Thursday, December 31, 2009

I love sharing life with you . . .

Still . . . I love waking up beside you,
for whatever the coming day brings,
you'll be there to share my life with me--
both the big and the little things.

Still . . . I love spending evenings with you,
talking over the events of the day,
enjoying each other's company,
even if there's nothing to say . . .

Still . . . I love sharing my life with you--
there's so much to look forward to . . .
And I know in my heart,
for the rest of my days,
I'll be sharing my love, still, with you.

Merry Christmas,


(author unknown; from Hallmark Christmas card)


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

closing in on the countdown . . .

Blogs, journals, diaries . . . whichever one uses to express oneself (and in my case it may be all three), the end of the year usually finds entries full of retrospective comments, resolutions for the new year, and blah blah blah.

This one will be no different!

On the quilting front, I've had a marginally successful year. I started _and_ finished six projects, and started an additional seven projects that need to be finished! Plus I did a bit of regular sewing, too (like aprons, stockings, curtains, etc.) I also entered my first guild challenge, my first ever judged quilt show, and entered into my first swap (which actually won't be swapped until next month/year). I became more active in my local guild, took a bus trip to the AQS show in Knoxville, and joined a stitcher's group. Wow! Some of the projects I need to commit to finishing are the swap, first and foremost, because that has to be in the mail by January 18th (eeks!), and then my sister's Rooster (which is close), and then Joc's wedding quilt. I'll work on that non-stop at the Quilter's Retreat I'm going to in February, which my Stitcher's group (a quilt retreat -- another first)! Then there are grandbaby quilts!

I've also got things mostly figured out for quilting in the RV; once the Christmas stuff is down and put away, I'll be able to finish that up and get comfy in the space. I'm looking forward to it, though, and I have to remember that there are places like Patches & Stitches that have BIG tables and are gracious to share their space if I need to lay out a quilt top or baste a quilt sandwich! We also carried over my quilt books this week. I feel better. :)

Life held some MAJOR changes in 2009! I can't believe how fast it all flew by! I guess the whirlwind of activity causes that to happen. It's incredibly rewarding, as my own nest has emptied, to see my children begin to feather their own. Instead of feeling like I'm empty, or lost without the children around, I feel incredibly blessed to still be a part of their lives, and to see them grow and mature and live out the lives God's given them. I'm proud of them -- in a humble and praising God for it way! :)

Todd expressed it best in the card he gave me for Christmas . . . I'll have to repost it in its entirety. I read it and teared up; and then I wanted him to read it as if from me! Whoever wrote the sentiment it contained didn't get paid enough! :) Sharing life . . . I love sharing life with my husband. Our quiet moments, our accomplishments, our fun times, our memories, our future plans; I like living life with Todd. Thank You, Lord, for such a wonderful, wonderful man!

With the coming of 2010, I've now lived in four homes/cities/zip codes in Alabama. I've learned not to say (or even think) this is IT! because it rarely is!

Already 2010 is filling up . . . Michael Jr's wedding in January in Atlanta (and with it, another mini-Fowler family reunion -- YAY!); the quilter's retreat in February; a grandbaby -- Sawyer Graham Panter -- in March (along with lots of birthdays and anniversaries); Beth Moore live at Woodstock -- a mother/daughter trip -- in April; June is our 14th anniversary and somewhere along the line both Todd & I celebrate 30 years out of high school; and my parents silver wedding anniversary in September. So many wonderful things to look forward to! It would be easy to waste the year looking ahead to the next 'event'; but I am resolving to take each day and celebrate God's goodness in it!

So many thoughts; our ministry, our lives together, our family, our friends . . . .

May 2010 be a year filled with growth and a deepening relationship with God and my cherished ones. And praise Him for His goodness and overwhelming blessing in 2009!

Friday, December 25, 2009

. . . .

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

snow daze (and some unfinished business) !

