Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Grandma's Little Boy

My only grandson left for Lackland Air Force Base in Texas today for boot camp. I had been sworn in months ago but he had another swearing in this morning before he had to leave for the AF base. So grandma is a bit sad. I mean, I am happy for him because it is something he really wants to do and I am so proud of him I'm nearly bursting at the seams. The sadness comes from knowing he's not a little boy anymore and knowing that from this time onward he will be different. He'll be his own person. He will turn into a man and mature far beyond the little tyke who called cookies "ones." [There's a story behind that but I won't bore you with it right now.] He called me yesterday from Sacramento to say goodbye and I cried of course. But not while I was on the phone with him. I was able to hold it together until we had said our goodbyes and had hung up the phones. He wants to be a firefighter and he got that position so he's really excited. Anyway I thought I would share that. I hope to blog again real soon. In the mean time, please pray for Mikey when you have the time. Thanks in advance...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another Day In the Trenches

I finished my second pair of socks I was working on when I last wrote. They turned out to be the perfect size. Now I am working on my self-striping yarn (Felici Paradise from KnitPicks) for my third pair. I have one sock knitted to after the "heel turn" and it's now on holders while I work on the other sock of the pair. I will knit on this one until I'm ready to close with the Kitchener stitch and then I will go back and pick up the first one where I left off and knit it to to the closing of the toe also and then I will close both toes and I'll have my third pair done. Funny that they are all different sizes when I'm doing everything I can to make them all one size. I even knit a swatch with the Felici yarn and I'm using the needles the gauge called for and they appear smaller than the last pair that I used a smaller needle on. Go figure!!! It's frustrating! Now all I have to do is worry that this pair is too small. Seems like I've got to worry about something or I'm just not happy. Whine, whine, whine. Sorry.

We are working our way through the book Life's Healing Choices by John Baker. The material is good but there's one thing I don't like about the book and the step study that goes with the book and sermon is that it ends up labeling everybody a "recovering" something-or-other. Recovering codependent, recovering alcoholic, recovering sex addict, recovering over eater and on and on. I don't believe that we are all "recovering." I believe that most of us are "recovered" (past tense) something-or-others. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior everything in our past becomes out-dated. It's all past tense. It's history! God is good and faithful to forgive us our sins and put them as far away from us as east is to west. I'm not a recovering sex addict, or gossiper, or over eater. I am recovered from those sins. If we still live in its reality then we have not yet understood God's all-encompassing grace and it is a spiritual matter not a psychological one. And that's precisely what this study does. It deals with all our faults on a psychological level. Under God's grace there are only two states of being: unforgiven and forgiven. If we are forgiven then we have been set free and rest in God's love. If we are unforgiven then the one and only thing we need is God's forgiveness. Baker's book asks its readers to take a "moral inventory" and write it all down for as far back as can be remembered. What??? I ask again, What in the world is he thinking? He's asking all "recovering" Christians (and remember all Christians are recovering something-or-others to his thinking) to go back to the beginning and dredge up all the pain, all the sin, and all the errors in our pasts and deal with them. But, excuse me if I'm wrong, I thought God had already dealt with all my past sins and pains. If I am still living in the reality of all that error and guilt and sadness then it will do no good whatsoever to dredge them up all over again. It is a spiritual misunderstanding. I have not yet fully understood God's eternal, everlasting, all-encompassing, totally unmerited grace. The answer is a spiritual one. Dive into God's word and don't come up for air until you have fully and completely learned that God's forgiveness is free (that's the unmerited part) and absolutely complete (that's the everlasting and eternal part). God has already forgiven my past. I don't need to rake all this muck into my life today and "deal with it." God already dealt with it in His Son, Jesus Christ. It's like having a splinter in my foot. I take my foot and splinter to God and He removes the splinter. Problem solved. I don't need to find that splinter again and shove it back into my flesh so I can ask God to extract it again. Once God deals with the splinter I will never again need to feel the pain of that splinter. And if I do? Then I have a spiritual illness that can only be cured with and by Jesus Christ. There's no illness so great that getting alone with Jesus Christ will not cure.

