Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Scripture

                          Depiction of the resurrection of Jesus by Bernhard Plockhorst, 19th century

May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! On account of his vast mercy, he has given us new birth. You have been born anew into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.~ 1 Peter 1:3

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Celebrate Saturday

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life something to do, 
                                 something to love,
and something to hope for.
~Joseph Addison
Have a happy, blessed Easter weekend!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Matthew called him notorious.

John referred to his as a bandit.

Mark and Luke called him a rioter.

Barabbas was an insurrectionary, a terrorist, a murderer, and an all-around nasty fellow.

Barabbus, a vile, smelly person whom mothers shielded their children from in public, was what my Grandma would call just low-down mean.

It is likely his mother rubbed his smooth skin as she suckled him, and dreamed about what kind of man he would become.

Would her heart leap with gladness when she saw him prospering?

Would he give her grandchildren?

Would he care for her, providing food and shelter when she was old?

It probably never entered her mind that he would be the first person Jesus would die for.

There was a Jewish custom that when prisoners were sentenced, Pilate would release one, giving a pardon from death. Maybe someone who the crowd thought was innocent, or one who had family to care for. Maybe someone who had contributed much to society before they made bad decisions. Someone who was still loved by someone. Never someone like Barabbus.

History doesn't tell us much about how Barabbus morphed from a little boy into the despicable person he was on that day, the history-changing day when Pilate released him from crucifixion, and put Jesus in his place.

Barabbus, with his black heart and blood-stained hands, became the symbol of the ugliness of sin.

I was Barabbus. While I looked fine on the outside, clean and fashionable, well-mannered and acceptable to this society, Jesus could see the real me, the real Barabbus. When I came to His feet with my black heart and blood-stained hands, He covered me, cleansed me, changed me.

He loved me enough.

Enough to suffer pain and humiliation, enough to bear stripes and scars, enough to bleed and be broken, enough to stay on the Cross until it was finished.

I can never thank Him enough.

In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:4-5

Thursday, March 28, 2013


One of my sister-in-laws is a genealogist, and we have spent whole vacations looking for and wandering through cemeteries. I love reading the epitaphs and wondering about the bodies buried there. When I tell people about this habit, most will admit that they enjoy it, too.

Dolly Parton has said that she got some of her best songwriting ideas by wandering through cemeteries.

These pictures were from the lovely cemetery at Henderson Chapel Baptist Church in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We found some Robertsons there.

It saddens me when I see tombstones where time and acid rain have made the names unreadable.

I'm pretty sure that when these beloved people were buried here, their families had no idea that one day they would be watched over by a giant gorilla.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Quilting Class: Week 11

Our class is just about over, and some of the students are getting ready to make some quilts of their own.  Last night, I showed them how to make quick, colorful quilts using half-square triangles. The quilt above was made by using 6 1/2" squares.  It was made in 2003 during the time I was obsessed with African quilts, thanks to quilt teacher Kaye England.

I made this top last week using 5" squares.  It is a full bed size and hopefully, will be quilted later this year.

This is a scrappy baby quilt with 4" squares that I also made last week.  We have a great-nephew due in April, so this will be my next quilting project.  As you can see, I have the batting, backing, and top pinned together already.  Any of these quilts can be made by beginners.

We finished quilting our final quilt for this class last night.  During the week, I will finish the binding.  Next week, we will sew labels on and each student will get a new quilt!

This class is made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  Thanks!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Break

Teachers, as well as students, are always ready for spring break when it comes.

I have spent mine in many different ways through the years. Sometimes, there was a trip, but never to Florida or Gulf Shores because of the crowds.  Some years, the weather was warm enough that we worked outside getting the garden started.  Other times, it was just a week of reading and cleaning and resting.

Spring break starts today.  Outside, it is cloudy, windy, the wind chill temps are in the twenties, and the whole state has temps 20 degrees below normal.  There seems to be no gardening in the immediate future.

