Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday's little smile

sometimes it's just the little things . . . . .

How CUTE will these little slippers be for your favorite BAMA baby! They just made me smile while I was knitting . . .

Hope you have a great weekend .... Counting your blessings, naming them one by one!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 20, 2011

Shoveling Snow into my Sand Pail

it's monday .... June 20th .... and it's about a million degrees outside!  at least that's what it feels like to this city girl who is sporting a spray tan because i'm too much of a wimp to do the whole "lay out and bake like a pound of bacon" any more!  remember those days, though?  all the bad things like the gallons of baby oil we used in placed of SPF 900 sunscreen?  all the "solar" blankets that we laid on  (roasted on) when we laid out?  climbing out on the rooftop at school .... or laying out in the bed of a truck on the way BACK from laying out on the beach all day?

and did i mention that i have NEVER been able to keep a "bronze glow" about me?  i burn .... i peel ... i start over!  so, rather than spend any more time chasing the elusive tan so that i look like george hamilton ... i'm opting to keep my pale and pasty self inside, where it is much cooler .. and knit WINTER things!  Hats .... baby booties .... game day accessories for the little ones to get geared up for some winter athletics!

thus ... my version of a Hello Kitty hat ... and i'm working on the CUTEST little elephant booties .....  and a elephant hat to match .... and the Tiger Paw hat's in the works as well, so that EVERYONE stays warm ... and happy!

surveying the obvious circumstances and opting to find the bright (cool) side of things is one of the coping factors for this summer ....  thinking SNOW globes in the midst of the water sprinklers in order to stay cool .....  knitting wool while wearing shorts and flip flops ......  thinking COOL while 'glistening' as only a true southern belle can do!

this same mindset has worked its way, yet again, into my quiet time and played out in my heart as well!  i am LOVING, despite the discomfort at times, God's promise to equip me for whatEVER comes ... even if He knows i won't be giggling and doing jumping jacks about it ... He prepares me ... IF i simply choose to listen, obey and rely on Him.   Last week i read the book of Hosea .... talk about breaking my heart!  God asked Hosea to marry a woman that he KNEW was going to be unfaithful to him .. and out of obedience, Hosea did just that ... and he got his heart broken multiple times!  BUT Hosea loved his bride, fought for her, forgave her and committed to building a life with her!  sound familiar?  perhaps the perfect picture of how God feels for me?  He has been fully aware of my shortcomings, my verbal dissertations and soliloquies of repentance ... and then my willful disobedience and He CONTINUES to forgive and pardon and afford me yet another "do over" .....  which lesson i am then fortified with and able to "apply" when a friend does something that hurts ....  finding the blessing in the midst of the brokenness .....

truth in action!  Finding the "cool" in the midst of the heat .....  being able to APPLY because i have seen it demonstrated ....   not being overcome with the negative of the moment, but finding the proverbial "silver lining" ..... sitting on the hot beach of my day and filling my sand pail with Snow Balls of blessings!

have you ever read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers?  If my house ever burns down, i'm grabbing my Bible and my copy of Redeeming Love ... it is one of my all time favorite books EVER ... and God continues to use that story to prick my heart ... i pray that i can be more like Hosea in my love for others ....   my forgiveness towards others ..... the heart and mind of Christ!

maybe i'll grab my book ... my knitting .... and turn on some Christmas music just to cool the place off a bit!

"Turn to Me now, while there is time!  Give Me your hearts.  
Come with fasting, weeping and mourning.
Don't tear your clothing in your grief; 
instead, tear your hearts."

Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful.
He is not easily angered.  
He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you.
Joel 2:12-13

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday and Frogs


it's FRIDAY ....

and my Lil Frog is done!

and His smile is matching mine right now .....

i'm loving these quick projects that don't really require too much thinking in the middle of the summer heat!

i've been looking through my cotton stash and spotting large 'left over' balls that would be great for working on new crochet stitches AND also serve as more than just a designated "swatch" ..... why not turn them into wonderful little washcloths!  for some reason, back in the day, i bought one of those 'CONES' of white cotton .... and am thinking that i will spend time this summer working on a collection of these little washcloths .... in fact, i could do a PILE of them in white .. and then use up some of my other smaller stashballs for a pretty, colorful trim .....  and if i have a plethora of little squares to pick and choose from at any given time then it wouldn't be a big deal at ALL to whip on a personalized trim and bundle them together for a sweet little baby gift .... or a soft and frilly feminine spa package ... or a simple but thoughtful "you've been on my heart lately and i wanted you to know that i was praying for you" prize!

The pattern for the Lil Frog is posted (or will be in a minute) in the Au Pair tab .... hope you enjoy!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vacation Bible School for Adults

i remember LOVING summer time because it meant Vacation Bible School time for me and all of my friends!  i remember lining up outside the front of the church ..... finding my friends who were in the same grade with me, giggling and raising our hands wildly to be selected to be the Bible Girl or the Flag Carrier representative ....  i remember making sure i had my offering within easy access so i could make my contribution when the offering plate passed down our row .....  i remember how relaxed and comfortable the teachers seemed to be during the week when they were not so 'dressed and pressed' like they were on most Sunday mornings ....

i remember hearing the Stand Up and Sit Down chords being played during opening assembly time ... and loving the fact that i had taken piano for 2-3 years and could actually distinguish the difference (not that piano lessons really helped as much as the fact that i wasn't talking but was paying attention to when our leader stood UP or DOWN!) ....  i remember all the Bible Stories and themes that were used to decorate our department rooms ... and the props that were available to re-enact the Bible stories, i.e., wire clothes hangers and stockings stretched over them to make masks ...

i LOVED break time .... a) because i could talk without getting in trouble
                                        b) i could be outside with my friends and talk and not get in trouble
                                        c) because we always got 2 sandwich cookies and a cup of lemonade OR
                                                 3 butter cookie "rings" ... remember those?  we would drop them over      
                                                 our fingers and munch on them like they were rings to wear, along with  
                                                 our designated cup of lemonade ... and of course, i could talk and not get
                                                 in trouble!

BUT  my all time favorite part of Bible School was ........    CRAFTS!!!!

i can still remember one of my favorite projects (because it took ALL week!) was an old board that had a rooster outlined on it ... and we had to completely fill in the bird with beans!  and what an asSORTment of beans we had to choose from and glue down!  all the colors and textures ... i was convinced that i was creating the next Masterpiece for them to hang in the foyer of our little church!  (and who DOESN'T want a bean rooster adorning the entry to God's House? what a wonderful, welcoming message to all visitors, yes?)

and i also remember one year going to a friend's church with her and we made these awesome crosses out of a MILLION toothpicks all glued down in a really cool angular pattern ... and then we stained them ... and then we sprayed a sealant on them so they would last forEVER !!!  (or until our moms threw them away when they were cleaning up our rooms!) ....

LOVED me some craft time ... and it would appear that my summer is bearing a strangely retro resemblance to all those many years ago ....

my current 'craft' project will be the final compliment to the hole at the top of my yarn wall ......  the buckets are great ... and i LOVE being able to see all the colors of my yarn .. to pick and choose, to mix and match .....   i wanted a cute/clever/wise/poetic something or other to cap it off ... and i found it

More Yarn Than Time

p  e  r  f  e  c  t  !!!!

so i purchased wooden letters yesterday at my "home away from home"- - Hobby Lobby - - using a gift card i had received as a gift (duh!)  and have been playing with my yarn and glue for hours now!

and throw in some crocheting and knitting projects .... and i am one happy clam right now!  quiet in the house, heart and hands are busy ....  it's going to be a great day!

frog bib ... in the making ...
pattern (hopefully) Friday
under the Au Pair tab!

and as far as the Bible Story portion of my Vacation Bible School time this morning i was reading still in the book of Daniel .... and must confess that it's been a LONG time since i had read much in my Old Testament other than my Psalms and Proverbs .....  but because the morning had been so still and quiet i approached my reading like it was a Book ... not just a passage .....  not just a single 'devotional' thought or story .... but rather a "pack your lunch and go get lost in the book" kind of reading .... and i have found some WONDERFUL things ... just little quips and nuggets that God has used to whisper hope and reminders of His Plan and Purpose .... His love ..... His CLAIM on my devotion ... His Longing for my dedication and consistent service to Him!!!

