color me hopeful

Squelching someone’s hope is just plain mean.  Speaking as the squelched, it hurts and it is tough to brush yourself off and get back up.  By no means do I think everyone should jump on my band wagon and believe as I do.  It is just that somewhere in a little nook of my heart and soul, I wish people wouldn’t judge so harshly what they do not understand.  They are quick to brush aside ideas that don’t fit into their thinking of normal.

Some of life’s big huge choices are not really choices at all.  You are who you are.  period.  You can not change some beliefs and values.  Oh, I wish I could change and go with the “in crowd”, man I wish that so much.  I feel like a seventh grade girl during her first week of junior high school.  I quietly observe, yet I am silently,  SCREAMING, ” I just want to fit in”.   I want to do whatever it takes to be with the hip and popular people.  It looks easy and fun and happy.  You don’t have to think for yourself.  You just go along like fluffy, curly sheep and play follow the leader.  Nothing painful or hurtful, you just mimic all the other sheep.  No one gets hurt.

A friend told me a story once, her father in law was very ill.  He however, decided he needed to exercise and drink this awful brown looking vegetable drink he called “chicken poop”.  He felt that he was getting well.  He had hope.  Then one day a doctor in a white coat, told him that was goofy and silly nonsense.  Exercising and drinking that horrid concoction was not going to make him better.  The doctor took away the man’s hope.  The doctor must feel great about himself, he was right.  That was the day the hope died.

So here I am, a couple of days later, I am starting to pick myself up again.  I am trying to find hope again.   I am too beaten up and battered to search all sorts of web sites and seek all kinds of great sayings.  I need a hope jar.  Today, I started one. I haven’t decorated it yet.   I want to collect & put slips of paper that reveal hope.  On the days, when I just can’t go it alone, I want to reach in, like a girl pulling out the winning ticket number for a raffle prize. (One time, I won a raffle, fifth place.  My prize?  A Halloween kitchen towel and a bag of purple cotton candy.  Still makes me smile.  I was a winner!)  It is a mason jar ” a jar of hope”  and when I am in need, desperate need,  I am going to pull a slip  of paper that has a message of hope written on it. DSCN1718 I have one in my jar.  It is from a friend from Kindergarten.  He wrote and told me “Hope is the dream of a soul awake”.  You don’t really think you will find hope from a 50 something man who has a family of his own to worry about.  A man who has a lovely wife and beautiful daughters and well, a life to live.  He stopped for a moment and gave me a sliver of hope.  It was my life line.  I feel like he threw me a life-preserver and by golly,  I am holding fast to that line.  For this moment, it’s all I’ve got, and that is enough.

Hope springs eternal.  I have that written on a slip of paper that I taped to my sewing machine today.  I have been re-reading it.  I am trying, very hard, trying to find my way back to the puddle of hope.  I want to dance and jump in the puddle.  I want to get splashed and wet and a chill from doing a jig in the water.

DSCN1713Yesterday I received my new rain boots.  I thought the color was jaunty, happy.  That was before I needed more.  Today, I have new rain boots that are happy, hopeful and saucy.DSCN1716

Color me hopeful.

I dont’ get it

Things I don’t get:

1. Syria and how/why we should be involved.

2.  Why I want the teenagers who murdered the 88-year-old veteran in Spokane, to come to my home and scrub my kitchen floor and sweep my circular driveway and keep doing chores until I figure out the perfect punishment to fit the crime.  Oh, they make my blood boil.

3.  Why I loved watching “Sister Wives” last year, this year not so much.  Too much crying. Maybe they are sad they are the sister wives?

4.  Why manufacturers use carcinogens in children’s back packs?  Why is this a good idea?  Why didn’t they ask my opinion on this?

5.  Why so many people think processed “milk, dairy… does a body good” (it does not) and actually believe that 2% or 1% fat is really that.  urgh

6.  Why people continue to ask the ridiculous question “where do you get your protein”?  Almost too dumb to answer.  fyi, here is my answer,  I get my protein where your protein get’s its protein. I know how much I need and get, do you?   geesh

wet hen7.  Why I am still so frustrated, upset, nervous, mad as a wet hen (yes, I have seen one), did I mention nervous and up tight, and twisted and HATE medical appointments?

8.  Why, this year, the moles love our backyard, so much.

9.  Why I don’t have a “Hope Jar”?  You know a place to put little slips of paper that give hope.  Maybe I should start one.  Maybe I should send slips of paper that I have written a sentence or two about hope to someone who needs it.

10.  Why is it so difficult to find really great lotions and potions that do not have sodium laurel sulfate/sulfites in them?  I can’t be the only one who has done the research?

