Thursday, January 31, 2013

Knit Together

I am seriously considering writting a devotional for Christian knitting circles and individual knitters. This post would be an entry in it and I would love feedback.

We use a lot of different stitches when we knit, don't we? Garter stitch, stockingette stitch, basket stitch, moss stitch, rib stitch -- and on and on. There are also yarnovers, knit-togethers and similar things that adorn patterns.

All of these stitches and patterns are based on knit and purl stitches. Without those stitches it wouldn't be knitting.

Churches are somewhat the same. We have different church polities, different worship styles, different views, different theologies. A beautiful variety even if there is some tension between us at times.

Like knitting, we are based on something. Our foundation is Jesus Christ. Without Him, we aren't Christian. In Him, we have unity.

Some projects use one type of stitch, some use several. Sometimes churches work independently, sometimes together. Either way, we are all working to further the Kingdom.

Ultimately, we all be knit together into One church. Until then, let us respect and enjoy the variety.

From Jesus' prayer for the disciples:

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."       John 17:22-24

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!
 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
 It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.

                 Psalm 133

I have been participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge. Last day and I haven't finished, but I have increased my readership and been introduced to some great people, wonderful blogs and new perspectives. A win, I'd say, despite my failure.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What Jordan Thinks of His Mom, Take 3

My son is an amazing kid really. He's bright and funny and imaginative. Lately he's been doing extra chores and fetching and carrying. So what does he think of me?

I have done this little quiz with Jordan twice before. I am interested to see how his answers have changed, both for curiosity's sake and as a checkup on my parenting.

Here goes:

Jordan, age 13 years 2 months 27 days, answers...

1. What is something mom always says to you? Would you bring me my tea

2. What makes mom happy? Bringing her tea

3. What makes mom sad? When people don't do what they are told to do.

4. How does your mom make you laugh? By doing strange things and saying strange things.

5. What did your mom like to do as a child? Play outside

6. How old is your mom? 49

7. How tall is your mom? 5.2

8. What is her favorite thing to do? Play Peggle, eat chocolate and drink tea

9. What does your mom do when you're not around? Play Peggle, clean

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Cleaning rooms and not giving up of the years of "No I don't think so."

11. What is your mom really good at? Drinking tea and eating chocolate. And Peggle, sometimes anyway

12. What is your mom not very good at? Not yelling at her children

13. What does your mom do for her job? She's a special education advocate consultant

14. What is your mom's favorite food? Chocolate

15. What makes you proud of your mom? Uh, cause she's my mommy

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? Melinda Parry in the "Life of the Parry Family"

17. What do you and your mom do together? Mom plays Peggle, I watch. We listen to audio books

18. How are you and your mom the same? Same hair, same eyes, partially the same genetic material

19. How are you and your mom different? She likes to yell a lot.

20. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? The Chocolate Shop

21.How do you know your mom loves you? 'Cause she does.

Right so, there you have it. In my defense, I am playing Peggle because I have a broken foot. Also, I don't really yell that much. 

Read his answers from ages 11 and 9 here.

If you have kids, why not give this quiz a try?

I am participating in the the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Paying Attention

I went grocery shopping the other day. Not terribly unusual, I do it every week or so. This time, though, I did it in a wheelchair, because of my broken foot. My son went in and requested one and an employee soon arrived with an electric scooter. Very helpful.

Using the scooter was an adventure in the crowded store. I frequently had to navigate around other scooters and, also, a manual wheelchair or two. There were at least six other people in wheelchairs.

There were a few people who got aggravated and pushed past either me or one of the other chairs and some who just didn't notice them. There were also several people who were very helpful. The woman ahead of me in the checkout line unloaded my basket for me.

But here's the thing. I shop regularly at that store. I can't imagine that if there were six wheelchairs there that day, there have never been any on other days, but I can't remember ever seeing one before. I must have missed them. I am an advocate for disabled children by profession, so it's pretty embarrassing to admit that.

Once my foot has healed, I am going to plan a shopping trip so that I have some extra time. I want to go a little more slowly and notice those around me. I especially want to be aware of anyone who might need an extra hand.

Will you join me in paying attention?

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Song for Sunday: Beauty for Brokenness

Our world is full of pain and suffering. 
In the midst of it we are called to seek justice, mercy and hope, not just for ourselves but for all people. This song by English songwriter Graham Kendrick is a prayer for shalom.  Shalom goes beyond peace. It is wholeness, a peace supported by justice, a heart at ease, a society in harmony. It is for people and the earth itself, encompassing all of God's world. May it be granted, through Christ our Lord. 
Beauty for brokenness
Hope for despair
Lord, in your suffering
This is our prayer
Bread for the children
Justice, joy, peace
Sunrise to sunset
Your kingdom increase!

