The year of faith

January 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Posted in country life, country living, dating, dogs, faith, family, knitting, Life, love, marriage, pets, photography, relationships, romance, snow, travel | 5 Comments
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Recently I was out and about the farm watching The Duke (my son’s English Bull Dog) frolicking in the snow.  I thought back to January 2006–I was single, living in the foothills just north of Los Angeles in a 15 x 15 square foot room I was renting from a very nice Australian lady.  My children, who I had raised as a single parent, were all grown up and living on their own.

Everything about my life had been turned upside down and inside out.  Making things worse,  it was over 90 degrees … it was January and over 90 degrees.  That was something I just could not abide.

I was sweltering in my little room, taking walks when I could on Hansen Dam, sometimes along a little trickle (barely discernible) of water known as “The LA River” that crawled along a through a little ravine near the place where I was living.  Weekends I lugged my painting supplies, easel, and a canvas from storage to a nearby park so I could paint … in the heat.

Now it is 2011 and here I am … married, living on a 50-acre farm in upstate New York with a 3,000 square foot farm house, a barn, a garage, woods, a wonderfully flowing river full of real water, and thick white snow as far as the eye can see.

It is January, and today we started our day at about -5 degrees with a fresh blanket of snow.

Fluffy, white, beautiful snow.  And I have a wonderful, loving husband who I love so very much.

Finally I am home.

Five years ago today I woke up not knowing this man or this place existed. Actually, that is not entirely true.

The truth is, a powerful spiritual event occurred in 1987 foretelling this entire scene. That spiritual event involved snow, in Los Angeles, on a day of miracles. From that point forward I knew that my husband did exist and that if I just lived my life and kept the faith the time would come when our paths would converge and we would know instinctively who we are to each other and we would join our lives together.

I knew he existed, but I didn’t have his exact coordinates and could not have described his face or told you his name.

It was five years ago today when I first received an email from him, introducing himself. I have told that part of the story here on my blog before.

He told me he was looking for his best friend, someone who complements him and vice versa … that the two would be greater together than they could have possibly been individually.

Though our story is one of great love and happiness, you might be surprised if you knew some of the trials and jarring realities we have been tested by in our few short years together. This has been, and is, quite a large experience.

We came into this marriage relying completely on a deep and abiding faith that we knew what we were doing and that what we were doing was blessed by God.

We met online somewhat by chance at the social networking site, FarmersOnly.com. He introduced himself by email on January 29, 2006. By late February we were seriously exploring all of the “what if’s” of a possible marriage. My early March we openly acknowledged the fact that were were, indeed, going to be married before the end of spring. On March 29 he flew me out to New York and we met face to face for the first time, already knowing we were going to marry. That evening he proposed to me and broke my rib in a big bear hug. A couple of nights later we had our first date.

On April 29, 2006 he was in Los Angeles, we got in my Ford Explorer, drove to Las Vegas and got married for $25 at a drive through window. Nine days later we arrived home at our beautiful farm.

Now, five years later, we are living a life we love. We have pulled through whatever has come our way, each time with a stronger bond than we had before, reassured that our faith in 2006 was not misguided. My daughter and our grand-daughter live with us, as do three dogs — a Weimaraner, an English Mastiff, and an English Bull Dog plus five barn cats. My son has a room here and visits when he can.

Much about our life has not turned out as we thought it would, but isn’t that the stuff of life anyway?

What we have done with it, now that is where our marriage really glistens. We are best friends, and we are much greater together than we ever would have been individually. What we have found and what we have made of what we were given, I wish on many others. I would love to know that many, many others have found and will find something of what we have.

The cool thing is, we’re just getting started …

~ firefly

Purple Heart – A Treasury at Etsy

January 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Posted in art, blogging, country life, faith, family, flowers, knitting, Life, love, photography, shopping, Valentine's Day | 3 Comments
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I know many of my readers have visited my Etsy shop, and some have purchased various knitting patterns, Biscuit Blanket kits, and other items I sell there.  Your support has always been welcome and is, in fact, treasured by me.

Many of you have also visited my son’s Etsy shop and commented on it, contacted him, purchased his wares, etc. and this too has been very welcome and appreciated — treasured.

A great way to help bring attention to a favorite Etsy shop or item is to create your own Treasury list there.  Until fairly recently I had not ever made a Treasury list, although my items have been featured in many others over time. The folks at Etsy have made it very user-friendly now so I have created a few will continue to do so. It is an opportunity for me to pay it forward, plus I enjoy doing it because it is like going shopping but without spending any money necessarily (although I did find something this morning that is so pretty and unusual I do plan on making one little purchase this morning).

This morning I created one I titled “Purple Heart“.  I don’t know any of these sellers, I just felt like searching around for things “purple” and these are some of the items I came across.  By creating this Treasury list I might be able to bring attention to a fellow Etsy seller and pay forward some of the warmth I have received from you all.

Hopefully you will take a few minutes to check out this Treasury list and enjoy window shopping through my eyes. meanwhile, if you have an Etsy store, I would love to hear about it, and perhaps some of my readers would as well.

Hope you have a beautiful Martin Luther King Day!

