Well, duh

I can’t wait to debut pictures of my new baby quilt. But alas, it’ll have to wait until after I give it to my sister on Sunday. It has to be a surprise (even though I broke down and showed her all the fabrics the same day I bought them).

On Saturday I started my best girlfriend’s wedding quilt, which I hope to give to her at her EARLY June shower (gulp – another fast tracked quilt – I can do this!). I will be a quilting fool for the next six weeks.

I may explode with excitement over this pattern… and the fabric. I think I want to make the same exact quilt for myself after I finish hers. It’s going to kill me to not show you all my handiwork as I go, but seeing as Katie reads this blog (Hi Katie! Love you!), I’m going to have to keep this one under wraps.

My only hint… it involved me cutting out 526 triangles. Whew. And now I’m in the process of piecing all those triangles together into a pattern that makes me just want to squeal.

(There, I just squealed on the inside.)

As I was in the middle of cutting my 526 triangles and catching up on all my favorite TV shows on Hulu (and when I ran out of favorites, I just watched anything else I’d ever heard of), I had an aha moment.

The hardest part of quilting is cutting fabric. Especially when you buy five yards of the same fabric and the fabric is bigger than your cutting board. It’s so hard to keep your cuts straight! And I hate to make arbitrary cuts to make the fabric small enough to fit it on my cutting board, as you end up with wasted “ends” that could have been used for the next piece.

And then it hit me. When you buy yards of fabric, it comes folded in half. I’m supposed to KEEP IT FOLDED IN HALF as I cut it (hand to forehead). The it fits beautifully on my rulered cutting board. Oh my goodness, why did it take me four years of quilting to figure this out?

I’m an idiot. My husband laughed at me when I excitedly told him my revelation. Because, really, isn’t it obvious to everybody but me?

(But just in case you haven’t figured it out either… give it a try! Plus, cutting your fabric while folded in half means you cut twice as many pieces at once… the first 25% of my cuts took me a whole day… the last 75% of my cuts took me just a few hours.) 


Say a little prayer…

The title of this blog reminds me of the song from My Best Friend’s Wedding.

To my praying friends, I could definitely use your prayers!

1. I think I’m sick again. You know, the same kind of sick I was from January-May 2011 (and one time in the fall). I’m not sure and it’s too late to go to the doctor tonight, and luckily I have an arsenal of antibiotics that allow me to self-treat (with the doctor’s blessing). But I could cry. I have to run 9 miles tomorrow to train for my half marathon. I’m hosting a teacher’s meeting at my house Monday night, cooking dinner for a group of people…

And Mr. Right is about to leave for India for TWO WEEKS. Being sick is not the way I wanted to see him off.

I’d cry, but I don’t want to smudge my makeup. I have a party to go to tonight.

2. Mr. Right is about to leave for India for TWO WEEKS. Please pray for his last-minute preparations (there are so many things to do). Please pray for the start of his malaria medicine, which begins tomorrow (and tends to be a rather nasty drug). And please pray that I won’t spend the next two days a weepy (feverish) mess thinking about him leaving. I am determined to just enjoy the next few days of him being here, and then stay blissfully busy while he’s gone. It’s going to be fantastic. (see, this is me convincing myself… nice, isn’t it?).

And while you’re praying, pray for the folks that Mr. Right and our head pastor will be meeting with. They’re headed to work out some logistics so that our church can bring teams for mission trips later this year. It’s a fantastic opportunity, and I am can’t wait to hear all about it when he gets home.

And thanks to my blog friends (Ashleigh) who have so generously offered to hang out with me while he’s gone. Looks like I’ll have a full social calendar next week, and soon I’ll tackle the following week. It’s going to be non-stop chick flicks and quilting and hanging out with girlfriends.

A minister’s wife pity party

I have an ugly confession.

Some days, it’s all about me.

That’s so ugly, isn’t it?

Here’s the deal: Mr. Right has a new job at our church. And we are so, so thankful for it. He’s got a wonderful opportunity to try some new, interesting things, and I’m 100% supportive of him.

But lately, out of nowhere, I throw myself a pity party. You see, he has to work during church. Both services, every week. Which means I don’t get to go to church with him.

