Homemade From the Heart – A Quilt Journey


About a year ago I took up quilting.  I had made a few with my mother for my older daughters but never really took to it.  Until now.  In the past year I have made 17 quilts and  I find myself often thinking of my mother while doing so.

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While I was growing up she tended to do crafts, even before they were cool.  Frona would crochet, sew clothes, crosstitch, woodwork, and from my very young days at home Artex paints.  She was creative, even drawing and painting at times.  Our dining room table normally had stuff all over it.

I have done various crafts in my adult life as well.  Jumping from one to another periodically. Crosstitching to scrapbooks to chalky paint to embroidery and now quilting. I guess I did take after my Mom some.  🙂

I inherited tubs full of my mother’s fabric scraps, quilt blocks she started, even crochet thread and a partial tablecloth she was making. The thought that her hands touched this fabric to make quilt blocks makes it very meaningful when I made my two sisters their quilts recently.

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 My brothers quilt was one that she had use fabric paint on and was an eagle.

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There are still blocks left to make more quilts.  I will eventually get back to my mother’s blocks but I was not only thinking of her but my grandmothers too.

The woman my father considered his mother and us kids our grandmother made me a quilt when I was an older child.  I recall her asking what color I wanted it to be. Yellow.  Still my favorite color.  I love that quilt.  I can still see it on my twin size bed and I’d sleep under it every night. It was like a piece of sunshine during some dark times.

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Eventually it made it’s way packed away in the attic but I decided it was time to pull it out for this post.  Although coming apart in places it still gives me the feeling that I always had.  The feeling that someone loved me enough to make me something homemade. (and love me as if I were their flesh and blood.)  I have the quilt she made for my parents as well.

Then there is the very worn and tattered quilt that my mother’s mother made.  The blocks have embroidered birds for each state on it.  The white and blue quilt I recall seeing in our home over the years of growing up.  The soft material was so nice to touch, still is.  My mother gave me this quilt long before passed, it too has been packed away.

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Writing this post has taken me down memory lane.  It has re-connected me with feelings that re-kindles an appreciation for the homemade things in life.  While perhaps not physically daunting while creating but still a hard work to create.  From the finger pricks, to the seams to rip out, to the love that was poured into each stitch, and excitement to watch the person open the gift that came straight from the heart and hands.

I can only hope that my creations are at least half as good as the ones the women I’ve mentioned were.  Every crooked stitch, every binding uneven, every quilt block not square, just know that I made it with lots of love, just for you.

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And when years have passed and the seams are coming undone and it’s time to pack it away, think back to the feeling you had when you first opened it or used it.  I promise it will probably fill your chest with warmness and a smile across your face.

Julie

 

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Bringing It Down – Diabetes #6


Written Mid- July 2017

I find myself realizing that just six months ago walking .83 of a mile took me 30 minutes or possibly more.  Today I am able to walk that same path in 18 to 20 minutes.  I’m no runner and I never want to be but I’m pretty proud of this.  I sometimes have to break my walks up throughout the day due to my schedule.  I feel bad when I look at my fitness tracker and see less than 4000 steps by 1:00 p.m.  But there are those days.  I’ve made some improvements in the physical part of my health, a ways to go but I’m headed in the right direction.

 

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This week I decided I might like to try riding a bike.  I have this old Schwinn bike that was my parents. I think it’s kinda cool.  But the tires on it are not made for country roads and with my balance issues it’s quite possible I’ll end up on the ground more often than not.  I’m hoping to try my husband or oldest daughter’s bike to decide if this is a new thing for me.  To see if the addition of bike riding will give me a little variety in life so to speak!  If all works with that adventure,  I might just have to trade my old Schwinn for a newer country road tire bike! 🙂

This week I noticed that when dining out I made good choices so to speak.  Did I still eat a hamburger and fries and even a chocolate shake.  Yes.  But the good choice for me was not picking the combo meal that had the largest size of those items.  I was enjoying my meal even though I didn’t stuff myself.  Then one evening my husband had brought home a piece of  homemade cherry pie.  (In his defense, he asked the diner if they had sugar free.)  I took about 3 bites and decided it was too sweet and I really didn’t want it.  Perhaps that was his plan all along……   🙂

One of the things I dislike is having my blood sugar level go too low, for a couple reasons.  I feel bad and then when I do eat it shoots up which causes other uncomfortable results.  So balance is really a key item in this game of controlling diabetes.  I can tell when my body reaches about 95 to 90, the too low symptoms begin to show.  If it makes it to 70 I need help!  But most of the time I keep it around 105 – 120 area before meals and after meals varies from 125 to 145 depending on what I eat.

