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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Book Review

Recently I was given the book Spiritual Warfare For Women Spiritual Warfare For Women by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for writing a review of it.  I was given a choice between several books but chose this one because it’s a subject that isn’t talked about much in my church but really ought to be!

The author, Leighann McCoy, started her foreword by reminding us of the mayhem taking place in our world today and wondering if Satan could have anything to do with it.  We know that Satan exists because he’s mentioned even by Jesus (John 12:31; 16:11), but just how is he working in our lives and how can we guard against his invasion?
The book is divided into four parts beginning with a discussion of the love of God, our most powerful weapon of all, worked through identifying the enemy and how/what Satan targets in our lives, and ended with how to defeat him.
There’s a lot of good information in this book but my favorite section was identifying “who my enemy is.”  I drew a double line under the statement “There is no opposite to God.  The devil is an opposite only to the archangel Michael.  He is a created being.  Remember two-thirds of the angels are on our side!”  This advice was given to the author by her pastor and is a great reminder that Satan can’t compete with our God!
In several sections Ms. McCoy focuses on relationships and how Satan tries to demolish them.  We women are so dependent on relationships…with our husbands, our children, our friends, our coworkers, our neighbors…because they seem to define us, that if we’re not careful Satan will try to undermine them, and thus gain entry into our lives. 
This was a good book, easy to read and understand, and will give you ammunition for the battles Satan wants to fight.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I started my week last Sunday by going to see these two pretty ladies - on the left is Anne (I went to high school with her) and on the right is my sister Sherry.  Anne's house in northwest Arkansas is halfway between Sherry and I so we met in the middle and got to spend three days with each other and with Anne.  Anne and Sherry both had husbands who worked for the railroad when they were young-just out of school-raising kids, and became fast friends when their daughters took dancing lessons together.  We all share the same faith, the same memories, the same friends - which of course means we laughed and we cried and we told secrets...none of which I will share with you here.  :)  

Driving up to Anne's means going through the mountains - a beautiful drive no matter the weather.  The whole time I was there it was cloudy with a few showers and every once in a while a glimpse of the sun.

The roads were curvy.... 
And I had to go through this tunnel.... 
that is really dark and scary inside! 
But besides the great visit I also got to see this gorgeous chapel in Bentonville - an unexpected treasure in that small town. 

When I got home on Wednesday I was just in time for my husband to take off for the deer woods.  Yes, I know it isn't deer season but you see here in the south there's this phenomenon that I call pre-season madness where they all go to the camp to "get it ready."  I'm not sure what they do there, and I don't really want to know, but I think they mow and put out corn and rebuild winter weathered deer stands, and eat and tell lies.  I'm positive about the lies.

That meant I got to spend three days in the sewing room.  I've had this project on my mind for a while so I focused on it the whole time and ended up with these table toppers:
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town!


Autumn Leaves

The other three are completely finished - binding and all.  This one is about 3/4 finished...I've done the blanket stitching but haven't finished the embroidery.  The others were done completely on the machine but this one is hand appliqued and embroidered.  My goal is to do one for each month so I'm well on my way. I already have a July one but I just can't decide on September - when I do it I'll have one for each of the last 6 months of the year.  The first 6 months won't be too hard to pick I don't think - snowmen for January, hearts for February, kites for March, flowers for April, ??? for May, and something summer for June.  Got any suggestions for me?  I mean seriously, I could use some ideas!

And this week I'm going to clean out the camper, scrub it from the winter, restock the pantry, put in my winter duds, gather up some stitching and the lawn chairs, and be sure I have lots of quilts.  In a couple of weeks we'll be heading to Winfield, Kansas for a bluegrass festival and then on to Estes Park, Colorado to spend hours in the Rocky Mountains watching animals and shivering beside the camper visiting with friends.  The night temperatures there are in the forties - yea!  And the bluegrass festival in Kansas - so fun!  Lots of contests...fiddle, dulcimer, guitar and more.  Lots of festival food....turkey legs, roasted corn, ice cream, funnel cakes.  Hmmm, I better be sure I have plenty of Tums.  :)  I'll take some pictures of the camper when I get it all cleaned.  It's a wonderful home-away-from-home...two recliners, a king sized bed, a full sized shower, and the most important thing of all....a bathroom!

