“Stitch ‘N Bitch”

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

Today Shirley and I were making the rounds looking for some sculpting supplies and instructional books on sculpting that would help me do it better. After my heart attack back in 1995 I started sculpting and produced statues the district superintendents would purchase and give to those persons being ordained in their districts. The piece was entitled “Ordination” and pictured Jesus standing in front of this kneeling person (one for male and one for female) with one hand on their shoulder and the other on their head.

As we were on our hunt we went to Barnes and Nobles, asked where the sculpting books might be, and was told to look in the craft section. Guess what? In all of that store there is not one book on sculpting. But I did find one book whose title almost brought me to my knees laughing. It was titled: Stitch ‘N Bitch.” It was about knitting… but we all know it was really about life.

When Shirley was young – say elementary to middle school, her mother would make some of her clothes… especially party clothes. Years ago she told the story of her mother working on this prom type dress, you know fancy and all that stuff. It was made of red velvet – which I am told is impossible to work with – it has a knap to it and shifts as you try to sew it. Margie would sew for a while, get ticked and throw it in the corner. She would settle down and come back to work on it at a later time. Needless to say it spent a lot of time in the corner. But, it was finished and Shirley did wear it.

When we served Triplett Church in Mooresville, Shirley tried to get me to crochet, saying that it will help to release the stress. Ha! All I could crochet was wads or tight balls of yarn. It made me even more tense. I have come to understand that we like to Stitch ‘N Bitch… stitch ‘n Lamatate (from Lamatations) when things don’t go exactly our way.

What ended my sculpting endeavor years ago was, after several months of working to get this statue perfect (which was really two statues that had to be put together after the finished resin product was produced), I went to pick up the statutes from the casting company in Sophia only to find that they had broken my original statue, and the finished product was so poorly done (big seams where the mold didn’t fit correctly, and pieces chipped away) that I could not accept them. I want to tell you I was in a “Stitch ‘N Lamatate” mood. All the ordinands would not receive this gift – a gift they knew others had received. I was disappointed for them. I was embarrassed that I let them down. I was MAD at this company for taking so little care of my product.

I remembered, after completing my first original, making an appointment with the person in charge of this at Cokesbury in Nashville. He set up the appointment and we made the ten-hour trip to Nashville, spent the night, and went to meet with him the next day. This man, I can’t remember his name, didn’t have the common courtesy to allow me to come up to his office and sit down and discuss this matter. No, he met me in the lobby and told me that I needed to sent this to China. I had ten hours all the way back to Asheboro to Stitch ‘N Lamatate.

When I saw this title I laughed. But the title really made me ask myself the question: “Are you ready for this again? The disappointment? The failure? Or will you be smarter this time and seek out people (professionals) who can give you advice on how to make it through the maze of stitches.”

My advice is, if your stitches are worthwhile, keep on stitching because they will bring encouragement to someone. Keep on bitching too. This helps you to express those negative feelings – get them out – and brings a release of that stress. Find someone who will listen to your complaints and keep them in Vegas. God has always been a good listener when someone wanted to bitch – look at the Psalms. God is big enough to hear that word and know that it is one of his children complaining about the unfairness of life. And guess what – He already knows, will listen to you day and night, and bring you peace – if you will listen.

Dear Lord, I gripe and complain and even lamatate at times. Help me through those times and give me peace in and through Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace


PS: Any of you who have one of my statues (the Ivory colored ones) would you post a picture or two to share with all our Facebook friends? I would like for them to know I really have done this????

“Just Do It!”

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.” – I Corinthians 12:1

While at the beach last week we were doing one of those really FUN things… sitting in the old men chairs in Belk while the shoppers of the family were on a frenzy. My job was sitting in the lady’s shoe department on this sofa with Noah and Abby while Stephen, Joy and Shirley were off doing their needed thing.

As we were sitting there this young man (around 15) came up and sat down in the chair across from us, played on his phone and generally waited for permission to join his family… (like we were doing). One thing I noticed about him was he was a walking advertisement for Nike. From his hat, shirt, shorts, socks and flip-flops everything had a Nike emblem or saying on it. We couldn’t see is underwear, but I bet it was Nike also. After he left, Noah and I referred to him as the Nike guy.

Are you having second thoughts on spiritual gifts? I’ve been saying – that folks need to discern their particular gifts and be supported in exercising those gifts. We have done gift discernment inventories. We have offered gift discernment workshops over the years. And sometimes that’s been terrific. Some people have named a gift they hadn’t recognized and claimed a ministry that had their name written all over it. Hallelujah!

But sometimes, as things tend to do, this has gone sideways. Guess what, the dishes need to be washed. The trash wants taking out. The notes for the meeting need to be taken and distributed. Or someone has to ask people for a pledge for next year’s budget.

Sometimes there’s stuff that just needs to be done. Sometimes we need to walk the Nike boy into our midst and say “Just Do It!” Sometimes – well, really, all the time – there are mundane things that need to happen so the group, family, church, etc. can function. Someone has to show up to unlock the door. Someone has to take the food donations to the food bank. Someone has to count the offering.

Sometimes, in fact, it may even be good for us to do stuff – service – that has no glory in it, that isn’t really fulfilling for us. We do it because it needs to be done. We serve, whether the task at hand is exactly our thing or not. And maybe we even forget about ourselves while we’re doing it – which may, in the end, be at least part of the point of service in the first place.

Dear Lord, grant me grace so to lose myself in service to you that I may be truly found. Help me get on with the task at hand even if you have to send a Nike boy to sit in front of me as a reminder to just do it, in and through Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace



PS: Put another cabinet together last night – same results. I told Shirley NEVER let me do this again. This one is even glued together in places where glue should not have to be. I am still amazed by people who can do this – I honor you!

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