Saturday, December 31, 2011

. . . still counting my blessings. . .



"So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; 
but the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13

I've yet to meet anyone this year that didn't feel like this past year was flying by.

They say the older you get. . . the faster the years go by. . .
. . .& mathematically - it does make sense. . .
(. . . the more years - the less proportionately each year is. . .)
. . . so I must be getting a lot older. . .
. . . .because I think that at the beginning of each month, 
it took me by surprise how fast the previous month had flown by.

But. . . time isn't something that you can 'save', 'turn back', or even 'lose'. . .
But, we do 'spend' it. . . it's an incredibly valuable treasure.

Time is always coming. . . always going. . . & always here.
(I love that concept. . . faith-wise - it can be an eye-opening concept!)

And, as we mark another year where all the time within it is closing. . .
I find myself focusing on the blessings that I have. . .
. . . right here in front of me.

. . . & those that are to come.

I love all of Corinthians, chapter 13. . . 
. . . but the last verse always helps me focus again
on what is really important.

faith . . . hope . . love.

Kinda says it all.

Some of the blessings that I'm also counting this week 
are the wonderful times that I got to share with Dad over Christmas.

More than one once, we had a 'date'. 
He made sure to ask if he could take me out to lunch, or coffee. . . 
Here he is at one of our lunch dates. . .

(one thing you need to know, is that Dad is famous for talking while a photo is taken. . . I can't even count all the photos I have - & he's talking. . .



. . . so when I caught him talking in the photo again. . . he didn't believe me. . . 
. . . so I showed him the photo. . .



. . . then finally. . .
there's my cute 'date'.



For Christmas day, we kept to our tradition, & went to the movies.
. . . & we saw this. . .


I mention this because I rarely see movies. . . 
. . . & even more rarely recommend them. . .
But, I think this is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

I'm mentioning this because I have heard some negative comments about it,
& honestly, I'm lost as to why. (. . . & honestly, after having to watch the crassness & violence in so many of the upcoming movie previews. . . this film is tame.)

I had heard about 'War Horse' as it has been a play on London's West End (theatre district) for the past few years (& on Broadway, as well) , & it was garnering much attention over how powerful it was.

I knew that the story was first written as a children's fiction novel & as the author (Michael Morpurgo) was doing research for the book, he met local British WW1 veterans & learned so much more about the role of horses in the war. . . & then found a moving way to tell the story through a boy & his horse.

Because I had heard about the intensity of the play that was made from the book, I did some research about the movie before suggesting to Dad that this be the movie we saw on Christmas day. (Also, as my Dad gets older - the more emotional he is about his war (Korea) experiences. . . 
& I wanted to be sure it wouldn't be too much for him.)
(Also, I do agree that for young children. . . it could be a bit too much for them 
(it's rated PG-13).)

I found several articles about the movie. . . it's making. . . & the heart behind it, 
& if you're not sure about it. . . I think knowing the history behind the story is good to know, & a good place to start is here. 
(also, to be reminded that for the film - no horses were hurt.)
I do admit. . . it's not a "feel-good" movie. . .
. . . but it is an epic story. . . & an epic film.
. . . a journey of  joy & sorrow, of friendship & in the midst of what seems like a hopeless situation. . . of incredible hope.

Yes. . . you will probably feel a tear or two or more running down your cheek. . . 
. . . & when you combine this incredible story. . .  Steven Spielberg directing. . . & a musical score by John Williams. . . then you get emotions of all kinds. . .
. . . but for all the right reasons.

So. . . I can recommend this movie. . . this story. . . with all my heart.
It is definitely 'time well spent'.
(but. . . do go prepared with some tissues. . . but it's worth it!)

So. . . there, now you have another perspective on this film. (. . . & yes, I'm hoping it gets all the 'best picture' awards!). . .
(. . . oh, . . . by-the-way. . . Dad is still thanking me for picking this movie. . .)

Faith,

Hope,

Love.

. . . it doesn't get better than this.

Wishing you a wonderful start to this new year,
 & days filled with all the things that matter most.

Bren


Monday, December 26, 2011

… did you know. . .


This is one of my favorite songs . . . 
. . . for Christmas. . . or for all year. . 
. . . it's sincerity captures the truth & beauty of this wondrous HIStory we celebrate. . .