One of the blessings of my life is that I have generous family and friends who are willing to house sit, get my mail, sit on my deck, water my flowers.  Of course, it helps that we live on a lake.  :)  Tell the truth, you'd want to sit out here and watch the world go by too...right?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do You Use Space Bags?

Why is it that stuff in my linen closet seems to multiply when I close the door and it gets dark in there?  I confess I usually have nice, organized (sort of) closets.  In  my linen closet I even have labels that say, "twin sheets", "double sheets", "beach towels", etc.  I know, sickening isn't it?  Anyway I also must have a bit of a hoarder in me because I just can't get rid of sheets.  They're perfectly good and I might need them one day but since I went from a 5 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom plus sleeper sofa house I don't need them all at once.  And since my grandchildren and my children come to visit I need extra pillows.  Say "yes, you do Marlene".  I needed a solution to the overflow.  So this week I drug out the extras and dumped them on the floor.

Four Pillows
One set of twin sheets and four sets of queen sheets plus three flat king sheets.

And then I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond (love that store!) and bought space bags.  All those extras now look like this:

I closed the closet door and haven't looked back.  I mean I really haven't looked back.  I'm scared to.  What will happen if one of those bags springs a leak?  Will it blow up when I open the door?  It won't knock the house off it's foundation, right?  Say, "No, it won't Marlene."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summertime Quilting

I love this quilt!  It's one of those easy jelly roll quilts where you sew all the strips together end to end, cut off the first 18", then put the two ends together and sew the length until you come to the end and do it all over again.  Make sense?  Anyway, I made this one in April at our Quilt retreat (I love it!  I was previewing this when I realized I typed guilt retreat instead of quilt retreat!  Freudian slip?) but this week I finally got it quilted.  I did a very simple wavy line in every strip, then an extra wavy line between every other line.  I just wanted it to have a little  movement and I think that did the trick.  It isn't the oldest top I have that needed quilting, but it just screams Summertime to me so I loved working on it.  The binding is strippy, made from a few strips I saved back for it.
Edit:  if you are interested in making this quilt look at this link: 

Hmmm, a little out of focus?  Or are my eyes playing tricks on me?  With the aging process I never know.  :)  This wholecloth pillow is the one I finished on the mission trip this summer.  I washed it, put the backing on it, bled on it, washed it again, and finally stuffed it and stitched it closed.  It's very plain but if you could see it the stitching isn't bad!

I made this Autumn table runner this week too.  I did a machine blanket stitch around each letter and each leaf, then to quilt it I did an outline stitch around each leaf.  I thought it didn't need much quilting so I put the binding on and called it good.  But I didn't like it and it kept fussing at me.  I'm not sure how that works but it's like things yell at me when they aren't finished.  You understand that, right?  So I went back and stippled the whole thing...well not the leaves, but the whole background.

Now it's happy.  Or at least I think it is because it's silent.

I've done a couple of other little things this week too...appliqued my initial on my quilt wrap, traced off the ingredients for a table topper for Thanksgiving (cornucopia) and chosen the fabrics for it, found backs for two quilts, one table topper, and two baby blankets and stacked them neatly on my sewing table so they can wait for me, and worked on my embroidered Twas The Night Before Christmas.  Whew!

And this morning I'm leaving....not on a jet plane (do you remember that song - can't get it out of my head) but in my trusty vehicle, to meet my sister at a friend's house in northwest Arkansas.  I plan to hit at least four quilt shops.  Can you say, "hold on to your wallet!"  Honestly, I only need one or two small things.  I have a list.  I will stick to my list.  I will stick to my list.  I will try to stick to my list.

