All posts filed under “Glimpses of Life

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Of Falling Objects and God’s Protection

Fallen Treehouse

A couple of months ago we noticed that our very well built tree house was starting to lean. Every day it seemed like it leaned a little more and then a little more.  We were pretty sure the large tree stump that it was built around was rotting.

One morning I woke up to a semi cloudy day and wondered if I might be able to pull weeds.  Heading outside, I looked towards where the treehouse was and noticed there was weed pulling that needed to be done around and underneath it.  But then I looked at the sky and talked myself out of it.

Heading back inside the house, I started doing chores when suddenly I heard a loud swish and thump. It had been a little windy earlier and I thought “which tree fell this time?” Looking out the living room window, I noticed the tree house lying on its side on the ground with the tree trunk attached to it.

Fallen Treehouse

And … that’s where I had considered working.

There have been so many times when God’s protection shielded me and I was thankful that today was another one of those times.

Looking at the treehouse, a vivid memory came back to me of a movie I had seen several times called The Wizard of Oz.  In one scene, because of a tornado, a house is flying through the sky and then lands squarely on the body of the “wicked witch of the east.” But the only thing you see of her is part of her legs sticking out from under the house.

I shuddered to think that I could have been killed under this treehouse in the same manner.

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”  Psalm 5:11

 

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Of Ticks and God’s Protection

Backyard

I dislike working the outside perimeter of our yard because of the possibilities of ticks and mosquitoes. But this morning I said “I can do this. I will not be afraid.” And I prayed really hard for courage and protection. So, with weed whacker in hand, I headed out.

When I came back in, I showered and checked for ticks and found none so I made lunch, sat down and watched a little TV.

Then I happened to glance down at my arm and very quickly heading up my arm was a HUGE tick (well, okay, since I dislike them so much they look huge – this one was the size of a pregnant ladybug). I quickly brushed it away from me. Had I been smart enough (no comments here, hehe) I would have killed the evil creature.

So I spent the next hour vacuuming/hunting for the tick but it was not to be found. Fortunately, they die within 24 hours if they don’t have a water source.

I’m glad I prayed for and received God’s protection. I’ve come to realize that God doesn’t always part Red Seas for us as most of us don’t have those kinds of experiences. In the every day, mundane kinds of experiences ~ that’s where I see God at work.

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Spoofing

I received a call yesterday from a number I thought I had seen before that was a telemarketer. They called twice and left a message the second time that said “Stop calling me. I’m going to report you. Remove my number from your list.” The woman sounded upset.

So – I called her. An odd thing to do since she said “stop calling” but I hadn’t called her so wanted to see what she was talking about.

Come to find out the woman has been getting 6 calls or so a day from “my” number from telemarketers and collection agencies. She was so frustrated and didn’t know why they kept calling her.

I later found out that people can use other phone numbers besides their own to show up on someone’s caller id. It’s called spoofing and they even have apps for it.  What an unfortunate thing to have in our world ~ another tool for deception and pranks.

Bottom line: the number you see on your caller id may not be the number that’s actually calling you. You might be “spoofed.” So if someone calls you upset because they think you’ve been calling them, keep this in mind and be gentle with them.  Imagine how frustrating this can be.

I was able to calm this woman down and we talked for awhile. I’m thankful the situation worked itself out but imagine if I had reacted with an angry tone.  We both would have been upset and for no good reason.

Spoofing ~ man’s NOT best friend.

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Spring Arrival in Minnesota 

Last week I was lamenting the light snow that was coming down from the spring sky. Yet looking back on some of my posts, late spring snow is not uncommon.

Unfortunately, the older I get the more cloudy sky’s seem to affect me.   Cloudy skies bring me down.

Yesterday I worked outside for a few hours in spite of the copious amounts of tree pollen.   Then I noticed these beautiful flowers that have erupted into their beauty.

First, the daffodils. Daffodils are one flower that the deer don’t appear to like or eat – which is good because I haven’t found very many flowers that deer won’t eat.

Aren’t these daffodils beautiful?   They bring sunshine right into the heart.


I was surprised to see so many different colored tulips which I don’t remember planting.

Deer love tulips.   Fortunately the deer have not been around lately.   I do spray them with Deer Stopper and since the deer don’t like the smell they tend to walk on by.

But look at these tulips.   First there are the red tulips.


This yellow and red tulip makes me think it’s part daffodil and part tulip.  I wonder if they’ve ever combined the two and made a hybrid?   Hmm.


And then … a gorgeous yellow tulip.   Wowser!


But not to be outdone is this magenta tulip.


These tulips give me some ideas for possible quilt colors.

Are you enjoying your spring yet? Colors sure do lift my spirit.