Look at this:  Daniel 6:26 - 27 (a decree from King Darius regarding his observations based on Daniel's consistent walk with the Lord)  
"For He is the living God and He endures forever!
His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will NEVER end.
He rescues and He saves;
He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth."

*all from Daniel's faithful and consistent walk ... that matched his talk! (and prayer time)

and look at this verse.... Daniel 9:23 in response to Daniel's clarification regarding a dream he had had:

"As soon as you (Daniel) began to pray, an answer was given.... for you are highly esteemed."

Seriously?  when was the last time you honestly thought - out loud or otherwise - that your prayers were pushed to the front of the line/list?  and yet, God promises to hear us .....  it just really bolstered my spirit to think that one of His servant's questions and prayer for clarification could command an angel messenger's attention and reply!

Hebrews reminds me:  13:2
"Don't forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it!"

and 1:14  "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?"

i'm on my 2nd cup of coffee (the adult version of lemon aide) ... eating peanut butter crackers in place of my 2 designated sandwich cookies ....   all i need now is an offering plate and i can call today another wonderful day at Vacation Bible School ....

off to glue ... and ponder and pray ... for a messenger moment today!  (wonder what "angel" hair looks like?)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Throw Open the Windows

 Hopefully the pace is beginning to slow a bit ... schedule's are relaxing and you may even find yourself brave enough to 'consider' trying something new .... i.e., learning to crochet!  No need to be afraid of the hook ... it's just a new and different twist on another form of crafting ... and further justification for buying more yarn and trying new things!

i can still remember when my vast knowledge of crocheting consisted of buying a new skein of yarn and simply knitting MILES of chain stitch .... and that was all!  i remember always wanting to buy that variegated yarn with bright and vibrant color changes and then chaining like a crazy woman, watching as the hues and intensities change over and over and over ... i wasn't smart enough to realize that it was all so very predictable and patterned .... i was continually shocked and amazed at just how "cool" it turned out ... and now that i think about it ... i'm still pretty easily entertained!

but the years have passed and my curiosity has peaked ... and
my bravery has overcome my fear of failure .. and i have actually ventured into the Land of Row 2 .....  life AFTER the chain!  and guess what?  it's not such a bad place ....

i have learned that the way i hold my yarn when i crochet actually helps me with my tension as a knitter ... i have learned that ripping out is hurting less because i am more anxious to get it RIGHT than simply just get it done!

i have learned that i CAN read a pattern - - whether written out or charted ... and i'm really smart when i want to be!

i have learned to appreciate, all the more, my grandmother's patience and skill .... i still am not a big fan of her yarn or color choices (and pray that my age doesn't EVER send me in that color palette range!) .... but considering the limited options and places to shop, much less the patterns that were available 30 years prior to today ....  i think i'll hold on to my current array of books and magazines so i'm NEVER relegated to knitting OR crocheting toilet paper covers or Barbie Doll dresses   (unless, of course, it matches one that i make for my grand daughter as well . . if i ever get one of those!) ......

so, until i get to be an official "GiGi" with loads of little ones sitting on the porch swing, eating ice cream with me ... i'm finding joy and delight in knitting .. and crocheting this month ... for little ones elsewhere ....

it's just so sweet .. and tiny .... and i can't WAIT to have a little one of my own to rock and hold and pray over .. and share Jesus Loves Me with them ..... to find all the little ways and wonders to remind them how precious they are in God's eyes ..... i long to be remembered as a woman with a heart for Him ....  so that when i whisper His name it doesn't catch people off guard, but seems as second nature as my knitting .......

