Friday, March 30, 2007

Goodness Prevails...

I watched this today ... it gave me goosebumps ... and some inspiration :)

Life is good. Thank you Mr. Rogers.

And for some additional inspiration from a man who loves us all just the way we are ... (grab some tissues)...



Thursday, March 29, 2007


Well, I have been cutting fabric in my free time, and I got to thinking that if I cut a little more than is required for the quilt I am working on, I can use the additional cuts to make some sort of additional quilted piece. Then I wondered what I might do with that piece (whatever it becomes) and several thoughts came to mind. I thought I might give it away to a random reader of this blog, just as Vicki is doing on her Turkey Feathers blog. Then I thought I might raffle it off to raise money for the Trust Fund that has been created for Josh's kids. Or maybe sell it outright to raise money for my cousin Nicole's adoption. There are just so many wonderful ways in which to share generosities that it is often hard to decide which direction to go.

So, I went back and cut even MORE fabric with the desire to do all three! I have a couple ideas in mind for what I can create with all this additional fabric ... so I will keep you posted (as always, ideas are welcome).



Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Routine & Inspiration.

Hello all! Today was a typical Wednesday (thankfully).
Isaac and I attended his dance class at our friend Summer's house...

And then we visited our horse friends...

Later, we returned home for Isaac's afternoon nap and I worked on my new spring quilt project...

Ahhh... sometimes simple routine feels so good. I was thankful for it today.

I usually spend Isaac's nap time listening to the radio or a book on tape as I meander through the house completing various chores. But today, as I cut fabrics, I turned the television to the Oprah show. She was hosting "The Dinner of a Lifetime" for Sydney Poitier. It was an amazing show. I found tears streaming down my face through much of it. He is an absolutely incredible man ... so inspiring ... so unassuming, gracious, wise, humble, etc... And as I watched him speak, as I've done many times before, I realized that there is so much I could learn from him about how to raise my son to be a strong , loving and inspirational man. So, I did what I have been meaning to do for a long time, I finally bought his book on Both Halis and I have been wanting to read it ... and I believe the Universe was reminding me (again) that it is time to take a closer look at the valuable lessons I can learn from this man ... so I am now anxiously awaiting the book's arrival.
And for some crafting inspiration, I also purchased Amy Butler's In Stitches via Amazon:
And for yet another *rare* indulgence, I purchased 2 yards of the following fabric by Heather Ross. I found it on SewZanne's Fabrics. I tell myself that I purchased it for use in creating a gift for my brother ... but I secretly want it all for my own ... shhh! (I am very open to suggestions on what I can do with this delicious fabric...for me or for my brother :)

Tomorrow's plan (so far):
baked chicken
some sewing
creation of grocer list
Ebay packaging
clean Isaac's room
go for a walk


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mud Season Elicits New Projects...

Sounds like a newspaper headline, eh? Only in Maine though!

"Mud Season" is an actual season here in Maine. Truly. It is then followed by "Blackfly Season", a month of Summer, and then our absolutely stunning Autumn. Though I do get a little grumpy at this time of year (muddy dogs on the couch, muddy shoe tracks through the house, muddy pant legs on my way to the car, etc), I have to admit that I absolutely LOVE the smell of the air at this time of year. The earth just exudes such a rich, earthy scent of spring. It is delicious in its way. It is a foretelling of spring blossoms, green grass, bird songs, late evening sunsets, etc. Yum!

Though the mud around our country home often feels like quicksand ... (note Isaac's missing foot)...

we love to take walks through it. And apparently, so do many other creatures (note the various footprints)...

And with the sureness of spring and the promise of new life (the birds and bunnies have already begun mating) , I am recovering some hope that I lost when Josh left us. Slowly, but surely, hope renews itself in the promise that there is always life after death ... both literally and metaphorically ... both here on earth as well as in the beyond.

With all this new life, new hope and delicious spring mud ... I am feeling rather creative. I came in from our morning walk with the want to dive into a new creative project. It has been a while since I made a quilt (perhaps 8 months or so) and I felt the want to try a new pattern altogether. But my problem is that I find it so hard to settle on one particular project/pattern. There are so many to choose from! So, I did the only thing I could do to narrow my choices down...

I picked up a quilt magazine (out of an enormous pile of them) and told myself that I had to pick out a project from that issue. No looking at any other magazines or quilt books. Not only did that turn out to be a great exercise for me .. but I think fate played a key role as that issue contained a pattern that completely appeals to me right now. And here it is:
The next step was to choose my fabrics. I had to find 34 different coordinating fabrics (something I have never had to do before as I think my previous max for coordinated prints for a given project was somewhere around 12). And here is a photo of all but 5 of those prints (the other five were found after I took the photos).
I would really would like to reproduce the same 1930's style look for the quilt as the one pictured in the article, but could not find enough fabrics to do so at this time. But I think I am going to like the look of these fabrics together as well.

Anyway, so begins my latest spring project. And I will chronicle it here as I go along. I leave you now with a picture of Halis's "spring fever" project ...

