Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Heart was made to be Broken {Oscar Wilde}

I've been thinking recently how that in romantic novels or plays,
a broken heart is a cataclysmic event heralded by some disaster.
But back here in the real world, heartbreak is often a slow process,
where one is let down over and over
or expectations and dreams fade out unrealised.

Parenting for example, is filled with heartbreak,
in so many ways that our hearts feel pain
as we wrangle ourselves and our children through the traumatic process
that is growing up.

Relationships, also a ripe breeding ground for heartbreak.
The slow downgrading of our expectations,
hope disappearing and grace not allowed to flourish,
loving someone does not mean you won't break their heart,
or you theirs. We are all flawed human beings
and sometimes we make horrible mistakes with each other's hearts.

Luckily for us it is then,
that although our hearts are fragile,
they are strong. It is truly amazing what we can go through and still remain intact.
There have been times in my life when I thought I would break
and yet you wake up the next morning continuing to function.
It's miracle.

The thing I've noticed about heartbreak,
is not that it gets easier to deal with the more you experience it,
but you know that this too will pass and things will get better again.

Heartbreak is part of growing up,
dealing with it is part of our humanity.

This too will pass.
This too will pass.
This too will pass.
This too will pass.
This too will pass.
This too will pass.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge

The clever and talented Adrienne issued a challenge to use Marsala
(the Patone Colour of the Year).
It's a weird colour and people have been pondering how to use it.

I rummaged around in my stash and found something that approximated the Marsala
and decided to see what I could do with it.

I kind of like the challenge of incorporating something I don't like
into a whole picture. It is tricky to do it and make the whole work.
Anyway I've made this striking (and super simple) quilt
and I think that the colours are working well.

Lets face it, we all have parts of our lives that we don't like
or that challenge us in some way
and learning to make that a seamless part of our story
is a huge part of what makes us human.

I won't actually enter this in the competition
because it doesn't meet the brief,
but I'm happy with how it turned out (and that is what matters!!)
You were supposed to make the marsala stand out,
but I kinda liked making it blend in!

Also really happy with my straight line quilting here,
my Juki and I are now friends and I think between us we will achieve great things.

The back of this quilt has a nice surprise, 
because after all, it's the bits we don't see that are often most important.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's whats inside that counts...

Recently I was sorting out a cupboard and found this print I had saved
and I took it to my friend Cathy to be Framed.

I've been pondering for a while now, about the difference between how people see you
and what is inside. It's easy enough to have a pretty painted exterior
and hide away all the pain and hurt inside where no one can see it.

It's not a good plan, eventually a crack appears in our facade
and what is inside comes out.

Personally one of the things I find hardest to deal with is resentment.
I let things build up, shove them to the back of the cupboard
and don't deal with them.

Eventually some little thing will happen
and it all comes out. I hate this about myself.

I wish I could say that behind my outsides
match my insides,
that everything you see is exactly how it is, but of course that is not true.

We all are, after all, flawed human beings and we may as well acknowledge this.
We need own up to how we really feel.
We can think we are doing a great job of hiding
our pain, our resentment or whatever; but hiding it only hurts ourself and others.

It's all well and good to look good,
even to sound good,
it is far more important to actually be good. 
None of us can ever be as good as we wish,
but this is where Grace comes in, grace for ourselves and for others.

This year as I embrace imperfection, I see again
how precious a gift grace is to ourselves and to others.

It's a little thing that makes a big difference.

Friday, February 6, 2015

10 Life Lessons from some else's Unfinished Project...

1.  Sometimes you have to make a big mess before you get anywhere.

2. Sometimes you have to cut out stuff that is actually good before you make any progress.
3. It's good to have a plan, but its better to be flexible.

 4. Things that look like terrible mistakes at the time, all blend in the fullness of time.

5. Sometimes you have to give over control to someone else, to actually get the project done.

 6. It turns out that all the resources you need are right within your grasp.

7. Perfection is so overrated. Embrace imperfection.

8. Given the right setting, anyone can shine.

9. Practice does not necessarily make perfect, but each time you do something it gets easier.
10. Everything gets better with time and attention.

(UFO which I brought from the opshop. It would not lie flat and I started cutting it up
but got discouraged for some reason. I found it yesterday while clearing out a cupboard
and today used a child free day to trim, sew the blocks together, quilt and bind.)

Even a wonky quilt keeps you warm!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Not just a pile of quilts, it's a pile of love.

This pile of quilts can tell a lot of stories really.
At the bottom is an old quilt I made when Reuben was tiny and used to nap
in the afternoons. It's the second quilt I made once I had a rotary cutter
and it's worn soft and cosy with years of use.

There's a Christmas quilt, quite fresh and new
ready for the Christmases of the future.

There's the quilt I made for David's mum and quilted myself on my friend's LAQ machine.
Nana is in a rest home now and doesn't need it,
so it came back to live at our house.

There's a quilt made from scraps.
Scrap quilts are my favourite, they are like a photo album
of many different quilts I made. 

