Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ladies of Grace 09/30/09

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This week I have no story of how I opened up to grace. Just a story of how I'm closed off. I have a cold heart and need to work on it.

Last spring someone said something to me that hurt my feelings. It was supposed to be work-related, but it came out sounding more like a slam against my personality. I really struggled with going back to work this fall, because it's still a sore spot in my heart.

I've been trying to forgive and move on. It's hard. This week something happened to remind me... and make it appear to me that this person just doesn't even like me at all.

I've always hated feeling disliked. And this lingering cloud around my heart is not good. I am going to put a note in God's In-box and ask for help. Will you please pray for me, too?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Favorite Sound

Do you have a favorite sound? I do. This is mine.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Want to Buy an Amputated Foot?

Lately I have treated myself to extended times parked in front of my sewing machine. It feels great to get a lot done! As I mentioned yesterday, I finished the Ugly Top. Poor thing.. I dissed it badly, but ended up liking it. Here it is, along with a close-up so you can see the fabrics I used.

This one is a border that morphed into a quilt top. I started the center green parts as a border for another top, but it looked awful on that particular top. It looked OK on its own, though, so I sewed them together in this fashion and bordered it up, and voila! another quilt top done. It's sort of adult looking. I might give it to some adult who would like to have a lap quilt.

I may have posted this before. I'm not sure. All the blocks were made at the Friday Block Party. And the layout design is Tammy's. (Sunshine members may recognize Tammy's signature layout. Her ideas are so worth stealing!)

Then I made a few more toys. I have decided to sell my toys at the art fair at my previous church this November. I need to make more so that I have a reasonable inventory for a sale. The eyelashes on my eyeball toy are 3-D. What do you think? Is that one too weird?

This last one looks like an amputated foot! (The creature's butt is the heal, and it's head is the toe. See what I mean?) Ewwww! How much would YOU be willing to pay for an amputated foot?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Happy Birthday

I have had a very nice birthday. Charles keeps telling people to ask how old I am, so I'm forced to say it outloud. Somehow I'd forgotten that having a birthday means I also have to add to my age. Oh, well... I am glad to be alive!

Last night we attended a party at my DIL's parents' house. It was fun. There were a lot of nice people there, and we got to catch up with Steven and Hummingbird. It was great. They seem happy and are settling into adulthood.

Today we went out for lunch with Autumn and Harley. Fun. Autumn talked a lot about her new job and all the new things she is learning. She loves it!

For dinner I attended a little tailgating party at church. We had hot dogs and pot luck stuff, and played a few games. The evening was GORGEOUS for sitting outside and watching the sun set.

I've even had some sewing time. I finished the Ugly Quilt top, and now I like it! Tomorrow I hope to spend more time sewing.

I'm thankful for:

1) all the Happy Birthday wishes I received in email, at Facebook, in person, and in snail mail.
2) catching up with both Autumn and Steven.
3) fun and silly times with Charles.
4) a beautiful evening.
5) the fun of making quilts.
P.S. I turned off the comment moderation, because it was such a pain.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Five

I post this unofficially... a topic started by someone else. People sign up and link to each other. Not me -- I'm just doing it on my own because it's a good idea and fun.

Five great things about my week:

1) Saw so many cute babies at Trader Joe's!! So adorable! And all the moms were so patient! I loved the little girl with ruffles on her butt whose "normal pace" is run.

2) Last weekend I had such a great time at the lake with my cousins, sister, and mom. It was very rejuvenating for me.

3) Enjoyed a surprise meeting at a training workshop - met someone who knows my son and daughter-in-law and had great things to say about them!

4) I have a lot of fun things to do this weekend, and isn't that fun, because it's my birthday tomorrow!

5) Work is going well. I'm enjoying more contact time with a larger number of students, and more interpreting time, too. I like our new model.

One Rotten Apple

I apologize, but because of One Rotten Apple in the bunch, I had to turn on comment moderation. Please feel free to continue leaving comments...... if you are an honest, forthright person, as you all are except for the one recent visitor who ruined it for everyone. I hope Rotten Apple gets a life. Spam comments are not even close to being cool or clever.

P.S. I didn't make it clear, but the Spammer comment person was not a regular comment... it was really a bunch of spam and suggestive words, and it was left at a bunch of old posts so that I had to do some work to delete them all. It wasn't any of you innocent writers... I love my regular comment-leavers!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ugly Quilt

I've been trying to do some sewing, but I am so unmotivated due to having created an Ugly Quilt. What do you think... should I rip parts of it out and change my color scheme? Or should I go ahead and finish this thing and hope some kid likes it? Or is it mean to send off an Ugly Quilt and force some kid to find its redeeming qualities?

