Handmade Gifts

How do you feel about handmade gifts? 

I've always hesitated to gift my own creations, believing them to be a little bit "less than."
Less valued than store-bought; less useful than a gift card; 
less dazzling than whatever the most popular social influencer recommends--"swipe up!"

But this year, I'm feeling some freedom to give handmade. 

So this morning I handled brittle antique sheet music and forced 
myself to cut it, recalling how the pages were rescued from the trash. 

Folding tattered edges into shape took extra time, but I didn't mind, 
envisioning the final lovely outcome.

I shrugged aside qualms and pushed a wooden brace through 
centenarian page layers, taking care not to waste a single scrap of print.


That's when phrases from Psalm 103 slid into the corner of my heart.

God forms you in the same way, the Spirit seemed to hint. 
"For He knows our frame; He is mindful that we are dust." 

He knows you're often fragile, brittle, tattered.
"As for man ... your days are like grass--blooming, vanishing, forgotten."

Yet He tenderly chooses you anyway, knowing the potential for glory exists. 
"But from everlasting to everlasting the loving devotion 
of the LORD extends to those who fear Him."

In unmatched patience, He shapes, folds, and fashions you into the 
image of the blessing He intends to gift to others.
" ... we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do." 

And just like the psalmist, my soul rose up in joy. 
Bless the Lord ... bless the Lord ... bless the Lord.


Feathery Curls

That gorgeous hat!
If you watch Masterpiece Classic at all, you might have had the same thought. 
Hats cover a multitude of problems and make the wearer look smart and styled 
at the same time. Do you wonder, like I do, why they went out of fashion

This lovely bit of feathery frippery must have been much-envied in the heyday of hats.

Curled feathers mimic beautifully curled and arranged tresses— 
convenient if the wearer didn't own the same.
This hat flew out of my Etsy shop
Someone in Oregon is looking fabulous in this right now. 
I have more hats for sale if you'd like to sport one of your own.


Bare Bushes

It's time to call it quits in the garden. 

Here on my one Kentucky acre, we've had drought conditions until just 
about two weeks ago. My container plants got just too shabby 
in the dry heat...so I fixed them. 

"Look at this," I said to my patient husband. "I fixed the container plants."
"You sure did," he agreed and took a few steps back.
Because, friends, I pulled them all up and threw their spindly stems
and crispy blooms in the firepit. What a relief! 
I plopped gourds and pumpkins in the empty containers—no watering needed. 

When we finally got a little rain, all the garden plants went back to work, 
creating new leaves and blooms. 
Look at this cypress vine, so cheerful in the summer-like heat.

Then this week on Monday, fall arrived. 
We've had a one-week color change with all the wonder of a true fall compressed 
into just a few days. Yesterday's wind and rain moved the color party to the ground.

Last night we swerved around another seasonal corner as temperatures dropped below freezing. 
I had time to save these beautiful blues, and a few zinnias, 
from the first killing frost.

The bushes are bare, but my windowsills are filled with vases of color.