11–20 of 108 entries in the category: Faith

Baby Kimono Wrap Sweater

February 2nd

Robyn and I don’t really know each other. But we have long read each other’s blogs and supported each other. Well, really she has supported me. She and her community of knitting friends regularly pitch in for my variety of projects. Boxes of hats, scarves and other hand knits have arrived from around the country for homeless vets, for example. Her generosity knows no bounds.

Baby kimono wrap: finished

She is expecting a little girl soon. Her first! I thought it would be nice to send some non-pink or purple love her way to celebrate the addition to their family.

Baby kimono wrap: finished

 

Pattern: Kimono Wrap in Mason Dixon Knitting

Yarn: Peaches and Cream cotton

Time: This knit up within a couple weeks. It took far longer to decide what to do about the closure. With the move, my sewing supplies are packed (and machine is in the shop) so when Sue suggested braided ties, I jumped on the idea. I love the colors of this yarn; they remind me of the sea.

Baby kimono wrap: finished

Next up: ball band cotton dish cloths — a pattern from the same book. I have a lot of small bits of cotton yarn remaining from a variety of projects I’d like to clean up, and a few friends moving and settling into new houses. Perfect fit.

~K

Posted in
Blessings, Community, Domestic Art, Earth Mama
Comments (5)

Prayer

January 14th

Praying for peace

 

Africa is hurting. The people of Central African Republic are under siege. The folks of South Sudan are involved in a brutal, new civil war. For Zimbabwe, falling again into man-made, infuriating famine. The Second Congo war rages on, killing more people than any other conflict since WWII.

My prayers are for these people. The women who huddle under plastic tarps as the humid equatorial rain pours at night, unable to comfort their children. There is no comfort when hiding from violence. For the health care workers who may be able to stop wounds from bleeding, but cannot keep the malarial mosquitoes or dirty water away from the thousands and thousands who huddle in makeshift refugee camps. For those coordinating food and medical supply drops — may there be fewer hungry bellies on the great continent.

For the leaders — to be strong, courageous, peaceful and just.

My prayers and heart are with you, great Africa.

 

~K

Posted in
Africa, Faith
Comments (5)

Insomnia in the Garden of Good and Evil

January 10th

Birthday girl

I’ve struggled finding sleep lately. Wide awake from midnight to 3 am is becoming the new routine. I listen as Nelson chases bunnies in his sleep from the foot of the bed. As the landscaping company meticulously blows every leaf from the Sprouts’ parking lot across the street, into the street at 1 am. As our neighbor, who is a bouncer at some Scottsdale club, returns on his Harley Davidson around 2:30 am, grinding the throttle as he parks in his garage.

With plenty of time to think, I’ve wrestled with the idea of staying on the right path in life, and how temptation is constantly present. Imagine walking down a path in the rainforest. The brush has been hacked away and bare feet of those who have traveled before you created a winding line of worn earth that leads deeper and deeper into the unknown. Light trickles down from the canopy overhead, where birds and monkeys fight to sing the loudest chorus.

If you stay on the path, you know there will eventually be an end. It is impossible to turn around, as much as you may try. The path disappears behind you. Your memories are the only trace. There are highs and lows. Vistas that take your breath away, moments of intense pleasure. And also bogs you must wade through, quicksand that suffocates with grief and hardship. Times that are hard to shake off.

But if you can just get back on the path, you know these highs and lows become easier to navigate. You’ve found and developed tools along the way. Yet the biggest challenge you face are the vines. These try to pull you off course toward bright and shiny objects of desire that seem so worth stopping to admire in the moment. But if you linger just a moment too long, the kudzu starts at your feet and slowly works upward until the shiny object is all you have. The forest has enclosed around you. The path is gone. You are forever lost. Your beloved item is no longer so shiny.

I feel the pull.

