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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

February 19, 2007.

It's A Woman's Prerogative...

... to change her mind. :)

I began crocheting the prayer shawl on Sunday night, and I realized after ten minutes that I do not like to crochet with Homespun yarn. I prefer to KNIT with Homespun yarn. My size K crochet hook kept on snagging in the yarn and it was tres frustrating to me! So I ripped out the stitches and whipped out my size 10 and 1/2 aluminum knitting needles and have been happily knitting away at this pattern Easy Knitted Prayer Shawl instead of the one posted below.

Here is how much progress I've made in just over 24 hours:




I LOVE knitting this one, but I'm very much dreading doing the fringe... I am not a good "fringer".

I've got 4 skeins plus part of the fifth skein left to go. For the File of Obscure Information, the color is "Williamsburg" from Lion Brand Yarn's Homespun collection. I would love to make the Martha Stewart "Coming Home" poncho in this color for myself someday. There simply isn't enough time (or money for yarn!) for all the projects that I would love to do! But what's exciting to me is that I just KNOW there's got to be a corner of Heaven for crocheters and knitters, needlepointers, and cross-stitchers where we can all have a coffee klatsch and stitch away to our hearts' content during Eternity. Whoo! I get psyched just thinking about that! We aren't just going to be floating around in our snowy white robes and singing really ho-hum songs to golden harp music, girls! Hallelujah!

More prayer shawl info from the shawl ministry flyer coming in the coming days. Thanks for joining me!

Now I am going to indulge in some cross-stitching, if my eyes will let me. I am 42 and a quarter years old, and just in the past month my eyes changed to needing bifocals. It is really, really WEIRD! I am naturally nearsighted, and then one day I was looking at the ear buds for my MP3 player to see which bud went in the left ear "L" and which ear went in the right ear "R" and I held the buds up to my eyes super close and just about wiped out from my eyes not working right. I am hoping it was just a fluke, but methinks I am just blessed to have made it to this age without needing to wear glasses all the time.

I do hope I can get some cross-stitching done.

Oh! I'll do that later. I Netflixed a classic comedy movie called It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and I need some laughs tonight. The weather today was absolutely very painful for fibromyalgia, so this is my script for pain relief!

Ta Ta!

Currently Watching
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
By Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters, Edie Adams, Dorothy Provine, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Jim Backus, Ben Blue, Joe E. Brown, Alan Carney, Chick Chandler, Barrie Chase, Lloyd Corrigan

It's Prayer Shawl Time!

Sunday, February 18, 2007.

I am finally feeling up to getting started on my first Prayer/Comfort/Healing Shawl! I start crocheting tonight after I finish blogging. I have already been praying for the lady who will receive it later, after it's been blessed by Fr. Don. Even though I don't know who the recipient will be, *GOD* knows, and that's all that matters.

For those of you who are interested in Prayer Shawl patterns, here is a link which list a number of different patterns, from the Lion Brand Yarn Company.

Shawl Pattern List

The patterns are in .pdf files for us to print. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. Maybe Open Office would work, too, if you are into open source software.

From the above link, you can also order a book with Prayer Shawl patterns in it (patterns which are not already on the site).

Here is a little blurb: "What is a Prayer Shawl? Throughout the ages, shawls have come to symbolize shelter, peace and spiritual sustenance. Since the inception of the Prayer Shawl Ministry in 1998, the members of this ecumenical organization have lovingly donated their time and talents by creating hand-knitted and crocheted shawls for those in need. What started as a grass-roots movement has quickly grown into an international cause, with countless numbers of shawls being given to grateful recipients around the globe.

The Ministry's message of caring is simple, universal and enduring. And we have seen time and again that the creation and presentation of a prayer shawl, like all acts of generosity, enriches the giver as well as the recipient."

***

The lady in charge of our parish Shawl Ministry also sent me a 6 page Word document with information about/some patterns for Shawls. I don't want to overwhelm anyone with all this stuff, so I will just cut and paste a couple of paragraphs of that here every other day or so.

***

Crocheting and knitting is very therapeutic for me. There are times that I can't think out my thoughts properly or pray my prayers as passionately unless I am working with my hands. And of course, it's always a nice perk to be able to have a pretty/warm/comforting finished project to give someone after all the stitching, thinking, and praying.

