Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September News

Greetings from NW Pennsylvania, the new frontier for this girl.

The day of the eclipse I went out back to sit on the deck. When I looked up I found this stunning display of patchwork. It was mesmerizing. I grabbed my camera to get this snap. What a lovely display of clouds. Don't know if it actually has a name for it, but I loved looking at.

Charms.  Jelly Rolls. Layer Cakes. Fat Eighth Quarters. Fat Quarter Bundle. The new terms I've learned as I become acquainted with making quilts. Those names are how bundles of fabric are sold for quilt making. I've often seen these bundles in stores, but didn't really think much about them.

Quilting made easy. There's anywhere from 20 to 60 pieces of fabric in these bundles, all different designs but in similar shades, to make quilts. And now I've purchased some.

This is my very first created quilt project! I wanted to make a decorative piece out of the Hope fabric I purchased years ago from the Longaberger Company. My friend, Gail, helped me make many small pillows to give to those going through cancer treatments with this material. And I hope to make many more. I am so pleased with my first creation! A sales woman at the quilt shop just down the road helped me pick out the other two colors. A few little mistakes here and there, but overall I'm very happy with this first creation.

In my last post I mentioned the Quilt Ladies at my church, and the inspiration I've received as I helped with the quilt blankets. Two of the ladies sew the squares together, and another lady puts the batting, backing and trim on the blankets. At the gathering we all tie knots to help keep the batting in place. I've now been asked to help with attaching the batting, backing and trim work. It's nice to be needed

One of the quilt ladies tying knots to a blanket, and a new friendly acquaintance!

Tying knots doesn't sound exciting? Well, maybe not, but it was enough to inspire me to discover a new creative outlet, and give me time with other ladies. And I desperately needed that.

One Saturday morning I ventured farther north to the southern tip of the Alleghany National Forest on my early morning drive. A new road to explore through forestland with the occasional house and cabins. Many are hunting cabins and vacant. Quiet roads, no vehicles. Only deer, rabbit and squirrel were out and about. And I'm sure there were a bear or two that I didn't see.

I love this snap I got at sunrise. The sky was beautiful that morning, and having the deer at the tree was special.

I've enjoyed driving in the Alleghany National Forest and hope to spend many more hours on the roads. One of the best things about my new home is the driving around. There just isn't any traffic. I can drive an hour or two without one car coming up behind me. And most of the time when a car does come up behind, they stay a reasonable distance away.

I like the Joe Pye Weed that's everywhere along the roadside.

Wildflowers bloom all over. This snap is of the Clarion River in Clear Creek State Park. I've loved the summer wildflowers in the area.

I spotted the first leaves changing the last week of August, both on the road and in the back yard. It is a welcome sight to see. Sweatshirts are already out. I anticipate the beauty yet to come.

The summer has found a family of deer who visit our back yard for corn. I was able to watch two fawn with the 4 to 6 doe that come around. It was good to see them.

I'm excited about my next quilt project I'm creating out of the fabric below. I was hoping to make a trip to Lancaster to my favorite quilt shop, but have decided to try my hand in designing and sewing. This next one is going to be 40 x 40, a bite bigger than my first created attempt. All squares at this point. Triangles and other designs will come much later when I'm more experienced at making quilts.

I'm experiencing a new practice at our new church home. A Prayer and Praise book is put out each Sunday morning for the fellowship to write down prayer requests and praises. During the worship service, about 10 minutes or so is given to reading the entries in the book and taking requests from the floor. I'd never experienced this during a Sunday morning worship service, but have come to appreciate the personal touch of including all member's needs and praises. A woman writes down each request, and at the end of this time she prays for everything that was mentioned. It is a very personal touch. I like that.

I have been given the responsibility of taking the Prayer and Praise book home and typing up the requests and sending them to the two pastors and the elders on Monday mornings. Just one little duty that helps me fit into the new church.

I am so thankful the tide has turned, and I'm feeling accepted and hopeful. It's not an easy thing to leave all your friends, support, church, surroundings and where you've lived for all your life (up to this point of course).

In the last week I've learned that two friends will be moving to new frontiers. I can thankfully say to them, "You'll Survive!"

"But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more."
Psalm 71:14

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A New Season

 I have fulfilled one of my wishes. I've now seen two sightings of bear and was fortunate to get this snap of the second one. The first bear I saw was in the spring on an old hunting road. A mother and two cubs.
Summer is ending. I like summers in NW PA. Most mornings were cool and refreshing. We never reached the 90s, and humidity was seldom.

It's was a summer of pondering about my new life in this new land. It is different, and I've had to readjust and rethink many things. After six months of struggling I now have a refreshed spirit.

