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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Forever Yours to Be

Roger Summers (Composer)
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn

Saturday, August 27, 2011

on Leadership - by Abraham Lincoln

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lead All Souls to Heaven

John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

I'm not sure what kind of bird it was--I'm not really up on my bird identification skills.  It was smaller than my palm, with a narrow beak, a stripe of yellow below its eyes, and a swab of red above its breast.  Smaller than a robin, larger than a sparrow; it hopped along the top of my curtain rod in my living room.
I wondered how in the world it got in.  Then I wondered how it was going to get out.  I turned off the ceiling fan and watched as it hopped from my curtain rods to my cabinet and then to the slowed blades of the fan.
I opened the top window in my front door and went back into the living room.  I think it was attracted by that hint of fresh air.  The bird flew past me, through the front hall, and into my study.  By now it had the undivided attention of Moonbeam and Daisy.  Moonbeam --I tossed into my bedroom and shut the door.  Daisy, adorable Lab that she is, quickly lost interest.
I wanted to rescue this bird and set him free.  I turned off the ceiling fan in my study and watched as the tiny bird explored the room.  If I swooped on him, he would panic.  If I tried to capture him, he might be injured.  I tried warbling to him, but I'm not very good at bird-talk.
I retreated into the living room.  The March breeze from the hallway window was strong enough to be felt in the study.  It attracted the bird.  He flew into the hall and perched on the wicker shelves filled with African violet pots.  I closed the door to the study and stood in the doorway to the living room, effectively blocking those two exits.  Slowly, calmly, the bird explored the pots on the wicker shelves.  It was two feet away from the open window.  If I startled it now, it might fly away from the opening, and I would have accomplished nothing.
The wind gusted into the house, promising a month that would go out like a lamb.  The bird flew toward me, pin-wheeled, and soared out the window.  I cheered, Daisy barked, and Moonbeam got let out of the bedroom: the bird was free.
Sometimes, the urge to help people find salvation is so great; I have to hold myself back.  I want to shout, "This way!"  I want to swoop down and drag them toward salvation.  Sometimes, I hope they can be scared into finding salvation.
None of these strategies should ever be employed by prayer shawl ministries.  The best way to help someone find salvation is to remove what might endanger them, make the way to salvation obvious, and remove any obstacles in the way.  Gradually help the person recognize spiritual dead ends.  And pray, “Lord, let your will be done in this person’s life.”
I believe I have the responsibility to open the window.  The bird was the only one who could fly through. The wind blows.  The bird recognizes its true environment.  The bird finds his way home.

Lord, let your will be done.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

May Your Roots Go Deep

David Lantz (Composer), Herb Frombach (Author)

I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn

Saturday, August 20, 2011

on Leadership - by Henry Ford

If you think you can do a thing or that you cannot do a thing, in either case you are right.

Henry Ford

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hoarding Supplies

Matthew 6: 19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

My Prayer Shawl Ministry has Yarn Angels who spend their Saturday mornings -- and their money -- gleaning boxes of yarn from garage sales.  Along with the brand-new and used skeins of yarn are half finished projects: baby blankets, dozens of tiny granny squares, armless sweaters and sweater-less arms.  It's so sad.
My spare bedroom is packed full of bags of yarn and unfinished projects and pattern books.  One whole drawer is filled with crocheted flowers. I work diligently to turn every skein of yarn into something useful.  I scold myself when I buy yarn for a new project when I have so many skeins already.  But I buy it anyway.
It's so sad.
Yarn is unfulfilled potential when it is in a spare room or set aside for a rainy day. 
I have put an addendum in my will -- all yarn, hooks, needles, and craft books will be given to my Prayer Shawl Ministry at my death.  I like that idea, but I would rather give away completed shawls during my lifetime.
Sometimes I wonder what spiritual resources I am hoarding.  Did I refrain from sharing a smile because I myself was grumpy?  Did I forget to pray for someone because I was too wrapped up in something else?  Did I wear out my voice hollering when I should have been singing?  And comfort, did I save it for loved ones and deny strangers?
When I go to heaven, I hope to leave behind finished projects, not unused supplies.

