Friday, October 28, 2011

Arriving at the Middle

Driving home from the library I noticed a family walking.  The man was holding the hand of a small girl about 6 years old, followed by his pregnant wife.  I smiled because it was a nice picture.  My first thought was, "I'm glad I'm past that."  My second thought, "I have arrived at middle."

Lately, when out, D. and I seem to notice small children.  They make us smile and generally illicit a memory of when L. was that age.  It is no surprise that these thoughts are prevalent here at the beginning of our empty nest.  We have launched our child but have yet to enjoy the pleasures of grandchildren.  We are at the middle.  We have JUST arrived so we still have the steady dating, engagement, wedding and grandchildren stations to go through yet.  (Hopefully in that order.)

Grandchildren are joyfully anticipated but I honestly don't want to rush the process.  In the meantime D. and I have a lot to offer in our jobs, friendships and ministries as we adjust to the extra time we have to give. 
There is a feeling of freedom being on the older, wiser end of the line.  Friendships with younger women are exciting as they share their energy and their familiar situations.  It is satisfying being able to offer comfort and advice because we've been there.  It's freeing to look back down the road and see what hurdles were jumped, what pitfalls were missed and helping along those who are making the same journey.

We've arrived at the middle.  I greatly enjoyed the stations getting here and I'm looking forward to what's ahead.  What are your thoughts about the station in life where you currently find yourself?

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Quilting Through the Elementary Years

I'm moving right along on my quilting spree. This is the third tee shirt quilt and likely the last (I have no other tee shirts to use!)

The first was for practice.  It was the Family Reunion Quilt which followed a traditional pattern.  For the high school tee shirts I used my serger with school colors.  That was my favorite method of the three.  On this current quilt I used L's elementary through 8th grade tee shirts. 

This pattern is called a "Rag Quilt" where the complete square is assembled and then attached leaving the edges to fray.  It is always difficult to find the one fabric that will tie so many different colors together but the plaid flannel did the trick.  The front are tees from first through fifth grade and the back are from junior high.

With L. away at college the back bedroom has been transformed from an office into a sewing room.  I've bought quilting and embroidery needles and pulled out all the fabric tucked into tubs, bags and back closet corners.

The internet is a fabulous resource, I've read enough about applique, and have plenty of Christmas fabric scraps, to begin the next project.  It will be interesting to see when all this energy begins to wan but at the moment it's full steam ahead.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lovin' the Library

I LOVE the public library system.  Whoever was instrumental in creating public libraries should be sainted, knighted, crowned, celebrated! The free, sharing of information and the written word is surely ONE of the elements that make for a civilized, peaceful society.

Although the concept of the public library is fantastic, there are levels of "wonderfulness" at each facility.  I have lived in many different cities and experienced a variable sliding scale of public library competencies. 

One of the smaller city libraries, in south eastern Arizona with a population of approximately 30,000, had a top-notch facility.  They had only one building that was clean and welcoming, the book selection was current, up-to-date and available.

My parents live outside a tiny town that boasts the thriving Mill Pond Library.  With the help of their Friends they moved from 900 square feet into a donated grocery store space, outfitted it with computers and DVDs and expanded their new titles in order to better service a rural area of eager readers.  The fund raising efforts of this librarian and community are incredibly impressive and inspiring.

It is understandable, in our time, that government funds to libraries run shallow and that many are great because of the dedicated librarians and community benefactors that make up their Friends of the Library.

Knowing a public library can run well, even in tight times, brings discouragement when a large city public library appears to be lacking in resources. 

The answer to this stringency is another spectacular idea and boon to those smaller facilities that do not benefit from an active Friends group.  The inter-library loan system.  My sister in Michigan has used her inter-library loan system with great regularity so I find it odd that it took me so long to sign up and get on-board.  I became so disgusted with our public library and their lack of titles and hodge podge handling of series that my reading had fallen off to a great degree.  It wasn't until, while reading some of the review blogs, I once again searched for a particular title, was backing out of the library catalogue search engine and noticed the inter-library loan icon.

Inter-library loan sign up, search and request procedures were all exceptionally easy.  The books arrived within a week.  There are some stiff requirements about returning materials which are completely understandable and easy to comply with.  I'm back on the library loan-trail and finding all the titles I search for.

When you have the opportunity I encourage you to be a Friend to your library.  Buy what they are selling to raise funds; a brick, a calendar, cookies, holiday ornaments, a cook-book.  Let your local library be a beneficiary of your designated, charitable funds.

If you love your library, give it a shout-out in the comments.

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