Monday, March 13, 2017

Planned Pooling Scarf!

Have you seen this new fiber trend?  It's so cool!  Yarn designed to develop a pattern as you work.  I just had to try it out.  Late last fall I made this scarf to test out the technique.  It is from Red Heart's colorway 'Fall'.  I used two Super Saver skeins to do it, making the project very affordable. It looks gorgeous in my lovely model.

If you would like to try the technique, check out these great links.  That's how I learned!

Happy Crocheting!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Home . . .

Home is where the heart is, right?

My 10-year-old son and I just finished reading Abandoned on the Wild Frontier by Dave and Neta Jackson.  This book is historical fiction intended to introduce 8-12 year old kids to the ministry of Peter Cartwright.  He died in 1872, but something in this book is as relevant today as it was 150 years ago.

I love this dialog.  God gives us each a hunger for the warmth and security of a good family life.  Why? Peter Cartwright suggests this longing is God designed; placed in each human heart to make us hunger for a reconciled relationship with Him.  Jesus makes reconciliation with God possible through His payment for our sins on the cross.  He invites you and me and all who would believe to enter into this relationships by faith and repentance.  Are you hungry for home?  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Anything new in your prayer life?

Have you ever felt like your lack of faith is impeding your prayer life?  You ask God to work in your circumstances or your character, but you experience doubt that you are even asking for the right thing?  I recently read this paragraph in Everyone Gets to Play by John Wimber.  It's in a section on corporate intercessory prayer, but I tried it in my own personal prayer life.

It makes my prayers longer.  It won't work for those urgent "I'm about to lose my cool.  Lord, I need your gentleness for this kid right now!" type of prayers.  To make it easier for me to understand, I broke the paragraph down into a list.  
1. Praise God for who He is.
2. Thank Him for what He has done in the past.  
3. Recall or pray any applicable Bible Verses.
4. Consider how God moved in the earthly life of Christ.
5. Tell God about the circumstances and ask Him for the need at hand.

I'm a big believer in simply asking God to show me how to pray and going with what the Holy Spirit lays on my heart.  I found this to be a great addition to that method of supplication because it got historical in a good way.  Considering who God is and how He has acted in the past gives me more confidence to pray in the present.  It also helps align my thoughts and prayers with His will.  Let's do an example.:
1.  Praise God for who He is.
God, you're a good Father.  I praise you because you are the wisest and most faithful parent.
2.  Thank Him for what He has done in the past.
We asked you for kids and you gave them to us.  Thank you for this children.  We love them.  And we enjoy them, most of the time!
3.  Recall or pray any applicable Bible Verses.
Proverbs 22:6 "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."
4.  Consider how God moved in the earthly life of Christ.
Jesus, you embraced children with open arms.  You encourage even the youngest people to know you.
5.  Tell God about the circumstances and ask Him for the need at hand. 
God, our kids need to develop some independence and work ethic.  Please cultivate this attitude within them.  Please show us how to parent them in such a way to take pride in doing a job well.  

Try it and see if it helps you.  Don't feel like you have to pray every step for every prayer.  Take what is helpful for your relationship with God and leave the rest.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Legend of the Poinsettia

What is your favorite Christmas decoration?  I just love poinsettias.  Do you?  Have you ever heard the Legend of the Poinsettia?  I'll sum it up for you, but I really recommend an artfully crafted retelling of this story by Tomie dePaola.  You can read my summary or you can click on the link and hear the story.  I know what I'd do.  I'd listen to the story.

Lucida is a little girl living in Mexico.  We all have Christmas traditions.  In Lucida's village on Christmas Eve, everyone in the church brought a gift to lay at the figure of baby Jesus.  Lucida's mother had the honor of making a new blanket for the figure.  Unfortunately, she became ill and couldn't complete the project.  Lucida tried to finish the blanket on her own, but all she accomplished was making the yarn tangled.  Lucida had nothing to give the baby Jesus.  On her way to the church service, she encounters a mysterious woman.  The mystery lady assures Lucida that her mother will soon recover.  At her encouragement, Lucida picks some common weeds to take to the church and lay at the figure of baby Jesus.  When Lucida lays the weeds at the manger and prays to God, an amazing transformation takes place.  The weeds turn into beautiful Poinsettia flowers.

