Saturday, August 27, 2016

Looking (and Listening) Back, The Little Mister, On Rugs

     Now that I'm driving out every morning, I like to have music in the car for my commute. I recalled having saved a lot of my favorite music in blog posts over the years, so I took the time this morning to scroll through my blog and save all those music videos to convert to MP3 for the car. Steve showed me how to do it and I was clicking along until... I began seeing all the photographs and posts of my every day life for the past seven years. There was Tess' seventeenth birthday! There was Jack as a baby! There was our home in buried in snow! There was my family all goofing around together! There was Audrey laughing so hard she could hardly stand! Unbidden emotions began to overwhelm my senses in such a rush as I realized how full and rich my ordinary life is. The abundance overwhelmed me.

    I think everyone should journal in order to have the opportunity to look back see their life condensed in print. It is amazing. Even the sad and painful chapters fall into their rightful places and weave a breathtaking, stunningly beautiful life. When I look at my life in a day to day context, it is humdrum and ordinary. But, when I step back and look at a whole section, It is fully sweet and abundant.
     On an ordinary note, Henri believes every rug I hook is for him. We found him on the pillow this morning. He is growing old, my little man. He deserves a little luxury. Also pictured below is the finished basket weave patterned rug. He lies on that, too. : )





Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Clouds Are Lifting, Cooler Air and Brighter Days Ahead!

     It's hard to believe school has been back in session since August ninth, which means I've been back at work! The first few days were a little hectic, but I've gotten back into the groove of getting up and out of the house early. The new kindergarten students are the most entertaining. The children wear expressions of joy, wonderment, and anticipation on their faces. They really are the cutest things. Some will come into the office literally dancing while others are more fearful and they would clearly rather be back at home with mother. Given another few weeks, even these shy and fearful children will be much more confident and at ease. I see it every year and the transformation is remarkable. The personalities of the older children are widely varied and I never know what to expect when they come into the office. Usually they are on an errand for their teacher, or they are signing in or out of school, or they have come to see the principal. Some students are much chattier than others, but all are equally as precious and I try to make them smile and send them back on their way to class feeling positive.
     The summer heat and humidity have been relentless for the last two months. Everything in the garden has gone to weed or seed because I can't bear to work out in that climate with all the gnats. The forecast promises a change next week with lower humidity. I hope it's true because I have a lot of tidying up to do in the garden. I'm just going to pull up all the rotted vegetable plants and be done with it for this year. The only thing thriving are the zinnias and I am tempted to plant all the beds in flowers next year.
     I gave a face lift I gave to our bathroom vanity and mirrors using chalk paint. We also put down new linoleum and I changed the cabinet knobs. It is a totally refreshed bathroom done on a budget. We explored new vanity and counter top options, but I could not get excited about spending thousands of dollars on such items when the ones we had were perfectly good. They were just a little worn. (I also have a strong dislike for spending money on appliances and cars. They are all necessary items, but no fun at all to me.) So, we used what we already had and gave it a facelift. We like the distressed style for this particular use it, but those who do not like a distressed look may not be fond of it. I used Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint in French Linen as a base. The, I dry brushed the entire piece with Pure White mixed with a little bit of the French Linen. I added new knobs to give it the right finishing touch. I  bought the knobs from Pottery Barn. They are so pretty that I feel happy every time I see them. It's the little things... We also decided we wanted to raise the height of the vanity by two inches. Steve used some scrap lumber he had in the basement and put it under the vanity to secure its new height. We then trimmed the entire base with baseboard molding to hide the new scrap lumber base and painted it to match.



     Lastly, I hooked a little pillow while I was waiting for some wool yarn I needed to arrive in the mail. I needed the yarn is to finish the edge of the rug I made for the bedroom. The pillow was pretty quick to work up and I enjoyed hooking curvy lines after all the straight lines I did on the bedroom rug. The backing on the pillow is the same wool I used in strips to hook the background color. I'll show the bedroom rug when it is completely finished. Soon!




