Sunday, November 20, 2011

Healing Is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn

I wasn't able to finish this book. The theology seemed illogical to me and when something strikes me that way, I don't want to spend any more time on it.
Arterburn writes that choosing to be healed is a person's choice. I believe that. But then it says that God may choose not to heal someone. I haven't seen precedent for this in Scripture.

The book says that if God doesn't decide to heal a person, that they may still go on to acquire other types of healing such as emotional or spiritual healing. Arterburn seems confident that God wouldn't hold back on these types of healing, but he doesn't cite Scripture for these views.

Healing is a Choice reads like the Gospel According to Human Experience.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Book of Man by William J. Bennett

I like reading original source material. I especially like it when someone else has compiled an interesting collection. Bennett's collection is wonderfully eclectic--representing some of the best stories, poems, essays, letters and myths on the topic of what it means to be a man.

Befitting many of its classic authors, it is a beautifully bound and typeset book. The heavy paper with crinkled edges could make me imagine I'm reading it by a massive stone fireplace 200 years ago. But Bennett's introductions to each writing bring the reader solidly into the 21st century--reinforcing the timelessness of the uplifting messages.

I review for BookSneeze®

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Loosening Up

There was something so precious about it, so beautiful. I wanted to smile, and cry and laugh out loud.

I'm talking about a teenage girl learning to knit. *Sharona is in an emergency care cottage at Baptist Children's Home where I teach a weekly class.

She learned quickly, but was the tightest knitter that it is humanly possible to be. She'd wrap the yarn around the needle as if it had to hold on for dear life. Her face would scrunch up with each stitch--terrified the yarn might slip off the needle.

That first night, I tried to joke, "Sharona, honey, you've got to loosen up." Maybe I wasn't smiling enough, because a pained looked flashed across her face. I wanted to kick myself--really hard. She'd probably endured enough criticism without adding to it in a knitting class.

Over the next few weeks, I made sure to smile and joke with her about "loosening up" and assuring her that most new knitters knit tightly for fear of loosing stitches. I showed her several techniques for creating looser stitches. But nothing helped. Her first project, a face cloth, continued to be ferociously tight.

But, miracle of miracles, last Thursday night she sat down at the table and the last inch that she had knitted during the week was absolutely perfect. I was so happy for her. I congratulate her (pat myself on the back) and she simply said, "Yeah, I finally got it."  Later, I take a break in the class to watch her knit.

She's not using any of the techniques for controlling tension that I taught her. She is doing the most unique and creative thing I've ever seen a knitter do. As she wraps the yarn around the right needle, she simultaneously wraps it around her left index finger.  Then, she knits the stitch as tight as ever--biting her lip and pulling the yarn so tight I wonder why it doesn't break.

Then, with the new stitch safely on the right needle, she removes her left index finger and is left with a large loop which she then cinches up to form a perfectly-tensioned stitch. Oh my. This is where I want to laugh out loud for the joy of witnessing such creative problem-solving abilities. And then cry imaging how much practice she's likely had with problems to solve.

That class was Sharona's last. She's moving from the Children's Home today and into foster care. I pray God keeps her. I pray she feels him tightly holding onto her.

* Name has been changed to protect privacy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sheep Shearing Day at Rising Meadow Farm

Bobbie, Karen and I had a fabulous time at the farm yesterday!

We watched the master blade shearer Kevin Ford at work, saw the new baby lambs who were in a separate barn listening to classical music, bought some of the farm's Corriedale yarn, and enjoyed a lunch of lamb stew and homemade apple cake on the farmhouse porch.
We especially enjoyed meeting some really cool people from Germany who now live in Mebane. Karin Fuhrer-Thornton, who owns SignsMebane, made the amazing apple cake and was wearing a sweater that she had just finished kniting. She had carded the wool, spun it and then knit it herself--all since December--and she had just learned to wheel spin! I'm so impressed....wish I had asked to take a picture.

On the way home, Karen spotted these beautiful churches where we stopped to take pics.

A wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Box Day Contest Winner!

A big thank you to everyone who visited Talitha's website and entered the box day contest! Talitha and I appreciate all your thoughtful and enthusiastic comments!

Congratulations, karmaperdiem, aka #21, you won!

I emailed the Moses pattern to you. Just reply to me with your mailing address and let me know which hank of yarn you would like from my store.

Happy Chinese New Year Phatties!

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

~ ~ ~ ~ Box Day Contest ~ ~ ~ ~

Note: This contest is open through Tuesday night at midnight, EST.

Happy Chinese New Year and happy box day, Phatties!

