Monday, December 15, 2008

Defining Joy

To be totally honest, I've had mostly good days here in Texas, but last week during the night on Saturday night, I woke up from a dream and cried like I haven't in years. I think it was my very soul going through separation and loss. It was the worst grief I've experienced since my sweet daddy went to be with Jesus. Poor Mark was at his wits end. It lasted for several hours and even bled over into the morning. There were no words to explain it. My soul was literally groaning in agony. I put it aside as I tend to do and probably fed it over the week with some M & M's and other various chocolates....chocolate covered pretzels, in fact.

When I got to church yesterday the sermon was the beginning of a series on the gifts of Christmas. The first was "Joy." The pastor used several examples of real joy including what Job felt after losing his home, family, land, and as he was scratching boils over his entire body.....he felt the love of God and counted it all joy. True joy comes only after intense sorrow and suffering. Joy is not related to more temporal "happiness." Joy involves the soul. It has nothing to do with our circumstances. It has to do with the condition of our souls. Mine is secure, covered by the blood of Jesus. He will not leave me or forsake me. I've heard all this before, but now it really has penetrated my heart. He has called us to this place. I am leaning on Him as I never have before. And I know that I am exactly where he wants me. Broken and at his feet, trusting him for every breath I take. It is so much easier to hear him when I'm totally broken. His sweet promises whisper in my heart and mind. "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thess 5:16-18

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalms 16:11

Why he would do this for me, the worst of sinners, I can't fully comprehend. The fact that he did is testimony of his goodness and grace.

Amidst the sorrow, the joy shines through. I love my husband and the time we are having to act like honeymooners and the freedom of no expectations placed on us. We are enjoying making this house our home and exploring our new town together. We are waiting for clear direction as to what comes next, where he would have us serve, but we know our God is our future. He will direct our paths and has a wonderful plan for us. It is all good.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:10-12

To God alone be the Glory. Great things He has done.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Decorations Pictures and requested Sewing Room Pics

Here is the mantle in the family room! There are 11 stockings hanging here! The stripey ones are the additions to our family, Lindsay, Charissa, and the reddest/greenest is COLTON'S waiting for Santa to fill!
This is taken from the family room looking into the kitchen. This is my cookie tree. All the ornaments are for cooking or made of things that are supposed to be edible. It was a lot of fun. Under it is my "It's a Wonderful Life Village." My Dickens is still in Nashville! It will be here Dec. 18, so it won't see the light of day this year!
This is our Christmas tree. The first year to use a pre-lit tree. It sits in the art niche as they call it in Texas (common in houses here). Just off the entry.

This is my sewing room from the doorway. Jane is positioned at an angle (she is sooo long!). That cabinet was made by my daddy for mama, but he signed the back that it was to go to me. Mama let me go ahead and have it. I love having it there to hold all my supplies. You will also notice my "T For Texas, T For Tennessee" quilt hanging on the wall. The center of that top was made by my precious Hope House Quilters for me. Then they gave me fabrics to complete it as I chose. I used Terry Atkinson's Monterrey Medallion for the setting. My sewing hutch is to the right. On the opposite wall is a bookshelf with all my books, patterns, and assorted kits, etc.

The Sewing Hutch ready to go!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New pics on Lindsay's blog

Go to to see some Christmas pics of Colton. They will get you in the Christmas spirit for sure!

Monday, December 8, 2008


It's funny, (not really, just a part of God's hand in my life and definitely NOTby accident) but I've been re-reading some novels by Francine Rivers, the Mark of the Lion series beginning with A Voice in the Wind. They chronicle the fictitious life of the daughter of Jairus' son, the boy Jesus raised from the dead. This girl, Hadassah, was the only one of her family to survive the Roman invasion of Jerusalem and was sold into slavery in Rome. She served her owners with love and dignity. She was continually thankful for her life and where God had put her to serve despite her very difficult circumstances and hardships and persecution. I know it's fiction, but it reminds me of how I need to look past myself and see the greater purposes God has for me and my life. I highly recommend this series of 3 novels. It helps me to put my circumstances in perspective. Surely there were those like this fictional girl who were bold enough to share their faith, love their captors, and give themselves to the truth of the gospel no matter the cost. Something to ponder. and I have a lot of time for pondering these days. (copied from a letter I wrote to a friend.....So, Friend, if you are reading this, I wrote it to YOU first! Thanks Sweet Friend!) Go to the library or bookstore and CHECK IT OUT!


A couple of holiday pictures for your enjoyment!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I know I've been slacking in my blogging duties, but life has been busy with Thanksgiving and all.

We've had visitors from the East! Mike and Francine Creecy, some of our best friends dating back to our days in Russellville, KY, were here for Thanksgiving. Their oldest daughter, Rebecca, and her hubby, Brad, live here in Houston, so we spent Thanksgiving together. The Creecy's younger daughter, Sarah, was with us, as was Grace and we had a great time eating, watching football (GO TITANS!) putting together a puzzle, playing Wii and finally singing karioke! Yes, even Mark participated! So fun. It was a different Thanksgiving from any we've ever had, but it was great fun. We missed our families so much, but having the Creecy clan here was certainly a sweet gift. To add to that, Sarah will be moving here in January, so there will be more reasons for Mike and Francine to visit!

I picked up Grace from the airport on Wednesday and we made a beeline for the Galleria, a huge 3 story mall in Houston. We had fun looking at all the stores we couldn't afford to even go in and shopping the sales at Neiman Marcus. Grace found a purse she loved on SALE for $1400.00 and I looked at bargain shoes for my niece, Lucy. I saw lots she would have loved on sale from $900 or so to the $600 range. What a great buy:) If you believe we purchased anything, you don't really know me! It was fun to shop, but really crazy to think people really spend that much on purses and shoes! I feel extravagant to spend $50 on a knockoff purse! Give me Target anyday!

Grace and I hit the sales at Kohls and Target on Friday. We did really find some great things. Ho, Ho, Ho! Then we adjourned home where Grace spent the rest of the entire day on a project for school. She spent most of Saturday on it, too. It paid off, though, as she earned a 169 out of a possible 170 on this huge project. Yea for Grace! It was wonderful just having her in the house.

We took Bear and Dixie to the very large and nice "Millie Bush Bark Park" in the George Bush (the first one) park near our house. It has two very large cement ponds for the dogs to swim and both had a great time. They were worn out by the time we got home and Dixie needed aspirin the next day for her aching muscles!

We put up the Christmas tree on Saturday and I must admit there were a few tears. It was a new tree (we bought it on sale last year), in a new house, in a new city. Sometimes homesickness creeps in which is only natural I suppose. Rest assured, though, God is here and comforts me all the time! I'm reminded of those who went to far places all throughout history and God was with them as He is by my side constantly. We are a continuing line of people following where God would have us be. And if He is with us, it doesn't matter where we are. I am complete with Him. My Jesus Calling for today tells me that "those who have drawn near Him trustingly uttering His Name will be filled with inexpressble and glorious joy. (I Peter 1:8-9). " (By the way, if you need a great devotional book, try Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It's wonderful!)

I'm continuing to practice on my quilting machine. The mechanics of it are improving, but I have a way to go before I put my needle in anyone else's work!

There is a new update about Colton from Lindsay on her blog. There are cute pictures of him as well. He is so long! Totally off the charts.

I've made a new friend at church. Her name is Joy and we went to lunch and on a tour of Sugarland, TX, yesterday. She has been an answer to prayer for a sweet friendship. We share a love of being creative. She makes beautiful jewelry, paper art with handmade cards and things and is also an accomplished potter. I'm sure she will appear in pictures soon. We were invited to dinner with their small group (called Life Groups here) before an event at church next Sunday evening. It's called Christmas Cafe and a couple from the church makes all these great desserts and there is a coffeehouse type show of Christmas music performed. We are really looking forward to that!

By the way, we have a new email provider, thus a new address. I wasn't able to save my address book, so email me with your address! My new address is I look forward to hearing from you!

Well, I'll stop for now. The trouble with waiting to post is that the post becomes soo long!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Up and Going!

Whacha looking at?

Life in Texas is becoming a little more normal. It is still so different as most days I stay at home and act like a new bride, tinkering with the set up of different rooms, actually cooking dinner for my hubby, ready when he walks in the door, and kind of feeling like I'm playing house. But now I will begin to have a little life outside of this nice house. Tomorrow I start at the quilt shop, The Feathered Star. I will be working one or two days a week there and beginning in January will be teaching there a lot. I'm looking forward to some more interaction with actual people, not just the personalities of my dogs!

We continue to search for the church home God has for us. We've visited three so far. Two are keepers. One of those is a great church (PCA), but is 25 miles from here. While I wouldn't mind the commute on Sundays, driving in to the community activities during the week (VERY important to me) might be too hard. This past week we went to a Fellowship church here in Katy. (No relationship to Fellowship Bible in Nashville.) It was great. The pastor was so real and the message challenged us both. (It dealt with listening to the true Spirit and finding the Truth, I John 4) We were warmly welcomed and invited to join Bible studies, etc. Here is my sin. I think either I'm too cynical or non-trusting or wounded by past experiences to go to a church with no governing body except that which is in itself. I guess you could call it denominationalism. We have belonged to 3 denominations which have a system of checks and balances in them to keep the pastors, the leaders of the flocks, accountable as to what they are teaching and preaching. Some of you with experience here help me. We are continuing to pray and I'm doing my best to keep my mouth shut and let Mark lead us. (Really pray about that!) We will be visiting 2nd Baptist, Ed Young pastor, soon. It has over 45,000 members and 5 campuses across Houston. The Katy church has over 12,000 members. I went to a Christmas Village type thing there this past week and was amazed at all the work done in the name of outreach. I'll keep you posted. Please pray for us as this is our most important decision since moving to Katy.

