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

Monday, June 29, 2009

And The Two Shall Become One

Every morning when I go out to sit on the deck these two wild ducks come over to have breakfast. I don't know where they spend their nights but I think it must be in the marshy area on the other side of the lake. At least that's where I see them coming from every morning. I look and see them swimming from the other side in a direct line to my yard where they have breakfast every day. They are so graceful and look like they are just gliding across the water. They have a short flight to get from the water up over the sea wall and onto the grass.

Walking up from the water to the middle of the yard they lose the "glide" they have on the water and they waddle. Their back ends sway back and forth as they sashay slowly across the grass.

They are very cautious little things. They keep one eye on me at all times. Sometimes she eats and he watches. Then he eats and she watches.

Sometimes they both watch and they stand so still you can't see them move a feather for the longest time.

They are always together. And it's always just the two of them. They don't seem to have friends and, so far, they don't seem to have children. It's just the two of them. Always the two of them. Never one alone. And they don't get much farther apart than you see in these pictures. They remind me of an older couple, kind of like my husband and me, a couple who's been together for years and years and don't really seem to be two different people any more. "And the two shall become one" takes on a whole new meaning when you've spent the majority of your life together. You watch out for each other, you don't get too far apart, you know what the other is thinking and which way they're going to turn and you know that if anyone attacks one of you they also attack the other, and you give each other the choicest worm. And you don't "glide" any more. Sometimes one of you has a hitch in his/her git-along so the other ones helps. And even when there are friends and family surrounding you it's still the two of you. Always the two of you. Just the way God planned it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Grandma's Rain lilies

My Grandmother A lived in Sanger, California...a small town near Fresno if you know where that is. When I think of that area I always think of driving down a two lane highway with orange groves on both sides as far as you could see. Grandma had a screened in back porch where she kept her flowers. One of the flowers she had there was a Rain Lily. When she died somewhere around 1975 my cousin Carol took Grandma's Rain Lily home with her. Carol visited me this spring and when her husband came to pick her up he brought two Rain Lilies her sister and my cousin, Patty, had potted for my sister and me. I put them on a small table beside my front door in a courtyard area which gets sun only in the middle of the day but shade most of the time. Today they bloomed!

From Grandma to Carol and Patty to Sherry and me and, someday, hopefully on to our children. Isn't that a wonderful legacy?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Does This Ever Happen To You

Yesterday I took a deep breath, hitched up my git-along (according to my grandma this means you got yourself ready to do something) and went into the sewing room to do something about my overflowing scrap bin. I throw my scraps into a plastic tubby. Only for the last few months I have to mash down the scraps with both hands in an effort to keep them from spilling over. That tubby, by the way, is about the size of a rectangular laundry basket. I know that my Grandma would have used up every bit of those scraps so something inside of me just won't let me throw them away. Twelve hourslater (in a two day span) every piece had been ironed, about 1/3 of them had been trimmed and they were all sorted into piles. I have piles for 2 1/2" strips, wider than that strips, narrower than that strips, big pieces, big/medium pieces, medium/small pieces. They are in smaller plastic boxes with lids that stack on top of each other. I'd have been through sooner except something happens to me when I get started's like I'm possessed or something. Some people call it OCD. :) I moved stuff and vacuumed, moved stuff to new places and believe it or not threw some stuff away. I find it hard to get to a stopping place. Does that every happen to you?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Can You Believe This?

I have the best neighborhood - it's a very quiet area with mostly older couples like us living here. There are a few children but not many. My street is a would be a circle except there are corners and one side has a different street name. Did that make sense? Anyway, I've made friends with several women here and we have the best time. One of them, Betty, rides to quilt guild with me every month. She does the most beautiful hand quilting and applique you ever saw. Today her husband went to a town a couple of hours away to buy fresh corn on the cob, picked this morning. I had asked them to get me a bag (72 ears) and Betty dropped it off late this morning. This afternoon I went down to Betty's house to give her the money for the corn and to take her a loaf of bread I'd just gotten out of the oven. She and her husband were still working on their corn since they bought twice as much as I did and it takes a long time to blanch it and cut it off the cob and get it freezer ready. She and her husband lived in the same town I grew up in and so we know a few of the same people. Her husband asked me today exactly where I lived. And here's the part I couldn't believe - they lived in an apartment right next door to my house for a year when I was about 10 years old! Of course we didn't know each other then...they were young marrieds and I was a child running and playing in the neighborhood along with a dozen others. Small world, isn't it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Remembering Mama

