Tuesday, October 26, 2010


My first piece of glazed pottery.

It's a vase.

A vase for very short flowers.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Recent Craftiness

I've been having a lot of fun being creative the past few months. I signed up for a pottery class and should hopefully be getting back my first glazed piece this week - there are a few other things in the drying/firing process - so we'll see if they survive :)

Here are a few pottery pieces pre-kiln stage:

A small vase and the beginning of a large coffee mug

This is a pitcher - - I've got a bad habit of making the base too thick - but if it's not too heavy when it's done it can actually be used for a pitcher. If it's too heavy to make use of the handle - then a decorative vase. It spent the past week drying - so it'll go in the kiln this week.

I also got tired of trying to find a Hobo style cross-the-body purse that fit over my plus size body - so I made one. There is a large fabric store not to far from me so I spent a Saturday morning browsing the patterns and choosing fabric and then most of the rest of the day working on the purse. I got it mostly done that day but had to finish the strap later. It has a number of imperfections, but it's functional and I like it :)  I can see myself making another one now that I know what I'm doing. I used clearance fabric for this one - next time I'll probably try a pattern that is more me for the outside.

Floral Fabric for lining, tan/gold for the outside

The lining before it was put into the purse.

Inside the finished purse

Love having a hands-free bag!

The strap ended up a bit too long - so I'll need to cut out part of it and re-sew. An easy fix thanks to the seam being at the top of the strap. At the moment it's just knotted up a bit - and it may stay that way for a while quite honestly.

And, lastly, I kind of stumbled upon the fact that I enjoy making paper collage/pictures/murals/mosaics. I've made a couple for other people as sort of a greeting card - so I decided to see if I could just create a scene. For the cards for others I used Bible verses as inspiration - so I went to the same place for this. It started out as an idea to show some kind of "shelter" as seen in Psalm 91 - - I couldn't figure out how to do a cave out of paper - so I put in a tent - - and the rest just kind of came. I don't really like how the leaves or stars turned out and the ground needs something at the base of the trees/under the tent - but it was a relaxing way to spend some time :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sacrificial Love

I have never been a musically inclined person - but when I was a little girl I did have one singer that I went totally 8 year-old fangirl over - wore out the concert t-shirt and everything. And who was this big pop star? Why, Babbie Mason!

Ok, so I'm not really sure if she was super popular or if I just loved her - but a number of her songs regularly run on repeat through my head thanks to that phenomenon of things you memorize in childhood sticking with you for years.

The one in my head currently has been "Show Me How to Love"

It's just the chorus that made it through the past two decades in tact in my memory - but it always makes me think. The chorus says:

Show me how to love in the true meaning of the word. Teach me to sacrifice expecting nothing in return. I want to give my life away. Becoming more like you each and every day, my words are not enough, please show me how to love.

One thing I've realized as I've grown older and examined the way I've lived my life - mistakes I've made, how I act in relationships, etc - is that I didn't/don't have a healthy grasp on what it means to love sacrificially as a human. At times, it's still a struggle as I have to remind myself what it is and what it isn't.

I think I tended to think of sacrificial love as denying myself everything - - including my right to boundaries in relationships or my right to have an opinion, etc.  I recognize that as unhealthy, that sacrificial love does not equal being a doormat, and that that is not really love because it's not really doing anything for the person you are loving. 

However, my brain still gets stuck.

And I blame part of this sticking on another childhood experience - finding a poem called "Dying to Self" - I printed it out and hung it on my wall at home, at my locker at school. When I went off to college - that poem came with me.

Some of the lines include:

"When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don't sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ. . .

"When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take in all in patient, loving silence. . .

"When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any impunctuality, or any annoyance; when you stand face-to- face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility-and endure it as Jesus endured. . .

That is Dying to Self."
Now - I'm sure there are quite good points in the poem - but it makes me cringe now to read it, knowing how it's intent got twisted in my heart. In my mind somewhere - I came to the conclusion that sacrificial love meant being quite when you were hurt and praying for both the other person and for your own reaction.  And that eventually if you were really good at sacrificial love then you wouldn't even be hurt anymore - you'd skip that step in the emotion process and go straight to love.  On this side of that belief it scares me to examine it and the thought processes and realize how easy it is to twist the admonition to love sacrificially into something that makes people a doormat and susceptible to abuse by those would exploit it.

A better answer came from another childhood icon - Amy Carmichael.  I became interested in the life of Amy Carmichael as a child when the children's choir teacher told her story before practice one week. As a college student I stumbled upon one of her writings titled, "Calvary Love" (Please click to read it in its entirety)

I think it's similar to the "Dying to Self" poem in that it is talking about relationships with others in this world - but Carmichael does not leave any doubt that sacrificial love is strong and active and assertive.  In Calvary Love there is the assumption that sacrificial love at times means rebuking in love, speaking truth, and expecting high standards from others.

How do you define sacrificial love? How do you live out Sacrificial love as a human when our ultimate example is that of a perfect, sinless, Savior? 

I'd love for people to answer the questions just as a discussion because I'm a nerd and like stuff like that - but also because even thought it's something I'm aware of it's still a very real struggle in my life to love sacrificially in a healthy way - so I'd love some wisdom there.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

God is at work

This morning after church there were five people baptized. Each of these new believers spoke before being baptized and told how God had worked in their life and brought them to salvation.

As I listen to the stories I was encouraged by the fact that God IS at work.  That despite the fact that we live in a society full of relativism, universalism, and the idea that to share our faith with someone is pushy and egotistical - that God is still at work.

Included in the testimonies of these people were simple things - - - a stranger inviting them to church during a "back to campus" event at college, a non-Christian mother reading her son simple bedtime stories out of a kids book called "Stories from the Bible", a church - with open doors and invitation for anyone to come in to pray, and of course people in their lives who spoke the name of Jesus and the message of the Gospel.

In our modern world with all of our great ideas about life here and in eternity - - people still see their need and choose to follow a Holy God and a risen Savior.