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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Good Heavenly Days!

Oh my goodness February is over. :( What happened to it...where did it go? Wasn't it just Valentine's Day yesterday? This is a sure sign of old age isn't it....when time slips away without you noticing? Not only that but I'm supposed to be through with all my Febuary goals...and I'm not! Oh well, better just get it over with it. Here are the Finishes and Failures. I'll start with the good stuff:


1. Finish the Snowball Quilt. Now you know when I say finish I mean finish the top, right? Because that's a finish, really it is. It doesn't have to be quilted to be a finish. And so the top is finished. And pretty darn cute if you ask me. I used 4 Moda Recess charm packs plus some white fabric I bought at Alco and don't have a clue what it is, then added some borders from the Recess line. I have one row of snowballs left which I will use on the back as part of the label. Don't you just love this fabric? Of course, I'm partial to Moda. Well not just partial - I truly would marry Moda if I wasn't already married. And if Patrick Swayze didn't ask me first.

2. Make "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" quilt for Andrew. This one is done, quilted and delivered. Along with a little cloth book that went with it. Now truth be told all this panel needed was one border with cornerstones so it was super fast and super easy. But I loved it and he will too - he would have told me that this weekend if he could talk yet. And I did the machine quilting myself, yes I did. At this stage of my machine quilting game, less is more if you know what I mean.

4. Read "The Measure of a Man" by Sidney Poitier. I read it. And I don't recommend it. Oh it wasn't bad, it was just sort of rambling and didn't really rocus on anything. It told a lot of his background but it was patchy. It said on the cover it was a "spiritual journey" and I didn't see that at all. I love Sidney Poitier - admire him and think he's a phenomenal actor. But the book didn't do him justice.

5. Make one charity quilt. At one of our guild meetings they gave out fabric for us to make a quilt for a child. The fabric was donated and therefore was free. Not everything free is good. This fabric was not only precut, some of it was made into blocks. But for a child, this just didn't work at all. Brown and brown print are not my idea of something a child would like. And to top it off the blocks that were sewn had been ironed out of shape. But I put it together like I was supposed to....and hated it. I've added these bright yellow stars to it and now I'm trying to decide what else I can do with it. I'll add bright yellow binding but I'm thinking maybe a face on the big star? Anyway, this top could be finished, but I don't think I can leave it like this. Any suggestions?

6. Finish sampler. I actually finished this at 9:00 p.m. February 28 but it's not ironed so I'll show it later...but you're gonna like it!
Now here is my excuse for the failures that are going to follow. A friend gave me a book that had this pattern in it and I've had the handwork done for some time now. I pinned it on the wall in my sewing room trying to decide just what I wanted to do with it. Finally I decided on a pillow for my bed. And ya'll it's just perfect. In fact, it made my bed perfect. Next week I'll show you how much it added to my bedroom because I plan to show some pictures of how I use quilts in my house and I know you'll agree with me on this. It did take me a little longer to make than I thought it would - I'm not real good with ruffles. So I "unsewed" a time or two. But it was worth it!

There are no pictures here because, well, because there's nothing to take a picture of!
3. Read "The Memory Keepers Daughter" by Kim Edwards. I'm only half through this so it's going to have to stay on the list for March. I listen to a lot of books on tape and I'm wishing this was one of those because I don't seem to just sit and read much any more. But so far I like it and I do want to finish it.
6. Finish one block of Botanika (applique). Ok this is the second time this block's been on my goals list and the second time it's not done. But in my own defense it's almost done. All I have left is about a dozen circles the size of a dime. I hate circles. Especially the ones the size of a dime. So this one stays on the March list too.
7. Finish Winter Wonderland (pieced blocks). This quilt is so beautiful and the hand embroidery has been done for a while. I've done about half the pieced blocks but got sidetracked by some other things so I plan to leave this on the list and surely will be finished in March.
9. Lose 5 pounds. Last month I lost 6 pounds. This month I lost 0 pounds. However, I did not gain any so that's a victory. Just didn't meet the goal.
Goals are good things. They build character. Goals are good things. They build character. Goals are good things......

