Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving. The word implies being thankful for what you have, what you have not, and for those people in your life who make life worth living.  Today is bittersweet for me.  In one respect, I will be able to meet the bills, the emergency expenses that were not foreseen.  But to do this required a sacrifice.  That which was sacrificed was given to me by my father, and has been instrumental in my efforts make beautiful things that have been enjoyed by others.

Thanksgiving for me, is the kickoff into my favorite time of year, the Advent and Christmas season. I love everything about it. I'm not one of those people who observes Black Friday with a list and an obsession to acquire everything on it. I love the hustle and bustle, the decorations, the music, seeing the best in people peeking out behind their day to day facades ... groups of strangers getting together to sing their way through Handel's Mesiah ... but I miss my father. In the fullness of time he was snatched from this life into the next, which was best for him. Selfishly, I wish he could have stayed with me. He loved Christmas. He loved sending things unexpectedly to unsuspecting folks ... he wore his stocking cap and bundled up to sing carols on the street corner with the Salvation Army team ... he was a "bell ringer" every year for nearly twenty five years. He drove me nuts at times, yet I miss him more than I can say. 

Having to part with something he gave me wrenches my heart. He took such interest in things I made, was my biggest fan. He thought I was an "expert" and bragged about me to many. I would tell him I'm anything BUT an expert, but in his eyes ... well, you get the picture. 

I see him in the faces of people he knew and came to love here in this little town. You know who you are. I know he made a difference to a little boy, one who has grown into a young man.  I see him in the house, I hear him as I drive through town looking at the decorations, he's always with me even if I can't reach out and touch him. I'm thankful he wanted to rescue an orange cat one winter ... somehow it's as though that cat is a link between us. 

As I prepare for the holidays, I look around me for pieces of myself I can give to others. It's not about the stores, or the shopping, or the lists, or the commercials ... I think about the carols  that talk about the gifts given from the heart, not bought in stores. "I, said the donkey, all shaggy and brown ..."  or the Little Drummer Boy who "played his best for Him, rumpapum pum ..." 

A little opossum came to my feeding area tonight, and dined on table scraps and other goodies.  The squirrels got walnuts for Thanksgiving. The birds got granola and other delights. I can't fix the world, but I can see to it  that the lives of those who live in my little woods are made better somehow ... I think it's what Daddy, and my Heavenly Father would have wanted me to do. 

For what are you thankful? the thorns as well as the roses? What will you give for presents this year, something you've bought or something that is a part of you? Will your gifts be humble and from the heart?  Just some things to ponder ... and if my words helped you, then for that I am also thankful. 

Peace.

 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

new blog in town ...

Yup, a new blog has hit the "Net"!   http://sunshinequiltshop.blogspot.com/ to see what's going on in Oscoda's quilt shop!

Today we had record breaking heat/humidity.  We're trying to be good sports about it, but I don't do well in the heat any more.  But I am reminded that our soldiers are in hotter places, with no fans or air conditioning ... and ... 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Blog in town ...

There's a new blog in town!!! Be sure to check out http://sunshinequiltshop.blogspot.com/ and follow  the blog!  It's the quilting happening here in Oscoda.  You can also visit the website at www.sherriejaqua.com!

It's really hot here, unseasonably for us ... a week or so ago I still was wearing sweaters. I'm not wearing a sweater NOW, that's for sure.  




Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

yawn ...

I don't often write about health issues, but I will this time ... it's three a.m. and i haven't been to sleep yet. Got up at 7 ... made a round trip to Ann Arbor and back with a friend ... four hour drive one way.  She's beginning reconstruction surgery post mastectomy (double).  I'm along for moral support, and after next Friday, she'll not be allowed to drive for three weeks.  I am reminded of the Biblical admonishment to "take the beam out of your own eye before attempting to remove the "mote" from someone else's.  In a nutshell, take care of yourself or you're no good  to anyone else.  Today was a classic example.  A four hour stretch in the car is too long without hourly pit stops to do a few laps around the car. Consequently, both of us were stiff and sore. And now, being overly tired, I can't sleep.    I'm sharing this with you as a "wake up" call ... are you doing all you can to take care of your own selves, so you CAN be there for someone else ... ?  Be good stewards with your own health and well being.   

