I counted my years
and realized that
I have less time to live by,
than I have lived so far.
I have more past than future.
I feel like that boy who got a bowl of cherries.
At first, he gobbled them,
but when he realized there were only few left,
he began to taste them intensely.
I no longer have time to deal with mediocrity.
I do not want to be in meetings where flamed egos parade.
I am bothered by the envious,
who seek to discredit the most able,
to usurp their places, coveting their seats,
talent, achievements and luck.
I do not have time for endless conversations,
useless to discuss about the lives of others
who are not part of mine.
I no longer have the time to manage
sensitivities of people who despite their chronological age, are immature.
I hate to confront those that struggle for power,
those that ‘do not debate content, just the labels’.
My time has become scarce to debate labels,
I want the essence.
My soul is in a hurry. . .
Not many cherries in my bowl,
I want to live close to human people, very human,
who laugh of their own stumbles,
and away from those turned smug
and overconfident with their triumphs,
away from those filled with self-importance.
The essential is what makes life worthwhile.
And for me, the essentials are enough!
Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining cherries.
I am sure they will be exquisite, much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.
And per Confucius “We have two lives
and the second begins when you realize you only have one.”
Just when you think we’ve figured it all out, some new gadget or ruler or method shows up in the quilting world. At the quilt retreat a couple of weeks ago, I learned about wool pressing mats and clappers. I’d never seen them before. They are amazing! And they are the tools our grandmothers used.
I was excited to try them, and my orders have been delivered–a tabletop pressing mat, an ironing board-sized mat, and 2 clappers, 6″ and 9″. The wool mats hold the heat when you press a block. The clapper is heavy wood and it smashes the block flat. When you use the two together, it’s especially effective for keeping your blocks perfectly flat as you sew.
I’ll use my large ironing board-sized mat to press my pinwheels. There are oh, so many seams to keep flat! I counted 4,608 pieces of fabric in this quilt so far. I’ll add a bit more for borders.
Here’s the next project I’ve cut out–a delightful Dresden Plate! I have 600 blades ready to sew!
Oh my, it’s finally going! We thought we said goodbye to this container weeks ago, but with the sanctions and political problems in the world, the red tape just got thicker and thicker. We finally got clearance, and this morning we sent the container off on its way. Thanks to Dick Loomis from the Ouelessebougou Board and to the great guys from the Mosquito Abatement District who came to celebrate with us.
This container is filled with mosquito abatement supplies and loads of Days for Girls supplies for our sewing enterprise in Mali. It’s like Christmas in a box!
This week I and 160 other women showed up at the Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah for Amy McClellan’s Under the Garden Moon Retreat 2022. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long long time!
I didn’t miss quilting while I was in Africa, but when I returned I realized how good it felt to be back in my quilting world, with quilting friends I’ve known for years. This year 160 women came. It was a huge room full of energy, excitement and creative juices flowing! It was a delight to be there.
My packing list this year included my machine, plexiglass table top for my machine, small table, cutting mats, rulers, ironing pad, small iron, pre-wound bobbins, and all my notions and tools (scissors, pins, rulers, measuring tape, extra machine needles, oil, canned air to blow dust out of my machine, rotary cutter and extra blades, note pad, etc.)
I took 7 different projects to choose from to work on: small half square triangles to make pinwheels, half square triangles left over from my Mountain Top quilt to make a scrappy half triangle quilt, a snowball quilt that’s been in the making for a dozen or more years, Wensleydale, and enough strips to sew 2 Story Time quilt in brights. I also threw in fabric for a Happy Dresden quilt. I had enough sewing to last me a month or more!
The first night the ladies teaching classes showed the projects their students would be working on.
Here are the half square triangles I worked on the first day. These are all cut from scraps I had on hand. I got a little carried away.
These are the finished pinwheels I took home to press–almost 600 of them!
These are the 80 blocks I worked on the 2nd day–for my Story Time quilt in these cheery bright fabrics.
And on the 3rd day, I worked on my Wensleydale quilt.
Here’s how the blocks came together after the retreat:
The second evening we had a wonderful trunk show by these 3 delightful ladies from American Fork. They represented their quilt group, showing dozens of quilts they’ve worked on in the last 6 or 7 years. These are a few of my favorites:
It was fun to see the same quilt made by different women with different fabrics.
Quilt backs can also be interesting!
One of my favorite things about a quilt retreat (besides the hours of uninterrupted sewing) is wandering around the room to see what everyone else is working on. It’s heavenly to be surrounded by good people who are creating beautiful things. Here are some of the pics I took in my wanderings:
We could stay up as late as we wanted each night. I like the quiet late hours too. It’s calm and the time feels like a bonus.
This is Amy McClellan’s family. They’ve been helping her host a retreat for years now. We loving being part of this quilting family. We are already talking about next year!
