My precious friend Ashley is expecting her second child - and it's her first GIRL!!!!!!  I loved this fabric for baby Brinkley because it's fun and flowery without being crazy, crazy pink!  I kept the stitching simple on the quilting because I want it to be something Ashley won't be afraid to throw on the floor and actually use for her baby girl.   (I make all of my quilts so that they can withstand wash after wash!  Ours have been laundered more times than I can count.)

I can't wait to meet you, little Brinkley!  You are so incredibly loved already and you aren't even here yet!

the FedEx t-shirt quilt

This was the largest quilt I have made so far, and it was like a Tetris-lovers dream come true!  The sister of a friend of mine works for FedEx corporate offices in Houston and one of her coworkers is retiring after 35 years with FedEx!  WOW!!!  They contacted me asking if I would be willing to make a large quilt out of gobs of t-shirts that date WAY back to when the company was called Federal Express.  I loved the puzzle-piecing work of figuring out which shirts would go where!

The quilting on this particular quilt is something I am particularly proud of.  In the picture you can see the tiger that I quilted around as well as a plane pulling some stars.  I absolutely LOVE the way t-shirt fabric wrinkles after a wash when I quilt parallel lines across a shirt.  

They loved the way this quilt turned out, and I am so glad!  It definitely took a bit of time and careful planning to ensure I represented all the different logos.  If I remember correctly, there are 66 different shirts in this quilt - AND - three squares were cut out of FedEx pajama bottoms!  

Congratulations on your retirement!


who am I?

I'm not a theologian.
I'm not a scholar.
I'm not a fast reader.

But I AM always interested in learning more and more, however I can.

This summer I am studying this Dallas Willard book with one of our pastors at church. He is leading a group of us through interesting discussions as well as helping us see Dallas' thought-flow or outline.  It's not at all an easy read for me, but I am learning quite a bit of things that I otherwise might not have ever learned.

We are also listening to the audiobook/lecture on The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives.  Um.  Wow.  This is fascinating and deep, yet so relevant and easy to understand.

This week Dallas used this chart: (taken from http://www.dwillard.org/resources/CCCU2006a.asp)

He talked about how the center of my being is my spirit (and yours too).  This is where change happens.  This is what people mean when they say "I just love being with you - there's something about you that I am just drawn to."  It's your spirit.  Who you are is not what your body is capable of doing or not doing.  Who you are is not what you think about or how you feel about people or things in life.  Who you are is not how you are able to relate to others in social settings.

Who you are is all encompassed in your spirit.

Today this hit home with me.  The weather is gross in Texas today ... and by gross I mean humid and raining on and off, and it's hot as always. See? Gross.  For most people this might mean a bad hair day or it might mean getting their clothes wet on their way into work.  But for me it means my body doesn't function well.  I struggle to take deep breaths.  My toes lock up.  My hands hurt so bad that I can't hold a brush to pull up my hair.  I have the kind of fatigue one might feel after running several miles. (ok, and in all truth high humidity means I also have a bad hair day) So because of all of these things I have had to cancel my plans and just rest.  For a person who loves to be on the go, it's very hard for me to embrace rest and it causes me frustration.  I find I am quick to point out all of the things that I "can't do" instead of being grateful for a chance to rest when the people going 200 miles per hour would love a reason to sit at home and rest!

But guess what?  I'm not depressed about the state of my body today; I'm not even upset about the thoughts and feelings going through my mind.  Because those things don't define me.  They are not "who I am."  My spirit defines me.  And my spirit is very much alive and aligned with God's will and His love.  My spirit has an impact on God's kingdom right here, right now - and my spirit is what will flourish in eternal life with my God in heaven when my body dies, my brain no longer functions, and I have lost the ability to think and feel.  My spirit will remain.

I am a God-breathed spirit, eager to connect with Him over and over again.
That is who I am.


fudged scales

My scales are fudged.  I admit it.  I am not ultra talented at juggling all of the roles I have in life. Sometimes I enjoy giving off the appearance of having my act together because I don't want to face the fact that I simply do NOT have my act together.  It's easier to present as the great and powerful Wizard of Oz ... that is, until someone looks behind the curtain.  Darn you Toto! (this is why I'm a cat person, I can relate to Garfield)

Fibromyalgia is a mean beast.  You MUST move your body but the very last thing you want to do is move your body.  Most days I am able to push through it (even if it takes 4 cups of coffee to get the ball rolling), but some days, all I can do is thank God for my blessings from the comfort of my recliner.

