01 December, 2016

December Glimpses

Remember opening a window every day in December on those long-ago paper Advent calendars to glimpse something new each time, all to get ready for Christmas? This is my version: on the first day of December the Christmas dishes have appeared in the kitchen cupboard. Enjoy your preparations!
Life is Good!

30 November, 2016

Run, Run, As Fast As You Can...

November started out as a promising one, my plans for daily sequential thankfulness posts were sadly and profoundly interrupted by the death of my precious mother-in-law. Now here we are, on the last day of November. Time waits for no one, especially this blogger. I will close out the month with one, last catch-up post, one that is punctuated with moments of pure grace; as my life over the past week has been. Please accept my gratitude for all of your kind thoughts and words in response to my last post; indeed, my mother-in-law was a treasure. Last Wednesday, following her memorial service, the family gathered at Mom's home one final time to share food and reflect on her life, "the one that made all of our lives better because she was a part of them", these are my daughter-in-law's words, I couldn't ever describe Mom more appropriately. This photo, left, of Mason, was taken in Mom's back yard that afternoon. This is but one of those God-given moments of grace. For this glorious moment in time, I am grateful.
Mom was an organist. The one thing the grandchildren have always loved, over the years, and now the great-grandchildren after them, is to sit on the organ bench and play; here are three of them doing just that. One last concert, one more grace moment; and a snapshot to cherish the memory.
One more gathering in Mom's living room, the site of every holiday gathering for as long as I can remember. We remain grateful for all who could be with us last week, Mom's loving spirit blessed us and bound us together in affection and appreciation for each other. Those moments of grace kept on happening: free and undeserved gifts manifested in countless blessings, one after another. Thanksgiving happened, it remains a blur, generous amounts of food arrived here and was all skillfully prepared and served, dozens were fed. Slowly, one by one, the leave-taking of each friend and family member happened. Today it's just us again; all too suddenly, November is over. 
We won't be "just us" for very long though. It's time to make new memories: we will have all four grandchildren in two days for a cousins weekend.  I have already begun the preparations for a house building extravaganza. 
There are many activities planned for the little ones, bring on December, we're getting ready for Christmas! Time may fly but I have taken a deep breath, counted my blessings along the way, and with God's help and a grateful heart I am ready to get back in the race. "Run, run, as fast as  you can-- you can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man!"
Life is Good!

On this, the thirtieth day of November, 
I remain thankful to God for a life
punctuated with moments of pure grace.

21 November, 2016

A Thankful Heart

This was to be my month of thankfulness posts, and this one is being written with a deeply thankful heart for this dear and lovely woman; my precious mother-in-law. Mom slipped away quietly to join the church triumphant on Saturday afternoon with family surrounding her. She is at peace from the painful and frustrating days that she experienced over the past several months, enjoying long-awaited reunions with loved ones in her Heavenly home; for that we are joyful, we just weren't ready to let her go! Mom knew where she was going, there is no doubt, she was an exemplary model of faith. Oh, how we will miss her. Extended family is beginning to gather, in the next few days stories will be shared and photographs will be displayed of happy times spent with Mom over the years, I look forward to that. When I think about Mom from now on I will remember the lesson that she taught me best (besides how make a perfect pie crust): how to be a wonderful mother-in-law. She was always there when I needed her, I never needed to ask twice. She never intruded however, she celebrated all of our family occasions but was never "in" our business, not at all. She was cheerful, funny, supportive, and loving; in all things and at all times, she was my role model. She knew how much I loved her, I told her all the time, but I really don't know if she could ever fully understand the depth or sincerity of those proclamations. I'm not certain I understood the measure of her presence in my life, until now, it can only begin to be realized by the size of the hole in my heart. I love you, Mom, thank you.

Life is Good!
On this, the twenty first day of November, 
I am thankful for the very best of all 
mothers-in-law. I have been richly blessed. 

16 November, 2016

Give Me Liberty!

