Friday, October 31, 2008

A happy day....

Bill got his offer today, so I’m sure he’s home rattling through all the paperwork and stuff. YAY! I’m so thankful that everything turned out this well... there could have been a lot rougher time, and we praise God for making this pretty painless but still reminding us that we are not in control and anything can happen anytime.

Last night I sorted through my music fabric again and divided it up into various states of prettiness and tucked them away (except for the really nice ones... I’m leaving them out to see if the things I bought separately play well together and last night was not the night to judge. :-)

I almost never get personal phone calls during work hours, but the last couple of times I have, I’ve gotten two at once. :-p I got a call back from my doctor’s medical assistant about this battle I’m having trying to get a prescription refilled. I started the process on the 20th to make sure I didn’t run out. Good thing, because I STILL don’t have it. Ugh. ANYWAY, I was finishing up talking to her and I hear my call waiting. SO I catch that call and it’s the jewelry store “back home” (New York State) telling me my ring is ready! YAY! For those of you know don’t know, I went to get my ring cleaned in August and one of the small stones fell out in the ultrasonic cleaner. They found the stone (I later found out the tip was broken off, which is probably why it fell out). After that, I didn’t feel like dealing with sending it (just feelin’ lethargic and not caring about much) and so I sent it near the beginning of October. They had trouble finding a stone that fit and had to deal with insurance, but a stone was found, all is well and it will be on its way to me on Monday. It’ll be so nice to have my “pretty” ring back. I use it as my wedding band, but I have a backup for situations where I don’t want to wear something that sparkly. They’re shipping it overnight, so when I get home Tuesday, it should be there. :-)

Bill’s going to dress in his handsome Robin Hood costume tonight to hand out candy. He loves that stuff. The rest of us are going to sit around and play cards. We’re so exciting, aren’t we?

Happy Halloween (unless of course that offends you, then have a Happy Friday!) :-)


glitter graphics

Thursday, October 30, 2008

He's in! :-)

Hi, all!!!

Bill got news this morning that his references checked out and they're going to be extending an offer Friday or Monday! YIPPPPEEEEE and Praise God!!!

Thanks all for praying, and if you want to keep praying for his adjustment into a new environment, that would be great.

One kinda bummer note is that we won't be able to go see Bill's brother for Christmas as we had hoped. Bill only gets a couple days off as paid holiday, and he can't use any vacation until his 90-day probational period is over. I was pretty sad about that last night. But the nice thing is the company has a lot of perks and fringe benefits. Too bad they don't have a job for me! ;-)

On a non-Bill note :-) I wasn't feeling to terribly great last night, but I did sort through a bunch of fabrics from a project that I started and hated. :-) I pulled out the "really good" stuff, the "pretty good" stuff and the "good" stuff, and left the "mediocre" stuff for another day. Some of the blocks were already put together in a rather icky way, but maybe I'll use those in a scrappy quilt one of these days. I bought a bunch of music theme and accent fabrics, and what made me think they'd all look good in the same project is beyond me. I've since bought some nice fabrics in browns and creams (some music, some not), and they'll go well with some of the stuff that I've rescued from the mess I made (or was preparing to make in some cases). Let's hear it for procrastination! YAY!

Thanks again for all your prayers and your expressions of love and support with Bill's job situation! :-)


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This just in....

Look at this! Twice in one day! ;-)

Bill just got an email from the place we’d been hoping for (first choice, first interview) and pending the checking of his references, they want to make him an offer and have him start November 10! YAY! The $$ is a little less than he was making, but 2 good raises and he’ll be above what he was making when he got laid off. I’ll let you know when he has a formal offer, but it’s looking like the end (or the beginning, as it were) is in sight.

Money will be a little tight for a few weeks until he gets his first paycheck, so that should be interesting. Depending on how their pay periods run, it could be as late as November 28 before he sees a paycheck. The severance and pay runs out on November 6 (what he would have made had he still been working). Not that we can’t cut expenses between now and then, but Bill brings in 2/3 of our income, and that’s a lot to not have, even for a few weeks. It could get interesting. :-)

Just had to share... I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging. ;-)


Tissue box covers DONE!!

