Tuesday, February 28, 2012

True wisdom

I've always thought one of my gifts was wisdom. Sounds a little stuck up, I guess, but stay with me. In reality, I've always been an "old soul", which can come across as wise I suppose. Think about it; as a highschool kid, when peers are discussing clothes and boys, and I'm thinking about what I want to do with my whole life. Seems kinda wise, right? Or in college, the basketball guys are thinking as far ahead as their next meal, and I'm writing out their plans of study so they can graduate on time. Wisdom? Ok. But as I've gotten a little more life under my belt (28 whole years of experience...wah wah wahhh), I'm seeing that that stuff I THOUGHT was wisdom, was really just fluff. Big-picture planning. Maybe the gift of administration. Not true wisdom.

Over the past several months, the Lord has been really working on me. It's tough to chip away at the "flesh suit" (as the darling Janet Osborne says) that we're stuck wearing here on earth. But what a joy, knowing that Christ loves me enough to change me to be more like Him. Last semester, I went through "The Mind of Christ" by T.W. Hunt. Woooweee, what a Bible study. If you ever get the chance to go through it, please do. It it a huge commitment, but a huge reward to learn to have the mind of Christ. Side notes. Sorry. Anyway, so this semester I'm going through the book of James with Beth Moore's new study. These 2 studies are a 1-2 punch combo about true wisdom.

First, in ch. 1 of James we have "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." Excellent. God will make us wise. But what kind of wise? What does this wisdom look like? Is it "wisdom beyond your years"? That's what I thought I had all this time. What does that even mean, anyway? Maybe "understanding beyond your years" is a better idea there. We know that Solomon asked God for wisdom (1 Kings ch. 3) and it was granted to him. But look at WHY he wanted wisdom. He understood that he was responsible to God for these people, and also understood that he was completely incapable of handling things correctly, apart from God. God granted his desire because it was asked for in humility and in God's will. Ok, so now that we know how to get wisdom, we need to know what it looks like.

Back to James, ch. 3 starting in v. 13. "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such 'wisdom' does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peaceloving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch! Whoa baby. If I ever thought I had an ounce of wisdom, that just went out the window. It's like James is speaking right to me. "Oh really, you think you're wise? Prove it! Ever have envy? Selfish ambition? (Um, yeah.) Those are the furthest things from being wise."

Earthly. Unspiritual. Of the devil?!? Well, ok I know selfishness is a sin, and sin is of the devil, but doesn't that seem kind of harsh? There goes any misnomer about "living in good-land" or "riding the fence". Can't be a little bit wise and a little bit selfish. (Refer back to earlier in ch. 3, v 9ish-12) Ouch again. These things don't promote wisdom of any sort, not even earthly "wisdom". Disorder and evil practices. Help us Lord!

And of course He does! Praise Him for that!! Just when we get (hopefully) grieved over our sinfulness, here comes the good news. Remember Ch. 1? Who lacks wisdom? Ask for it! Because wisdom, like every other good thing is a gift from God. And now we now what it looks like. Pure. Peaceloving. Gentle/considerate. Entreatable/submissive. (Side note: I like the KJV "easy to be intreated", because it's really saying that people can ask things of you, and you're glad to do them) Full of mercy and good fruit. Impartial and sincere. Wow, I have a long way to go before I would consider myself wise.

Pondering all this wisdom stuff in my mind lately, I pulled out my "Mind of Christ" book, knowing we had studied James 3:17. The first part of the lesson really spoke to me last semester, and hit me fresh again when I looked back. Hunt talks about cleansing your mind with God's word, and how a big thing he had to combat was humanism. And this was back in the early 70's! How much more so is humanism ingrained in our brains these days, even in church circles. His definition of humanism is "a capacity for self-realization through reason. It glorifies what man can do apart from God." He says, "My humanistically trained mind wanted to work hard to achieve the virtues." (found in James 3:17 and Gal. 5:22-23). Now if that doesn't speak about me, I don't know what does. I see that I lack wisdom. I ask God for it. I see what it should look like. Then I try realllllly hard to start looking like that picture! How foolish of me. Dang it, as far away from wisdom as I could be again!

I think I need to take it a couple steps back and try a different route: I see that I lack wisdom. I ask God for it. I see what it should look like. I cleanse and fill my mind with God's Word, and I ALLOW him daily access to myself, to chip away the "flesh suit" and fill me with His wisdom. Phew. What a humbling thing to remember how far I have to go to look like Christ. But praise, praise, praise the Lord that he's willing to take me there, if only I will let him! So friends, seek wisdom with me. True wisdom from above. Not just good advice or smart planning. And if I start spooning out some of that old "wisdom", hug me tightly and whisper "pure. peaceloving. gentle. entreatable. merciful. fruitful. impartial. sincere." in my ear as a sweet little reminder of what we're really after.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

T-shirt Scarf Addiction

Years ago, I decided I was going to make a t-shirt quilt. So I've been saving my highschool and college tshirts all this time. Since the crafty bug bit me recently (the first bite), I thought I might be inclined to actually MAKE the quilt. So I googled tshirt quilt, and you know how the search box starts giving you suggestions for what you  might be typing? Tshirt SCARF was first on the list. Hmmmm. This could be interesting, I thought. Multiple clicks later, when I was severely detoured from my original plan (which might have to wait another 6 yrs...quilting takes a lot of patience!), I had an irresistible urge to make some scarves. One of the great links I found has tutorials for 10 differnt scarves! I picked a couple of my favs (mostly the NO-SEW ones!) and followed the links. This blog and video were the actual source of what I made. I didn't take step-by-step pics, so I'm going to just throw my completed pics up here, along with some pointers you may want to follow.

