Tuesday, February 04, 2014


Winter has been here with a vengeance the past few weeks. A couple of polar vortices gave us temperatures in the single digits, and we've had nearly six inches of snow between Sunday and Monday, and ice today. I'm grateful to still have power and heat and running water. Did I mention the water main burst in front of the house next door a few weeks ago? I've had some unplanned days off as work has been closed or closed early a couple of times. A friend from Lexington really said it well, "Isn't it like getting an extra day in your life when you get to stay home due to snow?" Exactly!

All this weather makes me feel grateful for modern conveniences like gas, electricity, automobiles, running water, and for all the engineers and workers who designed the systems and work so hard in all sorts of weather to keep it all running smoothly.

I also feel grateful for wool. Wooly knit things keep me warm when I'm out getting the snow off the sidewalk and driveway. Wooly knit things keep my time occupied when work is closed and I have a glorious unexpected day off. (Well, so do things like dishes and laundry and shoveling snow, but they're not nearly so interesting.)

Right now I'm working on a cowl, based on one (or three) My friend Stephanie has made. It's a simple enough pattern, just a wide tube of soft squishy garter stitch color blocked and striped in two colors. It's long enough to wrap around twice and I can't wait for it to be done. I've just started the striped part.

It may have to wait a few weeks, though. The Ravellenic Games start on Thursday. I want to make myself a cardigan in the time between the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Sochi Olympic Games. We'll see if I can pull it off. It's a lot of knitting to do...and I haven't even been able to settle on a pattern I like yet...

Finally, my current foster is Pumpkin. She's unfortunately not a treadmill cat, but she's so cute it makes up for it.


Saturday, January 04, 2014

FO 2014

I haven't written a knitting post for a long time, it seems. But I've been knittin'!

Tons of Christmas presents this year (it's a little easier when you make them all year long, not just in November/December. Go figure!) Maybe I'll post them later. I'm starting fresh in 2014.

Yesterday, inspired by my friend Stiney, I decided to pull out the knitting projects I had started at one point or another. There were more than I thought, but not as many as I feared, if that makes sense. I think I counted twelve of them. I still like most of them, so I'm going to try to finish them all by the end of the year.

(I know, they're all in bags and you can't see them. But you will!)

One of them was a half-finished dishcloth that had been languishing on (or under) the end table for MONTHS. It took me MAYBE 20-30 minutes to finish it up. Why did I wait so long?

The next project was a hat made out of Noro that I'd started, oh, sometime when I lived in Lexington. I added that yarn to my stash in 2007 and I probably started the hat not too long after that. TWO THOUSAND SEVEN. That half-finished hat has been sitting in my closet for six or seven years?!?

I thought about finishing it off, it really only had maybe an inch more and then the decreases at the crown to do, and I've given away a few of my hats lately. But I decided I'd rather have a cowl right now, so cowl it will be. I'm alternating with a ball of grey wool (actually, I think it's a ball of grey Encore wool/acrylic blend) and it's just a simple feather-and-fan pattern. Cast on 120 stitches, four rows of garter stitch and then start in with the pattern. Knit until it's long enough (I know, these are DETAILED instructions here) and then another four rows of garter stitch, and bind off.

By the way, I really struggled with that feather and fan stitch for a while. I've had problems with it for YEARS. It's one of the oldest and easiest lace patterns out there, but apparently I have trouble counting to eight. I had to frog this thing a couple of times because I kept getting off count. But I finally got it down.

I still have more of the grey and the Noro yarn left; maybe I'll make the Turn a Square hat. But not until I finish up some more of these languishing projects!

Finally, what's a blog post without a cat picture? Well, a blog post without a cat picture, I suppose. Here's my latest foster: Chimney. He was kind of a bitey bully at first, but he's rather charming and warming up to all of us here chez Melly.

Plus, who doesn't like a cat who walks on a treadmill of his own volition?

Monday, December 09, 2013

My Testimony of Jesus Christ

The most important thing I could ever testify of is Jesus Christ. In the year 2000, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published a document called "The Living Christ." It tells the things we believe about Jesus Christ, and I could just say "Go read that, and imagine me saying, 'Amen.' and that's my testimony." But I want to share in my own way.

There is a beautiful hymn by James Allen called "Glory to God on High" and it echoes my testimony of Jesus Christ.

