A Day At a Time

 

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Sometimes a day turns into a week, turns into a month, turns into a lot longer. That is kind of how my blogging (or lack of it) seems to be going. I could plead busyness…….I could plead the general state of our world….and it would be true. I could blame the grayness of our Iowa winter….and that would also be true.

None of those things by themselves should have turned off the blogging tap. Perhaps it was the perfect storm combined with a severe case of writers block…in fact, I think, I am dealing with an entire wall of writers’ blocks.  My brain still seems to be suffering from that and I have yet to find the remedy.

It seems that even as I sit here typing these random words; the creativity of words is buried so deep in my brain that I kind of wonder if they will ever find release again! My brain kind of feels like those frozen ice balls I saw on Lake Michigan last weekend….they just kind of roll around in the cold gray water and don’t seem to go anywhere. 

Somewhere in the middle of my vacation from the blogging world I was told I had a blogiversary.  It has been 5 years since I entered the world of bloggers and WordPress. What started out with great gusto has dwindled to zip and like I said…I am not quite sure how that happened.

I find that happens a lot in life. My husband always points out that everything happens…”A day at a time, until it is many days and weeks and months.” Sometimes this is good and sometimes it is not…also true of many things in life!

So many things happen one day at a time….one day we are young and it seems the next day we look in the mirror and we aren’t anymore. (At least I seem to have that issue!) In the blink of an eye our children are grown and have families of their own. 

The experience of how swiftly time moves was driven home a weekend ago. My siblings and I took a road trip to Michigan to celebrate the life of my cousin. He was only 53 before losing a valiant battle with cancer. I had not seen any of the Michigan cousins for a very long time. 

There was lots of laughter amidst the sadness. So much remembering and story telling of shared eperiences. There was celebrating of the fact that my cousin left an amazing legacy of faith that lives on his children and his wife, his friends, his co-workers and all who knew him. 

The weekend was a reminder about how fleeting this life really is. Fleeting like those ice balls on Lake Michigan…here today…floating in the icy water, but come Spring they will be just a memory.  It was a reminder to cherish the moments we have…to make time for the small things that don’t seem important right now, but do end up being the biggest things.

Make those memories today, because those are the things your family will cherish. Teach your children and grandchildren the truths that are important…faith in God, the importance of family, that honesty and integrity are worth the trouble, that truth…no matter how hard, is important and that finding joy in the small things makes life so much easier. 

These are the things I relearned that weekend in Michigan as I listened to Brent’s brothers, parents, co-workers and friends talk of the life he lived. 

May our lives be more than just ice balls floating in a lake. May the message that is our lives last far beyond a season….and hopefully our friends and families will someday celebrate a life well lived, with laughter, stories and joy.

Cherish your yesterdays,
dream your tomorrows
and live your todays.
~Anonymous

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Than a Quilt

 

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Last week my husband and I had the fun of watching our granddaughter graduate from pre-school. (My husband doesn’t quite understand the concept of graduation at that age but I have assured him that it definitely is a thing now.)20190523_17422132531125.jpg

I was able to give my granddaughter her quilt that I had made from blue jeans and flannel shirts from her dad, uncles, grandpa, grandma, great grandpas and great grandmas. I am not sure she totally understood the memories in that quilt but she did enjoy using it to sit on outside and play with her brother.

It did make me smile inside and out just watching them sit on that quilt playing. It made all the hours of making it worthwhile.

I love the thought that new memories will be made sitting on top of all those old memories. I love the fact the fabric in that quilt has a history. Maybe someday, if that quilt holds up, my granddaughter will want to know what some of those memories are. If and when she is ready to ask I am going to be more than willing to answer!

When she decides to ask, I would love to tell her about her Great-Grandpa who served in the military and came back home to farm and raise a family. I want her to know her Great Grandma who raised five children and then went on to cook at the local Christian high school for many years.

It would be good for her to know that her other Great-Grandpa wanted to go to the military but could not; due to stepping on a pitchfork as a child. It would be good for her to know that he worked hard and took care of the family he loved.

She should also know about the Great Grandma who sewed pretty much all the clothing her children wore. I would love to point out the pieces of flannel in the quilt that came from baby blankets that were sewn by that same Great Grandma for the grandsons who would become her dad and uncles.

I want her to know  what her Grandpa did for a living and what he did for fun. I am hoping she wants to know what her dad was like as a boy….the things he enjoyed and the things he did not. It would be a wonderful thing for her to know about her two uncles and how they looked up to her dad, their older brother.

There is so much history in that one small quilt. We are much like that quilt….there is so much history in all of our lives if we just stop and think about it. Good history, sad history, and all the stuff in between.

It is good to pass on those stories for the next generations. It is good for them to have a connection to what makes up their past. If it takes a quilt to pass on those stories….it is a wonderful thing.

It will be a wonderful thing to see all the new memories made on that quilt. Memories that someday can be passed on to the next generation of this family.

Each day of our lives
we make deposits
in the memory banks
of our children.
Charles R. Swindoll

 

Blankets and Blessings

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A couple months ago my husband and I got the news that we were going to be grandparents again!!!  Our youngest son and his wife told us they were expecting some time in September.

We were also instructed not to tell anyone at that time as they were waiting to tell their grandparents first. I will have to be honest and tell you that waiting those weeks to tell anyone was extremely hard! (Maybe it is a woman thing….my husband didn’t seem to have a problem at all!)

