Sunday, September 29, 2013

Song for Sunday: Lord of the Rings in 99 Seconds

I have a guest blogger today. My 13 year old son Jordan will present this week's Song for Sunday. 

Yesterday was Middle Earth day at Higgins Armory in Worcester. It was pretty cool. They had people dressed up as characters from Lord of the Rings, and the Hobbit, including Faramir, Saruman, Gandalf the Grey, Frodo, Galadriel, Bard the bowman, and two Uruk-hai. They had stage presentations and workshops, including how to fight like some of the characters in the Lord of the Rings. It was a good day. In honor of Middle Earth day, this Song for Sunday is the Lord of the Rings in 99 seconds.

                                          Do you think this is a good summary of the story?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Knitters' Devotional: Service

Many knitters serve others on a regular basis. People knit sweaters for orphans, blankets for babies going to foster care, helmet liners for soldiers, ditty bags for merchant mariners and prayer shawls for those in distress. The list goes on and on. Whether we are knitting for strangers and friends, we are often providing loving help and care.

In serving we emulate Christ, who washed the feet of His disciples, fed the multitudes and healed the sick. He was not above doing the tasks of lowly servants and neither should we be. In every area of our lives we have chances to act as servants to others. We should recognize these opportunities as chances to serve Jesus. It is good to look for Christ in the people we help.

Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10? Two people who should have known better passed an injured man by. The third, a political enemy, stopped to help. He acted as a servant. Jesus held this fictional man up as an example of what a neighbor should do. “Go and do likewise,” he said. And so we should, with our knitting and with all our lives.

Lord Jesus, help us to serve others, knowing that in doing so we really serve you. In your precious name, Amen.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
                ~Matthew 20: 25-28
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
                                          ~ Galatans 5: 13-14

I am writing a knitters' devotional book and would love constructive criticism and feedback on content, grammar, etc. Thanks!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Knitter's Devotional: Love

If you are at the right time of life, have you knit baby booties for a coming grandchild? Why’d you do it? I bet it’s because you couldn’t wait to meet that little one and had to do something for him or her right away. Or maybe you wanted to celebrate your child’s joy.

Love is like that. It makes us want to reach out to its object, to shower them with good things. That’s why many of us have made gifts for family and friends. Another way we may have shown love is, perhaps, by laying down our needles for a while to act as caregiver, chauffer, cook, cleaner and nurse. We placed the needs of others above our hobby and, likely, our own needs as well.

God loves us like that. Sacrificially. He loved us completely. He even died for us, while we were sinners. Before we even knew Him. Reflect on that for a moment. The truth is that if we really thought about it, we’d be dizzy. It is too awesome to be comprehensible.

But it’s real. The Cross may not be understandable, but it is Truth. You are beloved of God and He gave his life for you.

Awesome God, thank you for Your love and Your sacrifice. May we follow your example, loving as you have loved and giving our lives for others. In Jesus name, Amen.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
                         ~John 3:16

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
                      ~Romans 5: 7-8

I am writing a knitter's devotional and would appreciate constructive criticism and other feedback. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Knitters' Devotional: Peace

Knitting is, or can be, a very centering activity. When you focus on the pattern it can bring a sense of tranquility. Being ordered and repetitive, knitting can lead to a very relaxed state.

This can be true for those around as well as for the knitter. I remember that a friend hired a “knitter sitter” for her ailing Mom. This person sat next to her mother’s bed and knit. The regular clacking of the needles had a quieting effect on the patient.

The peace that knitting brings is temporary. Jesus offers a peace that is eternal. We are assured that if we fix our minds on God, He will keep us in peace. The focus on God is key. C. S. Lewis reminds us that, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

Maintaining a steadfast focus on Christ is easier said than done, certainly, but the rewards are great for those who succeed.
Earnestly pray for peace, for yourself and those around you.

God and King, grant us your peace. Help us to focus constantly on you.  In Jesus name, Amen.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
                       ~Isaiah 26:3

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
                          ~John 14:27

I am writing a knitters' devotional. Feedback on these posts is appreciated. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Knitters' Devotional: Warmth

A gift of knitting is a gift of warmth.

Warmth is associated with many good things: the sun, a hearth, a bonfire, a pleasant welcome.

When we give warmth, we give love and friendship. In doing so, we do as Christ would have us do. The Bible tells us to practice hospitality, to love our enemies and our friends. It is full of stories of hospitality given and hospitality gratefully received. Both are blessings.