Glory to God on high!
Let heav'n and earth reply.
Praise ye his name.
His love and grace adore,
Who all our sorrows bore.
Sing aloud evermore:
Worthy the Lamb!

Jesus, our Lord and God,
Bore sin's tremendous load.
Praise ye his name.
Tell what his arm has done,
What spoils from death he won.
Sing his great name alone:
Worthy the Lamb!

Let all the hosts above
Join in one song of love,
Praising his name.
To him ascribed be
Honor and majesty
Thru all eternity:
Worthy the Lamb!

His love and grace adore. Jesus knew that because we are mortal and human, we would sin and make mistakes, and we would no longer be worthy to have our greatest hope: to live in God's presence. We would be shut out forever, cold and sad and lonely and miserable. But because of His love for us, His desire to see us happy, He offered to take upon Himself our sins, to bear the shame and punishment for us, even to the point that He, who was perfect and innocent, would suffer and die. Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13).

His sacrifice was more than just washing away our sins. Faith in Him helps us to get through our day-to-day trials and to do God's will, even though we are still just as human and prone to mess up as ever. He promises us His Grace, which is not only His taking upon Himself our sins, but also giving us His strength and assistance to live as God commands. We couldn't be able to keep up doing that if we were left to ourselves. We would mess up, slip up, give up. His Grace enables us to get up and keep going.

Who all our sorrows bore / bore sin’s tremendous load. Sometimes things in life make us sad. We are separated from friends and family, or we have fights or our bodies get sick or just hurt. Or we realize we have sinned yet again and feel sad and stupid for the things we've done. Jesus bore those pains for us, too. One of the most beautiful passages in the Book of Mormon says of Jesus, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless, the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of the people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance" (Alma 7:11-13).

Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Quorum of Seventy once said the following about the Atonement of Jesus Christ that has stuck with me ever since, and has made me love Jesus Christ even more: “For many years I thought of the Savior’s experience in the garden and on the cross as places where a large mass of sin was heaped upon Him. Through the words of Alma, Abinadi, Isaiah, and other prophets, however, my view has changed. Instead of an impersonal mass of sin, there was a long line of people, as Jesus felt “our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15), “[bore] our griefs, … carried our sorrows … [and] was bruised for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:4–5). The Atonement was an intimate, personal experience in which Jesus came to know how to help each of us.” (Merrill J. Bateman, A Pattern for All, October 2005).Suddenly, I can picture myself in that line, and there must be billions and billions of people, each of us carrying a heavy bag, some big, some small, of pain and sin and sorrow. I am ashamed enough of my own bag, but to have to wait in that long, long line—can you imagine how long it would take?—to bring it to Him and dump it on His already tired shoulders, and yet He still smiles at me and reaches out to love and embrace me!

Tell what his arm hath done, what spoils from death he won. There isn’t room to tell of everything Jesus has done. How He, under the direction of Heavenly Father, created this world for us to live on. How He healed the sick and taught and loved and comforted so many people. How He blessed the little children. How He established His church on the earth and brought it back in our day after so much of it had been lost for centuries. How He has led and guided prophets all through the ages, from Adam to Thomas S. Monson today.

It used to be, when two nations went to war, whatever side won got to ransack the homes of the losers and keep anything they found. They called those things they claimed “the spoils of war”. Jesus fought a war with death and won, and the things that Death owned that Jesus gets to keep is US. Because Jesus rose from the dead, those of us who are subject to death belong to Him, to do with us whatever He wants. And remember how much He loves us and wants to give us our greatest desire: to live with God? That’s what he plans to do with us!

To him ascribed be Honor and majesty. “Ascribed” means “use these words to describe someone.” The words “honor” and “majesty” perfectly describe Jesus Christ. He is full of honor—He is always perfectly obedient to Heavenly Father, perfectly honest, perfectly selfless, never selfish. And majestic, oh so majestic—full of dignity and kindness and power and royalty and glory.

Of all the things I could testify—and there are many—I know that Jesus truly is the Christ, the Son of God, not only the Savior of the World, but the Savior of me. This hymn is meant to be sung “Joyfully” and that is how I feel. Grateful. Humbled. Beloved. Blessed to have the fullness of the Restored Gospel in my life and to know that the Book of Mormon is true and that we are led by living prophets in our day. But most of all, so happy to be called His.

