A New Journey

Today would have been my dad’s 104 birthday. Even after these more than 32 years since he went home to heaven those moments of a deep aching for him can still sweep over me. I wrote a tribute to him three years ago here.

In some ways he was far ahead of his time. While always courteous to woman; holding doors open, letting them go through first, etc. it wasn’t because he viewed women as weaker. His mom had been a feisty auburn with a backbone of steel who expected respect, manners, and for her boys to help out with the kitchen chores. Dad expected both of his two girls to follow our hearts even if called into non-traditional roles.

He would be pleased as punch and bursting his buttons at one of my present roles: the preacher in our small local Quaker (Friends) church.

If someone had told me a dozen years ago that I’d be a preacher I probably would have laughed. I didn’t have an inkling. Nor was it one I actively pursued.

Over a year ago I began teaching the adult Sunday School class, leading us week by week on an overview of each book in the Bible, in order. What an experience it proved to be! I found out that I loved digging, studying, praying and pulling together each lesson week by week.

Our church had been without a pastor for two years since a fire in the parsonage had rendered it inhabitable. Without the house to offer a pastor, and our small numbers, we couldn’t afford to hire pastor. As a meeting we weren’t worried; God brought in a retired husband and wife pastor team, and a woman who is a hospital chaplain. All three of them were willing to periodically preach, as did one of our previous pastors who still loved coming to preach when he was able. Between those four people and occasionally an outside guest preacher there was usually someone to preach, if not we’d have a Sunday of open, unprogrammed worship praising God and seeking to listen to the Holy Spirit. Most of all, our meeting desired God’s will for us.

A few times during this past Spring I was asked to preach, and found to my astonishment that I enjoyed it. During the long drive to Moscow in June Ed brought up the possibility that I might be called to be the preacher. And if so, we needed to free up time for me to study. He knew that I was already in the habit of waking up early in the morning to study for Sunday School and the weeks that I’d preached I’d often be up by 4am.

Ed suggested we transition from direct, online sales to wholesaling the spindles. The transition has been slow, mostly due to my not wanting to let our wonderful customers down. So many whom I’ve felt a kinship towards even though we’ve never met. I’m still working to find the best balance between being able to continue to sell direct and sell wholesale.

By mid-August I was asked to be the preacher. It’s been a wonderful time of personal growth and challenge figuring out what all this entails. I still have so much to learn! And at times the responsibility is sobering, and daunting. Almost always I feel inadequate and wonder at how it is that God has chosen to use me.

We desire to be living for God to the best that we are able. I seriously love digging into God’s word, praying and earnestly seeking the direction on where He’s leading me each week in preparing a message. It’s an honor to  equip people with knowledge of God’s Word, to an understanding of our need for Him that leads us to the place of yearning for God, to yielding to Him which bring about a relationship with the living Creator who loves each of us beyond what we can grasp on earth.

At the same time, I’m not one to shout my faith from the rooftop, to get into people’s faces. I’m not the type to stand on a street corner and preach. Oh, how that thought makes me shudder! Instead I want live my life treating people with respect, dignity, love and trying to come alongside, to understand where they’re coming from, as God wants me to. To let God’s great love draw them to Him.

I’ll not use this blog as a platform to preach, unless I’m strongly compelled by the Holy Spirit to do so. It’ll still be the place where I mainly focus on fiber stuff and the periodic meanderings of my simple life. Periodically stuff of my heart and thoughts are bound to come out here for writing is a good way of examining and making sense of thoughts.

Today I am thankful for a dad who lived his deep faith in actions more than words, a dad who encouraged me to follow my heart and who expressed complete confidence in me.
I’m thankful for the people of our meeting who have encouraged me to take on the responsibility of preaching and are giving me time, and space, to grow into the position.
I’m thankful for Ed’s valuable support.
I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit is leading us in this new journey.
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Birthday crocheting.

Six years have passed since our first grandchild was born on this day. (Blog posts of the occasion on my old blog.)

It seems like overnight that she’s gone from being a wee baby, to a toddler, to a little girl and now a young girl who’s growing up so quickly. I managed to crochet a beret for her in time to wrap up with a few other gifts and send it in time to be opened today.

