Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Resolutions, we all make them, we all break them. This time I am really trying to keep this one. What am I talking about? the resolution to sew out of my closet. Those of you who have ventured into my closet know what I mean. Sort of like close encounters of the fabric kind. Last summer 2 darling helpers, Hannah Young and Carly Kies, were diligent in organizing my stash. It is now in color coordinated boxes or hanging where I can see it. They even sorted the hanging fabric according to color! SO NOW as I am sewing I must choose fabric from my mini-store No excuses. So far, so good. I have made 3 baby quilts for gifts and 4 pairs of pajamas for granddaughters. What a great feeling! And a fantastic challenge. I had lots of fun finding trims that coordinate with fabric and making it work. There are a few exceptions to my new rule. I can buy notions, such as thread, elastic. But lace and ribbon must come from my stash, for now. I'll let you know how I am doing... Enjoy these photos of my efforts.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Green Star

Ephesians 4:29
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

I sat on the sofa in a sea of colored yarn, picture books, toys, and children. In my hands, I held oatmeal colored linen, stretched tight as a drum in a round wooden hoop. Golden haired toddlers scrambled across my lap. A thick, silver needle in my hand pierced the fabric, weaving magic with tails of colored wool. Each stroke inserted life to the image as tangerine, moss, and goldenrod leaves graced the trees which stood guard to the cocoa and ivory country church. This had become my daily routine, sitting and creating a wall hanging. I was expecting my 4th baby in six years and the contractions had begun too early. Resting slowed the contractions, and embroidering helped time pass quickly, while my children, ages five, three, and one played. The final stitch was knotted and I hung my masterpiece proudly in the room for which it was created. Pleased I admired the framed art, my young children and my swollen belly now ready to bring our fourth child into our family. While the youngsters played I briefly left the room to complete a household chore calling my name. Upon returning, I glanced to enjoy the picture once again. I gasped as I my eyes flitted to the lower corner. Angry scrawls had appeared, just where small hands could reach by standing on the back of the sofa. Enraged, I exploded! All my weeks of hard work, ruined by a green crayon! As my head reeled, I began scolding my children. Eric, my eldest, home after attending morning kindergarten, timidly came forward. "I did it Mommy," he said in a tiny, frightened voice. He was answered with a frustrated, thunderous reply, "Why! Why did you write on Mommy's picture that she worked so hard on?" His blue eyes welled with tears as he whispered, "Because Mommy, I thought you did such a good job. I just wanted to give you a green star like my teacher gives me at school." As I lowered myself to his level, my anger dissipated as quickly as it came. It was replaced by words of praise and hugs for my son, Eric. I now saw a mark of admiration from his elfin hands. Green – his favorite color and a star for good work! The star remained on the wall hanging as a reminder to me that love can be shown in many different ways, until light and time faded it to a memory.

Lord, help me to guard my words carefully, that I may choose words to build, not to tear down. Please help me to hold my tongue, and my anger so I may listen to others and understand them as you would. Amen.

Mona Rottinghaus

Monday, October 13, 2008

Who I s Doing these things?

Who has invaded my body?
Last month I found myself saying, I wish they had Christmas decorations out. And it was September 2! Now yesterday I spent the entire afternoon hanging Christmas lights outside. I repeat, Who has invaded my body? There is a stranger taking over the old Mona.
Let me explain...
We were invited to a wedding in early September. The wedding gift I normally give is an embroidered throw. I ran into a snag when the mother of the groom ordered one as a gift from her. Now what to do? Well, I went to my second line of defense... a personalized tree skirt and matching stockings. Well, being the busy gal that I am ( you know watching soaps and eating chocolates), I ran out of time to make them. So I wanted to purchase a set. Did anyone have them out yet? NO! And so I found myself saying, "I wish the Christmas decorations were out." And it was the beginning of September.
Then yesterday after church Rick and I went for a Menards fix. We hadn't been in quite a while and were having withdrawal. As we strolled and soothed our home improvement store deprived souls we saw Christmas lights. Knowing we are celebrating Christmas on November 15 with Mona's family (we want to have the party while Larry, Jane and kids are still in the states), we decided to buy them and hang them while the weather was 80 degrees. Also, Rick knew he would not have another day between now and then b/c of harvesting. We spent the day outside hanging lights around the entire house roof, cleaning up the yard and flower beds.
What a glorious day we spent together. Later we watched "The Astronaut Farmer". A relaxing movie and day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Life is a journey

