Saturday and only purchased a less than $5 pencil sharpener for my pastels. The lady cashier who always checks me out said, “That’s all for today?” She knows I never buy one tiny item. I explained I didn’t fine what I came for and told her what I’d wanted. She made a face and said, “Let us get through Halloween first!” LOL! Here is a sample of what I’ve been making.

Monday was my cardiologist appointment. He once again told me of my risk for stroke and highly recommended I look at two brochures before making my final decision. On Wednesday, I learned my sister was in the hospital and had suffered a mini stroke. Thankfully, she is doing okay, but it seemed to be a message from God that I should change from aspirin regimen to the blood thinner the doctor recommended.

With a lot of thoughts running through my head this week, I began working every day on the jigsaw puzzle, Trinity of Peace. It will be so beautiful when completed and I plan to put it on my office wall. After church yesterday, I sat at the puzzle table and was amazed four hours later at all the progress I made. What do you think?

I worked one day on my Diamond Painting. One third to go to finish. I really need to frame all my finished paintings rolled up in my closet and hang them.

This was an errand week as well, so I didn’t do much in the way of coloring. I finished one picture in the Fairy and Fantasy 2 book by Christine Karron and started another on Friday while Skyping with my daughter. Both of these were colored with Black Widow pencil sets.

This concludes my week of hobbies. I enjoyed all the different colors brought into my life this week. Also enjoyed a visit with my daughter and son in love yesterday. It was fun to see her new hair color which is now purple and magenta. She really glows in the sun! It looks good on her. Not many women could carry this off, but she does!

Lifting my cup of tea and wishing all of you a fantastic week. Remember to be kind, compassionate, and treat others as you want to be treated. You are loved. Until next week…

Gaithers, Lost Vehicle, Puzzles, Pictures, Oh, My!

Why, yes, yes, I was at The Gaithers concert this past Saturday evening! My daughter’s small group, my daughter, and me gathered together taking up 20 seats to enjoy this spectacular night. It was an honor to be included. This group was my mom’s favorite gospel group. I remember her sitting in her recliner and watching them on television the year she came to live with us. Three of my favorite songs were written by Bill and Gloria: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; Something Beautiful, and Because He Lives. The old standards live in my heart. We laughed, cried a little, shouted, and sang…and we got lost in the parking lot and couldn’t find our SUV! Once we thought we spotted it, only to suddenly have the vehicle lights come on, revealing someone inside. Wrong vehicle! So much laughter. Of course, we finally found it, but it’s a memory we will remember always associated with this fun night.

Other than that, it was a fairly quiet and normal week for me. I did get my hair cut, took a short trip with a friend, and managed to color a couple of pictures and work on the puzzle. Since this week is going to be super hot, I will be spending most of my days in the A/C. Need to make a few more cards this week. Oh, and daughter told me about a puzzle game which I bought. I like to use my brain while I’m spending time with a game on the computer. My winter months look as if they will be full of activities I enjoy.

I finished my buddy color picture of the month this past week, but can’t show it for a couple of weeks yet. I also finished two other pictures. One I did with the Pitt Pastel pencils and the other with markers. The first picture is in my Fairies coloring book by Ruth Sanderson finished with the pastels. The second is in my Love 4 Flowers color by number book by Prachi Dewan Sachdeva.

The month is quickly drawing to an end and cooler weather will be upon us soon here in Ohio. The pine trees are sporting a healthy array of pine cones, and some of the leaves are turning yellow on my elderberry bush. It won’t be long before the pond becomes visible between the trees as the leaves begin to turn colors and fall. I’m grateful for the mornings I have been able to spend on my porch and anticipate more as the weather begins to cool.

I’m lifting my cup of tea to wish you all a wonderful week. May your hearts be filled with joy, your lips lift often in smiles, and your prayers be heartfelt. Until next week…

Pride, Planning, and Progress

Oh, the trials of aging gracefully when pride sneaks in and tries to squeeze out God’s voice. The one thing I’m grateful to have learned is how to stifle the wrong voice simply by saying the name of Jesus! Ever had that happen to you when you were in church? Yikes! I refuse to let Satan in no matter how hard he tries…and he is always trying to distract me on Sunday.

This morning I watched a parade of ducks heading to the pond. They looked so cute waddling over the hill. Just another awesome video from God!

I’ve spent the past week planning for the activities I’ll be doing over the cooler, colder months ahead. My interests have expanded which can’t be bad. I’m still struggling with the jigsaw puzzle that doesn’t want to be worked, but I’m not going to give up. My lack of finishing isn’t affecting anyone, except maybe my own evaluation of the situation. I have other puzzles I know won’t be as hard and I sure would like to work one of them to get my confidence back. LOL!

