...the Life and Times of Karolyn Lewis.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Micro-giving for the Stinkin' Rich

A few friends and I send money to Ethiopia on a regular basis and I often invite others to join in via Facebook.  Here's a recent post:

Although hundreds of dollars have been donated via Facebook, I've never gotten a donation of less than $20.  I've lobbied for micro-giving until I'm blue in the face, but no one has ever handed me $3 or $5 or even $10.  Several people- on their own-  have expressed their desire to give but claim they can't afford it.  

This post contains my thoughts on giving: why it's important, how much one should give, and where one should give.  It is NOT an attempt to raise more money for the kids in Ethiopia, but if you decide to donate~ I'll take your $5 with a smile on my face! 


While in High School a man gave me $100 to help me get to Costa Rica.  I had been accepted into an exchange program and my parents couldn’t afford to send me- my brother was in his first year of college and the funds just weren’t there.  So I hit the pavement asking for donations!  Within a few weeks, I raised $1000 and within a few months I was abroad- immersed in a culture that would forever change me.  Looking back, that trip altered my worldview and influenced how I built my family. 

Years later I ran into that same man and thanked him, yet again, for the $100 he gave me.  I told him how I wanted to be a giver-like him- and how I hoped God would bless me with enough money so I could.  With a good bit of grace he looked at me and said, “Don’t wait until you have enough money to give.  Give now.  Give what you can now.  God will see you give a little and bless you to one day give a lot.”

Without coining it as such, he was telling me to be a micro-giver: someone who gives in small amounts.  

So I did.  I started giving.  I didn’t give much, but I gave.  I gave where I could and when I could and God has certainly blessed me because of it.  Thankfully, I married a giver and we give together. 

I honestly believe the act of giving far outweighs the amount we give.  I love the story of the poor widow in the Bible who gave just a few cents.  She was a micro-giver.  She gave a tiny amount, but she gave.  Her story will last throughout the ages.   

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost sight of the small.  If we can’t throw $100 in the pot, we just don’t give at all.  It’s go big or go home.   

Wanna know why I LOVE micro giving?   Because I have four kids with four sets of growing feet.  One of them always needs shoes.  Or jeans that reach below the ankles.  Or socks without holes.  The power bill has to be paid every stinkin’ month and- dangit!- these kids expect to eat.  Life is expensive.  Especially in America. 

But this is no excuse.   In reality, we have no excuse.  We can afford to give.   We may not be able to give much, but we can give something. 

If you drink soft drinks, you can afford to give.  If you smoke, you can afford to give.  If you go through a drive-thru once a week, you can afford to give.  If you have your house cleaned or your dog groomed, you can afford to give.  If you have cable or a mobile phone, you can afford to give.  If you eat out at least once a month, you can afford to give.  If you own a car, you can afford to give.  If you go to a gym, you can afford to give.  If you drink bottled water, you can afford to give.  Had a pedicure lately? You can afford to give. 

You can afford to give because you are stinkin’ rich!!!  If you don’t think you’re rich, you are comparing yourself to the wrong people.  I’m not sure it’s completely accurate, but I think there’s enough truth in this quote to give us pause:

There are thousands of ways and places to give.  So give!  Find a good, charitable organization and GIVE.  Do your research.  Find out where your money is going.  Do some due diligence to make sure your money isn’t paying for jet planes or vacation homes Europe. 

Give because you want to give and because you can!  As a Christian, I am determined to give my money where I think God’s heart is bent—to people—especially poor people.  And when I say poor I don’t mean I-can’t-afford-to-pay-my-power-because-my-kid-needed-a-new-iPod poor. I'm talking game-changer poor. Destitute, life or death poor.  

I challenge you to give and see what happens.  In fact, I’ll give you a 100% guarantee that if you give $5 to a worthy organization or person this month, you will not starve, lose your house, or have your car repossessed.  You won’t.  I promise.

God’s economy isn’t like ours.  In fact, the returns don't even make sense.  Are you broke?  Are things going wrong in your life?  Are you sick or ill?  Are you depressed?  You may want to take a look at your charitable donations of late.   There are tons of passages in the Bible about giving but my favorite one is from Isaiah 58:

6 Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousnessa will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Want to get God’s attention?  Start giving.  Start taking care of people that can’t take care of themselves.  Then your light will break forth like the dawn. That'll preach.  

You can afford to give.  You can afford to give.  You CAN afford to give. 

So give. Give small.  Give often.  Give big when you feel led.  But give.  

