Gen 42-50

Gen 42 - Jacob sends his sons to Egypt for food. Joseph hides his identity from them, imprisons one and sends the rest back with food, to see if Jacob will favor Benjamin over Simeon. Jacob still plays favorites, though Reuben intercedes.

43 - When the famine worsens, Judah intercedes and Jacob relents. The brothers go to Egypt, and eat with Joseph, who receives them favorably, and sends them away with food.

44 - But then he contrives to get Benjamin in legal trouble, and hauls them back. Judah intercedes, showing Joseph they have changed and are now willing to sacrifice themselves for each other and for their father.

45 - Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, and sends to bring Jacob to Egypt, too.

46 - Jacob goes to Egypt and his descendants are listed. Jacob sends Judah in the lead to show the way.

47 - Joseph settles his family in Goshen, and saves the Egyptians from the famine.

48 - Jacob asks Joseph to bury him in Canaan, he passes God's covenant promises on to Joseph, and blesses his sons, preferring the second to the first born as God did with him over Esau.

49 - Jacob prophesies of all 12 of his sons, summarizing their character, giving the rule to Judah forever.

50 - Jacob dies and his sons bury him in Canaan, and come back to Egypt. The brothers continue the family tradition of scheming to fix things, but Joseph breaks the cycle with the right mix of God's sovereignty and grace. Joseph dies and is embalmed in Egypt.

20 Socks/10 Pairs in 2010

Pair number 1 is finished! Pattern: "Kai-Mei" from the book "Sock Innovation", designed by Cookie A.
Began: Jan 16, 2010; Finished: Jan 31, 2010
These socks are unique because they introduce a lace "heart" pattern on the gusset (side of heel). The gusset is usually a sock "no man's land" that is purely functional and never considered as design space. This sock designer, however, breaks the rules and starts the lace pattern here, then moves it across the top of the foot. This is accomplished by decreasing on one side of the lace panel and increasing on the opposite side. It's an elegant solution resulting in a lovely sock! And yes, there is a "right" and "left" sock since the design is assymmetrical.


A rare southern sight

Remember when you made me climb up onto your house roof in the snow to show me the giant heart you shoveled? Here we are 15 yrs later still shivering out in the cold!

my kids don't think of building snowmen, instead they opt for snow soccer!

Snowball fight that dad lost; the little guy distracts him while the bigger boys launch a sneak attack from the rear. Dad stands no chance!

Gen 37-41

Gen 37 - Jacob favors 17 yr old Joseph, who has dreams of ruling over his brothers and parents. The brothers sell him as a slave for money, and deceive Jacob into thinking he was killed by an animal.

38 - Judah marries a Canaanite, and has two sons. They both die without producing an heir. He wrongly doesn't provide his daughter-in-law with a husband. So she disguises and prostitutes herself to him, and bears two sons. He hypocritically condemns her, and is thus rebuked by his own condemnation.

39 - Joseph is sold to Potiphar, and his service benefits Potiphar greatly; Joseph is promoted. Potiphar's wife pursues and falsely accuses him. Potiphar puts him in his prison, but lets the warden promote him there.

40 - Joseph interprets the butler and baker's dreams rightly, but the butler forgets to mention Joseph to Pharoah.

41 - Pharaoh has a dream, which Joseph interprets; he is promoted to rule at 30 years old, and oversees Egpyt's economy for good, knowing what is coming.


Popscicle Toes

Besides being a great song, "popscicle toes" accurately describes my feet! COLD! With a big snowstorm in the forecast for this weekend, I thought I'd share how I keep my piggies warm using a felted sweater and my sewing machine.

I've looked all over for fair isle sweater type slipper boots, and the ones I love are close to $40. Ouch. When I saw a 100% wool sweater at Goodwill for $5, the choice was easy. Here's how to make your own wool slipper boots.
1. Buy a 100% wool sweater. Look for XL men's sweaters as they will give you more fabric. Toss it in the washer on HOT with some soap and towels or jeans. You want it to get rubbed around and agitated a lot to make it felt/shrink. Throw it in the dryer, go ahead and abuse it. Repeat if necessary until you're happy with how felted it has become.