Now, we spend tons of time together the rest of the week. We pray together every night. We serve together in our ESL ministry. I have a Sunday School class filled with old friends I’ve known for years.

But there’s something about having your husband sitting next to you at church.

The first time it really affected me was the Christmas Eve service. I realized, about an hour before, that I was going to have to drive to the Christmas Eve service. Alone. Sit in the Christmas Eve service. Alone. While everybody else was there with their whole family, I was going to be that girl. Alone.

It soured my attitude. Completely. Bah humbug.

The silly thing about it, is that we spent the ENTIRE day before and after the service together. With family. But the family didn’t make it to the service. So I was just going to be alone for about two hours. But I still threw myself an impromptu pity party and not only did it ruin my attitude, but I pouted to Mr. Right.

So not cool.

And of course, I had plenty of people to sit with. A couple that has been a real mentor to both of us said that of course I could sit with their family. No big deal. And it turned out that Mr. Right got to sit with me too. But by then, I was busy repenting and feeling guilty about my poor attitude. On Christmas, of all days.

For the next few weeks, it continued to bother me. I’ve worried that my new married Sunday School classmates who don’t know me will think my husband just doesn’t bother to come to church. I worry that they’ll judge me. I’ve worried about who I will sit with in church. Will I get on peoples’ nerves for tagging along? 

What will people think of me?

It’s a crippling thing to worry about.

But the truth is, I should be too busy serving and worshipping to worry about sitting alone. I should be looking for lonely people to sit with. This may turn into a wonderful opportunity to freely love on other people.

And it’s imperative that I relinquish Mr. Right of any guilt associated with me sitting alone. He needs to be free to serve others, to love on our visitors as they walk through the door. To take care of some behind-the-scenes logistics so that the rest of us can worship without distraction.

So do me a favor. Pray for the ministers at your church, and also pray for their wives. There are so many

A hair-raising Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas, and praise the Lord for an uneventful holiday so far. Unlike 2008… here’s a little revisit of the “highlight” of my Christmas 2008.

(originally posted on Dec. 26, 2008)

Light of the world… literally

I went to my parents’ tiny Baptist church for their Christmas Eve candlelight service. It was very special… all the families gathered together, babies dressed in red velvet dresses, little ones anxious to come home and devour their presents under the tree, slightly older ones just ready to come home and devour Christmas dinner… and everybody looking forward to the climax of the service–lighting the candles and singing Silent Night.

Only at this tiny Baptist church, Silent Night wasn’t so silent.
Because I set my hair on fire.
I was being a bit mischievous. That’s what happens when you get my family together, we look for any excuse to laugh and have a good time. So of course, when I put my lit candle under my chin and made a scary face, kind of like one would do when telling a ghost story around a campfire, sister Sarah provided me with the reaction I was hoping for… a giggle. But then sister Lindsay, in a motherly way, brushed the hair back on my right side and said, “Don’t catch your hair on fire…””
And right at that moment I heard a gasp, then “BETHE!!!” and then she reached over and put the fire out that was starting on my left side. It’s amazing how fast hair can burn… one minute you’re just standing there, being silly and singing Christmas carols, and the next minute, “SPARK,” then “POOF” and a terrible stench of burned hair fills the room. Luckily she saw it as it happened, so I only lost a small amount at the bottom, and I have such long hair (and so much of it) that nobody will ever notice, except for the singed ends which I should probably trim off today.
I’m glad we were sitting on the second-to-back row and not in our normal front-row spot for all the tiny Baptist church to see. Only the rows behind us and in front of us really got to experience me adding a “spark” to Christmas… ruining silent light but taking Jesus’ command literally in Matthew 5:14 when he told us to be “the light of the world.” 
Merry Christmas, and may God bless you in 2009.

Christmas Card Criticism

I absolutely LOVE creating and sending Christmas cards. It’s just something I love.

But what I don’t love is the criticism I get in response.

Like one year, when I sent one card to two girls who were roommates. And they raised a huge stink because they had to SHARE the card. Their feelings literally got hurt.

Now, did they send ME a Christmas card? No.

