Glorious now behold Him arise; King and God and sacrifice:
Alleluia, Alleluia sounds through the earth and skies!
John H Hopkins, Jr. – We Three Kings
He is risen indeed!
Blessings to you and all those you hold dear this Easter!
Swirling snow, glittering ice changing scenes inside my world like a snow globe upending daily.
Outside our home, brutal cold; while inside, a kind of hibernation seemed to take hold as both I and my computer had viruses. I am delighted to report we have both recovered ourselves.
This has been a winter not soon forgotten. We’re so very grateful for home and warmth and traveling safety these long days.
The words of the old Shaker song go round in my head. Finding myself in “the place just right” seems hard some days – like the other day when I realized that the inkjet cartridge had leaked black all over lovely wood and then I picked up the wrong can of paint and though I thought it looked a bit dark – it was wet… I went on painting. And then I had to paint again. <sigh> I know, in the grand scheme of life, not so big a deal but it is the little things some days that seem to overflow the cup. What do you do with those days? When the wind blows hard and there are even waves in the birdbath.
In 1985, it was really big deal to have our beloved Nana diagnosed with dementia. We tried keeping her at home with helpers, but the disease took her away in giant steps. Too soon, for her safety and well being, it became a necessity to place her in a care facility. It was a time of busy grief.
Christmas was coming. I had so much on my mind that day I drove the beltway – from where and to where – I no longer remember. But on that drive, the thought came to me that we could give her an album quilt for Christmas. Only one problem. I had no idea what an album quilt really was but I thought of blocks, large ones, that would tell a story, the story of her life.
I went to a small quilt shop with my idea and the staff was so helpful with the project from beginning to end; even supplying fabric from personal stashes when I cut the border fabric wrong and there was not enough to finish.
I sent fabric and the plan out to family and everyone worked on squares that said something about her life. Everyone worked quickly, taking comfort in being able to do something, anything, to bring some comfort to her, and ourselves. Soon, all the blocks were back and it was time to make the quilt.
I had never made a quilt before…
Sewing the blocks and borders together was the easy part. Then came backing and batting and I recall taping it to my kitchen floor as the only place to stretch it out and layer it. Finally it was pined together and ready to quilt.
I had never made a quilt before…
I called my friend Lucy. She was a Southern girl with a country background. Did she know how to quilt? “Quilting should enhance your design, don’t do too much.” What did that mean?! I stitched some, and then some more. Then came the binding – and somehow – it was done – by Christmas.The quilt became a great gift to us as we felt we could wrap her in our love. Nana used the quilt for 4 1/2 years. At first the staff thought it a nuisance, then it changed their view of this wonderful woman. It gave her an identity, a life; it became a conversation point. It reminded them that she was loved and cared about.
There is nothing fancy about the quilt but it is now a family treasure, faded, worn and soft.
And today? That gift to Nana, opened a space for me. For when the wind blows hard, the ink spills, the paint goes on wrong… there is a calm that comes with fingering fabrics, hearing the whirl of the machine.
We woke to snow today, rather like a celebration to remember Nana on her birthday, with love.
Loretta 1906 – 1990
November 2, 2014
Reading Slowing Time Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door, sinking into the poetry of her thoughts and prayers. Tonight as I huddle under the comforter, it is quiet. The roaring, rushing winds of yesterday that lingered through the early hours of the day are whispering now.
As I linger in Barbara Mahany’s images, a little urge for something warm slips in. As I make my way to the kitchen, light is filtering through the glass block window. Light that only comes from the filling in of the moon. Finding a small quilt to wrap around me, I step blindly out into crunchy leaves so that my view of moon and stars will be clear.
Stunning seconds of beauty in the freezing cold. Right outside my kitchen door.
Sometimes, it seems that I get very out-of-focused in reflection.
And everything turns topsy turvy.
There is only one way for me to right my mental world:
Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.
Filling my mind with beauty all around. What beauty have you found today?
There were always apples in the house. Dad took one every day with his lunch and there were apples for ours, if we wanted them. Come fall, there would be bushels of fresh picked from country orchards and sometimes pie for Sunday suppers. But my favorite memory of comfort food is always hot applesauce on buttered toast for breakfast.
These Gala apples cooked into a lovely sauce which has provided rich desserts of applesauce on split buttered biscuits. Simple fare, perfect comfort for darkening autumn evenings.
I like to use sweet apples so no additional sweetener is needed, just cinnamon or apple pie spice to suit my fancy.
As the sweet fragrance of apple filled the house, I remembered the grace sung at many a Girl Scout camp meal – The Johnny Appleseed Prayer.
Oh the Lord is good to me,
and so I thank the Lord,
for giving me the things I need,
the sun, the rain and the appleseed,
the Lord is good to me.
Last night’s storm left a slow-to-lift cloud cover. Waiting in traffic, I watched it hovering behind the communication and power lines that cross here. I thought about how sometimes mental or emotional dark clouds seem to hang like a backdrop for life and communication.
As I drove on, I remembered that as a child, stories and poetry gave me the impression of softness and comfort in clouds and then how shocked I had been on my first plane ride through clouds to find them anything but! Turbulence is hidden within.
Those are not cotton balls! Unseen turbulence swirls in all the beauty. Unseen turbulence swirls on earth these days too. It is unsettling to say the least. For your life, I pray that the storms pass and you will see the earth is refreshed, the air is cleared, and a beautiful day awaits you.