Friday, 4 October 2013

As You See It Challenge #005 - COLOUR CHALLENGE! (and a story)

It's week 5 at As You See It Challenge and I'm loving how motivated I am each week! This week we're switching things up with a Colour Challenge! Always fun and exciting...except when working with orange. I have to say, orange, or Pumpkin Pie, is not my favourite Stampin' Up! colour. I'm more into the beachy tones like blues and greens, even some pinks, but orange...not so much.  So this week it was a REAL challenge for me!

Here's the official challenge: 

I started thinking about Fall as we're now in the throes of Autumn.  It's a bittersweet time as the leaves change and the trees begin to fall asleep. The fruit is almost all picked (we live on an orchard/vineyard and there is a LOT of fruit to be picked) and we're getting ready to hunker down for the winter. I am definitely a summer girl, loving warmth, sunshine, beach days, and water, but since marrying a farmer (or agriculturalist as he calls himself), I've come to not like summer quite so much. So, I look forward to Thanksgiving (in Canada it's usually the 2nd Sunday of October) and within a few weeks, harvest is complete! Today's card features the farmer's best bud...the Tractor.

Gently Falling is a beautiful set of leaves and other fall-ish elements. It's a two step stamping set with a border lined image and the inside image. I chose to only use the inside image in order to soften it a bit. I inked the stamp in Crushed Curry then stamped off once and then rolled the edges in Pumpkin Pie. I love the look of maple leaves in Autumn.  

The tractors on our farm are actually blue Fords, but since Gumball Green was the colour of choice for the challenge, I went with John Deere.

I had really wanted to incorporate the basket of apples with the pumpkins below on the card somehow, but it was taking away from the background and tractor so I simply left it as is. 

Cute little faux bow using Pumpkin Pie 1/8" tafetta ribbon. 
We plant the seed, but God makes it grow.  Here's a personal tidbit (in case the above tirade about Fall wasn't enough).  Just before harvest started, there was an intense hail storm. We lost 60% of all of our crop within 10 minutes. Another chunk was severely damaged but somewhat salvageable.  It was devastating to say the least. I see my husband and father-in-law and uncle-in-law work incrediby hard all year long and to have the crop decimated in so little time was disheartening.  A wonderful group of volunteers from our church and my in-law's church came and helped to pick all of the grapes. They weren't quite ready, but the vines had been damaged by the hail so in order to let the vines focus on repairing themselves, the fruit had to come off. To say it was hard to see tons and tons (literally) of fruit be picked and dumped in a big hole would be putting it lightly. The good news is that we were able to pick what would normally take upwards of two weeks in 4 days. Pretty amazing! A HUGE Thank You to all those who came for an hour or days!

Harvest continued and we were able to work through the destruction and salvage half of our usual pear haul.  Then my husband's Grandma, or Granny as we affectionately call her, suffered 3 strokes.  She wound up in hospital and that's when the rain came. I figured God was giving us time with her. Time we normally wouldn't have during the busyness of harvest...unless it rained. We can't pick when it's raining or the fruit will get moldy. So it rained. More rain in September than I can remember. Granny was in hospital for a week and then a decision was made to move her to hospice.

Granny turned 90 last December and had lived a very full life.
She worked hard to provide a comfortable home and good meals for her family. 
She was generous and kind. 
She had been without her beloved "Gus" for 13 years.
She was ready to go. 

Granny stayed in hospice for a week where she was surrounded by family. My husband went most nights to spend at least a little time with her, although she was on fairly high doses of pain medication so she wasn't always "with us", we know she was aware. I went one evening, a Thursday, and her room was so quiet. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed a few others were there as well. Then I saw a few more sitting on the floor. Others in the corners. There were 14 people in her room just.being.there.  What a testimony to your life when all of your family - children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, all gather around your bedside.  

Granny passed away peacefully on September 16th. Her daughter and granddaughter were there with her. I had said to my husband in the middle of the night early on the 16th that I thought Granny would be leaving us that day. There was a violent thunder storm that night and it just seemed like it would happen. I was at work and then picking up Mason from school and then to the doctor. When I got up to my in laws to pick up my daughter, Lucia, there was a note on the door that my mom-in-law had taken Lucia to the hospice to be with Granny. I knew. I got to the hospice house and met my sister-in-law as she was leaving. She told me Gran had already passed. I went inside and most of our family was there. It was good to be with family.  We all went to Granny's later that night. The Big House. So many memories.  We had dinner together and then fired up the player piano. It's an old, old piano from 1906. A real player piano with the rolls and pedals.  My kids danced while their Papa John played. It brought back so many memories for the family. Some cried while others reminisced and laughed. Good. 
The funeral was this past Friday. It was a dreary day, as I figured it would be. We lost our Matriarch and heart of the Casorso Family.  We all know she is in a much better place, in the arms of our Saviour. Her suffering has ended. She lived a faithful and good life.  Later that day we went back up the Big House. We watched a movie our eldest cousin, August, had made of Gran's life using still photos and video footage. Then we looked at family slides. That was really good. Good to be with family. Just to be together.

My father-in-law said something quite profound. I had known God sent us the rain in order to give us those last two weeks with Granny. John said that the hail was God's provision as well. Without the hail, there would have been too much fruit for us to handle. In God's provision, the hail destroyed over half of our crop enabling us to be there with Granny, plan a beautiful service, and enjoy time with our extended family.  

We may not always understand the hardships that come our way, but I know that God knows and cares so much. Why else would He send His only Son to die for us? That doesn't look like a "good" thing, but the result of that is amazing. Restored relationship with Him. Life with Him. He provides in ways that don't always look like providing, but in hindsight, it comes to light. 

The earth has yielded its fruits; and God has blessed us. Psalms 67:6

Thanks for reading! I promise next time won't be so heavy!



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