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Letters From The Past - Number 2

Dear Family and Friends,
Good morning! I was just looking out my front window at the jonquils – they are more beautiful this year than I’ve ever seen them – and thought about how excited we were when we were children and the first signs of spring showed up. Spring meant playing outside after the long winter days when we were stuck inside the house. Spring meant summer was coming and summer meant…no school! And sometimes summer meant trips to see Grandma in California.

In my last letter I told you that we lived in the Ozark Mountains when I was born. It didn’t take long for Mama and Daddy to realize they couldn’t make a living there so when a buddy of Daddy’s from his army days called and asked him to run a sawmill in Rison, Arkansas, they took my brother, Freddie, and I down to this small town in the south central part of the state. Since I was only six months old I don’t remember a thing about that move! I do know that we lived next door to a couple there who became lifelong friends of Mama and Daddy and that they had 2 or 3 daughters I played with out in the yard. I know her name was Lucille King but I don’t remember her husband’s name. One of the girls, when she was grown, married a man who later was my boss at a high school where I was an assistant principal – small world! My brother tells me that Daddy nearly got into trouble there for allowing a 15 year old to work in the sawmill. That 15 year old was a man named J.E. Brown who went on to become a fairly successful singer in his adult years. While we were there Mama got pregnant again – surprise! And along came Terry, who was born in the hall of the hospital because Mama couldn’t make it all the way to the operating room. By that third baby she was an old hat at the baby thing and just had them very quickly. She only waited a little while after Terry was born and had her tubes tied. I don't remember that old sawmill but I bet it looked a lot like this old falling down one after it was closed.
When the saw mill closed the owner wanted Daddy to move to Memphis and run a mill there but Daddy didn’t think he wanted to raise his family in Memphis – too big for him – so instead we moved to Pine Bluff and he went to work for a farm equipment company. We lived in an apartment house for a while, I think upstairs, and it was there Mama ended up pregnant again. I know, I know, she had her tubes tied. It seems she was already pregnant when they did that and they didn’t know it! I was 17 months old when Terry was born, and then I was 28 months and Terry 11 months when Sherry was born. So that was four children in a small apartment – talk about going crazy! Mama and Daddy found a little 2 bedroom house they could afford to buy so when I was five we moved into our new house. It was crowded there but better than the apartment! They put the two girls in one bedroom, the two boys in one bedroom and made the living room into a bedroom for them. Those three rooms plus a kitchen and bathroom was what we had until Daddy could scrape up the money to add on to the house about 7 years later.

We are all so spoiled these days. We have not just everything we want, but often multiples of those things! We were grateful for one bathroom for six people, and sometimes even more when my grandparents came. When we got our first television it went into Mama and Daddy’s bedroom and we all piled up on their bed to watch. I remember when we got a telephone. I was in the 4th grade and the number was JE4-2202. It was one of those black rotary dial phones – back then that was the only phone there was. Later on they added wall phones and even some colors and then the princess phones – we thought that was amazing that you could have a choice. There was certainly was no need for a play room because the only toys we had were a doll, maybe a gun and holster, a bicycle. And the bicycles were really a necessity because we all rode our bikes to school.

Mama worked at an archery plant in Pine Bluff for a while and then for Kress – a dime store. She and Daddy together didn’t make much money but those were the best jobs they could get. Mama only got through the 10th grade and Daddy through the 6th before they had to quit school and go to work. We were poor and we knew it but until I was a teenager I don’t remember being too bothered by it. We didn’t always have enough food but we had some. It seems to me that folks just ate less then, and they ate cheaper. We had lots of beans, soft drinks were a very special once every six months maybe treat, and a sweet treat was Kool Aid powder mixed with sugar in the palm of your hand and licked off.