One of the most fun things of the past week is that my quilting machine is up and running. And even better, I'm becoming more comfortable with using it. Just the size and set up of the thing can be a bit intimidating. I've set my mind with a schedule for work, training myself with the help of videos and other longarmers (Pam and Carol, thank you!) So far I've completed 3 Christmas panels. Today my goal is to do 3 more panels. I've been asked by some of my quilting friends for pictures, but I'm not educated enough to post those yet so they will be coming later.

By the way, did you know I'm a proud grandmother? The most precious baby in the whole world is living in Orlando with his sweet mama and daddy. I'll include a picture in his trick or treat outfit. I'm sure he won the prize for the cutest pumpkin. and contrary to popular opinion, HE WAS NOT SCARY. HE WAS CUTE! We don't do scary costumes at Halloween! (By the way, he is off the charts on height while in the 75th percentile everywhere else! Look out! Who would have ever thought a Stowers would be sooooo tall?)

Colton is cooing and smiling. Grace got to go visit this past weekend and says she knows just what to do to make him smile. She got to spend lots of quality time with him but at a price. Lindsay had another migraine and was in bed for a couple of days. Grace was available to help out her brother and love on Colton a lot. While it might not have been planned that way, it was still good she was there to lend a hand and bond.
Just look at that sweet face! I see both Lindsay and Ross in that precious countenance. I love you so much, Colton!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Never Fear! Texas has not killed us!

Well, it feels great to be connected to the world again. We just got our internet service late yesterday! Ike has taken a toll on the area's ability to provide service quickly. We will get satellite tv service Monday! Yea! I'll get football again!

There is a lot to catch up on! Our move went extremely well. Our mover, Ward DeWitt (Charles' brother) was the best. We only had one small accident and it occurred to my new (new to me) quilt machine table. It fell from its place in the truck and has a small crack in the table part. It does not impede me from proper use and may be replaced, but we will see. (Here is where the Farm Bureau insurance gets tested Roy!) Everything else arrived least what arrived. Ward underestimated the mass quantities of our stuff and will have to bring some attic contents at a later time. Oh well, for those of you who know, most of our junk has been in storage for approximately 2 years so I'm used to not having it. Only parts of it are valuable to us anyway. Mark's yard tools, etc. They will get here eventually then I will have to find a place for it!

Speaking of finding places. It is amazing how my furniture that was stuffed into a 1500 sf house fits nicely into a 2800 sf home. I love having the space to move and store stuff. Our master closet is amazing and holds all our clothes without them being in various parts of the house or stored in tubs for out of season, etc.

I will say the amount of sewing/fabric/kits/creative stuff is beyond ridiculous. I really don't need to purchase another thing for as long as I live and will have stuff left over. Get ready. I will be sharing with those of you so inclined. I will add to that the original plan to move to Kingston Springs would have included a party to share the excess with my beloved Hope House Quilters after settling. Now I will bring home an extra suitcase filled with goodies each time we venture to Nashville.

Speaking of venturing to Nashville, Mark has business with Star Physical Therapy in November, so we will be there Nov 16-21! I will get to go to Christmas Village! Yea! Call me and we will connect while we're there!

Be sure to check stowersfamilyblog to see the latest developments with our darling Colton! They post pics and stories regularly for us long distance grandparents/aunts/uncles.

This has rambled on too long and boxes of creative stuff are calling to be unpacked/discovered.

Monday, October 13, 2008


It's true. I've had so many people tell me there is nothing like being a new grandmother. They are right! The precious Colton has taken a piece of my heart just for being who he is. I thought parenting gave me a wonderful picture of God's love for us, but grandparenting is even better. That baby has done nothing to deserve my love except be a part of our family and our lives. Period. That's the way God loves too. He loves us just because he created us. Period. Nothing we do makes him love us more or less. It is truly wonderful.

Now, being the proud Gigi I am, I've attached a few of my favorite pictures from the week we had in Orlando.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What Dingbats!

