Monday, October 30, 2006

Have You Ever?

There's been a general meme going around, called "Have You Ever?" The idea is that you print the list in your blog, highlighting in bold the things you have done. I wasn't inspired to play.
. . . .
Then today I visited Shelina's Blog -- -- and discovered she's created a meme patterned on that one, but this one is strictly for quilters. Now there is something I can get into! Perhaps you could, too. If so, just copy the list and paste it into your blog, highlighting as appropriate.
. . . .
This picture is my #65 response. A lot of people worked on this quilt for Kathleen when she was going through a very hard time. The white squares are Bible verses that each person picked out for her. Marsha and I put the blocks together one Sunday afternoon, and we were both amazed at how we worked with one mind on the process, automatically doing things without discussing.
. . . .
Have You Ever?
1. Taken a quilting class
2. Paper pieced
3. Hand quilted
4. Hand pieced
5. Created your own pattern
6. Published a pattern in a magazine or book
7. Gone on a quilting retreat
8. Gone to a quilting convention
9. Met someone who wrote a quilting book
10. Combined your quilting with some other craft
11. Done any three dimensional quilting - like fabric origami?
12. Made something using Thimbleberries fabric
13. Made something using batiks
14. Dyed your own fabric
15. Made a landscape hanging
16. Made a New York Beauty quilt
17. Made a baby quilt
18. Made a wall hanging
19. Made a journal quilt
20. Submitted your journal quilt for viewing
21. Made a fabric postcard
22. Made a artistic trading card (ATC)
23. Exchanged artistic trading cards
24. Mailed our your postcard?
25. Made a lap quilt
26. Made a twin size quilt
27. Made a full size quilt
28. Made a queen size quilt
29. Made a king size quilt
30. Donated a quilt to charity
31. Sent a quilt out to a quilter
32. Thrown away a UFO
33. Given away a UFO
34. Cut up a UFO and made something else with it
35. Ripped fabric instead of cutting it
36. Made a quilt exactly like the pattern, with no changes whatsoever
37. Done any Sashiko
38. Quilted your own quilt
39. Did free motion quilting
40. Put any embroidery or beads on your quilt
41. Given away your quilt to a stranger
42. Swapped fabric
43. swapped blocks
44. participated in a round robin
45. participated in an ostritch round robin (a WHAT?)
46. kept a journal about your quilting
47. written a letter to someone who made an antique quilt
(Hey, Shelina, where's #48?)
49. kept a blog about your quilting
50. participated in a gift exchange
51. sent a quilting random act of kindness
52. joined a newsgroup about quilting
53. made a quilt using a pattern from [ ]quilterscache
54. joined an online block of the month
55. made a block of the month quilt
56. subscribed to a fabric of the month club
57. bought fabric at an online store
58. bought fabric from ebay
59. own more than one sewing machine
60. have a room dedicated solely to sewing
61. hide a fabric purchase
62. finished making a holiday gift before July
63. made a landscape quilt
64. made a quilt using a book from the library
65. worked with someone else to make a quilt
66. joined a quilt guild
67. become president of a quilt guild
68. taught a quilting class
69. helped someone else get the quilting bug
70. taught a child to sew
71. made a Dear Jane block
72. Made a miniature quilt
73. watch QNN - quilters news network
73. subscribe to a quilting magazine from your own country (aha! It's #48 dressed up to look like #73!)
74. subscribe to a quilting magazine from another country
75. buy fabric from another country
76. swapped completed quilts with someone else
77. asked for quilting help online
78. gone to a quilt shop to ask for quilting help
79. bought fabric at a local quilt shop
80. travelled more than 100 miles to go to a quilt shop
81. used nontraditional fabric for a quilt - something other than cotton or flannel
82. made a quilt using instructions given to you on a blog
83. make comments on someone's quilting blog
84. meet a quilter in person after only having talked online
85. had a quilting retreat in your home
86. own quilting software
87. made a quilt you designed on your quilting software
88. done any quilt research - history, interviewing quilters, etc.
89. had any quilt related subject published anywhere
90. donated a quilt to a museum
91. bought a quilt from a thrift store
92. made a quilt using fabric from a thrift store
93. made a quilt using photos
94. made a pastel quilt
95. made a quilt using brights
96. made a quilt using ethnic fabric from another country - African, Asian, etc.
97. made a quilt using leftover blocks from other quilts
98. had your quilt in a magazine, newspaper, newsletter, TV, etc.
99. submitted your quilt to a quilt show?
100. won any ribbons with your quilts?
101. had more finished quilts than UFOs
102. made a quilt using reproduction fabrics
103. took a break from quilting that was longer than a year
104. made money with your quilting
105. had a job in the fabric / quilting industry

