Tag Archives: faith

Living in a post-Hawk world….

Well, a post-writing The Hawk life; the last few mornings I have enjoyed that after a novel is done mood, which I have not known in ages.  It’s a liberated sense, in that nothing sits on my shoulders prosaically.  Of course, there is still laundry, grocery shopping, a shower to clean, ahem….  But the writer within me is taking a nap and doesn’t wish to be stirred until perhaps July.

The editor, however, has put on her hat, sharp pencils in her back pocket, an eager grin waiting to get busy.  And I will embrace the revising life, chapters read each day until again I locate The End.  But this work is less intense, in that the foundation is solid, if not in need of sweeping.  So many elements in writing a book.

And my husband was correct, in that another idea is screaming to be set across the virtual page; my overactive imagination is a blessing, but man it keeps me hopping.  Yet I’ve learned a few things from The Hawk, one being that I will never again publish a novel until I have actually finished it.  I mentioned that to my hubby, and he smiled, noting he would call me on it.  I said, “Yes please,” because there is a responsibility to the reader which cannot be ignored.  To me, beta releases are great, but only if a conclusion has been reached and not merely within this author’s gray matter.  Perhaps releasing The Hawk in sections as I finished them kept me going, but that was also a lot of inner pressure.  Definitely a major lesson learned.

The other takeaway is a far more gradual message I’m still wrapping my head around; I don’t write like I used to, which of course is good in that one strives to improve upon the craft.  However, when the words no longer fall like rain, a creeping sense of futility emerges, which if not qualified by how one’s life is altering might appear as writer’s block.  While I’m grateful to have started this gig once my kids were teens, now a little over a decade later, grandkids have wrested away some of my fictional thunder.  Okay, so has sewing, but for the foreseeable future, I’m an abuela before I’m an author.  In the battle of The Hawk vs The Burrito and Little Miss, a novel got its butt kicked all over the last four and a half years of my life.  But not all battles turn on one tide….

How could any tale top those smiles?

Nor do wee ones remain that way forever.  And that perhaps is the key issue I am grasping, yet not only in relation to adorable toddlers.  From 2007-2012 I churned out drafts, blithely expecting that would always be the case.  But life has a funny way of derailing assumptions, new paths waiting to be explored.  Grandkids and quilts will enhance my second decade of writing, seasoned by a hawk full of grace.  This isn’t merely a mantra to appease when time seems squeezed, but the honest truth.  Our existences aren’t static, we have to be brave when facing new challenges.  I have to believe, as I have said here before, that I will be given the necessary abilities, as well as the time, to master whatever task comes my way.  It’s up to me to humbly accept what gifts are set into my hands, as well as the moments in which to enjoy them.

And so comes The End….

In the front yard is my lilac bush, surrounded by roses. A fragrant spot, especially in spring.

At 3.38 p.m. PDT, I closed up my WIP, then saved it on the flash drive that sits on a desk next to the table upon which my computer lives.  The Hawk was finished in a manner much like it began, sort of innocuous, as if from a dream.

I just had to photograph this rose again; it has bloomed so beautifully. Sending love to Miss Cindy; these shots are for you my friend.

Actually, the idea for this book came to me during slumber, and within the novel it ends that way too, Lynne and Eric and….  I won’t spoil the conclusion; let me just say it’s a happy one, emerging over the last few days as though it was always meant to wrap up at the end of a month.  Six months and four years in the making, ahem, but who’s counting?

The back side of that plant, totally awesome….

Not me, not anymore.  Word counts and numbering chapters are over.  The Hawk is finito, oh my goodness!  Amid several baskets of laundry, grocery shopping, and my usual faffing about, I wrote a chapter, number 266 to be precise, a little over 3K in length.  This book started with Eric and Lynne, ends that way too.  Maybe that’s a spoiler, but I don’t care.

I’ve finished this novel, and yup, I’m over the moon.

