Thanksgiving Wishes

“…I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow citizens wherever they may then be as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to Almighty God the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.  And I do farther recommend to my fellow citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of events for a turn of the inestimable blessings of Peace, Union and Harmony throughout the land, which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”

–Thanksgiving proclamation, October 20, 1864

From my house to yours, may you have a restful and joyful Thanksgiving Day!

Molly

from The Wit And Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln:  A Book of Quotations, edited by Bob Blaisdell

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln Volume 8, Roy P. Basler, editor.  The Abraham Lincoln Association, Springfield, Illinois, and New Brunswick, New Jersey:  Rutgers University Press. 1953-1955.

Acknowledging The Good

Father Bernard Kenvi helps a Muslim child climb down from an open truck in Bossemptele

Father Bernard Kenvi helps a Muslim child climb down from an open truck in the town of Bossemptele, west of Central African Republic March 8, 2014, as a group of mostly women and children flee sectarian violence in a safer container truck in a convoy escorted by African Union (AU) peacekeepers. Photograph: Siegfried Modola/Reuters. The Guardian.

As Thanksgiving arrives tomorrow, I think it is important to acknowledge the good in the world. Father Bernard Kenvi (Kinvi) is a Catholic Priest in the country of Central African Republic (CAR) who has been providing safety to Muslim people in his church and missionary area.  I first read about Father Bernard Kenvi last Spring. Whether you have a faith tradition or not, it is good to know there are people in the world who rise above tragic situations to do whatever they can to protect those who are most vulnerable. Read along with me about the good Father Kenvi has done.

Sam Jones from The Guardian writes:

 “In a predominantly Christian country terrorized by Muslim rebels as recently as January, Father Bernard Kinvi took his life in his hands when he resolved to protect Muslims threatened by sectarian violence. But the priest, who has won a Human Rights Watch award for his work, believes the conflict in CAR is misunderstood – and says his mission is far from over.

The Seleka terrorised the country’s majority Christian population, killing men, women and children until they were forced from power in January. Their fall was swiftly followed by the rise of the predominantly Christian anti-balaka (anti-machete) militia, whose campaign of vengeance has resulted in the murder of thousands of Muslims and forced hundreds of thousands to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

When the Seleka fled Bossemptele in January – taking Kinvi’s precious car with them – the anti-balaka swept into the north-western town, slaughtering 80 Muslims.

Kinvi responded to the threat by opening the doors of the mission to terrified Muslims and looking for those hiding in the bush.

Despite daily threats from the anti-balaka, who could not understand why a Catholic was defending Muslims, he continued sheltering them in the mission’s church, hospital and school.

“It wasn’t a decision; it was just something that happened,” he says. “As a priest, I cannot support the killing of a man. We’re all human: religion doesn’t come into it. If anti-balaka come in wounded, I treat them. I don’t care who you are or what you do with your life or what your religion is, you are a human being and I will treat you.”

At one point, 1,500 Muslims were living under the protection of a man whose only sources of power were his faith and the black cassock with a large red cross on the chest that he wears as a member of the Camillian order.

When he went out in search of bodies to bury, the anti-balaka would taunt him: “We have our jobs, father, and you have yours: we kill them and you bury them.”

From mid-January to April, Kinvi barely slept, terrified that if he closed his eyes the militia would fulfill their threats to murder all the Muslims in the mission.”

Jones goes on to share the change that came to Kenvi from his work in a war torn area:

“When I became a priest, I undertook to serve the sick even if it meant putting my life in danger,” he says. “I said that but I didn’t really know what it meant. But when the war came, I understood what it means to risk your life. Being a priest is about more than giving blessings; it’s about standing with those who have lost everything.”

Alison Lesley for World Religion News says:

“Father Bernard Kinvi gives a glimpse into the world that not many give us anymore. He strove to save lives, and do what was right by his own morals and values. He valued human life before he cared what anyone’s religion was.”

