Monday, January 25, 2010

One space or two?

We had quite the debate on this topic at work last week.  I was taught to put two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence but my boss only ever uses one.  So, when I proofread his writing, I always go in and edit it to two spaces. 
Come to find out, the "two space" theory has changed.  Maybe I'm naieve but I didn't know something like that could change.  Who decides when it does?  I guess, they add new words to the dictionary all the time (not sure who decides that either) so why not change grammar?

Anyway, thought you might find it interesting as well.

The following was taken from the Grammar Girl website.


Now here's our first listener question.

Yes, the caller is correct and he's also right that a lot of people haven't heard about the change.

Two Spaces After a Period -- The Old Way

Here's the deal: Most typewriter fonts are what are called monospaced fonts. That means every character takes up the same amount of space. An "i" takes up as much space as an "m," for example. When using a monospaced font, where everything is the same width, it makes sense to type two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence to create a visual break. For that reason, people who learned to type on a typewriter were taught to put two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence.

One Space After a Period - The New Way

But when you're typing on a computer, most fonts are proportional fonts, which means that characters are different widths. An "i" is more narrow than an "m," for example, and putting extra space between sentences doesn't do anything to improve readability.

Notice how in this example, the "i's" and "t" take up much less space in the proportional font than they do in the monospaced font.

Although how many spaces you use is ultimately a style choice, using one space is by far the most widely accepted and logical style. The Chicago Manual of Style (1), the AP Stylebook (2), and the Modern Language Association (3) all recommend using one space after a period at the end of a sentence. Furthermore, page designers have written in begging me to encourage people to use one space because if you send them a document with two spaces after the periods, they have to go in and take all the extra spaces out.

I know it's a hard habit to break if you were trained to use two spaces, but if you can, give one space a try.

There you have it, your grammar lesson for the day, whether you wanted it or not!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Reflections on New Orleans – Part IV

If you remember a couple of years ago, there was a big media splash on what Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were doing to rebuild houses in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans.   Below are some of the houses that have been built.

NOLA (117)NOLA (115)    The colors are very New Orleans but some of them truly look like they forgot to part of the house together.  Interesting!NOLA (82) NOLA (89) NOLA (95)

The roof on this one is the oddest thing.  It’s mesh, so what’s the point and it sags down to the ground in the back.  Kind of makes me go “hmmmm…”  :) NOLA (98)

This yellow one I kind of like.  I like the way the porch wraps around it. NOLA (103) NOLA (108)This one was the oddest one of all.  If you look really close you can see where the back of the house is elevated and then the siding slopes down in the front.  The sides of this one were blue and then the indented front which you can’t see most of was a mint green.

These are a bit strange for my taste but I guess they’re still a house for a family.

Reflections on New Orleans – Part III

Projects are a big part of these trips but more important are the relationships that are formed in the process of the work.  
Albert (66)  The relationships established with the home owners are wonderful as stated in the previous two posts but the enhanced relationship with God and amongst the other team members is absolutely priceless.  

First and foremost, it’s incredible to watch people grow spiritually and increase the intensity of their relationship with God.
St Luke (29)
Alot of us go with the “human” thought that we’ll be blessing the people of New Orleans.  While that may happen, God sees to it that working with and for those people ends up blessing us more in the process.   It’s incredibly humbling to go to a complete stranger and say to them “I’m here to serve you, what can I do?”   The bottom line is, God is much more about growing us spiritually than He is about what we’re doing while there.  The work is only the vehicle.  While reflecting is when we see that since we stepped out of our box, God has blessed that step tenfold. 

To further increase spiritual growth, there are 25+ of us living for a week or two(in some cases) in 1000 square feet with only two bathrooms.   If two bathrooms for that many people doesn’t test a person’s faith, I’m not sure what would!  It’s amazing seeing the growth and bonds between the team members.  It doesn’t matter where you are financially, personally or spiritually, the playing field is leveled in a hurry with those kinds of logistics.  Let’s just say there aren’t a lot of secrets in that kind of environment.   We pray, we joke, we laugh(alot) and we fellowship.   If someone is struggling, it doesn’t take long for another person to see that and come around them in friendship and prayer.   How a person can become so close to others in such a short time, close enough to feel like family is truly a “God-thing.”   
Team pics (81)  We have a lot of team members who return year after year and when they do, it truly feels like old home week.   I can only think of a few people over the years that we don’t keep in close contact with.  Our church is a large church with multiple campuses so without trips such as this, most of us would never meet so this creates a relationship bond amongst the campuses as well.  It’s easy to fall through the cracks of a large church, but it’s events like these that seal up those cracks.   For DH & I these trips have given us a “real” church family that we felt was lacking before.  

