Friday, December 28, 2012

happy birthday, Jesus!

*this is always a very hard post for me to write. I really considered not writing it this year; I don't want to be misunderstood. 
But the simple truth is, this blog is the record for our family. We want to remember. We want to remember what we gave to Jesus 
as much as we want to remember the funny things we say, and how to make the foods we like, and when somebody got baptized. 
I don't mean to offend, condemn or brag. I just want to record. so we can remember.
 If you are encouraged, I'm glad. and grateful. If our annual Christmas post makes your skin crawl - skip it*

I woke up Christmas morning not feeling real swift,
so we ended up postponing our birthday party.
I'm feeling much better today, 
but sadly, a few of the kiddos are sick now.
We decided to go ahead and have the party anyways,
'cause if we wait 'til everyone in the house it totally well,
well, it might be awhile...

We did things just like last year, except there was real cash in the envelopes instead of fake money. (The bank loved me this month ;-)
and we didn't have any cake (I don't think it was missed)
We've had a small chunk of 'Samaritan Money' set aside for a few months now, but we never felt led to use it, 
 so Tyler said we could spend it on gifts for Jesus, too, in addition to the money we had earmarked, 
which made me happy. 

My sister gave me some money;
she wanted to give to Jesus, but trusted me to spend her money for her :-)
I could have just added her money to mine, but I really tried to pick something that she would be passionate about.
She owns a small shop in Rogers (and has an etsy shop) where she sells, among other things, her hand made jewelry.
She works with beads and gems, common metals, and even gold and silver.
She loves to learn new skills. (Fortunately for her, her brain actually works...)
All of those thing combined, made my choice easy:
I went in with her 50/50 and we gave a hard-working woman (maybe even a jewelry maker?) a small business loan!
What's especially cool about that, is,
when that woman's business is up and running, and she repays the loan,
the money is then loaned out again, to another woman,
and the cycle will continue to repeat, and the gift will keep giving. Indefinitely.
I'm so tickled!!
(anybody else want to send me some money to spend?? ;-)

What else did we buy??

lots!  :-)

I love how our choices reflect us.
We bought:

A dozen baby chicks (Lexi)
10 'Greatest Gift' booklets to be included in shoeboxes (Lily)
Food  for 2 children for a week (me and the girls)
Food for 4 hungry babies and/or nursing mommas for a week (Lily and Lex')
A pair of chickens (Lily)
Training for an evangelist (Brandon)
5 fruit trees - these will provide food and income from selling both fruit and saplings (Brandon & Jeremiah)
2 shares of a fish pond (Tyler)
Help for children with disabilities (Brandon)
Mosquito nets for a family (Brandon and Lexi)
2 Bibles (Brandon)
A sewing machine (girls and I)
 (before the seamstress takes home her machine, she will receive 6 months of sewing training and Bible teaching :-)
A goat. (Josiah)
Lexi really wanted to give bees, but a beehive was very expensive this year, so we passed on that.
Brandon wondered if there was any way to give safe heat (beyond clothing) because many deaths and injuries are related to unsafe heating practices. I think that is something we'll need to research this year, as that is not something that was in the catalogs we have.
Tyler and Brandon gave money to World Vision's Maximum Impact Fund, so they can use it where its most urgently needed.
I gave money (which will be multiplied 5 times) for emergency food
and we all put money towards emergency clothing.
The money given for that will multiply twelve times :-)
So our combined $90 will buy $1,080 of warm clothes and boots and such to protect people from harsh winter weather.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Happy Birthday, Jesus; we bought these presents
just for You.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

oh dear

I'm not making many Christmas gifts this year.
Just a few, actually.
I was right on track with everything,
until I was going over my making schedule in my mind (and you know hard  that poor thing has to work!)
and realized that we'd be gone for the better part of two of the next five days.
uh oh.

On a happier note, a friend who knows me well 
made me the cutest dishtowel.
It says 'I'd sew more quilts if I didn't have to cook!'
Is that perfect or what?!
I love it!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

welcome to another episode of 'she should have been blond'

Lexi was out of pull-ups.
I congratulated myself for remembering to add them to the list.
And then, 
actually remembering to buy them.

After unloading the groceries and goodies from the car,
(and all the other crap, too)
the pull-ups were taken to the girls' bedroom,
and come bedtime, the package ripped open.

They were in bed for about 20 minutes before beginning their parent-torturing ritual of 
getting up to tattle,
getting up to go potty, etc.
On one of her trips in to tattle on Lily for stealing all the covers
(which Lily admittedly did - but only after Lexi had kicked her, and stolen the covers first. 
Note that they each have their own quilt...
also note that Lily would not tell on Lexi even when asked; 
I only found out about Lex's transgressions by asking her what she did to prompt her sister's actions.)
I noticed that Lexi's pull-up looked a little snug.
Then a few minutes later, she came in the room again,
complaining that her diaper was bugging her.
And I realized - I hadn't checked the size! 
I just grabbed a package.
'24 count - yeah, that's prob'ly enough,' I thought, then I threw 'em in my cart. 
Enough for what, exactly, I'm not sure....

If anyone needs some size 2/3 pull-ups ~ I can hook you up

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Jeremiah spent yesterday at Silver Dollar City with his big sis, brother in law, and nephews.
Josiah wasn't overly thrilled to be going to bed by himself,
when bedtime rolled around
and it would still be a few hours 'til his bub got home.
We let him stay up  late and watch us play Rummy.
(Brandon beat the pants off of both Tyler and I. And Tyler wasn't sure he knew how to play. hmph)
(Kids are so much easier to enjoy one on one - or two on two, as the case may be...)
We sent him to bed (for good, this time) after 11,
but he still hadn't gone to sleep when Jeremiah got home a little after midnight,
of course, he got up when he heard Jeremiah come in the door.
(he brought home a little present for me - which is extra special, cuz he is 100% Daddy's boy, and I would have thought if he was bringing something home for just one person - I would not even be near the top of his list. Like his biggest brother, though,
he had no trouble at all letting someone else (Lana) pick out the gift. )

I let them yammer on for a good bit, then sent them both to bed at 12:52.
As usual, they climbed into the same bed (even though they each have a perfectly comfortable twin bed...)
and just continued their conversation.
I finally fell asleep close to 2, to the sound of the two of them, still talking.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

covered in love and prayers

I know she loves Jesus.
I know this,
because I've seen it with my own eyes.
For almost 12 years, our family has served with Connie (and others) in 'apartment ministry'.
And I have watched her love His children.

A few weeks ago, Connie was diagnosed with cancer.
I thought, "I should make her a quilt".
Then I dismissed the thought, because it seemed rather cliche.

Last Thursday,
while the rest of the team was at Timberline Apartments,
Connie got her port.
I thought again, "I should make her a quilt."
Again, I dismissed the notion.

this makes me think of zebra strip gum

A few days later, I just happened to read something that mentioned why people are cold when they undergo chemo.
I started thinking again...

Wednesday afternoon, I did a little research,
trying to determine what size quilt I should make, should I , you know, decide to make one.
And I sat at my computer choking back tears.
I had to get up and do something else, then went back later and researched some more.
My heart just broke for Connie.
I know God has everything in control, and I'm not worried about her,
but I don't want her to have to go through this.
And being that I have this houseful of (germ-y) kids, there isn't a lot I can do for her.

I decided I was definitely making my friend a quilt!

I texted Lynnet and said, now is when one needs a fabric stash...
She sweetly offered to let me have shop her stash. I told her I needed to get the current quilt (!) off the design wall before I could do anything, then I'd see what I might have, so I'd know what I'd still need.
That evening, I messaged a mutual friend to ask when Connie would begin treatment.

I knew I'd want the quilt to have lots of white for Bible verses, 
so I quickly settled on Amanda Jean's zigzag pattern (but made it a bit bigger, and changed up the size of my zags)
I wanted the quilt to be cheery, and you know there is no fabric cheerier to me than California Dreamin',
which, I just happen to have in my meager stash.
I also just happened to have 2 1/2 inch strips of Kona white - already cut.
I pulled out 7 Cali Dreamin fabrics, and grabbed a few more coordinating fabrics
that I 'happened' to order when I found them on clearance when I ordered Matsuri this summer.

I should interject here that the entire time I worked on this quilt, I felt like God was blessing my work,
which confirmed to me that it was right that I should make this quilt.

Wednesday night, after the house was in bed, I cut two 3 1/2 in strips of each print,
and noonish Thursday,
I started sewing.
Oh. I also got a message back from Mary - Connie would begin treatment Tuesday. 
which meant, if I was going to give her the quilt before her first dose of chemo,
I'd need to finish it by Monday afternoon!
Brandon and Tyler were huge helps, fixing meals and doing extra picking up,
so that I could sew.

Tyler asked how long it would take me to hand-quilt the verses.
I looked at him as if he had lost his mind.
sweetly told him that just wasn't an option.
He said it was too bad. He really liked the pink stitches on Lily's quilt.
So I thought, "Well. Maybe I can do a little hand quilting.... 

I wanted to use a vintage sheet from my collection for the back, but nothing was just right.
(or even close to just right...)
I held a not-at-all-suitable daisy sheet up and asked Tyler what he thought.
He noted that I was asking him for more input than usual.
He suspected maybe it was because I was trying to rush, and maybe even skimp in the rushing.
And that I was only asking because I already knew the answer...
He demanded very lovingly suggested that I should create a back with my 'signature pop'.

 I free motion quilted the verses with the quilt top basted to the batting, but not the back. 
After I added all the colons by hand (french knots) I taped everything to the floor again,
and spray basted the back to the partially quilted front.
Then I used my walking foot and did miles and miles of straight line quilting - in zig zags -
in dark pink, orange, yellow, and pink thread.
I hand-quilted the one row I'd planned to hand quilt,
and liked it so much, I added two more rows of hand-quilting
before adding the binding.