John and I serve as the Co-Chairs of the Activity Committee in our Stonewood 4th Ward. That means we get to plan all the ward parties and activities. Because of COVID restrictions, we’ve had to plan carefully and limit our neighborhood gatherings. Now that the restrictions are lifting a bit, we can start getting back together again.
Our bishopric asked us to add an activity to the calendar this month. We didn’t have much time at all to plan or prepare, but we were thrilled with the results tonight! We called it an International Pot Luck Dinner.
A week before the event, we sent around sign-up sheets at church for international dishes–main, dessert or other. We also had people sign up to bring an international centerpiece or any decorations from places they’d traveled. We decorated the room with globes of the earth, travel posters and things people brought. We played a youtube travel video on the big screen so it looked like we were in the dining room of a cruise ship!
At each table we had questions with a table captain appointed who stayed there to keep everyone on track. After about 5 minutes of visiting and hearing everyone’s answers to the questions, we rotated 2 more times, then we had dinner. After dinner we had a special performance by a professional ballroom dance couple in our ward. They were fantastic.
The rest of the evening was spent eating and visiting. The food was fantastic and there was plenty. The food tables were arranged by continent/area (North and South America, Asia and Pacific, Europe, Africa) with a poster by each with statistics about each area from the church website (number of members, # of temples, countries in the area, etc.)
Everyone LOVED this activity and want to repeat it every year. We had an excellent turn out for such a quickly-put-together event. We asked that it be adults only, and provided a nursery for those who needed babysitting help.
· Name a place you would love to visit and tell why.
· Name three places where you have lived (international or US), other than your current home.
· Name a country that your ancestors came from.
· If you served a mission, where did you serve?
· Do you speak a language other than English? Which language have you dreamed of learning?
Our neighbors and friends:
The punch we served was one of our favorites–you mix one can of white grape juice concentrate with a liter of Fresca and serve it with pebble ice. YUM.
Today we celebrated Aaron & Abbey’s upcoming marriage with a family bridal shower with members of Abbey’s family. This was the first time I met most of them–her aunts and cousins–and they were delightful. What an interestingly epic thing it is to bring two families together to create a new one! As I learned more about Abbey and her family and heard more stories about how Aaron and Abbey’s lives intersected, over and over again, I was reminded that there is more at stake here than meets the eye. Heaven’s Hand is in our comings and goings.
I remember in April, 1997, John and I were on a travel study trip that included visiting the BYU Jerusalem Center. We attended church there on Shabbat, and after the meeting, as John and I sat in the beautiful Concert Hall looking out over the Old City of Jerusalem, I had a powerful impression flood through my body. The message I received was this: “Do Everything in your power to get your children here.” The impression was so strong, I started crying. It was unexpected and I remember sitting there, trying to compose myself. It was not just a thought or hope or idea. It felt like a command from heaven.
At that time, Aaron was 2 years old. I have never forgotten that impression. Years later, when Claire was deciding what to do with her life, I suggested to her best friend that a study abroad experience would be a great idea. And Jerusalem would be at the top of my list, if I had a choice. Claire was in the room and heard. On her own, she looked up the program and started making her own plans to go. She and her friend went in 2015 as we left for Yakima.
After returning from his mission, it didn’t take much for Claire to convince Aaron to go to Jerusalem before diving into his mechanical engineering program at BYU. Of course, I added my encouragement and support (never forgetting the impression I’d received so long ago). Aaron went in January 2017, I was glad that these two wanted to go and were able to go.
This morning, at this bridal shower, I heard Abbey tell her family the story of how she met Aaron. She said that several of her best friends had gone to Jerusalem and were in Aaron’s study abroad group. This Jerusalem group of friends brought them together. As she told the story, a flood of warmth filled my body and I remembered the feelings I’d had sitting in that concert hall 25 years ago. Those feelings returned today, and I knew that Aaron and Abbey’s paths were meant to cross. I knew it.
So today we celebrated that intersection and their plans to marry in a few weeks. I felt God’s Hand in this merging of our families. I felt this is absolutely right and good. For me, this event was so much more than delicious food, games and gifts. It was a confirmation that things are as they should be.
But the food, games and gifts were also great!
I learned that this is a very musical family! The last game was identifying the titles or artists singing 25 different songs with “love” in the title. I didn’t score so well, but Abbey and her sister knew almost all of them!
Then Abbey opened her gifts. This family is kind and generous.
One especially dear gift was given by Abbey’s Grandma Mary. It was an old Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt made by Mary’s grandmother, Bertha Emery McKean Swain. Abbey has been living in her Grandma Mary’s home the last few months, and this quilt was on her bed. She loved it and Mary has now passed it on to her.
