Friday, March 30, 2007

A Little Stitching Fun

I'm getting ready to leave for the US for a 2 week visit, so I haven't had much time to blog. If Flower will cooperate, maybe I'll get some writing time on the plane. All in all we will take 11 flights in the next few days. But barring that, I'll leave you with a few things I've been stitching.

First: Bags, bags and more bags. Two are for Jewel and Flower to take on the airplane. The rest are gifts.
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Second: Here is the layout for the Blackwork Round Robin I'll be participating in starting mid-April. The sections will be completed to look like a stained glass window. I really love how it looks.
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I have other near finishes, that I'll show when I return.

I cannot foresee getting back to Blogger before April 18 with travel and anticipated jet lag. Please pray for us. We will be visiting friends and family in NJ (airport only), MO, AL, AZ and TX. I can't wait, but I know that traveling with children across time zones is exhausting. I'll miss you all and expect my Google Reader to be teeming when I get back. Blessings all.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Last evening we went for a family walk--something that we do most evenings now that the time has changed and it is light until very late. New the last couple of walks is that we are leaving the push chair home and letting Flower walk the entire 1.25 mile trek holding someone's hand. As she and I were walking, hand-in-hand, someone else was walking on the other side of the street with their dogs. Flower kept turning to watch. This caused her to pull away from me and stretch our holding hands to the limit. At one point I said, "I'd like to have more looking forward and less looking backward to make this easier." Immediately, God impressed upon my heart one thought...."exactly."

More looking forward and less looking backward. I choose whether to dwell on the things of the past or the things of now and the future. I choose whether to second-guess and wish things were different or I choose to allow God to mold me into the person He desires me to be. Every moment is a choice of going backward or going forward. Paul said it this way:
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

We must be making choices that propel us heavenward. In his great masterpiece, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis reminds us,
"Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before... either into a creature that is in harmony with God, ...or into one that is in a state of war with God. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other."
He doesn't say sometimes when you choose you change, not even most times when you choose, he says every time. Every choice matters. Every choice shapes us. And every choice demonstrates to the world Who we are serving (or not serving). Every choice.

Just as I was wishing Flower would focus on propelling forward as we walked, I am certain my Heavenly Father wishes I would focus on propelling forward as well. He isn't going to let go of me when I loosen my focus on Him, but it does slow down the process of me getting to where He wants me. Today I choose to move forward. How about you?

Christine at Fruit in Season is our hostess this week for CWO's In Other Words. Please come join us!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Perfect Weekend, Part Two

After church on Sunday, we quickly headed to the train station to get our train to London. We stayed in the London area Sunday night and Monday we spent the day at LEGOLAND. What an amazing place! I could not believe the things that they were able to create out of legos. Here is a sampling:

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketJewel had her first driving lesson. She kept forgetting to press the gas pedal. And when she remembered to press it, she would forget to steer. It was too funny!

Flower rode her first "horsie". Yes, it is a carousel, but she kept shouting "I ride horsie".Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Jewel went on her first rollercoaster. This is the smaller of the two she went on. Yes, it is snowing, but it only lasted a few minutes.
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It was a great day! The girls loved it. German and I loved it. And we will definitely take them again.

A Perfect Weekend, Part One

We just had the most awesome 4-day weekend! German took Friday and Monday off so we could have some quality time playing with the girls. And play we did. I came back absolutely exhausted, but it was worth it.

It started Friday morning. It was Red Nose Day here in the UK and the girls enjoyed getting in on the act. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Red Nose Day is a fundraising project with Comic Relief to raise funds for projects in the UK and in Africa.

German's work colleagues were participating in a "try science" launch at a children's science museum. He was one of the volunteers, so that is where our day started. While Daddy helped the 9-10 year old students with science experiments such as aerodynamics (paper airplanes), weight distribution and strength (pasta bridges testing breaking points), water displacement (blowing water out of an immersed bottle) Mommy and the girls went exploring in the museum. They have an entire town centre section that allows children to "bank" (complete with learning how to open safes and avoiding pressure points and "lasers" in the big safe), "grocery shop" (getting items and scanning them), "cook", and "car maintenance" (Jewel learned to fill the car with petrol and change a tyre!)
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After lunch with Daddy's co-workers, the whole family spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the other parts of the museum. The section on how the body works was a big hit--except for the x-ray stuff, that scared Jewel.