Hi, All!!

Guess what! I went and bought fabric for a Halloween tissue box cover and one harvest one, and I got them done last night! YAY! I also went through some of my stash and WIPs and I have stuff I don't even remember I have! Many are partially finished or a rework is in my brain. I guess I won't be whining anytime soon that I have nothing to work on (though we knew that from my list, didn't we?)

Question for quilters: How do you organize the things that are smaller than a fat quarter but bigger than a "scrap?" I have some things I found that are large enough to be useful in a scrappy quilt, but not small enough to call it a scrap that I can put in my scrap bin. Some of them are really nice and I hate to just make them into squares for another project and waste what I have. Any ideas?

No interviews today, but Bill might hear back on that job today that he interviewed for last Wednesday and would really be a good fit for him (but more likely it will be tomorrow before he hears anything). Bill got a call last night from a former coworker that he was close to. That was pretty cool.

I'm hoping to quilt the islands on the pirate quilt tonight, so if anyone has suggestions, y'all had better comment soon before I run wild with something tacky and nasty. ;-) I'm hoping to make one more compass block this week or early next week and then one at Girls' Night Out Thursday the 6th (and I can get help if I'm totally lost and void of skill and memory). Then one more after that and I can start planning the rest of the quilt. Yay, me! :-) The rest of it should go faster (ha ha) because there are no real "pictures" to echo and there's no more intricate piecing, plus I think I'm just going to either meander on the rest of maybe do a crossed line (like the stuff you get pre-quilted). I think I'm going to need to go buy thread because some of the motifs in the other fabrics are cool and I don't want to detract. And since I'm having such a fit with the invisible thread (I can't get the bobbin tension right), I don't know that that's an option. Maybe I'll get Roxanne's help with that next Thursday.

I guess that's it for now...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Found the feet!!

Hi, All!!!

My night ended better last night than Sunday night. I got a few things shuffled around (just scrapbooking stuff... I didn’t find any vagabond sewing items). I have more to do there, but my mission was to see if there would be anywhere feet would be hiding. So I decided to check the insides and all the pockets of my two sewing totes, and guess what! The missing feet are found (along with a thread spool adapter I’d been looking for - I do need more than two of those, really). I guess my logic when I put them there was that I’d want to take them with me all the time (why I’d want to take my White feet everywhere I don’t know, but that’s just beyond speculation at this point). Too bad I rarely look in the outside pockets of my sewing totes. :-p I still don’t know where those four spools of thread are, but at least I have my feet, and am going to put them in a more logical place this time... as soon as I figure out what that is. The ones that are machine-specific are easy... it’s the CurveMaster foot that can be used with any of the machines that’s the tough one. I only have one other foot that can be used with anything (and I’m not sure if it will work with my Janome or White - I’ve only used it on a machine I don’t have anymore), and that’s too big to put in the small tackle boxes I have. So the mystery is solved and a little bit more is right with the world. Now I just have to figure out a logical place for my CurveMaster foot... but I think that’s what got me into trouble in the first place.

Bill had a phone interview yesterday with an HR gal that seemed to think his resume was worth passing up to the hiring manager, so there’s a step. He also got a call from someone else asking him questions and asking for a clean copy of his resume (I guess the ones on the job sites come out as all text). Still waiting for tomorrow or Thursday to find out about the first job he interviewed for.

Still trying to think of how I want to quilt the other part of the QAYG I’m doing. I’ll include a picture (from a website, not what I’ve done) and If you have any suggestions, let me know. I’ve cut off the border with the squares to make it look a little less juvenile and the quilting I’ve done so far is meandering in the water (hee hee). There’s a lot more empty space on the islands than it looks in the photo, so just echoing the mountains isn’t going to give me tight enough quilting for the batting I’m using. I also need to do something with the top right compass since it’s about 4-5 inches wide (if I remember right - I don’t have it in front of me). I was thinking of satin stitching the two brown circles (outside and then the start of the center) and that should work. I don’t want to go over all the black lines inside of and radiating from the compass, but maybe I could. What do you think?

