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We are to confess our faults to one another and to pray for one another. So I think I ought to confess that for several years now my home filing system has been composed of an inappropriately sized moving box, a few manila envelopes leftover from things that had been mailed to me, white envelopes of the same basic size from different mailings, dilapidated and unlabeled folders which have somehow fallen into my hands, small envelopes which seemed like the perfect place to tuck spare things in, a few plastic file carriers of different colors which seem too pretty to use, a 31 day organiser the pockets of which contain all sorts of interesting papers, an useful clear plastic folder from the Red Cross and so on.

The result is that most of the papers which ought to be neatly and regularly filed wind up strewn about me on the floor every couple months while I try to figure out what belongs where and how to group it all accordingly, under the great mental and emotional strain that it necessarily involves for certain personality types to sit on a floor surrounded by papers.

And so I am a very bad secretary; useless in a secretarial crisis. The vital receipts are likely to be found, or simply lost, anywhere.  I practice Avoidance when it comes to needing to look for them.  And this is very, very bad.

I feel that if I only had file folders and labels and markers and a magic box I could unleash the awesome and mighty filing force within. Terrible and unconstrainable would be my filing deeds. But then I pause to remember that once before at a temp job, having unfettered access to these powerful implements and a whole wall of business files, I found my inner filing freak; and it was shortly thereafter that things began to go badly betwixt myself and the office admin . . .

I truly do feel a bit despairing about this aspect of my nature, among those other aspects which do not recognise the knife sharpener on a knife block, make rice automatically when daydreaming about something else in the kitchen, and so on. I must find a way to be more practical. I must.

I Resolve to Be A Better Practical Person, At Once. And I am willing to smite the back of my own hand with the clam prodder (ie, knife sharpener) if I do not shape up immediately.


Last Saturday, I attempted to take a picture of an illustration of Alfred J. Crocodile — a most distinguished crocodile in the annals of literature; but looking most unfortunately, in a floral blue print, more like alien ectoplasm than anything else on earth — and today, when I tried to turn my camera on, it had gone completely berserk: so Lauren will have to take it on trust that the snow leopard is wearing his best cravat, and sipping most politely at a cup of her birthday tea, entertaining the rest of us (the baby lion is also present) with anecdotes about the curious habits of Northern Animals.  We are having a beautiful Red Rooibos tea (the baby lion can’t have anything else) and little salted almonds.  I have told R. Aloysius and Baby L that the salted almonds are dried wildebeest spleens, because you know they are carnivores.

Dear Lauren, you are much loved, and so celebrated today, as a very special effect of God’s goodness.  May our God bless you this year.

My name is Laura, and I have a fear of appliances large and small. I am sure I will die by electrocution while vacuuming, or (pertinent to today’s topic) start a fire by mishandling the exhaust duct of a dryer. True, many people run their households less fearfully than I do and are still alive to continue scaring me with their relative recklessness, but my paranoia persists.

After a neighbor had a dryer fire last year (two doors down; we had just started to smell the smoke and wonder what was up when the fire trucks started coming in), I have been on the lookout for any signs of lint blockages in our own machine. I’ve been seeing less lint on the pull-out lint screen, and thought that possibly things were taking longer to dry, so I was forced to confront my fears of the dryer in general, solely to settle the much larger fear of an actual fire starting in our house.

First, I had to consult several “how-to” guides online. Unfortunately none of their exhaust ducts looked like our set-up, which turns out to be flexible foil prone to breakage and not recommended by one website. It is also way too long for the space and so it snakes around itself behind the machine, which I also read was not recommended. Okay then. The how-to’s all talked about unscrewing the duct from the machine, which seemed straightforward. Also I was to unplug the machine from its huge outlet. This scared me for some reason. It actually scared me to pull the plug out of the wall and see how huge the prongs were. Imagine what the amount of electricity running through that thing would do if it came into contact with a living person…!

At least now I could not possibly be electrocuted. I stared down at what looked a shiny, oversized colon and took a deep breath. Oh yes. Not only was my mission to clear out any lint stuck in the duct, but I had to vacuum the horrendous mess of dust that had accumulated under and around the washer and dryer. My airway already felt scratchy and irritated, so I ran for the OSHA-approved respirator mask I got back when the swine flu hype was everywhere. It helped.

