Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Challenge yourself

Challenges abound in the cyberworld and on Ravelry, the knitting/crocheting/weaving online community, there are dozens to choose from. You can knit a pair of socks a week/month; a sweater a month; 10 shawls in 2010. You name it - someone has created a challenge to move you beyond your comfort zone. That is a good thing, as long as it doesn't make you crazy in the doing. Crafting, after all, is supposed to be a relaxing, re-creating activity.

That said, the 52 in 52 challenge intrigued me. Could I make at least 52 projects in 2010? One item a week? I suspect it's possible, because since joining Ravelry about two years ago I have posted 113 projects.'s doable. Onward and upward. So far I am four for three, but I'm going away next week. A skein of sock yarn will accompany me, though, so here's hoping for lots of beach knitting.

Charity hat #1 - Vanna's Choice Yarn in navy and (I think) pea green. Crocheted Cat and the Hat Rib Cuff Beanie (I'm finally getting the knack for the joins!)

My listening-while-knitting choice was "Letters of a Woman Homesteader". A fascinating, true story told through letters written to a friend, by a single mother who homesteads in Wyoming in the early 1900's. The irony was that most of my listening was done while cozied up in a comfortable chair, covered in warm fleece, as Elinore Pruitt Stewart sloughed through snow to feed the animals, canned a million jars of fruit, raised children on virtually nothing and enjoyed the whole thing to boot. I lived through it all, vicariously, and that's really how I want it to be. A pioneer woman, I'm not. Elinore is a down-to-earth, marvelously intuitive and transparent woman who you will come to love and admire.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

This could be a challenging read...

I recently came across a book to add to my "to read" list. It was reviewed on a blog that I follow, Passionate Homemaking.

"Womanly Dominion: More Than a Gentle and Quiet Spirit" appears to be a book that could be relevant at any season of a woman's life. She's having a contest right now to win the book - so hop over there and make a comment. It just might be what you need to help you see God's call on your life at this point in time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Do I have blinders on?

Sometimes I come across new information that is so mind- boggling, so radically opposed to what I have always believed that I wonder how I possibly got to where I'm at today without knowing it. A big part of the answer to that is that it's usually not "politically correct" information and therefore, not readily available. So it is with two recent areas of interest - politics and health.

Richard Maybury and his book "World War I : The Rest of the story and how it affects you today" has blown my ideas of politics and how countries function in relation to each other out of the water. The funny thing is that I have had his books on the required reading list for my high school students, but had never read them myself. They were just accepted to be good reading and I didn't go any further than that. Now I want to read the whole series (I'm partway through WWII and am having to stretch my thinking once again). Basically, Mr. Maybury says that we should have as little government as possible - only the bare minimum. His perspective on war, and in particular the cause of WWI, is well-researched and fascinating. Prepare to be challenged in your thinking!

On the health front, a recent blog post from a radical health nutter that I follow included the following video. It's long, but well worth the watch. It's called "Sugar: The Bitter Truth". In a nutshell, he considers fructose and high fructose corn syrup, toxins, and spends considerable time sharing information that proves his assertion. He's got me convinced.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Not so healthy

We are in the midst of an epidemic...5 of my 6 kids have the chicken pox. That might not be so unusual, except that the older ones are 17, 23 and 24. And the older two are in agony. I feel for them, but there's not much I can do except comfort them and send food.

This picture is of my 9 year old, who probably had the least number of spots.

My 19 year swears that he will. not. get. chicken pox.

I'm torn. Part of me hopes that he doesn't. But it would be nice for him to get it over with. It's out of my hands, though.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Of hats and hardship

It’s fitting that my first finished project of the new year is a crocheted hat. In 2010 I want to get better at crochet, which I have just dabbled in during my lifetime. The only way to get better at something is to do it a lot, so my hats for the homeless will be done with hooks and not needles. Yarn: Noro Silver Thaw (wool, angora, nylon) Pattern: Cat and the Hat Rib Cuff Beanie

I had lots of time to read over the holidays and pulled out a book that has been languishing on the shelves for a few years. “Gap Creek” by Robert Morgan is an Oprah Book Club selection. Her choices aren’t always my choices, but I like to give them a try. This story of a young Appalachian country couple during their first few years of marriage carried me along from start to finish. Not all of it was pleasant reading – life was very hard, both because of the times and because of choices made. It made me thankful for my life situation and prayerful that my children will look to God for their choices and not necessarily to their hearts and emotions.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Power of Respect

The criteria for calling a book “good” is that it touches you in some way or causes you to think – even to become a better person. “The Power of Respect” by Deborah Norville was such a book.

Norville’s definition of respect - “Acknowledging the value and uniqueness of others and being mindful of their feelings, while at the same time trying to put myself in their position.”

Reading through her seven steps to understanding the power of respect caused me to examine my relationships at home and with colleagues and friends. Do I afford them the respect due a person, solely on the basis of being? In some cases, I came up short and so the book was the wakeup call that I needed to be more mindful of others.

A short list at the end of each chapter highlights the key themes that were dealt with. These reinforce the many examples included within the chapter itself. Respect begins at home, so a fair number of pages were taken up with that, but respect in the workplace and self-respect were also covered.

Some noteworthy quotes:

“Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.”

“People perform to their expectations.”

“Respect is a door that swings both ways.”

Respecting others can take a lot of work, but this book explains why it is vital to any relationship and also provides practical steps to successfully achieving your goal.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The year begins on the right foot

I've been mulling over how to approach the resolutions question and reading other's thoughts on the matter - should I or shouldn't I? . Then I read January 1 of my "My Utmost for His Highest" daily devotional calendar. He says it all in a nutshell:

Let us keep to the earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed...Philippians 1:20. It's as if Paul were saying, "My determined purpose is to be my utmost for His highest - my best for His glory." To reach that level of determination is absolute and irrevocable surrender of the will. Shut out every other thought and keep
yourself before God in this one thing only - my utmost for His highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone.

Do this and everything else should fall into place.

Yes, I will make lists and write down goals. But first and foremost will be my spiritual growth. A pastor I had many years ago put it this way. It's like a car going up a mountain road with no brakes. If you take your foot off the gas, you start to go backwards - you don't stand still. So it is with our Christian journey. We need to keep growing, and that only comes from getting closer to God.

In the meantime the knitting goes on. Luxuriously soft angora - Peter Rabbit by Fleece Artist. Cabled fingerless mitts and keyhole scarf - so warm!