The version I am sharing is sung by the author of the words of this song,
Mark Lowry.
If you don't know about Mark, he is mostly known as a comedian. . . 
. . . but he was also a part of the Gaither Band
. . . & oh!. . .this man can sing!



(You can see Mark singing this song here, & can get a taste of his comedy here & his stand-up here. . . & my favorite (it's from the 80's - don't laugh at the hair styles!) here.)


Bren


Sunday, December 25, 2011

… breath of heaven


Several years ago, when I was teaching. . .
I was asked to teach a Bible class. . .
(Biblical/Theological Studies was my minor in college.)
. . . & it was always touching when the high school students that I taught
realized that Mary was only in her mid-teens 
when she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus.

This Christmas, my heart has been so touched. . .
. . . again & again. . .
over the incredible faith & trust of  Mary & especially of Joseph.

. . . & of how God chose such a situation to come to us. 

. . . & how blessed we are because of their faith & obedience.




. . . may the peacefulness & wonder of this day be yours.

Bren



Saturday, December 24, 2011

… a Christmas question

A little boy. . .

. . . in line to see Santa. . .

. . . looked up to his Aunt (who had taken him to see the jolly man in the red suit), 
& asked this question. . .

. . . & this song was born.

It falls right along with Isaiah 11:6. . . "and a little child shall lead them". . .



Wishing for you a blessed Christmas. . .
Filled with the blessings this incredible season has for all of us.

Merry Christmas!
(. . . & Happy Birthday Jesus!)

Bren


(to find this video - chick here)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

… a new buddy


 I hope that you are all having a great holiday season. . .
. . . with all the places to be . . . & people to see
. . . I know it can get kinda over-busy,
So, I hope that you are getting some. . .
. . .moments.

Moments to enjoy family,
 friends,
& the blessings of the season.

One of the highlights for me is meeting this sweet little girl. . .


 This is Olivia.
Olivia is my newest little grand-niece, 
& I got to meet her for the first time on Monday.
Dad & I flew out to San Diego, & I was able to (finally) give her 'her owl quilt'. 
(The quilt was designed for all the great-grandkids - & they all get one.)

Her Mommy (my niece, Kris) sent me this photo yesterday of little Olivia having a little bit of a "conversation" with the owl on her quilt, & I just had to share it.
When I saw it. . . I was reminded why I love quilting so much. . .
. . . this photo says it all.

Also, while we were in San Diego, right after I had given Olivia her quilt,
her 'big' brother, Gavin (who is 2 years old), 
ran to his room & brought out one of the quilts I have made for him 
(a 'reading' quilt made with Dr. Suess fabrics),
 & he promptly laid it out on the floor & demonstrated for us 
what his quilt was for. . . 
(all unprompted!).

. . . It warmed my heart so,
. . . & will be a moment that I remember for a very long time.

Wishing you some very special 'moments' this very special season!

Bren


Saturday, December 10, 2011

... such a busy time of the year!



. . . but really most all of the busy-ness that I've been experiencing 
has anything to do with the holidays!

. . . it's just been a busy, busy week!

. . . which means, I've been keeping myself out of trouble. . .

. . . I think.

Let's see what's made this week such a busy feeling one:

I made this little quilt for my newest little grand-niece, Olivia. 
I have had the pieces cut for well over a month. . . 
but I finally sat myself down to finish piecing & quilt, & bind it.
All the fabrics for this little quilt are from my 'Georgia Lou' fabric line. . .
. . . which is perfect, as Mom (Georgia Lou) was the owl lover & this design was made with her in mind. . . for the great-grandbabies that she never got to snuggle with herself.

Olivia will be getting her quilt on Monday. . . 
when Dad & I are flying out to San Diego to get to finally meet her!

Oh. . . by the way. .  this is the adorable little Olivia. . .



 Seriously. . . I could almost eat her up! Isn't she a sweetie-pie?!

So. . . for the rest of the busy-ness for the week. . .

I finally got my substitute teaching certificate. After teaching for 15 years, & then not teaching for the last 3½ years. . . I have been really missing the kids (I taught high school), . . . . so for the last few months, I have been going through the process of getting my sub certificate.

After some delays (I had to get finger-printed all over again. . . it had been so long!, & then waiting for transcripts. . . (again)), I finally had everything in hand & went down to the Dept. of Education office on Monday & while I figured I'd have to wait several weeks more. . . they handed me my certificate right then & there! Since I had it & would be driving right by the campus, I stopped by the school where I used to teach (. . . the only place I want to sub at). . . & dropped off a copy of the certificate. 
To my surprise, & got a call that evening to see if I would like to sub for one of the science teachers for the next two days. . . and, after shuffling a couple of things, & said yes & I jumped in!

