Hello Again

Hi there.  It’s been a while.  2020 has turned out to be quite the year, and from all appearances at this point it’s going to stay strange.  I didn’t mean to take such a long break from blogging; one minute I was taking photos of my newest quilt top in April, and the next I was turning the calendar to August.  But here I am, and hopefully you will stop by at some point.  So, hello again!  How are you?

I feel different.  And the different has changed forms several times over the past 5 months.  Our family has experienced our own, individualized, version of the pandemic along with everyone else.  It’s been stressful, heartbreaking, freeing, beautiful, and ugly all at once.  Sometimes I feel lost; other times I feel found.  I have loved extra time with my family and grieved for things we’ve lost.  

Sometime in late March I was working in the yard when I spied this daffodil laying face down in the flowerbed.  I straightened its bent stem to look at the flower.  And it took my breath away!  Its slightly wilted, yet still exquisite beauty was both a gift and a mirror:  a gift of hope and a mirror of the resilience we’re all working to maintain.  We may be wilted, and we may be rising up from having our faces down in the dirt, but we are beautiful.  Beautiful, valuable faces we can still turn to the sun.

However the year ends, I hope I’m coming out of it more gentle, more compassionate, a better listener.  I want to see people for who they really are, hear their stories, spread kindness.  I want to be part of the solution – on an individual level.

 So… wherever you are in your journey, face up or face down, thriving or struggling or anything in between, know that you matter.  You are beautiful, talented, valuable and creative.  I end today with wise words I’ve shared before:

“Being creative will help you enjoy life.  It engenders a spirit of gratitude.  It develops latent talent, sharpens your capacity to reason, to act, and to find purpose in life.  It dispels loneliness and heartache.  It gives a renewal, a spark of enthusiasm, and zest for life.”  – Richard G. Scott

Here’s to gratitude, to renewal, to enthusiasm and zest for life!  Hello again!

It’s good to be back.
-Jennifer

My Cherry Tree

My cherry tree should be covered in white blossoms right now.  It tried.  But when the first blossoms were on the cusp of opening, they all froze overnight.  So now my tree looks more brown than white.

I have a stack of finished quilts I was saving to photograph in front of my favorite tree.  Today the light was right for just a minute so I went out to do my best.  And naturally, in the ten minutes I was out there, it was cloudy, windy, rainy, sunny, rain through sunshine, and about ten seconds of just right.

I took a walk around my tree, noticing all the details.  As I did, I thought, “This tree looks like life in 2020”.  Beautiful blossoms destroyed overnight, like all our plans were cancelled in a couple of announcements.  Where there should be white and beauty and thriving, so much is brown.  Usually my tree is literally humming with bees – but today there were none.  Like my  hopes and dreams for the next few months.  Others sleeping, hopefully to wake again.

Here’s what I noticed, though.  I didn’t see or hear the bees, but as I walked in circles around the tree I heard birds singing.  And as inspected the faded brown blossoms, I also saw a few fresh white ones peeking out in spite of everything.  I saw new growth, leaves beginning to form.  And way up high there was a branch or two that is mostly white, and as I admired them I also noticed blue sky above them.  In spite of clouds, rain, wind, we still had blue sky up above.

At some point, and hopefully soon, we will emerge from this crisis.  When we do, I hope we will all be tenderly cradling a new dream or two in spite of everything that dried up.  When we do, I hope we will be able to notice the blue sky above and the birds singing in the distance.  Even if we miss the industrious buzzing of hundreds of bees, and the glorious show of everything blooming at once as we’d planned, I hope we will have eyes to see the opportunity before us.  And the courage to engage and try again no matter what we lost.  Just like my cherry tree.

 

 

20 in 20 April Report

Well, today is day 46 since everything got cancelled where we live.  I know, because I went back and counted the blocks in my 20 in 20 quilt.  I marked that day with a safety pin, and I’ve added several more since.  I’ll never forget this time, but in the blur of not knowing for sure which day it really is, there are some days that need to be remembered.  And I’m counting on more of them, but I want them to mark happy things.  I’m sooooo ready for things to go right!  I suppose I could mark today, because here I am ON TIME with my 20 in 20 April report!  Surprise, surprise!

Last month I wrote that I was struggling with a desire to sew, and to be honest, that has continued.  Some days I didn’t care much, but on other days sewing felt necessary (like the day I started my Through Tears She Saw More Clearly quilt).  I am continuing to sew each day, at least a little, to keep it all going.

In April I sewed every day but one.  The day I missed was the day of my Aunt Julie’s burial.  I thought about sewing something by hand late that night before bed, but my only reason would have been to not miss a day.  It felt OK to miss a day, so I didn’t worry about it.  Now I’ve missed one day every month so far.  Perhaps next month’s report won’t include a brown rectangle?

I have four complete rows done for my 20 in 20 quilt, and a 5th row half finished.  Sewing these blocks on felt like making hash marks on a wall.  Someday  I’ll be glad I did it.  I’m sewing less with all my kids home but at least I’ve completed a few things!  I also dusted off my Halo quilt blocks to join the sew along (it’s a fun pattern!).  One reason for my goal was to see how twenty minutes a day can add up, to see what I would accomplish.  Right now, I’m seeing that even those few minutes bring progress over time.  There are also 252 days left in 2020 – plenty of time to make it a great year, and to make quilts I’m proud of.  

That’s it for my 20 in 20 April report.  I’m grateful for my daily goal.  It’s helping me show up creatively at a time I probably would have let it drop.  It’s nice to keep it going.  I wonder what May will bring?

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