Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I know I'm the lamest blogger out there. We've been to Italy, seen our grandbaby and his parents, had Thanksgiving, gotten Christmas ready and are ready to leave for Nashville in 3 days, but before that, we will celebrate an anniversary.
Two 19 year olds. Surely this is proof of a loving God. We were too naive and pie in the sky to realize what we were really doing. God in his magnificent sovereignty, great mercy and infinite love chose us to grow together, take us through enough deep water to cling to Him and give us enough successes and joy to keep the laughter and fun going.
Praise be to God alone. He is the source of every good thing...including our marriage!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Mark took these last Sunday.
The hibiscus blooming in our backyard.
The Satsuma tree in our backyard.....loaded with fruit! We've tasted some and they aren't quite ready! A satsuma is a combination of a tangerine and orange sort of.....they are a little tart yet, but they will be ready soon! Mark had to build braces under the tree to keep the branches from breaking under the weight of the fruit. This particular citrus, I'm told, dates back to the type of orange they would have had in Biblical times.
The piece de resistance! Mark's tomatoes! This was taken the first day of November, 2009. He is so proud of them and they have persevered despite the torrential rains we've had. I'm told (you know I don't like tomatoes!) they are really very tasty.......if you like them that is. What a proud farmer I have as a hubby!
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
I went to Quilt Market two weeks ago. The owner of The Feathered Star, Alicia Edwards, encouraged all of her employees to go. It was so fun. First of all, I got to hang out with a couple of my dear friends, Fran and Kelly from Quilter's Attic. What fun! We picked up where we left off and had a great time. Plus I learned a lot!!
We went to Schoolhouse, a day-long series of workshops/lectures about new things in the quilting industry. By far my personal favorite was Edyta Sitar from Laundry Basket Quilts. (check it out at www.laundrybasketquilts.com) She was born in Poland, raised in Germany, and came to the states in her teens. She has the most precious accent. She married a man from the Lancaster, PA, area who was blessed with quilting grandmothers. They took it on as their mission to teach Edyta to quilt. Boy, am I glad they did! Edyta's enthusiasm and creativity are fabulous and really gave me a shot in the arm. Most of the time her patterns involve little pieces which I have grown to love since completing the center of my Dear Jane. Makes things so interesting......at least to me!
That evening we went to Sample Spree where manufacturers and designers have their wares at special prices for shop owners and other "business professionals." Am I one of those? Don't know, but I enjoyed the shopping!
The next days I went to buy supplies for my longarm quilting machine and see what other fabulous things I could find. Something I did find and am working with is called Half Square Triangle Templates by Sunday's Best Quiltworks. Check it out at www.sundaybestquiltworks.com. They have created "templates" using regular template plastic for 4 sizes of half-square triangles. It is like triangle paper or triangles on a roll, but the key is.....there is no paper to tear off after you are done! You use water-washable markers, like Crayola. Check out the instructional video on their website. They are NEARLY perfect. My favorite method for perfect half/squares is to draw a line diagonally on a square and stitch 1/4" away from that line, cut apart and square down. While I still may have to do some of the squariing down, I made 32- 1 1/2" half-squares from tracing to stitching, to trimming, to pressing in just under 20 minutes......What a time saver! It was one of those "Why didn't I think of that moments!" I have since made over 300 half squares and have another 600 pinned ready to stitch.......Ocean Waves, here I come!
I'm proud of myself for finishing a couple of P.I.W.'s (Projects in Waiting, for you non-quilters!) lately. I made the simple but pretty "Falling Leaves" from Super Simple Strips. It had been living in a plastic bag for about 5 years just waiting for me to put it together. So, one Saturday in September I did and even quilted it, bound it and it is on the back of the sofa! FINISHED!
I also pieced the top for both "Bears Need Homes, Too" from Log Cabin Frenzy. I used fall batiks and am calling it "Smokey's Tennessee Home" as it reminds me of the beautiful Smokey Mountains in the fall. (If I knew how to upload pics by myself, I would include pictures!)
Last night I finished my version of "Wedding March" by Glad Creations. It has a blue batik background with navy, green, gold, and a little purple for the piecing. Very striking.
Well, if you've made it this far into this post, you are a quilter. I am off to work at The Feathered Star today. If you are in the area, stop in for some "fiber therapy!"
Have a quilty day!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Thanks to Grace posting these on Facebook, I have a couple of pictures of the outside of our new home. Come on over for a good long visit!