Jones concludes The Guardian Article with these thoughts:

“Kinvi’s efforts to protect the Muslims of Bossemptele have been recognised by the international NGO Human Rights Watch, which recently bestowed on him its Alison Des Forges award, which honours “people of valour who have put their lives on the line to create a world free from abuse, discrimination and oppression”.

But even Kinvi, an optimist whose near-constant smile is undimmed by the depravity he has witnessed, knows that CAR is far from free of that triple scourge.

For now, more than 400,000 of the country’s Muslims remain refugees outside its borders while almost 175,000 are displaced within them.

“I thirst for peace in CAR,” he says. “I want to see people able to move around safely like in any other country. I want to see my Muslim brothers, who have lost everything, return to their homes. It’s their country and they need to be back home.”

Today, I give thanks for people like Father Bernard. People who have the courage to stand in the gap between violence and safety, life and death. People who stand with others through difficult and painful times in life. People who stand with those who have lost everything. People who make all the difference in the world.

More on Father Bernard can be found at the following websites:

Sam Jones The Guardian

Human Rights Watch.org

Alison Lesley World Religion News

Sights Around Marion County

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 I want to show you a few sights around my home area.

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The Wheatland Ferry runs on electricity and holds up to nine cars per trip across the Willamette River.

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 Platforms for Osprey nests have been built at the top of large poles on farms and telephone poles around the area.

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A Field of Berries in the fall.

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Oregon State Parks

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This is not snow. This is a filbert orchard that has just been dusted with the mineral lime to neutralize the acid in the soil.

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It’s duck and geese hunting season. The Goose Check spot identifies the particular species of bird has been killed. I found this sign to be unique to our area.

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I like that Oregon Agriculture identifies what is growing in the field behind it. Many crops thrive in the Willamette Valley from nursery plants, various fruits and berries, vegetables, hay, hops, grass seed, peonies, tulips, iris flowers, and many more crops! There are also several wineries that grow several varieties of grapes and have produced award winning wines!

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Hope your Thanksgiving week is going well!

Wishing you the very best!

Molly

Winter Star Quilt

Over the years, I have met many people who do not like to decorate their homes in red and green for the Christmas holidays.  With these people in mind, I’ve taken the Christmas Star Quilt pattern and turned it into a Winter Star Quilt.

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This has been a fun project to work on. I enjoyed laying out the pieces and working with the different color combinations.

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This is what the quilt looks like sewn together and put in a quilt frame.

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Cheddar wanted to check out the new project.

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This hand quilted Winter Star Wall hanging Quilt will be ready by December 18. It measures 24.5′ x 24.5.’ It is for sale for by clicking the STORE button found at the top of this post. If you are interested in purchasing this wall hanging, contact me at marionberryquilts@gmail.com.

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Nesting

What is Nesting?

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Nesting can be a word to describe someone who makes their living space a home, not just a house to live in with others. Someone who is a nest-er has a need for their living space to feel like a home by adding creature comfort features like comfortable beds, pictures on the wall, pictures of loved ones on the refrigerator, and creating a welcoming space.

Nesting can also be a phase a woman experiences in the last trimester of her pregnancy. This is when a woman has a flurry of energy and begins preparing the house for her baby to come home. For example, an expectant mom will want the crib is set up then moved around several times to find just the right placement in the room. With this sudden burst of energy, even the most unorganized mom suddenly becomes focused. She becomes attentive about her shopping, fussy about organizing her home, and intense when organizing her time in preparation for her baby coming.  But when it comes to quilting, nesting means something totally different.

Have you ever wondered how to get your seams on a sewing project to come out perfectly matched?  Nesting is a simple way to match the seams together of two fabrics, so there is a match in the seam line. I learned this tip from a woman named Ginger at a Hancock Fabric Store block of the month class.

This is what Ginger showed me how to do, and it works perfectly!  I begin by ironing the seam of each row in opposite directions.

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With the rights sides of the fabric together, I keep working with the fabric until the seams match together.

