Monday, October 31, 2011

Sharpening My Saw

Linda J. Eyre tells this story in her book A Joyful Mother of Children:

"My husband's grandfather was a master carpenter. As a little boy, he used to watch his grandfather work, and he noticed that after cutting a few boards Grandpa's saw went slower and slower until smoke curled from the cutting edge and perspiration dripped from the old man's brow. The boy knew that even though his grandpa was anxious to finish the item or had a deadline for completion, he still took time to sit on a stool and methodically sharpen the saw.  Richard loved watching Grandpa's look of pleasure when he put the saw back to the board and it cut like a hot knife through butter."

TopDad and the boys were off school on Friday as a compensatory day after a week of parent/teacher conferences.  We got a couple of things done to the house, namely putting up a new latch and deadbolt on the front door and removing the old storm door (for use at the back of the house) and putting up a new full glass one to show off the pretty original door to the living room.

Here's the new door, right next to Ironman and his hippie friend (Dr. Hair and Dandylion). A pretty Autumn sunset is reflected in the door. Too bad you can't see the pretty front door. Next time.

Saturday while TopDad was putting up the new door, I was upstairs in our bedroom cleaning, decluttering and rearranging.  Sharpening my saw!  I couldn't move for the piles of stuff, mostly books, but lots of papers, clothes (changing seasons) and other miscellany that needed to be put away, decided upon, or trashed.  My goal is to have NO PILES on any of the floors in any of the rooms.  Lofty goal, but I believe in the scripture that says: "Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion." (D&C 132:8)  I want mine house to be that way too.

So, to that end I'm taking time at this busy season to clean and organize so I can better accomplish all my tasks for the upcoming holidays.  Next up is my sewing/crafting room. I'm borrowing Dr. Hair's camera for before and after pictures so you can see the difference.

May you take time to sharpen your saw and then cut through your tasks like a hot knife through butter.

I'm S.A.D.

IF I believed in evolution, which I don't, it would be easier for me to accept that I evolved from bears rather than monkeys because every autumn I feel an uncontrollable urge to eat to bulk up for winter and then I want to hibernate until spring.

Can I say it right here?  I HATE getting up before the sun!  I HATE daylight savings time. It is unnatural, it is wrong, it is depressing.

I am a creature of LIGHT!  I need the sunshine to fully wake up.

Okay, there I've said it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shopping in Our Little Corner of the World

Living here in rural Iowa certainly has its charm.  I love the tiny town where I can walk anywhere: bank, Post Office, Library, hair salon, High School, shops, even the grocery store (if I need an item or two).  But! The lack of stores sometimes gets to me.

The grocery store here is bigger than a convenience store, but has a smaller selection and higher prices than I find in larger towns 25-30 miles away.  There is a drug store and a dollar store, both on the edge of town and a little too far to walk because of the time it takes.  I like the idea of spending my dollars here to keep the economy going except:  my dollars are few and my needs are great so I do most of my shopping in either Atlantic, 26 miles south, or Carroll, thirty miles north.  The grocery store I prefer to shop at has a store in both towns; both towns have a Walmart; and both towns have a good thrift store.

One of the reasons I like the grocery store Fareway is because they are closed on Sunday.  Years ago I heard a story about someone, who, when I looked it up turned out to be Bishop H. David Burton, who saw President Joseph Fielding Smith and his wife at a grocery store far from their home and he asked the President what they were doing so far south from home.  The answer was that they preferred to patronize stores that honored the Sabbath Day by closing.  That stuck with me and I've thought about that as I shop.  I prefer to shop and support a business that honors the Sabbath Day too.  Not that that is possible 100% for me, but I do my best within the limits of my budget.

In researching Fareway, I found this on their website:  The idea of resting on Sunday is something in which our founder, Paul S. Beckwith, firmly believed—in part because of his religious beliefs, in part because of a story told to him by his father.
Paul’s father was a pioneer who traveled to the new territory by wagon train. Some of the pioneers were in a great hurry so they drove on every day, leaving behind those who stopped for a day of rest and worship. Weeks passed, and as the settlers continued to move westward, the families who had taken Sunday off began to catch up with those who had pushed ahead—only to find broken-down wagons, lame animals and weary people. Paul’s father told him he decided right then and there that the Bible was right; neither man nor beast was made to work seven days a week.