i was reading in the book of Daniel this morning about Daniel's faithful walk and life ... and how despite the threat of death he refused to pray to any one OTHER than God ... and you know that verse that said he went up into his room and opened his window towards Jerusalem and continued in his habit of praying 3 times a day ..... well .... the whole "opened his window" thing has always been an enigma to me - i just never figured it to be a "guy thing" to want a breeze blowing through his curtains, sunshine falling over his fresh cut fruit sitting on the breakfast nook beside a copy of the daily news and freshly brewed cup of coffee .... but toDAY, i learned that opening his window was a visible sign, among the Jews that were captive there, that they were indeed Jews serving (and praying unapologetically) to their GOD, Yahweh .....   and while he most certainly could have prayed a more "personal" and closed window prayer ... Daniel was fully confident that his God was not threatened by any king's edict ... or lions den .... and he continued in his 'habit' despite who may have been watching because he rested in the knowledge that God would continue in HIS ... taking care of Daniel ....

serving the Lord ... opening the window .... reGARDless .....  i have to believe that Daniel was confident yet comfortable while in his room .... i believe he approached that window and threw it open with abandon!  i believe he was refreshed and renewed with the air that blew through .... infused with a peace that truly passed all the administrators and satraps understanding ..... perhaps a bit nervous when he first met those hungry lions .... but can you just imagine how bolstered his spirits were while waiting through the night .... lions sleeping at his feet, and fears assailed while sitting on the rock in anticipation of the king rolling the stone back and finding him still there ... probably humming a true praise chorus or two or twelve throughout the night ... maybe some bed head ... all mixed with a quiet infusion of security and humility that God IS faithful . . .

and what about those poor guys who had to hoist him up and look the king in the eyes, knowing full well that THEY were about to be breakfast for those lions!  yikes!

perhaps those satraps should have reconsidered their 'traditional' ways .....  just because everyone ELSE was doing it was NOT justification for continuance ... Daniel's life had, up to that point, been an exemplary one .... a life that consistently demonstrated that serving God was a choice that was sustainable and profitable, both inward AND outwardly ......  it required adjustments that perhaps were against what everyone ELSE may have done, but Daniel knew that his God was faithful ... and could rest on that assurance as he went about EVERY aspect of his day ...whether at home or at work ... God was abiding with him!

following the pattern may require fine tuning things according to individual circumstances ....  i crocheted both of those little shoes yesterday ... the 1st attempt (the larger one) was with the hook that was recommended .... and was supposed to fit a 6-12 month old ....  but when i finished it seemed to be better suited for a 6 - 12 YEAR old!!!  so i made adjustments, followed the pattern still, and by going down 2 hook sizes am now closer to a shoe for a baby rather than a grown man!  and isn't that just like God's provision and way .... He tweaks us as we go, always monitoring and adjusting ... re-orienting and reminding and reassuring in order to accomplish what is His good and perfect will for me .... sometimes ripping out and re-doing ....  in order to clarify and fit .... because He can and always WILL keep the end result in mind as He shapes and molds me to be a perfect fit for His kingdom!  custom tailored ... NOT mass produced!

Throw open the windows ......

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Simple Summer Projects

it's the 1st official day of summer for me .... and i confess that i woke up this morning a bit paranoid about what all i needed to do in order to make my summer time purposeful, at least for appearance sake ....

bubba asked what my plans were and i just looked at him like a deer caught in the headlights .... because i really, honestly and truly, had no plans ... NO projects or remodeling come to mind at this moment ... and other than the usual cleaning and cleaning ... and cleaning ... that i haven't done since ....

last summer!

so ... after opening a new, fresh bag of my favorite coffee (Peppermint!) .... and sinking down into the sofa, i opened my Bible and just started praying and pondering ... reading a Proverb for today .... looking over  my Bible Study for tonight's meeting .. and my eyes feel to one of my favorite Psalms ever ... and i found (by no accident!) this footnote that perfectly summarizes my Official Summer Plans:

"Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Him set the pace!
  Hold His hand in child-like trust, and the way before you will open
  up ....
  step by step."  (or stitch by stitch if you're a knitter!)

