Saturday, April 30, 2011

home from ATI Regional Conference

There are not really words to describe how joyful my heart is right now. If I tried, I would fail. Someday I might read this again and think "that just didn't do it," and I would be disappointed that I didn't take more time.

The fact is that I don't have the time to "get it all right" because I'm ready to live it!

Wow! Amazing! Refueled! Refilled! Refreshed! Those are some of the words that come to mind when I think about the past week at the 2011 ATI Regional Conference. God worked amazing things through the speakers and we were so very blessed.

Before we went, we had been warned not to try to do "everything". So I started praying that the Lord would show us just those things that He wanted us to work on right now and over the next year and that somehow all the rest we would just be able to "nod" our heads at - in agreement with but just not feeling the need to go there right now. At this point, I can't even remember what those things were.

The things that we were confronted with filled our hearts with conviction and joy. One might think that those things generally don't go hand in hand, but in the case of the Holy Spirit and the Christian life, that's exactly how it happens. The joy is because you are so excited He is showing you the things that need to change in your life to bring you closer to Himself and to righteousness.

We were busy with sessions from sun-up to sun-down. It was a rigorous week. Honestly, if it had been any different, I'm not sure that we would have learned as much as we did, though I'm totally not overwhelmed.

I hope to process more of my thoughts in the coming weeks and months and share them here. My prayer is that my transparency will be a blessing to those of you who read my blog. I'm far from the perfect wife and mother and sometimes we just need to be honest about that. Another thing I hope to share is systems that Pete and I are going to come up with to make our lives a little less chaotic and a lot more streamlined.

That's just what Pete and I experienced this week. The children all had their own amazing experiences and we have had a chance to talk about what the Lord is speaking to them about. It was truly an amazing week and I saw the Lord do things I never imagined He would.

Be blessed this week as you arise to the High Calling the Lord has prepared your life for.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

of music and me...

After a long time in the Word re-reading Colossians, I decided to try to tackle this music thing... Tackle? Well, not really tackle. So many thoughts run through my mind with music and I'm such a thinker. I love music. I want the music I listen to to (tutu?) make me think.

Music has such strong feelings associated with it - for me, at least. When I think about the music I listened to as a teenager, I cringe. The lyrics are downright awful, but I think it has more to do with the fact that I didn't even realize what I was singing. Satan uses that in my life still. Bringing up past sins, confessed sins, forgiven sins.

I was reminded of my to-do list item of finding some songs for my morning worship when I came across Colossians 3:16...teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs...

Songs have the power to teach. For good and bad; they teach. I want to be taught well, the Truth, the things of Christ.

I figured a good place to start was by making a playlist. That is what you hear on my blog right now - unless you have turned it off. It's down at the very bottom. It's huge and I couldn't make it smaller for some reason. I probably could have if I had spent hours figuring that out, but since I had spent all my time going through song after song, I figured it was better to stop and move on. Rabbit trails - I'm certainly good at them.

What you hear is a collection of songs that I love. Most of them are spiritual. All should make you think. They say a lot about me. Some are from childhood. I have so many memories of my Moma (her spelling. ;)) whisking me around the living room to "Could I have this dance?'

Love the songs of David Nevue, after hearing him on A Holy Experience blog. We now own four of his albums, I think. Big P keeps getting them. :) They really bring sounds of calmness to our home.

Love bluegrass. Love it! Check out Silver Dollar City's Bluegrass and BBQ festival - we went in '08 and '09. We want to go back, but it won't be this year. Smoky Mountain Hymns, Peasall Sisters, etc.

Casting Crowns - what do you say? Doctrine filled songs. Discipleship songs. Great songs!  *updated 4/24/11 - the Lord has been working on me... some more. I don't want anyone going ballistic on me, so I'll just keep my thoughts to myself for now as I try to figure out what the Lord is telling me.

Everything I Do - Bryan Adams - this was the song we had played at our wedding. Still love it!

When God Made You - Natalie Grant - how could one not love this song? Everything in it is perfectly true about my love!! Oh I love him.

Gotta go squeeze him and kiss him and.... Bye!

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pic from:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Maximize Your Mornings: Your favorite songs of praise

As I mentioned in a previous post, I want to maximize my mornings by getting up earlier. After clicking on some of the links in my friend Patti's blog, I realized that someone has already figured all of this out - and written a free ebook on it!

