Monday, December 26, 2011


You can tell by my few blog posts in the last several month that I've not quilted a whole lot. Farmer's Wife blocks for a class I was teaching, memorial quilts that I'd contracted before Sam passed away, the club mystery quilt...That's about it! :-(   Very unusual for someone who usually quilted every single day!!  My friend Jennifer says it's 'cause when I'm sewing at home, I'm usually alone, and too much alone time was resulting in too many tears. True enough, I suppose.

The gals at the local quilt shop talked me into doing Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay mystery.  I got them into Roll, Roll Cotton Boll last year, so turn about was fair play.  Just rifling through fabric and cutting fabric and sitting with them each Friday to work on it together -- all these seem to have brought some of my quilting joy back!!  And after completing a particularly difficult (for me) memorial quilt for a friend, I tied into Sam's Darlin' Hearts!  And today, I finished the quilt top.

And I'm just in awe.

Not of my work. Far from it.

I'm in awe all over again of the beauty of friendships and heartfelt sympathy and prayers and love that was given to me in the weeks following Sam's death. Who could believe people are so kind! And to me!! As I've looked over the blocks, many are from "close" quilting blog friends. And just as many are from people whose blog paths I've never crossed, or if I have, it was a periferal thing. And yet they cared enough to make a block (or two, or FOUR!) and send them to me in the most difficult days of my life!!

There are no words to properly thank you!! I tried to send cards (I saved every card, envelope and note! :-D), but my tears smeared the ink.   Maybe this small recognition will let you know how grateful I am.  Each name is a link to their blog (if they have one and I know it :-D ) Check them out! They are all amazing!

Row 1

Sharon, Miki, Jacque (1 block of 2 she made!), Stephanie (1 of 2 she made! and I think that's the right blog!) and Ann...

Row 2

Selma Jean, Rhonda (the first block I received!), Cassey, and Rebecca...

Row 3

Debbie (the strawberry fabric was a definite clue! :-D), Sarah, and Teresa...

Row 4

Mary, Crispy (this is the one that sparked the quilt name --  because it made me cry like Charlene Darling on Andy Griffith! :-D), Barb (the sparrow story is amazing!), and Janet...

Row 5

Diane (my Hands 2 Help quilt-for-Romania exchange partner through Sarah's blog), Ann (1 of 4 blocks!!), and LuAnn (who also checked on me through Jeff's deployment! Thank you!!)...

Row 6

Sue (1 of 2 blocks!), Jacque, Ann, and Stephanie...

Row 7

Ann, and Sue, and Cindy Lou :-)...

Row 8

Beth, TonyaPaulette, and Staci (this is the only one I'm not sure of...and isn't that a hoot, Stace, since your blog is The Confused Quilter! :-D)...  Correction! :-) The last one on this row is Kate's (Kathleen, below)!! So. is the blue pieced one Staci's!?!?  LOL  Let me know, if you know!)

And Row 9

Kathy,  Ann, Robbie, Kathleen, and Karen.

Many of the blocks came from quilters who participated in Sarah's Hands 2 Help challenge.  Such generous gals!! Thank you so much!

I think the quilt top is just stunning!! I have a couple of quilters in mind to complete it, and then it's snuggle time. :-)

This is the first of three pieced quilts I'll make in Sam's memory -- I'll be piecing one with his boxers :-D (there are 24 pair of them!! :-D) in the next couple of weeks, and I have a bunch of blue fat quarters that my quilt club gave me to use in another. 

I received a quilt from Mary at Quilt Hollow, and it's already a favorite. She won the quilt top, then quilted it and sent it to me to bind.  What a blessing!!

And then I have his t-shirts and other memorabilia to place in quilts for Emily and Will. Sweet!!

Philippians 1:3-8 expresses some of what I feel for you all. :-)  I like the Message translation...

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
 It's not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does!

Thank you for being God's grace to me.  Thank you for giving from the heart.  Thank you for, as was said of Sam, loving "without filters."  Thank you for being a part of my finding my quilt joy again!  May you be blessed  a hundred fold!!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Angels, Blessings and Christmas

It's hard to believe that another Christmas is here...another year we've been blessed to celebrate the birth of Christ, the gift of Hope to the world, the promise of abundant life to all who receive Him.

I find myself drawn to the story of God made flesh -- even though it is old and familiar, this year it seems amazing to me again in a way I hadn't experienced in a while.  Perhaps because I'm remembering the birth of my own children.

We've been singing a song at church this month by Chris Tomlin called Hallowed Manger Ground.  The last verse begins, "The Son of God, here born to bleed, a crown of thorns would pierce His brow..."  And I wonder that He came at all, knowing all that was in store for Him.

And I'm struck that another son -- my Sam -- was also known by God, and sent by Him, and all that has transpired this year with his homegoing and our loss....none of it was a surprise to God, and He is still working a plan, the fruit of which I have yet to see.  Hard to fathom! Hard to understand. Hard to take, sometimes. :-) And yet, as Mary must have understood, we have to trust God.

I guess I've cried just about every day.  But blessings abound.  Some new angels on the  mantle...
"Remember" from a friend at church. So appropriate, so perfect.   Just to the left of Remember is the "Angel of Summer" that Mary at Quilt Hollow sent me last Christmas because Jeff was deployed and she knew there'd not be much under the tree for me. :-)  What good friends!!

Another dear friend gave me "Heart of Gold," also a Willow Tree figurine...  just the perfect representation of our Sam.

Sam's Boot Camp friends gave us ornaments from a race he ran last winter called the "Jingle Bell Run." :-D  Last year's race photo becomes the current year's trophy ornament...and the Boot Campers checked out the engraving, contacted the company and added Sam's name to it for them and for us to have as keepsakes.  Awesome! :-)

Sam is number 110--'bout fourth in the start, and he looks cold, but not as cold as those guys without shirts! LOL

So many changes this year.  I look back over all that I've written here in the last several months...It feels like eons ago.  It feels like yesterday!!  I'm in awe at what God has done and is doing. 

Ephesians 3:14-21 (The Message)

14-19My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
20-21God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!  

Just like the angels sang to the shepherds on that first Christmas morn!
"Glory to God in the Highest!"

May every blessing of Christmas be yours today and in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


We had a very large package arrive on our doorstep a few days ago.  One I'm not too excited about...

The freight guy wasn't thrilled either.  This thing was over 300 pounds!! So it wasn't going any further than the front porch 'til Jeff got home!  After a brief chat about politics (he was a conservative like me, so we were able to groan about the state of the union together! LOL), Delivery Guy skedaddled and left me with this monstrosity.

Jeff has high hopes for it.
He spent the better part of the evening assembling it...
I'm still not impressed.
It's in the basement.  How can I convert the basement into a Quilt Cave (like Teresa's over at Fabric Therapy) with this THING in the way!?!

He expects I'll use it.  Maybe.  If I can figure out how to unfold it!! Goans!!
This is normal me (see, I don't have on my Mary Kay face yet! And don't mind the facial hair!  LOL).

This is me contemplating the use of a treadmill.

Definite groans!!

I seriously don't know why Santa has covered his face.  Maybe because he doesn't have one!! I don't really like embroidery, so this is one block of a wall hanging I may never get done!  It's a beautiful pattern, but I'd rather applique than embroider.

I probably will use the treadmill, eventually.  But not right now!!  I have mysteries to solve!!

I've been working on Orca Bay, Bonnie Hunter's latest mystery quilt.

Amidst the chaos of my sewing room is this pile of my progress...
I've almost finished the blue strings, and I'm still working on black/neutral quarter and half-square triangles. 

In the meantime, I've also got Farmer's Wife blocks to finish (my class is finishing up the last of the 111 blocks this month!), a memory quilt to finish for a client in time for Christmas (oh the pressure!), a Mary Kay open house and several parties to complete...

And all I wanna do is play in this....
Not a real snow yet.
But it could be.
It will be.
Soon, I hope!! :-)

Timing is everything.  A white Christmas in Kentucky!?  Maybe.

God knows all about timing.  In the book of Galatians, the apostle Paul talks about the coming of Jesus.

"But when the time had fully come," Galatians 4:4 tells us, "God sent his Son..."

I've no doubt the snows will come to Kentucky.  They've been here before, and I've relished their beauty and the joy they've brought.

Just like God's grace.  I've seen it and felt it, experienced it daily.  His timing is always perfect!

