Wednesday, January 30, 2008

That's Souper

This weekend is time for one of my favorite charity events of the year. Most of you realize it's Super Bowl Sunday...but do you also know it's "Souper Bowl Sunday"? I love and appreciate a really good idea, and this is a fine example. Actually, the official title is "Souper Bowl of Caring".

Back in 1990, a Seminary Intern serving in a parish in Columbia, South Carolina, said this simple prayer, "Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us to be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat." That led the youth group of his church and 21 other churches in Columbia to raise $5,700 for local food banks in the way of cash and cans donated. It works like this: the youth group sets a big soup kettle in the narthex of the church on Super Bowl Sunday and you can drop $1 in. There is also a container for donated cans of soup. What is collected goes to local food banks. How easy is that? God answered that intern's prayer and this simple idea has spread in a wonderful way. In 2007, Super Bowl of Caring raised over 8 million dollars.

This doesn't have to be done by a youth group...or necessarily even a church. Melisa did it at the quilt shop one year and had a generous amount to turn in. If your church or other community group isn't doing this, please give some thought to organizing it. It's probably too late for this year, but keep it in mind for next year. What a simple way to share our blessings!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Four for Four!

My accomplishment streak continues! This week I didn't finish a quilting UFO, but I did finally get around to making a scrapbook album from the pictures and memorabilia I had from the trip the Batty Babes took to Las Vegas last September. It's been on my "to do" list for over 4 months now, so I guess it really was a UFO. It was a lot of fun putting everything together. It was like experiencing the trip all over again! :) I like how the book turned out and I can't wait to show it to the girls tomorrow night. Thanks, Babes. I had a great time -- twice!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Sermon

In our recent church newsletter, our Pastor shared a story he had heard at a Synod Assembly last spring. The keynote speaker told about the ancient Gauls who were an exceedingly wild and violent people. Christian missionaries were sent to them to preach and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. In time, converts began to respond to their message. Many of the Gauls allowed the missionaries to baptize them in the local rivers. The missionaries noticed something peculiar, though, when the Gauls were immersed for baptism. The men being baptized would raise one of their hands into the air while the rest of their bodies were submerged under water. The missionaries could never understand why they did this until some time later when the Gauls came into conflict with a neighboring tribe. The Gauls took up their spears, clubs and swords in (guess which hand?) the hand that hadn't been submersed in baptism. And with those "unbaptized" hands they brutally fought their enemies.

Pastor then asked the obvious question: What part of your life hasn't been baptized by Christ? What part of your life are you holding up and away from your commitment to Christ? The hand that rises above the water may hold many things. Perhaps it is our checkbook...or a fist clenching a pain, prejudice or a hatred that we just won't let go.

I felt this was a good point for reflection and examination. And as the keynote speaker shared this, and then our Pastor John shared it, I wanted to share it, too.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Save a Tree!

I love Kermit the Frog, but I disagree with him when he says, "It isn't easy being green". There are some very simple things we can do to be environmentally friendly. For one thing, I don't use paper napkins...I use cloth ones. I don't see why a tree should have to die because I have a couple of crumbs on my face or I couldn't quite lick all the barbecue sauce off my fingers. Just throw the napkins in with any load of laundry and they're good to go all over again...and again...and again. You get the picture.

One of the other easy ways I'm helping is by using a really great web site the Jessica turned me on to a couple of months ago. If you're not already a member, please join the team! It's FREE! Who doesn't like free? The web site is and you can put in the names of all the catalogs you get in the mail that you don't want and they will contact the company for you and tell them you want to opt out of receiving any more catalogs. This is a wonderful thing and very easy to do. I started doing it before Christmas when we were being inundated with catalogs every day. I have personally opted out of 63 different manufacturer's catalogs. After only 3 months in business, the web site has 476,922 members opting out of over 5 million catalogs! (5,682,378 to be exact) That has got to save some trees, don't you think? If you later decide you want to receive catalogs again from a particular company, you can reverse it. I keep the cover page of the ones I've chosen not to receive and if I think of something I need that they might have, I can go on line and look. Almost all of them have on-line stores. So won't you help today and join so we can save some more trees? My grand kids might like to sit in the shade some day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dino Mite

No, I did not misspell the title of this blog. I know that Jimmy JJ Walker made the word "Dy-no-mite!" popular, but this is different. This is from the Greek "Dino", meaning Fred Flinstone's pet dinosaur and "Mite" meaning diminutive.

