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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sometimes I just need to LIGHTEN up-- and I'm not talkin' bout my hair-- well.. kind of- but not really....

The sun was out. LOVE that. Driving with the sun roof open. Gotta love that. ( I have wanted a sunroof, all my "driving" life--(Ok- I've always WANTED a Red Mustang Convertible.. but car seats are a tight squeeze- and the expense it ridiculous) -I love finally having one-(sunroof- not a mustang) albeit in my old, permanent marker -drawn on truck. Yeah...permanent marker---- long story- funny- but- for another day;)

Sunshine was warming my face while I drove. Radio--- was definitely louder than necessary. I hate McDonald's --- But--- I was Lovin' IT!!!

Then, the wind picked up.(or my car sped up--- I don't remember which.. ok- probably the later...sunshine and loud music makes me drive faster. I'm HUMAN!)

Anyway- the wind started whipping my hair, into my mouth. I HATE that. I looked in the mirror--- this is NOT helping my HAIR.

I reached up- to close the sunroof---- then, that little voice- from the backseat- (my Noah- not God) started laughing.

"Mommy--- your hair is DANCING!!!!" I looked in the mirror.

That's not exactly how I saw it. I was thinking something a little more like-- "My hair's gonna be a mess when we get there.. I better close the sunroof- or I'll look like an idiot."

Being the perfectionistic freak, that I am..I almost missed the party. I didn't even know it WAS one.

(the party my hair was having)

I decided- NOT this time.

Instead of closing the sunroof- (the next thing would be to turn DOWN the radio- that always follows- closing sunroof) - - I turned UP the radio... (it will be ME getting ticketed for this- not my teens)

Then- Noah and I sang at the top of our lungs---("Ancient of Days" then Third Day's- "God of Wonders" (badly- on my part- I must say) Noah- me and my hair- all dancing in the wind and sun in my truck. THAT'S a party. That's a dance. Something , NOT to miss.

The MOPS theme for next year is John 10:10 "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. "

Maybe It WAS God's voice thru Noah- after all.... a little reminder- to lighten up. Enjoy the day.

I think- I limit God's fullness in my life- in all kinds of lame little , self imposed ways- like closing the sunroof- on a sunny day. Cause I'm worried about my hair. Or, by wearing too much black-- "cause colors/patterns would make me look fat."

When, I really LOVE brilliant colors. (Yeah- I know- BEING fat is making me look fat- NOT colors) There are probably in LOADS of other little things- that I do as well. I think God wants to work on me, in this area. There have been lots of other things that God wanted to work on- that weren't as pleasant;) --- this one, sounds pretty good to me...

Stay tuned- I'll keep you posted. ;)

I am so glad- that God reminds us of His truths- with the "still, small voice" even though- sometimes- for me- it sounds an awful lot like Noah--- from the backseat.

Dear Lord- I pray you'll help me to ENJOY the life you've given me... the wind the sun- all of it Lord- help me not to limit you- because of my lame ideas of "correctness"- or "perfection" I love you Lord- and want MORE of you. Help me to live FULLY! amen

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Knitting Blog? Oh, Yeah--- And Spinning too!!!!

April 25

I have the POWER!

Behold--- she takes flax and wool- and spins. She creates garments for her family of scarlet- to warm them. They do not fear winter......

(or something like that--- I know there's something similar in PROVERBS 31....BUT- THIS IS NOT A LESSONY TYPE POST--- THIS IS A "LOOKIE, WHAT I LEARNED" TYPE POST.

I started my spinning lessons a couple of weeks ago. I went to assauge the guilt of purchasing a spinning wheel I am too inept to actually use. Or, so I thought.

Now- I am Obi Wan... I have found my spinning Yoda. "Grasshopper--- can you snatch this pebbel from my hand???" "Why, yes- spinning master- I believe I can......"

I have found her- she resides here:


At the Spinning Loft. The owner is wonderful- and is a phenomenal teacher.

I am not an accomplished spinner- (duh) but- I actually MADE YARN! Photo evidence is below.

OK- maybe not quite so dramatic- and not really very important. BUT. I can do it!!!!!

The shop is loaded with beautiful fibers- of every color and texture imaginable. There are a number of wheels to try- and the owner- (Betty) is just as welcoming and encouraging as possible. She quickly picks up on your learning style- and communicates to you in a way- that you will surely understand.

All the things I READ online- and in magazines--- she brought to life- and helped my hands to do. She can see what I'm doing rt- and wrong--- and helps me to spin in my own way- yet in a way that will create a usable yarn.

So here are my little first fruits..... --the purple- is a luscious soft purple merino--- which I twisted into a mess. Betty told me to hold off on spinning that one...but I couldn't wait to try it. SLIPPERY. Uneven. I'll get better.

The red- cream is a corriedale/merino silk blend- top--- very nice- and not nearly as slippery--- much easier for my beginner fingers to manage.

Next are two bobbins of fuschia wool. The smaller of the 2 is my VERY first bobbin. The larger- I did this week at home- I thibk I'm developing a more even spin- and I'm happy with the plying. I have realized a few things:

1) I am going to need more bobbins--- or learn how to skein the yarn. (We're skeining washing etc this week)

2) Spinning is relaxing. Rhythmic. Textural.

3) I am not a big retarded spinning loser- after all.

4) I still think it's weird.

5) I like it anyway.

The pics also show my Debbie Bliss silk Kiri--- (had hoped it would be ready for Easter---- it wasn't.) I WAS about to start the border--- but in my artsy stupidity---- I dropped like 20 stitches off the end-and will now need to rescue- that section. That will require quiet- and chocolate. I'll have to wait.

There is also a red sock- (Interweave---- spring--- don't remember the name....) I decided I don't like the yarn--- (today anyway) so I plucked out the needles- and cast on with Louet Gems in a pretty purple--- much nicer hand--- not all rough and scratchy.

I also knit up a pair of socks---- which I'll put pics up to show tomorrow--- as I've decided they are a post in and of themselves.

Why? Because, I believe I have discovered "Freudian Knits".

Please don't be alarmed- I have not adopted Freud's theories--- however- there is something to be said for the sub-conscious--- and I think I'm doin some "Freudian Knittin" you'll understand tomorrow.

Try not to bust a blood vessel thinking about it...(Yeah- I know no -one will- but let me have my imagination!)

Going to Spin a bit more... (and laugh at myself as I do it... cause I still don't believe it.)

Dear Lord--- I know that Spinning is not important in the "Big picture"... but I have to say- It's incredible- the capacity you've created in each person-- to LEARN... to CREATE.....To move hands in a way as to accomplish a task. When I look at the amazing potential of your creation- both in people and the Earth- I am just amazed. Thanks for the reminder Lord---- I suppose you are with me and teach me--- even in the silly things-- like spinning! I love you Lord- amen.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Teaching Forgiveness... Ouch.

God definitely has a sense of humor.

I got the chance to teach at church again today.....the topic....."forgiveness".

My initial response? Ouch.

See--- I "get" that I need to be forgiven... I can be a real jerk on ocassion. What's a bit more painful... and a bit more difficult, is forgiving others.

It's not that I'm basically a mean- unforgiving person..... it's just that there are SO MANY little ways I catch my self being unforgiving.....

But let me back up--- see this is pretty typical of my journey with God, it generally goes like this:

I read something in the bible--- I have an opportunity to "practice" living it out,I don't live it out. Then I figure- I don't have it right---so I better UNDERSTAND exactly what God is saying. That involves work.


It's easier just to open the Bible, and read what it says..... then, assume that I understand... but- when I do that, I miss things. Sometimes BIG things.

Like in understanding Forgiveness.

Here is the greekword for- and meaning of- forgiveness:

Word Origin

Transliterated Word
TDNT Entry: Aphesis

release from bondage or imprisonment
forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty

Ok... on first glance-- I'm good. I'm not generally throwing people in prison.

I'm good, right? Nope.