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Introspection


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Wow. I just watched all three hours of movie called Merlin's Apprentice.  Quite thought provoking, actually, in that the return of the Holy Grail would only happen if Camelot was once again noble and pure of heart.  I think, in many ways, the message is very timely. As nations struggle against one another, as they are rent with schism, we've lost our way. Things have come to being "about us", rather than be "for the greater good".

Let me warn you, it's a three hour movie!  I put the DVD in my little player, headphones on, as I sat at the sewing machine working on another quilt.  That took up the first hour and a half.  The second part I devoted my entire attention to, despite the hopeful feline who wished me to fix her dinner!

Incurably romantic at heart, I have always loved the legends of Camelot, of the Knights, the Round Table, and the Holy Grail.  I'm not entirely sure just what the Grail is really, I only AM sure that attaining it (or all that it implies) is that we must prove to be worthy of being in its presence.  Are we worthy? Are we motivated by greed, or by goodness ... of wanting things for ourselves rather than trying to help others have them.  I did a Google search on the Holy Grail, and read the following from a Wikipedia article:

 "The Grail plays a different role everywhere it appears, but in most versions of the legend the hero must prove himself worthy to be in its presence. In the early tales, Percival's immaturity prevents him from fulfilling his destiny when he first encounters the Grail, and he must grow spiritually and mentally before he can locate it again. In later tellings the Grail is a symbol of God's grace, available to all but only fully realized by those who prepare themselves spiritually, like the saintly Galahad."


So, for that reason, I recommend your viewing of the film (which is in two parts) ... and giving some thought to what your own personal motivations are in your daily life.  I think it would be time well spent.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

LITTLE EYES SEE A LOT ..


WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING ....

A message every adult should read because children
are watching you and doing as you do, not as you say.


When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make a meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I
learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't
feel good, and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be..

When you thought I wasn't looking I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking I looked at you and wanted to say,' Thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.'

LITTLE EYES SEE A LOT ..

Each of us (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend) influences the life of a child.  Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. 



Friday, May 20, 2011

Wordle: Wordle to Praise God







Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Special gift ....

Just wanted to share something with you. I've kept it close to my heart since Mother's day Eve, but I'll share it now... From a dear friend-extended-family-member, totally unexpected, came some treasured positive strokes.  Someone who watches from afar, who seems to know what my daily challenges are,  gave me some really positive support.  Things like that are treasured, are priceless.  Just words, on my email monitor ... but it felt like a warm hug ... and I cherish every word.I think what I want to share with you is that people need this.  No matter how "competent" or "together" a person  might be on the outside, there's always that sense of self doubt, of "have I really done all I could ...".  Let's face it, it's a negative world.  "That's a no-no" ... we hear it from our infancy. "Go to the 'stop' sign."  Do we ever say "go to the 'go' sign?"  "Do Not Enter".   "Do Not Call list".  "Go to the Red Light".  never "go to the Green Light".  There are "warning labels" on things, "disclaimers", you name it, the list is endless.  Even, when someone DOES give someone else an "atta-boy" there's that element of doubt, "what was the motive for that".  

The words sent to me were simple, from the heart, and knowing the writer, I took them as Gospel.  And I cherish them.  In the middle of the night, when I'm alone with my thoughts, and sometimes wander through the house in the silence ... I'll stop at the keyboard and type my thoughts, as though putting them in print somehow tames them ... and send them in the dark to the one who listens ... not for answers necessarily, but just so that I know someone ELSE knows my dragons ... 

... so the Mothers' Day note was especially priceless.  

