Rain clouds

Clouds to the south over the trees.

Looking north

I took these pictures a few days ago, but the sky isn’t much different tonight. I went to check the garden (found a cucumber) and James went to dump the kitchen compost container, and we both barely made it into the house before the rain began to smatter against the windows. It was not much rain this evening, but enough to keep the pool closed. Paulina will not be getting much of a final check at this rate. Either no children come, or the weather sets in and they have to leave after an hour or two this whole week. It sounds like next week will pretty much be the end because the other guards are leaving to return to school, and they really have not had anyone there. It was plenty hot and busy in June, so I guess that is just how this summer is going.

It is good that we are getting this rain now, at least some of the crops will be salvaged, and perhaps there will be a little moisture going into the ground for hope of something better next spring. James talked to his brothers and it sounds like the row crops will be a little less than a great crop, but at least it is better than if the heat would have continues. Also, I am hopeful that this means the pastures will be ok. Half of what we own is pasture land, and I am always concerned for how that holds up.

James and I were in Bismarck today to pick up my aunt from the airport as she came back from Phoenix. She had been there since the middle of July or so. It was just a little less than a month, and I think time for her to get home. Ha!! I don’t know how many times this past week, I wanted to pick up the phone and ask her to come over for coffee or just sit on the porch, and then I remembered she wasn’t here yet.

One of the best things about the trip to Bismarck was that we really didn’t have much time to shop, so it was plan what we needed and get to it. I liked the idea because not buying is my new best way to eliminate clutter. We did purchase a few needed items, and then we browsed the canning area where I picked up some lids and both powdered and liquid pectin for making jelly. I need to get at those choke cherries tomorrow afternoon, no excuses. I also bought a larger embroidery hoop to do those towels that I stamped yesterday. I put a new bulb in the light beside my rocking chair, now I have no excuse for not doing those towels as I watch television at night. Hmmmm.

I learned that I won’t need to start my long-term substitute job on the first day of school because they are going to have the students stay with the regular classroom teachers on the first week until they get the schedules all in place. I will be starting on the last Monday in August and stay until the teacher is back. Ya!! I enjoy that room and am looking forward to being there. I know most of the students and the other teachers, and it is one of those really small schools that just feels like home.

Well, enough for tonight. I am supposed to be finishing my message, and I just can’t get to it even though I pretty well know what I want to say. These are the times, I would love to use note cards and a few key words and just talk. I am always afraid to do that because I might never get to the point and end it. I already carry on too long for some people in the audience (mostly family, Ha ha!!). Catch you later.

De-Clutter: One project done

Finally I can report on a project finished. I, apparently, work better on a deadline. Tomorrow is a baby shower for a girl who grew up across the street from us. I made one of my signature flannel blankets and I think it turned out pretty well. There were some issues with the bobbin and the tension on the first side, but after I had it adjusted correctly everything went pretty well. The biggest thing with this “pattern” is to be sure to press the seams. Basically you purchase to swatches of flannel. I used to get 1 yard of each usually a pattern and a matching solid. This time I took 1 and 1/4 yards because that makes the blanket more of a square. Also I was not happy with the solid colors that would match and chose a polka dot for the backside. I am really pleased with the result. I think that I will use polka dots or strips in the future rather than solid.

So, why did I put this under the title of de-clutter? Yesterday I spent the better part of the day trying to organize on paper this mess in my room. I finally came to the conclusion that this stuff is not leaving because I am not willing to let go of it in its present state. In other words, I am not willing to throw out my yard or my material or any of the other things that I have piled up. But, on the other hand, if I can turn them into something useful then I can let them go. So, this material is now a baby blanket and well, maybe I will get started on a few other things. I did drag out the stencils this morning when the iron was hot and stamped a couple of dish towels to embroider. That puts about five in the bag and three more to stamp. I need to put a deadline on them and maybe I can get them out of here too. Eventually I will have this place cleaned out.

