Thursday, May 30, 2013

Finished: October Afternoon Scrap Quilt

Well, it's done. The only yet-to-be-quilted quilt tops hanging around are two antique ones and I don't feel a sense of urgency there. So glad this one is finished!

It's headed for Ginger's bed right now.

I think it may be just a few days before I start piecing another top...

And another quilt...

Finishing another quilt today: the October Afternoon scrap quilt.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


 I cannot BELIEVE I have left this project this long. Probably some of you can't remember the quilt top I assembled a million (more or less) years ago. It's a simple scrap quilt in blue, green and yellow. Anyway, I finally got out the backing and batting and made the sandwich, pinning it together to get it ready for quilting. I'm going to machine quilt it. I can't even fathom the energy I'd need to hand-quilt it...

The sheet (which looks plain white from the view) is actually an old cotton flannel sheet I found at the thrift store an age ago for like a dollar. It's white with a pattern of yellow flowers and green leaves in bunches. The batting is already on top of it in the photo below. I like blue painter's tape for getting things straight on the floor.

The boys were engrossed in "Scooby Doo" and didn't mind that I pushed the couch all the way back against the bookcase so I'd have room. 

Laying the quilt-top down before pinning...

And the sandwich is made and pinned. I began to wish I'd left my hearing aids out as I had to listen to Scooby and Shaggy while crawling around on the floor, painstakingly inserting pins. Hey, I think that's Daphne! "Mhelp, mhelp!" I think she's trying to tell us something! [Yeah, she's saying "help" you doofus...]

More photos as I hope to start sewing this afternoon.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Putting My Full Weight Down

Once upon a time there was a man who was deathly afraid of flying. He couldn't see how anything so heavy could stay up in the air. He had to take a trip and was eventually persuaded to schedule a flight. When his friend met him at the airport after he got off the plane he asked how it had been. The man was pale and shaky. "I can't believe we landed safely but you know I didn't put my full weight down the whole time we were in the air."
Even if our fear isn't flying, we all do this to some extent. We refuse to put our full weight down, thinking we can "hop off" if things get bad. That "full weight" is actually faith. [Because my fear is losing this baby I'm going to talk about that, but you can see how this easily applies to many things.]

When I saw the second line come up on the test, I immediately dropped to my knees and thanked God for blessing us with another child. I had previously told myself that I would be HAPPY and try not to be scared when it happened. Not an easy task considering I had loved and lost twice in the past year and a half. I knew that I would embrace this child fully, loving him or her regardless of how much time we were given together on this earth.

Well, yes, but then time went by and fear crept in. I tried to protect myself from future hurt, not letting myself think about the future, make little sweaters or blankets, etc. I appended everything with "if the baby lives" and "assuming things go well". I refused to make plans. I haven't bought maternity clothes, fearing I would have to pack them away (again).

When we were approaching 13 weeks and the times when I had lost the boys, I was holding my breath. Father and I try to take a walk every evening. It's a good time to talk without being interrupted. I said, "13 weeks tomorrow! I can't believe it!" We both commented on how surreal it felt, thinking that this baby might actually live. I told him I had tried not to think ahead, only being grateful for one day at a time, and found it hard to believe things were going well. He said it reminded him about the joke about the man not putting his full weight down on the plane. I laughed because that's exactly what it was like! I was 30,000 feet up and still not putting my weight down!

I've thought about it some more and realized a few things. When I saw two lines I had already left the airport. There was no way that a plane crash at that point wasn't going to hurt (to say the least). I'm more than a third of the way to the destination and thinking that I am saving myself by not putting my full weight down is rather ludicrous. If the plane goes down, then it will be a massive tragedy and there's nothing I can do to prevent that. But here's the big point: I have survived two plane crashes and I'm still around to talk about it. Why? God! I'm not putting my full weight down on thin air, I'm putting my full weight down on God, who carries the Earth and the stars and the entire universe! That is a plane that won't ever crash, no matter what. In an earthly sense, the planes carrying Innocent and Andrew crashed and burned, but in an eternal sense we all landed safely in God's arms without a scratch.

No matter what happens on earth with this pregnancy, eternally we are fine. I can put my full weight down, my full faith and trust in God, who is always there and will always catch us, even if we fall.

And so, I am uncurling myself from the seat and putting my full weight down, looking out the window and enjoying the view. May it be blessed!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Delayed Blossoming

Last spring I planted flowers. I was depressed over the one year anniversary of Innocent's death, I was still freshly grieving for Andrew, I was disheartened over our inability to conceive again. I wanted to do something positive. So I planted flowers.

There are two beds in front of our house, one on either side of the steps to the porch. One side gets very little sun, the other side, way too much. I tried to choose flowers to suit the conditions and planted seeds. On the sunny side I had some success. (That's also the side where I plant orphaned plants. They seem to do well as soon as I stop paying attention to them.) We had some flowers but not too many. The shady side was a total bust. Later in the summer I gave up and got some hostas. The ferns next to the steps did well as they always do in that shady, damp spot.

I have a black thumb. Very little that I plant grows. You can blame it on the soil (and the soil isn't great, to be sure), but for some reason I just don't have that "touch". It must have skipped a generation because my mother is wonderful with plants as her mother was before her. With the soil as seemingly infertile as I was it was a depressing situation.

