A Bouquet of Lovely Flowers

When I recently saw a post about a floral subscription from Bloomsbury Lane Farm, I was intrigued. While at first I thought it might be a little extravagant to have fresh flowers every two weeks, I also thought about how I LOVE to support local farms and businesses and how much those flowers would brighten my days.

Little did I know how much I would need those flowers on the very first day of my subscription, and how my perspective on those flowers would change.

There are some days that put a lot of things in perspective. Like how life has the potential of changing dramatically in an unexpected moment. Thankfully, our lives weren’t changed dramatically. Just a few of our plans, and just enough to fine tune our perspective.

We are grateful for our children and their families every single moment of our lives. Of that, one can be sure. But sometimes we get to hone in on what exactly we are grateful for. Today I was reminded that I am grateful that our daughter and her husband are raising confident, happy, obedient and compassionate children.

Children who can go with the flow when the plans of the day with Granma and Granpa suddenly change, and are happy to do something different.

Children who know how to make the best Get Well card anyone could ever want, and who know how to give the most tender hugs at just the right time. Such great kids. Such great parents.

We are also grateful for good friends. The kind that bring dinner and a little laughter at the end of a very long day, even when I tried to refuse because it seemed silly to not do dinner myself. So glad they ignored me. I really needed that help.

Grateful for story time with littles, complete with giggles and snuggles. Grateful for friends who give gifts that keep on giving- long after the unwrapping. Gifts that come alive and ripple to the ones I love every time I read them.

Grateful for an attentive and kind neighbor who rather than going along her merry way, made her way to lend a helping hand. Grateful for the owner of The Chicken House for her welcoming smile, easy conversation, and contribution of a few extra blooms for a thank you for my kind neighbor.

Grateful for a clutch of flowers, and the realization that maybe they weren’t just for me. That getting a lovely bouquet of flowers every two weeks means I have more than enough to share. More than enough to express a little bit of gratitude.

And grateful for the realization that sometimes our lives are made a little easier by the summation of all of the little things from all of the great people. A bouquet of lovely flowers.

Looking for Some Mojo

Mojo isn’t really the right word. It denotes magic and spells and charms and such. I don’t really need all that. I just need a little fire under my butt.

Nothing is wrong, and really life is pretty under control these days. But to be honest, that hasn’t been the norm most of my life, and I’m finding that it’s a different experience to keep motivated and moving forward without stress and fear pushing the pedal to the floor while I try to steer through life’s obstacle course. You know the law- an object at rest tends to stay at rest.

This doesn’t mean I’m doing nothing. Far from the truth. I’m just not moving as fast as I used to, and while I feel an increase of peace, I also find a decrease in excitement. Shouldn’t there be a balance?

I’m behind on a lot of projects. I think I’ve mentioned before that at the end of 2017 I made a list of my unfinished projects, which I am still not sure I recommend doing. I was abhorred at the number. And still am. To the point that I don’t even think about buying any supplies unless it’s related to helping me finish something I’ve already begun, and I certainly am not starting any new projects- unless it’s a gift and can be done fairly quickly from start to finish.

I’ve completed about 19 projects since I took inventory late last year, and some are pictured in this post. Some of those were new projects- begun and finished for a specific purpose such as gifts and the like.

But the list is still very long. Which is daunting. So, I’m writing this post to remind myself that really, I’ve been doing good, and marking things off the list. And that is something to be excited about.

So, Angela, if you are reading this, I am telling you to be encouraged and pick up the pace. A sense of accomplishment is important to you, so look forward to posting about the next list of finishes. You’re gonna be SO glad you did! And it’s going to feel SO good to give those good gifts to your kiddos and their families. Stay the course, lady. You’ve got this.

Gifts

Months ago one of our children sent me a message asking if I would give her a gift list for Christmas.  She wanted to know what to get for not only me, but also other members of our family.

