Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rocket Boosters

Who can say what strange things cause a burst of creativity!??  For me, it's been a long dry spell...waiting for something to happen, waiting for that muse of break in and set me to work.

I keep inspiring notes on my board...

I have evidence of other people's creativity to spur me on...

Nothing like heroes of the Zombie Apocalypse to generate excitement and fervor (especially if the Xena-like warrior is your own daughter! Go Emily!!! lol)!!

But nothing much has worked until this week.

I took a mad risk.

I've known for a while that I can't function in chaos.  And my Sewing Room/Mary Kay office has been a testimony to a cluttered mind for some time.  Piles of this and that....paperwork and inventory and unfinished projects, and projects that need to be finished because of deadlines and LAST year's deadlines unmet...

No wonder I haven't been sewing!!

This past week, though, I did something I'd been threatening for a while.

I had a YARD SALE!!!

Oh. My. Word!!
Do you know you can clean out stuff? That you can down size? You can rid yourself of clothes unworn and household dust-catchers, and even....dare I say it...FABRIC!?! at a yard sale!?!  And I did!! To the tune of over a $1,000!

I set out on a mission to de-clutter and scale down.  Is it possible to have too much fabric!? For me, the answer is yes.  I couldn't get to the pieces I wanted.  I couldn't see the forest for the trees!! I couldn't pull out pieces to audition because there were already too many pieces out!!

So I got desperate and ruthless, and starting making decisions about what I would keep and what could go.   That fabulous Jan Patek block-of-the-month.  There are other applique projects that I want more, so it hit the sale table.  UFO's that I'd lost interest in, or had started in a class only to push it to the back of the closet.  Yards and yards of "It's so pretty I can't resist it!" fabric filled laundry baskets. Neutrals, prints, Moda, RJR, even my precious Thimbleberries....pared down to manageable amounts.

That Orca Bay Bonnie Hunter mystery that I was sure I wouldn't be finishing...suddenly, with some of the clutter removed, I could put pieces on the design wall...

Could it...?

Would it work....?

Oh. My. Word!!!
It's a quilt top!!  A sorta Bonnie Hunter meets Jo Morton little quilt top!! And I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl!! I'm a quilter again!!!  Who knew!!?!?

One of my favorite passages of scripture is from Hebrews 12:1.  The Amplified version says it this way:

"Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1 AMP)

Entangled is a good word.  And I have to laugh about stripping off the encumbrance.  All day at the yard sale I wore a quilt t-shirt that said, "Eleanor Burns made a stripper outta me!"

How it matters that we throw aside the things that are keeping us from becoming all God created us to be!! 

I keep visualizing the Space Shuttle...with the pieces falling off, boosters shooting the spacecraft into orbit....Beautiful!!  What unnecessary weight do you need to throw off!?

This is my year. My jubilee! Mary Kay said, "If you simplify, you will simply fly!"  Pounds (20 so far!), and clutter and yes, even beautiful things that cannot be appreciated for the sheer bulk of them.  It's time to be boosted to the stars!!  Time to be ALL that God desires me to be!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Vanity, thy name is....

My Mary Kay adventure has been so good!! When I started this new career back in October, I wasn't sure where it would lead.  It was just months after Sam passed away, and all I knew was that MK would give me a platform to bless people. 

Quilting does that (and I always receive sooo much more than I give!), and now MK gives me even more people to know and love.  Weird combo, huh?!  Quilting and Mary Kay??!!  Imagine my great surprise when our make-up artist Lori Hogg trained us in "color correction" -- how the color wheel helps determine what we can use to conceal skin discolorations and blemishes...COOL!! I know color wheel stuff!!!!!

I have qualified for the "Court of Sales" -- a major accomplishment for this newbie and totally NOT possible without the fabulous people who buy from me and (can you believe it!?! LOL) trust me when I talk about make-up.  This plain-jane homeschool mom has enjoyed the unlikely transformation to "glamour guru."  LOL

But it's not without some serious pitfalls!! The business!? GREAT! MK is a fabulous product. The recognition...?  Well, I thought I wanted it....

Enter Exhibit A...

Black Sequined Dress.

The Court of Sales includes a Royalty Reception complete with formal attire, an appearance on stage at our convention (Seminar in  Dallas!!), and if I'm #1 in my national area (I'm currently #2) or my Division (I'm currently #18), a speech.  That's been my motivation.  To talk about a life well lived.  To talk about making a difference.  To talk about Sam.  LOVE! LOVE!!

The dress is a size (or so! :-(  too SMALL.

Vanity, thy name is IDIOT!!! LOL
So I'm working out.  Walking 3+ miles every day. Step Aerobics three times a week.  Weight Watchers.  I have 7 weeks.

Aren't there better ways to spend my time!?!?!  Perhaps a little machine quilting?

I'm still very much a novice on my home machine.  But I'm enjoying the process.  This "little Jo" -- a Jo Morton pattern (can't remember the name) from her club -- is a veritable eye feast of her fabrics and colors. 

The original was square...I got so wrapped up in those quarter-square-triangles that I ended up with a rectangular quilt.  Can't wait to put on the binding!!

I'll be binding another quilt before long.  Judi Madsen at Green Fairy Quilts emailed today that she hoped to finish Sam's Darlin' Hearts very soon.  Be watching her blog for pics!!
I worry that I won't fit into my dress.  That my hard work will be for nothing!! :-)  In quilting there is always a payoff.  Same with a walk with God!!

The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15: 57-58, "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Isn't that a great promise!?  I like knowing that what I invest with Christ is not vanity. 

Unlike the fiasco my black-sequin-dress may prove to be! LOL! :-D  And in case I get discouraged, I need to remember how to weigh....

Need a Mary Kay consultant?  Our skin care and cosmetics are great values! And our Customer Delivery Service gets product to you fast, usually within 48 hours.  Free shipping!!!!  Help me be #1!! :-)
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Moving Along

Spring is easing into Summer and I'm wondering where the time has gone!!  Over the last couple of weeks, I've been walking with a close-aged friend, and we lament about our "lost years."  Wasn't I 30 just a few minutes ago?  Now that my youngest is officially a teenager (Will turned 13 in April), I've decided that teenagers suck all the years right outta ya!!  LOL   Since I've lost about 12 years -- which is, incidentally, the exact number of teenager years I've endured through three children (nearly 7 years with Emily, 4.5 with Sam and Will's 1st) -- I think it's entirely reasonable to accuse them of sucking up all my time!!  LOL

We've had a good couple of months.  We vacationed at the beautiful Edisto Island, SC, earlier this month with a couple of days spent in Charleston.
I took lots of books to read and some handwork, too!  The first I've worked on in nearly a year.

Applique...the center block of a pieced quilt that's been on my UFO list for a while.

And Tumbling Blocks...I'm up to about 115 completed 2" blocks...which means I only have about 479-ish more to complete!! :-)  So far it's a charm quilt with no fabrics repeating. I love the look of it, and English paper piecing makes it portable.  Bonnie Hunter's 1" hexies----uh uh! No Way!! :-D  These I can do without making my eyes feel any older than they are!!

We had some additions to the family...all now distributed to other homes. Mr. Stripey -- actually a Mrs! LOL -- was my favorite and she's safely ensconced with my sister, bravely intimidating her passel of dogs!!  She's every bit the tiger she favors!! :-D

Finally, we noted the first anniversary of Sam's passing.  His memorial stone was set, coincidentally, on the day, May 23rd.  The sillouette is actually of Sam; he would love that we captured him in motion, a fitting tribute to be sure.  His epitaph is the summary of his life: "Living to know Him, dying to make Him known." 

Moving on is difficult...One of the hardest parts of grief is noting that Sam will remain forever 17 and our ages and projects and lives will go forward without him.

But life is designed that way.  I once heard a pastor talk about the 23rd Psalm.  Sheep, he said, are always on the move.  They don't linger in one spot over long. And as long as they follow the Shepherd, they are provided for, comforted, healed...even through the valley of the shadow of death.
My cup overflows!!

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

Sam's roses, planted just days before he died.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord


Many, many thanks to those of you who have checked on me from time to time over the last couple of months!!! You'll never know how much and richly you have blessed me!! May God bless you 100-fold!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

No Worries

It's been quite a while since I've posted anything!!  Master of the obvious, I am. LOL  Lots of things going on...Most of it worrisome, at least in my mind!  Truth is, I don't have all that many problems!!
I'll explain more about that in a minute, though...

I've never considered myself much of a worrier.  I'm mostly an eternal optimist, much to the dismay of most of my friends.  "You are the happiest person we've ever known!" people tell me.  So what's got my panties in a wad for the last couple of months?

I worry about not getting much done!!  Last you heard I was struggling to finish projects for classes I was scheduled to teach in January.  My great friend Jennifer, up from Florida to teach also (and nursemaid me!), stayed up with me into the wee hours of the morning two nights in a row, including the night before I taught Sam's Boxer Rebellion.  I didn't get the top completely finished, but I did get the center together.  Crisis averted. Sorta. :-D
The original pattern is "Dizzy Geese" by Joan K. Streck in the book Quick Quilts from Your Scrap Bag.  I haven't decided how to finish it yet, although the original pattern has a fabulous flying geese border.  I worry that it'll be another UFO. :-P

Likewise, another class had an unfinished sample.  My Contrary Wife in Kansas quilt didn't get completed, but there was enough to demonstrate how it goes together to the class.

I worry about my new business.  I made a major decision a few months after Sam passed away.  They say you should wait a year after a tragedy to make any big changes, but I needed to find a way to do what matters most...bless people! And Mary Kay has given me a platform to do just that.   And I'm loving my new business!!