Shelter for fragile lives
Cures for their ills
Work for the craftsman
Trade for their skills
Land for the dispossessed
Rights for the weak
Voices to plead the cause
Of those who can't speak
God of the poor
Friend of the weak
Give us compassion we pray
Melt our cold hearts
Let tears fall like rain
Come, change our love
From a spark to a flame
Refuge from cruel wars
Havens from fear
Cities for sanctuary
Freedoms to share
Peace to the killing-fields
Scorched earth to green
Christ for the bitterness
His cross for the pain
Rest for the ravaged earth
Oceans and streams
Plundered and poisoned
Our future, our dreams
Lord, end our madness
Carelessness, greed
Make us content with
The things that we need
Lighten our darkness
Breathe on this flame
Until your justice
Burns brightly again
Until the nations
Learn of your ways
Seek your salvation
And bring you their praise
Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1993 Make Way Music,

What is your prayer today?

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Traveling Bug

 I have a bit of an itch to go somewhere. Now-ish.

I’d like to just get in my car, pick a direction and go. Take some clothes and snacks and music along and just drive where the road takes us, find a place to spend the night, and keep going for a few days.

We used to do that. We saw all sorts of unexpected things. It was fun. No real plans, no deadlines.

We stopped doing it after Jordan came along. At first, it didn’t seem to be a good way to vacation with a baby – sometimes you end up sleeping in the car – and then we just never got back to it.

I’ve decided I want to try it again.

Now, when is my next free weekend…………..

What’s your favorite way to travel?

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

I am seriously considering writing a knitting devotional and would love feedback. 

I found a problem with my knitting, an extra stitch, I think, so I took out a few rows. When I put the stitches back on the needle and counted them, there weren’t enough. I found the two dropped stitches and took out a few more rows, but it still wasn’t right. In the end I took out 33 rows. Very frustrating.

At that 33rd row, I found a weird mistake. The yarn was knotted into one stitch in the middle of the row. When I released it, I found the other end was attached to a stitch about 20 stitches away.

I began knitting again from there, and things went smoothly for a very long time. I was able to reknit what I had taken out and continue to the end of the panel without any real difficulty.

Life can be like that sometimes. Two steps forward, one step back. Frustration after frustration. Whether we are trying to organize a room, start a business, repair a relationship or knit a scarf, things don’t always go smoothly.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of putting our heads down and pushing through.

Other times, we have to look back and see where the difficulty started. Perhaps if we find and correct an error, things will begin to go right.

            Have we not defined what we want to use the room for well enough?
            Have we forgotten a step in starting the business?
            Do we have a selfish motive for fixing that friendship?
            Is there a fault in the knitting pattern?
            In any situation, have we failed to include God in our plans?

 Remember, it is when we trust in Him with all our hearts and acknowledge Him in all our ways that He will smooth the path for us.

"....being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philipians 1:6

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6

Other posts in this series are:  Redo, A Beautiful Pattern, and Blessings for Baby Things

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Prayer

Sometimes I share a prayer that I find on the web. This one comes to us from the Catholic tradition and affirms God as our creator and sustainer. 

Father and maker of all,
 you adorn all creation
with splendor and beauty,
and fashion human lives
in your image and likeness.

Awaken in every heart
reverence for the work of your hands,
and renew among your people
a readiness to nurture and sustain
your precious gift of life.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
your Son,who lives and reigns with you 
 in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.

Do you have a favorite prayer to share?

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blessings for Baby Things

"Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve."

~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

 (I've mentioned before that I am seriously considering writing a devotional booklet for Christian knitting circles and individual knitters. Today's post is a set of blessings and prayers for baby items that I am thinking of including. I would love feedback.)

Baby Things

Often we knit blankets for family or friends who are having a baby, perhaps even for our own little bundle of joy. Sometimes, we knit for a baby we know will be ill or disabled. Maybe, as a service project, we knit for babies who will be taken immediately into foster care or for those who are orphans in far away places. It is good to bless these items. Here are some suggestion for prayers to say as you knit and when you send the item. Feel free to adapt them to your own needs.

Dear Lord, May this blanket be a blessing for warmth and comfort for this baby. In Jesus name, Amen

Father, grant a special measure of your grace and help to this little one. May this gift symboize your love to the baby and her family. In Jesus name. Amen

Gracious God, grant strength, healing, and hope for this child and his family. Let this gift remind them that they have friends and family ready to help. In Jesus name, Amen.