In Atlantic there is a Salvation Army store and a privately run thrift store.  I've shopped at both although I prefer the Salvation Army simply because it is better organized.  The private store had clothing on the racks in a complete jumble: short and long sleeves, woven and knits, all the colors and sizes mixed up together. It made looking for something rather tedious and I don't have that kind of time. In Carroll the thrift store is run by the Catholics, I believe, and while not as nicely organized as Salvation Army, the prices are great and I've found wonderful things there.  The ladies who volunteer there are really sweet and helpful too.

In our town, there is a consignment store that has prices close to a thrift store's, but the selection isn't as big, especially in my size, which by the way is slowly but surely getting smaller, one ounce at a time.  I like the owner, though and support her efforts as much as I can.  Besides clothing she has a few household items, antique and vintage, as well as new crafts and baubles.

There is an antique store, which I've not ventured into because I don't want to be tempted beyond my ability to resist.  Next to it is The Present Company where I can buy greeting cards when needed (meaning when I don't have anything appropriate in my stash from other sources).  Linda, the owner, is gracious and has given me boxes for mailing from her big stash.  Up by the park is a little gift shop inside a beauty salon, where I've gotten a few charming handmade items.

Also on the edge of town is a furniture store, another place I don't venture as I'm trying to avoid the sin of coveting.  They have some used furniture in a little place across from the park that I peek into as I'm passing on walks.  That's about all I can tolerate.  (Someday I'm going to have well coordinated and beautiful furniture!)

Not having access to lots of stores has certainly helped me stay on budget; but there are times when I'd love to just browse a big used book store; a fabric store; a kitchen store; a lingerie store.

The closest malls are about an hour and a half east or west of here.  We only go when combining trips to the big cities of Council Bluffs/Omaha or Des Moines.

So there you have it.  Shopping in Audubon.  The town motto could be "We save you money by not having everything available!" We live by the old pioneer motto "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You Better Watch Out . . .

Many years ago, in another life, I worked with a woman who loved Christmas; so much so that on the twenty-fifth of each month she would exclaim "Only (fill in the blank) more months until Christmas!"  It was one of those things that wormed its way into my brain and from then on when I notice that it is the twenty-fifth of the month I think "Only two more months until Christmas!"  And, actually, it makes me happy!

Christmas seems to be the culmination of the year's hopes and dreams.  The high point of the year; certainly the biggest celebration of the year.  Noble called last night to give me her flight information for her return at Christmas time.  Now that is cause for celebration.

Also on my mind this morning is blessings.  JET offered the prayer today after scripture reading and said "We thank thee for all our blessings."  I guess Heavenly Father  is patient and understanding; I've tried to model for our children enumerating some of those blessings.  Perhaps JET will feel more inclined to do so as a missionary, when many taken for granted blessings are left behind.  This week's letter from Elder PW mentioned his joy at having a washing machine in this new apartment.  So for the record I will list some of my blessings. (in no particular order)

solid built house
hot and cold running water
appliances such as washer, dryer, stove, fridge, freezer, heater
electric lights that turn on instantly
comfortable, warm beds
computers, phone service
tons of books
husband who works hard without complaining
obedient children (rather than rebellious)
a living prophet
a loving Savior and Heavenly Father
the gift of the Holy Ghost
modern scripture to confirm and complement ancient scripture
a testimony of the truth
priesthood in my home
vehicle that runs
colors of the autumn leaves
tools to use to create (sewing machine, scissors, fabric, etc)
calendars and clocks
a paved walking trail
big trees
music cd's
brothers and sisters
grandfathers who completed their life stories

May you be mindful of all your blessings today!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Clothing and Covenant Women

A post on another blog (Scriptorium Blogorium; see list at the right) inspired me to write this.  She is concerned about being prideful and wearing costly apparel.  It's an excellent blog and I enjoyed her post.  Some years ago I studied all the scriptures have to say on the subject of modesty and women's clothing and such.  After all the study I chose Doctrine and Covenants 42:40-41 as the principles to guide my choices.

