Bonnie Hunter Mystery Madness

5 12 2013

Yes, madness!

I mean that in a good way, though.

When I joined a local quilt guild in late February, the ladies who had participated in the 2012 Bonnie Hunter mystery were still complaining and from what I gleaned from discussions, the quilts weren’t finished. I’m sure I heard at least one declare that they would not be doing another one.

It takes awhile to learn all the lingo and get familiar with big names and brands, designers and greats. I have a long way to go still, but at the time, I remember feeling that I should know about the Bonnie Hunter mysteries. I heard the name enough in my first few weeks in the guild to know I wouldn’t forget it! Of course, I googled it right away, found Quiltville, took a look at past mysteries and said to myself (and to my hubby and kids while showing the quilt pics from the site), “This is madness! No wonder all the ladies at the guild were frustrated. What are these things made of? A million pieces?”

And then I followed it up with: “They are really pretty, though.”

It was about the end if September when one of the ladies in the guild asked if I’d be joining them for the Bonnie Hunter mystery this year. She said I should. She said, “It”ll be fun!”

Fun to watch me loose my mind? Didn’t they realize they’d already scared me away from it?

After I was asked a second time a couple of weeks later, I was tempted to go to Quiltville and check out the album of mysteries past….again.

I quizzed my family to get their two cents. I’d already decided this was a challenge I had to take up. I put the date of the first clue release on my calendar, and made a special trip to Lowe’s to get my paint swatches. I pulled fabrics from my itty bitty stash, and kept the paint cards in my purse. I added a fat quarter here and a fat quarter there. I still don’t have every inch of fabric I’ll need, but I’ll pick it up along the way. I picked up a bit more oranges today, actually.

I have 77 of the 92 orange background tri recs for clue #1 done, and none if the neutral background.

I got a late start! I forgot to have my calendar buzz me a reminder. That’s the thing about such cool technology – you have to tell it what to do! So I didn’t get started till Wednesday ….and another clue comes out tomorrow! What to do? I can’t feed my family freezer fodder again tomorrow because I’ve engaged in the madness for another day! Can I?

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Join the madness…
http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2013/12/celtic-solstice-mystery-monday-link-up-1.html

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Craziness

4 12 2013

So many times in the last few weeks I’ve wanted to post, but craziness steps in.  Craziness?  you ask.  Yes.  It seems that everything comes at once, sometimes.  My website was launched, and I’ve been busy promoting it with business cards, displaying my quilts at a craft bazaar, and using Facebook to get the word out.  Of course, I’ve also got myself busy with too many projects at once, and I can hear Lucy van Pelt saying, “It’s your own fault, Tracey Lynn!”  Haha.  It is.  But I just can’t help it!!!! Let me explain.  When Pieces by Polly offers a quilt-along, I just HAVE to do it.  Her patterns are quick, simple and so original.  I think the next step will be to sew the rows… 20131204-111843.jpg And then when I was asked to participate in Bonnie Hunter’s mystery quilt with the ladies at the guild, I just had to say yes, because I’ve never done a mystery quilt before, and it’ll be more fun to do it with others, right?  Here’s my stash for that…

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And if I’m going to sell t-shirt quilts, it’d be wise of me to always have one in the works – if I don’t have an order to work on, I should work on one for our family to have more examples to show (I literally have 5 stacks of tees for different quilts), or I should work on one to sell outright (I’ve collected Kentucky Wildcat tees from thrift stores to make a fan quilt to sell).

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I’m behind on the Craftsy 2013 BOM,

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and I bought fabric to make a table runner for a friend, which I haven’t started yet. IMG_0949I haven’t finished the pattern I was making for an EPP bag – my little town has two stores that sells zippers, and both were out of stock of the color zipper I needed.  So the project got set aside and I’ve yet to finished it…except for buying those zippers when they came in 😉

I need about a week of full days to quilt to get current, but that’s where it gets crazy…. It IS the holiday season, so there has been cooking and decorating and extra family time…(no shopping yet).  To make it all crazier, there’s a ton of underlying stress in our house….

Though I have not had a job outside this home in more than 20 years (other than volunteer work), I now have to get a job.  We sacrificed financially while I homeschooled our children and I have stayed home since I stopped doing that three years ago (well I did go to school long enough to get an AS), but now, I can’t stay home any longer.  We are sinking.