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The New Mexico Sky

The Organ Mountains, Las Cruces, New Mexico

The sky in New Mexico has so many varied colors that appear right before the sun sets.  The photo above of the Organ mountains was taken in Las Cruces.

Simply brilliant!

New Mexico Sky Colors

I can sit and stare at the different hues of Organ Mountains forever – if they were to last that long.

New Mexico Sky

Yes indeed, the New Mexico sky has brilliant colors to calm the nerves and settle one in to mediate.

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The Cardinal

Three inches of snow had fallen overnight.

As I looked out the upstairs window, I saw that our snow plower had come that morning.  The driveway was cleared of snow. Heading downstairs, I walked to the laundry room window and peeked to see if my husband had had a chance to shovel the walkway.  Ahhh – I had to add this to my list of things to do.

After breakfast I headed to the garage and grabbed the snow pusher. I was glad that my brother-in-law had told me about the difference between a snow shovel and a snow pusher.  This pusher made my job a lot easier.

Opening the side door in the garage that led to the outside, I was greeted with a beautiful blue sky. Stepping outside, I shoveled a pathway to the front of the garage doors and over to the front walkway. I was glad that this snowfall was light because it made my life much simpler.

Once the snow was shoveled, I headed indoors, went to the kitchen and started preparing my husband’s lunch for the next day. With the ingredients out on the counter top, I turned around and happened to look out the window where a cardinal was staring at me.  The cardinal kept still then looked this way and that.

I wondered if I could quickly grab my camera to take a picture of him. Moving slowly away from the window, I grabbed my camera, focused and started taking pictures.  “He” kept still with the exception of turning his head this way and that ~ as if he was posing.

I felt blessed by the opportunity to view and take pictures of this beautiful bird.

Approximately 30 minutes later, he flew away.

It has been said that “When cardinals appear, angels are near.”  So glad I had angels visiting me.

 

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A Star Quilt

Star Diamond Quilt

When I first started quilting I made the the mistake of telling my family & friends on Facebook that I was looking for projects so I could practice sewing and quilting.  I had not done either in my life and thought having planned projects would be a good way to learn.

However, the last time I posted pictures of my quilt on Facebook another person said they wanted one.  I currently have four (4) more free quilts to make for people.  This after making six quilts already. So ~ after the four more free quilts I’m planning on charging for making quilts. Gotta pay for the fabric someway …

The star quilt I recently made was for an aunt who is Native American.  She requested the colors of blue, lilac and yellow on a white background with a brushed baby blue back.  She also wanted the size to be anything bigger than a crib but not larger than a full size.

So I made a lap quilt.  It was a little challenging for me since I had never cut in “degrees” before (mainly 45 degrees), had never quilted on flannel and had never sewn with invisible thread.

All these challenges were overcome quickly.  A quilting ruler took care of the measuring and searching on Youtube and the internet gave me lots of ideas from other people’s failures and successes.

Over and over the same problem kept rearing it’s ugly head though ~ sewing the diamonds together. The corners must meet at the correct corners or else the connection is crooked.

Sewing Triangles

MOST of the sewn triangles came out okay and those that didn’t I found I had to go back and re-do.

Sewing Triangles Together

Since lilac was one of the colors that my aunt wanted in this quilt, I had a dilemma.  I wanted the quilt to be a surprise but there are so many variations of lilac ~ from light to dark ~ that I decided to go with different variations ~ both light and dark. I chose darker blues and only one fabric in yellow.

Do you see from the picture below why the diamond and other pieces must be cut and sewn very carefully? They have to fit together in order not to have a crooked large diamond.

Making a large triangle

It was fun to put the colors together and make the diamonds.  Once all the diamonds were completed I put them on the floor to see how they looked.  I was then able to move them around to see which design I liked the best.  I did make a mistake although one wouldn’t know it was a mistake.  In the picture below, I had the two “plum-ish” looking colors across from each other which I really liked.

Star Diamond Quilt

Unfortunately when I finally sewed the diamonds together I made the mistake of sewing them in a different location. No problem though ~ just a different look.

Star Diamond Quilt

I’m not sure why the designer didn’t have us applique the large star on a white piece of fabric. Instead, the white background fabric is cut into triangles and squares and are set into the corners between the diamonds.

I believe appliqueing would have been much easier but I’m one to stick to a design ~ at least the first time.

After I basted the top, back and batting together, I had to decide how to quilt it.  Since I have a small sewing machine I decided on a very simple “line” design.  Normally I would make a quilt in two or three pieces, quilt it and then sew those pieces together.  This design didn’t allow for that.

I’ve learned from a quilting teacher that most of us veer when we sew so she recommends using blue painting tape to help you stay on track.

