Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where’s The Love?

85550019I ended the 2011th year of our Lord wondering about the state of humanity. Where is the peace, love, and compassion that we all desire, that we all confess to reach for? Where is the basic decency, even?

What kind of a world do we live in, where someone deems it okay to solve a barking dog dispute by poisoning the dogs? Those yappy little dogs drive me crazy, too, from time to time, but it is not okay to kill. A dog does what it is allowed to do. The solution needs to be taken up with the owner, not from killing the innocent animals. It is said in dog training classes that it is actually the handler that is being trained, and I believe that is true. Dogs are very receptive to their owner’s behavior. They are eager to please. Why can’t people learn something from dogs, in that respect?

A friend tried to kill himself recently, over a young woman. When asked why she had been so cruel to him, that girl showed her true colors, “Maybe next time he will do it right.” We cannot stop ourselves from falling in love with the wrong people sometimes. We cannot help our overwhelming desire to love them despite themselves. We cannot help but want to fix them, once we do wake up and realize that they are no good for us. But why do people have to be so cruel in the first place? Weren’t we all given the ability to love and care, to show compassion and empathy, to learn and grow from our own mistakes and misgivings?

The newspapers and TV news programs are full of the evildoings of humans. Rape. Murder. Assault. Robbery. Arson. Embezzlement. Bombings. But why must evilness be so prolific? Do the evildoers not feel that twinge in their chest, that gnawing in their gut that tells them they are crossing the line?

Where is the love?

It took a while to search my brain for examples of God’s love, worked through people. It took too long because of all the negative influences we typically surround ourselves with on a daily basis. Those news sources I mentioned earlier. Reality TV, where backstabbing and fighting are glorified. The internet, where there is an overabundance of lies, scams, and other negativities. Information overload.

The love is in the simpler things of life. A smile from a stranger. A shared laugh with a friend over a cup of coffee. A homemade pot of caldo de rez from the neighbor, when I am at my worst. The nurse at the hospital, who spends that extra time to make sure you understand what is to happen next, so that you don’t feel lost and alone at a very scary time.

The compassion and empathy are in the gentle, knowing pat on my hand, when the other person simply has to look at me to know how much I am hurting. It is in the offer to help a friend, before she even contemplates asking. It is in the “just being there” actions we often forget to “do” because we are so busy trying to fill each minute with action, noise, and clutter. Silence is golden, after all.

The decency and humanity are in all of us. It can be nurtured. It can blossom, even from the worst conditions. Despite all the negativity around us, I believe we all deserve love. I believe in the goodness of the human race. Deep down, we all have good in us.

May you be blessed in this New Year. May you find the peace that seems so elusive. May you know the joy of true love and friendship. May you feel the compassion of others. And may you be all these things for someone else.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

To Resolve or Not Resolve


85480013As we near the end of another year, the same old question arises: Should I make New Year’s Resolutions?

For the past (at least) five years, I have refused to put my inadequacies and my hope-inspired solutions on paper just to fulfill a silly ritual. And yet, somewhere around the beginning of each year, even though they aren’t written down, I start a new diet and I attempt a new exercise program and I make all sorts of promises to improve my life that I cannot seem to keep.

But is that not the standard? We all make grand resolutions and promises, and very few of us actually carry them through.

So, to resolve or not resolve? Maybe if my list is simpler than usual. And maybe it should be on paper this year. Maybe if I strive only for those things I know are doable, at this moment. The things that will make me happy. Maybe my list should be thus:

1.  I will love myself more this year.

2.  I will be kind to myself this year.

3.  I will smell the roses more often.

4.  I will smile more often.

5.  I will forgive myself when I make mistakes.

6.  I will forgive others their mistakes.

May your life blossom in this coming year, and may you know peace, if even just in your tiny corner of the world.

Blessings and love,

Jenni Lynn




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And Now For the Fun Part


PC200092And now for the fun part. That is what I kept saying, as my son looked over my shoulder day after day as I diligently worked on Ken’s Christmas present. My son is very much the creative type ( just like his mama), and I am enjoying watching his creativity bloom. He definitely has an eye for colors, style, and design. I imagine, if he had the inclination and with his amazing computer skills, he would make an awesome graphic designer or even a game designer.

There are many, many steps in the quilt-making process, especially when one is designing as she goes, as with a free-form T-shirt quilt. For one, I greatly underestimated how many T-shirts I would need. Even though Ken has a huge collection of shirts, he was rather stingy in which he was willing to sacrifice. I tried my best to make them stretch (no pun intended), but I finally had to go back to him and ask for more T-shirts. Since he could now see the beautiful thing I was creating for him, he was slightly more generous. He even gave me the shirt of his back. Of course, I had to wash it before cutting it up, though.


I also got him to give up a pair of Valentine’s boxers. No comment . . .


I had plenty of creative help, though some “helpers” were more insistent about getting their own way than others.


But where I really needed the help was with hand-washing the batting.


I chose an all-natural 100% cotton batting for this project, and if I did not pre-wash, I would have lost 3% in size with the first washing-that’s almost 3 inches in length alone. It is worth it, though, being all-natural and made in the USA.


I discovered something while working on this quilt. My work table is in front of the armoire, which my friend has yet to take even though she has paid for it. The colors in the quilt look great up against the dark cherry of my old bedroom set. Again, I regret selling it, but it had to be done.


