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.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Home Again, Home Again.....and One Thousand Blessings - Day Nine

We have a week off and, of course, made the drive north to visit our home and our children. I was excited to be going home after three months but also a bit tearful at leaving what has come to feel like home at the mission. Not tearful enough to miss this opportunity though!

My very good friend Connie came down as soon as I got home, despite the fact that it was 7:00 p.m., and helped me dust and vacuum. You can't imagine how dusty things can get in 3 months! Isn't that just the best friend come help me clean? Of course visiting while cleaning works great. :)

Getting back in our home church was wonderful and so was the couple of hours I spent with quilting friends yesterday morning. We've gotten to see both our daughters and Friday we'll get to visit with our son and his family. And Sunday we'll be headed back south to work for another month.

Every day I'm seeing and thinking of more things I am thankful for - blessings God has made possible for us. Here are a few more....

257. Jeans that really fit
258. Children who want to ask the blessing even in a group of people they don't know
259. Aunt Annie's Pretzels - especially the cinnamon ones
260. Pedometers that work
261. Men whistling while they work
262. Walking by a room and seeing people praying in the middle of the day
263. Bad jokes told by good friends
264. Finding the exact fabric you're looking for and having it be on sale
265. Pictures of grandchildren on the first day of school
266. Texts from granddaughters who are nervous about the first day of school
267. Anyone with a good voice singing Amazing Grace
268. Praise music
269. Fresh waxed floors
270. The view out my bedroom window at home
271. Blog posts that touch my heart
272. The scent of rain
273. Rearranging furniture
274. Hearing my husband snore as he naps in the next room
275. Free books for my Kindle
276. Learning a new say to applique
277. Having someone add themselves to my "Followers" list
278. Taking the last few stitches on the binding of a quilt
279. Movie theaters in the afternoon when there are only a few people there
280. Seeing ROTC kids marching in formation on the practice field at school
281. Singing The Star Spangled Banner at football games
282. Little girls' purses
283. Flashlights when the electricity goes off
284. Small town churches
285. Old ladies with hats on in church
286. The sound of water running over rocks
287. Really good sweet iced tea
288. Coconut cream pie
289. Autumn
290. Friday
291. Thursday evening vespers
292. Church friends
293. Sewing rooms
294. E Books
295. Grandchildren who always kiss me hello and goodbye

One Thousand Blessings - Day Eight

235. Maybelline Falsies Mascara
236. Biscuits and Gravy
237. Unexpected gifts from friends that come in the mail
238. Old cars that still run good
239. Rings that belonged to my parents that I now wear
240. Plants that survive despite my neglect
241. Christmas music
242. Popcorn
243. Cotton Candy
244. Peel and stick envelopes
245. My God Is Mighty To Save (song)
246. Emotions
247. Plastic rugs - those things that your rolling desk chair rolls over so well
248. Straight pins and safety pins
249. Pony tail holders
250. Gas stations with clean bathrooms
251. Hooded sweatshirts
252. Mechanical pencils
253. Ivy
254. Button down collar shirts
255. A cool breeze on a hot day
256. Showers

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Open Letter To Spammers

For some reason I have been inundated with spam e-mail messages for the last month. I'm sure I did something I shouldn't have done - went to a website that grabbed my address, printed a coupon from somewhere that sent my address somewhere, you get the picture. So I'm writing the following letter and maybe I'll just hit reply, paste this letter in the message and send it back to the spammer. Think it would help?

