August 22, 2014

Some space

space 

I haven't read Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie, I have a gift card which might have that title waiting, but the concept of having whitespace, or margin, is one I have often embraced. Don't get me wrong, there have been times my calendar was overfilled and I have become overwhelmed. Those moments remind me how important it is to make some time for rest and rejuvenation.

These next few .... months? I'm not sure how long it will be, to be honest. I might stick that hat pattern up here next week, but I might not write anything for public consumption until October, or 2015? I just know I need some of that whitespace to be able to breathe. I'm choosing My Best Yes for where I am right now. I might need to buy Lysa's book as well.

I hope you enjoy the posts and crochet patterns I have here. Many posts are linked in my about me page, and on the left side you can see the archives and the most popular posts of the month. I appreciate you all very much, and each comment will still be answered so if you have any questions I will certainly get back to you.

Have you made sure to make some margin in your own day?

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August 20, 2014

How I chain:

I was never fond of the beginning chains for crochet in the normal way it is taught. When you go through the top stitch for the first row it left an unfinished edge that was almost always tighter than the final edge of whatever project I was working on. It may have been the way I did it, but it always seemed to be the case.

Then they came out with the sc and dc foundation chains. It allowed the edge to be more flexible, but regardless of how many times I read the instructions and watched videos I still don't think I ended up doing it correctly.

Somewhere along the line I began to work in the beginning chain in the bottom of the stitch rather than in the top of the stitch. I simply flipped the chain over, and worked in the single "bump" all the way across.


012b

Here you can see the single stitch "bump" which is on the back, and when you work into that it leaves the full stitch you normally work in on the bottom. Now both edges of the project will look the same and will have about the same elasticity rather than the beginning chain being tighter.


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August 17, 2014

Daniel's God is our God.

Have you ever reached the point where you feel simply... hopeless? Where you can find no way out? Where you wonder how in the world things can change? Where you think it would take a miracle for things to get better? Honestly, living in this world how can we not reach that point sometimes when we watch the news? Racial problems, fighting in the streets, war over borders, people used as shields,... the nightly news gives us enough issues to throw our hands up in the air and think we are hopeless.

While some of us watch this world through the television or through our computers, many people live this life literally. They wonder where their child has gone. They question if any hope can come. They don't know which way to look or think there is anything they can do.

Thankfully all of us have someone we can turn to, and we simply don't do it often enough. This morning we talked about Daniel in the Lion's Den, and what got him in trouble was worshiping and praying to God as he ALWAYS did. He didn't turn to God in a moment of stress or worry, but he always turned to God, and refused to give up doing so when things got hard. What would happen if we continually turned to God in our every day, and what would happen if we did do what we could, even if it seemed like not enough?

In Asia children face many hardships. They are a great portion of the workforce. They are taken into slavery for the sex trade or forced labor. They are on the streets begging. They work in dangerous places kept from the public eye where they are malnourished.

One child who has lived and suffered such a life is Nadish. He lived as a slave forced to take care of animals and clean up after them, locked in a room from the age of 9 until 13 when his captor forgot to lock the door one night. I can't imagine how hard his life was and still is. My heart breaks to know this is a child's reality in so many places.



Nadish, unfortunately, is not alone in his story. There are more children under the age of 15 working in India than there are people living in New York City. And these things can threaten to overwhelm us.

Instead of throwing our hands up in the air in confusion and hopelessness, let us raise our hands to the One who can make change and bring hope. Let's pray to the One who can change and direct hearts, who can shine His light and give His strength. Let's pray to the One who can close the mouths of lions.

And let's do what we can when we can.

Consider the following:

Rescue an abandoned child who lives on the streets.
Sponsor a child who still has their family.
Pray for children to be rescued, reunited and accepted back into their families.
Pray for the physical needs of the children. Most do not get enough to eat, and the physical labor they are forced to do can cripple their bodies. Pray for the Lord to provide for them and protect them from harm.
Pray for the girls—and boys—forced to work in the sex trade. Ask the Lord to bring the brothel owners' and customers' misdeeds into the light and for the love of Jesus to permeate those dark places.
Pray for a radical attitude shift in South Asian society so citizens of these countries will demand an end to the exploitation of children.


