Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering Gods grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:9-10

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Approaching Season

Society bombards us with images of all the hottest gifts for the season from the moment Halloween ends to the minute Christmas Day arrives.  We are flooded with ads and commercials on TV, websites, even our social networking sites.  Companies are doing more and more to learn about our interests, what will catch our eye, and compel us to buy, buy, buy.  They use tactics that categorize us, filters and tracking cookies on the internet, databases that sort and slot us where they think we fit.  All in the name of product promotion and profit.  Individualizing marketing tools are aimed directly at each one of us who has a presence on the internet whether we realize it or not.  We are tracked and categorized.  And the result?  Christmas has turned into a circus.  We no longer have a Season - we have a season.  God has been surgically removed from the commercial vision of what Christmas is.  Christmas itself has been turned into "Xmas" or the "Holiday Season."  More to the point, we've been anesthetized.   Numbed to what this Season should really be about.  Blinded by glitter, confetti and twinkle lights that are bombarding our senses every day.  

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with decorating the house with lights, hanging wreaths or raising a tree - it's that we've forgotten that the Day should be a celebration of Christ's birth.  A Day that should have so much importance for the meaning behind it than the pretty picture it presents in Martha Stewart magazine.  We've even been taught to be careful not to wish someone a Merry Christmas for fear we may offend that person's belief system. 

I may receive some criticism for this post but I feel compelled to remind all of us that the reason we have Christmas is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Redeemer, the Messiah who defeated death as prophesied, so we might all be saved from eternal darkness and live in Him.  We are meant to see this Season with Hope, Love, Faith, Mercy and Grace.  We are to live as Christ lived, with Love in our hearts for God and for everyone we meet along the way.  No matter our backgrounds, our religious beliefs, our locale, our spot on the income scale - we are all neighbors.  What good is this life we are living if we are living it without these gifts from God?  I don't know about you but that alone is enough - the rest is gravy.

So go ahead and decorate to your hearts content!  Throw parties and buy gifts for all your loved ones this year.  But don't forget that Jesus IS the Reason for the Season.  Give thanks to the King for all the blessings you've received this year.  Praise Him above all else and remember those less fortunate than you.  Don't be sucked into all the ads and commercials that make this time of year impersonal and false.  Remember my charge to you to find an organization or place where you can volunteer or get involved in making a difference.  You never know who you are going to bless with your time, treasure and talents.  Are you willing?

As for me?  Well, it seems God has given me the gift of knitting and a love of baking.  So I'm going to do the best I can to put those talents to good work in His name.

Kick off the Season right everyone!  Put Love in your heart and have compassion for those you see bustling around you.  Offer them a smile, you never know whose day you'll make!

Stay safe and Happy Knitting! 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 

Here hoping you all have a safe, wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving day!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Tune with the Message

Dear Friends,

I know my last post was heavy duty but know that I'm not the only one noticing these things.  And know that it doesn't take a study like The Hole in Our Gospel to figure it out.  Follow this link to Courtney's page and read her Thanksgiving post for today.  She highlights an email quote she received that illustrates how ridiculously we treat the American Dream and how given we are to the feeling of entitlement.

We need to always remember to be content with the blessings God has given us and give Him all praises.

What are YOU thankful for today?

God bless, be safe and, as always, happy knitting!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't Know Why...and More Important Things

It's been so long since my last post!  I visit my own blog at least once a day and think "uh oh, time to update" and then I get wrapped up in visiting everyone else! 

We've been quite busy lately.  Wild man is in preschool and it's such a blessing in so many ways.  Since he's an only, it's difficult teaching him some simple social rules that are a given in families blessed with multiples.  It's hard to share when there is no one else to share with!  So some things that are taken for granted as skills that are naturally learned don't happen in our family.  We have to work on reminding him to be nicer to the littler ones and share, share, share!  It's hard for kids to do anyway, so imagine an only child being asked to share a toy he doesn't normally have to!  Yikes!  So preschool is doing it's thing - and he's making friends and learning to be a helper, too.  Another huge plus?  I get four mornings a week...FOUR!  My house is finally getting clean, laundry is finally on a regular schedule, and I get to grocery shop in peace!  Plus the quiet time - and I still feel guilty about that.  I feel like I should fill up my mornings with lots of tedious and useful chores and not take any time for myself.  Really?  I have to force myself to just sit.  Still.  Don't move.  No twitching.  No TV.  Or music.  Or noise of any kind.  It's WEIRD!!!  I admit I just can't do it for very long before I have to grab a book or my knitting or hop up and clean something :)  With this free time I could actually blog!  LOL!  So errands and housework aside, I do get some time to myself to try to relax.  