Dear Sir or Madam:
1. No thank you, I do not wish to join your dating service. I have been married for nearly 46 years now and so far, so good. My husband prefers that I not date anyone but him and, frankly, I wouldn't like to go to the trouble to train another man. It was hard enough the first time.
2. No thank you, I do not want Viagra. I am a female and that medication is not designed for me. Besides, who in their right mind would buy medication from an unknown person somewhere in an unheard of country for such a personal area of their lives. Unless they secretly have a death wish.
3. No thank you, I do not want new kitchen cabinets. The ones I have may be old but it hurts my feelings when you hint that they are worn out, dilapidated, and need replacing. They might not be new but they work very well and are perfectly servicable. I'm old too and I hope no one is planning to replace me just because of that.
4. No thank you, I do not need any Asian girlfriends. It has nothing to do with their being Asian, by the way. It's just that all my girlfriends are quilters and we already have our own group.
5. No thank you, I do not want to send you my social security number, my bank account number or my telephone number. To be perfectly honest I no longer remember all those numbers and would have to ask my husband for them. And he doesn't act nice when I do that. He seems to think we do not need the 5 million dollars you so kindly offered us. If it were only me I'd certainly consider it because I can never get enough fabric and that 5 million dollars would help with my I-really-need-that-fabric list.
6. No thank you, I do not wish to return to college, even if you're sure I could get government aid. First of all, I have a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and 27 post graduate hours and that's enough for me. Secondly, I'm afraid if I went back to school someone would expect me to go to work when I graduated (again) and I don't plan to return to the work force. And last, but certainly not least, if the government gave me aid they would witout a doubt want something in return - like more taxes, loan payments more than my income or a few years in the Peace Corp. And I don't like the sound of any of those options.
7. No thank you, I do not want you to cut any trees in my yard. I have lots of trees and I love every one of them. I love some more than others but it's not like I'm their mother and have to love them all the same. I confess I have favorites. The dogwoods. They're definitely my favorites. The oaks follow close behind though. And even though my husband says ugly words when the sweet gum trees drop their gumballs I love them too - they give really good shade. Now I do have some cedar bushes and some hedge that I might consider allowing you to take a power saw to if you can guarantee that they wouldn't just grow back.
8. No thank you, I do not wish to claim the free airline ticket you have offered. Can I be honest here? I've never heard of that airline and when I tried to google it, nothing came up. If it's so new that it's not on Google I feel sure I should wait until it's at least made a flight or two. The maiden voyage doesn't hold any appeal for me. And if you meant Southwest Airlines when you said Sttthwst Airlines, I checked and they don't fly to Zimbabwe.
9. No thank you, I do not wish to change cable providers. It's not that I like the cable provider I currently have because I barely know them. But since we already get 275 sports channels, and I hate sports, adding another 137 sports channels makes me want to throw something myself.
10. No thank you, I do not wish to claim my inheritance from a distant relative that I've never heard of but am lucky to have. I appreciate the urgency of your message and applaud the fact that you are trying to be confidential but since I know all of my relatives (though there are a few I'd prefer not claim) any attempt on my part to receive this inheritance would result in a frowny face from God and I'd rather not have that happen.
11. No thank you. This is a generic no thank you to anyone I have missed. Rest assured it was not intentional and I would never have rejected you outright or hurt your feelings if I could help it. But I am wearing the delete button out on my computer and I'm pretty sure they won't just replace that one button at the computer hospital. Please cease and desist all communications with me unless I e-mail you first. Then feel free to either hit reply or delete at your pleasure.
Your spam receiver

Monday, August 23, 2010

One Thousand Blessings - Day Seven

183. Flush toilets
184. Light switches
185. Typing tables that roll and that will hold my sewing machine
186. Really good lotion
187. White hair
188. Church buses
189. Chickens
190. Asparagus
191. Sunday School teachers
192. Corvairs (anybody remember those?)
193. Jeans with just a touch of spandex
194. Cameras
195. Rock and Roll music
196. Jeanette Oake
197. Hallmark Television
198. Prayer lists
199. Assisted Living facilities
200. Monkeys
201. The American Flag
202. Parades
203. Farmer's Markets
204. Purses
205. Vitamins
206. Preachers
207. Church friends
208. The Upper Room
209. Deep bathtubs
210. Trout
211. Cold mornings
212. Morning Glorys
213. Cute things grandchildren say
214. Mosquito repellant
215. Benedryl
216. Wasp spray
217. Wicker porch furniture
218. Rocking chairs on front porches
219. Elvis
220. Michael Bolton
221. Funnel cakes
222. Lamplight at dusk
223. Calendars I can write on
224. Remembering someone's name that I couldn't think of for days!
225. Post It Notes
226. Filtered water
227. Sonic Diet Cherry Limeades with extra ice
228. Throw rugs
229. Refrigerator magnets
230. Feminine products - hey this is my list and I'm thankful for them :)
231. Beauticians who say "I'll work you in" when I call at the last minute
232. Doctors who return calls themselves
233. Parks
234. Weddings

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One Thousand Blessings - Day Six

