Merry Christmas to those who celebrate. Here are some photos from past Decembers.
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate. Here are some photos from past Decembers.
It’s the 10th day of the #31dayblogchallenge and #throwbackthursday too. So I’ll send you guys to a guest post from February 2015. It was written by my teenage brother Jim. Here are his thoughts on love and loss, in his own words, “I Was Never Alone.”
Today’s blog post is written by my brother Jim. Our Mom died a few days after he was born and my brother, sister, and I have all had to deal with abandonment issues in one form or another. Here’s part of Jim’s story in his own words.
*** Photo captions are available below Jim’s words. I didn’t want to interrupt.***
Hi, my name is Jim Masten. When I was born I did not know this, but my mother was sick until five days after I was born, when she died.
To this day I do not remember any feelings of emotion towards my mother. For a while I had been really depressed and sad that I didn’t have a mother and I felt very alone and abandoned by God and my mother.
I feel that I’m being “abandoned” and I talk to my dad who also is very depressed about his loss of his wife (my mother). He always just says, “She was a wonderful woman” or “She would have loved you so much” and that really does not help me with the depression that I am dealing with.
So, I turn to the Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy and turn to the definition of Mother in the “Glossary.” The definition of Mother is something like, “Help” or “Caring” which, also does not help me. So, at this time I feel the most abandoned in my life.
In addition, when I met an important person in my life, Sheri Luster, I found out what motherhood was all about and what a mother is like. As I like to say, “Sheri is the mother I never had.” Even though it is kind of supposed to be the other way around.
Anyways, Sheri was caring, loving, and helpful. Which, did remind me of the definition of Mother in the Science and Health. So, I realized what a motherly figure in my life would do and it helped me.
Lastly, I saw my mother in Sheri and other women in my life.
I even saw my mother in my dad because he was a single parent and basically had all of the weight on his shoulders.
This led to me having a healing of realizing that I was never alone and that my mother and God were there right with me the whole time, I just did not see it. Also, recently when I was out of school sick for a week I visited a doctor’s office because of my sickness and I was nervous and scared and I felt really alone, like nobody was there for me. And then I realized that God was there, Sheri was literally there, and I saw someone walk by the door outside the room at the doctor’s office that looked quite like my mom.
I suppose that could have been an angel or something but that was when my mental healing occurred for not feeling well physically and spiritually. So, that is how I overcame my feeling abandoned.
Want more? Jim has a Facebook Page. He posts daily insights and thought-provoking videos. It’s called Finding the Keys to Success.
I’m linking up to Thankful Thursday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop.
My baby brother turned sixteen yesterday. I guess that means he’s not a baby anymore! I, as the snarky big sis had to post this meme for him.
Here’s what this handsome man looks like today. Okay, fine. He was 15 when this photo was taken. But I’m not going to call up Jim’s school for a selfie! 🙂
I’ve got the feels… lots of them. So it’s difficult to write about what Jim means to me, especially without embarrassing him in the process. (Teenagers!) So I’ll let these scrapbook pages that I made a few years ago do the talking. These photos were all taken before baby Jimmy was two weeks old.
I love you kiddo.
As I told you, my family rarely celebrated Father’s Dad on its calendar day. So here’s my celebration post!
My Dad has always gone out of his way to show me that I’m loved and accepted for who I am. I’m usually pretty good with words but it’s difficult to find the right ones so you’ll know just how I feel about him. He’s shown up for me whether I’m doing well or not. I’m one of his greatest fans just as he is one of mine.
The plot-line of our relationship today goes something like this. We play phone tag and when we do connect end up talking for over an hour about anything and everything. He forwards inspirational emails and I send him dirty jokes. He earned a free travel voucher and gave it to me so I could come visit. He sleeps under a quilt I made. I wake up knowing I’ve always been wanted.
I’m the oldest of three. My sister was born right before my fourth birthday, and my brother after my fourteenth. I love them dearly, but it’s time to show some photos from back when I was an only child! Yes, they’re pictures of photographs in an album. Try not to oooooh too much at how cute baby Megan is. It’s about the Dad in the photos, afterall. 🙂 The first one shows Dad, Uncle Shawn, and I playing at the beach.
Here he is snuggling with me and my cousin Jasmine.
He isn’t in this photo, but you can tell how I feel about him from the caption. I’m so proud, showing off his stuff! (Do you remember when computers looked like that?)
What a sweet mother’s day gift. Not only did we garden, we became mud monsters! This last one might have been after my sister was born. I look a bit older and T-ball happened at our next house, I think. Anyway, I can just imagine the pep talk I got when Dad adjusted my hat. “Now Megan, pay attention to the game. I know there are flowers in the outfield but you really need to know when the ball’s coming towards you. Oh, and run towards the base. You can skip later. I know you’ll do great.”
My niece, Mary Constance, is a year old this month. I remember waiting by the phone on the day she was born, and being so excited to meet her in November. I even got to give her a quilt in person during that trip. I wasn’t able to be at her first birthday party, but several of her extended family members were so I’m grateful for that. Everyone should be surrounded by people they love on their birthday.
Of course, photographs were taken of the cake-eating. I love how Mary is focused on sharing her cake. It’s a serious job.
She allowed others to feed cake to her, too. It became a big ‘ole finger-food experience.
My Dad, brother, and I wanted to give her something special. I’ve been dubbed the artist of the group, though my Dad’s a great writer and my brother’s a musician. Plus I used to work as a nanny, so I know a lot about age-appropriate toys. So here’s what I came up with.
The beanbags, sewn by Mary’s favorite Aunt Megan (me!) are developmentally appropriate for a toddler. They’re good to squish and throw. As she grows, I’m sure she’ll learn her colors in English and Spanish and these’ll be good tools for that too as they’re primary and secondary colors.
