Wednesday, December 25, 2013

New Slippers

See my new slippers! This time my mom made them for me.

She used my pattern: Felt slippers.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Pride of Life

  The pride of life is as much "the world" as the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes.  the things man desires in order to be fulfilled in this life are what the Bible warns against when it says "Love not the world neither the things that are in the world."  (1 John 2:15.)

   The pride of life ~ in other words the pride of attainment ~ may include an Olympic gold medal or the state championship, a degree from a prestigious school, a list of letters after your name, association with famous people, a high post in business or government.  These are things which are highly esteemed among men.  What does the Bible say about them?  They are an abomination with God.  At best He cares nothing for them.  They aren't any more sin than the strength of a horse or the legs of a man (Psalm 147:10.) ~ but if you love them, you love the world, and the love of the Father is not in you.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Yellow Baby Afghan

This baby blanket is adapted from the afghan pattern Daffodil Dream. Because it is knit on large needles, it has an extra soft texture and also knits up quickly.

30 x 36 inches

1 ball Lion Brand "Pound of Love"
Size 10 1/2 circular needle

CO 112 stitches
Knit 8 rows garter stitch. (Four ridges) Then work pattern to desired length. Omit fringe.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Freedom Is Good

Freedom is good. But so are rules -- and the two are not mutually exclusive. There is nothing wrong with an institution having rules, be it a nation, a school, a church, or a family. Every Christian parent knows this. Rules actually increase freedom in a family. Yes, they put boundaries on that freedom, and often they infringe on freedoms that children wish they had --- but the existence of rules does not indicate the absence of freedom. And it is certainly not equivalent to legalism.

It has been brought to my attention that one of the large evangelical schools in our country has withdrawn its ban on alcohol. This is being heralded, even among some who call themselves conservative, as an advancement in freedom. In a sense, I suppose it is. Many of the things said on this head are quite true. Alcohol is not intrinsically evil. The Lord Jesus drank it, and some Christians may drink it. But is this advance in freedom actually an advance in the spirit of Christianity?

Freedom goes both ways. One man may say he is free to drink. Another may say he is free NOT to drink --- and free to make rules for those under his authority. When schools who bear the name of Christ lose the freedom to take stands that are unpopular with the world, I find it hard to see it as a good thing -- even if they have some doctrinal truth on their side.  The freedom that the Bible tells us about frees us from legalism -- which is trying to be saved by following rules --, but it is much more than that.

In Christ I have sweet liberty.
From condemnation I am free,
From fear of death, and from its sting,
From minding every fleshly thing,
From fear of man, and pride of life,
From worldly sorrow, lust, and strife.

I’m free from worry, free from care,
Free from the yoke that none could bear,
From ordinances that would bind,
And bondage of a worldly kind;
Free from the fruit that sinning buys,
The ways of death, and Satan’s lies.

By faith in Jesus Christ I’m free
To serve the law of liberty.
I’m free to fear my God above,
And serve my fellow saints by love,
Deny myself without restraint,
Deferring to a weaker saint.

I’m free to practice holiness,
And yield myself to righteousness.
I’m free to walk in peace and joy,
And all the Spirit’s gifts employ,
To walk in works that God ordained,
And life that Christ by death obtained.

I’m free the Bible to obey,
To follow what the Scriptures say,
The promises of God believe,
And all his blessings to receive,
To trust my Saviour knows what’s best,
And in his presence to find rest.

~Nita Brainard 2007

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Autumn Walk

   These pictures were taken in 2012 but never posted. Since September has come around again, and since I'm not finding time for walks and picture taking this year, I post the old ones:

   In July I took you on a walk around the square mile north of my house. I took some pictures on the same section roads on a warm September afternoon. The sun was so bright I had to snap blind shots, but you can get a feel for fall from them. Too bad I can't post the smell and the sound of the wind in the corn. Field corn is the only crop yet waiting for harvest.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sick and Tired

   In a conversation the other night, a friend confessed that she got sick and tired of something and didn't respond properly. She didn't justify her feelings. In fact, she condemned them. Yet, I suspect, judging by my own experience, that she felt a little bit of justification for her feelings. She knew the actions that sprang from them were wrong and also that they themselves were wrong --- but something in the situation almost required them.

   Though we can't help feeling some justification at wrong feelings when they are provoked by unrighteousness, yet the more we inwardly justify those feelings, the more we tend to feel guilty about them and to feel yucky about ourselves, especially if we don't distinguish between the feelings and the sin which we indulged in because of those feelings. If we separate our feelings and our actions, we can more easily apply The Shield of Faith and find victory in the situation.