Life...beginning to end. It is a journey with what can be a beautiful end as the goal. This past weekend has been a reality check on that. Last Friday was Lauren's 1st birthday and we celebrated on Sunday with a birthday party. Since we don't get to see her often because of the distance, we were really looking forward to it. Lauren was taking a nap when we arrived so I had to wait. When she awoke, she was tired and overwhelmed by the crowd that had gathered. I patiently waited until she held out her plump arms to me and enjoyed the remainder of the day. While others gathered in the garage to visit, I spent my afternoon playing on the floor with Lauren. By the end of the day I felt good about the bonding that went on between us. When it came time to head for home, I got a great big hug from her.
Lauren is a beautiful, curly, redhead toddler with a sweet smile. Her first birthday was especially heartwarming for me. I can't help but revisit the memories of her eldest brother, Garrett. He was born on April 26, 2006 and brought a lifetime of love with him to share in only few months. He graced us with his life for just under 6 months, going home to his creator on October 21, 2006. To be able to celebrate Lauren's life of one entire year was a blessing for me. She will get all the hugs and kisses I have stored up for two.
As we were celebrating Lauren's life, my brother, John and his wife, Sally were witnessing her mother, Bonnie struggle for hers. Bonnie went to meet her creator and savior on Sunday evening. Bonnie was a warm, loving, caring, faith filled woman. Heaven must be rejoicing as they welcome her, but her passing will leave a gaping hole in my brother's family. Our deepest sympathy to all of Sally's family.
Life is a journey back to our creator. Along the way we will encounter many blessings, challenges, graces, etc. Each experience will lead us closer or farther away from our Lord. I hope to use each situation in life to get closer and closer.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hi Ho Hi Ho - It's off to school they go...

Yesterday, August 20, was the end of an era for me. I'll no longer be top dog in Kile's world during the school week. He started all day Kindergarten. We did spend most of Tuesday afternoon playing on the computer, baking cookies, etc. I remember before I became "Grammie" I had stated on more than one occasion that I would NOT be the child care provider(babysitter) for my grandkids. I had already raised my 4 and wasn't interested in reliving that part of my life. But guess what? When Kile was born the thought of a total stranger caring for my 3 month old grandson was bothering me. So I suggested we give me watching him a whirl...
It has been a very good 5 years and he is ready to enter the next phase of his life. It was a good run while it lasted. :) You go, Kile! One day at at time, until you become the man I know you will be...

I still watch Cavanaugh who joins me daily. Yesterday she was upset for a while when she realized that she wasn't going to school with Kile. A few tears later, she accepted being with just me and pretty soon she was enjoying having the toys to herself. As you might guess, I have never regretted that decision 5 years ago. I feel I have such a great bond with them. My grandkids bring so much joy to my life. There is an Italian proverb that states: When a child is born, so is a Grandmother. I am a living example of the truth to that statement. From not being interested in being a babysitter to missing the grandkids over the weekend, the change came in me.
I only wish little Lauren was closer so I could have her daily as well.

Hi Ho Hi Ho - it's off to work I go.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I've joined the craze or is it the next generation? I must thank my niece, Beth, or should I say blame her?

It all started when I went to Cedar Rapids to help my niece, Sarah (Beth's sister) with her house. Unfortunately, it was severely damaged by the flood 2008. A crew had assembled to help salvage what we could and purge the rest. A very sad day indeed. But many hands made the job less daunting, and soon we were back at my brother's home (Sarah & Beth's dad). Beth brought over her Wii gaming system and plugged it in. I watched my nieces and nephews bowl and they were having such a great time. Since I haven't been able to bowl for more years than I can count, I was itching to try. Being the generous young people they are, my darling nieces/nephews allowed me to join them. After setting me up in the game system, complete with my brown bob and glasses, I was ready to whip my numchuck and throw my bowling ball down the lane. Even though I came in last in our tournament, I still had lots of fun! And the best things was, my back didn't bother me at all. ;) I vowed I would soon be an owner of the Wii gaming system. For the first time in my life I wanted to own something like this. (This is where I blame Beth or should I say thank her for introducing the Wii into my mental stream of thoughts.) Our children tried desperately throughout their teen years to get me to buy them a Nintendo, to no avail. I could not see the point in sitting and exercising their thumbs. But this gaming system is different - it is interactive. Now the bug has bitten, but there is not a console to be found.

So the quest was on. Each time I entered a store I would head straight to the electronic games to inquire if they had any Wii in stock. Always, the disappointing, not today. So each Sunday morning in the Wii hours of the morning, I would read the store ads online to see if anyone advertised them. This past Sunday was 'pay dirt'. Walmart had them in their ad! So I took off for Walmart and came home feeling quite pleased and very young!

