Friday, October 31, 2008

When Fear Rears Its Ugly Head

I find this difficult ... to allow that energy to push me forward instead of holding me back.

Some days, I can face the dragons.

Other days, I'd rather hide, safe in my cave.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

'Tis a Gift

The gift of living in a country where I can vote for my elected officials (early!)

The gift of being remembered by an old college classmate ... receiving a compliment from her

The gift of spending time with my daughter at her college ... taking her out to eat ... grocery shopping with her ... laughing ... cuddling

The gift of being back home and welcomed by my sweet husband ... cuddling

The gift of homemade soup and warm crusty bread for dinner

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pet ... Pet ... Pet ...

The other day I was listening to a podcast that was a compilation of a number of clips from previous radio shows that this one woman hosted. It was more or less a radio version of a book of essays that a columnist might put together into a book.

Anyway, she played one clip from a radio show that she did soon after 9-11. There was so much sorrow and bad news at the time that she wanted to do something different, something that might soothe her listener's souls.

So she asked some musician friends what kind of music they think would be good for the soul. Beethoven's Ode to Joy was suggested, and played.

As I listened, I started to weep. It had been so very long since I allowed myself the gift of extremely fine music that I'd forgotten the effect it can have on my soul.

When I told my sweet husband about my experience later in the day, even his eyes welled up.

Most times when I need to nurture and soothe myself, I turn to my stitching. It can be actual stitching, or it can be browsing through my pattern library, or it can be petting my fabrics. Every time I to go Wal-Mart, I have to at least walk through the craft section, even if I don't window shop or buy. There's something about being in proximity to the elements of creativity that oozes through my skin and helps me feel better.

Other times, I write. Except for this blog, I haven't been writing much lately. Maybe it's time to give myself that treat again.

The other day I went to the public library and sought out a couple books by P. G. Wodehouse. My mom introduced me to that humor a l-o-n-g time ago. I thought it might be a healthy choice for me to have some light reading. What was also healthy for me was to walk up and down the aisles of books in a library again.

I like to think of this kind of self-nurture as Guiltless Pleasures. Perhaps it's time to pick up my camera again and record a series of photos of guiltless pleasures.

I plan to have at least five today:
  1. Spending time with the Quilters this morning
  2. Voting
  3. Listening to an audio book as I drive south to Moscow
  4. Spending time with my daughter and taking her out to dinner
  5. Attending a book reading by an author who shared literature classes with me in college
If you do something to nurture yourself today, leave a comment and let me know.

I'll try some of yours if you try some of mine!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gut Feelings

That inner voice ...

I have a hard time grasping it when it's mumbling.

Sometimes I have to get awfully quiet to hear its whispers.

I try to pay attention to it, to follow its lead.

I love it when I do follow, and it pays off.

Too often, I become swayed by the opinions of those around me and give in to something I think is just wrong for my family. (Ask my oldest daughter sometime about getting a Nintendo ... I gave in to the pressure of my sister's advice).

:: sigh ::

Instincts, huh?

Inner voice.
My own judgment.

Adults seem to know how to trust these things.

Me? I'm still learning.

Monday, October 27, 2008


This tactic sure works on me!

Tell me I'm capable, I become so.

Tell me I have a great smile and give off lots of light, I smile and glow more.

Tell me I'm a good writer or photographer, I'll write more and take more pictures -- and take more risks while doing so.

Tell me that what I have to share makes a difference in your life, I'll share more.

Tell me you love me, I'll love you more.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hush, Now ...

:: whispering ::
:: zipping lips ::

Sunday Secrets: Oct 26, 2008

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an amazing sociological experiment. These two secrets resonated with me this week:

Well, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if this happened within our family. I was one of the few that never tried drugs at all. The 'goody-goody.'
I wear that title proudly.

I prayed over the checks from my parents' estate before I sent them out to the heirs.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Love Used Book Stores

Some of my very favorite memories are from the days of roaming around used book stores with dear friends or with my sweet husband.

Look at the great photo I found on the bricolagelife blog!

Oh! She inspires me!

Behave Yourself

Ten years ago, right about this time, my dad had a heart attack. Mom had died the previous year. I was the child living closest to Dad, so checked in on him daily.

That day, Dad had a doctor's appointment scheduled for the afternoon. But he was looking pretty wimpy in the morning. While he got dressed, I was stressing out in his kitchen. I kept praying this very awkward prayer over and over:

Help me know what the next thing to do is.

My dad was a very proud man. He didn't like to show when he was in pain. He didn't like to step out of turn or ask for help until others had been taken care of first. So I knew that if I went against his wishes — which were to wait until his appointment before seeing the doctor — I risked the appearance of impertinence (to Dad), but risked his health/life if I didn't take more definitive action.

So I led him to the car and gently told him we were going right to the emergency room instead of the doctor's office. He survived that night.

A few months later, Dad and I were in California for my brother's funeral. The night after the funeral, Dad was looking bad again. And again, I didn't know what to do. While my brother and sister slept elsewhere in the house, I tiptoed into Dad's bedroom and kept vigil. His breathing was irregular and his sleep was fitful. I finally got him to take a dose of nitro and got him to agree to let me take him to the emergency room. He would not let me call 911.

I woke up my brother and sister, and the three of us gently got him down the hall and into the car. Poor Dad. He just didn't want to be a bother. And we didn't want him to feel like he'd lost his dignity.

We really didn't know what to do, so we did the best we could. That ended up being a long trip for me. I stayed in California through most of February until Dad died ... and until we had a memorial service in our home town. My poor family was stressed at home in Idaho, but my husband flew down to help me in those last few days. We brought Dad's remains home ... and then a whole new set of events unfurled concerning his estate where I didn't know what to do.

I did the best I knew how to do at the time. I tried to be cautious. I tried to be conscientious. I tried to be level-headed. I tried to be fair. I tried to learn my job as executor and deal with my double grief and attend to the needs of the extended family, all the while being wife and mother (and bereaved sister and daughter).

I didn't always succeed. If ever my character was tested, it was in that year. I grew a lot.

I hope that overall, in the face of not knowing what to do, I behaved with dignity and compassion.

Friday, October 24, 2008

On the Horizon

My husband and I have both found this true within the workplace. We've both had positions where we get hired for one job. We work that job, doing what is required, then a little bit more. And we keep our eyes open. If we see a problem area, we offer some solutions. We make ourselves invaluable.

Pretty soon, the employers see that there is a real need for a particular position ... and we seem to be just the right person to fill the slot.

My husband has done that over and over again at the credit union. He started out as a graphic artist for the newsletter. He moved into writing. He went on to building the company's first website. Then he learned a statistics program and made a job for himself in research and development. Then he started sharing his vision of where the credit union could grow and became part of the strategic planning team. And on and on. I can't count the number of titles he's had over the last 17+ years. Most of those positions were created for him.

In my case, I was hired on as a short-term employee for the county assessor. They liked my work so much that a position was created for me. I was a floater, because I was able to go from station to station and adapt to the job at hand. Then I was offered full time work. Soon I showed some adeptness at computer work when desktop computers were first introduced into the appraisal department. By staying just one step ahead of the others in my understanding of technology, I was advanced. Then I was recruited by the toughest manager to help in commercial assessments. In my third year, I was awarded Employee of the Year -- the quickest anyone earned that honor.

If you wait for opportunities to drop in your lap, you'll be waiting a long time. It's not that it won't happen now and again, for it will. But if you make yourself open and available and take some steps to learn new skills, those opportunities will come your way more quickly.

[A lesson for my daughters]

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Healthy Dance: All Clear

I am counting my blessings tonight!

The medical test showed no breast cancer. Sometimes a blob is just a blob.

And yesterday I got the good news from my counselor that I no longer need regular visits. Medication and diligent work help me live in a mentally healthy place. (I think writing and stitching daily helps, too!) I just need to watch for warning signs so that if/when they show up, I go back to her for a 'tune up.'

Yup. Life can be managed. Learning to enjoy Plan B helps.

Want to join me in this dance?

Jodie's Dance

This is the child's hat and scarf that Jodie made to donate.

It's the first knit hat she ever made using the knitting loom. She used two strands of a lightweight yarn.

She crocheted the scarf using her own choice of stitch. I think it's double crochet.

I'm proud of my girl!

Today's Mission

Go ahead.

someone's day!

I have a medical test to take today that I'm feeling apprehensive about. My mission is to go into it with a great attitude and chat up the technicians in a way that helps all of us feel like we enjoy this task. I need to remember that they are there to help me stay healthy. They do that for a lot of people, and could likely use some appreciation.

Appreciation instead of apprehension. Sounds like a good trade-off.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On My Desk - Charity Stitching to Go

If it's Wednesday, it's time for another installment of On My Desk

Today's desk? My studio work table.

So ... it's not a very exciting photo. Yet, I'm excited anyway!

This is my year's worth of things I stitched for charity, all boxed up and ready to go in the mail.
  • 12 heart quilt squares
  • 12 Christmas ornaments
  • 24 knit hats
  • 1 hat and scarf set made by Jodie
I send them with a small prayer that they will bring a measure of happiness and warmth to those that receive them.

More on Faith

Seems like I'm on some kind of 'faith' kick this week, doesn't it?

Hmmm. I just never remember what's going to pop up in these quotes when I prepare them a month in advance so ...

Do I have any words of wisdom or further insight from today's phrase?

:: Cameo Ponders a While while Humming the Theme from Jeopardy ::


[what a waste of reading time, eh?]

Well ... maybe it's not just faith that leads to action, commitment and responsibility. I'd hope that adulthood leads to those things, too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This, Too

I suppose it's just another way of saying, "Put your money where your mouth is."

If you believe in something, act on the belief. Live your life according to that belief. Be of service to others.

Otherwise, just be quiet and stop spouting off.

You're no more than a clanging bell.

Monday, October 20, 2008

This I Believe

I've recently been introduced to the public radio broadcast This I Believe. Ordinary people read their short essays about what it is they believe about life, about faith, about God. I'm taking quite a shine to the program.

It used to be so easy for me. I grew up Catholic. I took my religion seriously. I took my faith seriously. I even devoted one full year to the Church as a volunteer campus minister the year after I graduated from college. That year alone should have been enough to shake my faith.

But I kept believing in that church I grew up in. I embraced the changes brought on by Vatican II. I believed we, the people, ARE the church. We take responsibility for our faith. We question. We seek. We learn. We serve. We do not need to be spoon fed and belch back the words of our leaders. We have minds of our own. We live by our own consciences.

I kept believing in the ways of the Catholic church even when going through the whole divorce and annulment process. I kept believing enough to find my true husband via contacts made in our religious education program.

And now, though my faith in God remains strong, my faith in the Church has been shaken mightily. Though I believe in the core values learned through Christianity, I'm not so sure about the practices of Christian religions.

The way religiosity has infiltrated politics and the way politics infiltrated the workings of the Church really got me questioning, turned me off. One of the last straws, though, was the whole priest pedophile scandal. It wasn't so much that a minority of priests were being so horrible to children. That sucks, but is part of all society. The part that rankled me was that we, the people the church, the very ones that were the victims, were then asked to sacrifice and pay for the damages done by the few leaders.

That, among other more personal injuries that questioned my lay ministry work, is what has kept me away from church services for several years now. It just wasn't worth it to me to go to church wanting to serve and worship, and leaving each weekend feeling dirty, used and angry.

I now find other ways to live out my faith values and give thanks to God who has blessed me so thoroughly.

That's where This I Believe comes in. In listening to the ideas and faith triumphs and struggles of others, it helps me see where I agree, where I disagree, where life has taught me lessons other than those of these voices. It helps expand the horizons of my mind, my understanding. Like the Sunday Secrets, it gives me a glimpse into the lives of my fellow human beings. It helps me retain and grow my compassion for others.

Church is still important to me. I go to St. George's weekly to help make quilts that are donated to needy families. I love the spirit of the women in that group. But the Sunday services still don't work for me. I hope that one day I will find a church community to call home again. Until that time, I trust that God will continue to whisper in my ear and lead me to use my talents and abilities to continue building his kingdom.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Secrets: Oct 19, 2008

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an amazing sociological experiment. These three secrets spoke to me this week:

Dear God, please no.

I love making chocolate chip cookies when we have workers over to the house. When we were having the trees in our yard cut down a couple weeks ago, I opened the windows so the aroma of the baking cookies would waft outside. It drove the guys nuts. But I was making the cookies for THEM ... as a way to say thanks for their superb work. They were happy with the surprise at the end of the day.

I'm blessed. My husband and I have loved each other all along over these last 17+ years. We got through a pretty rough patch not all that long ago. We managed to come through with flying colors ... oh, yeah ... and some very nice fireworks of our own.

Happy Dance: Train Bookmark

Bookmark #12 is done. I've completed my charity stitching goal for 2008!

This sweet train design by Linda Dennis is from a leaflet of charts made to fit on Ribband.

Click on the image to see a larger version of the bookmark and read a few extra details in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio

In the Quiet Whispering Sound I Heard ...

After taking Jodie to school at dawn last week, I believe this.

However, you do need to be quiet enough and alert enough to listen.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Change the Angle, Change your Perception

With Dale home from his business trip, he and Jodie and I were chatting and comparing notes of what happened during the week while Dale unpacked his suitcase.

Jodie was talking about math. She noted, "Ya know, Dad ... I just realized this. If you add up a triangle's three angles, it comes to 180°. And a rectangle's angles add up to 360°. So just adding one more angle adds a full 180°!"

We paused and considered that for a bit. Then I said,
"So another way to look at that in life is that your perception can shift 180° if you can just approach it from the right angle."

Be Sweet

I did this after breakfast this morning.

Dale, Jodie and I went out to breakfast at Denny's. It was a very busy morning, so we didn't have our usual table in the back of the restaurant. Instead, we sat to the side where I had a broader view of all the guests and employees.

Those waitresses work HARD. Lots of people. Lots of kids this morning, so lots of mess! And most of the waitresses have a pretty good attitude even when dealing with all these varied and demanding and messy people. But one waitress really stood out.

Pat has been working at that Denny's for just about as long as we've been going there. She had once of the busiest seating areas, with some of the messiest kids, and some of the grumpiest patrons. But you ought to see this gal work! She's quick. She's pleasant. She doesn't complain. She anticipates needs.

Even though Pat wasn't our waitress today, when we got done eating, I stopped by the wait station and called her over. I told her how fun it is to watch her do her job because she's so darn good at it. She said she's been doing it all her life. I said, "That may be, but in a place like this, it takes a certain kind of person to do the job and do it so well." She got this huge grin on her face, said thank you — then gave me a hug!

It takes so little, you know? It takes to little to make someone's day.

A loving gesture.
A touch.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Dance: Line o' Hearts Bookmark

Bookmark #11 is done, too!

This design was adapted from a book of simple borders. I just plumped it up and jazzed it up a little.

Click on the image to see a larger version of the bookmark and read a few extra details in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio

Watch Your Language

When I was a kid, my mom used to warn me that my mouth would get me in trouble if I didn't watch out.

I didn't mean any harm, but apparently my honesty sometimes took a nasty tone. I still have a bit of trouble editing myself when talking aloud. I do better writing because I have time to edit, edit, edit. But talking ...

:: sigh ::

When I was a teenager I found a bible passage that I used to pray over and over again:

Who will set a guard over my mouth, and upon my lips an effective seal, that I may not fail through them, that my tongue may not destroy me?

Lord, Father and Master of my life, permit me not to fall by them! Who will apply the lash to my thoughts, to my mind the rod of discipline, that my failings may not be spared, not the sins of my heart overlooked; lest my failings increase, and my sins be multiplied; lest I succumb to my foes, and my enemy rejoice over me?

Lord, Father and God of my life, abandon me not into their control!

Sirach 22: 27 - 23: 5
St. Joseph's Catholic Bible

Now, for many of you, Sirach may not be a familiar book in the bible. It's also known as Ecclesiasticus. It's one of the wisdom books in deuterocanonical editions of the bible.

Anyway. Wow. Those words take me back.

I don't really know that they did me much good, though. I've since learned that I don't respond so well to scolding and dire warnings and being told what not to do. But I respond really well to compliments and demonstrations of what to do.

What if, instead of this remonstrance, I prayed more like this:

Say, God. I'm having a bit of trouble when I talk. Things pop out of my mouth that are honest, but they tend to be fairly sharp. I inadvertently hurt people with my words. Can you show me a different way?

And in return, God might say to me:

Honey. I know you're hurting. You have such a good soul, and are one of the most honest people I know. Let me teach you to temper what you say. To the people that bug you, just stop and watch them for a bit. Then find one good thing that you like and give that person an honest compliment. You'll be amazed at the results.

And when you're asked for an opinion about something, assume the person is asking for approval, not criticism. If you have constructive advice, say something like, 'I can see how that fits you to a T. Were I to have it for myself, I'd change it this way to suit my personality.'

You can be diplomatic, Margaret. You have it in you to be sincere and kind. Be present to me. I'll whisper in your ear and show you how.

There's a lot of value in giving positive example. As a Pay It Forward, try being a positive example to those around you today.

Happy Dance: Feathers & Fans Bookmark

Here's the 10th bookmark for 2008 that will be donated to a literacy program. There's a [small] chance I can get the last two done today!

The design was was offered by Pam Kellogg to her blog readers last year. She uses it as a seam treatment for her crazy quilts. It stitched up extremely quickly!

It's interesting to me that so many of the bookmarks and hearts I stitched this year have quite a bit of purple in them. Surprising because I'm not generally a huge fan of purple. But I like every one of the purple designs. Go figure.

Click on the image to see a larger version of the bookmark in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Come On, Get Happy!

Do you remember the Partridge Family theme song, "Come On, Get Happy"?
[Yikes! I'm dating myself!]

That was the first thing to pop into my mind this morning when I opened this quotation.

I think there's a lot to it, though. I did this exercise once:

  1. Get a friend / partner
  2. One of you is the guinea pig. Stand with your arms stretched out to your sides. Whatever you do, try to keep your arms stretched out and strong.
  3. Think of a sad or difficult situation.
  4. Have your partner grab hold of your wrists and try to pull your arms down. See what happens.
  5. Keep standing with your arms stretched out to your sides. Now think of a really happy situation.
  6. Have your partner grab hold of your wrists and try to pull your arms down. See what happens.
Generally speaking, you will have much more strength and energy to keep your arms out when you are thinking your happy thought than when you're consumed in the sadness.

Happiness really does give you strength ... and it all begins with the thoughts you choose to carry in your head. Come on, get healthy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Dance: Colonial Sampler Bookmark

I was able to complete another bookmark today.

This in the 9th bookmark for 2008 that will be donated to a literacy program.

Only three more to goal!

This sweet design was a freebie from Betsy Stinner of Earth Threads. She made it specifically for her friends at AOL sometime in the mid-90s. I received it when I was a needlework chat host.

I like the muted colors on this chart. Very pretty and old-timey.

Click on the image to see a larger version of the bookmark in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio.

Change Your Perception

This was a tough day. I started by getting up late, rushing to get my daughter to school on time, and fighting with her the entire 10 min trip.

It took me an hour and a half to calm down from that and send her an apology by text message.

By the time I got to Quilters, an hour late, I was too pooped to pop. I dropped off something one of the gals had requested (a bright spot). Then I was reminded that I haven't yet sent photos to another gal and ended up feeling crappy about not following through on that task. I really didn't need that disappointment tossed my direction. I just went home.

I calmed myself by eating a bowl of popcorn and listening to an audio book. I had a bite of (nutritious) lunch, then it was off to get a mammogram.


After that appointment, I managed to buy a gift for a friend (only a week late). Then went to look for a light jacket (My current jacket is too BIG this year! Hooray!) But ... no such luck.

When I got home, my daughter and I talked. She showed me that she'd accomplished something I'd been asking her to do. I praised her. We're back on good terms.

I went to my studio to pick up my mp3 player, and the darn thing took FOREVER to update. In the mean time, my computer kept freezing. While waiting for things to sort themselves out, my mind started spinning and stewing about old relationships that have gone sour. My head was going in a bad place.

Finally getting my mp3 player to work properly, I plugged it into my ears and WENT FOR A 2 MILE WALK! All the while, I listened to my mentor talk to me in my ear, help me redirect my brain waves.

Now, back at home, I've had an excellent change of attitude. My body is thanking me for giving it some exercise. My brain is thanking me for filling it with good thoughts. I'm ready to go upstairs and make some dinner.

The point of all this?

For the majority of the day, I let my mind wallow in the trash heap
  • the things that didn't go my way
  • the frustration that is a necessary part of raising a teen to help her become an adult
  • the ickiness of having to bare my breasts to a stranger and a machine that squishes the hell out of them (they deserve better!)
  • the letdown of not being able to find a coat that fits well
  • the memories of people that have shut me out of their lives

When I recognized the wasteland that I was allowing my brain to traverse (again ... oh, again), I did something about it.
  • I listened to uplifting words.
  • I got out in the crisp autumn breeze.
  • I challenged myself to do the 2-mile walk that starts with a steep hill.
  • I stopped at the one mile mark long enough to appreciate the sunset.
In other words, I sought — and found — the day's treasures.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Dance: Purple Lace Bookmark

I'm hoping to spend a good portion of my time stitching bookmarks this week. I'd love to have five done by Friday ... but will be pretty pleased if I can get even three completed.

This in the 8th bookmark that I've stitched to donate to a literacy program. Like the hearts, my goal is to stitch one per month for 2008.

I used the same chart for this bookmark that I used for the Spring Sampler Heart. I wanted to see if I could give the same pattern a different look. I think I succeeded!

Click on the image to see a larger version of the bookmark in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio.

Lead On

Get Quiet



Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Dance: Spring Sampler Heart

I've reached my goal!

Here's the last / 12th heart for the charity quilt.

I adapted a freebie pattern for this heart and used my own color scheme. I'm quite pleased with the way this stitched up.

Heck! I'm pleased to have all the hearts all done! Now, I believe I have just five more bookmarks to complete to have reached all my goals for charity stitching. Go me!

Oh ... you can see a larger image of this heart and read the details in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio.

What I Learned Through the Lens

This is a great description. It captures the essence of what I learned on my Creative Journey concerning photography.

I learned that the more photos I took, the more I found my visual voice.

I learned that details matter to me. It's what captures my attention in macro photography.

I learned I enjoy photographing nature and objects more than people. They are more patient with a new photographer and don't object so loudly when you catch their flaws.

I learned that I love capturing flaws. I love showing that even though the world is not perfect, it's still beautiful.

I learned how important it is to me to capture what beauty I see in the world and reflect it back to others.

I learned that in my own way, I am an artist.
Perhaps ... an Artist of the Everyday.
And I'm beginning to believe in the value of that calling.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Dance: Happy Teddies

Here are the last of the ornaments I stitched for my charity group. I was able to complete an even dozen.