11. Why is penmanship and spelling correctly not a valued school lesson anymore?

12.  Why don’t they teach how to fill out your taxes in a high school class?

13.  Why don’t they teach how to answer the phone politely, rent an apartment, buy a great set of saucepans, how to buy an excellent kitchen knife, how to clean your good shoes, how to send a thank you for the interview note, how to brew a great pot of coffee, how to clean an iron, how to clean a stain off a favorite shirt, etc…..classes in high school?

14. Why can’t medical appointments all be at 6 in the morning?  Then I wouldn’t have to fret and worry and stew and be a basket case all day long.

15.  Why can’t I swim with the crowd?  I always have to swim up-stream.  Maybe if I wore a silly costume, it wouldn’t seem so hard?


Three Men and a Bow Tie

I am grateful that years ago, I belonged to a group called the Monday Night Quilters.  The town we met and thrived was Lawton, Oklahoma.  We met, you guessed it, every Monday night, 7-9 pm.  No matter what was going on in our lives, we somehow made time for Monday Night.  For me and a few of the other ladies, Monday night was a break.  Some of us home schooled.  Some had small children.  There were a few ladies that were retired.  Some were empty nesters.  Some were military wives, actually almost all.

Side note:  this is the group where I met Miss Florida.  Quilting brought us together, somehow, being the lucky girl I am, the quilting ties that bind, were meant to last a lifetime.

Everyone hand quilted.  Some pieced by machine, yet every single one of us hand quilted.  It was my first time ever working on a huge quilt in a frame with other ladies.  We made it for a raffle for the church we met in.   We also worked on our own projects each week.  We shared magazines, patterns, fabric and family stories.  We helped each other through happy and rough times.  We helped each other baste quilts and quilt.  We figured out sewing troubles and personal troubles.   I have a million and one stories I could share from that group alone.  Those ladies really helped shape the direction my quilting hobby took.  To be honest, within four years, those ladies helped shape, me.

One time, we were planning a potluck, some silly girl said, “hey, let’s invite the husbands?”  Everyone (except her) shouted a loud and robust, NO!  It was our “secret” club.  Not really….every single husband knew exactly where we were and who we were with.  We just took a little break from kids and dogs and cats and husbands.  It was our passion.  Really, it was our life line.  It somehow helped us each to breathe.  I lived in Lawton for a four-year military tour.  When Mr. Right got orders to move, with tears in my eyes,  the quilt group were the first people I told.

DSCN1608In 1992, I made a small quilt called,  Three Men and a Bow Tie.  It is made up of bow tie blocks.  It is heavily hand quilted.  Each tie is made using plaid fabric.  I had collected them from every new shop I was lucky enough to visit.  I was a few short.  Still collecting, however, the search is part of the draw for me.  I love that part.   While working on the quilt top during one particular Monday night, a gifted quilter in our group, well into her 80″s at that time, asked me about the fabric.  I said I was collecting it from anyone, anywhere.  She said, I will give you a piece.  I said thank you.  I was excited that next Monday, she would bring in another piece of fabric that I could use.  Alta Olsen, came to me a couple of minutes later, here you go.   Oh did you have that in your bag?  No, I just cut off the shirt tail of the shirt I am wearing.  🙂  Really?  As long as I have a working memory, I will never, ever in my life forget that moment.  DSCN1609Alta was not a frilly, fancy person.  She was a good woman.  She was a baby, when her parents were “Sooners”.  Yes, true story.  They were some of the first settlers to race into and homestead in Oklahoma.  She lived into her 90’s.  She travelled to Texas and of course Oklahoma.  That is it.  Her husband worked on the railroad.  She shared recipes and lessons.  We all listened and respected her and she gave us her friendship.  She took care of each of us by helping us to be better people.  She bathed me in Grace, just by sharing her heart and a part of her shirt.

This quilt taught me to purchased good quality black fabric.  Do NOT skimp.  As you see by the picture, the “black” fabric has faded to a dull, uninspiring grey.  sigh.  However, I get to use this quilt over and over and over to tell the tale and teach others a lesson.

I made a label for this quilt.  I was learning to put a photograph on fabric.  I took three pictures of our two boys and Mr. Right when he was little, each wearing a jaunty bow tie.  To be honest, I had forgotten this quilt was made as an anniversary gift to Mr. Right.  I DSCN1610was just reminded when I looked at the label.   I used all different collected shirt buttons to embellish each block.

Sometime, I will share the story of the wool American Flag quilt wall hanging that I made.  It has 50 buttons.  I collected all the cream-colored buttons (stars) from everywhere.  This still gives me chills…………… of those buttons is from Alta Olsen’s wedding dress.

welcome home, Miss Florida

Miss Florida is back in the great state of well, Florida.