   We ought never to indulge that irritable, sick-and-tired feeling, even in the worst of circumstances. We wish we never experienced it. We want to be like the Lord Jesus who in face of temptation "resisted unto blood." We want to have our Lord's patience and humility and never be bothered by the way others treat us. But, alas, we often are!

   Perhaps you have developed a high degree of patience, and you practice good habits. You have had your mind renewed by the washing of the word of God, and by the grace of God you have learned to endure in many trying situations. Perhaps you rarely feel tempted to indulge frustration. Nonetheless, if you are still in the body, there is still sin that dwells in you. If sometime you let down your guard a little or you meet with a situation more difficult than ever before, that sin may rise up and cause you to feel . . . .

sick.   and.   tired.

   When that happens, you might justify yourself, blame the circumstances and give in to sin. BAD IDEA.

   You might rather condemn yourself for your feelings, and give in to discouragement. Another BAD IDEA. It may seem a bit more spiritual than the first option, but it is likely to cause you to give in to sin as well as discouragement.

   The right thing to do when you feel irritated or annoyed is to look to God to forgive you for the feelings that you couldn't keep from welling up inside. Tell Him about the discouraging things that cause the feelings, and ask Him for grace to do right despite them. 

   It is possible to FEEL sick and tired, and yet DO what is right. It may be a better, higher thing never to feel irritated or annoyed by anything (though I am not certain of that,) but the sin for which we are held accountable before God is in our ACTIONS not our FEELINGS. Yield not your members to unrighteousness. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." (Rom. 6:12). You may feel "the lusts thereof" (i.e. the sinful feelings) without yielding to it. Sin shall not have dominion over us. (Rom. 6:14). By grace we have the power to do right . . . even when we feel sick and tired.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Basket Weave Baby Blanket

Here is another baby blanket to keep in store for all the babies on the way. This one is made with Red Heart yarn that was given to me.

28" x 34"

4 skeins worsted weight yarn
size 8 circular needle
size G crochet hook

CO 120 stitches
Row 1: (Right Side) Knit across
Row 2: (Wrong Side) K5 P3 across
Row 3: K3 P5 across (Knit knits and purl purls)
Row 4: Repeat Row 2
Row 5: Knit across
Row 6: P5 K3 across
Row 7: P3 K5 across (Knit knits and purl purls)
Row 8: Repeat row 6

Repeat rows 1-8 to desired length (about 33 1/2 inches), ending after row 4 or row 8.
Bind off.
Single crochet around all edges of afghan.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Abiding Joy

An Excerpt from Chapter Nine of 

Royal Bounty

Frances Ridley Havergal
(1836 - 1879)

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 
~ John 15:11

Who that has known anything of joy in the Lord but has asked, "But will it last?" And why has the question been so often the very beginning of its not lasting? Because we have either asked it of ourselves or of others and not of the Lord only. His own answers to this continually recurring question are so different from the cautious, chilling, saddening ones which his children so often give. They are absolute, full, reiterated. We little realize how unscriptural we are when we meet his good gift of joy to ourselves or to others with a doubtful, and therefore faithless, "if it lasts."

"To the law and to the testimony," O happy Christian! there you shall find true and abundant answer to your only shadow o the brightness of the joy. So long as you believe your Lord's word about it, so long it will last. So soon as you ask of other counselors and believe their word instead, so soon it will fail. Jesus meets your difficulty explicitly. He has provided against it by giving the very reason why he spoke the gracious words of his last discourse. "That my joy might remain in you." Is not this exactly what we were afraid to hope, what seemed toog ood to be true, that it might remain? And lest we should think that this abiding joy only meant some moderated measure of qualified joy, he adds, "And that your joy may be full," repeating in the next chapter and intensifying it in the next. And lest we might think this was said with reference only to an exceptional case he inspired his beloved disciple to echo the words in his general epistle: "That your joy may be full, and the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you."

Never in his Word are we told anything contradicting or explaining away his precious and reiterated promise. All through we are brightly pointed not merely to hope of permanence but to increase. "the meek shall increase [not merely shall keep up] their joy in the Lord." There are mingled promises and commands as to growth and increase in grace, knowledge, love, strength, and peace, and does not increase of these imply and insure joy? Is joy to be the only fruit of the Spirit of which it may not be said that it sprang up and increased?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Only One

I was encouraged today to have inspiration for a new poem. 