I'm leaving hubby at home.  I will try to stick to my list.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, Pioneer Woman, and Me

I can't cook.  I've told ya'll that over and over.  I hate cooking and my kitchen hates me.  I swear, that room is haunted by the first three of the above names.  But my husband's mother could cook.  That woman could cook really good stuff.  She made stuff I'd never heard of when we married but that I learned to love and miss to this day.  She made Okra Gumbo to die for and this stuff called Turnip Stew that sounds perfectly horrible but oh my it's good.  I don't eat Bell Peppers but I loved her Stuffed Peppers - I only ate the filling but she didn't care.  And every Friday night during football season (my husband was a ball player and then a coach) she made pimento cheese sandwiches.  Lots of pimento cheese sandwiches.  Everybody she knew would come looking for a pimento cheese sandwich and she made the best.  Now I make them for my quilt guild's snack supper and someone always asks me for the recipe.  Oh, and when my children have been especially good I make them, or if my husband asks for them, or if the sun shines, or if it rains.....we just like pimento cheese!

I start off with 2 lbs. (yes, I make a BIG bowl) of grated Cheddar Cheese.  I prefer to use one pound each of mild and sharp but if I can't find it or don't have it I use mild or medium or sharp or whatever says Cheddar on it.  This bowl was my grandmother's - I love it, crack and all.  It's my pimento cheese bowl and my bread bowl and my bowl I use any time I need a really big bowl.

Add two of the big jars of pimento.  Except they really aren't big - have you noticed that?  There's a small jar and a big jar.  The small jar is about the size of a quarter and the big jar is about the size of a half dollar. Well maybe that's an exaggeration; they could be a little bit bigger.  But not much!

Boiled eggs:  add some.  I think I might have put 5 1/2 in there.  I boiled eggs and the grandchildren love them so I had to boil more.  Except they only eat the whites.  The 1/2 came from the one the little guy took one bite out of and put back in the bowl.  I cut that half off.  Or did Grandpa eat that one?  Maybe I put 5 in there.  Chop them up some but don't grate them or make those tiny little pieces that you aren't even sure they're eggs any more.  When you stir this up those little pieces tend to disintegrate.

Chopped celery comes next.  I prefer the inner stalks, leaves and all, chopped fairly fine.  But if I've already used those I'll use the bigger stalks.  Just be sure you take most of the strings off and chop it pretty fine.  If the pieces are too big they'll get stuck in your teeth or something.

Isn't this gorgeous?

This part is tricky.  I add mayonnaise, light mayonnaise, and/or Miracle Whip.  I have no idea how much or in what combination.  Whatever is in the fridge is what goes in.  And then call in your husband to stir it up because it will make your arms really tired if you try to do it yourself.  Be sure you put in enough of that fattening stuff mayonnaise/Miracle Whip to make it pretty moist because after a day in the refrigerator it soaks it up.  And when you make this much, unless you're feeding an army, it will last for a while.

I made 20 sandwiches for my guild and there was enough left to make probably at least 10 or 15 more.  It's super food - good for making sandwiches, wonderful on crackers, even better in celery sticks, and you could even ice a cake with it.  Except I wouldn't eat the cake if you did.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Relaxation:  a nice soft "egg crate" foam, one of Grandma's quilts, a couple of fluffy pillows, a wonderful lake view, and the television is about 3 feet in front of her!

Cooperation:  It's hard to spread one I Pad among three children when they all want it at once but one time, and one time only, I caught the two girls actually helping the little guy play a game.

Anticipation:  she's patiently waiting and watching for big sister to vacate the pallet so she can take it over.

Instruction:  Grandpa was making hamburger patties.  I'm not sure what the little guy was telling him to do but he sure was intense!

Stupefaction (bewildered):  I've been in this car for two hours - where in the world are you guys taking me?

Transition:  moving kids from grandma's car to mom's car.  We had fun, but it was time.  :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Do You Know What Happens When You Get Too Much Butter In The Cookie Mix?

They flatten out like a giant pancake.  :)

And the ones in the middle don't get done.  But the outside edges are quite crispy.  Can you say "fried"? I don't like raw cookie dough but those outside edges were quite tasty.  Ask me how I know.  I tried to eat my way around the outside so....the ladies in my quilt guild will be a few cookies short tomorrow night.

