Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I was recently reminded of this book and even used it in a devotional earlier today. It’s a really great book. Two of my favorite bits:

On Prayer

“The prayer of the morning will determine the day… The temptations which the working day brings with it will be overcome by this break-through to God. Decisions which our work demands will be simpler and easier when they are made, not in the fear of men, but solely in the presence of God. ‘Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men’ (Col. 3:23). Even routine mechanical work will be performed more patiently when it is done with the knowledge of God and His command. Our strength and energy for work increase when we have prayed God to give us the strength we need for our daily work.”

page 71

“And we may be certain that our prayer will be heard, because it is a response to God’s Word and promise.

page 85

On Meditation

“It is one of the particular difficulties of meditation that our thoughts are likely to wander and go their own way, toward other persons or to some events in our life. Much as this may distress and shame us again and again, we must not lose heart and become anxious, or even conclude that meditation is really not something for us. When this happens it is often a help not to snatch back our thoughts convulsively, but quite calmly to incorporate into our prayer the people and the events to which our thoughts keep straying and thus in all patience return to the starting point of the meditation.”

page 85

Good Stuff

Two weeks into this Coronavirus stuff, and I’m finally taking a day to catch up on all my emails. I found a blog I nearly forgot about, downloaded bank statements, and listened to voicemail my kids left me while I was working.

A lot of folks have extra time on their hands right now, and I’m both sad and glad for us all. Extra time is a gift. Too much extra time, not so much. Double-edged sword.

My favorite part of this staying home business is that the kids and I have a new evening routine. “It’s art time, Mom!” rings out shortly before it’s time for bed. We gather in the classroom and color, work on latch hook rug, or whatever art project we’ve got going on. It turns out, it’s my kids’ favorite too. I had to work late yesterday, and I got a phone call:

Kid: “Mom, you’re missing art time!”
Me: “I’m sorry kiddo. Maybe we can do art time in the morning?”
Kid: “No, we’ll wait for you. Art time can’t actually start until you get here.”

Stalling bedtime? Maybe. Do I care? Not even a little bit.

Opting Out

I read a brief article on this idea of opting out of all this data sharing. This one paragraph that caught my eye:

A good first stop is the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit “dedicated to reimagining privacy in a digital era.” The organization has an extremely detailed opt-out list for data brokers, with the respective links and steps needed to remove your info from the companies’ clutches. More broadly, the WPF put together what it calls the top 10 opt-outs â€” a detailed step-by-step guide to pulling your information from the data brokers of the world.

Mashable

For years now, I’ve utilized the site Catalog Choice to get unsubscribed from LOTS of catalogs and other junk mail. I still have lots to throw in the recycle bin straight away, but it is considerably fewer thanks to this service. One of the first steps in getting organized is to have less stuff to organize! I’m pretty sure that’s why this simplification craze is taking on like wildfire. 🙂

Now, I’m off to the races with the “top 10 opt-outs” to start opting out of some stuff. Happy day.

Sound Machine Woes

I use the White Noise app on my phone, but it sometimes clashes with my alarm clock app, Timely. Just this morning, my alarm went off for 45 minutes before shutting itself off.

Uhmm… yeeaaahh, it went off silently.

I’ve once pondered getting a sound machine for myself but got a simple alarm clock with charging ports instead. There are no challenge questions to turn off the alarm, but the harsh beeping does do that trick. I’m up. I like that little clock.

For the kids, I purchased 3 of these HoMedics sound machines. They did ok at first, but then started having issues. I reviewed this item on Bed, Bath, & Beyond’s website with 2 stars, not recommended. When it worked, it was great. However, it started having issues after about 6 months of use. Now, I’m going to need 3 more machines! Save your money and get a better sound machine from the start. I don’t know what that machine is, yet.

If only I could convince the kids to switch over the app on their devices! I may try that angle again. Spending $150 or more on sound machines is not my idea of fun.

*None of these links are affiliate links.

Popular for Sinks and Showers

I started making these super simple washcloths and they’ve become very popular! I’ve been commissioned to make them and had many family members request them as gifts. They are made from the polyester scrubby “yarn” and are single crocheted all the way with a 5 mm hook.

Variegated Purple Washcloth

The small size (4″ square) is for the sink. They are great little scrubbers that rinse clean and can be washed daily – no need to worry about sponge germs! I make them medium (6″ square) or large (8″ square) for use in the shower instead of a loofa. They’re machine washable, and you can soak them in a bleach/water solution without damaging the colors or fibers if they ever do get a funk.

