There’s an App for That!


I struggle with character flaws. Daily. No, hourly. Forget it … I struggle constantly. So when I hear the phrase “There’s an App for that”, I often wish I could download an app that would correct my flaws. In a snap! (Tweet That!) 

Turns out, there is an app for fixing things. It’s downloadable. And flawless. 

The perfect pattern

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 
Romans 12:2

What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:13


First sewing lesson

And so this past week when my granddaughter Ella sat with me for her first sewing lesson–the old-fashioned kind where the “app” is on paper–I was reminded of my old flaws and new-fangled technologies and tried-and-true wisdom

The result of Ella’s effort was a new garment, a lesson in following a pattern, and more.

A place to buy and a place to work

First: Find a store. For us, that meant Hobby Lobby. Because it’s nearby. And carries reasonably priced fabrics and notions. 

Find the pattern

Second: Locate a pattern. She had to find the one little spot in that big store where three big pattern books lay open. Then the children’s section in each book. She flipped pages and considered the styles most becoming to her body type.

But where were the patterns themselves? In pattern cabinets, of course. She found the correct cabinet, drawer, number, and –voila!–the pattern for her

Third: Choose the fabric. With pattern in hand, she scanned the bolts of fabrics, imagining which design, color, and composition best fit the pattern–and herself.

Fourth: Measure. Ella had to determine how much fabric she needed, which meant double-checking her own measurements. On the pattern package were the measurements and amount of fabric needed for each size.

Choose the fabric

Fifth: Cut. Ella asked the clerk to cut the appropriate amount of fabric. That involved knowing the fabric width and locating the selvages and the fold–pretty important sign posts.

Remember the extras

Sixth: Choose extras. On the back of the pattern package Ella found suggested notions: thread and bias seam tape. She found the store’s notions section, matched thread and tape to fabric, and made her way to the check-out counter. 

Seventh: Identify, separate, and follow directions. Back home, Ella learned each pattern package contains pattern pieces for more than one style (as seen on the package front). So she had to find the pieces that were needed for the style she had chosen. She did of a rough cut of those pattern pieces to separate them from all the others.

A nice surprise was finding that each pattern piece provides cutting lines for several sizes. How convenient. 

Follow the directions

Ella discovered instruction sheets for her chosen style. And she learned she must follow the directions to a T.

She learned that fabric has a “straight” and a “bias.” And that her pattern pieces must be lined up on the straight of the fabric, as the illustration showed. Once again, measurement was required to assure she cut the pattern on the straight of the fabric. Otherwise, her garment would have “sagged.”

Cut on the lines

Ella also learned the construction of a garment is best accomplished by sewing the pieces together in the correct order. For this, she had to refer to her instruction sheet. Veering off resulted in a redo–without fail. 

Eighth: Exercise patience. At times Ella became impatient with the time requirements. She doesn’t live at my house, so her lessons were days apart. Lifting the machine’s pressure foot and snipping the last thread each evening required that Ella reach down deep for an oft-evasive trait: patience.


Ninth: Persevere. Sometimes seams veered too far left or too far right and had to be redone. Re-dos–snipping stitches and pulling out used thread–rank 10th on a girl’s list of 10 favorite things to do. And preparing seam edges so they don’t ravel stirs up not a single drop of creative juices. B-o-r-ing.

But Ella persevered. And the result was fantastic.

Enjoy your success

Tenth: Celebrate!

Ella learned a lesson in more than sewing. She learned to set a goal and stick with it; to evaluate styles and quality; to make astute purchases; to exercise patience; follow directions; and to persist when tempted by discouragement


The “app” Ella and I chose was a paper pattern for a darling tunic top that hiked in the front and dipped in the back. Perfect! 

Best of all, she trusted the instructions and her Mama D to direct her steps.

Which reminds me … Whatever the lesson or the flaw, “there’s an app for that” in Scripture. (Tweet That!) Now if Mama D would only trust The Father to direct hers! 

P.S. I suspect another blog or two of applications from Ella’s sewing lesson are waiting in the wings.

Father God, you designed us but gave us choice. Trouble is, we choose to do wrong. And the result is a mess. Would You stand beside us, keep You hand on ours, direct our choices, and fix our messes for Jesus’ sake? Amen

4 thoughts on “There’s an App for That!

  1. First I thought about saying, “Boy, I wish I could sew,” but then that would insult the Lord for making me the person I am who does not like to sew–at all. What I will say is, “What a special time you had with Ella. She will treasure it always!” I’ve had special times like that with my grandchildren, usually playing some sort of make believe game. One day I took my oldest granddaughter to Boston via car, then train, and then for a boat ride on the Charles River. While on the train home, we each picked a passenger and wrote a story about them. I still have our stories. Ahh, grandchildren . . . so much fun.

    1. I love your adventure with your granddaughter! Cool idea. You’re right. Grandchildren are the bee’s knees, as Americans once said. (Have you figure out where THAT one came from? Really … I ask you … Are bee’s knees something to celebrate?) Thanks for taking the time to comment, Clarice. Means a lot.

      1. How could I NOT respond to the expression of joy on your sweet granddaughter’s face!

        1. That’s so sweet! I’ll show Ella.


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Three Pairs of Hands

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9-11 NIV

Recently my granddaughter Ella and I put our heads and hands together as my mother and I did decades ago, albeit over a different sort of project.

Ella’s mother, my daughter, was turning 45, and we wanted to create something special for the event.

Three pairs of hands_Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

A wooden inlaid cross my husband Al had created caught my eye. It would make the perfect centerpiece for a string of beads … a necklace for a daughter who loves jewelry. 

Ella and I jumped into the car and buzzed to Michael’s. No need to ask for assistance. We knew the way to the “make-you-own” jewelry aisle. 

Ella pointed. “There, Mama D.”

“Wooden beads. Perfect.”

“Look, they come in different colors.”

“Which ones match the cross?”

“I think the brown and beige. How ’bout you?”

I nodded.

“And there’s a package of gold ones.”

“For contrast. Perfect.”

And off we hurried toward home.

Three pairs of hands: Ella’s, Mother’s, and mine.

Gifted in “put-together” skills, Ella was assembling complicated puzzles before she started to school. She’s the “go-to girl” for whatever falls apart. So stringing her mom’s birthday necklace was easy as pie. 

As I observed my aged hands working beside Ella’s, the contrast was extreme. Tendons and bulging veins, age spots and lines mark the backs of my hands while hers are soft and smooth. Which took me back to 1958 when I completed my first sewing project at age 12.

Three pairs of hands. Mine, Mother’s, and her mother’s.

As a 4-H farm girl, learning to sew was a given. Mother’s Singer hummed in its on-again/off-again manner long into many a night. I learned to cut out a pattern and manipulate the foot pedal and presser foot with Mother standing over me and guiding me with her hands.

Three pairs of hands. Grandmother’s, mother’s, and daughter’s.

My hands contrasted to Mother’s in those days, as they did twenty years ago not long before Mother died, and as Ella’s do to mine today. One generation teaching another, passing on the skills former generations had passed to them, is a tradition in our family, as it was with the McFarlands in The Calling of Ella McFarland.

But our two pairs of hands didn’t work alone. Three pairs of hands worked together to produce a lovely necklace: Ella’s, mine, and my mother’s.

Such thoughts brought to mind another time, another place when other hands created another project with far greater results: Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7 NIV

Three pairs of hands. Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.

The Lord didn’t leave the man alone, nor did He abandon the man’s descendants. God taught His people to pass on their knowledge of Him to their children: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 NIV

In each family when parents teach their children, a third pair of hands joins them. When invited.

Have you invited the Lord to join you in your daily life? Have you asked Him to lead you as you lead your children? Or set His hands alongside yours to guide them? He will. Just ask.

Dear Lord, When You entered our world through Jesus, You changed the course of all history and spanned the great gulf between us and eternity. We invite you to enter our homes today … our families … our hearts. Set Your hands alongside ours and guide us unto all generations. For Jesus’ sake.

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