Here's my issue----- it's not JUST about throwing people in prison.. (physical or emotional) It's about REMISSION of penalty. Most of the time- when someone sins against me, It's not gonna be a judicial offense. We're not talking 20-30 years...I don't throw them in prison.

But- somehow- I manage to find LOTS of little ways to punish people without sending them to jail. I might blow off their opinion....I might NOT say something nice I felt like saying... because they "don't deserve my nice words".....I might NOT do something nice for someone--- because, well- because they ticked me off.
Little, almost invisible punishments.
Nice, quiet, non- swearing "Christian" ways of punishing people?

NOT. They arereally just harboring unforgiveness in my heart. A thing that God detests.

Told ya--- OUCH.

The bible says that God has forgiven me... so I SHOULD forgive others. It also says if I DON'T... God isn't "bound" (in a contractural sense) to forgive me. Mark 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."

Does that mean I let people walk all over me? Nope. But it does mean I clearly communicate when they hurt me- and forgive them. It also means- that some people- hold a smaller place in my life "budget" because they frequently hurt me.

It's all kind of messy. Cause- it isn't cut and dry. It's about the attitude of my heart. The truth is I've been a Christian ( just trying to follow God) for a long time. I've gotten pretty good at "appearance management"...Aren't we all? I'm rarely overtly nasty. But- the temptation to be a LITTLE retaliatory-- that's where I get messed up. I can be pretty creative when it comes to thinking of little punishments.

Oh, I guess I just mean that I can be un-forgiving--- while still LOOKING like I'm being forgiving. It's not about saying the words-- (though that is part) it's about allowing God- to change my heart. And offering to Him my hurts--- and trusting Him with the judgement.

I doubt I'm the only one- with this skill. Sometimes, I honestly don't even KNOW I'm doing it.

How about you? DO you have little ways to punish people? I challenge you to take a look at your heart--- and you actions- allow God to help change yours too...

I'm just so glad that God is patient- and kind- lovingly offering me little reminders.... like lessons I need to teach... to cause me to study.. to show me the "little" (HUGE) things that are tripping me up. To be with me and help to change me.

I'm glad He forgives me--- I need it.

Dear Lord- I love you- and I thank you for forgiving me.. I can be a real jerk. I need your help to be more forgiving Lord---please help me to see the "little" ways I strike back at people.. help me NOT to do them. I love you Lord-- and want to be more like you. amen!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Survivor- Mom style

Thriving... and then there's surviving.... today's a surviving day.
There are days when I feel like I thrive as a mom. Today is not one.

At the moment, it's 6:40 p.m. and I'm wondering if benadryl (rec dosage, of course) could possibly end our day a couple of hours early....

Please. You know it's a temptation. Especially on days like this one.

Things were fine till about 10:30. Then things got bloody.

Bloody is NOT good. Especially when Daddy is gone. (work)

Noah, my little monkey, decided to get something from the freezer. (Probably, Easter candy) I was in the next room. I heard the stool GROAN and scrape, across the kitchen floor- I said "Noah....Don't...." That's as far as I got. Then , I heard the crash.

Crashes from the kitchen are never good- either. I bolted into the kitchen.

Noah was on his back, in front of the fridge... blood dripping from his mouth- and the stool- laying on his face.

Not good. Again- NOT GOOD.

I picked him up--- and noticed, thru the blood--- that his front tooth was gone.

FRONT TOOTH GONE, is not good. Split lip, NOT Good. Daddy being gone.... VERY NOT Good. (Daddy is the official "Holder" when it comes to stitches and such... I am just not "good with that."

I cry. Crying Mommies in the ER, don't help. They scare children actually- their own, and others.

Oh- I also have a bit of a tendancy to faint. Just a bit.

The big guys weren't up yet. Lets just say- I CAN quickly scare them out of bed, when I need to.

I did. (need to) So, I did. (scare them.)

We got dressed and out the door to the ER pretty quick. Big guy #1 rode in the back seat, to keep Noah company in his carseat, while I drive like a nut. ( I think I missed a stop sign... sorry bout that)

Four hours later, (and 2 new "kid" friends for Noah later....he'll probaly be sick from the germs he picked up.....) Wiggling his little body into a "GOWN" FYI 4 year old boys DO NOT want to wear dresses with circus x-ray to assure that the missing tooth hadn't lodged in his throat..(it hadn't) .. He seems to think- that x-rays are a good opportunity to pose in his "baby karate" moves.....and then, struggling to (quietly-without yelling...I mean) keep the boy from skating across the floor and into things that are sterile....(and easily knocked over) stocking feet and a slick ER floor--- can only mean an opportunity to skate, of course.

We stopped at McDonalds on the way home.... Noah fell asleep. I thought things had calmed down. Surely, we must be on the "UP side" of this day. Nope. Some days just don't work like that.

1/2 hour after we arrived home--- Noah climbed up onto the couch- to play "Spiderman and friends" on my laptop--- and promptly- put his ONE front tooth thru his BOTTOM lip.

More blood. I am not a "Mompire" I don't like blood. I don't even like typing the word b***d.

There was plenty of it today.

Noah had an adventure. Mommy survived.

Some days are like that.

By the time this posts... you may notice that time has elapsed. "How long does that woman sit at the computer? No wonder that kid is into so much......." You may be thinking...

Especially after I tell you what happened during the 10 minutes it took to write the paragraphs above.

Noah found the toothpaste I left on the kitchen counter this morning- (yes- I opted to brush my teeth AND put on a bra, before we went to the ER...with the first child I wouldn't have- I'd probably have called the EMS. Noah is child #3, I knew he would live )

After making his DISCOVERY... he proceded to fingerpaint the kitchen with it. Yes- I was 15 feet away. Yes, I am, apparently a bad mother- and quite possibly an idiot.

Or, maybe not.

The truth is- as a Mom- there are wonderful- fabulous heart warming days. And then, there are days in which you are happy you survived. Today was a survivor kind of day.

Hmmmmmm maybe a new reality show---- Survivor Mom... You take a preschooler---- a typical home, a bit of extra energy- and a Mom with some mundane task- like oh... LAUNDRY maybe? Then see if she can accomplish her task--- as well as keep her preschooler from feeding the dog toothpaste- or losing a tooth.

Can I win a million Dollars? Can I win if I kill no one?

The truth is- most days' I do. (not win a million dollars---- I SURVIVE, as do my children, bicuspids intact, generally.)

99 percent of the time--- Mothering runs along ok. and then there are days like this.

It's only 7:23. I would LIKE to think it will get better now. But, it may not.

I am trying to minimize the potential danger zones.... like cooking dinner- (we're currently waiting for the pizza guy.)

I'll be knitting with soft plastic needles---- we'll watch a lame movie, eat on paper plates.....probably with our fingers... no point risking utensil injuries.....

Quite possibly I'll wrap them all up in bubblewrap- (don't be ridiculous- of course not their heads....) then tuck them in bed.

Maybe- then, I'll eat some cookie dough. Raw.

Or- I suppose- I could pray.

Truth is-- I really DO FEEL like God was with me today---- as bad as it was. It could have been worse. Even the fact that I went to the hospital- and was totally prepared to do "the hold-down" for a stitch-up- is God. I knew I could do it without passing out- and I wouldn't be alone. He was with me.

Though- I'm SO GLAD I Didn't HAVE TO!!!!!!!!

So- why post? For just this reason- cause- someday- maybe not soon- as a mom- you'll face a "survivor" day, and just maybe- you'll think of this experience- and have hope- that you can make it...

Trust me, if I can, you can.

Dear Lord- I thank you AGAIN for all my "guys" I pray that you help us survive the rest of this day, I pray that you help me to remember--- that EVERY day isn't like this, and I can make it thru the ones that are. Lord- I just plain ask for help- I'm pooped. I'm so glaad you're here with me- I love you Lord- amen.

Now- for your further encouragement---- *pictures*--- because- to Noah--- everything is a SHOW. He wanted daddy to see his teeth. Which he said-- "He misses" (his teeth- AND his daddy) .

