Friday, September 22, 2017

Catching up....

.....the blessed busyness (and business) of life! This year has absolutely flown by in my estimation. I blinked and fall was upon us. Sort of. Here in the Mitten, we've been "enjoying" unseasonably warm days ----- this week alone the mercury has hit 90 thrice and the weather folks tell us to expect temperatures to stay that way through mid-week next. Just in time for Harvest Festival, since nothing says fall like build-a-scarecrow and 90% humidity.  {wink}

I was reminded this morning by the words of God through Solomon that to everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven, and that God makes everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:1-12). This year has certainly proved up in that regard.

There were times to love----------------can't believe it's been 10 years! Life with this dear one is a welcomed adventure. 

Times to weep and mourn----------------letting go of this crazy, zany pup were especially difficult and I miss her so very much. Gracie Lou Freebush, you were one of a kind!

There were times to keep and embrace-----------------children should never grow up, and some things never grow old.  {grin}  The heart of this "anut" is truly blessed by these good gifts!

And there were times to heal, laugh, and dance! Have I mentioned how much I love this man and how thankful I am to be passing through this life with him by my side? Oh dear one, how much you mean to me!

God is certainly "making a work from beginning to end" and I have set my heart on Him. I recognize that there is much anger, hurt, distress, and fear in our world today, yet in the midst of tragedy, there is a great triumph of spirit ------- and despite arguments to the contrary, I choose to see these moments as gifts from God. He is my hope, He is my everlasting peace, He is my greatest joy. Because of Him, I am able to walk through today, and trust that tomorrow is in His hands. "Before the mountains were born, or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God" (Psalm 90:2).

Thursday, December 22, 2016

It's beginning to look....

....a lot like Christmas in our neck o' the woods! I started doing gingerbread houses with my brother's oldest daughter, Ella, when she was 4 years old ---- can't believe how much she's grown and the two other munchkins who've come along in the years since. Love these kiddos to the moon and back! They sure do brighten this auntie's day...

Thankful for family. Thankful for friends. Thankful for memories. Thankful for peace and joy. Thankful for Christ. To us, that is what this season is about! It doesn't hurt that we like to have fun, too!  {grin}

"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

"Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:10-14

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 

"Then Jesus cried out and said, 'He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.' " John 12:44-46

Looking to the Light!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Happy Centennial, NPS!

What a year! 2016 marks the 100th Anniversary for the National Parks System and there are so many ways you can get in on the celebration... The D and I along with my parents wandered west in May to visit several parks, including Zion, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Chaco, the Great Sand Dunes, and Colorado National Monument. Lots and lots of hiking miles under our belt with that particular combination.  {grin} 

As a quilter, my interest was teased a bit by the NPS quilt blocks at each visitor center, but I'm more of a geological marker souvenir coin collector these days. Oh, and books. Don't get me started on how many books I brought home... I don't usually do clubs or kits or patterns as a rule, but when I saw The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's National Parks Birthday Club featured on the Fresh Lemons blog, I bit. [Picture courtesy of the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery]

Every stitch pattern I've come across that is cute and trendy invariably leads me back to the Frosted Pumpkin. It's definitely my style, if I were a cross-stitcher, which I'm not.  {wink}  But I don't plan to let that stop me! Once upon a time I wasn't a quilter either...  {grin}  I am anxiously awaiting the first pattern release this Thursday. Each month till November I'll get another piece of the puzzle to stitch up. Which I think it probably a good thing since I haven't cross-stitched since I was 8. My grandpa gave me my first (and only) kitted pattern ---- a balloon-holding penguin. (Ah, the 80s...) Thankfully it was fairly basic and color-coded 'cause it took me forever! {grin}  I'm stitching up this nod to the National Parks as a gift for my mom. She's been my fearless tour guide for over 35 years and I love her heaps and bunches! It's but a drop in the bucket when I think about all the time over the years that she's devoted to mapping our routes, smearing cream cheese on Ritz crackers, and practicing her bear spray quick-draw in the backyard because you just never know....  Thanks, mom ---- you are definitely one in a million and one of God's "good gifts" to me!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Beginner's luck...

...that's my story and I'm sticking to it! First trip out for Drewbies on the ol' Mexican train and boy howdy, did he ever wipe the floor with me --- he's such a gracious winner, too...  {grin}  I just can't seem to beat this game. What's the strategy? No matter how far out I plan my train, I never seem to pull off a win. My tally of triumphs, you ask? One game in two years... I know, right? But I still enjoy playing it and always come back for more....pain. It's a disease, I tell you!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Today's the day....