Still, there are many good things happening, like getting to sleep in everyday for a week.  There was a nasty stomach virus going around on campus last week (I had 50% absenteeism on Thursday) and we are hoping it will disappear during spring break.  I have a large stack of "to be read" books and lots of new's all good!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Scripture: Kindness

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

~Ephesians 4:32

Saturday, March 23, 2013



How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man.
~Johnny Cash

The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.
~John Locke

 Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.
~Robert Frost

Love your neighbor as yourself; but don't take down the fence.
~Carl Sandburg

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Time to Tear Down

It had been standing on the hillside longer than anyone living could remember.  The old church had been built with sawmill lumber, free labor, and determination.  Most of the builders, resting now in the shaded cemetery up the road, sacrificed what little they had to see that the community had a place to meet and worship.  It was a job well done.

The little church with its high ceilings and no plumbing saw its pews overflowing at times.  There were days when the community met to pray during wartime and depression, days when they said their final goodbyes, and days set aside to remember and decorate the graves of loved ones.  Revival times packed the little house to overflowing, but the old hymns were just as lovely coming through the open windows to those gathered outside.

The calendar pages kept right on turning, and  the new generation, looking to the future rather than the past, knew it was time to tear the old building down for a new one.  The older folks groaned, not because they were against progress, but because  it seemed almost disrespectful to those original builders.  The tears flowed as the building came down.

We tie our memories to tangible things, and it is hard to let them go.  The old church house where I first heard Amazing Grace is gone, replaced by a beautiful modern one with a baptistery and fellowship hall.  Current members should be applauded for a job well done.  The Spirit of God that caused the first church house to be built has not changed, and continues to work in the new one.

Recently, I was there, celebrating the home going of a dear one.  The new windows do not open, but standing in the parking lot, it seemed I could hear the alto and soprano voices drifting out, filled with joy, covering me with their sweetness.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Deer in Cades Cove

We have never driven through Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park without seeing deer.  Lots of deer.  A few years ago, Hub and I were on the Loop Road when I spotted a herd of cattle.  Turns out it wasn't cattle (which are not allowed in the park) but hundreds of deer grazing in the mountain meadow. 

Last week, a bunch of quilters and I made the Loop to Cades Cove.  We saw numerous deer, and this group seemed to be posing for us.  We also saw lots of wild turkeys, but no bears.

If you have driven that road, you know there are places where stopping is impossible.  We spotted a white animal grazing with some deer.  We were a long way from them, and when I was able to stop the car and use the zoom lens on my camera to look, we couldn't see the white one.  I was able to see one deer, but the white one was behind some trees.  Has anyone heard of an albino deer in Cades Cove?  Before you think I have totally lost it, three other women in the car saw it, too.  I don't know what else it could have been.

I have not seen all the world yet, but out of what I have seen, Cades Cove may be the most beautiful.  Even in winter, it is breathtaking.  In April, all the spring wildflowers will be dancing in those meadows...another road trip?  Sounds good to me!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Vernal Equinox: Welcome, Spring!

The word equinox comes from the Latin words meaning “equal night.” Days and nights are 12 hours everywhere and the Sun rises and sets due east and west.  It happens because of the Earth's position in its annual journey around the Sun.  It marks the first day of spring.  Now, the days will get longer and hopefully, warmer. 

This time last year, we were getting ready to plant our gardens.  This year, the silly weatherman has put some snow in the forecast for tomorrow. There you go.  It is one of the joys of living in North Alabama.

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
-Margaret Atwood

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quilting Class: Week 10

One of the best things about knowing how to make quilts is that you can make unique gifts--one unlike any other in the world.  Even if you follow a pattern, you can make it your own by just tweaking it a little bit.  There is nothing I love more than seeing a quilt I have gifted well used and treasured.

The quilt above was made for a dear little one who will soon join a Godly and loving family.  They loved the quilt, but I think I got just as much joy from it as they did.  The quilt was easy enough to make; some half square triangles and preprinted fabric.  I thought about that little one the whole time I was working on it, knowing that the world will be a better place when he gets here.  I'm currently working on a little quilt for a great nephew that will be here soon.

We had a day of storms here yesterday, and we were all worn out, but they came and we quilted.  It is such a wonderful way to de -stress from a hard day.  Daisy is diabetic and was having some trouble with her eyes, but she was able to get her 'blocks' done anyway.  Like all of life, some quilting days aren't as smooth as others.

This class was made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  Thanks!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Quiltfest 2013

Quiltfest 2013 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, was this past weekend.  It was their 19th show, and it just gets better all the time.  The first one I went to was their 3rd.  Hub and I were just cruising in Pigeon Forge when I saw the sign about Quiltfest.  We stopped in, and since that day, it has been my favorite quilt show.  I haven't missed many.

