Come sit with me

I love blue, purple and scarlet yarn! I have crocheted most of my life, and when I found out that there were women across the nation who were forming Prayer Shawl Ministries, I became so excited; I started one at my church. The Wednesday devotionals on this blog weave together the art of crocheting and the love of God. Plus there are quotations on leadership, patterns, book reviews, and news from other Prayer Shawl Ministries. So if God has filled you with a love for crocheting & knitting, pull out those blue, purple and scarlet yarns and those crochet hooks and knitting needles and join me.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Teaching Others

Matthew 28: 18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I learned to crochet when I was about eight or nine.  I was fascinated by it.  I also learned to knit at the same age.  I learned by watching someone do this.
Over the multiple decades since then, I have been called upon many times to teach someone to crochet or knit.  There are books, videos, and DVDs that proclaim easy ways to learn these arts.  However, the best way to learn is to watch a friend – stitch by stitch -- who has become experienced in the art.
I sit the learner beside me on my right.  I twist a brand-new piece of yarn around my hook and laugh with the learner who has never seen that particular knot before.  And then we begin.
"Relax your hands.  Don't strangle the hook.  Let the yarn flow, but keep a slight tension on it.  Your left hand holds the material and guides your hook into the right spot."  All this is said before the first chain.
"Lower your shoulders, take a deep breath.  Relax.  No, no, release the death grip you have on that hook!"
And we laugh again.
Slowly, I show how to loop the hook under the yarn and swirl around and draw it through with my right hand while I pull down on the stitch between my left thumb and middle finger and adjust the tension on the yarn slipping between my left pinky and ring finger. 
“One chain!  Good job!”
Eventually, we get a long series of chains and begin the meticulous process of single crochets, advancing to double crochets, and turning the piece properly.
We laugh a lot.  We also learn how to deal with knotted yarn, dropped stitches, strangled spaces, and tying off and on new colors.
Teaching others about Jesus is very similar to teaching crochet.  You must have patience, endurance, and laughter.  You must be willing to teach someone how to deal with mistakes and unfamiliar situations.  You must encourage your students to follow directions and trust the pattern of life.  There are many books, songs, DVDs, and videos on how to live a Christian life.  But the best way to learn it is from watching a friend.
Be that friend.

Dear Lord,
Put me in a place where I can teach others about You.  Help me keep living a Godly life so I know what I’m talking about and so when others watch me, what they learn from me will be the right things.  I want to show people the difference You have made in my life.  I need to lead others to You.  Let me be that friend.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

For the Beauty of the Earth

Mary McDonald (Arranger)
SATB, Piano
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby Booties

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

During the autumn of 2004, my small town was crossed by the paths of four hurricanes.  My house was without electricity about one out of every three weeks during that time.  Schools were canceled, roads were blocked.  So I crocheted.  I developed this pattern by experimentation, and when the fourth hurricane had seen the last of my small town that October, I had bags filled with over ninety pairs of booties and about three dozen baby blankets.  A year later, I gave them to the Teen Parent Center (one of my many schools that year).  I was delighted that these things which were created in such a time of despair were used to celebrate times of birth.

These are worked in two parts: the foot and the cuff.  They can be worked in any size yarn, but the smaller the hook, the smaller the bootie.  Baby yarn & size f or smaller hook makes a new-born size.  Four-ply yarn & size f hook makes a one-year size.  In general, one skein with seven ounces of yarn will make nine pairs.

  • chain 3, join in circle
  • Turning chain (chain 3, turn – called the ‘turning chain’ here & through out), 17 DC in circle
  • Ruffle:  Turning chain, sc to front loop of next stitch.  Chain 3.  SC in same loop. Chain 3, sc to front loop of next stitch.  Chain 3.  SC in same loop. Chain 3, sc to front loop of next stitch.  Chain 3.  SC in same loop. Chain 3, sc to front loop of next stitch.  Chain 3.  SC in same loop. Chain 3
  • SC in back loop of next stitch.  In back loop of each individual stitch here and through out:   SC two times, 2 SC in next stitch.  DC two times, 2 DC in next 2 stitches, DC two times.  2 SC in next stitch.  SC three times. (This should put you at the ruffle.)
  • 12 chain. Attach with slip stitch at the other side of the ruffle (where you ended the last chain and began stitching around the medallion).
  • SC in each stitch around medallion. DC in each chain stitch
  • Next row: SC, Reduce by one SC in two loops.  Repeat to end of row.
  • Next row: Reduce by one SC in two loops to end of row.
  • Next row: Reduce by one SC in three loops (three times.) Tie off.  Pull knot & yarn into the foot and weave & trim.

