Charity Knitting

A while back I posted about Too Much Yarn. So now it is time for an update.

Soon after I made that post, I saw in our church program that they were asking for help with knitting/crocheting for the babies in the Koutiala Hospital as a part of the Mali Project. The idea is that every baby born at the Koutiala Hospital goes home with an outfit and light blanket. So I thought I would give the contact person a call, as I had all this yarn just waiting to be used, and most of it baby stuff! I wanted to give it to her to give to the people who were knitting. Well, she was less enthused, apparently she needs the knitting, but she said she would ask around and she took my name and number. I never heard back from her.

Now, I am always knitting, every spare moment. I can barely sit down without picking up the needles. I have projects specifically that I do during work breaks, simple things which I can chat with the gals while knitting. I usually have 2 or 3 projects going at home. And yet, I complain that I don’t have time to charity knit! What is that all about? So I thought, after I complete my current work project, I will use my work time to charity knit. In fact, I have a pretty decent stash of unused baby hats and sweaters to start me out. Now, my coworkers also know how to knit, so I thought maybe I would try to get one of them in on the action, providing that I donated the yarn and needles. I got a tentative yes from my favorite coworker. (She needs a nickname for this blog since I talk about her enough, and she reads this, so it has to be something good 😉 ) So, expect to start seeing some charity knitting here in the near future, projects by the 2 of us!

I have to admit, I am rather excited about this endeavor. Gives me a way to blow off steam at work as I normally would while still doing something more productive than a dishcloth. Furthermore, it provides me with someone to knit with, which is somehow a wonderful thing. Just have to get the current project done……

Also, if anyone knows of any simple and free baby patterns, please feel free to share!

“What if Cartoons Got Saved?”

Link to lyrics of the song I would like to write about.
I heard this song on the radio this morning. It has been out for awhile. It always annoys me. There is rather an obvious reason for that I think but I couldn’t identify what it was that was annoying me on a deeper level. This morning I figured it out.

Luckily it ties right in to what I want to write about for my second Jonah post.

We are entering Jonah 4, and in Jonah 3, Jonah has let the Ninevites know that God would destroy them in 40 days. The Ninevites believe, turn from their evil ways, and begin fasting, then God is merciful to them and spares them. All that a prophet could hope for right? Not Jonah!
Jonah 4 (Contemporary English Version)
Jonah Gets Angry at the LORD
1Jonah was really upset and angry. 2So he prayed:
Our LORD, I knew from the very beginning that you wouldn’t destroy Nineveh. That’s why I left my own country and headed for Spain. You are a kind and merciful God, and you are very patient. You always show love, and you don’t like to punish anyone, not even foreigners.
3Now let me die! I’d be better off dead.
4The LORD replied, “What right do you have to be angry?”
5Jonah then left through the east gate of the city and made a shelter to protect himself from the sun. He sat under the shelter, waiting to see what would happen to Nineveh.
6The LORD made a vine grow up to shade Jonah’s head and protect him from the sun. Jonah was very happy to have the vine, 7but early the next morning the LORD sent a worm to chew on the vine, and the vine dried up. 8During the day the LORD sent a scorching wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head, making him feel faint. Jonah was ready to die, and he shouted, “I wish I were dead!”
9But the LORD asked, “Jonah, do you have the right to be angry about the vine?”
“Yes, I do,” he answered, “and I’m angry enough to die.”
10But the LORD said:
You are concerned about a vine that you did not plant or take care of, a vine that grew up in one night and died the next. 11In that city of Nineveh there are more than a hundred twenty thousand people who cannot tell right from wrong, and many cattle are also there. Don’t you think I should be concerned about that big city?

Talk about a reluctant prophet, not only is he reluctant, he is not at all happy with the result even though that same result was the best that God could hope for. So I find myself asking this week, how often do my own prejudices and stereotypes get in the way of the moments which the Lord may be trying to speak through me? Just like in that silly song, the singer says “How about Beavis and that other guy? Nah!!”  Who are we to (hypothetically) decide that Beavis and Butthead are too far gone to save?

Jonah

WordPress ate my Jonah post when I made the switch…trying again.

We are studying Jonah at church right now. This week was Jonah 1, the sermon was very interesting and insightful. But that is not what I will be writing about. I picked up on something which I wanted to keep as a reminder here.

First the story:

Jonah 1 (New International Version)
Jonah Flees From the LORD
1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.
4 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.”
7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.
8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried to the LORD, “O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.
17 But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.

My thoughts and reminders:

Since I spent a good portion of my 20’s “running” it was rather interesting to delve into this first chapter. How many times I have ran! Ran to New Jersey, only to run to Pennsylvania only 7 months later, only to run to Nebraska fairly soon after. It has been an interesting journey as even when I was making decisions pell-mell on an adrenaline rush, I can frighteningly easily see where God has either “kicked me in the butt” for what I was doing or led things to happen even though I chose an option I do not believe he would have wanted for me. Funny thing, this ability to choose. So I was struck by Jonah and his running, so obviously against God’s will. Yet not only can he not get away with it, but God makes use of his peril, leading sailors to Him.

Though I would, at this point in my life, prefer to not make decisions in the previous manner, it is reassuring that though I have made some poor choices, the Lord is way more powerful than I and can turn something I have done into something better than it would be if it was left up to me.