My son’s friend was diagnosed with Leukemia in September and has undergone a transplant and been in a coma since.  I cannot get her off my mind.  I am thinking about her and praying for her, my son, and her family constantly. I haven’t even met her, but my son has spoken of her almost daily for over a year…I feel like I know her, and my heart is just breaking for him. Reading her brother’s blog just makes me cry. Every time there’s a new post I think maybe it’s the one saying she’s awake.

And I cry entirely too much.  That makes it hard to do anything.  Not sure what’s going on there, but maybe some PTSD from my mom’s stroke this past spring.  Maybe winter is affecting me – but I AM taking my D3 and using my daylight bulbs.  I don’t know.  I am super-stressed about having to get a job, too. Maybe it’ll help today to just have gotten some of that in type.  Now I’m going to turn on K-Love and quilt.  Therapy.





All Things New

19 08 2013

As I sit in my loft today, working on the last two lessons of the Pieces by Polly quilt along, it is quiet in the house, save for the gentle noises of the dryer with a fresh load of towels, my little Viking humming away and the radio, reminding me with song after song that Jesus makes all things new. It’s been a difficult few years for me, starting with my daughter being enrolled in public school, after which I went into a tailspin trying to find my place in my new world. College seemed the answer, but turned out just to be an experiment in proving to myself (and everyone else) that I could’ve gone that route any time I chose. I excelled academically and was offered a full scholarship upon completion of the first two years, but I realized that I’d been quite unhappy pursuing an education, despite the high marks. It just wasn’t satisfying. It doesn’t even compare to homeschooling my children all day. As a matter of fact, nothing compares to that, as I have discovered. For me, that was truly my calling. And that job is done. I have been so lost.

Before I found my feet, my mom had a stroke, my dad’s abusive tendencies came roaring back from my childhood into my already rocking world, and my husband took a big pay cut with a job change when the company he’s worked for the last decade closed doors. To top it all off, my son doesn’t like college and my daughter isn’t happy in public school.

I have been asking myself how my perfect world became such a mess, and I have truly wanted to just give up. What does that look like? For the first time in my life, I lost my optimism.

Sometime in the wee hours of the night, all this became smothered in God’s grace, as I prayed and just lay in his presence. Today, I know that He has got all of this in His hands, and that I need to just be still. He makes all things new.

And so I will go on about my days, trusting God with all those things….and that, I have decided, is how you go about giving up, when you just can’t take any more.





Settled in for Fall

13 11 2011

The leaves have changed the picture of my world in more ways than visually. I have always loved autumn for it’s colors, it’s cozy clothing, the anticipation for the holidays and family-time that it brings with it, and it’s relaxed feeling. The change in the air we breathe feels like a deep breath of perspective for me. It’s a time of year that I feel like it’s ok to sit down and rest (metaphorically). Fall is my time-out, used to sort of re-group and enjoy where I am. I can allow myself not to feel pressured to make big strides as I focus on family, God’s love, and rest. I look forward to bowls of hot comfort foods with the ones I love and snuggling with a quilt on the couch for laughter and the feeling of slowing down, even though the holiday season is so busy.

The wind is howling outside and the only dread I feel is for the grocery shopping that simply must be done! I had a wonderful visit with my mom, aunts, grandma and other family for the last few days, and it really just felt like the holidays are already here. I can’t wait to share a feast of Thanksgiving with those I am so thankful for!

This will likely be the last Thanksgiving and Christmas with our son still living at home, and I will treasure every second. God is good. Even when life is far from perfect – especially then, I think. Right now, with the changes at my husband’s job, we are not assured of an income for more than a few months, but I feel strangely at peace. I know that it is my assurance in my savior that allows me to feel so secure – nothing matters more than eternity – and I know what eternity I have in store.

It’s funny how I allow fear to consume me at times, and how I feel fearless at others. We go through mountains and valleys regardless of our actions and reactions, I suppose. I guess I’m just now mature enough to see that. I know that I am blessed and I feel that I can hardly stand how much I’m blessed considering how little I deserve it, sometimes.

Life is beautiful – and sometimes it’s ugliness makes it all the more lovely when you know that God is in control.





Still Searching

19 05 2011

With the semester ended and both my precious children on the public school treadmill, I have found myself at  home alone most days.  I’m not really sure what to think of it, yet, because it is truly a new experience.  I grew up the oldest of four – in that situation, you are never alone.  I left my parents’ home entering into marriage, and so have never lived alone.  Before we had children, I worked or went to school most of the day, so I was not alone then, either, as my husband also returned home at the end of the day.  When my children grew to be school-aged, I educated them myself.  But now, for the first time in my life, I am spending considerable amounts of time alone.

