Monday, February 28, 2011

kitchen face lift. . .

This week I'm ruminating about blessings. . .like my amazing new baking drawer.
My good friend, Cameron, has been visiting.
She came from Missouri on business. . . we've had our own business going on.
you see, Cameron bravely offered to help organize my kitchen-she's really good at that.
Darcie, it's all about centers. . . okay, I believe you.
So, we emptied my entire kitchen into the dinning room-(my husband said, Scarey!)
Over 20 years, Cameon and I have weathered a lot of life-and now my kitchen. . .
she wasn't put off by my dust and disorder-(or the 2 dried up cockroaches in the corner cupboard) and I was okay with it. . .good friends.

We worked 2 days and just about finished the job; while I was wearing down and itchy to move on, Cameron seemed energized by my kitchen challenge.
It's like this. . .I would skip lunch to write something (or talk) and my friend would skip lunch to organize something, imagine that?

mmmm, now my kitchen has a drink center. . .drop by sometime and see.
(thanks old friend)

Friday, February 25, 2011

sock yarn and baby hats

I knit and give away many baby hats.
I love self patterning sock yarn- these tiny projects fit handily in any book bag.
So, I've been experimenting with needle sizes to produce a newborn size cap.
And in the end-here's the recipe that sticks:

Cast on 80 stitches on size 2 (or 1 1/2) double pointed needles.
knit in the round for 4-4 1/2 inches.
shape crown with decreases:
knit 6, knit 2 together, repeat to end of round.
knit round (and every other round)
knit 5, knit 2 together, repeat to end of round
knit round
knit 4, knit 2 together, repeat to end of round.
knit round
knit 3, knit 2 together, repeat to end of round.
knit round
knit 2, knit 2 together, repeat to end of round.
knit round
knit 1, knit 2 together, repeat to end of round.
knit 2 toether, repeat to end of round.
Cut year, leaving a 6 inch tail; using a yarn needle, thread tail through remaining stitches, pull tightly to close hole and secure.

It's always a bit of mystery how the little hat will stripe. . .I love the suprise!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

strips of paper in a jar

Last week Amy, Dahlia, and I met for coffee. . .

How can we share our lives-and better minister to the girls in our Friday night group?
(and all the other girls the Lord may bring our way)
hmmm, wonderful girls-I love them!

It seems we share the circumstancial parts of life, no problem. . .jobs, school, trips, money, health, people, pets-and we talk about God and the heart of the matter.

But really, I want more, more of their lives!
Paul, the apostle, prayed for those he loved, and I have in my hands his inspired words, prayers from the heart of God!

So, we have a plan (at least a start) . . Amy offered to write Scripture prayers on strips of paper to fill a jar; then Fridays we'll each pull a strip from a jar and use the words to guide our prayers, prayers beyond the circumstances, if you know what I mean?

And of course, I'm thinking about Colossians; this week I'm reviewing and memorizing Colossians 1:11-14, and praying. . .that you may be strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, with all endurance and patience with joy.
(And Lord, that's what I need today-endurance and patience with joy.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

a weekend to remember. . .and 39 years.

So-my bike has been parked upstairs for about 6 months-for a variety of good reasons (yes, at our house the bikes stay inside)

"How about a bike ride?" John asked me.

It was Sunday afternoon and a bike riding sort of day in south Texas-Sure!

He did all the work-collected the stuff, loaded up the bikes, planned the route. We ended up on the new bike path through a portion of downtown, under the city-nice perspective.

And the night before. . .the symphony! Vivaldi, Beethoven, 3rd row seats at the Majestic Theater, Imagine that?
So, I'm remembering: the symphony on Saturday (he didn't fall asleep), a bike ride on Sunday (I didn't fall off)-with the same man, celebrating 39 good years.
And I'm grateful to the Giver of all good things.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

about grandmothers and mittens

(thumbless mittens for our wee girl up north )

Sometimes I suprise Gabrielle and the grandchildren with a weekday visit; if it's lunch time, they invite me to share their good food. Then maybe Amaleah narrates a little school work and I ask Julia, Want me to read you a book?

I like to read my favorites, but Julia has favorites too. . . the other day I was firm about my choice, The Mitten by Jan Brett.

So- Baba, the grandmother in the story, wears a crown of braids and a brightly embroidered outfit-she knits mittens for Nikki, her grandson-white mittens, and just as she suspects, one mitten is lost in the clean, white snow. . .

(Gran, you were going to knit us mittens, green for Amaleah and pink for me-you forgot, interrupts Julia. . . I read on.)

However, the woodland creatures, both tiny and huge, claim Nikki's snow white mitten, squeezing their bodies in. . . "It was pulled and bulged to many times its size. But Baba's good knitting held fast." (ahh, what a knitter!)
. . . squeezed in and cozy until the bear's colossal sneeze.