Quickly I need to thank a few folks; Julie K. Rose has been in my proverbial writing corner for a helluva long time.  Honey, you are amazing, and I love you so!  Laura Bruno Lilly is a writing buddy, also a fellow quilter and (he)artist who connected with me through NANOWRIMO; giterdoneatlastpeace my friend.  There’s my awesome and growing family, to whom I am indebted and blessed by their love and support.  Friends from the ages have proffered their cheerleading ways, thanks more than I can say.  My husband is a saint, literally, ha ha.  He’s also my soulmate who makes this writing gig feasible, not to mention keeping me grounded.  And then there’s….

We call this rose Gracie; flanked by the peach tree to the left, a blueberry bush on the right, with a tall peach-coloured rose behind it, Gracie has to work hard to be noticed. She’s a beauty….

In this story, Christian faith starts out in the shadows, but as it has been within my life, so it builds within the fiction.  I am blessed beyond any amount of words by a Love that exceeds all levels I could dream, grace that soothes, peace that heals.  And divine inspiration that has allowed for this novel’s completion; believe me, there’s no way I could have done this on my own.  I was forty-seven when this story began, have gained, and lost, loved ones.  I’ve turned fifty, then fifty-one, and actually just celebrated another birthday, jeez Louise!  But now it’s all water under one heck of a Hawk-like bridge.

Last but not least are geraniums along the western side of the house. We have more in front, but these are worthy of a shout-out.

Before posting this entry, I want to say that regardless of how insurmountable a challenge may seem, if you feel called to it don’t despair.  As I’ve mentioned, there have been plenty of moments when I wanted to abandon this book, yet I KNEW eventually the impetus to continue would emerge.  Maybe that’s what I’ve learned from this experience, both in how long it has taken to write it, and how lengthy of a yarn I’ve spun.  There is no turning back from that to which we are called to do, merely the simple action of daily performing our duty, be it as a writer, a wife, a quilter, a mother, even an abuela.  Tomorrow I will celebrate my fifty-second year with the hubby, our daughters, the grandkids, and others so beloved.  And no small attention will be given to a novel that is now in the can.  A birthday and book party methinks, hehehe.  Oh yes, definitely time to celebrate.

For the love of baby quilts (and hexies too)….

First I want to say that having basted hexagon paper pieces with glue and thread, but not on the same hexie, I find thread basting just as expedient as glue, and so much easier to sew together!  There’s more give in a thread-basted paper piece, so I’m not constantly nicking the edges of the paper.  And I can sit on the sofa to thread baste, unlike standing at my sewing table to use glue.  However, those glue-basted hexies won’t get lost in the shuffle; Little Miss, Miss Em, and their folks came to dinner tonight, and my nearly three-year-old grandgirl fell in LOVE with the glued hexies!  Oh my goodness, she was totally head over heels for them, which made this abuela very happy.  We made more hexies for her to take home, solid colours that her parents like; green and purple for dad and mum, and yellow for the nieta herself.  I think she chose red for her little sis, I was just trying to glue fabric onto paper hexagons as fast as possible.  I will see them on Wednesday, when a trip to the craft store will be in order for more paper pieces, and perhaps a wee bit of fabric too.

The initial laying-out of the fabric. Nothing I tried felt at all pleasing, just meh all round.

But this entry isn’t so much about paper piecing as it is traditional machine sewing, although this quilt for a chap due next month came together in a rather odd manner.  I thought I wasn’t going to have time for it, but I did, yet it was a little tricky to design, but then suddenly I’m ready to start quilting it.

Then voila, here’s the end result. I didn’t snap pics in between, just trying to stay in the moment, allowing Grace to do the heavy lifting.

Funny how surprises enter the equation, and even when things seems ultra-tricky, a treasure emerges.

So on Friday morning, I woke with the notion that yes, I was going to make a baby quilt for a fellow I’ll call Tibby.  Actually, his middle name is going to be Tiberius, and if you know your sci-fi, there’s only one Captain James T. Kirk which springs to mind, ahem.  I’m actually not a  Shatner fan, but as soon as I heard about Tiberius’ moniker, I knew the fabrics I wanted to employ for Tibby’s quilt.  That was if I could find the time to make it.