And then there's the part of the program that has you verbally share your "moral inventory" with a fellow believer. That's like saying, "I'll take this sliver and shove it into somebody else's flesh." I strongly disagree with this step. This step takes you into a self pity party where you moan and groan and make someone else feel miserable. The only Person who needs to know these things is God. And if you're truly a Christian you've already told Him these things in your confession. And He's already forgiven you. You don't need to ask for His forgiveness again and again and again. Especially not through another human person. If we are God's children then we are already forgiven for every sin we ever committed or will ever commit. And that's the reality we need to live in. God's grace. His forgiveness. And if we don't live in that reality then we need to go to the source, the Bible, and learn what God's grace really means for us. We don't need to label ourselves with "recovering-anything." Christ has already labeled us. We are God's children. Totally forgiven. Totally free. No matter how corrupt your life was before you sought forgiveness from God, no matter how much pain was there, no matter what kind of wreck your life was in, it is no longer part of your reality. If you go back and try to psychologically "deal with" your sins you've missed the boat entirely. You haven't learned that God's grace and forgiveness are all-encompassing and eternal. Go to the Bible. Go to God in prayer. Ask Him to teach you what His forgiveness means. Don't go back and wallow in the muck and the mire of your past. Live in the reality of being a child of God. Totally forgiven. Totally loved. And totally free.

There is some worthwhile information in Baker's book (mostly in the quotations from Scripture). But don't use it as a book with all the answers. Go to the book. The Bible. There you will find the answer to any question you might have about your relationship with God. That's where you'll learn all about forgiveness and grace. We are able to live free of our pasts through the Truths found in our Bibles. The Bible is all we'll ever need. I guess I sound a little bit negative about Baker's book, don't I? I don't mean to, really. It's just that I get nervous when someone tells me to find my answers in a "moral inventory" and to find forgiveness for my past sins by confessing my sins to anyone but Jesus Christ. Now, I'm not saying you can't ever reveal your sins to someone else. I'm just saying that we don't need to pour over the years of our lives and write down every sin and hurt and habit and hangup and then share that list with someone else other than God. There is a time to confess sins. When they're current!! All this stuff in the past is just that: Past. I don't see anything wrong with talking over a current situation with a trusted friend as long as you're not seeking forgiveness from that person. God and God alone can forgive. But a trusted friend can help you see the error of your ways, so to speak. They can help you attain a balanced view of what's going on in your life and help you understand what you need to do. And most times there's a very simple solution to the problem. You need to get alone with God. But if you're struggling with a current issue, by all means, confide in a trusted and trustworthy friend. Talk openly and honestly with that person and seek their guidance. And chances are they will guide you right to the Bible where you'll find all the answers you need. We don't need all this psycho-babble because that's what it truly is, babble. This step in Baker's program is just exactly what a secular counselor might have you do. We have something so much better. We have the Counselor, the Holy Spirit and He will guide us into all healing. If we are spiritually ill we need a spiritual healer.

Baker's book will do a lot of good for a lot of people. But I think it's slightly off track with this step in the program. This is Baker's "8-Step Program." Not unlike the 12-Step program that has helped so many alcoholics and addicts to get clean and sober. But all the human race needs is Jesus Christ. Why go out of our way to end up being told that you're a "recovering" person. You aren't recovering in Christ. You are recovered! Past tense, present tense, and future tense. Recovered. That's what we need to understand. Our past is just that ... past. God is good and gracious and will forgive us all our sins. Why do we need to go back and deal with things God has already dealt with? Is God's forgiveness lacking? Of course not. It's our understanding of that forgiveness that's lacking. And for that we need to realize that God has already dealt with our sins. He put them in Christ and then put Him to death so that we might live free of them forever- more. Our past sins are gone. We are loved and forgiven and whole. God has already put our sins away. We don't need to go and drag them all out again. We just need a full understanding of what God's forgiveness means. And that will be found in no other place but the Bible.