However- as a point of authenticity- the toothpaste pushed me over the edge- Noah spent 15 minutes in time out for that one- there are no pictures- it wasn't cute. I've had all the patience and good attitude I can muster for one day.

I'm all out.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter thoughts...

Easter Sunday.

When I was a kid it meant scraping my front teeth along the solid chocolate ears of a "Palmers" Hollow Chocolate Bunny. I pretty much threw out the rest. But--- those sweet chocolate shavings, melting in my mouth--- those announced Easter is HERE.

One of my favorite Easter memories, was the year we made "Paperplate Easter Bonnets." (paperplates - centers cut out- then LOADED with silk/plastic flowers and ribbon.... they were probably UGLY as anything--- but, I remember them as beautiful) Then, we had an Easter Bonnet parade thru the school. That was, you know "back in the day". Now- my kids would probably be suspended for such an atrocity. Easter vacation is now Spring Break.

I didn't grow up in a "Christian Home" maybe my Easter memories are pretty limited. WE did however- watch The 10 Commandments EVERY year.... I'm not really sure why- other than to point out that my dad looks like Charlton Heston....(which we did every year--- and still do) We can say- my faith journey started late. I guess.

There were things I just didn't GET about the whole Easter thing. I remember as a kid, thinking "Good Friday" thing was sick. "How can a Friday be GOOD when it's about some wonderful, kind, loving man getting killed on a cross?????" How can we celebrate- somethng so unfair? Something so "Bad". I remember having questions--- but no one to ask for answers. I think that makes me a little more sensitive to kids, who want to understand. But don't yet "get it".

For whatever reason, God was pretty much not talked about in our family. I was allowed to GO to church, (I went on a church bus- actually- I doubt you could get away with that at this point...) ) and I went with a neighbor-- who was probably the first authentic Christian I met.... but as far as understanding... asking and "Getting it" no- I didn't. I got CHocolate bunny ears at Easter. Thats about it.

Maybe thats part of what drives y passion for working with kids. See- I believe they have a greater capability than "memorizing" and repeating stories. Kids can process information, ask questions and "get" spiritual concepts- but it taks time, authenticity and a safe atmosphere.

Yesterday- Actually for the first time ever, (i teach often- but not on Easter) I had the extreme priviledge of teaching children not just the STORY of EASTER, but the" WHY" and the "WHAT to do with it". Too. The kids asked questions--- I talked about questions I had as a kid. It was awesome.

I love these kids. They are incredible. They think about the things they are taught. They question and wonder. They say "they don't get it" when they don't "get it". I learn so much from them.

When I teach- I tell them what I know- thru learning and study, what I've learned thru experience(application) , and also- what I don't "Get".... like--- what EXACTLY happened to that boulder the size of a Volkswagon that was blocking the tomb? Well- it got moved--- but the Bible is a bit sketchy about the exact DETAILS....What ever happened to the guard? Did he get killed for letting Jesus "escape"? (that was the punishment for a guard shirking his duty...) The Bible doesn't say.

When I'm teaching- and I have a question- that I don't see an answer for- I tell them. I also tell them- that it's important for them to READ the Bible for themselves... there are questions that they may have.. or things that they'd like to know specifically that may not FIT into a curriculum.... I tell them to read and find OUT! I try to encourage them, that there is SO MUCH MORE to learn and know about God.

More than I know. More than I have experienced, more than I can say.

I see teaching as a modeling experience. It's an opportunity to pass information, AND to model the processing of the imformation.

A few days back- I posted about Grace.

It became the into to the Easter talk. I wanted the kids to "get" WHY we celebrate and why we NEED Jesus. So I talked about my first experience with Grace.

I talked about my Mom's love for me. I talked about God's love for us all. I talked about HIM wanting US to be at "the Dance" (heaven)

Most, had already seen the pictures- (a few weeks back) they LOVE seeing pictures of any adult, when they were young.- especially if they looked like a dork. ( I did) I think they "got it"

I pray they did. I love teaching-taching lots of things- really--- but, I believe there is NOTHING more important to teach- than the Gospel message.

Dear Jesus- I pray for each child you brought to Metro- (and adult) over the Easter holiday.... I pray that they wouldn't have just heard a "STORY"... but, that they would have met you. I pray that I showed with my actions- and authenticity- as best as I could, what you have done- and a bit of who you are, and then- encouraged them- to DO something with that. Lord- as everything starts to blossom and bloom- in the Spring- I pray that the little bits of truth- that were shared--- would be like seed- and start to grow something wonderful, exciting and unique in each one that heard it this weekend. I pray that faith would grow. I pray that faith would birth an incredible journey, one that would be life long.

I love you Lord- thank you again- for the priviledge of introducing you- to these awesome kids I know! I pray that they learn to ask you their questions- no matter how big or small, that they would grow not just in knowledge- but in experience with you- I love you Lord- amen.

Friday, April 14, 2006

silly...but interesting... probably not surprising, though.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Houston- I gotta problem... Why aren't you surprised??????

CAUTION: These are thoughts and concerns that give me a headache. So, be forewarned.

I have a problem.

(well- I have a lot of them ---- today we're just gonna pick ONE!)

Here's the thing:

I am passionate about my particular calling. I love people. I love their thoughts- ideas, creativity, and uniqueness. True: Some people annoy me. I strongly disagree with their opinions..... But I am amazed at God's unique artistry in how he designs people. My passion for people comes from my love for God. Because I love God, I love the people He made--- I see little reminders in them- of Him.

Not exact replications... But little reminders--- similar to the way I love my friends kids- first on their own merits- then--- because they remind me a bit of their parents- whom I love- and love to be reminded of.

I also- absolutely love ministry to women, children and families. I love the church. (By which I mean the church as represented in acts... Etc...)

Not seeing my problem? On the surface, you wouldn't. I'll try to get you into my brain for a bit. Hold on- it can be a crazy making place.

Because I am PASSIONATE about Jesus, about His people, and growing them in Him....I read, I learn, EVERYTHING I can... About how to do ministry well.....Some ideas I soak up--- some I disagree with.... Some I just don't know what to make of.

Some of the things I read bug me. No, I guess they make me sick.

Here's why:

See- It really bugs me- when one particular "theory" or "approach" to ministry is presented in a way that is critical of others. It FEELS very wrong to me. It FEELS like pride. It FEELS like discord, that is not biblical.

Honestly- it feels like sin against the body of Christ.

It sounds like "See--- this new thing I'm doing? THIS is the way to do ministry... All the previous ways---- they are Wrong....SEE... HERE'S WHY... THEY ARE WRONG.....blah blah blah......"

I guess to me- it sounds like a judgment against anyone not "doing ministry" the same way--- is OBVIOUSLY not hearing from God....." Because if they WERE then- of COURSE they would do things MY way. "

Here's what bothers me about this. I am passionate about my unique calling. That DOESN'T mean I demean the unique calling of others. I am called and equipped to minister to women, children and families. That DOESN'T mean I feel Men's ministry is less valuable. I back Men's ministry. I minister specifically to Moms thru MOPS, that doesn't mean I don't think ministry to women who have no children is less valuable. I minister to Moms with Preschoolers- that doesn't mean I believe the Mom's with teens have less important needs- or that the needs of those older than me are less important.

I have chosen my particular home church- based on the "non negotiables" of Christianity. These are the things that I believe cannot change- and still call yourself a Christian. I have also chosen, based on my personal preferences and personality- and those of my family. (to me- the stylistic is negotiable- music, liturgical style Etc...)

That doesn't mean I demean

de·mean2 (dĭ-mēn') tr.v., -meaned, -mean·ing, -means.
To debase, as in dignity or social standing: professionals who feel demeaned by unskilled work.
To humble (oneself). See synonyms at degrade.

the different needs styles and choices of others- based on their unique design by God.

The world is a very BIG place. HUGE. There are 6,446,131,400 (July 05 estimate) PEOPLE in the world. They range in age from birth to death. (duh- I know) That could be up to 120 years old. ( I made that up) EACH and EVERY ONE MATTERS TO GOD. God desires to minister HIS love to each one- thru believers.

