test drive

popcornWe have all test driven cars.  There is a family story that tells the tale of my mother in law going for a test drive in a new car.  She ultimately said no.  “The engine smells like popcorn”.    While living in North Carolina, a co-worker of Mr. Right, was on a test drive in a very, very, fancy, schmancy car.  While on the drive, it broke down.  The quick thinking salesman said, “now you will be able to experience our excellent road side assistance”.  Despite the salesman earnest effort, no, there was no sale that particular day.  I have said no thank you to color, weight of doors, difficulty with getting in and out in a lady like fashion,  size……….one van, I could not reach the dashboard………..one car I felt like a little plump girl squished into a clown car.

Yesterday, for yet another trip to the hospital, I test drove “the” quilt.  I am a bundle of nerves & wobbling mess and for some reason that translates into me being cold.  I wrapped up in all the fabric on the way to the appointments.  The day quickly went from bad to worse and then some.  The day and I spiraled out of control (if I ever had any control to begin with).  Five hours later, I folded myself back into our rental car (oh did I mention we are on week two of a rental car?  Terrible car accident, Mr. Right is fine now and our car is being repaired as I type, hopefully).

I will say, it is a well constructed quilt.  I twisted, tugged, pulled and pummeled the fabric.  I sobbed and sobbed and spilt tears all over it.  I twisted my arms around and around and covered myself up to my neck with it.  Today, as I glance over at it, she looks as fresh as a newly picked daisy.  Good news, the test drive went well.  She handled beautifully.  The fabric felt wonderful and comfortable under my hands.  It wasn’t exactly magic, it just helped me make it through the day.  Maybe that is the magic of a quilt?  It helps when you need it most. No fanfare, no music, nothing high-tech.  Just pure comfort no questions asked for as long as you need it.  Pure and simple, enough fabric to wrap around me and feel loved.  Loved.  Just for a moment in time, not scared, or angry or mad or nervous or jumpy or worried or frightened.  Just comforted and loved.

Yesterday, I fell apart yet again, as I was saying goodbye to the lead surgeon on my team, “In real life, I am a much nicer person.  I behave properly and can communicate without tears, and I try to be a thoughtful (yesterday, I did remember to pass out two thank you cards) and kind person. I think you would like me more, if I wasn’t sick.”  He of course, said all the right things.  He did say, think about bringing your own pillowcase and girl pajamas and your own blanket for your first hospital stay next week.  “Blanket” to him meant an old worn, warm, cozy blanket. What I heard was “think about bringing your own pillowcase and girl pajamas and your own QUILT for your first hospital stay next week.

Today more ugly stuff.  Tomorrow, horrid stuff and a four-hour procedure.  I am not sure a pretty, girly, lovely, quilt would be welcomed in the Nuclear Medicine Lab.  I know I will wrap it around me for the car trip there.  As I am equally sure I will wrap myself inside the quilt on the drive home.

I don’t need to test drive a husband.  I will keep mine thank you kindly.  He is tired and nerves are strung tight, yet he keeps our family and faith going forward.  I can’t see clearly and I am questioning all of my beliefs.  There is no need to test drive your faith when life is smooth and easy.  You most certainly test drive your faith when times are horrid. I feel so scared and on very shaky ground and desperately seeing Grace.  Mr. Right is full steam ahead, He tells me he has enough faith for both of us. He says we don’t have to “test drive” Grace.  It is given to us freely anytime we want it.   I have to believe him.  I am just hanging on to him, our faith, and a brand new test driven quilt, for dear life.

“The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.”

Covered in Grace and it feels amazing.

When I was about 10 years old, my Grandma Hazel crocheted an afghan for me and one for each of my sisters.  We got to choose our color or my mother told her our favorite colors at the time, not sure.  I chose LIME green, next sister down chose orange and my youngest sister chose purple.  So 14 grandchildren each got striped afghans.  White and color of choice with fringe tied on the edges.