2. Cut the soles. I laid the sweater out flat and used one sleeve for each sole. Put your foot directly on the sleeve so there are two thicknesses of fabric under your foot. This double-thick sole will last longer and keep your feet extra warm and cushioned. Cut .5-.75" around your foot so you have a big foot-shaped piece. Repeat for the other foot on the second sleeve. Baste the double thickness together for each sole near the edges. (my sweater had dark grey sleeves and light grey body with the white pattern, thus the color difference)

3. Cut the foot/leg piece. I used the front of the sweater for one foot and the back for another, so cutting the sweater up the side seams to separate them is a good idea. I did each foot separately, but if I had been thinking I would've cut them both at the same time to get the fair isle pattern to match on each foot (see top photo). There's probably a "right" way to do this, but this is how I did it which worked and require no pattern. It's only a $5 sweater remember, and if you mess up, you can still use the pieces to make mittens, potholder, etc. Relax.

The bottom ribbing of the sweater will be the top cuff of the leg. I put my foot UNDER the fabric to place the patterned portion where I wanted it on my foot. Pulling the fabric over and down the sides of my foot like it would be on the slipper, I cut around my foot starting at the side of my heel, going around the toes, then down to the other side of the heel, leaving a generous .75" seam allowance. (I did not cut around to the back of the heel.) Here's where the "wing it" part comes in: There will only be one seam up the back of the leg from the heel to the ribbed cuff. Wrap/pull the fabric around your leg and pin where you want the seam to be, then cut the extra fabric off (leave a seam allowance!). Stitch up the seam with right sides facing.

4. Putting it all together. You now have a funny shaped foot/leg tube and the sole. Put the right sides together and pin the sole to the foot/leg tube. Take your time, ease in the curved toe/heel areas, making sure the leg seam is at the back center of the heel. Baste them together and try on the slipper. Note any areas where you'd like to tweak the fit and sew accordingly.

Ta-da! Your slipper is done! There's only one more to sew.... and you'll never have to worry about popscicle toes again.


Freezer paper stencils

I've been drawn to scherenschnitte lately... the old European art of papercutting. All those little tiny cuts making a crazy intricate picture - all out of paper! It finally dawned on me today why I love this so much, but I'll share that another time. If you like eye candy, there's some great paper cutting here.

While wielding my X-Acto knife I had the idea to take this fragile art to a different medium. Why not get these lovely images on a tshirt via a stencil?

Out came the freezer paper, with it's papery top side and waxy bottom side. You can IRON this stuff onto fabric and peel it off again, making it a great stencil substrate! I cut the positive shape out of the freezer paper, ironed it on, then painted Tulip soft fabric paint on the shirt. Wait about 5 min, then carefully peel off the freezer paper.

I was really pleased with how intricate and detailed I could get and still not get paint bleeding under the paper. It'd be fun to let the kids design their own stencils (using scissors, not blades) and paint tshirts, jeans, tote bags... watch out thrift store, here we come!

Here's the finished product, along with another freezer paper stenciled shirt that is destined for a little boy who is not a stinker to hug.


Gen 29-36

Gen 29 - Jacob meets Rachel, works 14 years for Laban for Leah and Rachel

30 - Jacob has 11 sons and his flocks increase, partly by his an dhis wives' scheming, under God's sovereignty.

31 - Jacob flees from Laban with all he has. Laban catches up. They argue about who owns the family and flocks. Laban finally agrees to separate.

32 - Esau comes to meet Jacob, who thinks Esau will attack. He tries to prevent harm to his family and flocks. Jacob wrestles the angel, and now limps.

33 - Esau is benign. Jacob gives him a gift, but does not go with him. He buys some land outside Shechem.

34 - Jacob's daughter Dinah is raped and held by the prince of the city. It looks like a peace can be arranged, but each is scheming against the other. Simeon and Levi kill all the men when they are vulnerable.

35 - God sends Jacob back to Bethel, where He renews His covenant with Jacob. Rachel dies, delivering the 12th son, Benjamin. Isaac dies.

36 - Esau moves away from Jacob to Seir. His descendants listed.


Things I never noticed...

From Genesis 29
Jacob rolled away a huge stone, met his bride, and poured out water for a flock.
God rolled away the stone, and poured out the Spirit for His flock, the pledge of the coming marriage of Jesus with His bride.
Can you say "resurrection and pentecost"?


Gen 23-28

Gen 23 - Sarah dies. Abraham buys his first piece of land: a cave to bury her in, near Hebron.