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August 16, 2014

I am Jonah.

{#hellomornings study is on Jonah, and I am working through it with them this time}

I understand good and bad things happen at the same time in this world. I understand they happen to good and bad people. I understand we have to trust God regardless of the outcome. I understand sometimes things happen so God's glory can be shown to others. I understand.

But know -- I am still Jonah. I don't want to walk down the hard path even if I deserve it. I want God's favor, mercy, and grace. I want that for those I love as well. I do. I admit it.

I am Jonah, running the other way. There's no way this is the message I am supposed to give. It is much too hard and too big for me to do.

And God asks, "What do you have to be angry about?"

Nothing. Not. a. thing.

But my heart breaks, and I know Jonah, and I understand him, and the whale might have been a bit of a reprieve. A rest.

I know Jonah, for I am him. I would have run. I would have wanted to have been mistaken in what I heard. I would have looked for the fastest ship out of there to the farthest land I could get to. I would have ended up in the whale.

I am Jonah. And my heart breaks because fear gripping my heart feels stronger than the faith that resides within it. But what I know is He who is in me is greater than He who is in this world. And I know God is sheer grace and mercy and will never leave us nor forsake us. And if I have to remind the fear of what my faith knows every five minutes then I will.



Because I am Jonah, but I don't want to run from God.
Maybe I can learn to be more like those from Nineveh.


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August 15, 2014

Christmas in August check-in

How is the charity challenge going? Can you believe we are half way done with this month?! Me either. I'm pleased with what I have done so far. I started out with this adorable hat pattern I found, but unfortunately the second one in gave me some issues. I frogged it a time and a half, and decided that I simply needed a simpler pattern to follow. I know they have a lot out there, but I couldn't find what I was wanting, so I created it. I'll share that hat pattern next week. What I like most is it can be a skull cap or a slouchy hat. I made some of both. :) Now I'm moving on to scarves/cowls.

Are y'all doing well? If you forgot, you can always begin! And if you can't do it now I hope you will consider doing it sometime.

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August 13, 2014

Job

{I had to learn humility/control from the book of Job for the belt test I took last Saturday. 
I thought I would share with y'all what I shared there.}

As I read through Job I honestly became bogged down in so much of what was said. Job's friends, Job himself, and Elihu said so much. Some was truth and some wasn't. They made accusations against Job stating his sin was the cause of his troubles, and he defended himself saying he hadn't done anything to deserve what happened. I realized what his friends were doing is human nature for all of us. We want to connect dots. We want things to make sense. If we can blame someone for their hardships, then we can keep it from happening to us. And just like Job many of us ask "why me" when hardships come because we don't think we did anything to deserve them. This is a false sense of control trying to place ourselves in a position of power over our own lives.

I can only interpret and understand Job by what the rest of the Bible says, so I went to look at a couple of other parts of the Bible this story reminded me of. First is Matthew 5:45 which says the sun rises on the evil and good, and it rains on the just and unjust. Jesus is saying that good and bad things happen to good and bad people. Then I looked at the story of the blind man in John 9. The disciples asked Jesus whose sin had caused this man's blindness, but Jesus replied no one's. He said it happened so that the works of God might be displayed through this man. While I know there are stories where death, destruction, sickness, and pain come about due to sin that is not the understanding of what happened to Job. God told Satan there was "no one on earth like Job; He said Job was blameless and upright, a man who feared God and shunned evil." But, according to Romans 3:10, we also know no one is righteous. The law, which Job worked so hard to follow, does not make us righteous. Rather, as Romans 3:28 tells us, we are justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

Considering all of this, I took another look at Job, what everyone said, how the story ends, and how the works of God were displayed in this story. This is what I saw: while Job was blameless in his actions, nothing he did made him righteous. His friends accused him of causing all the horrible things which happened by sinning, and Job defended himself telling of all the good things he had done. When God finally speaks He tells them of all the things He, God, has done. God asked who else could do all He has done. It wasn't Job's sacrifices or good deeds which made him righteous. In the end Job says, "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you." I believe this is Job realizing the truth and understanding he was righteous only because God made him so.

The same is true for us. My actions will never prove my righteousness. Rather,it is God who makes me righteous and out of that I should live.