My immediate reaction was slight annoyance.  First, while I know it is somewhat unreasonable, I really love for people to know me well enough that if they want to give me a gift, that it be one that made them think of me.  A gift that is personal means so much to me, and I don’t like making lists of things I want.  Mostly because if I know I want it, quite honestly, I’ll usually get it myself.  Second, I have all of those people and more to think of gifts for that are from me, and considering how I feel about gift giving, it’s a lot of work.  I don’t really want to do that work twice.  I already have enough of a list myself.

I didn’t answer the message immediately because something in me was giving me a warning that I was wrong, and so I wasn’t quite sure how to answer.  I was contemplating the message while I was working out one morning, and the thought came to me, “I have a big list, too, and you still ask me what you should do for other people.”

I almost fell off of the treadmill.

Oh boy.  Okay then.  I love how my Father knows me.  I love how he knows that all he has to do is give me one little key and it opens the gate to a new perspective.  A window appears and I can see a little bit more.

I started to think about the perspective God has of us and our requests.  And our choices.  We aren’t wrong to ask for his guidance in sharing our gifts with those around us.  After all, he knows the full picture, including all of our needs and wants.  Who better to direct our efforts to truly be a blessing to each other, and to genuinely show love and meet needs?

I started to think about what I’d been asked.  Do I know the needs and wants of the people in my own family well enough to even answer the request I was asked?

And we aren’t wrong in taking some initiative from time to time either.  After all, his list is pretty long, and intense, and we are capable of coming up with a few good gifts of our own.  We are his children.  We do have in us the capacity for knowing and loving our fellow man on a very personal level.  It also seems to me that if we are striving to be more like him, to follow his lead and example, then perhaps we shouldn’t need to be directed in every action.  What would he give?  What would he do?

Had I really set a good example of what it meant to give a good gift?

Then the first part of my complaint, and let’s face it, it was a complaint, hit me.  I expect other people to know me well enough to give me a gift that matters to me.  That is personal.  That is special.  Really?  Okay.  Let’s break this down.  First of all, the keyword here is expect.  Does he expect us to know what to give him without ever giving any kind of a clue?  Ummm, no.  He is pretty clear about what he wants from us.  In fact, he’s had several prophets and apostles jot it down for him.  Or rather, for us.

Have I been clear about what I want?

Of course that doesn’t mean that we have to stop there.  Certainly we can get to know him better.  Certainly we can refine the gifts we give him as we come to know him better.  Certainly he smiles when we do.

I responded to her message with a message of reassurance that she always gives good gifts, and that I felt confident that she would do well.  I also reminded her of things that I enjoy and that might inspire her.  I didn’t give her a lot to go on for the rest of her list because, to be honest, I realized I didn’t really know.  I hadn’t really taken the time to understand the needs and wants of the people on the list as well as I should have.  I was concentrating so hard on what I thought I should give them that I was caught up in the “I” way more than the “them.” But I am working on it, and I am grateful for all that he teaches me.  I just hope one day I’ll actually learn it.

In the end, our daughter gave beautiful, thoughtful gifts, as she always does. And she’s probably none the wiser for all that this little interaction taught me, but I am aware, and I am grateful.

The Beauty of a Ballgame

I love baseball. I don’t really know why. I don’t follow it closely. I don’t know the names of all the teams, much less all the players. I don’t even know all the rules and ins and outs of it. But I LOVE going to a game. I sometimes like watching it on television, but never more than in October. I even like listening to Braves games on the radio in the car, but that’s another story for another day.

I love that things like this happen at a baseball game. I love how it feels on Memorial Day and Independence Day when they bring out a ginormous American flag that covers almost the entire field. It makes me cry every single time. I love the respect that is shown to my country and to its heroes. I love baseball.

