Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Originally posted in November 2008, and it still one of my favorites.
Read and give thanks.
~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to follow the admonition of the popular hymn and "Count Your Many Blessings." Here is a great story of thankfulness:
Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie were Dutch women and devout Christians who hid Jews in their home during World War II, until the sisters were captured by the Gestapo and imprisoned. When they were transferred to Ravensbruck, the women's concentration camp, and moved into new quarters, their barracks were crawling with fleas. Corrie and Betsie had always been scrupulously clean and these vermin were abhorrent to them. Corrie tells the story:
"Here! And here's another one!" I wailed, "Betsie, how can we live in such a place!" "Show us. Show us how." It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie.
"Corrie!" she said excitedly. "He's given us the answer! Before we asked, as He always does! In the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!" I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. ... "Here it is: 'Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all... . Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus--(1 Thessalonians 5:14-18)..... .'"
"That's it, Corrie! That's his answer. 'Give thanks in all circumstances!' That's what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!" I stared at her, then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.
"Such as?" I said.
"Such as being assigned here together."
I bit my lip. "Oh yes, Lord Jesus!"
"Such as what you're holding in your hands." I looked down at the Bible. "Yes! Thank you, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank you for all the women, here in this room, who will meet you in these pages."
"Yes," said Betsie, "Thank you for the very crowding here. Since we're packed so close, that many more will hear!"
She looked at me expectantly. "Corrie!" she prodded. "Oh, all right. Thank you for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed, suffocating crowds."
"Thank you," Betsie went on serenely, "for the fleas and for --" The fleas! This was too much. "Betsie, there's no way even God can make me grateful for a flea."
"'Give thanks in all circumstances,'" she quoted. "It doesn't say, 'in pleasant circumstances.' Fleas are part of this place where God has put us."
And so we stood between piers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.
But as events turned out, it was Betsie who was right. Both Corrie and Betsie were diligent missionaries, constantly bearing testimony to God, bringing the hope of Christ to women trapped in that dreadful place. Betsie was too sick to go out with the brigades of women workers into the forest where the women had to gather wood. She was assigned to knit stockings for German soldiers; and because there were so many women, Betsie was in a group that had to work in the barracks instead of the work room. She was a lightning knitter who completed her quota ... long before noon. She kept our Bible with her and spent hours each [afternoon] reading aloud from it, moving from [sleeping] platform to platform.
One evening I got back to the barracks late... . Betsie was waiting for me, as always, so that we could wait through the food line together. Her eyes were twinkling. "You're looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself," I told her.
"You know we've never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room," she said. "Well-I've found out." That afternoon, she said, there'd been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they'd asked the supervisor to come and settle it. "But she wouldn't. She wouldn't step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?" Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: "Because of the fleas! That's what she said, 'That place is crawling with fleas.'"
My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie's bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for. (Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place, [New York: Bantam Books, 1971].)
Regarding thankfulness, President Monson has noted: "Gracias, danke, merci -- whatever language is spoken, 'thank you' frequently expressed will cheer your spirit, broaden your friendships, and lift your lives to a higher pathway as you journey toward perfection. There is a simplicity -- even a sincerity -- when “thank you” is spoken." (Source: President Thomas S. Monson, Think to Thank, Ensign (CR), November 1998, p. 17.)
Here's a website where you can learn how to write "Thank You" in over 465 different languages: http://www.elite.net/~runner/jennifers/thankyou.htm
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I like baskets. They are rustic, functional, light-weight (which is important when you move every four years), and decorative. Many years ago an acquaintance, who just happened to be an interior decorator, tipped me off to these basketry advantages.
Fast forward a decade or so, in Montgomery, Alabama for the summer while Bob went to a military school. The wife of one of the instructors at this school invited me over one day to make a basket. Heck, why not. It turned out to be enjoyable, and the basket is one of the best I've done.
Fast forward another decade or so, on the island of Okinawa. Another acquaintance makes baskets and is also giving classes to others interested. Well, sign me up.
This is one of the first baskets I made, after the one in Alabama. It's called a jelly jar basket because theoretically it holds two jars of jelly. Mine holds travel brochures and maps. Maybe someday when I'm tired of crochet and baskets and seminary I'll take up scrap booking and and put all the brochures in that instead of a baseket.
This basket maker on Okinawa carried a charming tote with her all the time, a basket. I wanted to advance to the point where I could make one just like it. Before I could do that, she explained, my shaping skills had to be pretty good or it could turn out looking like a bottle. She was right. The above basket - don't recall if it has a name, was one of my first attempts at controlling shape as I weave. I'm rather proud of this one. The picture doesn't really do it justice, and sadly it attracted some mildew and had to be bleached as you can see around the bottom. It holds some stuffed animals in my living room when the occasional child stops in.
I made this one at a unit spouses function for - guess what? - the Fourth of July.
I think there were some other baskets along the way, but finally my instructor gave me permission to make the tote I wanted. This picture totally does the basket justice. I used it for about four years as my purse, my lunch tote, travel carry on, everything. As you can see there are weavers broken out of it, the rim is in bad need of repair, and the handle is faded. It has been given emeritis status, until today when I took it down off the top of the schränk in our bedroom for photographing. I think it's time for some cleaning and repairs.
Fast forward a couple more decades. I'm still interested in baskets and weaving them, but until just recently hadn't found a good source for materials. When we lived in the states I just always thought that Hobby Lobby or Michael's would carry them. Guess what?
Early in the summer I decided to look on line, see what was out there for basketry and **woo-who** there are lots of resources! I ordered a kit, it came in under a week, and then I got on a plane, leaving it behind. I ordered the same kit while I was there thinking my two daughters and I could make the three baskets together. Silly me - one has three boys and the other had a brand new baby girl. I enjoyed watching busy little boys fill my tub of soaking reeds with Matchbox cars and garden tools, and Tracee and Kelly got a basket each out of my efforts.
|Kelly chose not to have a handle on the basket she made, so I carried it home with me and made this basket with it and some other scraps that I brought home from Colorado.|
We have had such perfect weather this September and in to October. My sunny patio was calling me out. I pulled out what reed I had left and made these two. It is my first attempt at making my own pattern. The larger one I made using the measurements of some shelf baskets we bought at IKEA. I was really worried at first, but I LOVE the way it turned out! Even the caning on the rim, which I don't like to use, turned out well (and I had exactly enough!).
This smaller one will take it's place next to my mousepad and keyboard to hold all the little things I use all the time that tend to end up loose on my desk - glue sticks, White Out, marking crayons, my glasses, an eraser, thumb drives.... It was one of the hardest first rows I've eve done! The one-inch reed is hard to manipulate for the first row, but it, too, turned out so good.
The one draw back to basketry is that unless you buy kits - and I feel my skill level is beyond kits - is that you have to buy reed in such large quantities that in order to make my next basket I have to purchase about $90 worth of supplies. The advantage is that shipment will keep me weaving for several months.
I should mention that the very first basket I made, a medium melon basket, dipped in a walnut shell soak, with a wrapped handle, is still one of the best I ever did. I wanted to include it's picture in this entry and it's not where I thought it was. I can't imagine where it has gone to, and won't stop hunting till I find it.
Thanks for listening.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
After three tries by my #2 daughter Kelly, we have a grand girl! Casey Rebecca Flenard, born to Rob and Tracee (#1 daughter) on July 7, 2011. It's been love at first sight. She's a beauty.
Casey and Momma
Meeting her cousin, Cohen, for the first time.
Casey is already a Flyer's fan and has her own kid-sized hockey stick.
Getting cozy with Grandma
Papa Rob is absolutely smitten with this baby girl.
And so is cousin Coby.
Here are all the grands--Coby, Carter, Casey, Cohen
(And can I just say that getting this picture was a little bit like herding cats?)
(And can I just say that getting this picture was a little bit like herding cats?)
Grammy and Casey
"We are a happy family." Rob, Tracee, Casey
Monday, February 14, 2011
In no particular order, my Valentine, Bob Clinton
On a skateboard
On the computer
With the grandboy and the granddog
There are no words.
Touching the lives of a lot of kids
...as a swim coach.
The latest in a long winning streak,
EFSL Champions, 2011
(seven of the last eight years)
And a great grandpa.
I love you, Bob Clinton.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Monday, January 3, 2011
My latest crochet blanket is completed. Actually I finished it several months ago but I didn't want to post the picture until after Christmas.
Our daughter-in-law Lindsay is our ultra patriotic, ultra conservative girl. Her favorite colors are red, white and blue. Her wedding pictures were taken in front of an impressive stained glass window of the flag at the Bob Dole School of International Studies, University of Kansas. Even her Christmas tree - and after the Fourth of July, Christmas is her favorite holiday - is decorated in red, white and blue. Had she not been medically disqualified, she would be an Air Force officer along with Chris. Instead she is the poster child for officers' wives and "support our troops." So when I saw this yellow-ribbon pattern I knew it was for Lindsay. Merry Christmas to our star spangled girl.
July 4, 2006