Funny, we are the only ones on our street or in our neighborhood sporting this pretty orange flag instead of the ugly brownish/orange with a "T" I see so often here! The neighbor's also has these longhorns on them! I guess they don't really understand what the "T" really stands for! I've seen the maroon "T" with a small "a" and small "m" on either side and the red with two black "T's" on top of each other, but this is the only pretty orange one!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Today is Colton's First Birthday! He is having a blow-out party tomorrow in Florence, Italy! Have fun, sweet boy. Your GiGi will be watching via skype! You are such a blessing to our family! God did good with you! (Quote from Grandy the first!)
Friday, September 18, 2009
My other mom, Mark's mama, is coming Monday night to see us, so I'm preparing for her visit.
But, mainly I've been on my knees. I have two friends in Uganda, Africa, right now picking up their children. Both families are friends from CPA/CPC and I have the privilege of following their stories on their blogs and facebook. I check on them a lot during the day and they are almost constantly on my mind/heart. I will post links to their blogs so you can follow if you are interested. What a concrete way to show and share the love for our great God by becoming parents to the parentless.
I know God is preparing my heart as it is a passion of Robert and Charissa to adopt when the time comes. I had always wondered if I could be a good Gigi to a child not of my family or nation, but just by following these journeys and all the journeys of people I know who have adopted, I have fallen in love with children I have never touched or held. I am so excited for the time when Robert and Charissa will bring a little one from somewhere around the globe to be in our family. Meanwhile, I will love on the ones around me.
Please lift up the Kecks, Mayernicks, Doyles, Oatsvalls, Madduxes and Jacksons as they go through this process.
If Drew and Tara have a blog, I can't find it....help me out somebody!
I pray you have a blessed day!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Here is the dining room.
The family room.
The master bedroom.
A couple of the master bath......bigger than our bedroom in Nashville and yes, that is a two-person tub, wink, wink. Sometimes the empty nest is very nice.
Those are double closets. One of them is big, the other is REALLY big. Your guess whose is whose. HAHA!
The kitchen. Who is that woman? I LOVE my new cooktop!
The eat-in part of the kitchen.
The playroom or in our house, computer area. The bench is there so we can both see and skype to Colton, Ross & Lindsay at the same time. It's where we recently met a friend of Grace's.....wearing our bubba teeth and all! HA
One bedroom. Boxes are things I don't know if Grace wants to keep. When she comes next time she will go through them. That's Nanny's suitcase. She's visiting now!
Main guest room.....waiting for you! Sorry the quilt is a little crooked. I'll fix that before you come!
Nursery/future grandkids room.
There it is! I forgot to take outside pics.....those will come later! Enjoy!
If you enjoyed this, please comment! I love comments!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This morning in our Love and Respect Class at church, the speaker on the tape said this: "Eve was in the Garden of Eden where everything was perfect. There was no sin, no pain, no problems, but she still was not satisfied and wanted more."
That hit me like a cold wet towel. I'm just like her. I have a wonderful husband who protects and provides for me, children who love Jesus and are committed to following him, a home more beautiful than I could have ever imagined, a loving extended family and lots of friends, all the conveniences I could ever dream of, but I still find myself wanting more. A new kitchen sink, wallpaper removed, new light fixtures, a skinnier body, less gray hair, my children closer, more money to do things I want to do. I have the same heart that Eve had. I'm realizing the depth of my depravity and the boundless love of my Savior Jesus. He can see through all the yuck of me and gives me the most priceless gift of all. A relationship with Him. And He is the one who continues to pursue me. Despite it all. All my whining and childishness. All my belly-aching and dissatisfaction.
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
"Full atonement!" can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Lifted up was He to die;
"It is finished!" was His cry;
Now in heav'n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we'll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Indeed, what a glorious Savior. Thank you, Jesus, for loving the Eve in me.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I don't know what all that was about except that I went from empty boxes to a very, very loose interpretation of "The Night Before Christmas" to "The Day After Moving."
We have had a small flurry of visitors with regular trips scheduled in the near future. My mom was here when we first moved in. Rusty had an overnight last night and we were delighted he stayed with us. The Imkens (Charissa's family) will be here for a day trip and an Astros game this Saturday. Grace will be here next week (can you say 7 days? We've been counting down since May!). Rusty, Stacy and mom will return for Labor Day. Mark's mom will be here the end of September, and Grace will come back accompanied by her friend, Katy, during her fall break in October!
We just love having the space for guests. It is delightful to share our home with friends and family.
Mark has completed painting the dining room. The family room will follow. How do you know the color is just right BEFORE it goes on the wall? I'm not the best at that, and Mark patiently waits while I decide. The problem is if I decide and its wrong........how do I tell him?
