Three Score and a Day Ago


Three Score and a Day Ago my parents were married.  Ten years ago, on their 50th wedding anniversary, it snowed, quite alot.

Five years ago, I managed to get home to celebrate with them.  Dad, even though he still had some physical challenges from his first stroke, marked the day by enjoying one of his most favourite things in the world.  Along with his youngest daughter he burned the grass along the edges of the farm in preparation for the greening of spring.

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Today is Friday, typically a day off.  I putter on Fridays, the only thing I schedule is walking the dog, which I do every morning, and cook dinner.  The rest is puttering, laundry, dishes, quilting.  I catch up on the programs recorded on the DVR, usually it is The Big Bang Theory.  I’m feeling a little blue, the anniversary of my parent’s nuptials heightens how much I miss my dad who died September five years ago.  This was Chuck Lorre’s reflection #589.

Recently I was scrolling through the contacts list in my cell phone, when I came across an entry of a casual acquaintance who had died.  This was a very nice person, someone I enjoyed spending time with.  There was no real reason we didn’t become closer friends.  Just the usual excuses, busy lives, and tossed-off promises of lunches and dinners that would never come to pass.  Anyway, here was all this person’s contact information – email, phone numbers, etc.  Was I supposed to delete it?  I couldn’t think of a reason not to, but pressing the delete button seemed disrespectful, almost irreverent.  To die is one thing, to be deleted is quite another.  Instead, I took a deep breath and called the number.  It went to voicemail (thank God).  I then left a rambling message about how I wished we’d gotten to know each other better, and that I was sorry I didn’t follow up on one of our many threatened lunch dates.  It was a silly thing to do, but when I hung up I felt a small bit of closure.  The my phone rang.  I looked down and saw his name in the caller ID.  I froze.  The room started to spin.  My heart was pounding in my ears.  I took a deep breath, forced myself to press the accept button and put the phone to my ear.  It was his son.  He was confused as to why I’d called his late father.  I promised to explain it over lunch.  Date, TBD.

I have contacts in my phone like that.  Both of my very best friends from seminary.  I can’t bring myself to delete them.  Both deceased, one from cancer, the other a fall (?).  Coincidentally, it is (was) the latter’s birthday today.  My heart is breaking with love displaced to a realm beyond my knowing.

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Psalm 78:39
He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.
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Stars and Stripes


Over a decade ago I met one of the most interesting people I have come to call a friend.  We met in the Where’s Willy forums.  He is a veteran living in Ohio.  We’ve had some serious heart to heart conversations.  He is intelligent and funny and thoughtful.  He has interesting hobbies, a fascinating life, and a great family.  The popularity of fb gradually lured us to other ways of social media and we don’t connect as much.  I miss it.  While still in northern BC I came across a quilt pattern in a magazine that immediately reminded me of him.  Over three years already!  The cut pieces came with me to Manitoba and I managed to complete the project last summer.  My bad waiting so long to get around to posting once it was completed.  I know it was last summer because that was the summer we had the purple paint petunias bracketing the bench on the front veranda.

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I quite pleased with this one.  I used my favourite sort of fabrics, reproductions of civil war designs – blues that incorporated tiny stars, and red with stripes.  The finished quilt was lap size.  I think that bed size quilts are presuming too much.  First colour preferences, second bed size, and this one was a surprise, so I couldn’t very well ask.

I mailed it off end of summer.  They were surprised, and delighted, I think.  They sent a thank you stating as much, my friend commenting it would be most welcome once the cold weather arrives.  This quilt carried many prayers with it.  Serving in the navy does not come with a plethora of good memories, especially when one serves in a way that sees atrocities done to bodies that no one should.  The thought gives me a heavy heart and an ache in my throat.  It’s becoming more and more difficult to witness the hatred and violence of the world.

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The quilted design of loops and stars was applied by The Quilty Guilt.  So blessed to have a long armer in the house.  This quilt is one of the first to not have a flannel back.

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2 Chronicles 14:13  Asa and the army with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until no one remained alive; for they were broken before the Lord and his army.

 

A Christmas Wedding


Christmas is always crazy for clergy.  Multiple worship services, parishioners ill because of the weather, wind-up parties, more often than not a funeral, even more rarely a wedding.  Add in all the personal preparations for Christmas and you have a recipe for an abundance of stress and little time to sit still in awe of the reason for the season.

