Sunday, July 21, 2019

Karen's Crocheted Purses

Because of the random act of violence that touched our lives the other day with my vehicle, I was unable to attend a "Christmas in July" show that I had been looking forward to. I've been crocheting handmade purses as something I love to do. Crocheting has become such a passion and comfort to me. Ever since I lost my parents a few years ago, it has been a way to bring a little peace into my life.

Several people have asked if they could view my purses and I have chosen to place them on my blog site for anyone who may be interested. Each one is different from the other. Each has a tag with a Bible verse chosen especially for it.

Remember: these are made from the heart with love. Some have double pockets and button closure, while others are single-pocketed. But each is embellished with some fun decorations and different stitching. There are some that can certainly be given to a child as a gift. Or you may purchase one as a gift for someone, and one for yourself. If you decide to do so, I will give a discount for two or more purchased together.

You may reach out to me if you are interested in one, at my email:
Or certainly as a private message in Facebook also. I will mail any of them with no shipping cost to you if you live in the U.S. And there are special circumstances where I may be able to get one to you if you live nearby.

Thank you kindly for stopping by to look at my little passion. May God bless you, Karen

This one is called "Butterflies are Beautiful." It has a thick brown and tan yarn, wooden button closure and single interior. There is a butterfly and hand-crocheted rose and leaves on the front. It is a smaller purse with a single handle. Bible verse: He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
  Price 15.00

This one is called ""Charcoal Charm." It is made from a thick, soft dark grey yarn and has a double interior pocket, pretty silver charms and a tassel at the bottom. The Bible verse is: Search me, O God, and know my heart.
Price: 20.00

The red and black one is called "Key to my Heart." It is made from very soft thick yarn and has silver and rhinestone embellishment, a double handle and a closure. The Bible verse: My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.
Price: 15.00

This black and white purse is called "Summertime" and has button closure, soft yarn with a close single stitch, pretty rhinestone embellishments and a twisted black and white handle. It is about eight inches long and about nine inches wide. Bible verse: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Price: 20.00

This one is called "Blue and Blingy." It is a deep blue color with some black entwined. It has several fun embellishments on the front, and a deep blue butterfly on the back. Double handled and button closure. About seven inches long and wide. Bible verse: Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.
Price: 20.00

This is "Cheery Cherry." It is a fun purse that perhaps a young girl may like, or if you are young at heart. The yarn is soft and thick. It has button closure, double handle, a lovely hand-crocheted rose and leaves and some small black rhinestones near the top. It also has a crocheted white chain which runs through the middle. Bible verse: Surely he has done great things. Be not afraid, O land; Be glad and rejoice.
Price: 20.00

This soft purse is very special and called "Alzheimer's Awareness." The purple butterfly is in honor of my mom who had Alzheimer's. The yarn is extremely thick and fuzzy. It has several purple baubles adorning the front, a closure, and a twisted black and purple handle. Bible verse: Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.
Price: 20.00

This is my ode to "Harry Potter" called "Owls and Magic." It is a double interior smaller purse with thick, soft brown yarn and antique-looking owl embellishments. Bible verse: Good will come to him who is generous.
Price: 20.00

This black purse is one of my favorites. It is called "Elegance." It is closely single-stitched and has feather boa embellishment around the top and handle. Lovely rhinestones adorn the front. It is a medium size purse. Bible verse: By day the Lord directs His love; at night His song is with me.
Price: 25.00

This smaller purse is called "Happy Heart." It has a small double handle, thick yarn and wooden button embellishments. It also has a coppery sequined heart on the front, and a butterfly pin on the back. Bible verse: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Price: 20.00

This light and airy bag is called "Simple Scholar." I think it would be good to carry a book or kindle as it is very lightweight. The brown yarn is glittery and it is embellished with some fun baubles and a heart button closure. Bible verse: Surely the Lord has done great things.
Price: 10.00

This smaller purse is called "Tawny." It is double interior, button closure, and stiffer yarn with pretty antique-looking charms. Bible verse: Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.
Price: 10.00

This is another of my favorites called "Wedding White." It is a smaller purse with a double interior, cream colored yarn and faux pearls and double handle. Bible verse: And do not forget to do good and to share with others for with such sacrifice God is pleased.
Price: 20.00

This purse is called "Springtime." It is a little smaller in size, but the length is fairly deep. Has small roses, button closure, and two handles. Bible verse: Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
Price 15.00

This charming purple and black purse is called "Pleasantly Purple." It is larger and has a great small stitch and heavier yarn. It has rhinestone baubles and an antique looking rose closure. Bible verse: And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Price: 15.00

The next one is my first Americana colored purse. "Three Cheers for Red, White and Blue." It is a double interior purse with a red button closure and rhinestone embellishments. Made with a thick yarn, it is two handled and a medium size. Bible verse: Submit to God and be at peace with Him.
Price: 20.00
This is extremely soft purse is called "Summer Love." It is tan and cream colored with a single interior, wooden button embellishments and closure and a single handle. It is about medium sized.
Bible verse: Blessed are the peacemakers.
Price: 15.00

This smaller purse is called "Loving Hearts." It is about 5 inches by 5 inches with a double interior, brass buttons on the front, and wooden buttons on the back. Made of a very soft, thick yarn.Has a long twisted red and black handle. Bible verse: The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed.
Price: 10.00

This purse is called "Pretty in Pink." The yarns are glittery and soft. It is a larger purse with one interior and a braided handle and button closure. A little girl's dream. Bible verse: When you are kind to others, you help yourself.
Price: 15.00

This black and gold one is called "Pittsburgh Spirit." The yarn is thick and soft. About medium sized with a butterfly button closure and some cute embellishments on the sides. Bible verse: Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.
Price: 10.00

The next two photos are the same purse front and back. It is called "Peace and Love." It is smaller and made with charming blue hues, cream, browns, and greens. It has button closure and sweet charms on the front, with a sequined heart on the back. Smaller double handle. Bible verse: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.
Price: 15.00

This little bag is called "Blue Elegance." It is about 8 inches by 8 inches and made with a very soft thick blue and black yarn and has feather boa trim and lovely rhinestones on the front. Single interior and single handle. Bible verse: For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.
Price: 20.00

The next one is one of my favorites also. It is very large and is called "Sparkly Fluff." The yarn is thick, black and white with a tassel on the bottom and rhinestones on the front. Single interior and double handle. Bible verse: My grace is sufficient for you.
Price: 25.00

Another one that is great for a little girl is called "Soft as a Cloud." It is thick, soft blue and yellows. Has blue and yellow rhinestones and a sparkly blue butterfly. There is an extra pocket on the outside. Double soft handle and single interior. Bible verse: A gentle response diffuses anger.
Price 10.00

The next one is pinks and wooly yarn. Double interior and button closure with sparkly embellishments and pink sparkly butterfly. "Cotton Candy." Bible verse: Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.
Price: 20.00

This large bag called "All about the beach" can be used to carry your suntan products to the beach. Single interior with beach-themed baubles and wooden button closure with a single handle. Bible verse: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Price: 10:00

If you need a closer photo of any of them, or the dimensions, please let me know. I truly appreciate you stopping by!
Many thanks!

When Forgiveness Touched my Life

In a very deep sleep, the sound of a loud "Bang!" awoke me from outside my window the other night. Tires squealed quickly away, and I had time to think as I lay there in a comfy, drowsy state, hmmm, someone must have hit a deer... before I drifted off to sleep again.

A minute or so later the house telephone began ringing. My eyes popped back open and a feeling of dread crept over my body. What's going on? Who would be calling at 12:30 a.m.? Was this related to the sound I'd heard?

My husband awoke and we stared at the phone. It was an unfamiliar number, so we didn't answer it. Hubby made a quick bathroom trip, and I swore I heard someone knocking at our front door.

"Jim!" I said, picking the phone off the cradle, ready to dial 911 at a moment's notice. "There's someone at our door now!"

My husband is recovering from a hip replacement. He grabbed his cane and snuck quietly down the stairs, peeking out the front door. "It's the neighbors," he said, and opened the door.

As I stood there, so many thoughts ran through my head. Has there been a tragedy at their house, is someone hurt, etc. I was unprepared for what I heard next: "Someone broke your wife's car window and we called the cops."

For the first time in my life, a senseless act of violence touched my life. The back window of my car was shattered and thousands of tiny shards of glass glittered throughout the whole vehicle all the way up to the dashboard. Two of my tires had been flattened and the metal blade of a box-cutter type of knife stuck out of one of them. I wanted to vomit, scream, run away. I wanted to cry. I wanted my mother.

Isn't it enough, Lord, that Jim is recovering from surgery? Everything is up in the air now and we have too much to handle. This too?

From what we've discovered in the last few days, there have been random car break-ins and vandalism to vehicles in our town. Nobody has come close to catching the offenders.

I've been thinking back to a time that touched my parent's lives back in the early eighties. They owned a small Mom -and -Pop store in our little hometown. One late night, somebody had broke their large front window, gone into the store and stolen several items. When Mom found out the next day, she didn't develop a "poor me" attitude or even get angry. In typical Mom fashion instead, she wrote a large sign and hung it on the front door as several people helped place boards over the broken glass.

The sign read: If you are hungry or in need of anything, please stop in and talk with me about it. I would be glad to help you out. Please don't steal from us.

The thought of that sign and my mother's attitude came to me as I tried to make sense from the senseless. Something else came to me as well. My mother was a firm believer in second chances for people. She tried to look at the good in everyone. She had such compassion in her heart for the underdogs of this world and tried to reason that "Everyone has a story."

I don't know what kind of homes the people who vandalized my car have come from. Perhaps they never knew love or any form of human goodness. Maybe they never knew God's goodness and mercy, but I decided to feel mercy in my heart toward them. "Father, forgive them," I said. "Please bring them to justice, but help them to realize that what they are doing in our town is wrong. They don't realize that these acts are happening to folks who may have terrible struggles already in their lives. Help them to care and to have a conscience."

Letting go of this has been the best thing I could have done for myself. Yes, I feel uneasy right now, and I will certainly be more aware of the goings on around our neighborhood. But I'm choosing life over death, love over hate, forgiveness over anger, and mercy over bitterness.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Letter to Myself

Dear Karen (Age 8),
     I wanted to write to you and let you know that it will be okay. I know some things seem a little blurry to you right now and even a bit scary. Your mom might not be as calm as you'd like, as loving, or even might seem a bit different from other mommies. It's okay.
     Did you know she had a very bad childhood? Did you know that her daddy was a mean guy and he hurt her mama sometimes? Did you know that her mama yelled at her and her siblings because she was so overwhelmed she didn't know what to do?
     Did you know how much your mom loved her sister? And when her sister passed away at Easter time, it just about broke your mother's heart? Whatever weak thread was holding her fragile mind together snapped. And she had lots of problems after that.
     Did you know that your mom is going to be fine though? She will return to you whole and healed in a short time. You will be stronger for it, Karen age 8. You will develop a heart of compassion toward the people in this world who have all sorts of issues because you understand what it's like to be with someone whose mind has been touched by pain.

Dear Karen (Age 13),
     I know this isn't how you pictured your new life moving to a nice, new home and beginning adolescence. You didn't do anything to "deserve" the curvature of the spine. It wasn't your fault or the fault of anyone. Bad things happen sometimes. Yes, it is a very frightening time. You are going through all sorts of weird things in the hospital to make you better.
     Did you know that your mom will be extremely strong while you are going through this? Did you know she will show a bravery you didn't think her capable of? Did you know that your daddy will make you laugh and keep things light because that is how he handles stressful situations?
     Did you know that this hospital time will give you a heart of love toward other people that have health problems and those who are scared and sad? Did you know that you will use this time to be braver and stronger in the future and that you will someday work with people in an office who always tell you just how much you've been there for them?

Dear Karen (Age 17),
     You're a teenager now. I know that sometimes your mom doesn't act like you can be independent, but give it time. Did you know how much she worries for you since you had the major back surgery? She is frightened that something could go wrong, or that you will hurt yourself? Remember, that is her issue, not yours. You will grow to be very independent--more than you realize. You won't have to live with the fears and doubts that others have put on you. Just keep your eyes focused on the Lord and remember what He says about you.

Dear Karen (Age 30)
     You've had some issues and made some bad choices in life. Even though some people bring these mistakes up, they do not have to define who you will still become.
     Your first marriage in your early twenties brought a good family into your life even though your husband wasn't the man he said he was. It is again, not your fault. You are still worthy even though he made you feel as if you were not. You are beautiful, loved, and whole. Don't let what he did affect who you are in the future. Love your sons, be a good mother. Love your parents, be a good daughter. And realize that the hurt you have gone through will once again mold you through compassion and you will love others with your own words one day. Yes, your dream of writing will come true. Believe.

Dear Karen (Age 55),
     It's been a while since I've written to you. You have all the tools you need to be a loving daughter as you watch your parents aging and their health, failing. You are stronger than you know--not that weak little eight-year-old girl who was scared of her own shadow. You are a child of God, and a child of the two most wonderful parents! Everything you have been through in life has brought you to this moment; a moment you've dreaded as you say goodbye to your mother and father.
     Did you know that you will be okay? I promise. You will be a comfort to others who are grieving. You will know how to talk to God and pray for those who are hurting as much as you have hurt during this time.
     Did you know that there will be moments, wonderful moments where you will feel not only Mom and Dad near you when they are departed, but the presence of the Holy Spirit so strongly in your heart that it feels like it could burst from love?

P.S. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. You are strong and courageous. You are a child of the most High God. You need not have fear and doubt and let discouragement put you down. You will rise above all the things that others told you that you could never do. You will do them and excel. You are no longer a little fearful child. Every difficult thing that you've gone through in life has brought you to this moment. It's your moment to shine.

(Your 58 year-old self)


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Darn Good Escapism

My obsession with good movie and book series has always been something that has given me a reason to smile--to take the blues away at times and give the necessary escapism needed in our otherwise crazy lives. My family and I have always said, "It's another reason to live," when a new book or movie in a series that we love is coming out. 

I began with Star Wars in the late seventies, the simple tale of good vs. evil, and all the wonderful small story lines connected in so many neat ways.

I graduated to Lord of the Rings in the early 2,000's, an obsession that continues to this day. Another simple tale (though fraught with danger, peril, complex storytelling), but basically good vs. evil once again, and the love of amazing, honest friendship, or "fellowship" if I may add.
 There has been my love of the Outlander book series, and now the television show that is cast each year. Good, evil, love, hate, great writing and so many characters to adore

I'd fought against anyone however telling me how much I would love the Harry Potter series. I used to think it was a childish ripoff of Lord of the Rings. After all, how could simple teenagers hold my interest, though I do like young adult fiction: Twilight series and Hunger Games.

Wizards and magic, indeed! A silly boy with a scar! Humbug! These characters seemed hollow and so unreal to me that I made fun of them whenever possible.

Until... Last year I watched my young niece and her mom talking about the Harry Potter movies, buying little knick knacks from them, and appearing to bond over a darn good tale. In order to find out what all the hoopla was about, and to find something to get closer with my niece, I borrowed the books from a friend.

Let's just say I wish I'd read them slower. I am in the last parts of the seventh book. I am about to discover secrets that have been kept throughout the series. J.K. Rowling has my complete attention and devotion. Not a stereotypical book. Characters are as 3-D as they can be. They are written with such complexity, yet in simple, understandable language. I admire her incredible writing. I admire the fact that Potter mania is everywhere. For it is here, now, in me too. I consider myself a major fan. Though I can't wait to see what happens, I almost want to put the book aside and savor all of the mystery just a bit longer.
Here's to great heroes and villains and all the characters in between. For giving us years of excitement, adventure, and a reason to live!

Friday, June 14, 2019

For All the Dads

I can't help but smile today. I smile because my daddy is close in my heart. As Father's Day approaches, I remember this man, this very good man who brought laughter and goodness to the world and made it a better place.

Dad was a model son. If his parents had need of him, he dropped everything and ran next door to where they lived. No matter if it was something minor, my father always let them know that they were important. He cared for them into their golden years and respected them with a son's adoration.

Dad would do this with my mom as a good husband through the years. For her needs were always first to him. He loved her until death parted them, and even then, I felt his love surrounding her up to the time she joined him a short while later. Their marriage lasted over sixty years and was a shining tribute to all who knew them.

Other fathers who are in my heart today are some of the men who I appreciated through the years. There was my father-in-law, E.G., a man who broke into tears when we were reunited years after his son left our marriage. There was Matt's father, Mark, who was protective of his little boys and showered them with kisses and affection. There is my brother who adores his own little girls and would do anything for them. And my husband who especially appreciates his good relationships with his children in their adult years.

Some of us may not have known the love of a good father, or husband to our children. We may have found that an uncle, grandfather, cousin, neighbor, or dear friend made an impression in our lives with their goodness. As Father's Day approaches, let's hold a special thought for these gentle men who garnered respect in our lives through their actions and kindnesses.

To you, Dad, I close my eyes right now and envision your handsome face. I see you blinking with two eyes because you never could wink. I see your paint-stained pants with every color under the rainbow splashed over them. I smell the scent of marigolds in your hands. I hear the sound of your laughter and the timbre of your words--your magical, nonsensical words.

I hear the Emperor Waltz in the background. I can picture you now, Dad, conducting your invisible orchestra. I see you and Mom dancing and twirling in my mind's eye as the crescendo peaks. I feel your warmth radiating through everything you touched--your beautiful hand-created crafts.

I miss you, Dad. I hope you visit my dreams again soon. I thank God for allowing any special moments of closeness with you even now. Happy Father's Day with every ounce of love I have.

Your little Tenya.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Nostalgic, Creepy, and Wonderful (A Mother's Day Tale)

As always, the last turn on the winding country road as the top of the old, wooden roller coaster peeks out from the trees, gives my stomach a jolt of excitement. I'll never forget when I was a little girl, how the sight of that coaster, the sound of it whooshing and whomping along the track, and the laughter and thrill screams from countless people who rode it, alerted me to the fact that our family had just arrived at Conneaut Lake Park. And just as it had many times before, the coaster didn't fail to disappoint.

 My son and I put our heads together this year for a Mother's Day jaunt. Not the usual type of mother/son duo, we enjoy things of a more eclectic nature. Last year Matt took me to haunted Hillview Manor for a daytime ghost tour. It was a wonderful old building with incredible architecture and the feel of ghostly happenings in many of its crumbling corners. How could we top a trip of that nature?

We arrived at Conneaut Park yesterday as the rain began clearing. Though the park hasn't opened for the season just yet, we were permitted to walk along its paths, reliving the feel of a bygone era and our own youth. We parked at Hotel Conneaut since we had reservations a little later for the Mother's Day brunch.

With both of our camera's in hand, we headed off into the heart of the park. I had been watching several of the Facebook pages that had to do with this incredible place. The Devil's Den, a favorite dark ride of ours, seemed to have a wonderful guy as its operator/caregiver. For you see, if you have a true love of all things historical to do with an amusement park, you become its caregiver of a sort.

"Devil's Den Tom" is appropriately named. A fun, approachable fellow, whose knowledge of his ride and history of many of the others is above what we expected.

Matt and I settled in for many tales that Tom told us of his years of upkeep on the Den. He also is a certified ride inspector, so he is aware of safety issues and history of many of the rides throughout the park. We received one of the most awesome gifts from Tom, as he toured us through the Devil's Den in walk-through fashion. Never before had either Matt or I had the chance to go through a ride with a true first eye view of what goes on behind the scenes. It was a dream come true for both of us--and a way to feel more connected to a beloved place that has been a part of our family for many years.

Just standing outside the old dark ride, the scent of motor grease and old wood rises on the slight breeze. If you close your eyes, it takes you back to childhood, to school picnics, to simpler times. You remember your parents and their love; you remember the sense of belonging. You remember small vacation trips that were some of the best of your life. You picture the clack, clack, clack of the cars as they begin the journey through the doors of the old spook house, awaiting whatever ghouls and ghosties are ready to dole out at any moment. If you rode with a parent when you were young, chances are that they held onto you tightly showing you that there was nothing to fear. It was all good clean fun.

