Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 17, 2013 ... A day I will never forget

One year ago today, December 17, 2013 was the date I was admitted to the hospital having had at least three strokes.  The strokes affected only my memory, but they affected my memory in a HUGE way.  I couldn't remember anything, including who my own children were.  The only thing I never forgot is my wife.  I knew who she was, I knew her name, I knew her likes and her dislikes, yet I couldn't remember my own.

My son walked in that evening and I looked him in the face and said, "Who are you!?"  I don't remember that at all, in fact, I don't remember December 15-17 very well at all.  You can read about that HERE.

Today, I want to focus on two things.  My healing.  I am fully healed.  If you read the original post, you know that two days later, everything was back to normal.  I was "back".  100%.  Over the first part of this year, I underwent a bunch of tests to try to identify why I had the strokes, but we found nothing other than I am perfectly healthy now.

I also want to focus on my children.  They were the first thing I remembered on my own.  I want to focus on my son, Jonathon, specifically.  You see, it was into Jonathon's eyes I looked when I said, "Who are you?"  Over the first few months of this year I felt horrible about that.  Jonathon forgave me.  He understood that it wasn't by choice that I didn't know who he was.  Jonathon, I think, understood that, in ways, better than I did.  But, needless to say, he was still rather hurt by that.

A few months later, that moment in time when I looked into his eyes and asked "Who are you?" and the next 24 hours became the basis for an English paper he submitted, entitled, "A Lapse in Time".  With his permission, I am sharing what he wrote.

A Lapse in Time
Jonathon Perger

The man I admired.  The man I look up to.  The man that was there from the very beginning.  The man that I blamed for all of my actions.  The man that cared for me.  The man that gave me guidance.  The man that spent every waking hour, making my life better.  The man that I didn't give enough credit to, while I was growing up.  The man that loved me, more than I knew.

This man I didn't think about enough.  I never pondered; why he went to work every day or why he cared for me or why he was always there when I needed him the most or why he would give anything and everything to make me smile or why he cared if I got bad grades or got into trouble or had a bad day or why wanted me to know how to eat properly or clean myself or dress myself.  The essentials and life skills necessary to be successful.  It was all just expected.

Until this moment in time, I had never thought about why I called him "Dad".

My own father looking at me with uncertainty.

"Who are you?"

My own father did not recognize me.

In this moment it felt like time had stopped moving.  A lapse in time; where memories flooded my head like a dam that had cracked and was seeping profusely.

All of the memories that I had of my father, he could no longer share with me.

The uncertainty of the situation was probably the worst part.  All of the possibilities.  All of the thoughts I had.  Every single one of the thoughts in my head.

What is wrong with him?  How can we fix it?  Is it something that is able to be fixed?  How long will this last?  What caused this?  How will my family get by without him?  How will my mother take care of all my siblings alone?  How will my brother react?  How will my sisters react?  Why is this happening to me and my family?  What could I possibly do to help?

These were the questions that led to the many hours of  pondering.

Why he went to work everyday or why he cared for me or why he was always there when I needed him the most or why he would give anything and everything to make me smile or why he cared if I got bad grades or got into trouble or had a bad day or why he wanted me to know how to eat properly or clean myself or dress myself.  The essentials and life skills necessary to be successful.  All of the things I just expected.

The final conclusions to all of my questions; he is my father.  I finally realized the reality of unconditional, indisputable love.  The love that someone has for their family.

After twenty-four hours, several MRIs, a CT Scan, CAT Scans, a Spinal Tap, EKGs, multiple X-Rays and Blood tests, and overnight monitoring.  Laying in that white bed.  No doctor could figure out the dilemma that was my father.  The one puzzle I wished I could solve on my own.

The uncertainty of the situation was probably the worst part.  All I had was time.  Time to wait, time to think, time to process, time to embrace memories, time to exude sorrow, time to reflect on life, time to grow up.

A lapse in time.

December 17, 2013.

This date will be remembered for many years to come.  It is a day for which I am now thankful, though at the time it was frightening, both for me and my family, it is the date on which I realized how precious life is.  It is the date on which I learned that I need to be thankful for all I have RIGHT NOW.  Because none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow... Nor are we guaranteed to remember our yesterdays...

