Sunday, October 20, 2013

Autumn with the Amish

This will be my first post of several about the past weekend which I spent with my husband, Ryan, my mom, Linda and my brother, Ryan. I am so grateful they were able to come to town and also grateful Ryan was able to take time off work to be with us.

Mom and I spent a day driving the Old Philadelphia Pike in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We went to several Amish quilt shops and farmers' markets. The fall colors were absolutely beautiful, augmenting the stunning Pennsylvania farmland that I love.

We bought more quilt fabric than we had intended and far more food than we ever planned on buying. The day was perfect.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Prayer texting-tree

My hospital room did not have a TV, but it did have this lovely mural. Made me really wish I could go on a cruise.

I was having such a great time walking on the wooded trails in the area, exploring, taking pictures, enjoying the fall weather. Then I developed bronchitis. Then pneumonia, which on its own can be pretty bad. But with me, any illness can cause my pancreatitis to flare up. That turns mere pneumonia into a much more complicated illness. I spent a few days in the hospital.

The night before I finally got desperate enough to go to the H-place, I was alone on the floor of my living room. I was in agonizing pain and had vomited my medications. Ten on the pain scale. Like being stabbed in the abdomen with a sword, going all the way through my back. 

Flash back to about a year ago. I was in a similar situation, with added emotional despair from the chronic nature of the pain. (Last year was really bad.) I suddenly had a thought occur to me: What if all my family took just one minute to pray for me right now? What if they all combined their faith in my behalf at the same time?

I texted my family with the idea. This is probably a good time for me to acknowledge that prayer means different things to different people, and I'm okay with that. I don't believe that a prayer has less power if it happens in a different form than I use. 

So my family all prayed for me and I felt some release from the pain. But more importantly, I felt like God was with me. A song came into my mind, a song which I learned in high school and hadn't really thought of since then: In This Very Room, by Ron and Carol Harris. That song was a sign from God to me. "Jesus, Lord Jesus, is in this very room." I sang the entire song in my head. All the lyrics were brought to my memory, lyrics which I had forgotten about for over a decade. I felt immense peace that God was with me and that he knew of my suffering. I feel I was blessed with this experience because of the prayers my family offered in my behalf that afternoon.

Fast forward to last week's pain attack. I had tried just about everything I could think of to find pain relief. Then I remembered my prayer plan from the year before. I sent a text to as many family and friends as I could, which was much more difficult than I had anticipated because of the amount of pain I was in. 

Almost immediately, I had one perfect surprise. Ryan walked in the door. He had been able to leave work to be with me and take me to the hospital. We were able to get my pain down a little bit and I even slept for a few hours. 

I really believe in the power of prayer, and more specifically, the power of combining faith in behalf of someone in need. I wouldn't still be alive if it weren't for the prayers others have offered in my behalf. I will never be able to express how much it means to me. Thank you to all who have sent prayers, faith, thoughts and positive energy my way. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Garden update

I planted some autumnal plants in my back-porch pots. Ornamental kale and chrysanthemums.




Monday, September 23, 2013

Library love

I read a delicious line today from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Flavia de Luce, a lover of learning says, "it occurred to me that Heaven must be a place where the library is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
"No . . . eight days a week."

A girl after my own heart.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Back porch birds

Although we live in a metropolitan area, our apartment is backed by a pond and stream, so we get to see quite a bit of animal life from our back windows. Recently we have had cardinals visiting our back porch. What beautiful birds! 

We have already been through one hundred pounds of bird seed this year.

Apologies for the blurry photos. It will be so nice when I get a working camera again.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Maryland campus

Yesterday I visited the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park. I arrived around lunchtime and the weather was beautiful; the combination of both meant the sidewalks and lawns were crowded with students. It also happened to be extracurricular week, so the quad was buzzing with clubs, fraternities and sororities, academic groups and religious groups all inviting students to join their organization. 

This picture shows about half of the groups set up on the lawn.

Will I join your sailing club? Well yes, since you insist.

The campus was beautiful. The red brick buildings and ancient trees standout foremost in mind as I reflect upon the visit. It was also fun to once again be in the world of academia, surrounded by students eager and excited about the new school year.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The mansion next door

Take a nature walk with me.
This historic mansion is now owned by the parks department. It was built in the late 1700's. Former first ladies Martha Washington and Abigail Adams visited the mansion. 
P.S. I am a huge Abigail Adams fangirl. 

What I've been listening to: part two

As I previously mentioned, I have been undergoing a media-makeover. I have fallen in love with a new podcast. (New to me, that is. If you already love this show, then shame on you for not sharing it with me!) It is called "The Thrilling Adventure Hour,"styled like an old-time radio show.

