Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Yarn Along

Ginny over at Small Things hosts a wonderful link up called the Yarn Along.  Each week, we share a photo of what we are knitting and what we are reading.  How can you ever go wrong with books and knitting?  Thank you, Ginny, for hosting and for giving us the chance to see some great projects and books!

Life has been even busier than usual in the last week or so and sadly, I haven't had much time for either pastime.  I can't entirely do without, though, so some things have gotten done.  In terms of reading, I finished reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning and overall, I enjoyed it.  It wasn't a "faith changing" book for me the way that other report that is has been but there were parts that really spoke to me.  I'd like to go back and read it again in a few years since it is the kind of book that does seem to have something new to say with repeated readings.  I have also been slowly moving through The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.  I like it but not love it.  I really enjoyed The House at Riverden by Morton and this book made the list from Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy so I intend to keep going - she has never steered me wrong yet!  Finally, I'm reading Craving Connection: 30 Challenges for Real-Life Engagement from the (in)courage community over at Dayspring.  They have been posting a weekend challenge that links to the book on their blog and I liked what I had read enough that I decided to buy it.  My plan is to read one challenge a week and see how that might work for me.

In terms  of my knitting, that's been REALLY slow.  Pk wanted a hat like her brother's and red is her favourite colour.  They both have really liked the "Pink Pussy Hat" pattern from Kat Coyle and it's SO easy, it works for me, too.  I got a red one done and another pink one.  I think I have four or five more pinks to do before I get one for each of the friends who have requested one.  Finally, the "Able Cable" blanket slowly proceeds.  My friend's baby is due March 25, so it's time to get that off the needles!

I can't wait to see what everyone has been up to!


Lent is something that I have struggled with for several years.  I come from what I would call a "semi-liturgical" tradition - we talk about Advent and Lent but honestly, other than that the sanctuary was stark during Lent and people talked about giving something up (although it was never really clearly explained exactly why), there really wasn't much to it.  It just felt like a waiting period before Holy Week.  I didn't think about it a whole lot and other than a few years that I tried to give up chocolate (and I think more in the name of trying to lose weight than to draw closer to God), it really was a bit of a non-event for me.  As I get older, I've been trying to find ways to make it a more important time but I haven't really found a way to do that.

Here we are, another year, and I'm trying, again, to find a way to make this a special time.  The DECE I work with in my classroom is a Muslim and watching her fast during Ramadan and the significance of that time in her spiritual life has really inspired me to want to take things further and develop this as a time of faith.  I've done some searching on Pinterest for ideas but again, there's not all that much there, especially as a non-Catholic.  I'm going to have to make things up as we go along.  Here is what I have decided to do so far.

1.  Of course, we couldn't miss celebrating Shrove Tuesday.  When I was growing up, we used to have pancakes at school and "pancake day" was lots of fun.  As I got older and we stopped doing it at school, we'd go to church on Tuesday evening and have a pancake dinner.  Now that we are at a much more Evangelical church, we don't even have that option.  I wanted this to be a fun event for the kids.  Dh is English and he has memories of eating "English Pancakes" on Sunday evening before going to church so those have become our "pancake day" pancakes.  1 c flour, 1 c milk, 2 eggs, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 c water, fry like a crepe and top with sugar and lemon juice.  Yum!  

2.  Reading - A friend posted the link to Addie Zierman's post about Lent and in it, she recommends 9 books to try during Lent.  I decided to buy several - Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit, Paula HustonA Way Other Than Our Own, Walter Brueggemann and Lent and Easter Wisdom from Henri J. Nouwen.   I won't have them to start Lent but at least I will have a few books to explore once they arrive and for next year, there will be some books to read.

3.  A prayer chain - last year, I did this with my kids and it was a great experience for all of us.  We do pray with the kids but I have to be honest, it can be hit and miss.  I love this idea of being very deliberate and purposeful and last year, it gave us some good opportunities to talk about caring for others and how we might make a difference in their lives.  The kids liked it enough that they would ask to pray if I forgot.

4.  A Gratitude Journal - I have been keeping a Gratitude Journal as part of my year of "Unashamed" and I liked the idea of these prompts to take it beyond just a list.  I have so much for which to be grateful and I have a bad habit of getting stuck in the negative.  I want that to change and this practice may help.

5.  Finally, my family has become very attached to the "Care and Share", a wonderful thrift store run by the Mennonite Central Committee.  We like it more for making donations than for shopping (although I have been very bad about buying many too many books there!)  I found this list of a 40 day clean out and I'd love to get my entire family involved in this - giving stuff away to create more room for the meaningful in our home and also helping those in need, both who need our stuff at a low price and the profits going to help all of the wonderful work done by the M.C.C. around the world.

How will you be marking Lent this year?  Do you have any good suggestions?  I'd love more ideas!