We stayed overnight in the area and on Saturday we visited a farm that had a large play barn area filled with different slides and rope bridges and climbing frames. Moms and Dads could have as much fun as the kids! Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAfter that we visited the Bronte Parsonage and Museum. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I am a huge Bronte sister fan so this was lots of fun for me. Jewel and Flower aren't old enough to introduce them to Jane Eyre and the like, but they know of the story since our friend starred in the theater production last year. We took lots of notes to use when we teach about these books when they are older. We went home late Saturday. Good friends were being baptised Sunday morning and we did not want to miss that. I'll tell about part two of the weekend in the next post.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

IOW--Life on Mission

"It is insufficient to proclaim that the Church of God has a mission in the world. Rather, the God of mission has a Church."
~Tim Dearborn~

The past few years I have considered how Jesus' very coming to Earth was demonstrating a life on mission. He could have stayed in the comforts and beauty of heaven, but He came to us to show us a better way. Every person He met was a person who could be touched with kindness, healing, and hope. He lived His life in a demonstration of what He expects us to do--and meeting the needs of others was His highest priority.

So that tells me that my life needs to be a life on mission as well. I remember as a young girl hearing stories of missionaries and assuming that meant you had to go off to Africa to serve Jesus. Even the "home" missionaries served in "exotic" places like "Indian Reservations" (yes, I know it isn't PC but that is what they were called back then) or inner city hovels. It was not until later I developed a sense of mission being everyday.

In Deuteronomy 11:18-19 tells us:

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

God taught us to use every opportunity to teach our children His word. He did not want us to waste a moment. In much the same way, Jesus left His disciples with this admonition:

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20

This can be interpreted "as you are going...make disciples". In other words, don't waste a moment--meet spiritual needs wherever you are. WOW! He only set up one means of continuing His mission to meet the needs of people--the church. He told the disciples and they were expected to make disciples, who would in turn make disciples, etc. etc. Mission came first, then church. When that thought takes hold in your heart, your life becomes a life of mission no matter where in the world you are.

Living a life on mission does not necessarily mean going somewhere exciting. What it definitely means is changing your mindset to see the world all around you as a mission field. Here are a few things that work for me, maybe some will work for you as well:
1. Try to see everyone as someone for whom Jesus died and pray for them. This includes the driver who just cut you off, the salesperson that gave you attitude when the price tag wasn't on the blouse, the waiter who gave terrific service, the homeless man on the street. Everyone. When you see them as a person who Jesus came to save, it makes it easier to want to see their needs.
2. Work in ways to talk about Jesus around people (not necessarily to them). The kids are great help here. I quiz the girls on memory verses or Sunday School stories when we are on the bus or in taxis--and at least half the time someone who is "eavesdropping" comments or asks a question. Gives me an opportunity to talk about how we learn about God. Another way is to sing church songs with your kids while playing in the park. Other kids inevitably want to know the song--and the word of God is planted in their hearts.
3. Give God credit. When someone says "you are lucky" turn it and say you are blessed. When someone asks how you cope, say "God gives me the grace/courage/strength to cope." Don't let people walk away believing your life is by chance or coincidence. Verbally acknowledge God's part in it.
4. Find a missionary to support. This can be in prayer, financially, with letters and emails, or with practical things (I know one missionary who loves being sent magazines or books because she can't get them where she serves).
5. Subscribe to news feeds that increase your awareness of world needs. Get on some mission prayer updates.
6. Do volunteer work serving the "least" in your community.

