Sunday, February 25, 2018

Tying Up Loose Ends

My full time job as Distribution Supervisor at an oil and gas company includes many, MANY hours of sitting in front of a computer screen.  While I enjoy my work, when I come home, one of the last things I want to do is work on the computer at home.

So, today is a computer day (or at least a morning) for tying up loose ends . . . like tax returns and wrapping up some photo edits and replying to emails.  There's a pork roast with potatoes and carrots in the crock pot that's making the house smell oh, so good, and after lunch, I'm heading for the sewing room!

But first, I have to brag a bit on my daughter, my baby girl . . . if you're not into that, please scroll on . . .
Jessie and Darren - January 2018
She's my oldest child and the one who tested me the most.  But she's also helped me grow and define myself.  I was 19 yrs old when she was born and while I had experience with children helping my Mom babysit for years, it is SO very different when it's your baby.  I was scared and anxious - - - I wanted to be a good Mommy, no, really, I wanted to be the BEST Mommy.  I set high standards for myself, my home, my relationships with my husband and my child and one by one, life whittled them down.  I tried, I cried, I finally grew up and into the roles of Wife and Mother.  And Jessie saw it all.  And still loved me.

Her last year of high school was the hardest on all of us.  She has always been very driven and ambitious, and she was determined to make her own path on her own terms.  Life has whittled on her some too, but I have watched her rise above so much and come out stronger and more confident for having weathered the storms.  She's had to adjust her dreams and goals as her path has changed over time, just as we all have. 

She is kind, she is smart and she is beautiful.  And I couldn't be more proud of my daughter as she grows into the life roles she has been given.

Watch for more news on her work as a personal trainer in the coming months - - - I'm so excited for her and eager to see where this new path will lead her and her family!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Hello, there!

Well, hi!  How are you doing?  It's been such a long time since I've seen you!  Here, let me move my piles of stuff so you'll have a place to sit.  We need to catch up and so much has happened that I want to share with you!

Hmm, let's see . . . where to begin?  It's been 6 years since we've talked and a lot has changed. 

First, on the quilting side.  Yes, I still love it just as much as I always have!  There's something so satisfying about playing with a design, choosing colors and fabrics and oh, that first slice into fabric that has been languishing on the shelf for far too long!  It's wonderful to pluck an idea out of your head, draft it up and then see it come alive in fabric!  And yes, I still tend to over think a design - - - to make it harder than it has to be by being so particular about placement or color or size.  I absolutely love using lots of different fabrics!  I'll use a dozen fat quarters instead of one big yardage, just to make it more interesting.  But then, my obsessive side kicks in and I drive myself (and my dear husband) nuts trying to make sure there is ample distance between prints.  Go figure ;)

Christmas wreath using leftover half-square triangles (HST).  Each HST will finish at 1".
My little shop, Heavenly Hills Fabrics and Crafts, has been closed since June 2013.  I picked the wrong economic time to enter the business, I think, and then trying to keep my full time job and with two kids at home, I just didn't have the time or resources to devote to the shop as it needed to grow.  I really miss interacting with customers, particularly at vending opportunities, but I absolutely do NOT miss the paperwork and inventory management and lugging products around!

You might recall that I was a candidate in the NQA Judge Certification program.  Yeah, that didn't work out either.  My paperwork didn't pass twice and I haven't re-entered the new program to try again.  I've also cut back drastically on the judging I do.  I love judging quilt shows, but with the changes in my work, it's much more difficult to justify taking time off.  I have a judging job in March but it may very well be the last one I do.

I am still teaching quilt classes at Jackson's Mill in Lewis County.  This is one thing I won't give up - - - it is such a joy to teach!  This year, for the weekend workshop, I'm teaching the second section of my Building Blocks series - Half Square Triangles.  Friday's afternoon class is the zipper quilt.  You ought to check it out . . . go HERE for more information on this awesome retreat!

I'm also no longer involved with the state quilt guild.  I served as Membership Secretary and as Judging Coordinator, met lots of great people and saw many beautiful quilts, but I simply didn't agree with the actions of its' leadership and withdrew.  When it becomes apparent that there are personal vendettas at work and logic is overridden, it's time to reconsider the importance (and sanity!) of remaining in this type of organization. 

By eliminating a lot of the stressful aspects, I have been able to refocus my energy and efforts on my personal projects and the circle of great friends that have walked beside me through all of it.  I am so very blessed to have quilting sisters who have listened, laughed and loved, no matter how crazy or obsessive or irrational I may sound or act.  Their unwavering support is far more valuable than any title or job or group could ever be and I am so grateful for the quilting that has brought us together.

Part of our little quilting circle of friends - Sheila, Bev, Barby, Cathy, Sue, Karen, Erma and myself
October 2017
Wait, let me get a tissue.  My eyes are leaking a little . . .

Ah, well, now, what else has changed? 

When my daughter graduated high school and my son decided not to participate in track and cross country, my photography changed.  It was no longer about capturing the exact moment a runner cleared the hurdle or the first foot landed in the sand of the long jump pit, it was about framing and enhancing the beauty of my surroundings.  On the advice of a knowledgeable friend, I started shooting in raw and learned so much about Photoshop and Lightroom.  We've taken a few trips around West Virginia over the past few years and I've taken the time to travel the extra distance or walk the trails to see the sweeping beauty of my home state.  My husband has been so accommodating in going with me and waiting (mostly patiently) for me to take as many pictures as I need to get just the right one.

Summersville Lake, West Virginia - September 2017
Eventually, I would like to have some of my landscape photos published, but we'll see how it goes.  In the meanwhile, I'm loving seeing more of West Virginia!

As much as I enjoy genealogy, it always seems to be a backburner project.  I love to pore over old black and white photos, particularly of relatives, but my work is so scattered!  I really need to take the time to organize what I already have to identify the areas that would benefit from a more focused effort.  When my husband and I took our Labor Day trip last year, we visited the New and Old Mount Lebanon cemeteries near Pickaway, Monroe County, West Virginia, where some of the earlier generations of Beamers are interred.  It was incredibly interesting!

Oh, and that Labor Day trip?  We had a great time, even if it did rain us out of a few planned stops.  But we certainly enjoyed our time together!  I'll tell you all about later, ok?

David and I - Labor Day trip 2017
Hmm, what else can I tell you? 

On a more personal note, both of our children have graduated high school, our daughter has graduated from college and my husband and I are adjusting to an empty nest.  Our son is nearing the end of his second semester of college already!

Darren - January 2018
Darren - November 2017

And we are grandparents!!  Our grandson will be two in July and we didn't know our hearts could be this full . . . oh, the joy of watching your child with her own child!

Wow!  I've talked for a really long time!  So tell me something I don't know about you . . .