March 23, 2011

An example of what?

Lately I have been hesitant to take stories from the Bible to use as examples. I know fully well that you could find examples of all sorts of things in there, and not all of it are ways we should want to live. But when you take the story in the Bible as a whole, generally you can figure out if it is an example to follow, or not.

David has several examples in his story of both. I'm pretty sure no one would suggest falling in love with another person's spouse and then having that person killed after trying to cover up the adultery, but David is way more than this one story.

Another story of David that caught my eye recently took place when Absalom, David's son, attempted to take over David's kingdom. David and his entourage left the city, and on the way out there was a man who was cursing David and throwing rocks at them. One of the men with David asked to take care of this person, and don't you know how grating it would be to have to listen to him? I would want to "take care" of him, too. But David's response?

2 Samuel 16:10
"But the king said, “Why are you sons of Zeruiah always interfering and getting in the way? If he’s cursing, it’s because God told him, ‘Curse David.’ So who dares raise questions?”"
 
I will admit that my first reaction is to simply want to be like David, learn to turn the other cheek, and allow God to defend me. But when I take a second look, my heart asks about God's character that is being shown here. Does God allow or call people to curse us? When we are hurt by someone is it God's hand?
 
There is part of me that simply wants to wash over this second part and go back to the first reaction, but if I don't face the questions then they are never answered. So, what does this say? Because honestly, I have a hard time even typing the words "God is the reason for pain" without feeling REALLY sacrilegious. If that is to be said, it seems it should be whispered, but look at what David says here. "If he's cursing, it's because God told him, 'Curse David.'" What do I do with that?
 
I know, this gets dangerously close to the edge of predestination. Where is free will? What play does free will have on people? Is everything caused by God, or does He allow things to happen? Is it simply there is no one answer for every situation??
 
There is a big hoopla going on in the Internet world about a new book that has recently been released. There are arguments flying around, accusations hitting marks, and sarcasm flowing freely. And yet, where is the discussion and the talk? Because honestly, just like with predestination/freewill I understand both sides of love/justice. My mind argues both sides, and it leaves me wondering where I stand.
 
Does God tell others to curse? Or do others take it upon themselves to curse? And is this the question anyway or simply a way to make myself more confused? Maybe, it's not trying to decide the motive of the other person, or trying to understand my God completely, but rather this is simply an example of how I am to respond. Because honestly, I can't control what other people do, and I will never be able to fully understand my God. What I can do is control myself and my thinking. And maybe, just maybe, that's simply what David is doing here.
 
I don't know if I answered the second reaction, or if I simply fell back to the first reaction. I do know that I don't know everything, and so my mind will most likely mull this question over more. I may not find answers that please everyone, but then I'm not some great theologian trying to convince, or an author trying to sell books. Simply a woman trying to know her God.

March 21, 2011

A reason and a reminder

3/19/11

Captain and I have been married for nineteen years today. I have been so blessed to have him in my life and to be a part of his. Has it been a cakewalk? Is life ever a cakewalk? But we were willing to work together, and put some hard work in sometimes, a lot of forgiveness, and love that is a choice and decision, and by God's Grace we are still holding hands as we walk this path of life. What a complete blessing!

The box up above? That's from some bar stools we got this past weekend. I opened the box to put them together, and there barely visible was a footprint from someone who had touched the box along the way. I'm sure it happened at the warehouse. I'm sure the person stepping there didn't even think about what he had done. I'm sure he didn't even notice the footprint there, and to be honest I was surprised I did.

It made me think.

How many times do we step into people's lives and not think about the types of footprints we leave behind? How often do we stumble through, kicking, stomping, and creating havoc? How often do we tiptoe through thinking we wont be noticed? How often do we simply stand, or run away, or walk beside? Because they all leave different types of footprints behind.

In my life I have had many people leave footprints. I have people who are still leaving their mark. I am grateful that when I look beside me Captain is leaving his footprints next to mine. I am grateful for the friends who are there, and the friends who were. I'm betting many of us don't ever consider what kind of footprints we leave, and I know there have been times I haven't thought about it. There are also times we over think. Both to the detriment of all, I believe. But the fact is, the footprints are there, and they don't wash away.

So many times, like the footprint on the box, we don't notice them until we take the time to notice. And sometimes I take my Captain for granted. He's steady and sure when I need that hand. I'm crazy and unexpected when he needs a little of that. We are similar and different, and I forget how important he is in my life. But every once in a while something arises that helps us remember exactly how important, and how much we cherish. Today is one of those days. The footprint was one of those things.

