Five minutes

When I was a young teenager, I had my first (of six) knee surgeries. I was in the hospital for 21 days.

metal puzzleAs you can imagine, I have had this swirly brain forever, so to keep me occupied, some kind person gave me a set of metal puzzle gizmos.  I worked on those for minutes, hours which fell into days.  Not all the time, just five minutes here, five minutes there.

44 years later, in my mind, I can conjure up the feel of the metal in my hands.  My fingers flying to figure out the secret to the puzzle. I bet if someone handed me one of those today, I could figure it out in a matter of moments.

I was delighted with a present and the challenge was just what I needed, however when  I say, “kind person” I think the gift was more for my mother.  With the exception of driving my sisters to and from school, running home to make dinner, she was in my room 7 days a week for the majority of the day, every day.

My brain teaser puzzles gave her, 5 minutes of peace and quiet.

Five minutes.

Five glorious minutes to go put fresh lipstick on.  Maybe she went for a break and got a cup of coffee?  Maybe she read an article in the newspaper without someone pestering her? Maybe just maybe she bought a Pepsi and poured it into a coffee cup (young ladies do not drink soda)?  Maybe she just sat and stared out the window and didn’t have to listen to a somewhat chatty teenager?

What could you do in Five minutes?

File your nails, walk outside for some fresh air, watch a bird take a splashy bath, take off your shoes, rub your feet & walk on some freshly mown grass?  There are a million things we all could do with five glorious minutes.

Our friend’s father has dementia. Because of paperwork, he is not yet settled into a new assisted home.

Often times, seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia may show signs of anxiety or agitation through fidgety hands.  Sensory therapy or fidget toys are an effective way to reduce anxiety, calm nerves, and provide comfort. 

No, I did not give a set of metal puzzles.

I made and gave a Fidget Quilt.20180817_161103-1

(Housekeeping:  I used 6-inch squares backed with fusible fleece. I backed and bound with pre-washed flannel.  I used ribbon, velcro, zipper, rope, rick-rack, buckle, coins under vinyl, elastic, shoelaces, curtain rings, trim, buttons, drop cloth, faux leather, sequins, velour, cotton, flannel fabrics and a tie.  All machine pieced and machine quilted.  The binding was stitched twice for strength.)

Some folks call them Busy Quilts or Fidget Blankets.  Lap size, no batting, all sewn by machine. Then sewn once more for good measure. All safe/harmless items, lots of texture and by the time it was finished, the quilt had some weight to it.  When I put it on my lap, I took a deep breath, very calming.

His family is hurting.  The “M” family has taken a hit and gosh does his wife NEED five minutes.

I made this quilt for a gentleman to occupy his busy hands and mind.  More importantly, I made this quilt for his wife.  With every stitch, I was thinking of her.  I was lifting her up.  The hours ticked by while I was sewing, measuring, creating.

 

I was praying it would give her FIVE MINUTES.

 

Five minutes to breath deeply. Five minutes to step outside and stretch.  Five minutes to pour herself a cup of coffee.  Five minutes to answer the door.  Five minutes to read a card from a friend.  Five personal moments to let her guard down and collect herself.

All forms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s are rough, some would say cruel to the family and friends.  My heart breaks.  Yes, I prayed for them.  Then I got to work.  I wanted to help.  I wanted to give FIVE MINUTES of rest to his caregiver.

There are several pictures on Google images/YouTube/Pinterest all with ideas for creating this type of sensory blanket.  Many have bright, childlike colors, lots of patterns, some silly and goofy.

 

Many folks often say, “oh, he won’t know/care what colors you use”.

His wife will.  His son will.  His family and friends will.

I chose to make a Fidget Blanket that was respectful of a life well lived.  I chose colors and patterns that would be of interest to his grandchildren and visitors. I chose items and patterns to invoke conversation of visitors.  I wanted to create something manly, dignified, befitting a man who worked his whole life and took care of his family.  I wanted something calming and yet interesting at the same time.

44 years later, goodness has come full circle.  I can finally give back those precious FIVE MINUTES of peace.20180817_160839-1

This disease is dreadful.  God Bless the families and friends walking through the fire.

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

chop, chop, lollipop

Hello February!  Such a beautiful thing to say.  In our family, January has always been a tough, ugly, tricky month.  2017 was no different.

On to the fresh, clean slate of February.  Valentine’s day isn’t too far away.  It’s time for love and smooches and lollipops, of course.