There's a quilt with embroidered tags,
also worn and faded. It's been a picnic rug, a play tent on many occasion
and been snuggled under on the sofa on countless occasions.

There's a quilt I made from using some fabric Chrissy gave me the day she left home,
and a quilt I made with hearts that I blanket stitched on
that we have had on our bed on and off for years.

There's a quilt I made for David one Christmas
and I sewed the binding on while he sat beside me
and he never noticed what I was doing!!

There's a kantha quilt that used to live in the caravan,
a quilt made from David's old shirts
and a quilt I made for David using tea towels from a client of his.

It might look like an ordinary pile of quilts.
But it's the story of our life.

Quilts made while battling the system for a special needs kid,
quilts made when our city was being shaken over and over again,
quilts made as life goes on, kids come and go.
Quilts for holidays, celebrations and hard times.

Our household is undergoing a period of change
and one thing I know is that a pile of quilts sewn with love and care,
will provide comfort and continuity wherever they end up.

It's not just a pile of quilts,
it's a pile of love and memories.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Gift of the Mundane Task

For me this year is going to be a transition between what was before and what is after. Lots of things are changing and I have to be a grown up about it and embrace the process rather than fight it. This time next year I will have my degree and hopefully a job that I love and will be making choices that reflect that. But before that there's a whole lot of living to get through. 

We don't know whats ahead, but we can look to the past and learn. I have the Timehop app on my phone and its fun to see what we were doing a year ago, two years ago, three, four and five years ago. However as we get into February, I look at the very ordinary things that we were doing four years ago, just living each day not realising that our lives were going to change for ever towards the end of February. I want to tell my past self to hold onto those moments and enjoy them because it is all about to change. 

Four years on and its exciting to see beautiful buildings being built in the central city and the possibilities of things being so much better. Christchurch is going to be an amazing city to live in one day, however the process of getting there has been hard hard slog. From the early days when we queued at the well for months for clean drinking water, when we all dug toilets (known as a "long-drop") in the back garden and lived with/without electricity; to now when we all bitch and moan about the never ending sewer repairs and road works and commiserate with each other about the Earthquake Commission and the slow process of repairs. 

It is hard to embrace change, it takes letting go of what was and how we were before and facing a future that looks different. I wonder if I would have gone to University if I hadn't lived through the Christchurch earthquakes. Facing your worst fears makes you realise that you are stronger than you think. It gives you the courage to face other stuff in your life that needs to be addressed.

One thing that I have noticed is that one of the things which actually sustains us as humans and keeps us moving forward, is the simple routine of the every day.  For the last four years while thousands of buildings have been demolished and sites cleared, we have been having breakfast, going to work, playing with the children, cooking dinner.... doing the really ordinary things which give shape to life. It is this pattern to life which actually gives meaning and value to our existence.

Hanging the laundry and sorting the odd socks, peeling the potatoes and polishing school shoes, these and hundreds of other such simple tasks give shape to our days and purpose to our moments. It gives a sense of moving forward in a time when you can feel bogged down. It is having nothing to do and no goals which makes life seem meaningless on a day to day basis. The business of living is a gift to those whose life is difficult or sad or in transition.

I realise that there is more to life than the everyday, and finding that meaning part of the human condition. But what I am saying here is that when you are finding life full of huge and maybe unexpected challenges, it is the every day routine that keeps you from absolutely losing the plot. No matter how bad things are, the children/pets/plants still need feeding and whoever you are the laundry needs doing. For myself as I battle this year of transition, I'm grateful for the simple tasks that keep me grounded and show me that time is actually passing.

Monday, January 26, 2015

I'm deb and I'm a flawed human being....

The other day I was chatting to our friend Alex 
and we were talking about how it seems to us that church is not always
a place where everyone can feel safe and not
judged for who they are.

I said that I wished that church was like AA
where the only rule is that you have to be an alcoholic,
there is no other qualification.

According to the AA website (I looked it up after my conversation with Alex)
AA is about people who "share their experience strength and hope with each other
that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover"

Seems to me we could all do with a bit of that.

It's not just a church thing, it's a life thing
it's easy to look around us at people and judge them for the things they are doing,
even if we don't mean too;
but the reality is that we are all flawed human beings,
and that is a great starting point.

Sometimes you just need to take of the mask of "I"m fine and I'm coping"
and just acknowledge that sometimes life is difficult
and that it's ok to fall apart a little bit.

And then maybe the other person will be able to acknowledge where they are at
and the two of you can encourage each other.

Let's face it, life is hard enough without
making it harder for someone else.
What's that saying about a mile in someone's shoes?
most of the time if we tried it we wouldn't like it at all
no matter how it looks from our point of view.

Even harder than giving someone else a break,
is giving yourself a break.

Are we not our own worst critic??
Heck yes. Perfection is so over rated.

I'm deb and I'm a flawed human being.
Be gentle with me, ok?
and I'll be gentle with you.