Just in case you think my family gives tons of money away each month, let me clarify some things about our personal giving.  Remember- this post is about micro-giving:

~We tithe 10% of our income to our church home every month. We do this because it’s Biblical, not because God needs our money.  God doesn’t need or want our money; He wants our obedience.  If you do not tithe I highly encourage you to do so.  

~We drop a few dollars every month in the “poor box” at our church.  Over the last four years, our church has given away over $50,000 to help the poor.  $50,000 made up primarily of pocket change and single dollar bills.  That is micro-giving at its finest!

~We faithfully give money to an orphanage in Africa every month.  I wire the money directly to the orphanage myself.  I have spent time at the orphanage and have a relationship with its director.  I have seen the clothes he wears and the car he drives.  It is with great peace and confidence that we give him less than 1% of our income every month.  Did you catch that?  Less than 1% of our income.  We don’t give a lot!  But we give.  And we are blessed because of it. 

~We give money abroad because we’ve been abroad.  I am not well traveled, but I have had extended stays in South America, Central America, and Africa.  I have NEVER seen poverty here in the United States like I’ve seen it abroad.  Our welfare system may be flawed, but there is food and opportunity in abundance here in the United States.  We know there are sad, sad stories right here on the home front, but we are fully convinced and convicted that the poorest of the poor here in America still live better than most people in the world.  


And for the hearty ones who’ve stuck with me this far, here’s a BONUS RANT:  Please don’t unfriend me on Facebook or call me gross- cause some of the stuff I'm gonna share with you is just plain nasty.  So if you throw up easily, just skip the BONUS RANT.

The ASPCA commercials and their sad music make me want to vomit.  I adore animals, but they will never, ever be as important as people.  And before you call me hard-hearted consider this:  I have picked hundreds of maggots out of the wing of a mangled peacock.   I have housed rejected baby pigs in my kitchen and have bottle fed them around the clock for months.  I’ve picked up a starving, flea infested pit bull from the side of the road and made it a family pet.  I’ve loaded a full grown goat into my mini-van and carried it like a baby into the vet’s office.  I have helped a chicken lay an egg- yes this possible and it probably saved her life.  I’ve donned a lubricated rubber glove and examined a goat to see if there was another- possibly dead- kid inside of her.  My love for animals is wide and deep and I will gladly advocate for them, BUT THEY ARE NOT PEOPLE.  They are not NEARLY as important as people and they never will be.  Never. EVER. Ever. EVER.

ASPCA commercials make me sick because I’ve seen people more destitute than the animals they show.  I’ve seen a legless man in ratty clothes pushing himself down a filthy road on a splintered up dolly.  I’ve seen a deformed, homeless boy with only one eye begging in the marketplace.  I’ve seen grass huts and dirt floors.  I’ve seen distended bellies and skeletal limbs.  These people- people that I’ve seen in real life with my very own blue eyes- they deserve my concern and charity. Nothing makes me dive for the remote faster than one of those out of proportion ASPCA commercials.  To say they offend me is an understatement of the highest caliber.  

I’ll kindly step down from my soap box now. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Slap Bag Crazy! A How To.

 Just a little pre-tutorial show and tell...

I've gone slap-bag crazy- and I'm in love with my newest bag.  It's the Nappy Bag by Amy Butler- with several modifications.  I adjusted the straps and made it reversible.  The picture above is my version of The Nappy.  The picture below is the bag made per instructions (pictured inside out).  

And after making these two bags, I can SOOO see why bags cost what they do.  Vera Bradley and Thirty One should probably raise their prices!!  These boogers take time... and more fabric than you'd think- roughly 3 yards.  


I got "told" by Siri a few days ago...  What nerve!

So with Siri's rebuke in mind, I'll try to make this tutorial short and sweet!  

I was unimpressed by the tutorials I found online.  The only one I liked was in German and totally useless.  Step by step pictures would have made it easier, but, no, that's not how they do it in Germany.  I guess Germans have stellar reading comprehension skills and require no pictures.  Go Germany.  Use those rad skills and sew something sans pictures.  

I also found tutes using grommets and curtain hooks and even baby lotion bottles.  Aint nobody got time for all that.  I wanted something simple, quick and easy.  

Before Siri busts out with something else, I'll get on with the show...  

 How to Make an iPhone Charger Bag
Any phone will work in these, I'm sure

Outer bag fabric:  4 3/4" x 12"
Inner bag fabric:  4 3/4" x 12"
Heavy Fusible Interfacing : SCANT 4 3/4" X 12" (just a smidge smaller than the other pieces) 
Strap: 2" x 9"
Strap interfacing: 1/2"  x 8"  (Heavy, Fusible)

DO NOT SKIP THE INTERFACING- or you'll get a wilted, little, good for nothing sack. 
Use a 1/4" seam allowance, unless noted otherwise.
ALWAYS backstitch at the start and end of the seam.  
Choose cute, quality fabric.  Life is too short...  

