Sunday, January 17, 2016

Live Your Dream

Most of my teaching career was as a speech therapist. I do not know why I chose that major but I have a lifetime teaching certificate in speech therapy. For me it was the most boring job possible. It is sit at a table and drill work. Not good for ADHD (very hyperactive) me. The problem is that there are not enough school speech therapists and so I was stuck.

Finally in 1995 I was allowed to move into a position as a Head Start teacher at North Early Learning Center in Orange, Texas. The entire campus was 3 and 4 year olds. There were about 350 children. My classroom was next to Sandra  Hoke and there was a sliding door between us. At center time we would open the door and the kids could go into either classroom. Sandra and I were perfect together. She loved science and outdoors but HATED computers. I loved the computers but HATED digging in the dirt. We became great friends. We would both get to school early and walk around the halls solving all the problems of the world. Much more mental health than physical health.

I could talk about my friendship with Sandra for days but that is not what this post is about. This is about Sandra and her husband Michael. He was a middle school science teacher who loved nature AND computers. On work days and inservice days when all of us loved to go out to eat, Sandra would go home and eat lunch with Michael. He did not really like to go out to eat so she cooked every night. She cooked good healthy food for Michael.

Michael was an extraordinary person. He loved kids and science and did all kinds of wonderful things to get kids to love science. He retired from teaching and became the executive director for Shangri La in Orange. "Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center are private botanical gardens and a nature preserve located in the center of Orange, Texas.  Wikipedia"

This week Michael died.  He was doing what he loved best, teaching science to children, when he passed out.  I do not know the cause of his death right now. I just know that this great man is gone. Sandra has lost the love of her life and best friend. Saturday I went to Orange to attend his funeral. 

On the day that he died I attended another funeral. I did not know her. I know her brother in law. As we left the funeral another friend said, "I really wish I had known her. She sounded wonderful." 

These two deaths make me more aware that I must make the most of every moment that God gives me on this earth. I also saw a video by Steve Harvey "You Gotta Jump to Be Successful". You have to jump off the ledge and use your gift. God has given me some wonderful gifts. It has taken me the greater part of my 62 years to realize those gifts and work with them. I will concentrate on my art and on my work with the children's ministry at church.

I do not work to be rich or famous. I would,however, like to be able to pay the bills. I want to develop the gifts that God has given me and share them with the world. 

There is a flip side to this. I am going to make a commitment to get rid of my weaknesses, my sins. I want to improve my eating habits. I would feel better and be able to use my gifts better if I lost some weight and more importantly, ate a  healthy diet. Another problem that I need to work on is my overbearing personality. Sometimes...well, frequently...I voice my opinion as law. Everyone should do what I say because I am right. God help me to be more gentle and understanding of others.

It is Sunday morning, January 17. My sweet daughter-in-law's birthday.It is time to go to church. Keep all the people mentioned in this blog in your prayers. Sandra lost her husband/friend. Emily is another year older. Keep her strong and healthy.Help me to rid myself of the sins of gluttony and pride.

This week I will be taking my art to a different store, RusTique, in Pearland, Texas. I will blog about that soon.


Monday, January 11, 2016


  In 1978 the community of Friendswood presented a friendship quilt to my mother, Esther Speck. Squares of fabric were given out to many of her friends and family. The ladies, and even her husband, K., had an old fashioned quilting bee at a wonderful friend, Jane Gamble’s home.
Before her death, Esther wrote about the quilt: This friendship quilt was presented to me at a surprise party in December 1978. It is a treasure to me and an heirloom I cannot leave to anyone specifically. Lots will have to cast for it among our children after I am gone.
Jane Gamble put it together. She sent out the green squares in the spring of 1978 to Australia, Switzerland and various parts of the U.S. When she got them back, she moved her two sons into one bedroom and set the quilt up in the other son’s room. Quilters came in as they had time and quilted on it until October or November. The kept all of this a secret from me. I remember on one occasion Lisa showed her block to Melanie and they were giggling about it. I walked up, didn’t see the block but saw Lisa quickly put something in her purse. When I asked what was so funny, they said, “Oh, nothing.” I thought they were showing some vulgar cartoon that they were ashamed for me to see. I really got upset with them. Shame on me for being so suspicious!
“Lucky” Dong, a Vietnamese friend whose family we sponsored when they came to the U.S., made the beautiful wall hanging giving the names of all of those who helped with the project. 
Words cannot adequately express my appreciation for all of the love and work that made this possible.

The lots were cast and the quilt was given to me.Actually they knew I would take anything old. But the quilt is GREEN. Not a calm, quiet green that is easy to fill in with any decor. This is neon green and it is king sized.

 We decided to hang it in the dining room so I had to figure out how to incorporate the color into some design. Well, you will soon realize that everyone gives me anything they do not want any more. A friend gave a a bolt of rubber-backed green fabric used to make diaper covers. I used  it to make different things for the grandchildren.  Then it hit me. It would make good curtains for that west facing room and the green would work with the quilt.
I bought some white sheer panels to tone down the green. Someone else had given me some old valances. So I put the sheers over the diaper cloth and used the valance cloth to make tab tops.

The center has to be drawn apart so that the dog can see the street traffic.

 I added a watercolor that I painted and one that my mother painted of our first house 35 years ago.

The room is coming together. For Christmas Brad bought me some plain white dishes that will work just fine with the neon green wall hanging.

I have been cleaning and organizing my so I can start working on merchandise for the fall craft shows. Merry Christmas!