Thursday, August 31, 2006

September goals

Maybe if I write them down, I'll accomplish them.

1. Start Pre-K with dd4
2. portraits of the girls
3. pictures sent to family in the States
4. Enjoy a quality family holiday :-)

1. Prepare for leading Patriarchs Bible Study
2. Participate in Life in the Spirit Bible Study (with DH:-))
3. Blog at least 3 times a week
4. Write at least 1 day a week


1. Finish Stefanie's NRR and mail it home!
2. Season RR when it arrives
3. Finish off at least one old RR
4. Get Preamble Sampler to the 50% complete mark.
5. Complete baby quilts

Speaking of finishes

Here are the little bands I stitched on Velda's Band RR that we are doing together.
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It is SB's Pansy Walk and is so very pretty! Here is the entire piece.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting It is on its way home to her where she can do the hem stitch--none of us were brave enough to do that on someone else's piece. lol

Sharing CrossStitch

Today's SBQ was suggested by Carolyn
( and is:

How do you share your finished pieces with others? Do you frame them, scan and/or photograph them, or do you have another method that you would like to share?

Officially speaking, I frame things and display them. Yeah, right. lol In reality I have a basket filled with projects that need framing. I do have several small ornaments finished and they go on my tree each Christmas. In addition to what is on display in my house, I do try to remember to scan or photograph each piece to be shared here and on the cross stitch forum I frequent.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Genes or Heart?

I thought about the whole notion of "reproduction," and what it really means to replicate yourself. Is it merely about the passing on of eyes and chins and hair color? Or is it, rather, the replication of the heart? Do we leave a bigger mark by passing on our genes, or our thoughts?
~Shannon Woodward, author of Inconceivable: Finding Peace in the Midst of Infertility~

This has been an interesting question to ponder over the weekend. It is so cool to me when someone comments that my eldest daughter looks just like her daddy (with her mommy's dimples). When she gazes into my eyes, they are his eyes with her wonder and amazement. And I can easily get lost in them. My youngest daughter is the spitting image of my grandmother (Pauline). Glimpses of her make me smile and cry at the same time as I realize I have the treasured blessing of my grandmother with me all the time, and that my grandmother never got to see this treasure. These physical representations of our family are all the more poignant because of our struggle to get here. In times of melancholy I wonder what the two angels we lost would have looked like. In our journey with fertility issues, we had come to peace with the fact that most likely we would never have children that carried on our genes. So the miracle of the two that carry those genes constantly amazes me. But as much as I adore the physical likeness, there is a likeness that I hope becomes more and more apparent as they grow older.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:28

It is the image of God that I want to shine in my two girls. I want the eldest to not only look like her Daddy, but have the awesome gift of faith and his heart to share his gifts in the church. I want the little one to not only look like my grandmother, but to grow into an awesome woman of God just like her great-grandmother was. Because ultimately, there are lots of days I can't recall the specific smile or a particular feature of a person, but I do recall how they represented God with their life. The "replication of the heart" is what is the most important. The development of a heart for and like Jesus is what I want to nurture the most. I want them to find their faith in Christ and to grow in that faith their entire lives. That faith is what will sustain them in the hard times. It is what will bring them to experience true joy in the good times. It is the only thing that will secure them for eternity. Family pedigree means nothing for eternity, only the state of the heart.

My Ladies Bible Study was discussing this a few weeks ago. We were naming the people in our lives who had developed our faith by discipling us or leading us to Christ or just by living a life like Jesus that we wanted. What we found astonishing was that each of us had been discipled and led and nurtured by a "childless" woman somewhere in our past. We were all impacted by someone who, although she had no children of her own, had poured her life into nurturing others. These ladies seemed to have found the same answer that the author of this week's quote had found. It was not just about passing on genetics, it was replicating God's heart.

I'm thankful for the persons in my past that helped to replicate God's heart in me. I'm thankful that there are persons in my life still replicating God's heart in me. I pray that I'll be able to help my genetic representations also become spiritual replications of the Image of God. With God's help and guidance, and the input of wise Christians around me, may this come to pass. Blessings to each of you today. Thanks for stopping by.

