Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Breaking rules....

When I finally made the decision to step back from church, it was suggested by a friend to read about the Desert Fathers. 

I still had no idea why the need to step back was so great.... it was one of those things that just had to be done.  The desire was so strong that it felt like if I did not get out of the water - I was going to drown.

It took a month of being away from church to finally start reading "The Desert Fathers; Sayings of the Early Christian Monks," Translated and with an Introduction by Benedicta Ward. 

Several sentences from Sister Ward's introduction really stood out.  When describing one of the driving forces behind the early Christian Monks, she wrote, "Instead of dealing with the manifestations of evil in daily life, they were concerned with the source of sin in the human heart." She further wrote, "The desert fathers see themselves as poor men, as sinners in need of mercy, as those who were not strong enough to endure the friction of worldly life." 

Drowning in worldly life. 

In my depressed state of mind...."not strong enough to endure the friction of wordly life" summed it up perfectly. I can identify with the desert fathers.... especially wanting to get away from it all.

Then after the introduction, I got lost.  The excitement fizzled out.  

Their writings came across to me as rules...  

Let me clarify - I am not saying they were rules, but in my state of mind... I was reading rules.  

You see.....  my whole life I have tried (and failed miserably) to live up to other people's expectations... 

Okay - let me re-word that. My whole life I have tried (and failed miserably) to live up to what I (only me) thought were other people's expectations.  

You know.....do not want to disappoint anyone, do and say all the right things.  

If I follow all the rules I will be the best wife, mom, daughter, sister, employee, friend.  Just follow all my rules and there will be acceptance, love.... perfection. 

All I got was just a bunch of self-esteem issues. Inner voices confirming I had it all wrong... all wrong.  More mental beatings.  

That is where the depression came in...  the need to step back. Everything was too overwhelming!  Exhausting. Broken.  

Thankfully, this is the exact opposite of what the Holy Spirit guided me to teach in Sunday School and to my own children...  

No - this was all in my head...  all inside of me.    


Tonight, I listened to an interview of Anne Lamott and Father Tom Weston.  Watch and listen here  

I did not hear rules.

I am paraphrasing Anne Lamott: When we are young, we know more than we will ever know. But when we get a little older and life smacks you around - you know less and less.   

I know less and less...  



So instead of Desert Fathers.... I am going to re-read Spirituality of Imperfection.  It has been a few years.... but definitely need to read it again. 

Then I am going to forgive myself and begin to learn to: 

give up perceived expectations,

let go of the concept of perfection, 

setting up healthy boundaries, and

say that one word sentence:  "No".  

I have the desert fathers' weakness which is not a bad thing - not a bad thing at all.... 

But rules are not for me right now...  

I want to break some rules.... my own rules....

and get back to Grace.    









  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Perfect Moments.......

So many times in our lifetime, we will look back fondly at perfect moments.  

Photography By My Youngest Daughter
Our best childhood friend, our wedding, a special birthday, when our children are born, a promotion at work, a perfect seam....  

Lots of events in our lives can and will be a perfect moment.  

I live in the southwest desert.  We are in June now, so the heat is coming at us with full force... will be 109 in a few days. I dread this time of year....  I did not always live in the desert.  For the first twelve years of my life, I lived in Virginia.  

My family and friends know that I have always wanted to leave the desert.  Move to the mountains, to a small town, with seasons, trees, gardens....   with rain, cool weather nearly year round... snow. 

Even though I am not certain that this dream will come true in my lifetime, I do dream.... dream always.  I talk about it.  I think about it. Almost eat and sleep this dream!  

Last week, we had what I would consider a pretty darn perfect day.  It rained.....the entire day. (When I was younger - a neighbor and I would meet in our front yards when it rained, with our lawn chairs and a pitcher of margaritas.... yes, this is how much I love rain!) 

On this beautiful, rainy day last week, I left work early and stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner.  As I was putting the grocery cart away after unloading my bags into my car......  the rain was lightly coming down, it was overcast and slightly breezy, a nearby restaurant had their fire pit going, the green trees were swaying and I could hear a couple of birds.... 

The smell of the fire and clean rain, the misty cool breeze, the vibrant green trees set against the grey sky, the birds chirping...  

I stopped..... Literally stopped.....  

Perfection.

It was realized at that moment, in that very moment.  No looking back.... Full awareness. 

A perfect moment.  

Yes, goosebumps.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Headlines, Headlines, Head Lies?

Have you noticed the trend?  You know, the one where the headline does not match the story....  It seems to be a crazy trend.  

It is surprising.  Seriously, surprising.  

Or is it?  

Do we limit ourselves to a one-liner?  The best one?  The one that puts us in the perfect light....but fails to capture the truth?  

I have not seen this in the blogger community of the internet...

I think this comes from a desire to express ourselves - warts and all.  We love to share our talents, our encouragement and even our faults.... all to help one another. 

So this crazy trend in other parts of social media - they can have it.  I like our Blog posts and titles... I like our loving community.  

I like truth.  

Friday, April 24, 2015

A Season of Finishes and New Beginnings

So much has happened over the last couple of months....  Lots of work done in the craft/sewing room.  Lots of work on myself.  

Finished the 2015 Mystery Afghan!  




Mikey over at The Crochet Crowd is such a great teacher.  His video tutorials are really easy to follow and he is a lot of fun too.  Seriously, I would have never, ever, in a million years, tried most of the stitches we learned in this afghan.  While usually you can call me a minimalist when it comes to my creations - I really enjoyed the process and am super happy with the beautiful afghan!  



