Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Can You Believe This?

Last week I decided to stop in at a flea market I pass every morning going to babysit for my grandson. Of course when I go by at 6:45 a.m. it's not open. It shouldn't be open then because no one in their right mind should be out of bed then! Or at least that's my opinion. :) My mother-in-law used to tell me that I was missing beautiful sunrises by not getting up in time for them. I told her that if God wanted me to see them He'd either wake me up or plan them for later in the day!
Back to my story. So on Saturday morning I stopped in. I found this hand appliqued quilt top in the first booth I went to. I think that was a sign - God knew I needed it and so He just pointed it out to me right away. I've always thought I'd like to make this pattern though I can't tell you the name of it. But there's never been time for it to get to the top of my "I Want To Make This" list. And now someone has made it for me! She probably didn't know she was making it for me when she was stitching but God knew. Isn't it cool how He knows ahead of time all the wonderful things He has planned for us? If we'd just remember that and trust Him we wouldn't worry so much. Oh, maybe that's just me I'm talking about there.
And guess what it cost me? You'll never guess so I'll tell you. $40.50. Hand appliqued, did I mention that already? It was marked $45 and I asked if they would take less and they said, "Sure...take 10%off". See there, I told you God wanted me to have it!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Other Blog

For those of you who are keeping up with my other blog,, there's a new post up.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Is Mother Nature Sick Or Is She Mad At Us?

Last week I showed you my spring pictures - forsythia, Carolina jasmine, azaleas, all the beautiful harbingers of spring. This morning it snowed! I'm in Fort Smith, 2 hours north of Hot Springs, visiting my son for the weekend and it snowed on us. Tomorrow night the low is supposed to be in the upper thirties. All the plants I took outside now have to come back in. I think Mother Nature must be mad at us.

The other day I mentioned the media and their biases. And I mentioned my dislike of all the negative stuff that I hear from them. Today it's movies I'm not happy with. I think I'm going to have to confess that my age must be affecting my views. I don't like movies where people get hurt, where people get abused or accused falsely or where they are victims at all. I guess I ought to just watch Disney. But then Cinderella was a victim so maybe Disney isn't safe for me either. I love romantic comedies - you know the kind I mean? Where it's funny without someone getting hurt? Like "How To Lose A Man In 10 Days" or "Sleepless in Seattle". That's my kind of movie!

And on a completely different note, since I gave up my Chai Tea Lattes for Lent I've been drinking Diet Cherry Limeades from Sonic. With extra ice and extra cherries please. Do you know that every Sonic you go to makes them different? Last week I got my drink and didn't put the straw in till I got to Bible Study. There were no cherries and no lime. Yesterday I went to one Sonic and place my order only to be told "we're low on extra ice." Excuse me? Low on extra ice? I got ice, but not extra ice. Sometimes I get one piece of lime and one cherry and sometimes I get 2 pieces of lime and 4 cherries - and that's when I don't ask for extra cherries! It's been a game my husband and I have played, sort of, to check my drink after they bring it to see what they did!

On Monday my guild is holding it's annual retreat, called Quiltmania. We go to a nearby 4H Center and stay from Monday till Thursday. There will be about 50 people there during the day, and about 30 spending the night. It's a blast! I'll report back to you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The President's Speech

Don't let that title scare you...this post isn't really about the President's speech. I'm not here to comment on what grade a speech teacher might have given him for either content or presentation. I'm not a speech teacher. I'm not here to comment on whether or not he repeated the "same old same old" that he's said since he began his campaign or whether he was reassuring a nation that needed reassuring in the face of difficult economic times. I can't know his heart. And besides, I'll leave all that to the news commentators who will analyze every if, and, but and or. That's what I'm here to comment on. The media.

When I was a senior in high school in 1964 and had begun to look ahead at college and what I wanted to be "when I grew up" I decided I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. I had visions of the real Clark Kent writing human interest stories about real people who were going through either good times or hard times. I wanted to be on the scene when a bank robber was caught and be able to tell the world the real facts. The facts ma'am, just the facts. That first attempt at college didn't last long because I was way too in love to think of anything but him, and besides I'm sure I probably wasn't thinking with my brain. (My face is red after that statement!) At least he has lasted nearly 45 years! My next entry in college was very different since I had a husband and three kids at home - I knew the education field was where I really wanted to be and that's what I did. Thank goodness. I wouldn't want to be a part of news reporting today.