Allow my anniversary with my Captain to be a reason that you are reminded of the love in your life. Allow the footprint on the box to be a reminder of all those who have left their mark in your life. And let them know how much they mean to you.

March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It must be like a silent obsession. One day I may need to seriously consider and look at it, but right now I must be knee deep and therefor it does not matter. Last night, sitting in the chair watching Survivor and then our DVR'd Biggest Loser with the family, I was restless. I knew that the next day was St. Patrick's Day, and what you need to know is that I normally ignore this holiday. If I acknowledge holidays it's with a mere passing thought, and that is all. But last night something overtook me.

I had to make something. I had to make something green. And it needed to be cute. So, I took two strips of material, some cross-stitch floss and made another fabric flower. I know I suggested solid fabric when making these, but I went with what I had. I don't think it's that hard to see either!

Fabric flower pin


I attached it to a pin, but after putting it on my t-shirt I knew I didn't want to wear it that way. I simply didn't want to pin it to my shirt. So I contemplated, and considered. Headband? (Those don't work for me everyday. I needed a sure thing) Crocheted scarf? (No way near time enough even if I am fast.) Knitted scarf? (Like I could learn that quickly.) And then, this morning, after I had attempted doing a quick crochet and frogged it, I remembered some scarves I crossed paths with that were made out of t-shirts. I did a little search, and found the perfect tutorial.

Tshirt Scarf with flower pin


Quick, easy, and cute! I grabbed two of the maternity shirts my sister gave me, and went to work. And now, NOW I am prepared for St. Patrick's Day. How about you?
Happy St. Patrick's Day

March 16, 2011

Purse Altered

Old pursesCurrent purse in the need of a refresher.I had a simple black purse.  I liked it, but what I was really liking were the new purses that had the flowers on the sides. They pulled to me, and as Captain can assuredly tell you, I have a thing for purses. But this craft bug? It bit, hard. You see, I also had these old red and orange purses at the top of my closet, and I wondered if it were possible for me to make a flower out of them for my purse. I looked at crafts online, tutorials galore, and unfortunately while the ideas seeped into my brain, the links did not get saved. Oh wait, let me check my Stumble. Well, how frustrating. I really do want to give credit where it is due, so let me say that the way I designed this flower was thought of by someone else. I simply picked up her thoughts and ran with them.

Sides cut out.The first thing I did was cut away the extra fabric on the old purses. I wasn't sure how I would go about it, and thought I would use both colors originally. It turned out that I only used the red, so I saved the orange/brown color for another craft on another day. I turned the leather over and using the top of a small hand lotion bottle and a sharpie, I drew a multitude of circles on the back. I started cutting out the circles, then cut them in half, and laid the flower out as I went so that I didn't cut more circles than I needed. I actually had some red left over for another project on another day as well.

In the midst.Here's how everything looked while I waited for my glue gun to warm up.  See the circle on the purse, you can almost make it out, that was my starting point for the petals. I simply glued the half circles down around the circle, and continued going in rows until the entire area was covered up. When/If you do this, make sure that each petal covers the edge of the petal prior, and try to alternate the petals as the rows go.

Almost doneSome of my petals alternated, and some didn't, as you can see in my nearly finished picture.  I used a small circle of felt in the middle. I then pulled the zipper pull off, and used the charm I had previously attached to the back of the purse. I went around for half the day like this, trying it out, testing it. I realized that the gray center sort of jumped out at me, and it needed a simple red circle covering it. Then my sister, genius that she is, asked about the straps on the old purse and if I was going to do anything with them. Well, after a little looking, and cutting, one of the red straps from the old purse was the new strap on this purse. It nearly simply buttoned on!

Final (with a little inspiration from my sister)

On the shoulder I figured that if I didn't like the way the purse turned out I would go buy a new one, because that was what I was wanting anyway. Now, I get the new purse, the thrill of it being uniquely mine, and the fun of having it actually work out! Sometimes it's worth the risk!

EDIT:: The hotglue didn't work so hot with the flower. It started peeling off the purse from the top. I used some super glue to put it back in place and am hoping that works. If I need to stitch it on I really have to start all over.

March 14, 2011

Wrap It Up and Put a Bow on It

While doing a little window shopping in a nearby store, I spotted the cutest little scarf. It was perfect for the spring, because it was light weight knit. It was even light enough it could be worn in the summer as a simple accessory. The coolest was how easy it was to make. There was no seaming or sewing involved. They did have a little print on the end of the scarf, but other than that I knew it was quite doable.

material

When I got home with this nugget in the back of my mind I crossed paths with some left over knit material from the baby slings I made my sister. The difference between my knit and the one at the store was theirs was colored on both sides, and mine was patterned on only one side.

stitch

I folded the material lengthwise, right sides together, and then I seamed up the long side only. I used a zig zag stitch because when I made the slings I realized that a simple straight stitch with this material made it more like a basting stitch. Not what I wanted. The zig zag worked beautifully.

