Wednesday, November 22, 2017

About Ready

I've got my jello salad in the fridge and my pumpkin pie made.  I'm just about ready for Thanksgiving.

Pay no attention to the ragged edges of my crust.  I had a store bought crust, but decided it was too old to use.  Instead, I whipped out my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook and found a pat in the pan crust recipe.  I've used it before, and it's very easy to make.  However, since it's just me, I didn't take the time to fancy the edges up.

By the way, I used canned pumpkin for this pie, not the fresh pumpkin that is still in my freezer.

In the morning, all I'll have to do is make my sweet potatoes, Stove Top stuffing, and giblet gravy.  Oh, and cook the turkey, of course.  And knit and watch the Parade, and the national dog show, since I'm still boycotting the NFL.  And since it'll just be me, I might just stay in my pajamas all day!

As you might imagine, the new schedule was all the talk at work.  Reactions are pretty mixed.  Edna Who Loves To See Her Name In My Blog said she loves it.  A couple of other people think they will like it, but then all our kids are grown.  My primary concern with the change was potentially losing the overtime.  In our brazer meeting this morning, Production Superintendent assured us that when peak season arrives, there will still be options for overtime, and I said, "sign me up!"

The only other thing I did today was to get out and pull the last of the dead stuff up out of my flower beds.  Then I turned the soil and tried to get some of the grass roots out.  It won't take much to get it ready for spring planting. 

One last thing, there is a shocking dearth of good Thanksgiving movies out there.  Trust me, I've looked.  Just a couple, that's it. 

Somebody needs to do something about that.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

More Upheavals

There has been a great disturbance in the force.

Or rather, there has been a great disturbance at the plant.  Remember how they'd put the tubing department on a 10 hour 4 day work schedule?  Now they've decided that starting in January, the entire plant is going to that schedule.

My first thought was, "It's ok for someone like me, because it's just me, but what about the employees who still have kids at home?"  Who is going to get their kids up and ready for school?  What about the little ones who haven't even started school yet?  There aren't any day cares open at 4:30.  Who wants to drag kids out of bed in the middle of the night anyway?  I know one of my friends who works in tubing said, "If it weren't for my husband, I don't know what I'd do."

Yeah, but what about the single parents?  What are they going to do?  What about the ones whose spouses also work? Clearly this was the idea of someone who doesn't have to worry about getting kids up and ready for school, or finding childcare at 4:00 in the morning.

I can sympathize, because I remember how difficult it was trying to find child care when Cody was little, especially when I was on second shift.  The poor kid went though 15 babysitters by the time he was 4 years old.  We finally found one who would actually keep him.  I really didn't like her, but we stayed with her until he was old enough to stay by himself.  What else could I do? 

They say they're going to put out surveys and get feedback on the new schedule, but I can tell them right now, I haven't heard anyone who is in favor of this change.

The bright side is, my Christmas cactus is blooming.

I'm thinking after it finishes blooming for the year, I might prune it back.   Not too much, just enough to shape it up a bit.

No, there was not a fire in that stove when I took the picture. 

This one is about to open up, too.  I thought it was going to be pure white blooms, but it looks like they will have a little bit of color, too. 

This is the first year this one has bloomed, so it'll be a surprise to me, too.

Monday, November 20, 2017

It All Started

It all started with a banana.

Three bananas, actually.  Three bananas that were at just the right stage of ripeness for banana bread.

I was going to make some banana bread.  However, when I dragged my mixing bowls and stuff out, there was no room on my cluttered cabinets to even mix up my bread dough.  You know how it goes.  You get the mail and set it down to deal with it later, only later never comes.  By and by, things stack up.  That's what happened in my kitchen.

I did an arm sweep to clear enough of a spot on the counter to make my bread, and said to myself, "Self, this kitchen is getting out of hand.  You really need to clean it up."  As soon as my bread was in the oven, that's exactly what I did.

After about an hour's worth of work, I had all my cabinets cleaned off, scrubbed, and organized.  I got so excited to show you, that I took this picture before I realized I still had a sink full of dirty bread-making dishes.

A few more minutes, and the dishwasher was unloaded and reloaded, and the hand wash items were drying next to the sink.

Having a clean kitchen makes a world of difference.  Now I'm all ready for my Thanksgiving cooking.  I'm not going to make a big meal, since it's just going to be me, but I am going to cook the turkey the plant gave us, sweet potato casserole, strawberry jello salad, and stuffing with giblet gravy.  Plus a pumpkin pie for dessert. 

I'm going to try something different with the turkey this year.  I love the taste of it, but my turkey always ends up being as tough as boot leather.  This time, I'm going to try cooking it in a slow oven for about 6 hours and see if it turns out more tender.  I'll let you know how it goes.

All right, enough about my kitchen.  I also did another red baby hat.

This one is leftover dishcloth cotton.  I have a little more cotton left -- maybe enough to make a couple of preemie hats.   I had to run back into town this afternoon, because I didn't realize I was almost out of dog food until I went to feed my dogs yesterday and the scoop scraped the bottom of the bin.  Yeah, my dogs are spoiled.  They think they have to eat every single day.  What's up with that? 

While I was there, I picked up a skein of Caron Simply Soft.

I also ran across this Mainstays basic yarn.  It's acrylic, and it's really soft.  Plus it's only $1.97 per skein!  I ought to be able to get a bunch of baby hats out of that. 

Speaking of hats, I got my beret off the plate.