How Was It For YOU?

So, it turns out that all the trouble I was having with Blogger this weekend was their fault! It wasn't my dubious competence, and -- darn it all -- it seems it wasn't even the Republicans. It was a problem at Blogger that didn't affect Beta. Sheesh.
. . . .
Frank the Poet has started another blog, and he's using Beta Blogger. He seems happy with it. When Beta first came out, I got some kind of an invitation to switch and at that time people were complaining about it. Decided to wait a bit until the bugs were worked out. Besides, I was afraid I'd lose everything I already had.
. . . .
Perhaps that time has come. I reached a point several weeks ago where I don't even try to use IE to blog. Go straight to Firefox and most of the time the pictures load up just fine. On IE, most of the time they vanish (and I tend to wonder where they have ended up -- much like the socks from the dryer, but that's a rant for another occasion) and are never seen again.
. . . .
This morning Blogger was down and I'd spent a fair amount of time working on a meme that I thought was somewhat interesting. And when I tried to load it or even save as a draft, poof, it was gone. It's probably in somebody else's dryer and boy is she going to be surprised.
. . . .
Fed up, I consulted with Greyhair who I understand is terribly frustrated with Blogger and says naughty words to it. He referred me on to a friend of his who made the switch and is glad she did. Of course, I'm still terrified of losing everything. And have no idea how to prevent that.
. . . .
So, readers, if you're on Blogger Beta, especially if you switched from regular Blogger to Blogger Beta, I'd love to hear from you. Should I make the move? Whaddya think? The age old question about the switch, I suppose: How was it for you?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Blogger is Making Me Crazy

First of all, ya gotta know that I don't speak HTML at all. I can cut it and paste it and change heading content a little bit, mostly by a trial and error method. This has served me well since I started blogging and had a couple of brief consults with Desertsky and Sharon.
. . . .
A couple of weeks ago I had my first major problem (See "Lost and Found") and somehow resolved it. I think the problem stemmed from trying to include a ticker that I'd found that counted down the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds, by golly, until the end of George W. Bush's presidency. Figuring that Blogger was heavily Republican, I edited it out. I never was sure whether that caused my problem or not, once it was removed, things settled down template-wise. Until this morning.
. . . .
I am having a heck of a time this morning trying to republish after editing the sidebar. Oh, yes, the dratted sidebar! It all started when I tried to include a new link under the Religion and Politics section. It was a Liberal Democrat's blog. So again I became suspicious. I'm getting a message that reads:

001 Connection refusedblog/42/60/10/nancynearphiladelphia/archives/ 2006_10_01_nancynearphiladelphia_archive.html

So I'm trying a test post to see if I can make it work. I suppose I can consult Sharon and/or Desertsky again, but oh, how I'd like to figure this out myself. If you're reading this, it appears that I have fixed it. But once again, I've no idea how. Guess it's a good thing I'm persona non grata with the Republicans. We certainly wouldn't want me near anything that has to do with National Security.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Your Political Profile:
Overall: 15% Conservative, 85% Liberal
Social Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

How Liberal Or Conservative Are You?

“Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things – every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor." -- Matt Santos, The West Wing

Monday, October 23, 2006

Weekend at White Oak

I spent the past weekend in one of my favorite places: The White Oak Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster County, PA. Twice each year, a dozen of us take over the B&B for the weekend and sew to our hearts' content. This time it was a Baker's Dozen, and we had a glorious time.
. . . .
We arrived at White Oak around 5 o'clock on Friday, just as Rob was setting out the wine and cheese. Honna and I had left home about 1:30 in the midst of a serious storm with even more serious wind. We could actually feel the wind blowing the car when we first got on the turnpike. Not a good feeling. We pressed on, however, and by Valley Forge, it was better. We stopped at The Old Country Store in Intercourse where I bought some Civil War fabric to set my basket blocks, and Honna picked up some supplies for the Lutheran World Relief sewing kits we were going to put together. We stopped again at the bakery in Bird in Hand for pie to bring home. And then we drove to White Oak.
. . . .
The others arrived soon, and we sipped wine and caught up with each other (many of us are from the same church; others are people we've brought ino the group over the years, and there is always a little variation since there are about 15 of us and only 13 spots maximum for each of the retreats), and then it was time for our Amish dinner. By the time we were finished, we were just itching to sew.
. . . .
The house used to be owned by an Amish family; all of the land surrounding the house is owned by the Amish farmers nextdoor. Since Amish homes have to hold church every so often, the floorplan is distinct and spacious. There is a great big room, large enough to hold a small congregation, that has couches and chairs. Then there is the dining area, also very, very large, that has two tables that each can seat eight people. That's where we sew, once the Friday dinner is cleared. We have lots of space to set up cutting tables, which Rob provides, as well as ironing stations. And we sew, and we sew, and we sew.
. . . .
Upstairs there are four bedrooms, not fancy, but so comfortable and hospitable. Carol and Rob live in the "grossdaddy" part of the house, on the other side of the big sunny kitchen. That part is off limits to us. The view is gorgeous, and sometimes on Saturday the Amish women from nextdoor will come by to get something out of the freezer that they keep in Carol's basement.
. . . .
Breakfast and lunch on Saturday are provided by Carol, who is a wonderful cook. We don't clean up the sewing tables, but rather balance our plates on our laps or, if the weather is fittin', we'll go out and eat at the picnic table. Saturday night we either go out to dinner or send someone out to bring dinner in. We're not there to eat; we're there to sew. We finish sometime after Sunday brunch and are usually on our way home before two o'clock.
. . . .
Some of us are on the early shift, going to bed between 10 and 11:30 and getting up around 7; others are owls, staying up until the wee hours and dragging selves out for breakfast in the morning. We try to assign rooms to those with compatible sleeping habits. As the night progresses, we put on old Kingston Trio CDs and sing along; Marsha introduced the group one night to a favorite of hers called "Viagra in the Water," and now that is part of the Saturday night ritual. It's just grand.
. . . .
This weekend I made a couple of odd blocks that I owed people -- a lotto block, a couple of birthday blocks, a couple of teensy 4.5" blocks that I'm swapping monthly with Jan -- thasswhat I did on Friday night. Saturday I got out the Autumn Mosaic project that I'd shown in an earlier post and started working on the mosaic blocks -- each has 81 squares that finish at one inch. Got them all made and had the entire top together by the time I needed to go to bed on Saturday night. Today I found the perfect fabric for the border in the Hancocks of Paducah catalog and ordered it. I have a date with the machine quilter for the second weekend of November and, by golly, this will be the project to send her.
. . . .
Sunday morning I cut and bonded some woolly applique blocks to have on hand for evenings in front of the TV with Joe. So I really accomplished a lot, in the best of company, in the nicest of places.
. . . .
Sue had this idea that we should do a charity project, so each of us brought the findings for a Sewing Kit for Lutheran World Relief: three yards of cotton fabric, a spool of thread, a card of buttons, and a pack of needles. We had pretty many complete kits and some left over supplies for next time.
. . . .
It was just wonderful. Can't wait until March for the next time!

