Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Quilting Book Giveaway! Ends Dec. 1st

We are on page 166

Wow! I am so humbled and honored to have a chapter in Ruth McHaney Danner's latest book about quilters that reach out and touch lives!  I just could not have ever dreamed that helping others with a quilt would lead to being mentioned in a book about quilts! 

I knew quilters were an amazing group of people, but Ruth's book just confirms it! From a quilter in Spokane who donates quilts to Hospice, Project Linus quilters, Quilts of Valor quilters, quilts for those undergoing chemo all the way to those amazing ladies who form church quilting bee's, quilters in the jungles, the book has so many amazing stories.

Ruth herself is a charitable quilter living in Spokane, WA (I have never met her personally) and if you would like to know more about her, just click on her name in this post and it will take you to her website where you can enjoy some of the beautiful quilts she herself has made.

There are several ways to get a copy of Ruth's book.
1- Click on this link to Amazon 
2- Click on this link to Barnes and Noble 
3- Follow the Rafflecopter below and win a copy here on our blog!
**I do not receive any compensation from the above book sellers, the author or her publisher!** 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 9, 2015

Thank You Wendy!

I miss blogging, I miss quilting, I miss having family fun and I know I do and I know I constantly over extend myself in spite of the fact I am in pain all the time. Why? 

Well, I think the best way to explain it is to have you jump over to Sugarlane-Designs and see this amazing post by my friend Wendy who is an awesome designer, but also brought a whisper from God into my ear with her post on busyness!

I have in the past two years over extended myself collecting, cataloging, photographing, packing, counting, dividing and delivering quilts to disaster areas in my state. Sadly, it took my husbands frustration with me springing a trip on him this week for me to look around and admit to myself, I do this!

I grew up with a mom who worked 2 jobs before she married my step-dad and I was in charge, I took care of my siblings. Growing up I was the one who protected the mentally disabled child down the street from kids who tried to pick on him. Helped those who couldn't read, read. When I got old enough, I began volunteering!

Why? Because my grandmother did and she always told me I can always find someone in need. My grandmother was a seamstress and she made coats for the children in our area who needed them. I got to go on the deliveries.

I was a PTA president when my kids were growing up, a den mother/leader, Sunday School/Nursery teacher, Vacation Bible School Teacher, when I was working full-time, raising grandchildren and going to school full-time, I volunteered once a week for a women's organization and of course I have my charity quilts.

My family is proud of Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 and how it has evolved. My husband brags me up, but what amazes me, is how how much my grandchildren tell people, my Ranny has her own business helping people who have no homes with quilts to keep warm.

I try to tell them a business makes money, however, my 14 year old granddaughter tells me, then you are a non-profit because you don't make a profit. I am NOT a non-profit, but she is right!

My husbands take last night was look around the living room, our grandsons room where is your sewing machine? When was the last time you weren't busy with these quilts? When was the last time you sat down and relaxed to quilt? He told me he misses seeing the joy on my face when I finish a quilt and how proud of me he is.

Then he let me know, I am only one person and this is a huge job and task I have taken on for being only one person. He knows I can do the job, but it is also he feels taking a toll on me and sadly, I must admit he is right!  Read my post about it here

After reading Wendy's post, I realized in the past 2 years, I miss participating in apron swaps, holding giveaways on my blog for quilting and fun items, reading other blogs, sharing my own creations and hearing my granddaughter play piano.

Sadly, I sold her piano due to a family emergency this year and I have regretted it because she looks at my cutting table and sewing table where her piano used to be and I know she is sad.  Yes, she was getting tired of lessons and yes, she plays Trombone and is in every sport offered at her school, but a friend gave her a keyboard and I know she misses her piano!

So, what is it about us that say YES to everyone? For me, I made a promise to myself when I quit working I would become more involved in community and I feel I can do that when as disaster hits. Or when a local mom asks if anyone can pick up her child from school, I am right there even though I have to drive all day with the grands here and there.

