Sunday, July 31, 2011

It Is Sunday....


THE DISCIPLINE OF DISILLUSIONMENT
"Jesus did not commit Himself unto them...
for He knew what was in man."
John 2:23-25
Disillusionment means that there are no more false judgments in life. To be undeceived by disillusionment may leave us cynical and unkindly severe in our judgment of others, but the disillusionment, which comes from God  brings us to the place where we see men and women as they really are, and yet there is no cynicism, we have no bitter things to say. Many of the cruel things in life spring from the fact that we suffer from illusions. We are not true to one another as fact; we are true only to our ideas of one another. Everything is either delightful and fine, or mean and dastardly, according to our idea.
The refusal to be disillusioined is the cause of much of the suffering in human life. It works in this way-- if we love a human being and do not love God, we demand of him every perfection and every rectitude, and when we do not get it we become cruel and vindictive; we are demanding of a human being that which he or she cannot give. There is only one Being Who cand satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why our Lord is apparently so severe regarding every human relationship is because He knows that every relationship not is based on loyalty to Himself will end in disaster. Our Lord trusted no man, yet He was never suspicious, never bitter. Our Lord's confidence in God and in what His grace could do for any man, was so perfect that He despaired of no one. If our trust is placed in human beings, we shall end in despairing of everyone.
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Quilting Poem

Jungle Baby Quilt - in progress


I Think God is a Quilter
(Author Unknowned)

I think God is a quilter
Who takes His needle and thread
To piece our world from nothingness
And give it form, instead.
I think God is a quilter
And everything I see
Are pieces from His careful hand
From tree to bumblebee.
I think we see God's stitches
His texture everywhere;
The velvet moss, the grainy sand,
The silky strands of hair.
I think God is a quilter;
Stitching tight and tiny rows,
Adding to my scraps and pieces,
Seaming everything He knows.
I think He cuts the patterns
From what I'd throw away.
He shows me how to use each scrap
In His redeeming way.
I think God quilts a pattern
From everything I live;
But He can only stitch the quilt
From what I choose to give.
I think God is a quilter
Stitching strength where I am weak.
Showing me that life He touches
Embraces everything I seek.
I think God is a quilter
From the patience in each thread;
Proving length of time no barrier;
Treating time a gift, instead.
I think quilts are lessons
God uses just to teach
That our pieces and our remnants
Have kaleidoscopic reach.
So, in the life I'm living
With pieces everywhere
I'll give them to the Quilter
To stitch with loving care.
I'll give them to the Quilter
Unwanted though they be
And with His work of quilting
He'll make a quilt of me.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Dream Comes to Light



   She has always loved the water- learned to swim before she could walk. Events in her life made water her best friend; a relief from pain and pressure- a therapy for surgical recovery. Today, her dream has come to light; she is a lifeguard.
   I am personally terrified of water; didn't learn to swim until I was an adult. Her need for water drove me to 'dive in' and learn to swim. These days I manage laps and some deep water treading, but those old fears still rise up from time to time. So hard for me to believe one of my kids became a lifeguard.
   The dream doesn't stop here, no, there is more. Her heart holds a place for special treasures- the handicap/special needs, both adults and children. One of her hearts' desires is to work in water therapy/swim lessons for these precious souls. That is the next step to come.
   For now, her smile is bright and her heart is filled with laughter as she dons her 'guard suit' and whistle setting out for pool duty. Amazing how God works in the simple things- who but He would have known all those years of water would lead to joys like this; the joys revealed when a dream comes to light.

 Congratulations, simplyjen, for surviving the training, passing the tests, and getting hired as a lifeguard. We are so proud of you.
  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back to the Prairie II

The Old Picnic Table


   Walk with me through the years, back to my growing up days, were I ran free in the summer sun..walk with me back to the prairie.
  