I read it last night and decided that I really needed to make a plan and put it into action. One of the first things she recommends is to Select morning worship music. My idea of worship has changed significantly over the last few years. At one time I thought that only praise music was really worship. I have learned to love hymns and the theology that is so clearly presented in them. Because I grew up both Assembly of God and (not traditional hymn singing) Baptist, I don't know a whole lot of hymns. * I do love Casting Crowns because of the doctrine that is part of their lyrics. In the ebook Kat lists several songs she enjoys. I haven't heard of most of these people.

So, leaning towards hymns without knowing many, yet wanting fruitful praise music, I'm sort of at a loss and need help. I must preface here that I do not enjoy me-centered praise music.

I'd love to know what your favorites are. Shoot me some ideas in the comments.

*edited 9/14/11: I forgot to edit this post about my current music preferences. Since many are visiting this specific page each day, I thought it was time to do that. I do believe that much doctrine is present in Casting Crown's music, but I'm a bit leery of the heavy beat and sounds in the music and the repeating words. This is still an area that the Lord is shaping me in. I do not believe that I have the "right" answers, but I know One who does and that is where I get my leading and confirmation. Blessings on your journey.

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some pictures of my recent quilting projects

I mentioned in my last post that I had accomplished some things related to quilting that weren't on my Power of 10 list. A few of those things were Birthday Club blocks or Block of the Month blocks for my fellow guild members. Here's how this works: guild members can sign up for the beginner group or the advanced group - both or none at all. When you sign up you pick a month that you want other's to make your block. You can give them the fabric, the color choices, the pattern or any combination of those - they make the block for you. Looking back I wish I would have chosen something different than I did because I'd prefer something more scrappy. I have no idea what I will actually get back and if I will be able to use them together in a quilt. The colors I picked out were turquoise (or teal) and cherry red - but that is up for interpretation and I'm not sure if I like that quiet yet. We'll see.

But it is fun to try out things that I haven't done before or color combinations that I would never personally choose. Here are some of the recent ones I have done.

This is for our Jr. Guild member, Erica. She provided the zebra fabric and asked that we make a block with any pattern using bright pink and lime green. Do these colors look familiar to some of you from way back?! We called them Hot Pink and Neon Green! Did you have socks like this that you alternated? Or earrings?

This is a log cabin made with  pale green and yellow. You can't tell in this picture but the two bottom green rows really are different prints of fabric. These were scraps I had and some that I got from other members. The member requested the colors and pattern.

This guild member is also the coordinator for the beginner groups (there were actually 2 this year - the Pins and Needles). She provided the theme fabric you see in the middle and corners and the others are from my scraps. I used the Antique Tile block pattern that I found on Quilter's Cache because she gave us the choice of what pattern to make.  You simply must check out this website - amazing resource.

This is my good friend Jill. She asked me finish the binding on this baby quilt that she had started for her daughter, The Princess. She was having trouble with the slick material going through her machine. I had never worked with this material before so I didn't know what would happen. It worked. It's not great but it is finished and I was glad to help her as she has been such a blessing to me this past year.

This is the front of the notebook I made to house all the patterns for the Block of the Month I am now in with our local quilt shop - Two Sisters Quilt Shoppe. It's called Wildflower Rhapsody and I absolutely LOVE IT! It's lavender, pink, and brown with lots of flowers. I just love love love it!

Now, this may seem like a lot in a short amount of time. You are likely wondering how in the world I got all of this done with 6 children. This has actually been spread out over a couple of months and was just a little here and a little there. I just happened to pull all the pictures together today. I've done a few more of the Birthday Club blocks for quilt guild but the pics are deep deep in my phone somewhere. I'll add to this post if I come across them someday and remember that I did, indeed, post about any of this.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Power of Ten

Power of 10

1. Valentines table runner (3 hours + 1 hour)
2. Kimbo's stocking
3. Kimbo's quilt
4. Watercolor wall hanging
5. Landon quilt
6. Brason quilt
7. Paige quilt
8. Christian quilt
9. Family tree wall hanging
10. Summer bouquet quilt

Finally - my post about the Power of 10. The Power of Ten, as it relates to quilting, was introduced to me at one of our monthly quilt guild meetings. The concept was really interesting to me because I had heard so many of the ladies talk about all they got done on their Power of 10 list. Our guild got the idea from a local quilt shop - Texas Quiltworks...