Well this year is no different. Since I’m hand-making my cards, they take a very long time, so I’ve been sending them out in batches. No rhyme or reason, I’ve just sent 20-30 at a time, and I’m working on finishing my third batch. Other than my immediate family who of course got the first batch, the order in which you receive my Christmas card has no bearing on how much I like you.

And yet, apparently I’ve already heard grumbling. I never realized folks compare Christmas cards!

And of course, the grumbling has come from people who have yet to send US a card. (Every person who has sent us a card has immediate gotten one from us in return.)


I am thankful for my parents

It took me 15 days to get to a serious topic–probably because the little things in life are so much easier to verbalize than people who have truly changed your life. So today I will be brave, and begin at the beginning.

Today, on Day 15, I am thankful for my parents.

It’s so funny to look back at my baby picture and see my parents when they were younger than me. They were (and still are) such a handsome couple. Who knew that these sweet people would one day scare away high school boyfriends with the threat of guns and knives? Surely not these people…

My parents have forever been my biggest supporters. My encouragement. My protectors. My inspiration. My dad taught me at a young age that in order to be the best, you don’t have to have the most talent, you just have to work harder than everybody else–a lesson he taught me when I didn’t make the softball all star team. After a full year of working harder than anybody else, I made the team and had the highest batting average of anybody on there, not because I was big or strong or even particularly good, but because my dad taught me to play a position nobody else wanted to play, and taught me that consistent singles are much better than the occasional home run. On those teams my dad taught me how to lose with dignity, and how to play as a team. 
My mom taught me to love books. As kids we weren’t allowed to watch much TV but we had unending access to library books. As a trained reading specialist, she taught me to read at a very young age, and even though I could read long books on my own, each night before she put me to bed she would read novels to me–The Little Princess. Little House on the Prairie.  Those are some of my sweetest childhood memories. 
As an adult, I still take most of my book recommendations from her, because I know if she likes it, I probably will too.

My parents fell in love at Baylor, and they brainwashed taught me to bleed green and gold like them.  All of their children followed in their footsteps by going there. (But I did rebel and marry an Aggie.)
They raised us going to Rangers games, and it was a sweet moment to go with them to the World Series in 2010. 
My parents taught me to be a life-long learner, modeling the way through attaining advanced degrees and winning prestigious awards, while never becoming elitist or proud. My father has been an accomplished CEO and graduate professor, and my mother has received too many teaching awards to count, including being named Reading Teacher of the Year for all of Dallas-Fort Worth and having her school yearbook dedicated in her honor. I am so very proud of my parents.
Because of the way they raised me, I never even considered not going to college – I just assumed that was what everybody did. When it came time to go back for my master’s degree, it was my parents who continually encouraged me not to quit on those dark nights when I felt swamped with assignments and tempted to throw in the towel. When it came time, three-and-a-half years later, to walk the stage for what should have been a two-year degree, my parents were there to help me celebrate.
They were also there when I snuck out early from the graduation ceremony to go eat Mexican food. My family loves to eat.
My parents taught me some valuable life lessons – including how to handle money. In my sweet ignorance I didn’t realize you could charge things to a credit card and not pay them off every month until I was already out of college. I just had no idea that debt was even an option – because it was something that our family never used. It saved me from a lot of problems.
My parents were there for me during the long post-college years when I waited, and waited, and waited to meet Mr. Right. They comforted me during breakups and helped my times of being alone to feel anything but lonely. They have a wicked sense of humor that can make anybody laugh until they hyperventilate (or in my case, an asthma attack), and I treasure the many weekly dinners at Corner Bakery and Spring Creek.

Now that I’m a married woman, I am thankful that they have set a healthy example of marriage for me to model. After 36 years of marriage they’re still best friends and make a fantastic team.

I am most thankful for the truths they taught me about the Bible, about how much my Jesus loves me, and how a life lived with purpose is so much better than a life lived for yourself. Thank you for teaching me Bible verses as a young child, for training me at home and setting me out on a life-long journey of faith.

So to my mom and dad… I am so very thankful for you.


Last weekend I felt like such a grown-up.