Other than that, there’s not much new except a little recycling rant I had this morning. The passion is gone, so there’s really nothing to tell on that one anymore. Sorry, folks!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Bill’s interviews and hobby news

Hi, all!!

I forgot that I didn’t update about Bill’s interview... I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up and have the prayers stop. ;-) Bill had a really promising interview last Wednesday. They have one more candidate that they're interviewing this Wednesday, so the waiting game is on until the 29th or 30th (or so). We'll probably hear on Thursday one way or the other. Everyone seemed to like him, and the HR gal told Bill not to accept another offer without calling her first. He’s got another interview this morning, and people have been calling him in response to the posting he’s put on various job sites. So things are rolling, but by the end of the month, his severance and everything will be gone. We’re fortunate to have that much, but I’m going to start to get a little paranoid on November 7 if/when he doesn’t have a paycheck. :-p

Bill’s parents got home safely on Friday (no “adventures” like the trip out, thank goodness). We did hear that Bill’s Dad’s last sibling passed away last week (his parents were already on their way home). I’m not sure how things are going there, but I know Bill and I are reminded how blessed we are to have parents in good health (his much older than mine).

I don’t remember if I mentioned I’m doing a quilt-as-you-go for a Christmas gift for Bill’s brother. As of last night, I have the center section (24x32 roughly) half done. And it’s the easy part, of course. ;-) The whole section is the easiest thing I’ll probably do, so it’s all uphill from here for the rest of the quilt, too. Hopefully it’ll all work out just fine and I’ll have it done by Christmas. We were planning on going there for Christmas so we could give it to him in person, but with Bill’s job situation, we don’t know if we’ll get there or not. Film at 11. ;-) I also go VERY frustrated last night because I can’t find two of my feet (for a sewing machine, for you wiseacres out there). I was (and am) very unhappy since one (which would function for both) is not cheap to replace. *sigh* I feel less frustrated today, but next time I go to use that machine (my cheap class machine), I’m going to be very unhappy that I don’t have my 1/4” foot. :-/ I can buy a new set of feet for $10 (plus shipping), but if I’m going to do that, I may as well buy the $27 fancy foot that can be used for the same thing and will fit on all my machines. Guess I’d better get online soon and see if I find it below retail. I don’t think they carry them at Jo-Ann’s (they’re not on the website). It would be nice if they did because then I could use a 40% off coupon. So now I get to comb quilt shops for that and for some other things I just can’t find that I know exist but are not with my sewing stuff. Missing from sew day? Missing like my mind? Should I start checking places that are unlikely (for my sewing things, not my brain)? Uck. I hate doing that. But it’ll make me more organized, right? Yeah. Good luck with that one! :-p

Okay, for the last [emergent] hobby.... we and Bill’s parents went to McDonald’s for lunch before they went. I am now addicted to the Monopoly thing they’re doing. :-p I’m an idiot. :-p I also started the online game (you put in codes from all the little tiny things they give you) and you get to roll dice and try to land on the right spots to win something or other. I got 25 Coke Rewards points from landing on Community Chest... not too bad! That’s a free 20oz bottle! YAY! You can only enter 10 codes per day and I have 16 more to go (two of which have bad printing so I can’t read the numbers. Ugh!). I’ll let you know if I win anything else. :-)

That’s it for now... tonight, it’s time to organize (yuck) and see if I can find any of my AWOL sewing stuff. ;-)


Monday, October 20, 2008

Another update - Bill has an interview!!!