Christus Statue

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Little red hen


Today was the last activity day for the children's summer reading program at the library. A local theater put on a play version of “The Little Red Hen” for the kids upstairs in the big meeting room.

This morning, my coworker took a phone call from a little boy, who wanted to know if he could bring his little red hen with him to the play. Thinking he meant a stuffed animal, she said, “Sure you can!”


A couple of hours later, he showed up with a chicken. A live chicken. There was quite a bit of confusion and consternation at first (especially becuase the woman in charge of children's programming REALLY doesn't like chickens in the first place), but everything was worked out. The little boy was told, “You see, the woman who told you that you could bring your chicken is a CITY girl. She thought you meant a stuffed animal.” After a moment's though, he responded in a big country drawl, “Weeelll, Ah can see how that would be a misunderstanding.”


Mom or Dad ended up staying outside with the chicken scratching around under the trees in the garden area and after the show, the children trooped down to the garden to see the chicken. Sadly, everyone was forced to scatter quite suddenly because the automatic sprinklers came on to water the garden!


There's always something exciting going on in the library!


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wow, so much--this is LONG!

It's been two months since I wrote last, so it might just be easier to post photos and tell stories about them rather than try to recap.

A few weeks ago, I drove a dog named Mary Sue and her nine (!) puppies to Louisville to meet up with a transport going to Wisconsin. Or Minnesota. Somewhere North. They were so cute!

They all looked so different!
That little white one was conked out and didn't seem to mind that its siblings were climbing all over it!

Right now I'm fostering a cat named Lilly and a little feist mix named Butterscotch.

Lilly is a quiet little thing. We thought we'd found her a home today at the cat adoption drive, a little boy had ignored all the kittens and was snuggling up with her, and when he wasn't holding her, he had his arm on top of her crate. But he never came back with his mom, so I guess she said no. Bummer.

Butterscotch is cute and VERY smart, but kind of a chewer. Between her and Zen, there are times when I wonder what I'm going to find chewed up on the living room floor when I come home from work. Usually it's things Zen has stolen off the counter and it's VERY aggrivating! But she's a fast learner--I've never had a dog pick up lie down or sit so quickly and I've never had a foster dog learn to lie down and wait for me to say "okay go ahead" before eating just by watching Zen do it.

The county fair was this past week. I entered a shawl in the knitting category and won first place and best in show! It would be a more glorious honor if there had been other entries in the category, but blue and purple ribbons still stroke my ego. I'll post a better photo of the shawl when I get it back tomorrow.

I stopped in a thrift store this week and found this beauty for $55! I'm pretty excited. It only came with the wire whisk, so I'll need to order the beater blade so I can use it for more than just whipping up things. What a great find!

We had Girls' Camp for church this week. I wasn't able to go up all week, but the plan was for me to come up on Wednesday night with a coworker. He's REALLY into astronomy and had agreed to show the 2nd year girls how to find the North Star and two constellations for one of their level requirements. I would also go up on Thursday night to help out with another activity.
I had to stop and take a photo of this sign on the way up to the campsite. It cracked me up because it reminded me of our family joke when I was a kid. When backing out of the driveway on our very quiet town street, Dad would ask "All clear?" and we'd answer "Yep, 'cept for that [imaginary] logging truck!"

Patrick and I went up on Wednesday evening as planned, but it was too cloudy to see any stars, and we could see lightning in the distance. There was bad weather in the forecast and the radar on my phone showed a line of storms headed that way. It wasn't much fun to drive through on my way home. There were points where I had to stop because I couldn't see more than a foot or two beyond the hood of my car. Scary!
For the girls, it was terrifying. Thankfully, a park ranger followed his gut and came by and told the leaders to have everyone take shelter in the bathrooms. 80 people crammed into the showers and bathrooms for 3 hours as two waves of storms passed through (there'd only been one line of storms on the radar). When they came out, the camp was a mess. Tents tossed around like playthings, with their poles bent and broken. The canopies covering the dining area were gone. At least two full-grown trees had been uprooted. One narrowly missed a leader's car and another landed right on top of a tent where five or six of our girls would have been sleeping.

Everything was soaked. The girls all spent the night on the bare cement floor of the crafts cabin. I got a text message at 6 the next morning that they were cancelling the rest of camp. Thankfully, I'd taken the entire day off work and I headed up to help clean up and pack up.