If an opportunity arises for any of you to go on a short-term outreach of some type, I would highly recommend it.  You will never be the same again!  It will definitely ruin you for the ordinary!


As a side note, speaking of relationships….Team pics (217)

The girl in this picture is our sweet niece, Amanda and Josh, the young man is the son of a friend I went to high school youth group with many years ago but had sort of lost touch with.  Amanda’s parents are DH’s brother and sister-in-law who have co-led all of these trips with us.  

They both went on last years trip, Amanda during the first week and Josh during the second week so they did not serve in New Orleans together.  This year they were there serving together. 

Here’s their story…Josh saw Amanda at our joint team meeting last year before we left, went home and told his Mom (my old friend) that he was going to date that girl. :)   He saw her again in the airport as Amanda was coming home from New Orleans and he was headed there.   He called her during the week he was there, they went out on their first date a couple of weeks later, proposed to her this past fall, served in New Orleans together this year and will be married on September 4th.  How cool is that?  We’re so happy for them.  Now, that’s what I call forming a relationship!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reflections on New Orleans – Part II

Brian’s house…since i was cooking for the team, I only met Brian once when he came for dinner.  When we arrived in New Orleans, Brian gave our team “poetic license” as he called it.  He didn’t care what we did but was anxious to have his home back.  This home was Brian’s childhood home.  Brian wasn’t necessarily the poorest of the poor.  He could afford supplies but couldn’t afford to hire the labor and had health problems that prevented him from attempting most of the building himself.   

Our team sheet rocked, taped and mudded Brians (71) installed windows
Brians (113) cleaned up the yard
Brians (48) and befriended a wonderful man.
Brians (85) Brian loved to share stories of being a photographer in Vietnam.
Brians (136)

Brian treated our folks to South Shore Bakery donuts almost everyday.   Who wouldn’t want to work at Brians? 
Krispy Kremes eat your heart out! 
Brians (44)
The last day our team worked at Brian’s, they gave him a key to the first locking door Brian has had since Katrina.  
Brians (18)  The only electricity he had was coming from an extension cord off the pole and water still had not been turned on, but he was moving an airbed in and sleeping there that evening.    Can you imagine being displaced from your home for over 4 years?    I might have slept there that night too if I were him.

Diary of a Demented Snow Shoveler

It’s been so gloomy here lately.  Seeing the sun has been a rarity.  I received this via email last year and may have shared this then thought it was worth sharing again. :)

It pretty much sums it up.  Enough already! and it’s only January!

Diary of a Demented Snow Shoveler

August 1

Moved to our new home in Northern Illinois.  It's so beautiful here.  The hills are picturesque.  I can hardly wait to see them covered in snow.  God's Country.  I love it!

October 14

Illinois is the most beautiful place on earth.  The leaves are turning all different colors.  I love the reds and oranges.

December 8, 6:00 PM

It started to snow. The first snow of the season.  The wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by
the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down
from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses print. So
romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9  

We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow
covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic
sight! Can there be a more lovely place in
the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I've
ever had! 
Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a
boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks.
This afternoon the snowplow came along and
up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got
to shovel again. What a perfect life!

December 12

The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a
disappointment! My neighbor tells me not to worry-
we'll definitely have a white Christmas.  No snow on
Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much
snow by the end of winter, that I'll never want to see
snow again. I don't think that's possible. Bob is such
a nice man, I'm so glad we have him as our neighbor.

December 14

Snow, lovely snow! 8 inches last night. The
temperature dropped to -20.  The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life!  The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't
realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling,
but I'll certainly get back in shape this way. I just wish
I wouldn't huff and puff so.

December 15

20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4
Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife's car and 2
extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants
a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think
that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all.

December 16

Ice storm this morning. Fell on my butt on the ice in
the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like heck. The
wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very

December 17

Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go
anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to
pile on the blankets to stay warm. Nothing to do but
stare at the wife and try not to irritate each other. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but I sure won't admit it to her. Man, I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death in my own living room.

December 20

Electricity is back on, but had another 14 inches of
the white stuff last night. More shoveling! Took all
day. The dang snowplow came by twice. 
Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said
they're too busy playing hockey. I think they're
Called the only hardware store around to see about
buying a snow blower and they're out. Might have
another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob
says I have to shovel or the city will have it done
and bill me. I think he's lying.

December 22

Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more
inches of the white shit fell today, and it's so cold,
it probably won't melt til August. Took me 45 minutes
to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I
had to pee. By the time I got undressed, peed
dressed again. I was too tired to shovel. Tried to
hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of
the winter, but he says he's too busy. I think the
butthead is lying.