Turning the scarf right side out I simply cut the ends so that it had fringe. These could be as wide or as narrow as you prefer, but I made mine short and narrow.

rose

I knew that what I wanted was a little fun with the scarf. I decided to make a flower, using this amazing tutorial, and some black and white material I had sitting in one of my storage boxes. I love the way it turned out, but note for future creations: a solid colored material will show the flower better. With the print things get a little lost, but I think you can see the flower in the final picture. The pieces of red string? In the tutorial she uses fabric glue in the first step, but I didn't have any fabric glue. I decided to stitch it instead and I wanted to use the red for little pops of color.

With a small piece of material that matches the rose, I stitched the material into a ring no wider than the flower. I stitched the flower to one side of the ring and through the scarf. This makes a loop on the back side so the other end of the scarf can go through rather than tying a knot. It would be just as easy to secure the flower to a pin, and pin the scarf together.

finished product


I really was tickled with this project, and the fact that it was SO easy was icing on top. I may make a few more scarves for accessories, and at this price and ease I could give a few away as gifts!

March 10, 2011

The sky shine's brightly.

006This morning the sun came up with nothing blocking it's view. It's golden rays fell across the room and lit up the windows.

I forgot how much I missed that bright blue sky. I forgot how the bright sun makes everything shine a little more and seem a little more clear. I forgot how deeply I can breathe on mornings like this.

I see the blooms on the trees, the new leaves bursting forth, the grass and flowers waking up from their winter slumber. It's a new beginning, in the middle of a week, in the middle of the month, at the end of the first quarter of the year. A moment, like no other, not special in and of itself, but wonderful and amazing, and a gift.

Excitement at what the horizon brings. Joy in the looking forward. Peace from the warmth of the rays.

I'm so grateful for lots of second chances to learn what God is trying to teach me. I am so grateful that His love, grace, and mercy define me. I am grateful I remember this.

I breathe out the mistakes of the past, and I breathe in the grace for today. I smile at the crisp air which I know will turn warm as the sun's rays shine through it.

007 008 009

March 7, 2011

Today

I woke up with Monday on my lips, and my brain began to fall back into the wrote "poor me" for the new "work" week had started. But something from my heart sat up and shouted a resounding, "No!" For I knew that this was a blessed gift. One I didn't want to take for granted, but one I wanted to celebrate.

To turn water into wine, and what is common into what is holy,
is indeed the glory of Christianity.
Frederick William Robertson

This is what I want to do with this life that I have been given. I do not especially assume that anything I do will reach someone and inspire them to live for Christ. I do not expect to write words which sink to people's hearts and souls. I only ask that I live this life as if it were holy. With times cut out, breaths taken, choices made, all for the the glory of Christ. I fail. I fall. I do not keep this before me on a daily basis. But I long to take "what is common into what is holy." I long to do what is needed each day with the right attitude and heart.

I never undertake a hymn without first asking the good Lord
to be my inspiration in the work that I am about to do.
Fanny Crosby

How often I enter my days, my moments, my choices and do not carry my Lord with me. How often I forget that He is there waiting for me to look to Him and call on Him. He is my heart's desire, when I consider and think about it. Yes, the Lord has done great and amazing things in my life. He has loved me more than I can say. He has used me in ways unimaginable. And yet I forget. And I take steps without him. How silly and careless when such a resource and friend is by my side.

His own hand planted me here, and I will abide
till the great Master of the Vineyard think fit to transplant me.
Samuel Rutherford

In order to live for Him, I must remember I am living with Him. He is my Lord, my Father, my Savior, and each day is a gift. As I fill it with laundry, schooling, cooking, and cleaning I want to live where God placed me with all of my heart for Him. I want to do the best I can because He has asked me to do it.

If thou meanest to enlarge thy religion,
do it rather by enlarging thine ordinary devotions than thy extraordinary.
Robert Murray McCheyne

And so I am reminded time and time again, over and over by the "spiritual giants of the faith" that I am Esther, placed here for a purpose. I am Ruth, set to love those who are in my life. I am David, devoted to God through a heart of passion. I am Moses, finding the holy in unexpectedly common places. How can I ask for more?

*all quotes from 50 People Every Christian Should Know by Warren W. Wiersbe

March 5, 2011

Rock on Banana Berry

I made this for dessert last night, and it hit a spot I didn't know needed hitting. It was heavenly and delish, and oh my yummy! I could have divided the servings and had 8 instead of 4, but chose to splurge instead. So glad! We all loved it, we all finished it, and as one of the others said, "It rocks!"

