Simple Pleasures

Our Miss Maggie has until recently shown no interest whatsoever in going outdoors. She'll sit next to the glass door, and even take a few steps outside,

but if someone approaches the door, she'll run back into the living room and hide under the couch. And so, it was with some surprise that we searched and searched and searched the house a few days ago, both inside and out, unable to find her. Smitty found her, and she was outside. When he goes out, I leave the door open just in case she wants to join him. For the first time ever, she did. Phew! We were a little worried about her and so we were glad to find her safe and sound.

Fast forward to yesterday, I was sitting in a chair in full view of the door when I turned my back on it for just a second. Again, Miss Maggie disappeared outside. She's quite talented at making herself invisible. I can't recall if I've mentioned it before on this blog, but we've taken to calling her our little "gray ghost".

Not to worry, Smitty to the rescue:

Maggie? Nope...haven't seen her. But I'll help you look.

She's not back here...

She's not over here...

Finally, I spied her in the area we've taken to calling the "George hole". It's a fairly large tent of junipers where George used to go toward the end of his life when he wanted some alone time...especially when we were trying to get him in at night. Maggie clearly thinks it's a great little hidey hole too.

She's looking pretty confident of her safety in there, and it's a good place for a cat to hide.

While we were searching for Maggie, I noticed the Bleeding Heart is starting to form some blossoms.

When I wrote my blog post yesterday, I said the sun was trying to shine, and I was going to get out for a walk. Well...not so fast there, Cowgirl, because about the time I readied myself to venture out, it started raining again. So I stripped off my outdoor gear and then hopped on the treadmill...and then, the sun came out again.

Yeah...that's the view from my treadmill. You can see it raining off in the distance there. Spring is the season of rapidly changing weather where I live. It rained off and on all day, but I did get outside and take a couple of laps around the house yesterday evening, despite the rain. I was treated to this pretty rainbow.

Spring is also the season of many rainbows around here.

So, I didn't do any sewing yesterday because I was uncharacteristically ambitious about my housework. Besides, the day before I was all set to start on my little iron caddy

when I opened up the pattern instructions there was a picture of the sewing layout that sent shivers up my spine. At a glance, I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Oy. Well, that sort of stopped me dead in my tracks. I'm not usually able to delay gratification long enough to read an entire pattern before starting, but this time, it seemed like a good idea. The pattern was created by these ladies:

You can see their website right here. And now, if you can stand it, please permit me to digress for a moment.

As I've said many times on this blog, while I was in graduate school (during the 15th century), I learned that my ancestry was Amish. And this was quite a delightful surprise because I had for years been fascinated with the Amish. There is something about the simplicity of their lives that is captivating. While I would never want to give up the modern conveniences of my own life, I am envious of their commitment to living "plain".

Some years ago, I read a book entitled "Plain and Simple".

Sue Bender took it upon herself in a sort of spiritual quest to live with an Amish family for some months and then wrote a memoir about her experience. While I didn't so much appreciate the "memoir" portion, I did appreciate the information she provided of her first-hand account of the Amish lifestyle. There was a portion of the book that has always stuck with me and it is this:

"The women moved through the day unhurried. There was no rushing to finish so they could get on to the 'important things.' For them, it was all important.
* * * * *
"As the days passed, I felt I was living in a still-life painting. In the background was a soft, sweeping farm landscape, and in the foreground were many people, all busy doing their chores with silent grace.
"Everything was a ritual.
"Doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, baking bread, quilting, canning, hanging out the laundry, picking fresh produce, weeding . . . nothing had to be explained.
"No distinction was made between the sacred and the everyday. Five minutes in the early morning and five minutes in the evening were devoted to prayer. The rest of the day was spent living their beliefs. Their life was all one piece. It was all sacred--and all ordinary."
It spoke to me of a lifestyle where even the most tedious of chores is valued. To the Amish, all work is worthwhile and sacred, because, for them, all work is God's work, and therefore, all work is valuable. While I'm not a person who practices a traditional faith, the passage still spoke to me and I remember it when a soup I'm making has more chopping than I once would have considered worthwhile...or when I'm doing hand stitching. It reminds me to slow down and live in the moment, especially when I'm performing the most menial of tasks.

So fast forward to yesterday while I was reading the pattern, I came across this Bible verse printed on the pattern:

And there it is, the Amish lifestyle in one verse.

It seems a fitting transition to tell you how much I am enjoying working on this little embroidery piece. I'm not sure what keeps me moving forward, but it's very hard to put down in the morning. Or...maybe I'm just trying to put off doing the laundry. It really doesn't matter.

This morning I worked most of the portions in the hoop, and then moved the hoop. Tomorrow I'll be stitching all the way to the top of the quilt shop.

Finally, I went through all those pictures yesterday looking for ones I might use when I take a class from Ann Shaw at the end of April. Then I remembered these two food pictures. This one hangs in my kitchen. I took a bunch of pictures of vegetables and fruits while we were having our kitchen remodeled several years ago. I can recall saying to the drywall guy..."Now, don't laugh at me while I take pictures of my vegetables."

Also, this peach pie from many years ago.

I'll add those to the mix, and thanks to those of you who have chimed in to tell me your favorites. It's helpful, and I am listening.

Okay, I don't suppose I can put off that laundry any longer, and so off I go to enjoy that simple pleasure.

7 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lana Ku said...

Enjoyed your reflections on the Amish and how we might relate it to our own daily life. Since I have retired from teaching, I often find myself enjoying the more 'mundane' things in a day, now having more time for my own interests.
And I seriously want a piece of that peach pie! Yum!

Linda said...

Hi how neat to find Gods Word on the pattern ! Thanks for you photos, like that Smitty too!

WoolenSails said...

Always enjoy seeing the kitties exploring, such personalities.
I have always loved that saying, think the one I read is different but the same meaning.


Vroomans' Quilts said...

Smitty is a good fella in helping to find Maggie. Love the photos today. I had someone gift me one of the iron caddies with the pattern, but I passed them on to a small sewing group who does travel to retreats and classes.

Brown Family said...

That pattern may seem to be overwhelming but you can do it! I love Gracies and Georges hidey hole. We had more excitement last week. We had the windows open to air out the house. I heard a strange noise and started looking for it. Kirby cat was sitting in the back window and he had the screen hooked on his claw. We jumped up to go to his rescue and discovered he was holding the screen so it would not hit the ground. My husband went out back to help him and I started hunting the other cats. Max, check.. Angel? I called her and suddenly she was screaming.
'I am out here and I do not like it! LET ME IN!!!' well that is what it sounded like. I closed the window to keep the other two cats in and went to the back door. They had been in and out before through that door. She started to me and I realized the door has shut and locked. Any way, I got her back in and we got the screen back on. We have accused Kirby of opening the screen and pushing her out. Since he was holding the screen the thought he was trying to close it before she came in. And of course, he is the one that slammed and locked the door behind me!

quiltzyx said...

Lovely post! I really enjoyed learning a bit of Amish life. Maybe I can take that it & use it to get a few more things done in my life.

Kate said...

Very wise words. It certainly does seem that we rush through one task only to begin another.