Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ministry With Yarn

“What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God…We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow”  Martin Luther

From the first two chapters of Genesis, we see that people are made for work.  In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam the job of naming the animals and then caring for the garden.  We are not intended to sit around and be lazy.

But, neither can we go to the other extreme and base our identity in our work.  We are saved by faith through grace.  We cannot do anything to merit salvation.  And, while spiritual disciplines are useful as we grow more like Jesus, these works don’t make God love us more.  That’s the problem with the “Protestant Work Ethic” – we think that the harder we work, the more God loves us.  Although I’ve known my whole life that this isn’t true, I’ve certainly acted like it was.  Not only did I try to “work” myself into being loved by God and other people, but I judged other people by what I saw them do.

God’s intention for us is a balance between these two extremes.  We are to work, but also take time to rest.  We are to work, but not become consumed by our work or believe that our efforts make us more acceptable to God.

Another type of wrong thinking that we sometimes find among Christians is the idea that “church” or “Christian” work has more value than “secular” work.  The quote above from Luther supports this.  Everything that we do every day should be in service to the Lord Jesus.  Whether we work for an employer, in our home, or for a church or ministry, we are working for God.  There should be no difference between our work and our church personalities.

Last Tuesday, our family opened The Knitting Nest in our small town.  We are excited by the prospect of selling yarn and helping people become better at knitting and crochet, but we also recognize that any interactions we have with the community are a ministry – it should be a natural outgrowth of our faith.  Because of that, the pastors and elders of our church came by last week to pray over our little shop.  We prayed that it would be financially successful, but mostly that we can be a positive influence in our community.  And we’ll be doing it with yarn!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Catching Up

So, who knew opening a yarn shop would keep me so busy?!  Yes, The Knitting Nest is open!!  There have been other things happening this week, though.

  • I had a migraine on Monday, the day before we opened and then on Wednesday, but NOT on Tuesday!!  Yippee!
  • The County Fair was last week, so we had lots of people driving by the store on their way to the Fair.
  • The kids spent a fair amount of time at the Fairgrounds with friends.  It’s nice that we live close.
  • I don’t know how we’re going to be able to have many “family dinners” with our new schedule.  I guess Mondays will have to do.
  • Wild Man’s palate expander makes him even harder than usual to understand.  By the time his braces are off, his consonants will be clear as bells!
  • Rosie Girl has a bite guard that she puts in right before bed, so we have about 15 minutes each day of not being able to understand her, either.  Gracious!

So, The Knitting Nest opened last Tuesday and the kids started home school work today and start their public school classes on Wednesday.

  • Despite the kids starting schoolwork, the books are still on the dining room floor.  Deep sigh.
  • I wish the kids were happier about doing their school stuff.  PWM and I try to make it as interesting as possible, but we’re apparently not all that successful.
  • However, Rosie Girl, who complains about her school stuff, has already read about the first half of her reader.  “But, it’s really fun!”
  • The book in question is “The Great Brain”.  Rosie Girl asked why she’s reading something so easy as a junior.  I told her that much of the literature and history that she’ll be reading is pretty heavy, so they throw in some lighter titles to keep it from getting too depressing.  The 20th century was very brutal in many parts of the world, and her reading will reflect that.
  • Wild Man is enjoying his reading.  He remembers his first reader because it was a read-aloud a couple of years ago.  It’s kind of nice to start with something easy.

And tomorrow, it’s back to the shop for me (assuming I don’t have a migraine)!  I’m starting a new knitting project and working on developing some classes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday–August 19, 2011


1. Football season is upon us!!  You can’t live so close to Lambeau Field (aka The Frozen Tundra) and not be affected by the start of football season.  We love our Packers up here!!

2. Rosie Girl has been doing a lot of babysitting and they asked her today if they could pay her for several day’s worth of work with a Kindle that they got as a gift but don’t use.  Rosie Girl loves her words, so she was thrilled to get the Kindle!!  I think the free books alone will keep her busy for a year or two!

