13 August 2016

Winds of Change!

Fortune
Change is coming!  After a difficult month of July, which I wrote about in the previous post, things are looking up!  Last Sunday, I ordered take-out Chinese food, but I didn't eat my fortune cookie until the next afternoon.  This was my fortune!  Within an hour of reading the fortune I received a phone call offering me a new job, working in Postpartum at the hospital that is just 3 blocks from my home!  

Praise be to God for answered prayer and for keeping his hand on me and my life!   
The verse that I have had taped to my computer, that I have meditated on during this difficult time is this one: 
The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.  
Psalm 145:14 

He has lifted me up and upheld me during my rough days.  I am so very grateful, so very blessed.

The week previous, I had decided to look at what other jobs in my field might be available.  One popped up unexpectedly for the hospital near my home, where I had applied twice previously and been told that they wouldn't hire me due to the fact that I have an Associate's degree in nursing and not a bachelor's degree.  With much prayer, I updated my resume and submitted my application on Friday afternoon.  I received an e-mail back on Monday asking for a phone interview, which  then took place on Wednesday.  At the phone interview, they asked to set up an in-person interview.  That happened on Friday.  On Monday, I had the job offer!   I am so very happy and relieved to be able to work so close to home again.  It's less than a 10 minute walk from my front door!  

I have put my resignation in with my current employer and am looking forward to a couple weeks off between jobs to regroup and prepare for the changes!  So excited!  

CQJP2015BackgroundTrials
With so much stress lifted,  I have at last had energy to put towards stitching!  First up is my CQJP 2015 project.  As much as I liked the bright green fabric and how it made the blocks stand out, I couldn't get past the glaring brightness of it, the full-on 60's/70's vibe it had.  That wasn't how I pictured it in my mind, so it was back to the drawing board.  I went ahead and added the bright pink borders to the blocks.  Then it was time to try out some other background fabrics.  I tried a pink/orange/purple variegated batik.  It was ok, but lacked warmth.  The green I already knew was out.  i tried a more subdued pink/orange batik, which I liked, but it still was missing something.  The blocks just didn't seem at home on it.  So I pulled out the original piece of fabric I had bought, back when I first started working on the blocks.  Without the pink borders, the blocks just got lost on it, and so it had been set aside.  But now, with the pink borders, the blocks came to life and just sing!  I cut the sashing and had just snippets left!  Couldn't have been more perfect! 

CQJP2015 The Back
With the blocks pieced together, I turned it over and discovered that I like the back almost as much as the front!  It certainly has it's own beauty to it!  

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Now, the front completed and I am SO happy with it.  It looks much more like how I had envisioned it in the beginning.  I love how the greens of the blocks stand out and how they've lost their yellow/orange cast.  

Working Things Out CQJP2015
Then it was time to play with ideas for finishing the top.  Lots of ideas, much time and effort put into making decisions about how to deal with the sashing.  

New Backing for CQJP 2015
Some backing was in order.  I was going to use the same dark pink fabric that borders the blocks, but it is so tight and difficult to stitch through, that I opted for a simpler fabric with a looser weave for the back.  

Thomas on CQJP2015
When it came time to bast everything together, Thomas sat there making sure that nothing moved unnecessarily!  He was quite the critic!  

Quilting CQJP2015
With the quilt stretched on a quilting frame, I tried out some hand quilting in a dark pink thread, but have since pulled this out.  You'll have to wait to see the finished project to see what I used instead!  It's coming along nicely!  

Mollie Feathers WIP
Even after all this time working on the CQJP 2015 blocks, I still find the bright colors tiring for my eyes, so it was a pleasure to bring out my Mollie Feathers project to work on in between.  A couple of dedicated days saw all the little blocks pieced together using a faux paper piecing technique that I learned from Jude Hill of Sprit Cloth.  (If you want to know more, check out her class, Spirit Cloth 101) There is something I find incredibly satisfying to take all these tiny bits of cloth and put them together into a new whole.  

MollieFeathers WIP
I then used a similar technique to add the inner dark border between the featherstitched panel and the blocks.  I'll use it again to add the outer border.  I was going to add some texture stitching to the blocks, but have decided I like them without it on this particular project!  Hope to have this completed this weekend... but Grandbaby #1 is due any moment, so it's entirely possible that I'm going to be a bit distracted!  

p.s. Please pardon the somewhat blurry phone photos in this post!  Once the final projects are complete, you may be assured that there will be real photos taken with much better focus and a closer look at the details!


25 July 2016

2016.07.20SewingRoom
Where to begin?  First a huge thank you to all who replied to my last post.  It was so encouraging to hear from so many of you who are dealing with similar things.  As it happens, I think God has definitely given me a wake-up call, so to speak. 

A couple of weeks ago, on my way to work, I experienced a heart episode which landed me in the hospital for 24 hours and home recovering for the past couple of weeks.  I was blessed that everything turned out fine and I have since received a clear bill of health.  