Yikes, that is:  a.  oodles of grandchildren.  b.  skeins of yarn  c.  hours upon hours  of crocheting  d.  a very nice gift to each of us.  We each loved and adored our blankets.  We all grew up and went to college or worked on boats fishing in Alaska or got jobs or got married and set up housekeeping.  We all have moved and moved and moved again.  We have all gone on to have our own children and then some of those children have had babes.  Here we are 42 some years later and yes I indeed still have the blanket.  Surprise, it still gets used.  It is soft and frayed and faded and limp.  It is the “go to” blanket if you don’t feel well.  For some reason over the years, it is called the sick blanket.  Yes, everyone knows which one you are talking about.  Yesterday, grandgirlie number one, said I neeeeed the sick blanket to cover up while I take a pretend nap on the dogs’ bed.  Okay.  you got it.  That blanket has been used in several different cars, apartments, town homes, houses, states, countries, for surgeries, lost boyfriends, home sick, flu bugs, tears oh lots of tears, tooth aches, broken toes, a new knee, two broken legs, a burn on a finger, an ear ache, stitches for this or that……it has been a work horse.   NOT pretty by any means or discription……a tried and true work horse.

Yesterday, in the middle of an ordinary day something magical happened.  The postman (Diane was off, love you Diane!) delivered a brown box with my name and address on it.  My name was spelled correctly, which is a sweet bonus for me.  It doesn’t happen that often.  I was on the phone with Mr. Right and he said well open it.  I said it only says Boise, Idaho on the return address.  I don’t know anyone from Boise.  He said take a chance, live wild.   I carefully cut open the tape and gingerly turned back the orange tissue paper that was folded neatly around a package.  The package was wrapped in….. get this……bright orange wrapping paper DSCN0532with polka dots ( I adore both) and tied with a LIME green fat, sassy, grossgrain ribbon!  I looked for a card and there wasn’t one.  There was a piece of orange paper with the printed words, ” Wrap it all around you and know there is enough love to sustain you.”  Folded neatly inside was a QUILT!  What?  Yes, you heard that right.DSCN0531  There was a knock your socks off, gorgeous quilt.  Just for me.  I have been quilting for 32 years and I have never received a quilt just for me.  It is covered in hearts and machine quilted in every possible space.  It has a gorgeous floral border and the back is as DSCN0530pretty as the front.  The time, effort, handiwork, love and spirit that went into making this piece of goodness is overwhelming.  Now, here is the part that took my breath away.  I am not sure I could make something so lovely, so beautiful, so generous and not sign my name?  I am not sure I am that good of a person.  Who on earth could have done something so lovely, so kind spirited, so altruistic as to give a gift for no other reason than to make someone happy?  unbelievable.  Truly remarkable and to think I am the one here to tell the tale!

You know I love to read murder mysteries (no not real life ones) the happy catering, donut shop silly murder mysteries where someone dies with a donut in their hand, laying on a knoll of grass…… so you know I love a mystery.  I can’t for the life of me think who would have done something so nice for me.  I asked my sister-in-law in Vermont, don’t you think it is weird?  She said, “I think it is wonderful”.  I asked another friend here in Washington, and she said ” Someone who doesn’t want thanks back. They want to do a good deed and only be rewarded from God for it. Good for them and lucky you!”  Mr. Right said finally after me pestering him for literally hours…..why would someone do that, who do you think it was??????  He said, “maybe they don’t want anyone to know, just be gracious and accept it” .  Oldest son, always keeping it real said “maybe it was delivered to the wrong Daleen Wilson”.  nice.

So my friends, I am going to be gracious and give in.  I am going to accept the quilt with all the love that is stitched into it.  For the first time in my life, I will not be writing a thank you note to someone to thank them properly.  I will be honest and tell you that I have already christened it.  I cried buckets of tears this morning and smooshed my face right into it.  Yes, I wrapped it around my shoulders and cried and cried.  When I was done (for that meltdown) I felt okay, I felt better.  DSCN0535

Being grateful equals healing.  Or so I have read.  I am on my knees grateful for someone’s kindness toward me.  It was fun and happy and silly and goofy and mysterious and simply lovely yesterday.  Today, it got me through this far.  It has helped and it feels lovely to be bathed in such Grace.  It’s amazing.

How about we give instead of give up?

Lent threeYesterday, while shopping in a nationwide fancy schmancy health food grocery store, (just happens to be in a very upscale, exclusive Seattle neighborhood), it was sample day.  Yes, lots and lots of samples.  I happen to be standing back watching a very well-mannered, polite, well dressed 11-year-old girl sample a sesame bar.  The “hostess” said, we have several flavors, please try more.  We even have chocolate.  The little girl’s mother jumped right in, (nose in the air a bit, I must say), “she gave up chocolate for Lent”.  So no she will not be having that.  ouch.  Not a very nice way to speak.  I was wondering how the little girl became so polite, when her mom seemed to be so brash.

