Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Twice in One Weekend!

I don't go to see a movie very often. I'm not sure why. I love movies - well, I love some movies. The romantic comedies that make me laugh are certainly my favorites because who wants to cry anyway? I don't like war movies or movies about injustice because they make my heart hurt way beyond crying. There are so few happy movies any more that I've just gradually quit going. But this weekend I went twice.

First of all (true confession time) I love the Twilight series of books and have read all four of them twice now and will probably read them again. I've seen Twilight (the movie) at the theater once and at home once and in my camper twice. I know, why in the world would I watch it that many times? The same reason I've seen Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail a hundred forty seven times each. Slight exaggeration. Love conquers all....boy loves girl, girl loves boy....happy is in the eye of the beholder. I'm all about movies that are all about love. I'm sure you can deduce that this weekend I saw New Moon, the second movie in the Twilight series. I'm on Team Edward in case any of you are interested. I bet that real movie people think these movies would never get an A+ with real movie people and maybe they're right. I don't care. I loved it and I will see it again. In fact, I've been borrowing my daughter's copy of Twilight and I just may buy my own copy and a copy of New Moon when it's available. I'll add it to my collection that includes, you guessed it, Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail. When I watch movies like these I leave the theater, or turn off the television, with a sigh, thinking "all's well with the world." And I like that feeling.

And then, wonder of wonders, the next day I went to see The Blind Side. I love, love, love Sandra Bullock and would probably go see her in anything but she is incredibly perfect in this movie. This is the world as I want it to be. Well, her part in it anyway. She plays the part of a white, rich, southern woman in Memphis who runs across a black kid who is way out of his element in a private Christian high school. He has little family and no one taking care of him so she, Sandra, takes him home with her and he becomes her son/she becomes his mama. She is as fierce as a mama bear and fights for him with every fiber of her heart. I know that God loves children and He loves those who take care of his children. And I love to see it happen. It will join my growing collection of "feel good" movies.

I know there are wonderful, deep movies out there that are designed to make me think and wonder and change my perceptions. Don't ask me to go see them. I guess you can call me Pollyanna and that's ok. But I want a movie that doesn't make my heart hurt and doesn't make me cry except with joy. These two fill that bill.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gently Used

Have you ever thought about that term - gently used? I can think of several things it might mean....but in this case it means I've read these books or made these patterns or decided not use these panels! So I'm passing them on to anyone who wants to gently use them some more. I made the Frankenstein wall hanging and it's cute. I made the sewing purse out of pink wool - love it! The journal is a wonderful idea, but I'm not that organized about my quilting journey! The Prayer of Jabez and The Secrets of the Vine I bought multiple copies of when I found them on sale one day. The Quilt of Life is a book of devotions and What I Learned From God When Quilting are interesting observations on life. The panels are things I got on sale after Christmas one time or another and haven't used or had multiples of. If you're interested in any of these just leave me a comment and let me one which one(s). I'll wait until Monday and then if there is more than one person wanting an item I'll draw names. I'll let you know if you've "won" the item and you can send me your address so I can mail it. I'm trying to gradually clean out my sewing room so hopefully soon I'll have a few more items! Oh and the bag I machine embroidered and it's jus for fun!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bless Her Heart

You know that wonderful southern saying, "Bless her heart!" which excuses anything you want to say about anybody at any time? Like, "She's gained a little weight hasn't she, bless her heart!" when you really mean, "man she's packing on the pounds!" This time I'm going to say it about myself. "She's getting a little forgetful, bless her heart!" meaning, I can't remember anything when I need to remember it but I can remember my telephone number when I was 10 just in case anyone needs to know it.

Anyway, here's the thing. I started taking Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting Magazine in January of 1997. I'm not sure when they started the magazine, maybe 1996, but I started with January of 1997. And I have every single issue since then, except....I've lost March/April 2002 and July/August 2003. Now, bless my heart, I have just a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (meaning I'm close to freakish about this magazine but don't care if the dust bunnies are piling up in the corners and the spiders are building condiminiums on the windows) but I sure would like to have those two magazines. If any kind soul out there has them and wouldn't mind parting with them I'd be ever so grateful. I won't offer to bake you anything because I'm prone to burning stuff, but I can do pretty good embroidery so I'm willing to trade some embroidery work for them. And if there are issues prior to January 1997 that you'd like to get rid of....well my first born child is 44 but we might could work out a deal!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Shouldn't Be Telling You This But....

