Archive | January, 2014

A post 27 hours in the making.

31 Jan

I write from the train ride home. I’m sad to be on the train home. Very sad.

Our conference in Essex ended on Wednesday morning. Just as it began to snow. It was picture perfect and we were sad to leave. We left Glacier on snowy roads, winding through beautiful scenery. It wasn’t too treacherous … until we left the mountains and after we stopped for lunch at a cute little cafe in East Glacier. Cue the blowing snow and icky roads. What should have been just shy of a four hour drive turned into over five hours. But we made it. Car dance parties and sing-alongs helped.

We stayed one more night in Big Sandy, drinking wine and watching the latest episode of The Bachelor. After that, it was time to pack up and head to the train station. Boo.

It was indeed a great adventure to Montana once again. Insightful learning, new scenery, and catching up with some of the bestest friends I could ever have. There was much laughter and loads of baby giggles. I joke that life at home with Mabel will now be incredible dull … but it’s not a joke. There will be no little girls running around, staring at me, gobbling up crackers, and no dancing to “The Muffin Man.” There will be no late nights of chatting, like at the Isaak Walton Inn. Life will be quite quiet. I will miss the excitement and the laughter. A lot.

(A shout- out to my Montana friends, Joel and Melissa. You know, I didn’t really become friends with them until senior year at seminary. In those days, when Joel and I first began talking in classes, I called him Kevin and he called me Penelope. (Those were our code names from previous lives.) Then I learned he was awesome and so was his wife. I’m so glad I discovered how awesome they are. And now they have two awesome girls that make up an all-around family of awesome. Gosh, I’m so glad they are my friends and they let me come live in their basement, bake scones in their kitchen, and play with their children.)

Alas, it’s time for the next great adventure in life. After long hugs and blown kisses and tearful goodbyes, Paige and I boarded the train and almost immediately were swept into the wine and cheese tasting for the sleeper car folks. We both won bottles of wine for answering trivia questions. Dinner, three episode of White Collar, and a night of sleep will land us back in St. Paul, hopefully relatively on time to the scheduled 7:05 arrival. (Not holding my breath. We left Havre over two hours late. UPDATE: I’m still writing from the train. We are scheduled to get into St. Paul at 3:00. Only eight hours late. Thank you, freight traffic hauling oil around ND. Thank you. SECOND UPDATE: We finally arrived in St. Paul at 7:09pm. That is almost exactly twelve hours after we should have arrived. Thank you, cracked track and new crew. Thank you. I am staying in the cities tonight and tomorrow morning…) I will pick up Mabel from the kennel and drive home. Home where my dance parties are solo and my curse words aren’t censored.

What is the next great adventure? Probably laundry and grocery shopping. Then it will assembling the large pieces of the hexie quilt together. (It’s almost ready for the BIG exciting step!) Catching up on Downton and prepping for my quilting workshop next weekend. As the gentleman on the train ride out said – Life is all about the great adventure. Here’s to finding some of that everyday … even without a Hannah and a Harper to show me the way.

I’m not sure I want to leave.

29 Jan

Here there are mountains. A cozy bar downstairs. Quirky decor. Friends. Snowshoes to rent. Must I leave?

It’s been a great time here at the Isaak Walton Inn in the middle of the wilderness. Alas, after a morning session tomorrow, we are heading back to Big Sandy for one more night before hopping back on the train. Le sigh.

Today we ate delicious breakfast, learned more about the book of Revelation, and ate lunch before renting snowshoes and heading out on the trails. We went on the untrodden paths; so untrodden and steep that we fell, slid, and had a mighty adventure. After an afternoon excursion*, we ate dinner and had one last session of learning before meeting at the bar for beer and games. (The bar is also where the wifi is.)

As per usual, photos do no justice to the majesty of the mountains. Seriously, beautiful. New life goal: Return to the Isaak Walton Inn. Stay for a week. Love every minute.

* word attributed to Joel. Thanks for being my thesaurus.

This is where I’m living now.

28 Jan


Paige and Joel too.

Friday Favorites: Train edition

25 Jan

It’s still technically Friday in Montana and though I keep swaying and feeling as if I’m on a train, my feet are planted firmly in Big Sandy. In the spirit of Friday Favorites, here are my favorite things about train travel.

The people. This time around, Paige and I met a hugger, a hiker, and a woman who loved to ask questions. My favorite was the hugger. He was a grandpa-like character and traveling with his wife. He said he was collecting hugs. In fact, he wanted to write a book about the benefits of hugging. We ate lunch with them when, afterwards, he felt a deep connection to Paige through their love of Slovakia. He hugged Paige. THEN, after supper, he made his way from his table to ours to give us farewell hugs. He said he wished that his hug with Paige would last for twenty more minutes …

The time to play games, quilt, and catch up on episodes of The Bachelor.