Water for Elephants

I don't know when I last read a book that I'd rate as an "A+." Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is such a book. It alternates in time between present day, a 93-year-old man in a nursing home reminiscing, and the past, the time that he spent -- unexpectedly -- working for a circus. The book is very well crafted; I really didn't anticipate the ending at all. The characters are credible and the circus lore is fascinating. The best part of all: I never expected to fall in love with an elephant. There's a waiting list for this title at my local library. For very good reason.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


This guy really, I mean really, disgusts me. I was appalled to read of his "inappropriate" behavior when the story broke. But this latest wrinkle, the business about the priest, is really the proverbial icing on the proverbial cake.
. . . .
CNN said today, "Earlier this month, Roth [Foley's lawyer] said 'Mark does not blame the trauma he sustained as a young adolescent for his totally inappropriate' e-mails and instant messages. 'He continues to offer no excuse whatsoever for his conduct.'" Sheesh.
. . . .
He may indeed be offering no excuse whatsoever. But he sure is trying to divert attention away from himself, isn't he?
. . . .
That being said, Frank the poet has written an excellent piece called "Shitty Shepherds." Here's a link to it: It was published on October 19. If you like Frank's poetry, you can always find a link in my sidebar.


I'd like to give my readers a Headzup about a blog that I follow faithfully. I can't even remember how I stumbled on Laurie's blog -- it may have been a link from another quilter's page or it may have been through clicking on a ring. Doesn't matter. I did stumble on Laurie and her blog and I'm so glad that I did.
. . . .
Laurie has some interests similiar to mine and some that are inconceivable to me (soccer playing, for example). Doesn't matter. The thing is: She's an excellent writer. She makes even kayaking sound like fun, for crying out loud.
. . . .
More important even than being an excellent writer, Laurie's an excellent thinker. Lately she's been writing about the imminent loss of her FIL, a path I traveled about five years ago. She's able to capture the feelings in words, no easy task; using the blog to help process what's going on.
. . . .
I'd urge you to pay her a visit. I've posted a link in my sidebar. She will not disappoint.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lost and Found

Yesterday I had a near disaster with my Blog. I was working on my template, installing some new stuff, and somehow I hit something -- I don't know what -- and it appeared that I'd utterly lost everything except my "CURRENTLY READING" section. The feeling of panic I had was overwhelmingly disproportionate to what had happened. I'm writing this post and you're reading this post, so it is obvious that I found what I had lost and all is well.
. . . .
But it isn't. Not quite.
. . . .
Since Saturday I've been feeling emotionally fragile, and sort of lost, due to an experience that afternoon and evening. Which would be a topic for another post, if I feel brave enough at some point. So I suppose the perceived loss of the Blog was somehow a metaphor for losing my self.
. . . .
Trying to unpack this whole situation: The Blog has become awfully important to me. People always used to tell me I should "write." I took that to mean "write for money," which didn't interest me at all. To some people, there's something shameful about that. (I don't sell my quilts either, but I digress.) For me, receiving money for something that brings me joy would, I'm afraid, take all of the pleasure out of it. So I'm blogging; therefore, I'm "writing" in a way that satisfies me.
. . . .
I've never been a diary keeper (mainly because as a child and teen my mother used to read mine, confront me with the contents, and sometimes write it it herself! ). As an adult learner, I enjoyed journaling for classes when it was a requirement, but once the class was over, the journaling was over, too. And my photographs, unlike my daughter's, are all over. Not in neat albums with captions. Not in albums, really, at all, except for a few of them -- and their existence serves as a reminder that I've been so neglectful of the others!
. . . .
The Blog, somehow, is a place to sort-of diary, to sort-of journal, to sort of maintain an album, to sort (different sort here) things out.
. . . .
So the relief at finding it was huge. Theological stuff started popping up in my head: the bit about the woman who lost the coin and searched "high and low" until she found it, the shepherd who searched for the lost sheep, "I once was lost but now am found," that kind of thing. I chased it away because it was connected with the Saturday sadness, and looked for some other kind of a hermeneutic.
. . . .
And Sam came to mind. My grandson.
. . . .
One of my grandfathers died when I was an infant (or maybe before I was born; I'm not totally sure). My maternal grandparents died when I was ten. My remaining grandmother was a lovely woman, but by the time I'd grown out of the self-centered teen years, senility had set in and I never had the kinds of conversations with her that I would have loved to have had. The Blog, it occurs to me, could be a way for Sam someday to get to know me if he wants to and I'm gone before he's grown. Joe has a sketchbook journal where he draws and writes a bit; browsing through his journal books gives a pretty clear picture of who he is and what is important to him. I thought the Blog might be the same kind of a thing.
. . . .
Is it because I'm getting older that I'm starting to imagine that there would come a day when I wouldn't be here? Is it because I was feeling lost that I was afraid I would actually be lost? And need the Blog as a record that I was here?
. . . .
Dunno. And it is scary to think about the answers.
. . . .
So, mindful that if it happened once, it could happen again -- with a much less happy outcome -- I printed out the contents of the Blog, month by month, and put them in a three-ring binder.
. . . .
I'm kind of fragile, feeling a bit lost. It helps a bit to know I'm there.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sleep Warm, Little Girl

