Saturday, June 04, 2022

Laying Fallow

 This year my vegetable garden is empty.  An unfortunate three-fold combination of time spent in full-time care-giving, arthritis in one knee, and a very persistent gopher or ground squirrel helped me determine to cut my losses this year, and take a year off. So no vegetable garden for me this year.

Now I look at the empty space outside my window, and am surprised that my first thought is not, "Phew!  Sure am glad not to bother with that!"  Instead, I look at the emptiness and find it a little dismal.  I remember the thrill of the first little seedlings poking through, and watching day-by-day as produce becomes.  And I rather miss it, despite the bugs and droughts, and the hard physical work of weeding and processing.

But there are two ways of looking at an empty garden.  One is simply empty and unproductive.  The other is that it is laying fallow.  When a farmer allows a field to lay fallow, he is giving the land a break-- leaves it unturned to conserve moisture, unplanted to interrupt the insect cycle by not giving them any hosts plants, and allows it to soak in sun and rain and replenish. Perhaps my garden is not empty, but laying fallow.

Sometimes our lives feel empty, too.  Circumstances cause us to be isolated, or interrupt the merry march of daily activity for an extended period of time (maybe for the duration of a virus or the days of an elderly loved one's life).  It feels empty and dismal at times.  But, Gentle Reader, I think this is laying fallow.  Good things are being reinvigorated under the surface, and the medium will be ready to bring forth blossom and fruit in due season.  Scripture tells us that for every thing there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.  There is a time to lay fallow, and a time to produce.   And always, we strive to humble ourselves under the providential hand of a good God who knows the difference better than we do.

And speaking of laying fallow, this blog is often quiet these days.  If anyone is still here on the rare occasions I write, thank you!  Writing always helps me look more carefully and process my journey better.  So thank you if you peek in on my journey.


Saturday, January 08, 2022

2021 Project wrap-up

 So many people have been so productive during this time of pandemic and staying home!  But I am not one of them.  This year I didn't seem to get nearly as much done in the sewing arena, at first because we redid the flooring in the sewing room, which meant no sewing for quite a long time.  And now with Marilyn's care taking more time, I simply don't have the time I used to.  At some point, I thought I had posted my spring and summer projects, but I can't find that post.  So here is a dump of what I accomplished in the sewing realm in 2021... at least the ones I remembered to take pictures of! These are in no particular order...

Elsa wanted an apron, so this was the result.

The grandkids and nieces got quilted hearts and trees for this year's Christmas ornaments,

Ella got her own red-white-and-blue mug rug and cup to match her older siblings'.

A new nephew got a baby quilt and a stuffed elephant.

Emma chose some wild fabric for some stretchy pants.  Sewing with knits is definitely NOT my cup of tea.

A friend's baby got a baby quilt.  I enjoyed quilting little sailboats around this one (a LoriKennedyQuilts design!)

I made three toppers for the furniture and Emma and Ella's bedroom.

I made dresses with matching doll dresses for the summer birthday girls: E1 and E3 above, and Carys below.

A picnic quilt was completed for a wedding.

A runner was completed for my very own kitchen.

For Cousin's Camp this year, the kids got draw-string bags, t-shirts, and everyone got a superhero cape. 

For Christmas, Ella and Everette got Cowgirl and Cowboy dolls, respectively.

One of my favorite finishes this year was not really mine:  When Tim was about 11 or 12, he became interested in my sewing machine as a machine, and wanted to make a quilt.  He picked the fabric for this simple Irish Chain lap quilt, made the top, and then moved on to other pursuits.  I found it when clearing out the sewing room for the new floor, and finished it for his youngest child for Christmas.  What fun!

I finished a couple mug rugs for hospice folks for Christmas.

I also have started several more projects that are still being pieced, have two wuilts in the process of being quilted, and more UFOs and ideas than I can count.  Not such a bad year after all, maybe.  What have you been up to, Gentle Reader?