When we went over to the York's house on Saturday with intentions of playing in the snow (the snow that never came), I stopped on the way and picked up some thermal undies for Savannah and a new hat and mittens set for Emery. As you can see, the hat and mittens had these dinosaur looking things on them. I thought he might like them. When we tried them on him, he was transformed instantly into some sort of a cross between a ferocious beast and a Ninja. We didn't know quite what he was supposed to be, but he cracked us up. :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

I'm a Weenie

Jerry and I were both born and raised and lived the first 20 years of our married lives in north central Illinois. We tuned in to the Chicago radio and TV stations to get our news, weather and sports. One of the most popular sports casters in those years was a young man by the name of Tim Wiegel. He was a good writer and announcer and very entertaining. Two of the things he's remembered for are his loud jackets and his "Wiegel Weiner" awards. These awards would be given to athletes that gave a somewhat less than stellar performance.

Well, if little Timmy had been at our church yesterday morning, I'd probably have gotten one of his "Wiegle Weiner" awards. You see, they were having a blood drive in the parish hall. So after the service, I suggested to Jerry that we really should go over there and give blood. He seemed surprised that I was going to do this. He gave blood all the time when he worked for AT&T...but this would be a first for me. My attitude was, "Sure! Why not?" I walked bravely to the table when the girl said, "Next" and gave my name, address, social security number, etc. See???...piece of cake. I hid my trembling pretty well when I was called to the next station to get my finger pricked (I just kept telling myself..."you do this all the time. It's just like quilting.") and answered questions of a very personal nature. (No, I have not had sex with a prostitute in the last 30 days!) I was even a trooper as "Vampira" punctured my arm and started letting all my blood out into a huge bag. I did pretty well...sitting there squeezing my little blue "pill" as directed. Everything was going fine --- until just about the end. I think they took about two drops too many. Just as my bag was almost full, I told the nurse, "My stomach feels queasy." She sprang into action and with the help of one of the other nurses they tipped my chair back and started giving me instructions: "Cough -- hard!", "Move your legs back and forth!", "Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth!" (That one was a trick because when I breathed in she was waving smelling salts under my nose. Nasty stuff!!) "Keep your eyes open...we need to know that you're still with us!" Then they put an ice pack under the back of my neck...and one on the front of my neck, too. They managed to fill my bag and I managed to come around. I got a tee shirt that says, "One donation of blood saves 3 lives" and I got to eat cookies and drink juice boxes. All that's well and good...but I want my Wiegel Weiner award, too!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Fix-It

When Savannah was little she thought Grandpa could fix anything by putting a battery in it. He had done that with a couple of her toys, so whenever anything was broken--she brought it to him for new batteries. The fact that not quite everything could be fixed that way never shook her confidence in Grandpa's abilities.

Yesterday we were hanging out at Jodi and Jeremy's house waiting to play in the snow that never came :( and when Emery got up from his nap, he showed us that his best friend, "Blankie", was broken. The binding had come loose for a length of about 12 to 14 inches. He brought it to me because he knew I could fix it. He even took me to where Jodi's sewing machine is (she doesn't use it...but he remembered me using it one time when I was there) and told me that would work. He also wanted to sit on my lap and he had done before. I guess his confidence was mixed with concern because as I started, he had his hands folded in prayer! But I would stitch for a few inches, then stop to line everything up again for the next section. He enjoyed this quite a lot and would laugh and say, "Do again, Nanny!" and I'd sew some more. Finally he was delighted to see that Blankie had not only survived the surgery, but looked good as new!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Three for Three!

Last week I was pleased to announce that I had finished 2 UFOs in the first two weeks of this new year. Well, as of the 3rd week I have finished 3 projects! I certainly don't intend to set this kind of pace for myself for the year. But this wasn't a UFO. It was just a little table topper pattern that I have admired for a while now. I thought it would be cute (and practical) sitting on the end table near my chair. This is where I sit to quilt and I have everything handy...a good light, my little sewing basket, and pictures of my grand kids. There's room on it to set my drink so I don't have to worry about grabbing a coaster, too. This little quilt only took a couple of days to make. So much for getting side back to the many other UFOs!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Got Milk?....and Bread?

