Our weather has changed very quickly. It was HOT a day or so ago and is now chilly and cloudy. That is why we must take advantage of each nice day and enjoy it when it happens.
But would we enjoy it as much if we had that weather very day???? I doubt it. It is just like life. If it were all mountain tops and pure joy--we would expect that all the time. We like the smooth parts of the road of life. But it is the ruts and muddy sections that teach us the most. They make us into who we are and toward who we would like to be.
Those clouds were in my backyard on a very fine day.
I was asked to submit a little story to our guild newsletter. I cannot write two different things in the time I allow for the computer----so here is what I sent them. The picture is a little table topper I made for my daughter in laws parents. They travel around quite a bit in their motor home when visiting the USA from Australia.
I always find it very interesting to talk to beginning quilters. They have all sorts of reasons that they want to learn to quilt. Many have seen a quilt somewhere and think they can make it cheaper. That always results in a laugh.
One lady had a very interesting story. She is a psychologist and the vast majority of her clients are women. She was writing her annual Christmas letter and realized that she had not done anything that whole year for herself. This is the very thing she tells so many women who come to see her. So she decided she would learn to quilt. She put herself on her to do list in a life too crowded with other obligations. She hopes to have a couple of small quilts finished to put in her Christmas letter this year complete with pictures.
Another lady had a really beautiful top that her Grandmother had made. She wanted to learn how to make this into a real quilt as she called it. It was just gorgeous and made out of authentic feedsacks. She had no idea why it never got finished but felt a strong pull to make sure that it did. She still has not finished that quilt but will eventually as her skill grows on small projects.
There is also a lack of time to connect with other women. Taking a couple of hours a week out of a busy week to sit and sew together is very therapeutic. Generations before us knew that very well. Quilting or sewing allows our minds to quiet down the many voices clamoring for our attention. We can join together in a non judemental group and just discuss problems and share joys in our lives.
We have had very warm weather for this time of the year. It will not last for much longer but I am sure many wish they had their pools open and ready for swimming. And the Global Warming people can use this to their advantage.
I really believe in trying to buy local and also made in American. I went to our local garden center to buy some annuals. They do not carry the 6 packs. They were charging $2.00 for one pot. I buy too many for that type of price. I decided to talk to the lady about it. How will she know why people are not going there if they do not speak up.
She was nice about it and said she will consider it. It is really a lovely shop and I would feel badly to see it close up.
This picture was a garden raised from seed. It is sloooooooooooooow and takes a long time to get flowers. I am going to buy plants this year once DH gets more dirt in the bed.
It is back to work for many today. There are lots of people who wish they had a job to go back to. Some people are just getting off from the night shift. They work all night so that we can sleep in peace. They tend the sick and old in hospitals everywhere. They go about their lives quietly. They are not screaming on TV asking for stuff or complaining about what they do not have.
The farmer who plows the fiields around our little house got his first pass of his tractor. What a gift it is to be living in a place where I can watch this part of Spring take place. The bikes wiz past our house and motorcycles were out in great numbers this past week end.
The nice weather is here for a couple of days. Summer temperatures are on tap for today and the sun is shining brightly. Please let us take just a moment to remember we live in the very best country in the whole world.
I think it is time to start another Quilt Of Valor as I have contributed a good many for the Hospice. I have a simple new pattern I would like to try called Disappearing Four Patch.
This picture is Jamestown Rhode Island where a dear friend puts her little summer trailer for the season.
This is probably my favorite poem in the whole world. It is how I try to live my life. I care not if people think I am right or crazy. What I work on changes. It used to be cocker spaniel dogs that needed to be rescued.
Now it is wounded soliders who need a quilt to remind them they are appreciated from their fellow countrymen. It is a quilt for a person dying in a Hospice and the family that surrounds them on their final journey out of this fallen world.
The quilt in the picture is my latest for Hospice. I was given the panels from a dear internet quilting friend. I knew it would be just perfect for a man.
THE STARFISH POEM
Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.
He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day he was walking along the shore.
As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer.
He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day.
So he began to walk faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing,
but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something
and very gently throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?"