I warmly encourage those of you of a crafting disposition to help fight your cabin fever/midwinter blahs by picking up some yarn and your crochet hook or knitting needles and create something. There really is such a thing as a crocheter's or knitter's "high". :) Science will back me up one of these days. ::grin::

Here are a couple of pictures of some withdrawals from my yarn stash for this project.





This is the link to the first shawl I am going to make Crocheted Prayer Shawl

I hope someone finds this helpful! *Waves "hello" to Gerttie* :)

Blessings!

Miss Chris

February 18, 2007.

Love from Rene' and the Wonder Kids

A couple of months ago, I was wishing out loud that I had a pretty wreath for Valentine's Day - one with snowflakes and glitter and flowers in Valentine colors.

Little did I know that Rene' (http://www.xanga.com/Puppycows ) and her four Wonder Kids would get it into their dear, loving, creative, and thoughtful minds and hearts to make this wonder of wonders for me, and to send it in the mail to surprise me.

There were such rays of love coming out of this gorgeous wreath that I knew I couldn't put it on the front door. No! I yanked my favorite Prayer of St. Francis cross-stitch off the wall next to my bed, and immediately hung the wreath there, where I could bask in those love beams, which feel very healing - literally. Because I know there was a ton of love and prayer put into the loving creation of that wreath.

I have spent most of the past month in bed with a sinus infection that won't quit, but in my waking moments, I turn and face the wreath on the wall, and I remember that I am loved - not only by Rene' and her precious kids, but also by Jesus.

Thank you, Rene', for being my friend. This is what true riches are. Every once in awhile I kid myself that I need to win the lottery. But I am truly rich beyond compare already, to have friends like Rene' (and Apryl, and Jen, and others) who love me so very much even when I don't have anything to give them.

Here are a couple of pictures of The Wreath. I still need to set up my tripod and get a non-flash picture of it so that the beautiful colors appear as lovely as they do in "real life".

Many hugs to Rene', Kris, Emmy, Natey, and Benny. Oh! And to Rene's mom Marge, too, who, being Italian, knows my love of flowers and sent along some crocus bulbs for me to grow in the house.






Currently Listening
Storm
By Fernando Ortega
"Our Great God"

February 13, 2007.

Currently Listening
Change in Your Pocket
By Ceili Rain
"Hotel Hallelujah"

For BlueBird Chris...

... whose precious mom just passed away a few days ago. A Ceili Rain song about Heaven.

February 12, 2007.

Of Crabby and Cranky Crocheting, and Blessings

I am one crabby and cranky person tonight. My Grammy always used to say, "Kids are either sick or they're sassy."

So it follows that seeing as how I've been too sick for a good long while to be ornery, my current curmudgeonliness must portend some kind of improvement in my physical health.

I am as grumpy as Granny Clampett without her Rheumatiz Medicine!

I am as beastly as Archie Bunker when Meathead is sitting in Archie's chair and Archie is impatiently waiting for Edith to get him his beer!

I feel meaner than a rattlesnake with a sore tooth!

I also feel jumpier than a Jackalope who is going through caffeine withdrawal. ::SHUDDER::

So, what recourse had I to relief other than to break into my yarn stash and commence crocheting more winter socks to satisfy my February Sock Fetish.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not need prescription drugs to calm me down and/or to pep me up. All I need is some nice yarn, a well-written crochet pattern, my crochet hooks, and a little peace and quiet.

Cranky though I be, I still achieved a Crocheter's "high" this evening. Once I began, I couldn't stop. I started around 10 p.m. and finally had to quit at 2:15 due to sore shoulders and Crocheter's Elbow. *Make note to research treatment for Crocheter's Elbow on Web MD's site. ;)

I am only here at the computer to seek a change of posture after my posterior was attached to the Lazy Boy all night. This is my transition into getting up and doing my physical therapy exercises.

***

In other news, I am getting started in our parish's Prayer Shawl Ministry. I'll be really blunt and say here that I think the original origins of prayer shawls are shamelessly rooted in way wacky and weird feminist spirituality (I AM NOT AGAINST THE RIGHT KIND OF *CHRISTIAN* FEMINISM; it's the flaky goddess and New Age and lesbian and militant abortion "rights" crud that I cannot and will not put up with).

