Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baby Hat Project

Currently I have been knitting baby hats just for fun and maybe for Etsy. They are a lot of fun and easy to whip up in no time. Here is one I created as my "couch-potato, no-brainer" pattern. This one in particular can have the brim folded up to fit an infant's head and taken down and stretched to fit as the baby grows. For a cute alternative, add stripes every few rows or do the brim only (ribbing section) in an alternative color.

Yarn: small amount of fingering weight yarn(I used Caron Simply Soft)
Needle size: US 8 5.00mm straight needles

Cast on 54 stitches.
K1 P1 ribbing for 2 inches in height (aprox. 10 rows)
SS (stockinette stitch*) for 4 1/2 inches (aprox. 20 rows)
decrease rows:
row 1: (P1, p2tog) across to end
row 2 K across
row 3: p2tog across
row 4: k2tog across and break off yarn

draw yarn through all stitches on the needle and pull off the needle. Pull tight and sew down the seam. Weave in ends.

*stockinette stitch explanation:
row 1: k all sts across
row 2: p all sts across
repeat rows 1 and 2

Monday, March 22, 2010

It must be my month...

Since Nathan got the job at The Tech Place and has been working three hours extra per day, we have run into loopholes in our system. First thing is dinner time. We have to eat at 8:05 on the dot. That is when he gets home. Our second loophole. Groceries. By 8:00, Nathan gets off work. Five minutes later he is home, changes into casual attire and eats dinner before settling down for the night. No more grocery shopping at 5:30 with him.

Today I decided to go walk to the store for a change. I hadn't done that in nearly two years. It is a half mile walk round from our apartment to the ghetto Ingles (store #14) and back. I had a small shopping list anyway, so I thought, "why not?" Getting to the grocery store was no problem. Getting back is all uphill. Still no problem. The problem was that I needed another tote bag to bundle all my bags together. I ran into the Dollar General and bought a second market bag and readjusted my items for the trip home and shouted blessings to the lady who helped me find the bag.

At the beginning of the road leading to our driveway, I stopped to catch my breath, drink some water, and prayed, "Lord give me strength and help me home." Like I always do. Not too long after that, two cops pulled off the side of the road. One in front of me and one behind. Great, what did I do now?!?

I paused and the lady in one of the cars got out walked toward me and said "someone called asking if you needed a ride home." The only problem here was they asked me too late. I was in front of our apartment.

"Oh they were sweet" I exclaimed with a smile, "But that is my home. I made it!!"
Did I look that pathetic while walking home? I bet I looked funny. I had two market bags and an Ingles sack and my shoulders may have been sagging. Who was it that called? I thank God the person calling was a sensitive and ever so kind person. I tear up right now just thinking about them and the kindness they showed me. I will never know who, but I thank God for them and pray He shows them mercy and kindness. Somehow I wish I could meet them and thanked them.

God did help me and was watching out for me for sure!! My prayer was answered. I did make it home and I now have a story to tell. How often does a street walker get pulled over by two cops?

Life is Good

This morning I awoke to Nathan dragging me across and out of the bed by my ankles, like normal, with no more than a brief, "Dorry-it's-time-to-get-up" warning. I grumble and moan, like usual, because I do not want to get up. I try really hard this time to hold onto the bed covers and pillow and "will" myself into being stronger than Nathan for once. To no avail. He gets me to my feet and pushes me down that long and everlasting hall to take care of business. The cats are already waiting for me in the bathroom, like always, with Copper on the sink and Scrabble pacing in front of the toilet, meowing. I smile weakly. Their job is to force me into giving them both their morning affection during my most inconvenient time. It is their version of a wake up call.

Dragging myself into the kitchen, I spot Nathan scooping aromatic coffee grounds into his French press. I wish for once that I could have caffeine this morning, as is my desire each morn. Nathan leaves the room calling orders to me that are not necessary, because I do them each morning anyway. Still, I nod and mumble a sleepy "ok." With that, I wait for the kettle to sing before filling his little French press.

Zombie-like, I shuffle my feet across the kitchen floor making breakfast preparations. I pause to stretch my arms and arch my back. All of a sudden breakfast is on the table with Nathan is in his seat across from me looking like an angel of morning-time, with his coffee mug full and steamy and a broad smile I want to smack off his face. Somehow I cannot recall the steps we took to get to this point. And as normal, I fold my right hand into his left while he blesses our breakfast, provided for us from above. We eat, transfer the dishes to the sink, and then sit at the table once more. The climax of each morning.

He lifts our Bible from the kitchen dresser and flips it open to the bookmarked location in Hebrews. Today's verses were of our Great High Priest in chapter four. What a burden that was!! I listen carefully, taking in as much as I can for morning time. All the while, Scrabble is pushing herself at my feet and legs, yearning for more attention and Copper sits proper like watching us. We talk a little about the verses while clearing up the kitchen and preparing for our day.

