Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Joy in quilting

For many years I would speak of how I wanted to quilt but... it was not the season. A few years ago I entered the season where time allowed me room to begin to quilt. It was a slow beginning, but a blessed one as my friend Laura instilled in me many details and techniques to help me learn precision- a key ingredient in quilting. Precision is not my natural bent so I am always having to slow myself down and check and double check my work. My first wall quilt took over a year to complete as I only worked on it with my friend. After I moved I then managed to finish it alone. Since then I have tried a few new patterns and projects.

This past week, being a quiet holiday week I took up my quilting tools again. I finished a rather large wall quilt- for my stairway. It is almost a twin size, not quite, but almost- my largest project to date. With leftover fabric I pieced a small lap quilt and a smaller mis-mash wall quilt. Today I "quilted" the two smaller quilts, using my new quilting table that attaches to my sewing machine. It was a gift from my bear for my birthday and was kind of a whim desire for me, to venture into unknown, but after todays usage I am so pleased to have it. The space for me to elevate the fabric to be quilted is much larger than with just the sewing machine alone. It made it easier to plan the quilting path and manage the fabric in movement. I am sold.

It is exciting to me to see a quilt come together. From the pull of a fabric color and design then the adding of complementary patterns and shades to the planning and cutting. Next its on to sewing, trimming, pressing and trimming and soon it is a quilt top. Now I am realizing the joy of machine quilting and the completion of gifts and decorations and blessings to be shared with others.

So, as I venture into this new season it is with a joy in creating. I am learning to use the fabric to its fullest- "scraps" turn into more blocks and spare blocks now turned into trivets and potholders adorn my kitchen. I am excited about what I am in the midst of and what lies ahead. yeah for new seasons of life! yeah for colors and designs and the creative nature that God built into us that comes out in so many expressive ways.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

character growth through life

The past few weeks have been interesting at our house. Unexpectedly we were thrown back into the world of stress from unexpected and unwanted home repairs. I know that if you have followed our toneylife story you are saying we should expect them, yet, me being the eternal optimist, I dont. All that to say, we found ourselves again n the midst of changes and upgrades and repairs.

We have all rejoiced in the toilet upgrades that occured last week after the previous one did not do its duty and Dad had enough. there is joy in knowing that we shall soon pack away the plungers and flush without thought. We have come to appreciate the simple act of turning on the hotwater knob on the sink or shower, as for now ours is not working. Yet, even in that I have learned that perseverence has its benefits. We have had ongoing communication with the home warranty folks and finally see some resolution in the works- yeah!

I have weathered the new series of leaks with mixed response. At this point I think I am in resignation phase- as there is nothing to be done until something is done. I had a phone call that made me wonder what would occur and then another call brought word that the chimney will be reflashed- properly and I believe that will solve the present leak issue. When asked I am honest in sharing my weariness yet also understanding that it is not an issue that can be solved when it is cold or wet as the pitch is steep.

It has been a month of trial, for this patient weary soul. I dont feel that I have weathered all of the storm well- as i have cried on the phone in frustration more than i ever want to- which is never. yet maybe the folks on the other end needed to hear the tears???

I have gained insight that it is easy to be outside a situation and not ever get the depth of the struggle that is occuring within the folks in the situation. I never fully understood the challenge of being without hotwater until ours was not readily available. a slide show at church helped me to realize that having running water at home is a blessing so my perspective has shifted to gratitude for clean running water.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

FPS and me- NOT!!!

Tonight I attempted something new. A few days ago my bear stated that the kids would love for me to join them in their favorite FPS game- Call of Duty 1. I thought about it and decided that maybe I would give it a try sometime. Tonight I was again invited to join in and so I chose to do a new thing.

My dear husband set me up for sucess- the game was set up on the computer, headphones and instructions given and so I sat down to battle it out. First, I realized that thanks to my bifocals I needed distance so my eyes didn't go totally wacky so I backed away from the screen. I found that there is alot to do all at the same time, lots to see and lots of movement to consider.

