Monday, January 31, 2011

Morning Coffee - In this very place

This thing is from me.  I Kings 12:24

“This thing is from me.  I am the God of circumstances.  You came not to this place by accident; it is the very place God meant for you.” 
Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman
Streams in the Desert

The very place.  This exact place; right here; right now; meant for me.  Am I making the most of it?  Am I doing in this place what I ought to be doing? Time for a second cup of coffee and some serious soul searching as I begin this day.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Power of Perfect Gussets!

Who knew that working heels and gussets could be so satisfying!  These are not perfect gussets but they are workable and were very fun to create!   Practice, practice, practice will eventually make perfect!

"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either."  Elizabeth Zimmermann


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Morning Coffee - Living with Limits

I just finished reading Amish Grace (by D. Kraybill, S Nolt and D. Weaver-Zercher).  This is the account of the tragic killings of the ten Amish school children at Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania on October 2, 2006.  This book attempts to explain the Amish people and their community of faith that would lead them to offer immediate and complete forgiveness to the killer and to embrace his family.  It is a powerful testimony.

The book ends with this passage:
“The Amish have learned to live with limits.  Indeed, they would argue that setting and respecting limits on almost everything is one of the foundations of wisdom.  Limits, for the Amish, are a necessary requirement for human happiness.  Without limits, the Amish believe, individuals become arrogant, conceited, and self-destructive.  To be sure, restraints diminish individual freedom, personal choices, and various forms of self-expression.  At the same time, some would say, they grant greater dignity and security to the individual than the endless choices afforded by modern life.  To the Amish way of thinking, a respect for limits builds community, brings a sense of belonging, and shapes identity – three important keys to human satisfaction and happiness.”

I wonder if living with limits is what we are really striving for when we try to “Simplify” our lives.  Maybe, it’s as simple as putting some limits on ourselves and our desires and in the process finding out that there is more satisfaction and happiness to life when we do.

Time for a second cup of coffee and some pondering of personal boundaries for this day.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Room Of One's Own Day

Today is A Room of One’s Own Day.  Celebrate the birthday of Virginia Woolf ( January 25, 1882 – March 28, 1941), the English author who wrote A Room of One’s Own  by creating and enjoying a special place of your own.

Arrange whatever pieces come your way.
Virginia Woolf


Monday, January 24, 2011

Morning Coffee and Reaching Goals!

"Tell everyone what you want to do and someone will want to help you do it." ~ W. Clement Stone

I learned this lesson first hand recently when I commented to Matty on her Blog, Lazy Bee Farm,   that I wanted to learn to knit socks.  Next thing I knew, a “Getting Started Knitting Socks” book arrived on my doorstep and now just this past weekend, a skein of yarn and a sock pattern arrived.  Matty wanted to help me with my project.  And isn’t that a great definition of a friend – someone who helps you reach your goals!
Time for a refill and some work on my goals!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Morning Coffee – Play the "rests"!

Not without design does God write the music of our lives. Be it ours to learn the tune, and not be dismayed at the "rests." They are not to be slurred over, not to be omitted, not to destroy the melody, not to change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat the time for us. With the eye on Him, we shall strike the next note full and clear.

January 22
Streams in the Desert
By Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman

As one who played the clarinet in the school band, I understand how the musician must stay focused during the rests in a piece of music. It is not a time to turn away from the director and day dream. Instead it’s a time to double your focus so as not to miss the cue for your next note.

Time to refill my cup and sharpen my focus on my Director.  My music depends on it!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Morning Coffee

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."
e.e. cummings

Time to refill my cup with coffee and courage and prepare to be me today!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Morning Coffee - Knits, Prayers and Purls

January 19
Streams in the Desert
By Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman

Rubenstein, the great musician, once said, "If I omit practice one day, I notice it; if two days, my friends notice it; if three days, the public notice it." It is the old doctrine, "Practice makes perfect." We must continue believing, continue praying, continue doing His will. Suppose along any line of art, one should cease practicing, we know what the result would be. If we would only use the same quality of common sense in our religion that we use in our everyday life, we should go on to perfection.”
I thought this morning’s devotion was very apropos in light of my sock knitting project. It makes me wonder:  Do I put as much energy into my prayer life as I do into my knitting life? Do I seek the same level of perfection in my worship as I seek in my knits and purls?   This will be some good food for thought while enjoying a second cup of coffee.