To read what other ladies are saying about this quote please stop by:

Friday, August 25, 2006

Saving achievements

I had the funniest conversation with a friend yesterday. I asked how a project at work was going. The answer? "It's going great, according to plan. I've saved a couple of accomplishments that aren't quite finished, so next week's progress will look really great." I laughed out loud. I totally understand where this friend is coming from. When you are working to a specified plan that numerically shows progress each week, you want each week to look great. So if the current week already looks great, why not wait to log all the achievements--it helps the bottom line the next week.

Then I got to wondering, how often do I use this same technique in my spiritual walk? "I've listed so many blessings this week, I'll just not list those so next week if I'm not as blessed, I'll have something to say." "I've read a little further in my daily Bible reading than I need to today, gives me a buffer if I get busy next week." "I've prayed a few extra minutes every day this week, so ..." You get the idea. Of course I'd never articulate it like that. But in practice, I sometimes live like that. I live my life like "it might not be as blessed" rather than relishing in the fact that as a child of a Holy King I am always blessed. I unintentionally plan to not spend as much time in Scripture or prayer rather than recognize on those days I get more time to read or pray it is usually because God is blessing me with that time BECAUSE I NEED IT! There is no way I can store up achievements before God. He has purposed the achievements long before I ever dream of doing them. He sees it before I do it. And He doesn't keep a numerical project plan of my progress. (Praise Him for that!) Now if I could just not think in terms of my spiritual life being a project plan and just enjoy the walk with Him, this would be easier. Enjoy your blessings today....there are more coming your way tomorrow!

Traveling with Stitching

Today's SBQ:
Today's SBQs was suggested by Anna M.
( and is:

What do you keep your WIPs and other stitching supplies in when traveling?

Short trips in the car, I just grab the ziplock bag holding my current smallest project and keep it in the door compartment of the passenger seat. When flying I put a project in a ziplock bag in my carry-on, after assuring that I've packed my scissors and extra needles (in an altoid tin) into my checked luggage. I usually wear my clover cutter around my neck and take the time to cut a length of each colour floss I might need on the plane so I don't have to worry about no scissors. I usually pack my DMC travel bag with an extra project into my checked luggage as well. A girl can hope she'll get stitching time when traveling with 2 small children, can't she?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?

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My question: If you have an internet connection at home to reserve your PC at the library, why do you need a PC at the library?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"In Other Words"--A Lady of Grace

This is my first "In Other Words" entry. Blessings to each of you for reading!

I can only imagine what the folks on the building site will think when she arrives. She is a lady in every sense of the word. Refined, proper and so soft-spoken, she carries herself with more grace and poise than anyone else I know. Tall, proper, almost fragile—certainly not your typical construction worker. But this week she is off to Africa to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Why? Because God has called her to go. By all appearances she may be the right person in the wrong job. But I cannot wait to hear how perfect the job was for her when she returns. How do I know that it is the perfect job? God has called, and He indwells, and the evidence will be manifest.

Salt, when dissolved in water, may disappear, but it does not cease to exist. We can be sure of its presence by tasting the water. Likewise, the indwelling Christ, though unseen, will be made evident to others from the love which He imparts to us.
~Sadhu Sundar Singh~

I have felt the evidence of the love of Christ flowing through this wonderful lady. I had only been in England a few weeks. It was Mothering Sunday. The church was honoring the mothers in the congregation. And I was sobbing. Uncontrollably…sobbing. As soon as the service was over, this hand reached out and touched me, and a beautiful musical voice said, “It’s so difficult, is it not?” A quick hug from someone I had not yet met eased my heart. She thought I was sobbing because I missed home. She could not have known the still heavy hurt I carried from lost pregnancies and how very difficult Mother’s Day was for me, because no one in my new home country knew of those losses. Or maybe she could sense that the hurt was deeper than being homesick. I’ll never really know, but I do know that she sensed that I needed to feel the tangible love of God and she offered it. I appreciate it even more now, years later, as I understand the “British reserve” and that an outward demonstration of that sort to a virtual stranger is rare. But the indwelling love of God comes out. I said she carries herself with grace and that is the apt word. Grace. She carries herself with the grace of God. It embodies her. And those around her are blessed.

