I am a notorious “yes” person even when I want to say no. But the older I get the easier it is to say no. I have been known as a people pleaser for a long time but I have since realized it doesn’t save people to try and please them. I am at a stage in my life that requires my being there for my 85 year old mother. She is an amazing person and at times has had a hard life. She gave birth to me, cooked for me and cleaned for me. She sewed my prom dress with me and helped me when my son was born. I can’t do enough for her in her remaining years. My mother loves her home and family. She has a simple sweet three bedroom home with a garden loaded with beautiful flowers. Gardening is her passion. I have 4 other siblings and I live the closest to my mother. When my husband retired we chose to come back to Colorado and live near my folks. My father passed away from colon cancer a few years ago and I was privileged to take care of him. It was hard and exhausting but I would not have done it any other way. My father wanted to die at home. He got his wish as each of us kids took turns taking care of him. Recently I have been going through a “mid-life” crisis of a sort, although it is a late mid-life crisis. I have begun to wonder if I ever really found my “calling.” I had been feeling restless and very angry. I have been angry about being a caretaker and angry about not having a fabulous business. At times I have felt like I wanted to run away from everything. I have always from the day I was born been a little mother and caretaker of my family. I have heard people on television talk shows speak about finding their calling and I think where did I miss the boat? Yes I have hobbies, I love to sew, cook and make collages. None of the arts have proved to be a money maker for me or made me feel like I had found my calling. Ok maybe in moments when someone at an art show loves my poetry and collage or say they are touched by my writing. My son approached me one day and asked me why I was so angry all the time. I was shocked. I thought I was covering it up pretty good. I thought about his question for several days and I had a litany of reasons why I was angry, some were reasonable and some were just my ego getting in the way (you know someone cutting you off in traffic or running over you in grocery store.) I know about living one day at a time and I know the old quote “sufficient unto the day thereof.” It is really hard to think of those simple quotes when you are taking care of the world. Of course I am being facetious about that last comment then again not. I am also good at closing off the world, meaning my friends when I need them the most. There is something vulnerable about telling another person you are struggling. Not too long ago I had, had enough and I called a family friend who is 85. She sat down with me and listened to my tales of woe. Then she offered me this advice. Take care of you. Know what you want and need for just that day. Walk for 20 minutes a day. Do one thing different. Read something uplifting. She said, “I know what your calling is and you are complicating it. Your calling is to just live for today!” She said that very emphatically. She said tomorrow is not here. Yesterday is gone. Learn from our yesterdays. If today you take care of your mother you will not regret it tomorrow. If today you paint, you are an artist. If today you sew, you are a seamstress. If today you spend time with family you will not regret it. She went on to say in her wisdom. Life is short and if we don’t live in the moment doing what God sets down in front of us for that day we will be full of regrets. She went on to say she grew up hating her mother due to abuse. But she took care of her mother till she died. She said she never regretted that time spent with her mom. My mom on the other hand is grateful all the time. She is always growing spiritually and is very happy. Since I have been living mindfully in the day at hand, I have been so much more fulfilled. I am not feeling like I have missed out on life. I am enjoying the day the moment before me. I am not perfect my anger still comes and goes but I know what’s important now. None of us know what tomorrow will bring but by gosh we know what today is bringing and it is up to us to meet it. Will we be regretful? Will we get out and take that walk, stop to see the red-winged black birds come back with their raucous songs. Will we tell someone we love them even if we are struggling? Will we eat that apple just for today instead of the cake? Will we call that friend who won’t be around much longer and get that much needed advice?