Psalm 73:23-26 drives this point even closer to home:

"Yet i am always with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with Your counsel,
and afterward You will take me into glory.
Whom have i in heaven but You?
And earth has nothing i desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever!"

SO ... i guess i've got my summer plan now!  To find delight in Him .... to embrace the quiet of the moment and find Him there ... despite what the world or my calendar or my conscience or even my knitting bag may say ..... 

perhaps today will be filled with making fun summer knitting plans .... options for projects that i may .. or may not ... get accomplished, much less photographed and blogged about .... but .. that, too, will be okay ... because regardless of my measurable 'success' ... i will view these next weeks as a retreat with my Savior .... appreciating the renewal and re-creation that He has ordered ..... kind of like a mini-Spa package, with my heart getting the deep tissue massage that only He can accomplish!

time to go crochet  (it's my June little "happy hiatus")  ... have you got your crochet hook yet?  

 and also ...

Saturday is Knit in Public day .... Hoover Public Library .... 2:00 - 6:00 .....  don't you want to come?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Crafting Memories

looking down the wall in my so called Knitting Room, filled now with memorabilia that reflects friends and family, past and present, draws my heart back to Psalm 100.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before Him with joyful songs.
KNOW that the Lord is God.
It is He who made us, and we are His;
We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through ALL generations.

from the patterns that reflect a mom's love for her daughter in the garments she stitched for her... all hemmed with prayers as she went to school, played outside, learned of God's love in Sunday School and GAs ...

to the bureau scarf that is crocheted in colors that i would have never chosen but yet symbolized a time and desire on my grandmother's part to decorate a family heirloom with a touch of what she felt was beautiful .....

to the cross stitch pieces of my dear friends that i have received as wedding gifts or that symbolized a season in life where love was the common bond and interest in the things that we shared ....

to the photographs of my own children that portray the NEXT generation to sing praise to Him .....

looking back ... looking ahead ..... and resting in His faithfulness as demonstrated time and again, year after year .... for constant and consistent reminders that the Lord IS good ....

and His love endures


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"One Day" - - - Finally Came!

many years ago a sweet friend shared a wonderful box of treasures with me ... the contents of which contained much of her history and cherished memories of her mom .. and yet she so very graciously acquiesced that collection and shared it with me ....  there were out of print magazines of heirloom dresses and precious babies wearing lace .... fabrics for pajamas and sunday school dresses .... a little wicker basket filled with the most delightful assortment of buttons - - shiny ones, shank ones .... 2 eyes, 4 eyes, matches and left overs ...

but to me, a young mom, and her ever curious little daughter, that box was such a treasure chest and immediate bond with generations passed ... and an investment in a generation yet to discover the joys of cloth and needles, lace and love!l  packed deep within the confines of "The Box" were several patterns that Dee had used for Nancy, as the mom made play clothes and school clothes and church dresses and pajamas, baby cloths and big girl clothes, all as visible demonstrations of love for her young daughter, growing up in the 50s!

The patterns contain the directions AND all the pattern pieces, now metiulously folded back within the jacket - and i have kept them tucked away for "One Day" ever since i first discovered them in "The Box".    They are dated, which is priceless to me, on the back of each envelope.  And they are very clearly marked for sale, with prices ranging from $.50 to $1.00 ..... and realizing that most patterns are in the $10 range now (thank you Lord for 1/2 price coupons) . . . just another reminder of times gone by ... how far we've come and yet how much we are still the same . . .

Well ....  today ... One Day finally came!

i made a trip to Hobby Lobby and discovered that frames were 50% off so . . .

1st/initial option ... not so much!  
 But . . . . 9 frames later . . . . . . . .

my "Gallery" is just so much FUN in my newly organized and still clean Knitting Room!  I feel like i'm just sitting in the middle of all my family and friends .. there are so many precious memories and stitches scattered throughout my little cocoon of a room!

