Saturday, June 6, 2015

Chevron Afghan

It's wedding season again, and I'm behind. Only one done.

I used a pattern for a  chevron baby blanket, but changed the striping pattern to suit my stash of wool, and made it full size.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Goodness of God

A sample of Lee's articles for the local paper:

Chapel Chats
The Goodness of God
 written by Lee W. Brainard

      God is good. This is the plain teaching of the Bible and the experience of all who believe. But most men are uncomfortable with God. They don’t appreciate his goodness. And they don’t want his goodness. So they handle his goodness with unbelieving hands.
      Some claim God is not good. They complain, “If God is good, why does he allow bad things to happen?” The answer is easy — to give bad people opportunity to repent. The only way he could stop bad things today would be to cast all bad people into hell today.
      Others tweak his goodness so he is good the way they want him to be good. They want good to mean allowing them to be bad. They want good to mean winking at their sin and ungodliness.
      What is God’s manifested goodness really like? The Bible is clear. The goodness of God leads men to repentance (Rom. 2:4). The grace of God teaches men to deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and to live uprightly and godly in the present evil age (Tit. 2:12).
      This goal-focused goodness is based on the character of God and his purpose for man. God is good. And God wants man to be like him — to bear his image. Therefore God’s manifested goodness can only be for the purpose of conforming man to God’s goodness. It is impossible for manifested goodness to wink at rebellion and sin.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Granola Bars

Most every mom has a recipe that is often asked for. In my case it's granola bars. I developed the recipe years ago by modifying the recipe for Puffed Wheat Bars that my mom used to make.

Granola Bars

4 cups oatmeal
1 3/4 cups shredded coconut (I use unsweetened.)
1 cup chopped nuts or nutmeal
A little ground flax seed or wheat germ (optional)

Toast these ingredients lightly in the oven.

In a heavy kettle, melt:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar (I use white sugar with a dabbling of molasses.)

Boil for one minute. Then add:

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
dash salt

Mix thoroughly. Then stir in the toasted oatmeal mixture. Press into cake pan. Cut while slightly warm. Allow to finish cooling before removing from pan.

If you decide to love these, you shouldn't have any trouble following through with your decision. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Deciding to Love

Love and commitment are not the same thing.  In order for marriage to be what it ought to be, you need both. Commitment is based on a decision.  Love is much more complicated.
There are different kinds of love.  Some of them are more a matter of choice than others.  As Christians we choose to love good and hate evil — even if our affections are screaming the opposite. There are many times when you have to choose to love someone when your feelings do not incline you to do so.  Sometimes it happens that a man must choose to love his wife, though he doesn’t really feel like it.  If he is in this unfortunate situation, he ought by all means to choose to do right regardless of his feelings.  Perhaps he has to choose to forsake his mistress and love his wife.  It is right for him to do so, and it may be real love for his wife and kids that would induce him to do it — but it isn’t romance.
 You can choose to love your neighbor, to esteem another better than yourself, and to lay down your life for your wife.  These are love, but romance or “falling in love” is different.  You don’t decide to fall.  You just do.  You might decide to get close enough to fall — or decide not to — but falling in love is not a decision.
A man doesn't have to fall in love with a woman to marry her — but it is hard enough for him to obey Ephesians 5 even when he does.  Why make it harder? A woman doesn't want to hear, “I choose to love you.” What she wants to hear is, “I can’t help loving you.” Read the Song of Solomon and see if there is any deciding to love in there.
Anyone can choose to eat sauerkraut, but most folks can’t choose to love it as much as they do pizza.  You can decide what you do.  You can not decide what will thrill your heart.  You can choose to marry, and in a sense choose to love your wife.  You can also choose to take steps that will increase your enjoyment in every circumstance in life.  You can make choices that affect how you feel — but you can not directly choose your feelings.
      Romance is predominately feeling.  If you can decide it, you take the passion out of it, and it isn’t romance any more.  You could marry without it.  But why would you want to?  You may still have love if you did — the kind of love that can be decided, but that is a bare sort of love that should be reserved for those who have no hope of anything better. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Choice to Love

One of the biggest tricks of the devil is to differentiate between things that are the same and to equate things that are different. The saying Love is a Choice is open to such confusion. There is a sense in which it is true, and another in which it is not, and it is extremely important not to confuse the two.