I’m so glad that God has allowed me to be blessed by this lady. I am so glad that He has called her to bless some construction workers and volunteers in Africa. Most importantly I pray that those children with AIDS will see the love of God pouring from her as she gives herself to service in building their home. Go with God, dear lady, our prayers are with you.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bounce, bounce, bounce

Planned a bouncy castle surprise for my dd fourth birthday. The party was Saturday. Saturday morning at 4 a.m. I was awakened by the rain. Loud, torrential, hard to sleep thru rain. I was quite worried. I knew I'd let her bounce even if it was wet, but what of the 10 other 2-7 year olds arriving at my house at 11 a.m.? What would I do with them? I had a few indoor games if needed, but it was just not going to be the same. The bouncy castle arrived at 9:45 and was set up. The reaction on my daughter's face was worth every penny we paid, even if no one bounced. It was almost not raining at 11. One of the young adults at the party went to "dry off the castle" and had a good bounce. We started everyone with Subway sandwiches and chips and hoped for the best. The sun held. They had a good hour of bouncing before the rain chased them back in. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

So they came in after an hour to have birthday cake Photobucket - Video and Image Hostingand play in the toy room and open gifts then it was time for it to be over. Didn't need any of the indoor games after all. whew! It rained the rest of the day, so we didn't get any private family time to bounce, but she was thrilled. One last shot of the two princesses! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A question, some finishes, and this and that

First, this week's SBQ:
Today's SBQs were suggested by Ami & Anna and are:

Do you have an organizational system for your fabric? If so, what is it? If not, what do you store your fabric in?

How do people store their fabric, especially those small but potentially usable pieces? Do they sort by count? How do they label it or otherwise know what each piece is?

I have a very basic system. I use a little antique dresser to store much of my cross stitch stuff. It has 2 drawers--one full of Aida and one full of evenweaves. Most are still in the plastic bags that they are shipped in. I know, *blush* you are really supposed to leave them in the bags, but it keeps the labels with them. I do open the bags so there is air flowing, if that helps. The ones not in bags, or that are pieces I have cut from a larger piece, I write size and count on a little piece of paper and staple or pin to the very edge.

Now for some finishes. This first one is for a band rr that I am in with leah and it was charted by her. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting I stitched the bottom band. It was a dream to stitch on and is so much lovlier in person than in a scan. It has one more stop in Canada on its way home.

Next is a little heart I stitched yesterday for a friend. I love how it turned out.
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This and that: My daughter turned four yesterday. She is so excited to be "big." Her party isn't until Saturday, but she had a wonderful day. We went out to lunch with a friend for Thai food (her choice!). She called her uncle in Missouri. Her daddy had been working out of town all week and he brought 10 books home for her in a little carrying case and read to her last night. She has told everyone that she is four. It is so cute how much it means to her. I can't believe that it has been four years since she changed my world. She was our miracle baby after years of trying, two losses and finally coming to peace with the fact that we were going to be a family of two. Then she came. About her birth I wrote to her in her baby book,
You were born to American parents in an English hospital; delivered by an Irish midwife and blessed by your Scottish pastor when you were but 5 hours old. You are loved by more people around the world than you can even imagine. And your daddy and I are forever blessed.
I had no idea then how much a blessing she would be. I'll post pics after her party.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


You are the light of my life! Can't believe you are getting so big!
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Was this blog originally about stitching?

At least in part it was supposed to be a stitching blog, so I guess I need to post some finishes. I have had some, just haven't been scanning or taking pics. So here goes: First a neighbourhood RR for my friend M2! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting She wanted a table in each section for the neighbours to sit and visit--but I couldn't leave empty chairs. Plus church is important to both of us so I added a church. The block is a combination of ED, BD, BN, Karen Avery and Diana Prain/Gail Sirna.

