31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 25

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And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.  And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel.  2 Kings 23:3-4

And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes who were in the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah.  2 Kings 23:7

King Josiah took down anything and everything related to idol worship upon making the covenant with the LORD.  He desired to walk in the ways of His God which meant a lot of cleaning, both of the people and their ways.  One aspect of this problem was that the women spent time weaving for an idol (which brings the topic to weaving).

The houses King Josiah broke down were “not solid houses, but tents, called elsewhere [2 Kings 17:30] Succoth-benoth, “the booths of the young women,” who were devoted to the service of Asherah, for which they made embroidered hangings, and in which they gave themselves to unbridled revelry and lust. Or the hangings might be for Asherah itself, as it is a popular superstition in the East to hang pieces of cloth on trees.”  Asherah is…

אֲשֵׁרָה

‘asherah

  1. Ashera(h) = “groves (for idol worship)”

    1. a Babylonian (Astarte)-Canaanite goddess (of fortune and happiness), the supposed consort of Baal, her images

      1. the goddess, goddesses

      2. her images

      3. sacred trees or poles set up near an altar

I know that I have been drawn into places that were not of God.  I know I have allowed satan to lead me along paths where I knew I should not have been.  How easily I was drawn into things that are worldly, calling me into disobedience to God.  In reading this (and in other books of the Bible) I take a moment to discern whether I have done this creative hobby in any kind of disobedience to God.  I believe not.  But I want to discern any wayward ways and then to make sure I am staying firm in my walk with the LORD.  Prayer, honor, respect and reverence for the LORD, time with Him, walking in faith are where I find my obedience and love for the LORD.

Father, I pray for the ability to stay on the path that You direct for me.  I ask Your forgiveness for those places along my lifelong journey where I have strayed.  I know I have when it comes to idol worship when I wandered into uncharted religions that I would call “New Age” today.  I did not know then what I know now.  I am sorry.  I ask to have a tight hold upon me that I would walk close and straight with You.  I thank You for Your love and care for me.  You loved me first.  I am blessed.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

 

To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 24

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Upon graduating from college, I could see that I had gone to school and taken all of the courses I HAD to in order to graduate, but had not taken ONE class just for fun! So in the 1970s, I attended an adult education class in weaving.  I learned the basics and then kept taking courses, kept experimenting, kept trying to make art out of something which I knew was really just a hobby.  But I was enjoying it all so much.

I learned to spin various wools, including sheep, of course, goat, camel, alpaca, llama, cotton, and probably a few others.  I learned to use the drop spindle, the Navajo spindle and a spinning wheel.  I learned to dye to yarns.  I even had a sheep-shearing experience.  I wanted to learn the whole process.

I wove on what we call off-loom although the hoop or the frame is the loom, but it was making an individual loom.  Later on, I actually made a loom similar to a Navajo loom where I made this first large one (below).  It is actually four and a half feet by five and a half feet, all handspun yarns.  I made one larger than this and it was a commissioned piece.  Cool!

I often do not have a plan when I start.  I just go with the flow and have fun!

PicMonkey Collage 1
I made up my own design using a crochet hook and needles for this light colored one with thin yarns.

PicMonkey Collage 11

The colored one is geometric using cotton yarns.

PicMonkey Collage 15

Blues and grays make up this very geometric and symmetrical circle of wool yarns.

PicMonkey Collage 2 A woven wool wheel with a center was not easy, keeping the center wheel in its balanced place, but I did it and have had this one many years.

PicMonkey Collage 3
This one below is woven of handspun wool in the grays and tonal pinks, and store-bought yarns in the black, pink, and purple.  It was fun to make geometry take on new avenues as I went.

PicMonkey Collage 12

And these two on this collage are unique.  I was daydreaming one day and wanted to try a very thin and strong thread and wrap the warp completely around the frame.  I began weaving the design on the front and realized that I could make it three-dimensional by weaving on both the front and back warps.  The darker one is of a snowy day in the forest and the lighter is a seascape.