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I put a pin in place horizontally to hold the placement.

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It’s good to check the seams to see if they line up correctly.

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When I have the seams the way I like them, I pin the seams in place. Before sewing, I remove the horizontal pin.

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When quilting, I do not press the seams open. I iron the seams towards the darker color. Especially when I’m hand quilting, pressing the seams towards the darker color is important so I’m not quilting through three layers of fabric plus the batting.

That is how to nest your fabric to get perfect seams!

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Fabric From Japan

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This fabric was bought by a relative on a trip to Japan.

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This  42.5″ x 42.5″ piece of fabric will be the backing of a quilt I’m making for a family member.

Now that I have the backing, I am making the quilt top. I’m sewing a block pattern with five primary colors of fabric. To make the blocks quickly, I cut out 4 1/2 inch strips of each of the colors. The strips looked like this:

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I sewed the strips together. After I evened the fabric across the top, then I cut a 4 1/2 inch strip.  The blocks are now 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ and look like this:

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I made two different shades to break up the solids. P1050545

And began sewing the rows together.

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Putting the pieces on my felt board, a pattern emerged that looked like this:

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 I plan to sew the rows together and put the top in the quilt frame very soon. I’ll keep you updated.

Hope you’re doing well!

Dating Tips For Teens Part III

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This is the final entry on dating tips for teens. These tips were shared over several years to high school students at a private school. They were primarily used as attention-getters and were collected by my students.

23. The coolest trait about someone can also be the most frustrating.  For example, is someone is great at cooking, but not very good about cleaning up after themselves; it can become very frustrating.

24. A slug is a slug. They won’t change and you can’t make them change!  The way people are when you find them is usually the way they really are. Maya Angelo said, “Believe people when they tell you who they are the first time. They know themselves better than you do.”

25. Dating someone hot is cool, but will they be a good parent?  Will they be nice to your (future) kids’ friends?

26.  Loving someone is to give them space.  Don’t put them on a leash. Let them have freedom.

27. If they are high maintenance, cut them loose.

28. If you cut them loose, there is no need to worry about them, because they will find someone else to annoy.

29. Do they get back to you? How someone your care about gives you feedback or gets back to you is important.

30. If you are breaking up with someone, be honest about it.

31. We tend to marry someone like our mother or father, or just the opposite.

32. If you date someone from your home town or around the area you grew up, you are likely to stay in that area. If you date someone from out of town, from another state, or another country, there is a very good chance you will move away from your home town.

33. It is good to go over expectations when you’re dating. Do you want children? Is so, how many?  Will you go to your children’s soccer games together or not?  It’s good to talk out your hopes are and what you want to do together and not do together.

34. To the men in my classes, I would say, “Women are not objects. They are people.”  To the women in my classes, I would say, “If you don’t want to be treated like an object watch how you carry yourself.  It’s up to you to let a guy know what your gifts, talents, and dreams are…and whether you want to listen to country music or not. Speak up for yourself.”

35. Live your life as if you were already in love. I believe good things come to people who are reflecting what they are looking for already, because they have a positive, open, and hopeful attitude towards the future.

A resource suggested to me by one of my students for tips in talking with young people and relationships is the following book:

Guys Are Waffles, Girls Are Spaghetti by Chad Eastham and Bill and Pam Farrel

Dating Tips for Teens Part II

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A Page Elise Made for the Dating Tips Scrap Book

12. There is a “discard pile.”

13. Look for good fruit, what are they producing in their life?

14. To the young women in the class, I would say:  If you’re standing in a lunch line or somewhere and a guy pokes and jokes with you, he isn’t trying to be mean. He wants you to poke and joke back.

15. To the young men in my class, I would say:  Girls do not understand “Locker Room Talk” and are usually grossed out by it.

16. Do you even know the other person’s eye color?  You must know the other person’s eye color.

17. Give them a 90 day trial period to see it they are a good match. From Steve Harvey’s book, Act like a Lady, Think Like a Man.

