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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Moments of Grace

At church Sunday we sat by a young family I'd not met before.  We go to a praise service which basically means it's pretty laid back....dress up or dress down, bring the kids and your coffee and just come worship.  A beautiful little girl sat next me - one empty seat between us.  I smiled and said hello, she ducked her head and looked up at me.  We connected.  In our own way.  Without words really.

During the songs at the beginning of the service she was busy decorating a foam cross.  She sat on the floor as if she were in her play clothes instead of the darling peach colored dress with matching hair ribbons and white mary janes with sparkly bows that her mother had so lovingly put on her that morning.  At the end of one of the songs I leaned down and whispered, "I love your cross...you do beautiful work!"  She smiled and continued her labor.  When she finished it she scooted down by me and handed it to me...."I made it for you."


I held it to my heart and said thank you.  And then I handed her a pen and asked her to write her name so I could remember it forever.


Emma....a precious gift from God.  I guess since I was so appreciative she dug in her striped "busy bag" (one of several I'd made the year before that are kept in the sanctuary for the children) and colored two pictures; one was for me and the other for her mother.  I'm sure her mother has many works of art on her refrigerator but I only have one right now.  Don't you love moments of connection like that...she had no idea I'd made the bag filled with activities for her.


I love moments of grace when God gives us something we don't even know we need.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Night and Day

Some of you know that I have an aunt who is blind.  Joyce is absolutely adored by all of our family and certainly by me.  She lives with my sister in her own apartment now that she has retired.  That's right....retired.  For many, many years she managed a cafe/sandwich shop in a federal building.  She also owned some rental property and managed it herself.  Her daughter lived with her until her death about 4 years ago and until last September she lived alone.  Joyce believes there is almost nothing she can't do and she's not afraid of the devil himself.  She often travels alone - plane, train, bus she loves them all.  

While Joyce is in her own home my sister takes care of getting her medications set up in her daily and weekly pill minders.  Unfortunately Joyce has to take quite a lot of medication.  She has COPD, had back surgery a couple of years ago but still has some residual pain, and has other issues that require some monitoring.  When she travels it's a bit harder to make sure her meds are accurate.  She now has a machine that is like a scanner that can read the prescription bottle and tell her what's in it, what it's for and how to take it - isn't that amazing?  She's been carrying them all in a big bag that I made her several years ago divided into two ziplock bags...one for night and one for day.  That's a bit cumbersome for her so this week I made her some new ones.  The bright yellow one is for the daytime....yellow like the sunshine.  The navy blue one with big white stars is her night one...the stars come out at night.


What's up with that you say?  She can't see the colors?  You're right, but she can feel the buttons I put right at the bottom of each strap.  I used round yellow buttons for the sun, and white star buttons for the nighttime stars.  The bags will feel the same to her until she feels each one for the buttons and then she'll know which one she has!



I think she's going to love these - I can't wait to give them to her next week when I go to visit.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer Weddings and Summer Stitches

Everywhere I look on blogs this summer I'm seeing wedding photos - love is truly in the air!  My second oldest grandson (we have 8 grandchildren, 4 boys and 4 girls) got married this month.  Jacob graduated from college in May and his sweet  bride is a senior.  They might look too young to make this step but they are older and smarter than Jerry and I were when we took the plunge!  :)


They went to St. Thomas on their honeymoon and that sweet young man texted me when they got back home so I could quit worrying!  :)

As a comparison, and just because I'm time traveling today, this is a picture of Jerry and I when we got married in 1964.


Yes, I had auburn hair, was skinny as a rail and had pencil legs.  I also wore 3" heels to try to be taller - Samm that's for you!  :)

Now on to a little stitching....I stopped by one of my favorite quilt shops at Greenwood, Arkansas on a recent trip to my son's house.  Lucky me, she had a sale and you won't believe it but I got these two sweet fabrics for $2.50 a yard!  I bought all she had on the bolt.  :)


The border print I turned into a couple of pillowcases for my sister, who loves all things roses and pink florals.  Plus a couple of small drawstring bags with her leftovers.  I still have fabric left of course but I'm not sure what I'll do with it.  The other floral is being used in a redo in my sewing room - I'll show you that when it's finished.  I wish I had more of it and may end up doing a search....




While there I also bought this piece of fabric....Holiday Shimmer by Hoffman.  It, of course, wasn't on sale.  :(


It's going to be eventually two pillowcases - one is now done and one is on the way.


I didn't realize the thread was showing so much on those french knots - guess that means a redo.  :(

Some time ago I decided I wanted to hand piece an apple core quilt.  Hmmmm, temporary insanity I guess.  :)  This is what I ended up with.



I couldn't figure out what to do about the binding on this and ended up buying a double fold bias, which was absolutely awful.  I used feed sack scraps for this so I should have made my own with some  muslin and may eventually replace this one.  But since I plan to use it as a table topper on my deck I think it will work.

And finally, a great nephew and his wife are having their second baby so some burp pads were needed.


Not a great picture but they were very cute.  :)

And just to make you smile - I took this at my son's house recently.  I call it A Boy and His Best Friend.



Hope your summer, as it winds to a close, is a good one!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Chores

I really do not like weeding.  It's a necessary evil and when you've been traveling and before that ignoring flower beds....well, let's just say they get their revenge.

While I was at my sister's last week we made a trip down in the country to the Dutchman's Store...a Mennonite market that has some of the best stuff.  On the way we stopped at a produce/flower store, another Mennonite venture, where I bought some herbs to bring home.  I have a small herb garden that is mostly in the shade and doesn't do really well, except for the thyme and rosemary and oregano, and I wanted to make a new one that gets a bit more sun.  Well when I went out to plant these new ones I realized that the weeds had taken advantage of my neglect to practically take over not only the herbs but also the flower beds around my deck.