   You could tell family was coming to the farm; my grandmother would get antsy in the kitchen. Days and days of baking and preparing would yield a tell tale sign of a family gathering. Our standard fair: hamburgers on the grill with all the fixings.
    In the farm kitchen we stood pressing patties (heaven forbid someone suggest pre-made). Cheese slice wrappers lay between each one to keep them from sticking- she had saved and washed those wrappers just for such a need. Treats were made and placed on the old card table: cookies and pies, sometimes a cake, too. With all the work, there was always the concern- might not be enough.
  As the afternoon sun shifted in the sky and chores were finished the grill was pulled to the side of the house where the garage doors open - the same place we would sit and clean garden vegetables- the place where you could see the barn, shop, some of the fields, and most importantly- company driving up the drive.
   Grandpa and Uncle Randy would haul the old picnic table around there for us. I would run from the house to the picnic table setting out all the necessities: ketchup and mustard, pickles and onions, lettuce and tomatoes- my grandfather's favorite chips- bread for the burgers and drinks for everyone (iced tea, of course).
   The grill fired up as family members backed the trucks up near our picnic table; there were never enough places to sit! Some of the used the tail gates for placing the food items, some sat on them to eat. Bread slices were graced with hot hearty burgers- each dressed their own just as they liked it. My grandpa loved to stuff bar-b-que chips in his, naturally, I had to give it a try...yum! Sitting by him, my feet dangled from the bench swinging left and right (at least till someone noticed- sit still, you're shaking the whole table)
   When the sun fell in the sky, the family lingered there at the old picnic table. The chatter of catching up, of reminiscing, of goings-on filled the air. Food was carried in and desserts tasted as my cousins and I chased lightning bugs; giggling and running in the prairie winds. Even as I headed in to bed, they lingered around the table- visions of the day danced in my dreams.

   The old picnic table now makes it's home with me, way down south. Never do I pass it by that I don't see the gathering of family or hear the chatter of loved ones. When we sit at the old table, I share the tales of long ago, when my family gathered on the farm with simple food, simple lives, simple fun.

  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Food Frustrations


   Do you ever get that way? Frustrated with food? Or maybe the frustration is with ourselves? I am at a point in my own life/health where evaluation and change must occur because the consequences are getting ugly. Doctors can prescribe away the symptoms and talk a blue streak about losing weight with this and that, but in reality some stern self evaluation goes a long way.
   Food Frustrations:
   Weight: yep, I admit...my weight is not at a healthy number. The past few years it has been an uphill struggle to even maintain a weight- near impossible to reach a reasonable one.
   Migraines: need I say more...if you have them, you automatically sympathize. Mine started as a youth and tend to flare up under certain conditions. A wonderful doctor helped me several years ago in evaluating different triggers...but, my current habits have been leading toward them instead of away.
   Blood sugar: the newest aggravation, and unwelcome at that. It has been lingering around for a while, but with recent weight gain and neglected habits, blood sugar has reared it's ugly head.
   Now, I accept the obvious: most of these issues are hereditary and will be life-long struggles. The question is- what to do about it.
   Step one: admit- my habits need to change.
   Step two: act- get up and do something. Active lifestyles are healthier- I started Fight Fit at our kids' MMA school, and only recently added a kickboxing class. Eating habits are next.
   Step three: accountability- a long discussion with the family to ensure cooking and shopping are considerate of everyone's needs. If you offer me sugar of any kind I will get you!
   Food is the most frustrating part of it all; I love to cook and to eat! We grew up with home baked goods..that's a hard habit to break, yet, it must be done. My current goal- Fit by Forty; no medicine, improved energy and endurance. It sounds good......Now, if I could just get past my food frustrations!

Monday, July 25, 2011

At the Frame.....


   In the still of the afternoon, when the dishes are done and the heat of the day is at its peak, the quilt frame calls to me. An old fan whirls beneath the table sending a gentle breeze my way as supplies are gathered around my little 'nest'. The thimble finds a comfortable resting place on one finger as needle and thread meet in the others. Time to begin.
   Time passes in the quiet while tiny stitches take form and shape adding strength and beauty to the patches and pieces before me. In wanders a teen, a moment is created as they sit nearby chatting over this and that's. Pieces of their heart unfold; dreams are shared- time becomes precious. In my mind I am reminded - gently - this moment will pass and be gone - take it gently. Business of teen life leads this one on..but, moments later another finds me and the seconds fly as once again gentle moments are shared from hearts and souls...precious little moments.
   Alone again my heart ponders the things shared and the things unsaid. Faint prayers are whispered from deep within as my hands continue their familiar task. Here and there my thoughts fly taking light in my memories of little ones at my feet- distracting my work- toy trucks and dolls scattered here and there amongst the fabric and thread. I recall foster children who stayed only a little while- how they loved to sit by me sewing- it was the only time I remember them being so quiet and so still...precious little moments long gone by.
   My husband peaks over my shoulder to see the progress of my time..always an encouraging word shared. He finds a nearby seat as ideas are shared- so many things need our attention- so much tugs our hearts. We find comfortable togetherness as a quiet moment settles around us. So precious to just 'be' together right here, right now.... a precious, tender moment.
   The farm boy vies for his attention; they head out the door together finding much to do. Again in the quiet I am there to ponder the little moments shared at the frame...precious little moments.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It Is Sunday....