Lent

I have a lovely older coworker who is my “adopted grandmother” here. She and her husband have been very good to me, making sure I felt that I have family in the area. The other day she mentioned that she was going to give up chocolate for lent. Now, last year, I cannot remember where (though I have my suspicions) I heard the argument that it might be more logical to have someone besides yourself pick something to give up for lent. I do not come from a denomination that practices lent, so the concept is slightly foreign to me but I thought that was a neat idea. This year, when my coworker talked about giving up chocolate, I remembered this and stated that I should perhaps get to pick what she is giving up and it certainly wouldn’t be chocolate. I argued that coffee might be a much better option. I said so flippantly. I was practically joking. I just was expressing what I thought was an interesting concept. Well she went right home and told her husband and told her church group and I found out today that she is indeed giving up coffee for lent. She thought that it might just be a great idea for lent and that if she could do it for lent perhaps it would “stick” making her healthier all around. She said it never occurred to her to give up something which was so much part of her routine and her life. It never occurred to her that coffee was an option. She was grateful that someone would point that out to her. (Seriously, she drinks pots of the stuff all day long!) So this morning is her first coffee less day, though I noticed she was trying out tea yesterday as well. She enjoyed a chocolate frosted donut in the meantime and I mentioned to her that she wouldn’t have been able to enjoy that little treat had she gone on her first instinct.

I have learned something from this too….You just do not know how your words affect those around you. This is a lesson best learned quickly and remembered. I said something flippantly and it “took”. What seeds do we plant daily in the minds of others that we would rather not plant? What seeds do we plant daily that would be helpful and beneficial to another person? What do we say to our friends, family, coworkers, children? Is it uplifting? Are we making statements we want to be remembered by? What seeds do we plant daily in our own minds that are not the least bit beneficial or uplifting? Can we plant good seeds in others minds when we can’t do so with ourselves?

A very special thank you to Cherie, my “sister of the fingers” (and sister of my heart) for your help in putting this post together, meanwhile being reminded and learning and “walking” along side me.

James 3 (Contemporary English Version)
The Tongue
1My friends, we should not all try to become teachers. In fact, teachers will be judged more strictly than others. 2All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.
3By putting a bit into the mouth of a horse, we can turn the horse in different directions. 4It takes strong winds to move a large sailing ship, but the captain uses only a small rudder to make it go in any direction. 5Our tongues are small too, and yet they brag about big things.
It takes only a spark to start a forest fire! 6The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a person’s entire life on fire with flames that come from hell itself. 7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures can be tamed and have been tamed. 8But our tongues get out of control. They are restless and evil, and always spreading deadly poison.
9-10My dear friends, with our tongues we speak both praises and curses. We praise our Lord and Father, and we curse people who were created to be like God, and this isn’t right. 11Can clean water and dirty water both flow from the same spring? 12Can a fig tree produce olives or a grapevine produce figs? Does fresh water come from a well full of salt water?

Wisdom from Above
13Are any of you wise or sensible? Then show it by living right and by being humble and wise in everything you do. 14But if your heart is full of bitter jealousy and selfishness, don’t brag or lie to cover up the truth. 15That kind of wisdom doesn’t come from above. It is earthly and selfish and comes from the devil himself. 16Whenever people are jealous or selfish, they cause trouble and do all sorts of cruel things. 17But the wisdom that comes from above leads us to be pure, friendly, gentle, sensible, kind, helpful, genuine, and sincere. 18When peacemakers plant seeds of peace, they will harvest justice.

Challenge Part II

I realized that I left it unclear as to what other challenges our Pastor might have offered. So I am going to take time to write about the challenge we participated in last summer.

Our church had committed, in January, to raise 1 million to start a hospital for women and children in Mali West Africa.

http://www.cccomaha.org/YOC/index.php?p=mali
http://www.themaliproject.org/home
http://www.koutialahospital.org/

This being a large sum even for a large church, our pastor decided to use it as an object lesson. He spoke about the parable of the talents and then handed out envelopes. Anyone who wanted to participate in the challenge was to take an envelope. In these envelopes were bills, $20, $50, or $100, to be used as seed money so that we could find ways to raise money for the Mali Project. A total of $20,000 was handed out that Sunday. Over the summer, church attenders came up with all sorts of ways to raise money. They were creative and they were persistant, and in the end, over $438,000 was raised, exceeding the expectations of everyone. And it was fun!

The Parable of the Talents

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.”

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

The man with the two talents also came. “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.”

His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

– Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)

Challenge

Our pastor has issued (once again) a challenge. We are to memorize a large (for me) chunk of scripture. He loves to issue challenges and we love to accept and exceed expectations. To add an additional element of interest, he has divided us into 2 groups, 45 and older, and then us younger crowd.
http://cccomaha.org/memory/index.php
I sit with a few single women who are older than 45, all of whom are single parents with now grown kids. They are, of course, very eager to go for the challenge and encourage me to do the same. So, in my attempt to do so I am going to type it out once which I do feel will help.

2 Peter 1:1-11

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perserverance; and to perserverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(I will be keeping myself updated as to my progress and do have some other tools that I may post here to attempt to memorize this. I have 6 weeks, we will see what happens.)