Quilting with blue painters tape

Once the quilting on the diamonds was completed, I used the masking tape to mark the lines for the rest of my design.

Using blue painters tape to quilt

A major problem I had with this quilt was when one of the middle star pieces was too “short” to meet the other pieces in the middle.  Instead of taking care of it initially, I thought I’d take care of it by hand quilting it in the end.  That was a major mistake as I wound up having to cut another small diamond piece, lay it over the “mistake,” hand quilt it on and also use fabric glue underneath as a “just in case.”

A quilting mistake

Fortunately for me, you can’t see this small hand quilting from afar ~ you have to get really really close.  See how it looks below?

Star Diamond

The quilt came out quite beautifully.  I used a technique that modern quilters use and washed the fabric for the back and the top before cutting.  The batting was not washed initially.  Once the quilt was finished, I washed it all and the batting then shrunk which gives the quilt a nice wrinkled look.

Star Quilt

Star Quilt

And here’s the quilt with a section of the baby blue flannel showing.

Star Quilt

It didn’t take very long to make this quilt. I purchased the pattern on the Craftsy website ~ it’s by Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio.

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A Warm Winter in Minnesota

Small Pond in Winter, Minnesota

With the month of February now over, we just finished having 23 out of 28 days that were above average.  And, hardly no snow this winter which is way different from the first year we moved to Minnesota which had over 80 inches of snow.

The last 3 winters have been mild in the Twin Cities.

With temperatures in the 40’s, I’ve been able to get out and start walking sooner than normal with no fear of slipping on ice ~ a nice break from the indoors.  I even saw red berries on a tree which is quite uncommon.

Winter Berries, Minnesota

But alas! Warm winters bring more bugs in the summer and living on a wooded acre lot means a LOT of bugs.

For now I’ll enjoy the warmer temperatures as the birds start migrating back ~ pretty soon our local hawk will be building its nest in the neighborhood.

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Does the BBB Give Fair Ratings?

A couple of years ago we went to a local fair and a representative from the Minnesota newspaper The Star Tribune was there and offered us a year’s worth of Sunday papers for only $1.00.

Wow, we thought.  That’s cheap.  They are practically giving it away.  We’ve been told by others that the reason they “give” the paper away is that they have to get a high subscription rate in order to charge advertisers certain rates.  Irregardless, we went ahead and signed up for the paper.

A year later we received a renewal notice for $26.00 for a year’s worth of Sunday papers of the Star Tribune.  I signed up again although we really didn’t read the paper as much as we thought we would.

Towards the end of the subscription, I called to have the paper temporarily stopped as we would be out of town.  When we arrived back home, the paper had been delivered ~ twice.  I called and lodged a complaint and was told by a supervisor to specifically ask to speak to a supervisor and they would make sure the paper was stopped.  The next time we went out of town I called and did as I was told ~ spoke to a supervisor and was assured our paper would be temporarily stopped.

But it wasn’t.  At this point, I called and asked them to cancel our subscription and was assured it would be cancelled.  My online account showed the cancellation and there was no money due yet the Sunday papers kept coming.

After 2.5 months of getting a “free” paper, we again were going to be out of town so I called and told them that they needed to stop the paper as we no longer had a subscription.  I was assured, again, that it would stop.  But it wasn’t.

When we returned from being out of town,  the paper had been delivered again.  Feeling frustration creep into my voice, I called again and was assured they would stop delivery.  The following Sunday ~ guess what? ~ the paper was delivered again.

So I called again.  This was now getting to be ridiculous.  I spoke to a supervisor and was assured … wait, I’m pretty sure I heard that same assurance before so after I hung up with the supervisor I sent an online complaint to the Better Business Bureau here in Minnesota.

When I pulled up the online information on The Star Tribune I was shocked at what I saw. They had 100% negative reviews but an A+ rating.  How can that be?

BBB Rating of The Star Tribune

It seems ridiculous to me that a company that has 100% negative reviews can have an A+ rating.

Recently a friend of mine sent me an article re the BBB and how they appear to have what the article called a “pay for play” scheme. Although the article is from 2010, I have the feeling that it’s still quite applicable.

“To prove the point, a group of Los Angeles business owners paid $425 to the Better Business Bureau and were able to obtain an A minus grade for a non-existent company called Hamas, named after the Middle Eastern terror group.”

I had always believed that I could trust the ratings on the Better Business Bureau site but this is disturbing to me.  My trust in them has fallen to zero.

And the resolution to my problem?  Within 4 days of filing my complaint, I received a response from someone at The Star Tribune letting me know the newspapers would stop being delivered.

Almost 3 months later, I’m glad to say we’ve received no newspaper.  I’ll never subscribe to this company again.

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