     And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands; and let all things be done in cleanliness before me.

Michaela, over at Scriptorium, asks some wonderful questions to discover our own pride.  I'd like to focus on the part about clothing being plain.  Of the five definitions for that word, the second is the one I believe to be the one meant here.

easy to perceive or understand; clear the advantages were plain to see it was plain that something was very wrong.• [ attrib. (of written or spoken usage) clearly expressed, without the use of technical or abstruse terms written in plain English.• not using concealment or deception; frank he recalled her plain speaking.
From our mode of dress it should be easy to perceive or understand that we are women of covenant.  We dress modestly, not calling attention to our bodies, in ways that express our virtue (cleanliness).
I watched students pour out of high schools in Provo and Midvale, Utah and wondered who were LDS church members and who weren't.  I certainly couldn't tell by their dress or demeanor. They all looked and acted worldly to me.  I wanted the members to stand out, I wanted it to be plain to me by the way they dressed and acted.  It wasn't and I wondered what more we could do to encourage them to be different.
The part about clothing being the work of our own hands seems to indicate to me that when the fashion of the world is incompatible with our covenants that we need to make our own so we can be perceived by others to be followers of the Savior. If that makes us look different, so be it. That is where the pride part comes in.  I remember being persecuted and made fun of in Junior High because I wore dresses to my knees with white cotton bobby socks.  This was 1969-1972, the first time around for the mini-skirts and hot-pants.  I hated going to school; I hated looking different; as soon as the rules changed to allow wearing slacks I got some and wore them every day so I wouldn't look so different; although I still never achieved my aim to look like everyone else. I never did fit in fashion wise.  Now in my adult years I'm glad for that experience because I no longer care what others are wearing.  I don't follow fads.  I like to wear modest, classic styles that seem to always be "in", or at least not dated looking by the next season.
My mother told of working in the temple one day and seeing a bride change into her "wedding dress" for pictures and the dress was strapless!  My mother was absolutely flabbergasted. The workers are not allowed to say anything or criticize the patrons so she had to stand by and just watch.  But she wondered where this girl's mother was, or RS President, or Bishop's wife, or friend; someone who could have advised her on proper dress.  Or maybe they did and this bride was determined to wear what she wanted, when she wanted and to heck with covenants.  I don't know what she was thinking. But I do know that by what she was wearing it was plain she wasn't keeping the covenants she had just made.
I taught our daughter, Noble, modesty by having her wear an undershirt or camisole her whole life.  I taught our sons the same, wearing an undershirt under their clothing.  This helps them not only be modest, but to get used to the feel of wearing undergarments in preparation of temple covenants.  When Noble was in Military Basic Training she felt naked without her undershirts and asked me to send them to her as soon as she was at her next duty station. 
I sure don't believe in a "uniform" such as the Amish wear, although it is tempting sometimes to dispense with all the choices and just have a few things to wear; I do however believe in clothing that is modest and makes it plain that I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, a covenant woman.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I'm working on overcoming a life-long bad habit--procrastination.  This week I decided that I had put off washing the windows for long enough (a whole year!) and would do it.  Do you ever put off something that seems to be overwhelming and then when you buckle down and do it you wonder why?  We have these wonderful tilt-in windows that are so easy to clean!  It took just minutes, not hours.  And the difference in my outlook, literally! The world is a better place with clean windows.  Now I'm encouraged to tackle other seemingly onerous jobs.

This bad habit has been on my list of New Year's resolutions for the past couple of years; and while I make some progress each year it is difficult to overcome all at once.  Small changes are easier than big changes.

By the way, I'm asking Santa for a digital camera this year so I can SHOW as well as TELL with this blog.

Go ahead, brighten your day, wash a window or two.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Let Your Light So Shine

I washed the dining room windows.  'Nuff said.

An Eclectic Life - Does that make me a Renaissance Woman?

