Go Rest High On That Mountain

IMG_2193aJust over two weeks ago, my father fell and suffered a major head injury.  This injury ultimately led to his passing on November 21st (view his obituary). The rapidity in his decline was not expected. My dad had several major health incidences over the past years (cancer, heart disease, strokes, uncontrolled diabetes, etc) from which he always bounced back.  Having been through so many of these, his quickly succumbing to the effects of the fall was very surprising to me.

As I prepare for his memorial service today, I have been reflecting back on my years with him.

Growing up, my father was not an easy man to live with.  However, he did have a large impact on the person I am today.  As a child, I would often retreat to a hidden quiet spot in the basement of our home to avoid his unwanted words and action.  In this space, I would try to be as quiet as possible and thus kept several books, including some of our encyclopedia set, to occupy my time. My time was spent learning new facts and information, which ultimately helped me succeed in school.  To this date, I don’t think my father every knew that I had a hidden spot high on the storage shelf behind several large boxes.

As a high school junior, my father’s personality contributed to my decision to graduate from school a year early and attend college as a seventeen year old.  There were many things that my father had said and done that were inappropriate.  My life’s goal was to personally and professionally excel and make my own path that would be different from the path my father would have preferred.  College seemed an excellent way to accomplish this.

While in graduate school and for several years after graduating, I pulled away from my family, focusing instead on my career and raising my own children.  The things my father had done were wrong and I wanted no part of it.

However, as an adult, I have learned that we all have the ability to live a lifestyle of forgiveness.  The depth of forgiveness we have received in Jesus can be the foundation for our own love and forgiveness. In order to love to greater depths, we must continuously reflect on God’s overwhelming forgiveness and mercy to us.

In Him we have . . . the forgiveness of sins . . . Ephesians 1:7

I realized that I cannot change the past.  But, I could forgive my father and create a new future for us. So, over the past ten years, I have rebuilt a relationship with my father.  Our relationship was not a strong father-daughter relationship. But, I did love my father, spent time with him and will miss him.

 

International Cat Day!

In honor of the day, I thought I would post some photos of my feline friends.

Our first cat, Squigglez, enjoyed 14 years in our house. This was much longer than we expected to have him. Shortly after adopting him, he was diagnosed with the cat version of Ehlers-danlos syndrome. EDS a connective tissue disorder that is caused by a genetic defect in the production of collagen. This weakens the skin, gastrointestinal system and heart. The average lifespan of a cat with EDS is five years. Even the slightest scratch can damage and tear the skin of affected animals, leading to scarring. Heart failure is the usual cause of death.  Amazingly, his heart remained strong, but sadly his GI system was too fragile and deteriorated with age.  But, we had many more years with him than we expected.

About a year later, we adopted another cat.  Comet was a really young kitten that was abandoned in the ditch near a friends farm.

My second son, Sam, adopted him as his own. Comet was incredibly playful and loved to run around – thus the name!

Comet also got along with everyone, human or pet.  Both Squigglez and Duke (our Yorkie who past away a few months ago) would allow him to eat and sleep near them.  That’s saying a lot because both of them were very independent and did not get along with any of our other pets.

Eleven years ago, Comet got out of the house one night. Now this wasn’t too unusual for him. Comet loved to roam the woods behind our house when it was dark outside. Usually around 5:30 am I would be awakened by him meowing as he walked through the front yard asking me to let him in. Unfortunately, one morning he never returned. We searched the neighborhood and contacted Eagan Animal Control, but he was not to be found.  Every Monday and Friday I would go by the South Metro Humane Society to see if he may have been taken there.  After six weeks, he was not to be found.

img_3203Each time I stopped at the Humane Society, I would spend some time in the cat room playing with the kittens.  After six weeks, I had fallen for one of the kittens that was really affectionate.  I decided I would adopt her.  However, this was early October and I was told that the Humane Society policy was not to adopt out black cats the weeks before Halloween (apparently there are some people that have done evil and cruel things to black cats at that time of the year).  Sadly, I left without her but I would return and visit her several times a week.  My plan was to adopt her after Halloween to take her home.  Luckily about a week before Halloween, the staff decided that I was not going to harm her and allowed me to adopt her earlier than I had anticipated.

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Onyx has since become my constant companion.  She is close by me almost all the time.  In fact, as I write this posting, she is sitting right next to my computer!  Of course, she is sitting on the computer case because it is the softest thing near me.

 

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Hopefully we have several more years to enjoy her companionship!

 

Moonscape

Last summer, my third son moved into a new apartment.  Prior to that, he had been renting a furnished room in a brownstone house in Brooklyn.  With this change, he needed to purchase some furniture, especially a bed.

Since I really enjoy designing new quilts, I asked him what he would like for a custom quilt for his new bed.  When expressing his ideas, he said he wanted a quilt that was not traditional block based, but rather something that was more flowing and organic. I suggested that he try to find an image of what he was thinking and asked that when he found something that he send it to me.

ForMomA few days later, I received an email with an image attached. The image was a topographical map of a section of the moon.  This was going to be a challenge – designing a quilt to represent this image!

After thinking about this challenge, I settled upon a modified bargello design. To help create that quilt, I printed out a copy of the map overlaid with graph lines.

The sewing of the quilt was probably one of the most difficult quilts I have made.  While there were no Y-seams, inlaid areas, or applique, the challenge was keeping the transition of eleven different fabric, ranging from medium grey to deep black, straight. There were numerous times when I thought to myself “I must be crazy”.

However, once the quilt was finished, I was very happy with the result.

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Embracing my son’s desire for a more “organic” design, I decided to do free motion quilting connecting each fabric along the topographical lines.

The thread for the top of the quilt was grey 50 wt cotton following the topography, and black 100 wt silk crosshatching on the black background. The thread for the back of the quilt was rose colored 50 wt cotton ( to mimic the topography lines of the original image) and grey 100 wt silk.

This is certainly a one of a kind quilt !