                    Only One

There’s only one shelter and only one rest,
There’s only one place I can go when oppressed.
I’ve tried other options and find they are vain,
But in the Lord Jesus there’s peace and great gain.

There’s only one refuge, one fortress, one tower;
One sure place of safety in earth’s present hour.
There’s only one hiding place; only one rock
That offers salvation to all who will knock.

In all of the lists of the noble and brave
There’s no other name that is able to save.
The only deliverer is Jesus, God’s Son,
For He and the Father and Spirit are One.

An equal to God in His power and grace,
Christ died for the sins of the whole human race.
He’s faithful, unmoving, unchanging, and just.
In Him, and Him only, I dare put my trust.

Psalm 18:2; Acts 4:12; Psalm 62

Friday, August 16, 2013

Favorite Verses

My friend Judith at WholeHeartedHome posted some of her favorite Bible verses, and it inclines me to do the same. I'm choosing verses that have been favorites since I was a very young Christian which have been my food through the years. There are many other good ones, but these stand out:

1. Psalm 34:5  They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. 

2. Galatians 1:10b  If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 

3. Philippians 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Stash Buster Sampler Afghan

With three grandchildren on the way, I need to have a few baby blankets in store, so I made this one out of left-over and hand-me-down baby weight yarn. Here's what I did:

Step 1: Gather all yarn of similar weight. It doesn't have to be exact. You will be guessing at the amounts, but you should have a total of 16 - 18 ounces of yarn. Using a kitchen scale if needed, divide every yarn color and type into two equal piles. Put one pile in a bag and set aside.

Step 2: Choose a color from the pile not set aside. Using size 6 needles, CO 200 stitches. Work in double seed stitch pattern for approximately 12 rows. (If you have less yarn, CO fewer stitches for a smaller afghan.)

Step 3: Switch to a new color. Work 6 stitches double seed stitch. Knit across to last 6 stitches if your change is on the right side of work. Purl across if your change is on the back side. Work the last 6 stitches in double seed stitch. On the next row, work 6 stitches double seed stitch. Then choose a new pattern and knit across to last 6 stitches. Work 6 st double seed stitch. Continue with the new pattern for as long as you like, keeping your double seed stitch edging. Try not to use all your color up in one stripe.

Step 4: Repeat step 3 as many times as needed, changing the pattern stitch every time you change colors, and changing colors as often as you like, depending on how many you have.

Step 5: When you have used up your first pile of yarn, or your afghan is about half as long as you want it to be, get out the pile of yarn that was set aside. Match your color sequence going backwards. Don't match the patterns unless you want to. I didn't -- except the last color which is done in double seed stitch like the first.

Step 6: Bind Off.

Step 7: (The least fun one) Sew in all the yarn ends.

Double Seed Stitch: 

Row 1: K2, P2 across.
Row 2: K the knits and P the purls.
Row 3: P2, K2 across.
Row 4: K the knits and P the purls.

NOTE: Avoid rib and cable patterns as they will have a smocking effect.

You won't have the exact number of stitches for most of your patterns. When that happens, decide whether you want to stop in the middle of a pattern when you get to the end of the row or you want to have a few extra knit stitches on one or both ends. You may do it one way with some patterns and the other way with others.

I used the following books for patterns to sample:
Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Knitting
Sampler Afghans, Leisure Arts Pamphlet #932

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Gourd

A gourd sprang up to shelter me,
      And shade me in my grief.
I thought it would forever be,
      A source of sweet relief.

But after only one glad day,
      Which might my dreams confirm,
I learned it wouldn’t be that way,
      For God prepared a worm.

The worm attacked my precious shade,
      And smote it that it died.
The sun now beats upon my head,
      And I am sorely tried.

Like Jonah I am very faint,
      And wish myself to die,
But unlike him, make no complaint,
      Though unto God I cry.

I don’t deserve to have my way,
      Nor in the shade to sit.
The God who gave may take away,
       And I can but submit.

I can’t be angry, yet I plead;
      I dare to ask my Lord,
Unworthy though I am indeed,
       Please give me back the gourd!

                 PART II

I asked You for the gourd again,
      It was my only thought.
I felt its loss and cried in pain
      For shade that it had brought.

But when You took the gourd away,
      You never gave it back.
Despite my pleas, You said me nay —
      And let me feel my lack.

