Saturday, January 29, 2011

Manual Update

And the winner is...


I found a manual for the embroidery machine.

Brian gets honorable mention for the best try, but it was for a different machine.

As soon as the book comes, I'll put it to work.

Thanks for your help.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I hate cancer. HATE it. It strikes so indescriminately: old and young, rich and poor, healthy and feeble, evil and righteous. When people question how God can allow suffering, they're talking about cancer, among other things.

I know God can redeem any situation. I know he can build character in bad circumstances, reach the unreached through the suffering of the rescued, put a silver lining in any cloud.

But why are there always clouds?

I know he loves us, cares for us, died for us. In my head, in my heart, I know and believe.

But I still question. Why?

Job had questions. God had answers, but not the ones Job wanted. Whenever someone gets diagnosed, I go to Job. I don't find comfort in the questions, but in the answers which basically say, "Who are you to ask these things? Did you make the world? The sky? The sea? Then put your hand over your mouth and stop talking. Better to not say anything and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

I know, it's not comforting in a traditional sense, but to hear God tell us we can't possibly understand what we're asking much less what his reasons are makes me feel better for some reason.

I covet your prayers for Larry and for Joanne this week. Larry's at the end of his fight. Joanne's at the beginning of her 3rd round. Both are right with God and a whole lot stronger than I am. I want to take the pain away, but they both face it bravely.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sitting Still

My life has been so filled with activity lately, I've been out of touch with most of the things and people I usually keep up with.

Bombings in Moscow

Oprah's half sister

The State of the Union

I've missed all of them.

I've missed my blogs, too, neglecting them in favor of birthday parties, meetings, and well-child checks. The children are fine. The baby turns 9 tomorrow. I like my work. But my writing and my blogs suffer.

It's true what they say: You can have it all, just not all at the same time.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Give Up-- For Now

I had a brilliant idea on Sunday--I should monogram t-shirts as party gifts for my daughter's birthday party on Saturday. 6 days would be plenty of time to learn how to use my never-taken-out-of-its-bag embroidery attachment my mother-in-law so generously gave me a few years ago.

It should have been, but the one thing missing from the bag was the instruction manual. It took a friend in Africa to set me on the right track of how to plug it in and set it up. That took 2 days. With it running (finally) it was time to test my technique. The first sample came out perfect. Easy cheesy, right?

Wrong. I ruined the first t-shirt, then did one right. Practiced on the ruined t-shirt to see what I was doing wrong and did 3 monograms in a row that turned out perfect. Went to do the 2nd t-shirt and tore a hole in it.

I give up.

For now. Africa friend was right that I should learn to use the machine when I don't have a project with a deadline adding to the pressure.

When I start again (which will be soon since I think this has the potential to become a super fun hobby if I can overcome the frustrating beginning), I'm starting with a manual in hand and an expert embroiderer on speed dial.

Prize alert! A monogrammed dishtowel to the first person who can locate a reasonably priced copy (electronic or print) of the instruction manual for the Bernina Artista 180 Embroidery attachment. I have the sewing machine manual, but there are separate instructions for the embroidery machine.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shameless Plug

Mom and I are hosting a Demarle party on Saturday at 2.

Don't know what that is? It's an amazing cookware line featuring the Silpat (Martha Stewart's must-have) and other flexible, non-stick cookware.

Can't come? No worries. Drop me a line and I'll tell you how to look at a catalog.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Twist on Shopping

I clip coupons... sorta. I often find that it's cheaper to buy generic brands and to shop at Winco than to use coupons on national brand items. It's a hassle and it doesn't seem to pay off.

Turns out, I've been doing it all wrong. I took a class on how to use coupons to the best advantage. Tonight, I thought I'd try it out.

Here's what I did.

I went to Safeway and spent $6.41 on 3 Hallmark cards. When I paid, the cashier handed me one of those long receipts that prints off with a coupon. This one was worth $5.

I turned around and purchased 5 boxes of fruit snacks (reg price $2.99 on sale for $.99), 2 boxes of cereal (reg price $3.49 on sale for $1.79) and 2 loaves of bread (on sale, of course). I used coupons for the fruit snacks and for the cereal & used the $5 coupon from my previous purchase.

The total came to $5.03, a savings of $29.68. And they gave me another coupon worth $3 off my next purchase. And the fruit snacks have 10 cent labels for education, so I can donate 50 cents to a school.

I may not shop this way all the time, but I've become a believer!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Ain't That the Truth

Pa's gonna be mad when he sees me do that. He don't like no fancy stuff like that. He don't even like word writin'. Kinda scares 'im I guess. Ever' time Pa seen writin', somebody took somepin away from 'im.
-Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

My how times change... or do they. For folks these days who don't have the advantage of a solid education, pieces of paper can still be intimidating. I picture so many friends in Africa who showed up at our door clutching a piece of paper. It might be a pink page with a list of prescriptions, a bill from the tax man, a notice from their landlord. All those pieces of writing brought news that somebody was fixin' to take somepin away from them.

All those papers except one--a book--that motivated folk not only to writing, but to reading. It was so painful to listen to men and women struggle through reading passages aloud, but they struggled and they prevailed. This book, the Bible, spurred people on to do what neither school nor government had done. It gave them a reason to want to be able to decipher the words on the page.

It taught them to read.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


Last time I was in the mall, Santa Claus sat in his oversized chair, letting children sit on his knee while elves snapped happy pictures. Today I noticed his house is gone, replaced by a temporary tax prep cubicle.

Let the good times roll.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Already Behind

I started filling in my calandar a few minutes ago, trying to get all my work responsibilities in one place.

I just got dinged. The calendar tells me I'm 8 hours behind on 3 tasks.

How did that happen?

It's how I feel, though, about 8 hours behind on everything I set my mind to. Maybe I should put "hug your children" and "be nice to someone" on the calendar so I can get dinged on those, too.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

With New Resolve

Well, the new year is upon us. The family is sleeping off the effects of a late night while I sit in the kitchen listening to the clock tick 2011 off second by second.

I usually greet each new year with a list of resolutions, quietly made, quietly broken. The list is pretty much the same every year-eat better, exercise more, get up earlier, keep the house cleaner, have a consistent Bible study time, get a novel written, spend more time with the kids...

I read a blog the other day suggesting that instead of making goal-oriented resolutions, we focus more on the internal motivation. Why do I want to get up earlier? How do I want to feel about myself and the way I live?

A list of resolutions, all in adjectives. It changes the focus from what I have to do to how I ought to be.


What about you?