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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Andrew Jacob made his grand appearance at 7:48 New Year's Eve morning weighing in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces. He's not a very tall guy yet but 19 3/4" is just about the perfect height for that weight don't you think? Though you can't see it here since he's all bundled up he has a head full of almost black hair and he already needs a manicure.

His oldest sister, Addison, knew right away that she liked him and gave him his first sisterly kiss before he could protest. Laney, on the other hand, thought she should check him out real good before she made up her mind.

It didn't take long though for both of the girls to decide he was perfect for our family and that he should come home with us. Which he will do later in the week.

Yesterday morning when they first work up MeeMaw (the other grandmother) said, "Addison aren't you excited? This is the day before Andrew will be more day and he will be here!" Addison's reply, "I guess so MeeMaw, but you never know - there could be more. First I was born. Then two days later they told me Laney was coming. And now here's Andrew. You just never know about my Mom and Dad - there could be more any day now!"
Laney decided that since Addison had held Andrew all by herself it should be her turn....all by herself. She loves having her picture taken and even more loves being able to see the picture immediately after it's taken by looking at the camera. As soon as all the pictures were taken she gave Andrew back to MeeMaw and came to look at herself in my camera. That's when she discovered that "all by myself" wasn't exactly what was happening since MeeMaw had her hand under Andrew. She was quite indignant and scolded MeeMaw saying, "Get your hand out from under there right now MeeMaw!"
Andrew is a Capricorn baby - and if you believe in that sort of thing he promises to be a "handfull", mischevious to the core, loyal and loving.
Father I thank you for your great love for us - that you would give us the incredible gift of babies and children is almost more than I can comprehend. Give us your grace and your wisdom to raise them in such a way that they will love you as much as you love them. Amen.

Monday, December 29, 2008


I don't often tell you what to do. And I never tell you that you have to go read someone else's post. That would be taking the attention off me which, well never is exactly the word I would use here for how often I want that to happen.

But you really have to go read Janera's post about sisters because she says it all and she says it just right.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Child's To-Do List For Christmas Eve

Just in case you can't decipher this list:
1. Make Cookies
2. Play Outside
3. Get Dressed
4. Go to Sleep

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Do You See What I See?

Do you see that baby over there on the right? That's Andrew Jacob and his birthday is December 31, 2008. Right now he's resting in the safest place there is on this earth - in his Mommy's womb. He doesn't know that in 8 days (as I write this) his world is going to be literally turned inside out, upside down. He doesn't know that he is going to be rudely plucked from the home he's known for the whole of his life and dropped down into a life he knows nothing about. A life with a Mom who is going to continue to hold him and protect him and take care of every need. A life with a Dad who's going to throw him up on his shoulder and carry him around like a football and never, ever drop him. A life with two big sisters who are going to dote on every sound and move and yawn he makes and who will, in time, be screaming at him to leave them alone one minute and scooping him up and squeezing him tight to their hearts the next. A life with grandparents who will think he's the best thing since sliced bread and who will take millions of pictures and tell hundreds of stories all about him.

And just think, God loves us more than that. More than Andrew's Mommy loves him and more than Andrew's Daddy loves him and more than Andrew's sisters love him and more than Andrew's grandparents love him....all added together.

And two days from now as I write this Jesus will have His birthday celebrated all around the world. Once upon a time He was a baby in His mother's womb and His life was turned upside down, inside out. And once upon a time His mother held Him and protected Him and took care of His every need. And once upon a time His daddy threw Him up on His shoulder and carried Him around and never, ever dropped Him. And once upon a time He had brothers and sisters and grandparents who teased Him and laughed with Him and loved Him and told hundreds of stories about Him.

And just think, He willingly allowed His life to be turned inside out, upside down....again. Because He loves us more than our Mommys and Daddys and brother and sisters and grandparents...all added together. Wow.