In 1985, while working as a bookkeeper for a small manufacturing firm, my employer offered to pay my way through school if I'd major in Accounting and then stay on as their Accountant.  I accepted the offer and began.  I lasted about 9 months (at one of those universities for working adults where you take one class a month) before deciding that accounting had no scope for creativity (this was pre-Enron) and I was bored and feeling stifled.  So I changed jobs, colleges and apartments.  It was the beginning of a new life.  

I declared a major in Art History, which had been my favorite course at the previous school and began taking general education classes.  Working full-time it took me four years to complete about two years worth of work.  I changed my major a couple of times and then just left it thinking that as I got closer to graduation I could decide.  The problem I encountered was that I LIKED EVERYTHING!  Art History, English, Logic, History, both world and US, Cultural Anthropology, Geography, Spanish, just everything.  I would take a class, enjoy it and think "I'd like to explore this some more."  (Which is one of the purposes of general ed classes.)

The same holds true today.  I love so many things it is difficult to narrow it down and concentrate on just one (or two).  Should I be a writer? I have two incomplete novels. Should I design clothes and sew? How about travel?  My list of places to visit gets longer all the time.  Should I pursue a business?  I have several ideas.  Should I concentrate on my goal of making a wardrobe of historic clothing representing the decades since the pilgrims landed at Plymouth?  How about taking my cooking skills to the next level?  And designing and building furniture?  (I never can find just exactly what I want, and my husband is, after all, a shop teacher with all the tools I could need.)  

Here's another tidbit.  Back in the "starving student" days at BYU, we took in an exchange student from Korea.  He was a fairly nice young man, except he lied about his smoking habits and was less than cooperative in certain things.  Consequently I didn't like Korea or Koreans.  Fast forward eight years (it seems longer ago) and Noble begins an obsession for anything Korean.  At first I was skeptical and didn't want to see or hear anything.  But she persisted and her enthusiasm was contagious.  First it was Korean food, then K-Pop music videos, then Korean Dramas on Hulu, then teaching me words and phrases.  (Of course in retrospect we can see that the Lord was preparing her for her assignment in the Air Force as a linguist.)  Guess where I want to go?  I just finished a Korean historical drama about a couple of their most famous painters. Fascinating!! I now have a better understanding or their art and culture.  And the women's clothing is so beautiful I now want to make a hanbok.

This is the story of my adult life.  I'm interested in everything.  Once I dated a man of Armenian descent and took time to learn about their history, even finding a book of poetry I enjoyed so much that I copied my favorites into a journal (had to return the book to the library).

Whenever I hear someone say "bored, boring" etc. I wonder what is wrong with them. I don't have enough time to explore and experience and create all that I'm interested in. (It makes me long for servants to take care of all the mundane tasks so I can indulge in all my interests.  Fat chance. *sigh*)

May you have time and energy to pursue your passions and explore this wonderful world God created for us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Change is Constant

When we got home from seeing Noble at Air Force graduation I began making plans for the school year.  It was going to be the first time in twenty-two years for me to be home alone.  Wow!  Plans included walking daily, baking regularly, sewing, de-cluttering, working on long neglected projects, etc.  That all came to a screeching halt when I agreed to look after the neighbors two little boys.  Because my "baby" is thirteen our home and yard are not equipped for child care; no booster seats for the table, few toys, no fenced yard to play in, no playground equipment, and so on.  That made it difficult to "entertain" them and we struggled with balancing my needs to get things done with their needs to play.  All my good intentions and neglected projects were put on hold.  I found it stressful to face the day longing to get things done; things that I had put on hold for my own children for many years.

Last night our lives reversed directions.  The neighbor called with the news that she finally got the boys into a daycare facility that she's been on the waiting list for two years. Halleluia!

Of course there is the financial loss of that little bit of income, which was making our ends meet.  But there are other means to that end.  I made a long list of things I can make and sell.  But first I want to spend a day baking: bread, cookies, muffins, scones, whatever!  I want to turn on some music and dance around the room.  Walk to the library and not worry about little people making a ruckus.  Cut out and sew something new to wear.  Work on those long neglected projects!

