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Adulting

What a year it’s been with 5 months still to go! Some years have come and gone and been full of heartache and sadness… harder than others. 

2018 has been a year full of change, excitement and wonder!! Busy. Full. Fast.

Both my husband and I turned 55. Double Nickel!  Fifty Five! Who is 55? It always seemed that old people were 55. Well now we are and we are not old! Funny that perspective change as we age! 

I have three bonus children. Our youngest graduated HS. When I moved here 12 years ago he was 6. Our oldest got married a few weeks ago. When I moved here she was about to turn 10. Our middle daughter is weeks away from having a baby boy. When I moved here she was 7. 

As we have watched them grow up and journey through the many family challenges we’ve had, our conversations at times were about where they would land when they became adults. It always seemed so far off. Some days we wished them old and wise… away from the tumultuous teen years. Other times we wished them to stay young and innocent. 

Today we sit in awe and wonder at the changes in the past 6 months. No more school events. We have a new son-in-law.  Soon we will be grandparents… Papa B and Nana J! We are now eligible for a level of senior discounts! AARP baby!! It all feels a bit surreal. 

So far on this journey, we have all made it! And it hasn’t been without joys and sorrows.  Honestly, there were moments when I wasn’t sure we’d ever make it to this point. So here we are and I am full of excitement and deep emotion. We joke about all of the kids now officially “adulting.” I guess then we are “adult adulting!” 

This time in life always seemed like a dream to me and so far off. Now it’s here and it’s grand! We love “adulting” with the kids! We do miss the days when they were younger, but this time of life is wonderful! As I’m having conversations with our momma-to-be about her life and the new life she is about to begin, I think back on all of the things I did that were good bonus parenting moments and all of the not-so-good bonus parenting moments. Thankfully, God’s mercies are new every day and His grace abounds! 

We all grow and change. We’ve all said and done things we’ve regretted and things we remember fondly. This doesn’t feel like a new chapter but a whole new book! Volume 2 – “Adulting!” 

I couldn’t have imagined what this would be like. I can’t even really describe it now. We are in the next phase of all of our lives and it is exciting and scary. Lives are changing and people are growing old. 

(The growing old thing is another blog for another day.) 

I’m sitting here in a new office space typing this and I’m looking at a wall decoration from a dear friend hanging directly in front of me… HOPE is what it says. I am hopeful and confident that the good things the Lord has started in our family will continue as He walks us all through the next phases of our lives. We can’t look back with regret and we can’t look forward with anxiousness. 

We are…

Right here. Right now. Just as we are. Loving no matter what…even when it’s difficult. Challenging relationships at new levels. Leaving behind the things that were hard and being hopeful for the things to come.  

Life is a gift and everyday we get to choose how we spend it.  I am choosing to be full of HOPE and excitement for what is next for all of us. 

Circle of Friends · Circle of Life · Lessons Learned · life happens... · My Journey · Quiet Pleasures · Quilting · Uncategorized

It All Started With Yogurt…

It all started with yogurt.

Frozen yogurt.

Peanut butter frozen yogurt.

In Palmdale.

Friends asked me to go to a quilt show in Palmdale. A quilt show? Are you kidding me? I don’t quilt. I don’t sew. I don’t even own a sewing machine! I’m the girl who had to do extra credit in junior high to keep from failing my sewing class. (Thank you Michael Todd!) That’s another story for another day!

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Because I wanted to hang with my friends AND there was peanut butter frozen yogurt involved, I agreed to go.

As we strolled through the quilt show, I was drawn to a stack of fabric in deep, rich colors. They were all tied together with a nice bow. I was informed it was called a “fat pack.” Hmmmm, interesting name. Is it time for yogurt yet?

I was again drawn back to this “fat pack” of beautiful fabric. This little stack of fabric that changed my life forever! We started chatting with the ladies at the booth, who happened to be fromLoving Stitches quilt store in Santa Clarita where we lived. They suggested signing up for a baby quilt class and I could use this beautiful fabric! We all agreed this would be fun! So I bought the fabric and signed up for the class! As we were leaving the booth I happened to ask how I was going to sew, as I don’t own a machine. Oh, you bring your own machine! So it begins!

Upon returning home I informed my husband that I HAD to get a sewing machine because I bought this fabric and signed up for a class! Off to Sears we went and I became the owner of a very basic Kenmore. It sews forward and backwards!