First, as promised earlier, here's a shot of the kids over Thanksgiving. The clothes coordination was TOTALLY unplanned, but quite delightful! In fact, Joc & Kim were so tickled that their guys were matchie-matchie, that they bought themselves the same shirt so they could all be a matching foursome! I love 'em! They are quite the dramatic group. Never a dull moment!
post script: I should point out that darling
Sawyer Graham is figuring more and more prominently in pictures with Kim! It's all so exciting to this grandma-gonnabe!

Also as promised, here are full length shots of the Boy Scout Quilt! I'm so pleased with how the quilting turned out on this! I've trimmed the edges and have the binding mostly ready, so I hope to finish it up this week!

The back, being black flannel, really showcases the quilting beautifully!

I totally love the Boy Scout crest! It's awesome!

Saturday morning we woke up to a light blanket of snow. What made the scene all the more enchanting were the deer that came in! Todd and I were captivated by them all. We sat for over an hour just watching them eat and move through the camp. I was so excited by how well the pictures came out, considering I was taking them through the window of the RV! The snowy background really afforded us a clear picture of our usually camouflaged critters!

There was a group of about four does and four yearlings.

There were two sets of two bucks; they're supposed to be in rut, but I guess ours hadn't gotten the memo. The picture below is of the most handsome buck I've seen. He really was a majestic and regal looking creature! Stunning.

When the deer had finally moved on out of the camp, Todd & I collected our wits enough to make it outside! Here's a picture of Home, Sweet Home, in the snow!

Below is the view out of our picture window, left.

And this is out the same window, straight on.

Below is coming out of the camping area, looking at the pavilion. Isn't this a beautiful campground?

Here's a shot of the bridge between the two ponds, covered in snow! Isn't it pretty? It's like living in my own personal winter wonderland!

And here's the winding road leading to the 'outside world'!

I hope this early December snowfall is a portend of things to come . . . !



Friday, December 04, 2009

It's here!!!!!!

Finally, the long-awaited BSQ has been quilted! This was my first experience sending a quilt "out" for quilting, but it was well worth it. My quilter was Becky McCarthy and she did a simply marvelous job! She designed the Boy Scout crest that she used; she said she had to do three separate templates -- the shield, the eagle, the outlining fleur-de-lisle -- and then put it together into one design. She used gold and olive green thread which really makes the quilting pop, especially on the back!

The back is a whole piece of black flannel. The quilting is really showcased on the back; I've got more pictures of the whole quilt; I had to wait until I'd trimmed all the excess off, and had a sweet, helpful person (i.e., my darling husband) to hold it for me while I took the photo! I'll post those later.

All that's left now is the binding! Hurrah!

Scout's Honor.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Capturing fleeting moments . . .

My sweet daughter-in-law, Kim (on the right), and her friend, Kim!
They are both due within a month of the other.
Aren't they precious? Expectant mothers are darling!
Especially when they are carrying your grandson!!!! :)

Thanksgiving Table 2009!
The last one (more than likely) on Hunter Road!
We have had some awesome Thanksgiving dinners around this table,
but I truly believe this year's was the BEST!

Close-up of the center.
I had just been wondering what I was going to do
floral-wise in the center of the table, when who should show
up at work with flowers, but my darling husband.
Oh my, how blessed and doubly blessed I am.

Old Tom, stuffed, seasoned and ready for the oven!
(It was early, EARLY in the morning, hence the coffee cup!)

Yay! Tom's goose is cooked! LOL! :)
James took all the family photos with his camera,
so I don't have any of all of us! Pooh.

Pretty little Christmas tree in its new space!
I need to cover the milk crate. One day I'll quilt an appropriate cover!

There's my Russian nesting Santa scene!
There's Santa, a snow angel, another Santa,
a snowman and a Christmas tree!
I purchased this in a flea market in Moscow.

A closer-up of the tree!
It took us about 5 minutes to decorate it! :)
We had sugar-free egg nog and sugar-free cookies
to help put us in the mood, then we watched Rudolph!
It's beginning to look a LOT like Christmas!

