Frederick -Fun in My Town

In our travels, Matt and I often comment on the little towns we pass through. Usually they are ghost towns that speak of bustling days gone by. Empty buildings display for sale signs mingled with a few shops that strive to breath life onto the street. But that is not the case in Frederick, Maryland. I think of Frederick as my town. In the 20 years that we have lived near Frederick, I have witnessed a beautiful transformation of the Carroll Creek area.

This summer was the first time for plants in the creek. What a nice addition!

This summer was the first time for plants in the creek. What a nice addition!

Friday the weather was perfect for enjoying our lovely town. So, I met a friend to listen to a band that played along the creek. It amazes me how many free outdoor concerts are held in Frederick! Along the creek, there is a amphitheatre and Bonerama was already set up when we arrived. I was surprised at how many people were able to come out at lunch time for a concert. The bluesy, jazzy music echoed along the creek, drawing people towards it, making them snap their fingers and smile.

Bonerama's style of music seemed perfect for the day.

Bonerama’s style of music seemed perfect for the day.

 

There were quite a few people out to hear the band

There were quite a few people out to hear the band

 

One of the beautiful water lilies growing in the creek

One of the sections of the trompe l'oeil mural on a concrete bridge over Carroll Creek.

One of the sections of the trompe l’oeil mural on a concrete bridge over Carroll Creek.

Isn't that a cool painting sculpture? That's in front of the Delaplaine Art Center. My jewelry is for sale in their gift gallery.

Isn’t that a cool painting sculpture? That’s in front of the Delaplaine Art Center. My jewelry is for sale in their gift gallery.

Just one of the many times I have enjoyed the Carroll Creek promenade and I’m sure it won’t be the last. What do you enjoy about your town?

Lovin’ Life Bracelet

Lovin' Life BraceletI designed this bracelet a couple months ago. Since I hadn’t made one before, I wanted to make sure that the design was sturdy before I offered it for sale. Well, I LOVE mine! I find myself wearing it almost every day. It is earthy and yet classy. Very organic.  The pearls are lustrous and the Swarovski crystals sparkle and reflect many colors. Gorgeous, chunky Sterling Silver beads. Such a unique bracelet is sure to bring a smile to your face, especially the heart toggle clasp.

So, I named it Lovin’ Life Bracelet. I put a beautiful heart shaped toggle on the bracelet. The sterling beads, crystals and pearls all move and interact with each other. Sort of like life; many different parts and yet a whole. It’s really one of my favorite designs!

Check it out at the website here: Lovin’ Life Bracelet

Lovin' Life Bracelet

Carrying Burdens

I saw a man carrying a burden tonight. It was quite unusual to see someone with a heavy load on his back at this park. It is a small park with a short trail and yet the man approaching me wore a backpack that seemed quite heavy. I couldn’t figure this one out! Was he carrying water? But as he passed, I saw that it was just a backpack frame with a bag strapped into it. It looked like a bag of sand. It became obvious that he was in training for something. I told myself that he must be preparing to hike the nearby Appalachian Trail, or as my hubby calls it, the AT.

Christian talking to Obstinate and Pliable

Christian talking to Obstinate and Pliable

The way he walked with that heavy burden reminded me of a favorite book from my high school reading: Pilgrims’ Progress by John Bunyan. It tells the story of Christian and his walk through life. He starts with a terribly heavy burden on his back. As he approaches the cross, his burden falls from his back!

Pilgrim's heavy burden fell off when he came to the cross.

The pilgrim’s heavy burden fell off when he came to the cross.

Even though I read the book in high school, the version that is dear to me is a children’s version. It is illustrated by Robert Lawson. During the years that I homeschooled our three sons, I wanted them to read, and read lots! So my friend, Penny, and I scoured used book sales. We snatched treasures from the piles and lugged home boxes and boxes of books. No matter how much I looked, I couldn’t find the Robert Lawson Pilgrim’s Progress. But Penny did and gave it to me! I love looking at those illustrations. They add so much to the story.

This is the book I searched for!

This is the book I searched for!