... though Halis has had trouble sticking with his desire to learn the guitar ... there is always hope :)


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Remembering Josh.

Well, our hearts have been heavy here this week. We simply may never recover from the loss of our friend Joshua Zowghi. In fact, it seems to get harder each day. With every new piece of information that we get regarding his last day on Earth, we are left with more questions, more heartache and more regret. We just want so desperately to reverse time. But we KNOW that we all must move on and experience the joys of this amazing life... despite any of its hardships. Josh lived life with such a wonderful capacity for love and joy ... and we know that we want to honor that by doing the same.

I'd like to take the time here to share some sweet memories of Josh. .. Our favorite memory is of the "Man Shower" that Josh organized and threw for Halis when he found out that Isaac was likely coming home soon. Josh went into work early one weekday (he worked with Halis at Tire Warehouse) and decorated the shop with baby balloons and crepe paper. He set out a "baby" cake, utensils, napkins, etc (that is what impressed me most - I mean, what kind of traditional male remembers to purchase the utensils & napkins?). And when Halis walked through the door, Josh had rallied all the other guys to surprise and congratulate him on becoming a Daddy. It was wonderful. Halis was so choked up. All the guys had purchased baby gifts ... all well thought out and wrapped beautifully. Halis was choked up for days.

And that was how Josh was ... very "non-traditional" about sharing his love for his male friends, regardless of stereotypical gender roles. He was always hugging Halis (they called them "man hugs") and openly discussing his admiration and affection for him. And Halis always reciprocated it, as he felt the same way about Josh. Perhaps it was that they were both raised in Middle Eastern cultures where men don't have hang-ups about sharing affections. It was wonderful to be around. I always found myself smiling and feeling light-hearted when I watched Halis and Josh together. I will SO miss their friendship.

Also, Josh was such a big supporter of our adoption of Isaac. He was one of the only people who contacted Halis in Haiti while he was stuck there trying to bring our son home. He called me often to find out how I was holding up during my long days of waiting for Halis and Isaac to come home. And he became "Uncle Josh" when Isaac finally did come home. And boy, did he love Isaac. Basically, he just loved our growing family. And we loved (love) him.

As hard as it may be, we will try to put all the questions, heartache and regret aside so that we can honor him with open hearts. Thanks for taking the time to help us honor him by reading this small account of our appreciation of him.



Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Every Being in the Universe.

The past two days have been difficult ones. Monday morning Halis received a phone call that our friend, Josh, had taken his own life. We, like so many others, are struggling to make sense of it...

Tonight, I have been re-visiting some of my favorite spiritual readings in hope of finding something that will remind me that all is well and as it should be within the universe --- that every soul has an earth journey that only it can know --- that we are all connected --- and that everything is infinite. I have been reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Peace is Every Step as well as a prayer/poetry book called Earth and All the Stars. From the latter book, I found this poem from the Tao Te Ching:

Every Being in the Universe

Every being in the universe
Is an expression of God.
All life springs into existence,
taking on shapes,
letting circumstances
bring it to completion.

God gives birth to all things,
nourishes them,
maintains them,
cares for them,
comforts them,
protects them,
takes them back to herself,
creating without possessing,
acting without expecting,
guiding without interfering.

This is why the
love of God
is in the very nature of things,
in every being in the universe.

~ Lao Tzu (ca. 571 B.C.E.)

We will miss you Josh. We are so very sad that your life journey has ended but we are forever glad to have known you while you were here. May your children be constantly reminded of what a GREAT man you were... and that you loved them above all else. May you be at peace and at one with the Creator.

~ Jodi, Halis & Isaac

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spring Bunnies.

Father Winter has yet to let go of his tight grip on Maine. But we are hopeful. Though we experienced 50 degree weather this week, we were sent a snowstorm yesterday in order to remind us that spring is not yet here. (Even though it has arrived here, here and here). But, that won't stop us from preparing for it!
I spent a good portion of this snowy weekend sewing up some sweet Easter tote bags for a handmade gift exchange that my friend Harmony is hosting. There are 13 children involved in the exchange, but I made more than was needed.

Because these were made for kids, I gave faces to the appliqued bunnies. But I prefer them without faces, as seen below.
Here are some close-up examples of these little cuties...

If anyone out there is interested in purchasing one, or having one custom made, I will sell them for just $10 each. They are fully lined, measure about 9" x 7", and can come in several fabric variations. Just ask :)
I see the kids using these on Easter morning to collect their Easter eggs. And speaking of eggs ... look at these beauties that were just collected this morning here at the homestead...

The chickens are certainly ready for Spring! Are you?


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Chicken/Egg Debate.

My husband, whom I have been with since I was 15-years old, never ceases to surprise me with his wit and charm. Last night, he came out with one of the best one-liners I have ever heard! Here is the conversation. It took place at a Chinese Restaurant among our friends Johnny and Meaghan (age 10) ....

Meg: So which came first, Jodi, the chicken or the egg?

Jodi: The chicken of course. The chicken would have to lay the egg.