I did finish it on time,
even though sewing the binding on took an inordinately long time.
After finishing, though, I decided not to barge in on her last evening before treatment,
and will get it to her very soon.
I hope that, whether she takes it with her to her treatments or not,
this quilt brings warmth and comfort, 
to both her body and her spirit.

I asked if there were specific things I should be praying,
and the reply was, "Connie asked us to pray for the salvation of her doctors."

Which is perfectly typical Connie.

Monday, December 10, 2012

budding entrepreneur

We have a plethora of cats.
It's the only animal we seem to be able to raise.
But besides eating a few mice now and then, they're useless.
We were discussing listing them on Craigslist (free, of course) when Jeremiah said,
"Tell them that they are house-cats; 
and when the people come to pick up their cat,
we'll hide."
(I couldn't for the life of me figure out where he was going with this)
He continued,
"Then we'll have a cat poop cleaning business."

(the 'we' referred to the children, not all of us)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

where it belongs, finally

When I got to the binding, Lily asked me to just sew it all by machine, saying she'd already been waiting so many days for it to be finished.
I tried machine binding.
And after about 6 inches (which included my first corner) I asked if I could please sew it by hand.
She said, "No." 
Said she didn't care if it wasn't perfect, she just was ready for her quilt.
So I re-did those few inches (I'd not caught the binding in 3 spots! in that little bitty span!)
And it looked crappy.
And I still missed a little section of binding, so I told her I was sorry, I just had to do it by hand.
At the rate I was going, I wasn't sure it would be much slower than machine binding anyways...
I told her I'd be finished with the binding by Thursday.
I was finished by Wednesday.
But it took me part of Thursday and all of Friday to knot and bury all those threads.
165 squares, each with a flower free-motion quilted in the center.
One start and one stop on each flower
equals 330 thread that had to be brought to the back, knotted, and buried.
I thought this would be a good idea why??
Fortunately, on about half of the starts/stops 
I was able to just cut the threads, because I has traveled over them sufficiently to lock the stitch.
So I didn't really have to knot and bury 330 threads 
(or 660, since there is a top and bottom thread to each start and stop. if we want to get technical...)
I sent my best sewing girlfriend a text 
and asked her to whop me upside the head if I ever breathe a word of this knotting and burying nonsense again.

It was finally finished (my whining and the quilt) late Friday night,
and I wish you could've seen the look on her face when I asked Lil' to grab the laundry out of the dryer
and she found her quilt instead, all perfectly crinkled and properly fluffed.

Lily wanted to help photograph it, and for one reason or another, it took us another few days for that to happen...
It's already been drug around the house, played on, slept with, and even thrown-up on.
(it's had a really busy week.)

Without further delay,
Lily's quilt. Where it belongs - with her.

Linking up with Elizabeth's with needle and thREAD ~  but I can't manage reading and sewing these days.
Also linking up with my quilting mentor, AmandaJean.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas with the Hodos

I got a text from Eva that said Ben had a little gift for the girls
and he really wanted to give it to them himself,
rather than just passing it along via TKD,
so I changed up my shopping plans, and we went in instead of just dropping the boys off.
Not surprisingly, I stayed and gabbed more than the 10 minutes I had allowed myself.
I gave up the Hobby Lobby stop, but still needed to run to Walmart.
But I didn't have time to run to Walmart and fix dinner by the time the guys got home. 
 I opted for Walmart.

And after the guys got home - we ran back to Walmart again because I am an idiot.
(they had gators ('crocs' to the rest of the world...) for $.50 a pair. I picked up a pair for each girl for next year, but completely forgot
 to look for any for the boys. who wear them even in winter to TKD... Jeremiah wore his last pair plumb out.
You'd think I would have thought to at least get him a pair... but no.    *sigh*)

After Walmart - again - we went to Sonic for half-price burgers. (using for the 4th time, our gift card :-)
I'd snagged a bag of Doritos when we were at Walmart the first time, so people wouldn't think they needed fries.
 (The cheaper of two evils, at least ;-)
I'd had the kids all grab their water bottles, since they charge for water.
(I guess I'm not a total idiot.)

After Sonic, we went to the Hodo's light show and stayed 'til it ended at 10:00.
Not being the weekend, they weren't passing out candy canes, so we didn't have that part of the tradition,
but I did have the thought to boil some water to bring and bought a pkg of hot chocolate mix on the 2nd WM trip.
Not being the weekend, we felt the freedom to stay as long as we liked, so it was worth missing the candy canes, but next year - I'll buy some...
They added an empty tomb and a cross scene, which, along with the addition of Amazing Grace, put a lump in my throat.

Tyler drove us home to a chorus of 'thank-yous'.
And that was a pretty good night.