Here's what we have so far...

Using your iron, fuse the interfacing onto the wrong side of the outer body fabric.  Be careful to put the "glue" side of the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric or you'll have a mess.  Trust me on this one... been there, done that.  

Fold the long sides of the strap over 1/4" and press.

Place the strap interfacing piece inside- close to the folded edge- and press.  Again, be careful of where the glue is facing.  

Fold the strap over where long edges touch, press and topstitch down each side.  I topstitched at about 1/8".

With right sides together, sew inner bag seams on each side with a 1/4" allowance.  Now you'll have a bag that is 4 1/4" x 6".  Press seams open.  Do the same with the outer bag fabric.  

With bags inside out, open up the lower seam to make a triangle.  Make a line 3/4" down from the point and sew on this line.  Trim with scissors to 1/4". You will do this to BOTH lower corners on BOTH bags.  

This is what you get... bags are upside down so you can see the corners.  

Nest the bags together as shown.  When nested, the right sides of both fabrics are touching.  

Place pins in the bag as shown.  At one side seam, leave an opening large enough for the strap to slide in.  At the other side seam, leave a larger hole to turn your bag right side out.  My large opening is on the left, the smaller is on the right.  The side seams are centered in these holes.  

I sewed from yellow pin to yellow pin and then from pink pin to pink pin.  For clarity, I marked the portion of the top to be sewn- it's much lower than where the actual seams will be.    

For ease of closing your "turning holes" sew around the top with a 3/8" seam. 

Because this bag is so small, you'll be sewing on top of the inner bag. Scroll down a picture or two and you'll see an example. 

Sew, turn your bag right side out, tuck the OPEN edges in and press.  You'll have this:

Tuck one side of the strap into the smaller side opening about 1/2" and place under the presser foot as shown.  Make sure to center the strap with the side seam of the bag.  See how we're sewing on the inside of the bag?  Make sure your bobbin thread is pretty, because it will be seen!!!  

Topstitch all the way around the the top of the bag with 1/8" seam making sure to tuck the other end of the strap in when you get to the other side seam.   

It may appear messy when it's time to tuck the strap in on the other side.  Just make sure you don't twist your strap.  

When you've tucked and sewn...

Whala!!  Since I'm using my iPhone to take the pictures, it's not in the bag, but you get the idea.  Now grab your scrap basket, make a little family of charger bags and give them away!!  These would be perfect graduation gifts... throw a $10 iTunes gift card in and you've got a great present.  

These little ladies are "end of the year" teacher treats for my kids' teachers. 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  I tried to write it in such a way that even a non-sewer could tackle this project.  Feel free to share by linking back to this blog or Pinning!  Who doesn't like a good Pinterest shout out?!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Ask the Peahen

We live on a farm in a zoo.  

Exhibit 1:  This Year's Christmas Card

The only way I could convince the kids to dress and pose for the picture was to let them hold an animal.  Poor Henry... his flew away. It would have been nice to have all animals represented, but  Zeb said Sharpay the Goose would bite everyone in the face if he held her (she's a bit naughty); and, unfortunately, hogs eat goat, and we can't have that, now, can we? 

Anywho... on to the new additions...

Meet Juanita and Elma, our new Peahens:

Those of us who have zoos know that Peacocks are the male version of Peafowl and Peahens are the female version.  Personally, I feel the Peahens should be happy about their labeling.  

We also welcomed The Sisters into the flock:

The Sisters came with the Peahens.  They're a sweet group- except for the one that poo-ed on my pool deck.  That one is NOT sweet.  

Moving on to the exotics, say Hola to Emily:

Emily is a Red Footed Tortoise from South America.  These land tortoises are great pets, for sure.  You can play with her feet and pet her right on the head and neck.  

Emily's cutesy home was crafted by yours truly.  (Thank you very much!)  The recommended habitat would have set me back over $200.  Uhmmm... no thank you.

I advertised on FB that I was looking for a old TV and the next day a lady delivered one to my house.  I'm thinking she was more than eager to get rid of it because I offered to come pick it up- twice!

Anyway, this is what it looked like before:

I totally love this early 80s pose Henry busted out with... all by himself!  He was sooo excited about this TV.  Poor guy.  

Then, on Christmas morning- after all the presents were opened and we were drowning in paper-  we found our beloved Daisy dead.  On the doorstep.  Merry Christmas to us.  :(   Actually, it was a really good time as the kids were very distracted by all the "good" of the day.  