I really, really want to win this Candle Mat from Cath's Pennies so please don't enter this giveaway. I said I would post about it so I'm posting, but please don't go here and enter. You probably wouldn't like it. Really. Oh and I have a bridge to sell.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gifts From Afar

A couple of weeks ago I won these wonderful Kaffe Fassett fabrics from Paula at The Quilter. I was thrilled to say the least. I'm terrible at picking out bright colors and now I have these beautiful ones all coordinated for me. I'm not sure what I'm going to make yet but it's going to be great fun deciding! Paula lives in Colorado and I was just a few miles away from her when we were there in September!

And then a few days later I got another package in the mail. This was a birthday present from my cousin Carol. She knows I love aprons so she got me this traditional German apron when she was there. It's a beautiful blue and much too pretty to wear....except on special occasions. Is today special? :) Carol lives in Oklahoma and I'm hoping to see her soon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

October Goals and Other Stuff

I didn't really have many goals in October because I was just determined to enjoy the process and quit stressing over what I wasn't getting done. That one I accomplished! I wanted to get another redwork baby bib done and I managed to complete it. I'm showing you both of the ones I've done even though you've seen one before. I think I'll keep one of these going most of the time because they're just so cute I think they'll make wonderful baby gifts. I'm not sure which is my favorite...The Play House Mouse or

The Honey Bear. What do you think?

I needed to make one more Christmas stocking that I'd promised last year. I think I've made 9 of these now!

Gumtree Designers has had several free Christmas patterns the last few weeks. This little Christmas Mouse caught my eye - he looks like I feel after Christmas dinner! I stitched it and then couldn't decide exactly what I wanted to do with it! Finally I ran across this fabric and it turned into a Christmas Gift Sack - not sure who will get this one but it sure is cute don't you think?

I had a lot of fun embroidering this little Fall Sampler. I feel really, really bad because I've misplaced the pattern and can't remember where I got it. I know one of my blogging friends gave it away as a free pattern on her blog so if you know please tell me and I'll add a link here. I have a small wall space in my kitchen where I'm trying to hang a different quilt each month. This one is having to serve for October and November both! Edited to note that this pattern came from Kaaren at The Painted Quilt. Thanks to Karen at Log Cabin Quilter for reminding m e!
This candle mat was a lot of fun to make too. It has jack-o-lanterns and gourds all around the outside with a blank space in the center for a candle. I had considered using wools but because I had the scraps I needed I went with all cottons.
When we were in Estes Park, Colorado in September I visited Maggie Mae's Quilt Shop - one of my favorite shops ever. She has tons of embroidery patterns and has made most of them herself, pieced them into quilts, and hand quilted them all! This time she had some good, thick, old-fashioned tea towels with patterns of 8 different fruits. This is the first one I've done. I'm hoping to get them all made for Christmas gifts - wish me luck!
And finally, finally, Winter Wonderland is finished. My sewing room is a mess and I couldn't get it to hang well enough for me to get a picture so I had to just lay it on the floor - I know, I know, it's time to clean the sewing room! You've seen it in various stages though and I'll try to get a picture of it hanging when I get my Christmas decorations up.
Every month when I think about what I've done I think oh there's nothing to show...until I start gathering things up! I'm glad I've done this goal-setting thing because it's made me realize that I really do get more done than I think I do. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can You Smell The Flowers?

Last weekend my sister got to keep her two grandchildren. On Saturday, a beautiful fall day, they decided to go by the cemetary to check on the flowers on her husband's grave. On this particular day the sun was shining, there was a nice breeze but it was warm enough to be out, the leaves were falling...can't you just picture it? There are rolling hills and big, old oak trees everywhere. This cemetary is very well maintained and most of the markers have urns built in on both sides. Families bring beautiful artificial flowers for every season so when you look across the cemetary you see spots of bright colors. It's such a peaceful place and when you're there the world seems to fade away.

As Sherry was doing a little cleaning around the grave Ella, who is 3 1/2 years old, spied the flowers. Bending just a little she sniffed appreciately. And ran from stone to stone all around the cemetary smelling the flowers. "Oh Nana, smell this one!" and "Nana, Nana, come and smell this one." They could hardly get her to leave because she was so enthralled with the wonderful scents of the flowers. The artificial flowers.

Oh, how I want to be like Ella. I want to smell the flowers even when there's no scent there. I want to see the beauty when there's no light. I want to hear the music when there's no sound. I want to count the blessings of what God has given me with the joy of a child.

Can you smell the flowers? If you can't, why not? Let's don't be adults, just for today. Let's be children today and see all the wonderful things this world offers us. Will you do that with me?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

She's a Really Nice Lady But....