Tuesday's post was my book group that met at a wine bar. Only two of us showed up! We had brought along a zillion books to look at as possible choices on our list of Books to Read Next. One of my books had short essays, and each one ended with the words "it's worth pondering." The fact that those words ended every.single.essay. drove me crazy. I couldn't read the entries, because my brain was saying, "oh boy, here comes that darned 'it's worth pondering' that's going to ruin a good essay."

So that's why I used the phrase in Tuesday's post... sort of as a joke to myself. Not that I really needed help deciding which books to read. We came up with a good list. And I never have a shortage of books to choose from! Thank you for all your comments regarding choosing books! I appreciate my readers and comments!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Worth Pondering

How does one choose which book to read next, when they are all such good candidates?? It's worth pondering.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Techy Nerd

photo by bestcar shaquar @ flickr

I'm turning into a techy nerd... I have a blog, I e-mail every day, I'm on Facebook, and I just now joined Twitter.

I own an MP3 player, but I hardly ever use it. I'd rather have one that includes internet access and a bunch of other apps! I take digital photographs almost every day. I have a flash drive, and an electronic photo frame.

I guess I was already a nerd before I even started writing this.......

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good for the Soul

I'm thankful for the following:

1) Rejuvenation of the soul at the family lake place: beauty, peace, serenity

2) Lake place memories: laughter, great conversation, good books, dear departed family members, good food, fun, frolic

3) Annual cousins' reunion: reconnecting to family has been a real gift (one cousin comes every year from NY, one from MI, the rest of us appreciate their outlay of expense and time to come see us)
4) We read a book and discuss it: a one-book-a-year book club. Always fabulous. Aunt D- comes up with great discussion questions!
5) Four of us went swimming! Very late in the year to do so; the day was warm, the water refreshing!! Swimmers were 40-something, 50-something, 60-something, and 70-something. Aren't we brave??

6) Amazing music pouring out of a small country church - such dynamos, and most of them senior citizens!
7) My 88-year-old mother was given an award by her UMW District: Woman of the Year! It was very nice; I'm so proud of her. (And I overheard two women say, "she doesn't look 88!" - so true!)

8) Hospitality, stars lighting up the night sky, breezes off the lake, trees green with a little red - just starting to think of putting on their autumn coats. Beautiful!!! Ahhhhhhhh.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stuff and Such

photo by me, fall a year or two ago

Not much is going on. Work is super busy, the evenings fly.. I'm usually very tired and don't get my home chores done as I'd like. I'm slightly allergic to the cat we're taking care of. He causes my eyes to itch. Recently I rubbed my eyes with too much pressure, and then I got a burst blood vessel in my eye (ugly).

I recently read a good book: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. I have 110 crumb blocks made, waiting to be put into quilt tops.

Maybe tonight I'll go to bed early.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trouble Adjusting

Wow, this working gig is tough! I've been so worn out! Monday after work I was exhausted again and took a huge nap. I was so dead to the world, I didn't hear one word of the news on TV (right in front of me) and did not hear Hubby come home from work. Wow. I hope I get adjusted pretty soon. If not, I just may have to ... ahem ... retire or something!

Now I'm going to indulge myself and show more pictures of the altar cloths I made for church. It was so much fun to have them put to use and see them with people and activity around them! Everyone who spoke to me loved them. I guess if people didn't like them, they just kept quiet. And that's OK. If that's what they did, they were just being kind.

Haven't done this for a while, so it's time:

What I'm thankful for:

1. Both my children have new jobs that they seem to be enjoying!

2. My husband survived THREE layoff waves at his work, and if you can believe the bosses, he's safe. Whew!

3. Good books - how dull life would be without them!

4. Our pastor reminded us that we are "Jesus with skin." It is so helpful for me to think of other people in that way. When I think of them as Jesus, I will give them the respect and kindness they deserve (or I will try - and hope to be forgiven when I falter).

5. I now have the challenge to live up to myself as "Jesus with skin." That's big! And exciting, too! Think of the possibilities if we all could do this!

Monday, September 14, 2009

More Faces

Thought for the day:

Cherish this very moment. Let go of the stream
of distress and embrace life fully in your arms.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Thought for the day:

Embrace joy
Inspire hope
Cultivate love
Build intimacy
Celebrate life

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Oh boy, oh boy, oh joy! I'm so happy this is done!! This is a project I promised to do for church. It is the Secret Project I mentioned not too long ago. It was months ago that I said yes to making these. The powers-that-be waited patiently, with only a few polite nudges, and then they gave me a deadline (tomorrow) which I was finally able to satisfy (in the knick of time).