One of my favorite episodes is #130: Captain Laserbeam, "Paperback Fighter!" Being a self-professed "library junkie," I naturally loved hearing Captain Laserbeam fight the Die-brarian, who "nearly dewey-decimated half the city!" Each episode is filled with wordplay, alliteration and original music. Did I mention they have Adventurekateers? That alone is reason enough for you to give the show a try.

You can listen to podcast episodes on iTunes or at Nerdist.

Do you have a favorite podcast? Please share!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hamster update

Here are some recent pictures of our hamster, Rhino.

Yes, he did try to eat the entire apple.

He wants to be a dancer like me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Catching up: family time

This past April we took a trip to visit family. We hadn't been there for about eighteen months, so we were looking forward to going. Last year and the beginning four months of this year I was too sick to travel, but after I was taken off all my tubes and as soon as we thought I could handle the trip, we booked a flight. Here are some pictures from the trip. 

Ryan with his dad, Jim.

Ryan and I at the tulip garden of some family friends.

Me and my sisters, Julie and Shelley
So sad this picture is blurry. This is me with my maternal grandma. This was the last time I saw her before she died. 

Ryan holding my dad's rabbit.

Embellished tea towels

Here are some of the tea towels I have made in the past two months. I would like to add ruffles to my next set, but I first need to practice my gathering stitch.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

National Aquarium

Ryan had the day off, so we went up to Inner Harbor to the National Aquarium. Being a weekday after school is back in session, we enjoyed freedom from the crowds we previously battled on summer weekends. Here are some pictures I took with my iPhone. I can't wait to get a real camera again. (My last camera died). I'm in the market, so if you have any suggestions, let me know!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fabric therapy

My talent for buying fabric is much more developed than my talent for actually completing projects with that fabric. However, I have been better lately about completing projects, I just can't show you all of them because they are gifts. Top secret. Here are some of the fun fabrics I have found recently.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Granny Square part three

I have made two more sets of granny square quilt blocks for my correspondence quilt. After making two more sets I'll be able to start piecing the quilt - that's only if my mom and sister finish their blocks, too.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Showing off my garden

I have to show off my back porch garden. I have eleven pots and they all did really well this year. I am ready to pull up a few of them and plant some fall-hardy plants like ornamental cabbage, violas and pansies.

Next year I am going to try growing some veggies in pots. Red bell peppers for sure and maybe green beans or snap peas. One of these days I will have a garden so I can grow pumpkins and squash. City life just doesn't allow the space.

I love my pink snapdragons

Compare the growth with these pictures.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Three years on the third

Yesterday Ryan and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. I surprised him with a photo book featuring highlights from when we were dating and engaged. He wrote me an old-fashioned love letter and bought me diamonds, so he definitely wins. (Yes, gift-giving is a competition. Just ask Leslie Knope.)

I have been reflecting upon all the people who helped make our wedding day special. We are indebted to family and friends who spent time preparing for the garden reception of my dreams. I had bridesmaids and ladies-in-waiting spend hours with me shopping for a dress and planning other details. Others traveled long distances to be with us on our special day. We were blessed with a generous amount of gifts. I love using them and thinking about the people who gave them to us. To each of you, thank you!

Monday, August 19, 2013

What I've been listening to

I am going through a phase of Augmented Media Frenzy. If you have never heard of this term before, don't be alarmed; I just made it up.

I am a voracious reader, but lately the library just can't keep up with me. I've given myself a music makeover by ordering new music and by creating new playlists. I also have been listening to Podcasts and iTunes U lectures.

Tonight I was particularly amused by episode 470 of This American Life. The second act narrates an epistolary relationship between Gregor Samsa (the main character in Kafka's The Metamorphosis) and Dr. Seuss. The concerned doctor of rhyme writes:

Remember when tempted to heap self-reproach
that he who formed lilies created the roach. 

The story was written by David Rakoff and Jonathan Goldstein. You can listen to the full episode here.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Saturday marked six years since the car accident that started my pancreatitis nightmare. Ryan and I had a great day celebrating not only how much I have come through, but also how well I am doing today. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for family, friends and even strangers who have helped me, prayed for me, loved me, cared for me and provided emotional support.

We went to Annapolis (I LOVE that city) where I bought four fat quarters of quilt fabric at Cottonseed Glory. We picked up my wedding ring, which had been worked on by the jeweler. We ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. After we came home, I got to finish off the day by watching a BBC documentary on women in the 17th century. What a great day! Six months ago, I could not imagine ever being able to do that much in one day.

These are my darling, Annapolis-themed fat quarters.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Beach day

My dad came into town on business, but he came a little early so he could spend some time with us. We had a perfect beach day. Here are some pictures.


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