Craft 'n Coffee

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

This blog is closed.
Please follow my new and improved and actually updated blog at Cafe au Craft.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I voted for this classical tribute to David Guetta to win Response of th...

I just love listening to these guys, so yes, I'm voting as many times as I can so they can hopefully win a YouTube award!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

My heart will go on. Or Not.

That's pretty unbelievable right now.  Not to speak negatively, but I really feel it right now.  The weight of everything from the past year.  All of Dara's testing and testing and testing and being diagnosed with a severe case of fibromyalgia the week before her 19th birthday, and the journey through the drug regimen to see what would work for her.  Finding out that my mother had previously been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Micaela's accident, and God.  There are no words to express the stress and pressure and hurt that has gone along with that in the past 5-1/2 months.  Two days after Mic came home from the hospital, we had to take Gracie, our 15 year old whippet to the Rainbow Bridge.  I believe she had stroked, she had lost function of her limbs, could barely walk, and the day I took her to the vet she couldn't get up at all.  That was horrible.  She knew why she was there, and she didn't want to die.  She cried a cry I'd never heard in all 15 years with her.  Then the last weekend of December my beloved Solomon diagnosed .... we'd fought hemiangioma sarcoma for several years, having surgery to remove the skin spots to try to keep it from going internal.  His litter sister died of the same thing about 3 years ago.  The last week of December '12 his lymph nodes suddenly began swelling.  The vet shook his head sadly.  And today, one month later, I took him to the Rainbow Bridge.

My heart might go on, life just keeps on happening,  But I. Just. Can't. Take. Any. More.  Time might make things easier, but from this, my sweet Solly, my doggie soul mate, from this I will never heal.

No more pain, the Rainbow Bridge has been crossed. My heart is broken, my sweet Solomon forever to me lost. He knew he had to go, there at the end, but no more pain, my forever friend. — with Solomon Rogers 09.18.2002 - 01.31.2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Give me Jesus

Almost exactly 2 years ago a word of prophecy was spoken over me.  That word was that my hardest valley ever was facing me, but along the way were "rest stops".  An angel stood already at each rest stop along this path, to give me rest and strength to continue.  And at the end of this "death valley" was my rest and reward.

I'm still in this Valley of the Shadow of Death. And I've bowed and crumbled more than once, at times daily.  But always, His hand has lifted me up.  As bad news continues to roll in and my fractured heart continues to break, I have never once felt abandoned.  Always His presence hovers.  Allowing the pain, but standing me up and supporting me as only a shepherd can.

I cannot survive without Him.  Take this whole world, but give me Jesus.  

Psalm 23

King James Version (KJV)
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas - From Jesus

I got up this morning.  I went back to bed for a while.  I got back up, showered, came into the kitchen, cleaned up the deep fryer that Jason had waded (literally, the back yard is a pond, it's storming here complete with a nearby tornado on Christmas Day) out to the shed to get.  I made our yearly Christmas tradition of beignets and coffee.  Well, Jason helped, he sat outside with the fryer and actually cooked them and tossed them in the sugar while I was cleaning up.

We sat in the living room with the seemingly nearly empty Christmas tree.  Not many wrapped gifts under the tree this year.  Jason gave a long homily of things that were on his mind, his hopes and dreams for us as a family, tying it all into the Gift of Christmas.  We prayed together.  Dara passed out the few presents there were, we enjoyed what we got (and kinda wishing some of the stores like Michaels were open on Christmas Day, can't wait to use these gift cards Jason got us). 

I took a picture of our Micaela. 

On Christmas Day, as I sit here at the table with my laptop, my crochet, I look across to the couch where Dara and Micaela are sitting together playing XBOX, and Jason in his recliner.  And I have a sudden epiphany.   I've been saying how thankful I am that we still have our Micaela.  And I realize.  I have not been thankful.  I've been grateful.  The difference between grateful and thankful is this:  Grateful is an acknowledgment of what could have been and what is.  Thankful is grateful with a strong element of joy.

The scripture does not say to enter into His gates with gratefulness, but with thanksgiving, enter into His courts with praise.  There is a strong element of JOY in both thanksgiving and in praise.

Four months after the  accident, I've been struggling.  Struggling to keep my composure, hold back outbursts of tears or sudden unexplained anger, struggling to be happy, struggling to survive the stress of the past four months and an uncertain financial future, bills to pay, job to do, house to clean, sanity to maintain, family to serve.  I've lost my joy.

On Christmas Day, as I sit here at my table with my laptop, my crochet, I look across to the couch where Dara AND Micaela are sitting together - not just one daughter, but both daughters - and I am thankful.  My heart is full of love, my  heart is full of joy.  And I understand.  Today I offer Him my thanksgiving. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Falling Apart

Micaela's accident was 4 months ago.  She is now finished with her therapies, but she is still in her wheelchair, still has right foot drop (cannot drive), and we are still waiting on her right knee ACL/MCL surgery.  That surgery had to wait until her other three limbs were healed enough and strong enough for crutches.  We should find out about that next week for sure.  She will likely have vocal cord surgery at the same time, all the intubations left a granuloma with resultant hoarseness ... we'll find out for sure on that this afternoon.