I am still in the obese section for BMI.  I’m still in a size 18 and the scale hasn’t moved in a couple months.   I continue to love sweets and I do eat them.  The goodness for me is that I am taking the time to pay attention to my body.  I am sure if I had a trainer I would be even better off but that isn’t going to happen or the home chef.  Contentment with where I have come so far is important, moving forward is key as well but for now I’m okay with just settling into this new way.

Until next time,

Julie

A Lifetime of Words & Spiral Notebooks


Five years of writing.  Three different blogs.  An array of topics, emotions, and so much I might not have shared unless behind a computer screen.  I’ve invited people into my life through the world wide web to walk with me down not only challenging times but joyous moments.

My following isn’t huge by any means, which I am just fine with.  The writing isn’t about drawing attention to myself or my family, it isn’t about making my mountains bigger than yours or my adventures sound more thrilling.  Writing for me is a process, that’s what I have learned in five years of blogging.

It’s always been there.  The writing.   I recall when I was struggling as a child due to my parent’s divorce,  the school counselor told me to write my feelings down.  I used a spiral notebook but the spiral part was on top.  You know like the one below.

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I have no clue where that notebook is today or what I wrote in it.  I’m sure it is filled with much heartache, drama, and anger.  The teen years, some of those notebooks are still in my attic tucked away.  I’m sure my children will learn a few new things upon my death as they go through my things. Those I know will be filled with drama and poems and so much girl/boy heartbreak stuff!

I always liked to start with a very clean fresh piece of paper.  If I messed up I would have to start over, I REALLY disliked scratching out anything.  It’s like the page needed to look perfect although it was filled with the most imperfect things!

My adult journals became ones that looked pretty on the outside.  I always preferred lined pages and some had bible verses or flowers on them.   They too were filled with ordinary daily events, the birth of children, job changes, moving, a marriage, and the failure of one.  The realization of being traumatized as a child not once  but on two different occasions.  The hard times of remarriage and raising daughters through the teen years.  So much written and all included joy as well.  I don’t go back and read them much.  Some are best kept locked away.

I still like a spiral type book to write in even if just for my grocery lists or to do lists.  I don’t journal much anymore on regular paper though.  It’s mostly right here on the blog or I just tuck it away in the crevices called me.

So many things in five years have happened in my life.  I haven’t even blogged about them all.  I suppose I tend to write about the things that I need to process and most of the time my joys aren’t written.  I used to do that more, write about my joys.  But then my joys went to the wayside.  I feel some days more are present now and I see a tiny inkling of myself coming back. There’s a post about all that in my drafts.  Perhaps soon I’ll share that one.

Until next times I hope my posts have helped someone in five years.  I know it’s helped me. Perhaps that was God’s intent… to only help me.

Julie

 

When You Realize You Aren’t as Kind & Empathetic as You Thought You Were


I always thought of myself as someone that was more empathetic and kind to others, than not being that way.  That my Christian faith aided me in that way of life.

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I mean it wasn’t like I volunteered at homeless shelters, raised money for the less fortunate, gave money or food to every person on the corner asking for it.  But I have done some of that plus donate to organizations and people I don’t even know.  I enjoy doing mission work at my home church as well.

But what happened that July morning? What happened to the person that normally sees the aid someone needs before becoming stricken with fear?  Is that only available when it seems a safe distance from me or my husband is home?

As the experience becomes a memory with each passing day I feel guilt on occasion. Guilt for not looking closer and seeing a person in need.  A person that needed medical help. Where was my thinking that these individuals stopped to rest and my porch apparently was the most inviting or just closest?

Instead I saw someone that would hurt my family.  I saw, no I felt fear and the image in front of me became blurred.  Blurred by the fact that later I would find out he was having a seizure.  At the time I had no clue why the scene in front of me was happening but it was only a few seconds glance to be honest.  My mind went to the darkest place verses the light place.

Instead of choosing to secure my daughter safely and take pity on the two strangers on my porch I called 911. (yes I know 911 would help them)  I also proceeded to bunker down in a room with my daughter.  I waited and visited with the lovely dispatcher for a good 20 or 25 minutes.  All the while these folks sat on my front porch.  What did they think, no one was home.  Did they want to be found?

The sheriff showed up and he seemed pretty laid back about the entire situation. Perhaps because he was familiar with the situation, the people, and knew things I didn’t know.  I felt better of course when I spoke to him.  Yet….

I wonder why didn’t they ring my doorbell?  Why did they choose that chair to sit in that they did?  How long had they been on my front porch?  During the night or just a short time? How long did they sit outside my daughter’s window? Are they getting the help they need now?

Many questions have run through my mind. I am the type of person that thinks, that is part of my processing.  Sometimes I never find the answers and it drives me crazy but eventually I let go and move on.

I have no clue who they are to this day or where they are now.  I now wish I would have stepped around the corner with the sheriff next to me to see them completely.  To put a face to the images I recall.  To humanize what occurred that morning, to make some sort of connection.

