Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

To each of my friends, thank you so much for the gift of your friendship. To my family members reading this, thank you for knowing me and loving me and being my friend anyway! :-)

Most of you know how much I love the Christmas season. It truly is my favorite time of year. One of my favorite Christmas decorations around our house is a Christmas card that I came across one year. I put it in a little frame and I love its encouragement:

"The angel's message still echoes around the world: Fear not. Good news! Christ is come!"

(Warning: humble Christian ramblings ahead, as one of my favorite bloggers, Dave Burchett, calls them).

That message, so simple, for me is the heart of Christmas. Celebrating the birth of my Savior. Delighting in the fact that this world, as wonderful and beautiful and crazy and messed up as it is, is not all there is.

I believe that I am a sinner, and that my sins would eternally separate me from God. I need forgiveness, and Christ is the only one who can offer that. He did it for me and for all of us, and he continues to hold out that promise for every person who will accept it.

I know some of you reading this are Christians, and some belong to other faiths or none at all. If I could offer you one thought this Christmas, it would be to humbly ask you to take this upcoming year (or better yet, even this upcoming day) and consider who Jesus Christ is to you. I believe that is the single most important question you will ever answer. I am not the most knowledgeable Christian you will ever run across, but if you are searching and have any questions that I can help with (or if you just want to argue with me :-) I welcome your thoughts, questions and comments. If I don't know the answer, I will do my very best to find you someone who does.

But if I could ask you to do one thing (though I have no right to, I would like to respectfully ask anyway), that is what I would ask this Christmas. No matter what your faith, please consider the claims of Jesus Christ. I believe our response to Christ has eternal consequence for each of us.

While a little deeper into the topic than I originally intended to go in this post, I would like to offer you one more thought - for any who may be considering (or dismissing) Christ from this perspective. One of my friends recently said that she and others of her faith believe that Christ existed, and was a great teacher and a good man, but that he was not God and is not the Messiah and Savior of the Bible.

Now don't get me wrong - I will be the first to admit that Christ asks us to believe some truly unbelievable stuff. Virgin births? Dead people getting out of graves and walking around? Food for five feeding thousands? And the most amazing to me - a human who never did anything wrong? It's not easy to reconcile some of the claims of Christianity (and I would offer that this is why it is a matter of faith, not something that can be entirely proven in a scientific way). But I believe that the "good teacher" argument is a mechanism that people use to try to get around the issue, and avoid personally addressing the claims of Christ himself.

C.S. Lewis once said that calling Christ merely a good man, and a good teacher, is the one thing about Christ we must not say. Christ himself closed that door when He claimed to be God. Based on that claim, there are only two logical possibilites - either He was (and is), or He wasn't (and isn't). There's no middle ground there. From those two flow three further possibilities. If He wasn't, and knew it, He was a liar. If He wasn't, but genuinely thought he was, he was either delusional or a madman - a lunatic. If either of these two possibilities is true, then he was not God, nor was He a good man or teacher, and certainly He should not be followed. But the third (and only remaining) possibility is that He was, and is, exactly who He said He was. If that be true, then I would humbly submit that His claims deserve - no, command - our consideration and attention.

My prayer for each of my friends and loved ones this Christmas (and any seeker who may stumble across this post) is that you will consider and discover who Christ really was, and is. If you have read this far, thank you for reading and considering. And whether you are a friend or family, love and hugs to you this Christmas and always!

(Thoughts, comments, questions: Email me - rottpaw at yahoo dot com)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Catching Up - and finished #7

So here we are, two weeks closer to Thanksgiving, and the only thing I've really accomplished in those two weeks is another Lizzie Block! The trend seems to be that I get through a couple of blocks with no problem, then I do something to screw the next one up. This block is no exception - if you look closely, you can see the change in pattern in the middle. But it's not too bad, and I think it will be hard to notice in the finished product. And I really like the colors of this one, too. Now, I've GOT to get to the store and get my Thanksgiving shopping done (and get the house picked up and bills paid) before I start another block!

The good news is I'm feeling a lot better this week than last, when I was down for 4 days with the flu. I didn't even feel like knitting, so you know it was bad :-) I've been able to get back into working out a little this week (mostly walking, but still). So I'm hoping to keep that up this coming week, when my mother in law will be here and hopefully will be my walking buddy (hubby hates to "just" walk).

We're looking forward to a great Thanksgiving with family and some of our best friends coming for dinner. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Lizard Ridge #6

This will be a quick post, but here is block #6. I love the contrast to the other colors I've done so far - this one has lots of pinks and yellows. Now on to seven!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lizard Ridge #5

Just one more block and I'll be a quarter of the way done with the afghan blocks! (See pic below, appearing after my rant about our local government's mismanagement of the water supply. How's that for bait and switch!? :-)

This block is very similar to the first in its colorway. The yarns are different, but I think it is just the way the pattern came together. The rest of this skein is mostly yellow, orange and green (kind of like the colors that would have been in block three if I had not had to start over :-)

On both this one and the last, I've had to insert an extra four rows to make the length match up. I'm not sure why that is, but I guess I am just knitting more tightly as I go for some reason. I'm trying to make a conscious effort to relax my stitches, and it's working somewhat. I'll keep trying!

