Monday, November 23, 2015

The Sabbath vs. the Fabric

I cut out a bunch of things the other night, taking advantage of a moment where no one needed me and I felt motivated.  I'd purchased this cute cuddly flannel fabric the afternoon before to make a dress for Kate.  She's gotten bigger and the last time I made her a dress I made a mental note that the next time I'd need more fabric.  But the more I bought wasn't enough, and I found myself on Saturday evening out of fabric still needing to cut out the bodice pieces.  

I drove down to JoAnn's with only minutes to spare and then looked for my bolt of snowman flannel.  Up one aisle and down the other, through all of the Christmas fabric, and then again.  I even spied on other people's baskets and went to the cutting counter to make sure it wasn't in their "just cut" pile, but with no luck.  I searched their website online so that I could show the worker what I was after but it was sold out online too.

I left the fabric store at 9pm in a quandry.  Hillsboro has 2 JoAnn's--isn't that great?!?  So there was a possibility that the other one would have my fabric.  But--Sunday.  

I went back and forth.  We don't shop on Sunday, and unless we're traveling and there are no other options, we hold a firm line on that.  But clearly this fabric was super popular--out in my regular store and online too!  What if one more day was all it took for the rest of the fabric to be sold?  The rationalizer in my head started in: the workers were already going to be there!  I could at least call and get them to hold the fabric!  Lucky for me my conscience was also going strong with it's mantra, "Not on Sunday."

I told everyone about it yesterday when the home teachers were here.  That I was visibly making my stand before the Lord, showing that He is more important that fabric.  Even more important than fabric that's already all cut out and just waiting for a few more inches.  I planned how I would still make the dress if I couldn't get more fabric, because I was sure that's what would happen.  My plans didn't really make my heart happy because I just couldn't see how I could make it still look good.  But it was better than nothing.

As soon as it was 9 this morning I called the other JoAnn's and described my dilemma.  The lady put me on hold to go look for the bolt of fabric and was back a few minutes later.  "Do your snowmen have green scarves and red scarves on?"  "YES!!!" I told her, absolutely thrilled.  And then Kate and I drove down there a while later and picked up the fabric, which I'm hoping will turn out to be a cute dress.

But one thing it will be, regardless of how cute it is or isn't, is a visible symbol. A symbol that in a moment where a big part of me wanted a pass, the other part of me held the line, knowing that integrity and obedience are far more important than cute snowman dresses.

PS--I can't take all of the credit for this decision, or even most of the credit.  Here's something I put on instagram last week:  

I've been thinking a lot recently that we are in many ways the beneficiaries of habits instilled by our parents. Sure, we have to make the decision to keep doing these things. But it's so much easier to continue what we've done our whole lives rather than to have to learn a new habit. Today I'm grateful that we both came to our marriage with the "church is what we do on Sunday" habit. I think it blesses our lives in many ways...

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Winter Whine

It's 3:54 and it looks like twilight already.  It's bad enough that the days are so short, but the daylight savings change seems to add insult to injury.  By Christmastime it will be fully dark by 4:30 every day.

I see this sign every time I drive to and from Utah.
 I always have several feelings when I see it.  First, certainty that I should be headed towards the equator instead of away from it.  Second, surprise (even after all this time) that Portland is farther north than Rexburg.  Since Cindy Lynn spend several winters in Rexburg I know how bad those winters are, and I'm extremely grateful that the proximity to the coast tempers our winters.  But still--we are so far north!  And last every time I see the sign I'm at least a little depressed by the knowledge of the coming winter gloom, the short days and the gray skies, and the seasonal issues.

Today is a classic Oregon winter day.  It's rained for much of the day (even hard sometimes) and while it's been dry this year and rain is a good thing the resulting gloom is, well, gloomy.  It's obviously time to get my winter game plan in place to be sure that I'm ok during the long gray months.

But first, just for the moment, I want to whine!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dahlia lessons: You might be surprised

Last lesson (so far) from the dahlias.  I've realize this year that I just really don't know what I'm going to like and how much I'm going to like it until I actually see it.  Some of the dahlias I thought I would love have been only so-so.  And this one that I bought on clearance on a whim--well it has rocked my dahlia lovin' world.

So maybe I'd better stop thinking I know how things are going to work out...'cause I just might be surprised.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Such fun Halloween sewing this year.  First I made my first (but not my last!) table runner.  I paid to have it quilted and it's not bound yet...there's after Halloween for that.