My husband is my biggest fan and my biggest cheerleader.  He encourages me to go for a walk, even if I only make it around the block.  What he knows about me and about the inner workings of my mind scares me a little because I think he gets me more than I get myself.  (which leads me down the A.D.D. bunnt trail of pondering the amazing brain power of God and how He sees us - even though He isn't human and therefore has no brain. (You can thank Dallas Willard for that little nugget of thought-provoking information.)

So what happens is my husband gets me to change into workout clothes so I can "go around the block" but he KNOWS that once I start moving, my inner athlete comes out (but please, I'm not a runner or anything inspirational like that) and I want to see how fast I can walk.

Then I want to see how fast I can walk a mile.
And then I want to see if I can increase my pace on the second mile.
Then I want to see if I can go further than I did the day before.

And then I look like this when I get home and I can't get off the floor:

And my husband just shakes his head and says, "Looks like you over-did it again." - or some other incredibly obvious statement to which I would roll my eyes if I could move my eyes.  But, he knows full well I won't just go around the block.  He knows I will push myself.  Which is what I love about him.

Me and the word "balance" go together like the wrong sides of two magnets.  I either seem to slide to the left or to the right, resulting in either too much of something or too little of it.  I can make an entire list of magnet examples where I just stink at hitting the mark:

  • CLEANING: I'm either going through cupboards, making piles of things to donate or I'm ignoring the 1/4" layer of dust on my dresser.  There is no in between.
  • SCRIPTURE READING:  I'm either staying up until midnight so I can finish the book of John, or I'm ... well, see reference about the dust and imagine it on the cover of my bible.
  • MOTHERHOOD:  I'm either the cool mom making cookies with her son after school or I'm the mom who doesn't care that he is watching his 11th episode of Good Luck Charlie on Netflix.
  • MARRIAGE: I'm either the wife who is playing house and makes sure everything is Cleaver-perfect for her husband, or I'm passing the nanny baton with my husband so I can go do a world of other things with friends or at church or whatever.
  • PROJECTS: I'm either knocking them out left or right, or I'm ... oh boy, there's that dust again, but this time it's in my office and on my sewing machine!
In Proverbs 11, I am quite certain verse 1 is in regards to telling the truth, but I have to say it resonates with me in terms of finding a balance in life as well: 
The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with Him Proverbs 1:11
 Accurate weights find favor with Him. I picture a literal scale with perfectly balanced plates.

So perhaps if I spent a short amount of time in the Word, and tackle just a handful of cleaning tasks (clearly dust is a problem around here), then I will WANT to do something fun with my husband and my boy and I will find JOY in conquering projects.  And with fibromyalgia every single day HAS to be about balance.  If I spend all my energy scrubbing the house from top to bottom, I'll spend the rest of the day flat on my back in bed.  If I go run a bunch of errands for hours on end, I won't even be able to put the groceries away by myself when I get home.

I believe it is pleasing to God when we use our resources wisely and we balance out all of the good and amazing things there are to do in this world with the things we are called to do, and called to do well.  Don't be dishonest with yourself or your family (or with God because He sees right through that anyhow) and fudge your scales.  Don't set your bible by your bed so people think you read it.  Don't plaster your house with bible verses so you appear to be the perfect Christian.  Don't post happy family pictures on Facebook if in reality it was the only 3 seconds you spent together all weekend.  Don't fudge your scales.

Praying for a perfect tightrope act today - not to please anyone except myself and God.  (there will be no tights worn during this act - let's not get crazy, yes?  No one wants to see me in tights, myself included!)


what kind of mother ARE you?!?!

This morning I read Jen Hatmaker's blog post that can be found here, and after I laughed hysterically I found myself nodding my head --- then shaking my head --- then nodding and realizing I needed to get out all of my thoughts muy pronto. So I headed straight to the computer whilst ignoring all my other tasks.  Because that's what writers do.  (Excuse for the day, you're welcome to use that if you'd like ... no charge.  You're welcome.)

So what kind of school mom am I?  I know what I'm NOT for sure ...

I am not:

  • a PTO/PTA mom (I accidentally typed POT mom -  I'm not one of those either, just for the record)
  • a Room Mom
  • a "volunteer at the school every week" mom
  • a "come volunteer at this event where we let the kids run around like crazy!" mom
  • a helicopter mom who needs to know every line by line detail of what my child is learning and why
  • a "be best friends with the teacher" mom (this includes feeling the need to friend your child's teacher on Facebook)
  • a "buy a new school t-shirt each year, and year book, and pins, and hats, and school store crap, and on and on and on" mom
  • "get to know the principal right away" mom
  • "go protest the crazy carpool line issues" mom
  • "check homework with a red pen" mom
I think I have pretty well  concluded that I am:
  • a "what were the high points and low points of your day, today?" kind of mom
  • a "did you have enough to eat today? too much?  too little?" ensuring we aren't wasting food (money) in our lunches kind of mom
  • a "pick one thing you REALLY want me to be at this school year and I'll volunteer for it!" kind of mom
  • a "listen to praise and worship to keep my blood pressure down and make sure I smile a lot while in carpool" kind of mom
  • the Encyclopedia Brown of picking out Kindergarten parents kind of mom - they automatically get LOTS of grace from me!
  • a "does that REALLY cool school shirt still fit you? AWESOME!" kind of mom
  • a "meet the principal and have a sit down conversation only if my child is involved in some sort of debacle that requires such a sit down meeting --- he and I are both very busy, why waste each other's time if it's not necessary?" kind of mom
  • a "you're responsible for answering to your teachers if you don't get your homework done - so I'll ask you one time today, do you have any homework that you need to get done?" kind of mom
  • a "let's snuggle and read this awesome chapter book and/or Action Bible together!" kind of mom
It's the end of the school year.  Everyone is excited.  Probably no one is more excited than the teachers at this point.  I mean really --- think about this.  For EVERY single morning battle you've had with your children, you get to drop them off at the curb with a cute little 4th or 5th grade Safety Patrol student smiling brightly with his neon colored vest.  You say, "have a good day, I love you!" and boom... you're on your way.  Oh and PS: the teachers get to pick up the pieces of our children who arrive with one shoe and wearing pajama pants because they refused to get dressed that morning.  I have no doubt the teacher sees your kid walk in with a side pony tail that is remnant of yesterday's hair do, spies the pajama pants and says, "SERIOUSLY?!?!"

I saw my son's teacher last week and when I asked her if she was ready for summer, she looked over her shoulder as though she were about to make a break for her car and get out of there!    She said in her very poised and politically correct manner, "the end of year can be quite challenging with all these kids who are ready to be out of school.  Behavior can be quite an issue."  Tell me about it.  This is why I cannot homeschool!  

For the record, I have no idea when the last time was that I looked in my son's backpack.  I don't even want to know what kind of "treasures" are growing mold or mildew in there.  I have not kept up with the 276 events that are each preceded with an email to parents requesting our presence to celebrate this, that, and those.  I missed teacher appreciation week.  I'm always the last car in the carpool line (I know my kid will be just fine sitting amongst friends while I leave the house at 3:05 to miss most of the carpool traffic).  The principal knows my name and face BECAUSE I am always the last car in the carpool line.  I didn't make a single set of copies at the school this year.  I didn't attend a single class party for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's or whatever else there has been.  We didn't go to Open House.  

And you know what?  My kiddo REALLY isn't all that upset about it.  When he requests my presence I do try very hard to be there.  However, I am running a business (well not at the moment - I'm still using the writing excuse), I do contract work for our church, I have a volunteer leadership position at church, I'm taking a theology/book study course, I'm the maid, and the grocery shopper and the bill payer and the "call a repairman for this or that" person, I do the laundry, and I check Facebook.  This all takes a LOT of time.  If I were to homeschool, I would NOT be doing a ton of those things!  More power to the home school parents.  I'm pretty sure I would end up in prison for harming my child if I tried to teach him on a daily basis.

All this to say - I'm ok with being this kind of parent.  I really am.  There are Pinterest Moms and there are gift card moms.  I am most definitely belong in the latter of the two categories.  I mean really, what do teachers DO with all those buckets and jars and flower pens and apple shaped whatevers?  I'm a fan of picking up several fun gift cards and letting the teachers do the shopping!

This year, William's teacher will get gift cards for a car wash, a smoothie, a kick butt burrito, and Lowes because I know she plans to work on her house this summer.  Excessive?  Maybe ... but she has been AMAZING with our kid this year, and because I flaked on just about everything else - I plan to write her a nice handwritten note stating our gratitude and appreciation!   (the coupon holders were $1 at Target - I just covered them with scrapbook paper)

So what kind of school parent are you?


love God, love others

I really wish I could take credit for how awesome this kid is, but truthfully we have a group of people who have helped to shape and form him over the past several years.  

First of all, that bruise is not from home - just thought I would throw that out there.  All I can say is ... boys will be boys.  

After the massive explosion in West, TX, there have been multiple churches who have been collecting specific items for the people who are misplaced and have lost literally everything except the clothes on their backs.  

This cool kid wanted to donate a huge portion of his personal LEGO stash but he couldn't figure out the best way to do that.  We purchased little boxes for him to make kits and he painstakingly make sure there were at least two cool LEGO dudes in each box who were complete with fun accessories.  Each box contains sets of wheels to make cars and even fun things like house windows.