They ended their adventure with a 10 hour road trip.  We were lucky enough to have a little back and forth text messaging, near the home stretch.  4 hours ’til home.  60 minutes ’til home.  home, safe and sound.

She went, she helped, she came back better, richer, fuller.  Her pictures are worthy of a look-see.

Thank you to all who played/prayed along.  Thank you for wearing the bracelets.  It was a fun and happy way to support our friend, Kathy.  Thanks for joining me.  The prayers helped her.  They kept her safe and carried her home.  We helped in the mission.

While I know she is reunited with her sweet dog, Penny and all is well, I still have on the bracelet.  I sort of have grown accustom to it.  It is still a pretty orange.  I love thinking of our old quilting days.  I love dreaming about all the new adventures we will climb together.

Even though girlz love the bracelet idea, a certain boy did not relish it.  Mr. Right loves Miss Florida.  He wore the bracelet.  The things that man does for me, (heart skips a beat here)   The moment I got the text that she was home safe…..

bracelet 2bracelet

“how I spent my weekend”

Without reviewing every single nuance of our weekend………thus sounding like the infamous “how I spent my summer” essay, I want to share a little of our adventure.

DSCN1573Sunday, Mr. Right and I had the privilege of exploring the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
 It is an amazing four mile walk.  I say walk because it is mostly a path made of a boardwalk (yes, wheel chair and creaky knees VERY friendly).   There is also a bit of well-tended, flat gravel pathway.   To be standing in the middle of nature, pretty much sooths your soul.  It restores and fills up the pitcher you have inside yourself.
  This is an extremely popular place for birders.  Yes, the real thing.  They are serious.  They have the equipment and the clothing and the little note books and the hats.  It is rather fascinating to watch them follow their passion with such enthusiasm.  They speak in whispered tones.  DSCN1593
 Each year more and more birds are wintering over in this Delta.  This estuary was restored in 2009 by removing dikes and reconnecting 762 acres with the tides of Puget Sound.  It is a biologically rich and diverse area.   The trails are broken up and connected at the same time.
  Any meeting of a river and a sea is a place of change…It will be proof of our ability to survive…if we learn to respect wild places like the Nisqually Delta, to trust them for their naturalness, and to love them for their power to move us.   Victor Scheffer, Scholar and Author
DSCN1601Of course the fresh air and walk whet our appetites, so the picnic found inside our cooler was the perfect treat at the end of our Sunday walk.  We saw some incredible birds and enjoyed the perfect quiet of nature.  It restored our souls.  We were both grateful and thankful for the healing and restorative powers of nature.
ps.  we took two kiddos 8th grade and 6th grade…school shopping, we worked in the yard, we shopped for vegetables and fruit, we ate Sushi, we rented a movie, Mr. Right gave Libby a spa bath, I cleaned the chicken palace, we did laundry and household chores, we got to chat with brother and sister-in-law for their birthdays. somehow the weekend slipped away.  All of that AND we forgot to buy Almond milk.  geesh.  That is sort of how weekends go around here.

some of you, missed the point

226354140_640Here is the question posed in a local paper today, “What would Dr. Martin Luther King say today?”

My quick, first thought, “some of you, missed the point”.    Simplistic as it sounds, clear, short, concise and to the point,  my opinion was blurted out.

  (Remember folks, my blog, my opinion.)   

In an extreme simplification of what the point was….everyone live a life, together as equals.  period.  Treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated.  Let’s say you want to go buy a burger and fries.  You want to stand in the same line, order from the same menu choices, pay the same price, from a worker who is paid the same has his/her co-workers, get the same service, sit down at the same tables and be afforded the luxury of eating your burger in peace, by yourself or with your family and friends.  Then driving home, in a car you purchased, to your home, in relative safety, enforced by your local police, to a neighborhood of your choice.  period.

Booker T. Washington is a fascinating human being.  I have learned a great deal from this man.  I am going to bet (even thou a good Methodist girl would never bet) that MLK would have drawn inspiration from some of his lectures.  Look Mr. Washington up, I will wait.  Learning about him, will enlighten your world more than reading my blog, I promise you.

“There is a class of colored people who make a business of keep the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public.  Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs ~ partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays.  Some of these people do not want the Negros to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”  Booker T. Washington, Republican  1856-1915

So to all of us, who many think live in a bubble, we have friends from different places and yes, have different color skin and different shaped eyes and whoa Nellie, even have different religious beliefs……surprise! many of us are living side by side, working towards the same goals, paying taxes, mowing the lawn, getting kids ready for back to school, filling out forms, trying to eat better, give more to charity, live better more fulfilling lives than our ancestors had the opportunity to do.  We are all in this together, putting one foot in front of the other.  Regardless of skin hue or country of origin, we all have crosses to bear.  Be gentle with one another.