It feels so good to know that i have actually been able to "check off" a task that i've been saving .... re-visiting old memories of my own mom sewing for me ... Nancy's mom sewing for her .... me sewing for Rachael .... and hopefully one day, Rachael doing the same thing for her children . . .  and while it has been nice to have the "luxury" of planning for "One Day" there is ONE THING that should NOT be left unattended.

Before you even finish reading this post i have to ask:  Has there ever been a time when you've asked the Lord into your heart ... to be Your Lord and Savior?  THAT and That alone, is the ONE THING on this ONE DAY that can not wait .... Becoming a Child of the King is the ONE THING that HE died for .... acknowledging Him as Your Father is the ONE THING that He is waiting to hear .....

John 3:16 says it all:

For God loved the world
SO Much
that He
His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him
would not perish
 but have everlasting life.

This One Day =  Everlasting Eternity

Rev. 3:20  Listen!  I am standing at the door [of your heart] knocking!  If anyone opens that door i WILL come in, and live with You, and you with Me!

2 Sam. 22:17  He reached down from on high and took hold of me - He rescued me!

fyi:  that's a LONG time to sit and knit and take knitting lessons/life lessons from the very One that knit you together ... He's been "knitting" for a LONG time now and He's really good at ALL that He does!

Praying ToDay will be your ONE DAY!

Thanks Nancy!  Love you!


Monday, June 6, 2011

My Favorite Little Bear

Meet Mr. Bearly 2011
there is nothing sweeter than being able to knit and be nostalgic simultaneously ... AND not loose your place at the same time!  I have a sweet friend who requested something special for a new baby in her life and we decided that a little teddy bear would be JUST the thing for him to snuggle up with .... a soft little "something" to drag and crawl and carry as he grows ...

i remember MANY a day when Rachael and Mr. Bearly were inseparable ...  and Many nights we couldn't be properly tucked in unless Mr. Bearly was wedged just right, right there beside her, both of their sweet noses peeking out over the edge of the covers!

so i set off on my first journey into critter construction - - which of COURSE meant i'd have to go to the store for a book or two or eight (thank you 2nd & Charles!) ...and of COURSE i didn't have any yarn that would soft enough for a new baby ... no, really .. i didn't! .... but thanks to a sweet little find that was tucked over in the fabric section of JoAnne's rather than with all the yarn assortment ... i discovered one of their store brand options aptly named "Cuddle" in Brown, none the less!  It was Perfect for what i was looking for!   My Debbie Bliss pattern called for her yarn of course, but opting to keep the cost in manageable range, and anxious to get going, i found just what i wanted for $3.99 a skein!  I already had new size 3 needles at home just waiting ... so i was OFF to get my bear going!

it was a unique experience to work on the shapes of the pieces ... to apply the increases and decreases in order to get the roundness .... or to realize that it's only when it's stitched up that all the angles make sense. . . you KNOW there's a life lesson in that statement somewhere   :)
did you happen to get your crochet hook this weekend?  i found a wonderful use for one with all my knitting - - it makes a GREAT way to sew up all those pesky seams all while supplying a bit of stability in the process ...  you have GOT to learn to at least do a crochet "chain" before June's all said and done!

look how CUTE Mr. Bearly is .... he's just sitting there and patiently waiting for his pedicure .... for those sweet feet to get a little extra padding ....  arms flung up and open in genuine surrender ... relaxed and trusting ....

and as i was knitting and sewing there were times of frustration when i didn't understand how these flat "pattern pieces" were going to take shape and actually turn into ANYthing that remotely resembled a sweet little huggable teddy bear ....  there was a fair share of ripping out .... and doing over .... mixed in with plenty of "Ah Ha" moments when i finally DID get the picture ... and sprinkled into between it all were sweet reminders that this is nothing more than a mirror of the journey i take every day ... except that there is NO DOUBT that the Lord knows exACTly how the pattern is going to look ... how every single curve and angle fit Perfectly together ... there is no "randomness" or "Oops!"  in His vocabulary ... only Order.  There is no Surprize or need to Fudge the pattern in order to accomplish His task ...  despite what i understand or question, what i choose or ignore ... He has known from the beginning of time ... the very Pattern of my Time here on earth in preparation for my Time in Heaven with Him!