We weren’t called latch key kids, the term that I hear so often these days, but that’s what we were. With one exception. The door wasn’t locked – ever. We rode our bikes to school and we rode them home. We played outside till Mama and Daddy got home from work and whatever neighborhood mom who was at home would look out the window once in a while to check on whoever was playing in her yard. If we fell and scraped a knee we went in the house and put something on it and went back out. There was a ravine across the street and behind the houses there and we played there a lot. In the woods. Where no one could see us. They could probably hear us as we practiced our Tarzan screams while we swung back and forth across the ravine on an old rope someone hung on a tree. Sometimes we played Cowboys and Indians or Army. But my favorite game was playing with my sister and our dolls out in the backyard under the hickory nut tree. In the fall we would rake the leaves into squares and those squares were our houses. She lived next door to me – I wish we still did! We played for hours like that and got brown as berries. I never remember having a cold or being sick except I know I had my tonsils out when I was 5 so I guess I must have been.

Well I was going to tell you about our California trips in this letter but I’ve gotten long winded and now I’ve got to go. Next time I’ll tell you about that but in the meantime if anyone wants to write back I’d love to hear from you. You could tell me about your childhood memories and maybe it would trigger some memories in this tired brain of mine!
Give my love to the family.
Peace and Blessings,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recipes You Will Want to Keep!

For those of you interested there's a new post up at my other blog.

Now I know you all know that I'm not a great cook. But my friend Jo is. She doesn't have a blog or I'd send you over there to get these two recipes. On Wednesday last week my small quilting group, Nimble Thimbles, met at Jo's for lunch and stitching. She served the best lunch! We had quiche, salad, and strawberry pie (diet!). So tonight I fixed the quiche (with a few variations) and the pie for Jerry and I for supper. No salad - I had a chef's salad for lunch. And besides, I was busy watching the NCIS marathon today and barely had time to make the quiche and pie!

Dotted Swiss Chicken Quiche

1 9" unbaked pie shell

1 cup shredded Swiss Cheese

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon chicken bouillion granules

2 cups cubed cooked chicken
3 eggs (beaten)

1 cup milk

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 small (2 oz.) jar chopped pimentos

Heat oven to 425° and bake the crust for just 8 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°. Toss the cheese, flour & bouillion. Combine with the remaining ingredients and pour into the pie crust.

Bake 40-50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Editor's Note: If using a regular pie pan spray with oil before baking. I used a round silicone cake pan and didn't spray and it was perfect. Tonight I was out of bouillion, pimento and Swiss Cheese. :) So I left out the bouillion, pimento and substituted a mixture of the cheeses I had on hand, which happened to be cheddar and Mexican blend. It was delicious!

Sugar Free Strawberry Pie

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 small graham cracker crust (6 oz.) (low fat is good)

1 small strawberry jello (4 oz.) sugar free

1 small Cook & Serve vanilla pudding (4 oz.) sugar free, fat free

1 1/2 cups water

Layer strawberries in the crust. In a pan combine the water, jello and pudding mix. Cook over medium heat until it thickens and starts to boil. Stir constantly - it doesn't take long. Spoon the hot mixture over the strawberries and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream. (If cut into 8 slices each slice is 128 calories).

Editor's Note: Ya'll know I never follow a recipe exactly so here's what I did on this one. I had a pie crust I needed to use so I baked it and used a regular pie crust instead of the graham cracker one. We love pie crust so for us it was perfect!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fire Hydrant

Today I picked up three of my grandchildren after school and brought them home with me for the night. J, the 17 year old, sent me a Facebook message the day before asking if we could stop by the library on the way home so he could sign up for some kind of gaming tournament. When I first got his message I thought he might be checking out a book. That would be pretty weird since his mother is the high school librarian where he goes to school and he can get most of what he needs there, but what was I thinking? Of course it was a Nintendo game he was interested in. I should have known!

My 10 year old grandson, B, had one question too. "Do you have any snacks at your house Grandma?" Uh huh. Nice to see you too - how was your day Grandma? Right.... Since it was Happy Hour at Sonic I offered drinks to tide them over till we could get home and he decided he might just live that long. But not a whole lot longer!

Miss S, the 12 year old wanted to know why I was late picking them up (I wasn't), if I knew she had cough syrup in her bag (cough, cough, fake!), if she could sleep late in the morning, if I knew that tomorrow she could change her earrings (it's been six weeks since she had them pierced, and if she could "rent" a movie when we went to the library. I asked her what earrings she was going to put in tomorrow and she said, "Dangly ones!" I think there might have been a couple or twenty more questions she asked that I've forgotten. My goodness that child can talk! She'd make a great talk show hostess. :)

Have you ever noticed that with grandchildren, or maybe your children even, that when you pick them up the conversation begins as if you haven't been apart all day, or in my case for a week or so? There's no, "How was your day?" or "Hi Grandma..I haven't seen you in a while." It's just "you got snacks?" or something similar.