My aunt and I spent hours and hours "visiting" this weekend while I was in San Antonio with her. Much of our time was spent laughing and talking about Mama. I've told you before that she was quite a character. This picture of she and I touring one of the bath houses here in Hot Springs is one of my favorites - it was back before I let my hair go white and I know we would have looked exactly alike if I was white headed too. Mama had the biggest heart of anyone I know and couldn't stand for anyone to be hurt. But she also loved to tease and play jokes on people. Her primary target was always Daddy.

This picture of Daddy was taken in my back yard right after he caught this huge catfish - he had the best time that day!
Daddy loved to brag to people that he had two sisters and he was the apple of their eye. Mama would immediately agree with him and add that both his sisters were blind. And they really are blind!
When we were little Mama and Daddy never went to church but sometime in the eighties they had a long talk with a Baptist preacher at my aunt's house in Texas and decided they wanted to be baptized. They were living in a little town called Placedo at the time, near Victoria in south Texas. While this was certainly a serious event Mama was never one to take herself seriously and definitely included Daddy in that. So to forestall either of them becoming too proud the towel she included in Daddy's bag for him to dry with after the baptism had the large letters HOLIDAY INN on it. Notice that was Daddy's towel - not hers!
One time when Daddy was just a little too full of himself Mama decided to play a trick on him. Daddy was a salesman and traveled all week, leaving on Monday morning and coming home on Friday evening. Of course over the weekend he expected Mama to get his clothes washed and ironed and ready for him to pack. This particular time, with tiny little stitches, mama sewed up the fly of all Daddy's boxers. And then giggled all week every time she thought about it. Daddy had to rip those stitches out with his pocket knife!
Mama would always take a dare. I remember once her good friend and neighbor, Doris, dared her to put on a bikini and walk around in the backyard. That wouldn't have been so bad...except we'd just had a 6 inch snow. We have pictures of her posing in that bikini. :)
When we traveled, which wasn't often and was always to California to see my grandma, it was almost a joke that mama would have to stop to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes. (I've turned into her!) I remember once that she fussed and squirmed and finally told Daddy he would just have to pull over on the side of the road - she couldn't wait. We were in west Texas I think and there was a little hill just beyond the road. She ran up the hill, went behind a billboard, dropped her shorts and squated down. Only then did she hear the laughing behind her - a field full of folks were picking cotton right behind her. She nearly fell over laughing...but she didn't stop!
I'm nearly 63 years old and if I live to be 93 I'll still miss her.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I've Been Thinking About Trees

This past weekend my husband and I drove to San Antonio to visit my aunt and cousin. It's a long drive, 560 miles, but we can do it in about 10 hours. Near where they live is a park where there are all these magnificent trees with the most incredible shapes.

I'm not sure what kind of trees they are - maybe mesquite? Anyway, some of them lean to the left, and some of them lean to the right.

At first I thought it was hard wind that made them do this but one leaning to the right might be right next to one leaning to the left.

Some of them split at the ground and make two trees, or three or four.

Some of them lean one direction but the branches all go the other direction.

There are a few that actually stand up straight and spread out all around like you expect trees to do.

There are some that nearly lay on the ground....and some that actually do!

There are some that have these knobs or protrusions....sort of hard places where they've bowed out but then tried to come back to their original spot.