Oh My Soul!  how can you NOT love such a sweet little face!

and be reminded as much about the process and pattern pieces of my every day life ..... even when i don't quite see the whole, finished product just yet .....

Isaiah paints a wonderful picture of the Mess we so often make with the daily pattern pieces and YET, when we offer them to the Lord, He can and will anoint it all:

Isa. 6:5  "Woe to me" i cried.  "I am ruined!  For I am a man of unclean lips [and pattern pieces], and i live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!"  [i don't understand how what I've got is EVER going to look like You, O Lord!]

but here's the BEST part:  Isa. 6:6  THEN one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.  With it, he touched my mouth and said,  "See, this has touched your lips;  your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

All it takes is a simple act of surrender and submission ... and He promises to cleanse and restore .. and complete the task at hand ..   in all your ways acknowledge and He will direct your path [and pattern].

Let all things be done decently, and in order.
I Cor. 14:30

Friday, June 3, 2011

still working on that popcorn ....

wrapping up the week with minimal knitting done ... in fact .... once i sat done after all the cleaning and organizing i'm a bit intimidated by all the structure and order and don't want to mess it up ... so i'm just sitting and grinning upstairs like a woman who's soon to be carried off to her own "special space" complete with padded walls .....  but if you think about it ... i just padded one with all SORTS of beautiful colors, so maybe i'm halfway there!  or, they'll just leave me alone to sit.  ..... and work on this popcorn kernel i've still got lodged in my heart ....

several weeks ago i heard a song by Laura Story that she calls "Blessings" and the lyrics have haunted me ever since.  i pray you'll take a moment to listen .... and ponder over the weekend .....

i think these lyrics magnified many of the areas of weakness that i personally fight with and against ... and yet i'm growing with the entire notion that my weaknesses are as much of an identifier as my blondish gray hair, or my piano playing or my big, tired feet.  I've learned that when i wear green my eyes shine ... and when i wear yellow my entire skin tone looks like i need to be living under a jaundice lamplight!  clearly, it's all about who i am .... as much as it is who i am NOT!  and that's a HUGE life lesson in my book!

My fears of getting too close to someone and being hurt - God longs to use me to magnify Himself and what better way than through a scaredy cat who doesn't want to be in front of people.

My fears for my children . . my "motherly" instincts that want to FIX their lives and make things better  - - God PROMISES that His Word will not return void, so my job is to keep pouring His Word into their lives, whether i speak it or live it or pray it over them ... and HE will be glorified as He brings about the plan that He ordained for each of them.

My stubborn (i know, shocker!) and impatient mindset of doing things on my own and not wanting to ask for help ....  I can't really ask God for leadership and help when i won't let go, can i?  but what if i turn my face to Him and open my hands with palms raised high .... such relinquishing is not a sign of weakness but of obedience and ASSURANCE based on His faithful Promises to meet my every need when my heart is turned and tuned to His!

my weaknesses are not sins .... not really even always a bad thing  ..... they are obvious markers of the areas that God can USE where i clearly have NO part in the process .... anything good that comes from them will immediately point back to Him and i will be nothing more than His vessel ... oh wait!  isn't that what He desires .... perspective .... confidence ..... PRIDE in being His Child.