Losing Daisy meant we needed another outside dog.  And need is not an overstatement.  We NEED an outside dog.  We have bear.  Big bear.  I told you we live in a zoo, but unlike most zoos, our bears free-range.  As any good blogger would do, I'll include a picture.  This is Harry.  For cute we call him Hair-Bear, but he sooo hates that.  Killjoy. 


I've thought about trying to lock him up, but I do believe that could land me in jail.  And it would take one heckuva fence.  We do not feed Hair Bear and do not want to start.  This is why we NEED a dog.  

Sooooo.... Stella Rose to the rescue!!!!

She's a cute-as-pie little Shephard Mix who will shoo those pesky bears back into the forest where they belong.  In time, people, in time.  

She's my dog but I'm having a bit of a hard time convincing Liliana of that.  

Stella was in our family for less than 24 hours when my crazy charming husband opened the back door and this little guy trotted in.  Arghhhhhh.

Meet Boss the Magnificent.   Boss is a rambunctious bull-lab who whined and barked his way right into my husband's heart.  He's one of those designer pedigree mixes, albeit accidental.  Someone's Black Lab snuck around with someone else's English Bulldog and uh-oh-oopsie! we all know what came next.  

Both Stella and Boss came from our local animal shelter.  We bought them.  We filled out a  few forms, threw some cash on the table, and BOUGHT them.  We did not adopt them.  I know first hand what adoption is, and, frankly, this aint it.  Rule number 4 in Karolyn's Guide to Etiquette clearly states that "one adopts children and buys animals.  The action verbs in these cases are not interchangeable.  EVER."  Words and language are important, my friends, just ask the Peahen.  

Happy New Year!!  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Let's Chat! And Catch a Movie.

You:  Hi, Karolyn! you doin' good?

Me:  Sure am!  

You:  I'm in the mood to watch a really good Christmas flick.  Any recommendations?

Me: Oh, do I have a flick for you! 

You: How I wish I could watch it right now!

Me:  Oh, you can! 

You:  I can?

Me:  You can!!  

So pop the corn and dim the lights.  
This is gonna be good.  

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Why, oh why, Wynona?!

Want to make the holidays slow down a bit?  Want to make Christmas not be here before you know it?

Join the others who have opened their homes to an elf this holiday season.  December will last FOREVER.  Trust me.

Yes, I'm talking Elf on the Shelf.  And if you've never heard of E on the S, then you've been either a) asleep for the last few months or b) absolutely undefiled by social networking sites such as Facebook or Pinterest.  Either way, I'm a little envious.  I love to sleep- it's my personal choice of exercise; and Facebook and Pinterest are bad habits I can't seem to shake.  

We didn't sign up for the traditional E on the S, but somehow we ended up with this sweet, little, pixie-headed girl named Wynona.  

Or Wyoming. Or Pneumonia. Or WyNena.
Or That Woman, as Henry affectionately called her the first few days.  We're finally all calling her by the correct name- with the exception of Liliana.  Liliana is stickin' with WyNena.  And there's no changing that, my friends.  

At night, Wynona/nena magically wakes up and has a little fun around the house.   She pretty much freezes in whatever mischief she's up to as soon as the first kid comes bounding down the stairs; and she stays that way all day long until we all go to sleep.  

Want to see what Wynona has been up to these last few days?  Well, of course you do!

On December 1st, she played a game of hide and seek with the kiddos.  We finally found her swinging from the chandelier.  

Then she left us a message on the kitchen mirror.  

She wrote the names of the Fab 4 using our Banana Grams (which is a fabulous game, by the way!) 

Then... she finished off the rest off the h@!!0w&&n candy.  Ugh... we were really upset about that.  Blasted Wynona.

Can you find little Wynona in this shot?  She's in there. 

Never did I ever consider showing the world our delicates, but that crazy W replaced our socks with our underwear!  (I've joined Henry in calling our stockings socks.  It does seem more appropriate.)  


Half the family pulled their dainties-for-the-day from the mantle.  Henry was especially happy to do this.  
Aren't those the cutest boxers?  Thank you very much!


I guess she needed a good soak.  Who doesn't from time to time?

I only wish people would just use the clothes hamper!!!

That Wynona fixed herself to some pancakes!  Am I the only one around here that knows how to clean up after myself? And where are her pajamas?  I know she was wearing something under that robe.  The kids checked the dirty clothes, with no luck.  Wonder if they checked the dryer...?

The kids are loving Wynona/nena and Liliana is hoping she'll come back next Christmas and the next and the next.  I'm not sure she'll be back next Christmas, but I'm fairly certain she'll be back tonight.  

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!!
May the Peace of Jesus bless you this Holiday Season.