Hi, all!!!
Again, thanks to those who offered support and said hi. :-)

I just wanted to let you know that Bill has an interview Wednesday from 10:30am through 1pm the place that's referenced below where he interviewed 2-1/2 years ago). His parents are leaving Wednesday afternoon, but they didn't have any interview openings on Thursday or Friday, and it sounded like that time was about the only option. Fortunately, Bill's parents understand :-) and as long as the interview doesn't run over, he should be able to see his parents off (or we can meet at the train station if he's running way behind). It sounds like the interview process is pretty structured, so he shouldn't have a problem getting back, but I'm a Nervous Nellie sometimes. ;-)

Please pray for God's will, and that the interview doesn't run over (too far, anyway) so Bill would be able to make it home in time that the four of us can go to the train station together.

Thanks again so much for your thoughts and prayers... more news on Thursday or Friday! :-)


P. S. He has also had a temp agency call him for a 1-year contract assignment... it wouldn't be his first choice, but it's nice to know there are things out there. :-)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

News, Notes, and Pictures

Hi, all!!!

Well, Bill got a call back from the company he had interviewed with before, and they had him email his resume and they said they'd give a call early next week. Of course we're trying to not get our hopes up, but it looks pretty promising So we're praying if it's God's will, that's where Bill will end up. It'll be a longer commute (and he won't be able to ride his bike), but he can take the bus. But that's okay... we couldn't afford to sell the house or to buy something down that way anyway (I'd be closer to work, too). We're just starting to get the house we're in decorated and I am so not packing everything up again! LOL!!

Speaking of decorating, here are pictures of the master bedroom.

And here are some of one wall of the family room.... part of my sports memorabilia collection. It's changed even since these pictures as I've gotten a few more things out and rearranged a bit. But you'll get the idea. ;-)

In in-law news, DMIL spent a lot of the morning catching up with the kids since we have unlimited long distance on our landline, and Bill's brother called back, so I think all of Bill's siblings are all caught up on a lot of the family news. We found out that Bill's sister got laid off recently, too... that makes 4 of 8 of them that are unemployed at the moment. Cheryl wasn't even allowed to clean out her own desk. Weird stuff. Bill's got the best chance I think because he's in the technology field, plus he's the youngest (even though he's 50). Kathy is going to back to school to get certified for child care (she and Cheryl both I think were in accounting - you'd think you could find a job anywhere with that, but apparently not).

Guess what! I actually COOKED breakfast this morning! WOW! That's big for me! Not that it was anything elaborate - eggs and toast and Bill made the bacon in the microwave with our new bacon rack (that we actually bought to bake potatoes, but that's another whole story). Just the fact that I cooked is pretty darn impressive, and moreso when I cook for someone other than Bill.

They're all off antiquing now... I wasn't interested in going because I spent an hour in the thrift store yesterday trying to find $24 of stuff I wanted (If you are in a thrift store and you decide not to try things on because you know you're going to be in the same neighborhood the next day and can take things back if they don't fit... CHECK THE RETURN POLICY!)

Monday we're going to the Museum of Flight, and Tuesday my parents are coming up to visit and we'll all go to dinner. Not sure about Sunday and Wednesday except probably church tomorrow and a bit of packing Wednesday (since that's the day they leave).

I think that's it for now... keep praying - it'll probably help and it sure won't hurt! LOL!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Short Update

Just a follow-up on Bill's job situation (or no-job situation, as it may be)...

He's got a couple promising places to send his resume (including one place he's interviewed previously that seemed to like him), so we'll see.

The advantage he has is that he's only been at the job for 2-1/2 years, so he's not too out of practice doing research, writing a resume, or interviewing. He said this morning that he's got about a dozen places in mind to scatter his resume, so at least stuff will be out there.

Prayers still appreciated, of course.

Nice news: I'm picking up Bill's parents tonight after work, and then we have them for 5 days before they go back. And my DMIL will be spending her 80th birthday on the train on the way back. Kind of a bummer, but hopefully this time she won't have to get off the train because she fainted. ;-)

Also, today is our 11 month wedding anniversary. ;-) Bill wished me a "happy 11th anniversary" this morning. My sweet little goofball. ;-)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Prayers requested - for me this time (can you believe it?)

Hi, all...