Late on Friday afternoon, the blowy wind made photography difficult.

As I said, Friday morning the time was NOW, um, okay….  This is what I inwardly call Quilting by the Spirit.  There’s no sense in attempting any other work, just let my actions be guided by Hands far more aware than mine.  And that’s what I did, gathering fabrics, then putting them on the quilt wall.  I didn’t want to chop that galaxy into pieces, in fact the more I played around with it, I wondered if I could pull it off.  The saving grace, and I mean literal grace, was that I KNEW it was going to work out.  I had no idea HOW, other than to just keep faffing with those cottons.  Eventually something was going to stick.

While basting today, I did want to capture the moment.

Maybe that’s why I had to start basting hexies with glue, just so Little Miss could nearly lose her ever-loving little mind over them, lol.  Grace permeates the most innocuous part of life, even quilting.  Or maybe especially quilting.

There’s something very relaxing about basting, what I also find with thread and hexagons.

Certainly grace was in force this past weekend, as Tibby’s quilt came into being.  By Friday night the top was done, flannel scraps chosen for the back.  I did some writing Saturday morning, then in the afternoon sewed up the back, also cutting strips for the binding.  That night I sewed together two large batting scraps, then watched the San Francisco Giants beat the Dodgers in like fourteen innings, oh my goodness.  I went to bed, plans for basting in my head.

Luckily the wind wasn’t as strong today, or maybe a basted quilt withstands a breeze better.

But not with glue or thread, just old fashioned safety pins; I started before we left for church, wrapping up this afternoon.  Those binding strips are attached, but in need of pressing.  However, a quilt sandwich now awaits my attention, when just days ago I wasn’t sure if this baby blanket would see the light of day.  But for the Tibster, well, let’s just say I wanted to explore strange new worlds, boldly going where I’ve never gone before.

It was nice to have a wide strip of yellow for the back, complimenting the one on the front. No new fabrics were purchased in the making of this comforter, keeping in tune with my year of using what I have.

That’s part of Grace, trusting in the certainty as well as the goodness.  It’s not easy, trust or faffing around while fabrics land correctly on the wall.  But it’s such a feeling of comfort, knowing I can rely on grace, like snuggling under a quilt, or watching as my eldest granddaughter falls in love with simple hexagons.  Hearing her say hexie was music to my ears, and how this will play into her life is just another thrill awaiting my attention.  This is why, despite many inexplicable events that cast dark shadows, life is a precious blessing.  Family and friends, paper hexagons, simple quilts, and walk-off home runs are meant to be celebrated as Grace winds its gorgeous loving way through it all.  Then a post late on a Sunday night wraps it all together, my thankful heart in awe of such goodness.  May this be a hexie-wonderful week for you too.

It’s a wonderful life….

I had a lovely week with my youngest and her boy, and a dog named Zelda.  Between The Burrito and a hound, I had no trouble earning my steps and sleeping well.  Now back at home I’m wrapping up the basics; laundry, a quilt binding, a novel to finish….  Well, a chapter of The Hawk was completed yesterday afternoon, and next week I plan to hit that book hard.  Another idea is brewing and I’m feeling motivated.  Spring is truly in the air.

My grandson hangs out with Zelda on a nice day.

It’s Easter week, which prompts reflection; rebirth and gratitude come together, providing me a poignantly upbeat outlook.  Recent heavy rains seem a precursor to what occurs starting today, Maundy Thursday.  I’m hoping to get to a Good Friday service tomorrow, and we’ll spend the weekend with family up north.  Easter adopts a different tenor around youngsters, and in my heart emotions are mixed, our world in such turmoil, yet balanced by Love unfathomable. That Love is also wholly accessible, part of the mystery.  How to live out that compassion is yet another project within my sphere.