3. Wild Man got the first part of his braces this week – it’s a palate expander with a little wrench that PWM uses at night to open the expander a little more.  Poor Wild Man has been stuck on mostly soft foods along with lots of ibuprofen.

4. This was a terrible week to have a migraine, and I, of course, had a three-day migraine.  Yuck!  The migraine started on Tuesday.  We did the Chamber’s Business After Five on Wednesday evening, so I was pretty highly medicated.  I finally woke up this morning feeling MUCH better.  This has been a very clear indication that The Knitting Nest is operated by PWM and that I’m a “yarn groupie” or “expert consultant” or “the cute woman who shows up to knit every couple of days” or “the woman who sleeps with the owner and has lots of influence over inventory and shop management.” 

5. On Wednesday, my motto was from the penguins in “Madagascar”: “Smile and wave, boys; smile and wave!”  And it worked.

6. Rosie Girl has been spending quality time with her guitar.  I walked in the other day and she was playing and singing “Into The West” from The Lord of the Rings movie series.  Beautiful.  Just beautiful.

7. Our church’s Rock The City is this Sunday!!  PWM and Wild Man will be very busy tomorrow with practices because PWM is playing bass guitar in the main worship service and Wild Man is playing percussion and drums with the Youth Band.

How has your week been?  Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others have been up to!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reading Aloud

Our family loves to read.  We all enjoy personal and individual reading, but we also love our family reading time (almost) every night.  We’ve been reading aloud since our children were babies.  Yes, we read to them even before they were really old enough to “understand”.  Rosie Girl has always been willing to sit and listen to someone read.  Wild Man, though, would often crawl off while I was reading to him.  I used to read to him while he was in his high chair or in the bathtub, telling him, “All the books say I should read to you, so I’m going to read to you!”  Once the kids got to school age, PWM would read the “school” books to the kids during the day and we would read the Bible and a read-aloud (from the Sonlight curriculum) at night.  The children are 13 and 16 and still look forward to read-aloud time every night.  We often finish the Sonlight read-aloud earlier than scheduled, so we’ve added in lots of other books – the Narnia series, the Septimus Heap series, the Artemis Fowl series, and (of course) the Harry Potter series.

Reading aloud has lots of advantages.

  • It’s a scheduled “together” time for the family.  We don’t always eat dinner together because of schedules, but we try to make sure we can read together.  If we aren’t going to be together at bedtime, PWM will often read to us during the day.
  • Wild Man had a hard time learning to read because of his dyslexia.  However, once he could decode words, he didn’t have much trouble at all with comprehension and all the other things that kids learn as they read, because we had been reading aloud and talking to each other about our books.
  • We have a shared “family culture” from reading the same books.  We often laugh about things that remind us of something that happened in a book we read.
  • Especially when the kids were young, reading aloud was great to help them wind down and get ready for bed.

This year, I’m having a more interesting time coming up with books to read.  Until 2 years ago, the kids were using the same Sonlight Core, so we would read the read-alouds from that Core.  For the last two years, we’ve been reading the read-alouds from Wild Man’s Core (American History and then Eastern Hemisphere).  This year, though, Wild Man is going to be studying weapons and warriors, so I don’t have a read-aloud list.  I got a set of books called the Rani series from Sonlight that look like they’ll be fun.  I’m also going to have use read some of the Core 6/7 books but also add in some of Rosie Girl’s Core 300 books.  We haven’t done C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy books, yet, so I might include those.

We’ve also decided that we aren’t going to read a read-aloud and then Bible at night.  The kids both have Bible reading and study to do during the day and we were finding that the Bible reading was getting pushed to the side so we could read more of the read alouds.  In addition, we weren’t really getting into much discussion about the Bible reading.  So, we’re changing things up.  We’re going to read a read-aloud (i.e. fiction) until we finish the book and then read a book about faith or the Bible.  We’ve started with Matthew Paul Turner’s What You Didn’t Learn From Your Parents About Christianity.  This is a rather light-hearted look at our faith, and we’re having a great time with it.  Tonight, we talked about our earliest mental pictures of Jesus.  The kids are really engaging it, and we’re having some good discussions.  Eventually, we want to read The Ragamuffin Gospel, Know What You Believe, and The Jesus I Never Knew.  If some of the books are hard to get through, we’ll either put them off till the kids are a little older, or we’ll read a couple of chapters and then read a novel, and then come back to the non-fiction.