Today is my Julia's birthday. . .mmm, maybe next year there will be pink mittens (it's almost spring in Texas!)
But there's something on the sewing machine I think she'll like.
And a new book. . . for us both.

Monday, February 14, 2011

to walk. . .fully pleasing to him

I'm back home in Texas. . .Texas cold! Last week while I was in the northlands, a water pipe froze and burst in our garage. . .here in south Texas-imagine that?

So, I keep on with this worthy pursuit-keep on memorizing Colossians, 2 verses a week.
Today I'm reviewing Colossians 9-10. . ."asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the lord, fully pleasing to him. . ."

And I'm praying it. . .for myself, for you-

fully pleasing to Him . .today I'm aware of my deep need for the rescuing grace of God as I struggle against a particular sinful attitude-to be fully pleasing to Him means that I keep fighting against persistent sin!

fully pleasing to Him. . .a few days before my trip to New York, a dear friend shared with me her affliction-a trial which will change her life forever. We wept together that day.
And this week we met again over coffee-the trial is still there, a tangled web. . . "How are you?" I ask.
I listen, listen. . . and I hear my friend clinging to the truths of Scripture.

So I tell her, "Dear friend, you encourage me so much! moment by moment keep clinging to truth, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him. . ."

Friday, February 11, 2011

authentic art

When I am finishing a picture, I hold some God made object up to it-a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand-as a final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, then the painting is authentic. If there's a clash between the two, it's bad art.
(Marc Chagall)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

to shovel and park

I taught my children a variety of life skills: how to tie their shoes, hold a pencil, thread a needle, knead bread. . .but I didn't teach them one single thing about snow.
So, one day last week Nathaniel snuggled the baby and nudged Abi and me out the door for a little refreshment. Then I learned some snow etiquette from my sweet daughter.
for instance-if you wake up in the morning and thick snow blankets your small car, take your snow brush and swish, swipe, swish off the snow-even off the roof, so that your snow doesn't blow onto the windshield of the car behind you. . .hmm, makes sense.
later Abi manuvered her car back home into a snowy parking spot, "Another tenant can park there. . .if he shovels." she said.
If he shovels?

It's like this: shovel. . .and meet the neighbor.
That evening we met a new neighbor from the building next door; she was standing in the snow, in the dark. . .looking for a shovel.

"We have shovels right inside this door-wait a minute and I'll help you shovel," Nathaniel offered.

So, I'm learning from them -about life in the snow. . . and more.

Friday, February 4, 2011

to smile at the future.

Tuesday morning I left Nathaniel, Abigail, and little Florence with time to themselves and walked up the hill to visit my dear friend, Lucinda.
White mounds covered the sidewalks so I walked in the street, between the car tracks. Abi's puffy blue jacket offered pretty good protection, and in my mittened hand . . . some knitting, warm cinnamon rolls wrapped in brown paper, and shoes. . . for you see, I've learned the trick of 2 pairs of shoes, one for the snow and the other for the house!
Hmmm, such an uphill climb-quiet, crunch, cold. . .the kettle bubbled in Lucinda's kitchen, and as I stamped off the snow
(yet another technique under my belt) , Lucinda called to me from the sitting room-she'd invited a friend to join us, to drink hot coffee with cinnamon rolls in front of a dancing fire. . .and to talk. imagine that!
We are 3 women with many children, all grown or on the brink, women in a new season asking, "How shall we now live to honor God?"
Lucinda directed our talk to worthy things. . .time, all this time-how do we use this new found resource without jumping on life's treadmill? How to prioritize our husbands, to love our adult children,(without worry or control) to love the church and neighbors in new ways-because we have time, all this time.
The morning slipped by-the conversation bubbled on and Lucinda offered, "Should I put on some eggs?" Instead she brought out bowls of steamy beef-barley soup; we pulled up the lap robes and settled into the afternoon.
Ah, 3 :00!. . .then we prayed, "God, make us gentle, humble women, bearing fruit, not afraid, smiling at the future. . ."

It was snowing and I got a ride down the hill; stamping my feet, coming in the back door, my family asked, "So, did you have a good day?
Indeed, a very good day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

bread, jam, and more. . .

. I love toast and jam for breakfast. . .my husband loves leftovers for breakfast, like leftover dinner-we're different that way.
Of course I love him inspite of and because of his strange breakfast preference and anticipate getting home to him in Texas in a few days, but in the meantime. . .I'm enjoying daily morning toast and jam (raspberry!) and coffee with Abigail.
And while we munch and sip, we've been memorizing Colossians.
Last month Abi set out this little challenge-memorizing Colossians in a year, 2 verses a week.
mmmm-a worthy pursuit and manageable. I want to do this!
So, this week we're working on Colossians 1:7-8 and reviewing. . .in Colossae the gospel was bearing fruit and growing among the believers, bearing fruit and growing-
I want that, for me.
This is good-memorizing chunks of Scripture. . .8 verses tucked away and into February we go.