Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yarn Along

I am so excited!  I got a new laptop for work and this is the first post that I have tried on it.  I am a hard core Mac person and I got a Dell and I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to do anything with it.  I am so thrilled that I have figured it out.  There are still many glitches to work out but it's so exciting to think that this is do-able without my having to spend hours and hours trying to figure it out.  Hooray!

I love the Yarn Along link-up hosted by Ginny at Small Things.  Her blog is beautiful generally and when books and knitting are combined, how can you go wrong?  I love seeing what everyone else is working on!

I've been busily knitting and reading but still, I feel like I have accomplished little.  In terms of knitting, LB lost all of his hats and I tried to buy a few and couldn't find any.  I love making them for him but I had such a long list of to-do projects that  I was hoping to save the time.   No such luck.  I'd been working hard on the "Pink Pussy Hats" for friends and since it's such a simple pattern and requires so little finishing, I decided to just change the colour and follow a pattern that I had down pat.  LB now has a rush coloured hat (yarn from my stash that thankfully, he decided was "fox" coloured) and a green one.  That led to Pk wanting a red one (her current favourite colour) so I felt like I had to do that, too.  I hope to get that one finished when I am done here this evening.  I'm also still working on the baby blanket for our friends.  I think three or four more repeats of the pattern and the final edge should finish it up for me.  Thank goodness because this baby is due pretty soon!

In terms of reading, I've been all over the place of late.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the podcast What Should I Read Next? and I broke down and printed off the Modern Mrs. Darcy book journal.  I couldn't resist looking at the book list and Kate Morton appears on the list.  I read The House at Riverden and enjoyed it so I thought it would be worth reading another so I am reading The Secret Keeper.  I haven't made it far into this one yet but it seems good.  I think it was last week, the guest mentioned The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning as one of her top three.  I have had this book waiting to be read for a while and that gave me the motivation to actually open it.  So far, so good.  I am about 6 chapters in and it's good.  I think that because I grew up in a fairly progressive faith background, I don't find it as earth shattering as some (the message of God being loving and good and gifting grace regardless of our sin isn't a new message for me) but there are still some chapters that really speak to me.  His chapter on the loss of wonder makes me want to look at my world again with new eyes.  We are so lucky and there is so much beauty that gets missed each day.  Finally, as part of the MMD reading challenge, I need to read a Pulitzer winning book.  I browsed the list and this book seemed good, The Pope and Mussolini.  I am almost finished the Neopolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante which has me with Italy on the brain.  This book seems like such a logical connection and it's been really fascinating so far!

 I can't wait to see what everyone else has on the go!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Yarn Along

I haven't done a post for a while for the Yarn Along and I've really missed it.  We just finished a marathon of report card writing and in our province, we have a new report card that took FOREVER to write for each child.  My principal read them this week and they were approved so, I can now go back to my usual evening pursuits.  I love the Yarn Along - seeing everyone's knitting and getting suggestions for books puts me in such a happy mood.  Thank you, yet again, Ginny at Small Things, for hosting this wonderful link up!

I've got two projects on my needles at the moment.  The first is a baby blanket.  I found the pattern on Ravelry (of course) and it is just what I wanted.  I am using some old Bernat Baby that I had at home which is really super soft and it looks so pretty in these cables.  This is the perfect pattern, in my mind - it looks lovely (my lack of skill as a photographer doesn't do it justice) and it's very easy, just a repeat of six rows with a cable on the 2nd row of every six.  I don't have to pay too close attention to what I am doing and it's very easy to fix any mistakes if they happen.  I am loving the pattern!

My other project on the needles is a bit of a silly one.  I am assuming that since everyone here is a knitter, you are familiar with the "pink pussy hat" project.  I had a request from a friend for one and, before I knew it, I had about ten requests for hats.  I have finished five of them now.  The blanket has to be top priority (the baby is due in eight weeks so it needs to get finished!) but the hats make a really easy travel project or when I am sitting around at the skating rink while P.K. skates.  It makes a silly and fun gift and is uplifting to the spirits of some friends who are feeling pretty discouraged at the moment.

In terms of reading, I keep reading several books at once, as well.  For the Red Couch book club over at SheLoves, the book for the month was Prophetic Lament by Soong-Chang Rah.  This book is AMAZING and especially timely given everything happening in the U.S. at the moment  A friend recommended Streams of Living Water by Richard Foster after I mentioned that I had loved his book on prayer.  I'm not reading it quickly but I am really enjoying it.  Finally, I have been reading The Love Letters by Madeleine L'Engle for a while.  She is one of my favourite authors in the entire world and I am gradually collecting all of her books (I love buying used books on and this was a fairly recent purchase).  It's not horrible but I can't say that it's her best.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Back Again

I haven't been around for a while.  It's funny, I've had such an urge to write so many times but at the end, my feelings have been so overwhelming that I couldn't risk now having the words.  I don't think I have ever felt so disillusioned.

I'm Canadian but unfortunately, we live in such close proximity to the U.S. that while we couldn't actually vote in the election (and many of us wish beyond anything that we could have had some influence on what happened), we were flooded with it and the negativity and the hostility and the anger have definitely overflowed into our world.  Honestly, it has made me really struggle with quite a few things and really do some rethinking who I am and what matters.

I think the hardest thing for me is the fact that much of the American church could claim Trump as the "Christian candidate."  It makes me so sad and confused and angry and feel so lost.  How on earth could anyone read the words of Jesus and come away believing that a man who espouses racist, misogynist and hateful opinions pretty much every time he opens his mouth be the right choice?  All I can think of are the mothers and children stuck in refugee camps, facing the dropping of barrel bombs or squeezing their children into filthy boats built for 150 with 1500 crammed on board.  How can anyone see that as anything other that being in need?  How can anyone who claims Jesus truly believe that their own worries (which statistically are completely misplaced) are more important than the safety of other people's children?  I have been called a "snowflake" and a "liberal" (as if that is the worst thing one can be) and accused of being naive and stupid and pathetic because I have compassion and am trying to live with integrity.  There are several people from church (people who I suspected I probably wouldn't agree with on everything but people I could certainly have a warm conversation with) posting hate speech, anti-immigrant rhetoric and, worse, anti LGBTQ material that is beyond hateful.  I have always struggled with feeling like an outsider and now, knowing that at least some of the people around me actually hold these views, I find it hard to sit in church.  I want church to be a place where I feel surrounded by people who are committed to following Jesus and yet, I'm afraid that my very attempt to follow Jesus will be what will get me excluded.  I'm in that weird neverland - I believe in a fairly orthodox theology and yet, I also believe that love has to be given more weight than anything else and that fairness and justice must be our goal.  I'm on the Mission committee at church and when the issue of our support for Samaritan's Purse came up, I really faced a dilemma - do I "out" myself as a "liberal" (I'm generally fairly quiet at church - sometimes I am pretty "out" on Facebook but I still hold back a fair bit) or do I go along with something that just feels so wrong?  (In case you a wondering, I came up with a solution that worked for me - I emailed our pastor and asked not to participate in that vote, explaining my view but that I also understood that my feelings may not represent those of the majority of the congregation and he surprisingly told me that he suspected that there were probably many more that held my view than I realised and he worked things out so that we shifted our support to a less offensive organization).

It's really left me in a "Where do I go from here?" frame of mind.  Do I shut up and listen to all of those on Facebook complaining of how sick they are of the "politics" (although when it comes to injustice, I think it goes far beyond politics and I'm sorry if justice and human rights are an inconvenience to you)?  Do I speak up and call people on their hatred and know that I am going to face hostility and disdain all the time?  Do I hide out with my peeps who don't challenge me at all and just stay out of it all?  I've tried a bit of each and nothing feels quite right.

I think, at this point, all that I can do is try to live with integrity.  I will be respectful of those who disagree and not call names, insult or deliberately antagonize.  I won't post jokes or really nasty or derogatory comments.  I will call racism and bias for what it is and, most of all, I will strive to stand beside those who are being hurt and/or excluded.  I will speak truth and I will speak it with confidence but I will also realize that there are some issues that are about justice and others that are about opinion and I will try to maintain that perspective.  I will also pray and pray and pray - pray that somehow, everyone regains the understanding that these "issues" that we are discussing are people's realities and regardless of our opinions, we need to keep the dignity, safety and human rights of all at the forefront of our discussions.

I really hope that these first few weeks are either an aberration and the result of inexperience and lack of judgement but that will change.  I suspect, though, that the best that I can hope for is an awakening of the passion for justice, the craving for mercy and the humility that we are all called to.