The first thing we did after breakfast was have a testimony meeting, because that's the one thing that the Camp Director didn't want the girls to miss out on by having camp curtailed. As the girls talked about how thankful they felt that no one had been hurt, and how they had prayed together and comforted one another, and how grateful they were to have followed their leaders' counsel, and knew the Lord was with them, I was reminded of the account of the stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon. They were an army unit composed of youth whose parents had renounced all weapons of war. It was a time of civil war and their fathers were about to break their oath to defend themselves when these youths (who had been babies when the covenant was made) stepped up in their place. They were known for their faith in God and for being valiant and as men who obeyed their leaders with exactness. And in the end, to everyone's surprise and joy, not a soul was lost. In our case, the Lord's tender mercies were everywhere--obviously in the big thing: no one was hurt or killed in the storm. But also in the little things, like putting their scriptures and journals in plastic buckets and finding them safe and dry the next morning. One girl had a brand-new swimsuit hanging on a hanger on a clothesline to dry and she felt so blessed that even though her tent had been smashed by the tree with her things inside, her swimsuit was still there on the line.

We have a great group of faithful girls in our stake. I'm so proud that not one of them complained about the storm, but they all pitched in to clean up and help one another. They grew closer together those three hours crammed in bathrooms like sardines, and closer to the Lord as he comforted them and kept them safe from harm.

Whew! It's been an EVENTFUL two months. Congratulations on making it through!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sewing Sewing

This week was the annual American Quilters Society Quilt Show here in Paducah. It's a week when women (and men, but mostly women) descend upon the town from all over the country (and many from overseas) for something like a state fair, but all about quilts. It's a time when the locals try to avoid downtown and we forget about going out to eat this week because the lines are wayyy too long.

But I like it. I'm not a quilter, but I usually find something I like--vendors galore come to town and there's lots of fabric and notions for sale. And about half the time (so far) I can talk my Aunt Carrie (who's an avid quilter of the type who would have come to the show anyway) to come stay for a visit.

So this year I've been wanting to make more of my own clothes. Recently, I added a new verse of scripture to my list of favorites-- Doctrine and Covenants 42:40: "And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands;"

I love that verse, and not just because it encourages something I already wanted to do. It reminds me of the description of the creation of the world, how at the end of each day, and especially after everything was done, God looked at the work of His hands and declared that "it was good." There's a great sense of satisfaction in creating something, especially when you take the time to get even the smallest details just right. And God, the ultimate Creator, wants us to experience that feeling, just as He does!

So here's the work of mine own hands this week (just a peek at the details first; I'll add photos of the whole thing when I can find someone to take a picture of me!)

The pattern is one I drafted myself, following the instructions here. It came out a little big--I guess I'm more "squishy" in the middle than my tape measure indicates. I'll probably pick it apart next week and take it in a bit more, but I really wanted to wear it to church today.

I'm really pleased with how the details worked out--my seams lined up just so, the zipper went in perfectly, and I love the sneaky hot pink hiding inside. (I made my first bias tape, too, and decided to use it for this project.)


Seams lining up.


Nearly invisible hem.


Hot pink-a-boo. (oops, looks like I need to trim a couple of threads!)

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I haven't really gotten anything productive done this morning. I've been watching workers from the power company install a new power pole and a transformer and I don't know what else they're doing.

I'm amazed how quickly they get things done. A couple of hours ago, this big wooden pole was sitting in front of the empty lot next door. About ten o'clock, I noticed two big trucks parked in front of my house, and one of the poles had been moved across my driveway and into my yard. Men were drilling holes and screwing in posts and whatnots at the top of it. Then the big drilling rig moved into place and dug a hole that was probably about 7-8 feet deep and 2-3 feet across, I'm guessing.

The drilling rig thing also has a bunch of cables and straps and calipers to pick up and move the power pole. I'm amazed that it can move everything all around those wires without getting shocked, because this whole time, there's still electricity in my house. In fact, one of the workers knocked on my door--once everything was in place--to tell me that they were going to be shutting off the power to my house for about fifteen minutes.

I don't know if they're going to be taking out the old pole or keeping it there. Maybe the new pole is just for the new transformer (that big, gray, garbage can sized thing at the top).

But it's been interesting process to watch. I bet my nephews would have liked to see it.

Yay, electricity!


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