The armoire will not fit in the RV, no matter how hard I try, and I would hate for it to be damaged from sitting in storage for years, not to mention the storage costs to keep a bedroom set so large. Ken will have enough stuff he is unwilling to part with that we will have to pay for, again and again, in storage fees.

Here, my guys are modeling the front side, when it is almost completed. It just needed the border, and then I could slap it all together. That’s Suzie in the bottom, right corner.


It took a lot of finessing, and more safety pins than one could imagine, to get the two sides and the batting to cooperate, but I finally got this quilt finished, and just in the nick of time, with Christmas right around the corner. I bet it will look absolutely beautiful in the Raven—if ever we get her back from the shop.



I just had to show off the boxers. They made it onto the quilt, whole and intact.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011



PC140063Oh, fiddle sticks. It has been an interesting month that I have been away from my writing. Life. Yes, it is a sentence. Life has been frustrating to say the least these past several weeks.

My mom always said that things happen in threes, though she was usually talking about deaths, and in particular, the deaths of celebrities. This past month’s three had to do not with death but with illness. My hubby was in the ICU with complications of his diabetes and a medicine that should never have been prescribed to a diabetic. Don’t even get me started on that subject. And the other two of the three were two friends who have also been in the hospital recently. I have had my hands and my heart full just trying to keep up in my prayers lately.

Well, (“that’s a very deep subject,” as Ken would say), crisis averted. Life is settling down now, just in time for Christmas. And me without my Christmas projects finished. Oh, my! I see a few all-nighters in my future. Lucky me.

My biggest Christmas project is a T-shirt quilt for my husband. It has only taken me at least a year to convince him to give me part of his massive T-shirt collection for this project. I have tried reassuring him that he will love the end result. He knows I can sew like nobody’s business. After all, I learned at the knees of my grandmother, who was a master seamstress, and my mother.


The quilt is coming along beautifully, though I may have to steal a few more T-shirts, and I am amazed at how quickly I am putting it together. I haven’t made a quilt since I was pregnant with my son, and it seems to me that that particular quilt took forever. But then again, I was working full time and I had a very active four-year-old too. I am just amazed at the stuff I used to be able to accomplish back then. For one, I made a good portion of my daughter’s clothes myself, that is, until she was about eight and discovered that her clothing was “different” than what the other girls were wearing. Go figure—a child not appreciating hand-made items. What is the world coming to?


So, (sew buttons) wish me luck on getting the quilt finished by Christmas. And then maybe after Christmas, I will be able to get back to the Roman shades, though we still don’t have the Raven home. The new roof is taking much longer than anticipated. Not that I begrudge Trent his family time, but did he have to choose now to go to Disneyland, when my future home is in dire straits? Actually, Trent works very hard all year long, and I am happy for him winning the vacation lottery at work, so to speak, by getting time off right before Christmas.

So, (sew buttons) here’s to all of us spending quality time with loved ones and finding peace and joy in unexpected experiences.

By the way, how do you sew buttons on eggs?


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Patience . . .


007_3ASo, patience seems to be a virtue needed in every walk (or roll) of life, and my patience is wearing thin. When Ken took the Raven to be repaired, I was feeling too ill to go with him. Big mistake number one. I also assumed it would not take seemingly forever to fix her. That was big mistake number two.

Normally, I can be a rather patient person.

I prefer my meals home cooked instead of micro-zapped.

I actually like the chilliness on winter mornings, when the furnace is turned way down and a fire has yet to be built. Then, I like to slowly thaw out in front of a blazing fire and later feel that robust warmth as it penetrates the entire house. (Unfortunately, we don’t have a woodstove any longer.)

I like the scratchy feel of graphite on paper. It is a tactile thing, an almost earthy sensation and an ever so slow process that typing at break-neck speeds cannot give the writer. It allows me to think about each word choice as I form my thoughts.

But then, I also like drawing with graphite. All that smudging and the emotional nuances one can add with deliberate fingers that she cannot get with keystrokes and CGI.

I prefer making things myself, rather than buying mass-produced junk. But if I do need to purchase something, I can be patient enough to wait for just the right one.

Surprises make me anxious, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun. I prefer to give rather than receive, but if I do receive, I like it to be on Christmas Morning, not on the Eve. And I enjoy watching others open their gifts before I even touch mine. That is where the joy is, in seeing the excitement of others.

Even though I can be patient in many aspects of my life, not having the Raven home is driving me crazy. I feel naked, or rather, the driveway looks naked without her. But the worst part is big mistake number three. I forgot to get some very important things out of the Raven before she left to be repaired. It seems every day I am saying, “oops, it’s in the RV,” about one thing or another.

My good fabric scissors are in the RV so I cannot finish the Roman shades. Besides, I forgot one vital measurement, so I cannot get any farther anyway.

A few weeks ago, I had a cup of hot tea explode on my belly. Unfortunately both the aloe gel and the big first aid kit were in the RV. Luckily the neighbor was there to help out.

On Thanksgiving, we were short a few of our usual serving bowls because I had needed them on our last trip and they never came back inside.

The list goes on and on.

And so does this waiting game.

Patience, darling, is all Ken can say for now. The Raven will be home soon.