  1. First, simply find the projects that you are no longer interested in completing and pass them on to someone who would love it as much as you once did. 
  2. Second, list “10” projects that you would like to complete. Now remember “Only 10” projects are to be on the list. 
  3. Third, begin working on the projects on the list and spend three hours toward completing it. 
  4. Fourth, keep a list of projects and the hours worked.
  5. Fifth, once three hours are spent on a project move to the next.  A quilter's interest wanes and is usually spent after three hours. Now if a project requires two to four hours it doesn't matter.  Simply finish the project.  Feel good about finishing it.   
  6. Sixth, find another project and add it to the list. Remember, only Ten Projects are your focus. 
  7. Seventh, continue to rotate the projects you are working on. 
  8. Eighth step is to list the supplies needed to finish your projects. 
  9. Ninth would be to shop at Texas Quiltworks for items to finish your projects. 
  10. …and Tenth,  the ‘Power of Ten‘ becomes reality when you are able to share your project.  Be sure to stop by and share your quilt with our staff. 
I'm not much of a fabric stasher. I love fabric, but I don't buy a whole lot of fabric. There are a couple of reasons for this. 1) I don't have a place to keep a bunch of fabric 2) I don't have money to spend on random fabric purchases that I'm not sure when I will use 3) I'm afraid I won't buy enough of a particular fabric and when I go to use it, I will need more. Then I would end up stressing out over not having identical fabric and needing it. I'm what quilters would call a "project purchaser". I'm okay with this title... It doesn't hurt my feelings. :) Now, if I fall madly in love with a fabric and have the resources to purchase it (recently I was gifted with quilt gift cards for my birthday), then I will purchase a yard or a fat quarter of it.

Ultimately my purpose in starting the Power of 10 wasn't to allow myself to purchase more fabric, but was to get back to some of those projects that I wanted to do and even started in some cases, but never seemed to get back to.

I printed out my list and have it posted on my wall. I have penciled in various projects that I have completed that weren't part of my Power of 10 but that needed to get done. I'm going to post those pics next.

Go to the Texas Quiltworks website above and search power of 10 and two articles will come up for you to read in full. My opinion is that it is a great system for getting some things done. It can easily transfer into any project that you have - hobby or otherwise - sewing, knitting, crafting, preparation for Christmas, painting (haha). :)

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living room/dining room/school room is almost done!

This process has been an extremely long one. I definitely did not anticipate it taking quite this long to get to the "we are almost done" stage. The only things left to do are:

  1. organize mama/teacher bookcase
  2. purge some of the picture books and put them back in their dishpans
  3. buy and build decor items
I want to be a process person. So not there yet - motherhood and quilting are helping me work on that.

I love the color. I didn't think I would but Big P was right and as soon as the bookshelves were in, the place warmed right up. Oh, I also have to buy some window cleaner - that mirror above the mantle looks horrid. LOL Apparently you just can't improvise and swap out cleaners. Who would've thought? I could just mix up some vinegar and water and spray. Honestly I'm not going to do that. Just sayin...

Anywhoo - here are pics of the dining room/school room portion of the big huge room. I'll take pictures of the other side when it is cleaned. :)

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

i have no clue...

...what I am doing on this blog. I want to make it look "me-ish", but that just isn't happening. Hmm, what is "me-ish"? I love roses, pastels, vintage, Little House, The Waltons, quilts, coffee, family (but I'm not putting a picture of another family up there!), clean, shabby chic, rustic.

Yap, still clueless as to how I'm going to decorate my blog. I think the first place I'm going to start is simple - plain and simple. Then maybe I'll go from there. Yea, that sounds good.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Video: 5 Foundational Systems of the Home (Part 1) : Family Support Link Live!

This was so timely, as Big P and I had just been talking about this very thing. C.15 needs to learn how to do some cooking, but doesn't really "want" to. We'll start off simply. P.almost12 already knows how to cook but she just needs some tweaking and training. This is one of those areas that would be much easier with margin in our lives.

Video: 5 Foundational Systems of the Home (Part 1) : Family Support Link Live!

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Thanks to for posting this as I don't get on the supportlink website very often.

Only what's done for Christ will last...

“Two little lines I heard one day,Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”
— extra stanza —
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,if the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.
~C.T. Studd

Big P and I are about to start the process of pruning. Pruning is a very hard thing for me. I'm a go-getter and like staying busy. Busyness, however, can be an addiction just like anything else and it has, in many ways, become that for me. I long for the peace-filled days of doing our chores, schoolwork, farm activities, and laughing with my children. Many times they seem very very far off. I know they are possible as that is what God has called us to do. He has equipped us to minister to our children and each other and when the important things crowd out the vital - I feel like my equipment is malfunctioning. There are some things that we feel God has called us to do that just take a large amount of time a couple times per year. It's the things that take a large amount of time all throughout the year and to the detriment of our first calling, that really will sock-it-to-ya.