May God bless you throughout this Christmas season and beyond. May He give you the strength and grace and wisdom you need to serve Him and love Him just like He loves you. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Stitching Time!

Hancock's was having a sale today so I went to check it out. Christmas fabric was marked 70% (or maybe 75%, can't remember now) off so I bought enough to make 8 pillowcases. I had already made three so that made an even dozen. Yes I know that doesn't add up! One of these is a pillowcase that was made for my now 32 year old son when he was five years old and is destined for his son who will be born New Year's Eve. Six are for some of my grandchildren and six are for the children of a friend. I also got enough Christmas fleece to make three throws and three panels for aprons, all of which will be gifts. One throw is done (all I do is do an overlock stitch on the outside edges) and two are cut and ready to work on tomorrow or Monday. And I got all of that for $45! (The "antique" pillowcase is on the bottom right in the second picture.

Yesterday I used two Moda charm packs to make these doll quilts and pillows for my three youngest granddaughters. Are they not the cutest things?
Just a few more days to stitch before we celebrate Jesus' birthday but that's enough time to get those other two throws done, the three aprons made, a wallhanging quilted, and mabe the six placemats I want to make on the sewing machine. Are you doing last minute stitching?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Greetings

This Christmas card is the one I sent out this year - and I just love it! I know you can't see it but inside this snug little cabin is a woman with a quilt hoop in her lap. It's just so me! There are candles in the windows and a heart wreath on the door and bunny rabbits peeking inside. It sits beside a creek and in the background is a sleigh, undoubtedly the husband off to town while the wife stays home in the warmth. That would be me - staying home where it's warm. :)

Inside it says "May your heart and home be filled with the light of Christ in this beautiful season of love. Merry Christmas! And it includes this verse, "Lord, may your faithful love rest on us. We put our hope in you. " Psalm 33.22 And that's my wish for each of you - that the light of Christ will live in your heart throughout this season and beyond.

I didn't do as much decorating this year as in the past but I thought you might like to see what I've done that I especially enjoy. This is the china cabinet that belonged to my husband's grandmother. The Merry Christmas blocks were given to me by a friend many years ago and the dishes were a gift from my children. The glasses were my mother's. The things that mean the most to me are the ones that have memories of people associated with them. They are the ones I want to be surrounded by and have close to me.

This Dickens Christmas Village was given to me by my children as well. It sits on the mantle in my sunroom and stays lit from the time it goes up until I take it down - and this year it might just stay up all winter!

I hate the dark. That means it's important to me to always have light around me - sometimes it's just the light of Jesus' love but the flicker of a candle symbolizes that for me.

On the left I have a manger scene with a beautiful angel wallhanging watching over it. We've had it for several years and since we moved into this house it always watches over us from that spot. The Santa is one I made last year. I bought the kit on one of our Colorado trips at a small quilt shop on the Kansas border. We were stopping at Winnfield for the bluegrass festival that year, meeting my sister and friends. I have wonderful memories of that time. The stockings, of course, are for my seven grandchildren. It's time to add an eighth!

And this last one is our tree. The angel on top is a little bedraggled but she's guarded our tree since my children were small so she will always be there as long as I'm here! Our tree isn't a masterpiece of design - but every ornament on there is one that means something to me. There are ornaments my children made when they were small and ornaments my grandchildren have given me. There are ornaments we've bought when we traveled or that I've made. There are ornaments that were gifts from dear friends or loved ones, some now singing with the angels. The Christmas tree skirt my mother made for me. The bear was a gift from my husband just a few years ago - just because.
You know Christmas is such a time of joy and it should be. What a great gift we got in that baby. But it's also a time when my heart yearns for Heaven. When we sing carols I can almost see the doors of Heaven opening.............