How appropriate . . . my nesting doll Nativity scene under The Last Supper.
And if the picture on the TV is throwing you for a loop,
let me explain by saying it's the Bumble, from Rudolph.
The red (which looks like a big, glowing, floating eye)
is really his tongue in his open mouth!

Last night it was so windy, we had to pull in the awning and the antenna! Hopefully it will die down and we'll be able to string up our lights! YAY! I can't wait to have pretty colored lights on our RV -- it will be lots of fun to come home to!

Todd is busy winterizing the RV and getting his space all worked out. Every time I come home it's a little closer! There are still things at Hunter Road that need to come over, but not pertinent stuff -- more like the optional stuff. I thought I'd found all my Christmas stuff over the Thanksgiving weekend, but I'm still missing a bunch. Who knows where it is! Time for another trip to the 'cinderblock' basement!

This is a busy week; getting things settled before the cold weather settles, moving stuff in and around, church, and then a ladies' cookie swap on Friday! I'm going to see if the girls want to join my in cookie baking on Saturday; then the bustle of the season starts in earnest! Parties, church events, meetings . . . wow! I did find out today that we're closing the 24th-25th and again on the 31st-1st! That means two, five-day weekends in a row!! Whoo whoo!

Let the reindeer games begin!


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Can you believe . . .

. . . that it's been two and a half weeks since I blogged last? :(

. . . that I haven't shared a single thing about our move since they physically moved the RV?

. . . that we've been living full-time in the RV for, well, two and a half weeks?

. . . that I am no longer a cat owner?

. . . that I see deer on a daily basis, from our picture window?

. . . that I have done no significant quilting in better than two weeks?

. . . that I do laundry in a single machine that is both a washer & dryer? (And it's pretty cool, too!)

. . . that Thanksgiving has come and gone?

. . . that I went out, for the first time EVER on Black Friday? (Even if it was just as a chauffeur.)

. . . that for (also) the first time ever, our tree is artificial?

. . . that I'm excited I have an artificial tree??!

. . . that it's DECEMBER?? Where did 2009 go?!?

. . . that Christmas is in 23 days?!?!?!

. . . that there are recipes for sugar-free, low-fat eggnog?

Me either. But it's all true!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

today's the day!

So . . . it all comes down to today.

We loaded up all my quilting stuff. Ha! Todd was amazed at how much all that fabric and those notions weighed!! I was so tickled to be able to fit all our boxed DVD sets, my whole Jan Karon collection, *all* my tea-related books and a dozen cookbooks in the cabinets over the sofa. I feel better already!

We decided against loading *everything* into the RV before pulling it. Clothes were a problem because the washer/dryer hasn't been installed yet. Because it's in the master closet, we knew we'd just have to unload everything for the guys to be able to get into the space to install it.

We bought some tubs and racks at WalMart last night to use. We didn't get lots of stuff -- just enough to try out. Until we're living in it and have our stuff put up, it's hard to know exactly what we'll need!

I did get all our toiletries and stuff over there. Not all my hair accessories and jewelry, though. I do want my necklace rack over there today! :)

So much to think about! Todd's swept all the leaves off the roof . . . we're getting ready to pull in the slides and hook her up . . . this will be a busy day!

This evening we'll drop Merlin off at James and Kim's. Sigh. He snuggled with us this morning before we got up and going. He has no clue!

Tonight we'll spend our first night in Camp Macoba in our new home!!!

Pray for us, please!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day!

Yesterday I had the privilege of going to Lynn Fanning Elementary school to speak to several third grade classes about the time I spent in the U.S. Navy, why I joined, and why Veteran's Day is so important. There were three of us speaking; a young second lieutenant from the U.S. Army, a WWII U.S. Marine vet, and myself, the U.S. Navy Vet.

The first thing I did was hand out pictures of me in my uniform, so they could see that I really was in the Navy! I also let them pass around my ribbons and my medals. I wished I had more carefully saved more of that stuff.

