Wednesday, June 15, 2011


My mom finally died on the eleventh day of May. I say "finally" because it was Alzheimer's disease that very, very slowly took Mama away from us. It happened one long, devastating day at a time. If you have lost anyone to this cruel and insidious disease, you understand.

Even though it had been a very long time since Mom really knew who I was, I've found myself missing her as if she'd died suddenly and while still the energetic, capable and caring woman she had always been. I keep finding myself suddenly wanting to call and tell her about something in my day. Most recently, it was while I was idly stirring the rum sauce for her special pineapple cake. I thought I'd gotten past things like that a long time ago.

Mom loved to sew and cook and garden. She did beautiful crochet, made lovely quilts and tried her hand at the trendy crafts as they came and went. All of this while making a home and serving as Daddy's right-hand-woman in all of his many endeavors. People who knew her would comment that she could do anything!

She cared a lot about the way she looked and would have scolded me for letting her hair go gray once the disease made her too anxious to have it colored in the little beauty shop at the nursing home. She hated sneakers ("those big, old, clunky white things") and most other "comfortable" shoes. She never "let herself go," as ladies of her generation used to say. It made her crazy that after bearing three children, she was never quite able to achieve a perfectly flat stomach again.

She loved clothes and made almost all her own and mine, too, until I could make them myself. In the picture above, she made my dress (I still have it) and probably her own. I love her sassy little spectator pumps!

During my teenage and young adult years, Mom and Daddy took many trips through a company with which their business was affiliated. Before each trip, with the itinerary in hand, Mom and I would plan the clothes she would need and shop for fabric and accessories. Since she had taught me to sew as soon as I could reach the machine, I would help as she made each outfit. We did the very same thing when it came time to plan my wedding.

Because of Mom, sewing and needlework have had huge significance in my life. Sewing, quiltmaking and hand embroidery have been so integral to my activities and personality that I can't imagine life without them. I remember begging my busy mom to let me sew at her machine when she still felt I was too young to be there without her supervision.

I read a biography of Betsy Ross when I was eleven years old and felt a kinship that I would later ponder as I learned about reincarnation. Thanks to my mom, I'm still happiest with a needle in my hand.

I think I'll have to tell you more about my mom another time. I'm afraid that's all the remembering I can bear on this day, though there is so much more of her to tell. She and Daddy and my beloved brother, Gary, have all gone on ahead to the next adventure. I'm sure I'll be writing more about all of them as time goes on. But, depending on the tenor of the day (and my own state of mind), it may be a lot or just a little. Because some days are easier than others. You know what I mean...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Beginning Again - Reflections and Resolutions

There is a blessing that comes with being born on New Year's Day. At least I think it's a blessing that my calendar year and my life year renew themselves on the same day. At the very least, it brings a certain symmetry to my life and gives my resolutions a bit more substance.

Yes, I still make resolutions. I'm not sure whether that means I'm naive, stubborn or just an optimist. I know that a lot of people have given up making resolutions, probably saving themselves both frustration and feelings of failure. I'm certainly no more apt to keep mine than anyone else but, for some reason, I just can't give up thinking this might be the year when I will change all my bad habits to good ones.

My day today, like most of my birthdays, has been filled with thoughts of what has come before and what might be yet to come; of things left undone and changes I still need to make. And, there is that vague sense of urgency that comes with growing older. And, more and more, the amazement (horror?) and how fast time is passing. Can it really have been a decade since we worried about Y2K!?!

My first resolution on this year's list is to finally become a "real" blogger, one who actually posts posts. I've recently finished a small crazy-quilted wall hanging and will get pictures made so that I can post about it here very soon. Another resolution is to finish some UFOs, which will hopefully lead to even more posts.

For anyone who still drops by occasionally to see if I'm still here, yes, I am! And, thank you for not completely giving up on me. I promise to do better so please continue to check in!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Just as I feared...

I put off starting a blog, hoping to achieve a level of balance in the other areas of my life that would assure being able to write well and often. I obviously started it too soon. I'm still paddling as fast as I can, though, and I still have visions of posting at least almost every day.

I thought that when I no longer worked at a full-time job, life would suddenly be filled with clean laundry, well-stocked cupboards, home-cooked meals, shiny floors and finished projects. Since that hasn't exactly been the case, it's obvious that my job wasn't the only thing screwing with my schedule.

I hadn't envisioned the bad knees, depression and other health issues that would finally lead to my joblessness. I had thought that my energy, undrained by the stresses of balancing career and home life, would be absolutely boundless. After all, I don't even have kids!

I recently heard two things that gave me pause and will, hopefully, inspire deeper thought and more action as I continue along this path. The first was that every time you put something off, you mortgage a part of your future. Isn't that a sobering thought?

The second thing I heard really got my attention. I've long struggled with the issue that we all refer to as "time management." Well, it was pointed out to me that there is no such thing. (What?!?) Time pretty much just rolls along and we can no more manage it than we can manage the tides or the weather. Instead, we have to manage our own actions and what we do in the time we have.

Well! As my husband would say, "What a pisser!" You mean my go-to excuse for all my woes doesn't work anymore? Instead of a guiltless inability to manage some little-understood concept based on physical laws that guide the planet and the sun and the rest of the universe, this is all my fault?!? Now what?

Achieving a state of grace is still my goal. There are so many things that I want to be different. I have to get busy. I have to exert more control. I have to take better care of myself. I have to find more energy. I have to exert more self-discipline. I have to do better than I'm doing now. I have to keep trying.

So, I will keep reading and listening and seeking and changing. The beat goes on...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Finding Time, Making Time

Time is an absolutely fascinating subject to me. I can remember so long ago (can it really be that long?!?) driving poor Mr. Edwards, my wonderful high school science teacher, to distraction with my questions when we studied time. He patiently (for a while, at least) tried to help me make sense of it. I'm still trying.