And when the snows come, I just might give that old treadmill a try!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Never Alone

I'm finding it hard this just-turned Thanksgiving morning to find words...

This is our first without Sam, and it surely feels like something vital is missing...laughter, noise, and that greatest of all holiday accessories, the teenage-boy-eating-machine!!  :-)  I've dreaded the holidays this year, knowing these "firsts" will be difficult. Funny...we anticipate with such impatience the firsts of life's beginning. First teeth, first steps, first words.  Not so much those firsts of life's end.

I spent some time earlier this evening looking at photos from last Thanksgiving...

We traveled to Mississippi with "adopted" family -- ties forged between children and mothers who share adventures and hobbies, and time and treasures. What a blessed, sweet time we had together! 

And I find myself thankful for friends and family and times that can never be recaptured but can always be remembered. 

And thankful for here and now...

And all that is to come.

As I shed a few tears tonight, a Word came to me from Joshua...

The book of Joshua in the Old Testament begins, "After the death of Moses..." and God gives a charge to Joshua as he is to be the leader of Israel.  "Be strong and courageous" God tells him, three different times!

The final time He says, "Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."  (Joshua 1: 9 NIV)

Perhaps I can find words, after all.

Thank You, Lord, for so many blessings.  Beautiful children that You entrused to me and Jeff, one who has already accomplished all You purposed for him and who is with You now!, a wonderful home, memories that are not only precious to this momma's heart, but include testimony of Your goodness and mercy and what You can do with a life given to You.

And thank You for Your Presence and Your promises to never leave nor forsake.  How well I know You keep Your word!!

May God richly bless YOU this Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I have always enjoyed Bonnie Hunter's pics.  You know the ones...taken from her car as she travels along.  Sunrises, sunsets, trees, highways, byways... It's a fascinating look at her perspective in life, a snapshot of adventures we are all taking with her as we quilt!!

I was traveling home after spending Thursday, Friday and Saturday with my "posse" of Mountain Laurel Quilters at our fall retreat, and I had to pull out my camera and snap what was in front of my minivan!

Let me get a little closer so you can see...

Bonnie gets vistas; I get...
Well!  LOL

That would be the worst of my retreat this past weekend! :-D  I got some much needed quilt therapy, working on some projects that have been lanquishing far too long (kinda like my blog!!)!

I finally got the alternate blocks pieced for Sam's Darlin' Hearts! I was able to put them up on the design wall when I got home.  My wall is not quite big enough to hold all the blocks (and it's behind my sewing table, so I have to get an angle shot to capture the bottom. :-D)...but they are simply gorgeous.

I also pieced blocks for the Shiners View quilt that I found through Sarah's Confessions of a Fabric Addict blog.  I love how the big prints play in this design!!

I "leader-ed and ender-ed" 1 1/2" squares for my Crabapples (one of Bonnie Hunter's
:-D), and just for funsies, also worked a little on a Tumbler quilt for which I've had a kit for at least a couple of years.  These 5+" blocks make for easy piecing!! And wonderful scrappy, dark fabrics -- my usual pallette, unlike the other blocks I worked on during the weekend!

It's the most time I've spent on quilting since Sam passed away.  It was much needed therapy!!  Being around other quilters is always good for the soul!

And following a donkey all the way home was a reminder....

I need to be sure I'm following the right people!!
I don't mean the rich or famous, or government leaders, or ambitious or even influential people, or even people exactly like me...

But people who are positive.  People I want to emulate because they are excellent quilters, excellent designers, excellent people.  People who have HEART!!

Paul writes, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV).  Jesus said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28 NIV). 

I pray I'll be someone who always follows the right Person -- so that if others find themselves behind me, they won't be jerking out their camera to capture a jackass in all her glory!! :-D


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


It's 4:30 am and I should be sleeping!
I want (!) to be sleeping! but allergies (runny nose) and a million things circling in my head have me awake, so it's better to just get on up and do something productive until I feel sleepy again.

Do you ever have those kind of nights?

One part of my brain is wondering if I got everything to Konda that she needed...
She's hosting the Fat Quarter Stars Quilt-Along at Moose on the Porch and I designed a block that goes on today.  It's called Friendly Winds.  It's over there, so that must have worked out OK!

Another part of my brain is wondering about the Cathedral Stars blocks I made.