PicMonkey Collage 10

God gave me creativity and this is one avenue that I found for His beauty and fun to flow from me.  I have done this since the mid 1970s, although am not doing it now for physical reasons, but still love the art.  I appreciate others for the doing.

I have some yarns that one day I may make into a basket.  I have done that before as well as quilting, crocheting and knitting.  God will keep His creation creating, I am sure.

Father, my Creator, thank You for gifting me with talents that flow and are fun.  Thank You for allowing me to create pieces that have been enjoyed by others and even bought by some.  Thank You for all of the teachers You have given me along the way.  I am so grateful and delighted to have done this.  I may not have known to give You the glory then, but I do now.  Oh, how I do!  In the Name of Jesus.  Amen. 

 

To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

31 Day of God-Woven Moments – October 23

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“‘Warp and Woof’ is the vertical-horizontal weaving of threads that create fabric.  The intersection and unification of everything is the tapestry of life under the Lordship of Jesus. Wholeness begins with Him.”   Dr. Mark Eckel

To be unified under Jesus, to find the intersection where Jesus is, brings me to a calm place, a gentle knowing, a sweet moment in time.  I feel peaceful knowing that I am His and He is my LORD.  The wholeness is knowing that God made me complete from the very start.  It is this world, this humanness that rips away the wholeness.  But as my LORD, He holds me near and continues to weave my life into that beautiful tapestry that He intended from the start.  It is up to me to allow Him to be in control and it is up to me to be obedient.  Jesus has never left me.  He died for me and wants me for His own.  Thank You, LORD.

LORD, I pray for Your hand in mine.  I feel Your Presence in my life and know that I must let go of any yarn in order for You to weave my life.  I want You to be the Only Weaver of me and to complete me as You intend.  I want to hear Your Words, Your guidance.  I want to see Your Light and know Your wisdom.  I want to be the Linda You desire of me.  I give You me.  I will try to leave me in Your wonderful hands and try not to take me back.  I love You, Jesus.  Amen. 

 

To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 22

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I write because I follow God and this is what He is having me do these days.  I share my life here on this new kind of paper.  As God weaves my life, He has given me beautiful God-Woven Moments, experiences that He wants me to share with you.  I cared for my Mama for fifteen years and I am blessed to be able to write about giving care.  Please join me today…

Preserving Dignity

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Dignity: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed

Weaving dignity into a tightly woven piece of art called caregiving is of vast importance.  Care recipients depend upon caregivers for the physical aspect of their care, but we far too often forget that emotional and psychological wellbeing is vital to one’s wholeness.  Many things can sever an adult’s self-respect and dignity.  It can happen slowly over time or quickly through a stroke, heart attack or accident.  Loss of abilities, such as driving, walking, talking, doing basic care for themselves, or losing the ability to make decisions often means loss of independence.  That loss is usually what eats away at one’s dignity.  Independence is an asset that lends value to life.

Even to your old age, I am He,

And even to gray hairs I will carry you!

I have made, and I will bear;

Even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4

As a caregiver, what can you do?  First, learn to see your care recipient through the eyes of God’s unconditional love.  God sees them as His beautiful creation.  So should we.  This should cause the preservation of dignity to be central in our caring.  We should be empathetic, aware of and sensitive to their feelings and thoughts.  Try slipping into their shoes for a better understanding of what they might be going through.  A relationship based on dignity and respect is key to the way we give care.

We can show respect of privacy by closing a door while you help them dress or use the bathroom.  Knock before opening any closed door.  Get their permission before sharing any confidential information, whether it is to family, staff, or friends.  Respect their right to make choices, if they are able, so they can feel some sense of control over their life.  By treating them with dignity, we are listening to their concerns, asking for their opinions, including them in conversations.  Never talk to others as though they are not even there, and try to speak to them as an adult whether they understand or not.     

