Friday, March 26, 2010

Lighten up, people!

I watch people. When I was younger, I never spoke. (Yes, those who know me now think I'm lying, but I'm not.) I just listened and watched. I still watch. Lately, I have seen so many unhappy people. I don't know if more people are unhappy or if I just notice it more, but it's sad. 

Yesterday, my Hero and I went to a pizza buffet for lunch. We got there just as they opened but it's a pretty popular buffet so it started filling up pretty fast. An older couple, probably in their mid to late sixties, came in right behind us and sat at a table near us. The entire lunch, the woman did nothing but fuss and fume at the man—over everything. She fussed at what salad items he chose: "I hate when you eat that!" She fussed over how much pizza he put on his plate: "Why did you get three pieces to start with?! What if you can't eat that much?" She even fussed because he bumped the table: "Would you scoot back?! You are jostling me!" They were behind me so I couldn't see his face but I never heard him respond and I think maybe he's so used to the verbal barrage that he ignores it. I hurt for both of them. I hurt for him because he has to endure that, but I hurt for her because somewhere inside she has to be hurting to spew such pain.

I know people close to me that are just as miserable. Usually it is because of a hurt or even a perceived hurt years ago that they have allowed to fester and become bitter and poison. Sometimes it is because they have become habitually contentious. Either way, they are miserable and work to make everyone around them miserable.

My Hero and I have been married for almost 29 years. I can't imagine talking to him like that woman was talking to her husband. (I am not perfect by far. When we were first married I was a hothead, but God used several circumstances to teach me better.) I wondered what it was that made that couple marry in the first place if she can't stand him. Then I realized it's probably not him she can't stand, it's her own hurt. He just bares the brunt of it.

After we left the restaurant, my Hero brought up the subject. He had heard it all, too. We talked about bitter people and those who feel like they have to scrape and scratch to stay on top of the heap. This verse came up:

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." Timothy 6:6

This is a lesson that both of us have been striving to learn. We've undergone a few trials in the past few years and we both found ourselves getting bitter. We realized what was happening and we began to work on forgetting those things that are behind and being content. The pains of trials that are nurtured become bitter and I certainly don't want to be sitting in a pizza restaurant 15 or 20 years from not while another couple listens to my bitterness spew forth all over the love of my life.

"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her." Proverbs 3:13-18

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I've been reading

I love the Kindle app on my iPhone. Now, I even have the Kindle app on my Mac. I know what you are thinking and I relish the organic feel of a real book in my hands, too, but the Kindle app is so convenient that it didn't take me long to love it almost as much.

I love the fact that anytime I'm waiting or have downtime, I can pull out my phone and read, picking up right where I left off last time. One of the things I love the most is free… free books. Amazon has tons of free books for the Kindle and the selections change regularly. I've discovered Christian literature is often among the free offerings. I am having a wonderful time discovering new books and authors I might not have otherwise read.

In February, Daisy Chain: A Novel, by Mary DeMuth was free. I downloaded and read and fell in love with the Defiance, Texas Trilogy but more,  Mary's writing. I've read Christian literature before, and so often the characters were one dimensional and the plot so predictable. Even the dialogue is so banal that I can tell you what the characters are going to say ahead of time. In short, it bored me.

Not so with Daisy Chain. The characters, all of them, are round and real. Each of them struggle with faith and relationships and just the human condition. It didn't hurt that I grew up in a small Texas town and so I felt like I knew these people. Jed Pepper and Daisy Chance are two early adolescent best friends making their way through the trials of life, when Daisy disappears. Everyone in town handles the disappearance in his or her own way: some fear, some blame, some feel guilt, some grieve, some pray, some reject God. Most of them wrestle with all of those things, like real people do.

So far, I haven't bought a lot of Kindle books because the free ones have kept me satisfied, but as soon as I finished Daisy Chain, I downloaded A Slow Burn and gobbled it up. I can't wait for the final book. In fact, waiting makes me crazy.

I was telling a friend about the books, and googled Mary DeMuth. I found a lovely Christian writer who is passionate about her writing and her Jesus. I'm an official fan. If you follow my blog at all, or know me, you know that I am a writer…a frustrated one, but a writer just the same. The amount of encouragement and knowledge I have gleaned from Mary so far is invaluable. Jesus let me stumble across Mary and I'm a better for it.

Now, I've downloaded Thin Places. I've only made it through a few chapters because the glut emotions that the book is churning. I've even read a couple of chapters to my Hero and he cried. I'm not ready to tell you about this book yet, but I will soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Latest Project

I read about this on another blog and just had to do it. So I sent off for my kit and it came in the mail.

I sewed.

And quilted. (This was my first attempt at free motion quilting.)

And finished the quilt.

I will definitely do this again soon!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An emotional day

Early today, I realized I'm afraid. I'm not ready to tell all about it, but I've been afraid for a long time. I think that fear is what has kept me from working on my memoir of my mother.

Then later, I found out my uncle had died. He was my mother's brother. I was talking to my dad about it and he told me some things that I had never known about my grandmother. Things that made the 13-year-old girl inside of me comforted in knowing.

Days like this are rough and wonderful all at the same time.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's been a long winter

I know it's been a long winter everywhere, it seems, but the winter in Iowa felt endless. We had snow on the ground everyday for more than three months. Now, to lifelong Midwesterners, that's not a big deal. I hear them brag about the winters "back in the day." (I don't believe them though when they say that back in the day, it started snowing in August and didn't quit until May... that's stretching it more than a bit.)

But I'm not a Midwesterner. I've made my home in the Midwest for almost 20 years now, but I am still a Texas girl. We never had snow on the ground for three days straight, let alone three months.

This winter got to me. I think I understand a little those people who say they get depressed in the winter. I did. I was so tired of cold and snow and ice, that I didn't want to do anything. I think I've been to Walmart less than half a dozen times since Thanksgiving. That's pretty bad.

I missed the sunshine. Even though I know we are headed into our rainy season, the sun comes out between the storms and that makes them tolerable.

It dawned on me, that because the Son shines on me between the storms of life, they too are tolerable.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My Rag Quilt

I've always wanted to try a rag quilt and I saw this really cute cowboy material so I gave it a shot. I chose to back the quilt with flannel and use flannel as the batting. After cutting all the squares and stacking them, I was ready to go!

Lots and lots and lots of X's across the squares...
I sat and watched this for a long time.....
Then, clipping and clipping and clipping the seams....
One washing to start the ragging process and here we go!! I really liked the way it turned out. I have another project I'm starting soon. As soon as the supplies arrive, I'll tell you about it. But I am certainly going to make another rag quilt after that.

The end!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the quilt worked it's magic right away....