They were interested and asked some very good questions. It was a lot of fun. Listening to Mr. Mullins, the Marine vet, was lots of fun, too. He had some great stories! The kids were mostly interested in guns and shooting. I had to share with them that sailors and soldiers can do lots more jobs than just fighting! LOL!

In the end, we took a picture with the three of us and as much of the students as we could fit in the frame. It was a fun hour. The kids were absolutely great. A couple of the kids asked each one of us if we knew someone. In their minds, I guess, the military is a small club and we should know everyone in it!

The lieutenant had told them that he wore his uniform so that everyone on his "team" would know that he was on their team and wouldn't shoot him. One of the children raised his hand and asked if the lieutenant knew so-and-so. The lieutenant shook his head no. The child then said, "Well he wears that same uniform, so he's on your team." The lieutenant smiled and said, "It's a really big team!" I thought that was great!

Here's a young Legalman Second Class Petty Officer, fresh out of Justice School, serving at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia. When I passed this picture around, the children kept exclaiming, "That looks like Mrs. Merkel!" (My daughter, who is one of their teachers, who is close to the age I was in the following picture!)

And here I am in the group -- the NAB Little Creek Color Guard! The elite of the elite! What fun that was -- I do miss it! Gosh, didn't we look serious????

You know, as proud as I am to have served my country, I know that there are so many, many more who's lives were given as sacrifice on my behalf and on behalf of this great country. I am truly thankful. May I always remember--and in remembering, cause others to remember--the tremendous service of others to this country.

Happy Veteran's Day!


Monday, November 09, 2009

camp macoba

Ta dah! Here it is . . . our Camp Macoba sign!

Todd & I took a trip out there over the weekend . . . it was such a beautiful afternoon. The fall foliage is absolutely incredible right now!

Here's a fall-view of the lot we'll be on. Gosh it's just so gorgeous!

Here's the view from our big bay-style window.
This is my new parking spot!
Another campsite view.
The end of our very long, gated drive.

Six days and counting!

I spent today in my kitchen trying to figure out what exactly would be making the transition from house to RV. I first went through my tupperware stuff. I dug out only the stuff that I thought would be appropriate. I left behind some stuff that I like, but I thought just wouldn't be practical. I laid out the keeper stuff, put it on the table, and looked at it and thought . . . this ain't gonna work!

So I ran out to the RV, stepped inside, and looked at the cabinet and drawer space. I opened everything. Then I returned to the house, looked at the tupperware stuff on the kitchen table, and realized I had just filled every cabinet that I had. Ummmm, Houston, we have a problem!

I just need to rethink . . . regroup . . . drop back and punt!
I tried to spend some time in my quilting room getting that stuff together. After the kitchen debacle, I'm askeered!

Maybe I'll just take my dvd's and tv dinners.
Oh wait . . . the freezer's not big enough for tv dinners.

The last couple days, a prominent passage of Scripture that's been running through my head is Luke 12:24-26, "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?"
You know, if I can't add a day to my life by worrying, why worry about what I'm taking to the RV? What purpose does worrying about it serve? What practical thing does worrying accomplish? Nothing. Zip. Nada. So I won't. I am done with worrying. I'm into flat-out believing that God's going to pull together the exact perfect stuff that needs to go. Hah! What a relief! Can't take my joy!

That makes the next five days far more exciting!


Friday, November 06, 2009


Oh my; what fun we had last night! Kim & I headed to Emma's (my favorite tea room), for a class in cupcake decorating! It was wonderful! We used decorator tips and butter cream frosting to create some of the prettiest Christmas cupcakes I've ever seen!!

Here's me with two of my offerings . . . the holiday wreath and the Christmas tree!

We also did one in fondant -- the light purple one -- and made it to resemble an ornament! I also had to do a monogrammed cupcake. After all, I *am* a Panter girl! :)

This was our darling teacher, Heather. She's a cake baker/decorator extraordinaire! She was very helpful and lots of fun . . . and a great teacher, too. She will be working her cake magic in Emma's kitchen, and selling her craft there as well. She's new -- and she has a clever business name, card and website, but I can't find her card, so I'll have to post it later!

This was the group of ladies taking the class with Kim & I. In the very front left corner of the pic, you can just see the top of Emma's head. Yes, she's the young lady for whom the tea shoppe is named!

And here is a sampling of their cupcakes! Everyone did a great job and had lots of fun. The big group at the end of the table were all sisters, daughters, and daughters-in-law. Lots of laughing and joking! See all the teacups? Well, we were at Emma's! She served a cinnamon-vanilla tea, a chocolate-coconut tea, and an apple-something tea. YUMMY!

Next month they are doing a Gingerbread House night. I'm in! I hope Joc is able to go, too. Plus Lynelle's has free candy decorating classes on Thursdays! FUN!

Tonight starts the Bible study . . . I'm racing home early today to get ready!



Tuesday, November 03, 2009

where does it all go?!?

The time, I mean. I *know* where all the calories from the Halloween candy go . . . duh! That's why I did my level best to stay away from it this year! I was quite successful, too, if I do say so. I didn't bring a drop home with me from the church!

Speaking of which, Trunk or Treat at the church was a GREAT time! We had so many kids come through our parking lot! And so many unchurched families . . . my heart breaks for families who are dealing with the economy and just the everyday stresses and everything without the support of a church family; and possibly without the support of Jesus. Knowing and acknowledging Jesus as my Savior and Lord does not make my circumstances easier, but it certainly makes it easier to face my circumstances. I can't imagine doing it without Him. So this week I'll think about the sweet faces (and some not-so-sweet faces!) that passed by my car looking for a treat, and I'll pray that the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ will touch their lives and the lives of their families.

Saturday morning, Tina & I headed to Hooked on Quilting for the Sept/Oct birthday bash. I found lots of fabric that I absolutely *needed* (especially with my birthday 25% discount), but I kept it /relatively/ small. :) After the quilt shop, Tina treated me to lunch at Houlihan's. They have the best sandwiches there! I got a hot Reuben on toasted pumpernickel (I think). Yummy! From there we headed to WalMart, and then on to home. I get to see my friend so infrequently -- it was good to spend the day with her!

I would have spent Saturday night in the RV, but I couldn't get the heat to come on, and it was *way* too cold to be out there without it!

Ah HA! And guess what? My sweet husband took me clothes shopping. Insisted, even! We had a nice lunch at Sbarro's and then headed over to do some clothes shopping. I like having Todd with me when I shop, because I always want to be certain that what I'm purchasing is something that he likes me in. Then it's a happy all the way around! I picked out two really great over shirts, a white cotton shirt with red and black plaid buttons, cuffs, and collar -- really cute -- and a couple of shell shirts to wear underneath. Tops to give me options! Hurrah! I can't wait until Sunday to try it out!

Monday. Oh. My. Todd left relatively (5:20 am) early to go fishing with his dad. Ten minutes later I was up, too. I tackled our DVDs! I pulled all of them from their cases, cut out a 4.5" square from their labels, and alphabetized them in one of those CD/DVD sleeve books. I filled it up! It was awesome!

I also made a sugar-free apple pie for us for supper, with apples from our tree. It was super easy, because the apples were already peeled, cored, and cut. Oh and was it good! I was thrilled! Todd was too -- we had some for breakfast this morning! Hey -- it was made without sugar!

I also went grocery shopping yesterday. Quite the productive day! Todd brought home a little over two dozen fillets. His dad had told him about boiling the fish, flaking it, and using it like tuna. I fooled around with the other ingredients and make a bowlful. I have to admit, it was quite good. Todd thought so too! We both had tuna-less fish salad wraps for lunch today. I'm really impressed! Besides, the white fish is LOADS cheaper than good canned tuna!

What else? Ugh. I'm having hot flashes quite frequently. They're not bad . . . just a little annoying. I feel like my face has a perpetual fever! Bleh.

