Thursday, September 29, 2011

Amazing Lift

After my makeover photos, I've been on a mission to keep up my appearance, even shopping for (gasp!) clothes instead of fabric!!!! Who knew!?!  LOL  I've not been much of a "high maintenance" woman, to be sure.

I told Jeff that for some 15 years as a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom, I haven't spent money on clothes, make-up, or jewelry, but that's all about to change!!   He took the news like a man.  Busted out in a big cry and begged me to be just as plain-jane as I've always been!! LOL  Nah...I think he's down with my new bad self. :-D

So, shopping!! And since I wanna look good, I figured some new, um..."foundation garments" were in order. :-D  Wanna see!?! NO...I'm not gonna show you my big-girl panties!! LOL

I admit, however, to being intrigued with the phrases the brands are using to tout their wares...

"Amazing Lift!"

Who couldn't use some amazing lift!!?
Got me thinking about what "lifts" me....

A couple of Sundays ago, my friend Lynette gave me a "Sunshine Bag."  A bright green tote filled with lots of little packages, with notes attached to each one.  What the...!?  Her card said, "Your 'sunshine bag' is filled with just 'stuff' that will hopefully bring a smile and encourage."

Check this out!
There are about 25 different little gifts.  The greedy girl in me wanted to snap them all up and unwrap them at the same time.  But I've tempered my impulses and I only open them when I'm feeling particularly blue or discouraged.  I've opened four little packages so far.  Amazing lift!!

What else lifts me?
Words with friends, definitely. Not the game (although I love it!!  lol!), but words with/from/to friends. I love each and every kind word I receive, either in person or in writing. I've been wickedly remiss in replying to so many sweet responses here on the blog!! Each one is precious to me -- healing and solace to my spirit! My lack of response is a perfectionist impulse....I wanna say the right thing back, and can't find the time to formulate the words like I want to...I should be just as lifting to you as you are to me, doncha think?!

Beauty! is another thing...
Quilts, of course...

The red and green I was fortunate enough to photograph at a museum display before being told that photographs weren't allowed. (There weren't any signs! hehehe)  The log cabin is my own, and the quilting still takes my breath!! Done by Mary at Quilt Hollow, there's not another quilt in my house that rivals its beauty.  I fondle it frequently! LOL

Humor -- always a lifter!!  My friend Rebecca tagged me in this one on facebook...

And of course, family.
We snapped this photo on Skype while Jeff was in Afghanistan...
The fuzzy blue robe on the left?? That's me....
Yet another reason for new "foundation garments!" LOL

Paul wrote to the Philippians a verse you've heard me quote before....

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praise-worthy -- think about such things."  (Philippians 4:8)

All around us are things that God has provided for "amazing lift!"  What is lifting you today!?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Half my life...

Is it me, or is time passing very, very quickly from summer to fall, from year to fast!!

It was a year ago that I posted this beauty:
Just a measly 24 years since Jeff and I tied the knot :-D, and three children, and some 20 lbs per child have passed.  The loss of my parents and my son, a house built, three deployments, countless weekend National Guard drills, one kid off to college, and all three off to camp several times. 5K's, Boy Scouts, music lessons, mission trips, makeovers, sports events, chickens, bees, and quilts...

Happy Anniversary, Jeff!!

We celebrated tonight at Outback Steakhouse (hey, it's rural KY...that's as good as it gets! LOL), meeting there after Jeff's military duty and my taking Emily back to campus.  Every year I ask him, "Any regrets?!"  He's gracious enough always to say "I don't reckon." :-D

It dawned on me tonight as I drove home that I've now been married for half my life!! Is that scary or what!?

I wonder what I've been doing with the other half of my life!? LOL

Looking back at photos over the past few years...we're not much of a picture-taking family...

We managed to record a few memorable moments.

A trip to Monticello in 2007...
Lots of homeschooling memories....
Memories of camp...

Lots and lots of fabric and quilts....
And lots and lots of new friends.

I'm thankful for all that these 24 years have brought (and the 24 years before that, too! :-D)

The Psalmist wrote, "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12 NIV).

David is a little more direct in Psalm 39 (NLT):

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.  Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.  You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.  My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” (v. 4-5)

Much has happened in twenty-four years, in forty-eight years!...and time passes very, very quickly!! So many memories still to make! So many more people to know and love.  So many quilts, so little time!!

I best get busy!!


Monday, September 19, 2011


I had the great pleasure of hosting several of my girlfriends for a while on Sunday afternoon for a session of laughter, man-bashing (LOL), strategizing, reminiscing, and just plain girl time that always does something wonderful for the soul!! Do you know about those kinds of girl afternoons!?  Women at their best....I LOVE it!!

Whenever such afternoons occur, it is inevitable that I quote my mother.  Her birthday is next week, and she would have been 79 years old.

Zouri Irene Boone Burke was a phenomenally independent spirited lady who was so very wise and witty.  At first meeting, she was shy and carefully observant of you, although she was good to offer sparkling eyes and a genuine smile. But when you got to know her, she was practical, extremely funny, and had a way of "cutting to the chase" that all who knew her enjoyed.

(Doncha just love her glam photo, probably taken in 1949 or 1950?)

I don't know the origin of some her sayings, but see if you can appreciate the wisdom (and humor!) in them!!

1."Every tub has to sit on its own bottom."
Is that true or what!?! Even when I'm teaching quilting classes, I'm reminded that I am not responsible for other people's choices, and they are not responsible for mine.   You wanna use that color!? I probably wouldn't, but it's your quilt.  Do what you want! :-)

2. "[They] let their skimmer leak."   Huh!? :-D
Mom's and Dad's wedding day, 1952
This refers to missed opportunities.  She was especially fond of saying this to me and my sister in reference to all the boys who wouldn't date us in high school and now wish they had!! :-D  I use it when I realize I should have bought 8 yards of that fabric because it would have been the perfect backing for my quilt. :-)

3. "If cows pooped butter, we wouldn't have to churn!"  And yes, she actually said "pooped."
:-D  No "blackguarding" from my mother! :-)  Mom believed hard work would solve most problems in life and anything worth having you'll probably have to work hard for.  The equivalent would be "no free lunch!"  In this age of entitlement, a reminder that cows don't poop butter might be important to teach, huh?

4. "The more you stir manure, the more it stinks."  Mom used this one mostly in reference to running down gossip and trying to determine who did what to whom when... Nonsense!! Don't sweat the small stuff.  The more it's gossiped about or fretted over or messed in, the uglier it's gonna get.  Better to let it go!

5. "Some people wouldn't be happy if you pooped in their plate."  LOL  We're country and grew up on a farm; poop figures prominently in our reality and our vernacular!! :-D  Mom wasn't especially sarcastic, but this one is a classic!!  The wisdom? Some people you can never make happy!

There's many, many more of these "Irene-isms." :-)  As you might imagine, I'm keeping a list of them to include in her memory quilt.

I've shared her one intricately pieced quilt before....
The little red triangles are no more than an inch at their widest point.  After this scrappy beauty, she decided it was crazy to cut big pieces of fabric into smaller ones and sew them back together.  LOL 

She loved my quilts, but it was "dreamin' of the 'tater hole" to think she'd make another one with little pieces! :-D

"A wife of noble character who can find?" the author of the Proverb wrote. 

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue...Her children arise and call her blessed."  Proverbs 31:26, 28

I was very blessed to have such a mother.  I'm doing everything I can to make sure my children can say the same!!

Do you have any wise sayings from your family to share?


In Memory of Irene Burke
September 26, 1932 - May 10, 2007

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seeing Things Differently

I spent the weekend working on my Farmer's Wife blocks and watching 9/11 remembered on all the major news networks.  I admit to being somewhat flip about this ten-year anniversary.  The sites in New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon seem very, very far removed from my little corner of the world in southeastern Kentucky.  Even Jeff's two tours in Afghanistan seem somehow unrelated, although both were part of the operations that grew out of those terrorist acts on American soil. 

I recently met someone who worked in the South Tower in 2001.  I don't know him well enough to have heard much of his story, but knowing someone who survived the devastation makes 9/11 more personal, more real.  It is one thing to remember where you were while watching the footage on television; it's quite another to think about someone you know at Ground Zero.