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Absent

The Secret Room by Jan Richardson
     Where have I been and what have I been doing? Grief. It sneaks in and takes over unbidden. It resurfaces on a whim. Perhaps it was a song or the waning of summer that triggered its return. Whatver the cause, it springs forth a new wave of sadness. I think most of the time we can never tell when another person is grieving, especially when it's an aging grief versus a new grief. The sadness is buried so deep and carried for so long that it becomes a part of who we are. Life goes on; we work, we play, we love, and we grieve. The telltale sign for me, when I am preoccupied with an emotion like grief, is that I become short tempered and distant. My emotions and thoughts are busy working on the grief and they can't handle any incoming problems or demands.
     Anyway, it's fine. It's just harder to put thoughts together outside of those of the grief. If I allow it some time it will eventually find its place to settle. I miss my mom, but this grief is not only about missing her. It's more about pain and suffering and life and death, subjects that are worthy of  attention in the long run.
     I saw the painting above on Jan Richardson's blog along with her poem titled, "Blessing For a New Layer of Grief". I saw it and thought the painting perfectly represents this type of grief.
  

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sunday Singing

 This week's selection isn't one from our current church, but rather something I listened to in the car. It reminds me of the music in the Catholic church where I grew up.




Pie Jesu                            

Pie Jesu, pie Jesu,
pie Jesu, pie Jesu
Qui tollis peccata mundi
dona eis requiem,
dona eis requiem
Pie Jesu, pie Jesu,
pie Jesu, pie Jesu
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Dona eis requiem,
dona eis requiem
Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei,
Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei
Qui tollis peccata mundi
dona eis requiem,
dona eis requiem
Sempiternam
Sempiternam
Requiem
 

Merciful Lord

Merciful Lord, merciful Lord
merciful Lord, merciful Lord
who lifted the world’s sins
grant them peace,
grant them peace
Merciful Lord, merciful Lord
merciful Lord, merciful Lord
who lifted the world’s sins
grant them peace,
grant them peace
God’s Lamb, God’s Lamb,
God’s Lamb, God’s Lamb
who lifted the world’s sins
grant them peace,
grant them peace
Everlasting
Everlasting
Peace

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday Singing

A tiny tidbit of scripture from today's sermon on Revelation 2:1-7 referred back to John 21:15-17 where Jesus asks Simon Peter three times, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" All day, I ponder this. We could easily substitute our own name for Peter's and I imagine Jesus asks, "Leonora, do you love me?" He is not asking me if I serve him, honor him, acknowledge him, or obey him. He is asking me if I love him. I will leave it at that because that alone leaves so much to think about.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Celebrating Thirty Five Years!


     There's no way we've been married for thirty-five years. No.Way.
This is a photo of Steve from our honeymoon. He was twenty-one years old and getting ready to begin his second college career. We were young and we were living in the moment, big on dreams and short on money. It feels very odd to be sitting here in what is now our future, looking back. It is clear to me now that in our youth we were oblivious to so much. We took so much for granted. I saw our future as only bright and never cloudy or gray.
     In the blink an eye, life happened. We have weathered countless heartbreaks and joys together. We have battled and I have raged. We have mourned and we have laughed. We struggled against endless odds and we came to our faith together. Our differing attitudes and temperaments have made it a challenge. In some respects, we have fought to make our marriage work and in other respects, it just evolved. I would like to say that we stood strong together, but sometimes we stood strong apart, each battered by our own struggles to remain standing. But, standing we are!
     In the end, I would say that in order to make a marriage work (from my perspective), you must be selfless. That is number one. Secondly, I attribute our faith to making that selflessness happen. Our Christian faith is what saved our marriage and our family many, many years ago and it opened my eyes to a grander dream of what marriage can be. Two people serving one another does not come naturally in our human condition. We are endlessly challenged by whatever life throws at us. We can't know what is coming and sometimes those challenges are way bigger than us. By keeping our eyes fixed on God, those challenges become a strength. Those challenges also reveal the nature of our relationship with God and His unconditional love for us. Those challenges are blessings.
     Of course, it can't hurt to look at a honeymoon photo of your spouse and remember why you fell in love. Works for me every time.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Good Vs. Evil, Fantasy Meets Reality

     Hillary Ibarra recently wrote an inspirational post on her blog, No Pens, Pencils, Knives or Scissors. In our world where terror and evil run rampant, we and our children can be encouraged in so many ways, one of which includes reading classic fantasy literature. Hillary writes, "I happen to feel that our imaginations are an incredible gift imparted to our race, and that they help us see truths about our universe that our common, impaired senses and faulty brains cannot examine or elucidate fully. Some of these truths, I feel passionately, are best communicated through the epic works of fantasy such as The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and contemporary series like Kelven's Riddle by Daniel Hylton, my dad. I argue that these tales are meant to be told; they must be told for our good. And what a great and humbling thing it is to have such a story choose you as its storyteller!"

To read the full article, click the link highlighted on her blog name above.