I needed something to take my mind off my need to keep my mouth shut so I started crocheting a baby blanket. The pattern I used was one I found years ago in a book at a local library. I have no idea what the name of the book is anymore but I know the blanket was called Sweet Dreams.

I love the lacy look of this blanket and when using the soft Caron yarn it is a great baby blanket. I also modified it a bit as the pattern ends up making a rectangular blanket and I wanted a square one.

I am very sure the newest addition to the family will not care one way or another what size or shape that blanket is…….but I do! I kept the baby blankets in my cedar chest that were used for my son’s baptisms. I treasured those blankets….not for the fabric in them but for the babies that were wrapped up in them.

When our first grandchild was born I gave his parents the blankets that his dad had used. There is something to be said for passing things on. There is something wonderful about seeing your grandchild wrapped in the same blanket that his father was. Maybe it is just a mom thing or a grandma thing…..I am not sure….but I thought it was wonderful.

Passing those blankets on spoke of legacy to me. They spoke of the love that had been wrapped in them and continues on to this day. I am always slightly surprised when I realize how many years have passed since those blankets have had a baby wrapped in them.  Maybe I am surprised because I then also confront the age that I am now!

I love the fact that wrapping new grandbabies in those blankets seems to give us a do-over. We get that chance to have those conversations with the little ones that we didn’t seem to have time for when our kids were young.

It gives us a chance to take time to marvel at ants crawling on the ground as we hunker down with a child to watch. We get to feel the smoothness of stones on the gravel road and to find the adventure in the big and small things in life.

As a grandparent we have more time to enjoy those times. We have to say “No” less often and have more time to answer the “Why?” questions.  As a grandparent we are given the gift of time to really enjoy seeing life through the eyes of a child.

It is a blessing to have grandchildren. It is a blessing to see your family grow. May you have a blessed weekend. If you don’t have children or grandchildren I pray you have a child you can borrow so you may have the blessing of seeing life through the eyes of a child.

“The simplest toy,
one which even the youngest child can operate,
is called a grandparent.”

Sam Levenson

My life is blessed; I have held my children’s children.
Jeremy Taylor

 

Crocheted Coat Hangers

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The last couple weeks have been spent working on prepping cupboards, painting cupboards, installing cupboards, installing counter on the bottom cupboards, putting cupboard doors on the top cupboards and now sorting through the boxes and stashes of craft items that I am going to be putting into those cupboards.

I think that by the time I get it all put back together and organized; I am going to be very ready to start crafting again instead of organizing crafting supplies.

There are some things I do like to work on at night as we just sit and watch TV. I do like to do crochet or knit projects.  These projects only involve needles or hooks, the yarn and a pattern. It is a pretty tidy way to do crafts…..except when the ball of yarn rolls over the floor and tangles through stuff.  Last month I spent evenings crocheting coat hangers. I should probably say crocheting coverings for wooden coat hangers.

I was fortunate to have a Grandma who crocheted and knitted and was incredibly thrifty. When my Grandma Boogerd was still living, and before she developed macular degeneration, she knitted and crocheted an unreal amount of hangers.

Every Christmas each grandchild and great-grandchild received a set as a gift. She and Grandpa had at least 20 grandkids and many  many more great-grandkids.  Those coat hangers were more colorful than Joseph’s coat. She used up every leftover scrap of yarn when she made them.

I really took a shine to those coat hangers; as they are wonderful for keeping clothes from slipping off the hangers. I have not yet started to make them every Christmas for my kids and grandkids…..I might have to consider that as a project!

I have made them as gifts for various occasions from playing bingo on Christmas Eve to birthdays. I have a sister who loves it when she gets a set. They are a great way to use up odds and ends of yarn when you don’t have quite enough for a large project.

If you would like to give them a try; here is the pattern I was taught by my Grandma.

Crocheted Coat Hangers
Size F crochet hook
wooden coat hangers
any 4 ply yarn


Directions:
Chain 80
Row 1: 5dc in 4th ch from hook.
*Skip 3 ch, sc in next ch, skip 3 ch, 6dc in next ch.
Repeat from * ending with sc in last ch.
You will have made 10 half shells.


Row 2: Turn * 6dc in bottom of half shell, sc in bottom of sc.
Repeat from * to end of row.
You will have made 10 full shells.
Fasten off.

For each hangar you will need to make two of these.
I use a contrasting color for crocheting both sides together.


Put both sides together with right sides facing out.
With contrasting yarn color, sc in each stitch, starting in center where the hook of the hangar will be.
Once you have sc  half of the “top” portion and all along bottom edge, insert hanger and finish sc around to hook of hanger.
I like to leave a long tail of the contrast color. I cut two more pieces of yarn and tie a bow around the hook of the hanger to finish off.  Weave in any loose ends that might still be hanging around.


My Grandma used to make pom poms to tie at the base of the hook ;but I have never mastered that art so I stick with an easy bow.

Grandma always made these scalloped ones for the girls and she knitted very plain ones for the guys. I usually just make all scalloped ones as my husband really does not care what his clothes hang on.

I do enjoy making these hangers.  I love using them in my closet but I also love the link it gives me back to my Grandma. I can still see her sitting in the nursing home with yarn strewn all over her bed. She was choosing which colors to make for specific people.

She felt so bad when her eyesight became too poor and it became too difficult to keep making them. That was the year I learned to crochet coat hangers; as I finished the Christmas hangers for her.

Maybe someday I will have a granddaughter who decides she wants to try doing some of the things this Chicken Grandma did. I think that would be a very fine thing.

“The songs of our ancestors are also the songs of our children”
Philip Carr-Gomm