Sunday, July 01, 2018

Short Update

Just a short update since I haven't blogged in a long time.  I'm still trying to finish an independent study class.  I must confess that I should have been finished months ago, but I just haven't been motivated, and I get distracted easily.  I have to finish by August 3, 2018.  If I don't finish, I don't think I will sign up for any more classes.  I have only 8 years to finish my degree, and I've already wasted part of it with only two classes.  I have so many other things in my life that I want to be doing.  Wish me luck on finishing this one though.  I have a busy month ahead of me and am not sure I can finish this.

I got called for jury duty.  But I have TWO reunions this month and don't want to miss either.  I'm hoping the judge will have pity on me.  I will happily do it another time, but this month is horrible for me. 

My garden is growing well but is full of weeds.  I've been going out several nights a week to hoe and pull weeds, but there is still a lot to be done.  I've been putting down grass clippings and it is helping, but I don't have enough for the entire garden yet.  But I have some zuchinni already growing, tons of basil, and a few green tomatoes.  I also was able to pick about 3/4 cup of raspberries.  I've neglected them, so they aren't producing a lot.  Blackberries will come on soon.  My apricots all froze, but I have a lot of peaches growing. 

We have been volunteering at the missionary training center.  We volunteer in the teaching resource center where the missionaries use Chinese to teach us.  It's the best part of my week, and we can feel the Spirit for days afterwards.  We met three Elders who have been assigned to Myanmar.  Myanmar only lets in 8 missionaries at a time, and three of the current ones are going home, so these Elders will replace them.  True modern day pioneers!

I visit a woman from church whose husband just had surgery this week.  She asked for help with evening meals for her.  She gets home late in the evening, and often is too tired to cook.  So we just serve up one portion of whatever we are eating and put it in her fridge that is in her garage (she gave us the code).  She asked for meals every 2 or 3 days.  She eats like a bird, so often makes a meal stretch 2 days.  I've tried to give her really healthy, fresh food.  I need ideas, so please leave a comment if you have any!  I think I will do a strawberry, spinach salad next.

We finally got a new mattress after 23 years of sleeping on the same one.  Granted, it was a really good mattress when we bought it, but after 23 years it was dilapidated.  But this new mattress is quite a bit softer and we are having a difficult adjustment.  I think we will adjust though, and actually, it has been really nice to not have pressure pain in my joints.  We also got a headboard for our bed.  We bought it used, but it is in great condition.  It looks great!  We haven't had a headboard for a long time.  I don't know why, I guess we always had other priorities. 

My husband and I have been following Qanon.  We started back in November with the first drops.  It has been a very historic movement, and we are praying for those who are fighting the deep state and evil that have encompassed our nation.  July is a big month for Q, and the enemy is going to fight back hard, so watch out for:  "false flags" that try to distract the public and the media, and for violence that is strategically organized to try to thwart the efforts of those fighting the deep state.  July is the big month.  Have you been "red-pilled"? 

I'm looking for pockets of time to make more youtube videos.  I really want to start making videos for my grandkids.  Like, maybe just a video of my husband and I playing with playdough.  My husband calls it our "Mr. Rogers" videos.  :)  I also would like him to make some videos explaining some things for our family.  We are thinking about it a lot, we just need that pocket of time.

Well, that's just my little update for the month.  I will blog again when I get in the blogging mood again.  :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Vlogging Channel

So I have started my youtube channel, although I don’t have a ton of videos up yet.  I have one ready to upload, but don’t have the internet connectivity here in China to upload this longer video.  I will upload it when I return home later this month.  But for now, I do have a few shorter videos.  I’m learning as I go; such as that I need tostop smacking my lips so much when I talk.  Lol. I doubt most guys would be interested in it, but who knows?  Anyway, it’s a new medium for me.  :)

Click here to view it.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


I kind of went through a burn out period with blogging.  I think it became more of a chore than a pleasur e.  I had been part of a consortium, and had to write about a particular topic each week.  (eek!  It's thundering outside!  I hope it turns to snow in the mountains.  We REALLY need more snowpack.  I'm praying for that.)  Anyway, I think blogging became a series of assignments instead of a brain dump.  I prefer the brain dump. 