If you didn't manage to snag a box today (or even if you did), you can still win a "Moses" (the mouse) pattern from Talitha Kuomi and a hank of luxury yarn of your choice from my Etsy store,

Just visit Talitha's Web site and take a look at her stylish and artful patterns. (Many of them are free--and you'll love the beautiful, evocative names she gives them.)

Come back here and comment on your favorite pattern.

One person's name will be drawn by random number generator. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, January 19.

Talitha is on Knitscene's hot list of designers to watch for in 2011. Talitha is very cool and because she created a design using my yarns, I feel very cool by extension :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Talitha Kuomi, Me and Moses

Several months ago, I was doing my favorite Saturday morning activity--leisurely surfing the web for patterns (aka postponing housework).  I ran across a designer on Ravelry who had given such lovely names to her designs. Names like "opposite shore", "line upon line" and "pleasant places". I commented to Talitha that I liked the pretty names and she replied that she also admired my unraveled yarns and had been wanting to create a design based on recycled yarn.

A few hours later we had hatched a plan to work together!  I sent Talitha the yarn from an LL Bean wool sweater that I found at Goodwill for $4 (with the $49.95 price tag still attached!).

Talitha used the yarn to design and create "Moses"--the cutest little mouse you've ever seen! When I make mine, I'm going to stuff him with lima beans and lavender.

The pattern for Moses and enough yarn to make him will be included in 50 of the  Phat Fiber January Sample Boxes which will go on sale January 16  at 9 a.m and 6 p.m. CST (for about 2 minutes--you have to be quick to snag one!). The theme this month is Chinese New Year and it promises to be a spectacular collection of gorgeous fiber, yarn, patterns and accessory sampling!

I'm thrilled that Talitha wanted to work with me. Her bold and beautiful Wild Olive Beret was featured in this winter’s gift collection by Interweave Knits. And, Knitscene named her one of the top ten designers to watch for in 2011! 

It’s been a lot of fun getting to know Talitha. She’s such a creative and beautiful stay-at-home young mother. We corresponded a lot over the last few months and I  love the way she writes about her children and family and how she enjoys artistic, natural and beautiful things like gardening, designing, cooking and singing and sharing those joys with her children.

I wasn’t as accomplished when I was a stay-at-home mom, but I surely loved it. If I had a thousand lives to live, I’d live them all as a stay-at-home mom.

Check back here on Box Day, January 16 for a contest to win a copy of Talitha's Moses pattern and any hank of yarn from my Etsy store.

Happy new year! Happy knitting!

Monday, January 10, 2011

My 100th Ravelry Project ~ An online collaboration in 12 easy steps

First let me say the online knitting community is just so much fun. You get to know knitters and fiber artists from all over the world, learn new techniques, be inspired by their creativity, and LOL at the pictures they take of themselves in front of the bathroom mirror in their jammies and new hat.

One of my favorite projects of 2010 was one I created with the help of designers, dyers and spinners from all over the place.

It started with this 111 State sweater that my daughter found in a thrift shop in Chicago. Not a name brand, but the 100% wool was merino soft.

But yikes, when I unraveled it, the yarn was a a thready mess.

You can knit with thready messes like this; you just have to be careful not to split the stitches. It was such nice yarn though, I wanted to see if it could be improved. I posted a notice on the PhatFiber contributors Yahoo group and asked for pricing to re-ply all 1,200 yards.  Several wheel spinners from across the country offered, but Roo's offer from Moonwood Farm was the best. "Let's barter" she said, "Surprise me with some yarn from your shop."  What a sweetheart!

I sent her a hank of 100% camel and some other wools along with the thready mess and a few weeks later, voila! . . .  I get this beautiful stuff back! (Along with a sweater for unraveling that she happened to have lying around, and some wool wash and rinse. Just love Roo's free-wheeling generous spirit!)

At my request, Roo spun some blues and greens into some of the white wool. She said she used a braid of roving called "Ice Queen" from Erin (of Vines) which was part of the very first Phat Fiber Sample box. It's a 100% rambouillet (which is a French merino). Roo added sparkle (undyed firestar) because she said Ice Queen deserved some icy sparkle. I agree!

From these yarns, I made myself this Ripley hat (my daughter modeling, thank you Beth) and am still working on the scarf to go with it.

The online knitting community is full of people who bend over backward to help their fellow fibery friends. It's fun seeing that....and the lovely golden thread running through it--people sharing and creating from their own little corner of the world.   

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How Sweet the Sound

I love him.

Strong and sure words

That broke my heart

For they were as strong and sure as when I spoke them about my father

Who was as close to perfect as a dad could be.

Her dad wasn't always there for her.

She had to choose to love.

And love never fails.

He is home now.

And loved perfectly, as always, by his Father

And our Father

Whose grace is amazing.