John Baker's book is doing a lot of good but I sincerely believe that this step in the program is off base. If for no other reason than the hurt and misunderstanding such a list of past sins and hurts and habits and hangups could cause if it got into the wrong hands. In fact, the book talks about a couple who went through just such pain. He was a "recovering" and she was a "recovering" and he made out his Moral Inventory and it somehow ended up in her hands and neither of them were ready to deal with the issues he wrote about in his list. That alone almost ruined their marriage that they were trying to save. That's why we confess our sins to God. Because only God can adequately deal with them. Our sins are only safe in God's hands because only God puts them away as far as east is from west. This woman suffered a lot of pain as a result of this step in the program. Pain that was totally unnecessary. That alone should have given the author pause.

Well, on to safer grounds here. Our weather is cloudy and cold. We had over a half an inch of rain during the night last night. I'm not sure when the next rain is due in but it will more than likely be tomorrow or so. We had over 8 inches of rain in January. So far most of February is just drizzle but even drizzle adds up. Can't believe spring is getting so close. Only a couple more months and we'll be able to open up the house for fresh air again. I intend on doing a lot of Spring cleaning this year. Guess I better get all my socks knitted before then. I have one more pair of Felici to knit and then I ordered enough Stroll yarn (from KnitPicks) for two more pair. All in all I will end up with 6 pairs of socks if I don't keep ordering more yarn and knitting more socks. But they are fun to knit and some of these are not going to be my favorites to wear because they're all different sizes. Hopefully I'll get a few pair to wear anyway. Guess I best get busy around here and do some knitting. Until next time...

Monday, February 1, 2010

To Blog or Not to Blog

I really did have my mind made up to blog again. But I just never got back to it. A lot has happened since I last wrote but I can't think of a single thing to write about. Christmas came and went and now we are in the rainy season, although it isn't raining yet today and yesterday was a beautiful spring-like day here. We are due for rain later today and tonight and tomorrow. Thursday will be our shopping day and it isn't supposed to rain that day so we lucked out. (As it now stands anyway.)

I've been busy knitting. Just about finished with my second pair of socks. I was hoping this second pair wouldn't have any mistakes in it but alas! there are a few. But they are for me so I don't mind a wrong stitch here and there. But I do wish I would see these mistakes before I knit another 2 inches!!! If the mistake is only 4 or 5 rounds back I'm comfortable using a crochet hook and going back those rounds and correcting the mistake with the hook. But when they are 12 or 14 rows back, I am just not comfortable doing that. But I consider these early socks my learning socks so I'm not going to beat myself up about the mistakes. Suffice it to say I simply wish I didn't make them!! I don't understand why I throw in a bad stitch here and there. It makes no sense to break the rhythm and yet I do. My first pair of socks were too big so I dropped a needle size and wouldn't you know it, this pair is borderline too small. They are a nice snug fit. I just hope that doesn't cause the toe to wear out too quickly. I do like the fit better than the loose pair but I'm sort of frustrated. The first pair was too big all over and when that happens you're supposed to drop a needle size. Which is what I did. And now these are borderline too small. I have decided that I don't like trying to "fit" things. I prefer to knit afghans and such where it doesn't much matter if they're a little big or a little small.