I had dinner recently with a married couple who are friends. The woman is my age and does not have a wrinkle or freckle on her truly beautiful face. I stared at her wondering if it was more than genetics. Regardless, I came home to examine the ever increasing map of an Arizona childhood playing out across my brow and began to consider what I could do to stop time. The vanity vine wound itself around my feet as I pulled here and thought about injecting that there. A patch of gray hairs continue to sprout from my crown. Gravity is doing my figure no favors.

How does she do it? So beautiful and thin and put together? Why can’t I look like that?

We stayed in another friends’ home during the holidays in Denver. They are newly married and purchased a home that is just my style. I wandered it, admiring the furniture and linens and thinking about my life — which is a bit chipped and stained and worn after so many moves in the last few years. I watched as Nelson ran outside in the beautiful yard, chasing squirrels and sticking his nose happily in mounds of snow. The vine of envy took root.

Why don’t I live in a home like this? Why haven’t I been smarter with money?

Again commuting, although mercifully a short distance, I find my patience wanes the moment I get behind the wheel. I tell others jokingly, “I’m a pacifist outside of my car.” And in that flash of stupid anger when my temper flares, I feel the vine of wrath wrapped around shaking fists.

Why am I sitting in this damn traffic?

The extra glass of wine I shouldn’t drink. The married man who winks and smirks. The snarky judgments I hurl at women. And the swears. Oh, the swears.

The vines never cease.

My strongest tool is faith. I have faith that the life I am leading is perfectly imperfect. I have faith that I will be a better person today than I was yesterday. I have faith that my Grandmother Maxine, gone one year today, is helping guide my steps through her experience.

I have faith in an all-loving, compassionate, wonderful God.

And, worst case scenario, Botox is fairly cheap in these here parts…

~K

 

Posted in
Faith
Comments (12)

Thanksgiving!

November 28th

Autumnal Walk with Nelson

Where ever you may be in this world — may today be one of great company, food and laughter.

And now, I’m off to pour myself a glass of champagne, find a clean apron, and pull out the board games.

xo,

Kelli + the gang

Posted in
Blessings, Celebrate!
Comments (4)

Sisters In Spirit: Gratitude

November 27th

Sisters in Spirit is a series of essays by a group of women who felt a spiritual perspective lacking from the steady stream of daily news.  They each agreed to carve space monthly on their blogs for a spiritual conversation.  The topic this month is … wait for it … gratitude.

Mom + Dad

I know! Gratitude. Before you jump away, your eyes rolled so far back into your “If I read ONE more ‘thankfulness’ post this month I’m going to shave off every Movember mustache and shove them into the turkey” head — this is a little different.

I’m not going to get overly sentimental and gushy; I’m going to give it to you straight, Internets.

The older I get, the more I realize 99% of my success and survival has been thanks to my parents. My folks, who met as teenagers and somehow, by the grace of God, have made it work for nearly 4 decades. I find myself in situations daily where I am using lessons they taught me. And not just, say, washing my hands after using the restroom. More like, speaking up for my views even though I’m the youngest in the room AND being ready to listen to the advice and wisdom of others present.

There wasn’t a day of my childhood when I didn’t hear, “You can do anything you want. You can be whatever you want to be. The sky is the limit.”

Mama y Papa

I thought all kids were so lucky.

So, this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my parents Rex and Karel. They are two of the kindest and most generous people in the world. Thanks Mom and Dad for not only loving us knuckleheads, but for also loving each other. You’ve set the bar high, and my family is my greatest blessing.

{I’m I’m only a little weepy that we aren’t all together for the holidays.}

P.S. Love you too, Codeman.