However, there is no reason why Christians cannot take a "weird" idea and turn it into something not only UNweird, but into something GOOD, WHOLESOME, AND HELPFUL.

So, the lady in charge of the OLP prayer shawl ministry has graciously given me some information, and when I feel a little better on Monday, I'll search for the comfort shawl pattern I like the most, and get some yarn. Then I'll pray for the shawl's intended recipient while I crochet or knit, and then Fr. Don will bless the comfort shawl before it goes to the lady.

I realize that to some, it all sounds a tad flaky, but I am one of those people who gets Major Warm Fuzzies from handmade gifts given to me by someone who prayed for me while they crafted/stitched. Case in point is the GORGEOUS (pictures coming soon if we get a sunny day this week) Valentine's wreath with Rene' and her Wonder Kids put together for me this past month. It was intended for my front door, but there are such vibrations of God's love and Rene's friendship coming from it that I yanked my Prayer of St. Francis cross-stitch off the wall by my bed and put Rene's wreath up instead.

The church lady in charge of the shawl ministry has told us that some of the recipients of the comfort shawls were so blessed by them that they even asked to be BURIED in them. Not only that, but they asked that money in their memorials be set aside for the shawl ministry to purchase more yarn, etc.

I think the primary thing is that these shawls are blessed, by the crochter/knitter, and by a pastor (whatever denomination.

Folks, there is such POWER in BLESSING people. Just a simple "God Bless You" calls down a vast wealth of riches from God upon the people we bless. We are God's children; we are princes and princesses; sons and daughters of the Most High King, and He "owns the cattle on a thousand hills".

So often we think, "If only I could win the Powerball Jackpot" or "I wish I could win the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes so I could buy Mom this, and Dad that, and buy my friends this, and help my favorite charities, etc. And you know, for someone reading this blog, that could happen. And if God chooses it to happen, it would be a good thing for the person who He chose for it to happen to.

As for me, I'm with Proverbs. "Give me neither poverty nor riches". I am afraid of stopping depending on God if I were to win ten million dollars! I am afraid of forgetting the greater, true wealth which I already have by virtue of my baptism.

There is power in blessing people! The littlest child kneeling at her bedside, praying "God bless Grandma and Grandpa, and God bless Mommy and Daddy, and God bless my puppy dog" etc. is successfully calling down God's blessing upon those she loves.

WE ARE RICH IN THE LORD! We don't have to win the lottery. We can ask GOD to provide for our brothers and sister in Jesus, with blessings. He alone knows the best blessings to give them/us at the time. Perhaps for some, it will be the lottery. Perhaps for others, it will be extra grace to suffer patiently and joyfully while they await a healing from God.

Let's bless everyone we can today!

Ack! I am getting carried away. I'm going to go grab my notebook and pray "God Bless Jen! God Bless Apryl! God Bless Christy! God Bless Eli, Rene', and Estelle!!" until I am over the Crankies tonight!

MAY THE BLESSING OF THE LORD BE UPON YOU ALL! I BLESS YOU IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!

Currently Reading
Jo's Boys (Bantam Classics)
By Louisa May Alcott

Believing, Even in Darkness (St. Pio Quotation)

Commentary of the day :

Saint [Padre] Pio de Pietrelcina (1887-1968), Capuchin
OP; GF 174; Ep 4,418


“Why does this age seek a sign?” - Believing even in darkness



The Holy Spirit tells us: Don’t let your mind succumb to temptation and sorrow, for joy of the heart is life for the soul. Sorrow is no good for anything and causes our spiritual death.

It happens sometimes that the darkness of trial overwhelms your soul’s heaven; but this darkness is light! Thanks to it, you believe even in darkness; the mind feels lost, it fears no longer being able to see, no longer understanding anything. But this is the moment when the Lord speaks and makes himself present to the soul; and the soul listens, understands and loves in the fear of God. So don’t wait for Tabor to “see” God when you are already contemplating him on Sinai.

Progress in the joy of a sincere heart that is wide open. And if it is impossible for you to keep that happiness, at least don’t lose courage and keep all your trust in God.

February 11, 2007.

Trying to Remember...

... that it truly is a BLESSING to be broken.