Without the people at our church, and even his teachers at his school, I'm not sure that he would be as cool as he is today.  It really does take a village to raise a good kid!

freckled zoo

Snuggled in next to me, you're fast asleep. Snoring. Inching ever closer, even in your sleep. We are blessed to have three beds, yet you just want to be close to me and sleep right by my side... In my bed.

You're ten now and you still surprise me almost daily. You are so stinkin funny and most days you even make yourself laugh! You make friends everywhere you go. You're  the first to run to help someone or hold the door open for a mommy with a stroller. You have a heart for God and you're a dry sponge when it comes to bible stories; you know those stories better than daddy and I do!

You constantly have bruises on your shins, your arms, and even on your hands - because you love to pretend to be a ninja, a soccer player, or even make your friends laugh with crazy physical comedy. You remind me of John Ritter or Steve Martin sometimes. Comical. Silly. And easy to love.

You don't care if you're dirty or if your hair is messed up, and you're happiest in either mono color outfits (white shirt and white shorts) or in the grey robe your grandma made for you. Comfy clothes rock!

The past couple years I have really screwed up, kiddo. I got all obsessed with technology and forgot to look you in the eyes every chance I got. I forgot to listen to you breathe when you sleep.  I forgot to let myself get lost in your sea of freckles, and laugh at your jokes. And I no longer seemed to have the time to use pastels and get messy with you like we used to do. Remember "Boo & Bop" art?  That was our signature!

Tonight I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the simplest things. The sound of your gentle giant snoring makes me giggle and melt all at once. I love your freckled cheeks, and even your bitten fingernails. I love the way you hold onto "mommy kitty" and I ADORE the fact that she is still your favorite.

I love that you and I are squished onto my side of the bed because your "zoo" is taking up daddy's side. I love that you didn't comb your hair after your bath and the fact that its sticking up and tickles my face makes me smile. I love that your daddy is your hero, your confidant, and your best bud. Watching you two together makes my love thermometer bust from a high fever.

Tonight I'm taking inventory of all of the things I have missed while my face was glued to my iPhone, and I regret that I have missed so much. But you have my word that I am going to work hard to break this addiction to technology so that I don't miss anything else!

I love you son.
I am so sorry for messing up my priorities.
Please be patient with me while I figure this out.
And thank you for loving me despite my many flaws.


alice the camel has more than one hump

When I was a kid I went to girl scout camp and we learned a song that says Alice the camel has 5 humps... then eventually she gets down to no humps and apparently she is actually a horse because we then get to sing "ride, Alice, ride!"

If we're going to talk about my progress with media fasting, Alice probably only has 1 hump.  I don't miss it folks.  I don't miss Facebook.  I don't miss Instagram.  I don't miss Pinterest but I still reference my previous "pins" for sewing projects.  I still crave my time-waster games but I don't really miss them.  This is good, yes?  Yes... except...

The other night I asked my husband if he noticed a difference in my presence at home - if I was just that, more present.  He said .... not... really.


I think I have gotten so used to being in my own world of social media that I was essentially doing my own thing while coexisting with my family.  Now that I took social media out, guess what?!?!  I'm still doing my own thing, it's just not related to my iPhone.  They play games, I go sew.  They watch a TV show together, I go play in the gardens.  They throw the football, I sit outside and read.

You mean to tell me this was just the first layer?
I'm afraid so.
I didn't solve all my problems by taking out social media?
I'm afraid not. 
So, Alice still has 5 humps?
Maybe 4 1/2.
Awesome. (said in my best sarcastic tone)

This morning I made my son's lunch and was up and around while my family was getting ready for their day (this is hard for me because getting out of bed is a brutal act when my body hurts).  This afternoon I hope to play a game with my son and then leave fun little notes around for my husband to find later.

One day at a time, one layer at a time.  Progress is good!


the shackles of facebook

About 4 or 5 months ago I really got a good grasp on what I am and am not capable of doing while living with fibromyalgia and a whacked immune system.  Today I received a phone call with an offer to do something absolutely amazing - and my literal thought process was like watching a ping pong match.  

Yes, no, yes, no..... and the ball goes long.... YES, no, yes, no, yes no.

I find myself wanting to post something on Facebook about how hard it can be to make decisions that could impact my health, my family, my finances, and most importantly --- what I feel God calling me to do.  I am dumbfounded that as a Christian, one of my go-to avenues for answers is Facebook.  What the heck?!?!?  What does that say about my level of faith?

As soon as I got off the phone I prayed and sat still.  I asked God to make His will for my life to be so obvious that the next step that I should take is more clear than a blue circle on the mat of a Twister game.  
My second go-to was scripture.  
My third ... my sweet husband.  