There is no ONE Approach, or formula, that will work. HELLO. 6,446,131,400 PEOPLE (sorry that was snotty)

WE desperately need EACH OTHER. The Body of Christ abides in US... TOGETHER. Each one doing it's own PART. (just search for the body in the bible--- you'll see it pretty clear) The traditional minister to those who respond to that approach, the non-traditional to the non traditional. Each one does it's part- to minister to the WHOLE EARTH.

The current culture and generation are important- as are the REST of the world. The gospel is to be preached in it's entirety. With a plurality of methods- based on the needs of those to whom it is being preached to. The message doesn't change but the method does. (these are not new ideas------I didn't say they were) That EVERY man should Know---That Jesus Christ is Lord.

I love learning the "new approaches" I appreciate God's passionate calling, and unique design. I take what will work for me - in my current cultural atmosphere. And, I try to disregard the "attitude" of superiority that can come with exuberance.

But should it even BE THERE? I don't think so. And I use it to caution, and remind myself.

I fight against my own.

I LOVE the creative process. I love developing something "new". I love experiencing the synergy of ideas shared- and developed with others. I have been a part of the exciting "birth " of a different approach to ministry. I have experienced the trap- of pride, and the feeling that my passion should .....oh.Let'set's just say "reign supreme" that money, time and effort SHOULD be poured into MY area of passion....... of course.

I've learned that God calls us to an area of ministry- with passion- for a purpose. That flame is what ignites others. I've also learned, that it takes MANY flames to light the World. The Gospel is the light- we are the lightbearers. Each one is a unique "container" for the light. Designed with a specific purpose, to light a specific area.

I can't warm my home with a candle. (well- I could if I used it to set in on fire--- that'shats not really cost effective now is it?) I don't speak Spanish. I'm glad that God uses Spanish speaking missionaries and believers- to minister to those who do.

I don't live in Russia. I'm glad God uses believers there- to minister, there. Their approach is going to be different- than my approach here- in Canton, MI. Or - yours wherever YOU are. It has to be.

I'm NOT talking about changing the message. I'm talking about respecting each other as God's image bearers- His light bearers..... allowing for those differences- while holding TIGHT to the truths of scripture.

(ummm simple yet also admittedly, infinitely difficult truths.. Like Jesus is the only way- that God exists in three expressions/persons, yet is ONLY one God...That we get to heaven by Jesus' sacrifice and grace, Not by our good works, Yet our faith without works is not's dead you know...these things.....)

The old song just keeps rolling thru my head.... (I suppose there is a lot of emptiness up there to roll around in...)

"They will know we are Christians, by our love, by our love...."

(Sometime I'll share my DH's version of that song--- it's hilarious, in an ouchy kind of way!)

(Love- First for God- then each other- then overflowing to the WORLD.....) Instead we look like a bunch of cranky critical jerks, with prideful attitudes that say MY WAY is the BEST way......

Dear Jesus- Please help me with my strong feelings in this area---- these are major trigger feelings for me--- they make me want to say--- "shut up. You're a jerk- can't you respect others. DO it MY way--- with respect.... " When I feel like that- I'm ... well in a hypocrite. If you want to be technical...Because, I'm doing what I say NOT to. I'm being critical. Please help me to learn what and how you would have me to minister. Please give me wisdom and courage to confront what I should- please take that HUGE log out of my own eye ,before I try to do surgery on some one else'..Please knit together your body Lord- and help us be one. I love you Lord, Amen.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Incredible, Edible, Easter Dyeable, Oh, sooooo SQUASHABLE Egg!

The Incredible Edible, Easter Dyeable, Oh so squashable EGG!
Can you build a contraption to hold and protect an egg, then drop it, from one story above the ground- and have it land, without it breaking?

My middle-schooler did. He's awesome. (Ok---- he had a team of middleschoolers--- but- he's mine- so of course it was all about Matt!)

I can't do it. I've tried. Not as a science project..... but more as a life project.

Here's the thing- I'm an egg-squasher. From "way back".

I think I remember when it started.

In my Grandpa's "Secret Garden".... well- thats what I called it in my brain anyways.

My Grandpa was incredible. He could do ANYTHING. He was an executive--- at work--- he was a magician at home. Not in the "watch me pull a rabbit from my hat ," sense, but in the green-thumb, creative,artistic sense. Which is a strange combination for an auto- exec!

My Grandpa's backyard was truly incredible. There were raspberries growing in a huge prickly sweet- hedge-(oh my word they were the BEST) There was a TOTEM POLE that my Grandpa made from a telephone pole, ( I don't get it.....I'm sure it was inspired by something--- maybe just the consternation of my Grandma!) there was a garden- with Persian melons....tomatoes,a nectarine tree, A huge, knee of your pants staining Mulberry tree.....english lavander for my Grandma (she was born in Wales) that attracted the biggest fattest cartoon looking bumble bees in the world!

There was an arbor over the patio (built by Grandpa- of course) that was covered in beautiful deep orange bell shaped flowers- that actually DID attract hummingbirds. There was a squat little shrub that looked like a gnome. (I may have named him--- but I don't remember...)

I would stay at my grandparents over the weekends--- it seemed like pretty often--- but maybe the memories are just so vivid--- that they stand out-- I'm not sure. ;) Living in Michigan- during the summers we spent as much time outside as possible....(make hay while the sunshines--- even if there is no hay!)

Grandpa was a morning guy---so am I.
We'd get up early- go outside and "work in the yard" (Grandpa worked-- I picked flowers- ate raspberries and ran away from bubble bees!) One day- Grandpa called me over to the mulberrry tree---with his hand stretched out holding something tiny and blue....
- "Careful...come here!"

Grandpa handed me the prettiest pale blue speckled robin's egg. He handed it to me---and said- careful--- go and show Grandma!" I was basically amazed--- and scared. It was beautiful, and delicate- even I could see that. I clenched my fist around the egg---- tight- so I wouldn't drop it. I was pretty sure I would drop it.

I rushed to the doorwall- arm extended---- clumsy, bony kid legs running to beat the eggs inevitable "fall" from my hands---- concentrating with every undiagnosed ADD bone in my body- on NOT dropping it.

When I got to the door--- I peeked into my hand. SQUASHED. My pretty delicate treasure was broken---- I felt like a murderer. I cried. My Grandpa told me- the egg had already met it's "end" before I had ever seen it--- but it didn't matter--- I was the one with the broken shell in my hand.

I loved it - literally- to death.

I wish it was the last time- I did that. I wish I could say I learned to be careful- how I held things from then on. I haven't always been.

I'm an Egg-squasher. I have a tendancy to hold things too tight.

Like, my spouse, like my kids. Like,my dreams. Like,my friends.

I have trouble letting go. Sometimes I try so hard to protect the things I love--- that I squash em.

But- I'm learning. My 16 year old laughs. "Remember when you only let me ride my big-wheel from our driveway to our next-door neighbors? Man, Mom- talk about over protective." (He was like 6 at the time)
A friend "Intervened" and suggested 1 driveway per year. (Hey---- maybe I should let him DRIVE All the way around the block now....!!!!)

My kids sailed thru "Separation anxiety" in the normal- healthy way---- I,on the otherhand..... developed "carpal tunnel" from clenching and unclenching my hands to tight.... trying to hold on--- but knowing the best and right thing for them- was to LET GO........

I guess I still am.

It's hard though. See- like that little blue speckled egg- the things I love- I want to protect. And I should.


-----NEWSFLASH---- I am not in control of the universe. (which is probably a good thing...)

No matter how much I try to protect---- I can't. My Grandpa was a magical gardener--- but- even in my Grandpa's Garden... there were little invaders--- bugs that didn't belong---birds that ate raspberries before I COULD!! Eggs that fell from nests.....

I guess all these blue Easter Eggs remind me of this. They also remind me of the reason why I CAN let go-
why I can let my teenager drive a car--- go to public school, be out of my sight. Go farther than one driveway.