If I weren't broken, I wouldn't realize my utter need of Jesus, nor would I receive His tender spiritual kisses on my "boo boos" to help banish the lies and fears which the enemy uses to try to torture me.

The world teaches us that if we are not self sufficient, then we are failures and morons.

Some of us actually appear to succeed for a time at self suffiency. We think we are in control.

Blessed are we whom (who or whom?! :)) God allows to be broken on the wheels of living, that we may see our need for Him. (The self sufficient need Him, too - they just don't know it yet).

My words are halt and lame to express what is inside. My pen and my tongue are not nimble at the moment. But my will strives to remember that it is a BLESSING TO BE BROKEN, because Abba wants me to be truly strong in Christ Jesus by being dependent upon HIM, not on my feeble, fallen, fractured self.

Better that we limp and crawl towards Heaven than to breeze easily and comfortably to Hell.

Today, let us thank and praise God for allowing us to be broken.

Febuary 9, 2007.

Early Friday Morning Fidgets

Depending on which time zone you're in, I either have the Early Friday Morning Fidgets, or else the Late Thursday Night Fidgets. In MY time zone, it's Early Friday Morning.

Well, on the blog menu this early a.m. are a few randomized musings about: What Holiness Is NOT, Monk and His Elephant Phobia, and perhaps an Ode to LL Bean™ Ragg Wool Socks. Also included is How My Cats Read My Last Blog Entry and Decided to Resume the Door Game Torture on Me.

*What Holiness Is NOT

Holiness is NOT having all your i's dotted and your t's crossed. In other words, if you think being perfectly organized, socialized, having a clean toilet/bathroom 99.9% of the time equals holiness, you're wrong.

Holiness is being aware that we are broken, imperfect, helpless babies with messes in our pants and that we need to run to our Heavenly Daddy to change us, wipe our tears, kiss our boo-boos, and help us hike up our little rears to get back up, holding His hand as we take our little baby steps along life's path.

In other words, holiness IS depending on God and knowing that we sooooooo do not have our act together.

Holiness is about being God's child. Depending on Him. Trusting Him.

(unrelated blog sentence: My resolution for the rest of my life is to stop being a cynic. I used to think cynicism was realistic. Then I started reading Chesterton.)

*I just Netflixed Monk Season Two, Disc One. I read the jacket on the DVD tonight and was amused to be apprised that Sharona has an Elephant Phobia. Hmm. I get to watch the three preceding episodes first, which is tonight's Rx. Dr. Tony Shalhoub to the comedic rescue! And it's been so long since I've watched any Monk that I had forgotten about Ted Levine (Stottelmeyer). Hubba Hubba Ding Ding!!!! Be still my heart!!!

* Ode to LL Bean™ Ragg Wool Socks:

O! So warm! So soft! So wooly, fuzzy!

My feet so glad, my toes so comfy!

(I) sing "hail" to thee, O LL Bean

For making socks fit for a Polar Bear Queen.

(Okay, so I'm not a poet. You can stop throwing rotten tomatoes at my blog now, okay?! ;) )

* Cats Torture Their Human Again!

I was doing parental control stuff on my cats' 'net access tonight, and found that they had RSSed my last blog entry. This was the blog entry in which I prematurely thanked my friends for praying for my cats to stop torturing me via The Door Game. HA! My cats both laugh in extreme derision! They made up for it triple time on Thursday. Well, at least we all got some exercise. But I know a couple of Little Purrsons whom I will not so readily give T-R-E-A-T-S to this weekend. Oops. Forgot. They can spell............ see what I get for talking to my cats and raising them to be intelligent, verbally capable felines who can, by the way, probably spell better than 75% of the people on the Internet. *Meow*

Okay, time for some apple juice and watching a couple of episodes of Monk. I am still feeling too puny to get my camera out. I have Things To Take Pictures Of.

Currently Watching
Monk - Season Two

February 7, 2007.

Wednesday

(1) I am overdosing on leftover peppermint candy canes and on homemade peppermint cream coffee. Because I feel like it. :) (And because peppermint clears my sinuses). Note: There is such a thing as a peppermint "high". Check the herbal supplement sites; peppermint is a stimulant. Whoo! Behold the Mighty Mint! I'll be growing it in my garden again this coming summer.