My first spaghetti scarf! Made from XL shirt. If you're using a plain tshirt (ie, no design on the front or back), I actually prefer this tutorial. I like how it will stay together better. If your shirt has a design like mine did, I followed the DIY Dish video.

Next up, my first waterfall scarf. Is that what she called it on the video? Oh well, I think it's a brilliant name if she didn't! Black XL shirt. I LOVE this!! I think it looks so fancy and dressy, and it's a T-SHIRT! I think I was able to get 6 circles cut from the shirt. This may be "duh" to the rest of y'all, but after you cut your circles (which will be 2-ply) keep them together as you spiral cut them. Less overall cuts to make! For some reason, I seperated my circles this go-round. I did not follow her suggestion of gluing to strips end-to-end, so my scarf is shorter. And less time consuming. But as you can see, it still hits my waist when tied over, which I feel like is plenty long. Not sure if she did this on the vid either, but I cut a piece of the hem of the shirt and used it to tie my strips in a bundle. That way there's no risk of scarfy-chaos!

More spaghetti scarves! This pic is actually 2 different ones I made, but the later it got last night, the fancier I got! Again, my shirt had designs, so I cut full strips, rather then leaving them attached at one end. This was I could group the design sections together, wrap tie them around the designs, and put that section in the back. No random colors peeking through.

It's later still...and fancier! This waterfall scarf is combined from 2 different shirts. We're rather short on XL shirts around here, as neither of us actually wears XL. So I used a L purple and a M white/silver to get a total of 7 circles, and mixed the strips together before wrap-tying them.

 Infinity scarf. Oh. My. Too. Easy. Ready for this? Don't even watch the video...lay out your shirt, cut off bottom hem, cut across under armpits. Stretch it out. Bam. You have an infinity scarf! I'm still boggling over how easy this was. In fact, this was the one I made AFTER I posted about making 7 last night. I closed the computer and was compelled to just whip out one more, haha. And it still looks good!

Of all the scarves I made,  (ummm, yes I did actually make 8 in one sitting...) THIS one is my favorite! I made Audrey a little pink waterfall. :) I have a special place in my heart for all things tiny, and this tiny waterfall was just too much. She was a bit excited about it too, if you can't tell! And what little girl doesn't wanna be just like Momma?

So there you have it! 8 tshirt scarves in about 2.5 hrs. What's that, like 20 mins each? This excites me, cuz I have trouble accessorizing...I forget, or don't want to spend money on jewelry, etc. Well, no more excuses! Just as long as people don't get tired of seeing me in a scarf!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Big-kid hooded towel

When I was pregnant with Audrey, I received hooded bath towels as a baby gift and have loved them since she outgrew the baby towels! So much bigger, more absorbant, and warmer. They have cute ribbon sewn on the hood, along with her name embroidered on them. These were made by folding a hand towel in "hamburger" half, then sewing one side together, and the other side to the edge of a bath towel. Voila! Great in theory, but the hood has always been WAY too big (and would probably still be too big even on me...). One of my friends posted a tutorial on FB recently on how to make these same towels with a smaller hood (1/2 hand towel). Wyatt needed a set of towels to match Audrey's so, here I go! (And here's step-by-step instructions in case you want to attempt also!)

I used 2 bath towels, 1 hand towel (all the same color, since I wasn't going for funky ;)), coordinating thread and approx. 1.5 yds of ribbon.

First, I made the hood by folding a hand towel in "hamburger" half, then cutting in 2.

This is going to become 2 hoods for 2 separate towels. I got a little snazzy with these, and added starry ribbon. Sewed on each side of ribbon to secure to band of towel.  Next, folded back the band of the towel ~2 inches and sewed this down.

To finish the hood, I folded the towel in hamburger half again, ribbon side in, and sewed down the cut seam. Turn the hood right side out, then sewed remaining side centered on edge of towel.

Da-da-da-daaaaa!!! Hooded towel!

A few side notes if you attempt this project: I'm not a skilled seamstress by any means. Those of you that might already sew will find this a snap to make. I found out the hard way you should: pin all your seams before you sew, lock all your seams or they will unravel, keep an eye on your bobbin so you can refill it BEFORE sewing a bunch of half-seams that will then have to be re-sewn, and use a heavy gauge needle. You will at times be sewing through 3 layers of towel. If you don't use the right weight needle, it will break at some point in the middle of your project.

The towels I bought came in 2-packs for the hand towels. So I finished my 4 towels (2 as gifts) (I did brown and cute bright green to match the ribbon! Completed set pic below) using 2 hand towels and debated what to do with the other 2. Use them as hand towels? The bathroom is done in blues; brown and green hand towels might stand out. Give them as gifts along with the other 2 towels? "Here's 2 random hand towels to go with your super cute hooded towels!" Weird. Soooo, since the crafty bug had bitten, I decided to make bath mitts! Why mitts vs. washcloths, you ask? Less seams to sew. :) The bug might have bitten, but don't assume I've gone sew-crazy! So here follows my tutorial if you also want to make awesome bath mitts to go with your towels:

I folded the hand towel in "hotdog" half. Cut off the bands (I did this because I was tired of sewing through the thicker material, and didn't think it would be very soft to wash oneself with the band material.)

Then I cut the towel into 4 sections, which became 4 mitts.

Next, I added the cuteness. I sewed the ribbon about 1-1.5 in from top fold.

I folded the towel inside out, with ribbon on inside and sewed each cut side closed.

I turned the mitts right side out, then rolled little cuffs since they were kinda long. You could cut off and hem, but again, I was going for least number of seams here! Again, da-da-da-daaa! Bath mitt! Perfect for scrubbing wiggly little people!

I'm so excited to have these for Wyatt finally. I really did have fun making them! Next time around will be much easier, especially since I re-learned how to wind a bobbin, load a bobbin, change out a broken needle, and sew straight seams today. :) The complete set: