Thursday, June 30, 2011

More than I Deserve!

I'm winding down a couple of t-shirt quilts I'd committed to do for others and looking forward to moving on to other projects! :-)  I have another few memorial quilts in the works for people, but they don't have strict deadlines so I can be more leisurely about getting them done.

I've been taking a few minutes each evening to work on the binding of this quilt:

I got it in the mail earlier this week from Mary at Quilt Hollow.  She actually won the quilt top from Kelly at Cottage Charm Quilt's blog, Charming Chatter! 

Mary quilted it with her fabulous quilting (she always uses the most beautiful thread, too!) and sent it along to me with the binding attached, but not finished.  Her note said that she hoped I would sit on my porch and think beautiful thoughts of Sam while doing the hand work.  And that's exactly what I've been doing, a little each evening.

Quilts are always comfort -- but this one will hold a special place in my heart, as you might imagine!! I'm gonna have a whole collection of "Sam" quilts between those made with his clothing, my heart blocks, the blue fat quarters my club gave me in his memory, and this beautiful piece.  It's just so very humbling to be the recipient of such generosity!!

Another wonderful mailbox blessing was the 41 yards (!!!!!) that I won from Vicky at LAQuilter.  Beautiful florals and pastels -- colors that I don't have any of in my stash. 

You may have seen my stash or photos of it here or at Stash Manicure when I've guested over there.  I don't need fabric, but I do love fabric! :-D   And I've recently been stretching my color palette beyond the repros and Thimbleberries into lights and brights -- and I honestly don't have a clue how to use them! LOL  I'm starting out simply, though.... We'll see how it goes.

Some friends of ours here in town asked us over to pick blueberries.

We had a rich, wonderful time with them and collected nearly 3 gallons of berries.  I found out later that they are running $20/gallon from pick-your-own patches!! Such phenemenal generosity from Jeff and Vicky.  After grazing over our buckets for a day, I still managed to freeze 10 quarts!!

Our Will had a fun time....
Even more so when he nabbed the camera for himself!

I told Mary that one humbling Biblical truth I keep encountering is that we always reap more than we sow.

Scripture tells us,
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
I think of myself as a generous person; I don't claim ownership of a lot (I've even understood that my family -- my children, in particular -- is just on loan from God), so it's always been easy for me to give.

But what I have received in this past month since Sam died is way, way, way more than I deserve, way out of proportion to what I've ever done for anyone else.
 The writer of Hebrews tells us, "Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

Just when I need it, His grace is there, administered to me by your loving hands!!

Thank you so very much!
Thank You, Lord, so very much!!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sam's Journal

Check it out! I'm the guest blogger over at Stash Manicure today!! I spent some time over there talking about Quilt Journals and how meaningful journaling about my quilts has become.

Here are some journal entries I didn't show over there:

I found some photos of Sam stuck in my journal...they hadn't quite made it to the narrative pages yet! (I'm further behind in my quilt journal than I want to be, for sure!!)

There are photos of a signature quilt I'd made for Emily's and Sam's youth leaders a few years back.  He'd signed his name "Sam ("The Man") Casada." 
:-D He loved that I let him immortalize his nick-name on a quilt! LOL

Sam journaled a little in the weeks before he died.  He was participating in a "Throw Down" (like Bobby Flay! :-D) with his youth group, and along with reading the New Testament in 40 days and also reading a couple of books, specific prayer times, and other character-building exercises :-), he was challenged to write something in a journal each day.  Listen to some of the things he wrote....
Today I started a throwdown.  Something to really stretch me in my walk with Christ.  As of right now, I am struggling with different temptations such as, porn, lust, lies....Also I'm trying to get to that place of total surrender.  God is working in my life with different things, but some of these things are what I'm supposed to do in life, also how to serve Him in the present.  Philippians 2:5-13  I'm overwhelmed.  But God...He will use me.  (5/11/11)

Loving reading our Bible plan so far.  It's great to follow Jesus around.  It's like hanging with a friend.  I also realize that this needs to be a consistent thing.  I'm not sure what God has planned for me yet, but I'm sure it will be something great!  (5/13/11)
Already starting to fall behind.  Sticking on schedule is harder than it seems.  Thought for the day:  My joy is found in serving.  (5/16/11)
I laugh when I see his entries getting shorter! Journaling was hard for him.  I love knowing some of his thoughts in the days just before he died.  No wonder I have peace!!!  He was a normal kid with normal struggles....but he was also extraordinary!! :-)  He was always the "lover" of our family -- affectionate, soft-hearted, eager to help.  Like the moon and stars of the quilt he wanted for Christmas (the top that I'd completed just a few weeks before he passed!), he could not be contained on earth!
Philippians 2:5-13 (ESV)
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

I'm eager to see the great things God does with Sam's life and death.  I'm glad Sam knew it would be great!!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Darlin's...