Do you read The Pioneer Woman? She's quite possibly the most famous blogger ever. She was a spoiled little city girl whose father was a surgeon and who grew up living in a house on the golf course. Can you say spoiled? She loved Starbucks and black high heel pumps, not necessarily in that order. One day, between college and law school, she met The Marlboro Man, fell in love, and got married. He was/is a bonafide cowboy and he took her to live down on the ranch...where she learned the front end of a horse from the back end, has cattle in her front yard, has shoveled manure, fought fires, and herded those cattle (or helped as I'm sure she couldn't do it alone). She learned ranching from the ground up, had four babies that she home-schools, and takes amazing photographs. I like the way she writes - she's honest and down to earth and she isn't afraid to laugh at herself. She also learned to cook - none of that fat-free stuff, but food that will stick to your ribs if you're a cowboy getting up at dawn to brand cattle or you're a kid running around like a wild thing all day long. Recently she released her cookbook and began a book signing tour. This week it hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list! Which brings me to the point of this post.

One of my daughters gave me the cookbook for my birthday and then drove me to Little Rock for the book signing. The traffic was horrible, we went to the wrong store, and when we finally made it to the right place there were hundreds of women ligned up to see her! She is a nice lady ya'll. A really nice lady. Cute dimples, a great smile, to-die-for hair, and so very friendly. She signed and had her picture taken over and over and over. As nice as she was there was no way I was going to stand in line for 3 or 4 hours to have her sign my book. We decided to just stand back a little way, take her picture, and drive back home. We had a wonderful visit driving over and we were ok with that. Until.....until we spotted him. The Marlboro Man. Live and in person.

Now Ree I love you honey, but.....

We're talking about The Marlboro Man.

I don't know about you but I'd rather have him sign my book and be in a picture with me than her any day. I thought seriously about sneaking out the back door with him and running away. He really likes older women. He told me so. I'm sure I heard him say that. She'd probably want to fight me for him but I think I could take her.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Little More of This and A Lot More of That (More Cooking Adventures)

As promised I'm reporting back on a couple of recipes I tried this week - both stolen directly from you, my blogging friends. I'm always reluctant to try new things since I've been known to burn simple things, like a pot of beans. But these two sounded so good that I decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. I knew up front that biting the bullet might end up being literal as that could be all we had for lunch if the recipes didn't work but I'm pleased to announce that ya'll know what you're doing with these two recipes.

First the bad news. I like to buy those Hormel or Tyson prepared know the kind you find over in the "I'm too lazy to cook tonight so what do you have that I can zap for four minutes and pretend I cooked" section? The price isn't bad ($5-$6) and mostly we like them although I'm not sayin' they're low cal or low sodium or low anything except low work for me. I had a $2 coupon, and I'm all about coupons, so I bought a new one we hadn't tried before - Hormel Apple Bourbon Pork Chops. Trust me on this one, it would have taken a lot more bourbon to make those good, and I hate bourbon. I should have gone with the tried and true beef roast or pork roast. Lesson learned.

Now the good news. I had this wonderful spaghetti squash (truth be told I have several boxes of spaghetti, butternut and acorn squash my sister shared with me out of her garden hidden in my living room coat closet, but that's another story for another day) that I wanted to cook. Judy over at My Lime Green Kitchen posted a recipe for Italian Spaghetti Squash and it not only sounded good, but it also sounded simple. Right up my alley. You can check out the recipe for yourself but if you like spaghetti squash I bet you'll like it. I did eliminate the bell peppers since they hate my stomach, or my stomach hates them one, and I didn't have all the spices she mentioned mainly because I also don't like sage but other than that I followed her recipe exactly. Oh, except I doubled the butter and parmesan cheese. And instead of fresh tomatoes I used a can of Italian stewed tomatoes., that's all I changed, promise.

And for dessert (here's the really best part since dessert is usually the best part, right?) Janet's Crescent Cream Cheese Sensations! Janet writes in the Blackberry Patch (I guess her blackberry's must be thornless and yes, there really are thornless blackberries) and this woman knows what she's talking about! I had crescent rolls and cream cheese that I'd bought on sale (by now you should have figured out I hardly buy anything if it's not on sale) and besides, if it has cream cheese on it I'll eat it no matter what it is. This is a great dessert and would make a wonderful breakfast dish. It tastes just like a cheese danish! Not too sweet or too rich - just doggone good!

I've been drooling over a couple of other recipes that I think I'll try later this week now that I'm well on my way to becoming an expert cook. Quit laughing! I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Little of This, A Little of That

I'm not a very good cook. Really. Don't try to defend me because it just won't work. I don't know why I'm not although I daresay practice would help. Now there are those who, upon meeting my husband the first time, would say, "Surely this woman must be a great cook!" :) Not so! He's just a big guy and he owes it all to his mother who was a wonderful cook, and to his high school football coach who told him he needed to put on weight so he should eat a peanut butter sandwich and drink a glass of milk every night before going to bed. While he gave up the sandwich and milk he still has a spoon of peanut butter most nights.