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm Addicted

Milah at From My Back Porch had a post recently that listed 5 things she's addicted to. It made me wonder what I would consider myself "addicted" to. This is what I came up with:

1. Tazo Chai Tea Latte - you already knew that would be here. :) And oh happy days - I've found the Tazo Chai Tea concentrate at Kroger for $4.99 (10% off on "senior citizen day") and they even have decaf although why in the world would I need decaf since I'm not running and running and running and running. :)

2. Couponing - I confess I'm hooked. But girls it's just amazing how much money I'm saving and how many things I've been able to buy ahead. Just this week I got 2 tubes of children's Oral B toothpaste, 2 bottles of Coffee Mate Creamer, 2 small boxes of Turtles (chocolate and pecans, yum!) Candy and 2 cans of Progresso Soup for $2.09 - and that included taxes! My husband says Walgreens is going to bar me from coming in!

3. Organizing - I love to put things in little piles. I can sort red from green, tall from short, big from little and do it for hours. I love organizing closets and shelves. That doesn't mean my closets and shelves are organized because half the fun is organizing, messing it up, and reorganizing it in a different way. I think that might mean I'm obsessive/compulsive. Whatever. I could so come to your house and redo your kitchen cabinets!

4. Redwork Embroidery - I just love doing it. I can't use it all. I don't even want to use it all. I just want to do it. I mostly don't even want to make a finished product like a pillow or a quilt. I just want to do the embroidery. I wonder if anyone would hire me to do the handwork for them, say at about $150 an hour? Cause that would really work for me. Maybe more, maybe they could pay me more. Truly I'm worth it.

5. Lists. Yep, lists. I love 'em. I make a to-do list every day and it's ok if I don't get it all done. I just add it to the next day's list! I make a WalMart list, a Walgreens list, a Kroger list, a list of errands in the order I need to do them to use the least gas, a list of books I want to read, and a new list for children and what I'm praying for or about each one. I often make a list of things for my husband to do but he doesn't care for lists as much as me.

Do you have addictions?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Never, Never, Never

Yesterday I got a haircut. I get a haircut every 4 weeks like clockwork. I don't have a lot of hair but it grows fast and for some reason within a couple of weeks I look shaggy. And it grows way down on my neck - way below where it ought to. So my beautician shaves my neckline when she cuts my hair and it just feels wonderful, for a couple of weeks. Then it needs shaving again but I can't reach it without extreme danger of cutting myself. So yesterday when I was complaining about it growing so fast she suggested we wax it. Wax it? I let her wax my eyebrows and that's not so bad. And, she asures me, it will stay "clean" a lot longer. So I agreed.

Never, never, never let anybody talk you into waxing your neck hair.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Must Haves

I think all of us romanticize the "pioneer days" when men and women traveled across the country in covered wagons, worked side by side to make a new life, spent all of their time together as a family. But could we do it?

Walk into your kitchen, or just picture it in your mind if walking isn't on your agenda today, and take a good look around. One by one, what things would you be willing to live without? And what would you absolutely have to have if you lived in the middle of nowhere with no one but your husband and kids?

My list...I could give up:

1. Parquet floors

2. Cabinets with doors

3. One of my 2 sets of dishes

4. Most of my bowls and serving dishes

5. The food processor and blender and toaster and coffee maker and electric knife and mixer

6. Overhead lights

7. Decorator items

8. Most cookbooks

9. Lots of pans

10. Lots of spices

11. Dishwasher


1. Stove - gas...or at least not wood!

2. Refrigerator

3. Running water

4. Hot Water!

5. Shelves and pegs for dishes and other stuff

6. Not a dirt floor

7. One cookbook

8. One set of dishes

9. Salt, Pepper

10. Enough lanterns to make good light

11. Iron skillet and 2 or 3 pots

What's the point? First of all, count your blessings. Even my "must have" list is more than most people in the world have. Second, I really could do with a lot less than I have. I live an abundent cup is overflowing. (oops, better add some kitchen towels to that must have list if I'm going to mop up my overflowing cup!) And third, if I could do with a lot less, why don't I? Why don't you?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Giveaway For You To Check Out

RoseMary at Life in a Cordwood Cabin is having a giveaway. Ya'll, I just love her and you will too. Go see her apron and cookie cutters and recipe book.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What Was I Thinking?