I don’t know why my hopes were raised,
      Then dropped and dashed apart;
Why I was left confused, half-crazed,
      And with a yearning heart.

But You have higher things in view,
      And know what’s best for me.
Without the gourd I can make do —
      But give me now a tree!

          PART III

Oh, Lord, if You would shelter me
      With some sweet second cause —
A short-lived gourd or towering tree
      Beneath which I may pause;

If you provide a resting place
      Where I may take a break,
Escape a while and slow my pace,
      And calm the breaths I take;

If I enjoy a short reprieve
      And revel in the shade,
Will all my strength for battle leave
      And idleness invade?

Will I expect to always rest
      And never leave the site?
Once of a little ease possessed,
      Will I refuse to fight?

Lord, help me proper use to make
      Of comforts that You send.
The benefits thereof to take,
      But not on them depend;

And not allow the gifts to block
      The Giver from my view,
But worthy of the Lord to walk
      In fellowship with You.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sampler Afghan

On display at the Beehive in Spencer, Iowa, this afghan is from a Leisure Arts pamphlet.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Things That Are Excellent

Philippians 1: 9-10

That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent.

   Do you know what is excellent? Do you know what things to approve and what to disapprove?  When there is a deviation from the norm, can you tell whether it is for the good or bad? The Bible tells us, "he that is spiritual judgeth all things."  How do you know if your judgement is right?  
   The Bible tells us what we need in order to "approve things that are excellent." (Phil 1:10.) The things we need in order to know what is really good are the things that Paul prayed that the Philippians would have:
   "That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement." (Phil. 1:9)
   In other words, we need to have love and knowledge.  Judgement (or discernment) by itself will not put us in the place where we can approve the things that are excellent.  Knowledge and judgement must be mixed with love.  Likewise, love must be mixed with knowledge.
   It seems people generally fall into one of two camps.  Either they are all love and approve all things or they are all knowledge and approve nothing outside their own sphere.  The spiritual position is in neither of these extremes.  In order that our judgement might be right judgement, and that we might approve things that are excellent we must have both love and judgement.
   If we walk on this spiritual path we will likely have folks on either side displeased with us.  Some will say that we are too soft, that our way is too broad, and that we don't use enough discernment.  Others will say we are too hard, our way is too narrow, and we don't have enough love.  Let us find the path that includes both love and knowledge, so that we avoid the ditches on both sides of the road.
   One of the ways in which love will help us to make proper judgements is that it will prevent us from judging things by one issue alone.  Love will prevent us from condemning everyone who does not hold to our particular view of a favorite doctrine, or whose dress standard differs from our own.  Love will prevent us from excluding all who do not belong to our own circle of fellowship.
   On the other hand, discernment will keep us from embracing every wind of doctrine just because some dear Christians hold to it.  It will give us a foundation on which to stand, a perspective, and a solid footing that won't give way under the heaviest burden or the strongest love.  Let us stand solidly on the ground of truth, but let our love "abound yet more and more."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

More Expectations

I'm still thinking about expectations, and the saying, Expectations ruin relationships. This is a true statement when applied to selfish and ridiculous expectations, but it can't apply to all expectations, for it seems to me that a friendship without expectations is no friendship it all. 

Expectations in Friendship

If I can’t expect a smile;
Can’t expect a friendly chat;
Can’t drop in and stay a while,
Then what kind of friend is that?

If I dare not speak my mind;
Dare not open up my heart,
Then my friend, however kind,
Is but friend to me in part.

I expect to trust my friend,
And expect that trust returned.
Expectations cannot end,
Where true friendship has been learned.

When you give what you expect,
Sometimes more, but never less,
Then your friendship you protect
From the snare of selfishness.

If you don’t expect at all;
Only give and never take,
Your capacity is small
Deep and mutual friends to make.

Expectations are not wrong —
Only foolish ones resist;
Those that flow from love belong;
Friends without them don't exist.

Linked to WholeHeartedHome

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This knit apple was an accident. I was making a red ball, but as I stuffed it, I saw an apple. To make it, follow the pattern for Brent's sphere. I made the larger size and used Red Heart Super Saver yarn with size 4 needles, but you can make any size. Mine is 3 1/2 inches in diameter and 4" tall.

