Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Family Quilt

Any quilter will tell you that quilts are most beautiful when a variety of fabrics are pieced together. To the inexperienced eye some of the fabrics may seem boring or plain, others loud and too bright, some downright homely. It may not be readily apparent how such disparate fabrics will ever come together. When joined by loving hands the whole exceeds the sum of the parts.

Families, like quilts, are curious entities. We are born into one family, marry into another, and adopt a few special people along the way. The interesting thing about our many connections is the way all the individuals when joined together form one cohesive unit regardless of race, religion, and like or dislike of chocolate.

We come together to celebrate and to grieve and occasionally just to BBQ. Like threads interwoven families become stronger as joy and trials bind us together. Bonds begun in love strengthen as blood ties are formed by the babies added to our quilt.

Although the individual fabrics are diverse and may seem to clash when viewed independently they all contribute to the work of art that is the complete quilt. Differences when paired with compassion and the ability to appreciate our unique design make the quilt a rich, colorful comfort.

Our family loves us when we are sunshiny and happy or sick and cantankerous. We accept each other and understand that the strength of our family, just like the beauty of the quilt comes from our differences. A quilt made from just one print or color lacks the depth and interest of one pieced from many different fabrics.

Friendships are conditional. We can choose to discontinue an association if things become difficult. Our families may have upsets. Sometimes the seams joining us may pull, but love completes our quilt, running through each square, overlapping our seams, joining the many fabrics, embellishing our family quilt and forming eternal bonds regardless of our differences and delighting in the beautiful masterpiece we form.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fall Memories

The brakes in our van have been making a squealing noise and if you have to brake suddenly the whole vehicle shudders and drags towards the right. It's a little bit scary. Turns out it was a warped rotor head (or some such thing). The doo-dad wasn't under warranty but the kind salesman said, "since you spent so much money last time, we'll comp this for you." Thank heavens for nice salesmen who remember our $963 purchases from last spring. I'm sure it was in his computer, but he was just so darned nice that I've convinced myself he was just being a helpful guy. To top it all off, the kids were pretty well behaved while we waited for the work to be done. Sam tried once to crawl through the line of tires displayed in the middle of the showroom floor, but I took his water gun away from him, and tapped on his rear, and he was good for the rest of the hour we waited. People actually came in and smiled at my children instead of looking pityingly at us. It's a first. Usually they make comments like, "Oh my, you are busy aren't you?" But today they just commented on what nice boys they were. I'm sure tomorrow we're in for some really strange occurance while out in public, but for today I'm just pleased with all 3 boys.
This afternoon we went to the little farm on the corner of Lake Lowell and Middleton roads. A couple of my friends decided we had to go to a pumpkin patch in order to purchase our Halloween pumpkins and let the kids have that whole experience. Luckily I talked the mother of the 1 1/2 year old little girl out of having the kids all dress in their costumes to choose pumpkins. I can only imagine how much extra time it would have taken to find all the doctor's instruments and fireman's accessories for Chris and Sam. Perhaps I'd like the idea of dressing up a little more if my kids didn't live in their dress up clothes at home 4 days out of 7 anyway. Chris and Sam loved getting to choose pumpkins and as a bonus we also bought a couple varieties of squash and a whole box of Honeycrisp apples. Actually, we bought 5 pounds of apples. After everyone was seated in the van, and the seat belts buckled, and Chris and Sam were eating their second apple... we didn't have many apples left. So, I bought a box. We could always use more fruit in our diets. I think we've all eaten about 4 apples each this evening. The apples only weigh about 1/2 pound a piece. I'm sure that must be good for us.
This evening's final observation: We have a ton of some sort of garden or crab spider. They're really neat orangish/pinkish/beigeish spiders that are about the size of a kumquat. They have two horned ridges on their abdomens that are a darker brown color and brown rings around the joints in their legs. They are very active at night and seem to love our Linden tree. We have a few with egg sacs along the edge of the roof. The egg sacks are the same odd color as the spiders. In the late evening they are always busy spinning their webs and seem to do a booming business catching flies and moths. By morning the webs are mostly gone, only a small bit right next to the spider remains. I love watching these spiders. They're nice normal spiders who stay in their webs and don't go galivanting about on the floor of the house scaring nice people. I hope they eat all the Tegenerias spiders lurking about the place.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A small rant about religion...or a statement of belief