And finally, if you can do go. You will not be the same. Our time in Romania two years ago opened my eyes to how a simple touch can make such a difference. My travels in Europe and to Israel and Egypt show me that there are needs everywhere. You will never regret making yourself available.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketthe orphanage that was having another story added to house more children

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketdistributing candy at children's home. The kids loved the candy, but loved having their picture taken more!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketbarrels of clothes, books and computer equipment to distribute

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketYou are never too young. Jewel was only 2, and was in more people's homes than we were. This lady would just take her to show off her red curls.

This week's In Other Words Hostess is Laurel Wreath. Please join us!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The party is over, but new friends are made

Well the party is over. I managed to visit around 200 sites. I tried to comment on most of them, and I bookmarked several sites to visit again. Here are a few of the new possible friends I have found. I hope you enjoy their sites as much as I do.

I just enjoy the honesty, and her writing style here:

Some inspiration and challenge that I have found:, and

Mom of a preschooler I think I can identify with:
Dad of a preschooler I think I can identify with:
Mom wanting to raise daughters of beauty and grace:
Makes me homesick for Texas and challenges me too! and she participated in a new writing forum called woman-to-woman that I am praying about whether it is a place for me to participate. Check it out!

A few Americans living abroad to brighten my days:, (okay she is returning to the States, but she understand expat life), and

And finally, an awesome foodie site: An awesome cooking site:

The winner of my book give away was UKZoe. I'll be contacting her for an address to send it this week.

Thank you for visiting my site and for participating in the party

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

IOW--A Three Stranded Marriage

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Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

These were the verses used as the basis of our wedding invitations and ceremony. We chose to focus, from the very start, that we could not be "everything" to each other. Maybe it was that we were "older" (I was 27) when we got married. We had lived away from family, as adults, for almost ten years. So, there was a sense of how to cope with life, and trust in God for the ups and downs of life, before we got married. The foundation was set and we were going to build on it.

That sounds great in theory and planning. Practice, on the other hand, was more difficult. We were married in November. In April, German moved to Alabama to take a new job. I stayed in Washington to sell the house. I was miserable. I was a newlywed with no husband. And I was angry...with German, with well-meaning friends who kept asking how I was, with the lousy housing market, with German's old job, with German's new job, with get the idea. I knew in my head that God had blessed us with the job and that He was working out His plan. But I was not resting in it. Nightly phone calls were miserable. German was not making me happy--and I let him know it. By September, the house had still not sold and the decision was made we couldn't do what we were doing any longer. A young cousin of mine agreed to watch the house and feed the cat daily--and I left for Alabama. It was a difficult six weeks of learning to live together, again. But the amazing thing was....German still did not make me happy. I was still miserable. I was focused on the house not selling, us being in temporary housing, and the mountain of things that would need to be done when we moved. I wanted to look for a job, but until we were settled I couldn't (my car was in Washington for one thing). I still was not trusting God with the move.

The house did eventually sell. We moved into our home in January. We found a church. I found a job. But the most important thing I found during that time was a knowledge that my new husband could not meet all of my needs. I learned to trust God and His timing during that year. I begged him that I would never have to do that again. But a few years later, I would find myself putting German on a plane to move to England without me. I would stay with friends while being there to sell our house. But this time I did it with a peace of understanding that my emotional and spiritual needs would be met by God and when He allowed it I would join German. What a difference the move was! I feel certain that this scene will continue to replay in our life, but God is constant and wants our best. When I trust Him with that, then, and only then, can German and I meet each other's needs.

"One of the secrets to a happy marriage is remembering the source of our joy, which is not one another. The source of our joy is the Lord. Yes, we share tons of joyous moments, but we don't expect, let alone demand, endless joy-filled moments from each other. "
~ Liz Curtis Higgs ~
from the devotional: Rise and Shine

Darlene is hosting "In Other Words" this week. Please join us here.

photo credit:; mervynjenkins

Friday, March 09, 2007

THE ultimate party

Parties are great. I have been amazed at the participation in the Ultimate Blog Party (800+ participants). I've party-hopped to around 200 sites, leaving messages on 90% of them. I've been awe-struck at the celebrations some people set up. I've smiled at the simplicity of others. I'm humbled by those who have visited me. And everyone seems to be having a good time. It shows how much people enjoy parties.