Watching the countryside from the observation car.

Sleeping cars. Laying down flat is not overrated and dessert is covered with all of the meals.

Arrival. Our train ride was five hours longer than it should have been due to a train derailment the day before, heavy train traffic, and a detour route. We were quite happy to step off the train and be greeted by friends. We are here. Hurray.


Folks: It’s been crazy here.

23 Jan

No Friday Favorites last week. No Monday Morning Star Count. No other posts.

Life gets crazy, you know?

I subbed last Friday in a kindergarten class. It was fun. I counted a lot and helped redirect kiddos as they worked on their journals and number lines. One kid also told me about a nightmare he had; aliens tried to murder him with a fork.

Then I went bowling. Spent a Saturday sewing. Sunday morning worship and a visit from Sara and her pup, Kimber. We took a long walk in the sunshine and ate homemade waffles. Sherlock returned to PBS and then there was some more bowling. (One would think I would be getting good at the game; I am not.) Tuesday stressed me out like no other; ROG hosted the pastor conference gathering which meant I had to preach and lead worship in front of colleagues. Lindsay = complete ball of nerves. But, hey, I survived.

Now it is Wednesday night. We cancelled confirmation because of nasty cold, windy weather and while I love confirmation classes, I was slightly relieved. You see, I leave tomorrow night on a train bound for Montana and I had packing/laundry/cleaning to do. Paige and I are stopping in Havre to visit our friends, Joel and Melissa and Hannah and Harper, before we hop in a car with Joel to drive to Essex for a conference. All in all, it should be a fun winter learning adventure. Plus, it’s supposed to be in the upper 40s in Havre when we arrive; I won’t complain about that!

And so that is a summary of my crazy. My next post will be from Montana. Until then, stay warm, Midwest friends!

2014: A Leap Year

16 Jan

It’s a leap year for Lindsay. We are only a couple weeks in and I’ve been taking some leaps.

I have been joining in an online quilting community with the MMStar Count blog posts and loving every minute of it.  What wonderful encouragement and inspiration around EPP.

I have taken some dating leaps. (*cough, cough*  Wasn’t expecting that, were you?) Nothing serious; just awkwardly testing the waters and, it appears, doing an awful lot of bowling.

I’ve been called in for my first sub job tomorrow.  It’s not a teacher position; I’ll be a para for two kindergarten rooms and will likely have recess duty.  I’ll take it!

Now, the true leap that inspiried this post – I signed up for a workshop with the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild.


(You’re still stuck back on my dating leap, aren’t you? Do you rather wish this post was about that? Sorry to let you down; it’s not.)

I’ve wanted to join the Minneapolis MQG for a while now but it makes little sense to drive to the cities for the meetings. [Plus, I’m very intimidated by them and their lovely advanced quilting skills.]  But I still stalk them on facebook. That’s how I learned they were hosting a sewing workshop on scrap management on a Saturday in February.  It’s a bring-your-sewing-machine-and-we’ll-email-you-a-supply-list kind of workshop.  Probably with really, really good, experienced quilters.  And then there will be me, walking in with my case-less $99 Kenmore machine slung over my shoulder in a thirty-one tote.

Another perk – are you ready? – is that the workshop is led by Amanda Nyberg, co-author of Sunday Morning Quilts, a book which I own and cherish and from which my on-going gumdrop quilt comes.  [I can be a little star struck by quilt book authors, right?]

It is one step towards making more modern-quilt quilty friends, learning new modern-quilt quilty skills, and being brave enough to check out SewDown when it comes to Minneapolis this summer.

Leap, leap, leap.

I saw this quote on pinterest –

14 Jan

And it’s my favorite for the week.


Now, if only I could create some sort of job that involves color, kids, social justice, the environment, writing, and the sewing of pretty fabric.  Hmm …

[Quote attributed to Fabienne Fredrickson.]

Monday Morning Star Count #2

13 Jan

Last week, I joined Life Under Quilts for the beginning of a weekly link-up all about EPP projects.  I did it last week; thought I’d give it a go.  I openly admitted that I didn’t think I’d do it every week.  I’m not so great at sticking to a blogging schedule.

And yet, here I am again.  Want to know why?

I have always heard people say they’ve found community through their blogs.  About how they feel supported and make friends and all that.  I’ve never really explored joining the crafty/quilty blog world in such a way.  Until I joined the link-up last week.

I get it now.  Those of you who commented – thank you!  It was wonderful to hear your affirmations and support.  And it was so fun and inspiring to look at all of your projects!  As I sat and worked on my Union Jack quilt at night throughout the week, I thought of you.  [In a nice way; not a creepy way.  Promise.]  I thought, I have to work on this so I have some work to show on Monday!  And I enjoyed every minute of it.  By golly gee, this whole online-community-link-up-awesome-quilters-giving-support thing works.