And then there's that ridiculous draw to Facebook.  

Dear Moose,
You do not need social media or 300+ people to muddy the waters of your decision making process.  Besides, this is between you, God, and your husband.  God will talk to you if you are still enough to listen.  
Jen Hatmaker ---> ok not really, but I imagine it's what she would say to me.

You're right "Jen".  I cannot allow Facebook to have this much control of my life.  How on earth did I get here?  Has anyone seen my ruby slippers?  I wanna go home.


life minus facebook equals time squared

It's been 4 days with no Facebook, no Instagram, no Pinterest (except for when I need to pull a pattern off of my board for my business), and no games on my iPhone.  Some interesting things have happened in 4 days. 

  1. I find myself STILL "checking" my iPhone.  I'm still not exactly sure what I think I will find when I "check" it, but alas I find myself pulling it out of my purse and sliding my thumb across that screen.
  2. Facebook is sneaky.  I get notifications when things have been posted to our neighborhood pages, and I get a birthday notification of all the upcoming birthdays.  TWICE I have clicked on the links in the emails to reply to the post only to realize --- GASP, I'm not supposed to be here!  Also, I am actually going to send cards in the mail to the few people on that birthday list that I actually talk to and for whom I have physical addresses.  (Note: I did cheat when we posted a picture of our son's sandbox that we are giving away freely to whomever would like to come pick it up!)
  3. It's amazing how many things I have accomplished in four days.  I really am quite astonished by this.  At some point, I will have to admit that my husband is right about my affair with my iPhone...he has always said that I could get more done if I would stop checking Facebook. However, I'm not quite ready to admit that he is right... I'm still in an outlandish justification mode.
  4. I'm starting to think I do not have adult ADD, I have just always been incredibly consumed with the 10-15 apps I had running all at once on my phone. This is good news!
  5. iPhone batteries last forever when you aren't playing games.
  6. I desperately wanted to "check in" at the restaurant we visited after church today and then I realized for the first time ever just how ridiculous that truly is.  "Dear entire world, we are at a cool restaurant.  You may proceed with your lives now that you have this vital piece of information. You're welcome."
  7. My son is hilarious.
  8. My son knows a TON of the bible --- how did I not know this about him???
  9. I can actually exercise more than I thought I could (I have a laundry list of medical issues).  Apparently my iPhone led me to believe I was a paraplegic.  Who knew it's not that serious?!?!
  10. I have read more in four days than I have read in about 2 months (bible study classes and related workbooks aside).
My husband went cold-turkey and left Facebook high and dry.  Deleted his account.  Completely.  It's cool, I had heart palpitations FOR him.  He said what "did him in" was reading all these late January posts from people who had yet to take down their Christmas trees.  Some made jokes about it.  Some complained there just wasn't enough time.  I think some secretly wanted their 300+ Facebook friends to come take the trees down for them.  

Please read item #3 in my list above.  Ummm, I just moved one inch closer to admitting he is right.  

The last interesting and incredibly wonderful thing that has happened since I stopped being a slave to my "smart" phone and all the worlds of which it enticed me to enter, I started reading my bible more.

If you would like to believe this picture is of me, you go right ahead because I love how her stomach looks nice and trim. And she appears to be quite fashionable as well.    Picture borrowed from http://www.stgeorges-maplewood.org/

Dear Jen Hatmaker, 
I would like to thank you for reminding me that God gave me 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week.  And this is plenty of time to accomplish the things He has set before me.  
A Candy Crush Detoxer

I don't think I will be adding any of the apps back in that I deleted ... especially Facebook.  I will keep my account and I will probably allow myself one day a week to poke around there, but it will not be something that I allow back in to steal my daily time.  My time is pretty darn precious and I am quite certain that's not how God wants me to use the time He has given to me.  

LIFE - facebook = TIME (squared)


don't save me a seat on the Axiom

It's 10:16pm and I have successfully survived the day without TV, movies, Facebook*, Instagram, Candy Crush, Tiny Castle, Pinterest, and many other things.  Why in the world am I fasting from media?  Because my friend Anne enjoys inflicting pain* on me and asked me to speak at our upcoming bible study session (we are reading the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker --- it's excellent!) on the chapter about excessive use of media.  
*Anne is in no way a pain inflicter... inflictor?... whatever. She loves me. I promise.

NOTE: There are no snazzy blog photos to go with this post because ... I was trying NOT to use my phone.  Update... my friend Shelley just texted this to me and I HAD to include it.

Perhaps I should back up.
Hi, I'm Ann.
(hi Ann)
I have been sober for 23 hours.  I am addicted to my iPhone. ... In no way is this a joke friends.  I truly am addicted.  It's sitting next to me right now.