It was a joy to find doe and two fawn one early morning recently. One fawn stayed near the road and I was able to get this snap. It was the same morning I got the bear snap. What a thrill!

This blog has been an ongoing weekly journey where I have shared my thoughts and the words of others since my first post on February 19, 2009. As a lover of photography, I've also shared the pictures I've taken of God's marvelous creation. It has been an interesting and fulfilling venture.

I've posted over 400 posts over the eight year experience, and I feel the need to change the number of posts I create. I won't be creating a weekly post anymore. I'm going to strive for once a month.

This road caught my eye one morning and invited me to travel its path. Was a refreshing stroll along a quiet lane in the joy of early morning.

My energy is now going to a new adventure. I've been drawn back to a creative outlet from my earlier years . . . sewing.The desire to make quilted blankets, and pillows of hope to give to others is where I'm being led. I've loved and admired quilts from afar, and most recently have been given a small taste of creating them myself.

My church has a ministry called "Quilt Ladies" and I've been pleased to attend. Quilt blankets are created and given to various nursing homes, children's ministries and sent overseas. So I purchased a sewing machine and I'm learning the skill once again.

 My first sewn seam in over 30 years!

I'm looking at the renewal of long ago sewing skills and learning new steps in this field. It seems like an overwhelming task to undertake, but I plan to be slow and steady. My life Scripture verse is ". . . he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25) I've accomplished that through the written word, both on this blog and the ministry of writing encouraging notes to others. Now I hope to accomplish this through the making of blankets and pillows to give to others to encourage their hearts.

I've seen an amazing number of turkeys driving around. What a delight to come across this family in the early morning. It was the second time I enjoyed seeing baby turkeys. I had to look up and find out what baby turkeys are called: poult or turkeyling.

Thank you for being a faithful friend to me as I've shared from my heart each week. There are many posts for you to reread that were written to encourage your heart and bring a smile to your day. I hope you will visit frequently to refresh your soul.

Thank you also for the many encouraging remarks you've shared. They truly blessed my heart.

 I came around a bend one morning and was delighted to see this display of the sunrise. My early morning drives refresh and always delight. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

This Season's Thrill

This will be my last blog post for awhile. I will be taking a summer vacation, maybe posting a few readings every so often. I will be leaving you with "this season's thrill" of the less than three day old newborn fawn I got to photograph.

About 15 minutes from us in Cook's Forest there is the Double Diamond Deer Ranch. It houses three generations of deer, a museum of mounted taxidermy called "Buck Barn," a gift shop and some play areas for children.. You can walk around their fields and enjoy seeing deer up close and personal.

What's that lying in the tall grass? What every photographer hopes to come upon in his look for fawn. The first time I walked around the corral, I didn't see them. But the second time I found them.

Up close and personal I found Parker and Peggy Ann resting after some nursing.

I had visited that morning, but the fawn had just finished nursing and were down for rest and a good snooze. When I came back later that afternoon, I found them in the tall grass together relaxing.

The owner took pity on me and picked the fawn up so I could meet them and photograph them.

This has to be my favorite snap. Peggy Ann giving kisses to Mommy. You can see her pink tongue.

Looks like a good time to nurse.

I watched them for an hour and so enjoyed watching them around Momma and sometimes going off together.

The Buck Barn was loaded with exhibits. Bear, Caribou, moose, many small animals and lots of deer.

And these were some of the deer in the field.

They're posing. Must have heard something.

But, of course, my eyes were only for those two baby fawn. I got to pet both of them and see them up close and personal.

 This will be a thrill I will never forget. I hope you enjoyed seeing these two cuties.

Tummy time!

Yesterday morning I was out early and found some "wild" fawn. This is always a thrill too!

Enjoy your summer. Until next time . . . God's blessings to you.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Routine and Refresh

Was out and about Tuesday morning and saw doe and fawn three different times. Only got to snap one doe and fawn. A long way off in a field. Isn't great, but I can see it! So tiny. I'll keep trucking!

"The routine of life is like wrestling with a grizzly bear. You don't give up when you're tired. You give up when the grizzly bear is tired." Unknown

Yes, life can get very routine. Same old same old. Day after day. And it gets very tiring.

Thomas Kinkade said, "If I want my life to resemble a harmonious sunrise scene . . . I need to decide which activities are meaningful and important to me and invest the most significant aspects of my time and energy in these. I'm not talking about my work and responsibilities here. Just as important to my balanced life are adequate rest, healthful nutrition, regular exercise, and leisure activities that refresh and renew me." "Lightpost for Living"

In the routine of our day, there must be time to refresh ourselves. Routine can get very boring. And yet, routine is what most of us live with. A structured life is a productive life. Or so I've found.