Yes, I was in fact nervous. About cleaning the dryer.

I went to remove the flexible duct and was surprised to find that it was not attached to the appliance by screws, or by anything. Just tenuously perched over the hole. I briefly wondered what I would do when I was done cleaning it. But in looking down the duct with a flashlight, I was happy to discover a sizable ball of lint, as well as what was causing the rattling noise in back of the dryer: sunflower seeds. Maybe a small handful of them. These would be about 4 years old minimum. Cleaning all that out was very satisfying, but trying to push the dryer back into place without the duct falling out of the hole it was never attached to…not satisfying.

With a load of clean laundry sitting in the washer and not getting any fresher, I hastily consulted the collective expertise of the Puritanboard (did you know Puritans were appliance experts?) and received a prompt answer from our own Lauren’s husband, who, on the Handy Around the House spectrum, is as far as possible from yours truly. I was enlightened and emboldened by Vic’s succinct explanation of what needed to be done; I went to Home Depot and procured a 4-4 1/2-inch dryer duct clamp. Within 15 minutes (and only that long because I have two left hands even with a screwdriver) the problem was solved and the dryer has been happily humming away all afternoon. I have to say I am quite relieved to have that chore out of the way. Next up, and far more intimidating: cleaning the refrigerator coils…

I posted this on my blog and hope it is a thought provoking post. I realize from the comments I got there that there are numerous scenarios and circumstances which  make our upbringings and our own raising of families different. I have left the post as it was, but wanted to acknowledge, as was discussed in those comments, that no matter what mistakes are made GOD can and does change heart and lives.

This is only my thoughts on this one quote which I think is true for us as we raise children for the Lord.

Roots and Wings

“Good parents give their children Roots and Wimg”

Roots, to be firmly established and grounded in love. and wings to fly and reach heights beyond your expectations.

Psalm 1 tells us that the man is blessed who does not walk in the council of the ungodly, nor stands with sinners nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But rather delights in and meditates on the law of the Lord.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

The roots of a strong faith, a loving family, parents committed to one another,
enable a child to grow into a grounded and confident adult. To dare to dream dreams and know that the home team is cheering. Always supporting and encouraging. This child reaches for goals that we as parents may have never dreamed of.
WingsSee how the Eagle soars! Such grace, such freedom, such confidence! He has trust in his abilities, his skill and he knows he has a firm and protected base to return to. He dares to soar out beyond the line of vision and try new pastures.

As parents, though we have invested many years, many tears, many prayers into the raising of our children, our job is not done until we have rooted and grounded them firmly enough to let them go. They are going to make mistakes, they are going to make decisions we do not agree with. They know what we believe on things. that our life and faith is grounded in the Word of God, yet they will at times make contrary choices. But if they know that we are behind them, upholding them in prayer, loving them, then they will spread their wings and fly!

Ah, there are reams that could be written about the does and don’ts of child rearing. From catechising to spanking, not supporting our children in sinful lifestyles, not holding on, not letting go,….. but just for now think of

Roots and Wings!
Sorry the formatting changed a ittle in transit!

Last year my mom passed on some nice decorative curtain brackets with all the requisite hardware, and I bought some coffee-colored curtains in hopes that we could block out some of the intense sunlight and heat coming through our bedroom during the day. I never got around to putting them up, and upon experiencing our first 80 degree day yesterday, I remembered this project. Problem is, I’ve never put up curtains, save for a very easy tension-rod setup in the kitchen. So I’m reading a tutorial and I think I’ve got it, except there’s one very tempting shortcut I wonder if I could get away with. There are already rather large holes someone before us used for installing their curtain brackets. I was planning to take the screws I have to Home Depot, get some plastic wall anchors that fit, and put them in the existing holes. But there is only one hole on each side of the windows, not two aligned vertically, as my how-to articles say I need and like my brackets allow for.

If I already had an awl (whatever that is) or a drill, I’d go ahead and make new holes for the wall anchors. But I don’t, and I was sorta hoping not to have to buy one. Can I get away with either a) letting the brackets rest on only one screw or b) using something else to create a hole in the wall? I’m thinking probably not. If it came to it I guess I could borrow a neighbor’s drill. . .