I guess I’ve made it sound like a bad thing, but that’s not my intention or my feeling about it.  The quiet is nice, and the freedom to choose what I do with my daily hours is nice, but I have not yet taken advantage of that.  For now, I tend to the housework at a slower pace than before, and sprinkle in some reading, Facebook and silent reflection over too many cups of coffee in the morning.  It’s good to think.

I nay have changed my mind about college.  Over the last year of classes, I have realized that I don’t think I’d like working in a clinical setting with patients who have been referred to a dietician.  So I looked into nutrition…thinking that I’d have a bigger impact there.  If I don’t enjoy teaching students who do not love to learn, why would I want to teach adults how to eat if they don’t really want to change?  But my work options with that degree aren’t that exciting, either.  What the heck do I want?  I really need to know in order to choose a path, but the truth is that I just don’t know.

Some days, I dream of running a little shop that offers some food…I love to cook, and offers nutritional counseling…I’d love to make it easier to decipher the whole nutritional realm for clueless Americans who’ve been confused by fads and commercials for too long, and offers some classes…in maybe cooking, nutrition, belly dancing, different kinds of art….  Isn’t that funny?  I’ve never heard of such a place, but all the things I love to do under one roof for others to discover, enjoy, and pay me to do them just sounds great!  Hahaha.  We all have a dream, right?

I’m looking also at a degree in Alternative Medicine.  It’s new, and so I’m not really grasping the work possibilities with such a degree, but the course list is the most interesting one I have ever seen.  Herbology, Nutrition and Aging, Chinese Medicine, Feng Shui, Acupuncture, Reflexology, Chiropractic, Stress Reduction, Dietary Influences on Disease, Naturopathy, Antioxidants, Detoxification…the list goes on.  What I am not sure about is what exactly I could do with it.  I am told that I’d have many options – that I could work at wellness centers, alternative medicine practices, spas and health centers, or continue my education to specialize in any of the disciplines and work for myself.  But I guess I’m afraid that those places are limited in number, and certainly not sure I want to obligate myself to continue beyond a Bachelor’s Degree.  Besides, I don’t know how much interest I really have in these things, and there’s really no way to know until you get to a point with it where you are either engrossed and desiring to know more, or getting glazed over with the feeling that you know enough to feel sure that you don’t want to know more.  What to do?

There are those days when I wonder why I am going to school at all.  I believe we should always try to better ourselves.  I am not convinced that formal education is the best way to do that – but what are my alternatives?  I guess I don’t know.

Several months ago, a friend invited me to try a belly dancing class.  I reluctantly agreed, and I have to say that it has been one of the most profound experiences I have ever had.  It is the new-found acceptance of myself and a renewed unapologetic declaration of  my views within myself that is making me spend so much time thinking.  I know what I think; I just don’t know what to do with it, yet.  It seems to me that I have always been unconventional – whether I was comfortable being so or not.  I am more in tune to that now than I have ever been, and for now, at least, I feel that I am completely over being uncomfortable with it.

I am very interested in natural approaches to wellness and healing, and a better way of living than the state of hurried, frazzled, stressed, non-stop lifestyle that most Americans find themselves in.  I have lived and experienced enough to know that we should slow down, foster relationships with those around us, as well as with our Creator, listen to our bodies, pace ourselves and prioritize.  But do I feel passionately about helping others learn to do that?  I’m just at the edge of discovering how to do so for myself.  Is the fact that it’s all new what makes it so interesting?  I just don’t know.

I took an extensive spiritual gifts survey through our church, and it indicated that my natural God-given gifts were for teaching and serving.  No big surprise to me or to those closest to me – but what I can do with those encompasses the world, it seems.  I can certainly narrow that down into the things that God would want people to learn, though – and a lot fits into that as well.  I believe that if we pray for our desires to become His, which I have done for years, that He will give us passions that line up with His plans for us.  And so, I shouldn’t feel so mixed up, I guess.  Then why do I?

Fear.  I am afraid of the debt I will acquire to educate myself.  I am afraid of being in a position in which I have to work to pay the debt, when as of now, work is a choice (that most people around me tell me they wish they had).  I am afraid I will not find work in the field, that I will not enjoy the work once I find it, or that I will get partially through the education and lose interest.  I don’t know exactly how many times in the Bible that God tells us not to fear, but it is many.  I just don’t trust myself.  And so I waver constantly.





