Wednesday, April 23, 2008


This is the latest I'm reading. I do enjoy a Lisa Jackson novel. I picked this one up at Albertson's on Saturday. It caught my eye because it's set in my part of the country: New Orleans/Baton Rouge. It's time is just post-Katrina. It's setting is a school called All Saints-reminding me of BR's St. Joseph's Academy. Young girls are disappearing, seemingly as part of a vampire culture. Of course, not believing in vampires, I firmly believe it will be some alternative goth-type nonsense. It is a pretty good book, probably because I'm so familiar with the settings. Right now I want Houdini the cat to come out of his shell and settle down to be the lovable moggie I know he is deep down inside.

Of course, you may expect a little sex -actually a lot of it. Some actual, some in the minds of the characters. Some gore -alligators dining on corpses, vials of blood worn as necklaces. A Victorian mansion (can't figure out just which it actually is). A rustic restaurant (Boudin's?).

I'm about half-way through it and am struggling to confine myself to bedtime reading. I really am anxious to see how it ends. Then back to Phillipa Gregory. Wideacre is on the coffee table waiting for me to begin. Tudors were just as sexy and bloody-maybe more so??


Well, today started off with a bang! My doctor has me on Byetta for weight loss. It's a Type 2 diabetes drug, which means it alters blood glucose (I'm not diabetic-yet) . And kills the appetite. Works well. I gave myself the shot this morning and went on about my business and forgot to eat. About an hour or so ago the old lights started going out. Barely made it to the candy jar. I've had the shakes before but never this bad. I think the OldTimer's set in and I forgot. I usually drink a glass or orange juice when I "shoot up" but just got busy this time. Bet I won't forget tonight.

I finished a pillow yesterday. It's one of Tanya Anderson's designs -The Sampler Girl. I can just hear nasty Lady Catherine de Burgh invite Elizabeth Bennet to "take a turn". Last night at stitching group Robin Campbell-my freind (Austen fans, take note!) and stitching mentor, reminded me that Jane's surviving quilt was done in diamonds. I've included the web site so you may take a look.

It was done on Jobelan and stitched in DMC and Belle Soir, Crescent Color's new silk line. I love it! The colors, even though there are not a lot of them, are luscious. They are expensive but are large skeins with a dozen threads per strand so I don't mind spending the extra money. The piece of stitchery is backed by a coordinating fabric.

This site will lead you to more information on the quilt. It's even possible to duplicate it. That's a far off dream of mine!

Monday, April 21, 2008


I suppose there are two ways to look at Jane Austen: what she was and what she wasn't. A fairy tale way or a real way. I think, maybe before even reading one of her novels, it is important to know, not only a little of the history and customs of her time, but a little about the lady herself. These facts make up the real "meat" of her books.

I have just finished reading two books: Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James. In all fairness, they were pretty good little books. Mr. Darcy perhaps came the closest to capturing the character she was portraying. We all are in love with him. Oddly enough, he will always resemble Colin Firth to me. But I'm such an Austen purist that I read it with difficulty. I am going to re-read it, though, and see what happens the second time. I did enjoy it.

I could not grab Lost Memoirs. Again, the purist in me came out. Anyone who reads Jane Austen should first read a TRUE account of her life. And a good history of the Regency period. Two of the best accounts of her life that I know of are A Memoir of Jane Austen by J.E. Austen-Leigh (her nephew) and Jane Austen's Letters collected by Deidre Le Faye (she is one of the best known Austen scholars). The letters are so revealing. Cassandra burned some of the letters after Jane's death. It's believed that they dealt with their mother's health and Cassandra felt they were too personal. Jane's personality comes out full force. It's delightful.

Too many people tend to "romanticize" Jane Austen. Poor Jane. She never married. She never had any children. She missed out on so much. Yada yada yada. I've always had the feeling that she was happy the way she was. She had opportunities to marry but she didn't. Some believe she would not marry unless it was for love. I don't think she wished to marry, period. She was a good aunt to her nieces (neices, to her) and nephews, but she wasn't a child person. I think she would have been very happy today, given the choices that women have now. She was happy in her relationship with Cassandra. She loved dancing. She hated Bath. She loved to take tea. She had the most wonderful, biting sense of humor. I don't think she missed a thing.

Take a careful look at her characters. She tended to "poke fun" at ministers. Men tended sometimes to be a little weak or indecisive or easily swayed. Mr. Bingley is a favorite " choice" of mine. Wimp. I couldn't be married to him. On the other hand, I like Mr. Gardner. Gentle giant. Old Mr. Woodhouse. What a jerk. But Mr. Martin. Patiently waited for Miss Smith. Jane Austen was a genius! What portraits she painted.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I finished this piece a couple of years ago. It's a Jane Austen, of course. It's a quote from Mansfield Park. I actually did it on aida cloth-before I began working on linen. I just took it for framing a couple of weeks ago and picked it up on Monday. I'm dedicating a space in my small foyer for my Austen pieces-I have two more ready to be picked up. I will post a picture when all of this is ready.