I try to make them square, but sometimes they get a little character like my latest washcloth pictured above. I’ve also experimented with making them with large holes in each corner so you could hang it on a hook in the shower, but it turns out to be extra work for nothing. The weave moves about and you can hang it on a hook without making a hole specifically for hanging.

I love making this, so I guess it’s a good thing they’re becoming my most requested item.

First Oval

A while back, I switched my bathroom sink’s hand soap from liquid to bar. With the bar, came a soap dish. With that soap dish, came water circles on my counter. Call me crazy (and I might be), but I really don’t like those rings!

So, I decided to learn how to crochet an oval. I’ve never done it before. My first oval turned out kind of warpy, but I like it and I think it’ll do the job.

Here it is in it’s place:

I’m really quite pleased with this perfectly imperfect little creation. Now, I need to make another one and see if I can make it without that giant hole and maybe even a little bit less warped.

Courage

I read this article once, and then again. The second time, I shared it out on Twitter. My IFTTT routines kick my tweets to my Evernote journal. I saw that note this morning, and read it again. This article by Ken Chitwood really resonates with me – perhaps because it takes deep courage to raise kids, especially children with special needs.

A few excerpts:

“When most people think of courage, they think of bravery, fearlessness, or feats of super-heroic valor. And yet, despite what we think or imagine, courage is not about being impervious to fear, pain, or struggle. Instead, courage is something that emerges out of fear, pain, and struggle.

In fact, courage cannot exist without adversity.”

“What we see in these moments is courage. True courage. Courage forged in fear, built after burnout, and worked out in the wilderness of anxiety, pain, and loss…

All of these difficult life experiences and tragedies threaten the very integrity of ourselves, our beings, our souls. At critical crossroads in our lives, we feel the weight of the world crushing in on us and we face a choice: to pick ourselves up and carry on in courage, or turn in on ourselves and shrivel up into the dust, disappointment, and despair.

Instead of trying to avoid anxiety or sidestep struggle, we should embrace these moments in our lives as opportunities for courage to be developed, practiced, and put to use.

Reflecting on the idea of courage, Paul Tillich wrote that true courage is not something that removes or rejects anxiety, but engages it and takes it into itself. Basically, Tillich argued, courage is embracing fear — not avoiding it, ignoring it, or pretending it doesn’t exist.”

“When faced with the great challenges of life, we will need to pull on reservoirs of courage, miracles of audacity that emerge from our past experiences where fear has been transformed into faith, loathing into love, and hardship into hope.”

The entire article is published on THRED and excerpted on Ken’s blog. 

Seal the Door

My son had been playing an game all day yesterday – something about nuclear fallout and having a shelter. His room was the shelter. The kids were running around the house and pretending stuff was poison laughing and playing. It was great! At one point, I even played along – “Before the nuclear blast hits, come eat your lunch.”

Fast forward to bed time, my son’s room looks like a bomb had gone off! I commented on such and he gave me this chagrined look, “Well, I kind of had to because I was scrounging for parts to make my door seal so this could be the nuclear shelter.”

He rigged a light switch from grandpa to pieces from his electronics kit and taped it to the wall next to his door! That little green light on the orange thingy actually turns on! I was cracking up and impressed. This kid.

My Kind of Ordinary

Bunnies!

My daughter built a bunny habitat complete with shredded paper. She’s been diligently taking care of her bunnies nearly all day. She’s even taken one to bed with her tonight.

Math and Magic

My oldest son spent nearly the entire morning programming and drawing in Scratch a meter to reach his goal of purchasing the outrageous builder subscription on Roblox. He did loads of math learning how to divide his monetary goal up evenly, and how long it’d take him mowing lawns while giving to God and saving.

He then moved onto making magic wands (or swords?) with Legos. That sweet boy tried to wave his wand to make all my pain go away.

Imagination to Design

My younger son and I had a lovely conversation at bedtime revolving around how to go about designing things. He now aspires to this Roblox subscription and is noodling what shirts to make. How do you imagine something and make it real?

… and Poop

I get asked a lot of questions throughout the day. However, my favorite question, by far, was this: “Does God poop?”

I responded, “No, but if he does, it’s perfect.”