I just left the church this morning after a sermon from our pastor. The sermon was about two things one of which was “faith without works is dead” to paraphrase. It was about the importance of faith with action. The second part of the sermon was about the shootings that are taking place all over the US. Our pastor was visibly shaken by the most recent shootings and the other shootings that preceded the Texas church shooting. He was not pro or con about guns but left all of us with some thoughts to ponder. We have gotten so used to the shootings that they are named: Sandy Hook, Aurora Theatre Shooting, Las Vegas Shootings, police slayings, not to mention the many, many, many other shootings involved in drive “bys” suicide and domestic violence. It was pointed out today that the churches are emptying at a record rate. At times it feels as if we are losing our way. That we are getting numb to the violence. I know that is not true, at least not for me, but when we are seeing more and more of this it is human nature to move on. One of the things I thought about this morning was the need for more prayer, the need for more connection to the Holy! Christ was a truly a working faithful believer. Our pastor this morning asked our congregation who grew up praying before bedtime or meals. It struck me that I took these things for granted. I pray a lot now. I pray when I drive, I pray at night, I pray in the morning. Much of my prayers are gratitude prayers. We need an infusion of the Holy. I believe the only way to have this is through prayers, meditation and faith with works. Our churches are dying and I am a part of that. I have not attended church regularly over the years. My mom rarely misses a Sunday. This latest shooting had me thinking I was glad to not be in church. But we need the community of others to build our faith to share our hurts or our joys, to worship and praise our creator. I need the community of the holy no matter the religion. We need each other. We need prayer in our homes, we need to pray with our children, we need to pray for our world. There are great mountains to move to get back to a society where these awful happenings are stopped. As our pastor said this morning it has to start with teaching our children to pray before bedtime and teaching them right from wrong, teaching them kindness. It has to be grass roots it has to start at home. Gun control or no control we have to look at the callousness of some to take the life of another. I get that there are many mentally ill folks out there. But we have to address the desensitizing of ourselves and our children when watching our electronics, our movies, our TV shows, (that show mind numbing graphic epic violence.) We need to bring ourselves back to the Holy. That means me too. I need to reach out of my comfort zone and return to church. It means praying before bedtime. It means praying before a meal. It means praying for our world, praying that our world will become a nicer safer place for all of us, our children and our grandchildren. There’s great power in prayer. It surely couldn’t hurt.
I was busy in my sewing room making up some cards for Halloween. I love these because they are simple and would frame well in a simple 5″ x 7″ standard frame. Below the instructions you will find a purchase supplies list.
Here is a list of the items you will need for making these cards:
- Card Stock with brown envelopes.
- Scraps of burlap
- Sewing machine with black thread
- Black Felt
- Spooky Patterns printed out to fit the burlap
- Vintage lace
- Heat n Bond Lite for sewing
Instructions: I cut the burlap into 4.50″ x 6.50″ scraps. Cut a small strip of Heat n Bond Lite and attach to the backside of the burlap. With a medium hot, iron press the burlap onto the card (you need just enough Heat n Bond to stabilize the burlap). Stitch the burlap onto the card leaving about .25″ edge for unraveling. ( I used a zig- zag stitch for my cards.) After I sew the burlap on I pull the edge strings to get that raveled look. I found my silhouettes by googling “free Halloween silhouettes” I edit them and crop them to the size to fit my burlap. (approximately 3″ x 4″). Take the black felt and cut a square about 10″ x 10″ and with a medium iron press the Heat n Bond onto the back of the black felt. Leaving the peeling paper on the felt pin on your printed designs. Peel the Heat n Bond backing off and with a medium hot iron press the felt silhouette onto the burlap on the card.
Caution: Check a sample of the felt with your iron first as too hot of an iron will melt the felt. I found medium heat to work great.
Supplies I purchased:
Heat n Bond Lite at Walmart
Burlap at Walmart sewing department for $3.97 a yard.
Kraft smooth A7 Cards and Envelopes Premium Heavyweight Cards. Core’dinations,(Cards come in a set of 50 cards and envelopes) I bought these at Hobby Lobby in the Paper Crafting Department. (Don’t forget your coupon!)
Autumn and New Beginnings
This morning on my walk I could feel the edges of autumn creeping in. There is a cooler breeze crisping up the morning air. It’s almost sweater weather. A few of the leaves are turning from their deep greens to a yellow squash color. I love this feeling of autumn. I love the longer shadows of August. I love the end of the hot summer days. For me this is the beginning of the season of gratitude. This signals the harvest time, the time to take stock. This is the time when I can step back and review the year. In many ways it’s been a tough year. In many ways it’s been a good year. My harvest will be plentiful. We sold a home that was difficult to sell due to the fact that it sat on a top of a steep hill. But, none the less, it was our home for almost 9 years. We lived there long enough to see the aspens grow a few feet. We lived there long enough to see the same mourning doves come back year after year. Long enough to watch a family of bob cats grow up and hear the chorus of coyotes. We were there long enough to weather many Colorado snows and “shovelings” of the steep driveway. I was always wondering when I was out there shoveling with my husband and a car would drive by were they thinking, “were they nuts to buy that house?” However, the morning sunrises from that house were unsurpassed. Morning after morning of bright oranges, reds and deep purple colors all a glow from the east. It’s a painter’s glee. Oh and the stars on a moonlit clear night stepping out on the deck and watching for shooting stars and pointing out the constellations. We sold the house to another kindred spirit. (I believe that most homes seek out their owners.) I believe most of us are instinctively drawn to a home. Even if they haven’t discovered the joyous sunsets or starry nights yet they soon will. If they really look they will wake up one morning to see four bucks resting in the morning under the juniper trees with sunlight glowing on their velvet antlers. Looking doesn’t mean “seeing” though. Seeing is the wonder of looking beyond it’s the joy of awareness of the little miracles life has to offer. This home we sold saw me through two surgeries and the death of my father. I have baked dozens of Christmas cookies, batches of soup and chicken wings for the games. We have moved into an apartment temporarily and we are waiting to move into our new home. I believe that this home found us. I am restless for privacy, restless to see the stars again from my front porch, restless to sit on my back patio with coffee and wait for the sun to rise. I am longing once again to watch new aspens grow. To see what hidden gifts this new home will bestow on us. We close in September and move in at the best time of the year. I can smell the turkey roasting already. I am looking forward to the chili cooking for the Bronco games and the sound of family laughing and enjoying our home. Homes are meant to be shared. They are meant to be shelters of love, growth peace and healing.