  • Attach with slip stitch directly behind first stitch of ruffle.  SC, Reduce by one SC in two loops.  Repeat until you get to the ruffle.  SC in the back (front to you now) loop of each ruffle.  Slip stitch to close.
  • Turning chain.  Begin working on the outside of bootie.  DC in each stitch.  Slip stitch to close.
  • Turning chain. DC in each stitch.  Slip stitch to close.
  • Turning chain.  DC behind each DC column of previous row.  Last DC should be worked behind the turning chains of this and the previous row – you will have to fold down the cuff.
  • Slip stitch to base of second row.  Tie off & pull yarn inside bootie.  Weave & trim

Make 2 for each pair . . .

My God,
I wasn't there when you formed the heavens or the earth.  I wasn't there when you decided to crunch up the mountains or lay the deep oceans.  I was there when you walked me through dark places and horrors and times of weeping and great sorrow.  You never left my side when I yelled and screamed at you for the things I lived through.  I'm stronger now.  I don't look at death the same way as I did.  I don't fear destruction the way I did before.  These things are a part of life.  But you place your loving arms around me and remind me that we are not of this earth; we are part of eternity.
  I love you, God.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Living Water

Mary McDonald (Arranger), Sarah Moore (Composer)
SATB, Unison, Piano, Solo
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn

Saturday, June 18, 2011

on Leadership - by Harvey S. Firestone

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.

Harvey S. Firestone

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who Is in Control?

Psalm 40: 4
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.

I facilitate my writer's group, Writers for All Seasons.  I run my Prayer Shawl Ministry.  I sing soprano in my choir.  I drive my car.  I own my house.  I am a woman in charge of my life.
In every situation, there will always be someone else who tries to take over my meetings.  There will always be some piece of equipment or material which will diminish my control over my environment.  Men may have good old boy systems, but women have pecking orders.  There always seems to be someone trying to peck their way to the top and trample me on the way.
This used to bother me immensely.  I would cry.  I would get angry.  I would say vindictive things and instigate sweet revenge.  I was miserable.  I was tolerably successful but absolutely miserable.
So what happened?  I learned to trust God.  I put Him in control. 
Now I tell Writers for All Seasons that I am the facilitator, not the dictator, and we all share an equal part in the group.  I take a more pro-active role in my Prayer Shawl Ministry as an organizer, but we are equal participants.  In my educational career, I stopped putting myself in charge of my peers and now enjoy just doing my job.  I blend my voice with the choir and it sounds so much better than a bunch of soloists singing at the same time.
I am a woman in charge of my life.  I'm in charge of my life because God is in control of me.  I defer all major decisions to Him.  I discuss all situations with Him.  He is my counselor.  He unfolds the universe at my feet and shows me where to step. (I don't always follow the path He shows me, but I admit that He was right when I eventually wind my way back.)  He never leaves me.  He never forces His decisions on me; I have free will.  I choose to have God be in charge of my life.
That's the secret of a successful Prayer Shawl Ministry.  You run it, but let God be in control.

Dearest God,
Remember when I said You could guide me and guard me?  Remember when I asked you to protect and preserve me?  And about that whole direct and defend me thing – please do.  Always.  Forever.  Be in control of my life.  Thank you! Amen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Ruth Elaine Schram (Arranger)
Two-part, Piano
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn

Saturday, June 11, 2011

on Leadership - by Bill Gates

As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.

Bill Gates

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Confidential Charity

Luke 17: 2-3
It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.  So watch yourselves.

            Most of my life has been spent as an elementary teacher, so I have this face that seems to be respected and trusted by total strangers.  The fact that it also breaks cameras is fine.  I'll take trust and respect over photogenics any day.  I also hate to stand in lines, so I talk to people.  I love talking to people, and inevitably, someone bares their soul to me.
What a blessing to me, that God uses me to help open the doors to people's hearts.
            My Prayer Shawl Ministry members collect cards during the two weeks between our meetings.  These cards have the name, prayer requests and delivery instructions for those who would benefit from receiving our shawls.  Obviously, some of the difficulties these recipients go through are sensitive in nature -- or the fodder of juicy gossip!
            These women are going through the worst of times; trusting Christian women with their hurts and prayer requests.  They are as vulnerable as children during this time.  And to betray this confidence is as evil as hurting a child.
            As a teacher, I have found myself longing to see millstones miraculously appear around some parents’ necks.  I will never forget the belt buckle scars embedded in my student’s skin, the burn marks down their tiny arms, the jagged slashes down their legs from thorny switches.  I will never forget their hot tears and sorrowful sobs.  These children were victims of betrayed confidence.
            Be sure, as Prayer Shawl Ministry members and leaders, that you never betray confidences.  Treat all prayer requests as confidential.

Jesus, let your will be done in each woman’s life.  Let me treat her with respect and keep her confidences.  Let me be to her as You have been to me: a counselor, a comforter, a friend.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fairest Lord Jesus

Mary McDonald (Composer)
SATB, Piano
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn