Wednesday, April 11, 2012

X-ing off that UFO

You may be wondering why I haven't much of anything new to show off these days.  Well, I'll admit that each year, one of my goals is always to finish up as many partially done projects as I can stand to do before the desire wears out.  Usually that means finishing up an enormous stash of cross stitching.  And after completing several small ones, I attacked this one with full force and determination.  It's one of those kits I bought back when Nic was born or thereabouts, so it's at least a dozen years old!  Nothing like taking my time, huh?  I get so incredibly bored doing these, as there's no real feeling of accomplishment until you've finally got the whole piece completed.  And we're talking a good 1000 hours on this one for sure!

It's a nice piece that Nic wants me to frame, entitled Mother's Prayer Quilt.  It reads:  "I pray when this quilt you see, you will know my wishes and dreams for thee.  I pray these things I've taught you true, because my child I love you." Each 'block' is a traditional "quilt" block done in cross stitch with the written sentiment: faith, hope, charity, love; health, wealth, happiness, peace; unselfishness, courage, honesty, thankfulness; independence, knowledge, friendship, success.  Such a beautiful verse!

It's so nice to have this huge project completed!  The old eyes are glad for the break, and I'm already working on new sewing projects that can be whipped up quickly.  So much more satisfaction there!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finding my sunny place

It helps a soul to heal through pain if you can talk about it.  So much so lately as I reflect upon a personal ache in my heart for my grandma as I see the changes evident from a desire to give up.  We spent the earlier part of spring break with a visit to see her, and now that she's about 4 hours closer, I hope it won't be the last.  You may have seen me blog about her before...Grandma with the Red Lips, as she's known now.  My daughter distinguishes her that way, since she has a wonderful multitude of grandmas to keep straight.

At just shy of her 89th birthday, she is now dealing more with a failing heart, and unfortunately, a feeling of the hourglass emptying.  It saddens me so to see her have no desire to get out of bed; she's definitely capable, just won't.  And so, she peers out the window of her room to any activity that captures her keen eyes.  Her mind is still pretty sharp, but her soul is slowly resting away.  There will be no more letters, written in her beautiful longhand to me about the steady family she grew so plentifully; no words of the flowers that bloom by her hand; no more conversations over hand stitching an heirloom embroidery piece together.

Thankfully, what is still there are lots of the wonderful stories she enjoys sharing about specific incidents with each of us from the past.  Some will stay with me forever.  Like the very first visit that my husband made over dinner at her house, nearly 30 years ago.  Fried chicken overflowed the platter, and my burly sweety placed a mere wing on his plate.  Grandma, the ever gracious host, turned the platter around and offered a more meaty selection to which Matt reached again for another wing.  She had thought he was afraid to take too much, when in fact, the wing is his absolute favorite piece.  And, of course, after devouring the wings, he did enjoy visiting that platter again and again.  We laughed again this week about that and many other simple stories that brought us together.  Her incredible meals are always a fun topic.

This visit also brought together my Dad and I in a way that we haven't been.  As he has taken the full responsibility of caring for Grandma, he visits her daily at her new assisted living home and tends to her every need.  All this along with that of his wife who is continually battling bone cancer and his own heart problems.  It's a daunting job, but one that he does with as much love and compassion as I've ever witnessed.  It is a side that, I guess I knew was there, but have never really been 'grown up' enough to understand.

And so I ask you to think today about those that you love and remember a memory of something that will make you smile.  The memories are there for all of that if you dig deep, and there is always one to reflect on that can lighten your load, at least for a moment.