It's wrapped up in the Easter thing. See- while I am not in control of the universe- I know who is. God. While I sure don't trust the world--- (cause- let's face it--- the world is a pretty sick and dangerous and wonderful place) I can trust the one who holds the world in His hand.

The more experiences I have- both good- bad- painful and happy---- the more that I learn--- that whateer happens---- I can get thru. But- not alone. See- when that egg broke in my own hand... i needed someone to tell me the truth. I needed someone to console and comfort me. To understand my grief. My guilt.

My Grandpa did that in the backyard.

Jesus does that in my life. He doesn't always protect me from brokenness- but I am never alone in it.

We wnet to the park the other day- with the boys- just to goof off- in the sun. I took a picture of Noah--- he found a treasure--- a juniper berry- I think. He gently held it in an open hand. Loving it--- showing it--- but not squashing it. (And- NO- Noah- you cannot eat them- they won't kill you- but please dont eat stuff you ind at the park-- just in general)

If you look---- you can see something that amazed me--- his hand is blurred- the berry is blurred---- but HE is sharply in focus.

I think- the more sharply I keep Jesus in focus----the looser- my grip becomes on the things -people, I love----- not because I dont care--- but because I know HE cares..... and will be there- with us----- regardless of the cracks that happen because we a bumpy world.

Dear Jesus- I can't build a contraption to protect- myself- my kids my spouse or friends- from the hurts of life--
But- I do want to. -- I ask you to care for us-in this messy place- I ask you to help me to trust you- to help me hold them with a tender- but open hand- so I don't SQUASH-em like a robins egg.....I love you Lord- please help me to trust you more- every day. Amen.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Knitting for a "Grace" I've never met--- reminded of one that I have.....

You can read here about "Grace".


Her beautiful face will steal your heart. Her story will compel you to action............It did me. It also made me think.

The internet- is the only place I've met THIS little Grace.....though she has touched my heart.

But- I distinctly remember the first time I met GRACE.

I was in nineth grade. EVERYONE was getting ready for the "BIG EVENT" The Nineth Grade Dinner Dance. It was the first "formal" any of us had the opportunity to attend.... A HUGE deal......

One that I BLEW big time.

Nineth grade- was still "Jr High", and well--- let's just say I was a pain in the butt. Probably partially because of my "stage of development" (read: pubescent) and probably partly because of my personality (read: stubborn and MOUTHY)

But- After all the searching for a perfect dress, (oh man- me and the JC Penney Catalog were VERY close for a number of weeks) all the planning for perfect hair options.... the planning of accessories- and choosing of shoes.....

I got grounded.

I deserved it.

I was warned.

You can only imagine the river of tears that I cried--- the bargaining that I did.. the tantrumming- the pouting, the begging the pleading. "My dress is already Ordered!" "I made a Promise TO MY FRIENDS!" and yes--- the all time favorite of teens---- "EVERYONE else is GOING!!!!!!!!"

None of them worked.

On the morning of the dance--- I cleaned my room... (I figured THAT might work...)

It didn't.

Around 11:00 a.m my mom said- to "get out side and get some sun!" . I thought maybe I had gone too far- and made her lose her mind....BTW this was before we knew how bad the sun could be....

(I didn't exactly feel like THAT) But, there was no point asking for more trouble.

I put on my Swim suit--- and sat in the sun-- with all the teen accoutrements- of tanning--- baby oil, walkman (yeah- Cassettes-- oh probably Springsteen, John Cougar, U2 and some Culture CLub/Wham stuff....----I'm old- get over it)

Shortly after, my mom left in her car--- Her (way cool to me at the time--- light blue metallic- Datsun..blah, blah insert letters and some numbers here-------)

A while later---she returned.

Her face was still cranky.

She got out of the car... and leaned intot he back seat- she pulled out a LONG plastic garment bag. JC PENNEY in Pink lettering...

"Tracey Lynne- Come in the house" ( "Crap- could I be in MORE trouble????" I remember thinking)

That was all my mom said.

Duh. I went- no argument.

We sat down on my bed----with tear in her eyes- my Mom said- to start getting ready for the dance. Even though I had totally deserved not to go--- she didn't want me to miss out on the dance. It was special.

After several frantic phone calls--- and a few more hours of primp and fuss.....

My dad came home with a corsage in pink roses....

Then, I went to the dance.

My parents weren't perfect. BUt this was an important day for me.

Not, because of the pink and white gunne-sax knock-off gown from Penney's... or because of the perfectly flipped hair.....(complete with "Sun-In" highlights.....)

But- because it was the first time I met GRACE.

Years later- I heard someone describe Justice, Mercy and Grace this way:

Justice is getting what you deserve- I was a jerk- I was warned- I deserved not to go.

Mercy is NOT getting the punishment that you deserve. I could have been allowed to go--- in something from my closet-- or in something borrowed- or found last minute....

GRACE- Is when we get the opposite- of what we deserve. I got the gown- the flowers- the tan---the asseccories-- everything a girl dreams of for her first dance......

My Mom paid the price for the grace I experienced that May.

It really was the FIRST time I remember experiencing Grace.

It wasn't the last.

A few years later--- I learned about the meaning of Chirstmas- and then Easter. I learned about GRACE that comes from God- something clicked. I "Got"that- well- I sin. I deserve the punishment for that- (basically,Hell) Oh Crap- now i'm in serious trouble.

I also learned that Jesus had already "bought my dress" that he loved me, regardless- and wanted me at HIS dance. He paid the highest price---- death- for my attendance.

I sure wasn't gonna turn down that invitation- or argue about that one either.

Just hoping this Easter- that you have an experience with Grace--- of both kinds----- I challenge you to knit a square for the beautiful little help knit a blanket to warm and comfort her thru her treatments....

And I'll be praying that you remember your first experience with GRACE ---- and have another one---- with Jesus.

Hey- you could even post about it-on your BLOG!
or comment--- What a thought!

Feel free to trackback- and steal the title---- that would be awesome!

Dear Jesus- I can't even thank you for your Grace enough---- I also lift up this beautiful little one to you- I ask you to be with her- and her family- to loving warm them- and hold them, I ask you to heal her Lord- and to give her doctors wisdom and guidance. I also thank you for the ways that I've experienced "GRACE" in my life- and pray thst others would be reminded of theirs - too- I love you Lord- amen.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Me Do.... All By Myself.
"Me Do It. All By Myself".

It's actually funny, when Noah says it... but then--- Noahs 4.

Let's just say- I'm not 4.

It's not so funny when I say it.

And, yes- I do, well...maybe not EXACTLY...."Me DO, ALL BY MYSELF" But--- pretty close.

I LIKE to figure things out for myself. I don't LIKE to need- help. I fight against it with every bit of my guts....

Honestly- I can usually figure stuff out. I don't mind looking stuff up--- and learning HOW to do things.... but, I mostly like it to be a challenge- that I can overcome--- and surprise myself.

I figured out how to fix the pipes under the sink... how to poke holes in the ceiling so the water would drain THRU--- and not rot my ceiling... when the washing machine overflowed upstairs.. and started dripping from the kitchen light fixture....I liked teaching "myself" how to knit... and continuing to learn.... pretty much on my own....I liked figuring out how to jump start my to make stuff "happen" in "excel".... etc...

Then came that stupid Spinning Wheel.

The Ashford Joy.

I just can't figure it out... I keep reading the books--- I keep looking at websites... It's truly become a challenge. I can get some fluff to wind onto the bobbin a bit---- but it's just not fluid... it's not like a "natural" activity.

I was close to giving up.... then I decided to actually------ ASK FOR HELP.

I found "The Spinning Loft"
thru "SPIN-OFF" magazine....

I went yesterday---- and visited with he owner--- she was wonderful.... suggested some great starter fibers---- and a months worth of lessons...... LESSONS? You mean LET Somebody teach me something? I'm supposed to figure stuff out on my own.... she said "Spinning doesn't work that way".


OK. So, I start this week.

But- it made me think........ it made me feel a teacher---- I need to constantly- be open to being TAUGHT..... which I try to be.