Anyway we were driving down the highway drinks in hand when all of a sudden B screamed "Fire Hydrant". I jumped three feet and slammed on the brakes! "What? What's wrong? I'm not going to hit a fire hydrant...I'm in the highway!" It seems Fire Hydrant is a game you play in the car. It's quite complicated. You watch for fire hydrants and yell "Fire Hydrant" as loud as you can when you see one and you count them up. The final score today was B 31 and Miss S 19. And she had help from J and me! I think B can see farther than anyone I've ever known - he'll be a great hunter one of these days cause I swear I think he could see a fly a block away.

The first thing the kids wanted to know when we walked in the door was what was for supper and when. They're kind of picky but if you know what they like, they're easy. So chicken on the grill, mashed potatoes, carrots with butter and brown sugar, and homemade bread and they are happy campers. Add to that the cookies I baked after supper (they keep sneaking in and eating another when they think I'm not looking) and I've almost filled them up. Till bedtime.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Letters From the Past - The Beginning

Dear Friends,

It was a dark and stormy night outside of Lurton, Arkansas in 1946. Heavens, of course it was a dark and stormy night – what story worth its salt doesn’t begin on a dark and stormy night! You’ve never heard of Lurton, Arkansas? Why that little town in Newton County up in the Ozark Mountains was the sweetest little community ever there was. Mountain folk might seem stand-offish to others but to those who lived there they were the salt of the earth. My grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa L. lived and tried to farm there though, truth be told, farming in the mountains is an impossibility if you’re planning to make any money from it. You might make a living if you aren’t expecting much. In those days you could raise a family there and never leave if you were a mind to. And my grandpa was a mind to. I'm including this little picture of the General Store in Lurton. Most of my old pictures are lost but I thought you'd enjoy this one.

When my Daddy returned from World War II to Mama and my brother, Fred, it was there he came. The first thing Daddy did when he got home, well I’d blush if I told you that, but suffice to say that I was the result. And so we’re back to the beginning of this story. It was a dark and stormy night on October 1st, cold and wet and the doctor couldn’t have gotten there if they had sent for him, which they didn’t. Why would you send for a doctor when Grandma L. had delivered six of her own children at home and helped with a multitude of other births, including that of my brother? And so it was that I came into the world in a little frame house back in a hollow in the Ozark Mountains. My brother, Fred, and my cousin, Carol, couldn’t say my name so they shortened it to Marnie, and Marnie it was to most everyone else when I was growing up.

Just a little about my Grandma L. My Grandma was a tall, buxom woman; and I do mean buxom. I can remember as a small child standing in awe watching her iron, yes I said iron, her brassieres. And that was the word she used – she never shortened it to bras. My goodness with bras that large it wouldn’t seem fitting to shorten their rightful name anyway! They were made from heavy cotton that was thick and that wrinkled something awful when washed. Ironing was a necessity. I guess Grandma L. might have worn pants some time but I never saw it if she did. I’ll have to ask my cousin Carol about that. She always wore what we called shirtwaist dresses that she made herself, including the belts that were covered with the same fabric as the dress. They were always flowered fabrics and the leftover pieces went into the next quilt she made. She was a strong willed woman and definitely ahead of her time. When she got fed up with Grandpa’s shenanigans (he drank something awful) she up and moved to California to work in the fruit packing plants and left him in Arkansas. She took her sons with her and California was where they stayed. She and Grandpa never reconciled but neither did they divorce because they didn’t believe in divorce. Both wore their wedding rings till they died. At least that’s the way I remember it. In his later years Grandpa was in a nursing home in the town where my husband and I were living and when I told him Grandma wasn’t doing too well health wise he offered to go take care of her. It had been forty years since they’d seen or spoken to each other. If he’d shown up there that would have killed her for sure!