Cody + Raj

I hope you continue this conversation by reading and commenting other perspectives on Christianity with my other Sisters in Spirit. Become part of the conversation:

 Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to two boys, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife.  (She does not play the organ.)  She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice.  Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler.  Sarah blogs at www.beautyschooldropout.net

Bianca is a Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband welcomed their first child in the fall of 2012. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs & her son, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on BecomingBianca.com

Rhonda is an attorney and native of Missouri.  She is known for being overly-emotionally invested in her three, elderly dogs and dabbling in a ridiculous amount of hobbies, including sewing, music, and writing, while mastering none.  She was baptized in her late twenties and is amazed and grateful that Jesus continues to put up with her.  She blogs atbigsnafu.com

Posted in
Blessings, Faith
Comments (5)

Sisters in Spirit: Hospitality

October 22nd

Sisters in Spirit is a series of blog posts by a group of women who felt that a spiritual perspective was lacking from the steady stream of news and information that flowed through their daily lives. They each agreed to carve out a space on their blogs on a monthly basis for a spiritual conversation. This month’s topic is hospitality.

Culinary Dropout

I far prefer a home cooked meal to eating in a restaurant. If you invite me over for your family’s favorite spaghetti? I will think about it all day and be so very excited to sit down and gab and take it all in. I’ll bug you about the recipe. I’ll enjoy every moment of the experience. There is something about being invited into a home to share a meal that is intimate and full of grace.

The plate may be chippped, the wine soured and the kids screaming for something else. But, still. We are sitting together, sharing bread.

I have always wanted to have one of those homes where kids could go after school to hang out. It has a big dining room table with cookies and fruit and space for homework. It has a game room, with disheveled boxes of board and card games – beloved by the family. On the walls are framed posters from museum exhibits that were so good, you bit the bullet at the pricey museum store; you had to bring a bit of it home with you.

Most importantly, I always want a home where people feel welcome.  I think hospitality – giving like you’d like to receive – should be considered a tenant of a Christian home. It isn’t just the nice thing to do, it is the right thing to do.

In Luke, Jesus said,  “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Culinary Dropout

My hospitality is rarely fancy. Our friend Trond regularly stops by these days. He’s a bachelor and lives nearby. I get a text mid-week and sometimes mid-weekend asking what we are up to. I know this means, “Are you cooking?”  Sometimes those meals are celebrations – with linens and courses. And sometimes they are a matter of survival, with warmed up leftovers and a plopped bag of tortilla chips on the table.

We eat together in friendship and the menu doesn’t seem to matter. Trond doesn’t hide his affection for my cooking, and we don’t hide our enjoyment of including him at the dinner table. He knows he is always welcome.

Hostess Basket

My favorite hospitality hack for house guests is to put together a small basket of goodies for their room. Along with clean towels and a bar of soap, I like to include chocolate, samples of beauty products and recent magazines. If I am really on top of my game, there is a covered glass of water on the nightstand and a bouquet of tied herbs from the garden tied with a pretty ribbon. (And if I’m working extra hours and struggling to make sure the Crockpot dinner isn’t burning – the basket is likely still tucked in the linen closet, alongside my good intentions.)

So, friends – I believe in hospitality, even if I have little to give. Not just because I think it is the polite thing to do, or because I have been hosted and helped so many times by kind friends too. But because great, giving, selfless hospitality is what God calls us to do. Also: a home is a far more interesting place to spend your time with a varied cast of characters.

~K

Continue the conversation here:

Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to two boys, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife.  (She does not play the organ.)  She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice.  Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler.  Sarah blogs at www.beautyschooldropout.net

Bianca is a Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband welcomed their first child in the fall of 2012. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs & her son, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on BecomingBianca.com

Rhonda is an attorney and native of Missouri.  She is known for being overly-emotionally invested in her three, elderly dogs and dabbling in a ridiculous amount of hobbies, including sewing, music, and writing, while mastering none.  She was baptized in her late twenties and is amazed and grateful that Jesus continues to put up with her.  She blogs at bigsnafu.com.

 

Posted in
Faith
Comments (8)

St. Francis

October 13th

This week my mom was in town to help take care of family after Wenard’s passing. Coincidentally, she brought her new dog with her — Dixie, and our church was having a blessing of animals to honor St. Francis.