Today there was a wedding.  Lovely, appropriately white and red colour scheme for Christmas.  Two 30 somethings, 14 children between them, tattoos and pretend bling, chaos and nerves.  It has been my practice to give a quilt as a wedding gift.  I had this top finished for some time, the Quilty Guilt quilted it yesterday and I spent the rest of yesterday and this morning binding it.  Turned out beeeeeautiful!  Hubby didn’t think I should give it away, but I did.  It really did turn out nice.

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As usual, I didn’t have enough fabric for the back.  I pieced in an orphan block and a few other odds and sods to make a piece big enough.

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It was quilted with hearts, perfect for a bride and groom.  Wrapped in God’s love in grace I pray them all the best for their new life together.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

A Triple Double IC


What is not a basketball term , a surgery procedure, or a specialty coffee of some sort?  An experiment in quilting, of course!

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What to do with way too many brown and red 2 1/2″ squares?  I’ve always wanted to construct an Irish Chain.  Straight forward is not my style.  The idea formed to combine a double and a triple Irish Chain. The result was some interesting secondary patterns.  dsc_0282-3

The use of a so many colours makes the contrast  a little difficult to discern.  On the right is a grey scale copy that shows the pattern a little better.  If you squint to look will be even more noticeable.  It give me the urge to make another one.  Bigger, better.

There are many of my favourite fabrics in this project.  Upon completion it found a permanent home on my bed.  It makes me happy.  Mood adjustment, I fall asleep feeling better, and wake up comforted by loveliness.

    But come on, all of you, try again!
    I will not find a wise man among you.
     My days have passed, my plans are shattered.  Job 17:10-11

Strength for Today


It has been a trying year.  Too many prominent members of the congregation have died with difficult circumstances surrounding their deaths.  It is emotional fuel for continued conflict and hurt within the leadership.  Too much personal anxiety around mental health issues in immediate family members, inheritance details, feelings of isolation, and decreasing hours of daylight has given birth to a silent litany of “I don’t care, I don’t care, I don’t care” as a way to cope.

I’ve been quilting, constantly, but not finishing a single project.  I’ve started three major pieces in the last month, all with deadlines.  I get almost finished, pull it down off the design board and start something else.  I contemplate whether my inability to finish mirrors my inability to let grief go.  Daily I begin by praying I will have enough emotional resources to get through today.

14729352_10202070259313637_5136655464477300416_n A couple of weeks ago the widow of one of the recently deceased members celebrated her 65th birthday.  Attempted to celebrate.  It has been very difficult for her.  The first anniversaries after a loved one dies typically is, the first Thanksgiving, the first birthday, the wedding anniversary, the baptism of a grandchild.  Christmas is going to be bleak.  I managed to finish this quilt and gift it to her.  I named it “Strength for Today, Hope for tomorrow.”  A line from the powerful hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness.  I pray it brings her comfort and some measure of peace.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Lamentations 3:22-24   The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Strawberry Jelly


It only took two years.  I began this quilt in March 1014.  I’ve had all the material necessary to complete it, other stuff just kept getting in the way.  The Quilty Guilt is back up and running and this was a rather large project for a domestic machine, the blame could be assigned there.  I’m glad I am one UFO closer to reaching this year’s goal to clean all of them up.  Mostly it’s quilting tops, I have only three or four partically cut and planned.  I’m getting better.

Pink is not my colour.  I love some of the fabrics in this, and it turned out quite nice.  I have a dear friend who will love it.  I’ll try to get it in the mail the beginning of next week.  It should arrive close to her birthday.  Maybe she will stop begging now.  Hahaha.

John 11:44 – The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

And Two Shall Become One


Yesterday was the first wedding I officiated in my new congregation.  It was a long and lovely day.  The bride looked beautiful, the groom handsome, and both, very nervous.  Both are quite shy, hating to be the centre of attention.  Their vows were barely a whisper.  They got through it and the second highlight was the piper leading them out of the church.
I had been working with them towards this point for over a year.  It gave me time to sew them a quilt as a wedding gift.
I designed it with two different blocks, Bridal Path and Honeymoon, using the colours they chose for the wedding.  Repeating hearts was a theme through their engagement, only made sense to quilt it with hearts.  The Quilty Guilt did a lovely job.DSC_0867DSC_0869DSC_08641 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.