So, we have been loving this week in Orlando with Lindsay, Ross and our new grandbaby, Colton.  We have some GREAT pictures of him including one of the 3 living Levingstons! (there are/were 7 in all), but we left the thingy that takes the pictures from our camera to the computer at home.  Stay posted!  New pictures will come soon!  

I'll add more stories, but mostly other than cooking favorite foods, running the vacuum occasionally, and trying to keep up with laundry, we've just been loving on a sweet baby!  He is the best!  Now weighing in at 8 lbs 8 oz and 22 inches long already!

Monday, September 29, 2008


Colton and his parents are at home now, learning and adjusting to life as a new little family. Colton had his first appointment at the peditrician's office and passed with flying colors. We are so looking forward to spending next week in Orlando getting to know him! Watch out, Colton-baby. Your Gigi is out to get all your sweet neck sugar!

There is so much going on in our lives. After a mere 19 years Mark and I spent Saturday cleaning out our attic. It was a scarry thing. We now have 3 piles; a move to Houston pile, a garage sale pile and the biggest, the trash pile. The only things in our attic now are our tubs of out of season clothes, our Christmas tree/decorations, a few pieces of furniture we are keeping and the old blue sofabed. We are still full of amazement that somehow Ross and Mark got that sofa in the attic in the first place. It is so heavy. Mark has plans to dismantle the metal parts then use the sawsall to cut apart the rest of the bohemeth. Then he will take is down the stairs in pieces.

Another fun thing aside from all the packing and such is that we are being invited to dinner. I'm worried that we might have a few crying jags as many feel these are "the last meals" but it will be fun! We are booked until we go to Orlando and only have a few more nights before we move! Yipes!

In addition to all this, I am embarking on another new adventure. A friend of mine is upgrading her long arm quilting machine to one of those great computer-driven models and is selling her trusty friend. I have decided to buy it and will begin to quilt for the public once I've practiced, practiced, practiced. She has been so gracious to train me in the use of the machine and had me to her home and studio to stitch and practice. My first outing was better than today, but I will say I may have bitten off more than I could chew today. It was a much more difficult pattern with supposedly perfect circles and little swirley points. Ugh. Mine were anything but perfect, but whoever receives this little baby quilt will love it just the same. I'll be sure to give it to a non-quilter! To those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, you can go to and look at the Premier machine. I'm so excited. I've always dreamed of having one and this is a great opportunity to own such a wonderful piece of sewing equipment. I'll be naming my machine, so any suggestions you may want to give me will be accepted!

Friday, September 26, 2008

What a fun day!

I woke up today realizing I was a grandmother! What a great blessing! Since we are moving soon and the boxes had been bought and assembled, I can no longer procrastinate. I started with cleaning out the remainder of Grace's closet. I started a "yard sale" box for sure! Then I went to the hall linen closet. I store all kinds of things there...things I didn't want in the heat of the attic. So, after the sheets, beach towels, and surprise surprise, quilts, there were quite a few Christmas ornaments bought on sale for this next year, all our Christmas stockings, etc. Then I proceeded to the coat closet in the hallway. In the top of that closet were all sorts of old pictures that used to hang on the wall when they were new. Ross, Robert, and Grace in all ages. I also ran across a picture frame that had been "creweled" (a form of needlework) for Ross when he was born. In that little frame was this picture. Ross was about 2 weeks old here.

Now compare this to Colton's first pics. Now I may be a prejudiced Gigi, but this apple did not fall far from the tree!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Introducing the most beautiful baby in the world

Here he is! Note the darling eyes, Stowers nose and chin! Ross thinks he will have dimples.

One of the x-rated photos does indicate he might have a cleft, too!

He is all boy, that's for sure!

Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!


Born at 7:44 eastern time, Colton made his entry into this world! At 8 lbs even and 21 1/2 inches, he is very healthy and doing great. Mom is doing well, a little sore from all the pushing, but otherwise glowing with happiness. Ross sounded like he was on top of the world!

No pics yet, but he does have a little dark hair! I'm sure he is the most beautiful baby ever born!

Halfway there

It is 4:15 p.m. and Lindsay has progressed to 5 cm. Just to keep you posted!

Beginner's Luck

Here I am on the day of our first grandson's birth. I can't go to Orlando to be there, so I chose to use my nervous energy to start a blog. I really don't know what I'm doing or what I will really say, but this helps to focus on something here rather than be pacing about what is going on there.

With this blog, I hope to keep you up to date on the changes in our lives. We call it "Mark and Connie's Great Adventure," moving to Katy, Texas after 51 years in Nashville, TN and its environs. The last 19 of which have been spent next door to my childhood home, thus my mom. Crazy.

Mark just walked over with an order for boxes for my approval. What do I know about how much stuff you can get in one box? At least he will make the call for the order and I will pick them up later.