People at church say, "Hi, Val", the usual, how's our girl, that sort of thing.  Then they say, "How are you doing?"  Do they really want an answer to that?  Really?  I'm falling apart.  I don't know if I'm starting to really stress out about money and the fact that I have to start working 40 hours a week now, which I haven't accomplished, because I'm now out of money.  I can't pay the bills if I don't get back to work full time.  Or if, finally, the seriousness of Micaela's accident has finally hit me.   Or the feelings of not being able to keep up with everything I should do.  Or just all of it.

I cry all the time now.  I can't help it.  The least stressor sends me over the edge. 

I started cleaning house Saturday, and it needed a good cleaning.  I asked Micaela to help, because frankly there are things she can do from her wheelchair, other than climbing back into her recliner and just sitting on Hulu for the whole day.  "Mic, you know how hard it is for me to clean the house all by myself.....?"   She immediately fired back with "Dara and I both do it."   Now, that's entirely not true.  Sure, they have on occasion gone on a cleaning rampage and done a beautiful job . I'm lucky if that happens 4 times a year.  Yet I'm expected to help her, work full time, keep the house clean, and keep my sanity?  Without help?

I sent her to her room (she went to Dara's room to the recliner), told her I don't need her or her help and don't dare come back out of that room, and started tearing through the house in sheer rage, uncontrollable crying, cleaning this, throwing  that, not knowing what to do with that bin of clothes so tossing it outside, did my best to kill the evil ironing board.  So Micaela called Dara, who was staying out at my parents' just because she loves to, and Dara drove home, walked in the door .... with a smile and hello (which is sure to calm me down) ... and started with the bathroom, sent Micaela to her own room to get it clean, swept, etc.  And soon, between the 2 of us, my house was clean and Jason's clothes were ironed.

I was sitting in church last night, glanced up at the balconey ... which is about 80 yards from one end to the other ... my 17 year-old baby girl was hit by an 18-wheeler and thrown nearly 80 yards ... and I started hyperventilating.  I couldn't stop it.  So I took off and went and sat down in the prayer room and cried.  My whole body shaking with memories of that night, of the pain my baby girl went through in the ensuing weeks.  Memories.  Crying.  Again. Alone.

When people ask me, "How are you?"  do they really want to know?   I think not.  And if I break down  and tell them how I really am, their panicked faces and quick answer will always be the same, "You need to talk to someone."

Yeah, right.  Who?  Jason?   Huh.   He's a good man, but he's clueless, and he honestly doesn't want to know.  He never has.  He doesn't talk to me, and he doesn't want me to talk to him.  Keep it simple.  So I do.  I keep it distant.  I hold it inside. 

I don't ask for prayer or support, because the minute I think about doing that I see other peoples' problems, and they have things worse than me.  Far worse. Cancer.  Divorce.  Death. Unsaved.

"Hi Val, how are you?"  
"Oh hey, I'm good.  Doing good. Thanks for asking."

Friday, November 30, 2012

Prayers for my child

My 19 year-old daughter asked me to fast and pray with her all day today.  She needs direction for college, and is struggling with advisors not communicating back with her.  She has laid a "fleece" out for the Lord.  She knows that her current desires are not necessarily what would be best for her in the long run, and she knows that the "I Am" sees the whole picture, we just see what's in front of us.

So, today I pour my heart and soul into my eldest daughter's choices, that they be made in God's will, not my or her dad's will.  I know what she really wants.  She would really like to drop out of college (she's completed 1 year now of core studies), pick up her dog training course, which is mostly done on-line and some in person ... with a dog of course ...

Here's the problem.  Jason digs his  heels in and becomes extremely unhappy at the thought of any dog larger than Solomon, my whippet.   But we're going to B.A.R.K., our local no-kill shelter to find a dog today for Micaela.  I had promised that after Gracie died, which was a little over a month ago, that Micaela could have her own dog.  Actually, I promised that we'd get another dog, and Dara really wants Mic to have her own velcro-dog.  Solomon loves everyone, but he's MINE all the way.  The girls both want a dog that would recognize them as being their "mom". 

Today we're going to BARK to find Mic a dog.  But Dara needs a dog of her own for training.  BARK ends up with a lot of mixbreed mutts, pitts, and boxers.  The only smaller than Solly that they'll have will be terriers (I hate terriers, really I do) or inbred beagles or something.  Although I'm really not looking forward to the costs of food and vet, I really think they'd both be much happier with something like a boxer.

As long as they can train dogs to be polite to both people and my Solly ... but Jason.  Jason just puts a stop to everything.  His favorite word to the girls has always been "no".  My philosophy has always been more of "what the girls need", not what "I" want or don't like.  But he's putting his foot down about a larger dog, and he's telling Dara "no", she can't have a third dog in this house ... and I just don't understand that!  Yeah, it'll be more crowded, but she does need a dog for her future career as a dog disability trainer!  He'll send her to college to further her skills but not let her bring it home?