I love that so many memories with this man are tied up in baseball. “Hey! We have kids here. Clean up your mouths!” “Did she just barf?!?” “Knock a homer, Chpper!” “I think we are in the old people section. Again.” “Can we borrow some sunscreen?” “That is one happy and agile old usher.” “Let’s try staggering the grandkids between us.” “Hey. The Wrigley Field usher just gave me a Reds baseball card!” “Beer.” (I suppose you don’t have to be too enthused when selling certain products at a game as they tend to sell themselves.) But I think my favorites are the trips to watch the Cubs on the 4th of July. Again, another story for another day.

Attending a Cubs v. Braves game at Suntrust Field brings up so many conflicting feelings.

First, there’s the teams. Here’s the thing. I’m first a Braves fan. Second a Cubs fan. Third a fan of whichever team is playing against the Cubs on the 4th of July. I was worried at this May Braves home game that I wouldn’t know who to cheer for, but throughout the game it was clear that the Braves will always be my favorite team. Conflict resolved.

Second, while I love going to Braves games, I go begrudgingly to Suntrust Park. The deal that was struck to get that ballpark built where it was built still stinks, and there just isn’t enough about the park to love in order to squelch the stench. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad ballpark, but it’s not great either. Unless you’re loaded. In which case it’s a great park with tons of perks. But that’s not what baseball is about. That’s what Cobb County is about. Conflict definitely not resolved.

Back to happy thoughts. I love food. I love food at a baseball game. Especially hot dogs. With lots of mustard. Or Italian beef sandwiches at Wrigley. But just say no to the nachos. And does any ballpark anywhere sell boiled peanuts as well as roasted?!? I mean we have a Waffle House and Chikfila at Suntrust, so why not boiled peanuts?!? Popcorn is always good, but really, too expensive considering you can bring some from home. I almost made my own, but this tempted me at the store before the game, so I grabbed a bag. Pretty good, but seriously, nothing tops fresh Garrett’s.

The moral of the story? There is none. Just that to me, a night at the ballgame is beautiful.

Sugar Sand?

Recently the hubs and I had the chance to get away for our own version of spring break and went on a jaunt down to Clearwater Beach, FL. We stayed at the Wyndham Grand right down on the beach- perfect view, accommodations, and weather.

We arrived on a Monday, right after the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival ended. While it would have been fun to see the sand sculptures, to be honest we were glad that the crowds were light.

It was a quick trip, but a much needed break for Jeff. We really just relaxed, ate too much, and got a bit of vitamin D. It was just right.

During our travels he keeps his eye out for auto repair shops, and I check GPS for quilt stores and donut shops. On this trip we stopped in at Rainbow’s End Quilt Shop for a quick look around, and on the last day we went to a donut shop I had spotted earlier in the week.

Admittedly, I had my doubts about this place. I mean, how good does a donut shop at the beach actually have to be to be successful? There’s an ice cream shop on every corner in Clearwater Beach, and every restaurant has the best grouper sandwich in town, but as far as I could see, there was only one donut shop.

As soon as we walked in the door, I knew this was not your average donut shop. There were no donuts. That’s right. Not a single one.

This place makes your donuts right in front of your face. No need to watch for the “hot donuts now” sign. And thank goodness because these are fabulous cake donuts, not the ultra sugary stuff from Krispy Kreme. And if you don’t know, I do NOT like KK. But I digress.

After a somewhat confusing order form involving a wide selection of donuts, icings and toppings, we watched as our donuts were fried and dressed to our liking. We got plain donuts, but prepared differently. Chocolate with sea salt, lemon with coconut, and lemon glaze.

One bite and that was it. Light crisp on the outside. Warm squishy cake on the inside. And hello. Lemon glaze that is actually lemon and not pretend lemon?!? Yes, please!!! How about the chocolate and sea salt? Jeff thought he only wanted a lemon glaze, but one bite of the chocolate sea salt and he ended up eating half of it. But only because that’s all I would give him.

Clearwater Beach- you have lovely palm trees, tasty grouper sandwiches, and beautiful white, sugar sand beaches, but I love you for your donuts. That’s my kind of sugar.

