12 April, 2021

Visions and Dreams

Last week was A WEEK! Moving into the new church space in time for Holy Week and Easter was a blessing beyond measure. But, there was A LOT  of work to do behind the scenes, going forward, to organize and personalize the spaces within the new church to ensure functionality. I took on the task of cleaning out what had been used as a former storage closet off of the chancel and transforming it into a clean and well ordered Sacristy and Robing Room for the acolytes, crucifer and service assistants. As you can see in the before and after photos, above, the transformation has taken place. I had shared my vision for this space with Mr. Goodneedle, he fully understood what I wanted. After this 100 year old room was completely cleaned out, he insisted on completely painting the room, including the ceiling, before he was willing to put up the shelving. He took on that task as his own. In the meantime several of us occupied ourselves with cleaning out other areas and finding places that made sense for storage of everything that remained in the building. It was a long and back-breaking few days... but, it's DONE!
This room is an absolute JOY to work in now; just look at the glorious resurrection window!

This space is now neat and organized with a clear space to prepare communion and lots of room for the young people to locate their robes and get themselves ready before worship; we even installed a full length mirror (that was found in a storage area downstairs) behind the door to assist them in that effort. 
The Fellowship Hall received the full treatment last week too! Furniture was moved and repurposed; window treatments were removed, tablecloths were laundered and stored, adjacent closets were cleaned out and organized. This space was transformed into a brighter, lighter (and appearing larger!) gathering room for all to enjoy. 
In my last post I mentioned dreaming about tulips blooming everywhere outside the church. After I awakened from that dream I remembered the children's book, Miss Fannie's Hatby Jan Karon. In my dream, tulips took the place of the roses from the story. I pulled my copy off the shelf and realized why this may have come to mind in my dream state, the illustrated church building is very similar in appearance to ours!
Yesterday these flowers arrived, brought by a member, to grace our chancel space for worship;
I told her that just seeing those tulips were, for me, quite literally, a dream come true!

Life is Good!

10 April, 2021

Easter

Another Easter has come and gone; and, in this week following, spring has got a full grip on the weather, the pollen has begun to descend in thick, yellow waves, covering everything in its sight. We celebrated Jesus' Resurrection with worship in our new church last Sunday; there was a large crowd (highest attendance ever for our little mission church) of faithful folks in attendance, it was an incredibly joyful day! I had a dream, weeks ago, before we settled on purchasing the church, a dream were there were tulips EVERYWHERE, when we arrived for Easter Sunday service last week this sight greeted me! My heart was full. 
My contribution to the fellowship breakfast between the sunrise and traditional worship services were two pans of cinnamon rolls. They're always a crowd pleaser and not that fussy to make. Here's the recipe if you're interested in trying them.
Back home, later in the afternoon; the family enjoyed more sweet treats after a cookout, the weather was gorgeous. We celebrated Easter as a family with dinner and dessert out on the porch. 
Here's a "before" shot of the Easter cupcakes from a local bakery. They didn't last long! We missed our daughter and her family this year, they were unable to join us. We'll have to have them here another time to make up for it and get more cupcakes; gee, what a hardship! 🤣 These are just as yummy as they are cute!
What I thought was a "Thanksgiving Cactus" all these years got in on the Easter action, too. It hasn't ever bloomed at this time of year before. And, according to the chart below, it shouldn't be. 

So much for identification!
 
All too soon the day was over. It's been a busy, busy week since; more details in the next post.
Everyone's been busy this week! Easter fills the world with hope and promise.
Happy Easter!

Life is Good!

01 April, 2021

More Than a Building

Blessings abound this Holy Week! Just a little over five years ago our small mission church began worshiping in shared space in the beautiful chapel of a local funeral home. We developed a wonderful relationship with the staff there as we came together every Sunday morning for more than 250 services. Life was good, but it wasn't our own space. As a congregation we dreamed big and prayed for that day, somewhere in the indeterminable future, when we might have a space to call our own. In the meantime, the church went about being God's faithful people; supporting missions, gathering for study, growing together in faith and praying as a body of Christ. We planned too: the church purchased (and paid for) a building lot when it came available, always looking to the future. But, as we all know, even the best laid plans are nothing compared to God's master plan! Just one year ago we met, and ultimately called, our first full time pastor; a young and energetic shepherd to guide the flock. We rejoiced in this blessing and carried on. Just six weeks ago yesterday our congregation learned of a church building for sale. By God's grace another scenario was presented, a divine plan; the church keys were handed over on Tuesday and at 7:00 last evening Grace Lutheran Church came together to hold a worship service of dedication, for a church building to call our own! As our pastor reminded us in the sermon, church is more than a building; yes, that's so true. We have been a church all of this time without one; but, how much more can we do as God's church with a space in a thriving community to call our own? We haven't yet even scratched the surface of ways and opportunities that exist to let our light shine as a church, giving all glory and thanks to Him! You may remember the hand and finger rhyming game we played with our children when they were small: "here is the church and here is the steeple, open the doors and where are all the people?" Last night we know where the people were: they were gathered in the NEW Grace Lutheran Church, giving thanks that God's plan is greater than we could ever hope! There's a sign that's posted over the sanctuary doors where one enters from the fellowship hall: "Make No Small Plans", it reads; no small plans indeed!


God's blessings continue as we move forward into a space to call our own, into a church that's SO MUCH MORE than a building! We move forward in faith. Oh, and that piece of land that the church purchased to build a "someday" church? It was offered up for sale and went under contract on Monday! God's grace. Welcome home, Grace Lutheran, "....open the doors and there's all the people", welcome home; thanks be to God!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
 plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
-Jeremiah 29:11

Life is Good!
 

30 March, 2021

Quilting Off and On

I've been standing at the long arm quite a bit the last few days. I've completed the quilting on this four-block wallhanging and it's OFF the rails. Yesterday I loaded ON the first of the two T-shirt quilts.
I chose a large, open meander pattern for the allover quilting design on these. It went quickly and I was very pleased with the results. It came OFF the rails this morning, it's all trimmed up and the binding's been prepared.
Quiltkeemosabe will do the finishing on this one; I'll pass it OFF and move ON to the next one. 
I can only imagine how  much these keepsakes will be treasured in the years to come.
💗
Life is Good!

27 March, 2021

Forever Young

She was my absolute favorite children's author, the news of her passing hurt my heart; she lived to almost 105! And yet, her characters: Ramona, Beezus, Henry Huggins and his dog, Ribsy, will remain forever young and immortal. Some of my favorite memories are of reading through these books with my children when they were young, and now with my grandchildren. Ralph S. Mouse was one that interested Gregory in particular. Back in 2016 when we took a road trip out west we visited Grant Park in Portland, Oregon especially for the Beverly Cleary sculpture garden, you can click on the link below to experience it for yourself. . 


Being in that space was almost as if I stepped foot right onto Klickitat Street. 
Rest in peace, Beverly, and thank you for the memories, from the bottom of my heart.
💗
Life is Good!

26 March, 2021

Life is Good, Times Two!

Many of you have probably made a T-shirt quilt or two. Not me. A friend from church asked me late last fall if I would make a quilt from his wife's T-shirts as a tangible memory of her. We all loved Judy at church; she passed away almost two years ago after an awful battle with ALS. "Sure" I said, immediately without hesitating; he indicated that he had all of the shirts bundled up together and we agreed that sometime after Christmas I would get started. Quiltkeemosabe offered to help me, that was reassuring as I felt that I might be dipping a toe in charted waters. Well, a few weeks ago he brought the big bag of shirts to church for me to look at. "I was wondering", he said, "if maybe these couldn't become TWO quilts, one for each daughter". I smiled at the thought, "sure", was my response. Never mind that I'd never done one before and really didn't know were to begin. I sorted through the T-shirts the next morning, they're ALL Life is Good and there were 29 shirts! Definitely there was enough for two quilts! Gleaning all that I could from various T-shirt quilt making sources I set to work stabilizing the shirts fronts and other usable shirt parts before cutting them apart. I had a plan, each shirt would contain 20 blocks: 14 shirts fronts on one and 15 on the other, I decided to use plain backs for the alternate blocks. I carefully cut out sleeves for cornerstones and logos from the back necks, where I could. I had plenty of shot cotton for the sashing and borders. After a week and a half of working on nothing else, at every chance I got, I finally have two completed tops (and a huge bag full of shirt parts and pieces)!
And I thought that I had a lot of Life is Good shirts! My collection is only about half this size. I will pick up the backing fabric this weekend, I'm using the same print but in two different colorways, see below; one with a white background and the other with yellow. 
This backing, with its happy and inspiring words of affirmation are wonderful tributes to Judy and her always cheerful personality. Wish me luck getting these quilted up and off to Quiltkeemosabe in short order, she's going to bind them and attach dedication labels that she'll design, with help from Judy's husband, and machine embroider. He was hoping to have them ready to ship to his daughters in time for the second anniversary of their mother's death (mid-May). Can you imagine being a daughter and receiving one of these?! I get choked up just thinking about it. 

Life is Good!
It really, really is!!

18 March, 2021

All In A Row...

I didn't get all of my elephants in line and in their respective rows until I got back home from the weekend retreat. I knew better than to take anything more than mindless sewing! (A few may have had reversed trunks... maybe.) Several undistracted hours of solitude had it all sorted out.  I suppose that all of my brain power might had been expended on packing to go last Friday morning.
Here's all my stuff at the bottom of the basement steps ready to be loaded in the car, I don't pack lightly but, rather, pack for every eventuality. Even after all of that, I forgot my SewPad! Arrghh😬; I paid for that and could feel the strain in my hips and lower back after two straight days of sitting and sewing without it. If you don't know about SewPad, check it out through the above link; believe me, it will bring you the comfort you didn't even know that you were missing, it's truly that beneficial when you sit for long stretches. I decided that I am going to make a spreadsheet for retreat packing with check-off boxes so that this never happens again. As the vaccines continue to be administered there is much hope and promise on the not-too-distant horizon for resumed gatherings and many more retreat weekends once again! Hallelujah!!
Speaking of hope and promise: what better reminder of that than this welcome sign?

Life is Good!