Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Industrial Strength Fail

We rent this place, along with all of the appliances.  It is just what we need and when we moved in, everything was as clean as could be.  Everything looked brand new.

I had an issue with the washing machine, however, and after a few months of living here I called our landlord.  He graciously drove over here to find out why the washing machine agitator was not agitating, but only going in a circle. This is a problem, you see, because that means the clothes are only spinning around in a circle in soapy water, and not really getting clean.  I had this dilemma at our old house, you remember, and I hoped that I could be the fix-it woman again. But the solution to this one was not as simple.  

So Mr. Landlord came over and together we figured it out, or so we thought.  Shortly after he left, I realize it was not fixed after all.  Now, I don't like to be a problem renter, so I have not called him about it again.  At least the clothes smell clean.  But sheets are a huge mess -- they just spin tighter and tighter until I could use them for a rope.  And since I have no hot water pressure to the washer, it is kind of bugging me that my dirty underwear and towels are just spinning around with cold water and germs.  

And then there's this problem:


Now, I know all the verses.  In  everything give thanks.  Giving thanks for all things.  O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good.

This is the best I could do. (I asked Amy to Photoshop me, but she said it was hopeless.  Yes, it's the real uncombed, un-make-up'ed, frumpy-looking me.  It was wash day, okay?)

Okay, let's think about this.  What is positive about this situation? 
  • I don't have to wash the clothes by hand, although they would probably get cleaner that way...
  • Having a rented bum washer gives me something to look forward to with our next house.
  • It gives me practice untying knots, and that is a good skill to have.
  • Struggling with these knots is strengthening my arms.
  • On this particular day we all had a good laugh!
  • It gave me something to write about.
Ah, yes.  To every cloud there is a silver lining.

*     *     *     *     *

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Prov 31:29 

(I'll always be a Proverbs 31 Woman wanna-be.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is not a day.  It's an attitude.  Whatever you focus on gets bigger.  Sometimes it gets so big that you can't see around it.  Do you suppose this is why the Lord gave us Philippians 4:8?  

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,
think on these things.

How I would love to have the discipline of keeping my mind on these things.  I would love to have these things in the forefront of my thinking all the day long.  Sometimes I feel like if I could just get to the bottom of all the things that are wrong with me, I'd feel a lot better.  But no, the truth is that I'd feel worse.  Because when you scrutinize things and spread them out under a microscope and try to identify all the little culprits that are stealing your joy, those things become your focus, rather than all the things around you that would bring you joy, if you could just quit majoring on the bad stuff!

On Thanksgiving Day I was tired from a lighting-quick trip to Wichita and back, stuffed with turkey and all the trimmings, and ready for a clean-up-avoidance nap, when someone in the family said, "Let's take a walk!"  It was SUCH a beautiful day (thank you, Lord), and I have such a wonderful family, and well, I just couldn't stay home. Guilt is strong. :)

We have a lovely wooded trail along the river.  It's a snowmobile trail of course, but do you see any snowmobiles on it?  Of course not.  There's no snow!  Yippee!  (Oh wait, I am supposed to be looking forward to that.)  Instead, leaves and trees and rocks and weak sunshine and dried seed pods and the smell of cold fresh air and natural compost... all riches.  The natural world is ready to be hidden away under a beautiful blanket of white.  White, like my soul after Jesus washed me clean in his blood.  

There were other things to explore, like this roof in the middle of nowhere.  A teeny shelter?  A wishing well in the wilderness?  A reminder of God's protection and provision?

And the stillness of the river, a deep and silent current that brings life to millions of creatures along the way.  Peace for the soul who knows God.  Refreshment for the weary.  A balm for the turbulent spirit.  

The walk was good. GOD is good. O, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Let me focus on him up close, so that he grows bigger in my sight, so that all I can see is my Jesus. 

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By the way, congratulations are in order for Amy, who finally won a first place at the Edit Me Challenge! She will be opening an Etsy shop for photo edits.  She took this dark river scene and gave it an amazing transformation on her blog.  Go see.  And see the original shot here. Nice job, Amy!

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Wanna see desert kids make a snowman?  Notice the sandals.  :)

This photo needs a crop, but then you'd miss the snow kitty.  (It's really a dog.)  All that remains of our snowmen is their heads and a bunch of lumps, and a few carrots on the ground.  We're ready for more snow, and this time we'll do it right, Minnesota style -- in boots, with coats on!  Like this.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pants Armstrong Faces Off to Winter

It's official.  Pants Armstrong and Winter are now in competition.

On Winter's side:
freezing temps
blowing snow

Most people would be deterred by the incumbent's advantages.
Not Pants Armstrong.