Birthday parties are fun. Spontaneous get-togethers can be exciting. But the type of party I often find the most poignant is a wedding party. The symbolism and the commitment mirrored at the wedding ceremony is awesome. Yes, I'm one who cries at weddings. But earthly wedding feasts only foreshadow THE ULTIMATE PARTY that will ever take place. Scripture tells us that we are the Bride of Christ and we are preparing for our wedding.

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah!
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Revelation 19:6-8

All glorious is the princess within her chamber ;
her gown is interwoven with gold.
In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
her virgin companions follow her
and are brought to you. Psalm 45:13-14

I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10

We, as the bride, wait for the return of Jesus, the bridegroom. The time will come when He takes His church to be with Him. Then the true party will begin. I cannot pretend to know, or even begin to imagine, what the party will be like--but I know the Host and I know He plans to lavish His beloved with all good things. I know that in turn we take that blessing lavished out on us and return it to Him--for the Glory and Honor are all His. I know that He has been preparing this moment from the beginning of time. And I know that this party will be everlasting in a city of beauty beyond measure (see Revelation 21 and let your imagination go wild). I know that everyone will have a good time for Revelation 21:4 says there are no tears and no pain in heaven.

Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' " And he added, "These are the true words of God." Revelation 19:9

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-3

But there is something more important than what is served, how the place looks, or how many jewels are in the city. I know that I am invited. I know that I am covered by the blood of the Lamb and I am among those invited to come. That makes me excited. I get to live my life in preparation for attending THE wedding feast. And you can be certain that you are invited as well. If you aren't sure that you are invited, please follow the link below. It will tell you how you can be sure. Or email me through my profile. I'd love to help you procure your invitation.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Thank you for attending my little slice of the Ultimate Blog Party. I so dream that someday we will all meet at the Wedding Feast! Until that day, be Blessed by the One who is preparing a place for you.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

IOW--Breathing and Praying

I once kept an aroma diffuser in my office that had Eucalyptus oil in it. My co-workers hated it. Finally one day, I asked one what she didn't like about it. She told me it was because it forced her to breathe deeply, something she apparently didn't do very often. Conversely, that is why I loved it. I tended to hold my breath when talking about *delicate* issues like spending down of assets, living wills and dying (I was a social worker in a geriatric setting). The oil diffuser ensured that I did not hold my breath very long. I felt healthier and more awake--and I probably was because more oxygen was getting into my system. We take it for granted that breathing is a natural reflex. But even something as natural as breathing can be done shallowly and without total health effect.

Our prayer lives can be much the same. They need to be a natural reflex--something that we do naturally and constantly.
"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing;
in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Ephesians 5:16-18 (NAS)

I remember as a college student the first time I read Brother Lawrence's Practice the Presence. It changed my perspective. I began to realize for the first time that it was possible to "pray without ceasing." I put a little PTP reminder on my mirror that I would see often to remind me to practice. And with practice, for a while, prayer was like breathing--I'd pray without even really thinking about it. It infused my day and balanced me. I found myself more thankful, more alert to what God was doing, and more able to make decisions. Praying had brought life to my spiritual being just as breathing brings life to my physical being.

"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing"
~ Martin Luther ~

But just as I sometimes find that I am breathing shallowly and my physical being, although working, is not at it's optimum, the same is true of my prayer life. Sometimes, often times, my prayer life becomes shallow. It's there. And it is giving life to sustain. But it is not bringing life in abundance. I should not depend on a "non-ceasing", reflexive prayer life--I need to also have a deliberate prayer life. I need time that is totally devoted to prayer. Consciously choosing to pray is what brings the abundance.
"This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." Mark 9:29

"Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning."Joel 2:12

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

I was praying with a friend Sunday. She is having a very difficult time of attack. We spoke of how a few weeks ago, because of some of the ministry she with which she is involved, another friend suggested she "stay protected." My friend said she was almost flippant in believing she was protected. The ministry was covered with prayer, but those of us praying had not covered the minister as well. We prayed shallowly. We prayed for results. We prayed for a person's peace and salvation. We did not pray for spiritual protection. We did not acknowledge a real enemy. We didn't spend the deliberate, consistent pleading time in prayer because we didn't see the need. We are now--deliberately meeting in person and by phone daily in twos and threes to pray. We are in our prayer closets on our faces begging for deliverance. I'm asking God to forgive me for holding my prayer breath and praying shallowly. With the deep prayers will come, and is coming, the cleansing.

Praying "without ceasing" comes from training our hearts and our minds to see God and thank God in everything. Praying "with fasting" comes with a deliberate decision that right now I am choosing to pray. We need both. Both bring life. Every moment sustaining breath life and deep cleansing abundant life. I want it all--and by God's grace we can have both.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18 (emphasis mine)

Take a deep breath and feel the physical cleansing. I hope you have a time of cleansing prayer time today as well. God Bless You.

Iris is our hostess today for In Others' Words. Join us at Sting My Heart to read others' interpretation and reflections on Luther's quote.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Menu Plans and Party Food

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This week's menu plan is:
Monday: BBQ pork ribs, steamed carrots, green salad
Tuesday: crab and avacado salad
Wednesday: Greek-style chicken with feta, sesame green beans, salad
Thursday: Grilled salmon, steamed sugar peas, salad
Friday: DATE NIGHT (girls will have pasta or pizza)
Saturday: Party with Friends: subway sandwiches, spinach dip, veggie tray, lemon meringue cake and whatever the other guests bring
Sunday: Split Pea and Ham Soup

I promised some of my favorite party food recipes. So here are a few:

Ham rollups

Take thin sliced ham (sandwich slices). Spread with Cream Cheese & Herb or Cream Cheese & Garlic spread. Gently roll. Place tooth pick through each end. Cut in half. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Spinach Dip

1 package frozen spinach (thawed, drained and squeezed with kitchen towels to remove the liquid)
1 large tub creme fresche or sour cream
1 cup mayonaise
1 package vegetable soup mix (I use Knorr Golden vegetable)

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Chill for at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Serve with bread cubes or bread sticks. I like to take a large round loaf of bread. Hollow out center (saving to make cubes) and place dip in bread bowl center.

Cheese Dip

1 package cream cheese
1 jar of your favorite salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
1 small can Mexi-corn

Place all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave 1-2 minutes at a time, stirring thoroughly in between until melted. Serve with chips or tortillas. To make this a meal, add 1/2 pound ground hamburger or turkey that you have browned.

***If the party includes dinner, I almost always use my slow cooker, here are my two standards.***

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Cook a large pork roast on low for 8-10 hours (I usually do this all night, the night before the party). Remove the roast and shred it into bit size pieces. Put meat back into crock pot and cover with your favorite bottled BBQ sauce. Cook on low another 5-6 hours. Serve over buns with cheese, onion, and pickles. Also good served over baked potatoes or wrapped in flour tortillas.

Cola Chicken

Place skinned, boneless chicken breasts in slow cooker. Salt and pepper. Cover with equal amounts of Coca-Cola and tomato ketchup. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with roasted potatoes and steamed vegetables.

"Roasted" Potatoes

Peel and dice potatoes into small bite-size pieces. Mix together 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 packet french onion soup mix. Pour over the potatoes. Cook at 180 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes until tender. Stir occassionally.

***No party is complete without something sweet.***


4 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1.5 cups sugar
1 stick (8Tablespoons) butter, melted
4 eggs
1 pint sour cream or creme fresche
3 Tablespoons Flour
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add other ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into a 9 inch spring form pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Smooth top. Bake at 325F/180C for 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn oven off and leave cake in the oven for at least 1 more hour. (I usually bake just before going to bed, turn oven off, leave door slightly ajar and leave it in the oven overnight).