Let’s see, perhaps a goal of reducing the piles by 10 percent each month might be a reasonable goal. I read a pin this past week that makes the most sense of any clutter free/organizing post I have ever seen. It wasn’t so much about how to throw things out as it was about not bringing more clutter into the mix. I think that is where I need to start. Nothing new until 10 things have been removed. So, the baby blanket you see on top of this post is item 1. Now I only have 9 more to go. Now if I can follow that rule for my craft items, I better do the same for my house plants. I really want to reduce those for this winter. Hmmm what about the canned items?

The getting organized bug

Now that the big sale is over, and we have taken two of the left over boxes out of the house, I have the “bug” to start digging out more and more, but I am not really willing to live in the midst of junk like we had to last week when we were setting up for the sale. I would like to do the rest of the clearing away in a more methodical and organized way. I stopped in at an antique store in Eureka today and mentioned that I have the old wedding dress of a former resident and I would be willing to give it to them if they would take it. The owner said she would take it and check if the museum would like it and if not they would be happy to have it in their store. One more item gone. Now where to start with the rest. I think the first thing I need to do is begin with an itinerary and a list and mostly a deadline. And, I need to just keep picking at it.

Stack of projects in progress

One exciting issue is that James and I have decided to turn the small back bedroom into my sewing/crafting room. We actually discussed taking out the wall between that room and the office, but neither one of us has carried the sledge-hammer up the steps yet. On the other hand, we have agreed that it won’t happen until there is a replacement bedroom in the basement area, so it will probably be about a year before I get that room. My real motivation for switching out that room is so that no one ever has to sleep on those old beds ever again. I found out the hard way this week that they are terrible. They have served their purpose, but really need to go.

Bag of Vic’s material

In the meantime, I will need to do a little better job of organizing the space in my bedroom to house the stuff I have. Actually I am starting to see the best idea would be to get started at completing a few of the projects and moving them on, as in out of the house. The other thing that I need to stop doing is allowing new items in. Since I still have Victoria’s sewing machine, she decided it would be a good idea to bring me her material for me to use in the projects she had planned. Like I need anymore ideas. Perhaps the best place to start would be a totally complete list of everything here. Yikes, that alone could take two months to complete.

Perhaps my plans for tomorrow after laundry, dishes, start the Sunday message and weed in the garden will be an inventory of material and items in progress. Right after that I will map out a plan for world peace because if I can get that list finished, I should be able to accomplish anything.

Room with a view?

James and I are at the North Dakota high school coaches convention and this is the view from our hotel room. Not sure if you would call it much of a view, but this is what it is. They are all currently at the big “social” and I opted to leave after supper. I am not a drinker and was not super impressed when the pitcher of beer was parked in front of me. In the first place the smell does nothing positive to my sinuses and my personal diagnosis is an allergy to the junk. If I were smart I would hope in the car and head to the fabric shop to buy more of the outdoor material that is on sale. We need to recover the cushion on the old swing. Last night I found some great material to cover the spools that we plan to use as tables. It was 60% off then we got a coupon for another 20% off the total. I think I ended up with 3.8 yards for just a bit more than the regular price of one yard. Yah! So I realized that someone needs to measure that cushion and send me the size before I can buy the material. I guess I will be making a call to that someone later this evening. So how are you spending your last week of July?

Ana time

Last night I shared several of the Ana pictures, but not the full business of what I took. She is currently tucked in bed sleeping away. Now there is a rule in our house about never waking a sleeping baby, which we followed sort of, but my personal rule about never wake a sleeping two-year old is super firm. The only way we do that is if we need to leave the house to be someplace at a specific time. Today, she is in bed until she wakes up.