Abbey has a love for quilts and plants and beautiful things–things that matter in this world.
Here is an army of women who will love and support Abbey in the coming years.
Abbey with her sisters and mother: Allison, Susan, Abbey and Anna.
What a wonderful morning. What wonderful memories it brought, what hope for the future!
This evening I was invited to speak to the young women in our ward. They had a fun overnighter at our Sundance cabin planned, with lots of good food, workshops, activities, a Days for Girls service project, and my fireside this evening.
The leaders asked me to talk to the girls about the youth theme for this year, Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct they paths.”
This particular scripture has been one of the guiding lights of my life.
While we were serving as Mission Leaders in Yakima, during one round of interviews, as I visited with each individual missionary, I asked them to describe to me how they received or felt the promptings of the Spirit. I wrote down the things more than 150 missionaries they told me. This evening, I returned to those pages and pages of notes, sharing many of their comments with these young girls and we talked about all the different ways the Spirit of God speaks to us in a language we each understand. It’s different for each person. His Voice is unique and individualized, and we can learn to hear it if we listen carefully. And when we hear it, we can trust it. God speaks to us because He loves us and wants the very best for us.
Here is a handout I had made for these cute girls:
I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who knows me and who loves me and who speaks to me. I trust Him. I love him. I know He is there, always.
I am sad for any woman who doesn’t have a group of quilting friends. Oh, how I love being with my quilt group every Wednesday! We visit and stitch and counsel with each other about life, about our families, about food and current events, and about our quilting projects. We fill each others’ souls with goodness and cheer. I am grateful for these women.
We also have really good food. Today’s soup was five star. Here’s the recipe:
Spicy Lasagna Soup – Ann Takasaki
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
chopped zucchini and yellow squash
8 ounce fresh mushrooms, sliced (I added mushrooms to original recipe)
6 cloves garlic, chopped (or use a garlic press)
1 pound Italian sausage (sweet or spicy depending on preference)
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use less if you don’t like the soup to be spicy)
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used cooking white wine)
4 cups chicken broth
1 can (28 ounce) crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup cream
1 cup shredded Fontina cheese (recipe calls for Provolone, but it does not melt well, so I use Fontina)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
8-10 lasagna noodles, broken in pieces (I use bowtie pasta)
Sauté sausage in olive oil until no longer pink. (don’t over cook.) Add chopped garlic part way through cooking sausage. In separate pot sauté onion, celery, and red pepper in butter. (I like vegetables al dente so I cook them separately. I sautéed the mushrooms in another separate frying pan.) Drain sausage and add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and thyme. Simmer 10 minutes. Add grated cheese slowly, stirring to allow cheese to melt completely. Stir in chicken broth and cream. Transfer onion, celery, red pepper, and mushrooms (with cooking liquid) to soup pot. Meanwhile, cook pasta in separate pot until al dente. Drain. Add pasta to soup pot.
To serve, shred fresh Parmesan cheese on top.
Note: I like to make the soup the day before allowing the flavors to blend. However, I cook the pasta the next day and add it to the soup before serving.
Karen Ashton, Karin Crawford, Helen Clegg, Ann Lewis, Penny Stephenson, Sharon Geurtz, Lisa Johnson, Melissa Clark, Ann Takasaki, Marsha Livingstone
This week I brought 3 quilts I inherited while we were in Bamako. I’ll tell their story in a later post. What treasures!
I came home today and cut out another quilt. This one is called Tell Me A Story by my friend, Amy McClellan.
It’s been a sewing sort of week. I’ve been sewing and pressing these little half square triangles out of scraps and strips and leftovers from other projects. I’m afraid my FTC (failure to count) problem has kicked in again. I get going on something and I don’t stop. I’m going to make these half square triangles into adorable little pinwheels and put them all together into a quilt. They hardly make a dent in my fabric piles–they seem to just come out of nowhere–a strip here, a piece there–and before you know it, I’ll have a spectacular quilt!
I’ve also put together another batch of pillowcases for the grandkids. I’m going through a bin of fabric that’s been waiting for this day. When I asked Adam which ones he wanted for his kids, he said, “how many can we take?” That was the right answer. I told him as many as he wanted. I can always make more!
I have one more batch of about ten in the works. I am very happy about how little fabric went into the trash this week.
Ann Lewis and missionary companions Melanie (Hirshi) Henley, Sherrie (Moultrie) Johnson, Michelle (Smith) Falco
Today we had a really fun reunion with South African missionaries and friends to celebrate Lorna Wood’s 90th birthday. She was our Mission Mom and we love her.
South Africans, Andre and Judy (Bester) Brummer hosted our wonderful event. We also served together in the Transkei in 1982. Judy prepared mounds of delicious South African curries, samosas, rice, pumpkin, peas, hot bread and salads. It was so good.