Stuff with fiber fill, leaving space at the top. After you sew the top together, draw your yarn downward and sew a knot in the bottom of the apple. Then tie a knot in a long strand of brown yarn, run it through the bottom near your red knot, and up to the top indent in the apple. At the top, cast three stitches on to a double point needle. Make an I-cord to desired length. Bind off the three stitches and run your yarn into the apple.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Humanism and Christianity

   When I was a new Christian, saved perhaps for two years, I was taking an education class at my Lutheran college. On the first or second day of class the teacher told us that he was a Christian Humanist. He said that anyone who thought that that was a contradiction in terms should come to his office after class. I went. I don’t remember what he told me, but it sounded like mumbo-jumbo, and I quit the class and changed my course of study.

   Now about 30 years later I am revisiting the question. What is the difference between humanism and Christianity? Is it possible to embrace both?

   If you believe liberal theology and call yourself a Christian, I suppose you would say that it is very possible, since the modernist version of the gospel is essentially humanism with Christian terminology tacked on to it.

   But if you believe the Bible, and believe that man is a sinner in need of a savior, then, No. Humanism and Christianity are mutually contradicting. Humanism teaches that man is essentially good, in need of education and opportunity. The Bible teaches that man is essentially wicked, in desperate need of regeneration.

   Now, on a practical level the two systems may actually appear to give similar results. For example, consider working (as I do) with people with disabilities. Many of the people who qualify for services have severe adaptive disorders. In other words, they don’t know how to behave. A humanist is taught to look at these people and say, “They are as good as I am.” If he can make himself believe that, he is a good humanist who sees all men as equals. The Christian, on the other hand, is taught to look at these people and say, “I am as bad as they are.” This is a much easier task, for all of us know the sin that lies within. We know that if it were not for the grace of God and the wisdom to know how to check the lusts of the flesh, we could easily misbehave as much as anyone. We can probably also think of times when we actually have done so. Thus, a Bible-believing Christian actually has an easier time viewing all men as equals. He knows that by nature “they are all under sin.” Rom. 3:9.

   Though the Christian and the Humanist have essentially opposite views of man, they both come to the same conclusion: That all men are equal. The Humanist professes to believe they are equally good. The Christian knows that they are all equally bad.

   It is rather ironic that the philosophy propounded continually on television is that of humanism, and all the while, man is portrayed by the same medium in all of his vileness and wickedness. On the other hand, the religion that teaches that man is essentially evil produces fruit that cannot be denied: love, joy, peace, gentleness, and goodness. Things which many who believe in the goodness of man are not afraid to make a mockery of ~ and at the same time accuse Christians of hypocrisy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fancy Knit and Purl Patterns

Generally I prefer mindless knitting, but recently I have been experimenting with projects that require a little thinking.

Fancy Lozenge Pattern

This complicated knit and purl pattern isn't hard to knit as long as you know what row you are on and pay attention. Two other keys to help maintain sanity are:

1. Know which is the right side, and remember that you will always be working an odd row while on the right side. With other similar patterns, the right side may be on the even rows. Just remember which it is, and if you have trouble distinguishing, pin a large safety pin on the right side.

2. With this particular pattern, keep in mind that the your knits and purls will generally be offset by one. In other words, the two you knit on the last row, when they show up as purls on your next row, will not both be purled. Your pattern shifts with every row, so you know you are doing wrong if you are knitting the knits and purling the purls over any length of stitches.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Knit Plant Hanger

I bought a potted ivy at the thrift shop the other day, but I didn't have a plant hanger, so today I scoured the house for something to make one out of. How about using up some of the Red Heart Yarn I have been given? Red Heart isn't stretchy enough for my usual knitting, but it should be strong enough for a plant hanger. I looked online to find ideas for making a plant hanger out of yarn. The first thing I saw was instructions for knitting one. Why didn't I think of that??

I sort of followed a free pattern  I found on Ravelry, but as you will see if you click on the link, my finished product looks quite different. Here's what I did:

Suggestions for a smaller hanger in brackets.

1 skein Red Heart worsted weight yarn
   (or other strong yarn)
size 11 double point needles
size 15 circular needle

Using size 11 double points, Cast on 6 stitches, dividing between three needles.
Increase Round: K1, YO around
Knit three rounds.
Increase Round: K1, YO around.
Knit four rounds.
Continue knitting an increase round then four rounds of straight knitting until there are 32 stitches on each needle. (96 stitches total). [For smaller size, knit only three rounds of straight knitting between increase rounds.Work until there are 16 stitches on each needle. On the next increase round, K2, YO around. (72 stitches.) Knit one row.]
Purl 1 row. (I'll skip this if I do it again.)