I have a point to this story. Usually I have a point but I spend a lot of time getting around to it. Anyway, last week I was doing some hand stitching and turned on the tv to hear a little noise. I was going to watch a rerun of NCIS, the very best television show ever, but I caught a glimpse of Rachel Ray and wondered who was on her show that day. It was "The Hungry Girl." Ever heard of her? Me either. But she had some interesting things to say even if I didn't plan to follow her fat-busting advice. She suggested we bake a chocolate cake by mixing one chocolate cake mix with one can of pumpkin. Period, the end, nothing else. It cuts out the oil and the eggs and adds fiber and tastes good, so she said. I figured that would be easy to remember and easy to cook and besides I had all those cake mixes that I got for $.78 at Walmart on sale so what the heck. Friday was the day I chose to do that because I figured I could take part of it to my son's house when I went because with three kids they'll eat most anything and if it wasn't good it wouldn't matter.

I mixed the cake. I didn't remember if she said to use a mixer or just stir so I decided to treat it like a brownie and stir. And stir. And stir. It took a little while but it mixed. I sprayed a 11 x 13 pan and dumped it in. I spread it out a little, but not enough because little did I know it wouldn't rise and it wouldn't spread when it got hot. Where I put it was where it stayed. Result, thick spots and thin spots. Since it looked a little funny I thought I'd just put some icing on it. After all, I had all that icing I got for $.78 at Walmart on sale. :) Ya'll, you need to go out right this very minute and buy a cake mix and icing and a can of pumpkin. I could have eaten that whole pan by myself. I didn't even want to take any to my son's, that's how good it was. You know it was good if it made a Mama wish she could keep it all for herself. I suppose the can of icing completely negated the whole fat-busting idea The Hungry Girl was advocating but hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!

I was so inspired that today I tried a couple of new recipes! Stay tuned, I'll tell you more about those tomorrow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's Not On The List and Because It's Thursday

Since I was going to be out of town for a couple of weeks I left my husband a to-do list - not a long one but there were a few "vital" things on it. Like 1) Put the leftover brisket in the freezer, 2) throw out the leftover lasagna, etc. You'd have done the same thing, right? Left a list I mean? When I got home he had very carefully done every single thing on the list. However, there was one thing he hadn't done that seemed critical to me and when I asked why his answer was, "You wanted me to do that? It wasn't on the list!" Now this particular thing I thought he should have done isn't important (though for heaven's sake any woman would have done it!) but the list is important.

Every few days I make myself a list of things I need to do. On Tuesdays it's generally a pretty long list because that's the day I am a chaplain at the local hospital and after leaving there I do all the errands I can squeeze into the day. It reads like this: 1) allergy shot, 2) post office, 3) Walgreens, 4) Kroger, 5) Hobby Lobby, 6) WalMart, 7) Manicure, 8) some order not necessarily this one. And out beside each one I have another list which includes what I'm supposed to do there or buy there. And I try to put them in order of location so I don't waste gas but that depends on whether or not I have to buy cold items at WalMart and what the temperature is so they won't ruin. I know...obsessive compulsive disorder screaming here!

Even on days I'm at home I'll have a list.....thank you notes or get well cards to send, labels to print for a quilt I'm working on, phone calls I need to make, a closet I need to clean or magazines I need to go through. I'm continuously working from a list.

And routine...I could go on for days about routine! Every single day that I'm at home I get up, get a glass of chai tea latte, go back to bed to read my Bible and do my morning devotion, get up and make the bed, straighten up the bedroom, clean the kitchen, shower and dress, etc. In order. I allow myself until 9:30 to read blogs but then it's time to either start whatever deep cleaning or whatever sewing I plan to do that day.

But here's the question - if I'm continually working my life from a list or staying in my routine, where's the room for spontaneity (that's a very hard word to spell!). How much am I missing by working from a list? I'm looking outside this morning and it's the most gorgeous day I've ever seen. Not a cloud in the sky, a gentle breeze, the yard covered with falling leaves, the water sparkling, and I'm in the house doing laundry. Because it's Thursday.

So even though it's not the beginning of a new year I'm making a new resolution today. I'm going to add in between the lines of my lists lots of small moments to enjoy the gifts God has given me - I'm going to go for a walk or call an old friend or read a book or e-mail a grandchild or browse in an antique store. I'm going to break my routine and even though it's Thursday I'm going to plant some herbs or sit on a bench by the lake or take a drive in the country. But first I have to wait for this load of clothes to come out of the dryer so I can hang them up. :)

Seriously, I'm breaking up with my list (even though breaking up is hard to do). How about you...can you break up with your list?