Jocelyn e-mailed me this morning. Their third grade classes are doing a Veteran's Day celebration on Tuesday of next week, and she's asked me to come and speak to the students. Wow! :) That's an honor, especially since there will be decorated veterans there, too. It's always such a privilege to stand beside others who have faithfully served this country!

Have I won anything lately? LOL! Now that you mention it, I did win a $10 gift certificate from the September FabShop Hop. Yay me! It was from Quilts With A Hearts! Can't wait to go ahead and check 'em out and spend it! Free money, whoohoo!!!

I know when I wait so long between posting that I forget stuff. Like . . . the washer/dryer came for the RV today . . . we've found someone with a fifth-wheel hitch to help us tow the RV to Macoba in . . . ELEVEN DAYS!!! . . . and other stuff that I can't remember.

Looking forward in this week to: working at Stuckey Builders tonight; cupcake class with Kim at Emma's on Thursday; Bible study retreat Friday/Saturday . . . what an incredibly full and blessed life I have. :)

It's time, I'm telling you. I'm filling it faster than I can find a free moment!



Thursday, October 29, 2009


Nothing is just tripping off my tongue, here.

Lots of stuff happening, it's just that none of it is coming together cohesively in my mind so I can put it down in words!

Let me think where I left off . . .

Saturday. Alabama won. Benefit concert at Lighthouse (during which Todd came up with an interesting idea of having Kim, James, Jocelyn & I sing, while Jason works our sound and Todd manages us).

Sunday. Church--then Todd was on shift. I went back to church that afternoon for choir practice and the evening service. Brother Randy's message was really good Sunday evening. He talked about what it meant to be a person whom God used to stand in the gap. Several interesting Scriptures that he quoted from. Psalms 15:2, Philippians 3:10, Colossians 1:28-29, and Ephesians 5:25 all listed traits of those God uses to stand in the gap, but the words in the psalm were the most intriguing.

When I left church Sunday night, I noticed I had several missed calls and two voicemails. I didn't recognize either of the numbers so I check my voicemail. The first call was from my Great Grand Uncle Frank from Montana! He was checking to see if he had the right telephone number for me, because his son, Chris, was delivering a truck load in Huntsville and wanted to talk to me! The second voicemail was from Chris himself! I hadn't talked to Chris Fowler since I was ... I dunno, maybe 15? At the last Fowler Family reunion at Pop's and Grandma Willie's! Chris had a kind of long rebellious stage (like decades long), had left home, and had eventually ended up in Arizona. Now he's been married for forever, has two kids, and is working to put some money away to buy a house. I called him when I got home and we talked for about an hour. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to leave his truck and was headed directly to Corinth, MS, first thing the following morning, but now that he knows where I am, I think he'll make arrangements so we can actually see each other. It was awesome talking to him after so long! :)

Monday, Todd came home off shift and the two of us ran some errands together, then we had lunch at Posey's, and then we went to Hazel Green Elementary, where Todd put on his turnouts and gave a little talk to Jenda Hillis's pre-k class. It was fun listening to Todd talk to the children and how they interacted with him. It made me proud all over! I took several pictures, so here's a snapshot:

He was so patient with all their questions and chasing rabbits with them! After they'd asked all their questions, he let each one of them try on his coat and hat -- I took their pictures. So, so darling! We had a fun afternoon doing that. From the school we headed to Publix and did grocery shopping together. I'm determined to find foods that he likes and is healthy for us. I was at the deli counter looking at different types of turkey. One that caught my eye was the Cajun turkey; I tried a slice and in was SMOKIN! Two hours later my mouth was still warm! Todd tried it and loved it. Yay! I think we're gonna make it. We even found some cookies for us to try! All in all, it was a good shop. I like shopping with him!

Monday night, I ORDERED TICKETS TO A BETH MOORE EVENT!!!! I'm so very excited. Tickets just went on sale on Saturday, October 24th. The venue (First Baptist Church Woodstock, in Atlanta), holds 9,000. Today they announced that it had sold out. SOLD OUT! But Joc and me, we're in like flint! And we have hotel reservations to boot! I so can't wait! The event is April 24th. Wow. I guess I'll have to learn to wait, non?!