Satan get behind me!  I've been knit together with some very unique "bobbles" in my pattern and design [fears and worries and thighs and feet, bad hair and eyes - pale, un-tannable skin, bad housekeeping skills, average cooking ability, not very strong organizational traits] .... the list is rather extensive ... and thus i will make a PERFECT VESSEL for His Blessings!  I will view things with a "what if" mentality that is always looking for HIM rather than being paranoid that the sky is falling ... unless He opens it up and pours out even MORE blessings on me ... His Mercies in Disguise!

and as i ponder on all the uses that He longs to pour into and through me, i believe i'm going to take a short side trip into the world of crochet for the month of June ....  please plan on joining me ... trying something new ... you don't have to LOVE it ... but it might be a fun little detour into another avenue of crafting ....


mark you calendar for next Saturday .. June 11 .... it's National Knit in Public Day ..... i SO want to do this ..... Hoover Public Library from 2-6 ... or maybe we could meet at the Food Court in the Mall and share the fun!  ponder and pray .. and have a good weekend!  Go buy a crochet hook!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Kernel of Truth

i LOVE the smell of coffee while its brewing .... it always makes me think of my mom and dad ... of waking up early in the morning, fully confident that my dad had already retrieved the paper from the edge of the driveway, read it cover to cover, and left it crumpled on the counter ... waiting for my mom to get it and read it and smooth it back into its original rolled up state .... and in the meantime, they both would have a cup of coffee sitting off to the side.  i remember those early days when we owed a tall, sleek stainless percolator ... watching those little 'blurps' of coffee that popped into the clear 'bubble' that protruded through the top of the lid, letting you get a peak into that warming aroma that was filling the house ... they both drank it black .... no cream, no sugar, just an entire pot (at least) EVERY morning that i can ever remember!   i was SO disappointed to learn that coffee didn't taste as good as it smells!  (but i soon learned to remedy that with LOTS of cream and sugar!)

and then there's the smell of popcorn .....  have you ever noticed that no matter WHERE you are in the building, a little bag of kernels can coerce EVERYone from wherEVER they may be .. and suddenly you have a MULTItude of friends .. unLESS, of course, you happen to forget the popcorn in the microwave ... and suddenly you can't find enough friends to open enough windows to let all that billowing smoke out of every nook and cranny of your kitchen!  and why, please tell me, does that disgusting smell manage to linger even LONG after you've taken the garbage out .....  even the crows won't touch those crispy kernels .....  not even sure they decompose in a landfill if truth be known!

and once you've downed that bag of popcorn have you ever found yourself with an annoying remnant tucked ever so tightly between a back tooth and your gum line .....  a teeny, tiny little thin piece of irritation that lingers .. that reminds you of either a great bag of popcorn ... or a burnt sacrifice full of kernels that sounds like pop rocks when you try to crunch them ..... 

there are those kernels of Truth as well, that often get stuck in your heart .. that you turn over and over, trying to dislodge them so that they can right themselves and provide some clarity to those points of pondering and sleepless nights when the pieces just don't seem to fall into place.  for me, these days, my popcorn kernel has lodged in the form of weakness versus sin in my life ..... the 'irritant' has provided much quiet time to think through my current thought process versus what God actually says about things ....  my perception that weakness was supposed to be something i'd outgrow, and yet at 50+ i'm still rather "weak" in so many areas of my life ....

but here's what has Popped from all the percolating:  Weakness is a perfect stage for God to reveal Himself and all that He can do in and through me, desPITE my weakness and excuses.  Weaknesses that are used strictly as carte blanche to give in to selfish pleasures or desires result in sin, but the weakness itself, is NOT a sin.  Case in point:  Chocolate!  i LOVE dark chocolate and am fully aware that it belongs in the "dessert" category rather than the "main course" in my food pyramid.  It IS a weakness, no doubt, as i can most certainly justify the health benefits despite the fact that i know i must keep it all in perspective, and priority!  And then the weaknesses of my personal life - - my insecurities, my overactive mouth, my fears and doubts - - all serve as an amazing platform for me to recognize God at work when He accomplishes things that i clearly could not do on my own!  My weakness becomes the very catalyst for His magnification and exposure to others ...

2 Cor. 12:10  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Succombing to my weaknesses, allowing them to have a foothold that creates a mountain of excuses ... all are clearly tools from Satan to talk me OUT of submitting to God's plan and design .... a Kernel of Truth, much akin to the faith of a mustard seed .... God can, and will, use anyone who's heart is fully devoted to Him ....