What does your family enjoy reading?  Any suggestions for me to put on our read-aloud list for this year?  And, if you don’t read aloud as a family, maybe this year is a good time to start!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Kids

I have some wonderful kids.  They are funny, sweet, and smart.  Of course, there are times when they can be trying, selfish, and annoying – but I try not to think about those too often.  Today’s post is just a list of things that my kids have done or said in the last month or so.

1. Rosie Girl has her driver’s license!!  She drove to the grocery store for  me the other day.  She drove to a sleepover.  Right now, she can only drive the van, but we want to teach her to drive the Saturn VUE very soon because it is a standard transmission and gets much better gas mileage.

2. Rosie Girl went on a tubing trip with some friends Sunday afternoon and then slept over on Sunday night.  Monday morning, she got up at 5:30am and drove herself home to get a shower and get to her babysitting job by 7:30.  Yeah, she’s growing up.

3. Wild Man has been pricing a lot of our yarn and other items.  On the first day, he was playing with the price gun and “priced” me with a $0.50 sticker.  The next day, I got priced at $5.00.  I guess he’s realizing my value!

4. Wild Man said to Grandma while they were pricing yarn the other day, “You know, this would be a lot more fun if the yarn attacked until you priced it!”  Yes, he likes video games.  Why do you ask?024

5. We had Chinese food for dinner last night, courtesy of Wild Man.  He had earned money for mowing Grandma’s lawn, so he decided to treat the whole family to a yummy meal!

6. PWM took Rosie Girl to the dentist to have her teeth cleaned and to have her jaw pain evaluated.  The good news is that the jaw pain is just muscle spasms.  The bad news is that she needs a bite guard to wear at night to prevent her grinding her teeth, which is not cheap.  And all this while Wild Man is getting his braces on.

7. So, in the middle of trying to open a yarn store, we are also having to get Wild Man in to his orthodontist appointments, and we found out today that he has band lessons this week.  Somehow, we didn’t get a schedule.  I had made sure that he got registered for the class, but I was planning to call the band director today.  Instead, some friends stopped by the shop since one of their girls had band lessons, so PWM and Wild Man went to the school and got the schedule.  Thankfully, Wild Man hadn’t missed any practices.

8. Rosie Girl’s current projects include crocheting a backpack to go with one of her CosPlay costumes as well as crocheting Barbie clothes for one of the little girls that she babysits because  the little girl has lost Barbie’s clothes and Rosie Girl thinks it will be more fun to play with a Barbie with clothes.  (Wow.  That’s a really long sentence, but I don’t think it’s a run-on.)

9. Sassy (one of the cats) has been trying to escape whenever we open the door again.  One or both of the kids ends up running out after her to catch her before she gets too deep in the bushes.  Dumb cat.

10. I had a short “orientation” with each of the kids about this next year’s schoolwork.  They weren’t overly thrilled, but they don’t want to go to public school, so they do their work, even when it’s not their first choice.  We actually start our new school year the day after Labor Day.



How are your kids?  Are they doing anything fun and exciting?!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Post That Was Going To Be Here

So, I was going to write a well-developed, cogent argument for Inclusivism and against Universalism based on the book of John and using at least one example from C.S. Lewis.  But, it’s almost midnight, I still have the (hopefully) tail end of a five day headache, and I doubt anything well-developed or cogent could come out of my head tonight.

Here’s the short version of the post:

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

I think it’s really hard to read the book of John (and Romans) and be a Universalist, but Inclusivism is possible.  I’ll let you chew on that for a while.



P.S. It’s entirely possible that I have no business commenting on deep theological issues at any time, but lot’s of people spout off opinions based on very little knowledge, so I won’t be the only one out in the blogosphere thinking out loud!