Friday, July 11, 2014

Sisters & Moms & Quilts, Oh My

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I've figured out that quilters, no matter what age, hometown or cultural background, all have a creative streak to them that comes out when visiting a quilt show together. Such was the case a couple of weeks ago at the annual Sisters, Oregon Quilt Show. Visiting three quilt shops along with the 57 other women on the Greenbaum's bus was a lesson in likes & not-so-much. Some of the ladies tended to gravitate towards traditional designs and muted colors while others enjoy bright modern looks. The best part was there were fabrics & patterns for everyone. While I enjoyed The Stitchin' Post and Sew Many Quilts, QuiltWorks was my favorite shop visited Friday. Not only were Dave and Marylin, the store's owners, patient and kind, but the shop had a great selection of fabrics, notions and samples of many quilts. They also have a quilt gallery on a second floor that's like a mezzanine which circles the bottom floor. The challenge contest theme was "make me laugh". Here are a few examples-

And my favorite- 

Saturday morning in Sisters started out with a stop at Angeline's Bakery for some goodies and coffee. Mom had been there before, so she knew we'd like it. She was right! The coffee was good and the baked goods even better. We shared some scones and one of the best cinnamon rolls this side of mine I've ever eaten. 

We then joined the approximately 12,000 quilt enthusiasts that attend the show. Mom, Dawn and I strolled along the streets of Sisters oohing & ahhing at some amazing quilts. I have always been fascinated by the artistic quality of modern quilts, and there were a good selection of beautiful ones everywhere I looked.

Since this was my first time at the show, I just wanted to enjoy things which is exactly what I did! I am really grateful to my mom and sis for letting me tag along, and I am already looking forward to next year's Sisters weekend!

From Guilt to Gratefulness

Little did I ever expect to find myself writing this post from sear #42 on a tour bus bound for the Sisters Quilt Show. 
I had been at Mom's yesterday finishing up a quilt for On The Stitch when my sister, Dawn, appeared at the door. After greeting her with a big hug, I asked what brought her to Salem. She told me she was up to go with mom on the annual Greenbaum's bus trip to central Oregon. I have thought about going sometimes, but with my work schedule, thinking has been as far as I have ever gotten. I mentioned to Mom and Dawn to remind me next year, and maybe I could arrange my schedule to go. Mom then got on the phone with Lisa- Greenbaum's manager- to ask if the aspect happened to be any room left. After Lisa called back, it was determined that 1) yes, there was a seat, 2) there was room at the hotel, and 3) what did I want for dinner Friday. 
Not being one to do much spontaneous anymore, I immediately texted Fordyce's to ask about getting this morning off, called Mary to see if she'd teach for me tonight, and talked with Brian to make sure it was okay.
Obviously, since I already said I am on the bus, it all worked out. It felt weird this morning as the guilt of not working to do something which still feels frivolous hit me. I am not sure why this guilt, but it is moving into less of that and more of gratefulness. Gratefulness for a mom and sister who let me barge in on their already planned trip. Gratefulness for employers who are kind enough to  let me take today off. Gratefulness to a daughter who is willing to step out of her comfort zone to let her mom "run away" for a day and a half. Gratefulness for a husband who, after taking a couple of deep breaths, said it was not only okay for me to come, but financed this little last minute adventure.
I am looking forward to seeing all I can today and tomorrow. I want to continue to work on this gratefulness thing so as to spread it to others, and this trip should give me lots of opportunities to practice.    

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Choose To Be Silent No More


Everyone has a story. Everyone has a past. Thank God that everyone also has a future. I have been debating about sharing my past on this blog for a long time. I actually debated on sharing it with any more people than had already heard, but I felt it needed to be told if it would just help one person or make someone think a little harder about how they live their lives. This is why I shared the story with a group of 50-60 high school students and their parents during a second year confirmation class at St. Joseph's this past March. This is also why I shared it on a website run by very courageous women. This is also why I share it with you now as I choose to be silent, no more (this is most of the story- for my full testimony, visit Silent No More).

It all started my freshman year.I didn't think I was pregnant until one day I felt a little odd physically. I shared this news with my parents. My mom took me to a Planned Parenthood in Long Beach, CA. They did a pregnancy test, and it was positive. In a week or so, my abortion was planned. It was as if I had just gone in for something like a tonsillectomy or wisdom teeth removal.