I'm still working one day a week at The Feathered Star, a quilt shop here in Katy, as well as beginning to quilt for the public a little more. I've got everything set up and my confidence is building. I appreciate my Hope House Quilter friends for their encouragement and support while learning this new skill. I start on my first paying Texas quilt next week. It feels good to have about 6 quilts on the shelf in line for my work! Hopefully there will be more soon!
Mark and I are participating in a great study at church. It's called "Love and Respect" and is focused on marriage and communication. We are really enjoying getting to know other couples at the church and share our lives with each other.
So this is a short update. More with pictures of freshly painted walls will be posted soon!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
We are so blessed and humbled by what the Lord has provided for us. We have a lovely home we never dreamed possible. Already the rooms have been filled with a great visit from my mama, and parts of the Creecy family have spent the night 2 seperate times so far! Such fun.
I'll take pictures and post them soon. We've worked really hard and have the dining room, family room, kitchen, the bedrooms and sewing room box free! There are about 4 boxes in our bedroom in the "why did I keep this and what am I going to do with it" category. But out of 100+ boxes, we are doing pretty good!
We spent the Fourth of July working here at the house. There was a wonderful fireworks display in downtown Houston, and we had an invitation for rooftop viewing from Sarah Creecy's apartment building, but with the heat, the traffic, etc., and we were in the ceiling fan shuffle mode, we did the old people thing and watched it on tv. Mark put up a new ceiling fan (I know its not a designer's dream, but necessary here in HOT Houston!) in the family room then moved the one from the family room to Grace's bedroom. We have plans for a new one in our bedroom and move that one to another bedroom or the playroom upstairs.
We had built in to the budget (yes, I said budget.....Mark is a graduate of Financial Peace University) for a nice patio set for our covered patio. Last Monday I went to arrange for delivery of our new sofa at Tista's Home Furnishings, my new favorite furniture store. If you had seen Mark's face when we tested sofas and he sat in "Lazy Boy" type sofas and recliners, you would know how much that man missed his recliner. I made an executive decision that we would not use the patio set in 100+ degree weather anyway and they would be on sale later in the summer, and bought him a new recliner as a surprise. I will be honest, I'm not a fan of the look of a traditional recliner and tried to find an easy-chair-but-it-is-really-a-recliner-type chair for him, but when I saw the one I bought and then sat in it, it didn't matter. That man needs a good man-type recliner. He deserves it for all the hard work he put in to get us here, so I surprised him. When they delivered the sofa, the recliner came too. If you remember the last time I surprised him with a large purchase without his input, his truck, you will know he was not at all pleased. So, I was a little nervous although a recliner is not a truck as you well know. However, when he saw the recliner and I quickly explained that the patio set was off the table and this chair was for him, he just sat in it, rared back, closed his eyes and grinned that grin I love so much. He was a happy man.
I'll post pictures soon. Come visit! We have lots of room and love visitors! Southwest is having a sale for the next 48 hours! Book your flight now!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
So great to hear from them. Then we got a phone call! Yippee! So good to hear their voices and they sounded so close. Even Colton got on the phone! I can totally relax now.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Come visit and see for yourself! It's very comfy and fits our weird taste!
For now we've just bought the sofa. The chair and ottoman are still at the store and we are hoping it will be drastically reduced now that it will be living there without its matching sofa friend! Mark is still hoping for a recliner of some type. Maybe Santa or the birthday fairy will get him one! He deserves it!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
BUT, on the other hand, I will share something sweet about our new house. We have a beautiful back yard, small by Tennessee standards, but very well landscaped and cared for. Mark thought it would be fun to plant a citrus tree as we moved in and be able to harvest fruit in the next couple of years from it. We discussed what type of tree. Neither of us are too excited about oranges, so I suggested lemon or lime. If you know anything about us, you know we like our limes........margaritas and key lime pie, etc. So, we decided that a lime tree would be what we would plant in our new back yard.
We took our dear friends, Patti and Andy Watson, to see our house last weekend. They seemed to really like it and we ventured out into the back yard. There was a beautiful white crepe myrtle blossoming in the middle of the yard. We looked and there was another mature tree right next to it.....would you believe a lime tree covered with small limes? I jumped for joy! We take it that the Lord had this house picked out for us and was confirming it with this sweet reminder that He thinks of everything. He knows the desires of our hearts and reminds us that he cares for the smallest details of our lives.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
The other night, I (Gigi) told Grandy about a riding toy I had seen at Target that I thought would be good for Colton's first birthday, and since they were filling a crate, the time to buy it would be while we were in Orlando. He simply said, "I'm buying him a Gator." I said, "WHAT!?" For those of you uneducated in the world of battery operated riding toys, a Gator is probably the biggest. It is a scaled down replica of a John Deere Gator used by many farmers, ranchers, hunters, etc. for all kinds of chores on their properties. It has a 12 volt battery and will support up to 180 pounds. It has a dumpable back end so you can dump whatever you want to put in it. It even has cupholders for the driver and passenger. They are great, but are made for 2 1/2-3 year olds up! There is no way Colton would be able to drive it by himself for at least 1 1/2 years. However, Grandy had thought it through and said the same argument I had used....."since they are getting a moving crate, now it the time to do it. Ross and Lindsay will have to figure out how to store it!"