But--- I have to overcome this "attitude" of expectation that I seem to have for myself...

That I SHOULD be able to "Do it All by myself".... I constantly have to fight that feeling.....I have to LET other people help me. Sometimes- it's in small challenges- set up by myself... like spinning--- sometimes it's in big challenges- in life... like parenting, my journey with God---- relationships..... etc....

My BRAIN understands that the Bible says that I am supposed to be "Interdependant" a part of a "Body" that works together---- to accomplish a goal.... whether thats in church- or at home--- or somewhere else... my EMOTIONS feel like a toddler---- saying "ME DO IT ALL BY MYSELF"

Maybe I'm socially, or spiritually or emotionallly retarded..... I'm not sure. (retarded meaning slow to learn)

Sometimes I have to be reminded about things I KNOW by experience------ like HELLO... I NEED to NEED help sometimes------


Yeah- I know...... there are pride issues wrapped up in it - or ego issues or something.... the name of the issues aren't as important as what I DO about them.....

I guess this week- as I go to my "spinning lesson" it will be an exercise in learning... yes.... but also an exercise in humility. In a strange- small and somewhat silly way--- it's a chink in the armor of my pride.... an admission of weakness--- I can't learn this alone.... I need help.

Hmmmm.... in the back of my mind--- I wonder if this "exercise" will burn many calories... ()

I think there maybe some spiritual FAT to burn off in this area........ I'll let you know how it goes--- spinning or oherwise.

Dear Lord--- you and I have talked about this stupid stubborn streak in me SO many times.... thanks for being so patient- so gentle- and for showing me over and over---- how much I need help--- please help me to be always growing in this area--- not in relation to yarn Lord---- but in so many other areas. Help me to be teachable. I love you Lord- amen.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sami, Has "Issues" I guess I do too....

My Beagle Has "Issues" What a Shock.
Sami. Sami the Dog.....

She's our dog. We all love her. She sits on my feet- and keeps them warm, she plays with Noah as if her were a BIG puppy (I think He may be...) She goes camping with us---- and misbehaves. It's fun. SHe's also the fattest Beagle in the world. Like almost 40 lbs. And built like a tank. She's awesome. And CRAZY.

The truth is she's quite neurotic.

Aside from the "typical" Beagle personality... sweet- happy, loving and stubborn.... add "nervous spaz" to her list of character traits.

We live in a neighborhood without fences. That's new to me. (And I don't get it) Although--- I guess the view out the back window is kind of nice and "pastoral" (in a site-condo, houses built on top of each other, and we share a "common" drainage area full of cat tails... kind of way...)

Apparently it's new to Sami as well...and, I think it freaks her out. Though, we've had her since she was just 16 weeks old...She still doesn't seem to "get it"....

Anyway- she spends A LOT of time (read- sometimes hours at a time- between bouts of running in and out) standing at the doorwall- barking hysterically at every animal that comes into view. (Her VIEW- WE see nothing, --- it's entirely possible they are invisible, or imaginary... I haven't found a "doggy shrink" to prove this out yet.. (No- I'm not looking for one) (Now- granted- occasionally a skunk will wander thru--- DON'T ASK, or a possum-- or a big fat racoon that loves dog food) But usually- there is nothing foreboding.

Sami gets this crazed look on her pretty doggy face---- and acts as though aliens were attacking--- or wild beasts are glaring into the kitchen- awaiting their opportunity to attack, and kill or mame us all.

Sami is loyal. Sami wants to protect us. (albeit- from NOTHING!) It's a "DOG Thing"

Ummm... maybe not JUST a DOG thing.... Sometimes I think I do the same thing.....

Well, maybe not the EXACT same thing---- I'd be locked up by now if that were true.... but sometimes- in my fierce loyalty... I think I respond to things like they are attacks---- when really they are just fat little raccoons who like to eat dog food.... or wandering skunks.

At this point- I don't always bare my teeth and growl, but I FEEL like it. I notice that it's worse at certain "times"... ummm of the month, and in certain seasons... like if I am struggling with a certain relationship or insecurity... then everything- or everyone- who wanders thru my emotional "yard" may be on the receiving end of my "barking thru the window" ( thru the window- if their LUCKY--- face to face if not!).

I wonder if Sami feels like it's her job to be "defender of those ( ideas, people) she loves"

I do.

Maybe Sami and I need "SUPERHERO" Capes--- or suits with our "SUPER LOYAL Names" on our chests...... I can be Super "My Church is the Best Woman", Or "My friends Do No Wrong Woman" (They don't- they are perfect... well- ok, not PERFECT--- but they are WONDERFUL!) Or I could be....."My ideas about how things SHOULD be done, are RIGHT Woman"

Sami can be "Super Dog to the Rescue---- Saving the Solomon Family Universe from Nothing Dangerous , Dog"

Maybe I'll learn two color knitting- and knit the capes. Probably NOT.

I guess my point is:

I'm feeling challenged to appreciate loyalty, to recognize it as a wonderful trait, both in me- in Sami, and others, and also to learn not to waste my time "barking at nothing" cause well--- everything isn't an attack--- somethings are just randomly walking thru my unfenced yard.

Dear Jesus- I love you- and I ask you for wisdom to know what really is an attack, and what isn't--- please help me to see when I'm just being crazy like Sami, barking at imaginary attackers... and when I really do need to move in a protective way, or when I just need to back off- and let you fight and defend. (What a novel thought, huh? ) sorry- for stepping in when I shouldn't, I Love you- Lord- and thank you for using even Neurotic Sami- to teach me more about myself and you! amen!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

CCD an ME.....

I'm adding another Diagnosis to my on going list, kind of my own- personal project:
DSMV-IV for Christianity. Like the original DSMV-IV it will serve to help identify all the ways that Christians, in particular- are crazy... (in the general dysfunctional sense- not the clinical sense--- I'll leave that to the experts.)

The actual DSMV-IV Is actually, a good read... If you want to find out how crazy you, and EVERYONE you know is......(It's the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders- basically used by mental health workers to "code" clients for insurance... oh--- and a tool to help with developing effective treatment plans....blah blah...)

For fun: Here's the real one.....DSMV-IV)

It will take time for my own to reach the meantime----- the next entry will be:

CCD- Culturally Confused Disorder: A disorder by which- the sufferer becomes confused by their unique and chosen, surrounding micro-cultures- to the point at which they become irrelevant to the surrounding ,sometimes concentric micro- macro- culture (s) Occasionally, confusing to those in their other surrounding micro-cultures as well. Sufferer may be subject to using language that is not understood. Hence the CONFUSION is contagious.

It seems like- in our search for identity, we keep building "Micro-cultures" around us... you can find all kinds-----some are healthy--- some, well, not so much. We create a "group" with which we can "Identify" (be and feel part of- to be "known" by) we create our own language---- our own standards- and rules for living and acceptance----

OK- I totally think I made up the Micro-Macro culture thing, regardless- I think it's true.

I read a couple of great and challenging blog entries that made great points about jargon/slang and language being confusing even limiting the effectiveness of communication.

The first one- looks at the WHY of jargon/slang's development, and it's usage in regards to exclusivity: (I love this woman)

The second is a good example of languages' generally confusing nature- I especially loved the line that said....

Is there any reason known?
To sum up all, it seems to me
Sound and letters don’t agree

(I like this- because- I am convinced- that sometimes- I hear the sounds of words--- but miss their meaning...)

I've been thinking about it for a long time....About, CCD, I mean. And- I guess I am affected by it.

I love to learn... I say all the time--- one of my general goals is to learn everything about learning, reading listening--- I heara lott of words. Taken out of the "Micro-cultures" understanding-- the words are irrelevant, meaningless, confusing- even crazy sounding.

However, within- their cultural context, they are understood. (well- MOSTLY)

Here's the thing I don't get.

How can I relate to my surrounding "Micro-cultures" and still stay culturally relevant to the "Macro-cultures" I am also part of?????