151. Diet Dr. Pepper
152. A sliced homegrown tomato with lots of salt
153. Soft baby blankets
154. Ice, all I want, any time I want, for whatever I'm drinking
155. The primitive decorating style mixed with early American and farm house!
156. All three of my children having a college education and jobs that support them
157. Foster parents (Hi Kim!)
158. Pictures of babies
159. Finding someone else who loves chai lattes as much as I do
160. E-mails from friends I've made here at the mission - after they return home
161. Thank you notes
162. Having my check book balance on the first try
163. Pregnant women
164. Memories of Daddy smoking his beloved cigar
165. Hearing my grandparents voices on a tape made in the early sixties
166. Looking in a mirror and seeing my Mother looking back at me
167. Goals met by grandchildren
168. The first day of school
169. Train whistles off in the distance
170. Laminating machines
172. The Kindle
173. IPod Touch
174. Blackberries (can you tell I love gadgets?)
175. Tom's Shoes
176. Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
177. Library services for the blind
178. Vacations
179. Sewing machines
180. Pedicures
181. Children who say thank you
182. The smell of coffee (even though I don't drink it)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One Thousand Blessings - Day Five

114. The smell of sheets after they've dried on a clothes line
115. Making a wrong turn and discovering a wonderful downtown area just waiting to be explored
116. Finding out that Hancocks will take Hobby Lobby coupons
117. Biscuits and gravy
118. People who volunteer to mow the lawn - all 22 acres of it!
119. Hibiscus
120. Sonic Diet Coke with extra ice
121. Hot donuts
122. Golf carts
123. Gazebos on a hot summer day
124. Airline miles that get you free tickets
125. Preachers who don't mind calling you to task when you need it
126. Vegetables and fruits canned in jars lined up on a shelf
127. Smokers who only smoke in the designated areas
128. Anyone who quits smoking, chewing or dipping
129. Surgeons
130. Black cats running down the path when you're walking
131. Sugar cane tall and green in the fields
132. The sound of a friend's voice on the phone when you're least expecting it
133. The prayers of children
134. School bus drivers
135. Straws
136. The green of a tree next to a bright blue sky
137. Seeing old men and/or women working in a garden
138. Shelling peas while sitting on a front porch
139. The sweet smell of roses
140. Life everlasting
141. Stained glass windows
142. Impatiens blooming in a pot
143. Bridges
144. Recycling programs
145. Rocking chairs
146. Newborn babies
147. Cajun accents that sound like music to me
148. A product called Rust Out that takes the yellow out of towels after you've washed them in water full of iron
149. The phone ringing at 6:30 a.m. and knowing it's my sister
150. Sunshine

Friday, August 13, 2010

One Thousand Blessings - Day Four

85. Pilot G-2 Pens
86. White picket fences
87. Freshly mown grass
88. A new journal with blank pages
89. Charm Squares, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes (for all you quilters out there!)
90. Hand dyed wool
91. Copy machines
92. People in WalMart who know exactly what you're looking for even when you can't remember what it's called
93. Hobby Lobby coupons
94. Pharmacists
95. Splenda
96. Watches with big numbers so I can read them without my glasses
98. The freedom to have as many Bibles as I want
99. The ability of a sick child to bounce right back
100. Daisys and sunflowers
101. Tall pine trees with a carpet of needles underneath
102. My lake in October
103. Wooden dough bowls - I don't have one but I love them and constantly look for them
104. Backpacks
105. Small children carrying their favorite stuffed animal or blanket
106. Sunlight streaming in the window
107. Business cards
108. Snow covered mountains
109. Salsa
110. Live Oak trees with Spanish moss hanging down
111. Plantation style homes
112. Elementary teachers with bright, colorful classrooms
113. Bill - my boss/friend who wants to know he wasn't first on this list :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Thousand Blessings - Day Three

59. Julia Roberts movies
60. Rainbows
61. Drivers who let me in when I'm trying to merge
62. A parking place close to the door at WalMart when the heat index is over 100
63. Grandchildren who text me, even when they misspell words :)
64. Finding $100 hidden in my wallet that I forgot I put there
65. Communion services
66. Lemonade in the summer
67. Hot chocolate on cold mornings
68. S'Mores
69. Well worn Bibles
70. A phone call from my sister telling me she misses me, just when I was ready to call her and tell her the same thing
71. Birds who sit on the window screen outside my bedroom
72. Yellow and red, together in a room
73. Weekends with my high school girlfriends
74. Camping weeks in Colorado
75. The Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, Kansas in September
76. Cousins who remember all the things from my childhood that I've forgotten
77. My friend Mary's coconut cake
78. People who walk their dogs on a leash and don't let them run the neighborhood
79. American flags blowing in the wind
80. Sleepless in Seattle
81. Sliders (those little things you put under furniture that make it easy to move big things)
82. Tempurpedic mattresses and pillows
83. Soft cotton sheets (can you tell I need a nap?)
84. Naps!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Thousand Blessings - Day Two