Then off to quilt class we went! Little did I know, that when you quilt, you need tools. Pins, scissors, rotary cutter, cutting mat, rulers… the list goes on! If there is a tool, I just knew I had to have it!

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Well, this sweet little blanket opened the door for a new hobby!

Now we have been sucked in to the vortex of beautiful fabric and stunning quilts!

The next adventure was a “Quilt As You Go By Hand” class. We thought this sounded fun! If only we knew what we didn’t know!

After signing up and paying the fee for the class, we then had to pick out fabric. Yards and yards and yards of fabric… of many different colors. I’m just going to say that I’m not the person you would hire to put together fat packs! We spent hours searching for the perfect fabrics. We had to pick out at least 5 different varieties. I ended up with fabrics in the shades of tan, purples and browns. None of which were any colors in my home or that was ever drawn to. I have a distant memory of the fabric alone coming to $200… and that did not include ALL of the MANY tools and things needed for this class. Thank goodness I already had a sewing machine and a rotary cutter! Oh wait… you couldn’t use either of those! It’s a quilt by hand class. I’m surprised we could use scissors! (Insert sarcasm!)

Well, this class turned out to be far more than I should have ever taken on. Time  and money alone, not to mention skill and patience and desire to have a giant purple quilt made all by hand! The teacher was very strict about the rules. I’m surprised they didn’t turn off the power and make us work by candle light! (Insert more sarcasm!)

Today, I rescued a very large box out of the closet. It was full of fabric that I had stuffed in it 12 years ago when I moved back to Washington from California. It was full of projects started and never finished as well as fabric from all of the quilts I made in the years following the infamous class! My “go to” was blocks sewn together and tied in the corners, not quilted.

We went through a phase of Block of the Month projects. Today I found one of them almost completed and two more all in the baggies I paid for each month! I cringed every time I saw the little price tag on the baggies. Quilting is not cheap!

I realized several things about myself today. First, I have a huge issue with finishing projects. Unless I have a specific goal, like making a gift for someone, I tend to get distracted and move on. Secondly, I am that person that has to have all of the latest and greatest when pursuing a hobby. If it can be helpful then I need to have it. I discovered this today as I unpacked all of the “stuff” that goes along with the fabrics to make quilts! Lastly, I realized that when I left CA, I tucked away a hobby that I really loved. I’ve made a few quilts over the past 12 years, but nothing like I was doing back in the day. Today I unearthed some beautiful blocks and I was shocked that I had actually made them with my own hands. Some literally by hand and others with the aid of my rotary cutter and sewing machine! I actually did some good old fashioned hand quilting as well!

It was fun to pull this out today and relive some sweet memories. It was also very emotional. This period of my life was very different living and teaching in CA. The ladies I quilted with were also the ones I knitted with, read books with , scrap booked with and traveled with. These were good years and good friends!

I brought it all with me to WA, but it was not the same. Along with the actual act of quilting, were the friendships that grew as we spent time together. Friendships deepened by a common thread (pun intended!). Cherished memories that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. Each block and each quilt has a story. I’m glad I found them again.

And to think… it all started with yogurt.

 

Advent · Gifts · Grace · Hope · love · My Journey · Quiet Pleasures · Random Saturday · Seasons · The Journey · Uncategorized

The Anticipation of Advent…

For a second you catch a whiff in the air of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment. (Frederick Buechner)

As I child, I couldn’t wait for the toy catalog to come in the mail! It was big and the pages were shiny and filled with toys! We would sit for hours pouring over the pages and marking things we wanted. If there would have been brightly colored sticky notes back in the day it would have looked like a flower with all of the colorful petals sticking out of the sides!

Oh how we dreamed of the coming days of fun…more fun than we could ever imagine.  If only we could have all of the things we dreamed of. This  went on for weeks and we would leave the catalog out in obvious places for mom and dad to see.  We mentioned them in conversations around the dinner table, in our Santa letters and to Santa himself when we sat on his lap. The anticipation of Christmas morning and getting something from those magical pages… there was nothing else like it!

This year, the beginning of Advent reminds me of this. I’m beginning 25 days of reading through my favorite book by Ann Voskamp called The Greatest Gift – Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas. This will be my 5th Advent reading through it and I have more anticipation and excitement than ever before. I’ve let the negativity of the world and all that is happening right now get me down. I’ve let social media wear down my soul as I’ve spent countless hours reading and seeing all that others have that I don’t and all of the negative things that are making people feel anxious and angry. I’ve spent hours and hours looking out and not allowing God in.