SANCTIFICATION
"This is the will of God, even your sanctification."
I Thessalonians 4:3
The Death Side. In sanctification God has to deal with us on the death side as well as on the life side. Many of us spend so much time in the place of death that we get sepulchral. There is always a battle royal before sanctification, always something that tugs with resentment against the demands of Jesus Christ. Immediately the Spirit of God begins to show us what sanctification means, the struggle begins. "If any man come to Me and hate not...his own life, he cannot be My disciple."
The Spirit of God in the process of sanctification will strip me until I am nothing but "myself," and nothing more- no friends, no father, no brother, no self-interest- simply ready for death? That is the condition of sanctification. No wonder Jesus said, "I came not to send peace, but a sword," This is where the battle comes, and where to many of us faint. We refuse to be identified with the death of Jesus on this point. "But it is so stern," we say; "He cannot wish me to do that." Our Lord is stern; and He does wish us to do that.
Am I willing to reduce myself simply to "me," determinedly to strip myself of all my friends think of me, of all I think of myself, and to hand  that simple naked self over to God? Immediately I am. He will sanctify me wholly, and my life will be free from earnestness in connection with everything but God.
When I pray-"Lord, show me what sanctification means for me," He will show me. It means being made one with Jesus. Sanctification is not something Jesus Christ puts into me; it is Himself in me (I Cor. 1:30).
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Simple Sewing Saturday





   The piecing and applique are all finished for this pretty little jungle quilt. Today the layers will be basted together in preparation for the hand quilting. After a few late night with the family, I am ready for a slow day just resting and sewing!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Beautiful Visitors


With the recent blessing of gentle afternoon rain showers we have been graced by the return of dragon flies. Gently and gracefully they glide over the herb gardens dancing along the blossoms and blooms. Each one different and unique, they display the awesome touch of the Master's artful hand.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to the Prairie 1


   Wander with me, back through the years..to the place most of my summer days were spent. Where I grew up bare-foot and sun-kissed. Follow me with bouncing blond pig-tails as I wander back to the prairie.




   Standing at the sink in my grandmother's farm kitchen, I stare at the large stack of dishes waiting for me. My eyes gloss over as I ponder the greasy mess; Grandma fries almost everything. Are you going to stand there all day or get it done? Snapping out of my daze, I smile- she sounds fierce, but I know her softer side. Best to get things going.
   My hands dig deep into the luke-warm water searching for the cleaning rag. One by one, glasses first, my task begins. Yuck! I have never been fond of washing dishes-  never. When faced with unpleasant tasks I always let my mind wander while my hands take to the job before me. Today it wanders....out the window....across the prairie...
   A clear blue sky overhead cools my thoughts from the afternoon heat; no air conditioning, after all, this is the prairie. The wind snaps work shirts on the clothes line as the old farm dog Sisco rests in the shade nearby. His tummy full from the lunch scraps I fed him. Just beyond a field spread across the plane where I spot dots in the distance- cattle grazing. The comfort of their occasional bellow makes me smile.
   I have always loved the herd. Soft brown and white coat and warm, tender eyes; their scratchy tongues on my fingers. In my mind my bare feet carry me across the pasture -pig tails bouncing- off I go to where they graze. There they stand, lifting their heads to greet me. Breathless in the summer sun I stand stroking their coats as they much on prairie grass in the warm summer breeze.....
   Back in the kitchen the last dish is done. I have made sure not to "waste water" by rinsing; heaven's sakes it's a drought after all, and Grandma says a little soap never hurt anyone. But a shiver runs over me as I realize...there is no water in the sink! Oh, no..you would think by now I would remember, in Grandma's kitchen the dishwater is meant to last all day :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cotton Pickin'


