Friday, June 17, 2011

Drops of Joy

Drops of Joy

Last year William wore the colorful vest I knitted him. The primary colors happened to match those of the toys he plays with when he visits. Self-striping yarn adds instant color design. It gave me joy to see him in it. He quickly out-grew it.

The azaleas in the front garden bloom red in spring. They accent our front door. 

I planted this little shade garden three springs ago, adding bulbs, leaving space for the wild ferns do what they like, repositioning the hostas a year later, keeping the moisture loving azalea’s happy during a heat wave. 

Even a little garden takes attention. And my attentions were well received. For it began to fill in nicely. This garden gave me joy and made me feel more settled although we have a history of relocations and only lived in this house a few years; settled until . . .

the largest tree in the right of the grouping died. I am familiar with how the ground around a tree is disturbed when tree removers start in with their chain saws. Therefore I’ve begun transplanting some of the plants to a shady spot on the opposite side of the lawn to save them from an impending doom. No more little garden.


When I discovered patches of moss at the shady edge of the woods I came up with another idea to contribute to feelings of permanence. Perhaps with this moss I could create a more aged look to our side entrance.

I dug some up and pressed it into the cracks of the steppingstones. Keeping the moss moist between the intervals when we were away was something I nearly forgot to do.

Some of the larger steppingstones that touch the porch are definitely sunken and will need to be raised up with a crow bar and a new application of crushed stone and soil. The moss will soon be disturbed, too, I’m afraid.

On rainy days I retreated indoors for a little sewing. Pink paisley and polka dot flannel made a pretty gift of washable nursing pads for my daughter. They’re a frugal project and much softer than disposable.

I picked up the idea over the winter when I was blog hopping but lost track of which blogspot listed the simple directions. Therefore I’ll include them here.

 Trace three circles on cotton flannel and one circle of fleece per pad. The outside layer of acrylic fleece is moisture resistant. I like to trim two of the flannel circles slightly so that they will fit under the top circle. Stack the circles: one fleece, two trimmed flannel circles, one slightly larger circle (same size as the fleece.) Edge on the sewing machine with a zigzag stitch. 

At the same time I started knitting a chemo-cap in organic cotton yarn for a widow who was scheduled for a mastectomy. Her loss is a startling contrast to my daughter’s birthing experience. I couldn’t help think of the changes life brings especially to women.

 Life is what happens when you are making other plans. John Lennon

My shifting gardens revealed to me my longing for a feeling of permanence – a reprieve from dark clouds of changing circumstances. As much as I enjoy our home I know a certain nesting urge and deep sense of security will be satisfied by an experience only heaven will bring. Nothing we have in this life is permanent. Youth is fleeting. Change can be unsettling. Losses require the balm of cheerfulness, reassuring friendship. Perhaps we appreciate the little refreshing drops of joy best when we remember that the blessings we enjoy on this earth point to greater ones to come.

All the many little things a mother’s hands find to do in one day may seem to her like trifles in the grand scheme of things. But it is the little things that make the difference in the world. The good they do is inconceivable. They are drops of joy we wouldn’t know if we hadn’t touched our hands to them.

Happiness is a perfume you cannot put on others without getting a few drops on yourself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank you for your notes and comments, public or private - however you send them. I know what shy feels like when it comes to writing. I write anyway. 

Karen Andreola


  1. You do such lovely handy work and gardens. You are a inspiration.


  2. Yes! I agree about the longing for permanence in our lives. Almost twenty-four years ago when my husband and I were first married, I was disquieted by how new everything was. Our rings were shiny and brand new. Our towels were brand new. Our sheets were brand new. EVERYWHERE I looked, it was all brand new. I remembering wondering how long it would be before our life together would feel like an old comfy quilt or a well tended established flower garden.

    When I'm overwhelmed by the fleeting nature of life on this earth, I remind myself that, for God's child, eternity has already begun.

    Your moss between the cracks idea is a brilliant one!


  3. I love the red azalea's and the way they make your front door pop!

    I like a feeling of permanence too - we moved every year the first 7 years of our marriage and now we have lived in this little cottage for nearly 10 years - the longest we ever have lived anywhere!


  4. Thank you much for this posting. Such beauty in simplicity.Your home looks lovely,but not to be compared with what is to come.I am thinking of the song " I need no mansion here below ,for Jesus says that I may go, to a home beyond the clouds not made with hands,won't you come and go along,we will sing the sweetest song,ever played upon the harps in Glory land...You have inspired me to make nursing pads for my dear daughter,who just this week surprised us that she is expecting our 2nd grandchild. Bless you Karen.

  5. I have only left home for an extended vacation so to speak. With a 6 month exception, I have only ever lived in thesame town that I grew up in as a child. One whole life. I dream of other places, other climates, other houses...not always in a sad way, but I do dream of them anyway.

    I am trying to wait patiently to go to a place of my own choosing. A place that circumstances haven't chosen for me. Like you though, I can't wait to see my home past the gates of Heaven. To share a home with my Lord. I'll see you there friend.

  6. Dear Karen,
    That picture of William in a handknit Gramma vest is a picture worth framing! I do love red azaleas, I gave my Mom a bush this past Mother's Day:-) I hope your writing project is coming along nicely, I have my questions ready for you:-) Your Mother Culture CD was wonderful!!! Tell Dean a blessed Father's Day!

  7. Thank you, Karen. Your words have meant so much to me.


  8. Ohh yes I do I have a red door. I grew up with a dad who was born and raised in Keene, New Hampshire ( I was born there on a family re union) and he always talked about wanting a welcoming/red door. He never did paint our door red but when we built our house that was a mandatory to have one painted. [o= I just love, love, love it.

    Thank you for stopping by. It made my day!

    Blessings in Him<><

  9. Dear Ladies,
    Wherever we have lived God has brought special people into our lives. I don't think I would have gotten to know such a variety of people otherwise. To know that others share similar thoughts about our trek in this life is comforting.
    Karen A.

  10. I love the chemo cap you made for me that looks like it was made from the same pattern. I've worn it more than any other. Thank you again, Karen. I've been reading your knitting posts tonight as I knit a chemo cap for the center.
    Be blessed!
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. I'm am touched that you wear the cap I made for you. I wish I hadn't lost the pattern. I found it on-line somewhere and thought it feminine. How neat to hear that you are knitting caps for others. I saw a young lady walking across the street in town. She looked in her twenties. She had on a flowing skirt of bright colors (that spoke "celebrate life" to me). Her chemo cap only partially covered her head but was knit in multi-colored yarn. To me, she was "dressed like the flowers." Karen A.

    2. I think that having a positive outlook, making the best of things, andtrust and praise and worship and prayer to God make all the difference.