Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Love Much

I took Ezra with me to buy our advent candles last week. He doesn't really remember last year's candles, so I told him again about the circle that ends with Christ in the center. Such a simple connection that calls us to the manger each year, but to my little one it will feel brand new and full of excitement. As we talk I pray my 3-year-old hears and understands. We talk about Jesus' birthday, about a birthday cake and celebration. We talk about making gifts to give each other, spending time together, a special breakfast... and then he interrupts.

"What do we give to God on Thanksgiving?"






I started at the beginning of the list, but it made no sense to Ezra. He was looking for something tangible- an outward sign of thanksgiving.

When we went home we wrote a list together- a first grattitude list for a three-year-old boy- and prayed together to tell God thank you for each thing. Pictures were drawn and hung on the walls, a physical and real sign of praise for the things we depend on and the people we love.

Making my own list along with Ezra's and when I find myself beyond the usual- family, house, food... the stresses that have built up in the last few months became evident. I find the thoughts in the back of my mind bouncing around:

"Yes, thank you that Brian has a job, but You know he needs something better, more permanent."

"Yes, thank you for providing what we need, but we really need something more dependable."

I shake my head as if to erase it all and try to begin again. Thank you, for what we have right here, right now. Teach me, Father, to be content right here, right now, with what I have in this moment.

Some days it feels like there isn't much left to give after allowing my mind to be taken over by the worry and doubt- What if today is the day they tell him there is no more work? What if the job interviews don't pan out yet again? Haven't we been riding this train long enough that we deserve a break?

And there is the problem. Deserve. It's only by God's grace and mercy and sacrifice that we don't get what we truly deserve.

This thought floods my mind and I am brought to tears thinking of the woman who washed Jesus' feet with fragrant perfume and tears. Jesus' had so much to forgive her for and still she came- she came with what she had, praising Him, understanding that it was He who would save her from her multitude of sins.

God does His best work when we have nothing left to give and yet we still come before Him, offering up the only things left. Our commitment, our love, our hearts. Oh, He works in us in other times, as well, but as Jesus' says in the parable: Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. (Luke 7:47 NKJV)

Ann Voskamp invites us to write about giving thanks. Won't you join us today?

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So, intarsia...

My "learning knitting technique" technique has been to pick projects I really like and learn whatever skill it is I need to know to complete that project. Perhaps I should be more orderly about learning new things, but it's worked pretty well so far. Ezra's chosen vest pattern is a sweet argyle vest [Rav link] in blues and grays, with a bit of red showing up as well. I didn't look far enough into the pattern and assumed that because I'd done a bit of stranded color work I'd be fine. Then as I was near the finish line on the back and had to put that red diamond in I realized what it was...

Turns out it's intarsia, baby, and I was a little more than scared- another unknown skill I hadn't planned on acquiring!

I went straight to knittinghelp, and watched the intarsia video there. It didn't seem *too* bad- keeping track of a few colors at a time would be okay in such small patches, and those hanging ends that seem to bother everyone else so much don't bother me.

Then it was into the thick. I cast on for the front and wow- slow going. Not difficult per se, but between trying to make sure I lock the previous color before switching plus working with 7 (!!!!) different yarns in one row, it's not fast progress. Add to that that I didn't really like the color arrangement I thought would work so I ripped back to the ribbing...

It's going to look great, but it's times like this when I consider learning continental knitting just so I can knit with both hands and maybe speed up a bit on color work.

Other than the intarsia invasion Christmas gifts are shaping up nicely. I have only the yoke and a bit of grafting left on Ender's blue sweater, the Kernel scarf is finished and still on blocking pins. The only bits left to start are the elf slippers [Rav link] (a pair for each of the boys).

And why no pictures of all this glorious progress you might ask? A certain 3-year-old may have misused a cord not intended for little boys so there will temporarily be no pictures until said cord is replaced. So photos of our beautiful rainbow fish paintings from last week, my finished Kernel scarf, nearly finished and seriously in progress sweaters for 2 little boys are out for now. I promise we have been making plenty around here!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Week Daybook

Outside my window... We spent the weekend outside cleaning up leaves and sticks, so the yard is looking great even if the sky is gray for the 5th day in a row.

I am listening to... Chris Tomlin. I love his voice.

I am wearing... Jeans, a long sleeve tee-shirt and cardigan, and knee socks. It's a cold morning!

I am thankful for...

Extra sleep just when I need it most

Christmas projects done early

Fresh advent candles ready for Sunday

Time off from work all this week

I am thinking... about the food article in Christianity Today this month.

I am reading... Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson, the continual parade of knitting books stacked up on the night stand, and continuing our family read-aloud of Peter Pan.

I am creating... Christmas gifts and Bible study plans in the evening hours, lesson plans in the early morning.

Always learning... This week it's all about Thanksgiving and a little introduction to the pilgrims. Since I have the chance to be home all day this week we have a lot of projects planned. :)

Around the house... I'm working on the closets that seem to get out of hand every 4 or 5 months.

I am planning... for Advent. I'm very much looking forward to the season.

Towards a growing faith... Brian and I are continuing our reading in the New Testament, still in Matthew. I'm reading more John Piper on my own.

I am praying... for friends with a big decision to make.

One of my favorite things... early morning quiet.

A few plans for the rest of the week... Lots of time with my boys, time to cook dinner every night this week, spending the holiday with our families over the long weekend...
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