Saturday, August 31, 2013

Stained Glass Quilt

I want to make this quilt of these days. Stunning stained glass. The quilter titled it "Windows to the World."  The batiks she chose are just gorgeous.

Here it is.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thinking Maybe Thirteen

I have not disappeared, but every time I've opened this blank page to post something, I have thought, "Nah, that's not worth it."  Seems my thoughts have been either too trivial or too emotional to post, but then again, when has that ever stopped me for long?

So I'm jumping in, and you're joining me, right? Meandering through my mind to discover tidbits that may or may not be profound.

1.  A message on Sunday has really got me thinking about the glory of God. The pastor said he has tried and tried to define God's glory, but always comes up short. Best he can do--and I like this--is this definition: the outshining of all His attributes.

2.   My friend Bonnie, who moved to Zambia three years ago, just adopted a little boy yesterday. She has always wanted to be a mama. She's been a mama to a couple hundred kids as a missionary schoolteacher, but now a  little guy named Blessing is hers to keep .

3.  I had a wonderful birthday. Truly one of the best in recent memory.  It deserves its own post.

4.   My best gift is a generous one from hubby, which I'll be ordering as soon as I hit the "publish" button.   I am getting a Janome DC 1050 as my first-ever computerized machine. Can't wait to make gifties on it.

5.   Meanwhile I am still working on the baby quilt for my niece.

6.   I get to see her again today! Woot! And my boy gets to meet his cousin for the first time.

7.   Boy needs a haircut first.  He will balk every minute up to, and including, his time in the salon chair.  And then on the way out he will tell me it's too short and why do I waste money on dead cells?

8.   School starts next Tuesday.  No, I am not ready.  I won't have a teaching position, but still, I am not ready for the Kentucky derby that mornings bring from September till June.

9.  Speaking of derbies, my boy gets to end his summer by going to a demolition derby with two friends  and one of their dads on Saturday night.   Is that not the coolest dude thing they could do?

10.  Hubby and I are going on  date while the boy is gone for those 6 hours.  I have already informed him it's going to happen and it's going to be good.  (Now I just have to put my thinking cap on and do some planning.  Got ideas?)  We have from about 6 till midnight.

11.  How often is too often to post a profile picture of oneself on Facebook?   Does anyone else feel extremely vain taking and posting them? I mean, how many pictures does one need of herself ?  It's not like our look go a changin' every week like a newborn's.

12.  It's high time I grocery shopped.  When fish is all that's left to fix, and there's no milk for the one bowl of cereal available, that's my cue. If I were wealthy, I'd hire a personal grocery shopper. I really do not enjoy it. I have to do mental battle, by listing my thankfulness, to get motivated that direction.

13.  For those of you doing the 101 in 1001 list, how's it going?  I can cross off a few more on mine since this summer has been rather full.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's My Birthday and I'll Cry if I Want To

But I don't want to.

Crying would be a bit dramatic for the day's agenda--which, by the way--I did not consciously choose as Great Ways to Celebrate a Birthday.

First thing in the morning, I have to get over to the DMV to renew my license. Who knew that five years would pass so fast since it was last issued?  And somehow I overlooked whatever reminder  I was sent.

All I can say is, I hope I have a good hair day.  Living with a bad hair day for the next five years would be an anti-gift.

What other exciting (not) thing do I have planned for the afternoon? Waiting for the cable guy (not Larry the Cable Guy, but maybe this dude will crack a few jokes).

In the evening, we have a meet-and-greet function for Back to School.   It will sorta/kinda birthday-ish since we're meeting at a local dairy that sells delicious ice cream.  I have to keep thinking about the ice cream in order to not think about the fact that school is a week away and summer has gone as fast as it came.  My innerds are balking at the thought of the pressure cooker mornings.

My older kids celebrated me last week. . Bless her heart, Ambrey made two big trays of stuffed shells (from scratch).She also splurged on gluten-free flour to make GF chocolate cupcakes for me. Ordinarily the GF products are just average, but these cupcakes tasted like fudge brownies.  How she found time, I don't know. Earlier in the day she started her senior year of college with a teaching internship to boot.  I've been blessed to have hospitable sons and daughters-in-law.   I wanted to get a picture of all of us, but it didn't happen, and the only one taken of me is not something I want on the WWW.  Again, the word "anti-gift" comes to mind.

I'm not sure what else the day holds, but I'll be holding a book while sitting in the DMV waiting for my number to be called.

Is that lousy or what, to be just a number on your birthday? To be just a cable customer?  To have ice cream but no cake?

However, I am grateful for the ability to drive, the pleasure of entertainment and communication via cables and such, and for ice cream shared with people who will be educating and being in class with my dear son.  I am not complaining. Really.