   Cotton- a fiber prominent in our lives. Old-timers have their stories about picking cotton and share them with vigor to any soul who will listen. I personally did not grow up picking cotton; it just wasn't part of our farming life- not a part of our family history. Yet...
   My husband's family apparently had their history in cotton picking. His grandparents always said- everybody ought to pick cotton at least once in their life. So, I took it literally...and we picked cotton.
   A few years ago the kids and I went to Washington on the Brazos, a living historical landmark and museum, where the farm hands taught us the fine art (ha ha) of picking, cleaning, and storing cotton. This old-fashioned, hands-on method gave us a glimpse of the tales our dear family members shared so often. Why stop there?
   We jumped in head first and planted a row of cotton right here on our farm. The drought and heat gave us a sense of doubt that any part of this would survive the season, so we forgot about the little row of cotton seeds. Imagine farm boy's surprise when he found scrubby little shrubs with cotton tufts popping out all over them! Cool!
   I understand that none of our experiences compare to the hard work and struggle our past generations endured in the cotton fields of old, yet, it has been a blessing; a lesson. Cotton picking it hot, miserable work; it makes you itchy and it scratches at you like thorn bushes. Cleaning the seeds out of cotton is a down right awful job (hallelujah for the cotton gin); they are nearly impossible to get out! Last but not least- it takes a lot of cotton plants to make enough cotton to do anything- seriously- good grief.
   In the end, it has all been a wonderful experience: learning, connecting, experiencing history and hard work. Next time you want to connect with your past- grab your kids and go cotton pickin'

Monday, July 18, 2011

Progress

  

Being blessed with a bit of occasional rain kept me indoors for some much needed work.
This weekend was full of measuring and cutting- snips and strips- and a bit of stitching, too. The little squares of this jungle print baby quilt are coming together forming a pretty quilt top. Today my plan is to get the applique started, if not finished. 
I have done applique work several different ways: by hand or machine, with iron on interfacing, or with a glue stick. Due to time constraints, this quilt will be machine appliqued (with a blind stitch) using a light iron-on basting. Letters of the baby's name will lay out in a random (not uniform) pattern on the top and bottom blue gingham panels. 
Now, it's time to grab that cup of coffee and get started. What are you working on today?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It Is Sunday...


THE MIRACLE OF BELIEF
"My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words."
Paul was a scholar and an orator of the first rank; he was not speaking out of abject humility, but saying that he would veil the power of God if when he preached the gospel he impressed people with his "excellency of speech." Belief in Jesus is a miracle produced only by the efficacy of Redemption, not by impressiveness of speech, not by wooing and whining, but by the sheer unaided power of God. The creative power of the Redemption comes through the preaching of the gospel, but never because of the personality of the preacher. The real fasting of the preacher is not from food, but rather from eloquence, from impressiveness and exquisite diction, from everything that might hinder the Gospel of God being presented. The preacher is there as the representative of God-"as though God did beseech you by us." He is there to present the Gospel of God. If it os only because of my preaching that people desire to be better, they will never get anywhere near Jesus Christ. Anything that flatters me in my preaching of the gospel will end in making me a traitor to Jesus; I prevent the creative power of His Redemption from doing its work.
"I, if I be lifted up...., will draw all men unto Me."
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Simply Amazing


   





          She did it! After a week of training: swimming the 500, underwater rescue, shadow work, first aide and CPR - she has  passed the requirements for lifeguard licensing. Congratulations Simplyjen!