Prayers requested / appreciated. Bill got laid off today. They had an all-team meeting yesterday and said that they were cutting a lot of people, and Bill was one of them. He was in the only division making money for the company, and someone else who has been in that group 5 years also got cut. Bill sent me a text a few hours ago that said, "It feels like the last day of school here, everyone cleaning out their desks." Looks like the cuts were pretty deep. Hopefully Bill won't have too much competition out there.

It wasn't a total shock for us (he's been there for about 2-1/2 years, I think), but we're still reeling a bit. Obviously it's a big disappointment and we were hoping and praying it would turn out otherwise. I've not been myself lately, either, so I don't know how this "life change" is going to affect me / us. Of course there are many areas in which we need prayer (some that I'm sure we're not yet even aware of).

On the other side of the coin, we've been enjoying a lot of blessings, and this is one of the very few 'challenges' we've experienced. We can surely be thankful for that, but it doesn't pay the bills, as they say. ;-)

Also, Bill's parents are visiting from Minneapolis (they're with Bill's aunt this week, and then we get them back for 5 days starting Friday), so that's an interesting happenstance.

More news as it becomes available...



Friday, October 10, 2008

Looky Here! Pictures!!! :-)

Hi, All!!

The spare room is decorated, complete with a new comforter (I tried to get out of it a little cheaper with a duvet cover, but don’t EVEN ask me about that). At least this way I have pillows and a matching sham, too. I hope to have my quilt done by spring / summer to put on the bed. Anyway, here are a few pics. They’re a little blurry and dark, but there’s one that’s closer to the true colors (flash is always so sketchy on whether it will improve things or not). Hopefully you’ll get an idea, anyway. :-)

I’ll also post pics of our bedroom when I get my side cleaned up. ;-) It’s not as “crisp” as the spare room because we actually use our bedroom so it’s hard to keep items we deem necessary out of sight.

In other news, my in-laws got delayed on their train trip out here. Bill’s mother had a fainting spell on the train and they got off in Fargo to the medical center there. All the tests came out fine and the bump on her head is going down. Her knee is a little sore, but other that that, she seems to be pretty good. Bill talked to her last night and she seemed in good spirits, so that’s a good sign. The medical center wanted to keep her for observation until today, so they’ll be catching the [early] morning train tomorrow and be here on Sunday morning. In the meantime, we get to call the train station and tell them what to do with their luggage as it will arrive today. :-p I was supposed to take today off work to pick up the folks and spend the day with them, but now I’m going to take off work the last three days they’re here (Oct 20-22) since they’ll be with Bill’s mother’s aunt all next week. Friday’s also a hard day for me to take off, so even though I’m concerned about my MIL, I don’t have a problem working today.

I think that’s it for now...


Monday, October 6, 2008

Don’t even say “but it’s a good kind of hurt”...

...or I’ll show you what hurt is! ;-)

So Thursday I sewed for 3 hours, Saturday I sewed for about 6 hours. Sunday I got the bright idea to break down boxes in the garage from our move, wedding gifts, and things we’ve purchased. Several of them were already broken down (thank goodness), but it was still quite a bit of work. The outcome of that effort is a corner of the garage with donate stuff, a 4’x8’ space of broken down boxes to offer on Freecycle (plus four boxes of packing material), three boxes of Styrofoam for the garbage (I HATE THAT), a box of stuff plus some bundled cardboard for the recycle bin over the next couple of cycles. AND you can see more of the floor in the garage than not, and that’s been a long time coming. Unfortunately, I now feel stiff and tired, and I think I’m trying to come down with something as my face is hot and the rest of me is cold. :-p

In other news, in preparation for Bill’s parents’ arrival, I’ve been told I need to clear the pool table since Bill’s dad likes to play pool. Can I just gather the blocks and chuck them in the craft room?? Of course not! ;-) I’m putting as many as I can on the design wall, and finding out that I need to plan a little better. I counted the blocks (I’m sure there’s a formula for figuring out blocks on point quantity, but I don’t know it, so I did it the old-fashioned way), decided how many of the “pretty” blocks I have, and have a plan. My design also took a turn, inspired but another pattern I saw. I can’t lay it out exactly like that design, but it does help with the focus. I’ll still have some blocks to put together and to take apart and put together another way, but I know I’ll be much happier with the layout once I’m done. :-) So that’s one of my projects for the week.