Lord, place this baby in the perfect family to love and cherish her. Until then, when she faces hard days, may this (item) remind her that she is not forgotten. In your son's precious name, Amen.

Creator of All, as this blanket is wrapped around the baby, may he know that he is surrounded by your love. In Jesus name, Amen.

"Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Song for Sunday: There is a Season

Ecclesiastes 3 contains one of the prettiest poems in Scripture. There have been numerous adaptation of it into song. One of the most famous is the folk tune Turn, Turn, Turn  by the Byrds. Our church choir sang a beautiful anthem based on the passage this morning. As  I listened to them practice, it really resonated with me. So I share it as today's "Song for Sunday."

Listen to it here:

And the words, describing the appropriateness of various things to the stages of life, and how God weaves them altogether into something beautiful.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.

What song do you find beautiful?

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Halfway There!

It's a cool thing to reach the halfway point of a project -- or any milestone for that matter. It lets you see that you are making progress and gives you new impetus to keep going. At least that's what it does for me.

Right now, I am knitting a baby blanket. It's red, white and black. (Odd, I know, but I think I hope --it will suit this baby's family. Besides, when Jordan was born all the "latest research" showed that babies see red white and black best.) It's a paneled design, with six panels and I just finished the third panel. I'm excited!

Of course if I think about it too much I will realize that I have used up more than half the time from when I started to the due date. I'd like to give this shortly after the baby makes his appearance, so I need to pick up the pace. I'm not dwelling on that just now, though. I am celebrating!!

How are your projects coming along?

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge. However, I am not halfway there and if I actually finish I will be amazed.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Beautiful Pattern

Knitting patterns abound: simple patterns, complex patterns, basic patterns, beautiful patterns. Patterns guide our work as we create hats, scarves, blankets, sweaters and the myriad of other projects we stitch together.

God knows all about patterns. Check out Exodus 25.   Those instructions to the craftsmen, artists and builders are pretty specific.

God used a pattern when He made us, too: His own image. He wanted each of us to be like Him, to be able to love Him and become part of His family.

I believe He has a more specific pattern for each of us, too. As He knit us together in the womb, He used a distinct design, stitching in gifts, talents, interests and dreams. He crafted each of us to be who He wants us to be.

And each and every pattern, for each unique human, is beautiful.

That's something to praise God for!

13 For You created my inmost being;
    You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are Your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand
    when I awake, I am still with You.

                         Psalm 139:13-18

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
                   Genesis 1:27

 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. 
                                  Genesis 1:31

I am seriously considering writing a devotional for Christian knitting circles and individual knitters. I would appreciate feedback.

I am also participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Do You Have Other Children?

It seems to be happening more right now. People have been asking, "Do you have more children?" "Is he your only?"

I struggle with answering that. 

I am raising one child. However, I have five. Four are in Heaven, having died before they were born, for reasons the doctors haven't been able to figure out. 

So when I am asked, "Do you have other children?" I want to say, "not living;" or "yes, waiting for me in Heaven." 

Sometimes, I do, if the person asking seems to be genuinely interested in my history.   

Usually, though, it's easier to answer as if I am the mom of singleton. It requires less explanation and I don't want to seem as though I am being overdramatic or making a bid for attention. Certainly, I don't want to make someone who has asked an obviously friendly question feel upset or ashamed. It's not a bad question either, I don't think people should stop asking it of others. 

It's just that, sometimes, I feel a bit like I am betraying my other children when I don't mention them.


One year, I lost a baby in March that would have been due in August. This was my third miscarriage, and I had carried halfway under the care of a specialist. We discovered that the baby had died at the twenty week ultrasound. I had already planned not to attend CYC, the conference of the youth ministry I volunteer for, because I was supposed to be on the maternity ward. This wonderful community not only made room for me but surrounded me with a depth of love and care that still amazes me when I think of it. Everyone -- yes the men, too -- offered support, prayer, hugs and extra childcare for Jordan without my ever asking. I was afraid to approach one woman, who had lost three babies after birth, feeling she had suffered so much more. On Commitment Night she was a prayer partner. When I went over to her, she threw her arms around me, reassured me, and prayed fervently, fully understanding my loss. 

At times though,I feel as though there are people who just want women to "get over" miscarriages quickly. I have known of groups where they were considered unimportant, basically something to be ignored. If there is a point of education to this blog, it's this: When you have carried a life within you, however briefly, it's loss brings real grief. 