This is the Liberty Lemoyne block; a strip pieced star that is the ninth block in my LQS' block-of-the-month program this year; all of the blocks this time are Lemoyne variations using Deb Tucker's Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star tool. I am in love with this one (both the block and the tool)!  Last week I added a new toy to my ruler collection. I already have one of the Itty-Bitty Eights ruler (6" square) which makes cutting small increments SEW much easier; so, adding this longer strip ruler, marked the same way, was a no-brainer for me. 
This one measures 5" X 15", it's a very handy size to begin with, but the 1/8" markings are clear and easy to read. As with all Creative Grids rulers, this one has the non-slip surface on the back which makes rotary cutting very skinny strips a breeze, it does not move at all when cutting; this ruler has earned its space already in my ruler drawer and I have only used it for this one block so far! The so-called intended purpose of this one is for cutting charms; however, check out its versatility here. I sliced the called-for 1 5/8" strips for Liberty fearlessly using this Charming Itty-Bitty Eights. Take a good look at this one the next time you're in the ruler section of your favorite quilt shop, you'll want one too. As quilters we're only as good as our tools, right?😉

Life is Good!

On this, the sixteenth day of November, I am grateful
for all of the brilliant ruler designers who anticipate
our quilting needs and make our work look so good!

15 November, 2016

Everything I Need To Know...

This is a completely unsolicited book review: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From A Little Golden Book; I received it for my birthday from my Mom a couple of months ago.  It is a New York Times best seller by Diane Muldrow. 
Between the covers of this sweet and simple book, illustrated in a most familiar fashion, lies a lot of comfort as well as humorous and practical advice for getting the most out of our adult lives. If you have cherished these gold-spined volumes as a child (like I did), or spent countless hours reading Little Golden Books to your own children (did that, too!) you will appreciate this happy trip back in time and value the straight-forward encouragement offered here. My Mom even wrote my name inside the front cover where it says: "This Little Golden Book belongs to: ---------", just like she used to do when I was very young. 💗   Who couldn't use a little bit of Golden wisdom today?
Life is Good!
On this, the 15th of November, I am thankful for my mother
who still knows exactly the right thing to give me for my birthday!

14 November, 2016

Field of View

Thank you for your kind words and keen insight regarding yesterday's post; only God knows what the future holds and that's a very good thing! Many times the best surprises are just beyond what's in our immediate view, we tend to focus on what's right directly in front of us rather than expanding our target and looking beyond, at the bigger picture. Just think about everything that we would miss is we failed to broaden our vision. This is the scene outside my sewing room this morning: an absolutely perfect reminder of exactly what lies just beyond a limited field of view!

Life is Good!

On this, the fourteenth day of November, I am thankful for visual reminders of God's constant care and abiding love.

13 November, 2016

Like A Pike

We went to visit my dear MIL at the rehab facility today after church. She was sitting in a chair and anticipating her lunch while we were there. Her appetite is fair and her spirits are good, for those two things we are thankful. I left there feeling discouraged, however; she doesn't seem to be the least bit interested in improving her situation even one tiny bit. She has little to no desire to participate in physical therapy, she is indifferent when it comes to socialization with the other residents and shows complete disregard for the planned activities. She is content to do exactly what we found her doing today: sitting and watching television, in her room all by herself. She complained that her lips were dry, we directed her attention the lip balm on her chair-side table, not even one foot away from her. "I'm too lazy to reach over for that" was her reply. I didn't make a move to get it for her, she did pick it up and use it shortly after that. She claims to want to go home within the week, that is the frustrating part for me, her actions don't demonstrate that desire. My husband is equally discouraged but told me that he admits to suffering from "pike syndrome" when it comes to encouraging her. For years he has tried to gently coach, boost, strengthen, inspire and energize her, but she refuses; it is downright disheartening. And so, we left her, alone in her room watching television. She seemed happy enough with that. I have prayed that she can go back home again, what she has told us that she truly wants to do. I'm just not so sure about that anymore. I am fine tuning my prayers on her behalf now, asking God to impart peace and wisdom for this situation, so that she truly understands what is necessary for her own best interest. I'm praying for my husband too, that pike starved itself to death(!); my prayer is that God will enlighten him with understanding and direction along a new path.
Life is Good!
On this, the thirteenth day of November, I am thankful for
the loving role models God has provided within my family.