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Christmas Letter 2021


Merry Christmas 2021 friends and family and Gentle Readers.  This year I would like to quote one of my favorite Christmas poems (and carols) as I share our update: 

In the bleak midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
As this year ebbs away and we feel the world winding down, we find ourselves in the next stage of one of our major ministries this year: caring for Dave's mom, Marilyn.  

Marilyn was hospitalized first in July, and then in October, both times dues to small strokes and other complications of a weary and failing heart.  For someone who at 95 has never had surgery, she did not want to consider the only thing the hospitals had to offer: surgery to implant a pacemaker. And she was tired of returning to the hospital. So we brought her home.  On December 11, she suffered a stroke again, this one with more effects than the previous ones. With the help of hospice, we have kept her home, and are now seeking to keep her safe and comfortable.  She has had no pain, and in just 5 days has made remarkable physical recovery.  Please keep her weary heart, damaged brain, and determined spirit in your prayers. And pray that we may honor Christ as we love and serve her.  

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Despite the trials of this year, we have seen God's faithfulness:  Faithful to sustain our little church family through trials and tribulations; faithful to meet our needs and bless us well beyond them; faithful to keep us pulling together after 41 years of marriage; faithful to keep growing our faith and teaching us more about Him! 

We were overjoyed to have the blessing of all the kids and grandkids with us for Thanksgiving, which only reminded us again of God's goodness to us.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
The thought of the eternal God as a baby is amazing and humbling, and ever a source of rejoicing for us.  We are so grateful that Jesus is our peace, our Savior, and more wonderful than anything.

We see God's care for us as we continue to serve our church, be good neighbors, and love our family. Dave has accomplished more amazing feats of home improvement, and Chris continues to quilt.   

And as we love on our grands, we see anew God's purposes and promises.  We thank God for time together last summer in the White Mountains of Arizona for our seventh annual "Cousins Camp". Indeed, our grandchildren have been one of our greatest blessings!

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
And so, friends and family and gentle reader, this year is closing with great hope: hope in Him who became a baby and bore our sins, and proves Himself faithful over and over.  We hope you, too, will marvel at Him this season and in the year ahead.

In Him,
Chris and Dave

Monday, August 23, 2021

What I'm reading

 “For mankind is ever the same and nothing is lost out of nature, though everything is altered.”

 JOHN DRYDEN “On the Characters in the Canterbury Tales,” in Preface to Fables, Ancient and Modern

~From A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman

Friday, February 26, 2021

What I'm reading


When we work to redeem the time, we reflect our Creator.  God is the ultimate time-redeemer: He redeems all of time, and he redeems at just the right time.  We are charged with redeeming the years he has given to us as a reasonable act of worship.

~Jen Wilkin, None Like Him, p.77 


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Christmas Project report

 Well, now that all Christmas celebrations have finished (including what we called Second Christmas in Arizona) I can safely share the projects I had going on behind the scenes...

Our budding entylmologist received a new quilt for his bed.  He had requested one because the quilt for his junior bed no longer fit properly... The paper-pieced bug patterns came from Etive and Co on Etsy ( and I designed the rest with lots of advice from friends.  The entymologist loves it.

One granddaughter received her doll bed, made by Dave, painted by us both, and the sheeets, quilt and pillows made by me.  She was thrilled.

The two grandsons each got a set of castle blocks embellished by Dave, along with a little set of knights and dragons.  I made draw-string bags to store them in.

I embellished a t-shirt and made some bibs for Tim and Nikki's foster baby.

I also enjoyed making a plethora of star ornaments for the grands, the nieces, and several friends.

A small quilt for granddaughter #4, with a pillow, for use in the car... I used a fun panel on the back.

And a baby quilt for the foster grand.  So cute (the baby... and maybe the quilt, too!)

And did I mention that second Christmas in Arizona was just grand?  No one got sick, we hung out at our rental home, hiked, and enjoyed one another immensely.  I am so grateful for that time!  Now, quarantine is over, and the real world of put-off appointments reasserts itself this week.  But here are a few happy pictures to leave you with, Gentle Reader!