My sister won't watch one particular station on television because they're too Democrat. A friend won't watch another station because they're too Republican. Now maybe I'm wrong but if we can tell which party a news program is leaning toward, isn't there something wrong with that picture? My husband loves to watch one of the news channels but I cringe whenever I get in ear shot. There are two people sitting there talking ever louder and both at the same time arguing over where the President said "and" or "plus" in sentence number 47. Or there's someone telling me what the President said, only it doesn't sound like what I heard when I listened to it. And if it's not that, then it's a horrible story about people doing wrong. I keep thinking that when my children were small I didn't want them to know that the kid down the street climbed to the top of the sycamore tree and couldn't get down, lest they decide to try it themselves. You know what I mean....copycat stuff that they would never have thought of on their own. And on television they're giving us all the gory details which some sick person goes out and repeats now that you've told him about it.

I know that news is a business and that these reporters are trying to get and keep jobs. They do that by keeping us mesmerized with the bloody, the horrible, the tragedies. And to compete with other reporters they have to be more bloody, more horrible, more tragic. I lay a lot of blame at our own doors. They know who's watching and who isn't. They know what boosts their ratings and what doesn't. I am waging my own personal war against this kind of news. I've quit watching. I've found one station that I think is better than the others in trying to be positive and to report just the facts and when I watch, which isn't often any more, that's the one I watch. I know that some of you are cringing at that and thinking "what? how can you do that - you won't know what's gong on!" I watch enough to get the sense of the direction we're going, and I read bits of the newspaper (sometimes just the headlines are enough!). And my husband answers any questions I have about the facts. That's enough for me. The only thing I feel like I have to know is that in the end God wins. Avoidance works for me. How are you handling this issue? And what works for you?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Great Adventure - A Good Start

Most of you know that I have a new grandbaby - number eight for us. Andrew was born New Year's Eve and I think he just might be a perfect baby. I know, I know I said that about the first seven but truly, this one is a good baby. He only fusses when he's wet or hungry and he's a good car rider - a very important personality trait. My son and his family live about a 2 1/2 hour drive from me and both are educators. I volunteered my babysitting services when my daughter-in-love returned to her first grade class - I know that small babies do better at home with limited contact to the outside world germs and I wanted to give Andrew that opportunity. Now, of course his sisters, who kiss on him all the time and who will undoubtedly get their comeuppance for that when he's a little older, are bringing home all sorts of germs but we can't help that. By the time August rolls around and he has to go to daycare he will be about 8 months old and, hopefully, ready to meet the world on a daily basis.

My son and his family would have loved for me to stay with them while I keep Andrew but at my age I knew I would fare better if I had a place of my own. Sleep is imperative! So my husband brought the camper here for me and we will meet on the weekends, he and I. I expect we'll take turns...he will come here one weekend and I will go home one weekend. This was my first week with the baby, and it wasn't really a full week. I got here about noon on Tuesday and I'll go home on Saturday morning for two weeks before returning to stay until school is out.

It's been a good week. If you discount the fact that I have to get up at 5:45 a.m. to get dressed and out the door by 6:40. It's about a 20 minute drive from my camper to Andrew's house and his parents need to leave by 7:15. For the last 5 years since I retired it has been rare that I got up at this unholy hour, let alone got dressed. It's dark at 5:45. Does that have something to do with the time change or is it always like this? And will that change? As we get closer to summer it will be lighter when I get up...right? The camper thermostat isn't programmable so I have to get up in the cold and turn the heat up. Do you think I might be spoiled? I have cereal in the camper but who wants cold cereal at 6:00 in the morning? And I have to drive right by both Sonic and McDonalds. I've stopped at one of them every morning - that's not good for my weight loss goal even though I only eat half the sausage biscuit. And this young family, like all young families, keep snacks here all the time. Not good. I have no will power. Zero. Zip. Zilch will power.

Yesterday the parents had parent-teacher conferences after school....till 9:15. That meant that I got up at 5:45, got dressed (yuck), drove to their house in the drizzling rain, kept Andrew all day, picked up the girls after school (2 different schools), made a promised visit to Sonic for supper and then to the camper to eat. Eating Sonic supper at the camper is, apparently, an adventure much to be desired. Getting in and out of said camper with a baby, a purse, a diaper bag, food and 2 more children is not.