To those of you are profiting from keeping the “business of troubles” brewing, showing up when you think there is a dollar to be made off of someone else’s misfortune…….shame on you.  Your mothers would not be proud.  I imagine, Dr. Martin Luther King would not waste a moment of his time on folks like you.   Nor will I.  I will not mention your names, that would be beneath me.  You public figures know exactly who you are.  Your behavior is despicable, plain and simple.

sadly for you and our country…some of you, missed the point.


good enough

When the weight of the world seems to be weighing me down?  My “perfect” world feels like I have fallen in the dirt in my Sunday dress.  I am feeling upside down and all twisted up.  My answer to beginning a day sobbing in the shower?  Elbow grease & music.  When the work overwhelms me and I am plum tuckered out by trying to vacuum, scrub, rake and sweep my frustrations away, I give up.  I am really hard on myself.  I don’t feel like I measure up sometimes.

It’s like I don’t have the energy to smile.  I have to ask for help.  I have to gently remind myself that I am good enough.  When everything is too much, I have to remember that God thinks I am good enough.  The trick is to convince myself that I AM good enough.  I have to trust that He loves me and that is good enough.

imagesCAXNVWYYThen I somehow found my way to our book shelves……then I spot the colorful spine.  I love SARK.  I love that I LOVE SARK.   I have for years and years, (she said, while twirling her hair).   I have 6 or 7 of her books.  Her books help me, they make me happy.  I have purchased a couple of her posters.  I have little notes on the refrigerator from her.  I have written some of her quotes in my journal.  I have used some of her quotes on this blog.  Somehow, through the pages of a book, she taps me on the head with her glitter covered wand, sometimes, she BAPS me on the head.  I can be a bit stubborn & hard-headed.  Today, she helped me write a LOVE NOTE to myself.  Yes, she did.  I took her advice and wrote to myself.  I really didn’t know what I would say.  It just sort of poured through my pen.  (yes, pen, the sound of a pencil on paper about sends me through the roof, oh that scratchy sound………urgh, it’s a wonder I even made it through school. )imagesCAHFL8O5

Today was meant to be.  I stumbled upon her video.  It is a message from her to me personally (well maybe me & a few hundred thousand other people, but it felt like she was talking directly to me).  She thinks I am good enough. Did you hear that?  She thinks I already have everything I need and I am good enough.

She makes me remember what a good RADIANT person I am.  She reminds me that I have a spirit that I forget to let loose once in a while.  While not Pollyanna, she reminds me there is a heck of a lot of good inside me.  She reminds me to share the good part of me.  She reminds me that I am the complete package.  It’s all in there, I just have to unleash some of the glitter and let it envelop me and get all stuck in my wild curly mocha with cappuccino (that’s what the box called them) highlights.

When all else fails and I am just too moody and blue and grumpy and gruff, her books are what lift me up. She mentors me through her words and art.

I remember that I am amazing and creative and colorful and love to twirl and swirl and that I have a little inner angel clapping for me and encouraging me.  I remember to use my hula hoop, while I let the chickens meander around the yard for a morning stroll. imagesCAJEWL69

When the boys were little, they were allowed to watch a television show or two.  Sometimes, they would say, we’re bored.  What can we do?  Until they were a little older  (one project we did was to write a list of 100 things to do when you are bored and posted it so they could refer to it often)……………..  I would answer them, and you can ask them today…..What would your mom say to you, if you said were bored and wanted something to do?

 If I said it once, I said it over a million times, go paint, color or draw!  Do something, anything!  Our refrigerator, inside of kitchen cupboards, down the hallway, on every bedroom door, on the bathroom mirror, hung art.  Inspiring art.  Good, bad, complex, simple………..we had everyone’s pieces of art.  Mom, Dad, kids, friends that visited…….everyone got a “special” space to use a magnet and put their creation up to display.

While I still love to doodle and draw hearts and swirls, my art is mainly through fabric.  I love to sew and make things.  I love the colors of the fabric and the feel.  I love to make quilts that have a million little parts that somehow make up a big ol’ picture of goodness.  I love the feel of my quilts.  I am using my grace filled special secret quilt right now as I type.  I have it wrapped around me.  I feel better.  I feel like there is enough love to surround me and hold me together until I can get it together myself.

Today, while wrapped in a quilt of goodness,  I am looking for the courage to let loose the wonders that are inside me.   I am headed into the sewing room.  When I am in the sewing room, I am good enough and it feels happy & lovely.

Your dream will wait for you forever, but wouldn’t it be more fun to start living your dream now?  SARK