The chickens are getting bigger and the rooster has finally asserted himself.  He starts crowing at 4am and then goes periodically throughout the day.  He's gorgeous, though!  They're growing an undercoat of downy feathers for the winter and are so cute!  All puffy and fluffy with a lovely iridescence on each top feather.  The hens cluck to me and talk, talk, talk.  I feed them a snack of Rice and Corn Chex sort of mushed up and they peck it out of my hand nice and gently.  Mr. Sister, though, I don't recommend anyone besides myself feeding him by hand.  He's your typical paranoid rooster and will rip bits of skin off before you even know it!  I feed him whole pieces of the cereal and he's pretty good with me.  He gouged a chunk out of hubby's hand when he tried it!  Anyway, I should be seeing some eggs in a few months :)  Can't wait!

On the knitting front, I've been going great gang busters...churning stuff out pretty quickly!  I finished a baby gift - hat and owlie sleep sack, a lacy scarf, a hat and scarf set, a baby afghan for my grand-nephew (LOL!) and I'm working on another hat and a lacy neck warmer.  I still have one more neck warmer and something else to knit for another friend, who happens to be a great knitter herself.  I have no clue what to do for her!  I also have another baby afghan to finish, a red scarf for the red scarf project, a pair of socks and the never-ending hubby sweater.  Of which I only have a sleeve left to do...and hubby keeps bugging me for it...and making me feel guilty I haven't finished it yet...*sigh*

Now, onto more important things, what are you Thankful for this week?  I have too many blessings to list them all but I thought I'd share my top 10 list with you:

Top Ten List of Things I'm Most Thankful For...

1. Christ
1. My family
2. My home
3. My church family
4. My freedom
5. Clean water
6. Sanitation
7. Plentiful food
8. Accessible health care
9. Books
10. Yarn (of course!)

Some of you might question why I have 4-8 listed.  Since September, I've been studying, along with the rest of my church, Rich Stearn's The Hole in our Gospel.  It's been impressed upon me how much we take these things for granted in our country.  We are one of the, if not the, wealthiest countries in the world.  We consume 3/4ths of the world's food resources and we make up less than 1/4 of the world's population.  Think about that.  What does that leave the other 3/4ths of the world for food?  Or clean water? We waste much and want not.  Our society is one of entitlement and self-service and somehow we've ended up perverting the American Dream.  We no longer think of others in our mad scrabble to the top of the tower.  Did you know if every American Christian tithed the full ten percent, we could end poverty as we know it?  The gap between the wealthy and the poor grows exponentially every year.  With greater advancements in technology and business and transportation, the richer continue to get richer.  The middle class is shrinking and the poor are swept away. We think if we don't see it or hear about it, it doesn't affect us.  We live in our little bubbles and ignore the world around us.  (And don't think I don't include myself in this - I do.  I've lived an incredibly privileged and sheltered life).  We see this image...

and turn off our web browsers or our TV's, close up our newspapers because we don't want it to become personal.  Because if it's personal, then we have to do something about it.  

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

This is what we are studying.  This is what is breaking our hearts and forcing us to see that we are not the only ones in this world.  Our church is on a mission to change hearts and make a be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.  Can you look at the image above and not be affected in some way?  You might ask, "I am only one person, how could I possibly make a difference?"  You would be making the difference in one person's life that might not have a chance any other way.  