I actually had them all done last summer, but didn't get around to posting them until now. You can read why in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio.

These will be donated to the Busy Needle for their annual Diabetes Tree.

Aye, Captain

I am the captain of my own life voyage.

My sweet husband says that it's an interesting ride, being married to a woman who constantly seeks. It intrigues him, though he has no deep compunction to follow my lead. He lives a life true to himself. We bob along side by side in harmony.

I've learned that my journey gets thwarted when I allow the negative opinions of others to affect me. It's rotten to allow someone else power over my mental state. I choose to steer my ship away from people like that. I'd much rather avoid than hate. It's far easier on my spirit.

Sunday Secrets: Oct 12, 2008

I've been posting my favorite secrets for a year now! That surprises even me.

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an amazing sociological experiment. These three secrets spoke to me this week:

I used to think I wanted it ... ever since I was five years old and toured Hearst Castle. Now I'm content to live the life I have ... and get a little giddy about downsizing when realizing I will finally have the chance to be 'just a couple' in a few years when my youngest goes off to college.

It took me far more than one year to get this lesson through my thick skull. I've let other people — especially my siblings — define who I am for too long. I am so thankful for the help I've had to overcome this flaw. It's much better to define myself. There's a lot to me. I'm pretty cool!

My sweet husband reminds me of this regularly. He loves my curves.
I love that he loves my curves.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Calm It Down

Yyyyeeahh. I was born with that volatile gene.

When something goes a little haywire in my life, I tend to throw energy at it and the little something becomes too big of a deal. I hurry the situation into unraveling.

I try to take lessons from my husband. He is exceptional in his ability to give people and situations the benefit of the doubt. He knows how to go forward slowly, cautiously, calmly. He sets an excellent example of how to let situations unfold.

I'm not quite sure why this is such a tough lesson for me to learn. To take a breath. Take a beat. Pause. Consider that something might be going on that's quite different from the conclusion that I jump to first.

How does one learn to change something that is so ingrained? My blood pressure would appreciate an answer.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Dance: Another Two Hearts

I've completed two more of my heart blocks for the charity quilt!

This is called the "Hearts & Flowers Heart." The design is based on a freebie chart from Mosey 'n Me. This is the one I stitched for October.

The next I call "Bunny with Balloons Heart." [snappy title, yes?] This is based on a design I bought from PatternsOnline.

You can see larger images and read the details in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio.

The Correct Spirit

I do try to be a giver. But I have a problem.

I look for something in return. At the very least, a "Thank You."

So this is a good reminder. The very act of giving is the gift. The object given may not be all that important. What is important is the spirit in which the gift is given.

Now ... I still say that I'll be careful about who I give to a second time. Especially when it comes to gifts of the needle. Often, I put a lot of heart and soul into the items I stitch and give as gifts. If I learn that the gift has not been well-received, I won't bother giving a stitched gift again.

The other thing to put in the balance is that we've been warned against tossing "pearls before swine." So don't just throw away the good stuff. Give it to someone that needs it or will appreciate it.

Still ... it's good to keep at the forefront of my mind these words of St. Ignatius. Give without counting the cost.

On News Stands Now!

Yeah! Hooray!

The latest edition of the Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament Issue is now available at news stands. I found my copy at my local grocery store.

Folks that subscribe say that their copy arrived in the mailbox this week.

As usual, there are lots of styles of ornaments, from elegant to primitive. Several stitching techniques are represented, too.

Not just cross-stitch, but Hardanger, Assisi (void) work, blackwork and plenty with specialty stitches.

There is quite a variety of finishing techniques on display, too. Banners. Biscornus. Houses. Pinkeeps. Cubes. Pillows and more. There are also plenty of more traditional stuffed and padded ornaments.

This little tree from Monsterbubbles is my favorite in the magazine. I like its whimsy, the colors, the liveliness that comes with the mirrors and charm.