Post-Home Depot Update:

Good news and bad news. Bad news is, as always, I made the guys at Home Depot laugh. I mentioned how the previous renter’s holes in the wall were still there, and wondered if I could just scoot my drywall anchors in there? To which came chuckles, and something like “No way, and you should really spackle and —– them before long.” I forget what the second term was. I vaguely know what spackling is. Anyway, the GOOD news is that I got my drywall anchors, and I *don’t* need a drill to get them in! So I will make two new holes on each side of each window and hopefully have our curtains up today! Next project will be to find a nice duvet cover, because part of what made me wait so long to do this is the horrendous fact that our summer comforter is also dark brown. I like being reminded of coffee, and I like certain shades of brown, but moderation in everything. . .

Platonically but sincerely,

So I made a 100% whole wheat bread today from Artisan Breads Everyday, and it is fabulous. I never thought I would say that. I used a white whole wheat flour from Trader Joe’s (many people speculate that their house brand, at $2.99/5 lbs, is milled by the same people who provide the same flour for King Arthur Flour, who charge upwards of $5/5 lbs). White whole wheat, according to Reinhart, is “slightly less bitter” than traditional, or red whole wheat. I think he understates the matter. A few years ago I tried a whole wheat bread and it rose like a brick and tasted not much better. I haven’t had the courage to try again until now. This bread tastes great in its own right. As a 100% whole wheat bread, it is miraculous. And I am told that using a bit of vital wheat gluten will make it rise better and have a more open crumb. I would be content to eat this bread as it is for the rest of my days, but I have to say I am curious how much better it could get with that ingredient, so I am now on a quest to find it.

These pictures were taken before most of my fellow bloggers here were even born. In 1977, we bought our land and then moved here in May. We loved living by the creek and camping out. We first stayed in a tent then moved into a tipi after Bill got the poles cut. We stayed in the tipi the rest of the summer till Christmas while Bill built us a small log cabin using logs salvaged from an old cabin. The trees are all grown up now and our house is bigger, but you can get a sense of the secluded hollow where we live. In the picture of the cabin, you can see the top field where we used to graze our goats. We built onto the house when we were expecting Josh who’s now 29.

More housekeeping:

A phenomenon has been occurring, seemingly at random, but perhaps with some purposeful variation which has not yet been manifest to mortal man: when one clicks upon a post through the reader, comments from other posts appear.  In my own attempts to scientifically define and possibly to synthetically reproduce the anomaly, it generally brings up comments to Laura’s birthday post.  (Happy Birthday Laura)  It also likes to play dead, and will suddenly allow you to see all the proper comments for any number of posts on end.  I can only conclude that we are, in fact, being Watched By a Duck: a fear I have long had, and which evidently has come true.  If you can think of any other explanation let me know, but mine has a lot going for it.

A few years back our pastor’s close friends visited our church. The father’s name was David. His oldest son had met a girl named Danielle and was serious about her. David told us about a conversation he had had with Danielle when he was first getting to know her. In the midst of the conversation, he felt like the Lord prompted him to ask her a question. It didn’t seem to him like anything very profound, but he asked it anyway. He asked her how she was feeling. She said that she was very tired. He asked her why and she explained that her friend had called her late the night before in great distress so she had gone to try to help her. After being with her friend for several hours, she had returned home and had to stay up late studying. That simple question told him much about his future daughter-in-law who made time for her hurting friend even when other responsibilities could have kept her from helping her.

This passage from 1 Timothy 5 came to mind even though it’s talking of a Christian widow that the church should support, but it is also a model for a godly woman.
v. 9-10 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.

Found this quote by George Mueller interesting:

“The Lord taught me that the first business I needed to attend to every day was to have my spirit happy in the Lord.  My first concern shouldn’t be thinking of ways to serve and glorify the Lord, but rather, how to get my spirit into a happy state, and how to nourish my inner man.” 

What do you all think?  At first I was kind of taken aback-first concern shouldn’t be thinking of ways to serve and glorify?  Isn’t this the purpose to which he created us?  To glorify him?  But then I remembered “glorify Him AND enjoy Him forever.”  I’ve often heard (from my father) that the best way to glorify God is to enjoy Him forever, or “Glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it…

July 2018
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