Rock on Banana Berry1 package of banana cream pudding
1 package of strawberry jello
1 pint heavy whipping cream
3 cups frozen berries
vanilla flavoring
sugar
graham cracker crumbs

Crush the crumbs to smithereens and place in the bottom of four dishes. Make the banana cream pudding, and divide between the four containers. Chill until set.

Allow the berries to thaw, and then puree with a hand mixer or blender.

Pour half the whipping cream into a bowl, add some vanilla and a little sugar, then whip until peaks form. Do not over-whip.

Combine the jello mix with 1.5 cups of boiling water. Add the whipped cream to the jello.

Layer the berries and then the jello on top of the pudding layer.

Freeze for one hour, refrigerate for 2 hours.

Prepare the rest of the whipping cream in the same manner as you did the first half, and place a dollop on top of the dessert right before you serve.

March 2, 2011

Consideration

This was on my library's facebook status this morning:

Happy Birthday to Theodor Seuss Geisel - aka Dr. Seuss. An interesting tidbit regarding his name - a collaborator of his once wrote, "You're wrong as the deuce, And you shouldn't rejoice, If you're calling him Seuss. He pronounces it Soice." What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
When I read that this morning I smiled, because it seemed to represent so many things I have been thinking and considering lately. Just a little research led me to the fact that Seuss actually went with the Americanized version of his name (deuce) because it reminded others of Mother Goose, and it was how everyone was pronouncing it. It was HIS name, and yet rather than debate something, he simply went with the flow. Was it his name wasn't important, or was it that it didn't matter to his end goal?

So often we find ourselves arguing things which are debatable. Instead of trying to understand each others opinions or perspectives, we attack and go in with all our defenses up. Why do we do that? Are we that scared that what we believe might actually be wrong?

I have followed a variety of conversations in my past, who hasn't, and I have watched people listen and I have watched people build walls. I have done both as well. What I know now is that we are not going to get along if we continue to put up those walls and fight tooth and nail for something which, really?? In the scheme of things, they don't matter. Plus, let's be honest, if I am yelling and defensive and argumentative no one is going to listen to me. We either travel a two way street, or put up blockades going both ways.

I'm ready to be a little more like Dr. Seuss. I think it will all make us a little more humble and ready to listen, and isn't that a good thing? Instead of assuming, attacking, and defending, maybe it's time for all of us to ask questions, listen, and try to understand. Can we not allow one another to do something differently, or do we have to demand to have it our way? Who knows, the way someone else does, thinks, or sees something might be a little better than how we do it. Or it very well may not make a difference regarding our end goal.

March 1, 2011

the next day

With each step I take.
Each time I reach out.
The pain is evident, and courses through me.
My desire to walk across the room leaves me planted where I am.
Or facing the pain that it will entail.
Silly pain.
Frustrating pain.
Ugly pain.
Healing pain.
It seems it would be easier to sit still.
To do nothing.
To go back.
And to think this is after only one day?
My heart fails me, my mind freaks out, and I question how.
How can I move forward as I had planned to?
Because what I want to do is forget it all.
I don't care if this is simply healing in progress.
I don't believe I will get stronger.
I feel as if I am as strong as I am going to get.
For I am weak.
And I will fail.
But then it crosses my mind, God whispers into my ear...
as your body aches when it heals, so does your heart.
don't stop that process.
keep going and you'll get stronger.
And I exhale
and wonder how long I had been holding my breath.
And I am a little disgusted
at how hard this first step is for me.
And I am amazed once again
at God's grace in my life.

Love

If God is a God of love
unconditional, all accepting, waiting
If God is a God of love who meets us where we are
Then why do we feel the need to change people before we introduce them to Him?

If it doesn't matter what we do
because we are forgiven
If they will be forgiven too
then shouldn't we focus on loving
and let God and the Holy Spirit focus on convicting?

Accepting God's Grace into our life, means that it requires responsibility.
God is a God of love, and He is Holy.
He expects us to "Go and sin no more."

When do we stop being a group of judgemental, overbearing, follow my rules type of people?
When do we start being a group of forgiven, loved, working hard to follow Christ type of people?
Because when we are focused on changing them we are no longer focused on God changing us.

The Law is there to show us our need.
The need of inability.
For we can not save ourselves.
We have to rely on another.
On another who loves us unconditionally,
accepts us as we are,
and is waiting for us to turn to Him.
And then He changes us.
Not out of punishment, or anger
but out of love.

Because God is a Holy God of Love.