The two girls are 7 and 3 and they adore their brother. They try hard to be helpful by bringing the pacifier, or my glasses when I can't see to measure the formula, or my phone when it rings and I'm rocking.

They love the camper...I think everything is just their size. The 7 year old can even reach the kitchen sink without a stool so she helped wash the dishes. The fact that they had already been washed and were draining made no difference. I'm sure they needed a second washing!

The 3 year old absolutely had to use the potty as soon as she got there. She didn't need help she said and shoved me out the door. I assumed it was a "minor" bathroom visit. NEVER ASSUME! It was major and she should have asked for help. That's all I have to say about that. She also will no longer be allowed to keep her Sonic cup after she's through drinking. She ate part of it and despite me yelling, "spit it out, spit it out" she calmly chewed and swallowed.

Today Andrew and I made a visit to Walgreens and to Penneys. He was wonderful. That is except for the dirty diaper he made while in Penneys when I'd left the diaper bag in the car. And except for the screaming all the way home because he decided he was hungry. See what I mean? He's nearly perfect!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Do Your Flower Beds Look Like This?

I love spring. :) And I love spring flowers. They remind me that God is still in control of this world, that no matter what happens to us and around us He will still bring the flowers in spring.

The mums are up!

And so is the Frog's Belly. :) I have no idea what this really is but my mother-in-law, who gave it to me, called it Frog's Belly so I do too.
I wonder if the Easter Lilies will be blooming by Easter this year....I doubt it. Last year it was almost June before they bloomed.

If you look close you can see the buds on the azalea. And behind it the periwinkle has a couple of stems already up.

This is the first time this rosemary as ever had any blooms on it, and there are only a couple, but isn't it a wonderful bush? I planted it 4 or 5 years ago.

This is a different kind of rosemary and it blooms all winter long.

How could anyone not love forsythia? It's what really makes spring look like spring!

These little forsythia were just tiny stems a couple of years ago and were given to me by a friend who shared from her bushes. They aren't growing fast, but they're growing!

This carolina jasmine is heavy with blooms. I think this is the most blooms I've seen on it in the six years we've lived here. When you stand beside there's a low roar from the honeybees flying in and out.

These pansies have bloomed all winter.

And the creeping phlox has grown right through the leaves - it's a hardy plant!

Are you wondering when we're going to get these beds cleaned out? So am I! I'm babysitting and my husband is fishing. Gotta get out there soon!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Other Blog

For those of you who are visiting this blog from FUMC Hot Springs.....this is my "every day" blog. The mission trips are here: I hope you enjoy them!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Letters From The Past - Number 3

Dear Family and Friends,
Well it’s been a while since I wrote to you and I know you’ve wondered what in the world I was doing. I’ve been busy here in Arkansas, making some quilt tops, going to physical therapy (arthritis you know), going to church, just regular stuff I guess. But it sure seems like there’s been more regular stuff lately!

I have to tell you about the most wonderful thing. Back in 1971 my Grandma and Grandpa A. (my daddy’s parents) were interviewed by someone from the University of Texas about the depression and how they lived during that awful time. Grandpa was 78 and Grandma was 71 when they were interviewed. I think the interviewers (there were 2) were maybe working on a doctoral dissertation or doing some research about the great cattle kill during that time but whatever it was they never published it. However, that interview was tape recorded on one of those little cassette tape recorders everyone used in those days and it still exists! One of my cousins discovered that information and the fact that the UofT Library would make a CD of the interview for $25. So of course my sister sent the money and we got that CD back pretty quick.

It’s so good to hear their voices! The main interviewer is talking to Grandpa but in the background you can hear Grandma answering the questions and elaborating on the answers to the other person there. She did that all the time – answered for Grandpa – and told lots of details about anything she was telling you. I remember that when I was growing up if you asked her a question you got a really long answer…and you didn’t even have to ask because she just loved to talk! My sister says that she is just like Grandma – she said that, I didn’t!

They got married when Grandma was 16 and Grandpa was 23. Her daddy didn’t want her to have anything to do with Grandpa so they ran away in the night (she climbed out the bedroom window and got in his wagon and off they went!) They lived with Grandpa’s Granny for a while. He was raised by his grandparents because his parents separated before he was born. When they got married they didn’t have even one thing to set up housekeeping so Granny helped Grandma make a mattress. They went out to the barn and got some tow sacks. Those are burlap sacks that cattle feed came in. They took those rough old burlap sacks apart and sewed several together. Then they went out into a field and pulled up sweet grass and filled up that mattress. And that was what they slept on. When the corn crop came in they took the grass out of the mattress and filled it up with corn shucks. I think the corn shucks made it thicker and they lasted longer than the grass. Tow sacks looked kind of like the ones in this picture that I found on Flickr.