I must put my own feelings to the side though.  What I must do is seek God's face, God's opinion, and God's will.  Not my will.  And I can only PRAY that Jason will do the same. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Baby K

I got to see my precious niece Friday on our way home from Branson, she's so tiny and her baby bump is adorable!   She'll be delivering at end of December/first of January, so I'm working hard to finish the set I started.  I'm almost finished with the blanket, as you can see below, I still have the border to finish up.  And I have the hat, which I've mentioned before, both are done using an owl pattern.  I still have dress and booties to make which will be plain, no owls.  The yarn is a lovely shade of peacock blue called Agean Sea.  All items will be solid blue except the blanket, to which I added white.  The dress is actually a dress/jacket, so Baby K will wear white under it, white tights, white bloomers, white onsey.  In my mind's eye, this baby will be very striking and beautiful in this outfit!  Now to merge "mind's eye" with reality, and get it finished!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Works In Progress

I have too many WIPs (Works In Progress).  Too  many projects going on.  I am determined to get something completed soon, because I have more ideas and desires that need to get done, I'm running out of time!  I just realized that one of my WIPs, for my pregnant niece, is running slap out of time!  So I think I'll pull that back out today.  This is the completed newborn hat, there will be a matching little jacket, and a matching block-blanket, each square as the owl on it, and although the hat and jacket are only blue, the blanket will alternate blue/white squares.  To speed it up, I'm debating making the white squares plain and simple, no owl.
Patterns at Ravelry
Using Berocco DK Baby something

I also want to make various baby booties for her little baby girl, and have lots of patterns for that.  Maybe some cute character hats, there are so many patterns for that at Ravelry, too.

I'm also making headwarmers as I get orders for them:

These are very popular right now, especially in Southern states where you see people wearing hats, but not like you would up North where it's so much colder.  These are cute and stylish and keep your ears warm.  I sell them to my daughters' friends and through my Etsy shop.
Pattern at Ravelry
Using LionBrand Vanna's Choice yarns.

I also occasionally work on my daughter's afghan that I started before getting involved at Ravelry.  She moans that "Mom will crochet everything for everyone but will never finish MY blanket!".   Well, it's a very very big blanket!  Each strip has to be 6' long, because she's 5'9" and insists on 2 things:  It be long enough and wide to wrap her up like a burrito, and not full of holes.  She hates drafts.  So you're talking about a monster yarn-eater.  Each strip is a different stitch, and I will probably join each strip using the flat braid technique, or if that's too "holey" then add a couple SS rows going up each long side, then joining with a tighter and more solid stitch.  #Depressing thought ... I just picked this back up after a couple of months, and I really thought I had done more than 2 strips.  Sigh.  One strip takes a lot of hours to finish.   Trying to think of ways to actually speed up, like maybe making solid-granny squares, joining them together into one long strip, and letting that be one of the strips.  Might be kinda cool using that as the center strip, huh?  #wait I found another strip, so I've completed 3, working on the 4th.  I feel like I'm still missing one though, I thought I had done one in single stitch and one in DS, plus the shell, the bobble, and half-shell that I'm working on now.  Hmmmm.  Did I really do that single stitch?  Or not?

And then last but not least, MY afghan.  This afghan is so special to me, all these blocks were made by 10 other ladies in a swap over at VCFC.  This is Froggy 9" swap, finished in October '12.   I have plans for this blanket, and when I'm done, it will always and forever be mine.  Any swaps I make in the future I might give to someone else, but THIS blanket will be mine.  I will update on this later, when I actually get started on joining these blocks.  With the above projects and plans, sadly, it might be a while.

These are the blocks made by the other 10 ladies (laid out on my rug).  I plan on adding 4 more blocks to make it a little longer, then what goes between those rows, well.  Just stay tuned.  In a few months. When I have time to get to it.  I really think it's going to be very special.

So.  Enough WIPS?  No?  Did I mention the occasional comfortghan squares I do for the VCFC?  I have 2 I haven't done ... 2 I have done that are ready for the post office. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

ValsVale etsy shop

I have created my Etsy shop!  How exciting!  Pictured below are the first items I'm uploading, though not the only items I have ready to go.  I just have a few minor things to finish up on some other hats, like pompoms or football stripes or buttons, then I will upload those as well.

Each item pictured will be available custom-made.  Order as is, or in your preferred colors.  I'm giving myself extra time for delivery on each item, but shouldn't need that much time at all in most cases, only if Life interrupts Crochet, or if I get behind on orders for any reason at all.

For the months of October, November, and December 2012, I will be forwarding a full 75% of proceeds to Missions!  So order up! 

I'm quite excited that I can finally open my own little shop doing something I absolutely NEED to do .... this is where I find some much needed peace in my mind.

Here are the first 3 items I have listed in my Etsy Shop: