New Scarves and Journal Cover on Writing Places

Here are some new items I recently added to WritingPlaces on Etsy.


This is a music-themed journal cover that would be great for piano or any other music lesson, if your teacher uses a notebook or pad to write down your lessons for the week. This is the first in a series of other musically themed notebooks!
I love these scarves! In the photographs below, my granddaughter Tayler is modeling an elegant navy blue scarf crocheted in a mock broomstick lace stitch. The Peria Petra yarn has a shimmery look and it is soft. In the next picture, Tayler is modeling an alpaca fiber scarf colored in a variegated pattern of blue, aqua, purple and green. I call this scarf "For love of the sea" because it reminds me of pleasant days spent on the coast. 


Tayler looks rather preppy in the picture in which she is wearing this emerald green acrylic scarf around her neck. It would be a great little scarf for fall or a cool summer evening. 
In the picture on the right she is wearing peach cotton and acrylic slouchy beanie. With its bright color, the hat would be perfect for spring or early fall. Here are some positive comments I have received about the beanies:

"Beautiful blue color and excellent work."  Lori Austin

"AWESOME hat, beautifully handcrafted. This is going to keep me VERY warm this winter." Pamela Bates

Don't forget! Writing Places is also having a clearance sale of specially marked crocheted items and, with the Fourth of July weekend coming, my clearance sale just got better. Get 50 percent off on selected items by entering JULY4TH in the coupon code at checkout. Stop by and do some early Christmas (I know you didn't want to hear that!), back to school, Hanukkah, or birthday shopping.


Gracias! Nouwen prays for the poor in Latin America

The 1980s were a tumultuous time for Latin American countries. After enjoying a time of prosperity and economic growth, most Latin American countries borrowed extensively from foreign governments because they felt that any debt could be repaid. And, because of Latin America's prosperity, foreign entities were more than glad to make loans. They did everything to encourage borrowing and Latin American countries kept borrowing. 

Mexico was first to realize that it was unable to pay on its loans; the country defaulted. As a result, foreign lenders called their loans and Latin American countries plummeted into a deep financial crisis because they were unable to repay what they had borrowed.

Wikipedia notes, "The debt crisis of 1982 was the most serious of Latin America's history. Incomes dropped; economic growth stagnated; because of the need to reduce importations, unemployment rose to high levels; and inflation reduced the buying power of the middle classes. In fact, in the ten years after 1980, real wages in urban areas actually dropped between 20 and 40 percent. Additionally, investment that might have been used to address social issues and poverty was instead being used to pay the debt."

From October 1981 to March 1982, during the time of the economic crisis, Catholic priest and spiritual writer Henri Nouwen began exploring the question, "Does God call me to live and work in Latin America in the years to come?" His exploration resulted in the book Gracias! A Latin American Journal, in which he writes about the conditions of the continent and its people, as well as his quest for a vocation. 

During his six-month sojourn in Latin America, Nouwen would first stay at a language school in Cochabamba, Bolivia and then live at the parish in Ciudad de Dios (City of God), Peru. He was associated with the Maryknoll Society, a group of "fathers and brothers" whose mission is, Nouwen wrote, "to recognize and elaborate a mission of spirituality which integrates community, prayer, a simple life-style, apostolic work, and commitment to the poor."

It took Nouwen less than a week to perceive "... the impressive wealth and degrading poverty, splendid flowers and dusty broken roads, loving people and cruel torturers, smiling children and soldiers who kill...".  At this time, class structure in Peru was classified by race. The poor consisted of Indians, blacks and mestizos (mixed Indian and white). The middle class was small and was comprised of white or mestizo professionals. The upper class was made up of white people who controlled the wealth and political power in the nation.  "One fourth of one percent of the population receives more than 33 percent of all income in the country. The predominant social dynamic in Peru is the structural oppression and domination of the 'lower class' and the emerging resistance of the poor to this domination," Nouwen quoted from a Maryknoll publication.

An example of the plight of the poor is in the beginnings of Ciudad de Dios, the city that Nouwen would stay in after language school. "Ciudad de Dios was the result of a popular invasion on Christmas Eve 1954 ... On that Christmas night, thousands of people illegally occupied the barren land and immediately started to develop it. The government had no choice but to comply and eventually help, and now there is the City of God with countless brick houses, a large church, a school, and several medical posts," Nouwen wrote.  In fact this happened in many areas as a result of the poverty and lack of land that existed among the poor. "The Indian migrants first lived with relatives and friends; but when they became too numerous and desperate for a space and a livelihood, they organized themselves and seized the barren desert land surrounding (Lima)." 

 "It is here that we have to hunt for God's treasure," he surmised.

Because of his compassion for the poor, Nouwen sought to pray more for them and began to identify with them to a degree. He wrote:

"True prayer always includes becoming poor. When we pray we stand naked and vulnerable in front of Our Lord and show him our true condition. If one were to do this not just for oneself, but in the name of the thousands of surrounding poor people, wouldn't that be 'mission' in the true sense of being sent into the world as Jesus was sent into the world? To lift up your hands to the Lord and show him the hungry children who play on the dusty streets, the tired women who carry their babies on their backs to the market place, the men who try to forget their misery by drinking too much beer on the weekends, the jobless teenagers and the homeless squatters, together with their laughter, friendly gestures, and gentle words - wouldn't that be true service? ... I feel that in a world rushing to the abyss, the need for calling God to the task, for challenging him to make his love felt among the poor, is more urgent than ever."

Nouwen also wrote:

"Prayer is the ongoing cry of the incarnate Lord to the loving God. It is eternity in the midst of mortality, it is life among death, hope in the midst of despair, true promise surrounded by lies. Prayer brings love alive among us. So let us pray unceasingly."

The Great Latin America Debt Crisis: A Decade of Asymmetric Adjustment by Robert Devlin and Ricardo FFrench-Davis

Latin American Debt Crisis


Monday Treasuries

'A bit o' red' by WritingPlaces

I love the color red ...

Handcrafted Tatting Snowflak...

Charel Lucite Thermoset Neck...

Vintage Red Tulips Brooch in...

Simply Poppies Pillow Slipco...

Royal Crown Crochet Lace Doi...

Turquoise and Red Coral Lari...

Colourful Crochet Afgan Blan...

Two Decorative Designer Red...

Ruby Red Ornate Regal Art De...

Vintage Dresser Runner

Eclectic Bohemian Necklace -...

Vintage burgundy necklace an...

Vintage Red and White Checke...

Little RED Stool, Handpainte...

Instant Download PATTERN Red...

Patchwork Star Quilt Block A...

'In a beachy mood ... THE ERA OF RECYCLING TEAM #41' by WritingPlaces

I spent a week near the beach and I still have sand on the brain. Enjoy!

Antique Polymer Clay Star Pe...

Recycled Aqua and White Cott...

Set of 5 elastic bracelets

Tissue Pom Medium Aqua Color...

Crochet Rug Round Turquoise ...

Mid Century Modern Vintage S...

Blue Honey Braided Cuff, Gi...

Pet Neck Cooler Bandana Dog ...

Instant download PATTERN Kni...

Instant Download PATTERN Beg...

Handmade Wedding or Annivers...

Patchwork Table Runner Embro...

Paracord, survival bracelets...

Bike Tool Bag Bicycle Burrit...

Indian Princess Mini Stylus ...

Aqua and White 3 Strand Bead...


A visit to North Carolina - Elizabethan Gardens

Over the last two weeks, my husband Mike and I vacationed in North Carolina. Well, actually, we spent one week in N.C. and two weeks catching up but that's another story. 

During our stay in N.C., we took the Cedar Island Ferry over to Ocracoke - the place where the British navy killed Blackbeard the Pirate. We drove up N.C. 12 and stayed the night at the Island House of Wanchese, a nice bed and breakfast located near Roanoke. There, I took a picture of these lovely blue flowers. 

Delphinium, Summer Skies, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

After our stay at the inn, we traveled over to Manteo and visited the Elizabethan Gardens. These gardens are dedicated to the English colonists who braved the New World and it is close to the outdoor theatre where a talented cast portrays "The Lost Colony".  

I am a little nuts when it comes to taking pictures of flowers so I really enjoyed this place. We spent two hours here and the time flew. Here are some of my favorite pictures. You can find the rest at WritingPlaces.

This is not a flower! Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

Stoke's Aster Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

Oakleaf Hydrangea, Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

Bug on a Lacecap Hydrangea at Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

Pretty Scaevola "Aussie Salute", Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

Digitalis purpurea, or Foxglove, Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

Digitalis purpurea,, or Foxglove, Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

Blue Hydrangea, Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

I have no idea, Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

Pink Hydrangea, Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

 Oakleaf Hydrangea, Elizabethan Gardens, copyright Alicia Gossman-Steeves

Okay, I really like hydrangeas and I was surprised by the different varieties. Does anyone know what the purple flowers are? I have searched the web but to no avail.

Thanks for staying tuned while I was away. I'll show more pictures of my vacation in upcoming blog posts.