But back to that man with the burden. He was carrying that burden to increase his strength. I came around another bend in the trail and found him hiking up and down the incline by the road. I had to ask. He said no to the Appalachian Trail theory. I never would have guessed it. He is preparing to go mountain goat hunting in British Colombia in October. Crazy, huh? He is hoping that his training will give him the strength for the mountains he faces.

I seem to carry burdens. Not a 50 lb bag of sand on my back. But even though my burden of sin dropped from my back at the cross of Jesus, I sometimes take burdens back. Funny thing is though, they don’t make me stronger. Instead, burden piles upon burden and drags me down.

Burdens are lifted at the cross

Burdens are lifted at the cross

At one point in the book, Christian says, “I seek those joys that fade not, what are laid up in a place of bliss – safe there for those who go in search of them.”  Burdens don’t need to drag us down. They can still be left at the feet of Jesus. He said, “Come to me , all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

How about you? Have you read Pilgrim’s Progress? What part did you like? Have you found relief from your burden?

A True Friend

Blessed! That’s how I feel. True friendship is hard to come by. But I have a true friend. And she just gave me a beautiful handmade gift. Margaret has been my friend for years.

Here we are years ago at one of the star parties. Tried to get a good photo, but foiled again!

Here we are years ago at one of the star parties. Tried to get a good photo, but foiled again!

As she said, we’ve been friends “through the good, the bad and the ugly.” We’ve watched our kids grow up and helped each other through the homeschooling journey. We camped together at many a star party and spent lots of holidays together.Now we are encouraging each other through the grandma part of our lives!

What a fun pillow!

What a fun pillow!

Margaret has started sewing…again. She used to sew pretty dresses for her girls. Life got busy and sewing was set aside, until just recently when she attended a quilting class at JoAnn’s. I saw that she was making beautiful pillows. She said she would make one for me, so we picked out fabric and here it is! Who can resist cheerful owls?  And the sewing is perfect! I’d say she learned that lesson well.

She is on to new quilting lessons. But I wanted to share some things that she has taught me. She has shown me the importance of surrounding yourself with flowers. Her deck is filled with lovely potted plants every summer. Just last week, we were out together and she excitedly bought fall mums for 88 cents at Home Depot. I couldn’t help myself and joined in.

The mums I bought

The mums I bought. Soon they will be open!

She has shown me what the gift of hospitality looks like and shares her home and a meal with us often.  Margaret knows how to hold things tightly and not gossip to others. And she makes a person feel important by keeping in touch even when apart.  She laughs with me and cries with me.

I do have a true friend. And I hope that I can keep learning from her. In the meantime, we’ll  be doing this grandma thing. Neenie and Grammie. That’s us!

Margaret did great quilting this pillow.

Margaret did great quilting this pillow.

Works of Love

Loved making these special orders today. Definitely works of love!

Loved making these special orders today. Definitely works of love!

These Pearl Nest earrings are so fun to make. First I cut out circles of copper and stamp them. The stamp I use is one that my Dad made by hand. Then I use sterling silver wire to nestle pretty pearls onto the copper.  I love thinking about my customer wearing these.

And someone admired a hook bracelet that I had made for myself. So, I filled another special order. This one took lots of hammering. My hubby, who works in the basement below me, said it got quite loud!

Elusive Joy

Projects are much more enjoyable to me if I design them myself. This is the second hand embroidery project that I have tackled. But it is progressing very slowly. Almost as if it doesn’t want to be made.Joy

I often think of the word Joy. At times, I really struggle with it. Part of the reason I named the blog Joyful Wonder is because I need to be reminded to approach life with that mind set. Yes, I believe joy is a decision.

My latest embroidery design

Am I a victim of my circumstances and my emotions? Or can I choose to rise above? Can I choose joy? The dictionary defines it this way: “the emotion of great delight caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.” Well, that does seem to cover it. Is my life always exceptionally good or satisfying? Umm…no. Are my emotions always delightful. Nope. But, there is something exceptionally good and satisfying available to me at all times – my relationship with God. He is the one I need to turn to when joy evades me.

So, I am continuing to work on this project. I hope it will be pretty and encouraging. In the meantime, I am thinking on this verse: Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”