"Men ought always to pray and not to faint."
Luke 18:1


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Morning Coffee - One Sock at a Time!

One sock completed; one large, not-quite-perfect (or cute) sock completed.  One more needed to make a pair.  Then it will be on to smaller needles and lighter weight yarn.  It won’t be those teeny tiny size 2 needles yet but smaller than the ample size 5 needles used in this sock.   
Slow and steady.   
One sock at a time. 
Practice, practice, practice!

Time for a second cup of coffee and some mental mantra meditations – for both life and knitting.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Morning Coffee

"Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest."
~ William Shakespeare


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Morning Coffee - Emptying my pockets

"There are no worries like little worries, particularly if there is an accumulation of them.” George Matheson

I gather worries faster than Lucy and Ethel grabbed chocolates. As fast as my little fists can fly I grab at any little concern that comes down the line. When my hands are full, I stuff them (the worries) in my pockets (hate to run out!). It’s an instinctive reaction. Yet I know that it isn’t necessary. I know that I can let those little worries just pass on by; that God is waiting beyond me to gather them up and take care of them in his own loving way. He doesn’t need my help. My job is to simply trust Him to do it.

I think I need to grab that second cup of coffee and begin to empty my pockets.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Morning Coffee - Merry Christmas Memories!

This is not - by any stretch of the imagination - a DYI, HGTV or Martha Stewart type blog but I did create a fun simple project last week that I am very happy with and thought I would share.   

One thing my family and friends know about me is that I LOVE a new notebook.  So, as is usually the case, I received two new ones as Christmas gifts.  Granddaughter Meghan gave me one that I am now using for my knitting notes and my friend Audrey gave me a Christmas themed one.

Matthew 2:10:  “When they saw the star, they were filled with joy.”

Using this notebook, I decided to make a simple record of our Christmas 2010 – and then continue with each Christmas hereafter.  Simple being the operative word here; very simple!  

First I made a bullet list of activities and highlights of our month.  I listed the Advent book I used, fun decorating ideas, cookies baked, gifts given/received and services attended.  Just quick little notes.

Next I created at my Walgreen’s photo store a 5 x 7 collage print of 7 or so pictures from our month.  I attached that to the page opposite my bullet list.  And presto I now have a permanent record of Christmas 2010.  Additionally I tucked in one of the greeting cards we sent this year and I may include a few other cards and photos received.

“Easy peasy” as my daughter would say.  Yet next December it will be fun to relive the events of this past Christmas and add to it memories of Christmas 2011 – and then 2012 and so forth!

I believe I’m going to pour another cup of coffee, grab one of Mom’s good sugar cookies and once again enjoy my memories of Christmas 2010!

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Book Review - The Liturgical Year

The Liturgical Year
The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life
by Joan Chittister

Read my full review here.


Morning Coffee - An Ordinary Day

"When we come to a crisis it is easy to get direction, but it is a different matter to live in such perfect oneness with God that in the ordinary occurrences of life we always do the right thing." 
~Oswald Chambers

Doing the right thing doesn’t come easily. In fact it takes a deliberate attitude of rightness to make good choices throughout the day. It’s so very easy for me to slip into the wrong reaction. That said, I believe I’ll refill my cup and consider the ordinary choices I’ll make in the very ordinary day that lies ahead – and pray that I keep a right attitude.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Morning Coffee - So All Have Enough

From Watch for the Light – Readings for Advent and Christmas
(Excerpted and adapted from a  Christmas sermon by Martin Luther)

Therefore since you have received enough and become rich, you have no other commandment than to serve Christ and render obedience to him.  Direct your works that they may be of benefit to your neighbor, just as the works of Christ are of benefit to you.   For this reason Jesus said at the Last Supper: "This is my commandment that ye love one another; even as I have loved you."   Here it is seen that he loved us and did everything for our benefit, in order that we may do the same, not to him, for he needs it not, but to our neighbor.  This is his commandment, and this is our obedience. Christ helps us so we in return help our neighbor, and all have enough.   ~Martin Luther