Being the considerate Mother-in-Law I try to be, I told Lindsay about it. She could Veto it if she wanted to and I would understand. This thing is huge. However, she said that if we wanted to do it, she would support it. Ross was totally on board as I think he still thinks like a 5-6 year old when it comes to toys and could envision Colton on it.
So, we borrowed a truck to pick it up and the rest as they say is history. What I really want to see is the reaction of the Italians when they see Colton tooling around Florence on his way to the park (about 200 yards from their house Ross says) So funny. I'm sure they will think it is one more way Americans are excessive, but I wouldn't give anything for the look on Grandy's face when he brought it in and helped Ross put it together. So much fun!
This Grandy fellow is a great guy!
We ate, played, and Gigi got to feed me my veggies, fruit and cereal all weekend! Grandy and Daddy worked on the bathroom(s) and put in new toilets, whatever they are.
ARE........YOU.........READY????? You Ole Miss fans know what comes next!!!! Hotty Toddy!
I know I'm very cute!
All I need is a cup and a washrag for a good time!
Mommy is putting me in the trees......I guess she really does think I'm a monkey!
I'm laughing at my mommy jump!
The landlord is an employee of the State Dept and is located overseas (I think in Brazil.) Needless to say, timely communications with him have been difficult. At first he seemed agreeable to letting us out of our lease. Then he turned around and said that we would have to guarantee the full lease even if we moved out. Well, that would be a cost that could have taken all of us (Mark, Connie, Grace, Robert, and Charissa) to Italy, so we decided to let the house go and stay here until the lease expired. There would be other houses.
After telling the owners of the house on Lodge Meadows "thanks, but we can't right now" Mark planted some tomatoes in the back yard. We had a real peace throughout the entire process. Mark even asked me if I really wanted to do this because I didn't seem excited enough. I told him I was guarding my heart as it has been broken so many times by real estate transactions or the lack thereof for the past 2 1/2 years. I confirmed that I really liked the house, but if we didn't get it, it was ok, that God has something else for us.
Well, the Monday after letting the house go, we received an email from our landlord agreeing to the first provisions we proposed to him two weeks prior. Believe me, we had been around the bend several times and back and forth and it is kind of incredible, ok, God, that he came back with this.
We reissued the offer on the house and will be moving around June 20. I've attached the link if you would like to see it. It is 2923 sq which is exactly TWICE the size of our house on Sedberry. It cost less than what we sold the house on Sedberry for. It is in a great neighborhood and close to all the things we've come accustomed to here in the great state of Texas. Crazy isn't it?
Lesson learned.....hopefully for a lifetime. Let Go and Let God. I remember my daddy saying that to me over and over. God has great plans and will accomplish them no matter the attempts of man to thwart Him.
Now to get packing!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
After waiting patiently, Mark finally got his big, big, really big, tv. He has been wanting one for so long, but would not let himself buy one until our house closed. He got a bonus in the fall and one at Christmas that would have covered it, but he was very disciplined. Well, here he is standing beside his new baby. It is 52 inches of viewing fun and lots of other features. The only thing I know how to do is turn the thing on which is a techno feat in itself!
I'll be absent for a little while as we are leaving for Nashville tomorrow. I have no computer there, so I won't be able to update or check in with you! Anna-Ruth, my niece, gets married this Saturday and I am staying in town until time for Grace's graduation from UT on May 8. Did I mention that she is graduating Magna Cum Laude? That she missed Summa Cum Laude by .02 of one point? So proud of her. She is such a smart girl, but works diligently at everything she does.
Ross and Lindsay got their apartment in Italy. It is the original one that Ross saw in March, and he was persistent enough that the landlord finally agreed to rent to them. (He had not wanted to rent to someone he didn't know!) God had other plans and well, as bittersweet as it is, they will be moving in about 5 or 6 weeks. Go to Lindsay or Ross' facebook page to see pictures or Lindsay will probably blog about it soon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert is finishing up his first year at seminary and doing very well. He is mastering Greek and all kinds of theological and deep thinking. In other words, he is becoming more and more learned. (pronounced learn-ned) Who'd a thunk it?
