Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26

(This mosaic cross was made by Matthew and friends in our Sunday School class)

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Sweet Somebunny

I just had to try this pattern when I saw it on Ravelry, and it just so happens I  have the perfect little somebody to knit it for.   For this floppy ear hat, I used an extra ball of Batika sock yarn.  Since I am so smitten with the comfy cotton socks this yarn yielded, I hope Rosie will enjoy wearing this soft hat just as much.   Doesn't she make the cutest little wabbit?

I hope your Holy Week and your walk toward Easter has been blessed and meaningful.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Being Useful

"To be useful was the best thing the old men ever hoped for themselves, and to be aimless was their worst fear." -Marilynne Robinson, Gilead.

Our church book club met this week and it was my book we discussed.  I have loved Gilead and been in awe of the literary and theological genius of Marilynne Robinson since I first read her Pulitzer Prize winning book years ago.  She writes with quiet elegance of America’s heartland, its collective soul, and the beauty of ordinary life. Every collection of quotes I assemble includes the quote from Gilead posted above; it has been listed on this blog since its inception.

What I love about her writing and her world view is that she suggests a good life lived occurs accompanied by a soft cadence of love and family and community and friends. It often is neither as large ror as loud as our contemporary culture purports.  It happens by noticing again and again the red shirt worn by a young son or the favorite blue dress clothing an adored wife.  It happens by noting the light as it spills through the window or seeing it on the trees lining the pathway.  It happens by telling family stories, recounting family trials, and by gentle acceptance of the truth both reveal. There is a balm in this Gilead if one takes the time to read it slowly…

Being useful is a good and attainable goal.  Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline, talks about “the service of small things,”  like Dorcas in the Bible “who made coats and garments for the widows.”  I like this notion of the service of small things—I can do that. I can make soup for the soup kitchen, knit up a prayer shawl, sew patches together for a Lutheran World Relief quilt, send a note, visit a group home, or make a meal for a shut-in.  I can do those things, and they really do matter.  I may never travel to a foreign land on a mission trip or champion a cause on a national scale, but I can mend up some of the rips and tears in life and the lives of those around me.  These are among the precious things put within the grasp of my hands, small ways to be of use.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Birthday

to our daughter, who has been a delight her whole life long.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Early Quiet

Last Saturday....

With construction workers here early each day and the constant bustle they bring, it has been challenging to sustain focus.  Home invasions, even for a good cause, cannot help but disturb the calm.  Our cats and I are savored the peace of a quiet weekend morning.

In the midst of renovation, a simple needle project helps transport me to a better mental place each evening as I relax before bedtime.  Coupled with catching up on episodes of Call the Midwife, these two activities perfectly mixed activity for the hands, occupation for the mind, rest for the spirit, and delight for the soul.  This blanket pattern, Garter Squish, is leading me thought my yarn basket of leftover balls, creating a stroll down a knitting, memory lane.....

A sweater for Alex formed from that blue, hat and mittens for Lydia from the purple heather, a scarf for me from that now small ball of burgundy, mitts and a hat for Chris from that burnt gold, as well as so many other items crated from this remnant pile of color, accumulated over years of knitting and projects.  Using leftover fisherman's wool from the sweater just finished, I combine these oddballs into one flowing cascade of muted color warmth,  joining satisfaction, relaxation, and  delight all at the same time.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Matthew's World

His world makes sense by
simple patterns, requiring only
slight alterations…

What’s for dinner?
What‘s for dessert?
Tomorrow we have Sunday School.
Whose teaching?
We say the Lord’s Prayer.
Barb is a nice sister, right Mom?
Rob is a nice brother…

Would that I so trusted,
one thing gently falling
behind another;
people remaining constant,
life abiding.
It could be that way…
if I just let it

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Construction Disruption

This is what sat just outside the window of my study this morning....

...and this is what the inside of our bathroom looked like this afternoon.  Can you tell we are remodeling?  It is going to be great when it is finished, but until then we have pounding, and drop cloths, and dust, and dirt, and disruption.  

It seemed to me like a good day to try a new recipe...

So I did.

The perfect blend of two favorites, shortbread and chocolate chip cookies:

Mini Morsel Shortbread Cookies                                
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ¼ cup flour
1 – 12 oz. pkg. (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
Preheat oven to 350. In large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Spread batter into ungreased 13 x 9” baking pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes, just until top begins to brown. Immediately sprinkle remaining 1 cup chocolate chips over top.

Let stand 5 minutes or until morsels become shiny and soft; spread chocolate over top. Cool 10 minutes. While still warm cut into 1 ¼” squares. Cool completely.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Try one!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

This week...

...I finished knitting and wrapped myself with this bright, easy garter stitch shawl, designed by my local yarn shop's (Stitch Your Art) owner, Cynthia.   I have worn it three times already, loving how lightly it drapes my shoulders both inside or outside a jacket or vest.

I chose the simplest of the designs included in this versatile pattern, and I alternated between two different colorways of bulky Noro Karuta yarn.  I don't typically wear orange, but I enjoy the occasional stripe of here it as it straddles the purple, fuchsia, and blue.

March is here and while the weather remains a murky gray dulled by the sifting of snowflakes through its clouds, the hope of Spring nears with a turning of the calendar. Soon (and hopefully very soon), this shawlette alone may suffice for our evening strolls around the blocks of our neighborhood.