Switch to size 15 circular needle and alternate between the following two rounds:
1: YO, K2tog
2: K2tog, YO
Make sides approximately 5 inches, or whatever height you want. (It'll stretch.)

**Switch to size 11 double points. Knit 32 [24] stitches. Leave remaining stitches on circular. Turn
Row 1: (P2tog) 2x, P to last 4 stitches (P2tog.) 2x. [Skip this row from small size.]
Row 2: (K2tog) 2x, K to last 4 stitches (K2tog.) 2x. [Skip this row from small size.]
Row 3: P2tog across. (12 stitches)
Row 4: P2tog, P4, Turn. Put remaining 6 stitches on holder, or leave on extra double point.
Row 5: K2tog. K3. Return the 4 stitches to the left needle.
Row 6: K2tog, K2. Return the 3 stitches to the left needle.
Continue making I-cord by knitting 3 stitches and returning them to the left needle. Repeat for 24". Cut yarn and pull through all stitches.
Attach yarn to 6 stitches on holder, starting on purl side.
Row 1: P4, P2 tog. Turn
Row 2: K2tog, K3 Return to left needle.
Row 3: K2tog, K2.
Now make I-cord as before.
Twist the two I-cords and tie them together at the top end.

Attach yarn to stitches on circular needle, and repeat from ** 2 more times.

Tie in loose ends. Tie the three twisted I-cords together in a large, tight knot. Cut the ends. If the hanger is too long, tie a second knot lower down.

After placing potted plant in the hanger, tighten up the bottom and tie a knot in the center, leaving a bulb of knitting.

I used this hanger on a pot with a 6 inch diameter at the base and approximately 9 inch width at the center. It will fit around a much larger one.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Expectations ruin relationships 

 is a true saying. But it is also true that

Relationships build expectations.

   From people I don't know I expect very little, but as they prove their goodwill towards me and build a friendship, I begin to have certain expectations. If those expectations go unmet, the relationship dies. If they are met, the relationship grows, and I begin to have more and more expectations until a plateau is reached or perhaps a crisis intervenes that changes the dynamics of the friendship.

   Sometimes our expectations are built on unrealistic fantasies that no fellow human can meet. Such expectations ruin relationships. But unfulfilled expectations are not necessarily the result of expectations that are unreasonable. Often even very legitimate expectations go unmet due to the failure of those who have caused us, by one means or another, to expect better things from them.

   Concerning a close friend who began to take up more of his time than he desired to give, William Cowper wrote, "Customs very soon become laws. . . . Long usage had made that which at first was optional a point of good manners, . . . " He felt obliged to meet the expectations he had raised in his friend, and he did so (--- until he realized that she had fallen in love with him, which of course changed everything, and he cut off the relationship altogether.)

  When Daniel was in the habit of meeting God three times a day, we might suppose that God began to expect that meeting. If so, He was not disappointed, and Daniel continued to do as he had always done even in the threat of the lion's den.

   I have been thinking about these things for some time, but I have hesitated to write about them because I wanted to delineate the ramifications of it all. I wanted to explain what kind of expectations are proper and which ones are not. And I wanted to say when expectations ruin relationships and when a ruined relationship is the fault of the one who fails to meet expectations. But these things are deep and intricate, and I am able only to lay out the principle. There are two sides to every coin. To every thing there is a season. (Eccl. 3:1). A time to expect things and a time to give what is expected.  A time to  lower expectations and a time to expect great things.

~Somewhere in Utah~
~ and if you expect my pictures to have a direct connection with my subject,
you may want to lower your expectations. ~


Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Florence was born in 1930. She passed from death into life about 1946. She passed from life into eternity March 3, 2013.

There’s a twinkle in her eye
In her home above the sky.
She has shed her house of clay
And has thrown the clod away.

Though it bound and held her fast,
She is freed from it at last,
And the Florence we once knew
Is alive beyond the blue.

There’s a spring now in her step.
She has humor, life, and pep.
By the earth no more confined,
No confusion clouds her mind.

Nothing’s there to cramp her style
Or to check her charming smile.
She is Florence through and through,
But with vim and vigor new.

We can bear our present pain
For the joy of Poppy’s gain,
For the life she hid with Christ
Now is hers, and amply spiced.

