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Arm knitting, anyone?

‘Tis the season of DIY projects for me right now. I don’t know, I guess of late I’ve been feeling like I’ve needed some diversion that doesn’t involve little toddler boys. Something to do with my hands that’s not diaper-changing or cooking or folding laundry or loading the dishwasher. Something more creative, I suppose.

So I’ve been trying to work my way through the DIY Pinterest board I created for myself. I saw this video posted on Facebook a while ago on arm-knitting and I thought, “How cool! I can totally do that!” You don’t need any knitting needles, just some yarn and your two arms.

 

 

So this past Monday night I put the boys to bed early and set to work. It took me more like two hours instead of 30 minutes, but that’s because I spent a lot of time pausing and rewinding the video. Once I got the hang of it, it went pretty fast and was not difficult at all.

My scarf came out a little too long and bulky. I had  to wrap it around three times and it kind of felt like I had a python around my neck. Next time I think I’ll use one skein of yarn instead of two. Here’s a picture of my lovely friend Jing modeling the scarf. It looked much better on her, and since she’ll be moving to New York soon, she’ll probably have more need for a python infinity scarf anyway.

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The prompt for this week is…

Paint

GO

I mentioned in my last post that my spring break project was to repaint an old cabinet I found. Well here it is! Our new cabinet for tea cups and snacks and cookbooks.

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Not that impressed, you say? Well if you knew me, you’d be impressed. The extent of my DIY ability is repurposing an old glass jar by putting pens in it. Most of my experiences of “doing it myself” have turned out to be like the firetruck birthday cake I tried to make for CC two years ago. Yeah, not good.

But I’ve been looking for some kind of cabinet for the living room to store our stuff for tea and snacks. We had no budget for new furniture and I couldn’t find anything I liked on craigslist. So it was serendipitous that I happened to be there on the day they were spring cleaning our church meeting hall and someone unearthed this old wooden cabinet. Perfect, I said to myself, all it needs is a new coat of paint. I had my husband move it into an empty storage area and couldn’t wait for spring break so that I could start working on it.

After searching on pinterest and repeated trips to the paint store (where I was absolutely clueless) I finally emerged with a can of cover stain primer, a can of paint, a paint roller, and one of those sponge paint brushes. During our spring break, while the kids were napping, I would retreat into the back tool room and paint and paint and paint. It was surprisingly therapeutic and not as difficult as I thought (although it did take me a good 15 minutes to pry the lid off the paint can). Result turned out okay, no? Much better than the fire truck cake at least.

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Our week of selah

Last week was a lazy blogging week for me. Larry had the week off and we were too occupied with getting our spring break projects done and getting in some much needed down time. The week before spring break I had a little bit of a mini breakdown. This whole school year has been tremendously busy for us and during the couple of weeks leading up to spring break, I had just about had it. I was exhausted and not so happy about the fact that my husband and I were like ships passing in the night. Let’s just say not a few tears were shed on my part, which caused us both to finally sit down and reevaluate our schedules.

So for us, last week was a Sabbath week. We didn’t make any big plans; just a short list of projects for us to work on individually and together. Sometimes it’s nice to relax for a week at a beach house, and sometimes it’s nice to just have a week to get to those things you normally don’t have time for. I find both rejuvenating to the soul in its own ways. So for Larry it was getting our taxes done, and for me it was finally repainting that cabinet I’ve been wanting to put in the living room. We would take turns watching the kids so that each of us could have time to work on our projects and then spend the rest of the day together as a family. There were no big outings, just afternoons at the playground, picnics on campus, trips to the library and our new favorite family activity, dining out at Ikea (Tuesdays kids eat free!). We also managed to squeeze in a date night, which was definitely one of the highlights of my week.

I’m very thankful for the timely selah we were able to have. It’s nice when ships passing in the night can finally find a harbor and dock together for awhile. This week we go back to our normal schedules and once again the busyness of life will resume. But I hope we will remember as we go about our days that we are not two ships, but passengers on the same boat, our Lord Himself at the helm. Whether the waters we face be turbulent or calm, we are partners together with Him in navigating them. With this reminder and a week of rest behind me, I’m encouraged to once again sail on!

How do you and your family recharge when you are overwhelmed by the busyness of life?

 

This morning as I was taking CC and his friend Emma to school, I overheard the cutest conversation between them. It had me smiling all day. It went something like this:

(They were playing some game about who’s the biggest)

CC: God’s the biggest, so He wins.
E: Who’s God?
CC: God’s invisible.
E: What’s invisible?
CC: Invisible means you can’t see Him. Right, mommy?
Me: That’s right.
CC: God created the world. That’s why we’re in His heart.
E: Oh, I like His heart!
CC: I like my monkey!

The conversation then turned to another topic, I forget what. But this little conversation I was privileged to overhear reminded me of something I was impressed with after attending a conference last month on the subject of raising our next generation for the church life, which is that we should have the view that our children can be seeds of the gospel. That doesn’t mean that I expect my 4 year old to go around preaching the gospel and leading his friends to salvation (especially since he himself isn’t even saved yet), but it does mean that he’s not too young to tell his friends about what he knows about God, that He created the world and that we are in His heart. If our children have this habit of speaking and caring for their friends at a young age, surely they will become ones who have no shame in sharing the gospel once they do become regenerated. I was also touched to have my heart broadened; not just to care that my own children would know God, but that their friends would also come to know God as their Creator and eventually their Savior. So many times as Christian parents, we’re concerned that the world will have a negative influence on our children, which is a very valid concern. But I’m encouraged to take an offensive stance instead of a defensive one; that my view in raising my boys would be not only that they would be preserved, but that they could have a positive influence on those around them. I already feel like CC has a positive influence on me. I hope I’ll be as ready and unashamed when the opportunity arises for me to tell someone about the God I know. And hopefully I’ll have a little more to say than that He’s invisible and that we’re in His heart.