Erma Bombeck was an auther and comedianne. She could find humor in almost anything, but this is what she said of her miscarriage:

           I lost the baby.....
...As I lay there mumbling “I am so sorry,” the guilt was unbearable. Feelings of self-recrimination came and went like waves of nausea. 
I had now joined a group of women who had to give a child back. They look like other women and they function like other women. But there is an emptiness inside of them that never goes away. At any given time of year when no one knows what they are talking about, they will look wistful and remark that the baby would be three years old today, or five, or ten. They play with the probabilities...the would have beens...could have beens... should have beens... and forever question, "Why?"

The babies would have been 12, 11, 8 and 5. I know they are waiting for me in a perfect place, but I really wish they were here.

Do you have a story of loss to share?

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Help from an Unexpected Source

The other evening, I was driving to my friends' house to stay for a bit, teach the kids and rest my foot. I was in the HOV lane when the driver's side heat shield (which was jury-rigged, anyway) came loose and started flapping around and hitting the car. There was nowhere to pull over, even after I left the HOV lane, so I took an exit.

At the bottom of the ramp a man, obviously indigent, called from across the road:
 "Do you need help?"
"I need a place to pull over."
"There is a shelter just there on the right. Go in the parking lot."

You know, I was in an unfamiliar inner city neighborhood and a complete stranger was giving me directions. I am unable to walk without aids, I had my 13 year old son with me and it was dark.

 It probably would have been wisest to find a well-lit parking lot at a fastfood joint, lock the doors and call AAA. Usually, I err on the side of safety.

Not this time. I pulled into that parking lot. Didn't even think about it.

It was fine, of course. The man approached. I told him "I can't walk" and Jordan got out to help. The man used a cane himself. He pulled off the heat shield, not an easy task, and put it in the trunk. There is a little damage to the paint on the car, but otherwise all is well. (Except that the heat shield needs to be replaced.)

"I am a veteran, Ma'am. God bless you!"

I gave the man the $3 I had in my pocket, wishing I had more cash, rather than just a credit card and thanked him.

"Take care of your Mama, kid"

And we went on our way.

I truly believe that God put that man in our path and prompted me to follow his lead. I am really grateful for his help.

Have you ever gotten help from an unexpected source?

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Books Are Dangerous

Well, good books are. Ones that have something to say, that make you think. Inane books can be fun or   help us take a break, but they aren't dangerous.

In The Giver, Lois Lowry asks us to imagine a "safe" society. Much has been taken away ... choice of spouse, choice of work, weather, color, love....and books. Each household has only three books: a dictionary, a practical guide to the community and a book of rules. In school, students are taught precision of language, science and technology, and civics. No history, no literature. Risk has been reduced, but at a price. There is no depth to life, no feelings. Things are always predictable, calm, the same. The community seems wrong, even before its darker side is revealed.

Taking away books and history is the only way for the community to function. If they had those things, the order of life would almost inevitably be challenged. If people could think for themselves, they would insist on choices and inevitably some would make the wrong ones. People generations back had chosen safety over freedom.

As we let our children read books, we expose them to new ideas and new ways of thinking. It's a risk. They may grow up to be different from us, perhaps in ways that will break our hearts. They may choose wrong paths.

But, if we keep them on the right path by limiting what they read too far, they aren't actually choosing the right path. They are just following, without really understanding what they are doing and they might do that all their lives..... a frightening thought.

Beyond that, being dangerous isn't the same as being evil. Here's a quote from one of my favorite books:
Gimli said, "But you speak of him as if he were a friend. I thought Fangorn was dangerous."
    "Dangerous!" cried Gandalf. "And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Gloin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion. Certainly the forest of Fangorn is perilous - not least to those that are too ready with their axes; and Fangorn himself, he is perilous too; yet he is wise and kindly nonetheless."
                                                                     J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

The protagonists -- honorable folk --  are here described as dangerous. They are -- lethal shots, deadly fighters. But they are right and good, as well. Only evil need fear them.

Books are dangerous because they change us. They can upset the status quo, give voice to injustice, sound warnings about trends and systems. They do it by introducing realities to people who haven't been able to see them, by planting new ideas.

Yes, some of those ideas are wrong, even evil. One of the things we need to learn is how to distinguish between good and bad arguments, right and wrong patterns, acceptable and unacceptable ways of thinking.  As we encounter these things in books and stories, we learn to evaluate them in the real world. It's an important part of education and a good reason to study a broad array of literature.

What dangerous books have you encountered? 
How have they changed you?

I am participating in the January 2013 Ultimate Blog Challenge.