A New Phase of Life

18 04 2011

I suppose I must consider it growth that I started a blog and did not allow myself to feel burdened by obligation to post regularly.  Although these things are always self-imposed, it is strangely difficult to release myself from them once I start something.  Hobbies become chores, because I apply some sort of weird notion of responsibility toward them rendering them less enjoyable.  I don’t wish to delve into why I have developed in such a way – I just want to change.

And so I am.  Gradually, and not in all areas, but I am beginning to enjoy things just for the enjoyment of them, without attaching strings.  Progress.  I think it all started when I took on more than I could juggle, mentally, and balls began to drop.  When the initial fear and disappointment dissipated, I felt tremendous relief, and then I began to simply throw them.  It was hard, in moments of calm, as guilt about letting someone down tried to creep in, but the truth is that I was so overwhelmed that for the first time, the need to simplify my life was greater than any reasoning that supported continued juggling.  But what to put on the now nearly empty proverbial plate?  That was the question – and it remains not fully answered.

Homeschooling one child was the only thing I was still doing.  And homeschooling a middle-school aged child is not exactly time-absorbing.  She worked independently for the most part, which is the goal by that age.  I was able to keep the house clean and the laundry done, read for pleasure, and piddle with other interests.  And I began to feel restless.  I thought volunteer interests could be the answer, but when my daughter became less interested in Girl Scouts than I, we had a problem.  Another problem was that what I really wanted was to be a girl scout myself, not do all the planning and paperwork.  I taught a small group at children’s church – but that was not the answer, either.  Studying the lesson took longer than the short time I got with the kids – and my nature just put me in the position to take other leaders’ kids into my fold whenever one didn’t show up…which, unfortunately was often.  It’s not that I minded the extra kids, but the idea of these small groups was to foster close relationships -which was near impossible when the group so often changed.

Extra time on my hands allowed me to take better care of myself physically, spiritually and mentally.  It was a good time, really, beneath the surface stress of not knowing what I would commit myself to.  I lost weight, I enjoyed the pleasure of cooking healthy, consistent meals for my family, I had time to read (the only hobby I have ever not turned into a chore).  I got interested in what it means to be healthy – no doubt because I felt better physically than I had in years.  This found me trying to figure out what exactly I needed to do to control my blood pressure without the meds that make me tired.  And when my potassium plummeted a few times, what other than a potassium supplement could be done.  And so nutrition naturally became a real interest.

What did I do with the revelation that I was really interested in something beyond the interest that others around me had?  I enrolled in school full-time to become a Registered Dietician.  I had found my post-mommy calling.  <smiling at myself and shaking head>   Once again, I made an interest into work.  Will I ever learn?





Drive-Thru Summer

29 06 2010

It’s hard to believe that is was May when I last posted…not that I haven’t had plenty to say 😉  Summer feels like a Drive-thru!  Summer?  You mean that hot time of year?  I have managed to lay on a man-made lake beach for one day and hike for a couple of miles.  That’s it.  Now I did clean my house, plant a few veggies, and do a LOT of Algebra so far 🙂  I’m hoping I can glean some of what’s left of summer fun out of the next six weeks, and that Fall goes gloriously slow, since it’s my true favorite 🙂

I’ve completed that Algebra class, and have begun another.  I sorta kinda get it – but not always 😉  I’ve gotten much better at not complaining about it.  It doesn’t do any good, for one thing, and I’ve just resolved within myself that it is one of many things I must do, whether I like it or not, so I might as well just dig my heels in and do my best.

My Gracious God helped me come to that conclusion, actually (we can never really take credit for our ideas and attitudes, you know).  I was praying for strength and resolve when having a particularly hard time – not just with Algebra, but just with life.  As He sometimes does, God straightened me right out…no pampering the whining.  I opened my Bible and began to read, and was led to read Hebrews 12.  I had no idea what was in Hebrews 12, so I turned there and began to read.  Turns out it is about God disciplining those He loves.  Hmm.  Then I got to verses 12 and 13, and they jumped off the page at me.

“So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.  Mark out a straight path for your feet.  Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.”

Needless to say, I was instantly overwhelmed with shame for whining.  I am blessed well beyond what I deserve, and I became overwhelmed with that sense as well.  Sometimes we think that if we aren’t missionaries or preachers or something, that our calling has less impact in God’s plan to save the world, but that simply isn’t true at all.  Whatever our calling is at different stages in our lives, we should be grateful that He includes us in his work and that we are on his team in exactly the way in which we are needed at exactly the right time.

God is so good.