Shark towel

Shark towel

Last night at 3 a.m. she was “hunry” I am not sure if that is how she said it, but I got the point. After a talk with Vic this morning, I found out that it is usually more thirsty than anything. She was also coughing so a little medicine and she was good. Sophia wanted to come and sleep beside us, but was not real sure if it was safe, so she went to the edge of the bed and watched the television cartoon movie with us and we relaxed back to sleep.

Playing

Playing

I know, I know, You are not supposed to use tv to fall asleep, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. For me it relaxes all the anxiety and makes that part of my mind work in a different way so it stops focusing on all the things that make me worried. In other words, “it keeps the boogiemen away!”

Feeding Kelly

Feeding Kelly

Before bedtime, which was before 10 p.m. because we were all tired from our trips, she was playing with all those things that we drug out of the basement. [More information on the post of yesterday] I have a couple of pictures of her feeding dolls and such that I have shared here.

Today I hope to drag out the camera again. I was thinking that we could bake up some cookies or something. Paulina is off throwing today, so we won’t be going to see her throw tomorrow. Hopefully it all works out well, and she will be in the car early tomorrow to get here to spend a couple of days with us. Ana will love that because “Pean” is her favorite. In fact she used to call her grandma because she was confused about which name went where.

kitty pillow sewed again!!

kitty pillow sewed again!!

So, I have broken the ultimate grandmother rule. I am washing the blanket. Here is the thing. The blanket is a match for this pillow that is a cat. The pillow is stuffed and has a head and feet, and well, as things go, the one foot came off and the stuffing came out, so guess who is invited to sew it back together. I should have taken a video of her helping to stuff that pillow. We were tearing off pieces of stuffing from a bag I found in the closet. Hurrah, hurrah!

Another partial clutter removal. It is happening small steps at a time, and being used in a good way, not just tossed out. By the way, have you ever checked on the places where you donate? Not all can use everything they receive and for some there are innumerable hours of man power taken to sort and decided what to keep and what to toss, so when you donate, make sure it isn’t something you should have tossed. Ok, so that was my advertisement for this post.

On the Giraffe

On the Giraffe

After we finished the stuffing and I started on the sewing it back together part, Ana decided to play “horsey riding” with Paulina’s giraffe. Fortunately we had prior permission for this, or we would not be sharing this picture. Ha!! So far we have not heard from Paulina. Ana and I have not done much besides the pillow and eating. We are tired from being up last night, and most of our day has been spent in play and when she asked if she could sit on my lap, there was no way I could be too busy just hold her and watch her play. Also her nap was really just a short one while I was holding her on the rocking chair. We both may have zoned out for a short time, but that was ok. Now to get some supper ready for when Grandpa comes home.

Project completed

img_8928I did not take pictures as I was in progress with this project, but I have three from the completed item. I have been wanting to make this pillow for Jessica for a long time, and was glad to finally get the time. It actually only took me about half an hour to do. The easy part was that I had a pillow form to use for the stuffing and that is also what made it hard. I liked that I didn’t have to stuff it, but sewing around the form in closing it up was tough.

img_8930

This t-shirt comes from the campaign to repeal the corporate farming law that was passed by the legislature. Jess was a pretty big part of that repeal and that is probably another reason she was targeted during her election this fall. I guess it is her gain not to be part of what is happening this session. By the time they get finished gutting education and higher education and anything that benefits the poor then giving tax breaks to the upper end, the state will look like … well no need to continue here. I am sure you get the picture.

The bottom was tough to sew but I finally got it closed.

The bottom was tough to sew but I finally got it closed.

Here Is another  picture of that pillow. And the best part was that she seemed to like it, hurrah! This project was a big win for me. I got rid of one t-shirt and the pillow form, so this counts on my anti clutter campaign, rah, rah!