 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Farm Focus Friday: Planning on Faith

last fall's green bean patch
   The summer's cruel heat and unyielding drought destroyed this spring's hard work. Much of our harvest burned up and dried out despite our best efforts to hydrate it. With no end in sight to the current weather trend fall garden plans have been pondered and mulled over for several weeks now.
   The answer: plan on faith. God alone knows what the weather will bring; what the next season will hold- I can only work on faith. Today I have my seed inventory in order and replenished- all my favorite varieties- as well as my garden plot plan arranged. Currently the potting mix is getting a good soaking before seeds are set in (the tomato seeds were planted a week ago and are starting to grow).
   Ideally we will set the cole crops in sets and direct seed leafy vegetables, beans, and squash. While the transplants grow, we will start amending soil with mulch, leaves, barn gleanings, and compost - turning it in and working it over. I plan to give a light watering over the bed areas to prepare the dry soil for planting (which really won't happen until late August/early September).
   As you see, it's a step of faith...little rain if any, intense heat and no end in sight. Yet, we need it; the garden is depended upon not only for nourishment, but for our emotional and physical health as well. Each seed sprouted is a gift- every row hoed is an act of obedience. So this Friday we focus our hearts and plan on faith.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Taking a Trip Back. Thursdays


   I came from the Kansas prairie; my growing-up home and my heart still loves it so. Doubtful I will ever return- most of my family is no longer there and the farm, well... Time has passed, but my memories remain: fields of grain rolling like the sea, wind whipping clothes on the line, corn fields and canning- selling the calves and bringing in new.
   My children have grown up with my memories from that place long ago. At their urging (and my husbands) I will be taking a trip back every Thursday- right here on the blog. We will visit my grandparents, Ila Mae and Emery Lee, my aunts, Marsha and Janie, my uncle Randy and the homes they built when I was younger; the barn and the shop where I loved to play (when I should have been working) and the big basement that scared me half to death- won't you join me?
   Join me, if you will. We'll sip iced tea and share a biscuit while our minds wander over the miles and through time...we are taking a trip back to the prairie.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waiting for Life to Slow Down





  
   Whirling; churning- such a pace to keep. Time just seems to slip away when I'm not looking. I am waiting for life to slow down. My heart longs for time to chat with the chickens and graze with the goats; to stand in the pasture as littles play at my feet. A craving wells in me to just be.
   Too long it has been since dirt was under my nails from hours lost weeding the garden patch- to stretch tall and turn my face into the sun. Where has the time gone when sweeping the barn was my hurried activity for the day? When hoof trimming was the most pressing thing on the calendar? I long to be free to be.
   My soul aches for time to sit, kids all around, reading aloud; just one more chapter, please. Oh, for the days when living room surfaces were piled with tools lending to hours of hand work- togetherness and creativity where conversation flowed freely. Such relaxing days...taking time just to be.
   As we head in from the barn today the hurry of teen schedules urge us on: one off to college, one to a training, one to a class..and then, maybe, I'll sip some coffee while waiting for life to slow down.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tasty Tuesday Recipe!

 

Can you believe I talked about all that ice cream yesterday and didn't even give a recipe? What was I thinking? Pondering a solution to this dilemma my farm girl stood there with the answer in her hand: chocolate custard style, of course. So here is the way our farm boy made his custard style chocolate ice cream:

Beat 2 eggs in a small bowl; set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup of milk. Whisk in 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Once the sugar is dissolved temper the eggs by gradually adding a half cup of the hot mixture to the eggs; stirring. Slowly add the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan; stirring continually. Continue to stir and warm the mixture until there is a slight thickening of the custard. Chill this at least 2 hours or overnight. Pour the chilled ice cream base into an ice cream maker- following the manufacturer's directions. This recipe makes 1.5 gallons of ice cream.

Now, this freezes well and keeps up to six months--but who keeps ice cream six months? For goodness sake, eat it straight out of the maker and fight off the teens if you have to! This stuff is wonderful! Thanks farm boy- excellent job.

 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Home Made Ice Cream Afternoon

small samples from earlier in the week

   Sugar and cream with a few beaten eggs and some vanilla bean- ice cream! Summer sun and Sunday afternoons cause our minds to wander over cups and bowls, scoops and cones, or berries and fudge. We gathered our family for an old fashioned,  hand made ice cream social in honor of our teen's recent birthday.   
   Each family member pitched in: my parents put out some old fashioned vanilla and a country peach, my oldest made a beautiful cake, my farm boy churned up some chocolate custard style ice cream (I made a summer berry sorbet) while my mother in law contributed a beautiful tray of fresh fruits.
   With spoons in hand our tasty treats were sampled and savored and sampled some more. Memories were shared over empty bowls; recollections of ice cream gatherings from days gone by. The orange sherbert we use to make, strawberry (and how the recipe differs from the peach version), trips to the peach farm and ice cream gatherings that followed- my kids' version of ice cream in a bag- best not forget that home made chocolate sauce my mother use to make.
   Oh the fun we have had over the years with some cream, salt and ice. I do believe the ice cream tradition will pass along- maybe the old ice cream maker will too!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It Is Sunday...