Next, a Single Theme signature block (with my name blurred out, but you get the idea): Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting It is an adaptation of Jean Farish, America Land that We Love Indiana block.

Finally, friends who have been here in the UK for five years are returning to Texas so I stitched a little ornament/going away present for them. Front: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Back: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This week I am stitching on a Band Sampler RR and prepping my Seasons RR and a couple of surprises for friends. Hope to be posting more finishes in the coming days. Thanks for looking!

Friday, August 11, 2006

A floss-y question

This week's SBQ:
Today's SBQ was suggested by Ami ( and is:

For those of you who use hand or over-dyed floss, how do you store it?

I have my WDW alphabetized in a small plastic floss container, wrapped around the card with the name on it. My GAST is also wrapped around its card labels and alphabetized in a small make-up type bag. SSS and SST are stored similarly. All four of those containers are kept in a Longaberger basket with a lid, and sit on my dresser in the sewing room. All other hand and over-dyed threads are kept in a satin covered box. They desperately need some organization.

Rediscovering the joy of reading

I had seriously gotten out of the habit of reading for pleasure. First there was college, then grad school, then a short time of time to read, then too much reading for work everyday, then a move and settling into a new country and then kids.... Well not much time for me. But in the last month I have read more books than I read in the last year (Dr. Seuss not withstanding). I LOVE it. I just finished a marvelous little fluff mystery by Meg Cabot Size 12 is Not Fat. My eldest daughter kept asking me why I was laughing, because it is laugh outloud funny. I also finished a hauntingly engaging book by Jennifer Lauck titled Blackbird. It is the first half of her memoirs, and she had a terribly sad childhood. But I couldn't put it down. Currently reading The Gallows Girls by Gifford, which is set in an 18C stagecoach inn and Sometimes Kiwis Fly a hilarious look at a journalists journey across New Zealand on a motorcycle. I should finish them both this weekend, so I'll need to go back to the library. Oh, wait, I just brought an entire box of books home that a friend had "needing a good home." About half the box is books for homeschooling in a couple of years, but the rest are for me. What fun!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Princess Quiz

Found this on Taking One Stitch At a Time and thought it was cute.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork

The Traditional PrincessYou are generous, graceful, and practical with both feet planted firmly on the ground. You tend to be a little on the old-fashioned side. You value home, hearth, and family life and love to be of service to others.Role Models: Snow White, Maid MarianYou are most likely to: Discover a hidden talent for spinning straw into gold.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

A Lovely Weekend

Yay me! I think I figured out the blog settings. I hope you all who are using IE now see this blog without the discontinuity.

We had a wonderful weekend here in the Northwest of England--if you don't count all the rain Sunday (more on that). Friday we awoke to what sounded like a Peacock in the garden. We thought surely we were wrong. But here she is in all her glory: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The peahen spent two days with us before moving on to somewhere. The girls sat in the window and watched her for hours.

Saturday, we went to the Women's British Open at the Royal Lytham course. It was a fun day. Saw some decent golf, but we left before the leaders went out due to the girls nap time (plus they don't quite understand how to be very quiet while the golfers are putting, etc. Photos were not allowed during the actual golfing and the crowds were fairly large, so we didn't get any shots of Michelle Wie golfing. But we will be able to say we saw her in her first British Open at the ripe old age of 16. She didn't have the best game that day, but she was still amazing to watch. DD3 did get in on the action at the kids golf course. Here she is in action: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting She thought she was something else.

Sunday we had a church BBQ. The boast Sunday morning was that we have never had it rain on our BBQs at church. Here are the girls listening to the entertainment: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting The are obviously demonstrating how not to use the umbrella. *sigh* We got very wet, but had a good time just the same. We were, however, very glad we went to the golf on Saturday, because watching the leaders come in Sunday afternoon on telly, they looked pretty miserable.