God has given us the gift of warmth; literally, from the sun and spiritually as He welcomes us into His family when we come to know Jesus.

He calls us to give the gift of warmth to others. We do this literally when we send a homemade sweater to an orphanage or knit a blanket for a friend. We do it figuratively when we invite people into our homes and churches, when we welcome refugees into our midst and when we offer the hand of friendship to a neighbor.

The blessings of warmth are as real for the giver as for the receiver.

Lord, teach us to be givers of warmth and may we receive it’s blessings with thankfulness. In Jesus name, Amen.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 
    It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, 
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
     and makes its circuit to the other;
     nothing is deprived of its warmth.
                                      ~Psalm 19: 4b-6

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
                                     ~1 Peter 4: 8-9        

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

                                   ~Hebrews 13: 1-2

I am in the midst of writing a knitter's devotional and this an entry for it. I would appreciate feedback. There is something about this that needs editing but I can't quite put my finger on it. Thanks!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Song for Sunday: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I have a childhood memory of watching The Wizard of Oz every spring.

For the sixtieth anniversary of the movie, they came out with a digitally remastered version. It was amazing to see it on the big screen for the first time. So much detail and color.

Now for the 75th anniversary, there is an IMAX 3D version of the classic. Jordan's review: "Bbbbiiggg." Again, the detail was amazing. There were things we could see that were barely visible on the TV.

The quintessential Wizard of Oz song is Somewhere over the Rainbow, so that's today's Song for Sunday. The first verse was not included in the film.

When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around
Heaven opens a magic lane

When all the clouds darken up the skyway
There's a rainbow highway to be found
Leading from your windowpane

To a place behind the sun
Just a step beyond the rain

Somewhere, over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heared of
Once in a lullabye

Somewhere, over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Some day I'll wish upon a star and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere, over the rainbow
Blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why, then oh, why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh, why can't I?
               ~E.Y. Harburg. Music by Harold Arlen.

Fun and memories!

What is your favorite silver screen moment?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Song for Sunday: Yesterday

The Beatles had some good songs. I was reminded of this one a few days ago and decided use it as this week's Song for Sunday.  

It's a sad song, but I have some fun associations with it. I remember back many years ago -- in the early 1980s -- that some girls at the Youth Conference  sang a sort of parody of it. Pretending to be pregnant, they changed the words to "Suddenly I'm twice the girl, I used to be, there's a shadow hanging under me..." and "Why we had to grow, we don't know, we couldn't say, I did something wrong now I long for yesterday...."

It was hilarious. (I know teen pregnancy isn't funny, but their performance was.) We used their version at every conference related baby shower for about 10 years. 

So it's a sad song, but it makes me laugh. 

The original version is beautiful as well as sad and is beloved by many. I hope you enjoy listening to it. 

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Suddenly I'm not half the man I used to be
There's a shadow hanging over me
Oh, yesterday came suddenly

Why she had to go
I don't know, she wouldn't say
I said something wrong
Now I long for yesterday

Yesterday love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away
Oh, I believe in yesterday

Why she had to go?
I don't know, she wouldn't say
I said something wrong
Now I long for yesterday

Yesterday love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

                       ~John Lennon and Paul McCartney

When have heard a good parody of a song?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Anniversary of 9/11

It's been 12 years since 9/11/2001.

People remember. I am seeing a lot of "where I was" posts on Facebook. I know people who paused to pray.

For some people, life became very different after 9/11 than it was before. Those who lost a loved one had their lives changed immediately. Those who went to war, or had a family member who did, also experienced change and loss.

I think, too, of the now 11 and 12 year olds who were born into grieving families because their fathers died in the attacks before they were born. They have never known a lack of mourning.

Some people changed their outlook because of 9/11.

Many people, though, go about their day to day lives as though the attacks never happened. Only when they have to wait in long airport security lines or hear a public announcement of an anniversary do they recall the events of that infamous day.

I do not know whether this is a good or bad thing. Perhaps it shows the resiliency of the American people and the human spirit. On the other hand perhaps it shows peoples' ability to shut out unpleasant things and act as though everything is fine.

I wrote a post titled "We are at War and Life Goes on as Usual" with some reflections on that.

I don't know the conclusion of all this. I struggle with how to respond to war and old attacks. I do know it is good to remember and to work for peace, even if I don't know how. Prayer is the place to begin, I guess, as always.

