Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Photo Blogging Challenge (May 2016): Outside the Box

Coming up with pictures for this month's challenge was a bit of a stretch for me.  Earlier this month I had to travel to the west coast for work.  It is not something I do often, working Outside the Box.  While there I had to work with a coworker to look at one of our IT systems in a new way.  To look Outside the Box
I think it worked, eventually.  After I traveled thousands of miles he tried to cancel the meeting.  Really?  When we finally did chat, he began to see the possibilities.  He even emailed today with more questions.  Score one for the home team!
After the trip, I had enough frequent flyer miles to cash in on one of United's awards - a new camera.  As you can see below, it takes much better pictures than my cell phone camera (no offense Apple!).
Mt. Hood, taken from the office
Ships on the Columbia River
Picture number 1 - Jack
First rose of the summer
To see more, visit A 'lil Hoohaa

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sand Pail List: 2016 Edition

Several years ago we started creating a Sand Pail List of things to do during the summer.  The lists are good for that summer only and contain a variety of entertaining ideas.  Seeing things in writing seems to help me.  It reminds me of my options when I’m getting bored or when I’m overwhelmed with yard work and just want to do something fun. ( ‘cause girls just wanna have fun! )

What great summers we’ve had since starting the lists!  Not that we didn’t have fun before, but it got us trying and doing things that we may have thought about but never did.
Without further ado, here’s our 2016 Sand Pail List.  Some things are repeats and some items are new.  Watch out summer, here we come!
· Try out a new winery or brewery.
· Go to at least one free concert.
· Go to the county fair and enter something into one of the competitions.
· Go for a hike in one of the county or state parks that we haven’t yet been to.
· Try kayaking.
· Go to the batting cages.
· Plant something new in the vegetable garden.
· Go to a drive-in movie.
· Go on a photo safari.

· Attend the Chesterton conference.
Am I missing anything?  I'm open to suggestions.
What's on your list?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Prayers Answered

Yesterday we arrived at church a little bit later than we usually do for noon Mass.  We weren’t late, but the parking lot seemed especially crowded.   Since we has gone to Mass at a different parish last week, we hadn’t seen the bulletin or heard the announcements.  We didn’t know if anything special was going on.

Apparently there was.

We were each handed programs as we walked into church.  We glanced down at them and smiled.  One of our own, now Fr. John,  had been ordained to the priesthood just the day before.  We were about to celebrate his first Mass with him.
I don’t know how other parishes acknowledge the first Mass of one of their own, but at ours it is a Big Deal.  The full choir was there as well as the Knights of Columbus, in full formal dress complete with swords.  There was incense and loads of flowers and extra altar servers.  Our Pastor and both of our Deacons participated as well as about a dozen visiting priests, all of whom were in some way influential in Fr. John’s discernment, formation, and education.

Before Mass started there was an almost palpable feeling of joy, of great anticipation.  Even the littlest of kids seemed to recognize something amazing was about to happen. 
Once Mass started people prayed more energetically and sang louder than maybe they ever had.  What a privilege it was to be the first congregation to respond And with your Spirit to Fr. John!

While giving his first sermon, about the Trinity and love, Fr. John got a bit choked up.  That's okay, he wasn't the only one.  He almost skipped the creed and went straight to the Prayers of the Faithful.  A little nudge from the Pastor got him back on track.  Nerves!

 Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love,
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord,
And where there's doubt, true faith in you.
 Make me a channel of your peace,
Where there's despair in life let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness, only light,
And where there's sadness, ever joy.

During the Sign of Peace, the priests on the altar appeared to share a special happiness.  There was joy in having a new member in their midst.

I am the bread of life
He who comes to me shall not hunger
He who believes in me shall not thirst
No one can come to me
Unless the father beckons
And I will raise you up
On the last day.
It was amusing to watch sixteen priests try to figure out where to go to distribute communion.  After all, they are all used to being in the primary spot.  Thank goodness for bossy deacons.

And holy is your name through all generations!
Everlasting is your mercy to the people you have chosen,
and holy is your name.

For nearly thirty years our parish has had a simple tradition.  After the closing song, no one leaves.  Instead, we kneel down and pray a Hail Mary for vocations.

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners 
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

We saw the fruits of these prayers yesterday in a most tangible way.  In addition to the ordination of Fr. John, we have three more young men in formation in the seminary.

Our prayers have been answered.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sew What? Sara's Quilt

Sewing has been fun lately.  Really.  It is even when I have to stop and take apart the sewing machine to repair whatever is causing the clunking sound (flannel fuzz from the next quilt).  There is a feeling of accomplishment, of creating something that will last.  The creative juices are flowing.  I want to do more.  If only there was time to do more.
Time is what it took for my niece's quilt.  I had an idea, inspired by the material I used to sew the curtains for her bedroom.  I started collecting coordinating fabrics a little more than a year ago.   I would stop in quilt shops wherever we happened to be.  A few pieces were from my stash, either what I had inherited from my mom or leftovers from other projects.  
The inspiration fabric is the right, horizontal piece.
I cut the fabric into four inch strips and then into shorter pieces.  All of those were dumped into a basket and mixed up.  I randomly pulled out pieces and stitched them end to end into a very, very long ribbon.  That ribbon was cut into pieces to fit around some appliques I had sewn. 
The Hairy Beast supervising the piecing process
Appliques - in process and completed
I tried something different with this quilt.  I brought it to the local shop where they quilted it on their long arm machine.  At roughly 75" x 57", it was just too big to do on my table top machine.  And, boy I am glad I did!  The woman who did the quilting chose a heart pattern in pink thread.  Wonderful! 
backside of quilt - hearts

Even when it seventy plus degrees out, it's never to warm to cuddle under the quilt!


Sunday, May 1, 2016

First Photo: May 2016

“Properly speaking, of course, there is no such thing as a return to nature, because there is no such thing as a departure from it. The phrase reminds one of the slightly intoxicated gentleman who gets up in his own dining room and declares firmly that he must be getting home.” 
– The Chesterton Review, August, 1993

Spring definitely has sprung!  The garden is greening up.  Actually, it's somewhat greener and much more yellow than it should be.  April tended to be a month where we needed to pick our priorities wisely - spend time with and help elderly and sick family or pull weeds.  By the abundance of dandelions you can tell that family won out.

My guess is that May will bring more of the same.  But, unlike Chesterton's drunk, we know exactly where home is and we indend to stay there as much as possible.