There are Christmas diamond paintings that need completed as I want to display them as decorations for the season. Here’s the one I’m working on now. Can you see the cardinal coming to life in the snow?

I’ve been slowly adding supplies to my cardmaking hobby in preparation for sending Christmas cards to friends and family. My thoughts are also centering around making sets of all occasion cards to give as Christmas gifts. Not sure if I’ll have enough time for that this year.

Saying that brings to mind the reality that none of us know how long we have on this earth. I’m prepared and excited about the eternal life ahead, so I’m not afraid of the time God will call me home. I believe it is important to keep an eternal mindset, but not to waste a single moment God has given in this temporary home. So I make plans with a happy heart and a happy outlook. All because of God’s mercy. I have a peace in my heart that keeps me balanced.

Getting back to life…my goal was to refrain from purchasing additional coloring supplies until the first of the year. I broke that goal when I saw a deal on fine liner pens. Yes, I caved and purchased. Sigh. The pens are nice though. I can see me using them not only in coloring mandalas, but also in card making. Does that justify the purchase?

And this leads me to what I accomplished this week. The first picture was an experiment using Black Widow colored pencils to create pink hair. I followed a hair tutorial by @colorfullyoptimistic on her You Tube channel. Happy with everything except the earring. I used a gold paint pen, but now wish I’d just used the colored pencils to create gold. Artist for the picture is Mariola Budek. The second picture was colored with Faber Castell Pitt Pastel Pencils. I enjoy working with the pastels. It’s still a learning process for me! Artist for this picture is Hanna Karlzon. And the last picture, the mandala was done with the new pens. In retrospect, I wish I’d colored the areas outside the orange flower in shades of green. Coloring is always a learning process for me.

Not a particularly productive week for me, but it’s not about quantity. For me, my hobbies are all about enjoyment and learning. I’m a work in progress in all aspects of my life. I’m smiling because I know Jesus is agreeing with my statement! Lifting my cup of Lady Grey tea with a happy heart and heartfelt wishes that each of you find a way to relax, have fun, and spend time with Jesus! Until next time…

When Topsy Turvy is a Blessing

The past week was a stressful one for me, though I usually don’t realize the stress until it’s too late. I started off battling a migraine which is rare for me. By Wednesday I was feeling better and then I received a text for help. My grandson who works in Indiana had an accident and was thrown from a fast-moving golf cart, breaking his collarbone. The bone was completely separated, one part higher than the other. Surgery was planned for Friday in a local Ohio hospital and he needed both a place to stay and transportation to and from. And thus began a topsy turvy time for me.

And the Ramble Begins…

I looked on it as an opportunity to pay back his mother who stayed with me for a week after my shoulder surgery. I thought all was going well for me handling any stress associated with this, but after he went to surgery, I walked a LONG way to the hospital cafe to have a very late lunch. As I sat at a table, I checked my phone. I had several missed calls from a friend. I knew it was bad. Her mother and father were my very dear friends. Her mother passed with dementia a couple of years ago and her father was battling cancer. I immediately called to learn that my dear friend, Bill, had passed. I was in shock. I knew it was coming, but not this soon. I wished I could go to comfort her as she waited for the coroner, but I couldn’t. The added stress was enough to send my heart into a-fib. Heart palpitations, chest tightness, and pvc’s. I did make it back to the outpatient lobby, but for an hour and a half I feared I might need a doctor’s care.

Friends, prayer helps. God eased the attack and my heart went back into rhythm just a short time before grandson was released. Praise God!

And More Rambling, Or Perhaps a Small Pity Party

My grandson is still with me and will be for a few more days. He is doing very good overall. The most difficult part for me is having my routine disrupted. My office, where I spend most of my time each day, is now his bedroom. All my hobby supplies are stacked in my bedroom. He is a smoker, and keeps it outside on the porch, so that area is out for me as well. Since he has nothing to do, he sits in the recliner all day and watches television. Things I would never watch. LOL!

But God…

But I’m grateful he is doing good and that I can give him a safe and comfortable place to stay while he recuperates from the surgery which required a plate and 7 screws. Ugh. When God calls us to be His hands and feet, we must get out of our comfort zone, stop being selfish, and step up! And be thankful. There is much to be thankful for as I type this journal/post.

Below are the pictures I colored this week. There are three mandalas, which really do help with stress. I’m showing the picture I colored as a buddy color with my daughters. It is titled Light the Darkness (the old man with the angel sitting on his head). The last one I spent the entire week plus working on. It is by Artist Christine Karron. I used my newest colored pencils and am pretty happy with the results. Not bad for a stressful week.

If you have stuck around this long, thank you so much! I have learned that topsy turvy can be a blessing. I wish you much joy and happiness in this new week. May you hear God when He calls you to be His hands and feet, and may your smiles be many. Until next time…

Finally, The End