On the cyclist's side:
military issue polypropylene long undies
waterproof jacket
balaclava (not to be confused with baklava)
wool hat

a winner's attitude!

May the most worthy opponent win!  (My personal favorite would be Pants Armstrong.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

In Which We Have a BOY

Read that right.  I did not say I gave birth to a boy.  I said we have one.  Over the years we have talked about how totally and COMPLETELY different this family would be if we had a son.  Well, today we are finding out what it is like to have one very busy boy child among us!  A friend had an emergency appendectomy last week.  I offered to babysit for her, but she didn't call me.  So yesterday I called her.  "It's not easy to rest with a toddler around," she says.  !!  No!  So that is how we came about to have a boy in the house. 

Emily is in on cloud nine.  The big sisters are all occupied elsewhere, so she has assumed the role of babysitter and playmate.  How often Emily has wished for a younger sibling to play with.  The boy found a box of potato gleanings at the bottom of the stairs, and he seems to think potatoes belong in the kitchen. So Emily has climbed the stairs twenty times in five minutes, with a boy and a potato.  For his entertainment, she has fastened and unfastened his car seat belt a dozen times in the past three minutes.  They have gone together to throw clothes into the washer and dryer. The two of them built and destroyed a dozen towers of blocks.  He has been here for all of a half hour.  :)  When we take him home, Emily will want a nap!  I will have to pay her a dollar for handling the extra energy in the house while I iron and tackle the rest of my 100-item-long list of things to do before Monday.

Today Alison and Amy are volunteering at the nursing home.  Elisabeth is helping Daddy canvas a town of about 50 people with flyers for our new church.  In the next 48-52 hours I have to make a trip to WalMart and McDonalds, finish the laundry, make turkey dinner and dessert for Sunday at church, and pack for a short trip and a long drive to and from our home church.  The tub needs a scrub (as well as the rest of the house), I need to run my feeble vacuum cleaner, and wash out the window tracks.  Okay, that last thing can wait.  And we can scratch McDonalds.

Emily and the boy have now eaten lunch, played in the sink, looked out the window by climbing a step stool fifty times, and played hide and seek.  She's a good babysitter.  And who says little boys are more work than little girls are?  (Look -- he's SLEEPING!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

♥ The ♥ Best ♥ Applesauce ♥ Ever ♥

I promise, you will never be satisfied with applesauce from a store shelf, ever again.  Ready?  It's easy.  

Fill your crock pot with peeled, sliced apples. One of these doohickeys works wonderfully for coring/slicing/chunking:
Add about 1/2 C water, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and maybe 1/3 cup of sugar.  It depends on your apples and your taste, but you can sweeten more after the apples are done.  Now, stir it all up a bit, put the lid on and cook on low all day or until the apples are soft. In about four hours your family will start sniffing and asking you what is that marvelous smell coming from the kitchen.  Mash it all up and taste.  (Don't burn your tongue.)  

Deeeelishus, the taste of autumn and home and love! Serve in a bowl, over pancakes, on biscuits, or on a Dutch baby. Your children will rise up and call you blessed, and your husband also. 

♥     ♥     ♥

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coupon Chaos

Do you remember the old "I Love Lucy" episode in which Lucy and Ethel get jobs in a candy factory?  They are supposed to wrap chocolates as they come down the conveyor belt.  The women start out okay, but as the belt moves faster, Lucy and Ethel can't keep up!  

This is my experience with couponing!

You all know I had planned to start couponing, oh, last year maybe.  I see couponing as a wonderful way to "make" money from home, since the less I spend, the more we have in the bank. So Jane and I attended an extreme couponing class through our local community ed program.  I bought a box and a bunch of file cards to organize my coupons, and I got several copies of the inserts for a week or two...  (I say a week or two because I keep forgetting to pick up the newspaper!! argh!) The younger girls and I spent a while cutting those up and filing them.  Then I printed a bunch more and signed up for some coupon sites and others that let you know what the deals are. 

Oh dear, this is where I lost it.  I am still forgetting to get the newspaper.  But now I am getting coupons or emails from Coupon Mom, P&GeSAVER, Coupon Network, Passion for Savings, The Krazy Coupon Lady, Extreme Couponing, A Full Cup, Pocket Your Dollars, and others! My inbox is crammed with now-outdated coupon emails. Coupons are now stacked on top of my file box, not in it.  Ads are overflowing into my kitchen counter workspace.  I am way overwhelmed, even panicky!  

Time to go back to START and take this a bit at a time...

Here are Lucy and Ethel.  Have a laugh.  :) 

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A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.
Proverbs 17:22
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