Now I'm sure you're wondering why I love this Christmas symbol so much.  I'm not Hispanic.  This isn't my cultural heritage.  I find this story full of symbolism.  I can relate to little Lucida.  At Christmas we celebrate the ultimate Giver.  God gave Jesus to the world to live a human life.  Jesus gave up His life to die on the cross as a payment for our sins.  The Holy Spirit gives us God's presence.  We are the recipients of these lavish gifts.  Because I am created in the image of the Giver, I want to give also.  I want to give something of value to this little baby lying in a manger.  Like Lucida, I find I have nothing to give.  I come before Jesus and offer up the only thing of value that I truly possess.  I offer Him my life: my time, my energy, my choices, my praise, and my material possessions.  Just like Lucida, I worry that my gift will not be good enough.  Surely I have made a tangled mess of things in the past.  Good news!  No tangled mess is beyond His redeeming touch.  Our lives might be like the weeds that Lucida picked: common and ordinary.  But in God's presence, they can be transformed into a beautiful work of art.

2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT "So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  and the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image."

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Prayer

One of the ladies at our Thursday Night Bible Study shared this prayer request and I loved it.  I tend to stay kind of busy, but I just added another commitment to my life.  Yikes!  When I feel stressed and overwhelmed with things to do, I don't always respond to people in the most loving manner.  So I loved this prayer:

Remember Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic speeches?

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."  

My stressed out response isn't going to make any situation better.  Nope, it's a Christ-like response that will really help.  The Bible even says so in Romans 12:21.

So if you're feeling stressed or attacked, I invite you to pray this one with me:

Lord, help me to reflect Jesus instead of reflecting the onslaught coming at me.  

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

The first time I remember celebrating Halloween was in kindergarten.  I dressed up as a leopard to my class's costume parade and Halloween party.  My family went Trick or Treating that year also.  It was a little different for me than it may have been for you.  We lived out in the country.  The nearest house was about a quarter of a mile away.  My Mom drove us to all the neighbors' houses in a two mile radius to knock on their doors.  I still remember the delight that radiated from Mrs. Paxton's face when she opened her door.  She was a widow with no grandchildren living near her.  She fed us homemade cupcakes.

When I was older, I heard that Halloween was the devil's holiday.  If you celebrate it, you're celebrating Satan.  Well, I didn't want to do that because I loved Jesus.  My parents chatted with me and left the decision up to me.  For the most part, I stopped celebrating Halloween.  I wouldn't want to give fear a foothold in my life.  I was already having enough trouble with fear in every dark night.

But as my relationship with God deepened, I learned the security that comes from being a child of the Most High King.  As His servant, I live under His protection.  I can't think He will shelter me from every discomfort.  I do know He is good and powerful.  He will be with me in everything.  He will turn all my sufferings for my good and His glory.  He did it for Jesus.  He turned Jesus' suffering on the cross into good - salvation for me.  He turned Jesus' sufferings into glory - to show His power over death when Jesus rose from the grave.

This Halloween, I'm not going to celebrate evil.  But I am going to take this opportunity to reach out to others.  It's not every night that people welcome strangers.  I am going to encourage my children's imagination.  Oh yes, I am going to eat some candy.  Most of all, I'm going to celebrate that Jesus Christ has set me free from the fear of death.  Not that I'm in a hurry to die.  But when I do, I believe that I will live eternally with God because Jesus paid the price for my sins on the cross.

"Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death where is your sting?"
1 Corinthians 15:45b-55 NLT

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Review: The People of Sparks

It starts as a miscommunication, a misunderstanding between people.  The people divide along cultural lines.  Each group begins to see the other group through the eyes of distrust.  People view each other as enemies instead of fellow townspeople.  They misjudge and misinterpret each other's words and actions.  Fear and hurt abound.  The misunderstanding escalates.  One side slings insults at the other.  The insulted group fires back.  The conflict intensifies to the point of violence.  What can stop it?

Want to know what happens next?  Read the book.  I read it to preview it for my 9 year old son.  I think he's ready for the concepts about conflict presented in the book.  There's no profanity or sexuality in it, but it does discuss war.