Now - to learn to hook it up, and play the silly thing. Next to conquer - purchasing Wii Fit and/or Wii Playground.

And no, I don't plan on growing up, after all I am only "40-13"


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Moving on...

Well, I did it! I made the decision to move ahead with my business, Mona's Originals. But not like my intentions were one week ago. August 7,8 I went to Schaumburg, IL for the Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS). My intent was to decide which DTG machine to purchase. DTG (Direct to Garment) printers are the latest craze to hit the market in our business. This printer works like a paper printer, but t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. are sent through instead. I wanted to one of the first in our area to have one. To be able to offer one of a kind t-shirts, etc. I thought I was ready to make the plunge, but after this week when I was barely able to stitch a design due to outside forces, I changed my mind. After doing more research, talking it over with my son, Adam, aka - business minded graphic designer, I decided although I wish to be on the cutting edge, I don't care to bleed. Instead I ordered a heat press and automatic cutter. These 2 pieces of machinery will enhance the business I already do. I am excited. In addition I upgraded my software to the top of the line. So the sky is the limit on my embroidery. I hope to begin cranking out new items within a week!

On a more subdued note - we said 'good-bye' to Lester yesterday. Mary, my sister-in-law, had a beautiful reading of her thoughts about her father. Right now I have cinnamon rolls kneading in the bread machine for my friend, Joan. My thoughts and prayers are with those whose loved ones were called home this week, Lester, Eileen, Barbie, Lori and Ms McGill.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Called Home

Yesterday - Come Home.
This was a day for going home. The day started as normal, feeding children, working at my computer, etc. My phone rang almost continually yesterday, some business, some were annoying "No, I don't want to be in your survey or buy whatever you are selling, etc." But several left me emotionally drained. My dear friend, Joan, lost her mother unexpectedly in the early morning hours. I have great memories of spending time at their home while in high school. I know this grand lady, Eileen is whole again.

Later I learned a business friend had suffered great loss as well. Jay lost his wife, Barb suddenly yesterday. I have fond memories of visiting with her, sharing so many common interests.

In the evening we went to pay our respects to Lester,my sister-in-law, Mary's father who crossed over peacefully on Monday night. Lester had a long good life of 95 years. He, like Eileen is whole once again.

Called home - I believe each of these wonderful people were called home to be with their creator and savior. As I spend the week saying good bye to them, and loving their families still with us, I am grateful for the gift of salvation. Thank you Lord for the grace to believe.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A goal

August 11, 2008
It’s just about 5 a.m. and I am staring a new project. I hope to begin writing in earnest. After being told by total strangers to write my story, along with numerous friends and relatives, here I go. I will try and post each week at least 3 times. So...if you are an avid fan waiting with baited breath for the next post and I let you down, let me know!

Yesterday, Sunday, I awoke with a thought planted firmly in my brain – “Between the lines” life’s journey through Christmas Letters. Since my annual Christmas musings have been received for many years with positive comments I was nudged into using this format for my memoir. I will keep you informed as I go on my progress. This blogsite will probably end up as a brag book for this one proud Grandmother!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A first time for everything

After restringing Taylor yesterday, Rick and I loaded my guitar, amp and 25 pounds of music books into the back of the Yukon. The phone rang as we were heading out the door and it was Helen. She was wondering if we should cancel for today because of the impending blizzard. When we found out that one of our young singers chose singing instead of skiing, we decided to go for it. So Rick and I picked up Helen and off to church we went. Because our cantor was gone, I found myself cantoring yesterday in church. After practicing the song many times, I did it! I sang in front of a microphone leading the congregation! There's a first time for everything.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I must have had a good teacher

The last 2 times I played Taylor in church, I had a embarrassing problem - both my "g" strings went flying. High "G" broke during one song, but because I always have on 2, I played on. Went I put my capo on, low "G" went boinggg. I then used the first instrument I was given, my voice, and so I just sang.
Just so you know - Taylor is my dream guitar. She has 12 strings. I purchased her with memorial money after my dad's death in his memory.

This morning I decided I would restring Taylor all by myself. It was either that or sing only this morning at 10:00 Mass. Sitting on the kitchen floor with crossed legs, I gingerly laid Taylor in my lap. Remember all my brother, Pete, taught me on last Thanksgiving, I began the process. I recalled his words and went step by step. Success! Taylor is restrung and I am ready to rock-n-roll with Helen and the kids. I must have had a great teacher!!! Thanks so much, Pete!

Now, I am heading to the kitchen for my favorite breakfast - oatmeal and coffee.