December 23

Only 2 inches of snow today. And it warmed up to 0.
The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house
this morning. What is she, nuts?!! 
Why didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She
says she did but I think she's lying.

December 24

6 inches - Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke
the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I
ever catch the son of a gun who drives that snow
plow, I'll drag him through the snow by his **** and
beat him to death with my broken shovel. I'm certain he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I've just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was too busy watching for the stinkin snowplow.

December 25

Merry stinking Christmas! 20 more inches of the crappin slop tonight - Snowed in.
The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. Man, I hate
the snow!
Then the snowplow driver had the audcity to come by asking for a donation.
I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife
says I have a bad attitude. She's such an idiot! I don't have a bad attitude!

If I have to watch "It's A Wonderful Life" one
more time, I'm going to stuff her into the microwave.

December 26

Still snowed in. Why the heck did I ever move here? It
was all HER idea.
She's really getting on my nerves!

December 27

Temperature dropped to -30 and the pipes froze;
plumber came after 14 hours of waiting for him, he
only charged me $1,400 to replace my pipes!

December 28

Warmed up to above -20. Still snowed in. This woman is
driving me crazy!!!

December 29

10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or
it could cave in. That's the silliest thing I ever
heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30

Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plow driver, and now
he is suing me, not only for the beating I gave him, but also for trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his butt. The wife went home to her mother.
Nine more inches predicted.

December 31

I set fire to what's left of the house. No more

January 8

Feel so good. I just love those little white pills
they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Reflections on New Orleans – Part I

New Orleans is both a beautiful city and not so beautiful city all rolled up in one.  

There are so many beautiful homes, especially along St Charles Avenue. 

There are fun little neighborhood cafes
NOLA (149)

and nice parks.
NOLA (21)

Then there is the low income side of town which is the area of the city we tend to see most when we are there. 
NOLA (90)

But even amongst those areas, there is beauty.  Beauty in the people. 
Brians (12)   
Before we left for New Orleans in December, DH & I were both pretty well convinced this was going to be our last trip.  Oh, we might return at some point.  We have made some wonderful friends there but as far as leading teams, we were all but certain this would be it. 

Then along comes an Albert to change our mind.  Albert is a 79 year old man whose house we helped with.  Albert is still a working man, even at 79.  Albert is one of those people who have fallen through the cracks after Katrina.  Albert didn’t receive much aid to start with and then was “taken” by two different contractors.  They took his money, did a slipshod job, took off and he never saw them again.    Albert was left with a house that didn’t meet codes (yes, there are codes in New Orleans) and had to pay someone a second time to complete/fix the work the first two contractors were supposed to do.

Our team was working across the street at Brian’s house
Brians (165) when Albert put the pride of re-building his home himself on the shelf, walked across and asked if we thought we would have time to help him with some sheetrock.  We referred him to the project director with His  Hands 2 Go.  After some discussion, it was decided a portion of our team could work on his home the second week we were there.  Our folks helped him with sheetrock, windows, gave him a locking door, yard clean-up and completed a small, lockable shed behind his home.
Albert (55)   This 79 year old man worked right along side our team the whole week, including digging a ditch.

Albert (48)  I don’t think there was any one of our folks who didn’t walk away incredibly blessed to be able to work with this man.   

If you want to read more about our trip, check out the outreach blog at

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Warm them buns!

The best “bun warmer” on the planet…


and Forrest, that’s all I have to say about that!


It seems like forever since I’ve written anything here.  With our outreach trip to New Orleans, playing catch-up and the semester start-up at work, time has certainly been at a premium.  Something had to be put on a shelf and this little blog-o-mine here took the fall.  

Is a person every really caught up?  I guess it’s all in perspective as to what a person “thinks” is important and how they prioritize their life.  For the last few weeks, my time has been dictated either by others or responsibilities for commitments I made. 

Now, I believe, do I dare say it?  Things look to be slowing down some and just maybe I can relax, hole-up in the house, maybe read a little, maybe quilt a little, maybe sew a little, positively cook a little and of course, blog some.  Winter is good for a few other things than making me cold, right? 

As much as I don’t like to be cold or driving on crummy roads, I do have to admit that winter definitely has a beauty like no other. 

The past few mornings, we’ve had fog combined with freezing temperatures which brings on beautiful trees and scenery.  Yesterday as the sun was coming up, everything absolutely glistened from the frost and ice. 






The colors of a sunrise and sunset are so much brighter against a snowy white landscape.



Isn’t God amazing?  Only He can paint a landscape such as this!