Turn cake out onto cake plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with whatever berries are in season or topped with canned fruit pie filling.

Variation: For chocolate cheesecake, add 1 cup chocolate chips to the butter and melt together. Follow recipe as above.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Cross-Stitch or Quilt Party

Actually, this kind of party is among my favorites. I love for a group (or a couple) of friends to gather and we gab and drink tea and quilt or stitch. Usually there is more gabbing and laughing than stitching, but that's okay. That's what makes it a party and not a chore. So in that light, here is some crafty updates.

First my huge cross-stitch finish of the month:
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America, Land That We Love
c. Jean Farish Designs
Started December 27, 2004
Finished February 22, 2007
81.5 hours stitching
This is my biggest *happy dance* in a while.

Secondly, here is a little bag I stitched up this week. I'll soon have pics of the second one I stitched (and maybe a third and fourth if I sew this week).
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This is a great little bag that I first saw on Katrina's site. Then Lisa made one for me for a Christmas exchange, and I love it! Then Pauline started stitching them. I finally got my hands on the instructions last week. They are a breeze to make, and so versatile.

March will hopefully be a big stitching month for me. Here are my goals:
1. Finish stitching Texas by Hinzeit
2. Start and finish Alabama by Hinzeit
3. Complete 2 blocks for baby quilts
4. Prep my Stained Glass piece for Blackwork Round Robin
5. Complete the blue background section of Rosewood Manor's Flag Sampler
6. Make at least one more tote bag.

I participate in a weekly meme with Stitching Bloggers. Here is this week's question:
Today's SBQ was suggested by Danielle (
and is:
Do you find yourself stitching faster when you are getting to the end of a design?

I don't think I stitch faster as I near the end, but I do stitch more determined to finished--I take fewer breaks, etc. I stitch pretty fast to begin with, so speed is not really an issue; commitment to one piece is the issue.

Thanks for indulging my craft habits. Do you craft? Do you get together with a group? I'd love to hear what you do.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Special Request of Party Attenders

I am searching for a blog written by a Christian, Indian heritage (from India, not Native American) woman. I have a friend who is searching to read a voice of "someone like herself." Anyone know any such bloggers out there? I'd be incredibly grateful and so would my friend, if you would point me in the right direction. Thanks all! I'll be back later in the weekend with a "bringing crafts to the party" post of what I've been doing.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Visions of Tea Parties Dance in My Head

It started several months ago. One of the little ladies that went to my church had lost her husband about six weeks before. That Sunday morning she got out of her car, quite flustered. When I asked her what was wrong, she said she had locked herself out of the house. She went on to explain that her doors were self-locking, and anytime she would leave the house her husband would call after her, "Don't forget your keys." She looked so lost when she said, "I miss him." I made certain that she had a way to get back into the house (neighbour has key and she spoke to him to be certain he would be home after church). But her words haunted me. I wanted to do something for her in her lonliness.

The idea of the tea party came to mind. A tea party for the ladies in the church who were older and alone. The dreams and the plans took root, but every time I tried to plan it, something got in the way. Finally, I chose Valentine's Day. Then I learned that there was a ladies meeting that day at the church. So I moved it to the Tuesday after and called it a Post-Valentine Tea Party.
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Twenty-eight ladies were invited, and thirteen came. Those who rang to decline the invitation gave me as much joy as those who accepted. I heard stories from them, I heard how they tried to change their plans, and I heard how just an invitation was a blessing to them--how they missed being invited to things. God certainly confirmed the need for the party.

The weekend before the party I made shortbread and pumpkin bread and snickerdoodles. The night before I made a King Cake (it was Fat Tuesday afterall) and gluten-free chocolate muffins. The morning of the party I made finger sandwiches (cream cheese with cucumber and ham with butter). Another lady from the church brought salmon sandwiches to serve. Flowers were delivered from the florist--an arrangement for the table and individual roses as well. The table was set. The girls were dressed in their frills. The china was set out. Another friend arrived to help me serve. Then the guests came--dressed in their finest bringing flowers from their gardens and sweets for my children.

