Thursday, May 19, 2011

Teach us to number our days...

My Dad enjoying some sunshine...
Easter Sunday night, well, actually early Monday morning around 12:40, my medical alert rang! I dashed down the hall, stumbled down our stairs, and ran to my dad's bedside. He was suffering an heart attack. After several nitro-glycerin pills, a call to 911, and a house full of paramedics, we rushed to the VA hospital.

The rest of the night was spent waiting on the hard ER chairs!
Dad was calmed with nitro-glycerin IV's and Oxygen. As normal, I went into the ER to stand by his bedside, full of concern and watching each gasping breath from his frail old body. Each moment that passed made it evident that my Dad was really struggling to hold on to life.
Napping in the sunshine...
Yet, in the struggle, he still had some humor for the concerned doctors when he quoted what his deaf ears thought they said. He even took time to tell them of his faith in Jesus Christ and how ready is he to go to his eternal home when his Savior calls for him!

But a couple weeks before, while resting in his wheelchair, my Dad suggested we buy a patio set for his entry porch (below my deck). He thought it would extend his place to the outside, and be a wonderful place to watch my grandchildren play this summer. Hopes of many visitors sitting around with him also prompted this wish.
Neglecting the hinted urgency that elderly years give, I allowed busyness to prevent a shopping excursion. In the ER, while I totally focused on monitors and his wheezing breath,  he opened his eyes to look at me between pains of angina, and said tearfully, "Sorry, girl! We forgot to buy the furniture!"
I couldn't believe his thoughts were on furniture at such a time!

Standing at his ER bedside, I regretted that busyness! I had forgotten how quickly life vaporizes, and I pushed his little desire to buy this gift for me out of my mind. I realized as I watched his breathing, chances to meet his request were distant, and even possibilities of seeing his enjoyment seemed dim.
What Dad sees from his recliner...

My dear sweet husband heard Dad's regret. So, four days later, when Dad was discharged from the hospital and brought home, his entry was fully furnished! He was welcomed home with an inviting outside living space!
It was so awesome!
Now, as he regains his strength, I know I can't just hang over him. I am finding sweet peace in puttering around his living space. Just outside his bedroom, his outside living space has added color with placed pots of flowers. The lattice walls and the flowers give a pleasant sense of homeyness.
Yesterday, we enjoyed a sunny bright day, warm enough for Dad to slowly make his way out his door. This time, he hobbled out of his wheelchair and enjoyed one of the stuffed chairs with his feet on the ottoman, quite content. A cursory glance at the flowers and furniture caused him to comment with pleasure. Around noon, friends brought his favorite Culver's hamburger snack pack and joined us for our first picnic. Then Dad enjoyed a couple of hours of conversation, full of childhood memories and antics!

I'm quite pleased as I journal this wonderful day for my Dad. As I tucked my dear Dad in bed, he patted my hand with a "This was a good day!" He loves his new patio, his health is edging its way to "good" again, and I'm so glad his life was extended long enough to enjoy his furniture gift.

Thank you for all your prayers for my Dad's lingering days here on earth with us. His 89+ adventurous years of life have been full and he will leave a legacy of how to "walk by faith"  when he is called home to his beloved Savior. Until then, let this little story encourage you to make the most of every day with dear loved ones, and squelch that interrupting busyness when it threatens to rob you of precious time spent with them!

Next Steps for me in Making this Dresden Quilt

I bet you all forgot about my Dresden quilt! But, I haven't even put it aside. After much deliberation, I've decided to take all the little scraps of beautiful fabric I chose for the Dresden and make 5" blocks of designs I really like as I browse some of my quilting magazines. I found one design that called for long strips of 2 fabrics, so I gathered pieces that were long enough and made a pile of strips.
pile of strips

preparing the strips
This took several days to cut, stitch, press and find pieces that would match for alternate patterns. When I finished as many strips as I could, I began the next step of making the blocks.
I hope to make these, but also put together smaller amounts of fabrics to make a variety of block designs.
Once I have a stash of little blocks, I hope my next step will be to connect all the blocks into one long strip and make a border for the Dresden blocks. As I learn new block designs and patterns, I hope I can add these to my 5" pile of blocks, as scraps allow. Because I am using scraps, it will be interesting to see how many I can pile together, in a variety of designs to create an intriguing border.

In the meantime, I'm hunting for a delectable fabric which jumps off its bolt, begging to be the backing for my very first quilt. I'm considering a navy or deep garnet shade with barely any design to keep it from being a plain boring piece. I'm sure I'll know when I see it waiting for me on some shelf.

For any "quilter police", please give this newbie a little space. I know I'm taking such a long time to accomplish this one quilt, but it is because I often lay it aside to work on what I've learned before I add it to this project. I'm reading quilt books, browsing online sites, and flipping through quilt magazines like crazy. Wow! There is so much to learn and so many blocks to try!
In case, you forgot what it looks like...
I've already put 2 fronts together with the Dresden ruler and other colors! But oh! That's a secret until the recipients hold their gifts!  I find it so fun to experiment with color and fabrics, and then take what I learned to make another part for this border.
This may be my first quilt, yet I'm also creating a journal for 2010-2011's hours spent learning a new hobby. What better way to record what I am learning as I wander down the path into the wonderful world of creating quilts and designs!
So, patience will prevail, and some Dresden quilt will not only keep me warm, but will remind me of all it took to make each square!