Sunday, April 24, 2016

Daydream Believer
Artisit - Jenna Kutcher

 This sweet print is speaking directly to my heart today.  I am trying hard to make tough decisions.  Okay, let's face it...all decisions seem to be tough for me.  It once took me four years to decide on which camera to purchase and eight years to make a car purchase decision.  That's a long time in car years.

I have followed a few dreams over the course of my life and I am lucky that one or two have come true. Pumpkins do turn into carriages every now and again.  I have fed these dreams well, and I have very much enjoyed the ride. One dream heads to college this next fall and the other, well, the other has become a bit tarnished.  This dream was simply difficult to control even if well cultivated.  I am not ready to give up on this dream completely, but I do wish to revise it and graduate into a new dream, my current daydream.

To remind me to hold tight and begin to make my daydream into a real dream, I have purchased this inspiring print.  Jenna's art is fresh, lovely, and inspiring.  You can order this print for yourself here and read her blog by clicking here.  Thank you Jenna for the reminder.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Day Eight - Each New Day Brings Hope

Prompt:  Today's gratitude focus is the "H" in thanks giving.

I spent a little time this past weekend in Nebraska at a farm sale.  I learned many things about farmers and the work they do for all of us.  These are not farming corporations, but families who love and work the land, ensure the animals eat first and enjoy a high quality of life while serving the hunger of our nation.  Their farms lay across the Nebraska farmscape as far as the eye can see, mile after mile after mile.  Their commitment spreads even further as they fight to keep what they do honorable, healthy, and sustaining.  Generations of families have been sustaining all of us for years - the ultimate model of sustainability.   I will never look at food again without being grateful.  I will never walk the aisles of my local market without a better understanding of the hard work and sacrifice it takes to feed me, to feed all of us.

I also learned that Carhartt is the official farm wear.  My city girl roots were exposed by my Nicole Miller coat amidst a sea of Carhartt toughness.  Many a face was amused by my appearance.  Quizzical expressions questioned my attendance.  Just for the record, my jeans were purchased at Bass Pro Shops which should should allow for at least a partial pardon.  I enjoyed learning about tractors, tools, and land, and tasted Kaloche for the first time in my life.  Someone might have heard me ask for a pony, but this is not confirmed.

As a caregiver, road trips like this one are rare these days.  Getting away is becoming a most precious commodity.  As I drive away, the worries stay strapped to me as luggage to a roof-rack.  The challenges of life do not go away just because I do, but the intensity fades just a bit as the miles wedge between my little red Jeep and my family's home. The constant beckoning of needs, the pressure of family ties and commitment, and the reign of duty in my life distance into soft focus if only for just a little while.

I left for home early Monday morning, before cows wandered aimlessly plucking grass from wet pasture and farmers pulled out from gravel roads to collect fuel for trucks and coffee for sleepy minds.  I drove into the morning, the sky lighting slowly, softly against the night, dawning a bit of new hope into my life.  The sun rose from the horizon as I traveled back to where I belong.  I carried the hope of this new day back with me to bolster against the daily struggles myself, and my family, face. It's a large life, and what would life be without hope?  I am grateful for hope.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Day Seven - Gratitude Starts with "T"

Prompt - Working my way through Thanksgiving what "T" are you thankful for?

"T" is for toolbox.  My mother made many of our play and school clothes while we were growing up. We had great homemade costumes as well.  When I was a tween, she began quilting and quickly perfected her skills and became a known in the quilting world.  A master quilter, she has produced many beautiful heirloom quilts of which my skills could never aspire to.

She taught me the value of the small everyday things in our lives, the domestic stories that would later prove so important to me, and the value of high quality, beautiful tools both in the kitchen and in the sewing studio.

Here are a few pictures of my new toolbox.  I found this scratch and dent bargain in the back room clearance section of Grizzly.  I am not a good haggler, but brought my best man with me to handle the haggle. He did a brilliant job and saved me well for something so beautiful.  I will enjoy organizing my tools, as I have begun, and maybe tweaking the look by replacing the hardware with something a little more girly.  He will fix the small broken piece and no one will ever know.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Day Six - 100 Days of Gratitude: Hope and Comfort

Prompt:  Share a verse or song that brings hope and comfort.

Sometimes hope is illusive and comfort difficult to find.  It is in these times that I often find solace in humor.  Laughter sees me through even though I may not be the one laughing.  If I can make those around me smile, if I can make them giggle, if I can be just silly enough to change their day, then I am good and healing is present, hope returns, and I leave a room walking just a little higher.

On a particularly hectic morning, I arrived to class only to discover that the printer was empty of paper.  This is not surprising.  It happens often, but this time it was exasperating.  It might have been a Monday or any other day that might be like a Monday.   It was that last straw that never is really the last, well, straw.

I sprinted down the hall to the workroom and reached for the cabinet door of which behind I would find stacks and stacks of reams of paper.  As I was reaching, the pink post-it caught my eye.  I, too, was unhinged.  I laughed. Hope that the day would be a good one was restored.

It's okay to be a bit unhinged every now and then.  It keeps my grateful for the hope and comfort I find in laughter, in life, and in the ones I care for and love.  It's simple like Sara Groves' song It's Gonna Be Alright.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day Five - 100 Days of Gratitude: A Place to Keep My Gratitude

Prompt:  Create a gratitude board. Tape up a piece of poster board or use a chalk or erase board and list things you are grateful for. Display this for the whole family to use. Or let friends contribute to your board when they stop by.  Keep adding to it the entire 100 days!