Year in Review/Planning the New

Today our church held its annual meeting. It was a long day, sort of. We had a regular service with Communion then went to the basement and held our business meeting then joined together in a pot-luck meal. It is always such a good time together. We have a variety of people from their early 50’s to one lady who will be 90 this summer. She is a spry one too. I have always wondered on their ages and today the moderator let the cat out of the bag when he said one was a junior in 1947 when he was a sophomore, and she promptly said, I was a senior. Well, I could do math pretty fast, and then the others started filling in where they fit in the mix. Wow! They are a plethora of knowledge for me. I also intend to gather up all my knitting and other sewing questions for the eldest of the women soon. It seems that any project I am working on, she has already done. Her work is always so meticulous too. What she could teach youngsters, but we just are not quite on the ball enough to learn or to connect those dots. What a waste. And by the way, the picture of the quilt off to the side is one that we made as a group this year, and they presented it to me this year. What a thing this congregation is. I appreciate them more than they can know!!

My new quilt.

My new quilt.

So back to the church thing. Our scriptures today were the Beatitudes from Matthew 5:1-13, then a bit in I Corinthians 1:18-31 and finally I used the Old Testament of Micah 6:1-8 as our focus. I did this with a power-point presentation, which I will not show here. I did that one year and the amount of space it takes is unreal. I showed the power-point and we talked about all the things we had done during the year. Fortunately I had pictures of some of our events. I always seem to forget to take them, and had help this year because my secretary shared some of hers. Then at the end, I added what is below as the finish to our message. Hope it makes some sense for the rest of you, too.

Another view

Another view

Now that we have looked over the past, and maybe even thought about more things than what we say, let’s turn toward the future….

The gospel reading for today was from Matthew and the passage is what we call the Beatitudes. This is where Jesus begins his famous Sermon on the Mt. and he is teaching his disciples and followers so many things. He starts with:  Blessed are the __ for they will____ The one that I always remembered was the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God… In other words those who do what they can to end strife, to prevent harm to someone by another, those are the people who God wants as his children. Certainly a goal to work for.

Mostly as I read these verses, I notice the absence of negatives. Jesus doesn’t teach from the aspect of punishment in this passage. He doesn’t say, Condemned are the liars, the thieves, the murderers, the cheats, the bigots, the…. These words are a stark contrast to the teachings of the Old Testament laws. 

So moving on to the words from Paul today, in this part of the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul seems to be writing in contradictions and if you try to read these verses quickly, it is easy to be confused by them because they seem to be saying the opposite thing all the time. The bottom line of what Paul is writing is that God does not choose the most powerful, or the most beautiful or the best of anything to put at the front of the line or to go about doing his work. Mostly, according to Paul, the ones who are set in front are those who are not quite perfect. (whew—that seems to give me a little hope) God chooses the humble, the lowly, the one who is not quite so, how does my family put it, easy on the eyes… Paul says that God chooses the lesser to be the leader so that no one can boast of their own talents or abilities because it is all about God, and that any boasting should be because of Christ and not because of ourselves.

So this leads us to our focus for today. The scripture that we read last, the ones from the Old Testament seem to be the exact ones for us to think about as we head downstairs to our Annual planning meeting, because that is really what we are doing in the New Business section of the meeting, we are planning what comes next.

The writer of this text obviously understands being nothing more than a lowly sinner. This author realizes that in the eyes of God, no one—no human is worthy of redemption and there is nothing we can give to buy back our salvation. Nothing.

The speaker asks, what can I bring? And he goes on to name some ideas: a calf, ok that is not nearly enough, how about some expensive oil, how about rivers of that oil, that is still not enough

What about my first born child… now this speaker is getting a little warmer, and as we read these words and make them our own, maybe we are getting a little closer. Now maybe we are getting the hint. It is not our first born child that is worthy of the sacrifice, it is God’s first born child that makes the difference. And so what can we do in the end? Nothing except to accept that sacrifice in our place. But then the speaker notes that God does ask something of us. As we accept Jesus as our means to Salvation, God also asks that we: Do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.

As we go to our meeting today, I hope we remember those things and ponder and move and vote to do those things as a congregation. Amen.

 

 

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