And someone should tell Paula Deen that despite her opinion, you can sometimes get a little too much butter.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Help - A book, A Movie, and Friends

When I was a little girl we were very poor.  I know a lot of people say that and a lot of them were far worse off than we were.  We had a house to live in and I remember well when we moved into it - my sister was 4, my youngest brother was 5, I was 6, and my oldest brother was 11.  It was a four room house having a living room, two bedrooms and a kitchen.  Oh and a bath.  One bath.  My sister and I shared a bedroom, my two brothers shared a bedroom, and our living room was also my parents bedroom.  I'm almost 65 years old and I can still tell you the address (I lived there until I got married at 18) and I can still tell you the telephone number we got when I was in the fourth grade.  Sometimes my grandparents lived with us.  The first time that happened Grandpa and Daddy built two rooms plus a big storage room on the back of the house.  Then my sister and I moved back there and our parents got a bedroom of their own!

My mother wasn't always well.  And when that happened there wasn't always food in the house.  But we were always surrounded by women who loved us and watched after us in one way or another.  Grandma was one, neighbors were others, and once there was Miss Mary who came to iron.  I have no idea how Daddy managed to pay her anything at all on the little he made but I remember well her setting the ironing board up in the living room and ironing all those 100% cotton shirts and pants of Daddy's.  I didn't appreciate it then but I sure did later when my husband and I married while he was still in college.  Money was scarce for us then so I ironed shirts for guys in the dorm for ten cents apiece.  You read right - $.10 apiece!  Miss Mary ironed and watched tv and loved on us all at the same time.

When my second daughter was born, and the first was four years old, I was blessed with a second Miss Mary.  She came to my house to keep my kids, she cleaned, she ironed, and she mothered me quite sternly.  She taught me how to clean a house because that wasn't something my own mother ever learned.  She worried over my husband's health if he got sick, and she disciplined my children as if they were her own.  That was in 1968 and I paid her $25 a week.

From the beginning of time women have been caring for others.  A woman rarely cares if it's her own child or someone else's who needs something; they just do what needs to be done.  From breast feeding to caring for the deceased women in times past did it all.  And as a matter of fact still do.

I put off reading The Help for a long time because it is painful for me to read of injustice, but when I finally gave in I was glad.  I hated the reminder of cruelties that took place, but I loved the memories of women who loved me that I revisited.  I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

And when I visited Cheryl's blog called Mammy Stitches recently and saw this:

I couldn't resist buying her.  She is completely hand made, hand stitched and precious to me.  The details are amazing - bloomers, petticoats, skirt, apron, crocheted shawl, bandana with hand-sewn white hair peaking out, and ya'll she's piecing a quilt!  

Maybe it's my age - I'll be 65 on October 1 - but even though times were hard, so hard sometimes I thought I couldn't bear it one more minute, I remember the safety I felt when I was with one of the many women who cared for me.  I remember my grandmother sewing on the treadle machine making my school clothes, I remember a neighbor giving all the neighborhood kids Kool Aid on a hot summer afternoon, I remember Miss Mary teaching me to iron, and another Miss Mary showing me how to get old wax up off linoleum.  Women need women.  And I thank God for those women friends He placed in my path both then and now.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Three grandchildren, one grandmother.  We started out like this:
First Andrew wanted the "little bed" (a loveseat that makes a twin bed) with the picnic quilt.  I won this quilt from Nan Slaughter over at Pots and Pins several months ago and it has fast become a family favorite.  :)
But honestly, no one could possibly expect this little guy to be still for five minutes right?  So next was the biggest sister taking her turn with the picnic quilt.
Littlest sister was perfectly content sleeping in the big chair with the pinwheel quilt.  After all, she's a tiny thing and fits just fine.  And as long as she has the IPad she can stay for hours in that one spot.

But then it came time for lights out.  Andrew elected to sleep with Grandma.  The girls were just fine where they were.  The french doors were open between them and me so they could see me and hear me.  This would be perfect, I just knew it would, and I would sleep so good.  And I did.  Until the two girls decided that they really needed to be in bed with me too.  That happened about 30 minutes after lights out.  Biggest sister was across the foot of the bed, little brother in the middle, littlest sister on the other side.  I dozed.  A little.  Until 2:00 a.m. when brother needed milk.  And he must have needed it really bad because he yelled milk over and over until I got it.  Then at 2:30 a storm blew up.  Only wind, no rain, but trees waving and dancing and making lots of noise.  I moved to the little bed where I slept until grandpa got up at 6:00.  Where was he all that time?  Oh he was in the back bedroom on the other side of the house sleeping soundly.  Anybody want him?  I'm giving him away for free.

