I have created a new site to showcase some of my crafts, and sell them online. I hope you will all at least have a look at what I have there, and perhaps comment. Suggestions are always welcome.The address is http://www.papertrailsandotherdiversions.yolasite.com
I must admit that I’m a thinker (I suppose that is why I like my peace and quiet so much). I muse endlessly over things that happen in my life – why did that happen,could I have handled it better, should I have done something different, was it meant to teach me something.Over the last 6 months or so, my husband, who is a long-term diabetic, started having some really bad low bloodsugars, especially during the early hours of the morning, and he would become semi-comatose. This is really not something to happen to those who are faint-hearted or half asleep, when you have to make quick decisions that will affect the health of your nearest-and-dearest. Because he is a long-term diabetic, and I know that low blood-sugars are part of this, I always have fruit juice and normal sweets and biscuits available in the house, but when they’re semi-comatose (and really testy), it’s hard to get something solid down their throats. I began to sleep very lightly, afraid that something would happen to him during the night and I wouldn’t be able to help him quickly, that the situation would progress beyond my ability to help him. Fortunately, the night time events have been sorted out to a large extent, but he’s now having a lot during the day. I have thought long and hard about what is going on. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of what is happening in all of our lives, all of the time. When we’re young-marrieds, our lives are wrapped up in our families, keeping our households running,seeing that everyone has everything they need. We become (mom and dad) like ships that pass in the night, as we run around trying to be the perfect family.And when the kids are grown up and leave the nest, and we’re on our own again, just the two of us, we are like strangers, and this is when a lot of marriages break up. A very wise friend of mine once said that the relationship between the husband a wife is the primary relationship in a marriage. We receive children from the Lord, we raise them to the best of our ability, and then we have to let them make their own way in th world, away from us. If we lose touch with that primary relationship, if we neglect to keep it strong and healthy, we are truly on our own, we are strangers to each other. I am not saying this has happened to my relationship with my husband. I have seen it happen to people I know. I am guilty of spending time doing my own thing – craft work , church-related things (my husband is less active in the Church), trying to help others in need – so that is time we have not spent together. On his part, he plays some sport and spends time with his friends at the club. But we should have been spending more time together. And now we get to the point – has Heavenly Father allowed this situation to happen so that we have been forced to reconnect on a deeper level, to spend a lot more time one-on one. I love my husband dearly, he has been my one-and-only since I saw him for the first time when we were both 17, both recently graduated from school. Forty six years later, he is still the most important person in my life. I think Heavenly Father is just making sure I remember that!
I don’t know what the modern marriage vows say, but when I married my sweetheart 41 years ago, part of those vows required me to covenant with himthat I took him “for better or for worse, in sickness or in health.” When we standbefore the altar and make those vows, it’s a good thing we can’t see into the future, or we would all turn around and run away.(lol) My husband was hale and hearty when we married, and was only diagnosed as a diabetic around 30 years of age. I had to learn to deal with that, and so did my children, who even as youngsters could see Dad was in trouble at a single glance. Heavenly Father has given me such a great support system in my little family, and we learnt together to take care of the head of our family. The vow I took included my children, and as parents, we learned to take care of epilepsy, allergies and the usual children’s illnesses. We got through all of that, with priesthood help and administrations. The epilepsy is dormant, and the allergies have abated, but my husband’s condition has progressed, as expected. At this time, he is having a lot of low-blood sugars, some so bad that he is almost comatose. It is really frightening at times to have to deal with that, because they can be life-threatening. You can say, “I didn’t sign up for this!”, but we didn’t sign up for a trouble-free life here on earth. We came here to learn to deal with anything that life can throw at us, but we also have the greatest back-up there can be. We have our families, we have Heavenly Father, our Saviour and the Holy Spirit, we have the Holy Priesthood and all it’s powers. In Matthew11:28-30, The Lord tells us to rely on Him, and we will be able to deal with anything that comes our way. When we do that, those vows we took on that special day will be much easier to keep, and will become more meaningful.