Lately I've been watching different youtube channels.  It's made me want to try my hand at it.  I'm not doing this to earn money, and frankly don't think I would ever get tons of viewers anyway.  But I have so much that I would like to record, and I have a lot of different ideas for vlogs.  I don't know the difference between a vlog...where you kind of carry the camera around all day...and the other kind of video where you record how to do something.  What do you call that?  Anyway, I might have a little of both, but I won't be the type to record my entire life.  That would be the most boring channel on youtube.  ;) 

Anyway, I did start the channel, and I named it "A Piece of My Mind".
I tried to do a youtube search to find it but didn't really see it.  So I guess I need to look more carefully at how it is named. 

The one thing I still need to learn how to do is edit my videos.  I have one I just finished on how to make paper beads.  But it's way too long and there are a lot of things I need to edit out anyway.  I added a couple of videos that I have posted on here before.  Anyway, we will see how this goes.  Check it out!  Subscribe if you are interested in seeing what else I post.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Quiet Book

Our church group here in China had a baby shower for a lady in our group today.  Earlier this week I got the idea that I could make a small quiet book for her.  I worked on it a couple of hours every day and finished it the day before the shower.  For me, this is playing.  I really need to start one for one of my grandchildren, but I decided to do this small one first.  These are all peek a boo pages.  I kind of pooped out when I made the cover, so didn't put a lot of work in to it.  But I think it turned out okay.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Learning to Listen

I've been thinking lately about how reactive I am to those in my church who have differing beliefs from mine.  I really need to change this.  I need to learn to listen instead of reacting.  I had an online disagreement with a blogger a few years ago.  She is a member of my religion, but has very differing views from mine.  At the time, she said some things that really upset me, and I reacted strongly.  I decided to go to her blog today for the first time in years, and I read that she has quit attending our church.  She said that she felt it was better for all involved because she reacts strongly to comments made by some people at church whose beliefs differ from her's.  I get that.  I do that.  I am just like her, although we are on different ends of the spectrum.

I reacted strongly to her declarations on her blog.  I think my biggest problem was that I worried that some people who aren't educated about our religion would think that her views represented church doctrine.  I was worried that some people might be led away from the doctrine.  So I reacted strongly, but she has admitted that she also reacts to those whose beliefs differ from hers.  She had difficulty hearing certain comments at church that went against her deeply held personal beliefs.  I think we two are alike in that way.

I wish I could learn to just listen and discuss intelligently without reacting.  I actually have that ability in other situations.  I've many times gone to visit families from church and have been exposed to things in their life that weren't in line with church beliefs.  I didn't over react in that situation.  I tried to be tactful and understanding.  I tried to accept them at the level where they are in their understanding.  So why can't I do that all the time?  Maybe I expect more from people who I feel are better educated about church beliefs?  I don't know...I'm still thinking about this.

One area that I have always struggled with is feminism in the church.  While I believe that women should be equally respected, I have always felt that the feminist movement sought to tear down the role of men.  I have never liked the man-bashing that I have witnessed.  But recently I have been thinking about how the feminists actually have helped us to have conversations that we wouldn't have had without them.  Because of their pushing, the church has taken extra effort to have a conversation about the role of women in the church.  While I am not one of those advocating for women to be given the Priesthood, I do appreciate that we are taking more time to discuss the role of women.  That would not have happened without the feminist efforts.

The same situation has come about because of the LGBT community.  Although I don't agree with some of their demands in the church, I think they have raised some important questions, and they have opened conversations.  They have also helped us to look at our relations with members who are LGBT. While I may not always like the format used to bring about those conversations, I think the questions they have asked, and the conversations we are having because of them are actually very helpful.

So why is it so hard for me to just listen to their concerns without over reacting?  This is what I want to learn.  I want to learn how to really listen to what is in their heart, regardless of whether or not I agree.  I guess what I'm really wanting to do is become more open minded.  I need to learn to really understand differing points of view within my religion without becoming reactive.  I actually think I'm better at this with politics than religion.  But I should be better at this with my religion because there is room for everyone at church.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

My New Obsession

When I was about 13 years old, my mother gave me a small book of wall paper samples and taught me how to make paper beads.  I remember that at the time, I didn't really see the point.  I think it was partially because they were unfinished.  It was as popular craft back in her younger life, and it was particularly common to use wall paper samples.  I don't know if you can even get those samples today.  Recently I began researching how to make paper beads and I have become obsessed!