When I was a grammar school child we had a telephone but long distance calls were way too expensive to make unless it was an emergency. So Mama and Grandma wrote letters. Mama would write one and then Grandma would answer. Mama would reply to that one, and so it went. Every week or so there would be a letter from Grandma in the mail. I can remember her handwriting to this day. Oh, I do miss letters in this age of e-mail. That’s why I decided to write you this one….and a few others that will follow. I want to tell you my story but I want you to get it a little at a time just as we did in the letters of my grandmother. In my next letter I’ll tell you about our trips to California when we were small children and about Grandma’s trips to Arkansas. But for now I best get back to my washing and sweeping.
Love to the family and all,


Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm A Star!

Dionne over at Sew Many Quilts asked recently if she could interview me. Oh my goodness I felt like I'd been invited to be on Dave Letterman or Oprah! If you're interested in reading it you'll find it here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I'm Pea Green

I've always tried to take care of our earth in whatever ways I could. For years I've been careful not to let the water run when I brush my teeth. I've recycled aluminum cans and newspapers. I've used cloth napkins and towels as much as possible. I have a water filter on my refrigerator and also a pitcher so we can refill water bottles instead of buying them. I save any plastic bags I get and take them to the library where they reuse them but I also have "green bags" for the grocery store. Here's the problem.

I often forget to take my green bags into the store when they're right there in my car. I grab a paper towel without thinking when I spill something. I love hot showers and spend far too long in them. So instead of being this wonderful rich shade of green which would mean that I'm doing all that I could do save our environment, I'm sort of a pea green. Sickly green. So I'm looking for help here friends.

How do you recycle if you live out of the city limits and there aren't recycling programs where you live? How do you remind yourself to take your bags in, take quick showers, etc.? And what kinds of things are you doing for our earth that I could copy? Green is not my favorite color and I hate, hate, hate pea green.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine Love

Tomorrow is the big day. The day everyone talks about love, tells everyone they know that they love them, sends cards and flowers and candy. A whole day dedicated to love. But you know what? If you think about it it's what led up to this day that makes you think about love.

Think back on the last year. Look at your husband: it's everything that has happened in the last year between you that brings you to this place where you're ready to declare undying love. It's the mornings the alarm didn't go off and you both run around like crazy trying to get ready for work and you run into each other trying to get out the door and giggle like school children. It's the times in the middle of the day when one of you calls or texts the other just to say, "I'm thinking about you .... how's your day?" It's the times you're both too tired to cook dinner and someone says "I'll pick up a pizza." It's even the arguments over who's going to bathe the kids..."you do it tonight and I'll do it tomorrow night" and "no, it's not my turn, it's your turn." And it's even the "oh my goodness I forgot to pay the electric bill" just as the lights go out. And it's the times that you sit in the audience as your child sings Jingle Bells on the school stage or in the stadium as your little one tries to put a ball in a basket that's so far above his head he can barely see it....when you turn and look at each other and marvel that together you made this impossibly beautiful, mischievious, energetic, irritating, temper tantrum throwing, drama queen or truck-driving child.

Valentine's Day is like the icing on the cake but everything leading up to that day is the steak and potatoes. That steak and potatoes is what insures that you can look at that man walking around in his underwear and socks and baseball cap and think,

In our every day we see the good and the bad and the in between. In our every day we see the responsible person who pays the bills and picks up the dry cleaning and makes decisions about insurance and savings accounts. Oh, we also see the person who buys way too many fishing baits, the one who watches too many ballgames or episodes of 24, who never cries at all and never, never says he's sorry. But at the end of the day he is there, loving us, giving us his favorite football jersey to sleep in, the keys to his beloved truck so we can haul playground equipment for the primary school project, and with no hesitation, his heart.