So my charge to you today is this:  find an organization to support, whether it's global or local, and volunteer, give, or create for them...but make the decision to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem.  You don't know whose life you may affect.  You don't even have to be a follower of Christ to affect change.  But for those of us who call ourselves followers, we are required to help when we see the need:

  The Sheep and the Goats
    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
   34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
   41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
   44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
   45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
   46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Matthew 25:31-46 

Books on Tap for 2011

  • Knit Together - Debbie Macomber
  • Captured by Grace - Dr. David Jeremiah
  • Murder Most Foul - A Collection of Great Crime Stories
  • Fireproof - Eric Wilson
  • There's Something About Christmas - Debbie Macomber
  • Questioning Evangelism - Randy Newman
  • Murder Uncorked - Michele Scott
  • A Sacred Sorrow - Michael Card
  • Prayer: Does it Make any Difference? - Philip Yancey
  • Get Out of That Pit - Beth Moore

Books Read in 2011

  • What a Sista Should Do - Tiffany L. Warren
  • 90 Minutes in Heaven - Don Piper
  • Forgotten God - Francis Chan
  • The Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren
  • Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris
  • Shadowfever - Karen Marie Moning
  • Chill Factor - Sandra Brown
  • Heaven Has a Blue Carpet - Sharon Niedzinski
  • Dreamfever - Karen Marie Moning
  • Wednesday Sisters - Meg Waite Clayton
  • Stealing Home - Sherryl Woods
  • Bound for Murder - Laura Childs
  • Bloodfever - Karen Marie Moning
  • Faefever - Karen Marie Moning
  • Darkfever - Karen Marie Moning
  • Under Her Skin - Susan Mallery
  • The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan
  • No Wonder They Call Him Saviour - Max Lucado
  • I Still Dream About You - Fannie Flagg
  • I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
  • The Last Olympian - Rick Riordan
  • Spider Bones - Kathy Reichs
  • A Thread So Thin - Marie Bostwick
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth - Rick Riordan
  • The Search - Nora Roberts
  • The Titan's Curse - Rick Riordan
  • Wicked Appetite - Janet Evanovich
  • The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan
  • Awakened - PC & Kristen Cast
  • The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  • Photo Finished - Larua Childs
  • Keepsake Crimes - Laura Childs
  • Sizzling Sixteen - Janet Evanovich
  • The Icing on the Cupcake - Jennifer Ross
  • Fleece Navidad - Maggie Sefton
  • Dyer Consequences - Maggie Sefton
  • The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree - Susan Wittig Albert
  • Heaven Has a Blue Carpet - Sharon Niedzinski
  • Dreamfever - Karen Marie Moning

Books Read in 2010

  • The Yada Yado Prayer Group - Netta Jackson
  • Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs
  • The Hole in Our Gospel - Richard Stearns
  • A Winter Marriage - Kerry Hardie
  • So Long, Insecurity - Beth Moore
  • Knit the Season - Kate Jacobs
  • Dead and Berried - Karen MacInerney
  • Murder on the Rocks - Karen MacInerney
  • where do i go - Netta Jackson
  • be sweet - diane hunt
  • The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
  • Raven - Allison Van Deipen
  • Push (Precious) - sapphire
  • Faces of the Gone - Brad Parks
  • The Lace Reader - Brunonia Barry
  • Burning Lamp - Amanda Quick
  • Fired Up - Jayne Ann Krentz
  • The School of Essential Ingredients - Erica Bauermeister
  • Matters Arising - Sarah Harrison
  • The Sheen on the Silk - Anne Perry
  • I Saw the Lord - Anne Graham Lotz
  • The Dangerous Protector - Janet Chapman
  • The Seduction of His Wife - Janet Chapman
  • Re-reading all the Tintin graphic novels - Herge
  • The Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen
  • the last time i saw you - Elizabeth Berg
  • Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen
  • Wild Ride - Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer
  • Dead in the Family - Charlaine Harris
  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon - Sarah Addison Allen
  • Grave Secret - Charlaine Harris
  • Crawl Space - Sarah Graves
  • The Honey Thief - Elizabeth Graver
  • The Otherworldlies - Jennifer Anne Kogler
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt - Beth Hoffman
  • A Face at the Window - Sarah Graves
  • Draycott Eternal - Christina Skye
  • Shelter Mountain - Robin Carr
  • Virgin River - Robyn Carr
  • Death by Cashmere - Sally Goldenbaum
  • An Ice Cold Grave - Charlaine Harris
  • Grave Surprise - Charlaine Harris
  • Grave Sight - Charlaine Harris