Afterwards, I remember sharing about the abortion with people to try to get someone to feel sorry for me and help me. I was doing a bit of babysitting, and I remember just holding the little girl I was watching and crying, thinking about my baby.
I met my husband in 1984, and we were married 1985. When we realized we wanted to get married, I knew I had to share with him about the abortion. He was very loving and understanding. The first couple of years of our marriage were really rough. I went through depression and later realized it was also post-traumatic stress disorder. We then moved to Oregon. We tried from the beginning of our marriage to get pregnant. It ended up taking us 4 1/2 years to be able to conceive, and I know it was partially due to what happened to my body during the abortion. The regret I felt kept making me wonder if I would ever be able to have another baby. Even during my pregnancy with our first child, I would often find myself feeling sad and missing the baby I had aborted.

During this time, I found some healing through a support group at Salem Alliance Church. I was able to pray and to start finding forgiveness during this time. In 2011, I reverted back to the Catholic Church. It was during this time and specifically going to confession that true and full healing started. Attending Mass, confession and spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament has continued to open up more and more healing. I hope to have the opportunity to attend a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat in the next year.

In the last two years, I opened up to my four, now young adult, kids and shared with them about their half-sister. This was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Forgiveness and love surrounded us during this time and has continued to help us grow closer as a family.

One of the reasons I wanted to share with my kids is that my two boys have had an opportunity to be part of praying outside of abortion clinics, the March for Life in D.C. and other pro-life things. My kids and I have also been a part of 40 Days for Life. I told my kids that they are welcome to share my story if it will help someone they know at school or meet in part of their pro-life work. I have thought about sharing my story for quite a while now, but knowing this might help someone who is struggling with the thought of aborting their child or trying to find healing.

Please, if you read this and you are struggling with the after effects of abortion, visit the Silent No More website or contact me. Know that God loves you, and there is hope. There is always hope.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fruit & Flowers- Fourth of July Style

Happy Fourth of July! Since it's still a Friday, I baked in the Fordyce Farms kitchen this morning for a few hours while Mary spent the time picking blueberries & flowers. I was working on developing a new recipe for muffins with carrots & fresh currants. Not only did the new "Triple C" muffins- carrot, currants and cardamom, turn out delicious, but Mary got some beautiful berries and flowers for the house. 

After we finish watching some World Cup soccer, I plan on reading for a while before heading into the Keatley kitchen to make some kind of blueberry treat to enjoy after our dinner tonight.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summertime, and the Reading is Easy

I'd like to say the lazy dog days of summer are here, but the only thing lazy about it would possibly be our black lab, Ruby.

When I do have some "lazy" time, I really enjoy reading good books. This summer I've enjoyed          re-reading The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien ( I give the author's name in case you've been living under a rock). I wrote about some of the other books on my shelf a few posts back. I usually buy less than one new book a year (not counting gems from Dollar Tree), but 2014 has been an exception. My latest purchase came last night at Costco. One of my favorite authors is Dean Koontz. He has a way of writing that is much deeper than one expects for the genre under which his works are usually classified. The first time I bought one of his books was in a used bookstore on the Oregon coast. I figured they'd be under mysteries, but I could not find a single one. After finally asking the clerk, she took me to the horror section upon where my eyes perused a plethora of Mr. Koontz' books. Even though I felt weird buying something from that particular section, I walked out with three different novels. Since then I have not only read many of his books, I've also given a few for gifts. This brings me to last evening's purchase. I was only there for some essentials, dog food, dairy-free milk, gluten-free bread, etc. when I stopped by the book section. There it was...

...just waiting for me. The fact that it is an autographed copy didn't hurt either. In my cart it went and home it came. I am now waiting for the right time to read it. The Fourth of July weekend is coming up as is our family camping many choices. I even considered reading it last night when I couldn't sleep, but I knew I should wait. For now, it sits on my bookshelf. I know that whenever I decide to read it, The City will be worth the wait. 

New Recipe- Majadra

Friday found me still feeling under the weather but also knowing I needed to eat. I found a great recipe to utilize foodstuffs we have on hand- majadra. It's a delicious lentil and rice mix of yumminess. I found the recipe on At The Immigrant's Table. There were many websites with this recipe, but Ksenia had a way of writing that made me want to use her recipe. I hope you will give it a try!