Why would a different color in the same yarn, the same pattern, and the same knitter turn out to be a different size? You see, I did the leg with the same size as the first socks (#3s) and yet the leg is very snug. Everything was the same except for the color of the yarn. So anyway, the fact that these socks were knitting up smaller in the first place and then I dropped a needle size on top of that is what made them so snug. Sizing is discouraging to say the least. Any thoughts on sizing would be appreciated. I'm just learning so I'm going to consider these first few pairs learning experiences and let it go at that. Once I get the learning part down then I will consider knitting some as gifts. But of course that means I have to get everyone's foot sizes. But I don't know that anyone would appreciate the work that goes into making a pair of socks. So I may just knit socks for myself and let it go at that. The only thing is that I am perfectly happy knitting the same pattern over and over again and that drives Kathleen, my knitting mentor/teacher crazy. She thinks I need to knit a different pattern every time. But I'm going to stick with this pattern until I am more comfortable with it regardless of what she says. My next pair will be done with KnitPick's Felici yarn, which is a self-striping yarn. That will be a lot of fun. I knitted a few things this past Christmas that were done with self-patterning yarns and they were so much fun to knit. I bought enough for 2 pairs of Felici yarn socks and can't wait to knit with the yarn. Why I started with KP's Gloss yarn is a mystery to me. The first pair I did was Gloss and I had so much fun knitting them that I ordered more Gloss and the Felici yarns. And for some strange reason I started with the Gloss instead of the Felici. So I've had to knit this pair of socks wishing I had started with the self-striping. Bummer. But now I'll have 2 pairs to do back-to-back with the Felici yarn. Anyway when I finish with the yarn I have I will have 4 pairs of socks. Then I will order enough yarn for another 2 or 3 pairs and call that sufficient. I do hope they wear well. I'd hate for them to wear out too quickly and waste all that time and effort and money I put into them. But socks are fun to make. It's funny because I had sworn I would never knit a pair of socks. I thought like my husband thinks: You can go to WalMart and buy a pair of socks for a dollar, why go to all the work (and expense) of knitting them? But that was before I knit a pair and discovered how much fun they are to knit. And now I'm quite happy to be knitting socks. It's funny because I was very vocal about the fact that I would NEVER knit a pair of socks and when I finally did it made Ani (my knitting instructor) laugh out loud. I learned the lesson once again to never say never.

The fair is just 3 months away! And what do I have to enter? I was going to enter a lot of stuff but then I gave away most of what I'd knitted as Christmas presents last year so now I'm down to just a couple things. I was hoping to get a pair of socks knit without so many mistakes so I could enter them but I can't seem to knit a pair without a gazillion mistakes in them. I thought surely this pair would be better than the first pair and it's not. It has about the same number of mistakes as the first pair had. Maybe the Felici will be good luck for me and I will knit a pair without many mistakes. I don't mind one or two mistakes. But 5 or 6 are just too many. And of course, knitting them with a solid color makes the mistakes really stand out too. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I will get better at knitting them. Of course last year Kathleen entered 2 or 3 pairs and didn't take any ribbons. I guess the judge didn't like socks. Kathleen's socks were, of course, without error. Sometimes I get discouraged because she knits so well but I'm trying to learn as much from her as I can. That's what's important.

Kathleen gave me a sourdough starter and the recipe for sourdough waffles. Yummy!!! I made some for dinner last night and they were absolutely delicious. Then for breakfast I popped a couple in the toaster and had them again this morning. They were just as good as last night's waffles. The recipe makes a lot of waffles so I may next time divide the recipe in half. We'd still have more than we could eat in one sitting. I had like 6 waffles left over and that's a lot in anybody's book. Today I am feeding my starter and growing it back to sufficient size to use for another batch of waffle or maybe make some bread or something else.

Well, this hasn't been much of a post but at least I tried. I need to go now and get my hair and face straightened up so I can go run errands and get them out of the way. Hubby is going to make dinner tonight so I'm off cooking duty until tomorrow. I love it when he cooks because then I don't have to. Our sunshine has gone away and the clouds for the next storm are building up in the sky. We got over 8 inches of rain with the last series of storms that moved through our area. And we had to go across the river for one of hubby's doctor appts and we even got snowed on. It was so pretty. It was melting as quickly as it hit the road so there was no added risk involved and the flakes were so big and beautiful. I had forgotten how beautiful it is to drive in the snow. We didn't get any snow here at the house but Hogback Mountain had plenty of snow on it. This storm coming in is coming in much colder than the previous ones so we might get a little snow out of this one ourselves. I like getting a little snow but nothing like what we used to get when we lived farther up the mountain. I got really tired of shoveling the snow back then. When we lived in Colorado, we never had to shovel snow. We just swept it. It was always such a dry snow. Never had to scrape ice off my windshield either. Just brushed it away. Forgive me for this lousy post. I meant well. It's just that I haven't posted in so long I've forgotten what to write about. Sorry. I will try and post more often. But the operative word there is "try." Unfortunately I can't say increasing the quantity will improve the quality of the posts. Until next time...