Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I will

The rain sweeps through the valley and the leaves and grasses sparkle.  She just drives, drives alone in a quiet car with the rain dropping heavy on the windshield.  She racks her brain to remember just who she is and why she is.  She drives by just-harvested corn fields, where cows wander and pick through the remnants to find those leftover ears.  She drives by seemingly ancient houses drooping under the weight of an old roof, and a barn fallen to its knees like an injured animal.  She doesn't know what she's looking for but whatever it is, she won't find it out her window.

She pulls to the side of an out-of-the-way road and puts the car in park.  Not one car in sight, no houses or buildings either.  Just a fence, some fields, a stand of trees, looming hills, and the endless stormy sky.  She pulls her Bible from the purse on the passenger seat and pushes her seat back, making room for the precious Words.

"I will..."  she reads the familiar words on the worn and tattered page. 

He will do so many things, it says right there in Zephaniah 3.  He will save.  He will rejoice.  He will quiet.  He will exult and He will gather.  He will deal with oppressors. He will save, gather, and change shame into praise.  He will bring in and gather together.  He will make renowned and restore fortunes. 

Not one word about her responsibility.  Not one finger-pointing mention of her work in this covenant.  
She exhales.  Set free again, not from His demands but her own chains she has tried in insanity to strap back around her ankles.  But then, what does He require of her?


Three days pass and she stumbles across these words:  

This is the covenant of grace.  I call your attention to the fact that there is no if in it; there is no but in it; there is no requirement of man made by it. It is all "I will" and "they shall."  "I will be their God, and they shall be My people."  This gracious charter is written in a royal tone, and the majestic strain is not marred by a perhaps or a maybe but dwells on shall and will.  (C.H. Spurgeon in The Covenant of Grace).  

No requirement  of her but entirely based on His tender love, His sure goodness, His sovereign will and His perfect power to accomplish His will.  What soothing comforts are found in these reminders of what the Good News is that she longs to live radically for.  

She remembers back to the moment in the unmoving car, remembers the sun peering out from behind a slate-colored cloud and a rainbow bursting into view.  

And there, in the clouds- just where the storm meets the sun - was a beautiful bow made of light.  It was a new beginning in God's world... God's strong anger against hate and sadness and death would come down once more - but not on his people, or his world.  No, God's war bow was not pointing down at His people. 
It was pointing up, into the heart of heaven.  (The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones)

That requirement she keeps waiting for, expecting it to thunder down one of these days?  It. won't. come.  There is none and never will be.  It is finished.

Again she can open that clenched and grimy fist to receive His hand and all the love and blessings that go with being His child.  

Yarn and Books

Wednesday is the day I set join in with others who, like me, love to knit and read.  Check out Ginny's blog to see all the beautiful projects going on this week!


I have been making good headway on my Radiance Shawl and really enjoying the knitting process.  I also made a little progress on the other two projects I posted about last week but not much because several non-knitting projects have demanded my attention.  I thought I'd include a few pictures that showed the October activities that have caused my knitting to take a backseat this week.  Halloween costumes in particular have dipped into the evening time I usually knit since I decided that there will only be so many years that my children will want my help making costumes and took the plunge in the home-made route this year.  I am pretty proud of how they are turning out and will share pictures in a few days.  Most importantly, my girls are thrilled, probably more thrilled than the costumes warrant, but I'll take any enthusiasm they want to give me.  We've got a fox, a spider, a fairy, and two pirate costumes waiting in the wings.  Do any other moms out there dress up?  I don't usually but we are doing a Trunk-or-Treat at our church and I decided the kids - both mine and the community that hopefully will show up- are worth the work and embarrassment of going as my husband's (modestly attired) pirate wench to go with our pirate ship/car.  Wish me luck!

Nothing new being read this week.  I actually don't think I even picked up a book at all this week unless you count my Bible, but I have still been listening nightly to bits of The Woman in White (free for Kindle through the link!) at CraftLit.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

All Soft and All Warm

The sun went down beyond the river.  The sky turned wild and red and the little fur child turned around and ran for home.  

These lilting, gentle lines come from one of our favorite children's books by Margaret Wise Brown and they ring through my mind when the storms blow through and the clouds turn unearthly hues, or when the last long fingers of pink and purple sunlight shoot through the sky until the sun sinks below the hills to the west.

The sky here is wild.  I never tire of watching the colors and shapes in the world above our heads, and not just the clouds.  Hundreds of starlings surge as one enormous creature up, then down, then far to the east.  It is the one thing I appreciate about starlings.  Hawks scream from above, and I look out my window to see one perched on my clothesline eyeing my hens.  

The rain comes, banging in big drops on our patio roof, and dripping into barrels as those hens run to find shelter under the coop or under a car.  The children scramble down from the dinner table to see the rainbow, a doubled glory and we remember the promises of God and we count our blessings. 

And just as the darkness got very dark, he bumped into his big fur mother and she took him home in her arms and gave him his supper.  

And we finish our supper, watching the rainbow fade with the sun's disappearance, and we trundle the children off to bed

And they tucked him in bed all soft and all warm, and they held his paw and they sang him a song.

And I sink to the couch with clicking needles and resolve that tomorrow I will speak gentler and sing more, hurry less and ponder more. 

Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown can be found by clicking the link

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fickle Fall



Instead of seeping fog or chilly breeze, the day we went to the pumpkin patch was again warm and bright; just when we think fickle fall has truly arrived for good, we realize we've again been duped into sweaters and jeans instead of the T-shirts that would be more fitting as the sun beats out from the sky again.  But soon all will be frozen and icy, and we don't hurrying winter's arrival just yet.  

The memories come clear while looking over the photographs.  The sky blue and speckled with white is a stunning backdrop for those children scaling the hay bale tower, hurling themselves across the gap as though it's a canyon to be crossed, scrambling up hay-steps as big as themselves.  The littlest, she sits hesitant, careful of every move, watchful of the bigger children all around.  She squeals with her big sisters in the wheelbarrow as daddy pushes them toward the rows of pumpkins.  The sun glows warm and soft through the stalks of corn, falling gently across the forehead of the little girl peeking around the edges of the maze.  We bump through orchards on hay bales pulled by a tractor, the hayride the two big girls later declared was their favorite of the whole trip. 

We pick more apples, wandering through the orchard here at home with my parents during their weekend visit, discovering that the neighbors still have a couple of cows out in their pasture.  We watch the cat leap and hunt through the trees as we stroll in the shifting light under the trees.  Apples bake in a flaky crust and roast simmers with vegetables.  

Today the clouds hang low and I am wearing cozy socks as I sip my tea and try to beat a cold.  We are eating Dinner in a Pumpkin tonight. Fall is definitely here. 

Yarn Along, and how to get more yarn in my life

Thanks to all who commented last week recommending repositioning the buttons on my Shalom sweater and re-blocking it!  I still need to follow through on the suggestion but have a feeling that is exactly what needs to happen.  I have a few projects that need to be finished off with blocking (and reblocking) and buttons and such...

Each week I visit blogs of ladies who have more than one knitting project on the needles and every week I remember that in the past I never did well at managing more than one project since I never could quite choose which to work on at any given time and then felt guilty for abandoning one or another project (yes... guilty.  Feel free to psychoanalyze me now). After reading Steph's post last week that included how she has a different project for different audiobooks or situations she is in, I realized that would be a way I could squeeze a little more knitting time in each day.  So this week I cast on a pair of brilliant yellow socks in KnitPicks Stroll (I can't put bright yellow anywhere near my face so it will go on my feet as a change!) to keep handy in the kitchen.  Voila!  When I'm sitting at the table waiting for the girls to finish eating lunch or when I'm waiting for something to boil on the stove I can knit a whole row or two and find that the few minutes of something I like to do resets my mind.  It has been a few years since I knit my first two pairs of socks, so I decided to start with a very basic pattern although I do think I will make them more like ankle socks this time around since that's what I often prefer to wear around the house.  I also placed an in-process dishcloth in the car for easy access when Jesse's driving us all somewhere.

Three years ago I started a shawl in Cascade Alpaca Lace Paints but I really had no idea what I was doing in choosing the pattern.  I decided a couple weeks ago that I would rip out the shawl and I'd have yarn to start a shawl that I actually wanted to knit.  This week I took the plunge and pulled out all those tiny lace-weight loops that had been so painstakingly (and too often mistakenly) knit and purled.  I started Helen Stewart's Radiance Shawl and those first fifty rows I've completed have been excellent evening knitting once the kids are down and the house is picked up.  

As far as books go, I have been absorbed in The Woman in Whitewhich I listen to whenever the house is quiet.  I am still so thankful I found CraftLit because I can enjoy and even plow through books that I would never be likely to pick up and read at this point in my life.  I feel like this literature I get to enjoy through my ears is rounding me out and making me a more interesting person... Granted, only more interesting to those who want to discuss classic literature so I guess the jury's out on whether that's actually true or not. I am also still slowly reading North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson.

Joining up with Ginny.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yarn Along, October 15

This week I am continuing to work on a few little Poppy hats that I think are really cute.  The style makes me smile.  
I'm {still} reading North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson a little at a time.  We just finished North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell over at CraftLit and I recommend you go listen to it now that it's finished and in the library!  I'm deep in the throes of The Woman in White in the CraftLit library, and I'm puzzling over why it isn't a better known book.  I'd never even heard of it and while I'm not the most literary person in the world, classic literature isn't an area in which I'm a complete dummy!  It's excellent. 

I finished my Shalom cardigan and it's so cozy now that the weather has just finally turned to fall!  For some reason the right front is longer than the left which is inconceivable since there should be no difference whatsoever and I was very careful in lining up the buttons but maybe not careful enough.  I'm blocking it now and seeing if that makes any kind of difference.  If not, I'll try realigning the buttons because you can see that the front isn't quite even in spite of my best attempt.  At any rate, I love it in this heavy bulky (repurposed) cotton yarn!

And just for fun... here's what my guest bed looks like most of the fall and winter.  With many handknits come many hours of drying flat!  Many of these knits are from my mom and I love seeing all the variety all spread out together!

 Joining up with the Yarn Along gals over at Ginny's blog!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Autumn Glimpses

Just a few fall happenings.  Applesauce season!  Fall leaves with wax paper and crayons!  Kingdom Kids!  Even rain all afternoon today.  Fall arrived yesterday and today, I think.