Sunday, August 24, 2014

Book #3: The First Phone Call From Heaven

I actually read this book at the start of the summer but never got around to posting about it.  The First Phone Call From Heaven is by Mitch Albom.  I've read several of his previous books and always enjoyed them.  They tend to be inspirational and thought provoking.  This one had the added benefit of providing a bit of a mystery to the story.  I really enjoyed that added element.  The story focuses on a small town where several people are experiencing phone calls from loved ones that they have lost.  There are a variety of responses to the calls from the receivers as well as those who are not getting calls.  It gets a "thumbs up" from me.

Whenever I give a "book report" I always feel that my reading quantity is rather pathetic especially compared to the husband who devours one book after another.  But then I read this and felt a bit better.  :-)

I tried three times to get this graphic to appear readable, but I'm not too sure I was successful.  If you click on the graphic it brings it up in a more readable form or here's the link to the original source with the graphic is towards the end of the article.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Blogs, Life and Choices - and Quilting

It seems like, in general, you either make your life happen or your life happens to you.  And usually we have seasons of one - having some order or control over what is going on in our lives and seasons of the second - reacting to life happening around us.  Lately I've been in that second category of watching life swirl around me.  And consequently blogging hasn't been at the top of my list.  I have a paper by my computer of topics I want to blog about but haven't, for one reason or another.  But I have had so many thoughts and ponderings and getting older means that those thoughts will only stay with me for so long unless they get written down.

Long ago, at the start of my blog I wondered why blogs stop.  I was new to following blogs and would often find one that I enjoyed but taking a closer look at the dates I realized that the writer had been gone for months or sometimes years.  There was no conclusion like a book, no season finale like a TV series, no final thoughts.  The blog just seemed abandoned like someone had walked out of their house one day and left everything behind.  Now, having blogged for several years, I think I understand a little better.  Sometimes life happens.  Other interests take over.  Writing down thoughts and activities no longer adds to our day, it just becomes another thing to do.  Sometimes the whole process of picture taking and editing and posting is more than we want to deal with.  But we still sort of like the idea.  Maybe life will slow down or inspiration will strike so we just sort of put our bookmark in place and set the blog aside.  Then time moves on and suddenly it's been months or years and blogging becomes something we did "back then"- sort of like diaries of old or paper and pencil journaling (both of which I've done in the past).  I guess the main difference is that no one knew when those writings were started or when they ended.  No, I'm not getting out of the blogosphere.....just acknowledging a little insight into some old questions I've had.

That sort of leads me to my second pondering (which actually has a quilting connection).   We often think of choices in life in terms of what we choose, but in reality choices are more about what we DON'T choose.....what we say "no" to can be as important as what we say "yes" to.  Son #1 had a very broad assortment of interests in high school - from drama to art to engineering to logic and debate to science.  But to be good at one he would have to spend less time with the others.  His dilemma was not finding what he liked or should pursue in life but acknowledging the need to say  "no" to other likes.  So maybe my missing bloggers have decided to say "yes" to other interests for awhile and need to harness some of the time and energy spent on blogging in their other areas.  Just like (wait for comes the quilting transition) choosing fabrics for a quilt.  We may have 20 fabrics that seem to go together and that are all pleasing to us.  But saying "yes" to all of them would create a chaotic design.  So we need to figure out what to say "no" to so that we can accomplish our final goal of a coordinated pattern that we like.  Did we like ALL of the fabrics?  Yes.  But we couldn't make our quilt with all of them.  Did Son #1 like all of those varied interests? Yes.  But pursuing his eventual profession required a total concentration of his time and energy for several years.  Saying "no" to good things is sometimes needed so that we can say "yes" to other good things.

So, life is still happening to me and probably won't slow down for awhile yet, but I'm not ready to say "no" to blogging.....just a bit slow at it. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Seamus: 2001-2014

Seamus, sweet beloved Golden Retriever, family member of Nina and her husband, died August 7, 2014 at the age of 13 from complications of a prostate mass, most likely, cancer.

He was born in the summer of 2001 to a family in rural Virginia, one of a very large litter.  He came to live with his busy household in the fall of that year and enjoyed the active, somewhat chaotic household of five.  He enjoyed lots of love from the entire household.  As a puppy he loved to chew T.V. remotes, eyeglasses and gloves; loved treats, roughhousing, climbing in the shower and being outside.  He tolerated the cats.  He hated crates, constraints and being alone.

As he grew older he became an avid hiker doing surrounding trails on a regular basis with Nina.  He especially was fond of hikes that ended at a waterfall and rewarded him with a swim in the cool water.  At the end of the hike he also enjoyed the traditional picnic before heading home.  They usually shared an apple and peanuts on a blanket before the drive back.

He loved all types of water from swimming pools and mountain lakes to the ocean and sound. He always stayed in control of the game of "retrieve" in the water by just not returning the stick or ball when he had enough of the game.

He loved to travel in the car.  He could tell when an adventure was forthcoming and would dance with excitement hoping that he was to be included in the ride.  He spent most of the trip with his head on the front console between his two people.

He loved Beggin' Strips and looked forward each morning to a ritual of being fed them in small pieces.  But he was always willing to share this special time with his doggie cousin, Jackie, taking turns being fed the special treat.

In his older age he became the ambassador of the neighborhood.  Daily walks were opportunities to greet two and four footed members of the area with a sniff and tail wag.  He brought a smile to the face of many people - most of whom were never known by name, but all of whom remembered him fondly.

He was a loyal and faithful companion to the very end.  While his passing has left his family with much sadness and tears, they are comforted in knowing that he lived a long and full life with them, even making them better humans along the way for having shared their lives and home.  He trusts that in time the sadness will fade and the wonderful warm memories of fun times they all shared will comfort them.