The young man paused, looked up and replied,
"Throwing starfish in the ocean."
"I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?"
"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."
"But, young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it.
You can't possibly make a difference!" The young man listened politely.
Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea,
past the breaking waves and said- "It made a difference for that one."
I have mixed feelings about getting older. I lost a very dear friend about 8 years ago. She left a husband who adored her and 3 boys. I am sure she would give just about anything she had to be here and getting wrinkles and all the physical things that come with aging. Every time I think about the negative aspects, I think about Janice. She may even have grandkids now and never had the joy of meeting them. That will have to wait for eternity.
As we age we get much smarter. We learn to let most things go and sweat just the bigger things. We learn we really have little control over what happens and better find a way to navigate all the bad things that come our way. Every single thing can be a lesson if we just let it be.
Once a person is gone from our life we realize how important they really were. We regret the days, weeks and months where we could have spent more time with them. Why oh why does that not happen more when they are still here????? Why do we take these wonderful people and blessings for granted???
So I will be thankful each day for this aging body. The aches and pains can be eliminated with a magic pill called Advil. The extra pounds are much harder to get rid of. That will take a closed mouth and lots of walking. But getting out and walking is a gift that many just do not have.
We are given so many gifts each and ever day. I am reminded of this and try to remember to thank God many times each day.
A member of the guild I belong to was having huge problems trying to free motion quilt. She has the same sewing machine that I have. I told her to bring it to the high school where I teach the beginner quilt class. I had a feeling I knew what the problem was.
Sure enough, the thread had just come out of the take up lever. This is a design flaw with our brand of sewing machine. It makes a certain noise and then jams up. We have learned just what this means and can easily fix it.
I wish all problems could be fixed just like that. Identify the problem, fix it quickly and then move on. It would make for a much happier world for sure.
Find a problem TODAY in your life and fix it. Do not put it off. Keep it simple if you must. You can just sort through that stack of papers sitting there. Or resolve to change something in your behavior that troubles you. Change the inner voice that talks to you. Tell it you are no longer going to think that negative thought.
I have a wonderful stash---love having that----of plaid fabric. Most of this was donated by friends. I was not really sure how to use this and thought I had to try to line up all the lines on it. But a guild member told me just cut it and sew it.
So I just cut a bunch of 6 inch squares. I was able to cut 4 or 5 layers at the same time. Then I just stitched them together. Next time I will do it a little differently but this is what I ended up with.
I stitched some words into it and then mainly did loops and swirls. I love how this turned out. It is amazing that sometimes the simplest pattern can look so good.
I still have lots of this fabric left and will come up with some more easy patterns. We need more manly quilts for our Hospice as so much fabric is full of flowers.
I am reading this book by Kathie Lee Gifford. I like her and have felt sorry for many of the things she has gone through in life. I see her love of her children, her husband and devotion to God as really quite wonderful.
She writes about looking at life when you realize you are in the latter portion of it. We are all so busy raising children, pursuing careers and paying bills. Then suddenly most of that comes to a halt.
Then we have more time on our hands and how will we spend it??????? I try very hard to make sure I spend it wisely. I have a little part time job taking care of a baby for a young family. I feel I give them a precious gift every day when they can go to work and know that he is safe and loved. I loved my children when they were young and figured out a way to have that again and get paid for it.
I make quilts for the wounded military and Hospice patients. I love quilt making and have found the perfect outlet for that.
It is about finding your passion that may have been buried long ago with so many commitments. Try to remember what you used to love doing and just did not have the time for. Pull it out, dust it off and just do it NOW. What used to make your heart sing?
I am emailing the gentleman who is donating his wife's fabric to me. She passed away about a year ago and he has slowly been donating her possessions to various places. They had no children so friends are helping with this process.
I think it is sort of like peeling an onion.....a layer at a time. It is all about finding the right places for each thing. Honor the things that were important to the person.
It has been interesting learning about how ladies come out of the woodwork very quickly when a gentleman loses his wife. I would like to think it is about helping someone but the heart is a lonely hunter. It seems that there are more women looking for someone than men that are available.