My dad was blessed to be able to die in his home in his own bed. I remember sitting the edge of his bed and we both were watching the poetic movement of the dust motes on a ray of sunshine. We were marveling at what you can’t see unless you look towards the light. For me, that means “light” or being aware. So, welcome autumn, here’s to a new home and new memories. I can smell the gingerbread already!
Written by, V. Hornsby
When Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary
This morning I am thinking about the winter and the cold weather. I constantly look for ways to keep myself “in spirit.” For me being “in spirit” means being in gratitude, peace, joy, forgiveness and being out in nature. When I feel I need a lift, being out in nature is vital to me. I turn off the “tube” bundle up and take to the back yard. The texture and colors of winter are enough to bring even the hardest of hearts back to their spirit. What we can find in our own yards is amazing. There’s a lot going on in the world as the TV so often points out. But there is also a lot going on right in our own back yard. Our Juniper trees on our property are several hundred years old. They twist and turn over the years from wind, sun and the relentless search for water. Their beautifully twisted trunks are painted with a soft sage green moss. All the different wild flowers turn brown and the textures are amazing.
Winter white, think again of the brown grasses
lying down from the blanket of fresh fallen snow.
Winter white, think again of the blue-green branches
of the spruce and pine showing signs
of new growth even in winter.
Winter white think again, of the green cactus
hiding under the tumbleweeds.
Winter white think again at the sunrise of this January morning.
I recently sat with my mom in the doctors office (my mom is 83) she told the doctor she was very upset about being a burden to her children. I knew she had been feeling bad about about all the trips up to her house to help her out when she fell and fractured 5 ribs and the the trips to the ER to help stabilize a rapid heart beat. She and my father (who passed away 2 years ago from colon cancer) were and are fiercely independent. I know she wants desperately to stay in her beautiful cozy home as long as she can. All five of us children would like to see that she gets that wish also. My father wanted to die at home and because of hard work and boundless love from siblings, friends and incredible hospice care he got his wish. What I wish for my mom to know is this. Yes I am older and do get a bit tired or cranky but would I be anywhere else. Heck no! I chose to move back to be close to my parents as they age. What I would like my mom to know is I love her boundlessly. Not just for bearing 5 children but raising incredible children who are loving and caring. How could I begin to thank her for the times she nursed us through chicken pox, measles, mumps, cuts and bruises, broken hearts, the list is endless. For me in particular when I had my son and he was just three months old we had no second car, I had no car seat, no high chair, no stroller. I was stranded every day in a small two bedroom apartment. My mom would show up out of the blue load me and my son in the car and take us to buy a stroller. She would take me to get a hamburger at McDonald’s and that was like steak to a 19 year old,broke, frightened mother. After a painful divorce my mom and dad took me and my son in. Mom babysat while I worked, she baked cookies and listened while I poured out my broken heart to her. She made me belly laugh, she made wonderful dinners and we would go for long walks together. There is one moment in particular that reminds me of how much love she poured out to us children. When I moved in to my folks house with my son, it was after a very bad, violent break up of my marriage. I came home one night from work exhausted and scared. I had lost everything I owned in the divorce. I came home so sad and my mother had made my bed, pulled back the sheets and in that simple act I have never in my life felt so loved and nurtured. I knew then everything would be OK. Do I owe her yes! Do I want to be here for her you bet! My parents were far from perfect but I do know without a doubt that we were very much loved and that love shines through all the time everyday. Yes, I and my brother and sisters will be there for my mom it’s what true love is all about. It’s about saying thanks for all she and dad have given us.