My challenge to you? Is there someone who could use a positive stroke, who carries a load, someone you care about but don't see all that often ... someone who's often taken for granted as just "being there" .... I'm sure you know such a "someone".  Take the time. Take some time from your own pursuits and give that time away. It's a gift that is priceless.  





Monday, May 16, 2011

Catching Up ...

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Some Interesting Stuff here .... from Barnes & Noble,  Personal Creations, Abe Books,

I've been busy. I set some goals for myself this year, and so far I'm definitely "in the ball park" of achieving them. One of the things I wanted to do was to really challenge my quilt making, and so far I'm up to 15 or 16 tops since January 1!  Some are new projects, some are "UFOs" (unfinished objects), and I've tried to maintain a balance between them.  My sewing room (a 9 x 9 building outside of the house) is full of projects started over my 39 years of quilt making. Yup, I found my FIRST quilt project, begun in 1972 ... one of the blocks for the quilt has the date embroidered on it.  Two other blocks bear the embroidery of my two grandmothers.  That quilt is a hodgepodge of  fabrics, left over pieces from clothing, aprons, you name it, and a lot of my father's white shirt sleeves!  Even if I manage to finish the thing, I doubt it will ever be used as a quilt, more as a recording of a time past.    


Another goal was to move my friend's quilting business further into the successful lane.  She's a fascinating person, a true genius with cloth, but my organizational skills were certainly needed.  As I watch her grow, publish her first book (even a 2nd edition of it!), and work on her second, I find a sense of accomplishment in myself as well.  I want her to succeed!  She has a gift to share, and I'd like to see it given time and time again.  What's in it for me? Lots of things, most of which are intrinsic.  Obviously my own skills in quilt making will improve, and no quilt maker alive can ever say she has no room to grow.  Check her out  Here.


SO, my challenge to you, check the goals you set in January, and see how on the mark you are. Adjust if necessary! Believe in yourself, because I believe in YOU!


Um, and if you'd be so kind as to click on some of the links in my blog, you help to keep my web site free.  It doesn't cost YOU anything (unless you shop!), but it helps to put some pennies in the coffers for me.  Your help is greatly appreciated!

How you think..


While never having studied psychology, nor any of its applications, I realize that knowing "how" you think, how you process information, and what you do with it is a powerful tool.  My answers were very enlightening!    This kind of thing is especially helpful if you have children, so that you can provide appropriate avenues for THEM to process information.  As a child in grade school, I excelled at geometry. I could SEE it!  It made SENSE!!! But algebra defeated me.  My father even stormed into the school to pound on my 7th grade math teacher, because I had brought home As until we switched to Algebra, at which point the best I could come up with were Ds, and I think I only got those because the teacher liked me!  His answer was "I see it all the time. Kids are coming to my classes without basic arithmetic skills."  Hmmmm.  So why, I ask, didn't I "get" it. Probably because the wrong side of my brain was approached by the instructors.  Could this have been changed? Perhaps, but more likely I could have been taught skills to compensate for my "sided" brain!

SO, sit back, give yourself the test below, and then go read this article! I think you will learn something! I did!


Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz
The higher of these two numbers below indicates which side of your brain has dominance in your life. Realising your right brain/left brain tendancy will help you interact with and to understand others.
Left Brain Dominance: 7(7)
Right Brain Dominance: 15(15)
Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz

Monday, April 11, 2011

eagles live ...

something I think you will enjoy.  The only bad thing is you can waste a lot of time with it. 

 

www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Living ...

An older person once said....There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living
An older person once said....There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wordle: Flexible




Monday, March 28, 2011

Albert Camus

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"In the midst of winter, I found there was an invincible summer."

Ah yes!  I think we are given "winter" to regroup ... and to prepare for what comes.  In just a few more days it will be April!  Already the male robins have arrived ... some of the hardy souls didn't even leave.  The sand hill cranes are back ... and blades of grass peek through Mother Nature's sense of humor left over from last week.

I'm anxious to paw through the snow to see if the crocus are poked through yet!