We served tea and sandwiches and biscuits and cake. We laughed. We talked about traditions and how things are different in the US versus UK. We laughed. We heard stories about life during the war. We heard stories of travels made. We laughed some more. I thanked them for being the grandmothers and great-aunts and role models my girls need since we live so far from home. And then we laughed even more. I was so blessed by the time--and the time flew by.

I wrapped sandwiches and biscuits for each person to take home. Each lady received a pink rose for Valentine's. They left with thanks on their lips. But I cherish the time in my heart. The family of God is big. It was wonderful to celebrate with a small part of the family.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Here is the recipe for the pumpkin bread. It was my grandmother's recipe, and I do love baking it. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread

2 sticks oleo or butter (do not soften)
2.75 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
3.5 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups pumpkin
walnuts (optional)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and spices. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin. Add vanilla and nuts. Pour in bundt pan or 2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1.5 hours (slightly less in loaf pans). To dress up for a dessert drizzle cream cheese icing over top, or serve warm with butter. Enjoy!

photo credits: teacup by nacu and rose by chamomile

It's Ultimate Party Time

I love to throw a party. Pretty surprising, considering that I am a total introvert. But I do love the planning, preparing and hosting of a party. So the opportunity to throw a virtual party cannot be passed up. What a great opportunity to meet some new-to-me bloggers, maybe make a few new friends and talk about parties.
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So without further adieu....WELCOME! Thank you for coming to visit my blog during the party. I hope you find it warm and occassionally witty. You wondering what to expect with this new friend? Don't worry--all I hope is that you have a good time and will come back again. Later today (Friday) I'll post on the most recent party I hosted--a Post-Valentine Tea Party for the older ladies in my church. Monday, along with my weekly menu plan, you will find some of my favorite/easy party foods. Tuesday I'll be participating in CWO's In Others' Words (don't know the quote yet, so I can't give you a hint). Wednesday and Thursday of next week will have some hints for entertaining, but may also have a few surprises. Friday the 9th I'll be posting about THE ULTIMATE Party we will ever attend--and it will be bigger and greater than anything we can host in blogville. So come along and enjoy the fun!

As far has who am I? I'm a nearing 40, homeschooling SAHM to two gorgeous, if not precocious, little girls. They get a lot of "blogtime" in my writing. I've been married to an awesome guy and my dearest friend for almost 12 years. I often write about what it takes to keep a marriage great. I'm a cross-stitcher and quilter who loves to share what I'm working on. I'm an American living overseas who is blessed to travel a lot--so I share where I've been and what I've seen. But most of all, I'm a Child of God who absolutely LOVES talking about her Savior and what He does in my life. Hopefully you can relate to one of those levels, and will want to learn more. Even if you don't relate to those things we already have this in common: we choose to blog and that gives us a starting place for friendship. I look forward to getting to know you.

You will want to visit our hostesses with the mostest: 5minutesformom. Be sure and register as a guest on the Mr. Linky on that site with a link to your own party post to be included in draws for some great prizes. I really wanted to donate a prize, but being non-US/non-Canada based that was not possible at first. I was perusing the prize list earlier this week and noticed that some prizes had been made for international readers, but they had to be in digital or electronic downloadable form. It was too late, and what I have to share is not electronic. So, here is my prize offering: If you do not live in the US or Canada--and live in a place where you can receive Christian books via mail, and would like to be considered in a drawing for the book The Colors of His Love by Dee Brestin and Kathy Troccoli please leave a comment that includes where you live and "please enter me." I would love to share this awesome book with one of you.

I'm looking forward to making new friends and having fun with old friends. Please leave me a comment when you come by. Guests in my home would be asked to sign my guest book--and I'm asking you to do the same here.

Ultimate Blog Party

photo credit: from, anitapatterson

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I love a Party--Please come back tomorrow!

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edited to say: That should say ULTIMATE blog party. I really do know how to spell, but I didn't catch it until after I saved the creation, and I'm lazy. Please come anyway.