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The prompt for this week is…

Crowd

GO

She knew if she just touched even His garment, she would be healed of this flow of blood that has plagued her for twelve years. She had heard of this man, Jesus, and knew He had performed great acts of healing. If she could just get to Him, maybe she too could be healed. So she worked her way through the crowd. Everyone was pressing in upon Him, but somehow she found an opening. She was behind Him and reached her arm out as far as she could until her fingertips felt the coarse fabric. As soon as she did, she knew something had changed. The blood had stopped, her affliction was cured. Giddy with happiness she tried to blend back into the crowd and get home as fast as she could to tell her family of the miracle. But before she could get away, He turned around and asked the crowd, “Who touched My garments?” His disciples were incredulous, the whole crowd was pressing upon Him, surely there were many people touching Him. But He looked at her, and she knew that He knew. She had been found out, so she confessed to Him and to everyone the whole truth. She was ready to be judged or punished, but instead she heard from Him these comforting words, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be well from your affliction.” (Mark 5:34)

Maybe this isn’t exactly how it happened, but if you read the account in Mark chapter 5, it’s pretty close. This story of the woman being healed of the flow of blood has always spoken to me. How sweet that the Lord knew the difference between the crowd’s touch and her touch. He knew that the crowd was just there out of curiosity, driven by mob mentality, so they could see up close what miracle this Jesus would perform next. But this woman was different. She was driven by desperation; her only goal was to be able to touch Him, because she had the faith that to touch Him was to be healed. The Lord didn’t respond to the pressing crowd and the crowd received nothing from Him. But He did respond to this woman’s reaching out in faith and as a result, she was the only one in the crowd who received the healing.

So often I ask myself, “Am I just part of the crowd, or am I this woman?” Am I really desperate to touch the Lord or am I content to be just part of the crowd, touching Him in a superficial way? Yes, I attend the church meetings and yes, I read my Bible, and yes, maybe all week I’ve been involved in many activities that seem like they are close to the Lord and related to the Lord. Why is it then sometimes I feel like I receive nothing? Maybe it’s because I haven’t really “touched” Him. The Lord only responds to those who desperately seek Him. So I’m encouraged, in my personal time with the Lord, to step out of the crowd and reach out my arms in faith. This kind of faith will heal us and cause the Lord to speak a personal word to us. If this is our experience every morning, then we can really go about our day in peace.

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The prompt for this week is…

Willing

GO

Sometimes I think I’m getting a little too comfortable with my life here in Berkeley. A little too settled. If the Lord were to call me and my husband to pick up and move somewhere right now…in theory I’d like to think I’d be willing. I’d like to think that there would be the openness in my being to say “Amen” to the Lord or even to my husband. That’s in theory. In reality, I think there would be a lot of “But Lord…” and “What if…” instead of amens. In reality, I think it would involve a lot of tears and maybe even kicking and screaming to uproot me. So once in a while, the Lord will gently remind me that we are sojourners here…that like our father Abraham, we live a life of the altar and the tent. Everything we are and have needs to be placed on the altar, consecrated to God for His use. And our earthly dwelling can only be a tent, something so small and movable, not tied down to one place. That’s how Abraham and Sarah lived their whole lives and that’s how they taught their children to live. Their life of faith was one of having God’s appearing, building altars, and pitching their tents wherever God led them.

I recognize that I’m not there yet, that maybe I’m not so willing. But at least I can pray, “Lord, make me willing to be willing. Whether it’s here or there, I want to be rooted in You, not in any earthly place. I don’t want my comfort and convenience to dictate where I live, but that Your kingdom would govern where we pitch our earthly tent.” Like Abraham, we look forward to a better country, a heavenly one, and we eagerly wait for the city “which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10,16). Sounds like a much better place to be than Berkeley.

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Five Minute Friday – Choose

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The prompt for this week is…

Choose

GO

He’s in the throes of his first tantrum and it’s barely 7:30am. We sit on his Ikea bed and I wrap my arms around him while he flails and screams. He doesn’t like it when I use the human strait jacket on him so it makes him kick and scream even more. As calmly as I can, I tell him he has a choice. He can choose to start his day with a tantrum or he can choose to calm down and try to start over. Eventually he starts to tire and I loosen my hold on him. I watch him as he sobs on the bed, chest heaving, and I keep telling him to breathe. I repeat it like a mantra over him until he calms down and the sobs turn into a silent whimper. When reason again returns to him, I ask him to explain to me what’s wrong. Somehow we manage to reach a compromise and we both walk out back to the kitchen to finish breakfast.

I’ve noticed that both my husband and I do that a lot with CC. We present him with choices (sometimes too many) and we try to make him understand that by choosing an action he also chooses the consequences of that action. Everything we do is a choice. Even our not choosing is to choose the default. Maybe that’s too much to expect a 4-year-old to understand, but being an indecisive person myself, I’m determined to have my son not take after me. So I like to present him with options whenever I can – the dinosaur shirt or the Thomas shirt, mac and cheese for lunch or PB&J, etc. – and in situations where I make the choices for him, I try to explain to him why. This is all in hopes that he’ll grow up knowing how to make wise choices and that when it comes to big things, like choosing to follow the Lord, he’ll stand firm in his decision and not allow others to choose for him. I’m starting to realize more and more what a sacred responsibility has been entrusted to us as parents. We have the power to shape little souls, little vessels that can either be unto honor or unto dishonor, vessels that one day can be useful to the Master (2 Timothy 2:21). So as my little boy does the choosing, you can be sure that this mommy will be doing a lot of praying.

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