Monday, August 8, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

It was good to get home Friday night, even if it was 111 degrees on our deck.  I'm not kidding - that was the temperature.  The sun went behind a cloud and yippee the temperature went down to 109!  We stopped to get milk and bread on our way home, thinking we could survive if we had those two items and the pavement when we opened the car door, well let's just say I closed the door quickly and told DH I thought I'd just wait in the car with the air conditioning on thank you very much.  He didn't agree.  I swear the bottoms of my feet burned through my shoes!

Saturday morning I woke up with a migraine.  Never having had one of those before I inquired of my husband  if maybe I'd had a bottle or six of wine the night before and just didn't remember.  The light hurt my eyes, my hair hurt and the skin on my head was way too tight.  Good grief.  A couple of Aleve later I was functioning....slowly.  I unpacked some in between rest periods and even made a trip to Sam's.  And it was tax-free weekend.  Everyone and his brother and two old maid aunts was at Sam's.  But with three grandchildren coming on Monday I had to stock up on nutritional snacks like cheese dip and chips, chocolate chip cookies and whole milk.  Yes, I did buy whole milk which hasn't been seen in my house since my youngest, who is now 35 years old, was a teen.  Every time I look at it I gain 5 pounds.

And speaking of weight I weighed when I got home.  Big mistake.  Eating in a cafeteria for 9 weeks, where the food is delicious but preserved in sodium, I had gained a bit.  I'm having to soap up my hands to get my rings off!  I'm hoping that after drinking a gallon of water a day for a month that will come off.  As soon as the children have come and gone I'll be back on Weight Watchers.  Or fasting, depending on how many of those cookies I eat.

On top of all that our internet is only working from 6:00 - 8:00 a.m.  I have nothing good to say about that.  You can imagine what I'm thinking though.

But the best thing of all, well maybe the only good thing, this weekend was Sunday afternoon in the sewing room.  My trusty Janome was waiting patiently for me and sewed like a dream.  Lots of half square triangles were made - 60 to be exact - for an exchange I'm participating in with my guild.  The final product is to be presented a week from today (it's a surprise) - yikes!  Can you imagine me trying to finish this with a 2 year old, a 5 year old, and a 10 year old?  Me either.  Wish me luck.  Or come over here and help me babysit.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Just a Reminder - and Important Information for the Wanttobe Quilter Campaign

If you haven't submitted your name for the Wanttobe Quilter Campaign yet - why not?  If you're having problems figuring out what to do here's one way to do it:

GET a GOOGLE account
Google accounts are free and simply allow you to have a second e-mail address to use for contests if you don't want it to be your main account.

Don't be a No Reply Blogger
Comments on Stash Manicure automatically go into Madame Samm's e-mail inbox.  But if your settings aren't correct she can't reply to you.  Here's how to fix that - to make sure you aren't a No Reply Blogger:

Here is what you can do:
  1. In, click on Dashboard.
  2. Select Edit Profile.
  3. Check the box for "Show my Email Address."
  4. Save changes.

    Easy...right?  :)

    REGISTER IN this Campaign
    Either leave a comment on this post telling me you want to enter the campaign and I'll e-mail you back or e-mail me directly at with your name, e-mail address, and telephone number.  This information will be sent to Madame Samm but it will be destroyed after the campaign.

    Comment on the Appropriate Posts

    If you are a Wanttobe Quilter (have no tools or experience) or a quilter who does not have a blog you comment on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
    If you are a quilter with a blog you can comment on Tuesday and Thursday.

    Be sure you are a follower on this blog and on Stash Manicure and that you also follow each of those who are posting on Stash Manicure.  Some of you don't like to "follow" I know - you prefer bookmarking.  But just for this campaign you will need to follow.  You can always "unfollow" later.  :)  And when you win you will need to pay for the shipping but:

    and we ship the lowest rate possible
    ( may take longer but we have
    everything insured)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Basket Grew!