I tied the sign, filled a jar and gave this to Mr. Right.20170131_154015-1_resized

Start with making the tag.  Next, fill whatever size (I used plastic) jar with bubble gum or suckers.  I thought Blow Pop suckers was silly, sweet and funny.

This is such an easy way to remind your Mr. Right, you love him and you are thinking about him.  You do send him to work with silly things he can share with co-workers, right?

Um, yeah, take the time.  How on earth do you think this thing called marriage is going to thrive and swirl?  You gotta feed it, girlfriend.  YES, even after 35 years of being married.

Yes, I know you are very “busy”.  You are going to tell me, “he knows I love him, I am lucky, I don’t have to show him.”

wrong.

Everyone needs to be reminded that they are loved.   It feels good.

It is HAPPY all stuffed into a jar!

That’s why this project is so dang tootin’ easy, quick and full of goodness!

Chop, Chop, Lollipop!  

Fill and give a jar of goodness, TODAY!!

In this together, friend.

Go share some happy!

20170131_154015-1_resized

for me?

I ask you….

Who’s husband leaves for work, then comes back 8 minutes later with a beautiful Iced Latte?iced-coffee

Mine does!

Have I mentioned lately, what a lucky girl I am?

ummmm, that kind of man deserves some cookies.

I will be in the kitchen, baking for sure today!

Golly, I love that man.  (no, it’s not the caffeine talking, ha)

 

rolled up goodness

Yesterday, in the hustle of getting dinner ready, the mail arrived.

A box.  A surprise.  My name written on the outside.   I spy my niece’s name as the sender.

wipe hands on dish towel

smile

push back curly hair out of eyes

rub hands together with glee

keep smiling

start unwrapping

giddy with anticipation

read letter

tear up

keep smiling

oh my goodness, the handiwork, the beautiful purple, the shine, the thought

She made me a beautiful necklace and earring set.20160617_103510-1

It get’s better.

Her note:

Dear Aunt Daleen, I made this necklace and earrings set for you.  The beads are made of paper and markers, rolled up, glued then sealed with nail polish. Inside each bead is a though of you.  Something we love, thankful for or remember about you.  Mom, Dad and I each wrote on them for you. 

She went on to tell me what they wrote.  Then ended the note by saying:

.….The mothers of my students liked the one’s we made for mother’s Day.  My mother loves hers as well.   enjoy, with love, J

20160617_103518I gotta tell you, this is a show stopper.

As I run the beads through my fingers I am smiling.  I am remembering all the good times and things we have done together.  I feel the smoothness.  All linked together.

I am so grateful, thankful and appreciative.

A charming and heartfelt gift to make. A treasure to receive.  Humbled to wear.

Heartfelt thanks dear sweet niece, how lovely of you to think of me and make something so beautiful and special.  A keepsake.

Today, as I scurry around our home, doing chores and such, I am wearing a beautiful necklace & earrings of pure goodness.

Have I mentioned lately….what a lucky girl I am?

I am.  I really am a lucky girl.

Smiling

 

 

 

pressure cooker

Once, smack dab in the middle of the week before Christmas I started reading the latest Danielle Steel book.

You know the drill, Christmas, many moons ago, back when the boys were in pageants at church, gave gifts to school friends and teachers and were still young enough to be a bit squirrely as Christmas approached. After we lit the Advent candle/s and had a family meal, there was something planned/written on the calendar every single week night.  Pictures with Santa, a trip to feed real Reindeer and of course reading Christmas stories each night. The weekend rolled around and somehow we had to juggle a couple of invitations and managed to make it to all the parties, host one of our own and still take lovely thoughtful hostess gifts and handmade gifts for family and friends.  I wrapped gifts many a nights.  Almost became a tradition to race out two nights before the big day to buy more stocking stuffers.

It all became too big.  One morning, alone, I drove to the library.  I checked out one of the “hot picks”.  I drove straight home and poured myself a soda and started reading.

It was pure bliss.  Not one word of the story had anything to do with responsibilities & not a word was written about a holiday.   I would find time during the day to read a chapter or two.  I would finish wrapping more gifts at 1 in the morning, then stay up until 2 am to read more of the book.

I guess I needed a break.  I needed some place for the steam to escape.

Once, smack dab in the middle of moving to a new home, I decided to sew a dress for grand #2.  Her birthday is next month and I wanted to make sure I had something home-made just for her.  I purchased a card, bought a book she asked for and then I settled down to created the perfect owl jumper.  I put it in a special box and marked the box with huge letters  “SWEET GIRL’S BIRTHDAY GIFT”.