Tuesday was back to work . . . Wednesday more of the same. Except that on Wednesday evening, since Todd was on shift and James was at school, Kim and I had dinner together! We ate at Ol' Dad's BBQ. It was yummy and we had a fun meal together. After that, I headed to Berryhill Funeral home. My good friend, Jeff, had lost his mom on Monday. Her visitation was Wednesday (last night). I'm glad I went. I love that Laster family. And it was nice to meet Jeff's dad and sister. After the visitation, I went to Costco and bought Halloween candy for Trunk or Treat! I got good candy, too. Now if only I could figure out how to decorate my car!

I also got a new movie -- Ice Age 3!! I'm so excited and I can't wait to watch it! Hopefully Todd will watch it with me tonight. I've been waiting forever for it to come out; that and Night at the Museum 2. Don't tell me I have to wait for Christmas for that?!?! I still have the dilemma of what to do with all my VHS movies. I hate the thought of giving them up/away. Especially since they are all movies I did want in the first place.

Okay. Payroll got done today. Billing, done. Work, DONE! I'm ready to go home. Is it Friday yet? Please?!?!?! Perhaps tomorrow will fly by . . .

I shouldn't wait so long before doing this. I forget things. Ugh.



Saturday, October 24, 2009

secret pals . . .

One thing that I have learned in being a secret pal is that it's not in the getting, it's in the giving. It makes me think of the scripture that talks about not lending, but giving without an expectation of getting it back. I have learned to take such incredible joy in giving, that whether or not there's something on the table for me doesn't matter. If there's nothing there, no biggie. If there is, pleasant surprise.

That being said, this week is a biggie week! It's the last Sunday before Halloween, so I wanted this week's gift to be *loads* of fun!!! I'd gotten a really cute copper pumpkin at Cracker Barrel, along with some of the creamy pumpkin candies (like candy corn, only pumpkins). I'd also gotten a pink John Deere tee-shirt. Yesterday at Two Friends (one of my favorite all-time gift shops), I got a really cool candle holder--it was frosted on the outside, and purple tinted on the inside, with silver bats! Inside that I tucked some scented votive candles. Then last night, I got the idea to make an applique pumpkin -- just a little sumpin'-sumpin' that was hand-crafted. Nothing extravagant. I'd picked up lots of really beautiful orange batik fat quarters at our quilt show, so I pulled those out and played around until I found a combination I liked. I zipped it out and rolled it up and put in the mix, and topped the whole thing off with some Hershey's Treasures. Add a cute little homemade card and some black tissue paper, and voila! It's a pretty cute little gift, if I do say so myself!

This is my first attempt to outline iron-on applique with a zig-zag stitch on the machine. I am really pleased with the results! I was going to quilt it on the machine, but I still don't have the guts to do anything but straight lines!

I tried to arrange the gold "Treasures" so that they poked through in the eyes, nose, and mouth holes! Glimmer of gold -- like a lit pumpkin!

I played around with the words for the poem for a while. I wanted it to be fun, but still make a point about what we're really about. God!

It's hard to read in the photo, so I'll reprint it:

Cauldron boil and cauldron bubble . . .
Halloween can be full of trouble!
But you little lamb, must not despair
The wickedness that fills the air;
For you are a child of the most High God!
He comforts and protects with His staff & rod.
And though mischief-making fills the land,
Nothing can pluck you from His hand.
Psalm 23:4 & John 10:29

The main thing is, I hope it brings a smile to my pal's face!

We're watching Alabama Tide vs. the Volunteers. I put some pork in the crock pot, and we'll have BBQ sandwiches and fries for dinner. At 5:30 we'll head over to Lighthouse for a benefit singing for HAP!

All in all, a lovely, quiet Saturday!


Friday, October 23, 2009

wrapping it up . . .

The week, that is.