I watched a really good video on youtube about making paper beads.  I have to say that many of the videos I watched were not really that good.  But this one is excellent.  If you are interested, here is the link.  Click here.  I learned some really excellent techniques from her.  I have watched every video I could find, and have really come to the conclusion that I need to make a video too.  My main thinking is that I have taken what I have learned and now have put my own twist on it.  Also, I was so obsessed that I would have gladly welcomed another good video.

So three weeks ago I came to China again with my husband for his work.  I brought several things to do while I'm here, but the one thing I've spent most of my time doing is making paper beads!  I made a necklace for myself before I left home, and now I plan on making some for gifts for others.  I actually can't believe how many I've made here in China.  But they are turning out so beautiful, and I think the necklaces will be pretty.

A week or so ago I went with a friend to the pearl market here in Su Zhou.  I did buy some inexpensive pearls for gifts, but honestly, I prefer my paper beads to real pearls!  The lady I bought from also sold me some strands of beads to take back to use in making the necklaces.  I certainly couldn't buy them that cheap back in the States!  I also bought some black necklace cords.  But enough talking, let me show you some pictures of the beads I've been making!

I bought a small plastic box to put my beads in.  Then I decided I really needed some way to sort them by color, so I made paper boxes to store them in, inside the box.  I also bought a plastic box with organizing sections in it, but it didn't have enough walls, so I made some out of paper.  Here is that box:
Here is a picture of the smaller box with the paper boxes inside.  (You will notice I also keep a chart of the color patterns inside the lids):

You use permanent markers to color the beads, and just before I came to China, I bought some metallic ones.  They really make nice beads!

 I decided I wanted to make a patriotic one like one I saw online, so I made these beads.  I will also use the red and white ones in the picture of the plastic box above.
Here is a picture of the one I made for myself.  I added small clear beads in between, and also found some larger pink beads at a good price, so mixed them in too.

Now I can't wait to get home and glaze them so I can start stringing them!  :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Caution: Geek Post: My Harry Potter Life

I was just watching an interview of Oprah talking with J.K. Rowling several years ago.  It really made me think about my own experience with the Harry Potter books.  Jo Rowling mentioned in the interview that one day she was walking down the street and a young girl popped out of no where and said, "You were my childhood!"  Well, if I met Jo Rowling walking down the street, I would have to say, "You were my second childhood!"  I wish that she had written Harry Potter when I was a child, but I have enjoyed the books just as much as an adult.

The first time I heard of Harry Potter was listening to NPR.  They were interviewing someone about children's books, and she mentioned this new series called "Harry Potter", and briefly talked about the plot of the books.  At that time, we were preparing to go on a family trip from California to Utah, so I was interested to try reading the Harry Potter book to entertain my children on the trip.  When I pulled out the book in the car, my older children were quite insulted and insisted that they could read for themselves, and didn't want me reading aloud.  But I wanted to have the family experience of reading a book together, so I told them that since my youngest child didn't know how to read yet, I would just read the book to him, and they could listen if they wanted, or not.  I read the first chapter, and they were hooked.  They insisted that I keep reading.  After a little while, my voice got tired, so I told them we would have to stop.  They complained loudly and suggested I drive and let my husband read to them.  So that is pretty much what we did for the rest of the trip;  switched places back and forth when our voices got tired.

My husband is a very dramatic reader.  When he reads out loud, he reads it in a way that you never knew it could sound.  He doesn't do it for show.  This is just the way his mind works.  When he was young, his grandmother often read out loud with him.  She would get a book and take him to a nearby park.  They would sit at a table and read aloud to each other for hours.  I credit that with his ability to read dramatically.  He even added voices to his reading, so the kids actually preferred him to read.  I tried to do that, but it just couldn't compete with my husband's abilities.