Meg: No, I think it is the egg. God made the egg first.

Jodi: Well, the egg would need the hen to keep it warm. So, the chicken came first.

Meg: Well, if God made the hen first, then he would have to make a rooster at the same time so that it could fertilize the egg.

Halis: NO, Not if it was an immaculate egg-seption!

(Ahhh... he's a keeper :)


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thrifty Thursday.

Ok, so I didn't actually go thrift store shopping TODAY ... but "Thrifty Thursday" just sounds so right. Perhaps I will just use Thursday blog posts to showcase my thrift shopping finds for the week. Humor me my friends, I need some order in an otherwise chaotic life.

So, here are my Goodwill finds from my Monday shopping:

For about $40 or so, I bought the following:

A stack of children's books

A classic "Bowling Bunnies" game

A red set of cloth place mats

A teal set of cloth place mats

4 Stainless Steel dipping bowls

A Little Tikes Wooden Peg Game

A Golden Book Tin w/Playing Cards

A *Brand New* Melissa & Doug Wooden Food Toy

A Juiceman Pro Juicer w/booklet

An Elmo Lunch Bag

A Yellow Tablecloth

Sneakers for Isaac

A Book for Halis

A Winter Jacket for Isaac (for next year)

A HomeSewn Apron
I did really well! And so did Isaac. He was with me through all that shopping and so, I couldn't have done it without his cooperation :) We are planning a Goodwill stop in Augusta tomorrow. And possibly Waterville. I'll let you know how we do.
Oh, and I have placed the Juicer on Ebay. I only paid $7 for it - in like new condition - and they are selling for $60 plus. With the right bid, that juicer may pay for my whole shopping day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Happy Birthday!

My Baby is TWO Today!!!

Here he is wearing his Daddy's shirt. We plan to photograph him in it every year on his Birthday :)



Monday, March 12, 2007

Isaac's Celebration!

Well, it has been 2 days since Isaac's big Birthday "Bash", and I am almost fully recovered. (At least I have recovered enough to type up this post). It was such an incredibly full and fun weekend spent with loved ones. So full, in fact, that Isaac and I both slept until noon this morning. Truly.

We all had such a great time! Lots of family members made a 3.5-hour trek from NH in order to celebrate Isaac. And many of Isaac's special friends joined us in celebration as well. We are so thankful for all who attended - and of course, those who could not (we are planning a special Sirimoglu get-together in NH as well).

There were many highlights to this special weekend ... Uncle Jamie & Aunt Amy made a surprise visit, Isaac was treated to a visit from his favorite farm animal - a horse ... the kids enjoyed ATV riding ... lots of delicious food was consumed ... new friendships were made between some of our friends and some of our family members ... we enjoyed a special trip to the Discovery Museum in Bangor... etc, etc.

Here are some photos from the party:

The Guests began arriving at noon. Here is Cousin Lauren, Isaac and his best friend Rose.

The guests tied on some "farmer" bandanas in preparation for the Horse visit. Here is our good friend Sydney.

Some adults wore them as well. Here is Crazy Cousin Angie.

The kids get their winter gear - knowing that the horse is about to arrive any minute. As the horse came down the driveway, Isaac said..."Momma...WOW!" Here is Alyssa saying hello to the horse.

Our neighbors, the Hastings, were happy to have one of their horses attend Isaac's party. Isaac loved it!

Time for "Mommy-made" cake and ice cream!Then we played a little "Pin-the-Animal-on-the-Farm". My friend, Kelly, custom made this game for Isaac.

Then on to the presents! Isaac's cousins unwrapped most of them.Halis enjoying the company of Michelle and Melissa.
Michelle's daughter made this Birthday crown for Isaac. So cute!
Later, I heard some crazy-fun laughing from upstairs in the playroom ... and found Cousin Corey & Isaac counting money. Huh? Whatever they were doing was really cracking them up!
Meanwhile, the girls were outside getting some ATV action.

Cousins Corey & Crystal went out to supervise.Here is an angelic photo of Cousins Lauren & Ana just before they ran Isaac over with the ATV. Seriously. They ran him over from his feet right up to his head. No joke. He is fine - it was more traumatic for Mommy & Auntie Missy than it was for Isaac and the girls.
Aunt Diane & my brother Jamie chatting on the porch... oblivious to the near-miss "vehicular homicide" that was taking place on the front lawn.
Uncle Bill and "Bed-head" Sophia.
My brother Jamie, my best friend Melissa, and my soon-to-be Sister-in-Law, Amy....saying Goodbye.
Thank you to all who came ... Memere, Lisa, Crystal, Corey, Diane, Bill, Angie, Lauren, Ana, Sophia, Chuck, Summer, Rose, Johnny, Meaghan, "Poppy", "Bobo", Jamie, Amy, Melissa, Sydney, Michelle, Ryan, Alyssa, Zoe and the Hastings. You made Isaac's 2nd Birthday a memorable event. Our little house was "buzzing" with excitement. We are so thankful for each of you.

Lots of Love,
The Renshaw-Sirimoglu Family