Friday, May 27, 2011


We celebrated Sam's life today and laid him to rest beside his granny and papaw.  It was a celebration of a life well lived!!!
We heard testimony of people from all ages and walks of life who were impacted by knowing him.  We heard of his devotion to his family and to God, of how he wanted to follow Jesus, and of his servant heart.

We were so blessed.
And we had to laugh!
He was just our Sam!
The noise of our home.
The kid who kissed us goodnight (what 17 year old does that!?! :-D).
The one who poked his sister Emily 'til she bonked him on the head. (No injuries, just laughter!)
The one who mocked his little brother Will until Will screamed, "Shut up, Sam!!!"
The one who, when asked to unload the dishwasher, said, "I don't believe I will!!" then laughed and cheerfully obeyed.

As we viewed him for the last time, Jeff and I both felt the loss of our responsibility as a parent to him.  It is no longer our concern that he is home safe.  No longer a worry that his studies aren't complete, that he prepares for the ACT, does his chores ("Hey Sam! Did you...!?"), eats or drinks or... 

And we wept.

I thought about tucking him into the quilts I'd made for him when he was younger! But no, I'll hold them close in the days to come, breathe in his fragrance ("A little too much Axe, Sam!!" lol) and remember.
We have been able to find purpose and joy and laughter amid all the grief, and people tell us "You are so strong!"

The truth is, of course, that we are not.

But we agree with the apostle Paul who said, "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)

And His strength came to us from people all over the world praying for us!!

We are so very grateful for our amazing family! Our remaining two children and extended family who ministered and blessed us in incredible ways.  Our Faith Family -- a former pastor and current pastor who phenomenally presented the Gospel of Christ while celebrating Sam's life, and staff and friends who gave and gave and gave.  Our Quilt family, awesome ladies! Our Blog family -- Oh my word!!! what an outpouring of support and sympathy and love.

Yes indeed, when we are weak, HE is strong. Mighty to Save! Awesome in power! Phenomenal in grace!

And Sam's legacy begins...
The gift of life to others through organ and tissue donation.
The gift of inspiration to, as his godmother says,(and he quoted on Facebook :-D), "Be different! Do better!"
The gift of joy, in running the race well and finishing well.

He loved the story of Eric Liddell, Olympic runner featured in the film Chariots of Fire.  Two quotes were among his favorites --

"I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast! When I run, I feel His pleasure."

But the one that gives me the greatest peace is this one:

"We are all missionaries.  Wherever we go, we either bring people nearer to Christ, or we repel them from Christ."

Without a doubt, our little Sam brought people nearer to Christ.
So we grieve.  But we bid him GODSPEED!  Run home, baby!

Thank you, Father God, for giving him to us.
Thank you, Father God, for making his life count!!
Thank you, Father God, for the life that remains for us with Emily and Will.

And for Your peace, Lord, that passes understanding!!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Today, we very unexpectedly and unaccountably lost our 17 year old son.
He was perfectly healthy, an athlete, and a completely beautiful fine young man. And with no rhyme or reason, we found him this morning, already gone home to be with God.

He loved my quilts and indulged my quilting! :-) He'd picked one for his bed, and I finally, finally got the top done earlier this year with hopes to quilt it for him before Christmas.  He never complained that I was UFO poor or that his top would get pushed back for other projects, other exciting new adventures or techniques or tools.

He was the joy of our home -- a prankster and a ham, with a servant's heart and compassion for stray cats and hurting people, and every single person he met found a friend.  He was a total extrovert.  Every meet he ran in cross country, every 5-K, every Boot Camp, he shook hands and said, "I'm Sam. Who are you?! It's my pleasure to meet you!"

He loved God with all his heart and soul.  When I started this blog last year, he thought he'd give it a try.  We're homeschoolers -- so yeah, that counts! LOL  These were his "Things to Think About."  along with random thoughts on "Chuck" and running and what not here.

His quotes on Facebook included lyrics from Christian rapper LaCrae:
"Living to know God, dying to make Him known."
That was our beloved Sam.

Welcome home, baby.  We'll be along shortly.

"‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’"  Matthew 25:21

Please lift up our family in your prayers.  We are so blessed. We are so grateful. We are so humbled to have been Sam's parents, caretakers of him for a while.

13Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep [[a]in death], that you may not grieve [for them] as the rest do who have no hope [beyond the grave]. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him through Jesus those who have fallen asleep [[a]in death].  I Thessalonians 4:13-14 (Amplified)

Blessings and Peace,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Cheese Stands Alone

When we were at retreat last month, we had several discussions about the Farmer's Wife.  A new gal joined our group, Heidi, and she kept calling it Farmer's Daughter, and after a discussion about using bright neon colors, we decided it would have to be the Farmer's Mistress or Girlfriend! LOL

I'm making progress on those 111 blocks! (And it's taking way less time than a mistress would! LOL  And money, too, since I'm stash shopping for this one! :-D)

Adding these ten to my others, I'm nearly at the 2/3rds mark! Very cool! Most of the class is keeping up, too!!
For the class, I broke the Farmer's Wife down into "units" each month -- beginning with blocks with squares and rectangles, then half-square-triangles -- and we've been doing HST's since February!  June's blocks (above, I'm trying to stay a month ahead of the class!) are mostly "quick-piecing" type blocks, and July's will move us into quarter-square-triangles. 

We'll eventually get into flying geese, and square-in-a-squares, and diamonds, hopefully building skill levels as we go!