I laughed until I cried as I messed up again and again as I attempted to move and play. Slowly I started to move with the buttons rather than try to turn around by turning the mouse in circles. I found my hands switching weapons with the roll of the mouse dial, too quickly to use one before I found that I was holding what i didnt mean to have. Slowly i wandered the landscape and started to run and shoot at things but i kept finding that there were men down, and as I passed i did not want to look. From the headphones I found noise of battle began and again i found it was not something I wanted to hear as it evoked thoughts of war and battle.

Sgt. Klutzo came along and "rescued" me and helped me to begin battling for real- well kind of. I died several deaths and was too quickly revived with touch of a button. Yet I found that it was overwhelming, too much action, movement, too much reality in the midst of "play". My soft emotional heart found it too hard to seperate the reality of violence, death and shooting from the thought of real people and the reality of such action in real. I found my self laughing as I made mistakes but soon the laughter turning to tears. too much, too real, my soft tender heart could not play well, try though I did.

My bear was gentle and saw that it was too much. we laughed and hugged and I left Sgt Klutzo in charge of my battlefield as I sought out a safe happy place. I gained a few brownie points for trying and they gained laughter from my attempt to join their world.

I came away with the reality that FPS is not for me. That I am not wired for such activity and probably never would be. I am woman, I am soft and gentle, and bugs are my limit for death. Mice and small animals I avoid when found dead, calling upon children to care for them post mortem.

Men seem to be wired for FPS- must be the conquerer in them, the protective warrior that rises up. I am thankful for that protection and care, I am thankful for the way guys are wired. I am thankful that I have permission to not be tough and warrior like. I am thankful for the experience and the awareness of a limit.

Monday, December 15, 2008

water, water and more water

We finished October with a sigh, the house work was done and we had a sense that we could settle in to a season of rest. Ahhh, it was nice to walk through November with ease and only some unpainted drywall calling to me for attention.

That changed two Fridays ago. As I returned home from a day away I noticed a wet spot on a package below the water heater. Drip, drip, drip. Hmmm?? After surveying the hot water heater it was found to indeed have a leak- not common for a tankless hotwater heater. Home warrantee company called and end result is a new one is being shipped from CA to be swapped out. Yet the requirement to upgrade propane gas line came with the "gift". We have now completed that requirement and are awaiting the return of the plumber. Life here now means twice a day we turn on the water to the heater, fire it up, shower and do dishes and then shut it all off until the evening. We are thankful to have found a way to use it amidst its problems.

Following the hot water heater we had some fair days of weather and then a roof testing blustery windy rain storm. Hope was the roof would sail through it without our attention. Not to be, yet the seepage seems to be in the areas of caulking and flashing, not shingles. The first visit took care of the poor caulk around the roof mounted satelitte dish- yes someone (us) still has a monster dish - and we use it! Terry also properly reseated the exaust stack over the hotwater heater that had been moved for the reroofing. Another good seal it appears. The worst leak- as in streams of water down the wall, is in the boys room. The wall has turned black in one place which makes us think that it had been moist for a while. Terry tried one locations, but moisture came back. He was out again on Saturday to try again at stemming the leak.

I am told that roof leaks are common. that many people experience them. I believe that to be true, yet find it hard to fully accept that it is common to experience so many over and over again as we have. I have become a bit "gun shy" maybe even a bit fearful, or maybe just weary. As I spoke to the owner of the company he mentioned that he knew I was worried about my walls. I corrected him to say, not I am more weary. Tired of having to call, wait and hope that the water will stay out. Tired of looking at dark spots on the ceiling that will need to be repaired. Now as I look at the boys room there is enough damage that at least one piece of drywall will need replacement. The roofing company may pay for it, they might not- I am not sure. Until the leak is stopped I will wait and hope.

So water, water and more water has been involved in consuming time and energy in our lives. Saturday we had the revelation that the upstairs shower pressure was greatly diminshed. My dear husband, who is even wearier than I began to seek answer- hoping to not spend more $$ as the gas plumbers were there working and that was enough for one day. He found several large mineral deposits, but still not the pressure needed. He disassembled and reassembeled in multiple ways the pressure regulator and valve. I visited the water turn off multiple times. Finally from the depths he found and removed something that caused the obstruction and the pressure is back. A day spent on water again.