If my husband gives me a Valentine's Day card I will love it. If he gives me flowers I'll know he's sick (he's not a believer in flowers!). If he gives me candy I'll know he's craving chocolate. But if he gives me none of these it's not important. He's given me the best that he has. He's given me his love, his loyalty, his respect and his time. Every day. However, he has given me one gift that is better than all of these. He is a man who loves the Lord and loves doing the work God has set aside for him. He has set an example for our children that, if followed, will make them the kind of parents God expects us to be. My parents were married 63 years when my father died. I will never forget my mother saying, "is this all I get?" Sixty three years wasn't enough. And if we live long enough to be married 63 years it won't be enough for me either.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman are going to be in Little Rock in April and we have tickets! I can hardly wait......

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Economic Stimulus Package, Gifts, Awards

Ya'll I have been so excited to stay at home today and out of this horrible wind that it's 3:30 and I'm still in my pajamas! I do plan to take a shower soon and put on clean pajamas. Don't you just love days like that?

This Rodeo Clown fabric is some I found at the quilt shop in Quitman, Texas. I just loved it but they only had 2 fat quarters. Of course, I bought both! I think I can get 4 of these squares (not all are the same) out of each fat quarter and together with some other cowboy fabric and some basic solids I think I can make a pretty cute kid's quilt.

These are the things I bought at The Lone Star Quilt Shop in Arlington, Texas. There's a cute wool Halloween pattern, a great big tote bag pattern, a really cute rag quilt pattern, and a small wallhanging wool kit.

Of course I also found a couple of books and two pieces of fabric. This was my contribution to the Economic Stimulus Package!

I recently participated in a Valentine Swap and got this wonderful scarf and matching covered buttons from Harley at Koala Fuzz. I forgot to take a picture of the other side but it's made from Moda squares and in wonderful colors! Harley says she is fairly new to sewing but I think if she's new at it she's definitely a natural! Won't this be fun to wear?

And look at this cute Attitude of Gratitude Award I got from Grammy Staffy at Grammy's News. She says I take lemons and make lemonade. To tell the truth, I love lemons with salt and I love lemonade so it's a win/win situation for me. :) Just kidding, of course, but my personal philosophy leans towards the glass half full side rather than the glass half empty.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Fleas Are Back!

Remember this? They came back!

Another Day, Another Quilt Shop

On Wednesday night we stopped in Arlington, Texas to spend the night. I told you about that on an earlier post, how we innocently stopped for dinner in a Restaurant/Brewery and I'd never seen so many different kinds of beer. For a person who might have one glass of wine a year that was a real eye opener!

But ya'll the next morning before we left town we made a quick stop at The Lone Star Quilt Shop. Well, I thought it was quick but I'm not sure what Jerry thought since he was waiting in the truck for me. The Lone Star is in an old house in a residential neighborhood and they had more stuff than I could take in. They had stuff in every room of that house, including the bathroom! In fact, I bought a couple of patterns out of the bathroom. :) If you like reproduction fabrics and/or primitives you would love this shop. They had some nice wools, lots of wovens, kits galore and samples hanging everywhere. They have some great Blocks of the Month (which you can find on the website if you're interested) and were just the friendliest people to work with. I suppose they would tend to be friendly though since I was standing there with money in my hand. :) In my defense I'm doing my best to help with my very own stimulus plan - our economy will be grateful I'm sure.

The rest of the trip to Abilene was uneventful and pretty quick. We have been participating in a Volunteers in Missions training at McMurry University and have met the nicest people. Not only am I going to have to live to be a hundred to do all the quilts I want, I'm going to have to be a hundred to volunteer in all the places I want to go! After I get home I'll tell you about this training on my other blog ( where I'm sort of journaling our mission trip experiences.

When I get home I'll post pictures of everything I bought - you're gonna' love it all!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Sister Loves Me Thiiiiiis Much!

My sister and I use a particular brand of skin care products. We like it. A lot. It's not sold in stores and you have to buy it through a dealer. You know, sort of like Avon or Mary Kay, but it's not either one of those. Anyway, my sister is a dealer. She became a dealer several years ago to make a little money on the side and she does, but very little. The draw for her and for me is that if you pay the annual fee, which is nominal, you got 35% off the products. Now you could sell those products for the full price to your customers, which is how you make money, or you could just buy them for yourself at a discounted price. Being her sister she's always sold them to me at her cost.