I showed a picture of this whole cloth pillow top earlier before I finished the stitching but here it is finished.  I took the last few stitches last night - almost the last night we'll be here at the mission (leaving tomorrow).
I should know the answer to this but I don't.  I know I have to wash this to get the blue marks off but exactly how would you do that?  Should I just throw it in the washer - this came preprinted and I didn't keep the package.  Should I maybe put it in a lingerie bag and wash it?  Should I hand wash it?  I'm planning a throw pillow, not a pillow cover, so I can't wait until it's completely done.  I hate when my brain goes on vacation.

Yesterday and today I've spent a little time packing up for the trip home.  Don't tell my husband but this basket, it might have been empty when we came down here.
In my defense remember that I won a $100 gift certificate while I was here from The Borne Quilter in Lafayette.  Maybe I might have bought a few extra things above that $100.  :)  He will say, "How am I going to get all this in the car - we're already full!" and I will say, "All those fat quarters will just tuck in anywhere!" and He will say, "mumble, grumble, #&*".  And I will smile.  And he will fit it all in.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Passing of a Storm

 Sunday evening storm clouds gathered and the rains came forth.  And forth.  And forth!  It rained so hard I couldn't see my car in the parking lot just a few feet away.  It rained so hard that the already saturated ground rejected the offering and cast it up onto the sidewalk and the steps and nearly into the front door. But then the rain abated and eventually dwindled to a sprinkled drop or two as if God's hands were wet and He shook them to get off the last drops.  And finally it was gone.
We were left with the most amazing clouds and the softest of colors.  Those colors, if I could have captured them, would have been the ones I would choose for a nursery.  Soft blues and pinks.  It was just a whisper of a color really, not even a full blown color.

A rainbow was birthed by two clouds and if you look closely you can see the very beginning of it peeping out and beginning to wind it's way down, slowly, ever so slowly.

And then the rainbow was gone and the sky glowed.  It was as if the light we saw was an echo of some other light somewhere we couldn't see.  Perhaps it was a preview of Heaven.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Wanttobe Quilter Campaign Is Here!

Today's the day!  The first day of the Wanttobe Quilter Campaign at Stash Manicure.
I posted about this last week but here's a reminder of what to do so you will be eligible:

Everyone is eligible!  There are two categories:  the first is for the new quilter, the person who wants to be a quilter but who doesn't have much in the way of equipment or supplies.  There are prizes that will help you get that start you need...everything from thread to rotary cutters, from rulers to sewing machines.  The second category is for the "old" quilter, the person who's been quilting for a while but who would love to win some great prizes to add to their stash.

Both groups of quilters register in the same way - you send your name, e-mail address and telephone number to a blogger who has the Wanttobe Quilter Campaign button on their blog, like the one I have posted.  You must follow or subscribe to that person's blog as well as to Stash Manicure (  Then beginning next Monday, August 1, Stash Manicure will begin giving away prizes, five days a week for three months.  Three months!!!  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday all you new wanttobe quilters should read the post and COMMENT so that your name will be entered into the drawing.  If you sign up with me you must leave my name in your comment every time...that's so I will also be eligible to win.  :)  If you're an experienced quilter you must comment on Tuesday and/or Thursday's post, also leaving my name.  If you don't comment you don't get entered that day. 

Because all of the prizes are being shipped from Madame Samm (that's where all the sponsors are sending the goodies) you will have to pay postage because heavens, with that many prizes, there's no way she could afford all that postage.  I'm just so thankful that she has come up with this wonderful giveaway and is donating her time and labor to coordinate it - what a blessing that is for all of us!

I've got lots of followers out there that I haven't heard from and I know you all want to win some of these prizes!  So e-mail me your information (I promise not to share it with the world!) and then be sure you follow Stash Manicure so you can comment and win.  You can e-mail me at mbushretiredotgmaildotcom.  I want some of my friends to win...and I'm hoping to win something too.  :)