 THE SPIRITUAL SLUGGARD
"Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together."
Hebrews 10: 24-25
We are all capable of being spiritual sluggards; we do not want to mix with the rough and tumble of life as it is, our one object is to secure retirement. The note struck in Hebrews 10 is that of provoking one another and of keeping together- both of which require initiative, the initiative of Christ realization, not of self-realization. To live a remote, retired, secluded life is the antipodes of spirituality as Jesus Christ taught it.
The test of our spirituality comes when we come up against injustice and meanness and ingratitude and turmoil, all of which have the tendency to make us spiritual sluggards. We want to use prayer and Bible reading for the purpose of retirement. We utilize god for the sake of getting peace and joy, that is, we do not want to realize Jesus Christ, but only our enjoyment of Him. This is the first step in the wrong direction. All these things are effects and we try to make them causes.
"I think it meet," said Peter, "...to stir you up by putting you in remembrance." It is a most disturbing thing to be smitten in the ribs by some provoker of God, by someone who is full of spiritual activity. Active work and spiritual activity are not the same thing. Active work may be the counterfeit of spiritual activity. The danger of spiritual sluggishness is that we do not wish to be stirred up, all we want to hear about is spiritual retirement. Jesus Christ never encourages the idea of retirement- "Go tell My brethren..."
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How We Roll


   Bags are packed with gear and wraps, tape and under-armor. There is a cooler full of protein rich snacks and fruit, water and ice. The family is loaded up- we're headed to competition..Brazilian Jujitsu style! Praying for our team, our competitors and our refs; safety, fair play and good sportsmanship...that's how we roll.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Something New with Lots of Blue

   In our house, we are always ready for a new project; a new challenge. Today we got one! Fabric covered in pretty jungle scenes, blue watermark, and bright green are in the line up for a pretty baby quilt. The challenge? Coming  up with the blue monogram/applique lettering in the child's name. 

We had so much fun sitting at the table with pencil and paper sketching, planning, note taking over ideas. I love hearing other people's creative visions and bouncing ideas around the table; so exciting! Today the fabric will be prewashed and dried while I scan and sketch some block lettering. Then- let the cutting begin!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen

  
   So hard to believe; so amazing to see..one of our farm girls is sweet sixteen! Bubbly and fiery- amazing in her special way; this farm girl is full of surprises and spunk. From day one she has challenged me beyond my comfort zone to places I would never have gone. Sixteen years of challenge and wonder; energy and amazement- we are so glad to share them with you. Happy birthday, amazing girl!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New On The Table


   A treasure from an antique store trip with my girls; favored by my oldest. This weekend we put a new quilt on the table; one that will fill a hope chest for a young woman in training.



   Vintage fabrics of every color are hand pieced into diamond shapes to form large six point stars. A dozen large stars sit hand-appliqued to a foundation - which is pieced flour sacks. Such an exciting find! Yet, it is unusual....



   You see, the stars were some what placed in an orderly fashion...with a bit of error. Some of the rows over lap the one next to it a bit..and some are a bit wide spaced. Oddly enough, this was an attractive element to our oldest (the artist member of our home).  Hopelessly flawed, as we all are- she said when I pointed out the errors- makes me love it all the more.


   Her proclamation and love for the star motif sealed the plan- it would be hers. Together we layered and pinned; basted and stretched...one whole afternoon. The artistic spirit in her led her away to plan and play with stars of all shapes and swirl; a quilt motif was designed and decided upon. Stars in echo and stars in fluttering sprays will fill the fabric and space of this precious treasure.
   There it sits- on the table- waiting for my hands to find it again. Maybe I will fill my favorite coffee cup and the old silver thimble to spend a few moments adding myself...maybe..