But oh my goodness the company has changed it's policy. Anyone who signs up now to become a dealer only gets 20% off. That's the bad part of this. The good part is that the old dealers got "grandfathered" in, which means that my sister still gets 35% off. Today she assured me that not only would she continue to pay the annual fee so we could get our skin care products at 35% off, but that she would put her membership number and pin number with her life insurance policy so that in the event of her death I could keep up the membership and still get a discount. As I was laughing so hard that I could barely breathe, she explained to me that she knew what was important to us southern women....and she was serious! She was thinking ahead. She was loving me. Do I have the best sister in the world or what?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's All About The Beer

First, just a quick reminder that the third post is up on my other blog:

My husband and I are traveling this weekend...we're headed to Abilene, Texas for a Volunteers in Missions training. Naturally as I made the travel plans I pulled out my trusty Quilter's Travel Guide. Several friends had mentioned going to Stitchin' Heaven in Quitman, Texas so I quickly looked to see how far off our path it might be. I suppose 'far off' is a relative term based on whether you're a quilter or you're not a quilter. Thirty miles didn't seem too far to me. :) My husband, bless his heart, doesn't mind at all when I want to make a stop, or two, at a quilt shop. He sits in the truck reading a book and every time I get back in swears I only stayed a minute or two. Now that's a good man!

Stitchin' Heaven is a nice shop with some beautiful fabrics, a lot of great tools, and a long wall of patterns to go with all the samples they have. The people working there were friendly and helpful and knew their stuff. I was glad I stopped. I found a couple of cute monkey fabrics that my friend Connie would love and bought two fat quarters of a fabric that had rodeo clowns on it. I have no idea what I'll do with it but it looked like something a little boy would love!

And to make the sidetrip even better we got to drive by a really great bass fishing lake that my husband had heard about and was excited to see. We noticed some RV campgrounds so I bet another trip to this little place will be in my future! It was a nice payback for him because he's so nice about my quilt shop stops!

We stopped tonight for dinner at a place called Humperdinks. It might be a chain - I have no idea - but I had a good hamburger there. It was a restaurant/brewery and there was a huge wall filled with different bottled beers. I had no idea there were that many beers in the world! And here's my question to you. Why in the world would there need to be that many different kinds of beer? Do you suppose they really, really all taste different? I mean I know there's a little difference in Coca Cola and Pepsi but really, how many different dark colas could there be if they all tasted different? And if you were trying to make them all different wouldn't the difference be so minute that you couldn't really tell it anyway? Obviously I'm not a beer drinker though I've had one or two in my life. And certainly I know the difference between Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper. But hundreds of different kinds? I don't get it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Do You Have a Bulletin Board?

I've always had a bulletin board somewhere in my house and when I was working I had one in the office too. The one at work was typical and had work stuff on it but the one at home has changed over the years.

When I was in my 20's & 30's and I had small children my bulletin board had phone numbers for The Poison Control Center, the pediatrician, several babysitters and both grandmothers. The most important ones there were the grandmothers - they knew everything I wanted to ask The Poison Control Center and the pediatrician, and occasionally they babysat. It also had birthday party invitations, dance and gymnastics lessons schedules, football/baseball/whatever the heck sports season it was schedules, and the daily lunch menu for all schools in town. Sometimes there was a sock looking for a mate pinned on there, an extra pair of shoelaces and a picture colored by one of the children saying, "I Love Mama" on it.

When I was in my 40's & 50's the bulletin board changed some. It still had schedules on it but they were for grandchildren's visits or recitals. It still had telepone numbers on it but they were for my best friends, the plumber, the electrician and the church. And of course my mother and Jerry's mother. There was an occasional quote or Bible verse that I thought was memorable and an advertisement for a play that was coming to a nearby city. Sometimes there was even a picture colored by one of the children saying, "I Love Grandma" on it. I was in the heyday of my organizing phase so there was monthly menu list and a typed grocery list, alphabetical, so I could just put a check mark by something when I ran out of it. I even had a brochure on there showing a dozen different ways to wear a scarf.

