Friday, May 26, 2006

The SKM Signature Prayer Shawl

Finally, I have a picture to post of the prayer shawl I've been talking about. For those of you who have already donated yarn, at last you get to see how it's being used. And for those of you who have yet to donate, hopefully this picture will help explain the significance of each bit of yarn we receive.

The picture doesn't quite do justice to the colors in the shawl, but it's a start. A friend who is a knitter and a photographer, has graciously donated her time and services to take a "professional" picture for use in note cards and hang tags to go with the shawl. Hopefully that will be done within the next few weeks. Of course I'll post the new pictures as soon as I get them.

Now, here's a question for the group. In addition to making the prayer shawls for recipients, I've been thinking about making a limited number of shawls available for sale, as a way of raising funds for the Knitting Retreat. I need to price the shawls on the high end because (1) it is a fundraiser and (2) the price should help keep demand in check - I can only knit so many of them. What do you think would be an appropriate price?

Yarn keeps coming!

Thank you to Linda and Laura for your generous yarn donations. I continue to be amazed at the generosity of so many who are contributing yarn, support and prayers for this ministry. Another prayer shawl and a lap quilt went out in today's mail. And it's because of the generosity of our friends that we're able to make that happen. Thanks again!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Saturday night at the game

Believe it or not, I sometimes do something other than work or knit. Last Saturday I went to a Richmond Braves game in Norfolk. Let me start by saying that I am NOT a baseball fan, but the weather was glorious and thanks to the miracle of advanced technology, I was able to knit at night under the stars (stadium lights). How's that for making the best of the situation?

Because I'm so inspired by Mary's blog, I've decided to try to remember to take my camera with me when I go out. I did remember to take the camera to the ball game, so here's a picture. I was surprised at how well this picture came out since it was dark.

While most people thought the baseball players were the stars, I must admit this guy gets my vote:

And last but not least is the real reason I went to the game:


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Baby Beanies

Today I delivered 12 preemie caps to the neonatal intensive care unit at Southside Regional Medical Center. The folks over there were so happy to get the caps. They were particularly thrilled that they were small, apparently most of the knitted caps they get are for full-term babies. I read in a preemie cap pattern somewhere that the average size of a preemie's head is like that of an orange. What precious little gifts these babies are! I pray that God will continue to bless these little angels and the doctors, nurses, volunteers and other hospital staff that take such good care of them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Two more pink scarves

Two more pink scarves down... a lot more to go, but I'm completely confident that we'll meet our goal for the Think Pink Challenge.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A funny thing happend on the way to the garage

I got my new license plates today. I think it's they're very cool. I wanted to make a statement and I'd say that I started off in a big way...

When we realized that the screws holding the old plates were rusted and we couldn't get them off, my best friend Ann volunteered to take the car to the garage down the street to have them cut the screws off. When she called and asked for an estimate, the guy at the garage told her that "it could be free, depending on what you look like." Ann refused to tell me what he'd said before she left, and now I understand why. She thought it was disgusting, but funny. I thought it was just plain disgusting. I can only imagine what her husband would think.

Imagine the guy's face when Ann showed up a few minutes later with my pretty new plates in tow:

His first words were "I sure hope that stands for 'Knitting For Good'." Not exactly! Needless to say, he was hopelessly embarrassed and apologetic. I bet he'll think twice the next time he's tempted to make a comment like that. Meanwhile, Ann and I are still laughing... You Go God!

Another awesome donation

If there was ever any doubt in your mind about whether God is blessing this ministry, you can rest easy now. Four days... four boxes full of wonderful yarns to make prayer shawls. Today's generous donation came from Lion Brand Yarn Company.

The letter that was enclosed with the yarn was so encouraging that I want to share a portion of it with you. "The generosity of knitters and crocheters continually impresses us at Lion Brand, and we wish it were possible to say 'yes' to every request... Working together, we expand all our ability to help those in need... We appreciate the trust that your request for a Lion Brand Yarn donation represents and thank you for the good work you do."

Thank you to Lion Brand and thanks to each of you who are supporting the work of this ministry with your prayers, your donations and your contributions of knitted items and other things.