18. Never kiss someone until you’ve prayed with them. (If they don’t pray, then…ask them to consider the idea, or ask the person if you can pray with them. Prayer is a sign of spiritual sensitivity. It could be a good sign to knowing how a person will respond to you when you are in pain. The opposite of this statement is not true. Just because you’ve prayed with a lot of nice people, does not mean you are in a place to kiss them.)

19. Girls tell stories, guys try to do stupid stuff. (I’d like to qualify this statement. This tip was given in relation to the small group meeting offered each week at the school where I taught. The differences between how a group ran when it was made up of all female members compared to how the small groups made up of all male high school students were very different.  An example of stupid stuff was one all male small group had a competition to see who could put their mouths completely around their large red plastic drink cups. I don’t remember a group of all female students I led over the years ever trying the drink cup challenge.  The young women in my groups talked and shared stories of what was going on in their lives.)

20. Accept that you will let each other down because no relationship is perfect. -Noah Martin.

21. I believe the sixth love language is presence.

      (Gary Chapman has written a book called The 5 Love Languages, The Secret to Love that Lasts. Chapman explains how these five activities help relationships:  Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and Acts of Service.

In addition to these five traits, I believe presence with another person is a love language. I believe that there are people who express themselves through their actions by meeting others at the cross roads of their lives, by being present and not being distracted when relating to others. I believe giving someone your whole and undivided attention (not checking cell phones, etc.) and full attention is a way of loving another person. I believe presence is a combination of giving a gift, quality time, and an act of service. Physical touch and words or affirmation may or may not be involved.  However, the persons physical bodily presence is involved. The love language of presence can be seen in people who are dependable and show up just when you need them. These people know the value of being aware, attuned, and making an effort to being at every activity that is important to another person in his/her life. I would explain to young adolescent girls I believe their fathers do care about them by going to their games and sitting on the couch with them as they watched a TV show, even if they never say a word to them after the game or during the show.  Their dads were showing care through the language of their presence. Their dad’s presence was a way of speaking to them.

We know presence is a real experience, because the absence of it is very real. When a parent can’t make it to a game, a child can feel a sense of loss. We want people in our lives to be a witness to our experiences and mirror our accomplishments, our pain, our needs back to us.  When a parent, a friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or a loved one dies, a part of the grief process is missing that person’s humanity; no longer having that person’s presence, or witness, creates an emptiness in our lives. We need people who love us to be present to the events that mean the most to us in life.

We can also say presence is real from the negative experience of it. For example, when another person is in our space too much, we feel smothered.  Being poked through facebook, texted, emailed, phoned and showing up unexpectedly, can make anyone feel overwhelmed.  So there are healthy and unhealthy aspects of presence. We know when presence is healthy in a relationship, because it draws us toward another person; we want that person in our lives. When presence is unhealthy, their acts of presence push us away from them.

We can also say that physical presence is real, because a virtual presence is a nice connection, but it’s not enough.  I believe spending time with someone via the internet, gaming, or social media propels people to want to spend time together in each other’s actual physical presence. Too many people are ‘catfished’ today through the internet that again, physical presence with another person is an elemental part of relationship. If 80% percent (or more) of a message that is sent to another person is found in a person’s body language, then you need the person you care about you to be in your presence to truly get to know them (and for them to know you). A virtual relationship can not convey the cues that can only be discerned through another’s body language.

Your very existence, your presence is a gift to others.  Knowing how the power of your presence affects those around you, for good or for bad, is important in relationships. Interpreting another’s presence when they around you is also very important. The effort to be present means a lot to people these days. Giving of yourself by being in the presence of another, especially when you are invited, and when it is important to that person, is a gift. Beyond being a gift, presence is a love language.)