24 - Abraham seeks a wife for Isaac from his brother's family back in Haran. God leads the servant to Rebekah, by her generous service.

25 -Abraham's children by other wives: Midian by Keturah; Abraham dies; Ishmael's 12 sons by Hagar; Isaac and Rebekah have Esau and Jacob. Esau sells Jacob his birthright for some food when he is hungry.

26 - Isaac prospers before the Canaanites.
They oppress him; he bears it patiently.
The Lord continues to prosper Isaac, so that the Canaanites come to him seeking him as an ally. But Esau takes Hittite wives.

27 - Rebekah and Jacob thwart Isaac's attempt to give Esau the birthright blessing. Esau intends to kill Jacob after Isaac dies; Rebekah gets Jacob sent to Laban to find a wife.

28 - Isaac sends Jacob to Laban, with Abraham's blessing.
Esau takes another wife from Ishmael's children to try to please his father.
God appears to Jacob (the ladder) and promises to bless him.


Kill it, already

Doug Wilson, on playing well with others

"When we are not getting along with others, the pressing temptation is always to believe that you are just as you have always been, and that they have somehow changed. This is often not true at all, but even if it were true, that does not put you in the right. Perhaps they have changed in that they have decided to stop putting up with your rudeness.

"But "getting along" is not the oil of insincerity to make the social machinery run more smoothly. The Scriptures describe fellowship as a work of the Holy Spirit. This is a God-given thing, and a work wrought in us by His grace....

"John Owen once said that a man should not think he makes any progress in godliness if he is not daily walking over the "bellies of his lusts." The thing that thwarts all fleshly ambition, spiritual pride, and grasping competition is the cross of Jesus--His death on the cross is what puts to death every form of egoistic striving--and egoistic striving is what prevents us from loving one another. The Holy Spirit does not just come along and fill you with benevolent thoughts. He is a Person, not a shot of joy juice. And the Holy Spirit is the one who applies the death of Jesus to the areas of your life that need mortifying.

"It turns out that in order for you get along with others, something has to die."

Follow politics carefully

Here are the cliff notes quotes of a really good Doug Wilson blog post, way before the Massachusetts election yesterday...

"Right now, Obama is in the White House, and he really is proposing demented things. But America is far more foundationally conservative than people usually believe, and I believe that a conservative backlash of very large proportions is building. And here is my point: for Christians, this is not to be treated as an automatic good....

"apart from a radical conversion to Jesus Christ, whatever regime is set up will deteriorate over time -- like the house of Charn. So much is not newsworthy. It always happens. So our concern should be to have a Church in that day that is not compromised, such that any open idolatry will be opposed by us, and not just the open idolatry of the leftists. The true antithesis is between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, and not between the main political parties. But neither is it between the main political parties and splinter true believer parties.

"The real antithesis is between living as Jesus commanded and refusing to live that way. This is the real antithesis for those individuals who are living the way of the cross, and it is the real antithesis for nations that would do so as well. Do what the Lord Jesus says to do -- not Karl Rove, not Leo Tolstoy, not Al Gore, not Jonah Goldberg, not Noam Chomsky, not Stanley Hauerwas, not Freidrich Hayek, not Naomi Klein, and not Sean Hannity.

"Take two political ceiling fans -- one entirely broken down because incoherent leftist economics have busted the motor and half the blades are hanging down. The other is in fine, free market running order. You can't hang either one of them if you are sitting in the cold drizzle of secularism because you don't have a ceiling."

Read carefully

"Determine the difference between what is actually said and what is left unsaid though implied.... a possible inference from the text but not a necessary inference.... Too much can be read into implications."

RC Sproul, Knowing Scripture, pg 75-6.

"There are scores of words in the Bible that have multiple meanings. Only the context can determine the particular meaning of a word." - pg 82.

He goes on to illustrate with how the Bible talks about God's will, say, in 2 Peter 3:9; and how Paul and James use "justify" differently in Rom 3:28 and James 2:24.

I doubt it...

HT: Toby Sumpter for this one.

"Some of the neo-Puritans have apparently determined that the purpose and essence of Christian preaching is to persuade people that they do not in fact, believe. The subtitle of each of their sermons could accurately be: 'I Know You Think You Are a Christian, but You Are Not.' This brand of preaching constantly suggests that if a person does not always love attending church, always look forward to reading the Bible, or family worship, or prayer, then the person is probably not a believer." - T. David Gordon, Why Johnny Can't Preach, 83.