Finished the Colorburst Granny Square Afghan!





Absolutely love this afghan.  There will be more in the future!  The bright, bold  colors!  Sarah at Bella Coco is also a fantastic teacher.  She has several tutorials that I go to quite a bit.... the basic granny square, the colorburst granny square, African Flower, the solid granny square. She also has a great tutorial on how to join granny squares.  Huge fan of the join as you go method right here!  

Also learned some stuff about the edging - but that will be another post!  

Finished the "Happy" and "Merry" Everything Quilt for my friend.




She is my crochet guru and has been super supportive of my venture into quilting.  She gave me tons of paper piecing pattern books.... so I decided to make her this paper pieced flying geese quilt based on Judy Niemeyer's Which Ways North Pattern.  This is the second quilt I have made using this pattern.  It is a really great introduction to paper piecing.

I named it The "Happy" and "Merry" Everything Quilt because during the time I was thinking about the design, looking for fabric and finally working on it - two Christmases and her birthday flew right by!  

Super happy with my finishes these past few months.  

This Season of Finishes granted me much prayer and quiet time.  This is good.  

For a long time, I have been struggling with volunteer commitments, the time it had been taking from my family, the time it had taken away from dealing with my own issues, the time it has taken from rest.  

So while it was very hard in my heart to let go of the commitments, it has been good.  

Good to continue with prayer.  

Good to rest and be quiet.  

Good to clear my brain and mind.  

Good to start New Beginnings.....  




 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Crochet Along Update.....

Having so much fun with Yarnspirations and The Crochet Crowd's  2015 Mystery Afghan Crochet Along.  This is really out of my comfort zone but so glad I joined.  (And you still can too!)  Have met lots of new crochet friends on Instagram!  

Crochet Love post shows the color choice and first clue....

Second clue was nice and easy....  Especially when you have Mikey at The Crochet Crowd walking you through each stitch. 




The third clue was so different. 



Those chains in the corner....  such a mystery! 

This week is the fourth clue and it is awesome.





It really is so pretty... Still not sure where we are going with those corner chains.  But will not worry too much about it because I have a LONG way to go!  




Spending all of my free time - which is not very much - on this Crochet Along.  So  much so that quilts, sewing and the other afghan are getting a bit neglected.....  



One more row on this lovely and then it will be time for edging and weaving in my ends.... and let me tell you - there are A LOT of ends to weave in.

Still in Crochet Love though.....  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday.... I am a Rebel.





At this time of the year, we see and hear so much about what everyone is "giving up for Lent."  It runs the gamut from foods to video games.  

Easter Sunday is awesome... lots of food, lots of celebration and giving praises for our Risen Lord.  So getting to eat or do something that was missing for 40 days.... well, that just makes the celebration all the more awesome!   

But, I am a Rebel.  I do not give any thing up for Lent. 

I understand that when we give up something that takes our time and focus away from God..... it is a good thing.  In fact, a very, very, very good thing.  

The rub for me..... if the idea is to give something up that draws your attention, focus and life away from God.... then maybe it should be given up not just for Lent - but for.......

forever. 

In my devotions today, a reading jumped out at me:  


For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
 
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  

Psalm 51:16-17

The sacrifice of a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart.... 

Look to God for healing.

Look to God for Love. 

I want to heal.  I want to love. 

I am not going to give anything up.  I am going to add something.....  love.  

I am a Rebel.   
  

 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Crochet Love

Oh my..... so much crocheting going on at my place these days. 

It is funny.  One minute it is all about fabric and quilting.... then the next minute it is cooking and baking... and then it is all about yarn and crocheting.  My brain just does not want to stop.  Do you ever get the notion that there is just so much out there that your hands need to be in the middle of?  Oh my.... my brain works that way.  

Progress on the Super Bowl Sunday Color Afghan is going along just great...  this picture is actually from last week and more squares have been added, but the light tonight is not my friend.  


Yesterday was Prayer Shawl Fellowship.... I just love those ladies - they tirelessly crochet and knit afghans and prayer shawls! 

And one of our group has told us about another ministry that wants all kinds of 12 inch Granny Squares that they will put together into afghans for Charity!  So she will be spearheading that new adventure for us and we will be devoting next month to learning new Granny Squares. See why I just love those ladies!

Have also been a YouTube junkie.... learned many techniques for quilting and cooking and lately crocheting.  In my last post I told you all about Bella Coco and that started the Crochet binge!  So in that need to fuel my addiction - I have been watching Mikey at The Crochet Crowd  and of course, just had to join the 2015 Yarnspirations Mystery Afghan Crochet Along! Like I need to start one more darn project! And if you need just one more project - it is never too late to join the Crochet Along!!  

Signed up and got the requirements and went to the store.  My inspiration for the color choice was from the plate that sits on my kitchen desk.  Miss Susie loves to have her picture taken, so I had this from a few months ago..... 



Aren't the colors in the plate so pretty!  And yes, Miss Susie is very very very pretty.  Even with that look on her face :) 

  


So these are the colors... LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!  

Got the first clue, watched Mikey's tutorial and off to make 20 Granny Squares.... (yes more Grannies!)  


Only need to make three more and then will be ready for the next clue.....




Michael is such a patient and good little helper! 

Even my little furry family members have some crochet love!