Some years, I send quilts for competition. Several years ago, I won third on a large wall hanging, and I think I embarrassed the quilters with me with my celebration. Another year, I didn't win, but someone bought one of my quilts. I was thrilled, not only because she didn't try to haggle with the asking price, but for the fact that the buyer was a quilt teacher there at the show that year.

This is one of the quilts I sent this year for a Civil War themed competition.  We had a packet of some rather dull fabric that had to be in the quilt, so I added a bright background just for color.  It is a cute quilt and will be on my wall before long.  It didn't win, but if I could show all the others, you would understand why.  This is a good quilt, not a great one, so I didn't anticipate winning, but it was just so much fun to see it hanging with the others.

There is a huge, new Convention Center in Pigeon Forge that is nearing completion.  The twentieth Quiltfest will be there next year.  It is going to be fabulous.  Make your reservations early!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Scripture: Lovely

Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.  ~ Philippians 4:8

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pan Starrs Comet

Seen anything interesting in the sky lately?  I've been looking every night, but haven't been able to see it so far. 

The progression of comet Pan-STARRS across the night sky in March 2013 is shown in this NASA graphic.

Comet ISON is a promising celestial object that was discovered by amateur astronomers in 2012 and is expected to make its closest approach to the sun in late November. The comet will be only 800,000 miles (1.2 million km)from the sun at its closest point, and could put on a dazzling night sky spectacle. But it could also fizzle out, NASA scientists have said.  Some predict it could light up the Earth like a bright full moon, but we will have to wait and see.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Quilting Class: Week 9

We met on Tuesday night this week because Tulip and I were going to the Wildflower meeting on Monday night.  We are starting our last quilt, one that has pieced tulips, just in time for April.

When does a person cease to be a student and become a quilter?  It is hard to know for sure, but I know all my students are making progress.  I knew Rose had morphed into a true quilter recently when we had dinner together at a beautiful Italian restaurant.   When the server brought our napkins, Rose exclaimed, "Look!  That would be a great quilt pattern!"  Yep, Rose, you have been addicted to quilting.  That is my goal for all my students, that they will see quilts in everything.

When this class started in January, the students arrived in the cold dark.  Thanks to daylight savings time, it was still light when we started this week.  It was a productive night in many ways.

This class is made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  Thanks!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


All the photos here were made on March 23 last year at the Hall Memorial Native Plant Garden.

Thanks to nature and some dedicated people in our area, there is an abundance of wildflowers to enjoy here. 

The Shoals Wildflower Society meets monthly in the spring and fall.  It is always a fun time.  We eat together and then learn about wildflowers and other interesting things.  And there is always wonderful door prizes, including wildflower and vegetable plants.

Thanks to Margie Anderton, our leader, for her seemingly tireless efforts.

Wildflowers are peeping out already.  Interested? Here is an announcement of  a FREE guided hike this Sunday afternoon.  

This outing is free to the public, but you should register. This event could possibly be cancelled or postponed due to adverse weather conditions or changes in the leader's work schedule.
To register or get more info, contact Charles Rose at or 256-366-1937.

Registering is easy; all we need is:
1. Your name.
2. The number of people in your party.
3. A contact phone number, preferably a cell phone.

Meet 1:00pm in front of the restrooms at the Nature Trails parking lot, TVA Muscle Shoals Reservation.

This walk will include the Hall Memorial Native Plant Garden and the TVA Small Wild Area (First Quarters Ravine).

This is an easy walk; the total distance covered is probably less than 1/2 mile. The Native Plant Garden is level and the paved trails there are
wheelchair accessible. The First Quarters Ravine portion includes some up-hill and downhill.

For those wanting to walk a little more, we will continue on to two nearby Civil War earthwork sites. Along the way we will see even more wildflowers.

Wildflowers possibly in bloom on this date include Dutchman’s Breeches, Celandine Poppy, False Rue Anemone, Rue Anemone, Giant Chickweed, Wild Stonecrop, various Trilliums, Virginia Bluebell, Bloodroot, Sharp-lobed Hepatica, Purple Phacelia, Wild Blue Phlox, Cut-leaf Toothwort, Bladdernut, Spring Cress, Paw Paw and many more.