Things she once by faith believed
She has now in fact received.
What a glorious gift of grace!—
She beholds the Savior’s face.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Resurrection Song

Oh, do you believe in my Savior?
      The One who arose from the grave?
You’ve heard of the man they call Jesus.
      Do you walk in His power to save?

You’re on the broad road to destruction,
      Deserving His judgement and wrath,
Until you embrace the Lord Jesus
       And enter the strait, narrow path.

He left all the glories of heaven
       And lived as a man among men.—
They hated, rejected, and killed Him,
      But He lives in His power again.

To those who by faith will receive Him
      He shares of His glory and might.
He seats them in heavenly places
      And gives them the strength to do right.

Don’t think that you’re His or you know Him
      If you don’t have power today.
There’s power through His resurrection —
      The power to trust and obey.

Nita Brainard
February 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Falling Leaves Hat

   Made out of Paton's Kroy sock yarn, this hat is on display at the Beehive in Spencer, Iowa. The pattern for it is found in Creative Knitting Magazine, September 2012. The gauge is given only for ribbing, making it difficult to calculate, and I had to knit the hat twice. I didn't realize how large the first one was until I tried it on. The second time around I got cocky about the pattern and made lots of mistakes ~ but they were easy to hide in the pattern. Most of them are missed increases that I made up in later rows. If you make the pattern, note that in one place a decrease normally labeled at CDD (center double decrease) is in one place abbreviated: s2kp (slip 2, knit 1, pass slipped stitches over).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Balance in Poetry by Ezra

For all the aspiring poets in my readership, here's something my son wrote about writing poetry..

Balance in Poetry
The patterns in nature are obvious to the eye, though usually not absolute.  The seeds on the sunflower are always placed in a wonderful spiral pattern, but yet every sunflower is diverse from another.  Every snowflake is completely unique, yet each has it’s own pattern.  All animals of a specific kind look alike, yet every one looks different.  

Man’s patterns are usually more exact than those found in nature. Circles, right angles and straight lines will very rarely be found in nature, but they are the basic principles that man uses in most everything he builds. You would never walk into a tree plantation where the trees are all in perfect rows and call it a woods. A woods needs the randomness of nature.  Yet, you would never walk into a meadow and call it a garden. To have a garden you need more pattern and less randomness.  

Depending on how you want your poetry to feel, you can lean more one way or the other, but however it gets done, patterns and diversity must be balanced. You need enough pattern that the poem answers to itself and enough diversity that it is interesting. This goes for everything from rhyme and rhythm even to the content of the poem.  For example: stop and brake do not rhyme because they have no pattern, whereas brake and break do not rhyme because they have no diversity.  But brake and lake rhyme because with them you have the perfect balance of pattern and diversity.  

As stated, the meter of a poem is an important place to balance pattern and diversity. Without a pattern, you have prose. But for your pattern to be pleasing, it must have some diversity. A poem with longer verses may have more diversity than others, but each one has its own arrangement of accented and unaccented syllables. The pattern should be consistent throughout the poem but should contain enough variety that the poem is not sing-songy or monotonous. Only in the lightest children’s poem could you get away with as much pattern as in the following example:

Swimming, swimming,
The whale was swimming in the sea.
Swimming, swimming,
The dog is swimming after me.
Swimming, swimming,
I’m swimming swimming really fast.
Swimming, swimming,
My dog went swimming right on past.

Only in this modern world of rhyme can you get away with as much diversity as in this example:

While out for a swim in the sea
I saw a whale was swimming with me.
Not sure what it was, I swam really fast,
But my dog who is faster went swimming on past.

Each line has it’s own meter, making way too much diversity.  If I matched any three lines to the other one, I would have a consistent pattern, and the meter would then be acceptable.

Truth and passion are two factors that must be balanced.  Any poem that does not have both is quite worthless.  If all you do is state the facts, your poem will be bland, but if all you do is paint pictures and express feelings, your poem will be hard to understand.  The one is the meat, the other is the salt. Depending on your taste and the style you are writing, you can change which is which by emphasizing one above the other, but you must have both.

You also need the perfect balance of things old and new. You want to revive thoughts and feelings that the reader has already had, but it’s not enough to stop there. You must build on those thoughts and take your readers places they have never been before. If you only use language that is common and accepted, you will have a poem that is very understandable but very boring too. If you use completely new thought, you will have a poem that is very hard to understand.  If you mix the two and have a good amount of common language heavily mixed with your own new thought, you will then have a poem with power in it. Of course the best place to derive your common language is directly from the Bible, and the second is from the rich heritage of Christian literature that we have in English.