See- I have chosen to identify myself- with a certain "micro-culture"... Well- really- I chose to IDENTIFY with Christ, and His followers. Part of identifying- is understanding the language- (sometimes the LINGO- or Jargon) in order to communicate and understand communications from others. In order to learn.

We also use culturally understood language, in order to communicate to the culture with which we identify.
(I need to be wearing my son's "department of redundancy department" shirt.)

Sometimes, we use jargon to exclude certain listeners from understanding-( I do this -- well ,I DID do this, with my kids when they were younger--- you know---"talking OVER their heads". Well, you THINK you are anyways---- until they all of a sudden respond to something you said- with total understanding----then you switch tactics- fast!- the funny part of this----now that my kids are TEENS---- they have had the same experiences with ME!!!! Thinking they are talking over my head, I mean)

Other times- we use it- in order to communicate, culturally understood ideas. Not necessarily to exclude- but to streamline communication, to kind of "standardize it".

I guess I see myself as "Multi-Cultural" (well- I TRY anyways!) See, while I most strongly identify with a certain micro-culture---- I also operate in several OTHERS. At the same time.... you probably do too. This is where the CCD strikes......

How many Micro-cultures do I identify with???????

Hmmm lets see-

The "Christian Culture"
The "80's Culture"--- ( ummm it's kind of where I'm from..)
The "Knitting culture"- (duh-there'ss' a whole language we speak!)
The "Business culture"- not because I'm part--- but because my husband and friends- are- and because I love them--- I want to understand their "language"....
The "Parenting Preschoolers Culture"
The Parenting Teens Culture"
The "Parentingpreschoolerss Culture" (Can you say BOZ? Dora the Explorer? These have languages unto their own... like pullups- etc....)
"The SAHM Culture"
The "Online Culture"... LOL, AOL, ROFL,
The "Blogging Culture"
I used to be part of the "Homeschooling culture"

The list goes on, and on.....each one- with it's own rules.. each one with it's own language.

Then, there is the "Macro-Culture" of the country I live in,the US. (I speak English-as do most here.)

Then, there's the "Macro-Generational Culture", to which I belong......And the SUPER-Macro-Multi-Generational Culture in which I live...... (YES, I'm making this ALL UP- I think)

Crap. The truth is I am affected by- and need to communicate in SEVERAL different languages at ONCE!

I took French in jr-high and high school----- Like 6 years-----I remember almost NONE.

If I can't remember ONE language that I've studied intentionally--- HOW AM I SUPPOSED to navigate this??????? These are fluid, changing languages and cultures.......

The best plan I can come up with, is "knowing your audience" and speaking their language.

Jesus Did. (you knew I was gonna get to the God thing)

When Jesus told stories---- they were culturally relevant- to a farmer- he talked about farming- to religious leaders he talked about religious practices of the time... stuff that was culturally relevant. To whatever Micro-or macro-culture He was dealing with at the time.

I'm no Jesus- (duh- this we know) but I think I do ok communicating when I can identify WHO my audience is......But----

Sometimes, there is a MULTI cultural audience-- the blogosphere is a pretty good example of that. You just never know WHO your audience is. It really could be anyone... (well- or NO-ONE!)

What do you do then?

At this point- I'm just trying to avoid as much "cultural cliche'" as possible.

Sometimes- I find it's a struggle----see I am so entrenched in my "cultures" that I don't always know HOW to communicate without the "languages" I've learned, and learned FROM. Sometimes I just assume people know what I'm talking about. My HUSBAND recently asked me who "DH" was.. when He was reading my blog. DH= Darling Husband. (I love him!)

I Recently sent out invites to a MOPS event---- and called it a "Network and Nosh" I had a couple of my awesomely authentic leaders say--- after they had arrived--- so Trace, what does "NOSH" mean? I just assumed- Nosh just means eat..... What a dork... assuming always gets me in trouble....

But so does assuming someone DOESN'T know what I mean--- that can comes across as condescension. Something that drives me NUTS.

One of the cool things about communication- is that it requires 2 parties. There needs to be give-and take,in a conversation to assure clarification and understanding.

I GET that I'm not always clear--- I GET that sometimes I become CCD----- And am affected with Cultural Confusion Disorder.....That I am prone to using language that is "irrelevant" to others- especially those who identify with other "micro-cultures" more strongly....

My blog is usually very conversational. (Umm in general- I'm pretty conversational... my report cards always said the same thing.. "Tracey talks too much in class".....)

Here's the thing- My gut doesn't want to EXCLUDE. I truly, just sometimes am at a loss for words that "translate"....Especially in regards to communicating about my journey with God.

I guess I need YOUR help.

See- I need you to ask questions--- to help me clarify what I mean. If something sounds like "The Teacher from Charlie Brown" Has taken over my blog--- you know (WHAH WHA WAH WAH wah...) Or I don't make sense to you- please e-mail- comment- ask a question.......

I want to SHARE,not exclude. I want this to be a space for communication- not just Tracey "Spouting" irrelevant crap.

I'm suffering with a touch of CCD.... could you help with my "treatment plan?"

Call-me out when I use cliches' that mean nothing - I'd appreciate the help. I LOVE communicatin'. I love learning new stuff- let me know what your thinkin----

Oh--- and I'll let you know when my DSMV-IV for Christianity is going to print------ However- it will take some time.. as most of the Disorders I discover are IN ME. And- usually that takes awhile even to IDENTIFY!!!!!!

Dear Lord- I KNOW I suffer with CCD..... please help me to communicate clearly- and with love, in ALL the micro-cultures, macro-cultures in which I belong--- and help me learn the languages of others---- just cause I don't YET understand- doesn't mean I don't want too. I love you Lord- amen!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

SP7 Reveal--- oh.. and I guess this IS a knitting blog--- so, how bout a knitting update????

SP 7 reveal... oh and yes- I suppose this IS a knitting blog... sorry!

My SP 7 SPOILER--- has been revealed! She is the brilliant- and quite wonderful Jersey Knitter!

She has been nominated BEST SP7... mostly because she managed to locate and send me Holz and Stein Circs....( I still think It was a Jersey Knitter Mob connection--- but can't confirm...) and perfect yarn in each pkg- along with sweets. That's the best for me!

My final pkg offered soft and yummy pink silk/mohair blend by SRK! And a Sweet Marzipan Lamb... and chocolates- which I ate on the way to Bay City this weekend for the MOPS Simulcast!

In the pics- you can see- that on the SAME day- I bought some of the new Debbie Bliss Silk--- in pink- to make a summer weight Kiri. I cast on already---- the silk is gorgeous, smooth as -- well ,duh- SILK I suppose!

I plan on using the silk/mohair with beads on the border.... but will have to experiment with that--- we'll see.

There are also some quick jnit- SLOWWWWWWW to felt Fiber Trends "Ballerina" slippers. I "borrowed" the rose pattern from Nicky Epsteins new felted bags book. The slippers were slow to felt--- (like 6 washings so far...) because of a gauge issue. Well- because I subbed in a chunky weight yarn I've been wanting to try--- "Ironstone" in a pretty charcoal gray. (pattern is for worsted wt) Then left the stitch cout the same- with out changes..... these puppies were HUGE. I mean HUGE even for felting projects.

Any way---- I'll probably put them thru one more cycle--- since I have tiny feet. then they should be fine. They will be perfect for cold mornings---- and should be durable--- since they are like 1" THICK!!!!

The roses are in Lambs Pride worsted--- in a really great Purple.

Other updates-

The Simulcast was great-

My 10 minutes with the Mentors- went great. In the pics you can see Noah's contribution to my talk. I ASKED him to dirty a mirror.

Funny- when I ASKED him to make something dirty---- he quickly lost interest.

I also had a clean mirror.

I opened with a challenge- to help me with some spring cleaning... (some one should do that at my HOME.... BTW;) I asked for someone to try to clean the " Noahed" Mirror.

Noah had finger painted it with cherry syrup----- then I dusted it with flour---- and used the blow dryer to DRY it on.

It was NOT coming off.