Job 38-42

God: who are you to talk to me this way? Is it by your wisdom and power that heaven, earth and hell, and their creatures live and move and have their being?

Job: I have no answer. I shouldn't have said anything. I "repent in dust and ashes."

God to Eliphaz: you spoke wrongly; Job spoke rightly. Have him pray for you.
God restores and doubles Job's wealth and family. He dies "old and full of days."


Believe God

"The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in."

RC Sproul, Knowing Scripture, pg 30.


Faithful preaching

I've been trying to catch up on some good blog reading.

Some people believe the congregation is in charge of the content of the sermons, but they are not. Some believe the preacher is in charge of it, but that is also false. The ordained minister is a minister with a delegated responsibility, and he is charged to preach something that would have been true whether or not he or every last big tither in the church agreed with it or not. The reason men veer off from the truth and wander off into myths is that they want a doctrinal system that leaves room for their lusts. But the faithful minister has none of it -- he is to be sober-minded, and prepared to catch flak. He does the work of an evangelist, not the work of a recruiter. He fulfills his ministry, and a delegated ministry it is.

Job 29-37

Job 29-31 - Job: Oh, for the days when I prospered with my family and was respected and followed in the gate. "But now they mock at me, men younger than I." They dishonor me; God turns His back on me. I have received evil for the good I have done in life. I've been faithful to my wife, done justice among my servants, provided for the poor, not idolized my wealth, not covered up secret sin, nor oppressed the land or my employees.

32-37 - Elihu: I'm younger than you, so waited to speak. But you haven't answered Job as needed, so I'll try. You shouldn't plead your righteousness when you suffer, for God is greater than man. He will redeem and reward graciously after death those who suffer here. Job says God has wronged him, but God wrongs no one. So Job is in rebellion, self-righteously justifying himself against God. God is good and just. He is also powerful over the whole earth, and we should tremble to summon Him so we can speak for our cause.

Job 21-28

Job 21 - Job: The wicked DO prosper. So don't mock me or "comfort" me with empty words.

22 - Eliphaz: you have sinned, and need to repent; that's why you are suffering.

23-24 - Job: I want to appeal to God, but "I cannot perceive Him." I've been faithful to Him. Meanwhile, wickedness continues on the earth and victims suffer.

25 - Bildad: man can't be righteous before God. He is too great, and we are like worms.

26-28 - Job: how have you helped me? Who is speaking through you, Satan? Of course God is great and sovereign. I am righteous, you are my enemies. And as you've been saying, God will get His enemies in the end. Wisdom is more precious and harder to find than gold: it is the fear of the Lord.


Job 15-20

Job 15 - Eliphaz: you're a fool and a sinner, and talking like both. Man can't be righteous before God. The wicked are punished in this life.

16-17 - Job: You are miserable comforters." God assails me, and you scorn me. Yet I plead before Him and cry out to Him. You are denouncing me, but I cling to my righteousness.

18 - Bildad: be sensible, Job, or shut up. The wicked do get punished in this life.

19 - Job: you are crushing me with words, when God has wronged me. Have pity on me. I know my redeemer lives; my hope is in God.

20 - Zophar: I'm offended by your rebuke, Job. The wicked are punished in this life.

Job 8-14

Job 8 - Bildad: Don't charge God with injustice. Your kids got what they deserved for their sin. Life is short and frail. But God will restore you if you are righteous.

9-10 - Job: How can I speak with God or make myself righteous before Him? Why are You doing this? What have I done? Let me die in peace!

11 - Zophar: you're getting less than you deserve, sinner! If you were really righteous you could lift up your face.

12-14 - Job: I'm as wise as you. Why is there injustice, and God ordains it so? He is sovereign. But you are "worthless physicians." I will trust God "though He slay me." Remove Your heavy hand from me and tell me what I've done. What hope does man have in his sin?

Job 1-7

Job 1 - Job is righteous and wealthy. God allows Satan to test Job's faith by removing his wealth and family. Job grieves but worhsips and doesn't blame God.

2 - God points out Job's continued righteousness to Satan. Satan claims it would change if Job were personally hurt. God allows it. Even Jos't wife turns against him, but Job accepts "evil" from god as well as good. His 3 friends arrive.

3 - Job: I'd rather be dead, never even born. I'd rather be in Hades.

4-5 - Eliphaz: Why are you discouraged in trouble, when you have encouraged so many others in trouble? The innocent are not destroyed. Are you saying you know better than God what to do with your life? Appeal to Him. He is sovereign, and restores those He chastens.

6-7 - Job: I'm in anguish with good reason. I still wish God would kill me, rather than afflict me, because I haven't blasphemed Him yet, and I can't take much more. Friends should help in trouble, but you aren't helping. Show me my wrong. Life is futile pain, these days. Why are you doing this to me, God?


Lego Clone Trooper Cake

Another year, another birthday cake. As Owen gets older, his creativity challenges my baking skills! This year he said he wanted a Lego cake, and anything Star Wars would be awesome. A Clone Trooper it is!

I wanted to try out a rolled fondant for the smooth finish. I have never done this and was a little nervous. I found a great website that had a marshmallow fondant recipe and lots of help on how to use this stuff. It wasn't as tough as I thought, but it was VERY messy. Sticky melted marshmallows and 2 pounds of powdered sugar kneaded by hand... with a bit of Crisco to keep things nice and slippery! The finished log remined me of a greased watermelon... It was greased, wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated overnight.

Rolling it out the next day was easy, but messy. Cornstarch is sprinkled over everything to keep the fondant from sticking. But the principles are the same as rolling a pie crust. I rolled it around the rolling pin to transport it to the cake when ready.

Now the cake. Duncan Hines yellow cake in a 9x13, baked, then FROZEN. If you're going to do any fancy cutting on a cake, freeze it first. It keeps it from falling apart. I felt like Michelangelo while sculpting this! I didn't worry about smooth curves too much because the fondant would cover a lot of sins.
I missed a step in my photos: there's a layer of chocolate buttercream frosting (from a can!) over the cake under the fondant. It helps smooth the fondant and "glue" it to the cake. A few careful cuts with a knife neatly trims the edges.

Here's the covered cake. I had to help the fondant a bit in the nooks and crannies by giving it a little extra shaping with my hands. I kneaded a good amount of cocoa powder into some extra fondant to make it brown. That kind of dried it out and made it a bit too dry, but my kitchen was a mess and I was pretty tired of this expedition at this point, so I said good enough. We're going to eat this after all, not put it in a museum!


Things I never noticed...

At the end of Genesis 22, the future city of promise and future bride of promise are both introduced. On the mount of Yahweh the sacrifice will be provided (22:14), which will be Jerusalem. And Rebekah is mentioned, who is Isaac's future bride (22:23).

And the holy city, the New Jerusalem, is as a bride (Rev 21:1-2).


Genesis 18-22

Genesis 18 - 3 men/angels come to Abraham and announce Sarah will conceive a child, shortly. Sarah laughs, but denies it. They head for Sodom to see how evil it is; Abraham goes with them a ways. God reveals His purpose to Abraham, and Abraham intercedes for the city.

19 - Sodom is indeed found to be wicked, in how they treat Lot and his guests. God spares Lot and his daughters for Abraham's sake; He destroys Sodom; Lot's wife turns back and dies. Moab and Ammon are born of incest.

20 - Abraham again seeks to protect God's promise on his own, like in Egypt. God preserves the situation again. Abimelech seems to accept Abraham's rationale for saying Sarah is his sister, and Abraham lives in Abimelech's territory. Here and in chpt 12, the promise of a child through Sarah is in danger of not coming true.

21 - Isaac is born and circumcised when Abraham is 100. Hagar and Ishmael are sent away. On the verge of death, God preserves them. As Abraham grows strong, Abimelech makes a treaty with him. Abraham obtains a well and plants a tree in Beersheba.

22 - God tests Abraham to see if his faith is in the child God has given, or in the God who gave him. Abraham trusts God. God shows He will provide a substitute sacrifice instead of taking us, on the mountain of Moriah (future Jerusalem). Also, Abraham's brother Nahor has had 12 children, and granddaughters (future wife).

Genesis 12-17

Genesis 12 - God promises to bless Abraham and give him children, and calls him to go to Canaan. He goes, by faith, lives as a pilgrim/refugee, and continues down to Egypt since there is a famine in Canaan. He pretends Sarah is his sister, so they don't kill him. Pharaoh turns out to be righteous, though, and treats her honorably, and him with needed rebuke.

13 - Abram goes back to Canaan, separates from Lot who goes to nice-looking Sodom. God promises Abram the land again. He sets up altars to God.

14 - Lot is taken captive, as a citizen of Sodom; Abram rescues him, and is blessed by Melchizedek, king of Jerusalem

15 - God again promises Abraham that he will have children. Abraham believes, and God considers him righteous for that belief. But Abraham still wants to know it can be. God performs a blood ritual, giving Abraham a self-maledictory oath, and a prophecy about Israel's future in and out of Egypt.

16 - After 10 years Abraham's faith wavers, and he tries to make the promise come true through Hagar. This causes strife in Abraham's family, as Ishmael is born. God promises Hagar that he will become a great nation, too, but he will be hostile to everybody.

17 - God gives a more lasting sign of His covenant promise to bless Abraham: circumcision. Thus, Isaac will be conceived and born in circumcision, unlike Ishmael, who is now 13. Abraham is 99; Sarah is 90.

Genesis 6-11

Genesis 6 - The godly seed mixes with the ungodly, and God wouldn't tolerate the great evil that resulted. Noah pleased God, so God has him prepare an ark to preserve His family from the coming flood.

7 - Some of every kind of animal go into the ark, with Noah and his wife, his 3 sons and their wives. The 40 day rain from above and springs opened from below covers the whole earth with water and everything drowns.

8 - Noah is safe in the ark, waits it out, then sends birds to see if there is any plant life to live on. Once off, Noah sacrifices clean animals, and God makes a covenant to keep a natural order.

9 - He also promises not to flood the earth again (sign of the rainbow), gives Noah animals to eat, and establishes the death penalty. Ham is cursed to serve Shem when he mocks Noah to his brothers, after Noah gets drunk.

10 - The lineage of 70 nations from Shem, Ham and Japheth is listed.

11 - Mankind tries to reach to heaven on its own unity and power. God foils them by confusing their language. Shem's lineage is recounted down to Abram. He moves with his father and brother from Ur (around Babylon/Iraq) to Haran (around Syria).

Genesis 1-5

I've decided to summarize my daily readings, like I did last year with Calvin's Institutes, for my Bible reading. This will be roughly chronological...

Genesis 1 - God creates all things in heaven and earth in 6 days, ordered, filled, declared good, and blessed to multiply.

2 - God creates Adam, puts him in a garden to tend it, and gives him a helper-wife.

3 - The serpent tempts Eve and they sin by eating the forbidden fruit. God seeks them out, curses the natural order in man's work and in woman's childbearing. Yet in mercy He clothes them, and promises the serpent He will be defeated in the end, by the woman's Descendant.

4 - Cain is born, then Abel. Cain gets jealous of Abel's offering and kills Abel. God confronts and curses Cain. Cain builds a city; human culture advances, but so does depravity. A new child of promise is born: Seth.

5 - The lineage of Adam to Noah is recounted. They all died.


St.Distaff is stingy

The spinning blitz on St. Distaff's Day ended well. I had a full spindle of the lurvliest red merino singles, then I dove in and wrapped it all up around my wrist as the photo shows in progress - all 64 yards. That's one mighty field goal and a good coupla hours of work twisted up about my arm. I was a bit nervous, shall we say. Nervous that my husband would come home and find me tied up in red yarn, snivelling on the floor. That crazy Andean-plying method actually worked! The only downside is that I'm literally tied to my spinning until it's finished.

This morning I washed and hung my skein on a plant hook over the sink, weighted it with the pump soap dispenser hung from the bottom of the skein, and paused a bit for it to dry. A few hours later I had 34 yards of sweet lace yarn.

That's it. 34 yards. Sheesh! Barely enough to knit a racy bookmark. St. Distaff is pretty stingy, but his magic works in that entrancing little spinning whorl. Draws you in, calling for more. The spindle is nearly full again! Here comes another 34 yards - end zone nowhere in sight.

A small triangular lace shawl takes about 450 yards of lace yarn. It'll take me longer to spin the yarn than to knit it! Now to experiment with the speed of the spindle wheel - gotta love the 200:1 spin ratio on that baby! Vrrrroom!