But Carol gets very dull if I don't allow myself some time to refresh. Just a few minutes here and there to let my mind drift from the daily grind and consider other things. Like taking a walk outside with the girls and enjoying nature. Stopping to read a chapter or two in a good book. Calling a friend and chatting a few minutes. Writing a few lines to encourage another. Find my camera and look for a scene that refreshes my heart. Baking chocolate chip cookies. Find a fawn to snap!

What refreshes you? The sunrise? A bike ride? Sitting at an easel and drawing? Playing the piano? Washing clothes? Playing jacks with a child? Closing your eyes and listening to your favorite song? Talking to God?

Do you have a small room or alcove to go and be alone? Walking a city block among the crowd? Think?

Going after the cows. "I have never lost my childhood delight in going after the cows. I still slip from other things for the sake of the walk through the pastures, down along the creek and over the hill to the farthest corner where the cows are usually found. Many a time, instead of me finding the cows, on their journey home, un-urged, found me and took me home with them." Laura Ingalls Wilder

"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." Ovid (43b.c.-a.d. 17)

Yes, life can get very routine. Don't forget to take a few minutes and refresh yourself.

Double Diamond Deer Ranch have two fawn, born on Monday. I'll be headed there Wednesday morning to get my own snaps of the girl and boy. Love these snaps that they posted on their Facebook page!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Another One Checked Off

Many of you saw this picture of the bear and two cubs that I posted on Facebook last week. It was a magical morning driving around first light and come across a bear. It was one of my wishes before I die.

Now I know most people call the list of  things they want to do before they die a bucket list. Because of the 2007 movie The Bucket List, starting Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, people started using that expression themselves. Merriam-Webster says "a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying." Bucket List is now tossed around because people somehow relate to it.

I don't. The expression doesn't do anything for me. We never heard it in the 20th century, then one day in the 21st century everyone is using it. It will always be "Wish List" to me.

I have more things crossed off my Wish List than I have remaining to do.

I did see a bear about 6 years ago in VA. Too far away and no picture. So I'm super excited to have seen this mama and her cubs. At least I have a recognizable picture to look at. Not great, but I know what they are.

It may seem like a dumb or crazy thing to wish for, but if you know me you know that I love animals, especially baby animals. And, of course, who hasn't had their own little teddy bear that meant the world to them. That's my teddy bear sitting with all my friends. I can make out Fabian on the lamp shade.

I enjoyed watching the DVD Knut about an orphaned polar bear and a Berlin zookeeper who took him under his wings. And I love looking through my book Grizzly: The Bears of Greater Yellowstone. I will never have the opportunity to take pictures of bears in the wild like I enjoy looking at.

So I now find myself in the wilds of Pennsylvania, bear, deer and turkey country. Elk aren't far away, about 1 1/2 hours. Not sure which back road I'll be taking next, but who knows what I may find to take a picture of. More bears I hope.

This past Monday morning I saw my first PA fawn. They are up and moving around. This doe and fawn stepped about 10 feet into the woods as I drove by. Thankfully they turned around so I could get this snap of both of them looking at me.

Can't wait for my next drive around!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Little Pencil

"Great works do not always lie in our way, but every moment we may do little ones excellently, that is, with great love." Saint Francis of Sales, 1567-1622

                     There are now four little eggs in the Robin's nest in the Rhododendron bush.

Malcolm Muggeridge writes about a challenge that Mother Teresa wrote to him: "Now let us do something beautiful for God."

"Very often I would feel like a little pencil in God's hand," she said. "He does the writing; he does the thinking; he does the movement--I have only to be a pencil and nothing else."

"A pencil," Muggeridge wrote. "Just a little pencil . . . When we are little pencils in God's hands, we see his work appear in our circumstances."

Mom was keeping a watchful eye on me.

What is your little pencil? It may be your mouth as it teaches Sunday School. It may be your hands as you drive the school bus. It may be your feet as you deliver the mail.

We all have the capability to do something beautiful for God. "I love the idea of being simply a little "pencil" in your hand. Write with me what you desire."

Muggeridge found the phrase enchanting, with a sparkle and gaiety. "Do something beautiful for God." That is why we're here. Why we've given our life to Christ. Why we have decided to serve Him.

We put up two hummingbird feeders this week. We have four coming around to drink. This is a favorite perch one of them flies too .

I actually use a little pencil. Well, a little pen. But your little pencil can be anything. It's your life. Do something beautiful for God.

This butterfly was enjoying the lovely flowers of the Rhododendron bush.

"All service ranks the same with God." Robert Browning, 1812-1889