29 June 2009

Grace and Gratitude

I wrote previously about the idea of an "All's Grace" list, wherein I would list the many gifts that I am grateful for. I began mine just a few days after Mom died. Since reading a chapter about the importance of gratitude in the book, "10 Keys to Wellness", I've decided that it's past time for me to add to my list…

All's Grace…

…music. Simply the sound of beautiful music.

…green sprouts in my flower garden.

…the comfort of a hug from a dear friend.

…curls framing the face of my little girl.

…the infectious laugh of my redheaded son.

…the serious yet smiling little boy of mine who is nearly three.

…reading a book so familiar, that it's like a visit from an old friend.

…writing again, ideas flowing like the rush of a spring river.

…forgiveness. Incomprehensible forgiveness, that I never deserved.

…holding the hand of the one I love.

…a hot cup of fragrant Earl Grey.

…sewing, surrounded by memories of Mom.

…smiling over my Aunt's first quilt. Mom would have been thrilled.

…such lovely flowers growing by my home. How many years have you grown by this house?

…four little ducklings, swimming with their mother, right outside my window.

…falling asleep to the sound of many frogs, with the window open to allow the crisp night air in.

…the most perfect and clear starlit sky, with every single star still there, right where it should be.

…grace for the moment.

26 June 2009

I Must be Getting Old…

The wedding quilt is done!!!! Actually, it has been finished for a little over a week now. Good thing, since the wedding is tomorrow. I feel like I should include a certificate of authenticity because, yes, this quilt really WAS hand-quilted, by me. Seriously. The really crazy thing is, I've started hand-quilting a quilt for Munchkin. This may become an obsession on the same level as knitting. I've had to take a short break from the hand-quilting because of a quilt-related injury. I can't quilt with a thimble. I've tried, and I just can't do it. So, I poked the eye of the needle rather deep into my thumb. Trying to quilt only pokes the needle back into the injured spot, and tears and shouts are the result. So, I will have to let my thumb heal up a bit. In the mean time, I'm sewing on another quilt top, and knitting Mr. Q's birthday sweater. J Plenty to keep me busy!

My sister and I took the kiddos to visit our aunt, one of Mom's sisters, yesterday. It was a wonderful visit, and we both enjoyed seeing her. She showed us her first quilt! She pieced it and is in the process of hand quilting it! Mom would be so proud of her!!! It is a beautiful quilt, and I have to admit that her hand-quilting stitches are smaller than mine! It makes me smile to think of how excited Mom would have been about her sister's first quilt.

I've discovered that I'm getting gray. I'm really going gray! In just the past couple of months, I've started going gray! I had no idea that I was quite so vain, but the white hair thing is really bugging me! I'm going to go find a box of hair color and have my sister color it for me. OK, stop laughing now. Really, I mean it, stop laughing, it's not funny… Maybe there is a bit of my grandmother in me after all. She was gray by the time she was 30, and she colored her hair too. Can anyone recommend some good red haircolor???

I had a moment during this past week when I put the kids down for their nap, sat with my head in my hands and thought, "I really wish that I knew what I was doing!" I began to wonder if Mom ever had those moments. Moments when we don't have a clue what to do. I think that perhaps all mothers have these moments, at least, I hope that I'm not alone in this! I wish that I could go back to the time when I was little, and perhaps Mom felt discouraged and tired, and just put my arms around her and tell her, "You're doing great. Don't worry, you're the best mom that those two little girls could ask for. And one day, they will tell you that themselves."

One of Mom's friends said something to me earlier this week that has really stuck with me. She said that even though I only had Mom for 28 years, Mom gave me more in those 28 years than some daughters get in an entire lifetime. There is so much truth in that. Mom gave us so much of herself. I guess that means that there is that much more to miss. Still, I would not trade one second of my life with Mom for anything. The grief is deep, because the love was deep. The irony of life. The more we love someone, the more we are affected by their absence. It makes me long even more for the day when there will be no more good-byes, no more tears. And until that day, grace. Grace for the moment.

19 June 2009

Apple Pie

I'm sitting here contemplating a hot cup of Earl Grey, and an ice cold slice of apple pie. I think it would go perfectly with the book I'm reading.