They made me think about life and people and how much we are like the trees. Don't you think we're just like the trees? Sometimes life blows us one way, and sometimes another. Sometimes we just have to lay down and rest a while before we get up and start over. Sometimes we have hard places in our lives, places where we go one direction and then, oops, decide we want to go back the way we were. But the trees always keep reaching up for the sun. There's so little water for them, so little nourishment where they live, but still they seek the sun. And they survive and they become beautiful and they even create a shady place for people and animals to rest. When we seek the Son we too survive and become beautiful. We might not be the tall, majestic tree...we might be the one that lays down on the ground part of the time, or the one that leans to the left or to the right. But He will spread our branches so that we too might give others a place to rest and to bask in His light.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Morning Visitors

I wake up about 6:00 every morning. I wish I didn't but I guess it's just a habit I can't break. I get my Iced Chai Te Latte, my Bible and my prayer journal and go out on the deck to read. Right now I'm in Psalms reading, "Oh Lord how majestic is thy name in all the earth!" and David's repetition of all the things the Lord has made. Including my morning visitors. The last few days this little rabbit has been seen munching on the grass.

This crane of some sort loves to rest on the tin roof of the dock. He fluffs his feathers and spreads his wings and dances a little dance. He surveys his domain from this lofty perch as if he owned all that he sees.

The ducks and the squirrel ignore each other and scoop up the seeds the birds have carelessly thrown out of the feeder. Of course, the squirrel has been known to get inside the feeder and feast in style. And though they aren't quite like the lion and the lamb they remind me of that promise as well - the lion will lie down with the lamb, someday.
Jerry's mother used to urge me to get up to see the sunrise over the river when we were camping in north Arkansas. I always told her that if God wanted me to see the sunrise He would either have made it later in the morning or He would wake me up. :) Since He is waking me up earlier I guess He answered that! There is no other time of day when it's so quiet and serene; the hustle and bustle of the day hasn't yet begun and there are no intruding thoughts to disturb my conversation with Him. And, oddly enough, I have an easier time listening instead of talking when I'm in this setting with my morning visitors.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Observations on a Recipe

I was looking for a recipe today and found this one:

Apple Walnut Coffee Cake

2 cups Bisquick
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup milk
1 cup chunky applesauce

Grease 8" square MICROWAVE dish. (Microwave was what made me stop and take a second look!)

Mix together brown sugar and 1/4 cup walnuts, set aside. In a separate bowl, blend baking mix, 1/4 cup walnuts, cinnamon, milk and applesauce. Beat 30 seconds. Spread into prepared dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Microwave on high 6-9 minutes. Cake is done when top springs back when touched lightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the dish.

I was looking for a recipe to use some peaches that were overripe so I decided to "adjust" this one. First I didn't have a square dish so I used a round sort of deep one. Second I didn't measure the brown sugar or walnuts, just dumped some in a bowl and stirred. Then I measured the Bisquick but when I looked at the expiration date on the box I swear I think it said March 2006. Maybe not. But just in case I added a spoon of baking powder. Then I dumped some cinnamon in - just like on television I put some in the palm of my hand and called it good. I didn't have any applesauce but I knew it needed something so I put in about 1/4 cup oil - didn't measure that either. And without the applesauce it needed more milk so I just poured some in. I cut up the peaches I had and stirred. Then I noticed it had no sugar in the cake part so I added a half cup of Splenda. And a dab more milk. I didn't want to get out my mixer so I just stirred really good and dumped it into the baking dish. I sprinkled the brown sugar mix on top, added a few pats of butter (I know it didn't call for it but who could leave butter off the top?). I put it in the microwave for 8 minutes. Exactly. It's a little dry so next time I'll add some applesauce. But with Cool Whip it's wonderful. I stood there looking at my creation when it hit me.....I'VE TURNED INTO MY MOTHER! She never measured. She never used the right ingredients. Sometimes her stuff was wonderful. Sometimes, not so much. Oh my. When did that happen?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Need More Stuff

It's almost the Fourth of July and I don't have enough stuff to decorate with. I need more stuff! We have a big family get together every year for the Fourth and I love to decorate but for this holiday I don't have enough stuff. I love this little wooden flag that I bought several years ago at Hobby Lobby.

And this flag that hangs on my front door I made a long time ago. But I still like it.

