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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fleece Blankets

A few months ago the ladies of our church did a fleece blanket making party.  We made several lightweight, single-layer fleece blankets to distribute to homeless people in our area.  In the middle of summer, we thought a thin blanket would be perfect.  I promised the ladies to make a few videos for them to use as a reference for later.  Well, I still haven't gotten around to it!  But here are some great instructional links to help.

First question: How do you get the holes in the fleece?
I use a Skip Stitch Blade in a rotary cutter.  I cut the edges of the fleece nice and straight with a regular rotary blade.  Then I use the Skip Stitch Blade to make the holes.  You need to make the holes about 0.75-1 inch from the edge of the fleece.  Here's a great tutorial video.  I do the crocheting a little different than this tutorial.  She does a single crochet in each hole and then chain between holes.  I do two single crochets in each fleece hole (no chains).  I do four single crochets in each corner.

Second question: What fancy edging should I do after I single crochet in the holes?
The tutorial video uses a lovely shell.  I often do the very same edging.  It looks a little femine, so sometimes I do a crab stitch border, it's a little more masculine.  It reminds me of rope.  I recently learned this cathedral border.  It's a little more fancy.

Third question: How much material does it take to make a blanket?
Good question.  For an adult, I used about 2 yards of fabric.  That makes a blanket 56 inches wide by 72 inches long.  Plenty big!  For a baby or toddler, I use about 1.25 yards to get a blanket 44 inches wide by 58 inches long.  I like to buy my fleece at Joann's when it is on a 50% off sale.  Look for large remnants to save even more!  One large skein (Red Heart Super Saver) is usually enough yarn to do the edging.

Fourth question: How long does it take to make?
I don't really know.  I crochet while we watch TV.  Maybe two movies.

Thanks for reading.  Happy Crocheting!