I started this quilt back in March when Bonnie Hunter was gonna be at Pigeon Forge.  Jeff came home from Afghanistan (he's always disrupting my quilting plans! LOL), so I didn't get to go to Bonnie's class.  I'd mocked up the quilt in EQ in different colorways than Bonnie's:
It looks good on paper, but I'm not so sure about it on the design wall.

I'm up anyway, might as well try something else.

So I've made a block with yellow star points and one with blue -- closer to Bonnie's original:
I'm liking the blue the best.

Isn't it funny how things always look better on paper than they do in real life?

A budget.
A schedule.
A plan.

If there is anything I've learned this year it's that things don't always work out as we plan.  We'd planned Sam's senior year and college visits.  Things we  wanted to get accomplished before the winter set in.  I have no less than a dozen quilts I wanted to finish by year's end.  Not much of what we planned is gonna come about.  I wonder how this difficult year will end.

At our church over the last several weeks, we've been hearing a series of messages called "Champions" on Faith from Hebrews 11. (You can check them out here.)  Hebrews 11:1 tell us "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  Faith is resting in all Christ is and all Christ has done.  Faith is having confidence in what God has said.  Faith cultivates a life that is in agreement with God.  Faith lives in light of future anticipation....

That the best is yet to come.
That the present reality is not an indication of the future and what it holds for we who believe!!

One of my favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption.  Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, tell his friend, "Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

At the end of the movie, Red, played by Morgan Freeman, says, "I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope."

Proverbs -- always full of practical wisdom! -- tells us "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD." (Proverbs 21:30)  There is so much to hope for, so much to believe!

I hope my quilt turns out as pretty as Bonnie's.
I hope I can get everything done today that needs to be done.
I hope I can go back to sleep!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Junk in the Trunk

We were driving through Lexington the other day and I saw an amazing and comical sight.  Now, understand that I'm a little old-fashioned, and my daughter is quick to inform me that fashionista! I am not!! LOL 

A young man was standing alongside the road, with pants slung so low they were about to fall off...hanging only by a, well... small protrusion up front!!

All I could think was, "That poor kid has no butt!!"

Granted, you'd think I'd have more to dwell on these days, what with school and quilts and working out and my Mary Kay business and what not...But today, as we are doing reverse curls in aerobics...

(And just by the way, WHO decided that lifting your rump off the floor was a good way to build abdominal muscles!?!  Don't they know it's made for sitting on!? Don't they know the force of gravity is stronger than our ability to rock the thing all the way off the floor multiple times when lying on our back!?!)

And I'm thinking, "At least I've got some butt to lift!"
You know that there are foundation garments out there (remember I was shopping for foundation garments a couple of weeks ago!) that actually build up a woman's posterier end?

But I've never, no never! seen such a product for a man.
Shouldn't he have a little something back there as well!?!  I mean, seriously! Wasn't Glutimus Maximus the name of Russell Crowe's character in The Gladiator!!?!!  He doesn't need a thing to improve the view!

I can remember some of the older generation talking about "Coal Miner Pants."  When I inquired, I learned it meant he had "slack" in his drawers.  No rear. No caboose.

Back in the olden days, when I was about 19 years old, I got down to 125 lbs -- skin and bone for this 5'6" girl.  My collar bones stuck out weirdly, my arms looked all twiggy, and I can remember my momma telling me I was too skinny and had no butt.  I soon got over the boy who made me sad and I retrieved my backside glory!!

My family has always been blessed with full posterior ends. Male and female -- no flat rears, no saggy britches, no pockets without something to fill them.  They've always told me I look good from the backside...but that might mean I look better going than coming.   Hmmmmm....

I'm pretty sure God has no preference for flat or rounds ones, since He made them all.  Proof positive, however, that He has a sense of humor, with all the variety in shapes and sizes.  I'm pretty sure, though, He wouldn't mind if the saggy britches were pulled up a bit.  I don't need to see the hook those pants are hanging on.  Just sayin'....

And He would have this to say, from Isaiah 52:12 (NIV):
"But you will not leave in haste
or go in flight;
for the LORD will go before you,
the God of Israel will be your rear guard."

Think I better get off my rear and get some work done.  Or maybe get ON my rear and get some quilting done.  That sampler isn't gonna quilt itself, now is it!?


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!?