Plymouth Rocks!

Yesterday felt like Christmas in May. First, another huge box of beautiful yarns arrived, compliments of Plymouth Yarn Co., Inc. There was so much yarn in the box that I couldn't arrange it in a way that you could see all of the skeins at the same time, but trust me when I tell you they are awesome! Please be sure to visit their website and keep them in mind when you're buying more yarn!

I also like to expend special thanks to Ellen G., also from PA who sent the following beautiful yarns that also arrived yesterday.

Okay, so far PA and NE have weighed in. Let's see if we can get yarn from every state in the US. But then why stop there? Let's see how many continents we can claim as supporters of this ministry. Just imagine how many women will be helped by these generous donations. I can't thank you guys enough.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Growth vs. Change

God recently sent me on a scavenger hunt to Books-A-Million. After asking, Him to show me what He wanted me to read, He led me to a book called "I Really Want to Change... So, Help Me God" by James MacDonald. Notice the placement of the comma in the title. It's amazing that such a little punctuation mark changes the entire meaning of this plea.

It is no accident that God led me to this book the day before I was to start a 90-day Diet (today!). He revealed to me that it wasn't just my eating habits and lack of consistent exercise that needed to change in order to improve my health and sense of well-being, but also that I needed to get serious about making a total transformation, the least of which is my physical appearance. My spirit, my heart, my thoughts, my words (yesterday's post), all need to be focused solely on Him. While my walk with Jesus is much stronger now than it's ever been, the reality is that I'm still a very long way from where I want to be - where God wants me to be. I want to be the most effective witness and waitress that I can be for Him, and in order to do that, it's time to clean house - physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Here's an excerpt from the Introduction that sums up what God is doing in my life right now...

"This is a book about change, not growth. Growth is like a ship on a voyage: slow, steady progress toward the distant land of maturity. Change is much more radical. It's like the captain shouting: "Quick, start bailing; we're taking on water and if we don't fix the gash in the boat we're gonna go down!" Growth deals with increasing the strengths of who we already are, improving who I already am. Change is about becoming different - radically different as soon as possible!" Change requires the elimination of character traits and patterns of behavior that are doing damage to my life and those around me. Growth is about health and happiness and someday and steady. Change is about critical, now, I have to be different or the fallout will be big. Growth is about reformation; change is about transformation."

So, help me God, I want to be transformed. I've been growing, but now I want to CHANGE. Right here, right now, I'm committing publically to each of you, my newfound sisters-in-Christ, that I'm going to devote the next 90 days to a total transformation for God. I intend to make myself totally and completely available to Him. I am the clay, waiting for the Potter to mold me as He sees fit.
Now, more than ever, I'm so glad that I made the decision to change my name. I found more confirmation of this when I read in this book that "God likes to change the names of people He's changing. It helps them to remember, "I'm not the person that I used to be."

I know it's going to be an awesome journey and I am so excited about how God is going to work in and through me. I am excited about the prospect of trading in all those man-made "self-help" theories for a serious study and application of change according to God's Word, the Bible. After all, as James MacDonald goes on to say, "If changing ourselves were possible, everyone would be doing it. Fact is, only God can change us!"

I'll be posting periodically about the process. If anyone is interested in a similar journey, consider yourself invited to join me.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Best Mother's Day Gift

This weekend has been the best Mother's Day weekend I could have ever asked for. First, I spent the day yesterday celebrating Family Day at the military-type residential school that my daughter attends. She'd be the first to admit that due to a series of "wrong turns", she has made some very poor choices over the past several years that resulting in her ending up there. So while she went there kicking and screaming, it less than 6 months, God has worked amazing miracles in her life and in our relationship. She's gone from a sullen, angry, depressed and apathetic "troubled teen", to a smiling, dedicated, focused, kind, and thoughtful young woman. She's gone from being a high-school dropout to one of the very top Cadets in her Class, and is excited about pursuing a career in the military after she graduates from the program in June. God truly does answer prayers!