...for celebrating --- at least for me it is! I am digging this sometime-in-my-third decade birthday and embracing the path God has laid. D and I are marking the day a few time zones apart, but such is life. He left Sunday afternoon for a business trip to Amsterdam and flew into Warsaw, Poland yesterday evening. I'm told that there are others like me who leave their Christmas trees up well into January. Who knew??  {wink}  In addition to being my birthday, today also marks 10 years since my dear one proposed to me, and after a bit of banter back and forth, I gave in.  {grin}  My D is certainly a joy and a true gift from the Lord. I love him very much and wish him a super Happy V Day! Enjoy the celebration --- me and Jimmy Rockford sure are going to miss you...

p.s. My honey UPS'ed me the entire Rockford Files series to keep me company this week. We have a 'tradition' of celebrating the "7 Days of V" the week leading up to my birthday. Well, I have the tradition, and he grumbles along with me. Finding joy in the ordinary!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Making memories....

...and not a stitch in sight! I haven't touched my sewing machine in over a month, but I sure have been keeping myself occupied in other ventures. I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a New Year rich in Christ's presence! We are enjoying the holiday season with family and friends ---- here's a sneak peek at what's been doing up in our neck of the woods:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving thanks...

"In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:18) Our aim at the Hendrickson household is to gather with a grateful heart, both at Thanksgiving and throughout the year. I am continually amazed by the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord Jesus, despite the cultural tide that seems bent on changing the shoreline. I am convinced that even in these turbulent times of moral shifting, God is still on His throne and nothing is outside His control. 

As a believer, I need to be willing to stand for what is godly, even when doing so causes me personal loss or reproach. He calls us to holiness, to be set apart and separated for Him. Holy living, not perfect living --- living in Christ's grace each day and recognizing my own weakness. It's not easy to pursue a life of transformation when so many are clamoring for everything and anything but that reality. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus, even if it means I will suffer for following Him. That's not pleasant to say, and many days I am afraid of the fallout --- I am bothered by the picture painted of Christianity in our culture at large. It is so different from the faith I experience and yet I believe I can understand why many see it the way they do (Rom. 1:18-32). Jesus calls us to live right-side-up in an upside-down world, and so to that end I am fixing my eyes on Him!

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

Monday, June 29, 2015

Holy, Holy, Holy!

The words of this hymn were penned by Reginald Heber in 1826 for Trinity Sunday while he was serving as Vicar of Hodnet in Shropshire, England. He died unexpectedly the same year and his wife found the words among his personal affects. It's been on my heart this morning...
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!

"And blessed be His glorious name forever;
And may the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen, and Amen." Psalm 72:19

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just came across a super neat resource today! Founded by Terri Ann of the blog, Childlike Fascination, the site catalogs ongoing and past Quiltalongs, Mystery Quilts, Block-of-the-Month series, and daily link parties. Terri Ann also writes a pretty interesting blog in conjunction with the site --- I'll be visiting regularly. Oh, and maybe sign up for the newsletter.

What a nifty idea!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Silence is Golden...

...or maybe Grade B?  {grin}

For several years now my younger brother and I have flirted with the idea of tapping the giant sugar maples in the woods around our parents' home. At the end of the season last year, I even picked up a few old school-style spiles on clearance at our local farm store in preparation. I can't say what exactly pushed us over the edge this year, but we dove in headfirst and haven't looked back! It's been a nifty process and we can't help but cheer at the wonder of the creation around us. Our Heavenly Father's majestic design is plain for all to see!

“Ever since the creation of the world His eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things He has made. So [we] are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

We've no idea what 'grade' our syrup is --- only that is sweet, tasty, and utterly beautiful in the eye of the beholder, namely, us. It had better be --- it sure does take a whole lot of work!  {grin}  We started our adventure by going to the "Backyard Sugaring" class offered at Blanford Nature Center in Grand Rapids. That in itself was a treat! Tree identification, the science behind the "Big Thaw," and a tour of the Sugar Shack had us chomping at the bit to get started. We're two weeks into our season and have enjoyed the trial and error of sugaring. It's become a real family affair!

We're using a system of plastic spiles, tubing, and covered 5 gallon buckets for sap collection. We have a total of 12 trees tapped (my older brother secured the permission of several of his neighbors to tap their sugar maples, too!) and our sap is registering around 4% sugar content on the hydrometer. Eek! It sure does make for tasty syrup...

The boiling process began with a propane burner and large kettle, with an ingenious little 'drip can' that my mom rigged up comprised of a quart-size tin can with a hole punched in the bottom and hung on the rim of pot with a coat hanger. Yeah, she MacGuyver'ed it --- my mom's cool that way...  {grin}  She calibrated her can so it would drip a quart of sap into the boiling pot every 15 minutes. She said syrup making is perfect for people who have short attention spans!  {wink}

My dad and older brother got a little impatient, so they went ahead and ordered an evaporator! It cuts down significantly on the pre-syrup boil and it's a little easier to skim the sugar scum off, too. Our largest sap collection on any one day was 32 gallons. That's a lot of sap to keep below 40 degrees!  {grin}

We've got about a week to go on our sap collecting before the weather warms up too much here in West Michigan. I must say that this is the most I've enjoyed the month of March in a very long time! I'm usually mourning the passing of winter and glaring at the fury of "March Madness" taking over my regularly scheduled TV programming.  {wink}  Syrup making will definitely make this time of year more 'shiny' in my estimation.