How to finish this post isn’t coming to me.  So I’ll just close for now.

Julie

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The Struggles of Writing to Process


pushingforwardwithgraceI’ve said it often that I process things through writing.  So to not be sure if I should write about my experience this past week or not is hard for me.  There is a section of me that longs to just write about it, to aid in the discharging of the yuck that is now within me.  But then there is the section of me that thinks it could cause more harm than good.  That exposing the inner self of me would in someway put my family in danger.  Exposing our lives and experiences might make us vulnerable, more vulnerable.

The few people who know of the experience have probably not thought another second about it.  They listened while I told the story, they empathized with me, and now moved on. As well they should.  But to me, little ol’ me, it made an imprint on my inner psyche.

It’s been six days and honestly I am better.  I suppose by six weeks it will be a faded moment in my life.  A story that perhaps we can someday laugh over. Okay, maybe not that but something similar.

In the world we live in we are always at risk or in harm’s way.  Some of us just never wrap our heads around it in daily living.  Especially when we live a pretty splendid life in the luxuries that we do.  Me included.  Oh sure, on occasion I’ll feel uncomfortable in an area or in a circumstance but nothing ever fearing for my life or my daughter’s.

Now that I’ve experienced a small taste of  that type of fear, primarily in the daughter area, I find myself questioning myself.  Questioning the choices that involve our home, our life, our abilities.

That’s a small area of the struggle.  The thought of being somewhat violated, no matter how innocent it may seem to some, and I’m sitting here questioning myself! All I did was sleep in a bit and plan to have a great summer day with my kiddo!

More to come on this topic I’m sure……

Julie

 

Holiday Season – 2016


Although I’ve struggled some this past December, it’s not as bad as the last couple years.  I don’t feel significantly down due to missing my parents.  I suppose the process of grief and missing someone moves to different levels.  It never totally goes away, you just adapt.  That thing called “seasonal” depression, it normally hits me too, but this year there’s just something different.

It’s not the grief or the more than cloudy days.  It’s more of a state of being tired when even being presented with the simplest task.  The loneliness of conquering it outweighs the multitude of benefits from just “pushing through”

I can think back over the past few weeks of moments of feeling goodness.

When my kids and their kids were at our home laughing around the table before Thanksgiving.

Receiving the photo of my husband and youngest daughter on the chair lift or her standing with skis on waiting to go down the mountain.

The longer conversations with the eldest now that she’s found some contentment with her new role.

Seeing big brown eyes, an infectious smile, and hearing “Grandma Julie” only the way E. can say it.

Witnessing P’s first piano recital and thinking how glad I am she’s not petrified to perform.

The growing belly  and texts from the pregnant momma I call daughter number two.

The glow of Christmas lights and the “perfect” leaning tree we have this year with Pandora and Michael Buble playing in the background.

These are just a few of the nuggets that have made me smile in past weeks.  I look forward to Christmas Eve more than any other day this holiday season.  Because all my children and grandchildren will be at our home, attending church, and opening gifts by that leaning tree.

The gifts they give me will be nice I’m sure but the best gift is them spending time with me. (Oh, and if they would clean up after we eat and open gifts that’d be awesome too!)

May you find joy in the holiday season and hold on if you just can’t seem too!

Julie

The Gal That Danced in the Kitchen


“Mom, you don’t dance in the kitchen any more.”

My youngest daughter said those words to me recently.

Her words were profound.

She’s right.  I don’t.  Hearing these words brought a sense of sadness over me.  Which were followed by feelings of being overwhelmed and out of kilter.  How did I get to this place?

I’ve swerved in and out of this journey with a dark cloud that continues to hover over me. From my best estimates, this cloud was teeny-tiny about 3 years ago.  Just a newborn and then quickly began to grow.

With each moment of anxiety, nervousness, and feeling as though I was failing, that small cloud turned into a massive one with the death of my two parents. There were moments of sunshine that blocked the darkness temporarily but as the days passed by the darkness began to win out.

Now three years later I am in the midst of something I know needs changed.  I awake daily feeling either frustrated, over whelmed or sad.  I look in the mirror and am unsure of who I am. Not to mention I  faintly remember that gal that danced in the kitchen.

So many factors go into this equation that has brought me to this point in my life.  I’m approaching my 46th birthday and know there are decisions to be made.  Life changes and willpower are needed; yet I’m struggling to find a starting point.

It’s there.  I know it is.  Deep down inside this dark clouded mind and sedentary body it sleeps.  The one thing that will bring me back to the gal that dances in the kitchen and smiles more often.

Julie

The Climb. The Example.The Trying.


Written prior to today.

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A few of our recent family outings have reminded me of how my lifestyle not only hinders my ability to enjoy things but my families as well.

I begin this post with that statement because on a recent trip where physical endurance was needed I struggled a great deal.  I struggled to the point of tears behind the sunglasses and the feeling of failure on my mind. All while being surrounded by many and in a beautiful setting.

