Friday, October 30, 2009

For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion...

...have mercy on us and on the whole world.

I don't usually talk about hugely personal stuff on here aside from a little bragging about my kids. And I don't talk about my faith for fear of turning people off. But I'm going to go ahead and just say a few things. 'Cause this is my blog and I'll cry if I want to.

Right now one of the most incredible men I've ever known is in a hospital room taking his last breaths surrounded by loved ones. My husband's grandfather is passing away. He's not expected to last more than a few hours at this point. He is 82 years old. Father of 9. The youngest of those 9 kids was 2 when he was widowed. He has 40 some-odd grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren (3 of whom are still baking in their mama's ovens). He is the single most generous person I've ever known. And he will be sorely missed. It is no exaggeration to say that Grandpa is the patriarch of my husband's extended family. I don't know what everyone will do without him.

This is the man who delivered me to Jesus Christ. Seeing him walk in the light, seeing him so faith-filled and grace-filled and consumed with the Holy Spirit is what made me say "I want what he's having!" He is fed by Christ. So while there is a river of tears swelling up all around our family right now, there is comfort in knowing that Grandpa is certain to inherit the Kingdom.

I know some of you are Catholic, and you may recognize the line in my heading from the Divine Mercy Chaplet. If anyone thinks about it or is so inclined, I would be ever so grateful to anyone who would want to pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet or just pray as your heart desires for my husband's grandfather William Erker, Sr. and his family. We are overwhelmed with grief.

I leave you with a picture from LadyBug's baptism this past summer. That's me with the sweet baby in the middle. And that's Grandpa down in front on the right. He never missed a graduation, a wedding, a first Holy Communion, a baptism, an anything. And all those other people in the picture...well that's the love that he and we are surrounded by! That is a tiny fraction of DH's extended family (and my sister among them) - the ones that could come to witness LadyBug's baptism.

I'm sorry to unload my sadness here. I just thought it never hurts to reach out and ask for prayers at a time like this. You are all so wonderful.

Edited to add: Grandpa passed at about 5:40 pm St. Louis time. He was surrounded by family singing hymns and praying together. Thank you all for your prayers and your comforting words. I cannot even express how wonderful they have been to hear.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Still On Cloud 9 over My First Exchange

What a week! After being sick last week, this week I had 2 huge midterm exams. I was completely overloaded this week. Has anyone else been forced to take statistics? Wow! That is an intense class!

But now here it is Saturday morning...the exams are behind me. Cuddle Bug is curled up on the couch watching Miffy and Friends on PBS and LadyBug is upstairs taking her mid-morning nap. The floors - that shamefully have been neglected for 2 weeks - have been swept and vacuumed. No more stale Cheerios on the rug under the table for LadyBug to be stuffing into her mouth when I turn my back for a split second (did I mention she's "crawling"'s really more of a butt scoot but she's very good at it). Now I can exhale.


So now I can mention that I am still absolutely living on cloud 9 over my exchange from Ranae! That was one of the most fun things I have done in a long time! Milling over charts, picking out just the right thing to stitch and deciding how to finish it. Picking out fun things to keep the exchange piece company in the box during it's travels. It was an absolute blast! And then there's the excitement, the anticipation of finding a box on your doorstep! Oh my is fantastic!!!

Of course I forgot to get a picture of my piece before I taped the box shut. Wouldn't you know? It wouldn't have been right if my first exchange went perfectly. So I had to make at least one amateur mistake, right?! So there you go, no picture. But fortunately Ranae took a wonderful picture and has kindly given me permission to post it to my blog.

This is part of Tanya's Quaker Boo freebie she posted last year. I have wanted to do this one since she posted it. I went back and forth over this and a Bent Creek design. I really wanted to do this chart, but I couldn't decide if it's poor exchange etiquette to use a freebie chart or not. It was my favorite since I thought it would make the most interesting finish, so I went for it anyway. Anyone want to set me straight on this? Anyway, I did the large octagon motif over 2. Then I stitched 4 slightly varied versions of the pumpkin motif over 1 and hung those from the bottom 4 corners of the octagon. I put mine and Ranae's initials on the back along with the year. My pillow ornament finishing wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But Ranae didn't seem to mind.

Ranae, thank you so much for offering to exchange with me! I had so much fun doing this with you! You are wonderful! My flatfold from you is gracing my living room window sill, and I seriously can't help but smile every time I see it!

Hugs for Ranae and all the amazing stitchers out there who continue to inspire and support me in my stitching adventures :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

My First Exchange!

After a rough week - everyone in the house was sick except DH - I had a very exciting pick-me-up!

Ranae and I had arranged to do a personal Halloween exchange, and look at the amazing lovelies that came in the mail for me!!

I couldn't have dreamed of a more incredible exchange! I have been walking on cloud nine over receiving this! Thank you Ranae for such a sweet package!! This is my first flatfold and I'm going to use it as a reference to try one this finish myself. Isn't it darling? And look at that trim! So festive! The little stickers walked off in the hands of my 3-year-old, so he keeps calling the package "our Halloween package." What a goober! And check out that scissor fob! Isn't it fantastic?! This was so much fun!!!

Ranae's package from me is in the mail finally. It's off to it's new home. I have to admit, my exchange pales in comparison to the beautiful package she put together for me. I just hope she has as much fun getting her package from me as I did getting mine from her :)