The young person who is looking for a spouse and thinks he can choose to love any one who is convenient and available is a blatant fool, but the married person who doesn't choose to love his spouse is downright wicked. The things are entirely different. Single people should wait til they fall in love to marry. This will make the business of choosing to love your spouse a pleasure and give you a head start in performing all the duties of married life.

The man or woman who is already married has no business falling at all. You have already made your choice. Hopefully it was a suitable choice and you fell in love with the person you married, but regardless of the past, it is now your business to put up whatever walls are needed to keep from falling any which direction. You have to choose to love the one you have chosen.

If a married man or woman falls inwardly, you still have a moral obligation to choose to love your spouse. You may find that you do not have the power to choose to love in the same way and to the same degree as someone who unintentionally falls in love. Love is like that. Emotions are like that. People are like that. We can't always choose what we feel. But we can choose what we do, and a married person has an obligation to be faithful to his family no matter what he feels. This is love. It is not the wild, emotional kind of love that makes falling in love fun. It is the sober, faithful kind of love, that makes being married safe. It includes the commitment not only to give the bare outward duties of love but to nourish every proper emotion and to starve everything that goes against it. In this sense love is a choice.

Young people starting out and planning to marry ought to have this kind of commitment, but you don't want that to be all you have. You want your marriage to start with all the warmth of emotion that makes the journey of life delightful. A person can't choose to feel that with just anyone. Love of this kind is something that happens to you. It isn't chosen. It can be nourished or starved depending on the requirements of the circumstances, but it cannot be forced.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Unchanging God

Flipping through a note book of old poems, I came across this one today. It's still true. 

God Remains the Same

Life’s changing scenes make their appeal
      To my poor, fickle frame,
And often change the way I feel,--
      But God remains the same.

When circumstances fluctuate,
      My hopes may rise or fall,
But God, unhindered by my state,
      Is always over all.

Though hopes and fears by turns arise
      To steal my heart away,
The truth, without such lows and highs,
      Abides from day to day.

Though prayer may change a lot of things,
      If God in mercy grant,
Despite their fancy reasonings,
      My fickle feelings can’t.

Unaltered by my feeble sense,
      All things are in His hands;
By unaffected providence
      The final outcome stands.

Nita Brainard
January 5, 2009

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Character and Personality

Personality and character are not the same thing. Everyone knows that, yet the two things often get confused. Personality is something we are born with. Character is developed through the choices we make. When a teenager decides he does not want to be like his parent, it should be, and usually is, the parent's character that he wants to avoid. If he is like him in personality, he cannot help it. He can, however, be different in character.

It is exceedingly common to watch young people who strongly avow that they will not be like their parents make the same choices their parents did and become very much like them in character. This is partly because they are already like their parents in personality, and the personality influences the choices a person makes. It is our interests, desires, likes, and dislikes (in other words, our personality) that makes certain choices easier or harder.

Our choices are also influenced by the example our parents model before us. Nonetheless, we can stand back and say, Yes, I like the same things my mother likes. I laugh at the same kinds of things she laughs at, and I laugh the same way. There is nothing wrong with that -- but I am going to choose to do some things differently than she. I am not going to laugh at a filthy joke even if it strikes me funny, and I am not going to repeat it even if I want to.

If we don't understand the difference between personality and character, we might think that because we have a bent a certain direction, we have no choice in the matter, but this is the opposite of the truth. Making choices against your natural inclination is at the very root of good character. The more we exercise the opportunity to make right choices in the face of personality preferences, the stronger we become. This doesn't change our personality. We were born with that, and God gave it to us. It is guarded by our choices, but it isn't changed. There is no sin and no shame if it similar to one or the other of our parents -- even if they are wicked.

You may not want to look like your mother, but if you do, you can't help it. You may think like her and have a lot of interests in common with her, but you only act like her if you choose to. I personally am blessed with a mother I am happy to look like, and in many things I act like her also. I thank God for a mother who has made it easier for me to make right choices in many areas where another person may need a higher degree of character to overcome both inclination and example. Nonetheless, I will give account before God for each choice I have made in life, whether to be more like her or less. My personality, however, and my looks, will not come into judgement.