Thursday, February 4, 2010

Praying for my kids

I am reading the book "The Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omartian, and "Prayer" by Philip Yancey. A group of like minded moms have started a Facebook group to study the first book, and this post comes out of thoughts for that discussion.

Omartian recommends praying for our children until we feel at peace with the issue at hand, however long that takes. She writes that we have to trust God to take care of them, or we will live in fear. True - but easier said than done.

Yancey writes that we should try to understand the much larger perspective of God when we pray.

The two ideas blend in a way that makes a lot of sense to me.

I love the thought of praying until I find peace. When an issue with a child gives a mother anxiety, when it is out of her hands to fix, the mother’s heart is not at peace.

I know that the world will not be kind to my children all the time. Their faith will be tested; they will be disappointed, hurt, and will make poor choices at times. It is easy to pray with a list of my petitions, giving God directions as to how I would like these problems fixed. Praying like this is praying from my perspective, not from God’s, and I need to shift that perspective.

By praying until I have peace, I am praying until I rest in the knowledge that God is control, that He loves my child, has a plan for my child, and that plan will further His kingdom.

By praying until I have peace, I am accepting God’s plan, even if it is different from what I really want to happen for my child at this time.

Anne Lamott illustrated this concept by describing a child clutching two markers tightly in her hands. The child really wants those markers. Yet when a juice box is offered, she must decide to let go of the markers to accept the juice to quench her thirst.

Praying until I have peace is letting go of the markers – letting go of my illusion of control, and allowing God’s peace to take its place.

Friday, July 3, 2009

She's Leaving, on a Jet Plane....

My young daughter is leaving tomorrow and will be very far away for 9 days. Her choir is going to a choir festival in St. Johns, Newfoundland. She is so excited.

At twelve years old, she is between child and teenager. Deciding to let her go was difficult. Deciding not to go with her was more so. I know she will be fine. She is smart, capable, and has travelled quite a bit for someone so young. There are responsible adults along. All details seem attended to.

She will be fine, but I will miss her so much.

To help prepare for this momentous trip, we did what women do. We went shopping and got pedicures.

First on the shopping list was a carry on size bag that did not look lame.

We found one, in orange, that she loves. It is safe to assume that neither her father nor brother will be borrowing it.

She also found a messenger bag that is perfect. It is attractive and sturdy, with lots of organization built in. Big enough to hold music and magazines, and even to stuff a sweater in when the weather warms up, but not too big that it feels weird to carry it all day.

And then, just for fun, I bought her a long silky scarf that looks amazing on her.

She will be fine, well equipped, with great looking feet, but I will still miss her so much.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Today I dyed.

Recently I received a huge shipment of undyed fiber and yarn. It included my favorite superfine merino and merino blends as well as two yarns that I could not resist trying.

I never liked the feel of wool on my skin until I ran into this 19 micron merino. It is so silky soft – it was a revelation. It feels nothing like ordinary wool. I love it alone or blended with other superior fibers such as tencel, bamboo, silk, or alpaca.

One yarn is an excellent sock yarn made of superwash merino, bamboo, and a bit of nylon for strength. The other is an exquisite mix of merino, silk, and alpaca in a heavier weight yarn.

Today I started adding color to this big box of white fiber goodness.

I dyed some superfine merino, and some sock yarn, and some silk to use when I make scarves. After that I dyed some more merino and sock yarn. I got very little else done today. Oh well.

Playing with color is so much fun. I use very few colors of dye. I just mix them until I get what I am looking for, and then hope for the best. I love the way these all turned out.

You will be seeing them soon in my shops as scarves, yarn, and roving. I can’t wait to get spinning.

And the best part? There is so much undyed fiber left. I get to do this again and again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Raising Orphan Bunnies

As I was raking years of debris off what I hoped would be my garden, I uncovered a nest with four tiny baby bunnies. They were surrounded by their mother’s fur and dry leaves, very warm although the day was cold. They instinctively froze while I took a good look at them.

They were beyond cute and totally helpless. Each about 3 inches long, they all huddled together and they made no noise. Their eyes were not open; their ears were flat against the sides of their heads. They were a soft warm grayish brown, with a white blaze in the middle of their foreheads.