Faith and politics; God and country

Our faith should be worked out in the political realm. There is a fine line to walk here. My concern is not to keep people out of politics, but to steer us away from placing faith in politics or in a form of government. God uses politics to accomplish His purposes, but He does this as a funnel gets oil into a car: the main thing is the quality of the oil, and the engine, not the funnel. The main thing is the righteousness and faithfulness of the church within the nation, not how much and how strongly the church voices and funnels its opinion into DC. Doing this makes DC the source of hope for change, when our hope should be the Spirit dwelling within us. Politics reflects culture, it doesn't shape it, and culture will only be transformed by winsome evangelism and faithful living, the Spirit regenerating hearts.

I think it's a mistake to say the republic is the Biblically endorsed form of government (see Calvin on this here, especially section 8). There have been many faithful kings in the Bible and history who aren't to be despised for not changing to a republic. And any time we start saying "no other nation," there is a strong possibility we are giving too much credence to an earthly nation. Of course, we should be thankful for our great national heritage. But sometimes the rhetoric leaves one feeling like USA is the only safe or good place on earth, when it is the church in Christ that is the only safe place. Some nations are more rightoues than us on the issue of abortion and sodomy. Many nations now send missionaries to USA, and we need them. Rev 3:14-22 is for America.


Happy St. Distaff's Day!

January 7 is traditionally St. Distaff's Day, the day after Epiphany when housewives went back to work after celebrating 12 days of Christmas. We've been doing just that, and let me tell you, I'm ready to get back to work! Christmas is great, but it's time to box up the greenery and glitz and switch gears.

And you know this housewife couldn't let St. Distaff's day go by without doing some spinning herself (even though I don't own a distaff; my arm suffices). I finished filling up my spindle and then plied it all into some very fine yarn to be used for knitting RED lace! Yum! It all happens just as my son read "A New Coat for Anna" - a book about a girl who waits months for her new coat, and watches it go from wool on the sheep, thru the spinner's and weaver's hands, and finally to be sewn by the tailor. Perhaps my kids will try their hands at spinning red wool this week too!


Westminster Shorter Catechism for Study

Decent. Hard to compare while reading Calvin, maybe. Some helpful illustrations, but often simplistic, overly rigid or the pat Calvinistic answer. Still can bring the average Christian a long way in the right direction to a fuller understanding of the Biblical worldview.

Kissing Dating Goodbye

Over 10 years ago, Josh Harris wrote this superb book. I just got around to it.

He diagnoses well the problems with dating. Encourages intimacy without commitment. Distraction from God and character development. Isolation from friends. Focus on self's physical and emotional desires. Bad way to evaluate future mates.

He also shows a better way. Purity isn't not crossing some physical line, but pursuing righteousness according to God's plan and time, not our desires. Don't shop (date, or otherwise fool around with the emotions of others) until you can buy (commit to marriage). This doesn't mean no contact with the opposite sex, but regulating relationships, so they stay focused outward. Friendships by definition focus on something else. Intimate relationships focus on each other personally, and explore the person.

This topic can be controversial, with everything from parents seeing dating as healthy and a right for their kids, to keeping their kids from talking with the opposite sex of their age at all. Wisdom lies between these two ditches.


Veritable Cornucopia of events in these last days of 2009

So in the last few days we...

went to Lowe's twice
got a new light over our kitchen table (NOT from Lowe's)
painted a bookshelf
took a vacation from email
smiled at the kids' singing: "Deck the halls with bras of holly" "Park the herald angels, sing"
finished reading the Bible as a family
took 2 children in for ear infections (NOT to Lowe's)
bought 4 bottles of medicine
finished reading Caddie Woodlawn to the kids
found the Wise Men for the nativity set
OD'ed on fudge and sugar
opened about 35 presents (none from Lowe's)
inaugurated the era of remote controlled cars
set up about 9 doctor appointments
cleaned Steve's desk, and got it messy again
played 125 board games - Sorry, Stratego, Candyland, Monopoly, Woolly Bully, Guess the Marvel Action Hero
chanted our advent chant 25 times
got up to the 7th day of Christmas in the song so far

... and a par- tri- dge in a pear tree!

Happy New Year!

Steve finished 4 books today.
Sara planned to start 20 socks today....

no i didnt

Aw, our first 2010 argument. How cute....

i win