Now that I'm in my 60's the familiar bulletin board has changed once again. My current bulletin board is above my desk and is covered with a plethora of both needful things and loved things. It's a little heavy on the needful things. There are business cards for the Primary Care Physician, the Gynocologist, the Optometrist, the Cardiologist, the Dentist, the Physical Therapist and the Dermatologist. Good grief. There are directions for simple things to do on the computer like: how to clean off your cookies, how to defrag, and how to make a degree sign to put on the oven temperature of a recipe. There are reminders of things I'm supposed to do like mail my gift for the Valentine Swap and get a haircut.

The loved things on my bulletin board are relatively simple. There are John Wesley's "Rules of Life" right above Oswald Chambers' definition of faith. There's a card where I wrote the significance of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh so I could explain Jesus' three gifts to my grandchildren and a short little reminder...."Jesus knows me. This I love." There's a question that I try to remember each day, "What respects God most & reflects His ways?" And there are business cards and post cards and greeting cards from blog friends and a bookmark from an old high school friend. Oh and there's my name tag from the last mission trip I took!

It seems that bulletin boards are more than just a place to put the little reminders of daily life. They are representations of where we are in our life - mothers with young children, busy women with a long to-do list, aging women who's priorities have changed and solidified. As I look at my bulletin board tonight I am strangely at peace with where I am and where I have been. I loved those early bulletin boards; they were fun and chaotic and almost primeval. I loved the middle age bulletin boards. They were the picture of who I wanted to be - a strong, busy, important and loving woman. But this bulletin board - it's my favorite of all. It's the sign of who I am now. I am a woman who loves the Lord and who has lived her life loving Him and loving her family. I have done all the things that were really important to me when they were important and I still have a few more on my "next year" list. This, my friends, is contentment.

Will you share with us what's on your bulletin board?

Monday, February 2, 2009

This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made

Last night about 10:00 it poured down rain at my house. And I do mean poured! I was sitting on my bed clipping coupons. Clipping coupons is a never ending job I've decided and I do believe that coupons multiply like rabbits. I'm very organized and keep them in a notebook and I save a good bit of money because they are all nice and neat and where I can find them. I watch the sale flyers and I know which stores double coupons and which ones don't. All of that is beside the point and has nothing to do with this post. Just thought I'd tell you that.

Anyway, it poured. What a great night for sleeping, I thought! Don't you just love it when God sends rain at bedtime and you can hear it on the roof and the shrubs? It's like a lullaby playing just for you. When I got up this morning it looked like He had washed the world all clean and shiny. The sun was bright and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Looking out I thought it must be a beautiful spring day....I bet it gets to 70° today. Temporary memory loss - this is February and it's still winter and I knew it when I went out to put something in the car. That wind was definitely not spring-like.

As the day went on I didn't pay much attention to the weather. I had stuff to do in the know the kind of stuff I mean, beds to make & floors to sweep & and a shower to take & and makeup to put on & e-mails to answer. I ran out the door about 11:00 to go to the library and bank and post office and it was just a perfect and crisp but still the sun was shining. This afternoon I went to physical therapy to work out on the torture devices and to exercise in the pool and all of a sudden, the sun was gone! It was cloudy and the wind was blowing and everything was gray. Darn! Now, as the day is winding down and I'm sitting here at the computer, I see the sun again. Oh there are a few clouds to be sure but the sunbeams are dancing across my back yard and playing hide and seek with the trees.

This morning when I looked out I was so excited to start the day, thinking about all that I wanted to do and all that I would accomplish. As the day went on I began to wind down a little. My grumpiness factor was showing a sharp increase and my "I need a nap" habit was nipping at my heels. (No, I never got one!). But now I'm kind of like this sunshine playing hide and seek - I have moments of clarity when I think oh I'm gonna' go do this....and moments when I hide myself from myself and think I'll just hibernate in my room for a while reading a magazine.

Now the point of this post. Do you think that we reflect the weather? Do you get grumpy when it's a gray day and feel lighthearted when the sun shines? Or do we see the weather through our emotional eyes? Is the sun shine not so bright when we're having ourselves a gray day? I have a friend who has that sun-deprived winter syndrome which probably has a name but which escapes me at the moment. You know the one I mean? Where you get depressed in winter? I think I have that disease! But only an hour at a time.