Last evening at church, our pastor shared a very encouraging message. I hope to share more about it later on, but he ended the message with just a simple exhortation that -- no matter what difficulty may be going on in our lives -- we need to take our eyes off the circumstances, take our eyes off ourselves, and fix our eyes on the Lord, who is in control of our situation and has a plan and purpose for all that He allows. Simple? Yes, but not so easy to put into practice sometimes. I find that often I can take my eyes off the circumstances and I can fix them on God, but taking my eyes off myself (how I feel, how tired I am, etc.) is a lot harder to do.
And so I have been pondering our pastor's exhortation ever since, and am asking God to help me make this a reality in my life: to help me to look at Him, and not at the circumstances or myself. So, this morning I headed out to do some grocery shopping. As I approached the car, the first thing I saw was a fallen leaf on the driveway. Yes, yes, that's what leaves do this time of year, but this was special. It was ... plaid. The scan doesn't really do it justice, but the dark areas are plain dark maroon, while the intersecting "plaid" areas are multicolored red, yellow, and green. I have never seen a leaf like this one.
I've noticed, especially this year, that often the first leaves to fall are multicolored. I shared some of those in an earlier post. And here are a couple more that I spotted this morning. Aren't they pretty?
But this plaid, or maybe one would say argyle, leaf just caught my eye.
And my very first thought was of our all-wise, all-powerful, incredibly imaginative Creator. Wow! And I had just asked Him to help me keep my eyes fixed on Him and to remind me of His power and sovereignty in my life and in our world. What a neat way He picked to remind me!
A family member's request for a new barley bag resulted in me making two new ones. They came out well and I love the prints that I had on hand to use. I most often use plaids, but this time I had prints so decided to use them as they were for girls.
Even though I've made many barley bags (nearly all for family) and have shared about them here at my kitchen table before, I must note that my post How to Make Barley Hot Packs, first posted in 2008, continues to be one of the most-read posts on the blog. So I guess people are still interested in making them!
If you have never made a barley (or rice, or flax) bag, they are very simple to make and make nice gifts. They are exceedingly helpful for aches and pains, cramps, labor, or just warming up on a cold winter night.
Just a quick update to show my progress! Haven't had much time yet in September to work on this, but made quite a bit of progress in August. Still hoping to finish by December ... The lettering is all cross stitch and is very quick and easy. In the upper right corner there will be a little vignette of a fireplace, as well. There's only a tiny amount of backstitching involved in this sampler, so that will be simple and quick too.
Time to set goals for a new month! Here are some of my September goals:
SEPTEMBER GOALS: * Read through the September portion of the One-Year Devotional Bible. * Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study -- I've already finished the daily Bible study, just need to finish answering the questions * Read 4 chapters in The Power of a Godly Grandparent * Continue to implement some of the ideas from the above book * Finish re-reading Say Goodbye to Survival Mode * Begin to implement some of the ideas and strategies from the above book * Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones. * Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook * Keep up with my Sunday School study -- The Heart of a Woman Who Prays * Exercise or walk at least 20 times. * Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night. * Limit sugar. * Drink enough water each day. * Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week. * Go to a ladies' retreat * Post in both of my blogs as often as possible * Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently * Spend several hours updating my A-store. * Do research for setting up an Etsy shop (I've already joined Etsy) * Make at least a dozen items for sale at craft fairs. * Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family. * Clean church and set up for potluck meal * Make gift tags from last year's Christmas cards. * Make 2 barley bag hot packs * Order materials for grandkids' homemade Christmas gifts * Plan and complete several handcrafted gifts for September and November birthdays. * Continue trying to help and encourage my elderly dad * Sort out and declutter my dad's basement
* Have friends over for a meal
SEPTEMBER'S HEALTHY HABIT: Nurture creativity
WORD FOR 2014: BALANCE
And now let's review and see how August went:
AUGUST GOALS: * Read through the August portion of the One-Year Devotional Bible -- DONE! *
Finish questions for You Are Loved summer Bible study -- I've
already finished the daily Bible study, just need to finish answering
the questions -- not done, although I'm still working on it * Read 4 chapters in The Power of a Godly Grandparent -- not done * Continue to implement some of the ideas from the above book -- not done * Finish re-reading Say Goodbye to Survival Mode -- not done * Begin to implement some of the ideas and strategies from the above book -- not done * Memorize at least 4 Bible verses and review some older ones -- just reviewed older ones; haven't learned the new ones I planned to, sadly.
* Add 4 pages to my "What Do I Know About My God?" Scripture notebook -- DONE! * Keep up with my Sunday School study -- The Heart of a Woman Who Prays -- DONE! * Exercise or walk at least 20 times -- think I managed about 10 or 12 times * Get to bed by 9:45 pm each night -- not done
* Limit sugar -- not done
* Drink enough water each day -- not done * Keep up with Kelly's missions in homemaking zones of the week -- not done, though I have given it a good try * Take an overnight getaway with my husband -- DONE! * Post in both of my blogs as often as possible -- DONE! (although it wasn't as often as I'd have liked) * Reduce grocery bill by $5 per week consistently -- not done * Spend several hours updating my A-store -- not done * Do research for setting up an Etsy shop (I've already joined Etsy) -- not done * Make at least a dozen items for sale at craft fairs -- not done; I'm afraid it's not happening this year!
* Write at least 4 encouraging notes to friends and family -- DONE!
* Get together with old friends visiting from out of state -- DONE! (Managed this with two sets of friends!)
* Hopefully purchase a new computer -- DONE! * Clean church and set up for potluck meal -- DONE! * Make gift tags from last year's Christmas cards. -- not done * Plan and complete several handcrafted gifts for August-September birthdays -- not done * Sort out and declutter my dad's basement -- still working on this
* Get my eyes tested -- DONE!
As you can see, life has taken a very busy turn for me. Only the Lord knows what September will bring, but I do know He would have me to take the important step of setting goals and that He will help me to accomplish that which is truly needful.
I live in scenic northern New England with my handsome husband. We're empty-nesters with a bunch of adorable grandchildren. We love (tent) camping and traveling, but don't get away as often as we'd like to.