For me, it is like, if I say NO, who will say yes?  I have been told by parents that are not even 40 yet, 'Why is it I never see you volunteer at school?' How about the fact I will be 60 next year, I have raised 4 sons, worked all my life, am running a charity, donate time during the year to my church and I am tired!'

I have asked for help during disasters. I have contacted many news agencies, Good Morning America, our local Jesse Jones to help me get the word out. NOT one of them contacted me back.

My husband wrote an amazing letter to one of our local Christian stations and they put it out over the air and I received so many offers of quilts and loved it. However, no one wants to do the grunt work.

I must realize I am only one person and while I will continue to probably say yes to our 'Unseen Heroes, the 911 Operators,' I am probably going to in 2016 scale back to those roots and allow larger organizations to help with disasters.

Unless, of course it is very local...then I will step up.

It isn't just time, for Oso, I made 4 trips to the area to deliver quilts, volunteer, meet those affected by the slide and that took gas for my vehicles, meals on the road and time. All of which was partially funded by those who donated either quilts or fabric or a few dollars.

My husband is right. I rarely ask him for monetary help. But he pointed out my organized area and said, 'you are only one person, I see you in pain, I know you are hurting, you have to take time out for you. Go back to the roots of Layers of Hope and stop thinking you can help the world!'

I tend to escape by helping others or hiding. When we had family issues during my college years, I would take extra classes to keep busy (hence graduating with my BA in 2 years and Masters in 1 year).

There are so many needs and as Wendy points out, we have to learn to stop being addicted to busy!

I want to spend time with my coffee cup and visiting more of you in 2016. I want to get back to joining an apron swap, cookie swap and I want to learn to say, I can help where I can, but it takes a team effort to get it all done and there is no I in team!

Thank you all!!!!


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Walking Can Be Dangerous To Your Health!

This is the shirt I purchased when I needed some new workout clothes when my granddaughter was in the hospital and I was living close by where she was staying.

I chose it knowing I was on a journey to get healthier and following a good nutrition program and walking and working out to the best my body will allow. I have dropped 22 pounds in seven weeks and continue to lose.

However, yesterday I decided instead of calling my dentist to schedule an appointment I would walk which in my mind is only a short distance away 1.4 miles and it was a great day...a bit cool so I had on my gloves, sweatshirt and hat.

I was walking a slow steady pace and all of a sudden, boom, I was sitting on the ground, face down, side of a busy country road. I sat myself up, looked around and made sure no one saw me fall (oh yes, that was my first thought).

I took off my gloves and while my hands stung, I had no damage. Thank you Lord the day was cool! My knee was hurting but my leggings were in tact, no rips. I lifted the pant leg up and here is what was underneath:
I was scraped up, but not actively bleeding, so I pulled my pants leg down and then thought about calling my hubby to help me up (with my back hardware, ankle hardware and Fibromyalgia, I have a hard time getting up if I have nothing to hang onto)since I was sitting on the side of the road in an open field.

No! I am a stubborn on, I got up on my knees then pushed myself up. Once up, I looked around again to make sure no one was watching me. I stood there for a few minutes just making sure I had no broken bones and completed my walk to the dentist, made my appointment and headed back home.

Today, every part of my body hurts, my back, my knee, my legs, my hips, my head. But I set a goal and completed it. For those who suffer with Fibromyalgia, you know how difficult it is to complete something we start. Many times I have things so planned out in my head and then my body, says, 'oh, you are funny if you think I am going to let you do this!'

I fall, I drop things and it happens without warning. So, for me, walking may need to be done with a buddy. On the other hand, Pandora on the 50's music channel or Kid Rock channel and I can finish where I started.

However, I will only walk when I have someone at home now that can come and get me if I need to get back home and can't physically make it myself!

And they told me running would be dangerous! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Getting It All Together

Our family has been on critical mode since September when we almost lost our oldest granddaughter and I had to go out of town to be close to the hospital with her for just over a week.

During that time, I walked everyday, took time to sit on the dock and be thankful she was still with us and for the friends we have that opened their doors and hearts to us.

