Friday, October 31, 2008

~Haunted Hopefuls~

Happy Haunting!

One of my neighbors decided to get creative. I think she got the personalities 'spot-on'!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

~Off to The Sea~

Off to the sea
The babies and me...
No worries, no hassles
Just sun and sandcastles.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

~Braking For God~

The studio was in full-swing. It was a hot August day nine years ago, and the wholesale orders from the Atlanta Gift Show were piled high. The girls and I were filling trays of orders, and the boxes for UPS were stacked to the ceiling. Shops and catalogs wanted their orders ‘yesterday'. I was pretty organized and had ordered plenty of supplies before we headed into the mid-summer gift shows….so I thought. Then it happened: we ran out of a much-used jewelry finding. We needed 350 more to fill the orders we had. Thank goodness that the supplier was only an hour’s drive, so I decided, migraine or not, to drive there to pick them up.

The morning had started peacefully enough. I had my precious half-an-hour with a book and a cup of coffee. I was touched by a short story in a “Chicken Soup for the Soul-type’ book. You know the kind: short little inspirational quippets that let you savor a brief ‘ahhh…that’s nice’ moment before heading on your way. The story was about a woman who had been praying for some sign from God, as she was having a difficult time making an important decision. She was stumped.

That same day, she was sitting in a friend’s kitchen, sharing a cup of coffee, when she commented to her friend, that there was a beautiful red cardinal at her feeder. Without even bothering to turn her head, the friend told her that it was impossible. She only had thistle seed in her feeder, and had never seen a cardinal there. When she turned around, sure enough: a cardinal! The woman was certain that this was her sign from God. The answer to her prayers.

Hmmmm….I thought. I have been praying for help on a particular problem. I was begging God for some help. I think I’ll ask God to send ME a cardinal if I'm leaning in the right direction. No….they never came to MY feeder either. Thistle seed was the answer to feeding the birds in our yard without attracting the raccoons and squirrels that lived to taunt my puppies. So that would be a great sign. Yeah, right, I thought. And I continued on with my day.

I armed myself with an Imitrex (migraine medication) and a cold iced tea, put on the darkest sunglasses I had, seatbelted myself in….and headed down the driveway holding back the tears. How was I going to get on 271 and drive an hour each way with this raging headache? I was half-way up our short street when I slammed on the brakes. I couldn’t believe it. There he was. Sitting in the middle of the road, looking up at me. I mean that bird was STARING at me. He had swooped down right in front of me and stood standing on the asphalt. He was the reddest, most beautiful cardinal I have ever seen. Headache or not. And he wasn’t leaving anytime soon. We both stared. Locked in time.

Now I’ve gotten signs from God before. Lots of times. But not as blatant as this time…unless you want to count the time I met an angel in my kitchen in the middle of the night. But that's a story for another post!

I had shared my cardinal story with Mel, and it had touched her as deeply as it had touched me. And she remembered my long-ago encounter when she added the cardinal border to the beautiful Frosty pillow. Thank you, Mel. And thank you, God….for sending me cardinals in the oddest of moments…in the strangest of ways. You have my attention!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

~Classic Love Story~

I met this beautiful young couple the year I did my very first show: Yankee Peddler Festival 1990. They selected one of my large Ragamuffin dolls, and they asked me if I would sign it for them. I can remember how they looked. The smiles on their faces. I could tell how much they loved each other. It was all there. Shining.

I saw them again, each year. Standing there with their most recent purchase. Waiting, patiently, for me to sign their newest “baby”.

I thought about them often. There was something about the two of them that touched me. I couldn’t get them out of my mind.

I continued seeing Mel and Garry through the years. This happy young couple seemed to become happier together with each passing year. One day, I received a beautiful pillow from Mel. She made it herself. I cried. It’s on the sofa in my living room. It will always be there, where I can see it. And then one day, Mel began doing shows! When I saw her booth at EJ Thomas’ Christmas Show, I knew she had ‘arrived’. Her booth was filled with pillows and dolls. Dolls!! They were all so “Mel”. She was so happy. Smiling. Shining.

Then one day, she and Garry got “called” to China. By a little girl they named appropriately, Hope. They were in their glory, raising this precious gift. Their “baby”. And then came another “call”. Her name is Claire.

They arrived on Saturday, and stood in the middle of my booth. I couldn’t believe it. There they were. The four of them. Years later. Just like they had always been. Happy. Smiling. The difference this time was huge. Not only were the two of them smiling, but there were two precious china dolls smiling along with them. All of them, together, shining. Their smiles were bright enough to light up the world. Mel and Garry plus two!