Until His work in me is complete,

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Baby Quilt - Part Two...

As I mentioned in the previous post, I failed to take as many photos as I have in the past, so there were quite a few steps between the end of the previous post and the beginning of this one, but here is the completion of the Baby Quilt...

I always lay out my layers on the floor and tape them down using painters tape, so the backing went down first, then the batting, and then the top.

Layed out and ready for pinning...

I dump a bunch of pins and then start pinning...

I try to put pins about every four inches.  For this quilt, I planned to do straight line quilting around the purple columns, inside the purple columns and then use a decorative stitch straight down the center of the purple columns.

While out shopping one day, I happened to find the same fabric that Grandma had used to cover the rocking chair, and I picked some up to use as binding.  I think stripes, polka dots, or any swirly pattern works great for binding and when I initially saw the fabric, I knew it would be perfect for binding, but there wasn't quite enough, so I was super excited to find the same fabric so I could bind this quilt using it.

I will always opt for cutting my binding fabric on the bias if I have the choice.
It makes laying that binding flat SO much easier...
Though it is bit of a pain to cut it!
Then I press together and roll onto a large spool.
I use hair clips to keep my binding in place while I sew.
I didn't get a real good photo of the full quilt, but
here is about half of it...
And the last step is secure the label under the binding, this way I only have a small amount of hand stitching to secure the label for future posterity.

Simple Hand Written label, and the gift was ready to be given.
I made this Baby Quilt much larger than a traditional baby quilt because I wanted it to be large enough for mom or dad to snuggle with baby while rocking in that rocking chair with the matching fabric.

And THIS is why we all do what we do...

Baby and Mother cuddling under the quilt...
There can be no better way to see one of my quilts!

Hopefully I'll be able to post some more next week.  I am working on two projects right now.  One I can share, and one I can not... Yet... So while posts are being written, none will be seen unless I can carve out time to actually work on Bonnie's Mystery.

Until His work in me is complete,

Monday, December 8, 2014

Baby Quilt - Part One...

As many of you know, I have done very little quilting, and even less blogging about it over the past two years, because I have been pursuing a Master's Degree.

My degree is a Master of Ministry Degree, and I am not sure exactly what God has planned for me, but I do know that since I no longer have papers to write and hundreds of pages to read every week, I now have time to get back to my sewing machines.

A little over a month ago, a friend of ours had a baby, and my first project back at my machine was a quilt for them.  I waited until it was delivered to publish two posts I wrote about the baby quilt process...  Here is the first...

I almost feel like a newbie again and I made some newbie mistakes including forgetting to take as many photos as I should to make for a good post, but here it goes, I'll share what I can...

I started by asking the baby's Grandma what the colors were in the Baby's nursery.  (I wanted it to be a surprise after all!)  It turns out that Grandma had re-covered a rocking chair for the nursery and had all of her scrap material still at home.  So I got my hands on that scrap material and chose a pattern that would enable me to use as much of the scrap as possible.

Fabric from Grandma

Purples and grays.  I love working with grays! Lucky Me!

Purples and Grays, all ready to be cut up...
I wanted to be able to finish this quilt quickly, as the baby was born the week I got started, so I chose a fairly simple "Stacked Coins" pattern which I adapted slightly to make cutting and assembly go a little more quickly.

I cut the FQs into 4.5 x 2.5 inch rectangles and 4.5 x 4.5 inch squares.  I had some prints and some batiks.  I put a print square next to a batik rectangle for half of the blocks and a batik square next to a print rectangle for the other half of the blocks, and started chain sewing...

Rectangles and Square paired and ready for sewing...

Chain Sewing.  I chain sewed 80 pieces.
After matching the colors, and creating the sub-unit blocks, I paired each subunit with another unit and then added a gray border to one side of the block.

Three Full Blocks with two squares, two rectangles, a border piece
being prepped for sewing together

Here you can see my lettering & numbering system.  I had just pulled that number out from the seam, as it was going to be replaced with a new one.

I will post more assembly photos and the finished product later this week!

Until His work in me is Complete,