Remembering -- the attacks on the World Trade center, the Pentagon, Flight 93 and on 9/11/2012, American envoys in Benghazi.

God grant us peace.

Knitter's Devotional: Yarn-bombing

       Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

Some fun-loving knitters have succeeded in adding play to our hobby. It's called "yarn-bombing" or "knit graffiti." Basically, people knit a covering for a tree, pole, bench or some object and then, usually surreptitiously add it. The idea is to add a splash of color to a dull place or to encourage someone by beautifying a space.

The Bible talks a lot about encouraging one another, showing love and kindness. This is a playful way to add something to our communities.

God also reminds us that merry hearts and innocent laughter are good for us. In fact, they are like medicine to a depressed heart. I am sure many of us have experienced laughter as a method for lifting for our mood in times of stress.

Laughter -- honest, happy laughter -- can be a form of thankful prayer. It can enhance fellowship and make a workload seem lighter. So laughter and fun are to be encouraged.

Lord, grant us laughter, give us cheerful hearts and help us find a tree to yarn-bomb. In Jesus name. Amen.

A cheerful heart is good medicine.
                                                  ~ Proverbs 17:22

All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
                                                                                                                         ~ Proverbs 15:15
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
                                                                                                        ~Job 8:21

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
                                                                        ~Psalm 126:2

I am writing a knitters' devotional and would love some feedback.

Photos by Jordan Parry. Knitting by letterboxers of the We Leave and Breathe Letterboxing XV event.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Song for Sunday: Hush Now in Quiet Peace

This song has been on continuous loop in my head for the past several days.

Just a simple, soothing song for the this busy time of new activities and the start of the school season.

I do not know who wrote it, but hope to find out.

Hush now in quiet peace.
Be still your mind at ease.
The Spirit brings release, 
So wait upon the Lord. 

Hush now in quiet peace.
Be still your mind at ease.
The Spirit brings release, 
So wait upon the Lord. 

May this song be a blessing to you, as it is to me, in busy and anxious times.

I learned this song at CYC, an annual two-week conference for teens, held in August on the southern coast of Maine. Check it out!

Thursday, September 5, 2013


It's a word that still strikes fear.

We have learned much -- but there is still far to go in our fight against this insidious disease.

My family has been struck multiple times. I lost my mother to a version of ovarian cancer that her oncologist called "tough and mean." My sister is battling colon cancer now. Thankfully, the progress of her treatment has been good so far.

I also have aunts and uncles who have been affected.

And friends. Some have died, some are fighting, some have won.

My story is far from unique. I suspect all of us know someone afflicted by cancer.

Research is critical, as is patient care. Both mean money.

Today, I will tell you about two friends who are working to raise money:

My friend Heather, a former college roommate, over at The Reluctant Survivor is walking in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. She is a Breast Cancer Survivor and tells her story very well on her blog. It is a very empowering read. Here is her fundraising page.

Paul, who has been friend, mentor, teacher and second Dad since my teen years, rode in the PanMass Challenge the past two years. This year he went many extra miles. His story of training is very inspirational, but it is his love for his late wife Peg that is truly awe-inspiring. He cared for her faithfully and well during her long last illness. Her loss was a blow to many of us. I considered her my second Mom. Paul rode in her memory and also had my sister as a "pedal partner." His fundraising page is open until October 1 and gifts given up to his birthday on September 10th will be doubled.

There are a million ways to support cancer victims and research and many organizations to donate through. I offer two opportunities and hope that you will give to one somewhere, whether in time, prayer or money. God bless you!

What is your experience with cancer?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Song for Sunday (belated): Because

Yesterday, September 1, 2013, would have been my parents 51st anniversary. 

This song was sung beautifully by my Uncle Bill just before the wedding march at their ceremony. It was a song written by Guy D'Hardelot and Edward Lockton. Popularized by Perry Como in 1948 it was sung frequently at weddings in the 1960s.

In honor of my parents, I present Because as today's (yesterday's) Song for Sunday. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Because, you come to me with naught save love
And hold my hand and lift mine eyes above
A wider world of hope and joy I see
Because you come to me

Because you speak to me in accent sweet
I find the roses waking 'round my feet
And I am led through tears and joy to thee
Because you speak to me

Because God made thee mine, I'll cherish thee
Through light and darkness, through all time to be
And pray His love may make our love divine
Because God made thee mine

What songs have you used or heard at wedding ceremonies?