The idea of balancing both truth and passion, and things old and new, is very well summed up by this statement said of Jeremy Taylor, “We will venture to assert that there is in any one of the prose folios of Jeremy Taylor, more fine fancy, and original imagery — more brilliant conceptions and glowing expressions — more new figures and new applications of old figures — more, in short of the body and the soul of poetry, than in all the odes and epics that have since been produced in Europe.” ~Edinburg Review*

Sourcing your thoughts directly from the Bible is not only beneficial because it is good to use concepts that your reader has already thought before, but it becomes necessary if you are going to have a poem that will have a lasting effect on someone’s life. The words of Scripture are living words like no other words ever spoken.  So tapping into them will put power in your poem, because now you are not the one saying it, but you have taken God’s words and put them to use.  I am assuming that you will use Scripture in context, fitting passages together that go together, otherwise it is worthless.  Now, if you do all that perfectly  but do not add any personal experience, you will have a poem that is doctrinally correct, even deep in a sense, but not touching in the least. I have seen poems where some poet rewrote a passage of Scripture in a poetic form, but such poems tend to be dry.  I would rather read the Scripture just as it is.  On the other hand, if you write a poem that is full of experience and emotion so that it is very touching, but not directly biblical, you will have a poem that is poor at best. I am not talking about poems that are unbiblical, because they teach things contrary to the Scripture, but simply poems that are not directly biblical.  Such poems may release a flow of emotion, perhaps even make people cry, but changing their lives will remain the work of those who use Scripture.

*. Library of Old English Prose Writers volume viii Jeremy Taylor, facing the preface

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Trust in the Lord

Psalm 118:8; Hebrews 13:5-6, 8

It’s better to trust in the Lord than in men,
‘Cause people will fail you again and again.
It’s not that they mean to; they simply fall short
Of our expectations for love and support.

But God isn’t like that. His love never fails,
And even in trials, His goodness prevails.
He never will leave us. He’s faithful and strong.
He’s righteous and holy and can’t do what’s wrong.

The Lord is our helper, defender, and friend.
On Him and His Word we may safely depend.
He keeps every promise. He listens and cares,
And He is the One who can answer our prayers.

I trust You, Lord Jesus, and call on Your name.
Today and forever You’re always the same.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sorting Needles

   I have felt knitting rolls to organize my straight needles and crochet hooks, but circular needles  are harder to store.

This may or may not look like an improvement over this:

But if feels like an improvement to me, as each needle is labeled, saving me having to get out my needle gauge when I want a circular needle.

   I was inspired to make this by a needle organizer I saw somewhere online that used wooden spools glued together in a fashion similar to my crocheted loops. At first I was going to sew loops in the ribbon, but my ribbon wasn't long enough. So, instead I crocheted chains of 10 stitches, joined and single crocheted around again. Then I sewed them on to the ribbon using both ends of the yarn. The main benefit of this design was that is gave me a purpose for some of the Red Heart yarn I invariably have on hand. It's not stretchy enough for knitting, but it is strong and unbreakable, so it is great for this project. The little plastic curtain rings I use for stitch markers would have worked, too, but I didn't think of that soon enough.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Owl Afghan

   It seems to be that season in my life when friends and relatives are getting married. Hopefully I can keep up on afghans. This one pleased me more than usual. I like it so much that I didn't even mind fidgeting with French knots for the owl eyes.

   The afghan is adapted from Margaret MacInnis' Waffling Owl Afghan block, which is a free Ravelry download. I used Caron Simply Soft yarn, and the drape is beautiful. I knit the blocks in 4 strips of 5 squares each, and I added seed stitch to the side edges of the blocks.

The wedding is today.
Blessings to the happy couple!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Stars and Squares Afghan

The recipients of this afghan eloped.

They can keep me from coming to the wedding, but they can't keep me from knitting an afghan!
Unfortunately I didn't get a good picture. ~ Afghans are very hard to photograph.

   The pattern is The Quilt Look Afghan from Lion Brand ~ and I followed it almost exactly. If I were to make it again, there are some things I would do differently ~ but I probably won't.

   The directions for the stars say to switch to circular needles when you get enough stitches. I didn't. Instead, as the work progressed, I kept my stitches on the double points by corking the ends. I used only four needles, which left me with one needle with less stitches than the others. This one I didn't cork, giving me an extra reminder of where the end of the round was.