I've been thinkin' about the Darlin's -- you know? from Andy Griffith!? and seems like everytime I turn around someone's mentioned them and we roll in the floor laughing 'bout them and Earnest T. Bass.  Classic stuff!!

I know why I've been thinking about the Darlin's.
It's that line that Charlene says. 
"How 'bout playin' 'Never Hit Your Granma with a Great Big Stick!'" says one of the brothers. "Aw, no, Dub...That'n makes me cry!"

I got a heart block in the mail from Crispy on Friday. And to quote dear old Charlene,

"That'n makes me cry!" 

Is it perfect or what!?  Chris said she knew instantly what she wanted to do for the block -- and it is exactly what my heart feels!! I can't wait to put it with the other beautiful blocks -- 26 of them so far!!! -- and marvel at how God can use quilt blocks to so effectively minister and bless our family.  How can I possibly repay any of you for the love you've shown me in the wake of Sam's death!?

All I know to do is pray MAJOR blessings on you all -- As Jesus said, "give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:38 ESV) Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over... Yeah! That's what I want for you!!

It's been a good week.  We had our Farmer's Wife class...I'm up to 71 of the 111 blocks!! Whoohoo!!

My flowers are blooming.... (boy, does that make me wanna applique!! Weird, huh!? :-D)

I'm making progress on the t-shirt quilts I'm making for someone, and I've gotten started on the Tina Givens fat quarters quilt...(and this old Civil War/Thimbleberries gal is LOVIN' the colors!!!)

And for those who enjoy the Darlin's....


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gobs of Grace!

I stopped by Paula's Quilting Pantry today as the last of the Project Linus gals were finishing up.  Today Pat, our Project Linus Coordinator, was putting labels on quilts for Joplin, MO.  Other gals in the shop were hard at work!  It reminds me I need to get back into the groove -- quilts for Hands-2-Help/Romania, quilts for friends having babies, "Boxer Rebellion"s :-D, quilts for classes, quilts for hire...quilts, quilts, quilts!! Exactly what I need!

It's been a good day. :-)
Look at what Shelley sent me:
She's fabulous with wool projects (check her out at and as sweet a friend as there is.  Keep her in your prayers! Her husband David is dealing with some health stuff, and they need "grace for the hour," as the old saying goes.

Grace abounds around here!! Missing Sam daily is new, very hard stuff.  But I make my way to my porch....
and rock and remember and cry and sigh. For just a while. Peace restored, and I'm able to get up and go on. The rockers were brought to us by Scottie and Patty -- very dear friends who've known us since Sam was in diapers and can tell you stories on us and Sam that make you split a gut with laughter! :-D Check Patty's blog out here:

Still more grace in the mail...
Two more heart blocks, bringing the total to 24.  Each of you will be hearing from me...I'm so grateful for the beauty and joy you are bringing to our home right now!

Jeff took me out for some "retail therapy" on the way to the in-laws on Friday.  Some Whimsicals fat quarters are totally me! LOL

...and Tina Givens fats -- totally out of my comfort zone, not me at all! :-D, but I had a quilt in mind when I got them.  AND I got 36 fat quarters for $39.99....Yeah, they were feeling VERY much like me by the time I got them home! LOL

I wanna make a quilt like Sarah made for the Hand-2-Help Challenge.  Won't her quilt look good in my fabrics?

Um, Yeah! Love it!! :-D
So gobs and gobs of grace around here!!
And why not!?  It's just like the Father, isn't it!?

18 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.
19 O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.
20 Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. 21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30: 18-21 NASB)

Thank you, Lord, for Your grace (especially today as shown by others to us!)!


Thursday, June 9, 2011


Unexpected treasures have made their way into my world this week! Gifts too numerous to count, but I'm gonna list a few...

1) Newly discovered photos!!  I found several pictures of Sam this week that I either didn't remember I had or that others had taken and shared with me.  A couple that I particularly loved was one of Sam and Emily, his little BIG sister (she looks younger, but she's in college! :-D) and another of Sam at camp playing carpet ball.  Priceless!!