They only had a little bit of money and they ran out of soap but didn’t want to spend their little bit of money on that! So Granny said she could make soap. Grandma wasn’t sure about that because they didn’t have anything to make soap with (you need lard). But Granny went out into the far pasture and gathered up old bleached out bones from cows that had died or been slaughtered years before. She put those bones and some lye and water into a wash pot and boiled them. It turned into a jelly like soap that Grandma said was the best soap they ever had. It cleaned up those clothes pretty and white! Here's a recipe I found on Flickr for lye soap.

During the depression the government was trying to drive up the price of cattle on the market, I guess to “stimulate the economy” or something, so they offered to buy cows for $25 a head. You put them in a truck and drove them to the designated place and the government man paid you $25 for any cow that was standing. If it couldn’t stand up he wouldn’t pay for it. Good cows, bad cows, sick cows, didn’t matter because the price was the same for all of them. Once they were counted you had to take them off the truck and shoot them. That’s right, shoot them. At first they would let you skin them and keep the hide which you could sell for $1. But later they wouldn’t even let you do that. And no one could have them to eat. They just rotted in the fields. I keep thinking of all the soup kitchens and the hungry people and they made them leave that good meat laying there to rot. I bet there were lots of bones in that field that Granny could have used to make her soap!

Well I’ve rattled on and on today and now it’s time to go. I’ve got some sewing to do today and bread to make and I need to clean out the refrigerator. A woman’s work is never done! Till next time…

Peace and Blessings,


Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring is Officially Here

It's just barely above freezing today. It's raining. The wind is blowing. And my husband is packing up to go fishing for the weekend. That means that despite the temperature, the whistling wind, the pounding rain, it is officially spring. Because he only fishes in the spring. He's going fishing; therefore, it is spring. Just ask him.
Photo by Flickr

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What Happened to Spring...and Some Other Stuff

Spring came to Arkansas some weeks ago. First I saw hints of pink on the Redbud trees. Then the forsythia and the japonica bloomed. Along came the Tulip trees and, of course, the daffodils were everywhere. Now my Carolina Jasmine is blooming, and the hyacinths. That was yesterday. Today it's just barely above freezing and it's been raining for two days with two more days of rain to come. I had started getting out my summer clothes. After all it was 80°! Now my closet is crammed full, half with winter, half with summer. Sweaters are hanging out with capri pants. Boots linger beside sandals. My closet is not large. Woe is me.

Hello. My name is Marlene and I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD for you fellow sufferers. I spent most of my day yesterday finishing the organization of my fabric closet. I had just had my fill of not being able to find a fabric to go with what I was making only to find the perfect one in my closet after I'd gone out and bought another. So with the blessing and urging and enabling of my two neighbors, Connie and Cissy, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought 20 x 30 foam core, cut them in fourths, and this is what the result is. Of course that was several trips to Hobby Lobby over the course of a couple of months and only when the foam core was on for half off. I wish I could tell you that this is all of my fabric. But it isn't. I have several (many) pieces pulled out and in tubbies as part of a project or ten that I'm working on. However, now that I can see what I have I no longer have an excuse for not using it. Right? Unless someone out there can think of a good excuse for me to buy more and I'm all ears....

My computer has spring fever. Or something equally yucky. It gets slower and slower every day. Sort of like me. Do you think it needs castor oil? I've cleaned everything I can think of to clean and still it slows down. I might have cleaned out something I wasn't supposed to - I've been known to do that in my house so it stands to reason I could have done it here. I suppose I'll take it to the doctor but what shall I do while it's gone? I'll be lost. I'm sure I'll wilt or wither or something really bad. Oh, I know. I'll take it tomorrow when my husband has gone fishing for a couple of days and I'll use his! All is well.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Little More Show And Tell

In my last post I showed some pictures of my living room but I forgot to show the most important place in there! This is my "nest" where I sit and do my hand stitching. The wallhanging was made for me by a blogging friend. I love it here because my chair is comfortable - and big enough for a small child to cuddle up next to me - I have light on both sides and even an extra one that I can bring up beside me if I need it. I have several projects ready to be worked on including my latest redwork, a wool piece that's just pinned together and several applique quilt blocks. I keep all my embroidery thread in the red toile box and the patterns I'm using in the basket. And all my tools (needles, scissors, etc.) on the table beside me. That's a small trash holder on the left arm of the chair - a craft project many of you have probably made.