Throughout all these activities and interactions we try to be pleasant yet the strain comes through. I have been thinking about it a bit, wondering again what is to be learned and gained by all we have walked through with living here- no answers. I looked at a chart comparing discipline and pruning- based on John 15. I sense that this is a time of pruning in our lives. It is just hard as we feel like it is actually costing us time and energy rather than freeing up time and availability. Not sure what all is going on in the heavenlies, yet know that our lives are filtered through His hands.

So, we start a new week. It will be a rainy week. Another week for patience, or maybe a week of rejoicing. It may be a week to get hot water on demand, not twice a day. A week to see if the leaks have been stopped. A week to rejoice is stronger water flow in the shower again. Either way we are so very blessed. We have a house over our head, we have running water and the difficulties are being taken care of and resolved. Oh that we could keep perspective amidst what each day brings.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Things I love about my husband, a start anyway

In recent months the buzz has been about the movie "Fireproof". I expect it is a great movie, we have yet to see it. I flipped through the book that is related to the it- the Love Dare in a bookstore while on vacation, but have yet to read it. Even just in the flipping of pages I began to understand the gist of paying attention to the spouse, being deliberate in our words and deeds and attitude, not asuming that the message of love was being understood without action.

This morning I thought about how often there are things we think about our husband or children that we don't take time to write down. How often do I or you speak of our love and delight as compared to the frustrations and disappointments? To that end I have begun a "what I love about my husband list"

Already it has been a blessing to me, to reflect upon the man who I have shared life with and continue to delight in doing say daily for the rest of our lives. Perhaps you will consider the loves of your life and the delight they are to you, and express it to them as well.

Things I love about my husband

  1. he is funny
  2. he loves God
  3. he is a hard worker
  4. he has a tender heart
  5. he is hairy, furry, fuzzy and prickly
  6. he likes his bedwarmer even when she isnt warm
  7. he loves his woobies, year after year
  8. he enjoys a good cup of coffee
  9. he reads the daily paper
  10. he can fix almost anything
  11. he has become more than I could ever imagined he'd be 27 years ago
  12. he is committed to us
  13. he is planning our park bench to sit on when we get old
  14. he loves nature
  15. he feeds the birds
  16. he is a manly, man and shoots squirrels
  17. he buids with his hands
  18. he is real people
  19. he is computer smart
  20. he surprises me with compassion towards his wayward when I am not compassionate
  21. he pokes his prickly one
  22. he enjoys soaking in the tub
  23. he remembers lessons of life and is changed by them
  24. he appreciates little things
  25. he is willing to serve his country
  26. he is generous with his time, talents and blessings
  27. he likes to mow the lawn and cut down trees
  28. he has rough hands, workers hands though he has a desk job these days
  29. he has great lips
  30. he prays with me
  31. he prays for his kids
  32. he worries when any of us are sick or ill
  33. he snuggles well
  34. he wears jeans and flannel shirts
  35. he likes the muppets
  36. he indulges his kids, even though he was not indulged as a child
  37. he is stubborn
  38. he is silly
  39. he is a dad
  40. he is mine!
  41. he is responsible
  42. he is respected by his coworkers
  43. he is loyal
  44. he has brown eyes
  45. he still has his teddybear from childhood
  46. he takes yearly pictures with each child on their birthday
  47. he likes to camp
  48. he builds campfires
  49. he smokes turkey in the woods, giving us an new thanksgivign tradition
  50. he leaves the woods in compassion towards a sick wife
  51. he keeps his work phone in the bathroom, not our bedroom
  52. he calls me before heading home, in case I need anything
  53. he loves me
  54. we have shared 27 + years together as friends, we share life history
  55. he has blessed me with world travel
  56. he has cared for me well
  57. he has always provided for my needs
  58. he helps me with my gardening
  59. he lets me be hyper and loves me when I am worn out
  60. he has weathered the "money pit" storm waves
  61. he drives a diesel truck
  62. he wears work boots
  63. he rides a motorcycle
  64. he loves my family
  65. he has a twin brother