On this second Sunday in Lent, I am sharing that for the first time in over 30 years, I am not giving up anything for Lent. I am just a bit overwhelmed and out of sorts.  I think Jesus will understand and give me a pass, just this once.   On January 22nd of this year, I gave up all processed white sugar, I gave up a lot of my privacy, I have given up wearing one of my favorite colors, pink.  I gave up staying up late.   I, together with Mr. Right gave up three planned trips this year, I have to give up swimming for a while, I have given up processed foods, I have given up my couple times a year hard cider, no alcohol ever now, I have given up many “friends” and acquaintances (okay, maybe they gave up on me),  any and all colorings, flavorings and yes Virginia I have given up (yes, I know) my daily afternoon lattes, OUCH.

I recently read an article about a priest who gently suggested to his parish, “here’s a thought, why don’t we NOT give up something for Lent this year?  What if we GIVE something instead?”  You know how well change goes over in traditional churches?  Not very well nor smoothly.  He gently but loudly suggested instead of giving a van load of food and supplies to the food bank, how about everyday for Lent, you drive over and donate 2 items?  How about donating a pair a socks a day to the shelter, instead of gathering bags and driving over and quickly making your donation.  What if, for forty days, we give to our fellow-man?

Yesterday on face book there was a little motivational poster, “Jesus doesn’t care how many Bible verses you memorized.  He cares about how you treat people.”Lent two

Today, on this second Sunday in Lent, I am choosing to write happy notes to friends.  I choose to write a couple thank you cards to folks to whom I really want to pour out my thanks.  We are making a run over to the food bank to make a small donation.  Yes, in this house, we have decided to give instead of give up this Sunday. I am well aware that it is not a smooth topic to bring up with tried and true, blue hued hair Methodist ladies.  I am sticking on this one.  We are giving more this Lenten season.  It feels like Jesus will be okay with how we are treating people.  I am good with that.


belovedwhen I can’t remember what Grace is……………..

help me believe & remember……………………

A friend sent a text to help me today.  (Mr. Right is in a meeting, I am having a bit of a meltdown.)  Seems rather lonely today.  Stomach turning, ears ringing, palms sweaty, neck getting stiff.   Yep, I have tried to fill the day with ironing, laundry, vacuuming, manicure, facial, pedicure doing chores, reading, researching……..time to give in and try something different.

So she said, go to you tube and look up Jason Gray……….http://www.vevo.com/watch/jason-gray/remind-me-who-i-am/US8391100087#/watch/jason-gray/remind-me-who-i-am/US8391100087  She said blast it loud.  Sing along.

Plumb “Need you know”   Sanctus Real “Promises”  are also really good today.

When you can’t remember what Grace is………somehow an angel drops by and gently (or not so gently, the music was so loud, so made me happy I didn’t live in an apartment like 30 years ago)  and loudly reminds you…………

When you can’t remember what to do or what Grace is, listen to your friend.  It helps.

I am beloved.

things help me walk over the hot coals

Some people in my life have said to Mr. Right or others: gee I don’t know what to say or doI don’t want to bother her with a phone call.  She is sick, I don’t want to intrude.

I for one am glad that some folks stand on their own two feet and just “do something”.  It feels lovely and cared for to bathe in the tangible grace of others.  Sure, don’t get me wrong, prayers count and I appreciate it very much.

It is also both the small (and large) tokens of kindness that are so welcome.  …………………..like this box of goodness that came in the mail from Boston. DSCN0520 Pure joy and happiness.  Our niece sent oodles and oodles of fun and smiles all packed into one small box.  She is one smart and thoughtful (notice there is not one fluffy pink “for the cure” item?, that is thoughtful) cookie.  Love her and her sharing spirit.  I am quite sure she has her plate full with a new job as a District Attorney, yet she somehow made some time to fill a box with smiles and happiness just for me.  Talk about making a girl feel special!!

I have received cards, earrings, cookies, brownies, tea,  flowers and books and candles and coconut (oh la la) lip balm, devotional book, scarves and bracelets, emails and phone calls.  Oh did I mention the rockin’ 12 carat diamond ring that was tucked into my box of happiness?  Love wearing it while I clean the bathrooms.  Some how it just makes me giggle.

