Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ponderizing Psalm 46

In the recent LDS General Conference, Devin G. Durrant advised us to "ponderize" a verse of scripture each week. 
“So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization. . . . When our minds are filled with uplifting thoughts and images, when we ‘always remember him,’ there is no room left for filth and trash."--Devin G. Durrant
For our family's ponderizing enjoyment this week, Dandelionslayer selected Psalm 46, and highlighted some passages for our focus:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
Isn't that comforting?  God is in charge.  If we follow Him, we need not fear.  When I read verse 8, I wondered how desolations could be reassuring, but verse 9 made it plain:  He will destroy violence, and save the meek.  Wonderful!

What are you pondering this week?

Monday, October 5, 2015

We Are Grateful for Appliance Repair Videos

I don't like to ask for help.  This goes beyond the old conflict between self-reliance and allowing others the blessings of service.  When I need to consult a doctor or mechanic, I'm always afraid that he will blame me for my problem.  I prepare my defenses for narrow questions and contemptuous looks, but they rarely come.  Most professionals are pretty nice.

Most.  My fears are not completely unfounded. 

When we graduated from coin laundry to our own appliances, we had trouble with the dryer right away.  It just wouldn't work sometimes.  Finally I called in a repairman.  Dandelionslayer happened to be home when he came.  The repairman would not even look at me.  "She must not clean out the lint," he told my husband.  Which I did, faithfully.  Having blamed the problem on me, the repairman went his way. 

We called in again a few weeks later.  A different repairman correctly diagnosed the dryer as defective.  He brought us a new one, which has served us well.  Years later, it started making terrible noises.  So I called for repair.  The repairman did a good job, but wasn't impressed with the problem.  A piece of paper had fallen down the lint trap, into the fan.  "This is a pretty expensive piece of paper," he told me when presenting me with the bill.  But the manual that came with the dryer didn't teach me how to solve the problem myself.  Neither did the repairman.

When a pencil fell into the same space more recently, I skipped the yellow pages and let my fingers walk around the internet.  There I learned how to open up the back of the dryer and clean out the mass of lint, dust, and more than one pencil that had collected there, way out of normal reach.  I felt powerful.

When I was preparing to can peaches this summer, the dishwasher started leaking.  Gushing, all over the floor.  We gave the dishwasher a good cleaning, and it seemed to work fine.  Until I was ready to can tomatoes.  The dishwasher was still pretty clean.  I ordered a replacement gasket, and we washed by hand until it came.  Once it arrived, we popped it in under the guidance of a video expert, and the dishwasher hasn't leaked since. 

While we were waiting for the dishwasher gasket, the clothes washer quit draining.  (Why do these things all happen at once?)  Again, the manual didn't offer any solutions.  But the internet did.  Videos showed us how to take the cabinet off and test the lid switch for continuity.  The lid switch was the problem, so we ordered a new one at a fraction of a repair call price.  I almost did ask some friends for help with finishing the load that was sitting soggily in the washer, and I'm sure they would have been happy to let me bring my burdens over.  But then we figured out how to hotwire the switch, and got through the two laundry days before the new switch arrived. 

As our appliances age, parts become less available.  Things just don't last forever.  During the washers saga, I also took my favorite sewing machine in to cure its noisiness.  I was basically told to take it home and make it comfortable.  I'm far more attached to that machine than any of the washers or dryer, since I've had it much longer and done much more interesting things with it.  I grieve.  But I am grateful for the resources that empower me to fix the things I can.

What have you fixed lately?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Plum Time

When I started sewing those skirts in June, I knew I wouldn't have much sewing time in July, but I didn't really remember why.  Now I do.
Plums.  Our plum tree is prolific again this year, and it is keeping me busy.
Scoot and I picked these just this morning.  There are more ripe ones on the tree, and more underfoot.
I've bottled some jam, and a lot of barbecue sauce.  And we've had plum desserts, plum dinners, and plums on the side.
The plums are delicious, but they don't keep well, so I'd better get back to work!

What are you preserving this summer?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Book Trek 2015

More July inspiration!  It's time to join the Summer Book Trek over at New LDS Fiction.  Read books by LDS authors, and win books from more LDS authors!

Unfortunately, I didn't remember this grand event, and went and finished Shannon Hale's Dangerous on June 30, too soon to get credit for the Trek.  But it was too exciting.  You know what I mean.

Still, I've found some further destinations for my own trekking.  I plan to visit:
Where will you trek to this July?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Skirting the Issue

Every July the lovely ladies at Simple Simon & Co encourage sewists around the world to sew and donate skirts for girls in foster care.
I've watched their success for a couple of years now, and thought I ought to participate, but didn't get around to it.  This year I finally managed to contribute, by starting in June.
I chose some purple-based fabric from Grandma O's stash, and sewed up a range of sizes.  I don't have any girls' patterns around here, so I consulted LiEr's handy Skirt Cheat Sheet and size charts from Crafterhours and Project Run and Play to get it right.  With this flowery material I made one skirt in size 6 and two in size 5.
These stripes begged to be horizontal, so I made them into one skirt in size 4 and two in size 3.
 I even inserted hand-embroidered size tags.
I used a ruffler foot for the first time, to sew up this glittery little skirt.  Isn't it perfect for size 2?
I left all seven at the local foster care closet today, and I'm sure I'll never see them again.  I hope they make some little girls feel pretty, whatever their circumstances.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee . . . naked, and clothed thee?
 . . . And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.                                                                                                                   
Matthew 25:37-40 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Cookin'

Every summer I graciously allow the boys to share in the pleasure of planning and cooking dinners.  Isn't that generous of me?  Here are a few of their menus so far:
The Caterpillar treated us to bacon-wrapped hot dogs with salsa and sauteed onions and peppers.
D2 slow-cooked red beans and rice.
Scoot baked calzones, after we filled them ourselves.
And this evening, Rollo steamed us some oyako donburi.  Oishii!  They are doing a great job, and, hopefully, learning some useful skills.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Pillow for Pengui

One Saturday, D2 came to me looking for something to do.  He has a short list of standard requests, but that day, he wanted "something I don't usually do."  I suggested a sewing project.  It only took him a minute to remember one he'd planned to do some time ago: a bed for Pengui.
 D2 chose some material, and started with a pillow.
 A very small pillow, even for Pengui.
Then he moved on to the mattress.  He planned, measured, cut, sewed, turned, stuffed, and stitched it all closed with minimal help.
Pengui soon passed the bed onto a smaller member of the menagerie, but it was definitely a sewing success for D2!