22.  Don’t date a snake. They bite!

Mrs. McCabe’s Dating Tips

Back in the day when I was teaching high school students, there would inevitably come that moment when I would look at the student’s sitting in front of me and see nothing but glazed over eyes.  Perhaps it was 5th period -just after lunch, or maybe even 6th period –to which they had already been to five other classrooms full of adventure, moments of stress, or a test or two.  The only thing that helped get my students attention back to my subject was a counter intuitive move. I would change the subject and offer a dating tip. Sometimes it was a simple thought. Sometimes I offered a bit of advice along with the tip. Snap!  In a matter of seconds, I had the students’ attention!  The students were awake and focused in my direction!  Then it was back to learning.

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Unbeknownst to me, several students began writing these dating tips down and passing the collection of tips onto the sophomore and junior class to gather more bits of dating advice the following year.  In 2012, one of my students made the ultimate craft project for me by making a beautiful scrap book with a collection of over 30 of my dating tips.

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I understand there are many people who offer dating advice these days, including people like Steve Harvey, whose day time talk show focuses on helping people find functional, healthy relationships. Much of Harvey’s advice on dating can be found in his book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.

My dating tips were specifically for the average high school student. For the sake of an enjoyable memory, I will be sharing my dating and relationship thoughts over the next several blogs. I may add a few more thoughts that I’ve gathered along the way. I hope you enjoy reading them, as much as I enjoyed discussing them with my high school students!

1. Keep your eyes on your own French fries.

2. Know when to play “hard to get.”

3. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you won’t find it! (Create a list of 10-15 traits you’re looking for in another person. One of my high school student’s had the following request on his list:  Must have all body parts.)

4. What’s going to set you apart from everyone else?

5. Think about the timing of things for yourself.

6. The Jesus in you attracts the Jesus in others. (Henri Nouwen.)

7. Go for cool families. Nothing is more attractive than a Christian family that gets along and is peaceful.

8. If you see Christ in someone, then…go after them!

9. Know when to chase and when to give someone space. (All relationships have what I call a “haggle stick” or like an invisible yard stick where there is a push and pull between two people. It is not helpful to cross midway on a “haggle – relationship yard stick”- by poking someone on facebook a bunch of times or texting 20 or more times until you get a response. Your friend will move away from you, because he or she feels chased. If you want someone to move towards you, leave the other person alone, and go do something you enjoy away from them for a few days or weeks. Don’t disrespect yourself by crossing a midway point between you and another person on the “relationship haggle stick.”  In the book A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis and Fari Amini studies have shown, when two puppies are each tugging and fighting for a shoe that it isn’t the shoe that either pup wants, it’s the love of tugging with another of it’s own kind. That’s why neither pup wants to let go. I believe people are the same way. The “haggle” in the relationship is part of the joy and connection of what we love about friendships!)

10. You can find women all around the world, but you must find the one you can rest with. She must bring you peace and comfort. Quote found in the book Against An Infinite Horizon:  The Finger of God In Our Everyday Lives by Ronald Rolheiser in referencing Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

11. Opposites attract and then they attack.

Love Is…

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An Oregon Coast Sunset

Several years ago, I was trying to get a handle on what love was to me.  This began the search to name the impossible.  I knew what I didn’t like, what it wasn’t for me. I found it’s easy to say what wasn’t loving. I’ve been journaling and processing my thoughts on this subject, and this is what I’ve come up with:

Love…is tough, strong, liberating, illuminating, enjoyable, respectful, blesses, dotes, establishes value & dignity, reciprocal, forgiving, treasures, protects, opens, is unbridled in hope & devotion, nurturing because it cultivates, enlarges, shelters, heals, is renewable, regenerative, honors, redeems, favors, inwardly smiles at the sight of another, trusts, provides, is real, increases, reveals, serves, comforts, enriches, enhances, invites, exchanges, acknowledges, responds, sustains, thinks the best, believes the best, and wants the best for another, sees and accepts the other for who he/she really is, makes things clear, makes whole, makes a person become visible—become known, sets things right, is quick to say, “I’m sorry,” makes a way, makes room for, extends grace, willingly gives what another needs, shares schedules, brings peace, creates a desire to give for no reason at all, is unexpected…yet present, gives life, holds vulnerabilities safely, allows space for another to work through his/her feelings, will vouch for, says, “You’re with me,” is a collection of moments, is unearned, meets a longing to be—which creates belonging, is about protecting the space between two people, is enough, has time for another, is known by its actions, reflects joy and mirrors hope.