I've also managed to make some progress on the Hands-2-Help quilt for Romania!  Sarah Craig at Confessions of a Fabric Addict arranged a charity quilt exchange/challenge a couple of months ago...but I'm sure if you wanted to make a quilt for Romania, she (and Judi at Green Fairy Quilts) would happily accept them!!  Diane sent me this beautiful bright fabric for my quilt:

And I've added some more bright colors to Diane's fat quarters and made these so far for the pinwheel-y quilt top I designed in EQ:

All those different names we thought of for the Farmer's Wife make me think of the Farmer in the Dell! and the inevitable conclusion -- the cheese stands alone! Makes you feel sorry for the cheese, doesn't it? Everybody's got somebody in the old nursery-room song, except the cheese. 

Working together is so much more fun that working alone... whether it's charity quilts or ongoing projects or classes!!

One of the greatest blessings of the Christian life is the promise that we are never alone. Listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah:

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom...
Do not be afraid, for I am with you
(Isaiah 43:2-3a, 5a)

No cheese standing alone, here!

Friday, May 13, 2011


This has been one of those weeks months (!) that I have accomplished absolutely nothing!

The boys have continued on with their school work, no thanks to me.  We're all getting spring-itus, so they are in a hurry to complete their days and their varied curriculums in vocabulary, math, science, English, Spanish and the rest.  Me, too!! :-)

Spring-itus, I can understand.  Giving in to the lazy days of summer....well, it's a little early for that!

I'm perilously behind in blog reading, blog commenting, replying to your wonderful comments, blog writing....Pitiful!!

And after being fairly productive during retreat at the end of April, May has gone through 13 days of my finishing absolutely nothing!  I haven't even pulled out the May UFO's to pretend to work on them. UGH!

My accomplishments so far this month?
I clipped Blackie's (the only remaining adult chicken I have who bonded with the cats) wing, so she will stay in the fence and not terrorize the kitten and poop on the porch.  I was raised in the country, but clipping a chicken wing was a first for me!! (I used some super sharp gingher 5" scissors! :-D)
Sadly, she doesn't seem any closer emotionally to the other chickens in the yard (perhaps because she thinks she's a cat?).  Chicken whisperer, I ain't! :-D

Accomplishment #2:  I kept Jeff from banishing the cats and kitten to the back of our out-building.  They get to stay on the porch (unlike the poor chicken).  Could you resist this face?

Accomplishment #3
I stayed in the house and hyperventilated while Jeff installed his new hive of these:
Can you believe bees come in the mail like that!?! He picked them up at the post office and deposited them on the porch table. Yikes!!! Needless to say, they did not stay there long!

Accomplishment #4
I went to step aerobics THREE times this week... a first in, like, six weeks or more! I've not gained any significant weight (about 4/10ths of a pound), but I've been slacking big-time on my Temple Maintenance and Weight Watchers.  I finally updated the page here.

Accomplishment #5:
I pinned up this little quilt (Jo Morton's Little Women Club) for some more experimental machine quilting.  I may or may not get to it, but when I take steps to overcome this slacker-itus, it'll be waiting for me...
Along with a bazillion other projects, including a couple of t-shirt quilts, a couple of memory quilts and about three samplers I need to put together for other people.  All by early June. 

Steps to overcome my uselessness!?  Looks like those are steps I need to take now, huh!?

I feel very much like the prophet Jeremiah, who said,

"I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own;
it is not for man to direct his steps.
Correct me, LORD, but only with justice—
not in your anger,
lest you reduce me to nothing."
Jeremiah 10:23-24

Time to step up!!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Advance or Retreat!?

My household has taken a dramatic turn!

I've gone from just me and the boys -- easy living, really.  There's the running, but we mostly foraged for food and went to our corners of the house:  Sam with his drums, Will with his video games, and I in my sewing room!!  So from me and the boys to me and the boys and the husband (home on Sunday)and the college age daughter (home on Wednesday) all home at the same time!!

Yesterday morning I was struck the by the CROWD!!
In my little sewing room, first one boy then the other came in.  Then Emily, then Jeff....FIVE people in my sewing room. Asking me stuff.  Needing or wanting my attention. All talking at the same time.  Wanting to be fed!!

Calgon take me away!!!!

Advance or retreat?  Too late.  I already retreated BEFORE they came! LOL  I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday at a retreat center in Central KY far out in the country.  I live in the country! This was even further out in the country. And it was lovely!  The gals were such fun. Games, giveaways, stories, projects, food -- all the good stuff!

I mostly worked on one UFO -- my Thimbleberries Hometown Christmas -- and a new project, Spools, from Edyta Sitar's book, Friendship Strips and Scraps.
Autumn took some great photos of the different projects and quilts at the retreat and you can see them here.  I took photos while I was there, but hers were so much better than mine. So pop over and take a look!!
I came home from retreat on Saturday and picked Jeff up on Sunday.  Then Wednesday, we packed up Emily's dorm room at Asbury and headed south. 

It really is good to have the whole family under one roof again for the first time in over a year!

It will take a while to get back into our routine.  Jeff will return to his "real" job in a few weeks; he's an Agriculture Extension Agent for a local county through the University of KY Cooperative Extension Service.  He'll take some much needed R & R time at home, though. :-D  My sewing time may get curtailed a little! :-D

Emily is spending her summer home with the family, too.   In previous years she did summer missions work with a camp in Lafollette, TN, but this year the luxury of our family being together is one she's going to take advantage of.  Jeff says there is work enough here at home to keep her busy if she doesn't find a summer job locally.

So advance it is!
Into renovated routines.  Into postponed projects (UFO #9 - the Circuit Rider and another recently  "discovered" (that's what I get for cleaning out the closet! :-D)  UFO, Star Sprinkles from Adkinson Designs).

Into the haven of home!

I am so very, very, blessed!

Psalm 13: 5-6
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.