Last week I was gone all week on a mission trip....yes I wrote 5 posts about that! For some reason before I left I scheduled several appointments for this week. What was I thinking?

We got home Friday night about 9:00 - tired to the bone.

Saturday I packed away the fall decorations, unpacked my suitcases, and did about 8 loads of laundry. And of course did the usual other stuff...cooked dinner, washed dishes, etc. I started about 8:00 in the morning and finally sat down about 8:00 that night.

Sunday after church and Sunday School I did my WalMart shopping, decorated the Christmas tree, and washed 2 more loads of laundry - all the Christmas towels, throws, etc. On Sundays I check out the Walgreens ad and gather coupons since they usually have some really good sale items. Another long day!

Monday morning I had a mammogram (been doing this every year for 12 years now and for the first time ever it really, really, really hurt!) (but the results were good!), went to the bank, post office, Walgreens and library; got my allergy shot, put gas in the car, checked out a serger at the sewing machine store and then got out all the rest of the Christmas decorations. After supper and dishes I made my list for Target and Kroger and gathered those coupons. At 9:30 I quit and went to bed.

Today I drove to Little Rock (one hour one way) to the dentist, went to Barnes & Noble, Sam's, Target and the local quilt shop....gone from home for 8 hours. I've put away the groceries, cooked supper & cleaned up the kitchen. Too tired to go to Krogers!

I still have to get a haircut and see the allergy doctor this week. I haven't changed the beds or cleaned my bathroom or addressed my Christmas cards or finished my Bible study.

Now that I've put you to sleep with my listing/complaining/whining tell me this. Are your weeks like this? I don't have any children at home...just my husband and me. Friends who are still working ask me what in the world I find to do since I've retired and I'm at a loss to explain. I'm organized, truly I am. But I never seem to have days when I can sit and watch soap operas all day, not that I would watch them if I could but my mother-in-law used to so I'm thinking I should have that kind of time too! Those of you who still have children at home, well I know you have no spare time. But what about the rest of you? I'm looking for reassurance here ya'll.....

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mission Trip - Day Five


"You Are Standing On Holy Ground"

I've read it in the Bible, I've sung it in hymns, I've even felt it on occasion. But exactly what does it mean? While I was at UMCOR Sager Brown I felt it often and I thought about it a lot. Holy ground, I've decided, doesn't mean a grand sanctuary, although it could mean that. It doesn't mean a sweet little chapel, although it could mean that too. Holy ground can be anywhere God's people come together to worship Him and/or to serve His children. UMCOR Sager Brown is only one of those places.

I said in an earlier post that when I walked across that campus I felt God walking beside me. But it wasn't just that. God was a constant presence from the Blessing of the Hands when we first met together, to the stations where workers were emptying a box of health kits and getting them sorted and counted and ready for shipment, to the sewing room where school bags and Christmas stockings and drapes were sewn, to the maintenance area where men went to check out tools before going out into the neighbors of the community to repair roofs and steps and windows and to paint the homes of those in need, to the offices where plans were being set in place for new groups arriving in the coming weeks and for a new depot to be built in Utah in the coming months, to the Vesper service on Thursday night put together and done by volunteers, to the cafeteria where we all gathered in a circle and held hands before each meal to thank God for His bounty. Every place where people were serving...the warehouse, the dormitory, the kitchen, the chapel, the offices, the maintenance shop...every place there was Holy Ground.