Last night I read ahead to the chapter on fasting from media and I was so stinking convicted to take action right then, immediately. So I deleted numerous apps from my phone.  

I should also confess to show you that I am no saint, that when I deleted Tiny Castle it asked me if I was sure I wanted to delete all of my saved game play from the database ... and I hesitated. 

For a long time.

I was at level TWENTY ONE ya'll!  I could SEE the Queen's castle even though I hadn't unlocked it yet.  Did I mention I have a problem? For the record, I said yes --- delete all.  If I'm going to change, I need to get serious. And perhaps grow up a teeny tiny bit, but let's not get crazy mmmmkay?

Recent issues that reached up and smacked me while reading this chapter:

  • When was the last time I didn't say "just a second William" when my son asked me a question?  
  • When was the last time my husband and I just sat together to talk with our eyes MEETING each others?  
  • When was the last time I had conquered a task from beginning to end without stopping every 10 minutes to "check my phone."  

Check it for what you ask?  That's a darn good question.  And I don't have the answer, so I asked Jeeves why "he"?  thought I was checking my phone. "He" showed me a link on CNN that said a recent study showed that adults ... grown-ups, that's most likely you (and me, most of the time) ... check their phones an average of 34 times a day.  Most times the "checking" lasts 10 seconds.  Dude, that's me.  Ok confess, it's totally you too.  

This morning I woke and completed my morning ritual... reach to my nightstand to "check my phone."  

Perhaps I am afraid it will sprout legs and walk away during my sweet slumber? Or maybe I fear I need to change it's diaper, or burp it, or upgrade an app so it's at the same level as the rest in its class. Dear friends, I'm not exactly sure what I am needing to "check". I first look for text messages (I do turn the sound off at night ... so there's that.), then I check email and delete all of the silly advertisement emails, then of course I harvest the food on Tiny Castle so that I can feed my newly hatched Minotaur. No I'm not kidding. Then I have to collect all the coins and plant new seeds so that I can harvest again in 2-3 hours.

In the meantime, I am missing out on conversation with my family at the breakfast table. Not to mention I have completely missed out on thanking the Lord for another day to attempt to do His will ... oh wait, I forgot to see if Courtney passed me on Candy Crush ... DANG IT ... she did. What was I saying? Oh yeah, God ... thank you God for this day, blah blah blah. Oh my family is leaving for the day, I will get up for this... I want to pray with them.

This morning when I reached for my phone I found that because of my recent app purge, there really wasn't anything to check... I put the phone down and got up.  

  1. I made my son's lunch.  
  2. I laughed with my husband about how crazy our puppy-cat is (the poor thing is confused, she really thinks she is a puppy - sorry sister, you are 100%... well wait, you're fixed... 99% cat!)
  3. I actually sincerely prayed with my family.  

After they left, I checked my phone.  Oh RIGHT, there's nothing to check.  Ok well, let's get moving then.

I don't know how else to say this than to just say this...  

Today was amazing.  

I felt so ... alert and present in my own life.  I worked on my bible study and made it an entire page without feeling the urge to ... you got it ... check my phone.  My sister came over for coffee and I actually heard every word she said because ... there was nothing to check on my phone.  Isn't that RIDICULOUS?!?!  Then I packed my car for errand day, complete with a lunch so I could resist the urge to eat out.  I left the house EARLIER than I needed to (someone write this in sharpie ... Ann Skaehill had a premature departure from her home this 4th day of April 2013.)  

I ran an errand and knew exactly what I needed and was in and out in no time ... and then, it happened again.  I was early to an appointment!  TWICE in one day the word "early" escaped from my lips!  I spent some precious time with a newborn baby so his mama could take some time to care for herself.  And then by golly, I wasn't the last car in the carpool lane today.

I can't believe I don't miss it.  Any of it.  I don't miss Facebook.  I ENJOYED my day.  It feels like it was a good, full day.  I don't feel like time flew by and I missed it.  When I saw something funny I wasn't compelled to go all paparazzi and get a snapshot of it so I could post it somewhere.  I just enjoyed the humor and went on with my day.  I prayed for so many people today as I drove that I lost count of who all was on that list.  I'm thinking I was actually following God's prompting because I wasn't distracted.  Huh. Jen Hatmaker is on to something here.  

The thing I'm most excited about is that I feel pretty certain that I am not going to turn into a resident on the spaceship "Axiom" and become completely dependent on my electronic devices that I forget that I can even walk!  

