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.


Felting Boots

Nov 6th I promised that I’d write about the boot felting workshop I took at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival the last weekend of October.

The twelve hour workshop with Carin Engen was excellent and well worth the time and money. The two pair of felted boots she’d felted and brought to show us were truly inspiring.

With the exception of felting small plying balls and a few Christmas tree ornaments, and a wee needle felted rabbit I hadn’t done any felting. Only one other person had no felting experience while two of the women in the group had taken felting classes from Carin before and were enthusiastic about what they’d already learned. With 12 hours of class time the skill sets didn’t make much difference for Carin was great about spending lots of one on one time with each of us once she’d gone over the basic directions for making felted boots.

Carin had come straight to CGFF from a week long teaching session at the John C Campbell Folk School in N Carolina and was still feeling the effects of a very busy week and airplane travel but that didn’t dull her enthusiasm. Soon we were measuring our feet and cutting out the plastic form we’d be using, selecting the wools that we wanted to use and setting up our areas with all the supplies we needed.

The first layers on the outside leg area.


Second layers applied. Looks like a collar for Sasquatch.
The workshop was held at the local Community College and on Friday we could buy lunch in the student cafeteria. Eating there seemed surreal, an odd blast to the past. This beautiful sprawling maple tree beckoned me to come climb its limbs. I resisted, not wanting to cause a scene scrambling onto an outstretched branch with young college students ambling to the cafeteria.
After eating and meeting up with Becca who’d flown down from Juno, Alaska for her very first fiber festival (bummed that I didn’t think to get a picture with her.) I dashed down to the Marketplace to touch base with Cheryl of Newhuehandspun who was sharing her room with me for two nights during the festival.

Back in the classroom Carin was helping Pam with her wild and wonderful boots. Pam has an amazing color sense that celebrates the explosion of colors.
By the end of Friday’s workshop the last layer had been laid, the soap and water sprinkled on for the final rolling before getting down to the work of felting and shaping that would take place on Saturday.
Tomorrow’s post will continue the process of felting the boots.

Today I’m thankful that the rain actually stopped this afternoon, and that the temperatures have stayed in the 40s – 50s. Lots of snow in the Cascade Mountains, just rain here. Since October 1st we’ve had 17.5″ of rain.

I’m thankful for a good time sharing dinner/lunch with Ed’s dad today. Instead of turkey we decided to have steaks. Pumpkin pie reigned as the dessert.
I’m thankful for my walking neighbor/friend who roasted more sugar pumpkins than she needed and shared the extra bounty with me. Fresh pumpkin is the way to go! I still have 3 cups of pumpkin left which will go into the freezer for a future pie.

Small Musings

I’m so exhausted it’s hard to focus so this will be a short post.

Going to bed just after midnight made for a very short night. I know better than having any coffee in the evening, never mind that it smelled enticing during the music practice. It was only half a cup. A very strong cup of coffee. Whoops. Between that and music dancing through my head I was awake more than asleep for the mere five hours I laid in bed before finally just getting up to do some studying. Usually when that happens it’s extremely frustrating but last night, for the most part I enjoyed thinking of/listening to the songs and focused on what it means to be thankful and how to really apply that to the gnitty-gritty of everyday life. This morning’s sermon was on being thankful based on I Thess 1:2-10. Good stuff.

A hat is on the needles for my son. No pictures, yet, once I get into the cable section I’ll try to remember to take a picture. The Brother KH-970 Knitting Machine I’ve been considering is still under consideration. The woman wrote that it has lots of accessories, including a ribber, and over 600 preprogrammed patterns – all which she’d throw in for less than they’re worth but they’d take the total up beyond what I’d originally expected. She’d give me the tote of yarn spools. Which may, or may not be a good thing. I seem to have a knack for accumulating yarn that I don’t use – wrong size, color, material, etc.  I keep going back and forth on the pros and cons. The biggest drawback is it is electric which I’m not keen on since who know how long it will last before things start breaking down.

Two more pictures from the June drive to Central Idaho. These were taken from the Oregon side of the Columbia River as we traveled I-84.

A huge stone house perched way up on a hillside in Washington State overlooking vineyards and the river.

The Columbia River, a west bound train, and giant turbines harvesting the wind into energy. 

Today I’m thankful for church family / friends that help keep me grounded and challenged.