Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First Legitimate Yarn Project

This is what my boss called my beanie. Well actually it is Jonathan's beanie. I made it for him. He asked me for a black beanie. It had been a while since I worked on a beanie so I wanted to practise. I had some extra brown yarn, so I started working a simple sc spiral beanie. I really liked the way it turned out. And so did Jonathan, so he asked if he could keep it. Now he has commissioned me for a red one and a black one. We haven't discussed payment yet, but a week or two of washing dishes may suffice.

I brought the beanie to work, and my boss was impressed. He is never impressed. This is really funny, because this has to be one of the most simple patterns I have worked on. But this beanie, well this beanie looks "legit" like it could be sold in a store, according to to my boss. In fact, he said he never wears beanies, he doesn't even own one, but if Jonathan didn't want it, he would like to have it.

I think the color is causing all the fuss. The pattern is nice, but nothing spectacular. Still it does look nice in this color.

Though I did make a beanie for my sister-in-law's husband two Christmases ago, and apparently he wears it all the time. It was the same pattern, perhaps slightly looser, but still a sc spiral.

Heck, if people like the beanies, then I am happy! I love making things with yarn, and it is so rewarding when people enjoy my crafts!

It all started with an urge for herbs...

My inner hippie is starting to get more and more bold. There was a time when I tried desperately to repress her. "You are not welcome here!" I would tell her. "I am a cynical sort of gal, and there is absolutely no room for you in my life! So get! Move along!" But you know the rule, the minute you deny something, that is the exact moment it becomes true. God has a way of proving us wrong. I love that saying "we make plans, and god laughs". This is certainly the case in my life.

About three weeks ago I planted my very first herb garden. I bought a small starter kit at Home Depot, which consisted of four small planters in a wooden box. The kit said that I would start to see the seedlings in seven to nine days. So I waited, and when day ten came and there was no sign of seedlings, I knew I had done something wrong. I failed! If I can't even grow a plant how can I ever have a pet or even a child?!?! What kind of a mother would I be??? I know I am a bit dramatic. And my husband, that wonderful man, put his arm around my shoulders and reminded me that it had been pretty cold that week, so maybe the herbs would just need a little more time. Thank god he was right! By day fourteen my cilantro had peeped his head above the dark dirt.

Everyday since has been a tiny adventure as I come home and see the subtle changes, noting the new height, or the new leaves and stalks. These are changes that only a mother would notice. Yesterday I saw mini-cilantro palms hiding amongst the rest of the stalks. My heart did a little diddy!

Encouraged by Mr. Basil, Mr. Chives and Mr. Cilantro, Jonathan and I went out to Home Depot yet again, this time in search of vegetables to adopt. I had some very helpful tips from a friend at work. He really encouraged me to consider container gardening, since I have limited space at my apartment complex. And thanks to him, I came home with a tomato plant, a pepper, an okra, a cucumber, and a strawberry plant. Below is a picture of all my kiddies. I am happy to report that they seem to be doing well and I haven't killed any of them...yet.

This is good for me. It is work, but it is rewarding. It requires diligence, but there is a bigger goal. It reminds me of my place on earth, my connection and dependence on this beautiful planet. It is humbling, and reaffirming. It reveals God's maternal traits as the nurturing voice that bears fruit. And dagnabit, it makes my inner hippie happy as she finally gets her place in the sun. Hopefully in a few months I will be able to have you all over for some salad featuring some of my fresh tomatoes, and I will formally introduce you to Ms. Hippie :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Right to Flee, the Call to Stay

I have been thinking seriously about something. I read somewhere about the idea that the American dream, you know, the house, the picket fence, the family, the yard and all, that this suburban destination does not coincide with building the kingdom of God here on earth. This is a very sensitive subject. And I would imagine that many people will be offended even outraged by such a thought. I am not writing to say that I have figured it all out, but rather that I have been thinking about this, weighing its validity and wondering what God would have me do.

I believe that I have been complacent in my faith. If I truly believe that I have the truth, and heaven and hell weighs in the balance, then why am I so reticent? What do I have to fear?

I have also been thinking about the hierarchy of needs. This theory speculates that people are not capable of higher thinking (what we might call philosophical thought, philanthropic desires, and morality etc.) until their most basic needs are met, namely food, shelter, safety, a sense of belonging, and community. Aside from a miracle, and I do believe in miracles, I think there is too much hurt in my own neighborhood for people to understand and receive the truth. It is simply easier to live in the lie, to rely on survival skills rather than to face the unknown, that being a new life in Christ.

So we find ourselves in these communities with broken and hurting people who need the truth but who need healing first so they can receive that truth. But sometimes it is hard to see that side of them when they are flipping us off, or cursing at their children, when the children are more worried about seeming "cool" rather than being innocent. And how do we love them when there is so much distrust and so many walls up? How do we openly reach out when the truth is we are afraid of them? How do you make yourself vulnerable and willing to be moved by compassion without seeming weak? How did you do it Jesus? How on earth did you do it?

I am not sure if it right to leave a community for a "safer" one in the suburbs, all for the sake of providing the safest place for your family. Aren't these broken and hurting our family also? Aren't we called to love the broken and hurting? How can we do so if it takes us an hour by car to get to them? I am not suggesting that all Christians should move into downtown urban communities, nor am I denying the fact that all people in all walks of life need Christ, even the home makers in suburbia. I am just wondering where the balance is. Did God mean for us to flee? I use that word because that is what appears to be happening.

When the same thing happens in another context, there is a certain repugnance and disgust, a sense of prejudice and injustice that prevails. When "white flight" occurs I cannot help but feel outraged and frustrated by the oppressive, destructive and unspoken rules of this world. Are we guilty of the same? Have we committed "Christian flight"? Are we fleeing the the broken and lost, in search of a safer place to call home? But aren't these the ones Jesus lived with, ate with, laughed with? He was not concerned with the things of this world. He trusted in the Father for His safety, for the outpouring of love, for anointed meetings, and for all his provisions. What faith! LORD, may I too trust, truly trust in you, and may I not be swayed or tempted away from the people you love, and who need you, who desperately need you. May I not flee from those, who, though rough around the edges, were still created in your image.