Turning her life around, letting go of the anger issues she's been carrying for years (admittedly, some of which were warranted), deciding to make a commitment to excellence, and allowing God to work in her life are the best gifts she could have ever given me. What more could a mother ask for?

As if that wasn't enough, my best friend Ann had been thinking about the perfect Mother's Day gift to give me from my other "children" (my dog Gracie and kitties Michael and Jasmine). We decided to take advantage of some gift cards we'd gotten from Ann's husband to have dinner at a local Red Lobster last night. That idea fell flat immediately when we pulled into the parking lot and noticed there wasn't an empty space in sight and there was a line of families filing out of the front door. It seemed obvious that early Mother's Day dinners were in the works.

This morning, Ann decided (and I agreed whole-heartedly) to celebrate Mother's Day in a much better way - by helping other mothers to enjoy the day. So, she's off to Red Lobster now with 10 $10 gift cards in tow to bless 10 families today. She will be prayerfully planting seeds for those families that will receive the gift cards and for this ministry.

Today, I am a very Happy Mother!

A new face to fight breast cancer

There's a wonderful 2-page ad in Friday's edition of USA Today about a new year-round campaign in the fight against breast cancer. Visit the Warriors in Pink website to learn more. What a wonderful Mother's Day gift to mothers (and all women) everywhere!

Friday, May 12, 2006

A mountain of blessings

Today I received a HUGE box of yarn (brand new, full skeins, I might add!) from Brown Sheep Company. The yarn, which came in a beautiful array of colors, is a wool/mohair blend called Lamb's Pride. The pictures below don't begin to do the yarn justice, so just trust me when I tell you how beautiful it is and how appreciative I am to the wonderful people over at Brown Sheep who sent us this wonderful donation to support our ministry. So many woman are going to be blessed by their generosity. Next time you're looking for a great yarn, be sure to check out our new friends! And to them (and especially Kathy M), I say "Thank You. Thank You. Thank You."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Knit Happens!

I bet you thought this was going to be a post about something awful that just happened. NOT! In this case, knit really does happen. Here's how God has moved in this ministry in the past 24 hours alone!

  1. I received a call this morning from a yarn manufacturer who is shipping a BOX of yarns for our prayer shawl project. I'll definitely post pictures of the yarn when it arrives.
  2. Several people have either contacted me directly or responded to messages I've left on various boards pledging to knit pink scarves and/or to send yarn.
  3. I received a very special request for a prayer shawl that I'm going to start knitting tomorrow.
  4. I met with a friend for lunch today/yesterday (it's 5:30 AM and I never made it to sleep last night thanks to my wonderful case of insomnia) and when I told her about the Retreat, she was so excited that we stopped right in the middle of lunch and she prayed for the Center. We started talking about a new book proposal and she pledged to donate a portion of future royalties to help build the retreat.
  5. God gave me a very clear answer to a question I'd been struggling with concerning a very special prayer shawl which I'm going to be starting this week. I struggled with this issue for 2 days, foolishly falling back into my old and very bad habit of trying to figure things out on my own. When I was finally reminded that all I needed to do was pray about it and to ask God how to handle it. I did, and within 20 minutes, I had the answer. And of course, the solution was perfect. How could it not have been when you consider the source!
I'm on fire for God and for this ministry. Can you tell? If not, stick around and watch how He's going to use this ministry. Is God awesome or what?!?!?!?

Declare that You are Blessed!

I just found this posted on message board and it spoke to me loud and clear. God knows that I really needed to hear this particular message at this particular time. Given the reference to Joel and Victoria, I'm assuming this comes from Joel Osteen. I'm including the entire text as I found it, I hope I'm not violating any copyright laws, but I just had to pass this along.

Today's Scripture

"Behold, the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder, where the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things." (James 3:4-5)

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Like the rudder on a ship, your tongue sets the direction of your life. It does not matter how hard the wind may blow, the rudder keeps the ship on its course. The words you speak are like that ship's rudder. No matter how hard the winds of life may sometimes blow, you need to guard the words that come out of your mouth. If you speak words of defeat, don't be surprised if your life continues on a course of defeat. But, when you choose to speak overcoming words of victory, you will experience victory.