There is nothing as constant as change.  Thank goodness.  When we're in a bad situation, just wait, it is not forever.  Patience and prayer accomplish miracles.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tender Mercies

Saturday morning Dandylion, Dr. Hair and I got up very early so we could drive almost two hours to Omaha for a meeting with Sister Elaine Dalton, Young Women's General President. She was in the area for regional leadership training and decided to make time for a meeting with all the young women of the region. The reason my two boys went is that at 10:30 that same morning there was a stake youth activity and we drive to Council Bluffs/Omaha only once a day! So we got to the church about 8:00 AM for the 8:30 meeting and the church was still locked. I stood on the porch with a few others chatting and waiting. The Stake President drove up, followed by another car out of which came Sister Dalton. By this time there were about eight of us on the porch. Sister Dalton called out "Good Morning," as she ascended the stairs, then walked across the porch to me and said "I'm so glad you're here, thank you for coming," and embraced me in her arms. At that time she didn't hug anyone else, but walked into the building and then began shaking hands and greeting the girls. Why she chose me to greet with an embrace, I don't know. But I'm so grateful for the recognition and blessing. It makes me feel important to my Heavenly Father, that he would inspire her to greet me as an affirmation of my worth. I'm not a nobody! I am known to God.

Think about the times in your life that you've been the recipient of a tender mercy; then give thanks to the giver of them.

Copy and paste this link to Elder Bednar's talk about Tender Mercies:

(Sorry I don't know how to make this link "live" and Noble isn't here to help me!)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thrift Store Score!

Just got back from a shopping trip north.  I usually stop in at the New Hope Thrift Store to see what I can see.  Today was great.  Here's what I scored:
3 packages of 9x12" sheets of perforated paper, brown, silver and gold - $.50 each ( I saw these and thought of Laura Ingalls and decided these would be fun to use to make holiday things and Christmas ornaments)
Package with all materials to make 2 gingham bibs - $.25 (woman at church is having a baby this month)
Set of circular knitting needles - $3.00
22" dk turquoise zipper - $.50 (matches some fabric in my stash)
Gift wrapping ribbon, Christmas colors - $.50
Card of 6 buttons, brass that look like woven bamboo - $.50 (great for a sweater or jacket)
spool of florist tape - $.25
vintage handkerchief with pink crocheted edge - $.50
Crocheted doily with lavender edge - $.25 (for my lavender bathroom)
Linen dresser scarf with embroidery and crocheted edge - $2.00 (I can see it as the front of a little girl's dress)
Linen dish towel - $.50
knitting stitch holder (for cable stitches) - $.25
card of 7 vintage buttons - $.25 (perfect for a vintage style dress)
2 packages of microfine glitter - $.50 each (more holiday fun)
Little girls Fairy Costume pattern - $.25
Seven pink linen napkins - $.25 each (There are seven in our family so this is just enough)
Round linen doily with crocheted edge that brings to mind the rays of the sun - $.25
Baggie of spools of thread, including 1 large and 3 small wooden spools - $.25 (I'm collecting to make doll furniture)
2 autumn colored placemats - $.25 each (I use as hot pads on our table)
Card of hooks and eyes - $.25
Counted cross-stitch kit for a Fridge magnet that says "There are two choices for dinner: take it or leave it." $.25 (That is what I've said to my children for years!)
Black and white striped knit top - $1.00 (to go with a skirt I picked up in San Diego)
Package of 8 Thank you cards - $.25 (I go through lots)
Stationary Set, 15 pages and 15 envelopes - $1.00 (I love to write letters)
Eight greeting cards - $.25 each (and send cards)
6 postcards - $.25 each (postcards are fun and fast too)

I even had my "frequent shopper" card filled up and ready to use to get $5.00 off my purchase.  Yippee!

I got all the above paying a total of $16.25 in cash.

Autumn brings out my creative, crafty side and I look for materials to add to my stock so when I need something I can "shop" at home.  I love thrift stores.

When I got home I found that the bolt of unbleached muslin I had ordered had arrived (to make curtains throughout the house); also a vintage pattern from Wearing History.  I am eager to make it up as it is just darling!  But first come the curtains as I need them for privacy and the coming cold weather.

(I wish I had a digital camera so I could take and upload pictures of the things I'm talking about. Sigh)