That's about it from the knitting corner. Other than my knitting project, we're just enjoying the beautiful fall weather here in Atlanta and trying not to worry too much about the water situation they're predicting here in the next few months. We're in a terrible drought that is causing all kinds of problems and restrictions, and as you may have seen in the news, we're about to get into a major fight with our neighboring states over water rights. I guess that is what happens when you just keep adding people to a metropolitan area that has finite resources and infrastructure! I'm hoping the situation doesn't become as dire as they are predicting, but by many estimates, our local water supply (for a lot of North Georgia, including Atlanta) is down to 90 days or less. The chances that we will get a significant rainfall to make any difference are virtually nil, considering the weather pattern they're predicting this winter and spring. And even if we got 7-8 inches, much of that (on a larger scale) runs off and heads south because we've got so much concrete and asphalt in our area. Still, it would help our trees and soil moisture, so please pray for rain (and the situation overall, as we have a lot of arguing politicians and no quick fixes). Meanwhile, I think we really are going to have to begin stockpiling bottled water :-(


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lizzie Block 4 is Done!

I really like the more muted colors of this one, especially as it is now fall (even though we're STILL having 85-90 degree weather here, grrrr!!!!). This one came out pretty well, except that somewhere along the way I must have started knitting much more tightly, because the last two (this one more so) have been noticeably "shorter" when complete than the first two. In fact, I had to add a "set" to this one (5 sets of 12 rows, total) to make it more equal in vertical dimension to the others. Hmmm. I must be a little STRESSED! :-) I will now commence Block 5 and try not to take my stress out on my knitting!

Block 5 has begun in beautiful blues - I can't wait to see where the colors go next.

Happy knitting!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Dog's Life

So I could not resist sharing this picture. Most of my "audience" (all five or six of you :-))) know our dog Tucker. Since the weather here has FINALLY cooled down and it's now quite pleasant out, hubby has taken to watching his Saturday football games outside on the deck in the sunshine. Tucker often likes to hang out on the deck chairs (I think she likes the view she gets from the higher perch) and yesterday when she hopped up, she did not know quite what to do with the TV that she found sitting there. So we caught this very cute pic of our extremely spoiled dog. There was one pic with her looking at the TV, as though checking out her favorite show along with Daddy. If I can find that one I will post it as well. But for now, here's Miss Tucky in all her early-autumn glory:

Third Lizzie Block Completed

As mentioned in my previous post, block #3 did not go as smoothly as the second, but it's finally done! When I started it over (after a jillion mistakes) I ended up having to scrap the first 12 rows, which had been beautiful yellows and oranges, because I got the bright idea to go ahead and weave in ends as I go (and began cutting the yarn to avoid so many trailing ends as I go). I was afraid my gauge would not match up perfectly if I tried to reuse it, so this one is missing those lovely brighter colors, but I was able to liven it up with some scraps from previous skeins. I like how it turned out, even though it's quite similar in color now to block #1. I'll just put them at opposite ends of the afghan or something :-)

I'm beginning block four now, which is starting out very green (everything from emerald to a mossy gray-green-black. So far it's very nice (and going a lot more smoothly) so I hope to finish it up this week. I also ordered my next 5 skeins - this is quite addictive and I don't want to run out of yarn!

Happy knitting!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Second Lizard Ridge Block is Done!

I'm pleased to report that Block #2 is done. This is so much fun! These colors are my favorite of the four skeins I bought initially, as they are almost all blues, greens and purples (colors may not be quite true in the pic). This block is also nearly error-free - a major improvement over Block 1, except that I forgot I was not supposed to switch yarns at the very last repeat. Darn. Now it's got slightly less contrast toward that end than it should have, but I still love it.

Unfortunately, the third time was not the charm. Block 3 started off beautifully, lots of oranges and yellows (a nice contrast to the first two). However, two frustrating knitting sessions later, I have now learned a couple of lessons: First, I cannot knit while listening to hubby talk, even to someone else on the phone. Second, this distraction is made even worse when hubby is talking to my Dad and puts Dad on speakerphone, and we are also watching football on TV. Normal (i.e., more mindless) knitting without a pattern is no problem, but this one involves lots of counting stitches, and I constantly lose my place and have to refer to my pattern "map" to find my way again. Thursday night, after trying to correct what must have been error 463 for this block, after discovering I (once again) had only 40 stitches going on, I gave up and started over.

