Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Remembrance and Hope

This has been an important week for remembering tragedy and those lost to it. But the biggest message that came from both services we attended was that of hope. Hope. As long as we keep that, all is not lost. Rich and I and our kids certainly know that firsthand.

Monday night Heidi played in the band that was asked to perform at the Columbine 10th Anniversary Memorial Service. The band played "The American Elegy" by Frank Ticheli. This quote is on the composer's web site: An American Elegy is, above all, an expression of hope. It was composed in memory of those who lost their lives at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, and to honor the survivors. It is offered as a tribute to their great strength and courage in the face of a terrible tragedy. I hope the work can also serve as one reminder of how fragile and precious life is and how intimately connected we all are as human beings.

The service was lovely and moving. You can see clips of it online almost anywhere if you like; it was very widely covered. I am really glad we went. Columbine is a very close-knit community and I love it here.

If you would like to see more about the Columbine Memorial, here is a link:

Last night, Chloe and I attended the Governor's Holocaust Annual Remembrance program in Denver. Chloe is a part of an advanced reading group at her school and they have been reading first-hand accounts of survival stories from the Holocaust. The speaker at the program last night is the last surviving member of a group of people that lived in the sewers of Lvov, Poland, for more than a year to escape being sent to the extermination camps. Having read many books of this nature myself, nothing I heard Ms. Keren say was something I was unaware of, but hearing it out loud, first-hand, certainly made it more real than anything I have read. I think reading books about the survivor experiences is vital to our generation and all who follow us. But I realize how lucky we are to still have these live opportunities to be affected by those who have suffered and survived. We need to hear these things, our kids need to hear these things, in order to be impacted enough to bring about change for the better.

If you want to read more about this personal account, here is a link that gives a great overview of the book:

Speakers at both events pointed out to the audience that we still have so far to go; in gun control, in tolerance of others' differences, in keeping awareness alive, in countless other ways. But they also reassured us that no matter how horrid the circumstances, the human spirit is a wonderful and miraculous thing! That we can overcome any obstacle with love, faith, and HOPE.

So what should we take from these reminders and memorials of past tragedy? Be kinder to one another whenever you can. Don't take your loved ones for granted- always tell them that you love them and how much they mean to you, and do it today. Act with moral courage whenever you can, standing up against what is wrong and helping those who can't help themselves at the time. Be willing to take a stand for what you believe in. Most of all, never lose hope. No matter how hard life gets, no matter what you have to deal with, you can get through it, learn important lessons, and become a better person because of it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Greatest is LOVE

This wall hanging quilt was a stretch for me in so many ways!

Before I moved to Colorado, I lived in a little town in Ontario, Canada, where I was employed at a lovely quilt shop. The owners were and are dear friends of mine, and always volunteering their time and other things to the community.

One of the events held in the quilt shop each fall is the "The Quilt: 30 Hour Quilt Marathon" which raises funds to provide emotional, informational and physical support for people living with cancer, their family and friends. This is sponsored by Northcott's Quest for a Cure. Here is Northcott's Link: (then click on Quest for the Cure, bottom right)
Here is the link to the site if you would like to learn how you can help your local quilt shop participate in this fabulous event:

Anyway, since I moved before the event was to take place, I decided to send something they could put in their Silent Auction, which was running concurrently with the marathon.

For inspiration, I started with what I had learned from "Simply Stunning Woven Quilts" by Anna Faustino. I loved the look the quilts she made! Then I chose an array of batiks (which I LOVE) and a lot of pink... with a fat quarter of "love" fabric for the middle. When it was all finished, I attached the pink ribbon and a heart.

I say this quilt was a stretch for me because I had never really taken a pattern and just used it as a starting point. Once I got the fabrics chosen, cut, woven, and fused, using Word on my computer, I printed (backwards) the words I thought most inspiring to surround the most important theme- Love. I traced them onto fusible web, cut the letters out of black, attached them and sewed them on.

For the quilting, I used a zigzag stitch to reinforce the wavy connector lines, and around the border I did free motion- with the word "love" on every side. We can never get enough love!

I don't think there are any of us who haven't been touched by cancer in some way, but these inspiring words can remind us all of what to hold onto when adversity strikes- no matter what face it is wearing.

The wall hanging has not yet been auctioned off, but hopefully it will bring in a good amount to help with the total that the store is able to raise.

So that was my first taste of stepping out of the box in quilting, and I had so much fun. Now almost every project I tackle has more of my personal stamp on it, and that is fun!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009

Another Spring ritual is over and done. Our Easter was kind of spread out over two weekends, as Rich's kids were all here last weekend rather than this past one.

The girls were very disappointed to hear that I wasn't planning a treasure hunt for them, so I relented and did one anyway. I used song titles (an idea from my sister Sandy, who is always very inventive) to lead them from one clue to another. Some they got quickly, others they really struggled with. Rich and I enjoyed watching them and I think they had fun.

I am eager to get my garden ready and get some things planted! I have a number of seedlings started in my garden room and just need the area to be tilled in order to get out there and plant some seeds and plants. Hopefully that will be this week.

My tulips out front seem to have weathered the snow and cold of late and though they are small, most of the bunches seem to be alright. Some haven't come up at all, but they may be later blooming ones. I hope.

We are seeing some nicer weather again, at least till mid-week when temperatures are supposed to drop again. Certainly the biggest adjustment to our move has been the climate. Oh, and the language barrier. lol

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