Can you see the qualities embroidered on the front of each beanbag? My dad, brother, and I each chose two things we see in Mary Constance. On the back of them is the name of the person who chose that word for her. Now they’re customized specifically for her and – BONUS – they’re super gushy mushy lovey.
I do custom orders! These were invented for Mary’s birthday, but if you like ’em I can give you a quote and make some for your special occasion. Just email me and we’ll make it happen. email@example.com
Do you remember when you were little, playing hide-and-seek, or cleaning your room, and Mom gave you slightly more time by counting to nine and a half before getting to ten? I have s’more photos to share before we get to the post about colors. Is this cheating? Kindof. I said the colors would be in the next post. So this isn’t a full post later, it’s just a half.
I didn’t actually take many photographs while I was on vacation. I’m still waiting to hear back from some family members who’ve offered to share their photographs, but here’s what I’ve got in the meantime.
My brother and I helped Sheri make this lovely vegetarian-friendly turkey. Now when I say helped, I mean that I cut the celery and he cut the carrots. That’s helping, right?! Anyway, Sheri’s masterpiece was so cool that the group collectively decided to eat it symmetrically so as to preserve the bird. For example, if I wanted a carrot, I’d take it from where the carrots are most dense so the poor thing didn’t have a bald spot.
There’s that brother of mine snuggling up to Sheri. He’s 15 now! I hadn’t seen him since my cousin’s wedding over two years ago… so we were very happy to spend time together. We watched movies, played card games, saw a lights show, and enjoyed ice cream. My first thought when I saw him this trip was, “Oh no! He’s a MAN!” Always my baby brother, not quite a baby anymore.
Alright, here are a few more I’m adding right off Facebook. These were taken the day we went to the Arch. My brother was in school that day, but my sister, her hubby, and little Mary were there. Dad, too. And me. Yeah. Here are the photos. Ready? Okay, now.
Baby Mary was so snuggly and cozy! Didn’t complain one bit as long as she was close to her mama. Us non-mamas could hold her for 20ish seconds before she’d loudly object. Her Dad got a little longer, of course. Whenever she got fussy, music usually did the trick. She loves “Baby Beluga” and “Open, Shut Them”. If all else fails, Elmo is magic. Mary cut her first two teeth on this trip. So exciting!
Those were taken at the top of the arch. This last one is on the ground but I just love how baby Mary and I are making eyes at each other. Which is not what we’re supposed to be doing, we’re supposed to be smiling at the camera. Sometimes the candid shots are way cuter anyway.
In my next post I’ll talk about getting my colors done. As a quilter, I know that picking the exact right color is important. The almost-right color often isn’t good enough. I had my personal colors done (you know, for makeup and clothing) and it has changed my perspective. In the past when I wanted to look nice, I didn’t really know how. Little black dresses made me look pale. Makeup darkened the circles under my eyes. Turns out I was choosing the wrong colors. More on that soon.
I had intended to check out a quilt shop or two while I’m here in St. Louis on vacation. Maybe on one of the days when my Dad’s working and brother’s in school. Apparently my friend Sheri is a super-networking queen because almost immediately she knew exactly where I should go. When she told me they even sell long-arm machines I knew it was just the spot to check out.
As soon as I walked into Jackman’s Fabrics I saw that they’re serious about quilting. There are displays, examples, samples, whatever you want to call them, everywhere! They have a great class space and lineup. Their batiks selection is awesome and the sewing machine department has lots of options. I got to try out a mid-arm and a long-arm. This shop balances the modern and traditional pretty well so every kind of quilter/fabric artist/embroiderer is catered to.
Okay. Here’s the BIG part. No matter what quilt shop I go to, my very first reactions as well as the lasting impressions of the shop are of the workers there. These ladies were super welcoming, passionate, and informative. There was a class listed as meeting this Saturday that I was curious about and I got to go back to the classroom and speak to the teacher right then, even as she was in the middle of teaching. Sheri came with me and realized that she hadn’t been in a fabric store in a few years and had lots of questions…. which ended up with a personal tour of the store and someone walking around answering anything and everything she thought of. Again, super welcoming. If this store were in my area I’d be a repeat customer. As it is, next time I visit I may have to schedule some shopping time there.
Alright, photos time. Here’s what I bought:
Here are a few of the sample quilts that were hung throughout the store. The pattern was always nearby and often fabrics were kitted, too.
My mini group is on a weekend retreat right now. I get to go play with them all day tomorrow. So fun! I couldn’t swing the hotel room and all weekend costs, but am extremely excited to spend a day sewing and chatting with some of my favoritest peoples ever. Soul food, for sure. Plus chocolate.
Also, I just wanted to give you guys a heads-up that I’m going on vacation for two weeks starting at the end of next week. My plan is to continue with my two-ish blog posts a week but it may be more or less than that, depending on the number of photographs taken and the time to actually write.
Hubby’s not coming with me this time but I’m excited to spend some quality time with family I haven’t seen in a long time… including one I haven’t met yet, baby Mary! Expect an update on her quilt with full photographs of it and her sweet cheeked drooly-ness either during my stay or once I get back. I’m also super psyched to spend some time with my baby brother who’s growing into a man and my little sister who’s now a mommy. And my Dad. Sorry dude that you’re last on the list of shout-outs but we’ve had some really great phone conversations recently that make me feel like you’re not halfway across the country.
So, big plans for me. I’m sewing like crazy to finish up some projects before I go.
Custom orders for Christmas are still available. It’s getting a little late in the season for Chanukkah, but you could always give a card saying what you’ve ordered and save the actual gift for when it arrives. Plus there are birthday and anniversary celebrations to be had.
I’ll have a few more posts up next week before I land in fly-over country.