I guess he gets it from me.....hahaha.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The Lord God has been so very real through this process of ups and downs and taught us so much about how to learn to trust him even when we think all hope is lost. We were going into the second month of paying two housenotes/rent and saw that it was going to be such a struggle if not impossible to make those payments. God was on time with the buyer for our house. We saw his hand of provision when we thought all was for naught. We saw why our house didn't sell in 2007 because we would be moving here in 2008. We learned he wanted us to come here before the house sold so we could trust him with every breath we took to provide for us. We have both grown in so many ways. It has been a total joy to watch my sweet husband continue to give it all up, which is totally against his accountant nature, and trust God. He is totally sold out to our loving God and Savior is a fresh and new way. He is leading me as a godly husband should. He is such a testimony of walking in faith. Yes, we still were antsy yesterday until it all happened and emotionally exhausted before it was all done, but we were held up, loved on, reassured of His faithfulness and knew no matter what we were right in the middle of God's hand. He orchestrated it all for our good and growth. Whatever financial losses we took, we were more than compensated by the closeness gained to God and each other. No price can be placed on what we've learned and where we've been led. God is in charge of all that too and is fully capable of restoring what he feels we need.
This could go on and on, but I am reminded of when Moses was taking the Israelites out of Egypt and their backs were up against the Red Sea with Pharoah pursuing them. They thought there was no way out. It was either return to bondage or die in the sea. Just then, God opened a new way, a most creative way, a perfect way to safety, peace and growth to the promised land. He promised to take care of them. He promises to take care of us. Not just physically, but more importantly our souls, hearts, futures are in the hands of a God who loves us with an undying, everlasting love we can't begin to fathom.
Soli Deo Gloria. God alone is to be praised for the great works he has done.
Now for a couple of precious pictures!
Colton in his Easter outfit!
What a pretty family!
I couldn't get the pictures of Grace and her friend, Anna, to download from facebook, and don't have a recent picture of Robert and Charissa. We'll get great ones at Anna-Ruth's wedding in a couple of weeks!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Put about 2 cups of water in a pyrex measuring cup or something similar. Add about 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice. Put in the microwave and nuke for 2 -3 minutes. Wipe clean with paper towels. The steam created makes the ick come off the top, sides and bottom of the microwave a cinch. The juice makes it smell so clean! I did have to take the tray out and wash in the sink, but the other was clean in literally 2 minutes! Whew! It was so easy. Maybe now I won't have butter/margarine stalagtites on the ceiling of my microwave anymore! Plus for all you "greenies" out there, no chemicals were used or harmed in the cleaning of this microwave!
Monday, March 2, 2009
I'll divert for a second. You spend their whole childhoods protecting them from Satanic things like He-Man, The Halloween movies, Freddie Kruger and the like...then they grow up and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE books about vampires. Go figure. At least they are adults who love Jesus and can put scripture before these novels. I guess that counts for something.
Now I digress. Here are the cookies.....yes we made pictures of them. I didn't post them earlier out of shame and horror that my sweet babies would do such a thing! Apparently someone is interested.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Aren't my babies pretty? Inside and out!
We went to Nashville over Valentine's weekend. It was a whirlwind of activity starting with going to CPA to show off Colton, a shower for Anna-Ruth with all my girls along, picture appointment for Colton at Calverts (keeping the tradition alive!), lunch at Carl's Perfect Pig where a waist is a terrible thing to mind (The Catfish Kitchen was closed.), the Fabulous Five Valentine's Party, a lunch for 34 at Nanny's, babysitting Colton while Ross and Lindsay went to dinner, and in the meantime just hanging out with Robert, Charissa, Grace, Ross, Lindsay, Colton. It was such a blessing for all of us to be together. It was really the first time since we went to Orlando last January, 2008, and did Universal. We didn't have Colton then! Well, I guess we did but we didn't know it!
Eating my cereal with a little help from a puppet distraction. This is so familiar! Ross was the same way! His puppet was Fozzie Bear!
Robert and Charissa waiting patiently in the "Party Room" of the Pig!
The sweetest face in the world!
Jennifer watches in horror as Lindsay misbehaves at the Pig.
All of us after lunch at Carl's Perfect Pig full of barbecue, ribs, catfish and hushpuppies!
Uncle Bobby's arm tastes good!
Aunt Grace and I are happy to be together!
I love peek-a-boo!
Hanging with my cool cousin Isaac. Somehow he likes to play ball!
With Nanny in the den...probably for the last time since Nanny's moving!
Grandy is so fun to play with!