Pure Michigan

In early July, Eric and I traveled up north to Michigan.  Last fall, my parents bought a cottage in Mackinaw City, so we stayed there for a week.  It was wonderful!  We went swimming in Lake Michigan, walked around Mackinaw City, spent an afternoon on Mackinac Island, went to Petoskey, ate some sweet cherries and just relaxed.  We got to see my sister and brother-in-law, a few aunts, uncles, and cousins and my grandparents.  We finished out the trip by spending a couple days in Grosse Pointe and attending the wedding of one of my best friends from childhood.  I’m so happy we were able to make it up for the wedding.  It was so great to see old friends again!

Quilting Update

I’ve finished my 5th quilt!  I made a quilt using the Pie Crust Pile Up pattern by Atkinson Designs and the Simple Abundance line of fabric by Bonnie & Camille for Moda.  It turned out beautiful and is by far my best quilt yet! Unfortunately, I did not take a good picture of the finished product, but here are a couple of pics I took while it was in production.

Last September I began cutting the pieces for my Shakespeare in the Park quilt.  I’ve been working on it here and there ever since and I made some great progress this weekend.  I still have 16 blocks to piece before I can sew the quilt top together.  I’m hoping to have this one done by the end of August.  Here’s a sneak peak:

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5 Years

Over the past couple weeks we’ve been celebrating Elevation Church’s 5th birthday!  Last weekend, Pastor Furtick brought his wife Holly and the 7 families that made up the core team on stage with him for the service {all of the original families are still attending and involved with the church!}.  This weekend, our church will be viewing a documentary that our creative/production team put together to chronicle the beginning of Elevation and all that has happened over the last 5 years.  Eric and I were able to attend the red carpet premiere of the documentary last night.  Through this documentary we were able to get a first hand look at how the core team was selected and how they developed the mission statement, name of and location of Elevation.  To hear the stories of the very beginning of the church brought such an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to my heart.  Words cannot express how grateful I am to the core team for their obedience to their calling and the sacrifices they made to start Elevation and bring Pastor’s vision to life.

Eric and I have been attending Elevation for 4 years now and it has been amazing to see all that God has done through this church {and in us} in such a short time.  This past week, Eric was invited by our Associate Campus Pastor to go through a 5 day juice/water fast with him and I decided to go through it as well. The purpose of the fast, the 5:11 Favor Fast {taken from Luke 5:11 where the disciples leave their nets to follow Jesus}, was to celebrate and praise God for the favor He has bestowed on us over the past 5 years and to pray that He would do immeasurably more over the next 5 years and beyond.  At the start of our fast, we listed 5 things we would pray for with a sense of expectancy that God would fulfill these desires.

I am so excited to see how God moves in us and through us over the next 5 years.  If it’s anything like the past 5, we’ve got an amazing ride to look forward to – the best is yet to come!

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Catching Up…

I didn’t want to let a whole year go by without a single post!  One of my goals this year is to get back to blogging.  But something I have been struggling with {hence no post in nearly a year} is what exactly to blog about.  I’ve decided on 3 topics that will drive my posts: 1) Quilting, 2) my faith and spiritual walk, and 3) everyday happenings I want to capture.

Let’s start by recapping some happenings from 2010:

  • Over Memorial Day weekend we went camping at Myrtle Beach State Park.  It was our first weekend excursion where it was just the two of us and it was so awesome!  The State Park is located right off the beach with private beach access.  We spent the weekend relaxing by the campfire, laying on the beach, swimming in the waves, and getting up early to watch the sunrise.
  • We went camping over the July 4th weekend as well to Andrew Jackson State Park in SC.  We had a good time walking around the park and learning a bit more about Andrew Jackson and using our new {bigger!} tent.  However, the campsite was pretty much a gravel driveway {very hard!}.
  • In July, Eric and I took the plunge and got tattoos!  We went with our friends Richard and Sara and it was quite the experience!  Eric got an awesome cross made of nails with a rose wrapped around it on the inside of his bicep.  I got the Celtic trinity knot on my inner ankle.  I’m so glad mine only took 15 min!  I’m not sure what I was expecting it to feel like, but it wasn’t the feeling of having my skin scrapped off.  While it was a bit painful for me, I love my tattoo!
  • On August 4, my Grandpa Booth passed away.  I am so grateful to my parents who flew me up in July to be able to visit him while he was still well.  We traveled up to Michigan for the funeral service and I’m so glad we were able to make it there.  It was a beautiful service.  All of the cousins got up and shared an object that reminded them of Grandpa along with a favorite memory.  Mine was Grandpa’s Tilley hat.  He always wore his Tilley hat whether he was doing work around the house/cottage, going on his daily walks, golfing, etc.  Grandpa was always active and I loved going on morning walks, hikes through the woods and walks down the beach with Grandpa.  There are so many wonderful memories I have with Grandpa; too many to share here now.  He’s only been gone a short time and I miss him so much already.
  • Also in August I was honored with the eTeam Member of the Month award at the Matthews Campus of Elevation Church.  Every month, one eTeam {volunteer} member at each campus is selected for this award.  I received a picture frame with a photo from our Easter Experience at Time Warner Cable Arena and signed by our campus staff and Pastor Furtick to commemorate the award.
  • Over labor day weekend we went up to Ohio to attend the Canfield Fair.  I’m happy to report that I finished my Figgy Pudding quilt and I met my goal of entering it in the fair!  I didn’t win any ribbons this year, but I’ve already started on my next entry!
  • For Thanksgiving we traveled up north to celebrate with our families.  We were able to spend a couple days with my in-laws in Ohio then went over to GP to spend Thanksgiving with the Scallen’s.  On Thanksgiving Day, we got up early and my dad took Eric and I downtown so he could run in the Stuffing Strut.  He had a great run and I was so proud of him!  This was the first Thanksgiving with my Grandpa Scallen and Betty with us in MI in a loooong time!  I hadn’t seen my Grandpa in about 5 years, so it was so great to see him.  Later that day people started arriving for dinner and I saw a car pull in the driveway…from Iowa!  My aunt and uncle decided to make the drive to celebrate with the family.  Such a great surprise!
  • Since we went up north for Thanksgiving, we stayed in Charlotte for Christmas.  My in-laws came down for Christmas weekend and stayed with Eric and I.  We had a delicious Christmas dinner, gift exchange, played some games and visited the Museum of the New South in Uptown Charlotte.