Humility is the modest estimation or opinion of one's own importance. Like Job's friends I have learned that while I can plan for the future, my actions do not control what happens next. Good and bad things alike will happen. And like Job I am reminded that regardless of how good I am, I can never be good enough to claim myself righteous. God alone has such control and gifts me my righteousness.


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August 11, 2014

The Fiery Furnace: before the fire or after?

In our small class on Sundays we are going through the book of Daniel, and recently we talked about the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Are you familiar with this story?


As we were talking about what these three chose to do, and how they stood on that decision, something dawned on me in regards to the story. I think so often we are caught up in the end of this story. It is miraculous, so I don't blame anyone (not even myself) for that focus, but I wanted to go back to the beginning of the story.

Daniel 3 16 18

August 7, 2014

I did another star jump while the world was at war and friends were grieving

Last week a friend's husband died. The next morning I found myself at the gym, doing star jumps, with the realization of how odd that seemed to be. How was it possible that my life was just as ordinary as it always is, when someone else's world was crashing in and they were going to have to get used to a new normal? A new ordinary? How is that right?

I paused between star jumps, that might possibly have not been totally blamed on my mental state but also my physical one, and thought about how surreal life can be at times. I looked at those in the circle with me, all at their various stages of physical tiredness, and I had to decide what to do in that moment.

Wars.
Rumor of wars.
Strife.
Children killed.
Families torn.
Daddies dead.
Husbands gone.

What do I do with all of this?

It has to be said that what I wanted to do was find a corner, roll into a fetal position, and cry for all the pain in the world which breaks the hearts of so many I know and don't know.

But thankful to those around me at the moment, I pushed on and did another star jump, being sure to breathe deeply and surely. And I pushed on with the rest of the workout knowing that sometimes this is life.

hope

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August 6, 2014

Standing in peace.

There have been several times in my life when decisions were made and I knew they were the right ones. I have talked before about how I can be wishy-washy, or change my mind a lot, and I can. I simply don't deny it. But at the same time there have been other times when I knew for certain I was doing the right thing, and I didn't waiver one iota.

When I got married to Captain, I wasn't nervous that day. I knew it was the right thing, and it became the next thing to do. When we decided to home-school, I knew it was the right thing again. It felt normal. There have also been harder "negative" decisions, but I knew they were the right ones as well. It's not that any of those decisions didn't also come with struggles or hard times, they did. But because I knew that was where we were supposed to be it was easier to fight through and work through whatever the hardships that came with the decision were. I didn't get wishy-washy or change my mind. I stood. I felt peace.

Looking back I am fully aware that I was NOT aware of the peace or normal feeling at the time. Or if I was I thought something might be wrong. I actually tried to make myself nervous the day of my wedding so that I would be "normal." I realize how sad that sounds, but I thought everyone was supposed to feel nervous about their wedding day. I didn't realize why I wasn't nervous.

Now that the boys are emptying the nest I am at a cross-roads. I'm excited for them, and myself as I work to figure out what the next step is. I may not have known about that sense of peace before, but it's what I am searching for this time. I know not everyone will agree with my decisions. Some may think I should do things differently. I get it. But I'm looking for the peace which passes all understanding, and I know once I have found that I will have found the right course for myself, and I will stand sure and not waiver.

stand

Part of me wonders if this is a privilege I can afford because I don't have to work. But here's my gut truth to that thought: NO. If you know what decision will help you gain peace in your life then I suggest you take the steps necessary to make it. Dreams take many different steps to reach so nothing happens over night, but we all have access to do what we need to do in order to get where we want to go. We just need to know where we want to go. And the cool thing is we decide that!


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August 4, 2014

A Church Home

There's no denying that the Church, capital C, is the body of believers. We meet together, fellowship, worship, study, and learn. Christians do this all over the world, some in more open locations than others. While in some countries they have to do this in an underground fashion to stay safe from authorities, others need buildings in order to be protected from the weather. They may start out in homes, but when there is only one leader for miles around, and he comes to visit your area and speak, everyone wants to hear. Everyone wants to be there to listen. Their homes are simply not large enough for this to happen.



You can help believers like this have a place to call a Church home by helping to provide a Church Building of their own.



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