Monday, July 27, 2009

Watching my garden grow

This picture was taken early this spring when we were just beginning to work on our garden. My tiny tomato plants still had to be protected from late frosts and dry winds by their water walls, the weeds were prolific but small, and my vegetable seeds had just been put into the ground. It's amazing what amazing changes have happened in a couple short months! The vegetables are thriving (as are the weeds, I'm afraid, since I haven't been extremely diligent about weeding). Here are a few photos I took on a garden ramble shortly after a welcome bit of Montana rain this weekend.

My snow peas are almost ready!

The tomatoes are thriving: growing tall, blooming profusely, and becoming covered with small green fruit.

My first little pepper has even appeared. This one should turn out to be a red bell pepper. Normally I dislike bell peppers, but since they are not only prohibitively expensive but also a must in this recipe I thought I'd try my hand at growing them.

I also have wildly prolific spinach, some rather scraggly but healthy looking potato plants, four rows of feathery carrots, and a few green bean plants. I am thankful that everything escaped relatively unscathed from the violent hail storm we had this week. One lady I know smilingly says that she doesn't need to gamble because gardening in Montana is enough gambling for her. ; ) I tend to agree.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Concerning farmer's market, flowers, friendships, and fluting

This past week has been crazy. I've been restless and rather emotional. I am "blaming" my hormones for this since I'm getting close to Brother's due date. Only I'm not really blaming them because I still want to take responsibility for my choices and actions; knowing that the the hormones are there and active, though, sure helps me understand myself. On Thursday I cleaned, sorted, and tidied until I exhausted myself, and since then I've been unmotivated, unmethodical, and tired. So I'm going to present you with a rambling, unmethodical post in keeping with my general weirdness. At least I got all the topics to alliterate. ; )

Yesterday was fun. Benjamin had the whole day off of work, and we enjoyed sleeping in and spending all day together as a family. We went to the farmer's market in the morning. I was thrilled to find an amazing price on echinacea and thyme plants ($2.50 for both of them!), and we also bought some apricots. At a produce stand down the road we bought luscious peaches and tomatoes, and at a yard sale recommended by a friend, we found
some cute little boy clothes for both Little Man and Brother. We ate lunch with a friend, and spent the afternoon and evening resting and relaxing. It was a marvelous day.

On Wednesday some of the ladies from church had a special little prayer meeting to pray for me and another mother whose baby is also due in August. It was an encouraging, uplifting time. I was encouraged to be full of God's peace and joy as I have my baby and as I adjust to having two little boys instead of just one. One of the ladies who came brought these these brilliant orangy-red sunflowers for me. Aren't they pretty? I put them in a dramatic green heirloom vase that seldom has something bold enough to balance it.

In February we started attending a new church. It was a hard and overwhelming change. I've adjusted now, though, and am excited about the number of new friendships opening up to me. However, as I develop new friendships perplexing questions come up. Questions about old friendships. Are they truly worthwhile, uplifting, and satisfying? Should they stay the same?Should I boldly confront troubling issues in them or should I merely put in a word here and there? What does God think? Questions about new friendships. Which ones should I cultivate? Which people will be good close friends, and which will be good acquaintance friends? Earlier this evening I was all worked up and worried about all these questions. Now I feel more peaceful. I have prayed for wisdom, and I trust that God will give it.

Last week I got to play the first movement of Telemann's first cannonic sonata as a duet with my flute student. I was so excited; I've been wanting to play these sonatas for a long time, and now I have someone to play them with. Speaking of flute music, I think I'll go play my flute for a while. Fluting seems to unwind me and helps me regain my equilibrium.

Spiritually Dwarfed?

I'm reading through the Epistles right now. Somtimes I like to reference the Amplified Bible, which is bulky to read but adds a lot of insight since it uses more adjectives, synonyms, etc. that flesh out difficult-to-translate ideas. This week I was reading 1 and 2 Timothy, taking my time to mull things over. One day I came across these verses:

"For among them [I think this is talking about false teachers] are those who worm their way into homes and captivate silly and weak-natured and spiritually dwarfed women, loaded down with the burden of their sins and easily swayed and led away by various evil desires and seductive impulses. These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them; they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth." (2 Timothy 3:6:7 AMP)

While there are several things in the description of these easily deceived women that don't really apply to me (i.e. I'd like to think that I have arrived at a place of recognition of Truth), I would be foolish to ignore the ease with which one can fall into silly foolishness. I was especially troubled with the description of these women being spiritually dwarfed, which indicates that they had some sort of spiritual life to begin with.

As I mulled it over, praying for wisdom and protection that I not fall into this spiritually dwarfed category, God brought the following verses to mind:

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:1-7)

Clearly the secret to becoming a vibrant, wise, growing woman who is the opposite of spiritually dwarfed is to abide in Christ. I can't grow without Him, and thankfully He is accessible and wants to "grow" me as I abide (isn't that a restful word?). I am exhilarated, encouraged, and motivated as I dwell on this. May God help me to constantly abide in Him.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

bibs and baby blankets

I have been able to make amazing progress on my sewing projects during the last couple of weeks. It has been oh, so encouraging! Not only am a caught up on my mending, but I am also close to not having any sewing-machine-needing projects in limbo. If only I could find this quilt top so that I can finish it... Anyway, I thought I'd share some photos in this post of what my machine and I have been turning out lately.

I finally finished my ambitious number of denim (and corduroy) baby bibs. I had so much fun making them, but I must admit that I'm glad they're done! I left out photos of doubles, but this is the jist of what I did:

This is one of my favorite of the boy bibs:
More little trains:
I made several of the corduroy duck bibs with a duck print fabric on the back. They turned out so cutely that I had to make a couple of denim ones too.
When my supportive husband saw that I had the corduroy bibs cut out, he enthusiastically said: "Oh, you're going to make bibs out of corduroy!?" Then his face fell as he very practically commented: "All those nice little grooves for food to get ground into." Now every time I see those bibs I think of the nice little food grooves...oh well. That's what we have washing machines for, right? ; )

I also had fun making girly bibs with heart and flower appliques.
I love how the ribbon "leaves" turned out.
More hearts.

I mailed this little quilt (along with a pink and denim flower bib!) to some friends who are having a baby girl in November. My sister-in-law says the fabric I used for backing is too cute to be used as a back. That's why blankets can be reversible.

On my last trip to the fabric store, I couldn't resist buying some sweet boyish flannel for my own baby (it was 60% off, how could I resist?). I did, however, resist the urge to make an all-out quilt since I didn't have time, but I did have fun making this two-layers-of-flannel blanket. It's warm without being bulky.
Little Man gave the blanket his Big Brother Stamp of Approval, running over to admire as soon as I laid it on the floor to take photos. Apparently it looks like a good spot to finish one's snack of raisins.

Work in Progress

Yep, that's me. A work in progress.

For I am confident of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

This verse has encouraged me today. It's one of those days where I feel like I'm not making much progress. I have good moments and bad moments. And while I've done fairly well so far on the outside, at least, I feel like I'm always on the edge of crabbiness and complaining thought patterns. Little Man is teething and is experimenting with limit trying. I had discouraging dreams. I can't find the quilt I would like to finish this week. I have errands I must do this afternoon, but I really don't feel like loading up my toddler and lugging him and my big belly around town. Sounds bad, doesn't it?

But when I pull back and look at it all in perspective, it really isn't bad. Because I am God's work in progress. He loves me and is teaching me to be at peace in Him through the things that seem like irritants today. He is giving me strength. I will choose to live in His peace and strength.

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act
according to his good purpose."
Philippians 2:13

"Let us not lose heart in doing good,
for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."
Galatians 6:9