Directions: The Nature Trails parking lot is just off of Reservation Road on TVA’s Muscle Shoals Reservation.

From Wilson Dam: Go south on Reservation Road for app. 2.5 miles. At the “Nature Trails” sign, turn right into the parking lot.n (March 17).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dr. Seuss on Winning

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't
Because, sometimes they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Scripture: New life

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! ~2 Corinthians 5:17

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Almost Spring

What's this? 

Has this tree painted its fingernails, sprucing up, getting ready?

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! -Mark Twain

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hanging out clothes

This picture showed up on Facebook last week.  I wish I knew who it belonged to so that I could give them credit.  It is a wonderful picture.

This could be my mama in her young years.  The women of her generation never wore pants, even on the coldest days.  They always wore the apron, too, and would have been lost without it.

The long pole in the center was to prop the clothesline up after the laundry was hung out to catch the best breezes and to get the laundry high enough to avoid animals and children.   It was built nearer to the house than the garden spot and the chicken pen.

This woman must have had her mother or mother-in-law living with her; there is no way she could worn  those enormous panties handing on the line.  We had a young man in our neighborhood who had to bring in the dry laundry sometimes; he would leave the panties hanging on the line in order not to defile his manhood.

It was one of our first chores, as soon as we were tall enough to remove the clothes pins.  I didn't enjoy it then, of course, it would have been wrong to enjoy anything that we were made to do.  Now, it might be kind of nice. 

I love sleeping on linens that still have the sunshine smell in them. Especially in October.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

. . . and a Time to Heal

Our country continues to recognize (I can't say celebrate) the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  The town we live in was very active during the war, mainly because we had a river and a bridge across it.

Nowadays, it is easy to reminisce and dress up and pretend we know stuff about war.

It has been 150 years, and there remains a few treasured relics and many second-hand memories of that war.  Our local library had a series of lectures about the Civil War last summer, and they had to change their meeting place to accommodate the huge crowds. I went to most of the lectures,  and the room was packed every time. 

Several local groups have reenactments of battles on the actual ground they occurred.  There is a large group of actors who enjoy doing this, but there is always a lack of soldiers willing to be Yankees. 

I think it is time we move on and heal some attitudes that we have inherited. That is easy for me to say, though, since it is 150 years in the past and no one has stolen my food or silverware or killed my babies or burned my house.  Forgiveness is much easier when you are far removed from the pain and don't have to look it in the face.

Writer Rick Bragg shares a story of speaking in front of a group of people in south Alabama.  It was before he knew better, he explains, than to talk about football, religion, and politics.  During his lecture, he made some jokes about our Southern life.  A man, obviously angry, got up and stomped out of the room.  Afterwards, Mr. Bragg mentioned it to another fellow, saying that man must have been really upset about those football jokes.  "No", the fellow  answered, "he's still mad about the war."

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Time to Kill

St. Francis of Assisi lived from 1181-1226. He gave up a comfortable life of wealth to embrace a life of poverty and service.  He started several Catholic orders that are still active today.  He was given sainthood just two years after his death.

Not to hurt the creatures brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them wherever they require it.  --Saint Francis of Assisi

It is said he could commune with animals, once ordering a flock of birds to be quiet during an outside meeting, and once calming a wolf that had been destroying livestock. Stories tell of him carefully observing the ground before he made a step, in fear that he would squash a bug.

If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.  St. Francis of Assisi

I'm thinking Brother Francis, bless him,  never had thousands of ants invade his kitchen after someone left a sweet morsel on the counter top.  He probably never sat on the deck, trying to soak up the evening breeze, while his blood was being sucked into the bodies of hungry mosquitoes.  I'm wondering if he loved the sweet little rats that destroyed a grain harvest just because they get hungry, too.  Any of these things will bring on a guilt-free killing spree for me.

The Tennessee hill country people whose genes I carry would have starved without squirrels, rabbits, and the occasional deer.  A human body cannot work like they did without some protein.  I love salad and green beans and almost all vegetables, but a body needs a little bacon and a pork chop sometimes.  Can I get a witness?

So I'm guessing my view about killing is more in line with the Duck Dynasty philosophy than that of dear St. Francis.  Of course, I don't think something should be killed just for sport, but if you are hungry, a mess of quails or whatever you are able to bring home is a blessing from God. 

There is a time to kill.