Today's "spring cleaning" was in my outlook email basket.  I tend to hang onto "hair shirts". You know the type, the emails that re-reading only dredge up old issues and rip open old scars.  I made a statement in January, that this was the year I kicked the bad habit of "victim mentality" and moved into a more productive place.  Well, hanging onto all those old emails wasn't "productive", so I deleted them.  I'm sure my computer heaved a sigh of relief.  I AM, after all, a dedicated pack rat!!!

My challenge to you? Cut your ties to old hurts. Let them go, blow them away.  What's happened even just five minutes ago is over and done with and there's nothing you can do about it.  Live in the moment, and look forward. Not backward!



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Growth ...

     




You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden. But you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand but take the pain and learn to accept it, not as a curse or punishment, but as a gift to you with a very specific purpose.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross



I have been naughty.  From December until now, I have been in a sort of emotional limbo.  I have thought nearly every evening that I have been remiss in writing, and yet I have come up with enough excuses not to. "I didn't have anything profound to say", or "i'm too down in the dumps to be uplifting for anyone else" or a host of other "would-ofs, should-ofs, and could-ofs".  I'm quite sure you get the picture.  


Yesterday I connected with a cherished old friend, with whom I had lost contact.  What a gift!  Of course we had to first get through the "bs" of what have you been doing, where are you now, yadda yadda.  And then we got to the sentence that reminds us "but this is the here and now, and all that is past" ... and now we can reap the benefits of the gift of this connection to each other. 


It's not a matter of getting on a plane and meeting somewhere. It's not a matter of impressing each other with how well we've kept our looks. It's not a matter of ANY of that stuff, which is utterly worthless in the grande scheme of things. It's a matter of understanding. Of saying, "Hey, you ... this is me ... remember? the guy who doesn't judge you, just loves you for who you are."  What a gift that can be. What a gift this person is to me!  


This weekend was also the "Shop Hop" at the local quilt shop where I spend most of my waking hours it seems. The week before was a case of "all hands on deck" while we readied the shop, completed the sample quilts, cut kits, dusted, cleaned, loaded the printer with paper and ink, prepared the food we offered, and then held our breath when the weather gods decided we needed one last blizzard.  Again, what a gift!!!  


Yes, the blizzard too was a gift. We appreciated those who braved the elements and came to the shop despite the snow and howling winds.  As the ladies came and went, stopped to sit and have lunch with us, or watched the demonstrations, I thought of how rich I truly am to meet these other women, who like me take bits and pieces of this and that and make lovely things of them.  One of the gals who worked with us this weekend is a "long arm" quilter, and hosts a retreat house.  She has been difficult for me to make friends with, probably because both of us were somewhat intimidated by the other.  But in the lull of Saturday afternoon, I sat with her, and explained how her website will go together, the one I'm going to build for her.  She was concerned about the cost.  I told her, it isn't going to cost you ANYthing.  She rebelled, so I said "then quilt one of my tops for me".  We agreed to that.  It's not about dollars and cents, it's about sharing what each of us is good at with the other.  


My challenge to you ... go reread that first paragraph again. Think about the last few months, and the growth that came of your pain, your losses, your illnesses.  Look out the window at the first few efforts of Spring.  All winter long the flowers were gone, the trees were bare of leaves, the birds were silent.  But they were growing all that time!  And now, as April arrives in a few days ... that growth will shine through in the sights and smells of nature's enthusiasm.  


Take down a project you abandoned for what ever reason.  Make a phone call to someone you've not thought about in months. Maybe it HAS been "all about you" when you thought it wasn't.  I spent the past weeks and months helping someone else achieve HER goal, when at times I pouted because MY goals weren't being addressed. What about MY goals.  But this weekend, watching her bloom as folks picked up her first book that's finally been published, as she taught new techniques to other quilters, as folks broke out into happy smiles as they sampled the foods she had prepared, I felt very satisfied.  It wasn't the goal I'd chosen, but it was a very good achievement. As I watched HER take wing and fly, I was complete.