When I got home I thought it would be a separation of sorts from that Holy Ground until I realized that's not true at all. This house is Holy Ground for Jerry and I. Out of this house comes prayer and study and gifts of both money and time for God's work. Out of this house comes prayer for our children and grandchildren, our friends who have health issues and who encounter sad things in their lives, our church and church leaders, our nation and world. Out of this house comes study...both formal and informal. Out of this house come gifts to our church and to other charities we help support. Out of this house comes time given to community organizations and church ministries. Now don't mistake me. This is not out-of-the-ordinary stuff....this is the same stuff you're doing at your house. But that means your house is also Holy Ground. It puts a whole new perspective on home when you think about it that way.

No matter where I am, that's Holy Ground. No matter where you are, that's Holy Ground. It's what we do; it's what we say; it's who we love and worship that make it Holy Ground.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mission Trip - Day Four

Day four of the mission trip was another day of sewing - and you know I had a wonderful time. This first picture is in the new sewing room built 2 years ago by volunteers. Ellen (one of the long-term volunteers) is shown here where I've been working this week. Long-term volunteers stay 2 or 3 months and serve in a variety of ways. Ellen has been here November and December and has been in charge of the sewing room. How cool is that! Her husband, Ted, is working out in the warehouse unpacking boxes as they are received from the many churches that send their donations here. That navy fabric you see here is what we made the drapes for the stage out of. Well I say made, really it's almost made. Today as I was halfway through serging the bottom so we could hem them the serger quit. We have three sergers in this room and all three quit on us this week! I don't have a serger at home but those of you who do will surely understand when I say the bottom looper thread won't stay threaded and no matter what words I uttered under my breath I couldn't get it rethreaded. And neither could Ellen. Since the hangers for the drapes aren't in we couldn't hang them anyway but I wish we could have finished the hemming.

This sewing room is just wonderful. It has wonderful lighting, rows of sewing machines (all donated Berninas) and sergers (all donated Janomes), two cutting tables, lots of shelves, ironing boards and irons, even a washer and dryer. Ted built a stand with a bar where bolts are placed and can be easily rolled onto the cutting table for cutting. Bolts of fabric (also donated) are used to make school bags, receiving blankets, baby shirts and jackets, and today we even made Christmas stockings to be given to some children here in this area when they hadn out commodities. That's another service offered by this facility.

I'm sure you've notice that I've mentioned "donated" over and over. Everything here is donated by churches and individuals from all over America. And I mean everything from the needles for the sewing machines to the toothpaste that goes in the health kits. Most of the labor is volunteer and care is taken to be kind to our world - they recycle extensively.

UMCOR Sager Brown in Baldwin, Louisiana is making a difference in our world. Last week a large shipment went out to Zimbabwe. Last month a large shipment went to Texas. Doesn't it just make you smile when you think of all the prayers said over the things shipped? When you pick up the newspaper tomorrow and you read all the bad things that are happening in the world, think about this might not make the front page but it's way more important than what those headlines are telling you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mission Trip - Day Three

I know you all are waiting for a food report so you can rest your worries – it’s still good. Today for breakfast, sweet potato pancakes! They even had blackstrap molasses if you cared to try it. Some of you won’t know what that is but when I was a kid that and Karo were the only kinds of syrup I knew existed. This is sugar cane country and they are harvesting right now. That’s where the molasses comes from. This first picture is the cafeteria where we have our meals. (I have no idea why this paragraph is blue and underlined!)

Lunch was equally as good – turkey and gravy, creamed potatoes and green peas, yeast rolls, (they always have a salad bar) and blueberry cheesecake. Now you know how good for you blueberries are so I thought if I turned that down my health would surely decline.

Ellen, one of the long term volunteers, and I are making drapes for the stage in the old school gymnasium. The stage opening is 20’ wide and about 100” in height. We have gotten the two panels sewn together and drapery “header” sewn on the top and are beginning to pin the pleats. We aren’t using the three pronged pleaters but the small single pins instead so we will sew the pleats down and they will be hung on wooden circles that have hooks in the bottom. All of this goes on a great long pipe across the ceiling of the opening. The fabric is navy blue, very thick and really, really heavy with all that width and height. I feel like I’m wrestling with it just to get it still enough to sew on! Tomorrow I'll try to post some pictures of the sewing room - those of you who are stitchers will love it!