Love is discerning; it knows when to hold on and when to let go.  Love does not trap, confuse, emotionally cut off, manipulate, control, dominate, intimidate, isolate, or power another person. Love does not enjoy seeing a friend in pain, does not flourish when insecurities continually surface and shrinks in the shadows of compulsion.  Love does not project its issues on another, decrease, rush, overwhelm, or smother. Love does not take away a chance for another to grow stronger or ask another to become less. Love doesn’t take what belongs to someone else, as much as it propels one to give, to move towards. Love is not confined to a single action, word, or moment.  Love cannot be forced, be demanded or begged for, because it thrives in freedom.   Love does not want to disappoint another person; it keeps expectations in check.

Love is messy.  It puts the needs of another before itself; it sacrifices, and encourages. Love is the purest form of energy. It creates a place to rest the heart.  Love takes responsibility, values goodness, carves new perspectives and calls forth the best in you.  Love leads you to choose the other, creates safety, and grows with honesty.

~M. McCabe

The Angel That Troubled The Waters

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 This is the view of my backyard today. It’s a rainy day in Oregon.

Brenning Manning shares this story in his book called Abba’s Child a section from the Thortan Wilder’s one act play called “The Angel That Troubled The Waters.” This play is based on John 5:1-4, it “dramatizes the power of the pool of Bethesda to heal whenever an angel stirred its waters.  A physician comes periodically to the pool, hoping to be the first in line and longing to be healed of his melancholy.”

As the play goes, “The angel finally appears but blocks the physician just as he is ready to step into the water.  The angel tells the physician to draw back, for this moment is not for him. The physician pleads for help in a broken voice, but the angel insists that healing is not intended for him.”

The dialogue continues–and then comes the prophetic word from the angel:  “Without your wounds where would your power be?  It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women.  The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living.  In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.  Physician, draw back.”

“Later, the man who enters the pool first and is healed rejoices in his good fortune and turning to the physician says:  “Please come with me. It is only an hour to my home.  My son is lost in dark thoughts.  I do not understand him and only you have ever lifted his mood.  Only an hour….There is also my daughter:  Since her child died, she sits in the shadow.  She will not listen to us but she will listen to you”  (Manning, pp 24-25).

Brennan Manning goes on to to talk about the concept of wounded soldiers in the rest of his book. Another author, Henri Nouwen, writes extensively about the wounded healer in his books.

Today, I want to share a word of encouragement with you. What stirs my heart about this story is how Thorton Wilder captured the poignant reality that whatever has troubled your heart and you really wished wasn’t apart of your life, whether it is your personality,a loss, unrest from past experiences, physical pain, violating experiences, a tough diagnosis –when processed and accepted, these problems become gifts of hope and understanding to others. When unprocessed, they can  become crippling burdens of pain.

My encouragement for you today is to trust that you are the way you are for a reason. The things you have experienced were not meant to be wasted experiences. With healthy processing these problems become gifts of understanding that can meet the needs of people around you.   You have the sheer grace of understanding, simply because you have lived through your particular troubles, you have survived, and you have lived to tell the tale. Accept your personality the way it is. You just may be the very blessing that another person needs.

Manning, Brennan. Abba’s Child:  The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging.

Thorton Wilder, The Angel That Troubled the Waters and Other Plays (New York:  Coward-McCann, 1928), page 20.

Christmas Table Runner

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The Christmas Table Runner is done and is for sale by clicking the STORE button found at the top of this post. If you’re interested in this item for yourself or someone you know, contact me at marionberryquilts@gmail.com.  The finished product is 38.25″ x 12.75.”

I will be making another one of these holiday table runners in a different shade. I will keep you posted!