I was watching one of the few reality programs that I do watch, “So You Think You Can Dance”, and saw something so special. A young black man from a really bad neighbourhood, one that was rife with drugs, prostitution, alcoholism and gangsterism, was determined that this was not going to be the life for him. His family were also good people, struggling to do the right thing in a bad situation. Altho manugh it was not his father’s choice for him, when he decided to focus on dance as a career, his whole family supported him. Last night, when he auditioned for the competition, he danced with an almost visible desperation, to give himself a chance for a better life, and he went through to the next round. This young man had almost a full row of his family in the theatre, cheering him on. It reminded me how important it is that we support the members of our families in their choices. It might not be our choices, but we all have free agency, and it is not to be taken away from us.Sometimes guidance is indicated, but ultimately it is that person’s choice, and we need to be the backup, cheering them on when things go right for them, and picking up the pieces and putting them back on their feet when things go wrong. Isn’t it exactly what Heavenly Father does when we stumble – pick us up? And when things go right , he is our cheering section too. Focussing on families this month has made me think more deeply about what it is that makes families special. We are so blessed in the Church to have guidance from our leaders, our prophet, our Saviour through the Holy Spirit. Out in the world there are so many disfunctional families because they don’t have the blessings we do. Let us use this opportunity to pass on the Proclamation to others, so that they also may be blessed.
Yesterday, at our chapel we had the first of four firesides focussing on “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”. It was titled “Joy in Marriage _ Nurturing Love”. Brother and Sister Cox, our stake missionary couple, led our discussion, and what made it really special was that we were all invited to share comments and experiences as the afternoon progressed. We also had a worksheet to fill in. I find that when you actually become involved in the discussion and interact with the others in the group that the information given makes more of an impact. We were asked to look back on our lives together, and choose some of the things that brought us joy in our relationships with our spouses and family. Some of the responses were: keeping our relationship as simple as possible (not allowing unimportant things to come between us), making sure to spend time together (date time, apart from the children), have lots of family activities, learning to communicate clearly and without prejudice,leaving pride out our relationships, never going to bed with unresolved issues, frequently expressing love to the members of our families (including lots of hugs), realising when our children are young and need lots of attention, that husbands are not being sidelined (they are also needed to participate in raising the children),we need to express our gratitude to the members of our family for the things they do for us and their siblings (frequently). We need to do the best we can to bring up our families within the Gospel, to teach them the standards by which we live as Christians, and lead them by example. Following our workshop we all met in our hall and shared refreshments (the usual LDS thing). If the other workshops are going to be as informative and enjoyable as this one was, I am not going to miss even one. For those of you who read this, and want to know more, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do any of you ever wonder why we are really close friends with some people and not others? What is it that draws you to certain people and not others? I sat the other day and tried to figure it out. I have never had more than three or four special friends at any time. I have lots of acquaintances, but that is not the same, is it? I think that it is because, in some unique way, we complement each other. I have one friend who is a real workhorse -if something needs to be done, she is always first in line, and she is not one of those who needs to be told to do something. She sees a need and fills it. Another of my friends is a bit like her too, hardworking, compassionate and very obliging always willing to go the extra mile. A third friend of mine is still a working girl, and tries so hard to be all things to all people, besides running a household and raising a family. My fourth special friend really inspires me spiritually. She has not had an easy life, and also suffers from a neurological disorder. But she has this deep well of stillness and spirituality inside her that seems to shine even when she is at her lowest, physically. It sounds odd, but I envy her that quality so much. I never feel completely calm or tranquil inside. I always seem to have this maelstrom of emotions and thoughts and feelings whirling around inside of me. They’re not anger, or bad feelings. It’s just that I never seem to switch off. That is why I say that our special friends complement us. Each of us seem to have some quality or characteristic that contributes to making our little unit a complete entity. And as that strong little unit, we are capable of so much more than each of us , as an individual is capable. What do you think?
One of my favourite blogs is “We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ”, written by Jocelyn Christenson. In September she is having a Family Proclamation Blog Party during which you can link up and discuss what the proclamation has done for you and your family. As a reward for participating she will also be giving away gifts donated by sponsors. I am looking forward to stories sent in by LDS members; I know that there will be something strengthening for everyone to enjoy. And I hope that non-members will also read the proclamation and be able to take strength from it to help them cope with the kind of world we live in today.