I kind of knew what I wanted to do, and I had worked up a prototype pretty quickly, but the actual making and quilting was a HUGE job. No wonder I had procrastinated! I hope they're happy, because I'm never doing this again. Whew!

The good news is, even though I'm griping about the work and how tired I am, I'm very happy with how they turned out! I'm celebrating that they are a success! Hooray!! Tomorrow is their "unveiling", and along with a lot of other fun events for the morning, it should be a good day at church. Huzzah huzzah!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Life at Giraffe Dreams

Work is going well. We're surviving through the "first week chaos." I'm a tad less exhausted. And Thursday was my son's birthday. He's 23 now! AND he got a job offer on his birthday! How's that for cool??

It's a temporary job, but that's better than nothing... and there's hope for it to become permanent.

Today is 9/11... we are encouraged to do some community service to honor the people who were lost eight years ago. I'll do some quilting which will be for the local and/or world community. What are you going to do?

Like my street sign? I made it here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Students came back on Tuesday, and I felt quite energized after my first work day. But by Wednesday evening I was exhausted.

I watched Obama's speech and by the last words I nodded off and took a substantial nap in the chair. Then I went to bed, and slept like a log, oversleeping just a tad.

Have had no time or energy leftover for sewing. I'll readjust... it's just this first week that is the killer.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Ladies of Grace - 09-09-09

Wow, today's date is really cool... 9-9-9. Babies born today will have an easy birthdate to remember!


(editing to add this tip: to see some real grace in action, read here.. Silly Boo Dilly)

Join us at Walk a Mile in the Ladies of Grace carnival. Think about a time during the week that you experienced grace in any form. Did your heart warm and soften? Did you accomplish a gracious act? Did someone do something to or for you that warmed your heart? Please share your story so we can learn from each other.

My story of grace involves a person to whom I carry an internal defensiveness. I take everything he says with a grain of salt and automatically discount it, unless it's something I already totally agree with.

This week I had a sudden thought: who am I to determine ahead of time that he is usually wrong? Maybe I should listen with an open mind. Just that little thought gave me a sense of peace. I was happy to get the little insight and to feel better in his presence. It's still a work in progress.... I need to combat that defensive posture that comes up when he speaks. But it worked once just to think that the problem may be with me and not him at all. So I'll keep working on it and try to crack my mind open a little more each time I'm with this person.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Just a Few Ways Unions Have Helped

Rosie the Riveter: you go, Girl!

Happy Labor Day (USA readers)! Here are some things we enjoy thanks to the work of labor unions:
* weekends!
* 8-hour work days
* decent wages (this has been eroding over time, with low-wage workers falling behind, and a few shumckys at the top getting rich - see Walmart)
* benefits - e.g. sick leave, holidays
* pensions (and these days, access to 401K or 403B plans)
* family & medical leave
* job security, some enjoy this more than others
* workers are allowed to grieve an unjust labor practice
* protection from harassment

Everyone knows unions are not perfect, but where would we be without them!? I personally love having a weekend.

Here are some things I have enjoyed at my own job, thanks to union support in our labor negotiations. None of these existed when I first started in my career. The union was key in helping us secure these items:

* recognition of national certification in my field
* reimbursement for certification testing fees and annual dues
* pay rate lane changes that compensate for having a B.A. degree (B.A. is not currently required in my position)
* providing professional development times at which I can earn CEUs (which are required by law)
* pay increase upon achieving certain years of longevity
* increased employer contributions to retirement and to health insurance premiums
* decent pay scale (when I started it was unbelievably poor)

Isn't it nice that we get to enjoy so many benefits thanks to the hard work of people who came before us? (And who are still here helping us whether or not we are aware of their work.) I have today off in their honor!!!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Through the Screen Door

Today the sun was shining through my geraniums so beautifully! I couldn't catch in a photo what I could see with my eye. So I settled for this photo taken through the screen door. I love how this plant has had an explosion of flowers at the end of the season. It's living life to its fullest!

I'm making progress on the sewing of my Secret Project for church. It needs to be done by next Sunday, and it's looking likely that it'll be done in plenty of time. It has been a big job; I'll be relieved when it's done.

Here are a couple of cuties who were at church today. It was a fun Sunday... it felt warm and welcoming and happy. I left with a smile on my face.

Thought for the day:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

-- Emily Dickinson