So “all have enough”.  What a wonderful focus to have as we carry the Christmas spirit into the new year. Time for another cup of coffee and some thoughts on how I can best keep this commandment in my daily comings and goings.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Happy 68th Anniversary to my favorite Nonagenarians, Mom and Dad!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dews of Trial; Rich and Sweet

January 8

"I will cause  the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing." Ezek. 34:26                   

                   "The fruitful life seeks showers as well as sunshine."
asks for
looks for
searches for
wishes for
hunts for
calls for

"Dews of trial fall like incense, rich and sweet;"
"So shall those clouds thy soul with blessing feed."

Selected from
Streams in the Desert
by Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman

Friday, January 7, 2011

Socks, Books and Tiny Needles!

Ever since Matty of Lazy Bee Farm mentioned the knitting of socks on her blog I’ve been fascinated with the idea of trying to knit a pair.  I’ve knitted for years but only easy projects: scarves, mittens etc.; I’ve never attempted much beyond just plain back and forth knitting.  But, as I mentioned, the idea of cute socks was tempting me and I expressed that thought recently in a comment to Matty.

Well Matty decided to push me out of my comfortable contemplative stage and into the actual doing part.  On my doorstep arrived a box from Lazy Bee Farm containing a beautiful beginner’s sock book and a set of teeny, tiny double pointed needles.

The book is “Getting Started Knitting Socks” by Ann Budd.  It has wonderfully detailed instructions/illustrations as well as great sock photos.  Very helpful and inspirational.

Did I mention that the needles were teeny tiny?  The set on the left were the double pointed needles I learned on last winter while attempting some quick knit mittens.  The toothpicks on the right are the needles needed to make a fine pair of socks!  Yikes!

But I am hopeful that with some practice and some diligence I will be successful at this project.  I’ll have Matty as my coach and cheerleader.  She is a beautifully accomplished knitter who just finished this shawl pictured here - and wears hand knit socks (like these!) every day.   How great is that!!

So this is my goal: 
...a wearable pair of hand knit socks.  But first I need to figure out how to cast 40 stitches on one of those teeny tiny needles - and then keep them there!!

Morning Coffee - Without Reserve

January 7

“They who are God’s without reserve, are in every state content; for they will only what He wills and desire to do for Him whatever He desires them to do; they strip themselves of everything and in this nakedness find all things restored a hundred-fold.”

Streams in the Desert
By Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman

It might be good for me to pour a second cup of coffee and try to loosen my grip on a few “reserves”; I certainly have more than one hidden away in my tight little fist!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Morning Coffee - More than Happiness

“Happiness is not a sign that we are right with God; happiness is a sign of satisfaction and the majority of us can be satisfied on too low a level.  Jesus Christ disturbs every kind of satisfaction that is less than delight in God.” 
Oswald Chambers
If Thou wilt Be Perfect
There is a difference between happiness and joy and I need to be reminded of this daily.  Life isn’t about my personal happiness it is about seeking true joy in Christ.  God does not want to for me to be happy; He wants more than that for me.  He wants that I find joy in Him.

Time for another cup of coffee and some quiet meditation on the pursuit of a joyful spirit - and maybe a little dreaming of spring!

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Morning Coffee - A Secret Place

“He went up into a mountain apart” Matthew 14:23

"One of the blessings of the old-time Sabbath was its calm, its restfulness, its holy peace. There is a strange strength conceived in solitude. Crows go in flocks and wolves in packs, but the lion and the eagle are solitaires."

"The one thing needed above all others today is that we shall go apart with our Lord, and sit at His feet in the sacred privacy of His blessed presence. Oh, for the lost art of meditation! Oh, for the culture of the secret place! Oh, for the tonic of waiting upon God!"   –Selected

Streams in the Desert
Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman
 Time to find that secret place and refill my cup!