Big blue quilt bound and patched. I’ll give it back to my eldest this weekend.

I pondered that yesterday, driving along a road well known for causing strife; folks cut into my lane constantly, but as I made my way down the street, mercy pounded my brain and heart.  Amid beloveds, books, and fabrics, that’s why I am here, to show compassion and to love, even to those whose skills behind a steering wheel drive me nuts, ahem.  Mulling that over made me feel small, also blessed, as well as forgiven.  And determined to share that notion with my grandchildren in all aspects.

Sisters help their mum measure a duvet for which this abuela will make a cover.

This is truly the purpose for our existences, regardless of what social media, Madison Avenue or political pundits say.  Unfettered mercy is Easter’s message, and the only judgment is what we cast upon ourselves.  How beautiful is Love given without expectation, merely hoping that such Love will be passed along to another like a quilt, a novel, a hug.  I received copious snuggles from my nieto and hija, we’re a pretty tight bunch.  This Sunday, as eggs are hunted and sweets enjoyed, I’ll embrace more of my family, especially my mom, for it was this season three years ago when Dad died.  Corporeal life is so short; Love is essential, for not only does it conquer hate, but it is the underlying reason of our beings.  We’re a forgetful species, yet Love manifests in us hope, which leads to awesome characteristics.  May your Easter week be filled with Love’s peace and Grace’s liberty, and hugs from all you hold dear.

So little relative time….

While I know all things happen in their own time, occasionally I feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day, weeks in a year, decades in….  I’m heading to see my youngest daughter tomorrow, spending a week with her and The Burrito.  Yet, I’ve been adding to The Hawk as if a veil has been lifted, bottled-up prose liberated.  Plus there’s a big blue quilt binding to complete as well as placemats to sew, coasters to finish….

My grandson, wrapped in a scarf I made his mum years ago….

What I have to remind myself is that these tasks will be waiting for my return, along with vacuuming and mopping, ahem.  Sometimes I have the patience of Job, but not always.

I do have some fun machine quilting to share, coasters for my eldest girl.  I will blend these differing methods of sewing in a table runner that will eventually accompany the Southwest mats, waves as the horizon, straight lines as skyscrapers.

Of course, I need to design that table runner, lol.  Right now I feel like I have as many sewing projects as novel plots, which brings me back to this entry’s title.  But instead of getting my knickers in a twist, I will embrace the plethora of crafty ideas, both in cotton fabrics and fictional mischief.

My grandgirls; what blessings are all these nietos!

There truly is time for all these treasures.  And if the hoovering occurs, double bonus, hehehe!

Of what are we so afraid?

This isn’t an entry about gun control or our country’s leadership.  This is a post about us.

For it is to us human beings that this tragedy has befallen, all of us.  It directly affects those injured and the families of those slain, yet we are interconnected regardless of how distant some wish us to be.  Spirits who long for discord and chaos revel in the catastrophe in Parkland, Florida, also delighting in the sorrow of every other mass killing, be it with weapons or war or any other form of violence.  The threat of bodily harm stirs urges toward self-defense, the sensation of fear increases the adrenaline.  Yet, of whom (or who) are we terrified?

Adolf Hitler blamed the Jews, the Hutu government slaughtered upwards of one million fellow Tutsi Rwandans, Jim Jones led nearly a thousand followers to take their lives in the Guyana jungle.  Fear and hatred brought together form a powerful sword and we wave that blade even at the most innocuous moments; on the freeway when a driver cuts us off, at the suspicious looking stranger pushing an overfilled shopping cart, within our hearts due to this wrong perpetrated or that perceived slight.  Spirits who stir our animosity become they, and we wish to further ourselves from them.  The further we step away, the poorer become our souls, because they are us.