It's not enough to refrain from speaking negative things. You must proactively say positive and encouraging things about yourself and your family. As you speak words of blessing over your life, you will find that they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can change your world by changing your words.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Make sure that the fruit your tongue produces is sweet. Declare that you are blessed and that whatever you do will succeed. Begin to speak those words of faith and victory over your life and over your loved ones, and you will reap a harvest that will bless your family for generations.

A Prayer for Today

God, help me to change direction and use encouraging, uplifting words of blessing. I believe that you want me to live a life of victory. I will use my words to declare that victory to myself and to the world! In Jesus' name – Amen.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Another Retreat option

Just when I thought it couldn't get much better, I realized that God always upgrades! Through a series of *God Winks*, we found an even more beautiful potential site for the Retreat. Who knows where He'll eventually locate the facility, but He's making it clear that he wants it to be someplace absolutely beautiful for the women that He's planning to send there.

This gorgeous parcel already has a house on it, along with a private lake, rolling pastures, lots of woods and even mountains in the distance! Standing at the homesite, there are the most spectacular views! This picture was taken from the other side of the lake looking at the back side (lakefront) of the house.

And here's the view from the back of the house overlooking the lake. What a wonderful place to spend time communing with God, healing spiritually and emotionally, and of course, getting in some great knitting!

Please keep those prayers coming!

Another prayer shawl

Here's a picture of the newest prayer shawl which is going out tomorrow. It's for a knitting friend, Victoria, who was recently diagnosed with cancer and started chemotherapy last week. Please lift Victoria up in prayer that she will be blessed with complete healing.

Although it's hard to see here, I've started using the "scrap yarn" pattern (or lack thereof). I will generally be using brighter colors, but since Victoria loves browns and blacks, I think she'll enjoy this one!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Just for fun...

I was doing some blog surfing today and I came across this little "meme" (I have no idea what that means) at Can you hear me now? and so I decided to give it a go. NOTE: Responses with an (*) at the end remain unchanged from kpjara's blog. I couldn't have said it better myself!

I AM: constantly striving to be a better Christian.

I WANT: to be at peace in all areas of my life. (*)

I WISH: the retreat for women who have been sexually assaulted that God has placed on my heart to build was already up and running.

I HATE: dishonesty and hypocrisy.

I MISS: the weather and the water in Florida.

I HEAR: life is much easier when you hand it to God. (*)

I WONDER: how God intends to use me now that I've totally committed my life to Him.

I REGRET: nothing, everything I've gone through has made me who I am today. (*)

I AM NOT: where I want to be spiritually, but I'm closer than I was.

I DANCE: whenever I hear Latin music.

I SING: in the shower and in my car.

I CRY: for women and children who have been abused, for mothers who've lost their children, and when I'm really tired.

I AM NOT ALWAYS: able to just put it in God's hands and forget about it (*), but I'm working on it.

I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: beautiful prayer shawls.

I WRITE: whenever I can. I've just finished my first book and am getting ready to start on the next of several.

I CONFUSE: the reality that I won't always do "the right thing" with my desire to.

I NEED: more time and sleep (I have chronic insomnia).

I SHOULD: stop trying to do it all myself.

I START: a lot more projects than I finish.

I FINISH: ... life is a journey... is anything every really finished?

Pink scarves have started coming in!

The scarves are slowly starting to come in. I know that 1,000 scarves between now and the end of September is an ambitious goal, it needs to be. The scarves are for a very worthy cause, but also because if the goal was a more manageable number, I'd spend the next 5 months knitting them all myself, and that would defeat the purpose of the Challenge and the testimony it represents, now wouldn't it? God thinks big and He wants us to do the same. I'm learning that when we desire to do things that serve Him, they need to be so big that there's no question, in other people's minds or in ours, Who deserves the honor.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please click here. If you've already started knitting your scarves and haven't already let me know, please either post a comment on the Think Pink Challenge blog or send me an e-mail. If you haven't given this much thought, or are just learning about this important project, please prayerfully consider joining us.