I decided on Tuesday to make an apple pie. That may sound unremarkable, but for me, it's not. I am TERRIBLE at apple pies. Apple crisp, not a problem! Homemade applesauce, easy! Apple dumplings, coming right up! Apple pie… not so much. I have absolutely no explanation for this phenomenon. Mom made the best apple pie. She'd make one, call me up, and say, "I've got a fresh apple pie up here that would go good with a cup of coffee." I'd sit at her table with a cup of coffee (or tea this past year or so) and we'd chat over our pie and steaming mugs. I miss her pie, but I miss the chats at her kitchen table even more. The day I married Aaron, Mom and I sat at her kitchen table before leaving the house, both with a hot cup of coffee in our hands. I can't remember what we said, but I remember how good it was to sit there, at the table with her.

My kiddos all have colds, but they are on the mend. Camo did not have an ear infection, and I'm very thankful for that! Aaron got hit the hardest this time around, and I seem to have a ridiculously mild case of it. Not that I'm complaining!

I've inherited a huge number of books that were Mom's. Lots of novels, and a good selection of books by Max Lucado. I've read a couple of chapters lately in his books that have been rather hard-hitting for me. One in particular about forgiveness. Forgiveness comes hard for me. I can be civil towards just about anyone, but simmering beneath the surface is still that bitterness. Bitterness has no place in the heart of a follower of Christ, I realize this. Forgiveness sounds easy, but practicing it, is VERY hard! In his book Just Like Jesus, Max Lucado speaks of Christ's forgiveness. He washed the feet of the very disciples who would abandon and deny Him in just a few short hours. He showed them mercy and love, even though He knew exactly what they would do. Did they deserve it? Certainly not! Do I? Definitely not. Yet He forgives me all the same. I'm the guilty party, He is not required to show me an ounce of mercy. But He does, freely forgiving me, just because I asked Him to. If I am to follow His example, how can I do any less? There is a quote in the book that I should keep in mind, "Relationships don't thrive because the guilty are punished but because the innocent are merciful." Even if it's not my fault, I still must extend the love, forgiveness and mercy that He has extended to me. Grace for the day, grace to forgive.

The apple pie? I took it with me to a friend's house, and after sampling it, we all decided that it was delicious. It's not Mom's apple pie, but it's a start…

14 June 2009

Quilt Through All Sickness!

It's days like this when I really miss Mom. All of us woke up with a cold this morning, so none of us are feeling great. I'm a bit worried about Camo, since the last time he had a cold, he wound up with an ear infection. He's got a fever and is terribly fussy. I know that they typical question is, "Is he pulling on his ears?" In my Camo's case however, that isn't much of an indication, since he tugs his ears anytime that he's tired, upset, or feels poorly. I so much want to call up Mom and say, "What do you think?" She would just know. She gave me great advice when it came to the kiddos. That's something that I REALLY miss now.

I'm quilting away on a gift quilt. (Read: Quilt that must be finished in two weeks.) It's not terribly big, but I had planned to quilt it by machine. I don't do hand-quilting. Yes, you sense a "but" coming… I decided to hand quilt a few hearts on the quilt. Mom always said that a quilt must have at least one heart, because it's made with love. OK, I'll just quilt a couple of hearts and then do the rest on my sewing machine, right? Yeah, well, not so much… Once I got started, I kept going, and going, and the whole thing is going to be hand-quilted, by me. This is unheard of. I should issue a certificate of authenticity with this thing, because no one will believe that I actually hand-quilted a quilt. (OK, they might start to believe it when they see how horribly uneven my stitches are.) Anyway, I've got almost the whole quilt quilted, except for the border. Then Joyce and I have to put the binding on. Joyce would help me quilt, but our hand-quilting stitches do NOT even come close to matching. Hers are tiny and neat, the way that hand-quilting is supposed to be. Mine are huge and uneven, and are not likely to improve anytime soon… So, I am quilting my fingers to the bone, or at least it feels that way at times! I'm going to finish it though, on time! I am determined to!!!! Of course, I did not count on getting this really nasty cold in the process. Elizabeth Zimmerman said to "knit through all crisis" so I'm going to "quilt through all sickness"! I'd better get back to the quilt… right after I find some tea...