A little later, after a sumptuous meal, Matt and I strolled through the remainder of the park at our leisure. The silence in Kiddie Land seems alive with what awaits in the new season. Upon searching in nearby woods, I found the beginning and ending of an old jungle cruise ride--one I hadn't seen in years. A rickety bridge stretched over mossy water; the now defunct station where we once stood to board the pontoon boat that would take you around scores of natives and wild animals was abandoned and off-limits.

The carousel stood boarded up nearby. No way to see the lovely stallions, stately lions, tigers and bears! (Oh my!) But when we walked around the back of the building, a small loose board stood slightly ajar. I peered into the darkness and called Matt over. Like something out of "Mr. Dark's carnival," we could see the ghostly outlines of the carousel beasts. No music, not the stir of a breeze or dried leaf. But the feeling of observing this was something magical. For it felt as if we stumbled upon a secret--one only we were privy to at this moment.

Other parts of the park lie in wait for the amazing volunteers that will sweep through as they finish getting it ready for another season. Though I know we will return once it's opened, I found that this day of reliving precious memories and moments with nobody else present, helped me to truly treasure a unique place that my parents loved, my brother loved, I loved, and my son loved.

Here's to you Conneaut Lake Park to many more years for new families and old to walk through your midway, to enjoy the treasure of family time and make memories of their own.

 Park sign near the hotel. All painted and ready for a new season.

 Wonderful old kiddie land auto ride. I'm sure they are the same ones I rode as a child!

 The awesome dark ride! So many other parks have gotten rid of theirs.

 Matt might be standing around a little longer waiting for the ride to open.

 The exit platform to the Jungle Cruise ride from many, many years ago. So cool.

 I've never seen this little treasure. The original bridge to the Jungle Cruise ride. Oh how our family loved this one back in the day!

 How cool is this? Though I'd never walk across, it just screams of another era. Oh the stories a bridge could tell.

Part of the park near miniature golf.

Hotel Conneaut in its grand splendor! Hoping for many more years at this glorious historical place.

Thank you, son, for one of the most memorable Mother's Days ever!

Devil's Den Facebook page: /

The park's Facebook page:


Thursday, May 9, 2019

A Visit From Heaven

I riffled through old drawers in my parent's bedroom. With every little knick knack or memento, I began crying harder. How would I get through this? I had begun the process of clearing out their house after their passing to help get it ready for the "new people." But every item seemed to hold some sort of purpose or special thought, and I cried and cried finding it difficult as I tossed things into a plastic garbage bag.

When I walked from their room into the living area, Mom and Dad sat upon their couch. I could hardly breathe! My parents! Alive again! I ran over to them, observing the way they looked: younger, dark-haired, straight bodied and smiling. I embraced Dad first, kissing him all over his face, not feeling at all uncomfortable that I hadn't done that throughout his life. It felt perfectly natural and my happiness soared. I then reached over to Mom and embraced her, doing the same thing--loving up her dear face.

I realized they had been "sent" and knew they should not really be there. But Dad had a reason for the visit. You see, he needed to help me weed through their "stuff." Some of it was very valuable in his eyes, and he needed to show me which items to hold onto. Though he tossed many things away, he found what was most precious and told me not to let go of those special things.

Then he said to Mom, "We have to go."

I didn't feel sad or sorry to see them leave. I was still too elated at spending a little time with them, to feel anything but sheer happiness. I couldn't wait to share with others that I'd seen them and talked with them.

I watched my parents walk out the front door into a dark, rainy night together toward some beautiful woods on the other side of the road. I knew where they were headed.

Back inside the house I told anyone that would listen: "I just saw my parents! They came from Heaven! They looked wonderful!

When I awoke from the dream this morning, I felt surrounded by peace, joy, and brightness so strong that nothing could interfere with it! I knew that God had given me a glimpse of my mother and father, and let me show affection that had been bursting inside of me! He shared with me also, that though there are some things I do need to "get rid of" from the past, and not hold so tightly to any longer, that there still are things of value that each of my parents gave to me and my brother. Those things are what we need to hold fast to. Those things are the lessons and the love.