What I haven’t told you about Mel, is that she has incredible faith. Perhaps greater faith than anyone I have ever met. Ever. And that faith is something I have always admired. It’s just ‘there’. You can’t see it, but you can ‘taste’ it. It’s like an elixir that encompasses the air around her. Even when you aren’t in her physical presence. It’s there. Hovering.

A while back, I wrote a post called, My Mother's Smile. I talked about how Wendy's Frosties is one of the few things that makes my mother (who has alzheimer's) smile. Mel and the girls were at Wendy's shortly afterward, when Hope noticed writing on the side of her bag of French fries, and asked Mel to read it to her. It said: “It’s impossible to frown while eating a Frosty.”

Back to Saturday: Mel handed me a beautiful gift bag. Inside, was a pillow she had made for me. And there, embroidered in the center, “It’s impossible to frown while eating a Frosty.”! I cried. Mel cried. I will treasure it always. It has a place of honor in the living room. On the sofa. Next to the other pillow I treasure. Just like her!
And the cardinals on the border fabric: that’s a story for another day!

Have a glorious week, wherever you are, whatever you do. Be sure
to notice all ‘treasures’ in your life. You'll find them everywhere!

Friday, October 10, 2008

~FingerPrints Friday~

There's a song by Steven Curtis Chapman called, Fingerprints, that starts:

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true
Youre a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with the fingerprints of God.

The trees in the woods behind RoseCreekCottage are just magnificent right now. God's fingerprints, to be sure!

Stop by at Beki's blog for more Fingerprints.

Be sure to stop during your day today to observe more Fingerprints. They're everywhere!

Have an incredible Friday....wherever you are in the world!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

~I'm Kreativ!~

I won this Kreativ Blogger award from my friend, ballerinagirl. Thank you so much, sweet lady! I now have to list "6 Things That Make Me Happy" and pass it on to 6 other bloggers".

6 Things That Make Me Happy:

1. My family.
2. My puppies.
3. Coffee with friends.
4. My mother's smile.
5. Creating.
6. Cuddling in front of the fire on winter nites.

I am passing this on to these six Kreativ Bloggers:

1. Erin
2. Sandy
3. Carol
4. Sarah
5. Mel
6. Nancy

Each of these women have touched my life in their own unique ways. I look forward to reading their blogs. They truly inspire me in ways they probably don't even know! Stop by their blogs and see for yourself!

Monday, October 6, 2008

~The Road Back~

I really didn’t have any great expectations for my first show (Ohio Mart at Stan Hywet) after being absent from the show circuit for 6 years. After all….that’s a long time. I really didn’t expect to see people I knew. But, the past four days were beyond my wildest dreams.

Thursday began with cold temperatures and lots of rain. But…people came. And they came to buy.

Friday’s crowds uplifted the spirits of the 120 artists, and ended up to be a record-breaking day. With Saturday and Sunday’s warm sunny weather, I couldn’t even get OUT of my booth!!

But beyond all that, were the stories, the hugs, and the tears. One by one, they would come up to me. One by one, they would relate their stories. “You’ve been gone a long time. I’m so glad you’re back”. My customers, who over 14 years bought Ragamuffins for their daughters, nieces, grand-daughters. For their mothers, grandmothers, aunts. For themselves.

More often than not, we cried.

“You’ve been gone 6 years. While you were gone, I battled cancer. And I won”

“While you were gone, I lost my mother”

“Four years ago, I lost my husband, Fred. Do you remember him? He was always with me at Yankee Peddler.”

“My daughter is battling cancer. She’s 36. Remember her? She was 12 the last time you saw her. She has four of your dolls. Today, I’m buying her the Star Angel. Please keep her in your prayers.”

“I buried my mother 3 years ago. She carried your doll til the day she died. We buried it with her”

And there were the happy stories:

“I’m so glad you’re back. All my daughters have your dolls. Now I have grandbabies, and they need Ragamuffins, too!"

“I bought these dolls for all the girls in my life. Now, I’m buying them for ME!”.

“Your blog touches my heart.”

“I couldn’t wait to meet you. I read every word of your blog. I love it.”

And then there were the babies….now all grown up. Young ladies. Who stopped to hug me and thank me for making their dolls. Now, in their teens, twenties, and even older, they still cherish them. What more could I ask from something that I started so long ago?

So, to all my dear customers…..the many old ones, and the many new ones, I thank you for sharing a piece of your life with me, and for leaving with a piece of mine. My heart is overflowing.

The top photo is a path of birch trees at Stan Hywet that ran parallel to our tent, and led to the mansion.

**This post was nominated as Post Of the Day over at David's authorblog. Take a peak at the other winners!** Thank you, David!