Isn't this God Bless America sign wonderful? We have an auction every year in my guild and I bought this last night! It's a wool applique piece made by a friend. I think she put foam board on the inside because it's about an inch thick but very light weight.

Uncle Sam is very had to see...the picture was awful. He's done in counted cross stitch and was a gift several years ago from one of my daughters. My two girls made napkins for my bread basket for several holidays.

This week I made this throw pillow to put on the deck on the rocker. I think I'll make two or three more pillows in red, white and blue. That would help.

These patriotic stars I made to hang but right now I'm using them as a table topper on my coffee table.

And this is a table runner you've seen before. I made it a year or two ago for my dining table.
This is definitely not enough stuff. Got any ideas of quick and easy red, white and blue stuff?

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's So Nice To Be Home

I love being back at home but I sure am missing my daily time with this little one. I bet he's missing me too and can't talk yet so he can't tell his parents!

Since my computer was out of commission for so long I didn't get to show you my Christmas cactus - on May 17! I think it was a little confused. :)

And this is a sneak peek at part of something I sent to someone today. Who doesn't love ladybugs? And he was super simple to make....I cut the red circle using a saucer and his head with a small jar lid and his dots with a bottle cap. I used iron on fusible and then stitched the major parts with a small blanket stitch.
I've been stitching away since I got home. Mostly I'm putting on bindings and finishing up some things I'll be showing you later. Oh, it's good to be home. :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Remember My Last Post? (and some other stuff)

Do you remember in my last post when I said this:

"I wish I could take a picture of the lake this morning to show you but I left my camera card in the computer so I don't have it. It's a warm morning here and the lake water is cold so there's a beautiful mist covering the water. The sun is shining above it and you can see the tops of the trees on the other side of the lake. It's like God's hand is hovering over the lake. Simply amazing. And beautiful. It just reminds me that God's hand hovers over us every day in that same way. Can't you just picture it? I can see God's hand poised over my head, and your head, and hear Him saying, "This is my beloved." Just like you and I place a hand on our child or grandchild's head and smile down on them, feeling the love for them pour from us to them. Only how much greater is His love. :)"

That afternoon a friend was here visiting and we decided to go for a boat ride to show her the lake. It was cloudy so not too hot and we were puttering along very slowly looking at all the houses along the shore when I remembered that it was supposed to storm that day. I told Jerry I thought we ought to go home. "In a minute" he said. I told him again. But there was one more thing he wanted to show our friend. And then we turned back to make the trip home. But there was this cove he thought he ought to explore so he slowed down and puttered that way. "Home!" I said. And he just smiled and said, "Now honey, it's fine. It's not too dark back that way." And it wasn't. Until we went around the bend. HUGE BLACK CLOUDS. And the wind came up. And the waves got choppy. But then I remembered the mist that morning and I remembered thinking God has His hand over this lake and the light bulb went off. God told me before I ever went for that boat ride, before I even knew I would be going on a boat ride, that His hand was on me. On us. On that lake. We got to the dock just as the hail started. Just in time. God's time. Amen.

My computer is home at last! And compared to what it did before it is lightening fast! I'm thrilled. I have things to do. I have things to say. I have recipes to print. I have people to send cards to and all the addresses are on the computer. I have pictures to look at and all the pictures are on the computer. (Yes it's all backed up so don't panic). If I could do a double back flip I would. Want to know what the major problem was? Of course you do. When the nice guy in the geek squad put in the new motherboard, he put the memory card in wrong. So it would only read part of the card. A very small part. Nice guy in the geek squad is not on my good side.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Report From The Hospital

My computer is still in the hospital (my grandson's house this time). Windows 7 is now Windows 8, a huge Vista update has been downloaded, two "Trojans" have been removed, a new virus software is being installed and old ones deleted, the never used webcam driver (doesn't have a webcam) is being removed and memory is being added. So far it hasn't helped the speed. Let's hope the memory gives it a boost because if it doesn't I'll be buying a new computer next week.