Can you ever replace someone you loved for many years? Can you find that kind of love again? No marriage is perfect and it takes hard work to keep it vital and alive. You must learn to surrender many of the things in your life when you blend two lives together.
I think women do better alone because for the most part--they have been taking care of others their whole life. Now they have only themselves to think about. I am not sure how I would feel about that and hope I do not have to learn for a good many years.
But I am a safe place for an email friend because I am married. I can listen and respond with no agenda. I am not trying to "snatch" up an eligible man to coin a phrase he told me---too funny.
I had been getting a couple of messages through Facebook from someone named Carl. I had no idea who this was and just ignored them. Then I received an email from this same person.
I am very skeptical of unknown people in cyberspace. I met a lady several years ago. She seemed to be a great person. I even stayed in her house and turned out to be very unbalanced. Sad but it happens. As Brad Paisley sings "I'm much cooler online".
So I fired off a note and received one in return explaining who he is. This is a gentleman who is trying to find a place to donate red white and blue fabric from his deceased wife's fabric. She sewed for Quilts of Valor as I do. He was trying to find somebody in the same state that he lives in.
I felt badly about how I had answered his email. But any man should understand why I reacted the way I did. We have had a nice email correspondence and fabric will be winging it way to my house for some future quilts. I don't think his wife's passion was as much as mine is---but then she never had a chance to read the letter I received from a soldier.
We all have to take a journey in our life and if we live long enough we will have problems and sorrows as well as joy. We cannot stop any of this and probably should not even try. This is what makes us who we are.
But we can carve out a place to go when the world gets to be too much. I have found a wonderful free music service called Pandora. You can find just the music you love. I love Michael W. Smith and just put in his name. It brings up similar music just like his.
So when the news media pounds on the TV I can just be transported to a world way away from all that chaos. Just put on my headphones and and there I am.
I am working on my third quilt for the new Hospice opening in our county. These are made with blocks from many different people. They all come together in a beautiful top that will grace the bed of someone at the end of their journey through life. There is little I can do to ease the burdens and worries of the family, but they can see the love that went into this quilt for their loved one.
I tell my quilting friends that when I give away 100 quilts--I will get my wings and fly home to Heaven. None of us knows when that day will come but perhaps I will get to give away 200.
I do not watch much news any more. I tire of the media and the spin they all put on the news. They make things into much bigger problems that they need to be. The give too much publicity to those who do harm and not enough to those who do so much good. And then I miss things.
I found out a friend of mine lives very close to the fires in Mid West City, OK...just a matter of a few miles. I had no idea any of this was happening until someone sent me an email about it and asking for prayers for their home. So far they are fine but that could change quickly. Would knowing this have changed anything??? No. But I think the prayers and caring would have been felt by her.
Maybe it is about balance. Watch a little bit to know what is going on in the world or read the headlines on an online news source.
The picture is a bunny nest that is hard to see. It is there whether you can see it or not. Just like the news. It is there whether I know or not.
I have a wonderful friend that is Jewish. She shares her faith with our online quilting community and teaches us some wonderful things. Many met in North Carolina last year and we come from all walks of life, different religious beliefes, different policital leanings but come together in a way that the nations of the world could emulate. She shared this wonderful story the other day with us.
This morning, Wednesday, Erev Pesach, join the world Jewish community in performing a rare mitzvah that only can be done every 28 years! Birkat HaChamah, “the Blessing of the Sun,” marks the day and time when the sun will be in the same alignment as it was it was when, according to Genesis 1:14-19, God created it on the fourth day of Creation. The Talmud (Berachot 59b) says: “Every 28 years the cycle begins again, and the month of Nissan equinox falls in Saturn on the evening of Tuesday, the night before Wednesday." Based on rabbinic calculations about when the world was created, this year marks the 206th 28-year cycle of the sun and the 12th time that Birkat HaChamah coincides with Erev Pesach.