This next picture is one end of the warehouse where the kits and supplies are stored.

Those of us working in the warehouse sit at stations like this to make the kits. Others are counting, boxing, and labeling boxes so that they are ready to ship at a moment's notice.

Across from our dorm out in the bayou are shrimp boats and the crop in the field across from the bayou is sugar cane. If you’ve never been in the deep south it is just like you picture it when you read Gone With The Wind except I haven’t seen any Spanish Moss here. Yesterday we had a frost but today it’s warm and windy. December 3rd and it’s in the 70s…I know you folks in Michigan and Indiana are jealous! There’s a beautiful gazebo that goes out over the bayou but they warn you not to “wade” in the water – a picture of a 7 foot ‘gator hangs in the lounge to remind you of this.

There are some nice areas under the trees where you can go for meditation and prayer.
There’s a feeling here that I wish I could capture for you. I can’t describe it well but perhaps this will help you to understand… know that as you walk to work each day God is walking beside you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mission Trip - Day Two

Remember yesterday I said I could possibly gain 10 pounds on this mission trip - let's change that figure to 15! Ya'll they have got to quit cooking this good food every meal. For lunch today we had a shrimp boil - and if you've never sampled a Louisiana shrimp boil you don't know what you're missing. They boil shrimp, cajun sausage, corn on the cob and potatoes all together in the same water with the same spices. Yum. And tonight it was homemade pizza with homemade pecan pie for dessert. I go in with the intention of only eating a salad and there's temptation, calling my name. Thank goodness for all the walking I'm doing!

This mission campus was originally built as an orphanage/school for African American boys right after the civil war. It has, of course, been added to and improved on and changed to fit the needs of the times. The "depot" is a football field sized warehouse where disaster kits are assembled, packed and shipped to all the world. Their motto is "When the world rocks, UMCOR rolls." They put together school kits for children (school bags with notebook paper, pencils, etc.), sewing kits for women who want to learn to sew (bags with needles, pins, threads, etc.), health kits (toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, bandaids, etc.) and flood buckets (5 gallon buckets with cleaning products inside like trash bags, handiwipes, cleaners, sponges, etc.). Last week they did a big shipment to Afghanistan. It doesn't matter where in the world help is needed, UPCOR provides.

The campus was empty for 14 years until Hurricane Andrew hit when it was opened and used as a central point for distributing goods. Everything that goes through this station is a result of donations either of money or goods and with the exception of just a very few paid employees the work is done by volunteers. We not only pack kits, box them up, make the school bags we also do the kitchen clean up after meals. We don't do our own cooking, and that's a good thing cause everyone would lose weight if I was cooking! There's a verse in 1 Thessalonians that says something like "we work for our living so we won't be a burden on others." Paul was saying this to the churches he visited and it appears that this policy is being followed here - what a great thing.

I hope by tomorrow I have some pictures I can post for you. Even though we had a frost today the roses and perwinkles are still blooming right along with the mums. The dorm is right on the banks of the Bayou Teche - if you're a fan of James Lee Burks books about a detective named Dave Robicheaux you'll be familiar with that bayou. Dave's hometown, New Iberia, is a few miles up the road. And I understand the author's old home is here but I've not seen it yet. We do have the afternoon off tomorrow to do some sight seeing so I'll let you know what I've gotten to do.

Blessings, Marlene

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mission Trip - Day One

1. This has to be the coolest mission trip ever - they're letting me sew! God knows how much I love to sew. :)

2. This is a very small group - small enough that Jerry and I get to share a room. I can sleep in a room with other Christian women but it's so much nicer to have my regular roommate. :)

3. They are feeding us three very good meals a day. Very good. I might just gain 10 pounds this week. :(