While I was off work, my sister came out to help me for a week.  It was so good to have her here.  As my strength returned, we got a few things done around the house, namely, getting my sewing room organized and set up!  I had gotten rid of a huge amount of extraneous stuff at our garage sale that I hadn't used in years, including extra fabric, miscellaneous supplies, crafty items, etc.  Now, my sewing stuff is so much more manageable and the sewing room has plenty of space for working, which I find inspiring!

2016.07.20CQJP2015WIP
That meant it was time to get my CQJP 2015 project out and work on assembling it!  All the pink borders are on and the next step is to do the green sashing between.  I'm still playing around with positioning of the blocks.  So good to be getting this big project on it's final leg of the journey towards completion!  

2016.07.23BabyShower-11
There have been two baby showers since I last wrote!  How wonderful to gather with family and friends to celebrate the imminent arrival of these two precious little girls!  

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How blessed our family is to have two grand babies coming within a month of each other!  Marcy and Becca have had healthy pregnancies and I've loved watching them grow!  They will both be such wonderful mothers!  

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Truly a joy to have these two lovely young women in my family!  

2016.07.21RMNP01
As I got to feeling stronger, my youngest son took me for an outing to Rocky Mountain National Park last week!  Lovely day riding up the old Fall River Road in the park. 

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The day started off sunny with blue skies.  Far away on the hillside, there is an enormous elk herd resting in the cirque of the mountain.  We had good views through the binoculars, though they aren't visible in the photo.  

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The marmots were out in force, grazing and fattening up for winter and sunning themselves on the rocks!  We also saw lots of pika, busy gathering huge mouthfuls of food to store for winter! They moved too quickly for me to capture a good photo.  

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After a visit to the top of the park, we came back down to the valleys.  The horseback riders really put the scale of the mountains into perspective!  

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At the trailhead, we found a nest of barn swallows, almost ready to leave the nest!  Busy, busy parents trying to keep them all fed!  

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The sky was grey and overcast the entire afternoon, but that didn't stop our enjoyment!  We had a very pleasant and gentle hike in this area. 

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There were amazing wildflowers ~ some a bit other worldly.

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Loved the meadows full of Bee Balm and Rudbeckia. 

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God's gardens are always magnificent! 

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Wild parsnip.  Teaming with life. 

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Wild Monkshood, also known as wolf's bane. 

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A wild Mallow.  

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Deep golden blooms of the potentilla.  

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Wild roses and the old bark of an Aspen tree.  

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The delicate blossom of a sego lily that blooms for one day only.  Here and then gone.  

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The Mountain bluebells or Chiming Bells are to me, the ubiquitous flowers of the Colorado mountains.  Love them!  

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The fireweed as well.  So beautiful and bright.  

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I love how certain color combinations appear together in nature ~ here the lavender blue of the hair bells and the chartreuse green of the other flowers.  

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Most of the rosebushes are finished blooming and rose hips are growing in size.  What is left after the blossoming is an array of stars.  

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A beautiful wild rose.  A perfect end to a lovely walk in the woods!  

Hoping to be back at work this week if the work release comes through ok.  It's time to actively re-evaluate things, to seek a new plan for the next few years.  With God's grace and guidance, I know the journey ahead will be filled with both challenges and blessings.  How grateful I am to have a loving God who cares for me and my problems, which in light of all that must be going on in the world, the galaxy and the universe beyond must be petty by comparison.  

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30



07 July 2016

Of Yard Sales, Independence Day, and Thinking

2016.07.02GarageSale
One of the things I love about being a nurse is that occasionally, I get to schedule slightly more days off in a row than the usual two or three, which allows me time to take a short trip or have a nice relaxing break.  This year however, other than a trip to see family in South Dakota with my sister back in May, all the long breaks have turned out to be work breaks, filled with big projects to accomplish. 

This last break involved a garage/yard sale. I spent every free day for the past several weeks, going through the entire house from top to bottom, choosing what to get rid of.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I moved here.  For ten years, my stuff was spread between my apartment and storage lockers in two states.  Once I bought my house, it was finally all together in one spot.  It was simply too much stuff.  Now that there has been a good cleanout, there is still a lot of stuff, but the whole house feels lighter.  Such a great feeling!

The sale itself was lots of work.  How grateful I am to my daughter Jessie who spent many hours with me, going through boxes, closets, and shelves of stuff, and hauling it around in preparation.  Thanks also go to my DIL Becca who came and helped us on Sale Day!  The sale went well and at the end of the day, we had sold between ½ and ¾ of the stuff we put out!   There are still a few larger furniture items to put on consignment, but the bulk of it is gone and the leftovers have already been donated to the thrift shop. 

2016.07.01FabricStorage
One of the things that I’ve dealt with for years is a huge fabric stash.  At one time, there were over 13 large plastic totes full of fabric.  I’m pleased to say that the larger yardage of my fabric stash now fits in one small cupboard and the fat quarters nearly all fit in a cubby shelf!  Nice and compact and within reason!