Yesterday I was very doubtful that I would have pictures of snow to post today, but God answers the prayers of little children (and their Nannys). For the past few days all the local stations and the weather channel were calling for a mix of rain and freezing rain or sleet. Not one of them even whispered the word I desperately wanted to hear..."snow". Early in the week I told Jodi that she and Jeremy should plan to take off Wednesay afternoon and drive to north Georgia to stay over night so that if they got any snow up there on Thursday morning they would be there to see it. She got excited that it might just be that close, but said that Jeremy hates cold and snow and would most likely not be enthused about such a trip. And besides, she had a meeting on Wednesday evening. But then as she became more aware of the changes in the weather yesterday, she told the kids several times , "Let's stop a minute and say a prayer for snow". As you can worked!

Around 5:00 p.m. we started seeing flurries. That was fun. But then it kicked in and we did get a couple of hours (maybe less) of beautiful, soft flakes coming down and sticking to most surfaces. It does this midwestern-born girl's soul good to see that -- and it's been too long in coming. It's been a few years now since we've seen this kind of snow...and my grandkids have not seen it at all. They got to go out and play in it for a while. And as Jerry and I knelt backwards on the sofa, watching the beauty out the front window, I noticed tire tracks in the drive. Jess came to share the joy and she and I got pictures as best we could before it got dark. Not long after that, it was all over and the precip that we're glad to see had changed back to rain. But Jess took a video while it was falling and she's hoping that will get her through July.

For those of you who have not lived in the south, you may need an explanation of today's title. You see, whenever a snowflake is spotted -- and you will know this because they will interrupt the TV shows to report on it and show it -- the natives are compelled to run to the store to "stock up" on milk and bread. Those of us who have been transplanted here are hard pressed to understand this. As you can see, the snow is usually finished in a few hours. At worst, you could be "stranded" for a day or two. Then it will be in the 40s or 50s and you can go to the store to get whatever you need. I agree with Jessica's philosophy: if you're going to go to the store to "lay in" supplies, get wine and chocolate. That's the way to enjoy a southern snowstorm!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mid-Week Inspiration

I was reading my sweet book, Home to Holly Springs, and the main character quoted poet George Macdonald as saying:

"You have a disagreeable duty to do at twelve o'clock. Do not blacken nine and ten and eleven, and all between, with the color of twelve."

I thought that was worth remembering...and sharing.

I would love to post pictures of snow tomorrow --- but I think we're just going to get some rain with a little sleet mixed in. But we'll take any precipitation that we can get.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Problem Solving

Have you ever thought about how much of life is spent solving problems? I would guess that over 90% of our time on this planet is spent problem solving. Most of it we don't think of in that way and most of the solutions are "no brainers", such as: we eat to solve the problem of being hungry, we sleep to solve the problem of being tired, we have a job because we need food to eat and a place to sleep. There's a big chunk of our time right there. Other solutions get a little more tricky and sometimes there's conflict about what the right course of action may be. If you've ever watched a political debate you know what I mean.

All this rambling is because I want to share 3 wonderful problem solvers that I have come across somewhat recently. These solutions are so incredible they even amaze me every time they work...and I already have faith in them!

1. If you or anyone you know has a kidney stone, go to Joe Barton's web site: He has a very simple home remedy for passing kidney stones painlessly. I know...I was very skeptical, too, but I was also desperate as I was due for a lithotripsy later in the week. Using his remedy, I passed a stone I'd been carrying around for over a year! A friend of Jeremy's passed his in a few hours and he'd had it for a couple of months. Joe is a great problem solver.

2. Can't sleep because you are (or someone in your family is) coughing? Rub Vicks VapoRub on the soles of the feet and put socks on. Stops a cough immediately. It is really amazing. I used it just last night (actually....this morning about 4:00 a.m.!)