I came home and we have been running since...band, Homecoming, football, soccer, wrestling, basketball, church and my living room slowly by surely was piling up with more and more quilts for those families in eastern Washington who had no homes.

Let me preface this by saying, I am NOT a patient person, however, when a disaster hits, one must be extremely patient for the numbers to roll in and I have patience to do that. While everyone was loading trucks to get what they could to the area, I sat around and waited and yesterday, I finally got the numbers I needed.

Three quilts for families in Twisp...they had no children. Seventy Five quilts is an estimate for Chelan as they have 25 families that lost their homes but at this time we are estimating 3 people per family as many are retired without children, but some may have 4 children so I am hoping it balances out and lastly, thirty Eight families in Okanogan County and I left a message today to see their estimated number needed.

My living room looks a hoarding nightmare and while my family rarely complains, I couldn't deal with it anymore this week and once I had counts, I began boxing quilts up and putting numbers on each box and location.  I will do this the night before we drive up there one more time to make sure the count is accurate.

Here is what it looks like organized:
The boxes on the right at waiting to be mailed out to 911 dispatcher/first responder families across the United States.
The quilts to the right are baby quilts with matching hats for the hospital in Okanogan County for their Maternity Unit. The boxes under those are hats going to Twisp, Chelan and Okanogan as it gets cold in that area as well as the scarves you see. 

These are the boxes and bags of quilts that have been counted that will head up to their new homes next week. The bins int he front are mine and came out of my bedroom. I told myself I would not pile quilting supplies up in our bedroom any more it makes for an unpeaceful room when there is clutter.

 More of the quilts from a side view. They are neatly stacked under and around my cutting table. Which by the way, I have been unable to get to for the past few months.

This does not include my grandsons room whose closet is full and floor has bags of quilts as well. He is so good natured about it realizing we are helping others.

I do want to give huge shout outs to our quilt shop collection points here in Washington and if you life in the area or come to visit, please make sure you stop by and say hello and tells them I sent you.

The Needle and I in Everett. Stop in and say hello to Georgia and while you are there, check out their large selection of apron patterns and kitchen fabrics! The shop does machine repairs, has machine classes and sells new and used sewing machines. 

Town Square Fabric and Yarn in Burien. If you are flying into Seattle or out of Seattle back home and have some time to kill before your flight, this shop is just a hop and skip from the airport. Stop in and say hello to Cynthia or Christina. They have some pretty awesome fabrics, yarn and supplies and offer classes as well as do charity knit and sew on Friday mornings and a quarterly charity quilting event! Just love these ladies and wish I lived closer!

Bayside Quilting and Bayside Quilting 2 in the beautiful capital city of Olympia. These ladies are very sweet, but be advised they do get very busy but they have free parking and right across from the water. 

I am praying we are able to purchase my studio next year, but right now we are taking a wait and see attitude. The shell alone will be close to $4000, then there is insulation, walls, flooring, electrical, shelving, etc.. It makes me tired think of it.

I just want to thank you all for helping me help others in this state that are in need. Special shouts out to everyone!!!


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween and A Very Talented Granddaughter

Pumpkin Carving at this house was amazing!

 Even as a child, Halloween just seemed strange to me. I didn't like wearing plastic masks that made my face sweat, I hated going from house to house and tripping over things that might have been in the driveway or worrying that the older kids might come steal our candy. Why? Because when I was a kid we could go out alone and Trick or Treat, we didn't need adults to follow us from house to house.

Now, it is almost ever stranger because adults not only follow their children around, many of them dress up, carry their own bags and expect they should be given candy as well. To me, that is stranger than taking your child to a strangers house asking for candy.

However, with that said, I do not begrudge those that enjoy going Trick or Treating or the many places that have various activities for children to get candy and have fun. I am NOT that much of a Grinch! I also understand why parents follow their children around in today's day and age.

My grands have always loved Halloween and I have never told them they cannot go Trick or Treating...my husband has always taken them or neighbors that have children.