When you watch one of those movie star awards show and they interview people on the red carpet, they inevitably ask:  Who are you wearing?  Who did the make up?  Who loaned you the jewelry?   Tomorrow, when I go to yet another appointment, if you were with me, you would ask the same.   I will be wearing three different bracelets from three different folks.  Thank you.  I will be wearing a scarf from another friend.  Thank you.  Tucked inside my cowgirl boots, I will be sporting some sassy socks that a friend gave me. Thank you.   Inside my new turquoise bag, will be a Woof n Poof angel from Mr. Right. Thank you.   Sort of feel like a Hockey player (with my front teeth of course and no evidence of several broken noses), with all the good luck charms and must have trinkets.  I am preparing to face the storm, so I load up on tangible things, I juggle them as I walk over the hot coals.

We all know the saying “the best things in life are not things”.  I beg to differ in this instance.  Those “things” help me and I for one am grateful for the help.  Grateful for a purse pocket full of cards.  Grateful for bracelets to wear.  Grateful for socks to keep my toes cozy.  Grateful for a puzzle to do while I wait for the time to leave.  Grateful that so many angels are flying around me and helping me cope.  For today, I am thankful and grateful to cope.

It’s Tuesday, say Grace and grab a sassy straw.

Let’s talk avocados, shall we?  Vitamin E, Oleic acid, Glutathione, Lutein……………sweet deal.  All good for our hard-working bodies.  I am trying to get at least three a week onto the table and into Mr. Right and me.

Last night while flipping through the latest Vegetarian Times magazine, Mr. Right said hey, how about this one?   I said sure thing.  We have everything we need.  mango avocado smoothie

Okay, take out that blender that you forget to use, and fill ‘er up!  1 1/4 cup coconut water, 1/2 Hass avocado, pitted, flesh scooped out, 2 Tablespoons of walnuts (omega-3 fats, nice), juice of a fresh lime or at least 2 teaspoons and 3/4 cup frozen mango cubes…………………. push the wiz button and watch the creamy goodness blend together.    Pour the mixture into some really great shaped glasses add a jaunty colored shocking orange or lime green straw (get out there and look for some really great colored and sassy straws.  stop by Cash n Carry, go to a paper store, look for the old-fashioned paper straws with stripes, look on Amazon………..this is not hard people and for under $5.00 you can buy yourself a 144 smiles!), say Grace and for the love of pure nutrient-packed avocado disguised as a delicious creamy dreamy smoothie, raise your glass to yourself and your mission to take good care of yourself and your family.

Cheers to our good health!

Shshshshsh……..do you hear someone having a meltdown?

library shelvesThree weeks before we had family visit us from Montreal, I placed an order with the library.  I ordered 25-30 coffee table books.  Books about Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helen’s, Dale Chihuly, Puyallup Valley, the Northwest Pacific Ocean, the rain forest, the vineyards and wineries of the eastern region of Washington, restaurants & pubs we have here & of course the coffee……ah the coffee shops  (first Starbucks in Seattle very small).  Our guests are early risers so I knew enough that in addition to our local paper, our personal books galore, over 100 cookbooks, that some really colorful, picture filled books of the area would be more than welcome.  I ordered them early, then went and picked up the books a day or two before our guests arrived.

Our library system is such that if you want to order a book and they don’t carry it, they will indeed order from several miles away and get the book of your desire.  Each branch in the system only carries a handful of books on any one topic.  This system seems to make our choices much more varied.

When I needed some new inspiration for hand embroidery, yep, you guessed it, I ordered several and then checked out 14 or so.  Once you have read the book and then return it, the book then stays in your library until it is ordered somewhere else.

When our nephew was younger and of course the grandgrilies, I go to the library a day or so before they visit and bring home 20 books for children.  Sure, we have some great children’s books at our home, however, something new and fresh and different is good for the person reading aloud as well.

I was needing a pleasant diversion yesterday,  so I drove over to my favorite library local.  My cell was turned off, I had my purse and my heavy-duty book bag.  I was wearing super cute red new flats to celebrate the day.   I was looking for Joel Fuhrman’s new book, “Super Immunity”.  While I have just begun, so far it is a 5 star book.  I didn’t order it so I had to go to the 600 section in our library.