3. If you get ANY kind of a burn, the VERY BEST thing to put on it immediately is Cumarindine ointment. Mike (Melisa's husband) sells it at the quilt shop and I don't know if there's anywhere else you can get it, but this stuff is incredible. It smells horrible, so you know it's got to be good. We call it "Mike's stinky cream" here and grab it quickly. I have been amazed every time I've used it on what could be a very bad burn and the next day there is nothing there. Other "lesser" burns that I haven't thought to put it on have sometimes developed into something by the next day. I used it again last week and it impressed me all over again.

So there you have it. My public service announcements. You're welcome.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Two for Two

So far this new year I'm doing pretty well as far as UFOs (unfinished objects) in the quilting department. In the first two weeks of 2008 I have finished two projects. The first was a purse I was going to make for myself this fall. I love the one I've been using. It was made for me by Deanna (one of the Batty Babes) and it's great, but it's red and I thought it looked "summery" and I'd make a different one in fall colors. Well...fall is long gone, but I think I can use this one until springtime. I've never actually seen the "purse police", so I guess I can use whatever I want to carry around all the useless stuff I have in my purse. But it is finished and I can cross it off the list! I LOVE crossing things off the list.

The second thing is a piece of "cheater cloth" that I bought years ago just in case I ever realized my dream of a red and white kitchen. For those who don't know, "cheater cloth" means the design is printed on the fabric and you don't have to piece the top. You just start quilting. Well, I started quilting a few years ago when we started remodeling the kitchen. Then for some reason, I put it away. I couldn't even remember how far I had gotten on it. So I dug it out and was pleased to discover I had only a small bit left to do. So now I have finally finished my kitchen tablecloth and it, too, is crossed off the list!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Book Meme

Over a week ago, Jodi tagged me on her blog for a "book meme". I still don't know how to link to other blogs and all that fancy stuff, so I haven't done it yet. I just decided to do it without linking up until one of the girls has time to show me how to do it.

So here goes. Reading a there's a novel idea. (I'm sorry, sometimes I just can't help myself). Seriously, reading is something I always thought I would do when I had "more time". Now my time is pretty much my own and I don't make much time at all for reading. But I will give this a shot:

1. One book that changed your life: I would have to say my Bible. And I need to spend much more time in it this coming year. Jessica got me a good bible study book for Christmas and I intend to really get into it.

2. One book that you have read more than once: I really can't think of any. I have several that I have enjoyed, but I read very slowly and have too many that I want to read to be going back over one that I have already read.

3. One book you would want on a deserted island: Is this a trick question? I think I would want something with a title like "How to Build a Boat from Limbs and Weeds"

4. One book that made you laugh: Years ago anything by Erma Bombeck. More recently, last summer I read "You're Lucky You're Funny" by Phil Rosenthal. He was the creator and executive producer of the TV show Everybody Loves Raymond".

5. One book that made you cry: I hate sad books, sad movies, etc. Years ago I remember reading "The Dead Zone". The main character was so likeable and when he died in the end I was very upset. I literally grieved for days. I try to avoid sad books like they were a plague!

6. One book that you wish had been written: "How to Follow Through on Making Changes in Your Life"

7. One book that you wish had never been written: "The Dead Zone". (Why oh why did he have to die?)

8. One book you are currently reading: "Home to Holly Springs". Jerry got it for me for Christmas. I loved the Mitford Series of books by Jan Karon. That series ended, but now she is starting this new series, and this is the "first of the Father Tim novels". Going back into the history of Father Tim Kavanaugh, the main character. Very sweet books.

9. One book you have been meaning to read: One? I'm not sure. Jodi got me "Feathers From my Nest" for Christmas. It's by Beth Moore, whom I love, and Jodi highly recommends the book and says she has given this book as a gift more than all other books combined. But Jodi also listed it on her blog as the one book that made her cry. So...."there's the rub" Father Tim would say. :)

Monday, January 7, 2008

I Made It!