Last autumn during email exchanges with Scarlet of Huckleberry Yarns (“Where Colors Sing”), I’d mentioned having a hard time finding purple yarn with deep saturated colors to make something for my granddaughter, Faith, (usually blogged as Feather) who loves purples and violets.  Within no time at all Scarlett made up a brand new colorway just for her. The colorway? Faith  🙂 Oh look, Scarlet has some in stock right now on etsy!

Stitch Diva Studios has a crochet beret pattern which looked like it’d be adorable on Feather. Crocheting this beret was a breeze! So quick and fun. Casting on last Sunday afternoon it was wrapped in Happy Birthday paper and mailed by Wednesday.
Pattern: Slouchy Lace Beret
Hooks: Size D 3.25mm for the main part, C 2.75mm for the brim edge. These are one size down from the pattern recommendation due to using a sock yarn instead of the recommended DK weight yarn. After all, the beret is for a child, not an adult for whom the pattern is written.

It was blocked on a dessert plate balanced on top of a mason jar overnight Tuesday. (This is closer to the true color though more purple than blue.)
Lacking a suitable model to test the size, her 7 month old cousin, Violet, was a willing tester when the beret was about 2/3rd finished.

The Baby Surprise Jacket I was zipping right along on in the previous post…

Frogged.

I tried it on Violet when I baby sat her a week ago Tuesday. It fit, barely. Better to start over than to complete something that will quickly be outgrown within weeks.

The problem was caused by using size #2 / 2.75mm needles with the sock yarn. Or, perhaps better to admit the problem was in swatching but not taking the time to figure the math. The swatch looked great.

After finishing Feather’s beret I cast on the BSJ again, this time with size #4 / 3.5mm needles and it’s making quite the difference.
It still remains a fun knit.

I had a blast at the hands-on Turkish spinning demonstration I was asked to do at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at the Willamette University in Salem last Saturday. There is currently a Turkish Flat Weave exhibition at the museum. I’ll blog about this in my next post.

And now to close with a picture Feather’s mom took of the birthday girl this morning as they were about to take part in a Harvest Celebration and costume party. Introducing six year old Faith, aka Feather, aka Cindy Loo Who:

Accomplishments

It feels as though a heavy weight was removed from my shoulders today. Tax bookwork was finally finished and the numerous forms filled and printed. The checks will be written and mailed with the forms tomorrow. I wanted to do a happy dance when the last form was printed this morning but there was a long list of orders waiting to be mailed. Made it through less than half the orders before it was time to dash over to the PO before the window closed. Tomorrow I’ll get the rest packed and perhaps the next group of Delights photographed and on the website. Then it’s on to introducing Ed’s newest creation. 🙂

The 800 yard Race is finished. The last gram of Love For Sale Limegreenjelly roving was spun on Sunday the 28th, immediately set forth rolling two singles together onto one tp roll to expedite the plying process.

Monday afternoon our son JJ and his family arrived from Idaho. It was wonderful to see them and the grandkids again! Our daughter Aurora and her family joined us for dinner that evening. It wasn’t long after dinner before they all headed out the door, the Idaho family going to stay with Mandy’s mom for the week.

Winding the first few yards of plyed yarn onto the Turkish spindle I knew there was just no way I could finish plying it all by April 1st so I set up the wheel and stepped on the treadles.

Homemade chicken soup and a heart bread were made on Wednesday before settling down that evening and plying until the last bit was finished. Oh it felt great to accomplish the goal before the deadline! It took a long time to wind it all off onto the niddy noddy counting and tying every 50 groups. Any guesses?

513 wraps on my 76″ circumference niddy-noddy = 1083 yards of 2ply yarn from 98 grams of fiber! It’s soft and squishy. I have no clue what to make with it.

Tuesday the 30th we met JJ, Mandy and all her family at the bowling alley to celebrate her brother’s 25 birthday. It’d been 8 – 10 years since I’d bowled. The grandkids even got in on some of the action.

Was that a strike?

Do you see that yellow ball? Good job Wesley!  (With help from momma)

Much to my astonishment I scored my personal best, 146 points. Must have been all the spindling action over the past couple months made my arms strong. 😉

What else did we do with the grandkids? You’ll have to check out Walk With Me Wednesday, coming up this week. Until then, here’s a sneak preview.