I showed Bill my 1/4 compass that I did Thursday night (with a LOT of help) - he was impressed. Now I just have to get on that track, but I should have time in the evenings next week since Bill’s parents will be staying with other relatives during the week. I’ve written down what I can remember on how to do the technique... we’ll see how much I remember when I go to do it by myself. ;-) And the ideas are coming together for that quilt... it's been nice to "think out loud" with Bill since the quilt is for his brother and he has a vested interest. :-)

I guess that’s it for now... I really just wanted someone to whine to about my achin’ bacon. :-p


Thursday, October 2, 2008

News and notes and nattering

My current afore-mentioned project for which I now have a makeshift design wall (see previous post) is on hold. I’ll tell you, however; a wall vs. a floor makes a HUGE difference!!!! I have blocks I’m ripping apart now for various reasons (too much of one color, needs more cowbell (inside joke), etc). I have a lot of those done and after other things are out of the way (or I get frustrated beyond belief with my emergent projects), I get to make NEW blocks out of the old blocks! :-) Sound tedious? It is. But this quilt is for ME (okay, our spare room). I love the fabrics (and probably chopped them all too small, but there’s nothing I can do about that now) and I’m flying without a pattern for the first time, so I want to take a little more time and planning so it can be as close to “I like it” as I can get it.

Why is it on hold, you ask????? Mom gave me the baby quilt to appliqué (not going as well as I had hoped - the design isn’t terribly forgiving ), so that’s one emergent project. What’s the other one, you ask?? So even though I have this nice list of projects that I actually look at now and then, I FORGOT that I wanted to make a quilt for Bill’s brother for Christmas. WHOOPS!!! The theme is pirates (arrrrr...) and I have a large panel, so that helps TONS for reducing the amount of the piecing I have to do. One thing I want to do (about the only thing I’m sure I want to do) is to put compasses in the corners, so I’m going to be doing some paper piecing. In fact, I’ll be starting that tonight at Girls' Night Out with Roxanne Carter. I get to “hog” Roxanne for a little while since she said a while ago that she knew an easy way to make them. So easy even I can do it? That remains to be seen.

Speaking of Bill’s family (and I was, but you probably forgot by now because I ramble), his parents are going to be here October 10-22. We’re not going to get all our pictures hung, so we’ve got to get them all out of the spare bedroom :-) and get that looking more like a bedroom than a storage room. We only have a few décor touches left in that room, so that’s cool!

Further décor update: The kitchen was the first room we decorated since it had been updated already (the only room in the whole house)... that’s been done since last year. The master bedroom walls are now fully populated (don’t even talk to be about window treatments in ANY portion of the house yet! :-p The spare bedroom walls are done as well, so we’re making progress. We’ve got one wall of the living room done (two to go), and some of the photos we want in the hallway. We’re hoping for more family pictures from Bill’s siblings’ weddings - we have two (plus one from our wedding). Bill’s Mom said that it took a while before they thought of taking family pictures, but we’ll see what she comes up with to bring out with her that we can copy. We have one picture hanging in the dining room... how sad is that? ;-) Hopefully we can handle hanging up the five remaining things that are going on that wall before the company arrives. There might be a few accent mirrors might be added to that workstatement, depending on how it looks when we get the main things hung). Then we have a whole other wall to deal with in the dining room (let’s hear it for windows!), but we don’t have frames for all those prints as of yet. I have an idea where the bathrooms are going, but they’re a little harder since they haven’t been updated since 1977 (no lie), so I have to “make” my desired décor look right with a butterscotch toilet and funky linoleum. ;-) I’m pretty much ignoring that in my decisions, and there’s a shelf I want to use that I CANNOT find anywhere!! I thought I’d seen it recently (before I wanted to use it), but I can’t find it again. I guess I’ll have to spend some time in the garage and see what I can find. Dumb dumb dumb since one part of the ensemble was in a craft room box, one was in a family room box, and who knows where I saw the shelf. *think*think*think*

Another note in the décor realm, I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO proud of myself. I bought some 5x5 beveled mirrors and some 5x5 wood frames, and guess what I made? Accent mirrors!!! I’m such a smarty pants!!! ;-)

And speaking of smarty pants, No, Jana, I DON’T have pictures yet. :-p But feel free to keep bugging me... that’s the only way I’ll get to it eventually.