I then talked about how we sometimes feel like we should "have it all together" (or at least make it look like we do---) when we mentor at MOPS. I challenged them---- do you spend all your time trying to clean up a dirty mirror? Is it possible--- that God can shine thru us even BRIGHTER another way?

Then, I took out a cleaner- but still dirty mirror.....

I bashed it with a hammer. (I'm a pretty Hands' on kind of speaker... the more "senses" you can involve- the better the recall- of what has been taught!) This one was sound, ight--- touch- and even cherry - smell... ()

(No worries---- the back was COVERED in layers of packing tape.....(thanks Mike- BTW!)

I then, dimmed the lights again, and shined a flash light on the broken mirror.

Re-fracted- and reflected light- twinkled and bounced around the room. I then shined the flash light on the dirty- but attempted to clean mirror--- light reflected- minimally.

I read the following scripture:

2 Corinthians 4
Treasures in Jars of Clay
1Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

I challenged the Mentors--- not to try to be so "perfect"--- but to allow God to shine thru our weaknesses--- to be vulnerable--- share our imperfections, our struggles---- and our failures--- that His grace- shines all the more brightly- thru our "Brokeness".

The talk- was called:

Breaking the Mirror--- Mentoring with Authenticity.

Anyway--- thats' what's been happening around here!

more later-

Dear Jesus--- I love you- and thank you for the priviledge of serving you by taling to the Mentors--- they are an incredible grop of women... I pray that your word- would constantly be growing and challenging---- that they would love the MOPS Moms--- with love that comes from you--- amen!

Click the link to see the acorn twine holder--- I ordered to hold a ball of YARN!!!!!

Way cute to knit from--- and should do nicely at keeping pretties clean.....

BTW- missie- don't order one--- (i ordered 2! )

Monday, April 03, 2006

It was the late Eighties-early Nineties. Hair was big. I mean BIG.

I listened to music on a cd player....FOR the first time. Cell phones were the size of laptops (OK--- not exactly!)

There was a CONCERT to benefit every need..... Farm aid , Live aid....

A" Band-aid" for every cultural hurt.

Seems like those concerts- those benefit tunes- were supposed to CHANGE things... did they? I don't know- I remember feeling like i WANTED to change things. I cant definitely say, they TAUGHT us things.

We learned about Africa, the illnesses, the starvation. We learned about farmers being a lost segment if our history- about poverty in our own backyard.

I guess what impacted me the most- was AIDS. Probably because it was so deadly. We learned about safe -sex, we learned that you could DIE from sex. (a pretty new concept at that time) Aids was something, that you could "catch" without knowing, pass along to others- for YEARS, and THEN get sick from and die. You could also "Catch" it from sharing needles, you could catch it form un-protected sex... there were other "ideas" about how you could and couldn't catch it..... in a culture that "knew it all" there was a lot of fear over this one.

It was sadly interesting to see the "Churches" response to HIV. It seemed like there was a prevalent "judgement" that the people who "GOT HIV", "deserved it". At least those were the only people to ever get on TV. I don't honestly know how prevalent the attitudes were.

Sometimes, I wonder if people responded this way, from fear. Like it was a protective denial... if they determined that they were "safe" because they were "good"... and, if they kept themselves separated from it, then, they wouldn't have to be afraid.

They would be safe- from both illness and the fear.

Maybe I'm just trying to find - some excuse for the fear, ignorance and prejudice.

I remember thinking this was stupid. I remember thinking Jesus would treat an aids patient like he did a leper. He would reach out, love them, touch them. I remember thinking I would do the same.

Then, I met someone with HIV. Actually, full-blown AIDS. A married, Christian man. He was dying. He had a wife. She sang beautifully. They sang beautifully together. We worshipped together.

Suddenly, HIV, and my response to it- was no longer THEORETICAL. It was now, real, and in my face.

And, I felt afraid. I didn't WANT to be afraid. I tried NOT to be afraid. But, I was.

I also knew- what Jesus' response would be, and somewhere, in my heart or spirit or soul... something "clicked". I had a choice. I FELT afraid, but what was I going to DO? We knew this couple casually, they were a part of our church family, they were hurting and rejected by well--- in a lot of ways -the world.

Our Pastor, gently encouraged the congregation to come around this young couple with love, however you could.

I was a young mom. I was scared. And determined. So was my husband.

We visited. She cooked (A GREAT cook-) Enchilada's like you wouldn't believe. He could barely eat, and I remember his meds invading the space in the fridge, and being served along side the meals...

We laughed... we brought our little guy- (now my 16 yr old) he was entranced with their fish tank. I remember having moments where I looked at the silverware- before eating--- when I looked at them each- lovingly touch my son, when we held their hands to pray---- moments- of fear-sometimes intense fear- would tear at me. I had thoughts like: Would loving them... make me sick? Am I putting my child at risk? Those moments were overcome, with love, and with courage to do the right thing, that could only have been from God.

I remember the tender care that "she" took of him. I remember looking at her eyes and wondering, could I do the same, if it were my husband? I remember being afraid for her, for her future.

Did I do everything I could have? No. I wish I had loved them better. After "his" death-especially--Honestly- I think her grief scared me as much, if not more than the disease. I didn't know how to handle it. At some time, "she" left the church.... I'm not sure why- it may have just been grief. Grief that stabbed her heart, every time "she" went where "they" had. I don't know.

I don't know where "she" is now, I don't know her "HIV status". I know I did what I could. And I wish I had done more.

HIV treatment is different now. It is worlds apart from the experiece I had in the eighties-early nineties. It seems to be much more understood- and less feared.

HIV was my first experience with "cultural lepers." There are always "lepers" in every culture. Whether determined "unclean" by a behavior, by a dependancy or by a disease- whether physical or emotional, there have always been "untouchables." People "we" (whom ever your WE may be) seem to think- "deserve" what they get, or may spread it to us.

People who scare us. People who cause us to think we could BECOME like them. It could "rub-off" or be "catchy"....

I guess I think we already ARE. Alike, I mean.

The bible says the wages of sin are death. End of story--- there isn't anywhere in the Bible a "God's top ten unforgiveable sins" list. I've looked- there isn't a "if you do this you get that---- and DESERVE it" list. The bottom line- is we all deserve death. Hell, actually.

My sin is NO Better- or worse- than yours. "All have sinned and falllen short of the glory of God." It doesn't say "some fall further than others- so give them up- stay away from them, or you'll become like them"

The other day- when I was walking down the stairs- I realized---- it doesn't matter how MUCH I miss that bottom step by---- it will ALWAYS HURT when I land on my butt. I can't say... "I BARELY missed it--- so my butt's not bruised". It doesn't matter.

I guess I see sin the same way. Miss the step- land on your butt- it doesn't make a difference how MUCH you missed the step by, it hurts. It requires treatment. Treatments for HIV have changed- but the treatment for sin- hasn't. It's Jesus. (and yes- I guess that's Christian jargon /cheese--- but, it's true all the same.)

Jesus challenged us to - "Love others as yourself" If I were one of "the untouchables" what would I desperately need? A touch, and hope. The Bible tells me that God loves me even when I am in the midst of sin. When I am at my worst. And I should love others the same way.

Jesus didn't say it would be easy. He didn't say- don't worry about loving others- I'll do that for you. He said to do it. Jesus also didn't say "ignore sin". He confronted it pretty hard. He also loved the sinner.

In the eighties--- I did it as well as I could. With a fearful heart, and Big Hair.

I was young, it was scary. My attempts were imperfect and messy. But, my faith grew thru the experience. I learned to trust God- and put my FAITH into ACTION.... it wasn't about theory or personal conviction.

It was about people.

It was about doing the RIGHT thing- regardless of how afraid I felt.

I'm feeling challenged- to do the same now. I'm looking around- where are the "lepers" in my life? How can I love them better, NOW?

How can you?

Dear Jesus- please help me to see the "lepers" in my life--- I know you're talking to me about them--- but I just am having a hard time identifying them, and knowing HOW to love them. I do know- that I love you Lord- and want desperately to love others- even when I'm afraid. I love you lord, Amen

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