Last night, however, my son and his girlfriend and their children had planned on going out as a Zombie family and trust me when I say, they had this planned out to the plastic bones sticking out of their faces.
Son and his girlfriend had hit a local Goodwill store over the past few weeks and found clothing and other props that might work. My 14 year old granddaughter has been collecting friends broken mechanical pencils for while now and I almost got on her bad list when she caught me throwing them away. Who knew?
Mechanical Pencil Bones

So, I had to share this morning what our Zombie family looked like and for the first time I think I may be looking forward to seeing what these crazies come up with next year!

Seattle's Waterfront Ferris Wheel picture taken by: Mara Leite Photography

 I leave you with one final picture of our horror movie loving, amazing make-up artist who went as a Zombie bride and BTW, did her own make-up!

  We were blessed after receiving over 3" of rain yesterday that an hour before they went out, the rain stopped falling. Hubby and I went to Costco shopping, had dinner, came home, put things away and then settled into our spots in the family room to watch some television in a quite house. 

We have lived where we do for almost three years now and due to sitting so far off the road, down a gravel road which was a mud road, we never get anyone, so our house is very peaceful!

I hope you all had Halloween the way you like to enjoy it, quietly like hubby and I or answering the door to hundreds of amazing costumed children!

Monday, October 19, 2015

We Cannot Choose Who Our Children Like

My 14 year old granddaughter is doing a bit better since her suicide attempt, but I find we are still walking on egg shells a bit around her to ensure she doesn't go into a melt down mode.

During her entire ordeal, she has had an amazing young man by her side, he came to the hospital twice and just sat by her. He went to the intake center with her and held her hand until we had to go.

He has been by her side at school everyday to make sure she is doing alright and comes over just to help her with homework. He even invited her to Homecoming...and as you can see, she was extremely happy.

 What no one saw was the teen angst she had several hours before and had a full blown anxiety/panic attack when she realized she was going to a dance and couldn't dance. He did everything he could to reassure her it was okay, he can't dance either.

With the love of her family and her dad's girlfriend and the plan that one of us would be out in the parking lot if she decided to NOT stay, she calmed down. When she came down the hall, she was crying because she realized how beautiful she is and that smile is happiness.

Fast forward, they spent just over an hour at the dance...she said it wasn't what she expected, saw friends and talked with them, had their picture taken and went outside and danced (it was so hot in the school), then they decided they wanted ice cream and left.

Her dad and his GF took them to Dairy Queen and the young man and her walked over to another place and got dinner and then came here, changed and went to GF's to watch a movie and then to take him home.

Yesterday, she announces she is going to start 'dating,' (a term I really loathe with kids, because they don't date...just see each other at school) a football player. 

I asked her if the young man above knew this? She told us she had been telling him over and over they are just friends, however, we pointed out her actions don't match the talk.  

What did she know about the football player? Is he in any of her classes? Did he just break up with a girl and is using her? When does she talk to him...mostly, DOES the other young man know this or is she going to blindside him at school?

This morning, she is confused as to why the young man who took her to homecoming is mad at her. I told her he wasn't mad, he is extremely hurt, because he truly cares for her (no one else came to the hospital and sat for hours with her), he thought she felt the same way. She said she told him over and over they were just friends!

He told her he would see her at school. He understands now, he is JUST a friend and nothing more and it would be best for awhile at least if they don't talk to one another.

I then asked her if the 'new,' young man was aware that she attempted suicide? That she suffers from horrible panic attacks? That she has a crisis team on call 24/7. She said no to each and that it wasn't something that he needed to know.

I agree in part, but I also told her the rumor mill at school will out her and then what? The young man that broke her heart the day she decided life wasn't worth living, is very vindictive and I told her that HE would let him know.  

We cannot protect our children from life. We cannot wrap them in bubble wrap to prevent scrapes, cuts and bruises, we cannot protect their hearts from heart break, we cannot force them to be happy or be a doctor if they truly want to be a mechanic.  While I know there are helicopter parents who think they can, sooner or later their child will want to shed their shadows and be their own person.