In August we won big at a chamber of commerce fundraiser, and part of our winnings included tickets to see the Fort Worth Symphony at Bass Hall. I wore my brand-new 50% off dress from Fredericksburg and Mr. Right and I ate dinner at Taverna (where we had our first date) along with a small crowd from a local Jane Austen convention.

I should stop here and say that I wish I had known there was a Jane Austen convention in Fort Worth over the weekend. She is my very favorite author and I’ve read every word she’s ever written… several times. She’s pure bliss.

But back to the symphony. We felt so cultured, so trendy, to be going to the symphony. Even better, it was “movie theme” night, so we got to listen to the scores from Schindler’s List, The President’s Speech, Casablanca, Star Wars...

It was glorious. And while Mr. Right and I love to listen to classical music at home on the radio, hearing it live, 12-rows back (for free) at the most gorgeous venue in DFW (and also home to our wedding reception) was just fantastic. I will never forget it.

I really wish we had taken a full-length picture so you could celebrate with me the cuteness of my half-price lacy, ruffled dress, but alas, all we took was this iPhone headshot. I guess this means that I can just wear it again and no one will be the wiser.

That same weekend I played in a golf tournament with my dad. 

Crazy thing happened… we won the tournament. And I got the biggest trophy of my life. It’s sitting in my office at work right now, and every time I see it, I giggle at the ridiculousness. I haven’t gotten a trophy in 20 years.

In the meantime, when I’m not pretending to be a grown-up or winning golf tournaments, I’ve been working on my next quilt. It was my first foray into applique and it was so much easier than I had anticipated. It’s asymmetrical, partly because I wanted it to be unique, and partly because I’m bad at math and needed to add some length to the bottom to even it out. This will be a special gift to a special friend, and I’ll share the story after she receives it. In the meantime, it’s not going to get quilted until I finish a last-minute Christmas gift quilt, which I fear may be more than I should bite off, but I like to live on the edge. This is my inspiration (but mine will be black and white):
Speaking of living on the edge, last week I got to throw a very large, outdoor special event. It was the day it rained four inches. Practically a monsoon, actually. And there I was, standing outside in my sister’s red rain boots at 6:15 in the morning, sipping my coffee and trying to see the humor in the situation so I wouldn’t cry.  After all, we’re in the worst drought in our area’s history… and the one day I plan an outdoor event, we get a monsoon. 

Life as an event planner is hugely entertaining, but rarely glamorous.

Blog heart attack

To my friends who use Google’s blogger… beware, I just switched to their uber chic “dynamic” version that looks more like a fancy e-magazine… and my sign-in link disappeared! After coming dangerously close to peeing in my pants, I was able to sign in with a different computer whose internet was too outdated to support the chic new look, and changed back to my tried-and-true “old” version, and all is right with the world.

In the meantime… buyer beware. I’ll let them figure out all the bugs before I make the switch a second time.

Bicycles & Boys’ Night

We got a sneak peak of our photo session from this weekend… and I squealed when I saw it (thanks Mack & Chelsea!). Mr. Right and I love to ride these adorable vintage bikes around our neighborhood and along the Trinity Trail, and they’ve been a big part of some of my very favorite dates, so I’m thrilled that we were able to document these babies in some casual pictures.

In other news, last night was the first-ever Boys Night at our place. My little house has been home to dozens of girls’ nights – teaching an all-girls’ Sunday School class for so many years, along with living alone for part of that time and hankering for company, meant that my house has seen more Bachelor-watching parties, dinner parties, and wedding showers than you could possibly count. Heck, this year I even hosted a pre-royal wedding dinner party.

But whereas my parties usually involve chocolate, dainty finger foods and massive quantities of Diet Coke, guys’ night involved several pounds of bacon and sausage, along with 8 pounds of beef from a cow that used to live in my in-laws’ front yard–which I think is quite appropriate for a guy’s night, don’t you think? (insert grunting and scratching here)

I have no idea what these boys did all evening, but I do know that THEY DID THE DISHES. When I got home from spending the evening with my parents, there wasn’t a single dirty dish in our house. Everything had been put away. Even our countertops were sparkling.

Those boys can come back any time they want.