I think this poem says it all. What things are in our lives that are for Christ? What things do we tend to think we are doing for Christ that we are really doing for ourselves? For our glory? Probably more than in any other season I'm feeling the need to have margin in my day. I think margin is where we laugh the most. The most unhurried, most spontaneous, most peace-filled times are probably in the margin.

This weekend, while at the Texas Rubies Retreat, which I co-coordinate, I had a lot on my mind. A lot. When I was supposed to be listening, I couldn't think about anything but why I don't have margin. Why do I seem bogged down? Why do I seem short-tempered? I decided to make a list of every single thing we are involved in as a family, our children are involved in, and that I am involved in solo. When we first moved here I was so uninvolved in things outside the home. I had the most margin in my day and probably felt the most at rest and completely capable to do everything God has called me to do. What possessed me to fill it up and write in the margin?

Our goal is to raise our children for Christ and to equip them for their highest calling. Why do we get so sidetracked? We also want to be able to minister to those around us in big and little ways that show the love of Christ to them and to the world. Why do we tend to derail... often?

I'm typing up the list I made for both of us to have a copy. We will pray over these things individually and then pray over them together. I think it's going to hurt to prune that tree, but I know the fruit bore will be bigger, tastier, and more refreshing than the fruit we are bearing now.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From I'm Becoming Joyful: How a night owl became an early bird

This is my friend Patti. A couple of weeks ago I asked her about her early waking hours. I noticed the time stamp on the emails she would send to me. Wow. I know she was a student of the Word and was not forfeiting time with the Lord to send emails, so I asked. Sure enough, she goes to bed early and gets up early - just like a wise man... Early to bed, early to rise makes a man happy, healthy, and wise. (something like that). After adding her to my google reader, I found this in her archives. Very cool. I'm game.

This will actually work out great for me because I can go to bed right after reading to the big kids. Pete works nights so it will be quiet in the office for him. In the mornings I always seem to be rushing through my quiet time because I know little ones will be pattering little feet into the office.

Key to all of this will be going to bed early. Even deeper than that will be working hard during the waking hours so that I can crash in the evening and wake up refreshed in the morning.

I'm Becoming Joyful: How a night owl became an early bird

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Monday, April 4, 2011

unveiling my sister's quilt

Finally, after squealing and busting at the seams... Here's what I have been working on. A quilt for my little sister.

I used the yellow brick road pattern based on several recommendations from quilty friends. Kimbo actually picked out the fabric. She didn't know what it was for, though. I sent her a link to the Fat Quarter Shop and said "which one of these do you like best" and she picked it. She had to go through about 75 fat quarter bundles! I coordinated fabric to make up the rest of the FQs since the bundle only came with 15 and I needed 24. I had the blocks done and then... nada. The Texas Rubies retreat has been taking up a large chunk of my time the last week and a half. Co-op before that.

On Friday morning (as in the day before the shower), I laid out all the blocks and started flipping and turning them around and around until I got it balanced and just the way I liked it. My mom came over to get the big kids to take them to her house for the day. She said it in all it's unsewn - spread out on the vacuumed floor - glory. Then I "went to town" and started sewing that afternoon. Big P took 3 of the little ones to the Discovery science museum in Tyler and I started boogieing (that spelling was actually in my word check!). I decided to "chunk" this quilt and see if it came out straighter. It did! I also felt that it went together faster! Recently I listened to a podcast on documenting your quilt - so I asked Pete to take pictures of me sewing it and such. He's become Mr. Photographer ever since I let him switch the Nikon D60 to Auto. Isn't he cute! :D

I wrapped the quilt in a Keurig box. Kimbo wants a Keurig - I wanted to tease her. It worked. But I figured she would like what was in the box more - so it was justified. There were tears. Happy tears. I knew everyone would be giving her stuff she wanted and needed to make their home a happy home (a fed hubby is a happy hubby), but I wanted to give her something that she would LOVE because I love her! I'm excited with the way it turned out and will be taking it to the longarm quilter very soon. We already have a pattern picked out for the quilting:

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Friday, April 1, 2011


That's all folks. zzzzip!

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i'm busting at the seams...

to tell you what I am working on. I cannot. Stay tuned, though.

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