Feeling Blessed

The longer the stretch between posts, the harder it is to write. Too many partial posts blogged in my mind that never made it to the keyboard.

Two more hats have been made and only the crown is left on the one I’m knitting for our son. How could I resist when he slyly said, “Where’s my hat?” as he fondled Wesley’s small grey hat. Trying to capture the pattern in written format for three sizes has been a challenge but it’s coming along.  Thank you to all who waved their hands and offered to test knit! 🙂 I’ll be sending you the pdf as soon as it’s finished.

Feather’s hat is made out of Cascade 220 to see how well the pattern would adapt to a bulkier yarn. It turned out okay but looses the soft drape and wispy charm of the softly spun fingering wool which I’m convinced it partially mohair.
Green is her favorite color these days.

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Little Bud was intrigued that Faith has a hat kind of like his.

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The cold bug that seems to be going in circles looped around again and settled in for a two week visit. It’s not wanting to depart either. Almost everyone I know has been hit with this bug. Ed’s been keeping it at arm’s length which is good since he’s as busy as ever. He was able to take the weekend off and get away to the coast for the regional Friends men’s retreat.  I packed up the last of several store orders that had pending deadlines on Friday and heaved a huge sigh of relief that Ed was able to make such a massive amount of hooks, spindles and hairpin lace looms in about six weeks, get them finished and shipped. At the moment we have mostly spindles that still need making for various individual.

While getting ready to go to bed a couple weeks ago, I was thinking of all the good in my life and counting my blessings for the things I’ve been able to accomplish. Most times it seems that I don’t do much of anything worthy, or significant and it’d been one of those days of feeling a bit down and insignificant. We all want to leave some mark of our passing life for a brief while in this world.  It was good to take measure of things that I’ve been to be able to take part in:  Raise two children who are doing well as adults; composed a few pieces of music – one, a  jig, which has been written down and met with approval when Crooked Finger Band has played it for several occasions;  wrote a Christmas play that the kids had fun doing; contribute to our business wih the spinning book/dvd,  lifelong friendships…  But mostly what keeps repeating in my head for the past month is the saying that was on a plaque at the head of the stairs when I was little. I could read it by the time I was five. Daily I would stop and read it as I climbed the stairs to go to bed.

“Only one life twill soon be passed,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

I tend to hold my faith quietly and close to my heart. I wish I were bolder in sharing the wonders of the magnificence of our God. Sometimes I want to shout of His incomparable love from the housetops, the mountains – to shout, clap and dance with joyful abandonment. The reality is, I’am shy and feel inhibited most of the time. But, you see, it’s really not about me, I need to get out of the way and let God do the work.

Today I had one of the greatest privileges in my life: give the message at Meeting this morning. The pastor and four other men went to the men’s retreat, including the man who usually backup preaches. Two weeks ago when the pastor told me he’d like to go I’d offered to find the replacement but in the busyness of life time slipped past and suddenly  there were seven days left. What I’d been ignoring was a small inkling that kept growing with each passing day: there was a message I was to give. The first couple days as I processed and packed orders I prayed and thought and prayed. What a wonderful time it was! Inspite of interuptions of Justin dropping by with the kids on Monday, fixing food for a funeral on Wednesday, while working to get out that one huge order (100 hooks + knitting needles + hairpin lace looms) by Thursday,  babysitting Friday morning, there was a strong, steady communion with God. Reading the Bible in the morning as I ate breakfast and again in the evenings, trying to be open and listen to God’s leading, slowly the sermon came together. Gathering my Bible, extensive notess and purse, heading out the door to church this morning I wished for one more hour to meld it into a cohesive written whole rather than pages of written notes and an outline.  But the groundwork was well laid and the Holy Spirit was very much present. When I stood at the pulpit and started to speak the minutes flew by. The verses flowed, weaving naturally throughout the message of the Name that is above all names. The Word through whom and by whom and for whom everything in the heavens, on earth, and under earth exist. The One who spoke a name and I was created. Someday He will give me a white stone and on that stone will be a name that no one knows (Revelation 2:17) – my own unique name, the name that He spoke me into being. Every fiber of my being will shout YES! That is who I am.

I will be complete.Late winter sunset