(2) The Garden Bug hath bitten me. It often bites me hard when I am sleeping (which I am doing a great deal of with this sinus infection...). Some women dream about Viggo; I dream about which varieties of lettuce and tomatoes to plant. Also, I dream about whether to garden by the row, or to do square foot gardening. Note: Check Ancestry.com to see if I am related to Mr. Greenjeans of Captain Kangaroo fame.

(3) I am waiting for my dad to pick up my Zpak prescription on his way home from choir practice. I am giddy with glee (not to mention punchy with peppermint) because said Zpak pretty much means I will feel "Chris Normal" sometime soon, Lord willing.

(4) Last night, after sleeping all day and all evening, I watched the Carl Reiner/Alan Arkin/Jonathan Winters movie called The Russians Are Coming (circa 1965). I fell in "love" with one of the Russians (men with Russian accents are tres attractive to me), alternated with laughing hysterically into a pillow at the screwball comedy. Note: For you Family Affair fans out there (and you girls who had Mrs. Beasley dolls know who you are [I am one of you]), Brian Keith is in the movie, too.

(5) If you would like to try a new pasta sauce with some extra "zing" to it, I heartily recommend just about anything made by Mezzetta's Napa Valley Bistro. I especially love the Tomato with Basil, Garlic, Onions AND ZINFANDEL WINE. Yum! It's a little pricey, but if you have a Pick 'n Save in your locale, it's on sale this week.

(6) I just found out that February is National Library Lovers Month. I know many of my friends to be Library Lovers, as am I. Let's go to our libraries and bring home some books. When we get our books, etc. home, we can hug them. (Makes note to return Dickens book and to have my dad pick up all the Louisa May Alcott and Madeleine L'engle books I have on hold).

(7) For those of you who knew about my cats torturing me last week with The Door Game, I want to thank you for your prayers. My cats have decided to have pity on me. However, I'm certain that as soon as they see color return to my face and me get out of bed for more than a couple of hours out of a day, they will will Make Much Mischief. ::shudder::

(8) I have pictures to take and new blog entries to share about What True Riches Are, and also how I hope that I DON'T win the February 28th Publishers' Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.

Okay that's all for now. I need to attend to Litter Box Duty (UGH!). The Big Stinker hath done it again.

February 4, 2007.

Ragamuffin Warning

It's been a heckuva few weeks. My cheese has completely fallen off of my cracker. I am broken. I am beat. I am whipped. I feel like the bottom of the trash heap.

So, it's time to re-read The Ragamuffin Gospel.

Currently Reading
The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out
By Brennan Manning

February 1, 2007.

Chipped Mugs and Grandmothers

I went to the cupboard for a mug to make hot chocolate in.

There were lots of pretty mugs there, all festive and beautiful, vibrant colors, and perfect.

Perfect except for one. It has a small chip on the rim. Nothing sharp or jagged or dangerous. Just a small chip. A minor imperfection that made it stand out as different than all the other pretties.

I wasn't going to choose it for my afternoon Swiss Miss fix.

But I did.

Poor little mug! It is just as bright and beautiful and festive as all the others. It's just a little different.

My Grammy would have chosen that mug. She had a heart for the unwanted and imperfect.

When my parents divorced when I was young, and the neighborhood kids whispered and giggled behind my back that I was "different" - meaning I was a chipped mug - GRAMMY chose to love me extra. (I was one of the first children in our school to have my parents divorce, and everyone prophesied that I would become a hoodlum, and therefore treated me like an Untouchable).

I don't think I would have made it if it weren't for Grammy.

Folks, please love the "chipped mugs" in your lives. Love them, accept them, cherish them as being yes, "imperfect", but still bright, beautiful, and needing to be loved.

Somehow my hot chocolate tastes sweeter and better out of my chipped mug.

January 30, 2007.

FLU

Need I say more? I wish the flu would flee fast!

In the meantime, this house is a disaster, the cats are running me ragged, my Evil Twin is here, and all of our clothes, sheets, towels, etc. etc. etc. are in need of laundering.

Trying to get some stuff done tonight but my stomach and my head and lungs are protesting. :(

I am 42 years old and I wish my Mommy was here to make my bed, wash my hair, make some strawberry jello, and tuck me into bed.

Sigh.