Just look at that!  Thyme is at the bottom of the photo, rosemary in the middle and in the upper right, so covered by weeds that you can't see it is lemon balm.  I don't know what that awful vine is in the rosemary but it will take over everything if I let it!


Well the herb garden is better - that's oregano in the bottom left - but the Carolina Jasmine in the upper right corner, out of the herb garden - was about to be choked to death by a different insidious vine, this one with thorns!  And then I noticed a wild grape vine had wound it's way down at least 20 feet of the fence so out it came too.  And you know when you see one thing it leads to another so the flower beds around the deck...well that took two days to finish!  Before I finished I had several piles of weeds and trimmings that looked like this.


But it was all worth it....the new herb bed was done, the flower beds looked a lot better and I'm sure the shrubs and herbs planted there are all breathing a bit better.

I've got some sage, golden oregano, spicy oregano, thyme, lemon verbena, a lavender different from the French and English I already have (don't know the name of it) and one lone tomato plant in this bed.  The tomato is a leftover from the ones we had there earlier in the summer.

And the thyme and rosemary and oregano in the bigger bed are looking good!



And to make my week even better my Grandmother's Rain Lily has bloomed!  I'm so thrilled because I thought I'd lost it but it was just resting I guess.  This lily was in a pot on my grandmother's back porch for many years in California.  When she died about 40 years ago my cousin took it home with her and several years ago shared it with me.  Now my sister has one too and hers blooms all the time on her deck.  I think it likes her better than me.  :)

The herb beds and flower beds all need some fresh dirt added and some mulch on top of that so we're headed to the dirt store this morning.  Well, it's not really a dirt store...Lowe's is way more than that and gets way too much of my money!


Wouldn't this make a beautiful quilt?  If only we could capture the colors like God made them.....

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer...

I'm not posting much this summer but I have good excuses.  Really I do.  I can't remember them all right now but I'm sure I do.  :)

My biggest excuse is travel.  My husband and I went to England and Ireland for a couple of weeks.  I won't try to post a lot of pictures because, frankly, it's going to take me weeks to get them sorted and cataloged but I will share with you my very favorite place of the whole trip.


This is Anne Hathaway's family cottage.  For those of you who have forgotten your history - like me - Anne Hathaway was William Shakespeare's wife.  :)  I honestly felt like I was standing inside a postcard here!  The flowers were indescribable.  The scent of lavender was so strong in the air I just wanted to sit among the flowers and breathe it in.


Sweetpeas, hydrangeas, roses, daisies....oh my goodness.


And vegetables happily grew right in the middle of it all.  I'd never seen artichokes growing so that was a happy surprise for me.  :)

Ireland was beautiful, just as I expected, but in my mind the English countryside was not only stunning but also comforting.  That's an odd word I know but it was so neat and tidy and literally looked like a patchwork...a field of golden ripe wheat beside a a field of green oats beside a pasture of sheep.  Loved...

And here's a picture of my husband and I having dinner in Dublin.  Our 50th anniversary is this coming October so we were celebrating a bit early.  :)


Unfortunately the day before we got home my sister had a second stroke so, of course, I immediately got in the car and came to Jefferson City, Missouri, where I am right now.  She's doing fine...her speech is slow for her since she's usually a speed demon talking :)  and she is weak and tired but we're so thankful that it wasn't worse.  She assures me she didn't really have a stroke, despite the fact that she felt like a gun went off in her head, she couldn't talk, she couldn't see, etc.  Her ER doc and the other two doctors she consulted tell her she had a stroke, she has all the symptoms of a stroke, but her philosophy is if she doesn't believe she had a stroke maybe the whole thing will go away!

Yesterday I drove her down in the country to the Mennonite store to pick up a few things and in the afternoon we canned 7 quarts of tomatoes and 4 pints of salsa.  Today we'll can a few potatoes.  The garden is about finished now and it's time to plant a few things for fall but she's fighting dizziness so that's going to have to be put off another week or so.  She's a strong person, and strong willed too.  :)  So it will all get done even though it might be a bit slower than she likes.  We work a little, rest a little, work a little.  It's not a bad way to do things.

I'll just be here a few days before I head home to attend one of my grandson's wedding - I wouldn't miss that!  And when I get there I'm going to be spending a lot of time in the sewing room getting ready for the next two blog hops!


Can't wait to see what everyone is making!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just A Little Winter Stitching!

I've gotten just a bit of sewing done lately - nothing much to brag about.  Well, maybe one thing I'll brag about....I've gotten one of my projects for the See You In September Blog Hop done!  And this is July!  And it's a gingham one!  I can't show you now, though.  That's against the rules.  But in September....

I finished a couple of candle/mug mats/rugs.  They're really candle mats but I use them for mug rugs.  The first is for Valentine's Day.



And this one is probably intended for April....showers, you know.  But we've gotten a lot of rain this summer so I can use it any time!


And then there's this Christmas quilt - I know several people who love cats so this one will be well loved I'm sure!


This was a panel I must have bought 15 years ago or so...maybe 10 but I bet closer to 15!  I added borders and did a little quilting.



I did more quilting than you will notice - or at least more than I notice.  I wanted it to be simple to go along with the primitive style of the panel so the quilting is mostly hidden in the trees and cats and presents.

Is anybody else getting any winter stitching done?