Peter came to work at our school fresh out of college. Alison, the woman who was running the Upper School office at that time used to say, "Peter's the brother you never wanted." He's got this goofy, sheepish demeanor that at the same time is tremendously engaging. Perhaps you'd have to be a mother to understand what I mean. He's perceptive, wise, and amusing; the past two years he's added college guidance to his portfolio of skills, the one that started out with admissions and English teaching. He's acquired a master's degree very quietly. Winter before last he sported a red fleecy top, earning himself the nickname of "Elmo."
. . . .
When he found out I had a blog, he needed to read it. I liked that. He came back to talk to me about the posts I'd written about Chautauqua, and the need to return from the mountaintop experience to the real world, and the contrast of doing that. He said, insightfully, "I guess in a way working at a Quaker school is a kind of middle ground." And he was right.
. . . .
A couple of times each year he'll show up at my office door, asking for an appointment with the Head of School. It's usually about, "My future." I call him my favorite neurotic.
. . . .
Last spring he came for a different reason. He wanted to see me, to tell me something. He and his wife were expecting a baby girl in September. I was so happy for them because I know Peter will be a wonderful, involved, devoted father to a daughter. For a time they were considering the name "Elizabeth Bennett" because Elizabeth is a terrific name and Peter's field is English. But when she showed up, it turned out that she is Elizabeth Mattea. I'd never heard that middle name before and I just love it -- it is feminine and strong at the same time.
. . . .
Elizabeth Mattea's quilt is made from some 30's/white-on-white blocks. It seems just right for this little girl.

Mourning into Dancing

One of the on-line quilting communities I belong to decided to do a round robin. I had never participated in one before, so I was eager to find out what it was all about. I was assigned to a group of four. Each of us made a center and sent it off to the next person on the list who would add a border and the next month send it along to the third person. Meanwhile, I'd received the center from the fourth person, and needed to get a border done during that first month before sending it on. We could either send along specific fabrics for people to use, or we could let people choose fabrics from their own stashes. We could give guidance or leave it up to inspiration.
. . . .
I made my center using the buttonhole stitch applique and batik fabrics, using a collection of dancing ladies that Joe had drawn for me quite some time ago. I sent along my own fabrics. I suggested to my group mates that they might think of the Bible verse, "You have changed my mourning into dancing." I noted that if they were not Scripturally inclined, they might think of the song, "Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight and dance by the light of the moon."
. . . .
During the next three months I was stretched to come up with just the right border to add to the round robins that arrived at my house. Each was, of course, totally unique. It was fun. I began to wonder what the gals were doing with my dancing ladies. Eventually they danced their way home, and to my absolute delight, they looked like this. Clicking on the picture will make it bigger.
. . . .