Meanwhile, without the computer, I've done some other stuff that has been waiting on me to get home. I'm way late on some Pay It Forward gifts but they are now done and waiting on me to go to the post office. I've read a book every afternoon - and yes, I do mean a book in an afternoon. I'm rereading some of Janette Oke's books and they are simple enough to get through in three or four hours. If you haven't read her stuff it's all Christian fiction and the settings are either the American or Canadian west and the time is mid 1800's to early 1900's. If you're new to her books start with the Love Comes Softly series. Several of those have been made into movies shown on Hallmark Channel. No sex, no violence (except the kind that comes with daily living), no cursing.

Yesterday my husband and I made a trip to Little Rock (about an hour's drive) to the dentist. I got to run a few errands there that I save up for our trips. I picked up a few things at Sam's (we're getting a Sams in the next few months, yea!) for our Fourth of July family get-together, bought a new pair of Birkenstocks since I've worn out my last pair (I've worn them for 5 years!), got a couple of workbooks for two Beth Moore studies I want to do this summer) and stopped at the quilt shop to get the rest of the Heart and Home block-a-month quilt I'm going to make. I've had the first one for about 3 months and haven't started it but I went ahead and bought the rest so I'll have it all when I'm ready to start. Today I'm doing a little housework, very little, and then I'm going to sew this afternoon.

I wish I could take a picture of the lake this morning to show you but I left my camera card in the computer so I don't have it. It's a warm morning here and the lake water is cold so there's a beautiful mist covering the water. The sun is shining above it and you can see the tops of the trees on the other side of the lake. It's like God's hand is hovering over the lake. Simply amazing. And beautiful. It just reminds me that God's hand hovers over us every day in that same way. Can't you just picture it? I can see God's hand poised over my head, and your head, and hear Him saying, "This is my beloved." Just like you and I place a hand on our child or grandchild's head and smile down on them, feeling the love for them pour from us to them. Only how much greater is His love. :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Frustration is the Rule of the Day...and May Goals

As most of you will remember I put my computer in the hospital three weeks ago. I took it to Best buy (where I bought it) and with a great gnashing of teeth left it to be placed into the hospital. Eighteen days later they called and said I could pick it up. The problem was that instead of sending it to the Hot Springs store like I asked they sent it back to the Ft. Smith store where I had been but wasn't any more. I had three options. They could ship it to me at home but according to the geek squad clerk the last time they did that it got lost and was never found again. Scratch that. I could drive 2 1/2 hours to Ft. Smith, pick it up, and drive 2 1/2 hours home again. That's one ruined day. Option three: I could get my daughter-in-law to pick it up on Wednesday, drive it to Conway on Thursday (she was going there anyway), give it to my son who was working there and who could give it to my husband who was also there, and who could drive it home to me Friday night. I chose option three to save time and gasoline. Whew! It arrived home last night Literally. They replaced the "motherboard" and I supposed they put in a motherboard to match this mother who uses it - one with arthritis in her joints which makes her very slow. Good grief! I shall return it to Best Buy with a frowning face.

I overestimated what I could do in the month of May...I seem to do that a lot. I didn't realize how tired I would be after carrying around this 20 pound bundle of joy. I was too tired at night to sew! However, I did finish the embroidery on this Friendship piece. This is done on khaki colored Kona cotton with black thread. I first saw this made into a pillow and I might do that. But I think I'd like it framed too so I'll wait to decide.

Remember this ugly brown quilt? I was given the brown and brown print triangles to make into a charity quilt for a child. I hated it. It was not a happy quilt. I added the stars and that helped but not enough.

Then I added a face to the big star but the blue just didn't seem to stand out.

Then Lindi sent me this wonderful monkey clown fabric all the way from Australia! Now I think any child will enjoy seeing all the monkeys and their costumes. Lindi saved the day...and the quilt!

I didn't lose the 5 pounds I wanted but I did lose 3 more which puts me up to 19 since Christmas - yea! Now if I can lose 19 more before next Christmas I'll be one happy camper. :)

Ya'll keep your fingers crossed that I don't have to leave my computer in the hospital again. :(