That’s it for now... stay tuned (ha). ;-)


Monday, Monday

Okay, a few Monday Mondays ago. ;-)

You know how I said September 5-7 I had been on a quilt retreat? Well, I’ll share a little more about that and about the day after. To give you an idea where my head was at and after the retreat... There were a couple women there that were... well... they don't think before they speak and I was in a "sensitive" mood, so even though I got a lot done and enjoyed chatting with a few people that I normally don't get the chance to, I was somewhat disappointed and frustrated by the whole experience. In addition, a missionary friend of mine was going to be in town from Oregon and had asked me a few weeks prior if I would open my home for an open house on Monday the 8th for people that couldn't come to the other one she was having over the weekend. So Sunday night after the retreat and all day at work Monday I'm still frustrated from this retreat, and then I'm going to open my home to people I don't even know. I'm grumpy, I'm tired, and why didn't I just say I couldn’t host? :-( Bill was sweet enough to clean up the house, but I still had some "decluttering" to do in the rooms I thought people might see. So knew I had to get home, run around getting things put away and neatened up and just plain detoxify my attitude so I wouldn't be a total wench when people arrived. I didn't know what time Karen would be there, but I knew that she had told people the open house was from 6:30 to 8:30. Two hours, and I'm not the focus. I can handle it. I hope. Bill had a meeting he was going to that night (which was okay), so when I got home at 5:15, I knew I had to scramble - just me and the kitty. ;-) The first thing I did when I got home was check the mail. There was an envelope in the box addressed to me (ME!) from my SIL Kathy that had a sticker on it that said "God Loves You." I can't tell you how much I needed that at that moment - God is so good!! I just cried (and I cried as I wrote this many days later, just telling the story) and thanked God so much for His timing and for a wonderful sister-in-law. ;-) I have no idea why she didn't send it to Bill and me together (except maybe because I specifically asked her for CDs of pictures from the family reunion in August).

Once Karen got there (with gifts! I was so surprised and blessed!) with the food and her presentation materials, we were visiting until other people arrived. I told her that I was a bit out of sorts from the weekend (sniping women and not enough sleep), and then I showed her the wonderful envelope I got in the mail that day that blessed me so much. I knew (or assumed I knew) what it was, so I hadn't opened it (I was running around most of the time before Karen got there anyway). She encouraged me to open it (she couldn't believe I hadn't), and there were the CDs and a nice long note written to me (to ME!). I didn't take the time to read it then, but read the note later (more than once). Again, I’m so grateful for Kathy, and how God has blessed me through her!

To finish the open house story, no one ended up coming to the open house... and that's how God wanted it. Karen and I had a great chat (which we hadn't done for a while, and not terribly often at that). She stayed late enough (9pm or so) that she was able to meet Bill, which she had really wanted to do, so that was very cool. I got to communicate with Karen on more of a personal level and learned more about her than her ministry newsletters gave (though she almost always throws in personal happenings in her life in addition to ministry updates). Even though I was pretty tired after she left, it was so glad that I hadn't told her "sorry, I can't" when she asked for me to open my home, and very glad no one else had shown up (for a couple reasons). I'm a lousy hostess - the most talent I have is setting tables and things like that - I'm not even bright enough to offer a guest a glass of water, and I was so thrilled to have Karen “all to myself”. I wish I had know at the outset how nice that evening would be (even though Karen had to ask for her own iced tea, hee hee)... but then I probably wouldn’t have been blessed so greatly by Karen, Kathy, and God as I was.