Tag Archives: children

Baby Blanket

Last week I delivered my Valentine’s gift to the 6-week-old baby boy in our small group.

It was the first time I’ve given away a crocheted baby blanket!   I started in late October, sped up right before his birth in December, and finally finished just before Valentine’s Day.

With my friend Eeyore. He looks a little less gloomy with a happy blanket behind him!

I followed the pattern from A Year of Baby Afghans: Book 4.  Aren’t all the colors adorable?   Baby Forest gave them a good stare when his mama opened up the blanket.

This blanket also marks my first time to change colors and use granny squares.   I’ve decided that I love granny squares as opposed to making the blanket outright.  When I crochet outright, it feels like I make so much progress at the beginning of the blanket and then slow to a crawl for the last 2/3, which does little for my motivation.  Checking off a box at the completion of every granny square – and only working with about 3″ square of fabric at a time – was  great.  Connecting them snugly was a bit more difficult than I imagined, and I ended up redoing most of the whip-stitching.  I hope it will stand up to a curious baby boy!

Changing colors every row, though, really slowed down construction.  For future projects, I’ll stick to larger blocks of color.

A closeup of the pattern.

I also decided to reduce the size from 180 squares to 72.   It was a great choice – I was only six weeks late for his birth instead of six months late, and his parents were impressed by the blanket’s size, anyway!

Full pattern.

I watched NetFlix while crocheting, so in addition to love, this blanket has been made with Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: Voyager, Sanctuary, NCIS, and the Chronicles of Narnia.  Good things for a growing boy?

All-in-all, it was a great project.  It was so worth all the effort to see the surprise on his mother’s face when she opened it, and to finally get to hold that sweet baby all wrapped up in his new blanket!

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Obstinacy

Found this draft from two years ago…

I have always felt very young. I think it has to do with always being the shortest of a group. Being a child, you always physically look up to your parents, and now that I am grown, I still physically look up to people. My mind has decided they must all be older and thus wiser than I am. (This gets strange when my students are taller than I am…)

I think this manner of thinking has shaped by worldview. I tend to (and occasionally force myself to) see things with a sense of childlike wonder. The stars in the night sky, Advanced Calculus homework, the functioning of kidneys, the graceful movement of horses, the etymology of words, you name it.
I promise I have a point.

Just before Christmas, I read the Christmas story. Like Jill Pole, I was too tired to sleep and decided to read both Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts in one sitting. I had apparently never read the two stories in quick succession before, and the differences startled me.
Luke tells about the shepherds, Matthew about the wise men. No problem, just focusing on two bits of the story, right?
Luke discusses the flight to Egypt and the massacre of Israel’s children, which Matthew omits. Strange.
Luke seems to say Mary and Joseph were from Nazareth and returned there after the birth; Matthew seems to say that they moved to Nazareth after leaving Egypt. Hmm.

These inconsistencies bothered me for about 10 minutes as I lay there approaching sleep and talking to God. I then realized that it doesn’t really matter. Wherever Mary and Joseph lived before and after the birth, whoever came to see the infant King, Jesus is still God. He still came to save us. Both Gospels agree that He was born to a virgin in Bethlehem, which is what the prophets predicted; the other details are unimportant.

I was reminded of C.S. Lewis’s essay, “On Obstinacy in Belief.” If you have access to JSTOR, go search for it. He talks about how Christians are sometimes accused of clinging to beliefs despite copious amounts of evidence that the beliefs are false (for example, inconsistencies in the Scriptures that are supposedly God’s inspired words).
While people trying to determine if God is who He claims should poke and prod and search for evidence, we who have met this incredible Person simply must always believe that He is who He is. We can’t do otherwise.
Lewis says things better.

There is, you see, no real parallel between Christian obstinacy in faith and the obstinacy of a bad scientist trying to preserve a hypothesis although the evidence has turned against it. Unbelievers very pardonably get the impression that an adherence to our faith is like that, because they meet Christianity, if at all, mainly in apologetic works. And there, of course, the existence and beneficence of God must appear as a speculative question like any other. Indeed it is a speculative question as long as it is a question at all. But once it has been answered in the affirmative, you get quite a new situation. To believe that God, at least this God, exists is to believe that you as a person now stand in the presence of God as a Person. What would, a moment before, have been variations in opinion, now become variations in your personal attitude to a Person. You are no longer faced with an argument which demands your assent, but with a Person who demands your confidence.

Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the little children. They have a sense of awe and wonder about the world. They do not know about supposed inconsistencies in the Gospel or the nuances of communion or all the myriad of things that are debated among Christian academics; they simply know Jesus.
And that’s enough.