We also, cannot protect the hearts of those our children break. We have to allow our children to live through the process of life no matter how painful it is to watch.

I know that I broke some hearts growing up and had my heart broken and moved on, was made stronger, wiser and learned that NOT everyone we like will like us and vice versa.

We do not live in a society where we choose our children's future, only that we try to guide them down the right path and that path will always be paved with choices, some easy and some not so easy!

I do believe however, that since Friday, I have developed many new gray hairs and this is just our first grandchild to be in high school! Oh, Lord help us!!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sharing My Family Struggles...

My son Adam after surgery
I really just want to take a day, sit down and quilt. I have not been able to for over a month now and while my quilting area is pleasantly being swallowed up by quilts to take up to Lake Chelan and the Okanogan area after the horrible fires recently, I have no..'I made this quilt,' of my own!

It has been crazy and I just cannot figure out what is going on. If it was just our family, I would say 'okay, Lord, what lesson do I need to learn in all of this,' but it is friends as well.

A dear friend of ours just had a beautiful baby boy and within a week she was in ICU with kidney failure and spent over a month on dialysis. She is home now with better kidney function, but is being medically monitored weekly.

With a week of being home, her husband was admitted and discovered he has Guillen-Barre syndrome and he is now home having physical therapy several times a week  as he has lower extremity weakness. If you have never heard of this and I hadn't, you can find out more here at Mayo Clinic

My youngest son Adam whose picture you see at the top and this was taken right after he had shoulder surgery. Wow! His wife Katie had emergency back surgery last year and has never recovered and was seen by another doctor who told her she now needs a second surgery to fix the damage from the first. A mom of 2, she can no longer carry her kiddos and has to use a walker to get around with and has monthly pain clinic visits.

What bothers me so much about this is that her insurance company has no issue with paying for pain clinic visits and medications but needs $5600 to perform her surgery. Such craziness.

I set up a Go Fund Me account when it was discovered Adam needed his shoulder operated on and the first surgeon filled out his paperwork for his employer telling them he could NOT return to work.

Adam has Asperger's Syndrome and his family and his job is his life. Now someone making less than $12 an hour as sole support of his family has no income, because the surgeon needed $25 for paperwork, told him it would take at least 17 days to get it completed and then when they sent it in to his short term disability insurance company, they did NOT put his surgery date, so now, rent is due tomorrow and they have no income.

We have raised just under $1100 for Adam and Katie and $600 had to immediately go to the out patient surgery center or they would NOT do the surgery. He has a month to raise $988 for his surgeon, another $700 for the out patient facility and he has yet to hear from his anesthesiologist....he carries his insurance through his employer.
His medical savings is all gone due to co-pays for his wife and his Xrays. 

Adam is NOT one to ask for help. The morning of surgery he went to the food bank and asked for a food box for his family. Katie has been waiting over 7 months for an answer from social security for her disability. 

Our son Justin, recently began having back pain and it was discovered he has fractured back at his T10/T11 and cannot work for at least 4 months. This is NOT an on the job injury and they are not sure how it happened, so he sadly has been holding a sign on the side of the road to earn money for his bills.

Three weeks ago, I was seeing the doctor and just coming down our road, when I got the call my granddaughter had tried to commit suicide over a boy. We all spent 3 nights in the hospital with her, then she was sent in error to a behavior center for a week and is home now, but has already been admitted to the ER once for erratic behavior and had the crisis team out once.

We have no idea where our beautiful granddaughter has gone, but in her place is a young woman who allowed a boy to take away her self confidence, her creativity and we are determined to love her back to us.

I am NOT asking for pity, I am writing this in case your family is going through something and you need help or prayer as ours does.

Please, pray for our family and pray we get some respite soon!

My husband works a great job and does overtime every week to help everyone out. He is pain today due to having to restrain our granddaughter. Please keep him in your prayers!