Jesus, let me be generous with the things You give me.  Love, hope, joy, understanding, compassion, wisdom, faith:  help me share these things.  Help me use these things to further your kingdom.  In your name I pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

God’s Faithful Shepherds

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

Saturday, August 13, 2011

on Leadership - by David Lloyd George

Don't be afraid to take a big step when one is indicated.  You can't cross a chasm in two small steps.

David Lloyd George
British Prime Minister during WWI

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hanging Your Wash on the Line

John 15: 1-4
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

            A few years ago, I made a decision to be more productive but less busy.  I had filled my life up with busy and found myself not completing many of my plans.  Plus, I was forty-seven years old!
So I started hanging my clothes out to dry.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Instead of dashing into my laundry room to toss a soggy load of clothes into my dryer, pushing a button, and dashing away to the next project, I took the clothes outside and hung them on the line.
I love being outdoors, but I never seemed to take time to go outside.  I was so busy I couldn't find the time to think.  So I started hanging my clothes out and discovered some wonderful things.  I love being outside again, and my clothes smell of the outdoors even when I put them away.  Hanging up clothes gives me the time to think simple thoughts and to ponder large mysteries.  Plus, I realize how the previous week has gone.  I first realized this when I glanced out my kitchen window, wondering if the wash was dry, and saw a field of red.  Almost everything on the line was red.  I had been fighting several battles that week; I guess I had dressed accordingly.  The next week--disaster after disaster--the clothes pinned to my lines were black, gray, and brown.
I made a concerted effort to vary my hues.  If my emotions influence my color choice, perhaps the opposite would work, too.  This morning, I hung out florals, stripes, and solids in every color.  It had been a terrible week, but I don't think any but my closest friends noticed, and I feel wonderful today.
At the beginning of every prayer shawl meeting, I write in a ledger the name and prayer need for each shawl recipient.  This book stays with me and is not for public display.  But, like clothes on the line, it shows me what needs are being acknowledged by my group.  It also shows me when there are glaring gaps in some areas.  If one week is full of widows and the next is full of grieving daughters, we have done a good job comforting those who mourn, but what of the others?  The abused woman in the shelter?  The cancer patient?  The woman whose career is in jeopardy?
A mentally healthy week is reflected by various colors on my clothes line.
A spiritually healthy ministry is reflected by the varied needs which are being met.

Oh Gardener of my soul,
I don’t want to be so busy that I stop being productive.  In my productivity, let me be well-rounded.  Let me be a vine which bears fruit that meets the many different needs of those around me.  When You prune me, let me accept the need for rest and restoration, so that I can bear fruit again.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Simple Praise

Pamela Martin (Author), Craig Courtney (Composer)
SAB, Piano
I do not receive any compensation for posting these anthems here; I just think they are terrific. Evelyn

Friday, August 5, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beginnings and Endings

Ecclesiastes 7:8-9
The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

            I have a bed covering that I absolutely love but it is not usable.  I began each medallion with a colorful flower and centered each flower inside a white triangle.  I then arranged the triangles in circles and bound them with green stitches like leaves.  However, I miscalculated either the number of flowers or the geometry of the triangles, so I filled in some areas with white patches.  The border had to be elaborate, so I ruffled pink and rose to match the flowers, and then ribbed light and dark green for the leaves, and of course I had to add another frilly edge of white.  I have a queen-size bed.  The bed coverlet swallowed the bed and dragged along the floor for several feet.
            I was having so much fun with the pattern, I didn't know when to stop.
            Sometimes, I get so tired of the color or the pattern I'm doing, I quit working on it before it is finished.  I hope those people who received child-size shawls and twin bed-size afghans will forgive me; I just didn't know when to keep going.
Beginning a project is so much more exciting than finishing one.  But there is nothing useful about an unfinished shawl or an incorrectly sized afghan.
Sometimes, we need to just stop.  We need to know when something -- even a good thing -- is over.  Don't waste time longing for something that's done.  Think about the joy of beginning something new.  You only have one pair of hands.  You can't work on two projects at the same time.  End one so you can begin anew.

My God,
You know how stubborn I am.  You know how engrossed I can become in something.  Help me to understand that it is time to go on to something new.  Don’t let me fear new beginnings.  Don’t let me fear endings, either.  I have all of eternity ahead of me.  Teach me to let go and go on.  Amen.