When I talked about my February goals I mentioned this sampler I had finished. I used a khaki colored Kona cotton fabric and black thread. Now I have to decide what to do with it. :) I've about run out of wall space but I do think it would be pretty framed or made into a wallhanging. I could make a pillow but it's kind of big for that - it's laying on an ottoman if that gives you an idea of the size. Any suggestions?

I've shown this before but I love it so you get to see it again. :) This redwork piece "The Quilter's Stash" hangs on the wall going into my bedroom.

This area is what I call my prayer chair. This is where I sit to do my Bible study. The prayer shawl hanging on the chair was knitted for me by a friend in my church. The small pillow on the chair, if you can see it, I gave to my Mother years ago. It says "Thank you Mother for teaching me to sew." After she died I brought it home with me. It's so peaceful in this spot - I can see the lake and the birds often hop up onto the windowsill and look in at me.

This is where I blog. It's mostly a mess but it works for me. I made the redwork wallhanging a couple of years ago from an Alex Anderson pattern. The lamp has eyelash fringe on it that I just glued on. The clock was my mothers and the ribbon hanging on it was one she won for a quilt. The tassel was mine when I graduated from high school in 1964! That's my mom and dad in the picture beside the lamp.
Don't you just love the yellow and red together? I do! I made the quilt last year at our guild quilt retreat. The redwork pillows are not new, except for the Girl With Watering Can - I finished the redwork several months ago but just finished the pillow recently. I might have already shown it but not when it was with the rest of the "ensemble." I think my next project in this room will be to make a fabric cover for the lamp shades.
That's my show and tell for today. Anybody else doing a show and tell?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Displaying Stitcheries

Last week someone mentioned displaying quilts and asked how others did that. I'm going to show some pictures of some of my "stitcheries" and how I have them in my home. I do a lot of quilting but over the years I've done some other things like counted cross stitch and crochet. When you enter my Living/Dining Room the brown Snail's Trail quilt is hanging on the wall. That's sort of a hallway though it doesn't look like it here. I made that one from a kit I bought in Las Vegas many, many years ago. The Dresden Plate quilt that hangs in the dining area was pieced by my grandmother. My mother added a little embroidery and I hand quilted it. I just noticed that I don't have a centerpiece on the table. Wonder where I put it? :) No telling!
This is the other side of the dining area where there are shelves dividing the dining area from the sunroom. On the hutch you can just barely see that I hung a cross stitch verse. I put a push pin in the back of the shelf and hung it on that. It makes a tiny hole that I don't mind having there. I have navy placemats out right now - I made those so long ago I can't remember when!

The napkins laying on the hutch are stenciled, but not by me. That's something I've wanted to try but haven't done yet.

In this picture you'll see several things. On the left is the sort-of-hallway I mentioned above and the wall you see is part of my kitchen. There's a quilted wallhanging "Basket of Apples" there (I'll try to show that again in a day or two a little closer). On the wall above the desk are two counted cross stitch pictures and in the right corner I have a quilt on a quilt rack. I've since moved that to the center hallway. And on the treadle sewing machine I have a quilted table runner.

There's a quilt on the back of the couch - goodness I could have straightened the cushions before I took this! And on the wicker chest is a candle mat that I embroidered.

I keep my quilt frame out of the way in the center hall but you can see it from the living room so I guess it's on display too!

Over the mantle is another quilted wallhanging with a counted cross stitch picture as it's center. On the cabinet on the left is a small Basket table runner and on the shelves on the right are a couple of antique quilts.

My favorite thing I guess is this antique china cabinet where I keep quilts. I rotate them though there are several that I never take out - ones that my grandmothers made and a couple of the older ones my mother made as well as a couple of baby quilts that belonged to my children. There's also a table runner on the table beside the rocker and a crocheted afghan on the chair. I don't think that's an afghan I made though....I alternate it with one in the camper and they are very similar so I'm not sure.
Isn't it funny - these pictures were made just a couple of weeks ago and already I've moved the furniture! Now I'll have to make more pictures to show you. Later I'll show you another room or two if anyone's interested.