Well folks, that’s about it for now.  Stay tuned for more {regular} posts coming soon!

Welcome Back!

Well, I guess it’s about time I get back to this blogging thing, eh?  I can’t believe over 3 months have gone by since my last post!  A lot has happened since then, but I’ll just share some highlights…

We were able to go up north over Christmas to visit our families.  We had a great time seeing everyone!  Our first stop was Michigan were we were able to celebrate Christmas with the Booth’s, Brophy’s and Scallen’s!  It was so much fun to have a Christmas morning with my parents, sisters and BILs!

Our next stop was Ohio to spend time with the Welch’s!  We played some ping pong, Wii and spent time with Maggie and Bella (their great danes).  Below is a pic of me with Eric’s uncle Phil.  My MIL commissioned him to make a shelf for me as one of my Christmas gifts.  The shelf is gorgeous and will be perfect for hanging my Vera Bradley purses or some quilts!

I finished another quilt!  I had purchased some breast cancer awareness fabric a while back and meant to make a table runner or something small for my MIL for breast cancer awareness month last fall.  Well, October came and went and the small table runner turned into a lap size throw for Christmas.  This was my first time quilting free motion and it was SO much fun!  The quilt turned out great too!

The final season of Lost started in January.  The night of the season premiere, Eric prepared a Lost party for us complete with Dharma Initiative soda, peanut butter and chocolate!  I love my husband!

I finally started working on my Figgy Pudding quilt again.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on the tree blocks.  I just finished them last night and they turned out great!

Here is a rough draft of how the blocks will be pieced together.  I’ve rearranged the blocks a little bit after this picture and I’ll be piecing them together this morning.  I’m so excited to see the finished product!

A couple of weeks ago our church completed an initiative called Love Week.  In 2009, our church as a whole served around 5,000 volunteer hours throughout Charlotte with our outreach partners.  Well, for Love Week, the church staff set an audacious goal to have the church serve 5,000 volunteer hours in just ONE week!  The staff and some volunteers did an amazing job setting up different events throughout the week in which people could participate.  To kick off the week, our campus made sandwiches for the homeless after each worship experience.  Tables were set up with bread, lunch meat, condiments, bags and gloves so that after service, people could go right away and start making sandwiches!  It was amazing to see the tables crowded with people making these sandwiches!  In the course of 2 days we made over 11,500 sandwiches!  We made so many that the organization we were giving them to could not take them all.  Our outreach director called another shelter to see if they could use any sandwiches that day.  The man at the shelter proceeded to tell our outreach director that the organization that normally provides their food could not make a delivery that day and they had nothing to hand out; he asked if we could deliver a couple hundred sandwiches.  Instead, they were given a couple thousand sandwiches that day!  It’s amazing how God is working within our city and it is such an honor to be a part of a church with such a generous spirit!  In total, our church served 10,551 volunteer hours throughout Charlotte in just ONE WEEK!

Figgy Pudding

I’ve started working on my next quilt – a Christmas quilt using fabric from the Figgy Pudding line by Basic Grey for Moda.  I am in love with this fabric.  The colors and prints are beautiful!  I’ve seen quite a few quilts made with this fabric, but the pattern below is my favorite and I was able to download this pattern for free!

I’ve completed the piecing on the 8 square (“courthouse”) blocks.  I am getting much better at the construction of my quilts.  The cutting, pressing and piecing is getting much easier than when I started.

This quilt is going to be HUGE compared to the other two I made this summer.  The finished quilt should measure around 66″ x 82″!  I’m  trying to just enjoy the piecing stage and not worry too much about how I’m going to be able to quilt this thing.

I used straight line  quilting on the quilts I made for my sisters this summer, but my goal is to free motion this quilt.  I purchased a darning foot for my sewing machine a few weeks ago (for less than $8!) and have been practicing on some scrap fabric.  I’m getting better, but I have a long way to go!

I love how these blocks turned out and I’m hoping that the tree blocks will go together just as well.  I’m also excited because I already have a lot of left-over fabric!  I’m trying to decide what I want to make next with the extra fabric.  Perhaps a table topper or stockings.  Any suggestions?

Jessi’s Birthday Hike

It was my sister-in-law’s birthday a few weeks ago and Eric and I decided to take her up to Grandfather Mountain for a birthday hike.  We made our way up to Linville a couple weeks ago and were fortunate to have beautiful weather for the hike!

Here is Eric and I with the Blue Ridge Mountains behind us.

Jessi and I at the start of the hike.

When Eric and I went to Grandfather Mountain earlier this year, it was way to windy to even try going to the peak.  This time around I was determined to get up there!

Jessi and I at the top of MacRae Peak!

One of the scenes of Forrest Gump was filmed at Grandfather Mountain.  Here is Forrest Gump Curve!

We had such a good time on the hike and are looking forward to going back for more!  There are several more trails within the park and I’m excited to try them out in the future.