Then on the spur of the moment I made a table runner for Alisyn so that I could make a cute pattern I'd seen online after I'd already made mine.  It turned out so cute and Alisyn was very surprised.

Then on the spur-er of the moment I decided that one of the fabrics I'd used on Alisyn's table runner was so great that I needed to make a dress for Kate that she could wear for one week this year and would still fit her next year.

So much sewing fun!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dahlia lessons: There will be more

Is it so odd that I feel like I get these little messages from the spirit, messages triggered by things like my dahlias?  Probably mostly things that I already know, but perhaps need reminders of.

Cut dahlias die oddly.  The back petals (which sometimes aren't very visable from the front of the flower) start to wilt and eventually drop off.  The front of the dahlia with it's remaining petals can look good for another couple of days until it all finally withers.

The other day I was working at the sink/kitchen window, which is where I usually put the vases of dahlias.  I glanced over and noticed that another one was starting to wilt.  As per my normal anti-change stance I immediately had a (small) sinking feeling that the flower's beauty was dying.

And then the thought came clearly to my mind, "There will be other beauty."

At first I thought that it meant (truly) that there were other flowers blooming in the yard, other flowers that I would bring to my kitchen counter.

But then I realized how much broader this idea was.  I'm always so sad when a good experience is over. (Anti-change, remember?!?)  Sad when every week at the beach is over, sad when my sister's weekend is over, time with friends, always sad.  I've been thinking all year that I need to gain some equanimity about the fact that change is a constant of life, and this little dahlia message reminded me of that.  That change is always going to happen, but that there will always be more beauty ahead.  Maybe similar beauty, maybe different beauty.  But I won't be left without.  Hopefully as I love my flowers it will help me learn to trust.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dahlia lessons: Enjoy the view from where you are

This year I'm picking dahlias all the time...anything that gets too heavy for it's plant, any time it's been windy and some stems have gotten broken, anything (last year's decision) that has the audacity to bloom facing the fence.  It's been delightful to have so much beauty in my kitchen.

One of the surprises has been this big dahlia I got on clearance a few weeks ago at a nearby nursery.  I didn't want to resist because the price on these end-of-season plants was great but I wasn't absolutely sure I loved the flowers.

Ha.  They are A-Maz-Ing.  Some of my very favorite.  (Yes, I do have less favorite in case you were wondering, much to my surprise.)

One day one of these amazing red spiky flowers needed to be cut.  It had grown oddly on its stem and I just could not figure out a way to get the front and center of the flower to face out.  I tried stuffing support things into the neck of the vase, tried different vases, even tried taping the stem to the edge of the vase to keep it in the "right" place.  

All to no avail.

One day I was doing the dishes and glanced over at my badly angled flower.  But then I noticed something.  From this sidewise view of the flower I could see into the center, see the yellow at the inside of all of the petals.  From this sidewise view the flower was big and full.  This sidewise view was actually beautiful.  And then I got curious.  I moved over in front of the flower and bent down so that I could look at the proper "front" of the flower.  And it was just kind of messy.  

All that time I'd been frustrated with the flower for not staying in a position to show it's front, and it turned out that the front wasn't that great.  It was one of those moments that I really could hear the spirit inside of my head, saying, "Just enjoy the view FROM WHERE YOU ARE.  Stop wishing you were somewhere else, or the situation was in some other way different.  Enjoy the view, because it is actually BEAUTIFUL."

Sunday, October 18, 2015

And ye would not...

The picture I do not have: Rachel sitting at the end of the church bench, head resting on her legs after getting back from yesterday's band competition at 3:30AM this morning.  I told her--come and sit by me and you can lean against me.  But not my oft prickly teenager who rarely is willing to sit by me in church anymore; she was fine where she was.

I sat there for a minute feeling sad about the situation (her fatigue, her need to be separate from me, etc) when a scripture came into my mind.  I wonder if this is how Christ feels when he is so ready to help us with our problems and we resist his aid.  Perhaps through a need for independence, like Rachel, or because we are so distracted, which is usually more my problem.  This morning in sacrament meeting I felt a little the longing I would imagine Christ and our Heavenly Father feel: Won't you please let us help?  We are here for you, just right down the bench.  All we want is to help you feel better, to be here for and with you in your moment of need.

4…how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.
 5 And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.
 6 O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.  3 Ne 10:4-6

PS--I so wanted to snap a picture of her.  I could have done it so carefully no one would have known.  I had to restrain myself pretty forcefully!