Busy, busy, busy, so get out the sewing machine

Apparently, I do crafty stuff whenever I’m super stressed and have WAY too much real-life stuff to do. Apparently, I also love starting a project much more than I actually like sewing it together. Maybe Alana and I could become a team? I’ll pick out all the fabric, find the perfect pattern, cut the pieces out, and then hand her the instructions. Those are the things she hates doing!!

Since I have a million things to do and this week has been insanely hard emotionally (more on that later, I promise), I decided to go to prayers tonight and then stop by the fabric store on the way home. I’ve been looking for the perfect fabric for a new skirt, and I think I found it!!

the skirt with the front ruffle
crushed linen/rayon blend

I’ve got the pattern pieces all cut out, and the fabric is in the washer as I write. I’m excited!!! I’ve never sewn rayon before, and I’ve actually never worn crushed linen before, so this should be exciting!!

For those of you who are wondering, yes, I do still have the dress and the quilt to finish. The dress is almost finished, but it looks like a potato sack on me. Maybe I should try it on again because I gained three pounds. Anyways, I haven’t figured out how to make it fit correctly, so it’s in my stack of incomplete projects. The quilt is almost insert air quotes here finished. The only thing left is a few of the pieces weren’t sewn on straight, so I have to sew them on correctly. Then I need to lay out all the blocks and sew them together. I’ve convinced myself that I need a lot of time and an empty floor in order to do that, and having a busy/stressful life is not exactly the recipe for that. (Or so my brain keeps telling me.)

I have a stack of projects each in a gallon-sized resealable bag in my closet. In addition to the dress and the quilt, there’s another dress(!) and a top. The top I found when I was clearing away some space in my closet to put these project bags!! I think I cut that one out 18 months ago.

someecards.com - But I can't clean up those projects yet.... I'm still working on all 6 of them. #didIjustsaythat #grownupwoes


P.S. Yes, that is my very first e-card!! Now I truly feel grown-up.


Who’s the Grown Up? LBD Episodes 16-20

[Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on darceny.com, a forum for discussing the adaption of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries“.]

Who’s the Grown Up?
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Episodes 16-20

by Abigail Cashelle

In episodes 16-20, the story continues to progress as Jane falls more in love with Bing Lee and Mrs. Bennet continues to demonstrate her perfectness for the role of president of the 2.5WPF club. However, these five episodes work primarily as character development. We learn a lot about 3 major players: Charlotte Lu, Lizzie, and Lydia Bennet.

While Charlotte primarily acts as a foil to Lizzie, in episode 16 we discover a new side to Charlotte: the practical side. Charlotte says that success is a result of luck and hard work and more luck. Of course, the hard work is necessary. But, in the end, you can’t predict happiness, and you definitely shouldn’t bank on it. Lizzie, the idealist (even if also the prejudiced) disagrees and calls Charlotte a robot.

Lizzie continues to narrate her life and the plight of being the second Bennet daughter by using hyperbole to describe things like a national swimming tournament where strong-bodied men invade the town like syrup on a waffle. She also describes one of Mrs. Bennet’s convoluted plans to push Jane and Bing together, and ‘saves’ Jane from it by attempting to eat the green bean gelatin!

Through these episodes we see Lizzie’s protectiveness of Jane, along with her new found interest in George Wickham. At the same time, Lizzie shows some new maturity in her ability to think beyond herself and the things that impact her when she overhears her parents discuss their financial woes. She wonders, “Is this whole marriage fixation a plan to get us out of the house before there isn’t a house to get us out of?”

While Lydia continues to demonstrate that parties and alcohol are her favorite pastimes, she does point out that the existing plans to woo Bing Lee — the “green bean gelatin” plan and the Carter’s plan — haven’t been very good plans, let alone successful. She’s willing to disregard “propriety” and “letting things take their own time” to hold Bing Lee to his promise to throw a party.

These episodes end with the introduction of new character: Kitty Bennet, a cat that followed Lydia home and now follows her everywhere.


  1. In what ways does Lydia demonstrate that she’s aware of the tensions within her house? Although her plans may be immature, do you think that she sees something her older sisters don’t?
  2. Charlotte demonstrates that she thinks ideals are useful but that everyone ought to have a practical plan. How does this compare to Lizzie’s dismissal of the concept that her parents’ financial woes may be more serious than she thought?
  3. Lydia adds a new item to the list of reasons why Lizzie is never going to get married: #15 — coupons. If Charlotte or Jane were to each compile a list, what would be on their lists?
  4. Hank and Bernie added Kitty Bennet as a response to feedback from the “Internet”. What do you think about their choice & what it says about our perceptions of Austen’s Kitty (and Lydia)?


HAWMC 22: Day to Day

Today’s the day. My prompt is featured!!!! (insert happy dance!)