#520in2018

A couple of years ago I had a goal of doing 520 hours of service in a year. I didn’t make it, but it was still awesome. Then I got distracted, and even felt like people thought I was bragging with the hashtag. After reassessing a few things, I’ve decided to return to this idea. I’ll be posting my progress along the way, not as bragging, but more as accountability, but also an easier way to keep track of it myself as well as let others know that I’m available to help if I am able.

What does this mean to you? It means that I am offering up to 10 hours of free quilting each month. No strings attached, but a few rules to keep things fair.

1- Edge-to-edge/panto quilting only. I will show you some options and you can choose which you like best. Once the quilting has begun, you can’t change your mind, so make sure it’s what you want!

2- The Green Apricot/Angela Gubler are not responsible for costs of materials- backing, batting and thread. They either need to be either provided by the client or purchased from TGA.

3- Shipping costs are solely the responsibility of the client.

4- TGA is not responsible for loss or damage to the quilt top or quilted quilt.

5- To submit your quilt for this offer, simply send at least two pictures of the quilt top- one of the whole top and the other a close up, and the measurements of the quilt to thegreenapricot@gmail.com. You do not need to send any info about why you are submitting the quilt. I will respond to let you know if I will be able to schedule your quilt.

6- If I am able to fulfill your request, I will schedule your quilt for quilting, and it is your responsibility to get everything to me by that date. I am using a scheduling system for quilting and have limited time slots available, so you may lose your spot if I do not have everything in hand on time.

I’m looking forward to a wonderful new year, and I hope you are, too!

Knit Along, Baby!

Or, maybe it’s a baby knit along? Or maybe a knit along for babies? It’s so much work to come up with a catch hook. Just sayin’.

So how about we just get to the point. (If you want to skip the story, scroll down for important dates.) Do you see that super cute tiny human up there in that pic? She’s the latest addition to our family, and I’m totally using her cuteness to draw your attention to the buttery blanket she’s modeling!

I first saw this Baby Gradient Kit by Feza Yarns at the beginning of October and fell in love with the softness of the yarn and the fineness of the knit. She won’t stay small for long, so I dropped everything and got to work. I finished it in about 3 weeks, and it was both relaxing and rewarding to work on. Plus, she loves it.

I really wanted to make another to have on hand for any future babies in our family, so I got with my friends at Intown Quilters Fabric & Yarn to get another kit. I ended up buying two, because, well, two.

I’m so excited!!!! The kind of excited where I want other people to be excited, too! So, why not join me in a knit along? This is a fabulous project for starting off the new year. It’s a relaxing, easy knit, and with a little encouragement, it can be a pretty quick finish.

So here’s the deal- visit Intown Quilters Fabric & Yarn and/or The Green Apricot on Facebook or Instagram (@intownquilters @thegreenapricot) to see how to earn 15% off of your kit and be entered into a drawing for a $40 gift certificate at IQF&Y. (Opportunity ends 12/25/17.)

Then, cast on your first row on 1/20/18 and get to knitting! The kit includes 4 cakes of hand-dyed viscose/cotton yarn and the needed pattern, which is basically a garter stitch edging with a stockinette body. Each section is intended to gradually change color from one cake of yarn to the next. I didn’t follow the color change in the pattern for the one I made for our granddaughter, but I will for the next one.

And how about an incentive to finish? Post a pic of the first completed section on or before 2/3/18 with the hashtag #iqfykal and tag The Green Apricot/@thegreenapricot (so I can find it) and IQF&Y will have a reward for you! We’ll keep going every two weeks, and before you know it, you’ll have a completed bit of seriously soft and sweet on your hands. It might even be difficult to give it away.

IMPORTANT DATES:

12/25/17 Deadline to earn 15% discount and enter drawing.

1/20/18 Cast on!

2/3/18 Finish first section!

2/17/18 Finish second section!

3/3/18 Finish third section!

3/17/18 Finish!!!!!!

Stay tuned for more info, and be sure to check out both Intown Quilters and The Green Apricot on social media.