So there's day 1.  I'm actually pretty excited to see what day 2 brings.  I'm going to leave my phone in the kitchen tonight... because, well, there's nothing to check before I go to bed.... AND because I'm looking forward to my prayer time!

*Disclaimer: This textversation happened tonight...
Me: I started my media fast today.  No Facebook, no Instagram, and no games on my phone.  Guess what? I was as productive as Superman!  Sans cape.
Carmen: Nice!!!  We should have interesting conversations tomorrow while walking...
Me: Aw dang it.  I just used Facebook without thinking!  But I was replying to a neighborhood food drive announcement.  Grace?
Carmen: Absolutely!  Without a doubt it can be used for good.

Now that I have confessed my Facebook sin, I can rest peacefully tonight.


the fabric of my .... closet

My dear sweet mother has (and her mother had) some sort of crazy addiction to fabric.  When I was little I absolutely hated going to fabric stores.  I would have rather vacuumed the entire house... twice...than go to the fabric store with them.  I hated the smell, I hated standing up that whole time, and I absolutely hated all of the dress patterns my Granny tried to tell me were "perfect" for a young lady such as me.  Um, no thanks (I still hardly EVER wear dresses).  I could never picture the fabrics in their hands, cut and stitched into the patterns at which they pointed while nodding their heads hoping to convince me.

I think Granny thought she could get me to sway toward her opinion by scrunching up one side of her mouth showing she was severely disappointed in my choices.  Mom would just sigh and shake her head (which she still does by the way - love you, mom!) and realize once again she needed to find a great pattern for sweat pants and shorts.  I think the challenge for her was trying to find patterns that somehow looked different from the previous sets of shorts and sweat pants she made for me.

I have two sisters.  I am the youngest... all of you oldest siblings who might be reading this can stop raising your eyebrows and making that "mmmhmmm" sound.  Yes, I was spoiled and given free reign.  Yes, I am the favorite.  (giggling - I'm totally not the favorite but I'm in the top 33%!)

The older two really got into sewing with Granny and with mom.  I just ... didn't.  Now that we are adults, the oldest is more into crafting than she is sewing so her closet is jam packed with all kinds of paper and groovy little embellishments and RIBBON ... oh my Lord the girl has ribbon.  When the middle sister and I are at mom's we can't help but "assist" mom in purging her fabric closets.  Yes, that's plural.  Closets.

I used to shake my head and think, "there is NO WAY I would let my closets fill up with that much stuff that I will never use!"  (notice I inherited the shaking of the head from my mother)

Never use the word never, because it always comes back to bite you.

When I started sewing this summer I bought a few bins and silently created a secret handshake with myself that I wouldn't buy any fabric that didn't fit in those bins.  Then I bought more bins and changed my organization methods because clearly I did it wrong the first time since it wouldn't all fit.  (if I went to counseling I'm sure I would be enlightened with some fancy word that describes my evasion techniques here)

When those bins filled up....  well, now I have 9.  BUT ... 5 of them are filled with all the supplies I need for clients.  "Sam's" quilt stuff is in bin 1.  "Luke's" in bin 2. "Max's" in bin 3, and so on.  One is for fabric scraps because I want to be like my friend Stacey and create granny squares with my scraps ... someday.  I also have lots of cute baby fabrics for the blankets and burp cloths I will create to sell... well, when I don't have 12 quilts lined up for clients.  One is just projects I need to complete by Christmas.

And today I .... well... I ordered more fabric.

(hanging my head in shame)

 I KNOW! (sighing and shaking my head)  I know.  It's crazy and ridiculous but I have projects in my head that I want to do with each of the bundles I purchased.  Just like my mother.  It's the creative curse.  Too many ideas, not nearly enough time!

If I pass away prematurely, I would like to apologize to my middle sister because she will open my closet door after I'm gone and say, "SERIOUSLY?!?!?!" --- and for the record, her disappointed/irritated stare is much more threatening than Granny's half-grimace ever was!


kumbayah ... or not

I should know better. After 15 years of being in love with a man who also happens to be a police officer I should know better than to read people's comments online when an officer loses it and makes awful choices.

I know we can't all get along, history proves that. But why is it so difficult to see that when ONE person makes a poor choice it is NOT a reflection of the entire group with which said person is affiliated?


(in the following paragraphs - I don't mean YOU per se....)

I guarantee there aren't cameras at your job or a mic pinned to your lapel to catch every mumble under your breath or every hand gesture you make behind your coworkers backs. You don't have to go to court for just about every decision you make while at work.

Police officers swear to uphold the law and because of the way our world has become lawsuit crazy, yes they wear mics and are on video more often than not while working. And yes, sometimes they make a poor choice... Just like everyone else in the world.