And I want to do well, as much to honor Sam's memory as to make extra money for my family.  I'm working for some major of which is a top sales position which would garner me a diamond ring (2.45 carats) and (what I really want:) the opportunity to make a speech to 15,000 women at our annual Seminar!!  (If you don't have a consultant, feel free to follow the link to order products online!)  I'd get to talk about what inspired me; I'd get to talk about Sam! 

It's sometimes hard to be focused, though, when there are other things I want to do.  I was doing some Farmer's Wife blocks at a hotel a couple of weeks ago while Jeff attended meetings.  My poor old sewing machine had been neglected.  Luckily Mary Kay came to the rescue when I didn't have a machine brush handy!! LOL

I worry about talking about Sam too much.  I told a friend a few days ago that some days missing him is a palpable ache with many tears.  Other days I can laugh and miss him with great joy.  But I worry that his name comes too easily to me.   I worry that I'll bore you and other friends to tears with it.  I've been so excited by the precious gift my friend Pat-from-upstate-New-York arranged for me....the fabulous Judi at Green Fairy Quilts will be quilting Sam's Darlin' Hearts!!!  But I've hated to mention it because this is a blog about quilting, and not about grief or Sam.  He is part of the fabric of my life, so it's OK to share, but I worry that I overdo it.

But it's time for some perspective on my worries!!

"Therefore, I tell you," Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6, "do not worry about your life..." (v. 25)  The Apostle Peter admonished, "Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you." (I Peter 5:7) 

And given that tornadoes destroyed some 65 homes and injured 200 or more people this past weekend (including a dear friend's daughter who lost part of her leg) just a couple of miles from my home (and our porch furniture didn't even move! We had NO damage!! Thank the Lord!), my worries seem very small indeed.

What worries you?  Did you know the word "anxieties" in the passage from I Peter can also be interpreted as "divisions"?  It indicates a heart divided...whose focus is on worries or self instead of wholly centered on God. 

So I'm puttin' ol' Bobby McFerrin on in the soundtrack of my mind.  "Don't worry, be happy!"  God is too good and life is too short to worry too much!!


P.S. A hearty big ol' "Thank you!!" to all you who wrote, worried about me!!!  Your concern and good words were such a blessing!!!  I hope to get back into the swing of things.  :-D  I've missed you all  greatly!

Monday, January 2, 2012


I wish I could say I was getting in touch with my Scots/Irish/English heritage with a title like that, but of course, in eastern KY, being "kilt" has an entirely different meaning!

I allowed myself yesterday, January 1st, to continue my completely self-absorbed devil-may-care descent into hog-heaven.  For those of you who don't know, hog heaven is that blissful place where you do what you want, when you want, for as long as you want....

My hog heaven?  Movies (Lord of the Rings trilogy!!), Facebook, Words with Friends, gallons of ice-cold Pepsi, cheddar jalapeno crunchy Cheetos and these seasonal favorites:  Snyder's of Hanover's White Chocolate covered Pretzel Dips.....Bliss in a salty/sweet combo that melts in your mouth.  Yummy goodness that is highly addictive! Sigh.

And today, of course, the New Year really began for all us self-improvement, get the heck-outta-hog-heaven individuals.

So off to Step Aerobics this morning.  My first foray there in over 3 months, and I haven't been regular since back when Jeff came home from Afghanistan in May!!  So, yeah!  Might be time.

Surprisingly, I've only gained about 5 lbs (and 3 or more of that has been holiday eating!!  But I'm sure it had nothing to do with the pretzels!!!! :-D)

Working through the routine today was difficult.  Manageable, but difficult! :-)  I had too much pride to go back down a level on the step, or to use less than the 8 lb weights I was using when I was a regular worker-outer.  So, tonight, as soreness settles in, I am well and truly kilt!!!

 I'm sure my dilemma would seem less serious if I could drink an ice-cold Pepsi, but I'm off those, too -- AGAIN.  It's only about the 103rd time I've quit them.  But I really mean it this time!! LOL 

Otherwise, it's been a good second day of the new year.  I started my "Boxer Rebellion" quilt with Sam's boxers! :-D  What a hoot!! The "Dizzy Geese" pattern is one I've wanted to do for a long time, and Sam's plaids (kinda makes you think of kilts, too, huh!? :-D) are gonna be just perfect!

I've got this and another quilt top to finish in time for classes I'm teaching in a couple of weeks!!  My "Contrary Wife in Kansas" quilt uses two traditional blocks, and I'm waffling over the fabrics I wanna use.  Need to have both these quilt tops done by January 18th!

This deadline is why I've not "joined up" with Judy's UFO Challenge for 2012!  I will get there! It's just gonna be February.  So, no time for wallowing in Hog Heaven! No time to be well and truly kilt!

Paul wrote to the Philippians,
 "Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." (Philippians 3:17-21 NIV)
"...their god is their stomach...
our citizenship is in heaven..."

I'm pretty sure Paul didn't mean Hog Heaven.
Here's hoping that step aerobics, better eating habits and the Lord Jesus Christ will "transform our lowly bodies!"