One thing we did wrong was pronounce the name Hermione wrong.  We had never heard that name before, so pronounced it "Her-Me-Own".  It just so happened that my neighbor across the street was an English teacher, and had studied in England, and was married to an Irishman.  She informed us that it was pronounced "Her-My-Oh-Knee".  And somewhere along the line we realized we were pronouncing Rowling wrong too.  Then one day I heard an interview with Jo where she said that it was "row" like rowing a boat, not "row" like you are having a row with someone.  So now we get it right.

Lucky for us, by the time we found the series of books, Jo Rowling had already written three.  So when we got home, we rushed and bought the next two books.  My kids devoured them.  In fact, by the time the fourth book came out, our other books were so worn out that they were falling apart.  My kids had read them all several times, as had I.  My neighbors had joined the Potter-mania, so when the fourth book came out, they went together to the midnight release of the book at Barnes and Noble.  My kids begged me to allow them go with them.  I let my older children go, and gave them money to buy a hard backed book.  I knew that we would need the better binding.  Repeat that event for every other book release and movie release.

When the movies came out, we all went to the midnight showing.  I know that is late for kids, but you have to realize how huge this was in our family.  But after the first couple of movies, I decided that I would enjoy it more if I weren't so tired, so I quit going to the midnight showing.  I also kept my youngest home.  It was just as enjoyable in the matinee the next day.

I need to insert here that my husband isn't really a Potter fan.  He enjoyed reading the first book, but never tried reading the rest.  I kind of think he is less in touch with his inner child.  ;)  He likes to read history books and more technical things.  He doesn't really understand our obsession.  But I think part of that is because he never continued reading them.  Oh well, to each his own.

I have to say that my experience with the first movie was enchanting.  For me, I was entering a world that was totally new to me.  I've never been to England, and much of the visual images are kind of reminiscent of the 1800's or something.  I relished every little prop and costume.  I had this same kind of experience when I saw Star Wars for the first time.  Star Wars was unlike any other movie we had ever seen.  The special effects were amazing, and unlike anything that had ever been done before.  Harry Potter gave me that same feeling.  It was a world I had never been, and I savored every moment.

My siblings all are Harry Potter geeks too.  We all take those quizzes on Facebook to test our Harry Potter knowledge, and we all score really well.  What can I say?  We are a family of geeks.  And we are all old, and we still love it.

One day I was in a grocery store and I heard the checker telling a customer how she thought the Harry Potter story was evil, and how she didn't think kids should read the books or watch the movies.  I told her that the books don't encourage evil.  I told her that it is all imagination, and that they don't teach actual witchcraft.  None of the spells in the books actually work!  I told her it was no different than watching "Bewitched" on television.  She smugly answered, "Exactly."  Really?  She doesn't even watch "Bewitched"?  Well, there is no hope for that kind of person.  Hey, listen, I am LDS, and I am VERY religious.  If I thought the books would sway my children to become evil, or follow the devil, I would not allow them to read them either.  But I read them for myself, and I can tell you that they actually teach children that there is good, and there is evil, and that good can over power evil.  And I think also they actually teach children to recognize evil.  As Harry says in the first book, "I think I can tell the wrong sort for myself...".

I also like that the books actually help children learn coping skills.  They teach what to do if sadness and despair overwhelm you.  They teach what to do if you are frightened.  They teach about courage, love, and loyalty.  Good can come from many sources if you are wise enough to listen.

My kids are grown now, and we don't read out loud to each other anymore.  But we do occasionally listen to the books on CD.  Jim Dale did and AMAZING job reading the books on CD!  My favorite one to listen to is, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" because the voices Jim Dale created are so wonderful!  And I do really love the beginning of that story.  My sister listens to the books on CD every morning as she is getting ready.  She has done this for years.  I usually only listen to them as I'm driving long distances.  I have listened to other books, but the Harry Potter books are like a familiar friend that I keep going back to revisit.

It's cliche to say it, but I am pretty much like Alan Rickman who was asked how long he will be reading Harry Potter, and responded, "Always".  I do have other books I read, but every so often I think about the Potter world and want to go back for a visit.  It's pure magic!