I've not gotten a schedule from Tate Farms this week, so I guess I'm not scheduled to work tomorrow. It's not really a big deal -- I don't work there for the money. I may go by and pick up my free pumpkin! I think I'd really like to carve one this year. It's been a while since I have done that myself . . . I think I'd like to get one pumpkin for Halloween carving, and one for the turkey stand. :)

James and I went to lunch today and had a nice chat. Marriage and impending fatherhood has been very good for him. I've always had a soft spot for my boy, but I enjoy his company more and more as he becomes the man, husband, and soon-father, that God's whittling out of him. James has perceptive insight into situations -- I love to hear his thoughts on a subject.

Both James and Jocelyn have, by God's grace--not through anything I've done, matured into pretty cool people whose company I enjoy. And they both picked most excellent spouses, making for a double blessing; one for them and one for Todd & me! I love my family.

Todd and I will probably spend a quiet night at home this evening. He's been to Camp Macoba and chatted with that committee today . . . we're moving right along!

Today is better than yesterday. Both James & Kim, individually, offered to take care of Merlin. I am still not sure I want to burden these two like that! But last night, as I spent kitty-cuddling time with Merlin, I decided that I would just enjoy him each day that I have him, and that I would trust God to do what was best. Seems silly to spend time crying now, when I could be spending that time doing something productive . . . like scratching under Merlin's chin!

I got the cute little sewing accessory kit in the mail this week, along with my teapot BOM from The Cherry Pit, a beautiful Jerusalem's cross that Cynthia, my sister, brought me back from her trip to Jerusalem, the most current issue of Eating Well, and I think that's it for mail. Overall, not a bad week!

It wasn't a bad week for James, either. He's inherited (or stolen) my lucky gene! He won an xbox 360 yesterday on the radio. He goes to pick it up today!! Go James!!!! Now he's walking around twice as puffed up ... because it was bad enough when they found out they are having a BOY!!!! Yay! A grandbaby boy will be so much fun! His name will be Sawyer Graham Panter. I cannot wait to meet him next March! Let the baby boy quilts begin!

If I don't work tomorrow, I'll post some pictures of this week's treasures.

Hasta la vista!


Thursday, October 22, 2009


Have you ever had a day where you were dealing with something that was just plain hard?

That's my today. My day hasn't been bad or traumatic or anything like that. We (Todd & I) are just facing a tough decision with our cat, and it's really heart-sad. I shared yesterday that Camp Macoba is a go, and that we're moving the RV up there on November 14th. I'm *really* excited about that and looking forward to having a couple of months to make the transition--living in the RV, but still having access to our home, so that we can decide what we _really_ need to hang on to, and what we _really_ didn't need to take in the first place!

One thing that just can't go is Merlin. I understand, I really, truthfully do. I can't imagine trying to live with a cat box in that small of a space. Something about a cat's box makes a small space even smaller! I know that Todd is even more sensitive to odors than I am -- but no one likes the smell of cat box! And since this will be our home *and* Todd's office, a cat just doesn't make sense.

But knowing that cold, hard fact, and being able to easily accept it are two different things. When we first started talking about RVs, it was down the line, after Todd retired. No biggie. Then, when we were able to get a GREAT deal on the exact RV we wanted, the soonest we were thinking was along the lines of March/April 2010 -- still a half year away! No biggie! Now? It's three weeks -- twenty-one days! Reality crash! And my heart is heavy.

Let me reiterate. I know this is the right thing. I know what we are doing is God's will, and I understand that obedience comes with a personal cost. If doing what God wanted was always easy, there would sure be a whole lot more folks being obedient! Laying my will aside so that I might do my Father's will is a great honor for me, and I'm so excited that we're ready to move forward. I need to lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily besets me, and run with patience the race that is set before me. God's grace is good.

Flowers help too.

My darling husband had flowers sent to me at work today -- just acknowledging that he knew this was hard, and that we'd figure it out, and that he loved me. Aren't they fun & pretty? They made me smile and I knew that he understood; and I know that He understands, too.

I am blessed. I am truly blessed.