So, today I’m giving myself a gift.  The gift of Advent. Do you need to give yourself this gift as well?

So now we pause.  Still.  Ponder.  Hush.  Wait.  Each day of Advent, He gives you the gift of time, so you have the time to be still and wait.  

                                                                                                     (A. Voskamp, The Greatest Gift) 

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Seasons…Part of Living

today, tomorrow & every day  – THOUGHTS ON LIVING A BRAVE AND REAL AND GORGEOUS LIFE.        Written by M.H. Clark and illustrated by Jill Labieniec.

Here are my continued thoughts on this amazing book I received as a gift.

“Things really changed,” she said, “when I started to be more generous to myself.”

“I began to try to live like a tree,” she said…

“Who understand that life is filled with seasons and each one has its worth.                                                                        I stopped fearing the leaves falling away, the bare branches.                                                                                                         I understood that spring would come, that summer would come, that it was all a part of my living.”

Seasons.  I love the four seasons where I live! When the seasons change, so does life around us. We do things differently.  Some seasons are more enjoyable than others.  For me, winter is my least favorite.  The sun does not shine as much and it’s cold. It takes more work to be outside.  Occasionally I’m fearful of driving in winter weather.  The lack of sunshine can cause some seasonal affective issues.  We muddle through it and wait for spring.

Seasons of life are much the same.  We experience things that change as time goes on.

Some seasons are wonderful! When relationships are thriving…life is good.  When our job is going well… .life is good.  When our health is strong… life is good.

At times we go through seasons that are not so wonderful.  Troubled relationships… job stress or unemployment… health issues.

When in a season of struggle, I used to pray for it to be over or not happen at all.  Over time I’ve learned to lean into the struggle and ride the wave…waiting for the Lord to show His presence.  He never told us life would be easy, but He did tell us that He would be alongside us or holding us tight.  It took some really difficult seasons for me to learn this.  I’ve learned to praise Him in the storm.

Be still and know that I am God… my favorite Psalm.  It’s being still in winter and finding the joy of the season I like the least. When things are tough, I’ve experienced great peace while life is crumbling around me.  Pressing in to the Lord helps get us through the difficult time and ushers us into the next season.

I’ll be honest.  I’ve never had a difficult season that has lasted for great lengths of time.  I’ve known people that permanently live in struggle… at least in my perception.  They’ve learned to stop fearing the struggle and find the joys. In a sense, they move in and out of joy and struggles in one day.

Seasons come and seasons go… that is all part of our lives.  I want to be like that tree that stands tall and still as the seasons move around me. I want to be strong, even when I feel weak. I want to be full of life, even when I might be empty. I want to be more generous with myself… even when it’s difficult.

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Resiliency and Growth Over Time…

today, tomorrow & every day  – THOUGHTS ON LIVING A BRAVE AND REAL AND GORGEOUS LIFE.  Written by M.H. Clark and illustrated by Jill Labieniec.

Here are my continued thoughts on this amazing book I received as a gift.

She hadn’t always been this way.                                                                                                                         She hadn’t always been as strong and resilient and brave and joyful.

Like any garden or work of art, it had taken her a long time to make things the way there were.   To learn.                                                                                                                                                                                  To arrange.                                                                                                                                                                    To rearrange.

Sometimes, she grew as such in one year as others do in five.                                                                                      It showed in her spirit.                                                                                                                                                                 In her laugh.                                                                                                                                                                          It looked and it sounded like wisdom.                                                                                                                         And she liked it that way.

 53 years.  I’ve come along way. The change really started noticeably happening when I turned 50.  But seeds were planted long before that.  Life events that required me to be strong and resilient and brave… and joyful…regardless.

At times I stayed the same for many years.  Other times I grew more quickly.  I can look back now and see those moments in time.

  • Moving away from everyone and everything I knew and loved, to teach in California at the ripe old age of 23!
  • Moving back home to WA to pursue a job near family and not having success… back to CA I went!
  • Living alone in a strange house during a large earthquake.
  • Getting married at the age of 34… step-parenting with an ex that hated me!
  • Moving to a new city in CA and getting a new job… starting over.
  • Caring for my step daughter as she recovered from a horrific accident and a traumatic brain injury. (This one made me brave and strong and resilient and selfless)
  • Divorce… everything I ever believed about myself was challenged and questioned.
  • Sold my condo and moved back to WA.
  • New job… again.
  • Bought a house on my own.
  • Married the love of my life… step parent to three young children.
  • Lost both parents and one of my sisters.
  • Turned 50 and said, “The hell with it! I’m done trying to please everyone!”