I'm intrigued by both perspectives of time, the one you study through physics and the one where we are all slaves to the clock. I love physics and wish I were smarter when I try to understand the subject -- in books or even on The Discovery Channel.

Clock time is almost as big a challenge. Sometimes, it seems that whole days get away from me. I have such good intentions when I wake up every morning! Before my feet hit the floor, my mind spins with plans and possibilities. It's after I stand up that things get complicated.

My knees, which I'm told need to be replaced, ache and the phone rings and the kitties want to be played with. I need to eat something but first I have to take this pill so I can't eat and then I have to take those pills so I have to eat. Laundry has to be done and food needs to be bought and prepared.

Every morning, my intention is to get upstairs and into my studio as quickly as possible. Fabrics and beads and buttons and threads call out to me to come and play. And, almost every afternoon, I wonder where the day went and why I haven't made it up there yet.

The study of time management has been ongoing and intense for almost as long as there have been clocks. Hundreds of books (just look in my bookcases) have been written by smart people who all think they've found the answer. And, I've read a lot of those books. So, why can't I get anything done?

My husband has kindly (and cautiously) suggested that I tend to put things off. I know he's right. It ticks me off but I still know. I'm working on the problem. I have such admiration for people who are energetic and disciplined and whose accomplishments are so impressive that they leave me breathless. They tick me off, too, but I still admire them.

So, I'm very open to suggestions. If you've found the secret, please share it with me. And, hurry.


I'm afraid I'm not getting off to a very good start with my goal of posting at least almost every day. Life is complicated right now, by things both in and out of my control. And mostly, of course, by my reaction to the things outside my control. And certainly by my failure to control some of the things that I could with enough effort and resolve. Sounds like I need to say the Serenity Prayer...

I was hesitant to start this blog until the complications were manageable enough so that I could be sure to find the time and spirit to post often. Then, of course, I came out of my dream state and knew that might never happen and that I'd better take that first step. So, please have patience as I get my bearings here.

The picture above is of hydrangeas from my mother-in-law's garden. If I had to choose my one favorite flower, hydrangeas might just win. That would be such a hard choice, though, since I love so many flowers. Other favorites are pale pink roses, lilacs, daffodils, bachelor buttons, peonies, hyacinths... well, you get the idea!

I'm afraid my own garden has mostly been neglected this year. Although we've had an unusually mild and rainy spring here in Arkansas, I'm afraid I didn't get much done in my flower beds until after it got so hot that working outside fell very low on my to-do list. I didn't even get my usual baskets of ferns to hang on my front porch. What kind of Southern behavior is that?!?

I also haven't accomplished much lately in my studio, where I make quilts and embroider and sew and want to try so many new things. Part of the reason for that is that I, like several other bloggers I've read recently, am in the middle of a major clearing out, cleaning up and reorganization of my studio. It would be deeply embarrassing to tell you just how long this process has been ongoing but I'll be mentioning it here from time to time as incentive to speed things up before it becomes completely humiliating.

So, that's a bit of what I'll be writing about, and soon. I promise.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


First, let me say that I love doing things on the spur of the moment. Some of my best adventures have come about spontaneously.

Second, let me apologize for the quality of the image you see; it's harder than you'd think to take a picture of your own ear! (Also, I don't really think my earlobe is as HUGE as it looks here...)

Thirdly, I'll try to get around to the gist of all this. I had my ears pierced many years ago and they just would not heal. Every earring I tried just seemed to irritate them more. I even tried nylon posts. And, I've been ticked off about it ever since.

Well, right now I'm working really hard at losing weight and I'm having some success at it so I'm starting to think about other ways to improve this aging body of mine. On my way home from the weight-loss clinic last week, I suddenly decided that it was time to try again with the ear piercing.

It went very well and, so far, they seem to be okay. A little itchy occasionally but not too bad. Prayers and positive thoughts for my ears (in case you have nothing more important to pray about) will be appreciated, by the way. Seriously. I'm really looking forward to shopping for earrings but I'm going to wait the full six weeks to even start that. Don't want to jinx things...

Next, Lisa, my far-more-fashion-forward-than-me sister-in-law, has a hairdresser she wants me to see. All this grace that I'm craving may be more effort than it's worth...


Monday, July 27, 2009

A New Journey

I've wanted to start a blog for the longest time but, since I've never been good at consistently keeping a journal, I've been fearful of failing again -- and publicly this time! My favorite blogs are those where I find new posts almost every day and that's what I hope to do with mine. That may not happen right away but it is my goal.

My blog title pretty much sums up my life. I want to be contented, serene, happy, healthy, organized and efficient. I want my home to be all those things -- plus clean! I want my art to be prolific and satisfying. I want my body to be strong, slender, graceful and pain-free. And I want to be spiritually secure. Believe me; I have a long way to go to achieve most of those things.

I am blessed with a wonderful family and friends, two precious kitties, a nice home in a wonderful city and the optimism to keep trying to find the grace that I crave for every area of my life. I hope that sharing this journey with those of you who might read my words and share your own thoughts with me will help to keep me on this path.

I'll be writing about the artwork that I do, including quilting and embroidery, as well as other forms of art that I want to try, including various forms of mixed media and collage. I'll also write about my home and family and kitties and all the day-to-day things that I want to do with grace and wisdom.

I'll probably also be writing about other blogs that have inspired me to begin this journey, with special gratitude to Patricia Eaton at Bird Nest on the Ground. Pat's gentle nudges and the continuing good example of her blog have been instrumental in my finally getting this started.

So, I hope this is the beginning of many beautiful friendships!