29. Tazo Chai Tea Lattes :)
30. Teenagers who smile and say hello when they see you - even if they don't know you
31. Phone calls from friends who just call to say they're thinking of you
32. Prayer partners
33. Bloggers who share their designs
34. Fresh boiled shrimp
35. Afternoon rain showers
36. The smell of gardenias
37. Books on tape or cd
38. Sunvisors for my car on blistering hot days
39. Screened-in porches
40. Tomatoes fresh from the garden
41. Watermelon cold enough to hurt your teeth
42. Pants with elastic in the waist!
43. A child giggling
44. A Saturday NCIS marathon
45. Popcorn at the movie
46. Fleece blankets on cold nights
47. Foggy mornings
48. Joyful music in church
49. The peace of Holy Communion
50. Coupons that double
51. Quilt shops that have wonderful sales
52. Fresh baked bread with butter
53. A cavity-free checkup at the dentist
54. Cars that still smell new
55. Puppies that still smell new
56. Good neighbors
57. Men who hold the door open for me.
58. Big closets

Monday, August 9, 2010

One Thousand Blessings - Day One

I saw something similar to this on another blog and wondered how long it would take me to list a thousand blessings. I'm pretty sure I can think of a thousand but it might take me a couple of weeks to list them all! Anybody want to join me? I'd love it if you all did - just think how many thousands of blessings we could think of together! Here's my beginning list:

1. My faith - the foundation of my life
2. My husband - almost 46 years now
3, 4, 5. My children - they held my heart in their hands before they were born, and they still do
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. Grandchildren - my future in physical form
14, 15, 16. My sister and my two brothers. And all their families. Except I'm not sure I can count them all so I'm just going to list three! They connect me to my past and share my present.
17. Friends. How do you categorize friends? I have friends in my neighborhood, friends at church, friends from my childhood, quilting friends, friends I'm met through blogging, friends we've met in the various places we've lived or traveled, and now friends at Sager Brown who may very well have to be counted as family. :) Friends quickly become family, don't you think?
18. My parents. I was well loved and I miss them still.
19. Jerry's parents. I became their daughter. They first loved me because I loved him but later they loved me just because they loved me.
20. Jerry's brother and his family. Lots of family listed I know but they are so important to our lives.
21. America. It's not just where we live but it's who we are.
22. Quilting. I didn't discover it until my middle years but oh what a blessing it is in my life.
23. My home. It's a modest dwelling I think even though there are many in the world who would think it a mansion. But it's ours and I love it, warts and all.
24. Gadgets. :) I'm a gadget person. I'm able to have a Kindle and a Blackberry and an IPod and a computer - oh what fun they are!
25. The ability to read. Hours and hours of pleasure come from books.
26. Public libraries. What a wonderful concept that is!
27. Makeup. Yes, makeup. It makes me feel good.
28. Sketchers walking shoes. I just bought my second pair-it's a good thick sole and they don't hurt my feet!

More later....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

There can't be anything better than loving what you're doing and doing what you think you're called to do. When Jerry and I decided to come on this four month mission trip there were several times when we looked at each other and said, "what in the world were we thinking?" There were way more times when family and/or friends said, "what in the world are you thinking?" But here we are, more than halfway through our commitment, and more than ever certain that this was the right decision. We love it here and despite the difficulties of being in a place for four months that isn't our home we've been thrilled to be here. Make no mistake there are difficulties. It's hot - and it's humid. The water smells terrible, tastes worse, and is turning all my clothes yellow when I wash them. The apartment is small and in order to sew using my machine I move everything from the corners where I've stashed the necessary "stuff" to the living room of the dorm, do my sewing, and move it all back. I move on Friday and move back on Sunday morning. And if you sew at all you know it's a lot of "stuff." Storage is where you make it, and we've been inventive. We eat in the cafeteria all week, and while that sounds like heaven..not having to cook, you eat what they cook even if it's fattening. Especially if it's fattening! They are wonderful cooks and I'm fighting to keep off that 20 pounds I lost before I came here. So far I've managed to do it but trust me, it's hard. We are spoiled at home by having two bathrooms. Here we have one and we're grateful to have it and not to have to use the communal dorm bathroom! But you know what? It's hot and humid at home - even hotter than here on some days. My clothes will be white again after a couple of washings back home. I'll be back in my private bathroom and luxuriating in my sewing room where everyting is in one room and stays there and I'll be missing it here. I'll miss the friends we've made, the weekly missionaries I've grown to admire and enjoy, and the quietness of the life here. This place fills me with joy and wonder and pride. It's so uplifting to see God's work being done every day and knowing that people are being touched and helped by the things we do. We go home October 1, but we'll be back. Oh yes, we'll be back. I might be addicted.