At this point, I am obstinate in my belief.  I still learn, I still question, and I still get confused, but none of these questions will ever shake my belief that Jesus is God incarnate who came to rescue me from death.  I rest, childlike, trusting that He knows the answers.

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Out of the Mouths of Babes (2)

As she was about to go onstage, a three-year-old looked up at my big badge.
“What’s that say?”
“It says, ‘Staff.'”
“Hi, Staff!”

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Communion

This week, I got to hang out with my collection of various relatives that I call my “small kinfolk.” It’s way too complicated to trace how we’re actually related. The two six-year-olds and the two-year-old think I am one of the coolest almost-grown-ups they’ve ever met, and the 7-week-old tolerates me, which I can accept.
So, on Christmas Eve, since each one grabbed one of my hands and pulled me down the pew (and because I bask in their attention), I sat between the six-year-olds Evie and Abbi. Between each verse of the service’s carols and after each sentence of the readings I got to inspect a new drawing or new spelling of my name. I also ended up covered in Abbi’s glitter since she sat in my lap. (Side note: the degree to which one is covered in glitter by a small child is an objective measure of how much fun one had.)
At some point, the outer rows of the church started to make their way to the front for communion. Since Abbi’s parents did not attend service and are not Christians, I realized the should-the-six-year-old-take-communion question was up to me for that evening.
I bent my head around the glittery child I held in my arms.
“Abbi, have you ever taken communion before?”
“I don’t think so.”
Thinking communion was a big word, I asked, “The piece of bread and the little cup of juice?”
“Oh yeah, I think I have.”
“Do you know why we take it?”
Silence.

Oh goodness, I think, how do I condense 2,000 years of tradition and various debates about Communion into a minute-long explanation to a kindergartener during a church service?

“Well, Abbi, we eat the bread and drink the juice because Jesus asked us to. Every time we take Communion, Jesus wants us to remember what He did for us. Jesus died for us so–”
” –so we wouldn’t have to die and we can go with Him to Heaven.”

I smiled. “Exactly.”

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. – Luke 22:19-20

Who cares if you understand trans- and con-substantiation, symbolism, communion/eucharist/Lord’s Supper, or wine vs. grape juice? Since Abbi understood what Jesus’ death meant for her, whether or not she understood exactly what death is, she understood Jesus’ point in instituting Communion. He asks us to break bread and drink juice in remembrance of Him.
And so I took my small kinfolk down and held her hands out for bread and juice.

Thank you, Jesus, for your gift. Ευχαριστω.

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Out of the Mouths of Babes

I helped with the 3-year-olds at church the other week.
I asked one girl why she wasn’t playing in the slides, and she responded, “I’m hiding from the zebras. They’re coming.”

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Air of Heaven

The phone buzzes across the room. I jump out of my dreamy state and answer it: 7:33am.
“Hi, Meaghan, this is Tangie at the Hippotherapy Center. We’re short on volunteers for the 9 o’ clock class this morning, would you be available to make it?”
“I will be there,” I reply, in what I hope sounds like a cheery, if not entirely awake, voice.

I reset my alarm to three hours before my normal summer wake-up time and lay back on the bed. Oh goodness, I sigh. Those kids and their horses sure have a way of getting me up.

I make the long trek out to the barn. Blue gallops across the arena and pokes his head through the fence to tell me good morning. The west Texas sun is shining bright and starting to hint at the warmth of the day.

We saddle the horses. As we wait for the children to arrive, I stare at the unexpected beauty of this collection of brown dirt, biting flies, green weeds, and a hot sun. My goodness, Lord, what a glorious day!
I feel a little like an outsider around all the horse gals. I walk over to Luke. He smells my outstretched hand. “Hey, boy.” I rub that soft, velvet nose. We talk about food, flies, and the sun. He continues to stare at me politely as I scratch the mud off his face.

Taylor arrives, with a grin as big as this west Texas horizon.
“You ready to get on Blue?” “Ya!”
And so we ride. We go over the bridge. We crest the hill. We weave through the grape arbor and wave to Woody. We learn how to sit, how to steer, how to trot, and what happiness is.

Micah bends over to kiss Lola on the neck. He grins and giggles. “Wings! Bird wings!” Micah is fascinated with wings today. “I want wings!” he croons. “Me too, buddy,” this often quiet sidewalker replies. They laugh.

Out here, there is nothing else. No thesis to worry over, no graduate programs to find, no deadlines, no sickness, no stalkers. Just big ponies and small children, happy to be on the back of a horse.

The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears.
Arabian Proverb

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Horses

There’s nothing like big horses and small children to put a smile in my heart. And dust on my boots.

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