Sunday, September 28, 2008


A little over 4 years ago, I "retired"...well, sort of. I left my full-time job with the school system after having been a school bookkeeper here for 14 years -- and previously in Illinois for another 6. Twenty years of keeping books for teachers is enough! Actually...I left to have more time to spend with my young granddaughter and to have time to help care for my ailing mother. But I guess I wasn't really ready for retirement, because I immediately took a part-time job as an On-Call BOA (branch office administrator) for Edward Jones. It was the very best kind of part time job because it was completely flexible. They would call if they needed a sub, and I could say if I was available or not. Can't beat that. Shortly after that, my friend and fellow quilter, Melisa, started getting ready to open her quilt shop. I went and volunteered some time to help with the original set-up, inventory, etc. When she was ready to hire some help, I went to work there...also part-time. Between these two very good jobs, I was working quite a bit again.

So after a few years, I quit the Edward Jones position. Then I cut back my hours at the quilt shop. I've been thinking of actually retiring full time...maybe some time next spring. Then I started thinking, "why wait?" I am at a season in my life right now where things are very good. For the first time in my adult life, I don't have any real responsibilities! Wow! That one took a while to sink in. I am not responsible for the daily care of children, grandchildren, or a parent. I am so lucky to have a husband I really enjoy spending time with...and he is retired also. We both have our health and enough money to enjoy ourselves. I started to become fully aware that all of these blessings do not come with guarantees. So....last week, I retired again -- from the quilt shop. Now I am full-time retired and can't wait till Monday morning to see how that feels. Jerry said something about going for a hike. I think he wants me to get in shape. Could I be looking for a job again soon???

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Speaking of Quilting...

Actually, I haven't been speaking of quilting for quite a while. In January, I boasted that I had finished 3 projects in 3 weeks. Well...that's exactly how long that pace lasted: 3 weeks. Then in February I posted pictures of a table runner I did for a class and a new pattern I made for spring. In March and April I showed pictures of two of my seasonal table runners that were published in McCall's. Then, for some reason, I quit telling about my quilting projects. Too busy working to write about it, I guess. But I have stayed busy. In February I also made two tote bags. And my fall and winter table runners have been published by McCall's. (Here's a picture of the fall version)

I keep busy piecing and quilting other projects all the time, but in the spring I had to get really focused on one with a deadline. We were going home to Sheridan in July and I wanted to take a quilt to my BFF Shirley. I finally decided on the colors and design just before the retreat in April and I started on it that weekend. I finished piecing the top on May 24th, then I had it hand quilted by July 1st! That's a pretty good feat considering it is 63" x 72"!! It's a good thing she liked it.

Like most "good" quilters, I have vowed to start making scrappy quilt tops using up my stash. For those of you who don't know, "stash" is what we call the enormous amounts of fabric we have amassed over the years. I have been working on a few of those, too, and in May I finished one. I did something different with the border than what was planned, but I still like it.

In August I made another table runner top as a class sample. September has so far been a great month for crossing things off the list as "finished". I love doing that! Last spring I saw a picture in a magazine of a stylized bunny and I thought it would make a cute quilt block. From that idea, I sketched out a spring wall hanging with bunnies and baskets and eggs. I e-mailed the sketch to the editor at McCall's and she liked it. So I had to get it made, write the pattern, and send it to her by October 1st to meet her spring publishing deadline. I'm glad to report I got that in the mail last week. :) Also, last week, I put the finishing touches on one that I've been quilting on for quite a while. It's my version of one I saw in a magazine called "Cranbrook Christmas". It's another biggie - 63" x 81" and it will go to some member of the family. It's this year's Christmas Quilt and I will draw someone's name when we have our fall get-together in November.

Then just last week I came up with an idea for another design. I'll keep you in suspense until it's finished, but it's a small (31" x 32") wall hanging. I designed and pieced it last week and have it mostly quilted. I hope to finish it this week.

So...that's what's been going on in the quilting department! (If you click on a picture you an see it better.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hittin' the Books...Again

I never liked school. When we were kids, my sister liked to play school. So I'd agree and we'd get out all the books and pencils and get all set up...and then I'd quit on her. I liked school supplies -- but not the actual work of learning. So it was with the real thing. I would get excited about "Back to School" and get my new clothes and supplies, but then I really didn't want to actually go back to school. When I have adult friends who say they'd love to go back and just take class after class after class, I look at them with a mixture of shock, suspicion and concern (for their sanity). It is a little surprising, then, that I spent more than 20 years working in the school system. But that was okay. As the school bookkeeper, I got to order the supplies...but didn't really have to use them! :)

In light of all that, it's a little surprising to me that I just signed up for a bible study class. Notice the words "study" and "class" used in that one sentence. Yikes. I'm going to be expected to learn things...and that's okay...but I'm also going to have to do homework. That was always the worst. But I am excited about this. Last year Jodi took the BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) class and said she really got a lot out of it and encouraged me to think about going to it when it started back up this year. So last Wednesday was our first meeting and I've had homework this week. So far, so good. I'm pretty much on track with my lesson and I really am looking forward to getting into the Word and learning more about things that I should have known more about for a long time. Better late than never, I guess. And while we're using platitudes, let's see if someone can teach this "old dog new tricks".

Friday, September 5, 2008

Genesis 18:23-33

In Genesis 18 we read that God was going to destroy Sodom for the wickedness of it's people. We also find Abraham bargaining with God. He can't believe God would destroy the righteous along with the wicked. So he starts to play "let's make a deal": He asks God if he will spare the city if 50 righteous men are found. God says, "Okay...if 50 are found." Then Abraham starts to about 45? "Okay, 45". about 40? On and on it goes, Abraham getting more humble all the while and trying to see just how far he can get. Finally they agree on 10. And God says, "I will not destroy it for ten's sake."

Sometimes I'm afraid that God might be nearing the point where He's about to open a 55-gallon drum of "whoop ass" on our country. We (the "silent majority") have allowed prayer to be taken out of our schools. We don't display the ten commandments in our public buildings. There is great controversy over places where Nativity scenes are allowed to be displayed. We don't want to offend or be politically incorrect by standing by the motto this country was founded on: "In God We Trust". I'm sure this makes Him sad...if not angry.

But then I see how many truly righteous (right with God) people there are in this country. Not the politicians who get up and end their speeches with "God bless America". But real people who want Christ to be the center of their lives. Who want to follow Jesus with every fiber of their being. I was reminded of this last weekend. Conyers' own Georgia International Horse Park hosted the 2nd annual "Celebrate Freedom" concert. This is an all-day free concert featuring Christian entertainers. Thousands of people gather and sit almost all day (9:00 a.m. to about midnight) to enjoy the inspiring music and messages of these talented musicians. They are not only enjoying the music...they are really feeling it and participating in the worship. And they are unashamed in doing so. Jessica had been there most of the day (and was as red as a lobster from the hot, Georgia sun) but I just joined her to see Mercy Me -- her favorite band. It was such an inspiration to be there.
Three weeks from today I'm going with some friends to the Women of Faith conference in Atlanta. This will be the 3rd year that I'm going. It's held at the Phillips Arena. Seating capacity for the arena is 18, 729...and it will most likely be a near capacity crowd, if not sold out. This is a two-day conference of very inspirational and funny women speaking to other women. It is a soul-refreshing experience that lasts long after you leave the arena.
So I know there are wonderful, righteous, God-loving people in this country. Lord...for the sake of these, will you spare the United State of America?