2016.07.04IndependenceDay
After the sale, it was time to celebrate Independence Day!  While I have much anxiety over the upcoming election, there is still so much to be thankful for in our country.  I am so grateful for the freedoms we have, including the freedom to voice our own beliefs and opinions. 

I pray for a viable candidate to arise, that can help us come together as a nation, a candidate who can help us find a compromise that works for the greater good instead of giving way to the absurd idea of “political correctness” that elevates the needs of the fringe over the needs of the majority.  I pray for a candidate who can bring us together instead of divide us with hatred.  I pray for a candidate with not only a strong political capability, but one who has an upright and moral foundation, who can help us to find our way forward without the need to resort to violence, to prejudice, to avarice, to hatred, to deceit and who can inspire our nation to turn away from such things.   I pray for the eyes of the people to be opened to the candidates we have already, to see them for who they really are and what the long term ramifications might be should either of them be elected.  Surely, there must be another choice.  Please Lord, let there be a better option. 

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Our Independence Day was filled with family!  I loved having all the kids over, except for SIL David who unfortunately had to work.  So wonderful to have everyone here!

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There were conversations and stories to share,

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There was lots of good summertime food,

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And (my favorite photo of the day!) even a short nap for the two Mama’s to be!  (I can’t wait to meet my two granddaughters who will be born in August & September!)

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It was a lovely day and so good to be able to spend time with the family out on the patio! 

I haven’t picked up a needle and thread for two months now.  That’s been good too.  Sometimes, it’s nice to have a change of focus.  I’ve been able to work on a couple of other projects that I wanted to complete this year, namely, our family cookbook.  I’ve been cooking and baking things in order to take photos for the cookbook ~ and that has been a good excuse to have people over for dinner from time to time! 

2016.06.30Guacamole
Lots of yummy things such as our homemade spicy guacamole…

2016.07.04CherryDelight
My Mom’s Cherry Delight that she made every summer for the Fourth of July,
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jars of lovely canned foods to enjoy throughout the year,

2016.06.24SouthwestSoup
and bowls of yummy soup!

2016.06.25ThomasNapping
At this midpoint of the year, I find myself looking back as well as forward.  This has definitely been a year of introspection for me.  Of refocusing, of trying to figure out what comes next.  Things in my life took a turn in a direction that left me feeling out of sorts with my own life.   

I have struggled with so many things ~ losing my dear Mollie Kitter last October, and now dear Thomas Kitty is also showing signs of aging and the realization that all too soon, he also will be gone.  People will say that they are just cats, but they have been my constant companions, with me day and night, for the past 15 plus years. 
2016.06.25KitzyNapping
I'm grateful to have Kitzy Cat too, but she and I have never bonded the way I did with Mollie and Thomas.

Then there has been the challenge of keeping up my home and yard, both physically and financially.  And learning to do it all alone now that all the kids are grown and moved out into their own spaces. 

Learning to live with pain and a body that no longer works as well as I would like has been a huge challenge.  Adjusting to new limitations, the struggle to overcome, to heal, to find doctors willing and able to work with me to heal ~ it is all overwhelming at times.

I struggle also with the lack of face-to-face human interaction.  I have loved the connections that the internet brings, but the reality is that electronic communication also brings tremendous isolation.   How I miss having people to spend time with, the casual encounters as well as more formal interactions.   It has been well over 20 years since I divorced, but I think this has been the loneliest I’ve ever felt.

It has felt as though time has become scarce and I wonder how in the world I used to find the time to read a book or a magazine in years past, or found the time to just sit on the patio to enjoy the day.  Yet once upon a time, I read many books and magazines and found much time to simply be. 

I struggle with the long commute to and from work, the long shifts, and the inevitable administrative politics of being a nurse in a large metropolitan hospital where money is the object and patients are secondary and employees fall far down on the ladder of priorities.  I love what I do, but definitely feel unappreciated and taken for granted, and much of the time, as though I can do nothing right despite my best efforts.  The demands of meetings, extra shifts and being on call, eats into what little free time I have.  I can see my career as a nurse winding down, coming to an end, but I’m not sure what to fill it’s place with that can afford me a similar income for the time being.  I’d love to retire, but since my carefully invested retirement funds seem to be losing money these days instead of gaining, retirement appears to be light years away at the moment. 

So… much thinking, much pondering, and very much prayer.  I have a vision of the life I want, of projects that I want to immerse myself into, of artistic things that I wish to pursue, of books I want to write, of hikes and travels to take, of things I want to experience.   But I also know, that at times like this, it is time to turn those decisions over to God, to let him show the way, to let Him show me where he wants me and what he wants me to do next.  And sometimes, he says, “Just wait.” 


That’s where I am right now.  Just waiting.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Fear not, for I am with you,
Be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand
Isaiah 41:10

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