I've also finished a related book and am now finishing another and will tell you about them when this one is finished. Sometimes I have trouble when authors try to put themselves in Jane Austen's mind. One is about Mr. Darcy and the other is about Jane herself. I'm also re-reading Sense and Sensibility. I don't think I will ever like Marianne!.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Hebrews 10: 22: Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.....

All over the world, in churches or while standing at a sink doing dishes, driving a car or planting a garden, thousands of people are singing words written by a little blind lady.

Frances Jane Crosby was born in New York on March 24, 1820. She was left blind at the age of six weeks by illness. Such a thing never stopped her. By the time of her death on February 11, 1915, she left us with the words of more than 9,000 hymns. We all know her as Fanny Crosby.

She was a remarkable woman. She taught English and history at the New York Institution for the Blind. She eventually left to serve the poor, supporting herself by writing her hymns. She wrote books of poetry, which were eventually published. She walked with presidents and served with evangelists. When asked by Dwight L. Moody to give her personal testimony she quoted an unpublished hymn of hers that she referred to as her "soul's poem": "The Silver Cord". It's a favorite of mine.

She was once asked if she were able to see did she feel that it would inspire her to write even more beautiful hymns. She replied that if she were able to see it might, in fact, cause her to concentrate on other things and lose the gift she had. And, she pointed out, someday the first thing she would finally see would be her Savior's face.
She died at the age of 95. On her tombstone were written the words "Aunt Fanny" and the first two lines of her beloved hymn "Blessed Assurance".

In 1873, she was visiting a friend of hers, Phoebe P. Knapp. Mrs. Knapp sat at her piano, played a melody she had composed and asked Aunt Fanny what it sounded like to her. Aunt Fanny replied that it sounded like "blessed assurance, Jesus is mine". So our hymn came into existance.

Isaiah 42:16: I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them: I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.

A great site to visit to learn more about this most remarkable woman is
Once again go to , type in "Blessed Assurance". The videos I personally like are those of the Issacs, Sandi Patti and Randy Travis.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Today is a big day back home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It's A Day. It's the intrasquad game at my alma mater, the University of Alabama. And of course, I'm here in Baton Rouge. We were there last year but just didn't quite make it this time. So my body is here but my heart is in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Last year was Coach Saban's first showing and there was an overwhelming crowd-nearly 100,000. More are expected this year.

Football is a way of life in the South. It's really interesting for us because our new coach, Nick Saban, is the former coach of LSU. Actually he came to us from the Miami Dolphins but LSU fans all believe we stole him from them. It makes for interesting conversations! I really believe that the LSU fans see old times returning when Alabama always took LSU to the woodshed.

We're a divided family. Son John graduated from LSU and Michael from Bama. John was even in the Tiger Band. But the tradition continues: Michael is the third generation to finish at Bama. I hope one of my three grandchildren will continue the line.

The photo is from last year's A Day game. It's Coach Saban on the field with our players during the game. It's from my hometown newspaper The Tuscaloosa News.
I guess you can tell by the uniforms why we're called the "CRIMSON TIDE".

So, for now, ROLL TIDE. Five months to Kickoff........

Thursday, April 3, 2008


My son Michael loves banana pudding. This is the recipe that he likes and even uses himself. Enjoy!

1 sm. pkg. instant banana pudding mix

1 sm. pkg. instant French vanilla pudding mix

4 C. cold milk

1 lg. carton Cool Whip

1 can condensed milk

5-6 bananas

Vanilla wafers

Mix puddings with cold milk, using an electric mixer. Allow to thicken, about 10 minutes or so. Add condensed milk and Cool Whip-best to mix by hand or on very low speed of mixer. Layer bananas, vanilla wafers and pudding mixture, ending with pudding mixture. Or you can layer bananas and wafers and add pudding mixture all on top and hope it sinks some!

I don't use meringue on this. You can if you wish, I guess, or a dollop of Cool Whip on top. It's very rich.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


My cousin sent me this via email a few days ago and I thought it said some things very well. Thanks, Sarah.

A young woman sat on a sofa on a hot, humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.

"Don't forget your Sisters," she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. "They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need Sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them. Remember that 'Sisters' means ALL the women...your girlfriends, your daughters and all your other women relatives, too. You'll need other women. Women always do."

What a funny piece of advice, thought the young woman. Haven't I just got married? Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely my husband and the family we will start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!

But she listened to her mother. She kept contact with her Sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her mom really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, Sisters are her mainstays of her life.

After more than 50 years of living in this world, here is what I have learned:


Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
Hearts break.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Careers end.


Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach. When you walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf and waiting with open arms at the valley's end.

Sometimes they will even break the rules and walk beside you.....or come in and carry you out.

Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, cousins and extended family all bless our life!

The world wouldn't be the same without women and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day we need each other still. Happy days!

The two sisters you see above are real sisters. They are my granddaughters Grace and Ann.