I got my crazy love for animals from my mother, who needed a light-hearted break this week during the otherwise stressful visit. So, we drove over one early evening to join a handful of other folks with their dogs and cats on the church lawn. The reverend was ready with holy water, a Bible and sermon, and poop bags.

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

The blessing of the animals

 

I’m not sure Nelson could look more guilty or uncomfortable in this photo, which cracks me up. Little devil.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Blessings, Faith
Comments (7)

Thank you

October 9th

I snapped a few photos this week to remind me of Wenard:

Wenard

Wenard

Wenard

Wenard

JB was their beloved pound puppy who died last year. SB is by gram. LC was Wenard. T is their last initial. This is the step into his workshop. 

Thank you all for your kind words and messages. We were very, very lucky to have Wenard in our lives for 25-plus years. Several other friends have lost grandparents this week; it seems this is the season of life for many of us. How blessed we are to have had these elders for so much time!

WIth love,

Kelli

 

Posted in
Blessings
Comments (2)

The Birds Sing

October 7th

Ivy climbing up a tree

A week ago, my grandmother’s husband and sweetheart of more than 25 years died unexpectedly. Leonard was a carpenter. He was also a southerner, a pipe smoker, a father, grandfather, sibling and former preacher. He fell in love with my grandmother like a teenage boy, even though he was well into his 50s when she knocked his world off kilter.

He loved her. Loved her, loved her.

I remember one of their first Christmas’ together, he surprised her with a Gucci watch she’d long wanted. We were all there when she opened the gift, quickly attaching the gold G around her wrist and beaming with pride. He’d purchased exactly what she wanted. It was the rare moment of emotion from my British granny — one etched on my teenage brain.

Looking back on that holiday, I can only imagine how annoying and complicated it was for this man to go to a department store to buy that silly watch. Leonard, or “Wenard” as my brother and I lovingly referred to him, was anything but fancy. His daily uniform was worn blue jeans, a white, front pocket Hanes t-shirt and a wide smile. He had a dusty workshop at their house, where he would escape for hours. (That shop produced my beloved hope chest, and our family dinner table, among other cherished gems.)  He loved both gardening and dogs. And he could talk about the Bible like he’d written it himself.

One summer day, my brother and I were at their house, nestled between a few remaining farms and encroaching stucco suburbia. He had just planted a sapling in the front yard, and asked us to help him with some yard work. He warned us to watch for that new baby tree as we mowed the yard.

Of course, perhaps foretelling my future driving abilities, I ran right over the sapling on accident. My brother and I both felt miserable. Wenard was nothing but sweet to us, and here I had done the one thing he’d asked me not to because I simply wasn’t paying attention. By grace or luck, the tree survived. During the next two decades, Wenard would point at the tree and laugh.

“Remember that day you mowed right over her?” He would smile and we would chuckle.

Wenard should have known better than to buy my first car. Charlotte the AMC Hornet was shiny and old and in the driveway on my 16th birthday, because he and my gram wanted me to have a car.

Last week, I drove quickly to that same house to find my grandmother, after hearing the Wenard had died of a heart attack. (Thankfully, it happened when he was doing carpentry outside of their home. My gram, who doesn’t think as clearly today as she once did, got the news from two police officers.) In shock, I drove from work, unsure of what to expect.

Painfully, it was my first visit to their home since returning to Arizona several months ago. I hadn’t seen Wenard in months. Powerful, ugly guilt made it suddenly hard to swallow. I thought of all the things I’d done instead of making that drive to spend time with them. Hiking. Movies. Dinner with friends. Sleeping in. There were too many excuses. Tears of shame fell as I drove. I cried for how sorry I was I hadn’t had one last Wenard hug, those always tinged with the scent of Old Spice and pipe smoke. I prayed for him to forgive me.