This spring Flopsy asked if I were going to plant any more flowers. I like flowers, but I don't like being reminded of failure, so I put her off. I pointed out how almost nothing we had planted last year had grown. With the optimism of youth she wanted to try again but I was jaded. I tried to take pleasure in the few green things returning in the front beds: the lemon grass, the elephant ears, the banana plants, the salvia, the ginger. The ferns were resurrecting.

Then one day, I saw something pink on the shady side. I bent down to look. Merciful heavens, a flower? I didn't even recognize it. I went back the next day but it appeared that the neighbor children had picked it. Shoot. The next week there was another one. They picked it too. (Note: by this time I was getting rather annoyed.) I stopped looking because I was so busy with Holy Week and getting ready for Pascha.

Then the other day I stood out in front of the steps. Flowers! All kinds! And interestingly enough, there were NONE on the sunny side.

I realized these were all the flowers I had planted last year that had never come up. Every last one. There are more every day.

Why? Why hadn't they come up last year when I desperately wanted them to? When I needed some signs of life? Some signs that I wasn't a total failure?

I guess like babies, flowers come up when God wants them to. Like the flowers, the baby is growing. Tomorrow I'll be 14 weeks and there's still a strong heartbeat there every morning. I don't know why the flowers and the baby are here now when I was trying so hard to grow them last year, but this is one of God's mysteries.

The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. [Song of Solomon, 2:12]

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sts. Constantine and Helen

We had a lovely early Liturgy this morning for Sts. Constantine and Helen. It was quiet and peaceful and just very nice. There were just two others besides our family there. When I looked up during communion I realized our children had lined up in age order (boys first because they were serving). One of those moments when you wish you had a camera. I tried to imprint it on my memory instead.

Joyous feastday to all celebrating their name days today! (Many years to our oldest!)


Kontakion for Sts. Constantine & Helen, in Tone 3 –

On this day Saint Constantine 
 and blessed Helen, his mother, 
 have revealed the Cross, the Wood 
worthy of all veneration. 
For the Jews, it is dishonor; 
but faithful rulers 
have it as a weapon vanquishing their opponents. 
For our sakes hath it been shown forth 
as a great ensign, 
dread and most awesome in war. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

When I grow up...

How many of us wrote little paragraphs on this in fifth grade? Raised our hands and said we wanted to be ___ when we grew up? When we were choosing a college, turned options over in our minds, picked majors, sat, disillusioned, through seminars. Sometimes, slowly, practicality and realism replaced those shining dreams we had as children.

   How many of us said we wanted to be saints?

We sat through lectures on "choosing a college major", "choosing a career", "resume writing 101". We looked over graduate school catalogs, wrote cover letters, sent in applications. We listened to Aunt so-and-so's advice. We listened to our cousin's advice. We listened to our parents' advice. We spoke with our college mentor.

   How many of us spoke with a spiritual father?

We start out in our careers, work our way up, work our way across, change careers, change cities. We marry, have children, join the PTA. We amass cars, homes, electronics, children's toys, wardrobes. We choose places to go on vacation.

   How many of us went to church?

We get older, the kids get older, we look around, wonder what happened. The class reunion is coming up and we worry. Have we been published? Become a motivational speaker? Become a CEO? Been to Europe? Did we start losing hair or gaining a belly? We're dissatisfied. We have it all, and yet we have nothing.

    What was the goal? Can we take it with us?

          Did we ever grow up?

                     What do you want to be when you grow up?

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Blogging questions

Ok, I know I haven't posted much lately and part of that has had to do with being horrendously tired after Holy Week and Pascha, but part of it has also had to do with the fact that Blogger is being very difficult. Uploading photos now takes about 15 minutes per photo. This problem has been going on for weeks and I've been increasingly reluctant to sit at the computer that long, playing solitaire or Sudoku while checking periodically to see if the photo has finally uploaded. After all, I do have a life, although sometimes that may seem uncertain. The only thing Blogger/Google has suggested seems to be to switch to Google Chrome which annoys me on principle. It's been bad enough that I've been looking into switching servers, going to Wordpress or something with the blog. Father is suggesting I just use G.C. for the blogging but I reminded him of what a headache it was when I had to switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox. I'm undecided as to what action to take, but really, I can't keep hanging around staring at a screen that isn't updating.


(Only one photo left to go...sigh...)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bright Monday: "And upon those in the tombs, bestowing life!"

It was a very different Pascha this year. Two years ago I was struggling mightily to hear the message of the Resurrection, having just buried Innocent. Last year I was struggling again - I was supposed to have been 7-8 months pregnant with Andrew. Instead we visited them both on Pascha and sang "Christ is risen!" This year we went out to the graves to sing, but this time I was carrying a little brother or sister for them. I don't know what the future holds, but it was a joy to celebrate Pascha.



Lilies coming in quite nicely.

Christ is risen from the dead
trampling down death by death,
and upon those in the tombs
bestowing life!

Agape Vespers

(Our family picture for the year)

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Christ is Risen!!!
Indeed He is Risen!!!

Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and upon those in the tombs
bestowing life!