No doubt about it, I have beautiful kids! :-D (Not a speck of bias in that statement of course! A photo of the "baby" is below, too! LOL)

Although we are not so much a picture-taking family, the photos we have are even more precious to us now, a treasure for sure!!  We got to see lots of them at a tribute for Sam at Galilee Bible Camp in Lafollette, TN! Another precious treasure of memories made by and with Sam!

2) Knock-outs!! Roses, of course!
My incredible quilt club, the Mountain Laurel Quilters not only provided dinner for us all last week while we were cleaning Sam's room and going through his things.  This week they delivered not one, not two, not even three....but TEN!! knock-out roses to us to plant in memory of Sam!  They are beautiful and Jeff and Will put five of them in the ground today.

3) Front porch peace! :-)
Thanks to the Cumberland Homeschool Athletic Teams, the group with which Sam ran cross country and played basketball (and the coach's wife, Tracy, is one of my quilting friends and has a beautiful blog here!), we have a new glider/bench gracing our front porch!  We've spent precious time there admiring our knock-out roses and....

4) The RAIN!! After 90+ degree-days, stuffy and humid, an intense and wonderful thunderstorm line went through, watering our new plantings and our garden.  Awesome!!

And 5) Sweet Hearts!
More beautiful heart blocks have come in the mail -- a total of 22 so far!  Now coming up on three weeks since Sam's passing, the "reality" of his absence hits us daily. But we cannot help but count our blessings, and appreciate the treasures God has given us!

Jesus said,“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV)

I've never been one that focused on Heaven; knowing Jesus is about more than a ticket out of Hell.  Knowing Jesus is having a relationship with the Creator God of the universe.  And He is my ultimate treasure.

But now, as loved ones -- my mom, dad, and son -- have gone ahead of me to the Presence of God, I find that those treasures, too, call me Home.  Truly, where my treasure is, my heart is as well!

Won't you join us there someday!?


Friday, June 3, 2011

Finding Normal

I'm having a productive Friday!  After some difficult days, we are finding a rhythm while preparing our home and our hearts for days without our middle child.  His absence is a tangible thing...we stop mid-task and remember and laugh about something Sam said or did.  Or we sit and listen to the silence and cry some.  It's all good.  He is well loved and will be well remembered.

I'm slowly making my way back into the sewing room.  Other things have had priority this week like some much-needed deep cleaning, some gardening (corn, beans, tomatoes, okra, zucchini and zinnias :-D), going through Sam's things and determining what is "keeper" and what should be saved or donated. 

But my sewing room calls me! :-)  I have a couple of t-shirt quilts, a couple of memory quilts, and three pieced quilt tops (I have the blocks, so I design the setting and sew them together) to do for other people, and I really need to get them done this month.  And as I'm preparing them, I'm thinking about how I can use Sam's t-shirts and dress shirts for quilts (Bonnie Hunter wouldn't waste them!! LOL).

Speaking of Bonnie, she sent me the sweetest email expressing sympathy over Sam's passing, and I had to ask her, "Can I use Sam's boxer shorts in a quilt!?" :-D

TWENTY-FOUR pairs! 2 Dozen! AND...About 18 of them were on the floor.  LOL  We've laughed while cleaning his room.  If he hadn't died, we'd have "killed him" over the dust and debris and multiple piles of laundry! LOL  Washing his clothes gave me much solace, sorting as I went along into "Will will grow into these," goodwill, and "going into a quilt" piles.

Bonnie says the boxers can be used...I'll have to watch for the thinner parts (in the seat and inner thighs :-D), but if old feedsacks and recycled clothing from eras past have lasted, there's no reason his boxers won't work.  I've had in mind a while to do something with the boxers he outgrew (and those Jeff rips out along the way as well! :-D), and my idea was to call the quilt, "Boxer Rebellion." LOL  I have plenty to work with, I think, for a good-sized quilt.

Bonnie's note was one of literally hundreds.  Thank you all SO very, very much for the sweet cards and emails and blog posts....I'm just overwhelmed by the love and sympathy. 

And someone got a quilt block thing going for me....

I've gotten eleven heart blocks in the mail!! When we realised Sam was gone home, I turned into Jeff's arms and whispered, "He was the son of my heart!" -- So much like me, outgoing and always laughing and quipping. With me all the time, self-professed on his facebook profile a "momma's boy." :-D ...

How absolutely lovely and perfect the hearts are!  Words cannot express my joy and overwhelming gratitude at such an outpouring by you all.   Without a doubt, you have helped me immeasurably through this tragedy, and my blessings are too many to number in it!!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

Thank you all so much for lifting me up!


Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.
Psalm 116:15 (NKJV)