Friday, August 04, 2006

101 in 1001

The mission is to come up with 101 goals to complete in the next 1001 days. Why so long? Because some goals need to go over multiple seasons. Because sometimes we need more time to get to where we want to be. And because it just sounds cool. I first got the idea from Kristina who got the idea from someone else, and so on and so on as it goes with blogging type things. Here is an original challenge here (as best as I can figure it).
Anyway, here's my list....

1. Take time each day to really enjoy the girls—play games, read, play outside,
2. Take a weekend away with husband no kids
3. Institute a family night for games or movies, fortnightly
4. Re-institute fortnightly date night
5. Write a real letter to Aunt Jeane at least once a month
6. Send birthday cards on time to family in the States
7. Keep kitchen counters decluttered for family sanity
8. Return email to friends within one week
9. Send 1 snail mail letter a week to friends (JR, BC, WR, AJ, MW, EF to start
10. Be supportive of DH as we plan to move wherever is next (since this is likely within 3 years)

1. Pray for those reading the Bible for their 101 daily for 3 months
2. Go back to Romania
3. Complete Breaking Free study
4. Do Believing God study
5. Do Patriarch study
6. Teach the girls a memory verse a month for 1 year
7. Make resurrection cookies with the girls at Easter
8. Make a birthday cake for Jesus with the girls at Christmas
9. Have a tea party for the widows at church
10. Re-read What’s So Amazing About Grace?

1. Start and finish Solitude
2. Complete WIP: American Land that We Love
3. Complete WIP: Preamble Sampler
4. Complete WIP: There is a Time (Jeremiah Junction)
5. Complete WIP: Flag Sampler
6. Complete WIP: My Heart Belongs to Needlework
7. Bring to 50% completion other WIPs: Come and Share, Prayer for a Busy Day and Bug Sampler
8. Stitch ornaments for girls each Christmas
9. Complete last year’s ornaments
10. Complete my part of returned RR: Beatitudes
11. Complete my part of returned RR: Quilts in a Row
12. Complete my part of returned RR: Snow People
13. Complete my part of returned RR: Teacup Mini
14. Complete my part of returned RR: Fish Bowl
15. Start and finish Stargazer
16. Start Noah’s Submarine
17. Stay on track with and complete my NRR when it comes home
18. Finish into pillow or ornaments and/or frame 10 previously completed projects
19. Organize photos from time in England
20. Complete cruise photo album
21. Complete dd4s book
22. Complete dd1s book
23. Update website monthly for a year
24. Complete 5 quilts
25. Make DH quilt from t-shirts from previous company
26. Meet up with the UK Cross Stitch Crazy gals
27. Teach dd4 simple stitching

1. Learn to make pie crust
2. Learn to make pasta from scratch
3. Learn to make one Indian dish really well
4. Learn to make one Thai dish really well
5. Teach girls to make 1 simple dish that is age appropriate
6. Teach dd4 to set the table appropriately
7. Invite friends to dinner at least bimonthly

1. Go back to Garmisch, Germany
2. Go on safari in South Africa
3. Begin savings plan to go to China and/or Australia
4. Visit Versailles
5. Visit Sacre Coer
6. Visit Berlin
7. Plan for another cruise
8. Go to well dressing ceremony
9. Go to Bronte museum
10. Go back to Wast Water
11. Visit Coventry Cathedral

1. Finish writing “Women in Me”
2. Write “red shoes”
3. Write “accountability”
4. Read one work of fiction for fun each month for a year
5. Read at least 4 works of non fiction in a year
6. Re-read Caddie Woodlawn
7. Re-read Jane Eyre
8. Re-read Pride and Prejudice
9. Read to the girls each day

1. Lose 50 pounds
2. Have a caffeine free day, once a week for a year
3. Walk at least 5 miles a week for 6 weeks
4. Walk at least 7 miles a week for 6 weeks
5. Walk at least 10 miles a week for 6 weeks
6. Get rid of clothes that do not fit and replace where appropriate

