Psalm 136

All the days ordained for us were written in his book before one of them came to be.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Grammy Carter would be so Proud!"

Some might say sewing is a hobby of mine. I will use the term hobby very loosely. If by hobby you mean, something I do on occasion, enjoy doing it when I do have time, but have room for a lot of improvement, then yes, sewing is one of my hobbies. It is also something that I am interested in and want to be better at.

The majority of the sewing projects that I have conquered have been at my parents' house in Cedar Vale. I really can't do much sewing unless my mom is close by to help me through the steps I'm not so sure about. I have braved a few simple projects on my own, but the cell phone is close during these times.

Each and every time I have been sewing, my mom always has said at least once during the project, "Grammy Carter would be so proud."

Yesterday I went to my parents to conquer yet another sewing project, a purse for my sister's birthday (yes, she knows she is getting it). Mau (the nickname we all call my grandma on my mom's side), who is Grammy's daughter, came by to see the progress I was making on the purse. As I was showing her, she said, almost in tears, "Grammy Carter would be so proud."

It is hard to explain the significance of these words without explaining the close relationship I had with my great grandma, who we affectionately called Grammy. I'm not saying that I was the favorite of her great grandkids, because she of course did not pick favorites, but I was lucky to get to spend a lot of one on one time with her that my other cousins probably didn't get. The year I went to preschool was the year my mom started working as a para at the school so Grammy would pick me up after preschool in the morning and I would spend the afternoon with her until my mom got off work.

Our afternoon activities make me laugh as I look back on them now. Most afternoons consisted of her laying on the couch and me on the floor (on her mattress we all fought over so I got it all to myself), watching soap operas and both of us eventually falling asleep. The only reason soap operas were on was because she only had the main networks so that was the only option for afternoon television. We would also make sugar cookies quite frequently. I wish I had her recipe because they are truly the only sugar cookies I really like and there aren't any others like it (or that I have tried). She would often be working on some sewing project that I would watch her do and at times help with simple steps. She and my mom often made clothes for my sister and I. They also made us dresses for Easter and Christmas. She attempted to teach me to crochet, but that didn't amount in more than just a small crocheted blanket barely big enough for a baby doll.

We often would go to Winfield or Ark City for the afternoon to run some errand. I loved how she backed out of her driveway. I'm convinced to this day that she literally floored it backing out. But my favorite afternoon activity was helping her wash her porch. I'm not sure why I thought this was so fun, maybe because I got to use the hose and spray water everywhere and it didn't really matter what got wet.

Grammy also taught us all how to make Christmas candy. I remember everyone being down at her house making tons and tons of Christmas candy. We still carry on the tradition and make some every year. This is definitely a tradition I will pass down to my children.

Grammy was also a teacher for many years. I only knew her being able to speak at a whisper so I like to think she lost her voice from yelling at kids for so many years. This probably isn't true, but I do love that I come from a long line of teacher from her to Mau to my mom and now to my sister and myself. Even though she only spoke at a whisper, if she got really mad and "yelled" at us, it almost came out as loud as a normal voice. It is hard to explain, but I always found it so funny that when she cussed, it came out clear as a bell. Don't let that fact make you think poorly of my great grandma. She was an incredible lady who lived a long and full life and I'm lucky to have known her for as long as I did before she passed away.

So... when my mom or Mau tells me, "Grammy Carter would be so proud", those words mean more to me than I can even explain.

Pictures below are of the sewing project!
Scraps from cutting out the pattern.

All the pieces that will eventually be a Birdie Sling (pattern by Amy Butler)

Lining and pockets! I had enough fabric to make two bags.

Bands attached to inside and outside! (This is not Mandy's bag)

Pinning the pleats (the pleats are what makes this bag so cute!)

All the pieces of Mandy's bag ready to be sewn together, except the handle goes to the other bag.

The Finished Product!

Oh, and I changed my mind on the fabric for my quilt. Below is what fabric we are going to use instead!