I finished the small quilt I made from the leftover piano bench fabric. Can you tell I hand quilted it? Go me! I don't make the smallest stitches but I sure did enjoy it.
And I finished the last flower in the border of this quilt top this week! This one has been about 4 or 5 years in the making. It's machine pieced, hand appliqued using the needle turn method, and the flowers in the border are raw edge applique using a hand blanket stitch.
Remember those bags I made last week? I liked them. I liked making them. I made some more!

I even made a couple of potholders....

and two more Schnibbles pincushions! It was a good week. :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beware of Pre-pubescent Boys!

Yesterday I stopped at WalMart to put gas in my car. It was about 2:00 in the afternoon, the heat index was 112 degrees, and it's a week before school starts so there were lines of cars filled with kids going in all directions in search of school supplies. As I was getting back into my car I noticed a white mini van driving slowly towards the exit of the gas station. I wondered why she was driving so slowly until I saw the approximately 13 year old boy sauntering toward her. I suppose he had been to the bathroom. He grinned and waved at the driver, I'm guessing his mother. She came to a stop and he grinned and waved again and kept on walking. I just want to interject here that this age child, whether it's a boy or a girl, are walking disaster areas. As an experienced educator I can honestly say that's the hardest age to deal with for a mother, or a teacher! Reaching the end of her rope, she rolled down her window and screamed at him (and I do mean screamed) "get your a__ in this car!" Again, he grinned and waved and kept walking toward WalMart. She sat there as cars lined up behind her trying to get out. Finally she drove off and he kept walking. It was then that I noticed the symbols on the back of her car.....five Christian fish. A momma fish, a daddy fish, and three baby fishes lined up in a row. Oh dear. My sister has asked me many times in the past why I don't put a fish on the back of my car. There in that van lies the answer. Sometimes I can be really stupid. Sometimes I can get really angry at the guy talking on the phone, eating a hamburger, and driving with his foot....or at the woman texting, putting on mascara and driving with her elbow....and weaving ever closer to my lane. So far I haven't rolled down my window and screamed obscenities at them but then I'm not a too stressed mom with the worst possible age pre-puberty boy grinning and waving from outside the car at me, or with four little ones who are hungry and tired and needing new school clothes and a rediculously long list of supplies. What happened to the days of a pencil and notebook paper for heaven's sake! Back to my story. I'm a Christian. So was that lady in the van. But we also are human. We make mistakes. We do stupid things. All too often those stupid things are in a public forum. Sometimes we forget that others are looking at us and that how a Christian acts? School starting ranks right up there with Christmas when it comes to stress for parents. The cost can be almost devastating in these economic times. Please join with me today in praying for all those parents trying to get kids ready for school. And please, if you see me acting like a fool, give me a gentle reminder of who I am, and who's I am.

Last Friday I drove over to Lafayette to The Borne Quilter and found this fabric - I bought it with this color background and also with a pink background.
I had the striped piece already so when I got home I made these three grocery/everything bags. Wow, was this fast and easy! I was wishing I had bought more fabric - unlike at home I don't have a stash here at the mission to draw from. If it wasn't 40 miles over there I'd have driven back yesterday! I didn't put pockets in them, though you certainly could. And I probably will on the next ones I make because I think they would make great overnight bags, sewing take-along bags, baby hold-everything-but-the-bassinet bags, or travel bags.
I'm still working on pincushions too - I've made an even dozen now! I have no idea what I will do with them except that they will probably end up like the bags above - gifts for people I love. :)