It is a beautiful morning, an untainted day, and lovely altogether. Life is good. Nearly forgetting to check the news online, I pull out my laptop and discover Obama's bill passed, however unconstitutional. I find myself very calm at the moment of discovery. I know it will no ruin my day. Life is still good, because God is still in charge of our world and His justice will prevail. Nothing happens in life that God did not already know would happen. This is a comfort. He knew that last night's bill would pass. He has plans already. I would never have voted for it, yet I know this has happened because of the sinfulness of men and that God will work through it all for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Our part in life as His children is to remain faithful to Him. All we can do is pray and continue on our journey.

I hope and pray all who read this is having a blessed day and that you will go about your days while enjoying your little routines in life like I do. God Bless you!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Another interesting episode in my life.

While working on my math homework, a friend of mine was passing through the student lounge. I waved to him and shouted, "How are you?"

"Doing great, beautiful day out, I love the sun being out! Well I am heading out to eat, food is great!"

I proclaimed, "yes it is!" to which he replied, "I get to eat three meals a day. God is good!"
And with that he pushed opened the door and left the building. I had to smile to myself and think, this is the second day someone has proclaimed a simple truth about God to me.

In a small way I am encouraged to speak up on anything that can proclaim God's majesty and not feel ashamed. I am finding out more and more that there are more people out there who stand for the truth.


Yesterday, I went to school to take a Geography test.

After the test, while waiting outside the library for the transit and munching on mixed nuts a young fellow in his twenties stepped out of his car onto the sidewalk and stopped at the entrance. He looked at me and asked, "Did you hear the birds?"

I was taken aback. I never have guys his age ask me that question. Taking him for a flirt, but not knowing how else to respond I say, "yes, they are pretty aren't they?" I did notice they were singing more often since the warmer weather came. Surely he is just an observant and flirtatious male; can he see my rings?

"Do you know what they are telling you?" I nearly laughed at this one and I am sure I looked a bit confused, yet I had to ask him out of curiosity,

"What are they saying?" Here goes; he surely must be wanting to ask for my number in the strangest way possible or tell me, through the birds, that I am pretty or something.

"They say, 'God is watching over you.' "

Of all the things strangers have said to me, this one tops them all!!!

"Yes He is!" I agreed, smiling.

He continued walking toward the library and said to me "I thought you might like to know that."

"Thanks." I had to reply, still smiling. It is a simple message and true enough. God's birds are evidence of His watch-care as the Bible tells us. And He is watching over us. I could find no fault in His message.

After he entered the library, I turned back to watching for my bus and laughed a little. God does work in mysterious ways, as we often tell ourselves. But does He work in the most bizarre ways too? My day had been going fairly well up to that point. But still I needed the encouragement and reminder that it was going well because of Him, how often we forget His hand in our lives especially when things are going the best. Nathan and I had just discussed this during our morning devotional.

I do not believe I will ever forget this young man...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Mother's Prayers

As I look back on my life, there is a memory that I cherish and hold dear to my heart. The moments when, as a child, Mom would take me to bed, whisper with me, and end the day in prayer. We never called it "tucking in" as most did. It was the moment Mom would "pray with me." No night was complete unless Mom kneeled at my bedside to pray. It was a security thing for me, at first. After her prayer was finished, she would hug me tight and kiss me. Then before she would leave the room, I would call to her, "I love you Mom" while she replied, "love you too!" "Goodnight, Mom!" "Goodnight!" And yet I still wanted more of her before sleep came. I never wanted her to leave my room. Was there a way I could stall her from leaving the room? "I love you!" I would say quickly and she would poke her head back in the room with that sweet smile and soft reply, "I love you too!" To my regret, she would leave again and for the last time I would say, "Goodnight, mom, I love you!" But it would be too late and she would reply from the hallway, her words reverberating off the high ceiling and walls from the front entrance.

If Mom was busy and told us to go get in bed she would never need to forget to pray; we always reminded her. Though I do not remember any of her prayers, I know they meant a lot. Whenever I had a nightmare and awoke crying, she would be there to tell me about God and that I needed to trust Him. Before leaving me, after I was calmed down, she would pray one last time and my night was complete. I remember one night, after another nightmare. Mom whispering to me that I was not alone, God was with me always. I recalled the words of a song by Judy Rogers about God being like the wind and how I couldn't see it. Often Mom would sing it softly to help sooth me of my fears.

My mother is a very precious woman. Caring, sweet, beautiful, and best of all, comforting. My favorite memories of her when I was ages two to six years old were those blessed moments she spent with me by my bed. She was always there for me when I needed her most. Never a day went by without her songs, stories, meals, and best of all, the bedtime prayers. After leaving one bedroom, she would move to the next room to pray with my brothers. I hated the departure, but I knew she would be there the next night to tuck me in. Later, when I was older, I prayed by myself. I grew up and missed out on the times when Mom would put me to bed. For with the moments before bedtime she also would tell us about Jesus and his dying on the cross and how we needed to believe in him. I still remember telling Mom, "but I do believe in Jesus; I know he died for me." I don't remember when Mom stopped praying with me before bedtime; the transition is lost in my memory, but I know that those were beautiful times I hope never to forget.