I decided to set up a Gratitude board on my Pinterest account.  It may seem insignificant, but Pinterest is one of the little things in life that I am grateful for.  Trolling for things that inspire me, dreams I can dream, and goals and plans, help me to stay organized in looking to the future.  It seems silly.  Yes?  It's merely an electronic bulletin board.  But, really, Pinterest has kept me tuned into the little things in life that are important to home, my sewing, my teaching, my family fun, my future...

It makes sense to me to create a Pinterest board that remind me of what I am grateful for ever day in every way.  Maybe this is a good way to spend the time I pin by spending the time pinning about those things that matter most to me...time to think about those things and time to think.  Pin it.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Day Four - 100 Days of Gratitude: Singing In The Rain

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.  Psalm 28.7 ESV

Prompt:  Write this verse in your Gratitude Journal. Pray it. What song does your heart feel like singing to God? Share your song with us!

I sang a lot as a child. I was a Girl Scout that knew every camp song ever sung like Cadalina Madalina, Kumbaya, Dem Bones.  As small girls, we had not completely honed our campfire singing skills but we were likely effective in keeping away the bears and such beasts that creep in the dark woods.  We were good with that.

I continued to sing as a tween and even sang and danced in the middle school talent show.   Our group was called Speedy and the Speedettes.  Speedy was a friend.  The Speedettes?  I was one.  We wore white short shorts and red t-shirts with silver sequined question marks glued to the front.  I can't remember what the question mark was for and am not quite sure there ever was a reason.  We sang and danced to the popular 1974 hit Fire by The Ohio Players.  We thought we were cool.  Doesn't everyone in middle school think they're cool?  The music was so loud, the audience could not hear us sing. 

In high school I signed up for choir.  I was excited.  Fortunately, it was just a matter of signing up and no audition was required.  By the second day of school, the piano player's father had been transferred out of state.  I was the only other piano player.  I spent three years accompanying the high school choir and didn't, fortunately for the director, sing a note. 

As an adult, I have come to learn that it is always best for me to sing in a crowd.  Any time I have ever sung in church, I have strategically stood beside a known poor singer or a really loud one.  I don't want anyone to know I really can't sing.  Really.  I do sing in the kitchen while cooking when no one is around and I can belt out a loud tune in the car on the way to work, but, really, I should not sing.

One of my favorite movies is Singing in the Rain.  I have always wanted to dance in the rain, spinning around with my flowery umbrella while singing and kicking the water into the air.  Afterall, Gene's heart was full of sunshine and he was ready for love.  Yep.  I am a sucker for good old fashion romance.

When I think of gospel music, I think of Rich Mullins, and when I think of a song I am grateful for, that I sing often when God and I are alone in the kitchen, I sing Screen Door. My friend Rich never wore shoes on stage.  He touched my soul and heart with his music and he sang with such passion that I thought God must be sitting in the audience at that very moment the lyrics danced from the sstage.  I am grateful for the reminder this song offers:  

"Faith without works is like a song you can't sing.  It's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day Three - 100 Hundred Days of Gratitude: The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

Ninety seven years ago today, November 11, 1918, the “war to end all wars” did, in fact, come to an end.  Today, we celebrate those who have fought for the freedoms we enjoy each day here in the United States of America.  We honor our veterans.  We honor the sons and daughters, the husbands and wives, the sisters and brothers, the aunts and uncles, the mothers and fathers, the friends, and their families for all that they have sacrificed for our nation.  

We have responsibilities to those we honor.  We have the responsibility to be active, literate, and engaged citizens even when the vote may not go our way.  We have a responsibility to take great care of the freedoms veterans have protected for us.  Freedoms are not absolute and we must be responsible for the care and feeding of such privileges, because we are just that, a privileged nation.

Two things stand out as important to me on this day, the need for tangible gratitude and compassion. Merely saying thank you is not enough.  Can we spread our gratitude beyond a couple of words by being aware that there is a veteran in your life who may not be able to obtain the level of healthcare their injuries, seen and unseen, require?  Can we speak out for these veterans?  Can we move beyond two words to writing letters to those in power who make decisions for our veterans?  Can we use our power, as the people, to create the necessary resources needed to care for those who take care of us?  Can we be truly thankful? 

Attending a ceremony and shaking a soldier’s hand is not enough.  Are we good stewards of the people, the ideals, and the land our veterans have served to protect?  Are we a healthy nation that cares and takes good care of itself?  Do we feed the hungry and shelter the homeless?  Do we care for children?  Do we truly care about each other enough to take good care with one another?  Do we protect those who cannot protect themselves?  Do we create policy that is good for the whole and not merely the few?  Are we a people of compassion?  Being a compassionate nation honors those who sacrifice in a significant and tangible way.  How can we make compassion an epidemic of gargantuan proportion and honor more than any ceremony can.  Can we truly honor?

Today, I show my gratitude to those who serve and those who have served by the way I live my life and value my country.   It is my hope that I vote and work with veterans’ care in mind while striving to be a responsible, outspoken citizen who holds a commitment to live a life driven by compassion. 

Thank you, Dad, for serving and for teaching.