1. Make a will
2. Review retirement savings yearly
3. Review budget semi-annually
4. Decide on and order curriculum
5. Strip and stain white cabinet
6. Learn conversational German
7. Clean out garage—get rid of everything we are keeping “just in case”
8. Learn to code in html/css
9. Complete PreK homeschooling year
10. Complete second year of PreK or start K homeschooling year
11. Comment on at least one blog a week for a year.
12. Make blog entry at least once a week for a year.
13. Do one RAK a month
14. Get telescope out at least once a month to learn the sky throughout the year
15. Play piano enough to refresh my skills
16. Get UK driver’s license
17. Buy a hammer dulcimer and learn the basics
18. Get dd4 swim lessons
19. Have Christmas letter complete and ready to mail by Thanksgiving
20. Update this list once a month
21. Upon completion of list, set another 101 goals!

You just have to laugh

Unpacking five year old boxes can be a shock. Last week I discovered 6 UFOs I didn't remember having. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting One is a Precious Moments piece that is so not my style anymore. Two are Civil War pieces long ago started as a gift for someone who now would not appreciate them. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Another was started for my Mom, who knows when? Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting All of these patterns (except the PM) have long been given away. A sweater I was duplicate stitching with a Noah's Ark pattern still fits so I'll unpick the little stitching done on it and have a new sweater for winter. :-) And then there's a bib, probably started for our baby that was lost. That's the only reason I can think I would have abandoned this project so nearly finished. What to do with it? I don't know.

Private ramblings about Melancholy things

First an apology to my IE readers, I'm trying to figure out how to make the Passions title align with the lily, but none of the fixes are working. If I can't get it sorted this weekend, I'll probably have to find a more IE friendly template. *sigh*

Second apology, that this is a very melancholy, just what's on my mind entry. Feel free to skip it if you're not into that kind of thing. It was a just a few private ramblings in my head that found their way to paper and now to blog.

Disconnected. Is that a feeling? I think that is how I'd describe my state of mind at the moment. I'm not depressed. I'm not unhappy. I'm just not "connecting" with anything.

I think it started with beginning to say good-bye to a series of exPat friends returning to the States and other parts of the world. Over the last few months, 3 families have left. In the next 3 weeks, two more will go. The exodus began with my closest exPat friend, my soul mate with whom I would walk and share my heart for hours, and she would do the same. And although we continue to share our hearts in IM and email, it just isn't the same. I feel like a part of me is missing. Disconnected....from a best friend.

Then my husband's closest exPat friend, who was his friend long before we all became exPats, left. Saying good-bye to that family was heart-wrenching. The wife and I have not been close for years, but I had held out hope that it could change. With them leaving, I feel that hope is fading. Disconnected....from possible restoration.

DH is loving his new job and it is so good. But for the last year we have lived on a high of God's absolute direction of going into an unknown world. It was amazing! But now that it is made known, we are back to the mundane. Not that God is not still revealing Himself--He is in amazing ways, but it is more the day-to-day real life. It is more of a walk on the plain of faith not the mountaintop leaps. I know that we can't live on the highs, but they are so much fun! So I'm disconnected....from the ecstasy of a mountain-top relationship.

Then there is the unpacking the stuff stored for the past five years in the States. There have been found treasures--a set of children's books I desperately want to share with the girls, my grandfather's Stetson hat (need to frame this in a shadow box), my grandmother's Bible, my wedding flowers, and a very old copy of Jane Eyre that was my great aunt's when she was a child. But there have also been bitter sweet memories--the video from two ultrasounds before lost pregnancies, cards of condolence from those losses, and journals of not-so-great times. Parts of my past who make me who I am but hurt to remember. So, disconnected...from a far away past.

Once upon a time I enjoyed these melancholy periods. Times when I could withdraw and regroup. Times I could spend writing and praying and reflecting. I'm struggling this time. Maybe because with two little ones I don't have the luxury to withdraw for more than an hour's naptime a day? Maybe I'm just too busy? The disconnection will pass, and I'll be richer on the other side, but right now I just crave some alone time to reconnect.