My husband and I have just returned from a week in the Drakensberg, with some family members. We had the most glorious weather for the middle of winter – it was cool, obviously, in the early morning and at night – but during the day, it was lovely and warm. I had a memorable experience one morning with some of our feathered friends. As those who have been to the Berg know, it teems with birds of every kind. I put out some bread crumbs earlyish this particular morning and was suddenly surrounded by birds. There must have been at least 50 of them. A wave of excitement washed over me as I watched them pecking at the food, trying to push others out of the way in order to get the biggest pieces. They reminde me of little jump-jets as they landed, picked up a morsel of bread, lifted off for a moment to swallow it and then landed again in a flurry of fluffy movement. I felt like a child again, watching them, almost wanting to clap my hands and laugh at what I was seeing. It felt like almost like a time out of time. It was sad to see how much of the mountainside had been burnt; whole hillsides were completely black with soot, and there were small fires while we were there. It is very dry in the Berg and surrounding areas. As soon as you arrive there you start to feel your skin dehydrate, your lips need constant applications of Lip Ice, your hands begin to feel like sandpaper! We just hung out together at the cottage and relaxed. It had a heated swimming pool, so we were able to have a dip, even though the ambient temperature was cool, but you had to quickly wrap a towel around yourself as soon as you got out, and find a nice sunny spot to warm up again. For those of you who are gardeners, the azaleas and camellias were outstanding. Most of the camellias are double-doubles, so full of petals that when they finally open, it looks like they have exploded. On Friday we decided to take the road through Nottingham Road on our way home. I wanted to get some handmade paper, and Andrew wanted to go to Rawdon’s Hotel . After we left Rawdon’s we decided to find the nearest link to the N3. So we did. I don’t know if any of you have taken the road between the hotel and Curry’s Post, back to the N3? Well, don’t!!!! It was the most corrugated road I have ever been on. Instead of going on one of those shaking and jiggling machines in the gym, take a trip on this road. It’s almost guaranteed to shake SOMETHING loose. Eventually we arrived home, threw everything out of the car, and went off to retrieve my dog, Snowy, at the kennels. I got the shock of my life when I walked into my food storage room. All the drawers had been pulled out, there was stuff all over the floor. I had locked the gate into the courtyard, so they couldn’t get out that way. The window frame had unfortunately warped from the rain (it’s on the weather side of the building), and a small piece of glass had broken out. They had put a hand through there and opened the fanlight, and climbed in that way. It was black children who had done the deed. I do not make this allegation lightly – they took tins of pilchards in hot chili sauce, and tins of chakalaka. What stumped me though, was that they cleaned me out of all my cleaning products – detergent, dishwashing liquid, cleaning cloths, toilet soap, a tube of toothpaste. They also took my torch batteries. I immediately found some wire and wired the windows shut. Talk about shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted! When I had calmed down and stopped hissing and spitting, I went through my stocks and found out that the situation wasn’t that bad. The things that we use the most were all still there, even the toilet paper, and they did leave us a couple of bars of soap. So, in spite of the break-in, things are OK. We were able to spend some quality time together, we had lovely weather, and I have some nice photos to remind me of our holiday in the mountains.
I spend a lot of my time on the web (when I get time), surfing craft sites, and there are hundreds out there. I think it is wonderful that there are so many crafty people out there who are willing to share their creativity with others. What I find is so frustrating, though, is the time it takes to get to all these sites. I mean, I do have other things to do, you know. :0) But there are these clever, hard-working people out there who do all this work for us – I’m talking about those who draw up craft directories and have craft “gatherings” on different days during the week, or month. They certainly save me a lot of time, and I’d like to mention some of them here and put their links on my blog.Sarah Rivka of “Creative Jewish Mama” has a “gathering” once a week, with some really interesting crafts being shown. There are some much larger directories on CraftCrave and CraftGossip. One I found today was TipJunkie by Laurie Turk, and there is also Today’s Creative blog by Kim. I am always looking for inspiration for the crafts that I do, especially paper crafts, and I see that flowers are big news at the moment. You will certainly find lots of ideas, and hints and tips to enhance any crafts that you might be doing yourself in this category. Why don’t you check out these sites, and see what they can do for you?
I just read a discussion by various bloggers and readers on how they feel about sharing creativity and the paranoia some artists feel about anyone displaying anything that MIGHT look like their idea. I would like an answer to this question – were they the original creators of their particular craft, not the unique spin they have put on it to create a demand for their product? Can any artist or crafter answer that honestly?