One of my favorite Christmas decorations...and one that I put up even the years when I don't put everything my "winter wonderland" in the front yard. I have 4 white light trees (not the spiral kind -- the kind that are actually shaped like trees), we put lights on the hemlock tree, garlands and lights on the arch and the two bird houses, and then put lights on an old artificial tree and put it up by the house. Jerry has them rigged to a timer, and I love looking at them every night when they come on. The "problem" comes when it's time to take them down. Jerry thinks they are Christmas lights and should come down the day after Christmas...New Year's Day at the latest. I think they are Christmas SEASON lights and should stay lit until the Epiphany. What if the Wise Men want to come and bring me some gold? How will they find me???
One year, on New Year's evening, I was surprised to see they did not come on. I went out to check to see if there was a problem. Jerry had simply unplugged the extension cord and taken it in. (Can you say "passive aggressive"?) This year he did not fight me on it. They were still lighting the neighborhood (he thought it was embarrassing) on January 6th. :) Yeah!!
So today we took the whole thing down. It's not really that hard, so why was I working up a sweat? Because it was 70 degrees when we put them up, and 70 degrees again today when we took them down. Ahhhh...winter wonderland in the south.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Making Memories

Around the time Savannah was born -- December 18, 2002 -- I found a book called "Christmas Memories Book". It has a red leather hard cover and gold lettering. It's pages have pretty detailing and they give information on many Christmas traditions. There are places to fill in all the information for that year, such as: who was there, what you had to eat, what your favorite gifts were, etc. And there is a page each year for a picture or favorite card.

I got it and decided that each year I would write a "letter" to Savannah about our Christmas. What she was doing and what her favorite things were that year. I would make a point of getting a picture of just her and me together and put it in the book. I plan to do this for 20 years and not let her know anything about it until I give it to her after it is all filled up.

Almost the entire time Jodi was pregnant with Emery, I searched for a similar book that I could fill in for him. I found a really cute one -- but hesitated because, after all, he would most likely outgrow "cute" in the span of 20 years...and besides, it didn't have a place for a picture. In this case procrastinating paid off. Before I could get that one ordered, I came across a catalog that had the SAME identical one that I had for Savannah. So now I have one for each of them and I write "letters" to both of them every year. Here are the pictures that will go into the books for Christmas 2007:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

I Hereby Resolve...

Yes, I like to make New Year's Resolutions.

Yes, I know that most New Year's Resolutions are broken or forgotten within the first few weeks of January.

I don't care. I like to make them. I like new beginnings. I enjoy being organized. The act of actually getting organized -- when it happens -- makes me downright giddy. I like Mondays. In other words...any time that feels like a new beginning gets me energized.

My resolutions for this year are the same as those of many other folks, for the most part.

1. I plan to lose weight. I'm not saying I'm going on a diet. I'm not going to attend meetings or buy prepared foods. I'm just going to eat right -- and healthy. Last year I read the South Beach Diet plan and it made sense. It worked very well for a period of time, too. But I got lazy and eventually started eating the "problem" things again and was especially bad over the holidays. So it's back to the plan! I'm enthused about this because I know it will work if I let it.

2. I plan to exercise. Here again...I'm not going to join a gym or run a marathon. (I'll leave the marathon running to Jodi!) I just need to make a conscious effort to get moving more. Almost all of my interests are sedentary. I need to be fit enough to keep up with my grand kids, and that's the best motivation there is!

3. I need to get my quilt calendar organized. This is something I do from time to time in an attempt to keep track of all the UFOs (unfinished objects) that I have started or planned. It helps to write them down and check them from time to time. I just bought a new calendar planner for that the other day, so I'm ready.

4. Clean out my sock drawer. maybe this one isn't high on anybody else's list, but it's a priority for me. The new pack of socks I bought recently is laying on the floor because there isn't room for more socks. But I needed new socks. It's a dilemma that needs to be solved.

The great thing about all these resolutions is that I have another week before I have to begin all this self-improvement. Aunt Leona will be here until the 7th of January and we're still acting like this is the holiday season. We're all taking a pretty leisurely pace with everything and still eating the candies, etc. that were in our stockings. But as of January 8, 2008, let the improvements begin!

Dear Lord,
Thank you for new beginnings. Thank you for the song, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" in which it says, "Morning by morning new mercies I see". Help me to see every morning as a new beginning...a new day with so many blessings, opportunities and choices to be made. Help me always to make the right ones.