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Sure, I made it back to the top of that 3/4 mile steep dirt path but there were several stops and a lot of emotion.  Some would say, “you made it” or “the water fall was worth it or stop being negative”.  But you know, today, it’s just hard.  Almost too hard and loneliness is mixed into the realm of things.

Some days bring an emotional hardship and some bring physical.  Finding a balance is difficult when dealing with depression and lack of will power.  Yes there are days of goodness and solitude as well.

The part of that first statement about my mental and physical status affecting my family is what I want to address now.  I see the way my negative thoughts that shoot from my mouth make their way to my daughter’s ears.  When I’m not leading my daughter to be physically or mentally healthy she plays it out in front of me.  Keeping my husband and family from enjoying events due to my in-abilities  isn’t fun for them either.

I was thinking back to when things started to falter in this shell of a person God created.  The events leading up to this day. The changes from two or three years back made their way to my thoughts on this warm afternoon.

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It makes me uncomfortable to think of those things and even more so because I have not been stronger.  The fact that I have gotten to the weight I have, my depression isn’t kept at bay, and the realms of my daily life boggle me at times.

This creation of me, it isn’t at it’s best.  I’m not sure when it will reach a better place while on earth.  I can’t promise I will try today or tomorrow but I will try again.   I will walk the path and continue to find my way.

My hope is to reach a point of health and presence and balance.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

I’ve Been Itching….


Untitled designI’ve been itching to write on this blog.  I don’t know why but I miss it.  Okay I do know why.  I feel a freedom here that I do not feel on my other two blogs. Which is sort of odd because I know some that followed me here also follow me at Farming Grace Daily.  I’m a peculiar specimen I suppose. I even contemplated starting yet another blog and calling it Pushing Forward with Grace 2.0.  Is there a name for this type of thinking?

I am who I am.  A person, that at times is calm and cool and reflecting just what is acceptable in this thing called society.  While my inner self is fuming with emotions and wanting to burst out like a bull in a pen!  Yet, just existing on some days to make it from the time I raise my head from the pillow then lay it back down at nightfall.   I’m sure some of you can relate.

The last couple years I have found myself strong, in control, weak, alone, loved, forgotten, celebrated,  crushed, and so much more.  The curve balls that have been thrown into my daily living have sometimes hit me in the gut and others made me soar.

At the moment I’m just surviving.  That’s it.  I’m just here.  That’s how I feel.  I used to be one that went with my gut and trusted it, not so much anymore.  I used to be one to be decisive in my decision-making, now I falter with questions more than move forward.

I’m a thinker and that’s how I am wired.  It’s a positive and a negitive. I was once told by a boss and friend that my expections of myself were just that. A strength and a weakness.  I agree.  But it’s hard to shake a mentality that one has been raised with and lived with for 45 years.

So, perhaps I feel more comfortable writing about me over here because I can relate more to PUSHING forward with grace, verses FARMING grace daily.  When I think of farming I think of growing something and sharing it. (hence sharing grace with others)  In the past couple years, I don’t feel like I’ve been a very good farmer.  I know I haven’t given it nearly enough as I should have.  Pushing, in my mind makes me think of  working towards something.  I suppose I am struggling with that positive and negitive attribute of mine that I previously mentioned.

This is all the words I have for today.

Julie

 

I don’t plan to share these posts on social media.  I feel this is writing for myself, a theraputic way to move this through this journey, yet perhaps help another, or get insight from those outside my world.  God bless your day .

 

 

 

My Story – Your Story


My story.  It isn’t one of much relevance except perhaps to me.  I know the very depth of it and the very simplicity of it.  The way it curves and takes off on paths in this journey. Some are  really only special to me, others are life lessons, and who knows what else.  They may affect others but truly it’s my story and only I know the feelings of joy, despair, heart-break, excitement, and thrill of it!

 

A year later in review

But due to ripple effects and connections with others in my life, my story touches others, even when they may not notice.  How I choose to greet someone, help others, cook my family a meal, answer the telephone, hand a book to another.  Each of these making a connection between me and another.

I wonder what influence I have in this world.  If when I die others will think of me as a kind and giving person.  Did I live out what God intended for me?  Did I take the steps to be at least a small reflection of His love?

My story is full of events, with each new day another added to the collection.  Those events although do include connections, the depth of the experience is mine to hold within.  To take to my grave the powerful ways others influence my life through their story.

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In looking at your story so far, what does it feel like?  What does it reflect in this world of chaos and love and hope and moments of despair?  What connection have you made today that will alter the path of another on their story?

By the grace of God I pray I am a good influence, that I take opportunities to turn my life into something to His glory.  I pray that I see what others are doing to help me to become closer to God.

Grace is a gift,

Julie