I made sure the sewing room was the very last on the list to be packed into cardboard boxes.   I needed my machine, scissors, pins and needles.  I needed to be able to sew a jingle bell inside.20160219_161024

Yes, all little girls need to have a jingle bell sewn into their dresses.  It reminds them that I am thinking about them and sending them oodles of goodness their way.  It reminds them that they are special.

I wanted to stop, right in the middle of the kaos, clutter, boxes, tape, sharpie marker and create something that she will love.

I guess I needed a break?  I needed a place for the steam to escape. As exciting and wonderful it is to be moving, the pressure cooker had reached its limit.  The steam was starting to sputter.

20160219_160954-1I wanted to make Sweet grand #2 more important than anything else in my world.

I am the luckiest girl in the world to have 3 grands.  It was of utmost importance that I stop every thing and make sewing the perfect owl jumper more important than anything.

It is my mission in life to always let our grands know they are the most important thing in our world.20160219_161034

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ripples of kindness

When you plop a pebble into an undisturbed pond, you instantly get a circle, then another and so on.  The ripples spread in concentric circles quickly.  For some reason, you can’t take your eyes off the simplistic beauty.  That very first plop in the center.  You are in the moment. That center is where goodness begins.

This is a real life story about ripples.

You might remember the story I wrote about the planting kindness…the poinsettia?  Ring a bell?   It was just a couple of weeks ago.  Seems like gallons of water have gone under the bridge in a very short time.  Our gifts have been mailed, all the Christmas cards have been licked shut & sent on their way.  Even a couple of the candle bulbs in the window have already been replaced.

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/planting-kindness/

I shared that story, having no idea who or how many would read it.

Sunday, we hosted a memorable dinner party.  You know the kind?  You make an extra pot of coffee during dessert, the conversation is so lively and uplifting.  You want the evening to last longer.  You think about moving everyone into the other room to more comfortable chairs…..then one story leads to another & another and the laugher rolls on.  Somehow the company & conversation is so delightful and smart and thundering forward it slips your mind to move.  You can’t wait to hear which direction the stories will twist. You want to listen & share & learn more of each person.  While the food is exceptional, it pales in comparison to the company around the table.

A dinner party so lively and interesting that you are able to take pictures of the food preparations before the guests arrive and then you quickly toss your phone in a drawer and never give it a second thought.  You have unplugged the telephone because you want your guest to feel that important. You honor yourself enough to turn off the distractions and be in the moment.

A gathering of such smart & sassy friends that it never once crosses your mind or anyone else for that matter,  to take pictures of the people or food to share on social media.

An evening so perfect, you become private and want to hold the moment dear. You don’t want to share.  It will be forever imprinted on the minds of those gathered.  Such a special moment in time, all else is secondary. Sometime during the evening, you have a warm feeling and you just know this is where you were meant to be. A moment marked in time.

One of the special guests, seated at our table,  is an artist.  An artist that just happened to read my post about poinsettias.

As artists will do, they seek and gather inspiration from everywhere.  One morning in the early hours prior to dawn, the artist had to get out of bed, to paint.  The painting was already in her head, she just needed to get it out & onto canvas.  The brush strokes were fast and furious.  The saturated color became more intense with each layer.  The inspiration was calling to be shared.

This particular artist & painting have grabbed the attention of several and marched on to already win several prestigious awards.

The painting has a name,  “Miss Daleen’s Poinsettia.” 

To say I was honored is an understatement.  Took my breath away faster than being on the downward track of a roller coaster.  Such a grand gesture along with my name given to such a work of beauty.  I have never ever, ever had a painting named after me.  Blushing just typing that.

When I think of my friend’s dad,  giving the poinsettias and my request for planting kindness in the month of December, I get all soft and gooey inside.   I know of FOUR poinsettias that have been given to others just for goodness sake.

The ripples in a pond.

The first pebble in this story was tossed by Craig.

The circles are growing,  kindness is spreading.

As dinner drew to a close, my friend got up and handed me a wrapped gift.  It was huge.  My Spidy sense told me to pay attention, this is one of those moments in life.  I carefully tore the paper.  I could feel the cold of the glass.  I felt the heft of the frame.  Mr. Right winked at me across the table.20151221_205454-1_resized

Miss Daleen’s Poinsettia was in my hands.

It took my breath away.  My eyes watered.  I stumbled with the only words I could say.

Thank you.

The ripples of kindness splashed all over me & colored me grateful.

Kindness is spreading.