Friday, July 2, 2010


Last week my sister and I experienced a "first" together. We went with our mom to a quilt show. It was actually much more fun that I thought. I even bought something! (pictures of this will be posted later once I actually get it made with much help from my mom.) Mom also told us both that she wants to make us quilts so she wanted us to pick out the fabric and a pattern if we saw one we liked.

At the quilt show I came across a quilt that I immediately fell in love with. I loved the pattern! It is called Wedding Rings. It is pictured below.

Thus began the search for the pattern. I was able to find it online, but didn't want to pay as much as it was online. Also at the quilt show, I saw the fabric line that I wanted Mom to use for the quilt. It is called "Cherish" by Moda. I love Moda fabics!

So today I went in search of the pattern and fabric. I didn't find the fabric line at the quilt shop here in Wichita, but they do have it at Needle in a Haystack (Yes, that is the name of the Quilt Shop!) so Mom and I are going to go Sunday afternoon to get the fabric.

I was able to find the pattern at Prairie Quilts which is closing and moving to the Delano district downtown and reopening as Material Girl! As an added bonus, I ran across a really cute pattern book called Shams with Style that has some awesome pillows that I'm hoping to help Mom make to match my quilt. A few of the pillows I like are pictured below.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beginning a Blog

I have been reading a good number of blogs recently and just found out how to "follow" someone's blog. I know, I know... I'm a bit behind the times so I decided to begin catching up a bit. I know I have a long way to go.

So here it is. Holly's blog (and Philip's too).

I just got back this evening from spending the week at the University of Tulsa. I went for an AP Calculus Institute. I promise not to go into all the math that intrigued, challenged and encouraged me this week but I will share a few highlights from my week.

I took Calculus in the spring semester of my senior year of high school (2002) so it has been over eight years since I have seen some of the math that we did this week. With only a few prompts and reminders, I was able to scower into the deep dark corners of my mind and dust off the handy dandy Calculus folder. It had been a long time since I had used Calculus and definitely have not thought about it as deeply as I did this week. (Basically what all that means is that my brain was on math overload, but for the most part, I enjoyed it!)

I spent the week with 19 other high school math teachers and was easily one of the youngest, if not the youngest, teacher there. I was encouraged as the week went on that I was able to quickly recall the facts, formulas and problem solving strategies that at one time in my educational career had been so necessary for the courses I was taking in college.

When you put a group of teachers together, especially math teachers, for an extended period of time, you bond with that group, even though you may never see each other again after this week. As math teachers, we are a bunch of nerds that can't leave a problem unfinished and insist on not only knowing the answer to said problem, but understanding how to get that answer. Often times, our facilitator (another high school math teacher) would give us a problem solely to introduce us to an activity/strategy that she used with her students, but we all got tied up in what the problem was that we would not let her move on (or would not listen if she did) until that problem was conquered. Completed. Finished. Correct.

That is something that made me love the world of mathematics.. there is one correct answer. (Well most of the time.) Math is very black and white. There are not many gray areas. Yes, there may be more than one way to get to the same answer, but at least there is an answer.

Being on a college campus this week took me back to my four years spent at the wonderful Kansas State University. I do not have time to go through all that my college years meant to me, but in the midst of studying Secondary Math Education (remember I like math because it is so black and white), I was introduced to the gray areas of my life: my beliefs and who I was. I do not mean I didn't know what I believed, but I didn't know what it all meant and why I believed it. God took me on an incredible journey of learning about who He is, who I am because of what He did for me and what it means about the direction and passion of my life.

In college, I learned that it was ok to question things and it was ok to not find a definite answer. This was a hard realization for me, given that I am used to finding the one, correct answer. I also had to learn some tough lessons about people, ministry and that both will let you down in one way or another.

All of this tied into my week in Tulsa as I realized that even though I don't teach Calculus, I still play a big part. Since I teach the courses that lead up to Calculus, it is imperative that I prepare my students for what is coming. I learned things this week that I can do differently in each course I teach. I know I won't be perfect. I know I will let students down. I also know that if I can help to inspire them in some small way to keep questioning and to keep being curious, this will serve them in more areas of their life than just math.

I was reminded this week why I am a teacher. I want to impact that lives of others the way my life has been impacted by others.