The care recipient usually knows us and we know them.  We know their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, and their needs and desires.  I needed to let my mother make some of her own decisions.  Some of her wishes were dementia-driven.  Rather than tell her “no” or argue with her, I walked gently, working around her decisions to keep her calm.  There were times when she wanted “2 eggs over-easy, bacon, toast with strawberry jam” and she wanted it now.  Now was 8:00 P.M.  The nursing home kitchen was closed; we had no IHOP then.  I found a little cafe that cooked breakfast 24 hours a day.  I could drive there, order a Mama-breakfast and she would be thrilled, eating it like there was no tomorrow.  Yes, it was hard on me, but it was worth it to see the pleasure she had eating her favorite meal. It can prove to be more important to let them make decisions for themselves (or think they have) than to try to control each issue. Decision-making is hard to give up after they have done it for many years, but when we want the best for them, we, too, must be willing to relearn.  Dignity can easily be lost in our overprotectiveness or always knowing what is best.    

Our tasks may start as simple, but they usually change over time.  I never imagined I would be cleaning my mother’s bottom, helping her put on a dry diaper, or feeding her.  There were times when her inappropriate actions caused her to be treated like a child by administrative staff.  Many of her inhibitions were loosed with dementia.  My mother, Italian and Irish, was a feisty woman, a proud one, but some situations really took a toll on Mama’s dignity.  My mother did not like to be told what to do, nor to be put down.  As she aged, it became part of my job to restore her self-esteem.  I learned to slough off indignities by talking about how she took care of my sisters and me.  I talked about the dress shop she owned and all that entailed being an entrepreneur, or about her WWII experience at the Naval Supply Depot typing up supply orders for all the ships at sea.  She also loved to talk about her life as a Navy doctor’s wife.  On her silly side, she loved to tell me how “gorgeous” or “beautiful” she was as I gave her a bed bath, or how “cute” her own bottom was, always with a twinkle in her eye.  She made light of those hard moments and I joined her with laughter.  These were our ways of coping with indignities.  To find the best ways to get through these hard moments is your task.  Caregivers who enter into the world of the person they’re caring for can accomplish more for that person’s dignity and respect than almost anything else. Listen to them.  Encourage their telling you about the life they once led, their passions, their daily routines, and their memories.  All of this still matters.  Be a good listener.  It does not matter if they repeat the same story.  Respond so they know you are interested.

   Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.  Proverbs 31:25

Doing what a caregiver must for the physical comfort of your care recipient is extremely important, but do everything with compassion and empathy.  You will feel so much better because you provided dignity and happiness in the midst of having to do the tough stuff.  You will also create your own enjoyment in the caregiving process.   

Something else I found that brought respect for my mother was to frame many of her photographs, beginning with her childhood on up through her 80s.  I placed them around her room.  When staff members would come in, they could ask Mama about a certain photo, “Who is that beautiful lady?” “When and where was this?”  “What were you doing here?”  These conversations became protracted because Mama’s longterm memory was excellent; she loved to tell her stories.  Making an album or wall collage of grandchildren also gives them pride to share. The staff began to see my mother as a woman who had a childhood, who had been a professional, who had parents, siblings, a husband and children.  They no longer saw Mama as just an old person who, one day, might be angry and demanding, or happy and loving on another.  Mama became real and respect grew.  The loss of independence takes so much away from a person, yet knowing that they are being heard, cared for from the heart makes such a difference in the way the one being cared for handles their own inabilities. 

Caring for someone of the opposite sex can be difficult.  They need to be treated in the same manner as I have shared here, but when a person has never had his daughter see him privately, it is hard.  As the caregiver, ask how they would like you to handle the situation giving them choices.  Be calm, bring humor if possible, and be dignified in the way you approach this.  If they know you are lovingly caring for them, they will adjust with time.   

You are God’s gift to His creation.  You are His hands on earth.  Be delighted.  What you are giving is better than any other gift you could ever give.  Yes, it may be tough.  Caregiving may test you to your limits, but often those tough things can bring rewards so great that you will feel wonderfully blessed.  I know that I can still feel the hugs and the kisses on my cheek, and hear Mama’s laughter as well as her words of endearment and gratitude to this very moment.  Yes, fifteen years was long and hard, but there were so many precious moments.  I would never exchange those years for the freedom of not caring for my mother.