When I arrived at the house, I walked to the front door, passing the little tree that could. Today, it stands 20 feet tall, and that morning with my cheeks still wet, it was full of birds. There wasn’t another bird in another tree for a hundred miles. Wendard’s tree had them all. And they were singing.

That tree was more alive than I’d ever seen it, and in that moment full of grace and forgiveness that felt like a cool breeze, I knew.

He was okay.

He understood why I hadn’t visited.

Now, we had to care for my grandmother.

As he’d always promised her, he’d done his very best until his very last day.

We will miss you, Wenard. You were a great man, and your kindness will long live on. I love you very much. Thank you for being a wonderful grandfather!

~K

Posted in
Blessings
Comments (21)

Sisters in Spirit: September

September 25th

Sisters in Spirit is a series of essays by a group of women who felt a spiritual perspective lacking from the steady stream of daily news.  They each agreed to carve space monthly on their blogs for a spiritual conversation.  The topic this month is: Sabbath.

 Resting in the dirt

The first time I saw the Sabbath being honored in a meaningful way was during a visit to Israel in 1999. I’d won a scholarship to spend three weeks in Israel and Palestine studying journalism with other college students. On a Friday afternoon, during an otherwise packed agenda, we were given a few hours to go to the Wailing Wall and wander the Old City in Jerusalem. But we were warned by our guide, Tamar, that under no circumstances should we find ourselves within the walled city after sundown.

It was a Friday. There would be both a call to prayer for Muslims and the fall of Sabbath for Jews. The shops and food carts within the walled gates would be closed and we would stick out as tourist targets if we were still inside when everyone else was setting off to meet their religious responsibilities.

After tucking my tiny note between thousands of others in the cracks of the temple walls, I scurried along the cobblestones as the sun sunk along the horizon. Sure enough, families closed their shops and the muezzin signaled prayer time from the minaret. The sunset reflected in the gold dome of the Temple Mount and curlycue Jews took their children by the hands, leading everyone inside.

Sabbath. A day of reflection, prayer and rest – as decreed by God in Genesis when even the Almighty wanted a day off. The word Sabbath is noted more than 100 times in the Old Testament and more than 60 in the New Testament. God is not joking around about instructing Christians to make one day a week different.

There have been times of my life when I spent Sundays at church and with family – conscious not to be working around the house or lugging a cart of groceries from the store. Lately, Sundays have been spent harried, cleaning, cooking, catching up and preparing for the week ahead.

My ideal Sabbath would be:

Wake up early and take Nelson for a walk, run or hike. Attend church service and be fully present to hear the message. Have brunch with friends. Spend the afternoon reading and napping. Have dinner with friends. Speak with my parents before going to bed early, preparing my mind for the week ahead.

What’s missing from that day? Time on the Internet. Dirty dishes. Worry. Television. Anything that makes me anxious.

What’s present? My attention to faith, friends and family. Rest.

While I’ll never be the orthodox Jew closing my store and spending 24 hours attending a diligent Sabbath, I can be the liberal United Methodist who gets her lazy butt to church and doesn’t worry about what is happening on Twitter. Thankfully, there is a Sunday each week when I get a do-over to try to do this right. 

Can I get an amen?

 I hope you continue this conversation by reading and commenting other perspectives on Christianity with my other Sisters in Spirit. Become part of the conversation:

 Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to two boys, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife.  (She does not play the organ.)  She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice.  Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler.  Sarah blogs at www.beautyschooldropout.net 

Bianca is a Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband welcomed their first child in the fall of 2012. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs & her son, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on BecomingBianca.com

Rhonda is an attorney and native of Missouri.  She is known for being overly-emotionally invested in her three, elderly dogs and dabbling in a ridiculous amount of hobbies, including sewing, music, and writing, while mastering none.  She was baptized in her late twenties and is amazed and grateful that Jesus continues to put up with her.  She blogs at bigsnafu.com.

 

 

Posted in
Faith
Comments (4)