Let me take a little detour from my story for a moment.  When growing up, I had learned and practiced the idea that any and all library buildings are to be silent.  A time to read and absorb and concentrate.  We taught our boys this from a young age.  It was a place to respect others and their moments of falling into books.  I can’t tell you how many years it has been since I have heard a librarian say, Shshshshshs with her finger to her lips, I do remember the library. Haskell library front view It is called the Haskell Library.  It is the library that Mr. Right grew up in.  It is the library that has a line painted on the floor. Haskell library line The line shows you which side you are standing in, on American soil or Canadian soil.  We have all had our picture taken inside and out.  However, all done in silence.

Back to my story, okay, I am in the 600 section to pick up my desired book.  Then it hit me like, yep you guessed it, a ton of bricks.  There were not one, not two but FOUR shelves full of books on breast cancer and how to “cure” it.  How to “fight a good fight”.  In addition to all the shades of pink book jackets, there was every color of the rainbow.  Some had bold type font, others had swirly girly font.  FOUR shelves, really people?  Each promising a special miracle.  Each with medical terms and diagrams.  All lined up like soldiers jacket to jacket, all in correct dewy decimal system order.  It was overwhelming to say the least.  I got to thinking (turns out not a good idea right then), how on earth am I going to read through FOUR shelves of books?  How will I find the correct one?  How will I find the miracle?  What if I scan or skip a page and that is where the miracle was located?  Maybe I could get my friends to each read 7 books, then make book reports and let me know what they learned?  Maybe if I get organized and set aside three hours a day to become an expert?  maybe, maybe………then it started you know what I am going to say……the waterworks.  The hiccups, the gasping for breath, the tears and more tears.  So I turned and stumbled my way back to the check out counter.  Now days, there is self check out, so I didn’t have to explain to anyone “what was the matter”.  Actually, when I think back on yesterday, there were so many people and so much talking and rustling that really no one noticed.  However, I did and I hustled to my car.  Boy did that plush car seat feel good.  Those tinted windows were so nice.  I had a good melt down of a cry.  How on earth am I gong to do all this?

I told a friend and she said, “you don’t need to FIND the miracle, God will take care of that”.  okay, that was the drink of water I needed to hear.  So for now, I am going to stick with a couple of books that are helping me.  I bought them.  I don’t have to borrow or go looking for them. One book in particular, “crazy sexy cancer tips” by kris carr.  She rocks and for some reason, I listen to her suggestions and ideas.   Maybe when I am feeling stronger or braver and wearing cowgirl boots, instead of cute flats, I will jump into some of the thousands of other books for the cure, but for today, this is all I can handle.

…guide us with your Grace.  please and thank you.

red sparkle karma

pedicure, opiSome days a girl just needs bright red toenails!   Every single time you glance down you get a little smirk on your face.  You are happy you chose fierce RED.  Or saucy RED.  Or sassy RED.  I just adore the idea that my friend painted her toes red in honor of her friend feeling a bit low. Then told her about it.  To share the love and goodness and pure joy.

Today, I have a friend in bed with a serious neck injury.  Knowing full well she is unable to bend over to paint hers, I painted mine “Big Apple Red” opi with a top coat of sparkles to cheer her up,  and me.  Every time I look at them, I will send up a little get well prayer for her.

Wait, hold on!   I have another friend with a wrist issue.  Oh, and I have a friend with strep throat and two ear infections.  I have a friend with vertigo. I have a friend going through a marriage change.  Today, my sister-in-law has a horrid head cold.  Mr. Right is battling the flu bug.  Looks like I am  going to be sending out positive RED sparkle karma to lots of friends.  Good thing I have 10 toes!

I fully realize that it is not super creative, painting ones tootsies, however, it feels like I am actually doing something positive.  Even if it seems small, the small things count and add up.  everything positive counts.

A friend shared this idea with me and I am going to meditate on it all day long:  “I’m crowding out sadness (sickness) by filling my days and filling my focus on creativity.”  She brings out the best in me.    Sparkle on smart lady, sparkle on!

ps.  doesn’t hurt that Mr. Right loves a girl with a sassy pedicure  🙂

miles to go

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village, though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost

If I was teaching this morning in the extra bedroom (turned into a class room), my two home schoolers would be memorizing this poem.  As a grown up, I am well aware of how helpful poetry can be.   I am grateful that it is somehow, stuck in the back of my mind.  It helps.