Why -- Indeed?

About three years ago, a group of us started getting together one night a month to do some handsewing together. We do a fair amount of laughing, we sometimes burst into impromptu and off-key song, as well. We have treats at the end of the evening. We air our gripes, we indulge in mutual consolation, and we each month we learn a little more sign language from our member Helen who teaches at the deaf school. We seldom retain the signs until the next month, but we tell ourselves we're a handsewing group, not a language study group.
. . . .
This past May, I think it was, some of us brought in some PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks, for the uninitiated). Without revealing the contents, each participant received a sack other than her own, with the task of making something our of the contents by the November meeting. Didn't have to be a finished quilt. A top would be fine. A wall hanging would be splendid.
. . . .
Bonnie opened hers first. She was dismayed -- her PIGS was a collection of swastika blocks in patriotic tones. Emily wasn't much happier -- she received some heart blocks that didn't seem to with each other, let along anything else. Helen got my PIGS -- it was three batik turtle blocks left over from a quilt I'd made my friend Martha, along with odds and ends of coordinating batiks. I was the luckiest -- the PIGS I opened contained four very cute long-legged chicken blocks and a bunch of yellow and white pinwheels.
. . . .
For once I'm finished ahead of the deadline. I pondered my blocks for quite a while and then reached for some nice black mottle, some border fabrics, and some embroidery floss. It seemed I'd been given the makings for a illustrative answer to the age old question.
. . . .
Click on the picture to enlarge and make the caption legible.

Welcome, Dominick!

Cousin Lois's daughter, Wendy, has two wonderful daughters. I don't know exactly how old they are; I imagine that Andrea is 12 and Meredith 8. Or so. Last month Wendy had a little boy, and everyone is simply delighted.
. . . .
Most of the time, I think, showers are for first babies. But with such a long space between baby number two and baby number three, it seemed that a shower was called for. My sister Bonnie held it at her house a few weeks before Dominick was due. We al knew this baby was a most welcome boy, and it was fun to see the darling gifts that people brought.
. . . .
The quilt that I made is similar to one that I made and couldn't part with. We'd had a swap a couple of years back where we made blocks that had a farm theme. These are half of the blocks made into Dominick's quilt. Of course I no longer remember who made most of the blocks. I know I made the tractor and Bonnie made the three dimensional farmer.
. . . .
I love making quilts for babies. Fortunately, people keep having them!

Autumn Mosaic

It occurs to me that I've not posted anything quilty in a while. This doesn't mean I haven't been sewing, however! Been binding some UFOs and that sort of thing, mostly. This picture is of the project currently on the design wall. I had some autumn leaves blocks from a swap and I had some punkin blocks from a swap. Both sets have been hanging around for ages, wanting to be made into something.
. . . .

The thing is, though, that I think about doing something with these blocks only in the autumn, and there isn't much hope of getting the projects finished while it is still autumn. Such a problem!
. . . .
Fortunately, the leaves and the punkins are the same size blocks with similar backgrounds. I thought they might look nice together in one quilt. Fooled around with them, setting aside the jack o'lantern blocks from the punkin swap. Didn't want just plain blocks as the alternates, and I thought back to the Cool Hearts quilt with the mosaic background and decided to go for that, using autumn tones scraps. It will take a while to make those mosaic blocks, but I think I'm on the right track. And I suspect I can have it finished by next autumn!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Autumn, Near Philadelphia