~firefly

Titles elude me at this moment

January 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Posted in art, Christmas, country life, country living, dogs, faith, family, fingerless gloves, free knitting patterns, hat patterns, knitting, Life, love, marriage, pets, photography, scarf patterns, shopping, snow, socks, travel, yarn | 11 Comments
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Happy New Year, dear reader. My year started out with both beauty and, unfortunately, a bit of pain. Somehow I managed to hurt my back or shoulder or something between Christmas and New Year’s. For about two weeks I have been in and out of some very unpleasant pain, unable to write … or knit … or paint. Sigh.

However, I am back now and feeling good again. We are enjoying a most lovely day of snow today, as are many people in the country. It started snowing late yesterday and has not stopped since. I was out early this morning with The Duke (my son’s English Bull Dog) and we both enjoyed the cold stinging snow blowing in our faces and the beautiful scene of snow blankets on everything in the outdoor world.

This photograph was actually shot on the weekend by my dear husband — so, please use your imagination to add in deeper snow on the ground, flamboyant drifts round the bottoms of the trees, and heavy, thick snow falling. Oh, and the snow is up higher than The Duke’s belly, and I have my Lavender Scarf wrapped round my Mad Bomber hat (I love my Mad Bomber hat), and very warm mittens on my hands. There, you see … you have a great imagination!

While I was still enjoying my back pain a couple of dear friends invited us to go with them to the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens for their annual poinsettia show.

The building that houses the gardens is a historical masterpiece and well worth reading up on. It was striking to see it in the snow, with a gray-sky backdrop, bedecked in huge evergreen wreaths for the holidays.

While the poinsettia display was lush and spectacular, I was even more impressed by their bountiful collection of orchids. I focused my camera lens on the orchids much more than on poinsettias, and will share a few of those shots today and more next time I blog.

In fact, I will be using some of these photographs for drawings and paintings in colored pencil, watercolor, and oils over time.

Equally impressive to me was the succulent collection … oh my goodness. There were a great many varieties of healthy, thriving, large and sometimes humorously shaped and named species. It reminded me of my many years living in the Southwest, traveling through the deserts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada.

If you entered my great big, end of the year giveaway, the drawing was held on Friday, January 7, 2011 and the winners were all alerted via email. The winners were Rita T. (Grand Prize), Margaret F. (First Prize) Joan C. (Second Prize), Patti B. (Third Prize).

I had a wonderful time giving away patterns, prints, etc. this holiday season. I wish I could afford to give prizes away to each and every one of you, and make each reader a winner, because I know it makes the receiver of the winnings feel very special to be one of the lucky ones. With all of the goodies I sent to Wendy at WendyKnits for her giveaway, and the three giveaways I held on my blog this year I was at least able to add to the happiness of a good number of people.

For those of you who viewed my son’s new Etsy store last month and left comments, thank you so much. Your feedback was very encouraging to him and helpful as well. His first month in business has gone well, and he has already released quite a number of new posters and signs. If you aren’t familiar with him yet, his store is Flying Junction and he makes and sells subway signs and bus scrolls that he hand letters with meticulous detail and prints on archival paper and canvas in a variety of sizes.

This week he released a set of three vintage-look NY subway signs in the 11″ x 17″ size at an attractive package price. You can also order custom subway signs, bus scrolls and tram scrolls from a variety of cities in the U.S. and abroad. The largest size, I think, is 20″ x 60″ (on canvas). I love his custom destination posters because you can have him create a poster that represents the places you have been, or hope to go to one day. I’m planning on having him create one for me featuring the most meaningful places I have lived and worked, with our farm here as the “End of the Line”. Hopefully 60″ long will be tall enough!

It would also be a cool gift idea for someone you love who has plans to travel, especially a young person who has the world and their whole life ahead of them. Maybe someone just setting out for college or out into the work force, with dreams and goals, places to go and people to meet.

If you haven’t been to his Etsy shop yet, grab a cuppa something tasty and go have a look …

In knitting news, I have this little sample to show of a pair of two-toned fingerless gloves I am designing and knitting for someone very special in my life. Now that I am feeling better, I will be working on them again and finishing them up in the next few days.

For Christmas my daughter and I gave our two dear friends, Anita and Debbie T., each one of my Biscuit Blanket kits as well as a promise to spend two evenings in early winter knitting with them. Debbie has been wanting to expand her knitting skills and Anita has wanted to get together and knit for quite some time, we just haven’t ever made it happen until now. Tomorrow night will be our first knitting evening, and we are all looking forward to it so much.

Another friend of mine from church told me she received a pair of handknit socks from a cousin this Christmas, and as a result made a new year’s resolution to learn to knit this year. She said the most precious thing, that she treasures that pair of socks so much that she cannot bear to wear them. Instead, she carries them around in her purse showing them to everyone she knows.

When she was telling me about this, her eyes were aglow with admiration and joy and I just had to think about all of the knitters out there and the fact that generosity and giving is a hallmark of our craft.

Take a minute, if you are a knitter, and think about how many knitters there are around the world and then multiply that by some number that seems reasonable to predict how many hand knit gifts will be made this year, and then think about the people who receive those gifts and their happiness. It is a beautiful thought, isn’t it?

Here’s to a year of beautiful knitting that knocks the socks off of the recipients of the millions of hand knit gifts that will be presented throughout the world over the course of the next twelve months!

Have a beautiful day, wherever you are!

~firefly

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