Sunrise by Sean MacEntee

For me, it’s the sun rising each and every day that really encourages me to keep going. It’s so simple, so ordinary. But it’s power is amazing.

No matter what happens: no matter how badly I’m feeling or how badly I think I’ve messed up or how mean the rest of the world is or how terrible it is to have a chronic illness — the sun rises every day. Like the rainbow in the sky, it’s God’s promise to me that no matter what, He’s in control and His presence is with me. I can see His glory surrounding me. He’s the Creator, the One who created life and continues the work of renewal throughout creation. It’s a sign of a fresh beginning, another opportunity to live another day that will count before God and man.

You know what? It seems so simple, so ordinary. But the fact that the sun came up today? It keeps me going. Because I see the power of forgiveness, the work of resurrection, the promise of life. And I’m reminded that the heavens do rule! So I can start the day singing…

A new day has dawned
The saints are going on
The glory of the Lord is coming down.
All around me I can see,
There are signs of victory.
Hallelujah! A new day has dawned.

Grateful for the ordinary,


Amorphous Blob 17.68192

or something like that.

I have to rewrite my entire dissertation proposal by Friday. And it’s going really badly. All I have right now are loads and loads of crumpled up drafts on the floor. I keep telling myself that all I need to do is to make it through this week, but it’s not working very well.

It doesn’t help either that I’ve been in a lot of pain and haven’t really been able to eat much. Fortunately I’m seeing Dr. Leo tomorrow. That’s about the only positive highlight of the week. Well, that and Hannah has her baby!! So hopefully I’ll get to meet him soon. 🙂 Otherwise, it’s write and grade everlasting.

Here’s a quick cartoon for what’s going through my head:


in which Timothy & Grace are confirmed

Timothy & Grace were confirmed today. I was able to attend the service and sit with some of the folks from our congregation. It was really awesome. Our chapel seats 60 at absolute max (if you include the organist, etc.) We have about 15 people on average at prayers. So it was super cool to see between 15-20 at a much larger chapel for the confirmation service.

Almost all of us are converts to this denomination, so it was interesting explaining to each other what the different things were. There were some pretty funny conversations, like, Wait. We just skipped something in the prayer book. Where are we in the service? Or, What function is that random person standing over there? (the sponsor). Ummm, the choir just started singing a random hymn. Can you find it in the hymnal? Or the best: we were singing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and all of a sudden, Chad had this confused look on his face. He knows that hymn inside and out, but he was totally thrown off because the choir director had written a new verse and he didn’t know the words. All of a sudden, those of us in the pew behind him were trying not to laugh as he scrambled to find his program!!

All in all, it was a great experience. The sermon was really awesome. The singing was beautiful. But mostly I was just reflecting on how far God’s brought me and the people He’s placed around me. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t take communion. It didn’t matter that I liked having the Scripture out for Scripture reading. I felt like there was a whole group of us who were in this together. Those being confirmed, those supporting. We were all there for each other. Because we care about each other. And that’s what friends do.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. (1 Cor 9:22)

Grateful & blessed,

HAWMC 15: Post Swap

I got paired with the lovely Sarah McMillan at The Master Patient. We decided to interview each other about living with invisible illnesses. We have similar diseases and are at the same stage of life (more or less), but we actually have different perspectives on some of these questions. Read away & also check out my interview here!

Sarah McMillanBackground

My name is Sarah E. McMillan and I am a blogger at The Master Patient http://www.themasterpatient.com. I have Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that primarily affects my heart, eye, bones and joints. I am also legally blind and write a lot about my experience with invisible disability. I started The Master Patient to integrate my roles as a social researcher with my lived experience as a patient.

Q: How do you find out about your illness? Was this something that came about suddenly? Did it take a while to find the right answer?
A: I was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome (MFS) when I was two and a half, so for me, there wasn’t a specific moment in my life where I remember learning about my illness. Everything about my diagnosis I learned from my parents because I was too young to know what was happening and to be honest, I never asked much about the circumstances around it. I don’t have a “diagnosis” story, like most people with a chronic illness do; I guess I just always knew I had MFS. I remember my mom giving a presentation to my elementary school class about it. My pediatrician first suspected MFS because of my vision and heart problems, which are classic symptoms of the disorder. I fit the clinical diagnosis pretty well so that was that, there is no ambiguity around whether or not I have it, even without being genetically tested for it. For me the moment that stands out about my illness is my heart surgery when I was 10, rather than going through the process of diagnosis.

Q: What do you do when people ask you why you’re sick? (or why you’re still sick)?