Now I continue on this journey to live a brave and real and gorgeous life!  I’ve got a lot of scars and old wounds to heal, as well as many wonderful memories to hold on to! I’ve listened to many people who have shared wisdom and counsel with me. I’ve shared my experiences with many… passing along the same. I’ve also talked less and listened more. I was recently told by someone very special to me that talking to me brought her peace. That must be what wisdom looks and sounds like. Jesus in skin.

How have you changed over time? What has happened your life to make you strong and resilient?

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Sacred Indulgence…

This past week I went on a trip to visit my sister. Away from home. Away from all of the responsibilities of my daily life.

While on my little getaway, we snuck away for a few days to a spa on the bay.  On our way up we detoured and visited the tulip fields – a bucket list item for me. We took a sonic drive off the beaten path and the scenery was spectacular. Once to our destination the sun began to peak out. Our room was beautiful and the view spectacular. We ate out, walked along the water, shopped, and strolled around the little town.  We also just relaxed and did a little bit of nothing.

While this was amazing, I found myself thinking about all of the things I should have been attending to at home during spring break.

Many people I know take these little trips all the time. It’s their normal. Not mine. This isn’t even a once a year even for me. It was truly a treat!

My ability to let down and relax is difficult. After all, I should be home taking care of my responsibilities. Now was the time to test a new way of thinking and acting!

On our last evening, we scheduled massages at the spa. Wow! The experience from start to finish was wild.  Like nothing I’ve ever done. It was all about me the entire time. Life is rarely all about me. I’m all about everyone else from my job to my home. I spend most every day taking care of others.

I found parts of the spa experience easy to partake of, while others were difficult. The hardest part was not talking for an entire hour! And for that one hour I did absolutely nothing! I was completely still except for the actual massage happening. That doesn’t even happen when I sleep, as I toss and turn all night!

The massage was just part of a week of indulgences.  An indulgence is the attitude of allowing yourself or someone else to have something enjoyable. It was a wonderful time! I had to step out of myself and let people “indulge” me. I had to…no, I GOT to… receive rather than give. That is a tough one for me.  It is difficult for me to let others do for me. I am much more comfortable giving than receiving.

As I’ve contemplated the week, I’ve been drawn to think about my relationship with the Lord. I’m good at giving to Him. I give Him my “prayers” or lists of things I’d like Him to help me with.  I give Him time most days, but honestly I’m usually pretty busy during that time. The hard part for me is what I’m going to call a “sacred indulgence.” It’s that time where I get to let Jesus love on me and I do absolutely nothing but receive from him. It’s that time when I am being still and know that He is God… He is in control, not me. Quieting myself to receive all that He has for me. Indulging in His grace and love. It’s free and I don’t have to travel far from home. It costs nothing but my intentional, uninterrupted time and willingness to let go and let Him love on me…a sacred indulgence. 

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Spring Rains…

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We are teased with the spring sunshine and warmth.  Then the rains come. Spring rains… it’s necessary for the earth to open up and grow and flourish. Without it life would not bloom and blossom.  Life would wither and die.

I longed for the sunshine this morning as I awoke after a restless night.  Those first morning rays glimmering through the newly budding maple trees are stunning and life-giving.  They bring a feeling of hope to the day.  I can see God’s handiwork and loving touch as I look out into my yard.  Not today… it was raining.

At times, the spring rains can close in on us and feel like a dark shroud… if we let it.  I determined myself this morning to see the rain as a gift.  A gift to our earth.  A gift to my soul.

Rains wash away the dirt and grime, providing a fresh sheen on everything. They clear out the sky so when the sun does shine, it’s extra blue an clear!  It’s worth the wait.  The same way it refreshes our earth, it also refreshes my soul.  It’s a pause in my heart to let Jesus clear out the dirt and grime that have built up.  I’m a bit more hopeful as I await the blue sky that will peak through eventually.

In the meantime, I’ll hunker down and take this pause to rest and refresh as I listen to the drops hit the metal patio cover.  Hopeful for what is to come…

“God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing a wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.  We fall to our knees – we call out, “Glory!”  (Psalm 29:9)