Okay, enough of that.  [I have a tendency to be a big old sap.  Moving on.]  Onto the project.

I’ve been working on this quilt – my first hexie [hexies are 1 3/4”] quilt – for probably about four months now and it keeps growing.  I laid out all of the larger components last night to get a read on how it’s going … and I like it.  I have three and a half sections of blue to finish bordering with white hexies.  From there, it is strips of red in between them all.  I don’t have a tally exactly; I just know I’m almost there!  I can’t wait to add the red; I’m hopeful it will come together well.  The pattern then calls for a sewn border; I think I’ll have a hard time going back to my machine to do that part after growing so comfy sewing on the couch watching Sherlock!  [For the integrity of the quilt, I try to watch British programming while sewing.  That’s only half a joke.]

Here’s where we’re at:

Friday Favorites.

10 Jan

Two weeks in a row!  Are you amazed?  [I am, frankly.]

A friend posted this site to facebook – how cool!  It’s a challenge to find happiness in each day for 100 days.  [Sounds a whole lot like my pledge to joy this year!]

I would just like to point out that The Mindy Project has surpassed The New Girl on my Tuesday night rating scale.  I love The Mindy Project … and I love that television shows are back from their winter breaks.  [Including, most importantly, Downton Abbey, Sherlock soon, and, of course, The Bachelor.]

These are not normally flavors I would pick but for some reason, this coconut tapioca pudding with mango sounds awesome.  The Smitten Kitchen does it again.


This fabric combo proves what I already knew – that aqua and red look awesome together.  It think that’s my next hexagon project – aqua and red.  [I’m going to need a smaller project – something smaller than the current state of the Union Jack quilt – to travel with me the next couple months.]

Do you enjoy pomegranates?  I think they’re pretty much a pain to peel and extract but a fun little, seedy, juicy snack.  Need some new pomegranate recipes?  Click here.  And if you want to enjoy a pomegranate blueberry sherbet, run to Trader Joe’s.  I recently bought some and it is so delightful.  


Has anyone seen any favorite movies lately?  I am itching to get the theater and see a whole bunch.  After – what I thought – was a disappointing fall in movie releases, there are too many!  At the top of my list are: Labor Day, Her, American Hustle, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr.Banks, The Hobbit, August: Osage County, The Monuments Men … that’s a whole bunch.  Though I’m not afraid to go to movies alone, going with people is more fun – taking applications for movie buddies!

That’s it.  I’m calling it for this Friday Favorites.  Happy, joyful weekends to you all!

2014: The year of JOY

7 Jan

JOY is my new favorite word.  I preached about it on Christmas Eve [“I bring you great tidings of great JOY”] and I just wrote the following for the local newspaper.  Writing my dues for the pastor’s column is usually slightly the bane of my existence but today it came relatively easily.

It’s that time again.  The time when we think about our goals and our resolutions for the coming year.  Are you the kind of person who makes resolutions?  Maybe to go to bed earlier.  To eat less sugar.  To send a piece of handwritten mail each week.  To [fill in the blank].  I used to set resolutions like that.  But then you know what?  I never ended up following them.  Instead of checking things off the resolution list and feeling better, I ended up feeling bad.  Like I had dropped the ball.  Like I had failed.  This year, I have chosen one over-arching goal for the new year.  For life.  I’m going to look for joy.  Notice that I didn’t say that I’m going to create joy.  Sure, I might, but mainly – I’m going to look for joy and then I’m going to call it out.  I’m going to name it.  I’m going to look for joy because within that joy we encounter God.  A French priest and philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, once said it this way: Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.  Joy exists all around us.  God’s presence is all around us.  In a smile, in excitement, in a conversation or reassuring touch.  In sharing a meal with people we love or people we’ve just met.  In a stranger’s greeting or a parting hug.  Where do you find joy in your everyday?  Can you name God’s presence in the ordinary joyful places of each hour?  That’s my resolution.  To look for joy and thereby be reminded of God’s presence all around, in the extraordinary and the ordinary.  Because joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.

I am just so in love with that quote.  I found it on an old bookmark that I picked up from someone’s discarded papers; I don’t even remember where.  It’s actually a bookmark to commemorate someone’s ordination.  On the back is the name of a pastor and date of ordination from the 1960s; on the front is the quote about joy.  I love it.  It hangs in my entryway.

Join me in naming joy this year?  So often we are convinced and told that we need to create joy or that joy is only found in happiness.  I think not completely either of those is true.  Joy is already here, in sad days and in happy days.  We just have to find it and call it like we see it.

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