I can just think of 48 ways I'd rather spend my birthday.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hodgepodge and New Niece Photo

Thanks again to Joyce, From This Side of the Pond, for hosting this fun meme week after week. 

1. What's your worst food memory?  How about one of your best?

Worst: when I was pregnant with my first baby, my sister-in-law served an enormous pile (yes, pile) of steamed shrimp. I'm talking Load Up the Old Bay, Baby! I ate and ate and ate and ate. Then went home and threw up and up and up and up.  

Best food memory?  So many to choose from, but I think our last anniversary dinner had more "mm's" and "aahs" and "oh, wows!"  than most honeymoons. 

2. Do you appreciate people telling it like it is, or would you rather a speaker temper his/her words and maybe beat around the bush a little?  How about when you're the one communicating...which type are you? 

Depends if  I'm already sensitive about whatever it is.  I think I like a little bit of tempering the words, but not beating around the bush. I do like people to make their point fairly quickly but not harshly.   I think with family I tend to be more "tell it like it is" especially with a preponderance of males in the house; they are not very easily offended by truth .  With outsiders or with those who intimidate me, I tread lightly.  Unless I'm in a mood, that is.  I can be downright snarky sometimes--something I'm not proud of.  

3. What's your favorite place to hang out?

Home.   Specifically in  my guest/sewing room.

4. When do you most feel like you're a slave to time?

On a school morning--which will start on September 3rd.   Yuck.  I do not like the morning push to get up and out the door. Dealing with breakfast, packing lunches,  checking for permission slips signed, money due, backpack packed, musical instrument on music day, uniform for school and any after-school practice all stresses me out, even though my boy is really organized and responsible for his age.

5. What was the last concert you attended?  Who'd you go with? Was it any good?

JJ Heller. Went with hubby, daughter, son, BIL and SIL.  The first half was good. But honestly, I am finished by intermission with most concerts. All the songs sound the same after about the 6th one. 

6. Reality TV...harmful or harmless?  What's your guilty pleasure when it comes to reality TV?

Most of the shows, I'd say, have a mix or harmful and harmless.  I love Duck Dynasty--but I don't see anything harmful in it. 

7. What's something you think is overrated?

Chick Fil-A sandwiches.   They're good, but feel like an ostrich egg on my stomach.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Did you see my brand new niece? Check out my previous post for more baby loveness.  I'm beyond smitten .  Here she is her mommy's arms.  My sister said, "She is far too precious to be mine. This is more wonderful than I ever imagined it could be." 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

She's Here and I'm in Love!

My niece was born while we were on vacation last week. I finally met her today and got to hold her a long time. So long, in fact, that  I needed a dose of ibuprofen for my kinked-up elbow when I got home. 

 But Oh. My. Goodness.  Totally, completely, worth it!!! I am absolutely IN LOVE with this baby girl!!!!!!  

                                                 Jordan Brooke in her mother's arms

and in her (favorite) aunt's arms. 
Aunt Zo loves the bitty beebee. 

They said she gets her head of hair from me. :)  She was having a much better hair day than I am.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hodgepodge and Great News

1. My daughter earned her Master's Degree this past weekend...what's something you've 'mastered' in recent weeks or months?
I'll spare the long version ,but I mastered (that is, conquered) my doubts about getting a beach vacation this year, especially when it appeared we might have been scammed . Thanks be to God ,we weren't; a strange coincidence just made it seem that way . 

2. What song most reminds you of your childhood?
Jesus Loves Me

3. What do you think about single gender groups and/or events? Should every group/event be open to both genders?  If not, what sort of exceptions do you think are appropriate? 
I think separating genders is very beneficial in certain areas. Men's retreats, women's conferences, boys' sports teams ,girls' sports teams, are all healthy venues for growth within one's own gender group.  Also in the middle school/high school days, I am not fond of letting kids of opposite sex swim together.  Unpopular as it may be, I also believe women should not be allowed in combat in the military. 

4. What's your favorite spice? Your favorite dish containing your favorite spice?
Black pepper.   (Did you know pepper is the most common spice on earth ,one that every cuisine on earth incorporates? I just heard that last week.)   I use black pepper in and on just about everything .  I have to have it on my eggs. 

5.  I saw this question on Marla's facebook page and asked if I could 
steal borrow it for the Hodgepodge...thanks Marla!  

Chevron patterns are everywhere!  Do you like it or think its just a little too much? Do you own anything 'chevron'? 
A little chevron goes a looooooong way. It can be the perfect pattern in small quantities, but for the most part it makes me dizzy.   I also think it's better on pillows than on people , but I've seen it look okay on thin women. 

6.  What's something you disliked as a child, but can fully appreciate now?
Taking a nap!

7. What can irritate you very quickly?

Whining.  People chewing gum like a cow.  Nervous laughter. Cartoons.  Barking dogs.  Excessive use of fillers in conversation ("Like," "Y'know," "Um, ah," "But-uh"...).  Any repetitive noise.   I have little patience for auditory clutter.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My baby girl is here! Okay, not MY  baby girl, but my SISTER's baby girl.  She was born Monday morning, the twelfth day of August, which feels a bit like getting a gift on the 12th day of Christmas!
Pictures coming!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

And he's 22

This is our second son, our third child.
I thought he was going to be a girl, so I had only a girl's name picked out.
His prenatal antics sent me to the hospital three times before the fourth time when he appeared.

He's still a practical joker, and he's 22.

He really didn't cry much as a baby. He was very even-tempered. Only when he was super hungry or
in physical pain would he pipe up.

He is still patient and laid-back,  and he's 22.

He was an eager learner, with a particular penchant for math. When he was 3, I asked him a math question I thought was too tough for a kid his age:  "What is 90 + 14?"  He thought about it quickly and replied, "A hundred and four."   Astounded, I said, "How did you figure that out, honey?"  He said, "Easy. 90 pwus 10 eagles (equals)  100, pwus 10 is 110, and 4 more makes a hundred and four."

He loves language, too. When I was homeschooling, he loved every reference I made to root words being Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, or whatever.  One of his favorite college classes was Spanish and he aced it.

Is it any wonder, then, with a head for math and language, that he is now a computer programmer?

He has a budding career in his field with a leading brokerage firm, and he's 22.

He's a percussionist. He has drummed on everything from trash can lids to coffee tables to the top of my skull.  He became the best (in my humble opinion) drummer the church had ever had.

He is really, really funny.  Oh, my, if you want to laugh till your face and guts hurt, hang around Steve.  Not only is his original "material" off-the-cuff hilarious, but the guy has memorized entire acts of comedians Brian Regan and Tim Hawkins.

He loves to save money. So much so that he taught himself to change his own oil to save labor costs.
All he did was observe his mechanical friend a time or two, and voila! (That's French:)) .  Presto-oil-change-o. ( That's Spanish.)    He used to tease his dad something awful about being tight with a buck.  Well, son, you know the saying about the apple not falling far from the tree?  Dad would pick up the apple and eat everything but the core. You'd go ahead and eat the core to get your money's worth.

He devours scripture. He was very attentive to God's word from the time he was a toddler, all through middle school and high school. (I homeschooled him through 10th grade.)  One time he came to me and said, "Mom, will you listen to me try to quote Romans 8?"  I said, "Romans 8 what?"  He said, "Romans 8, the whole chapter."    Gulp.

And he's 22.

He loves people.  To know Steve is to feel welcome in his presence. Never pretentious, always drawing people out, listening with his whole self (except when absorbed in homework).   The Christian club on campus that he started grew exponentially because of his genuine hospitality.

He's a natural with kids, and he's a leader. When he's with kids, he's boatloads of fun, but lets them know he's in charge and protecting them. He's been a camp counselor for a few summers, leading kids to Christ or at least showing them God's love through his own.

I tried to make this post just 22 words long. But my heart is too full for that. Too much love and pride to contain for this dear child o' mine.

Love you very much, Stephen. Happy birthday #22. Or as I prefer to say, "your first birthday as a married man."

Blessings and hugs,


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

May the Sun Never Set on the Hodgepodge

Hats off to our Hodgepodge hostess, Joyce, for coming up with questions for us to answer just about every week.
There are no rules--just gentle nudges--to read here, click above, then proceed.  Simple.

Which leads me to the first question: 
1. The first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week...what's one thing you could do this week to qualify as a participant?

Get my hair cut today! One good cut is simpler than dealing with hair bands, clips and pins.  Can't wait till  I'm in  the salon chair, AKA my happy place. 

2. It's also National Peach Month...peach pie, peach cobbler, or please pour me a Bellini?  What's your peach pleasure?

Wow, I love peach just about any way you wanna serve it.  Right now as I write this, I am sipping a  Smirnoff Ice Peach Bellini.  July passed and I had not one SLICE of peach pie. What is WRONG with me? Oh, yeah, I'm sensitive to gluten.  Tomorrow, now that you've mentioned it,  I'll be in a cobbler  mood.  Thanks a lot. I didn't need the suggestion. But if you're serving cobbler, why don'tcha go ahead and plop a scoop of peach ice cream on top. I'll ignore all the gluten, fat, and sugar and just tell myself how good peaches are for me. 

3. Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, "Do one thing every day that scares you." Agree or disagree...explain.