A: To be honest, I never use the word ‘sick’, mostly because I don’t feel that I am ‘sick’. I actually even dislike using the word ‘illness’ and when I write about myself as having an illness, I always have that pang of ughhh. I don’t know how else to describe that feeling. To me, being sick is like having a cold or a flu, not living with a chronic disease. Did I mention that I hate the word ‘disease’ even more? Condition, chronic condition makes me feel the most comfortable. To answer the question, not many people ask me why I am sick, probably because I don’t view myself that way or present my condition that way either. There are some things I cannot do because of MFS, such as going on roller coasters (my heart) or drive (my vision) so those things come up more often. People are generally more intrigued by the fact that I am legally blind than my MSF because I appear to them as being fully sighted.

Q: How do you find a balance between being sick and not letting being sick define you? Or is there a way to redefine yourself through illness?

A: This is a good question and one I have been trying to figure out for years now. I actually wrote my graduate thesis on medicalized identity for individuals with a Marfan syndrome diagnosis because of my quest to incorporate MFS into my life. Since I have grown up with my MFS, I am not like other people who have a pre-diagnosis life and then a post-diagnosis life, but I still feel like I am redefining myself all the time, especially as I keep on exploring what living with MFS means in my life. I think it is obvious that it has shaped my life and who I am. However, I am only starting to accept that now. I spent a great deal of time in highschool and university pushing away the part of me that identified with having this condition because of the stigma that is attached to illness. For me, I found (and still find) it difficult to incorporate my illness into my identity when the whole world views illness as something that is negative, pathological and abnormal. What I have realized is that I cannot be my authentic self if I do not accept my condition and so I am slowing trying to accept it. What I really wish is that people would stop putting such a premium on being ‘healthy’.. wishful thinking.

Q: What’s one thing that you’ve learned about yourself in the past year or so, as a patient or as an activist?

A: Hmmm this is tough because I have learned a lot about myself this year. I would say the biggest thing is I am learning to be more open about my condition with others and accepting of my condition within myself. That was one of my goals for establishing The Master Patient in the first place. I guess that falls into the area of both patient and activist!

Thank you so much Sarah!!

Abigail Cashelle

A New Favorite Phrase

There have been a lot of changes in the air in Abigail world. It’s been a lot to think about all at the same time, and I keep thinking that I can’t wait until the day when the dust settles and I can actually hear myself think!!

Anyhow, I’ve been talking to my close friends like Grace and Bethany, Alana and Tabitha, and Aaron and Elliot and some readers actually. We’ve talked about just about every aspect of all these changes. I’ve even talked to physicians and former professors and current colleagues. There’s been one recurring phrase: I’ll be praying for you.

That’s been extremely comforting. I love the idea of being covered in the Body. And, I really do feel peace from God to transition out of certain things in my life. It seems that God’s calling for some big changes.

I’m nervous though. It looks like a lot of changes will happen very quickly. I don’t know what the future holds exactly. But, I’m extremely grateful to be held in your prayers. Because if there’s one thing for sure in this world, it’s God.

Abigail Cashelle

in which I still do not like dogs

I visited Grace today. I needed to escape the ravenous lion and school and life in general.

The thing is Grace comes with Micah (the dog). Micah greeted me at the door. Grace said that they’re trying to encourage Micah to sit on command and then let a person pet him. So she asked me to try it.

Problem: I am only (somewhat) comfortable with Micah because we’re good at ignoring each other. So when he greeted me all jumpyly, I backed up. ::wrong response:: Ok. So I said Sit, but then, apparently, you have to command with your finger as well. By the time, I got the command all straight, Micah sat. We never did get the pat down. But I think at this point, it’s probably a miracle that I Abigail commanded a dog to sit and he did. And we’re still friends.

Making progress on this thing called life,

HAWMC 9: Caregiver

Just took a major exam on a second set of 25 books, so the brain is fried.

I recommend that you read A Selfish Pig’s Guide to Caring if you are a caregiver. It puts a humorous twist on everything but definitely has a lot of useful tips (says the person being cared for.) The big thing is to avoid caregiver burnout, and Hugh Mariott talks about how to be appropriately selfish.


HAWMC 8: Animal

The prompt says to describe your disease as an animal. For a person who has creatively nicknamed her adviser the “ravenous lion”, it’s surprising that I haven’t come up with an image for my disease yet.

I refer to my university as a vampire that sucks the life out of you!! Of course, I’ve also nicknamed the mascot the beaver.

I tend to think of my disease as a monster. And having it is like being buried under a giant mattress. And sometimes, I find myself feeling like the princess and the pea. I’m not trying to be a diva. I’m just sensitive to everything. And that’s when you sort of wish that you were buried under a giant mattress. Then nothing could bother you and you wouldn’t be able to hear other people complaining about your life troubles.

we're not talking about having a pile of work to do where it's all neatly organized and just has to be plowed through
we’re not talking about having a pile of work to do where it’s all neatly organized and just has to be plowed through
piles of papers
we’re talking about being buried under a confusing disaster like this where the best option seems to be to run really quickly in the opposite direction!!