On Friday while I was getting ready for Jake's party a car pulled into our driveway. Chris and I were taking a play break outside while Sam and Jake fell asleep in their room. An older couple, very nicely dressed, got out of the car. I thought they were probably headed somewhere and needed directions around all the road construction. No, they were looking for my husband. They were from the LDS Church. They were very disapproving since the information they had been given listed only Dave. They were even more disapproving when I explained that I was not a member (and happy that way). The couple was very polite, nothing they did or said was offensive or rude and yet I still felt vaguely offended.
Dave is LDS. I don't have a problem with that. Thank goodness I don't have a problem with that because marrying somebody and thinking you're going to change anything about them is pretty much a sure way of having an unhappy marriage. Our oldest son attends church with his grandmother on occasion. He probably attends more Sundays than he skips. I don't have a problem with that either. Chris likes primary. He makes friends there and learns many things, among them lessons about the LDS religion. The portion of Chris's family that attends church regularly is LDS. These would be the people who care most about what religious path he chooses later on. I think it would be a disservice to him to keep him away from the faith of his father and his father's family. This religion is part of his heritage. Of course my faith, and the faith of my family is also part of his heritage and I will never choose to answer his questions about faith in a way that contradicts my own beliefs.
I do however have a problem with people who are judgemental, close-minded and convinced there can be no truth other than the one they have embraced. The reason I get along with the Mormons in my family is because they don't tend to exhibit those characteristics. Why is it that so many of the people who seem to want to try and convert a person to one religion or another do seem to be judgemental, etc, etc. On a side bar, the Catholics in my father's family that I get along with are also the ones who don't exhibit the above characteristics.
Part of the reason I am not any particular religion is that I have never found a religion that calls out to me, "this is right, this is truth, stay here." I am a Protestant. I do not believe you have to attend confession with any sort of church official to be worthy of communion. I don't believe you have to be baptized to enter heaven. I don't think only men or only women are capable of guiding religious ceremonies or receiving messages from God. In fact, I don't have a belief about whether God is male or female.
I do believe that faith is a personal relationship you have with god. I think most of the ceremonies ordained or celebrated by different religions are unneccessary. I believe the only binding covenants to be the ones contracted with God and written in our hearts. I do not believe the church, any church, can make those covenants more or less binding. I do believe homosexuals are born, not made. I believe that there is nothing wrong with eating or drinking anything non-poisonous, so long as my consumption is in moderation. I believe that being reminded of sacrifices made on my behalf stregthens my faith. I believe it is a good idea to celebrate the Lenten season since it keeps the memory of sacrifice fresh in our minds. I believe that if I can share my worries, my concerns, my fears and my celebrations with God it lightens my spirit and refreshes me.

I am the mother of a 1 year old...

Jake turned 1 on Friday the 13th. We had a party. It was fun. It's a very lucky thing Jake is probably our last baby because my energy levels for 1st birthday parties is declining with every party we've hosted. Chris had a lovely dinosaur themed party when he turned one. I baked and decorated the dinosaur cake. I made invitations and mailed them. We had balloons and cooked dinner for our family and friends. It was an occasion.
When Sam turned one I was already pregnant with Jake and feeling kind of tired. We had a BBQ in the yard. I baked a cake and frosted it with whipped cream frosting. It was decorated with summer berries. I debated for a few minutes whether or not I had to take the cake out of the pan in order to frost and serve it. I did not send out invitations. We had grilled salmon and the guests brought potluck for the rest of the meal. I think Grandma Anderson brought the birthday boy some balloons.
For Jake's party on Friday I asked Grandma Anderson to bring canned chili heated in her crock pot (she also brought balloons). I made cheese dip. We opened a jar of salsa and some tortilla chips. I made cupcakes in ice cream cones. After glopping whipped cream frosting on them I rolled the tops in sprinkles and plopped a cherry on top. They looked good. The kids liked them. They were so easy. I can't believe I spent all those hours putting perfect stars all over Chris's dinosaur cake.

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room