Fall has arrived here Near Philadelphia. A few weeks ago when Joe went backpacking "upstate," he brought back some beautiful colored leaves. We didn't have them here then. We do now.
. . . .
I'm a person who needs and loves the change of seasons. For a while we lived in Florida where there were two: Warm and Hot. Then we lived in Chicago where there were also two: August and Winter. Here Near Philadelphia we have the four distinct ones, and Spring and Autumn are my favorites. There's someting potential about Spring and there's also something potential about Autumn -- a foretaste of the more intense seasons to come.
. . . .
As eager as I am to see the crocus pop up through the snow, promising spring, I'm just as tickled to drive past a field of pumpkins, and the more of them the better. Spring is touted as a time of new beginnings, but I think I'm not unusual in thinking of fall as a time of new beginnings -- the start of the school year, the meeting of the new teacher, the new friendships (or not!) with new classmates, new subjects to learn.
. . . .
And it's not just the newness of fall. It's also the apple cider and gingersnaps, the pulling up of the blanket at night, the lighting of the first fire, the picking out of Halloween costumes, the cat's coming up in my lap to get warm. It's anticipating the major holidays that are synonymous with family and friends. It is changing from the kind of light and fluffy books I read in the summer to the kinds of books that require more of an effort (and are, of course, more satisfying). It is making lasagne, oatmeal, and roasted vegetables after a summer of lighter, sexier fare.
. . . .
I'd been thinking about Autumn's having arrived here and was planning to blog a little about it, and then today I visited Desertsky's blog and found out that she Belongs In Winter. I giggled a little bit about that, thinking back to the "Color Me Beautiful" project which pronounced me a "Summer," and told me what colors to wear and what ones not to wear, advice I follow to this day some twenty years later, believe it or not. I followed the link and took the test, and behold!

You Belong in Fall

Intelligent, introspective, and quite expressive at times...
You appreciate the changes in color, climate, and mood that fall brings
Whether you're carving wacky pumpkins or taking long drives, autumn is a favorite time of year for you

Friday, October 06, 2006

Well, Duh!

What Kind of Lutheran are you?

You are a Liberal Lutheran. You see the Lutheran Church as a gracious place accepting of all Gods Children. You sometimes are accused of being a bit of a hippie, but honestly that suits you just fine. You see Jesus Christ Super Star as carrying at least as much authority as the slightly anti-Semitic Gospel of Matthew. You see the main job of the church as helping the weak and lowly ones.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

An Opportunity To Be Our Best Selves

This came in the email this morning from Susan. She thought I would like to know. She was right.
. . . .
This message sent on behalf of Tom Beeman:

All of us have been touched by the tragedy at the Amish schoolhouse in Southern Lancaster County, and many of you have asked how we, as a community of caring healthcare professionals, can help the families of the young girls injured in Monday's shooting.

We know that the cost for providing medical services, both at Lancaster Genera l Hospital and children’s hospitals in Hershey and Philadelphia, will be enormous. I want you to know that Lancaster General Hospital and its physicians have decided to write off all of its charges associated with caring for patients from this incident.

Others who are doing the same include Reading Hospital and Medical Center, which received patients from the shooting, the two aeromedical services which flew our patients from LGH to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and at Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey and most EMS organizations which brought children to LGH.

Also, local churches, businesses and community organizations have established funds aimed at helping the Amish, as well as the Roberts family. Rather than replicating efforts, we invite you to consider giving to those appeals which have already been announced in the media.

Please continue to keep members of the Amish community in your thoughts and prayers. Your interest and constant spirit in helping others in our community is truly an inspiration.

Thank you.