. . . Also, this week was the week that I'm starting the process of updating all of my computer's operating systems. (ugh.) I'm a Mac girl & I have a desktop computer that lives in the office that I've had for a couple of years, & then I have my MacBook Pro laptop that I use for all of my designing. The laptop is 4 years old. . . what is now considered ancient for a laptop's lifespan - but my laptop is still working well & so I'm not going to replace it until I have to. But. . .

. . . because of the fact that my Macs are more than 2 years old. . . it means that the operating system I had (Leopard) is now way outdated - with the recent release of Apple's latest operating system, Lion. In fact, with it's release, I was then using an operating system that was two generations old. What that means is that any new updates for applications weren't working with my older system. (sigh)

So, I've had to update to Snow Leopard. . . & will have to update again to the new Lion by early next year. . . when I will need to update my iPhone. I'm still using my 3G model. . . & now it's 2 generations old as well. . . & is really slowing down.

. . . I'm really trying not to be bitter about having to do all of this. . .
. . . but I must admit that I'm not keen on the fact that I feel like I'm pretty much forced to keep upgrading (& re-paying) for something that was, honestly, working just fine for me. But. . . I do understand that with the faster & faster advancement of technology, this is going to continue to happen. So, for now, I'm just trying to grin & bear it.

To add to the busy-ness of the week, with the upgrading of my Mac operating system, suddenly I wasn't able to print my postage for shipping on the USPS website. I wasn't able to get in touch with anyone to help. . . so for several days - all shipping slowed down to having to hand print labels & then deal with the lines in the post office. (when I print from home, we simply can drop them off. . .) Thankfully, I was finally able to get in touch with someone online at USPS today (. . . & on a Saturday too!). . . & all is well now. (I needed to switch to a different web browser - as the USPS website hasn't been able to work with the updates that the new Mac operating systems have.) So, actually (& thankfully) it was an easy fix. . . it was just that I needed to 'talk' with a human!)

. . . Then there was my day at the quilt shop, & yesterday I hosted a quilting/stitching 'bee' at my home & we had such a fun day!

. . . Today, Dad & I got up & braved some Christmas shopping. Thankfully, the crowds weren't as bad as I feared. . . & we actually got everything done very quickly!

. . . & now for the rest of the day, I'm going to put on some Christmas tunes. . . get out my stitchery basket & light the cinnamon candle that I got this morning. . . & sit next to the Christmas tree & stitch away the afternoon & evening. 

Sounds like bliss to me!

Hope you have a bliss-full weekend & week ahead!

Bren

Friday, December 2, 2011

... some 'By My Hand' news



I'm so excited to let you know that Jennifer, at Shabby Fabrics, is offering 
'By My Hand' as a block-of-the-month!

Woo-hoo!

Jennifer has ordered all the same fabrics (Mrs. March's Basic) 
that I used for my quilt. . .
. . . & so you can make one exactly like it!

(. . . in fact, she has a bunch of wonderful other goodies that you can get to make your own . . . a wonderful thread set, &
 . . .even her own appliqué tools & tutorial set as well!
. . . love them!)

Shabby Fabrics will be starting the BOM in March '12 - but for those of you who want to get started before then, & want a kit, they will add a complete kit to the website for 'By My Hand' as soon as all the fabrics arrive. . . (within the month - hopefully!)

I've been getting a bunch of questions about whether 'By My Hand' will be kitted. . . & so I just wanted to let you know!

. . . oh! . . . also, Jennifer did a feature on me on her blog & has a wonderful giveaway for you so be sure to check it out here! . . . (& check out how cute(r) (is that possible?)  they made my little Bailey!)

Here on the home-front, I'm finishing up my little owl quilt ('Remember Whooo Loves You') for my newest little grand-niece. . . (whom I get to meet in a little over a week!) I have the top pieced & will be quilting it later today. (. . . I'd better get some bobbins wound!)

Before that, I'm meeting a cousin, who's in town from Oregon, for lunch.
. . . It's a chilly day. . . so I'm thinking a cup of nice warm soup!

Hope you have a wonderful day!
Bren

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