Thursday, October 21, 2010


i think i may have caught up with my coursework. maybe. here's hoping it holds! this week we were to give a basic summation of what we've learned thus far in the course. we were to look at how our views have changed (or not), and talk about what we plan to do with the information in our ministries. i've still not figured out exactly what my ministry will look like when i finish this journey, but here's my reflection for the week. blessings!

The most radical change in my wee brain is the thought and feeling surrounding the people portrayed in Genesis. As a child, I was taught in Sunday school to revere the “fathers of faith”. They were glossed over versions of themselves, and we only spoke of the good things. They became unreachable in my mind…I am certain my teachers were attempting to instill respect, but instead the shiny, infallible men were so slick and unreachable that they had no real impact on my faith. In college, we covered the entire Old Testament in one semester, so no real attention was focused on individuals. We paid more attention to sweeping themes.

It was not until this course that I really looked at these characters and saw their humanity…warts and all. I tried to imagine these men in the 21st century. I am certain I would not be able to tolerate Jacob’s tomfoolery for long. Abraham is so thickheaded that at times I want to shake him a little bit. Isaac seems to be such a wallflower. Yet, God called each of them for a purpose. God asked that they be faithful. God gave them the strength and the means to follow God and to do what God asked of them. It did not matter (and does not matter still) that these people are fallible, warty, and rough. God chose them, real people no more equipped or worthy than I am, to bless, to lead, and to receive God’s promise.

The idea of God’s promise and plan has not changed for me, but it has been underscored in a new way. This happened just last week as we read the Joseph narrative. God was at work behind the scenes in the story all along, but it took the humans years to be able to see it. God has a promise and a plan for Israel, for humanity, for creation, and for me. We goof it up plenty, but God uses our mistakes and our evil doing to push us along God’s path and plan. Undoubtedly, it takes longer this way, but God does not revoke our free will. God allows us to be, and God works with what we give God.

The Bible is not just a moral guide full of interesting stories and weird rules. (However, its value as moral code should be neither dismissed nor assumed). The Scripture is vital to our understanding of where we have been and where we are going. The texts help us to understand that we are not the only ones to be called by God for God’s purpose and plan and yet who are so utterly unworthy.

Genesis is a microcosm of the Bible in its entirety. All themes of humanity, Christianity, creation, and life are right here. Even some of the very words Christ uses are found first here. Yet this book has been treated as an afterthought in Christian education for years…something to be dressed up in finger paints and glitter and to be talked about on rainy days. My personal challenge for ministry will be to pull these themes of relationship, off the shelf and into the light in a way that makes the people in Genesis seem real and relevant to God’s people today. No need for such good news of promise, blessing, and relationship to be hidden behind rainbows and elephants.

Monday, October 18, 2010

meet Elaine of GrannysKnits

i've struggled with writing about Elaine for an embarrassingly long time (this feature should have run in early September). it's a tough one for me not because i have to dig to find something to say, but because i have TOO MUCH to say.

i *met* Elaine about 2 years ago through Team EtsyBABY on Etsy. she seemed like a nice enough lady, and she surely was passionate about her work. so, when my 6th nephew was born, i ordered a sweater for him in black, gray, and gold (only time i'll say *Go, Army!* is for my brother-in-law's children). when it arrived, i was BLOWN AWAY. see, my guilty pleasure is knitting...and Elaine's knitting is the finest i've ever seen. nary a stitch out of tension. all ends invisibly woven in. absolutely incredible. then, i found out, Elaine does all her knitting...wait for it...WITHOUT A PATTERN!! she pulls this stuff out of her head! seriously.

read this interview. then read this article from the Storque (Etsy's blog). then, go to Elaine's shop. purchase warm wooly goodness with abandon. you won't regret it. i promise.

and when you're done with all that...leave a comment on this blog post. i'll use a random number generator to giveaway one of Elaine's superb doll sweaters...i'll show you 2 tomorrow...if you're the luckiest gal/guy on the planet, you can choose which one you'd like.

~When did you begin knitting?
I was six, and bought needles, yarn, and a "Learn How to Knit" book.

~Why did you choose your type of knitting to work with?
until Jordan and my grandson were born, I made a variety of sizes and items.
When I became mom to then 2 year old Jordan, my knitting time was sharply cut!
I started making baby sweaters here and there, and then decided to try to get enough together for a craft show.
That didn't happen, then five years ago I found out my older daughter was pregnant.
OK, GrannysKnits started to take shape.

~Do you have a favorite design of your own creation?
the blankie that I made four years ago, when my grandson was's his FAVorite!

~Do you also collect dolls?
I have a collection of one; my sweet sassy Willow!

~At what point did you realize your gift was more than a hobby?
Probably in the 80s, I was doing a few craft shows while raising my two girls.

~Describe your workspace.
oh boy, that's funny! ;)
You name it, it's a workspace. I carry knitting in my purse!

~What is your favorite part of the process.
Choosing what I'll make from a particular yarn, and the actual knitting!

~What is your least favorite?
finishing, finishing, finishing!
did I say finishing? ;))
ANYthing that requires me to sew, I'm NOT good at it.

~What inspires you?
more often than not, I buy a yarn, and then later decide what to knit from it.

~What is the best time of day for you to create?
morning (as long as I have enough coffee!)

~Tell me about your biggest fan.
at this point, I'd have to say my 4 year old grandson.
He loves the sweaters, and other items I make him, and since he's 3000 miles away,
I love that I'm the person who knits for him.

~What is your strangest request?
I was knitting at a craft show, years ago, and a woman stopped to ask if she could borrow my pattern.
I explained politely that I was using it!
she told me "Well, I'll photocopy it, and mail it back to you in a few days!"
(She was not nice about my turning this request down, either!)

~What is your favorite request?
Any request that Anna makes!

~Which similar artist do you most admire? Why?
Wow, there isn't just one. Anyone from whom I can learn .............
and grow, but not copy.
The late, great Elizabeth Zimmerman is a perfect example.

~What do you know now that you wish you knew when you began? (Or what piece of advice would you give to someone first starting out in your field?)
When I actually decided to try to sell my creations?
I wish that I had the time/ability/brain power to learn the world of cyberspace, and how to take wonderful photos ;)

~Tell me an artist you’d like to have subjected to these questions (someone you’d like to know more about)?
Jackie of Totzhatz

~What is your favorite flower? Why?
I love the color, and the fragrance ;)