Of course, this is also the block where I began weaving in the ends (and cutting the yarn) as I went along, so I could not completely unravel and begin again with the same skein. I think there will still be enough yarn, but I hope it doesn't mess with the pattern too awfully for me to start in the middle of the skein :-(( Guess we'll find out!

So that's the Lizzie progress to date - I will continue, wiser this time, and post block three when it's done!

Happy weekend, and happy knitting!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

First Lizard Ridge Block is Complete!

Wow, has summer ever flown by. I just logged in to make this post and realized I have not updated my blog since the end of June. Good grief! I need to do better at keeping this thing updated (she says, as she grabs 5 minutes in between 40 things that need to get done today :-). As usual, I have my priorities firmly in place (!), and notwithstanding the aforesaid 40 things, I have spent all morning (and a lot of yesterday) knitting and completing the first block of the Lizard Ridge Afghan pattern.

I'm so excited to be knitting again. I'd forgotten how much fun it is - my Nana taught me as a child and I used to knit some while I was growing up, but I got out of the knitting loop (ha ha) years ago. Recently I came across a friend's project and decided to try to make one myself (Thanks to Phyllis, for sucking me in - now I can blame you when I don't get anything else besides Lizzie blocks accomplished!! :-) Those of you who know me best know this is pretty much how I do things - either full speed ahead or full stop! I love the Lizard Ridge pattern and the colors are so gorgeous, they're fun to look at even while you're working with them.

So, I will post a further update on our summer very soon, but without further ado, here's a pic of the first of the 24 blocks that comprise the pattern:

I've only got one visible mistake, which I am totally okay with considering that the pattern took me a while to master. :-) I hope to start another block this week, time permitting... the colors in the pic aren't quite true to shade as I had to take this with my camera phone, but you'll get the idea.

And now, sadly, it's back to those 40 (oops, 39 - blog post now completed :-) items on today's to-do list!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Odds N' Ends

I haven't had a chance to post in a while, so here are a few bits and pieces from the last few weeks. First, an example of the "rats" our neighbor across the street (who works from home) insists that he keeps seeing in our yard. We've never seen any rats, but we do see lots of rabbits, and I think this must be the Rabbit Clan Granddaddy. No wonder Tucker is afraid to go out at night alone!

I do love the variety of wildlife we see here in our yard. We're a lot farther out "in the country" than we used to be - about 25 miles out of the city center. We also have a little fish pond in the backyard now, as well as a lot of trees on the property, so we get all kinds of birds, rabbits, chipmunks, frogs, squirrels and of course the fish in the pond. Unfortunately, the only "less friendly" creatures we've seen here have been distinctly "closer to home" - I will have to say I wasn't exactly comforted to find a huge (at least three feet) snakeskin lying right outside the backdoor when we first moved in, and we have found scorpions in our closet on at least two occasions... but so far humans and wildlife seem to be getting along pretty well :-)

Speaking of wild things, over Memorial Day Weekend Tucker got to have my Dad's dog, Max over for company. Dad and Sheri came down to visit and enjoy the new digs in the basement, and Tuck and Max enjoyed chasing each other around the house and stealing toys from each other. Here they are, and you'll see Max staring at Tucker's toy while Tuck is looking at the camera :-)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Finally...the basement project is almost done!

I suppose I should really wait until we're actually completely done with the decorating and that kind of thing, but I'm honestly so excited to have the contractors gone from the house and everything usable that I can't help sharing!

For all of our loving friends and family who've had to listen to us complain for the last six months about contractors and construction, I finally have some pictures to offer.

For those who are here in Atlanta, come on over anytime and we'll promise to have your favorite beverages on hand! :-)

There are a few different views I'll post. My photography isn't the greatest (and the lighting is funky downstairs) so I apologize that the lighting looks funny in some of the shots. But you'll get the basic idea.

Things like the shower doors and a couple of other details aren't up yet, but we're hoping to be completely done soon.

Hope you enjoyed the virtual tour! :-)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

And...the rest of the Italy pictures!

Most of you have already received this link, but a few may not have. Here's the Shutterfly site with the rest of our Italy photos. I tried to put in captions where I could. Enjoy!

Prayer Request

Please keep Jim and Diana Hannah in your prayers. Jim has been dealing with cancer for the last year, and he was in remission for the last few months. However, now his cancer has apparently returned :-( Please keep them in your prayers as he begins another round of tests and treatment.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

First photo from our trip to Italy

To start my blog photo album, here's my favorite pic of us from the Italy trip. This one was taken in Tuscany, at the farmhouse. Thanks to my Aunt Deb for the photography!

My first webpage in years!

Okay, so I've been inspired by Steph, and Phyllis, and Robin and all my other friends who've managed to keep up with a blog in the midst of Life :0) So, here's hoping I will actually get my act together and make regular posts for any of y'all that are interested in reading!
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