Thomas E. Beeman
President and Chief Executive Officer
Lancaster General

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Reflections on Nickel Mines

As the week progresses, I continue to reflect on the Nickel Mines tragedy and try to know what to think. I'm not making a whole lot of progress on that. I know what I don't think, though, and perhaps that is a starting place.
. . . .
I don't think Sam Stoltzfus, an Amish woodworker who lives near Nickel Mines, is right when he says, "We think it was God's plan." I'm certain that God did not wake up one morning feeling bored and decided to create some excitement in the form of inflicting a man with a quick-moving mental illness that would result in the death of children. I do think it is possible that God, through God's grace, can enable us to somehow find meaning from what happened.
. . . .
I don't think that Charles C. Roberts (who, rather ironically has the same name as my high school shorthand teacher and was as moral and upright a person as one would want to meet) was a bad person. I don't think we can blame him for what happened; rather, he was a victim of a dreadful disease of his mind. We can detest the illness and what it made happen; we must pity and strive to forgive, rather than hate, the man who had the illness. We must extend to his widow and children the compassion we have for the Miller, Fisher, Ebersol, and Stoltzfus families.
. . . .
I don't agree with the columnists who are insisting that "tough gun laws can make a difference." As long as there are guns, people will find ways to misuse them.
. . . .
I don't agree with the parents who are calling the school where I'm employed, demanding that we establish a multilevel security system, complete with card-lock entry, so that a crazy gunman won't burst into our buildings. The moms who are asking for this are the first ones who would be infuriated if they came to school one day without their cards and were unable to get into the building. No one would want to deny our little ones access to the playground because out in the open they could be targets for the deranged. Nor would they want to stop the children from their weekly Wednesday walk through the graveyard to the Meetinghouse to participate in Meeting for Worship.
. . . .
I don't think, either, that we need dwell on the innocence of the Nickel Mines victims. We are all of us equally innocent, equally guilty; that is part of the nature of being human. We all are capable of being our best selves; we all have the potential to act on an evil impulse.
. . . .
And finally, I don't believe we can protect our children or ourselves from randomness. Bad things are going to happen, despite our best efforts. I don't think we want to live lives of fear that randomness will strike. Luke says, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." If our treasure/our focus is self-protection, we miss opportunities to love and serve God and our neighbors.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Plain People, Peaceful People

Everything changed yesterday for the Amish people of Lancaster County. Their world and the world of the "English" intersected in a most horrible way. A heavily armed man burst into a tiny Amish schoolhouse, where he shot little girls. I won't go into details; they are everywhere -- on the television, on the radio, on the CNN website.
. . . .
Like many people, I find the Amish people fascinating. I've hoped it to be a respectful fascination. This is a people many of us perceive -- rightly or wrongly -- to be much closer to God than the rest of us. We admire their principles and their integrity, we puzzle at how they manage to live without things the rest of us deem essential, and we wonder what it means, really, to be "in" but not "of" the world.
. . . .
It was five years ago, actually, right after September 11, that Sue first invited Bonnie and me to spend a quilting weekend at a bed and breakfast in Amish country. The closest neighbors are all Amish families, and over the years that we've been going out to Strasburg to sew, we've loved hearing Carol and Rob share stories about these neighbors. We've come to feel vicariously connected to Rachel, to Amos, to the others Rob speaks of with such fondness.
. . . .
And so yesterday, when the CNN banner showed a shooting in Nickel Mines, Lancaster County, I went right away to Mapquest and was horrified to see how close the school is to Strasburg. It dawned on me that these children might be daughters of the neighbor women who -- one Saturday afternoon -- honored us by walking down the hill to look at the quilts that we were making. As if they couldn't quilt us under the table, in a manner of speaking.
. . . .
I talked with Rob this morning. He spoke of having driven right past that school just a few minutes before the news broke, seeing ambulances and emergency vehicles in the oncoming traffic lanes. He wondered if this would be the incident that would drive the Amish people out of Lancaster County. He sounded so sad and so shocked. He was waiting for the next news briefing, waiting to hear if the names of the little girls were familiar to him. I ached for him, I ached for the nameless girls, for their families.
. . . .
Amish people don't like attention drawn to them. They don't like to be photographed. The barrage of media attention invading their lives at such a private time must be excruciating for them.
. . . .
There's a sadness today. It is a deep down sadness, much like the sadness of September 11. Violence and killing are terrible any time. But there's a particular offensiveness -- again, rightfully or wrongfully -- that it has been directed at the innocent daughters of such a peaceful people.