And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.”  Matthew 25:40

Father, I lift up each giver of care whom You have placed with one who needs that care.  I pray for patience and tender love as they care for another.  May we always remember that dignity and strength and respect are from You and that we would look to You for guidance as we take each step in Your will.  Teach us how to laugh and love in the hard moments, to bring joy and delight to those we care for, to do all we must by wrapping those tasks up in dignity and respect so that the recipient feels special, and to listen with empathy as though we are right there in their shoes (or slippers).  Father, we want to love as You love, feel as You feel, and be Your hands, voice and heart here on earth.  I ask for Your hand upon us as we walk this walk.  In the strong Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

beblacksig

 

Photo: @ Critty Joy
To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 21

 

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As I write this month about God-woven moments in and through my tapestry of life, I want to spend this day weaving my 2014 word, “Honor” into this piece of art.  I chose to ponder “honor” this year for I want to remember that God is the Head and I am part of the body, His church.

And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.  Colossians 2:19

I am nourished by God with His Living Waters and Bread of Life.  Jesus is my Redeemer.  God knit me together and knows me.  I grow as I spend time in His Word, feeding upon His daily food for my soul.  I dwell in the stillness of His love and grow to be more and more like Christ.  Christ is my focus.  I am honored to know that I am His, part of His church, His Bride.  I honor Him and desire to honor Him in all I do in this world.  I honor Him in all that I am before man.

May I be an image of Christ before all those who do not know Him, a guide for those who do but are wavering right now.  May my voice be honoring in all that I say, LORD.  I desire much.  Through You, and only You, can I be strengthened to do any of this.  You are my Strength.  I am blessed to honor You in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.  

 

To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 20

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And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.  Exodus 28:6

The artistically woven waistband that is on the ephod must be of one piece, according to the same workmanship of gold, of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and of finely spun linen.  Exodus 28:8

And the curious girdle of his ephod, that was upon it, was of the same, according to the work thereof; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen; as the LORD commanded Moses.  Exodus 39:5

 

שָׁזַר

shazar

to twist, be twisted

to twist together several threads

to twist a thread from right to left or backhanded

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

God gave Moses explicit instructions for His sanctuary in Exodus 26, 27, and 28, to include the curtains, the walls, the garments for the priests.  The above Scriptures are just a tiny segment of the garment instructions for Aaron and the other priests.  Exodus 39 and other chapters in the latter part of Exodus continue to reiterate God’s instructions as Bezaleel and Aholiab worked on the tabernacle for God.  

Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded. And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it:…  Exodus 31:1-2

And Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD commanded Moses.  And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver, and a cunning workman, and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen.  Exodus 38:22-23

God used His best and gave instructions as to the way He wanted things done.  His best obeyed and were willing to do things just the way God wanted them done.  We each are God’s best for we are His creations.  We all need to be obedient to His call upon our lives.   

Father God, You guide us and tell us the ways You want us to go.  I know we follow our own desires and sometimes do things against Your will.  I am sorry, Father, when I am disobedient.  I want to walk in Your will and be guided by You.  I want to be twisted as fine linen into the threads You will weave as my life.  I want to know that You are in control and that I am not.  As You weave, I am the warp and You take this finely God-spun weft to weave my life.  The shuttle goes back and forth through the warp by Your hands.  Oh, God, You are my LORD and You are truly my whole desire.  You are my All and my Every.  I love You and want You to be my sole Spinner and Weaver.  I do not want to try to weave my own life, nor spin the yarns that make up my life.  May I walk in obedience to You.  Praying in the Name of Jesus.  Amen. 

 

To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 19

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Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
– Chief Seattle

Father, may I look to You for all I am and all I do.  I want to be selfless and not selfish.  I want to be compassionate, not unsympathetic.  I desire to be helpful and not unobliging.  I want to care about the needs of others so that I will be Your hands here on this earth in providing for some of those needs.  Father, I want to be all that You want me to be here.  May I remember that the body is connected to the Head and that I represent the church here on earth.  I am Yours, Father…Yours.  In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.