We checked them daily, and one day it seemed clear that they were restless, they were actually making noise, an indication that Mom Bunny was no longer on the job. Their eyes had been open for two days.

Rather than let them die, my animal loving daughter took the bunnies in and fed them until they were weaned and big enough to be released somewhere far away from my garden. I was a little anxious about the plan; wild baby bunnies are hard to keep alive in captivity.

She fed them goat’s milk with a little greek yogurt three times daily. They started by taking just a few drops at a time, and soon were taking more than a teaspoon at a feeding. After a week she gave them alfalfa hay, and they started to munch on that. In another week they were big enough to be weaned. She started giving them rabbit pellets and decreasing the goat’s milk. I was so proud of her. She really worked hard to keep the bunnies healthy. She didn’t pick them up just to pet them, she kept the cage clean, she made time to feed them on schedule, and just did a really great job. She was 11 years old.

The safest place my daughter could think of to release them was the summer camp she attends each year. So one day we drove up to Camp Roger, followed a trail, and let the bunnies go at the edge of a meadow.

I am sure she will be looking for them this summer when she gets to camp.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer is off to a great start

We have a little cottage. Well, “cottage” actually is overstating it a bit.

Our place sits on the shores of a nice little lake less than an hour north of our home. It is an escape and a summer playground – and we get there as often in the summer as we can.

If you are a cottage owner, you know that Memorial Day weekend is most often a work weekend. We open the place, clean it, stock it, and get all the toys, gear, outdoor furniture and boats out of storage. There is a dock and a shore station to put in still cold water with neighbors and friends to help with the heavy lifting.

Our next door neighbor, a veteran, always gets his flagpole up with a POW/MIA flag flying right under the Stars and Stripes. If the sun comes out, I raise my colorful umbrellas just because they make me smile.

Not every Memorial Day weekend is warm enough for water sports, but this year we were blessed with some great weather. The wake boards and tubes came out and we spent most of Sunday afternoon and evening on the water.

What a great start to summer.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why Claw Tree ? #2

A Claw Tree - as I call it - is a tree that has exposed roots that appear to be reaching for or clinging to the ground.

Normally a seed falls and starts growing in fertile ground. We see the trunk and branches - but not the roots. They anchor the tree and supply its nutrients, but we don’t notice them at all.

The tree develops, but sometimes the ground underneath it changes, shifts, erodes, or decomposes. Some trees will just die if this happens; those that stay alive become Claw Trees.

As the ground disappears, Claw Trees develop exposed roots. These roots change, elongate, thicken; they develop bark and give the tree a unique look. They cling to what the tree needs to survive and provide extra support to the trunk.

The roots were there unnoticed all the time, it was the stress of change that made them visible, made them change, and made them ultimately more important than they were intended to be.

I see Claw Trees as a metaphor. They all started out in promising circumstances but for some reason the ground was not stable underneath them.

Life is like that. We start out with certain expectations and plans. Sometimes plans don’t work. Things we thought permanent are not, our hopes are not fulfilled, our hearts are broken. Situations or relationships change, shift, erode, disappoint.

When that happens our roots become more visible and important. They will help us cling to what is good and true and what we need to survive. They will help support us; they will be our answer to what life dishes out. They will define us in ways they could not before.

When I needed a name for my new little business, I tried to think of names that were artistic and clever. I wanted a name that would immediately tell whoever saw it what my stores were all about.

Well, I couldn’t get Claw Tree out of my mind, and it became clear that no other name would do. So – instead of a name that tells something about my work, I have a name that tells something about me. I hope my roots are showing….

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why Claw Tree #1

Along with many of our friends, I was fascinated by a birch sapling growing out of a large oak stump close to a favorite camping spot. Over the years, the sapling grew, but the stump decomposed. The birch sapling roots became exposed; they grew larger, and developed bark.

I made a simple sketch of this tree years ago when learning how to draw. A tree was a difficult subject given my lack of experience, but when I was finished it was recognizable as our “claw tree”.

Being able to actually draw this gave me the encouragement to continue drawing and eventually to pursue my creative urges into different mediums. It also started my fascination with claw trees.