What if...?

As I listened again to the stories of last words, of heroic acts, of courage and compassion, I was struck again by how we impact other people.

When we laid Sam to rest, we're told that over 1,500 people came to pay their last respects, many with stories of how this young homeschooled boy had impacted their lives.

And ten years after 9/11, the stories of the fallen and those who survived still have meaning, still have power.

In Scripture, stones of remembrance were laid for major events in Israel's history.  As they crossed the Jordan river, Joshua instructed them, "In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them... These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever." He explains the reason behind remembering: " that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."  (Joshua 4:6-7, 24 NIV)

I sew my Farmer's Wife blocks together and realize that quilters are all about remembering.  Whether it's the memorial quilts that I've sewn for other people, or the ones I plan for Sam, or remaking the patterns made by quilters long ago...As quilters, we remember and pay homage to those who have gone before us.

We celebrate those who are yet to be.
And we use every opportunity to give comfort, warmth, peace and joy to those who are touched by our craft. I think of so many quilts -- 9/11 quilts, the AIDS quilts, quilts for abused children, tsunami and hurricane and fire many tragedies in which quilts helped in the healing process.

We do not always know the reasons things happen, but God's hand is powerful.  And every act of remembrance, every time a story inspires or informs our lives, makes us aspire to greatness...then His hand is revealed.

I do not ever want to forget!
May God richly bless all who remain and remember!


Thursday, September 1, 2011


Before Emily went back to college we decided to do a facial together.  A local and wonderful Mary Kay consultant (thanks Brenda Howell!) agreed to come to our house and bring "the works" with her!

And boy, did she!! We had a great time being "girly" and cutting up with Brenda, a regular old "hen party" with just us three.

A "hen party" is kinda appropriate.  After I got dolled up, my mother would have told me that my "comb was getting red!"  It's an old expression for older hens (like me, I guess! LOL) whose comb turns a brighter color to attract the roosters for the up-coming mating season and resulting chicks! LOL 

I don't know about "mating season" (and as for chicks, well...I think that ship has sailed, if not physically just yet, certainly mentally! LOL), but I am feeling the need to reclaim some health and beauty, and Mary Kay is as good a way as any to start.

Brenda also invited me to a makeover photo shoot...and it was so much fun!!  Take a look at some of the shots they achieved....I, who have NEVER been photogenic!! These pics are of ME! :-)
Change is inevitable and difficult! After doing well with fitness and weight loss earlier in the year, I slacked off when Jeff came home, then just couldn't find the heart or the time to go after Sam passed away.

But as the year slides away, I'm mindful of the time that I'm losing!  Of the opportunities that might be hindered if I am not healthy, looking my best, accomplishing all that I can in the short time I have remaining.  Even if God lets me live to be 100 years old, the time will pass all too quickly, as I'm discovering in my middle age. :-)

There can be makeovers by the dozen, but no do-overs. 

I was pulling out quilts to work on with my Hobby Quilter and found Ribbons from Kim Brackett's Scrap Bag Surprises.  When I laid it out, I found -- much to my dismay -- one of the blocks turned the  wrong way...

 I "carved" the block out of the top (thankfully it was close to the border!), and turned it around so that the pattern was preserved. 

If the quilt top had "feelings" :-D, I'm sure it would have protested the ripping, pulling, pressing, pinning and mending that took place
to bring it a little closer to perfection. :-)

I know I'm not having an easy time of this "perfecting" thing...
The Apostle Paul called it work!! :-)

"We proclaim him," (referring to Jesus), "admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.  To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy which so powerfully works in me."  (Colossians 1: 28-29 NIV)

Christ is in the business of makeovers, more's the praise!!  And the result is -- well, what we hoped we looked like all along!!  I'm glad His energy can work powerfully in me, even when I'm not too excited about the prospect.

Even when this old hen doesn't feel like it.  When pain and loss and mending are difficult.

So! It's up at 5:30 to walk in the mornings, aerobics three times a week. Beauty products and rest instead of staying up all hours to quilt and play Words with Friends! LOL

And the perfecting of the spirit--just as difficult and painful--but so worth the end result!!