The last time Birkat HaChamah took place, President Reagan was newly elected as President; the U.S. was fighting the Cold War against the Soviet Union; Kim Carnes, Lionel Richie, and REO Speedwagon topped the music charts; and, the personal computer, cell-phone, and I-pods were, at best, only twinkles in their inventors’ eyes! So, why don’t those of us old enough to have been alive recall hearing about Birkat HaChamah? Perhaps because we took the sun’s daily rising in the East and its bath of life-sustaining light for granted. Today, in contrast, the Jewish community is coming together around this rare opportunity both to promote appreciation for the wisdom of Judaism and to raise awareness of our world’s critical need to develop alternative energy technologies, such as solar energy.
Baruch Atah Adonai Elohaynu Melech Ha'olam, Oseh Ma'asey V'raysheet. Blessed are You, Adonai, our G-d, Creator of the Universe, who fashions Creation. May you be en-lightened by this experience and bring light into our world through your participation! Chag Sameach!
I think a simple life is a more peaceful life. The difficult part is figuring out how to do that in our modern world. Each person must search out their heart and decide what is important to them. I love many modern conveniences and would not want to give them up.
You must be comfortable in who you are to start. If you do not like yourself, just change. Get up and say this is who I will be today. I will not worry about what my neighbors have or those famous people on TV.
I will make sure that for today I will encourage those who I come into contact with. I may not agree with a single thing they say or do but I will say one thing to lift them up.
I will do one thing to nurture a relationship that is important to me. And that will NOT be forwarding some email thing on the computer. It must come from my thoughts not another.
Just for this one day, I will not criticize someone who is trying their best to get through this life.
I found wonderful long arm quilting machine from a lady in Virginia. This will help me on my Quilts Of Valor and also launch a business in the future. I will be able to long arm quilts for other people. When I told chas where it was——he thought it was near the farm where his Dad and wife lived years ago. chas lived there for awhile and was anxious to see if he could find it. We were traveling along and he thought he spotted it but it was bigger and had a parking lot. Once we pulled into the lot he realized it WAS the house with a couple of additions on it. A pub had been added onto it so we decided to go in. He got talking to the bar maid and the house belonged to her family.
A long conversation ensued about who they bought it from and confusion resulted. His Dad’s wife had remarried so she had a different last name. But it was all cleared up and made perfect sense. She offered us a tour of the house part including the upstairs living quarters. We saw chas’s old bedroom which was now used for storage.
We also met a neighbor who knows the ex wife and told him she lived nearby. This was like watching a reunion show that got stranger by the minute. You just cannot make this stuff up.
We toured the beautiful property and returned for one more drink before heading home. Maybe we will book a room there someday and stay where he lived as a young military man.
I read the website and now KNOW why chas is such a history buff about the beginnings of our country. He LIVED on property owned by George Washington. I am guessing a whispering voice from the past talked to him at night and said “Do not let them forget”. Here is the information about the property.
For the previous 25 years, the property was operated as the 1763 Inn and provided area residents and out-of-town guests with excellent food and hospitality. The original section of the inn dates to the year 1763 and has remarkable historical roots. In 1775, Lord Fairfax deeded the land over to George Washington for survey work and the deed hangs prominently in that portion of the building.
At one point, Union forces stored horses behind the Blackthorne Inn until Confederate troops drove them off the property. Somehow, throughout its current growth, the Blackthorne Inn remains a quiet and peaceful place. However, folklore holds that on a clear moonlit night, one can sometimes hear horses’ hooves and see the ghosts of Mosby’s Raiders galloping across the Blue Ridge.
The morning is just perfect. The sun is shining and not one single cloud in the sky. I brought up my chairs from the basement to sit on the front porch. It is a world far removed from any electronic device. I NEVER bring my cell phone out there.
I like to sit out there and count my many blessings first thing in the morning. Even if it is chilly. I can always wrap up in a quilt.
I decided to keep track of how many hours I spent on the computer one day and was horrified to find it was close to 4. I like having my coffee here in the AM and check out all my quilty places. I am on several emails lists also. BUT 4 hours is just too much.
God has given us a certain number of hours on earth and I feel I must be a good steward of those hours. So, I am going to spend the coffee time here and stay away the rest of the time except to check email a second time in one day. I need to get off some of these lists to accomplish this.
There are too many wounded soldiers and now I have the hospice opening in our county to cover.