We are not a planet populated with alternate beings, we are all humans, imperfect and aching.  Love is what binds our wounds, but love, compassion, kindness, and understanding are being squeezed out of the equation, for it is so much easier to condemn, then turn away from, what seems loveless.  When we look upon our neighbor with fear, how simple is it to ratchet that to loathing, then reach for our sword, striking down that enemy.  This is exactly the position we must resist, gathering all our courage to instead embrace what is frightening, what seems insurmountable.  We must step toward another, leaving our weapons of destruction behind us.

From last Easter; The Burrito helps Little Miss navigate the shrubbery.

Those weapons aren’t merely guns; they are thoughts and words steeped in fear, heightened by callousness.  Our hearts turn cold, our tolerance wanes.  Apathy becomes hostility, and they turn into a group less than human, deserving no pity.  Today I pray for those in Parkland, but I also pray for myself to love more, be less afraid, and to embrace despite differences.  Only in these manners can peace and healing truly be achieved.

Perpetually Young at Heart

Growing up, I was the youngest of cousins on my mother’s side of the family, surrounded by elderly relatives on Dad’s side.  While I’m the eldest of five siblings, I’ve often felt in deference to those with whom I associate, other than my children’s compatriots.  Recently my husband acknowledged that amoung his co-workers, he’s now a senior staff member; he too grew up surrounded by those older than him, but no longer is that the case.  With another grandchild now in our midst, I’ve been pondering that changing of the guard, and how stealthily it has sprung into our lives.  Yes, there are days I feel my age, but in the back of my mind aren’t I still about twenty-four years old?

Hanging out with my granddaughters; Miss Em is already five weeks old!

Um, no, ha ha ha.  Recently I spent a day with my eldest and her family, a good chunk of it tucked between car seats as errands were run.  Fortunately I’m still spry enough that slipping over an infant car seat base wasn’t an issue, plus I got to chatter with both nietas; Miss Em doesn’t mind traveling on freeways, although she fussed somewhat until we got up to speed.  Little Miss had new green boots to discuss, her vocabulary becoming quite extensive.  Around those wee ones I am contentedly in my abuela-element, but here’s where time gets wonky, because I also clearly recall being my daughter’s current age, mothering my own.  That eldest will be thirty this year, jeez Louise!  And next month hubby and I will celebrate three decades of wedding bliss.  Perhaps these milestones are fueling such ponderings; how can it be possible that thirty years of my life has zoomed by for how young I still feel?

Two of my beloveds; where have the last thirty years, and five weeks, gone?

Maybe it’s all the rock ‘n roll I grew up listening to, and still enjoy, lol.  Perhaps my earliest memories of being the youngest of so many truly shaped my perspective, or was it the deference shown ingraining in me such a deep respect of my elders that it’s now hard to accept finally being one of those elders, ahem.  Not that I take myself so seriously, but other than my stepmom, my mother-in-law and my husband’s older siblings, I am the eldest within my sphere, good grief!  All those elderly relations have passed on, I’m a grandma to a few, and….  And yes physically I’m not as young as I used to be, but it’s a strange notion to embrace, this manner of aging.  Just as I seem to get my head around a particular aspect, the game alters.

Such a blessing to be an integral part of Little Miss’s life!

Miss Em’s arrival has been wondrous, also thought-provoking, not merely for the addition of another to our clan.  As a writer, I notice these changes maybe more than I would otherwise; it’s my job to observe human nature, which includes my own evolving humanity.  I’m grateful to possess such a youthful heart, and certainly the nietos are a part of that.  But it’s important for myself as well, and not only as an author; maintaining a humble and cheerful mood is necessary for my soul.  Time might be speeding past, yet a part of me lives in an alternate place where years don’t matter.  I never want to lose that ageless, ethereal sensation, not that I fear growing old, but I never wish to be separated from those who follow in my footsteps.  How many questions did I not ask my elders for worry of reprisal?  That’s just one example, but it certainly comes to mind now, as all those folks are out of my reach.  And remembering Matthew 18: 2-4 is another key; Christ noted a child-like manner is essential.  Good notions to ponder as a year of milestones continues….