Disagree big time if she meant it literally "every day."  I would not enjoy living if I did something scary every day.  But I do think it's liberating to face one's fears and move forward courageously in spite of them. Fears get smaller the more you battle and conquer them.

4. What's your favorite household chore?  Yes-you have to name one.

I actually like putting dirty clothes in the washing machine. I love to close the glass door on my front-loader and watch the water mix with the soap and then tumble things 'round and 'round. It's relaxing.

5. Fodors recently listed (what they've dubbed) the ten most beautiful sunset spots in America. Click here to read more and see the pretty pictures, but this is their list:

Butterfly Beach in Santa Monica CA, Mount Haleakala in Maui HI, Old Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe NM, Laguna Beach CA, Hopi Point in Grand Canyon AZ, Four Seasons in Miami FL, Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica CA, Gay Head in Martha's Vineyard MA, Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City UT, and Mallory Square in Key West Florida.

Have you seen the sun set from any of these spots?  If you could choose to watch the sun set this weekend from one spot on the Fodors List, which would you choose?  Where was the prettiest sunset you've ever seen?

I was in Santa Monica, but not when the sun set.

Of the places on Fodor's List, I'd choose Hopi Point in Grand Canyon.

Prettiest sunset I've ever seen? Whoa! How does one choose  a single work of art in God's gallery?  I remember one a couple months ago: I was driving home from grocery shopping (my LEAST favorite household chore).The sky was vivid orange, plum, coral, periwinkle, black and white--streaked, striped, and stacked in the sky. I think my mouth hung open and I just wanted to call everyone I saw and say, "HAVE YOU SEEN THE SUNSET? LOOK! You HAVE TO SEE this before it's gone!"     I pulled over just to stare.  By the time I got home, that particular sunset had changed already. (Still glorious but not quite as mesmerizing.)

6. What's your favorite or most used app?  If you don't use apps how about your favorite or most visited website?

Words with Friends.   

7. We've recently passed the halfway mark for 2013...write a seven word sentence that sums up your year thus far. 

When kids decide to vacate, Mom redecorates!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

This past week I learned a thing or two about how scammers work. Thankfully I didn't lose anything but time, and I gained a good deal of wisdom in the process. So it wasn't all that bad.  I could easily have wasted the next two weeks designing English tutoring sessions for a boy from England who does not exist. 

Friday, August 02, 2013

Strings, Chords, Threads, Cords, Strings

My hubby's happiness is most evident when he's strumming a guitar. It makes me happy to see and hear  him in the presence of this beloved stringed instrument.   Here he is at the Martin Guitar Factory, which we toured for his birthday. (And no, he didn't end up buying a guitar.)

These are so typical of the faces he makes when playing.  Takes me back to the first time I laid eyes on him in 1985. He was playing guitar in the inner city for a kids' Bible club.

   THE NEWLYWEDS  are blissful, from what I hear. I haven't seen my son and daughter-in-law since the wedding, but I see their mushy, gushy Facebook posts.  He commented that he loves to wake up to her, come home from work to her, have devotions with her,  and loves to hear her hum as she works around the house.  His quote, "Whoever made up this whole marriage thing sure knew what He was doing!"   

Photo: Copyright: Timeless and Treasured Photography

photo credits: Timeless and Treasured Photography 

  On my wish list for my upcoming birthday this month:

A Janome  DC 1050 sewing machine.   I've been researching computerized machines for a while, 
and all the reviews for Janome are excellent, so it's just a matter of finding the features I want in my budget.   Well, I wish I could have the automatic thread cutter and other bells and whistles to make quilting less time consuming, but the model I'd be very happy with is the DC (Decor Companion) 1050.   We shall see.   

Question: Would you shop online from a dealer if it meant saving $60 and getting some extras thrown in, or support your local dealer and get their invaluable in-person help and maybe no extra freebies?
My local dealer is an excellent repairman, and I like to support ma-and-pa shops, but I also know how much fabric $60 would buy. Hmmmm....

   My sister's baby is due any time now!  These arms are aching to hold a baby again, especially a soft little pink bundle!  Her cord will no longer be a physical one attached to her mommy, but a cord that will forever unite them in the heart. Can't wait for my sister to know this unspeakable joy of mothering. 

   I'm contemplating  getting an altogether new hairstyle.  My appointment is next week. What do you think? Stick with my normal or go to  something different? If so, what? My hair is naturally curly and grows fast, so it forgives many a mistake. But right now it's a combo of bushy and stringy, depending on the weather. "Give me The Bushy Stringy style," said no woman ever to her hairdresser.

I feel like I am starting a new season in my life and want a haircut to be part of expressing it. But my hubby says I spend way too much time thinking about my hair and really it probably won't matter to anyone but me.

Men. They can be too darn right sometimes. 
But women get it, don't we?