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fish Fry for the Fourth


   Our farm guys headed down to the gulf yesterday for a morning of deep sea fishing. Salty sea breeze brushed over them as the waves rocked the water beneath them. On deck men and their sons basked in the sunshine as lines were cast and reels were turned. Success came to some, but joy was felt by all.
   After a morning like this, only one thing remains: fish fry. The guys proudly cleaned their catch themselves as we girls prepared the kitchen. Bits of tasty fish were coated in seasoned flour and fried southern style in deep cast iron ware. Served up hot with sauce for dipping - no sides were necessary, just some ice cream for dessert!
   A beautiful day full of memories and fun; all hands together making every moment count as we fired up the skillet for a fish fry on the fourth.

Monday, July 4, 2011

'Fireworks' and Fond Memories



   Due to extreme drought conditions in my region, fireworks have been completely banned; even the area shows have been cancelled. In this situation the only thing left to do is make your own (a safe version at that)!




  Rummaging through the pattern ideas my eye fell upon an old vintage style. Immediately my mind filled with images; pattern prints red white and blue- just the thing for the Independence blues!





   Why not make it a reality? Raiding the remnant bin I came across the perfect pieces; deciding to make whatever I could with what I had. Of course, each fabric has a story..would you like to hear?



   My girls were little farm girls even before we had this little homestead- and they loved to dress the part. One year, my mother made each of my girls an all western outfit; one red and one blue. Tiers of bandana print accented by bold white eyelet cascaded mid-knee where cowgirl boots were proudly displayed. Over their white western shirt, a matching vest crisply laid...pulling the outfit together, just so!


   Over the years of my girls' youngest years, blue and red bandana material has been snipped and stitched into various styles to adorn my little farm gals..our farm boy has even worn a few Sunday ties made from the same material. Today's quilt squares hold leftover pieces from their clothes- even some white that was once a dressy western shirt. This year may not have held firework shows for us, but it contained the treasures of fireworks and fond memories.
  

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It Is Sunday...



THE CONCENTRATION OF PERSONAL SIN
"Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips."
Isaiah 6:5
When I get in the presence of God, I do not realize that I am a sinner in an indefinite sense; I realize the concentration of sin in a particular feature of my life. A man will say easily-"Oh, yes, I know I am a sinner"; but when he gets into the presence of God he cannot get off with that statement. The conviction is concentrated on- I am this, or that, or the other. This is always the sign that a man or woman is in the presence of God. There is never any bague sense of sin, but the concentration of sin in some personal particular. God begins by convicting us of the one thing fixed on in the mind that is prompted by His Spirit; if we will yield to His conviction on that point, He will lead us down to the great disposition of sin underneath. That is the way God always deals with us when we are consciously in His presence. 
This experience of the concentration of sin is true in the greatest and the least of saints as well as in the greatest and the least of sinners. When a man is on the first rung of the ladder of experience, he may say- I do not know where I have gone wrong; but the Spirit of God will point out some particular definite thing. The effect of the vision of the holiness of the Lord on Isaiah was to bring home to him that he was a man of unclean lips. "And he laid it upon my mouth, and said Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." The cleansing fire had to be applied where the sin had been concentrated.
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fun 4th Facts

image by webweavers
   Independence is upon us; the time of year when barbeques are loaded with food, families gather together, and fireworks fly in the skies. Sales are rolling in the shops to lure the masses in to spend and the freeways are a nightmare. Today's holiday weekend activities are hectic and often frustrating, but, were they always? Here's a few fun facts about Independence Days past.

  • In 1777, thirteen gunshots were fired, once at morning and again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white, and blue bunting.[13]
  • In 1778, General George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute. Across the Atlantic Ocean, ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner for their fellow Americans in Paris, France.[14]
  • In 1779, July 4 fell on a Sunday. The holiday was celebrated on Monday, July 5.[14]
  • In 1781, the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.[14]
  • In 1783, Moravians in Salem, North Carolina, held a celebration of July 4 with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter. This work was titled "The Psalm of Joy".
  • In 1791 the first recorded use of the name "Independence Day" occurred.
  • In 1820 the first Fourth of July celebration was held in Eastport, Maine which remains the largest in the state.[15]
  • In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.[16]
  • In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.[17
  • Also:The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.[6]
  •  
  • This was an excerpt from a letter John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail.
  •  
  • Hope you have a happy and safe - meaningful - celebration!