Yup. People make mistakes. People sin. This is nothing new. But please... Please don't group my ethical, genuine, strong, amazing leader of a husband into this automatic "guilty by association" cloud when a police officer misses the mark. Please.

I apparently have not learned my lesson and just spent 20 minutes reading comments from people who have only heard probably 1/5 of the story of an event that occurred. So here I sit all upset and frustrated with people who make generalizations.

And then I turn my pointed index finger to myself and wonder how often I make those same ridiculous generalizations at other groups of people.

Lord God, open my eyes and my heart and help me to be a better example of sorting out the sin of a person from the group of people he/she may be part of. Restore my faith in humanity by working good deeds through me and streaming a solid mindset through me. Let me see your people the way you see your people. My human glasses are fogged up. I need your awesome optometry cloth to wipe it all away.


lead blanket sunday

This morning was crappy. Really crappy. My fatigue was so heavy that it felt like one of those lead blankets from an X-ray room was covering my entire body and face when I woke up. It was hard to breathe. It felt impossible that my own body strength could overpower the pain generator's hum of poisoned electricity that ran through every living cell of my body. In my head I was a cheerleader with a big white-toothed smile plastered across my face. My hair was super cute complete with a hideously huge bow pinned securely to the top of my perfect pony tail. I was saying "you got this, Ann!! Ready?!? oh-kay! 1, 2, 3, GET UP!"

But nothing would happen. Not even a toe twitch.

Over and over again I would let the cheerleader take over in my head, complete with the loud, cupped clap. But she failed miserably to get my body out of bed. Like trying to rouse the parent section of the football stands to get them to their feet. She just couldn't beat that lead blanket this morning. Kinda like how Jerry always outwitted Tom.

The thing that finally got me up, an hour and a half late, was knowing that the only way I could smell coffee and get my fibromyalgia medication in me is if I physically put one foot on the floor and took one step. And then another. And that's the only way I would make it to see my 4th grade girls at church.

I threw off that hellish lead blanket much like a kitten could pull a car with her teeth. Did I mention my morning was crappy? I did finally get into motion only to find that my pain level was extraordinarily frustrating. It hurt to scoop the coffee. It hurt to walk across the tile floor. It hurt to reach for my coffee cup and to flip open the "Sunday morning" compartment on my weekly box that holds my approximate 119 weekly pills. (no, that's not approximate or an exaggeration - I just counted). It even hurt to hug my kiddo.

I finally made it through the shower and my muscles went through their twitchy tantrums and slowly started to move more fluidly. I was late for church. But you know what chaps my hide about being late? There were seventeen 4th grade girls waiting for me to walk through that door. SEVENTEEN!!! Every. Single. One. Of them... Was so happy to see me. And it filled my cup with so much joy. They each even knew me by name!

My little friend S.M. (sorry, no names) gave me a HUGE hug and did that cute thing that kids do where they wait to see where you're going to sit so they can almost sit right on top of you. After we were sitting I felt her nudge a little closer and she whispered "you're so soft!"

On my other side was another sweet little friend E.L. She told me all about the postcard she got in the mail from me last week as though I had no idea what it looked like or what it said. It was the most animated description of mail I've ever seen/heard in my life! And I hung on every word.

In that moment, with these girls in front of me and on either side of me, all my issues from the morning faded away. Melted like butter in a hot pan.

God loves to show up in big ways. He loves to remind you that you are never too broken to serve His people. And I imagine He loves those simple and genuine whispered prayers, where all you can mutter is "thank you for this moment, God."

After my time with the 4th graders, I was off to sit in service next to my amazingly patient and loving husband. The worship songs were so alive with praise for our Lord and creator that I couldn't help but praise Him through the pain of my aching fingers and twitching thighs. I couldn't help but smile and sing as loud as I could while bouncing on my locked-up tippy toes. Every beat of the drum and hand in the air was like a squirt of lighter fluid in the fire of my soul.

After church I left a voicemail for our worship pastor. I felt like I absolutely should not wait to tell him what the worship team did for me today. I don't even know if he checks messages on Sunday afternoon but *I* needed to tell him right away, even through my high pitched, squeaky, crying voice. In worship today, that team of talented servants of the Lord reminded me that His Word calls us to praise Him. No matter what. And at all times.

So I have done just that the rest of the day today. I have praised Him through the pain. And He has helped me make it a good day.

Without Him, I never would have even made it to the coffee pot this morning. I don't know why I had to get fibromyalgia, but I know that God will use it to open my eyes and heart to many things I have been oblivious to for years... Like how powerful worship songs are, and how amazing it feels to be called "soft."



I finally finished the curtains in my office. Obviously photography is not one of my hobbies.