I was richly blessed by my mother and our bedtimes prayers. Most children get bedtime stories before going to sleep and a kiss on the forehead, but I would never have desired that over her prayers. My life, as it is now, may never have been the same if it hadn't been for those precious moments with Mom before sleep. God used those times in my life. They were a gift. If the Lord sees fit to provide children in our life, I plan on continuing the legacy of bedtime prayers.

Thank you Mom, for sharing those times with me. They meant and still mean a lot to me. I love you more for the beautiful "tucking in" experience you gave me during my childhood. That was the true love of a mother. When all other items you put on a back burner to be with me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

recent accomplishments

On Monday, I found myself itching for change! Not the money that jingles in your pocket, but the term referring to an event or idea that makes life or home different. Since moving into the Henson apartment we have been enjoying space and being able to sprawl out and breathe. The reason I wanted change was because of one room that isn't breathable or livable, at least not to me. The place Nathan spends most of his time while I am busy doing homework or kitchen work. The guest room/office/laundry room. Yes the three are one!

I have tried time and again to make the place cozy, bright, and welcoming. Yet each time I enter that room to get Nathan for breakfast or dinner or to spend time with him, I find myself claustrophobic and raring to get out of the "dark hole" as I have begun to think of it.
I feel that I have accomplished the transformation of "dark hole" into "home." These are just a few snapshots of this feat.

I feel like it is now a new place, all bright and cheery. I still have some work to do, like hanging pictures in place and organizing the shelves better, but here is what I have completed so far.

So first thing was that I moved the small shelf from this corner

to here.

The following is the way it looked before this moved.
Well...there is a bit of a someone in the way, but you see what this wall looked like before :-)

Next I moved this shelf to over....


I then put this in the entrance to the guest room/laundry/ office.

And where the dresser used to be, is now the above! This is what I did just for my cozy corner where many hours will be spent reading aloud to Nathan! He is probably more excited about this than I am.

At nights he craves our reading time. I did not like being in the guest room because it was dark, plain, and cramped. Not to mention I had no real space to read that was comfy. To read aloud in "his room" while he was at his desk, involved a ten minute struggle with the trundle bed in order to be relaxed enough to enjoy reading. The effort was too much for me and reading time became dreaded. I just couldn't bear the thought of him alone! The thought makes me feel lachrymose and depressed just imagining how lonely it would be having your own spouse not want to spend every opportune moment together all because of a silly discomfort!

I like to think that this room will now become "our room" where we can spend precious times discussing politics, relishing moments of joy, laughing together, and just being in each others company. Though I meant the corner of the room to be for our reading time, I know it will be a multi-functional spot. As Pooh would call it, my "thotful spot."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Breathless Moments and Snow.

There is something refreshing and exciting about the calm just before the snow; the anticipation of a few inches as you watch the weather channel's prediction the night before while curling both hands around a warm and soothing cup of coffee.

When in the morning, you glance out the kitchen window straining to see something in the black out there, adrenaline kicks in, you think you see a flake here and there falling. Could it be? You struggle to finish making breakfast for wanting only to give the window your undivided attention while wishing the visibility outside would improve. Will it snow today? you wonder as breakfast is on the table, prayers are lifted up before the Lord and plates squeak beneath the forks. If only the table were closer to the window to peer out in the dark in hope of a glimpse of white.

Finally after getting plates scraped and cleaning and silverware put up, you realize it is lighter than before, though still dark. Waltzing to the bedroom and opening up the bedside curtain, you see the street, the cars, and what's that? Is it possibly snow, or is it just rains. Focusing harder, you see what you had hoped for the night before. Soft small flakes sparkle before your eyes.

It turns a shade lighter outside and you know for sure there is no rain or sleet mixed in the snow, it is all snow!! When you call your husband to sit with you, he shares in this moment of gee. And yet you feel that he isn't truly drinking it in enough or feeling it just right so you get a poem about snow and read it. Still, the poem pales in comparison to how it truly is so you sigh and vow to station yourself by that window as long as you can and enjoy the moment while it is there. You are reminded that you are a minority in your town and wonder what it is about the snow that causes people to hate it. You lift a prayer of comfort for those people that they may see His glory among the snow they so strongly distaste.

Tomorrow the snow won't be the same as today. Today's flakes fall only once. Cherish these breathless moments of today knowing that God only gives you today for a short time. You hear this often, but does it truly sink in? Can you ever truly embrace the moments and really enjoy them as they are meant to be enjoyed?