It is now marinating in the gift drawer, which is getting really full.  I have a feeling lots of people will be getting knitted gifts for Christmas in another year or two. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Hymn

Come ye thankful people, come
Raise the song of Harvest home
All is safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin

God our maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied
Come to God's own temple come
Raise the song of harvest home.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Scrubbing Saturday

That's pretty much what I did all day.  I scrubbed paint off of my bricks.

I scrubbed until I ran out of Easy Off, then I went and got my regular paint stripper.  Honestly, the Easy Off worked better.  Even so, I got this much done before I ran out of stripper.

What I discovered, though, is that there seem to be three, yes three, count 'em three coats of paint on those bricks.  They were originally painted an off white, then someone painted black over that, then another coat of white over that.  That's why it's so hard to get it all off.

I got online and ordered a case of the fume free Easy Off.  It's cheaper than buying it by the can, and it should get here Tuesday.  Since I won't be working on it for a few days, and since it's supposed to get cold again (29' is forecast for Monday morning), I took the drop cloth off the stove, and put all my tools back into the computer/craft/snake room until I can get back to stripping.

On a whim, I did a little research, to see how hard it would be to move the stove so I could strip and paint the base.  I quickly decided I was being ridiculous, thinking I could move that thing.  I'll just strip and paint as far under there as I can reach.  Nobody will be able to see under the stove anyway.

However, in my researching, I discovered one very interesting fact.  See, I knew the top lifted up.

I thought it was for cleaning, but no.  Turns out that is a cooking surface.  I guess I really can call it a stove now.  Next time the electricity goes out, at least I know I'll be able to heat up some beanie weenies. 

In the midst of all that scrubbing, I finished my first baby hat for the Little Hats Big Hearts program.

The yarn is Red Heart burgundy, and I don't think I'll use it any more.  Not for baby hats.  It's so stiff.  I was hoping it would soften up when I washed it, but it didn't.  I only hand washed it, and may toss it in with the regular laundry when I wash again.  Maybe machine washing and drying it will soften it up some.  If it doesn't, I'll just use that stuff for something else. 

I dug through my closet and found some red cotton that I can use. It'll be a whole lot softer.  The only thing about cotton is that the colors fade.  However, hats don't get washed as much as, say a dishcloth, so maybe it won't be an issue.  The only other red I've got on hand is a wool blend, and they only want acrylic or cotton hats. 

Next time I go into town, I'll pick up some Caron Simply soft. 


Friday, November 17, 2017

Why, Yes You Can!

My rather busy day today started with a trip to the vet for these two.

It was time for their annual rabies vaccinations, and semi annual heartworm preventative shots.  Probably a good thing, because getting dressed and taking them into town kept me from sitting around doing nothing all day.  The good news is, Rylea has lost 6 lbs since her last visit in April.  I tried to switch her to old dog dog food, and she gained weight.  I switched her back to fat dog dog food, and she's lost some.  She's still chubby, but not as fat as she was before.

I spent the rest of the day working on stripping the paint from my bricks behind my wood stove, and I discovered that with copious amounts of stripper coupled with copious amounts of scrubbing with a wire brush, yes, you can strip paint off of almost any surface. 

Some of you may wonder why I don't just paint over what's there.  This is why:

First of all, there are already two layers of paint on these bricks.  Secondly, the top layer was very sloppily applied -- a thick, gloppy coat with runs and ridges, and it just looks bad.

When I did my little spray paint experiment yesterday, it looked even worse.  Every glob of paint seemed exaggerated, and every drip seemed to leap off the bricks at me.  And finally, I'm not sure what kind of paint they used, but it's very sticky and rubbery.  It feels almost like plastic instead of paint.  It's stretchy, and peels off in huge pieces.  I don't like it at all. 

But, why go to all that trouble if I'm just going to replace the whole thing?

Because it will probably take several years until I'm in a position I can spend that kind of money, and I have to live with it every day until then, so I decided to go ahead do something I can live with until that time comes.  Thus, the stripping...

I'd seen a video on YouTube where you can use Easy Off oven cleaner to strip paint off of bricks.  I had a can left over, and since I can't use it on my oven -- having a self cleaning oven in the new house-- I dug it out and tested it on these bricks. It works pretty well, actually. 

After several applications of Easy Off, and about an hour's  -- cumulative, not continuous -- worth of scrubbing with a wire brush, I got this much done. 

I know it doesn't seem like much, but most of the time was spent waiting for the Easy Off to soften the paint so it can be scrubbed off.  You can't really tell from the picture, but that's about 15 - 20% of the total brick work.  It's the ridges that makes it so difficult.  If it were smooth bricks, I'd probably be done by now.  Now that I know it can be done, I finally feel like my project is moving forward.

This one little section at the top, I got through both the white and the black layers of paint.   I only stopped because I ran out of Easy Off.  It works well, but the fumes will run you out of the room.  Next time I go into town, I'm going to look for some of that fumeless stuff they're supposed to have out now. 

In the midst of spraying stripper and scrubbing bricks, I finished this beret.

It's my Knit Picks Chroma yarn in Vermont, and the pattern is called Autumn In Garrison.  I gave it a good soak in Wool Wash and now it's happily blocking over a plate.  On a snake tank.  What can I say?  You make do with what you have.

When I finished that, I cast on a new baby hat. 

I found a new charity to knit for.  It's called Little Hats Big Hearts, and they give out red hats to newborns during the month of February.  The red is to raise awareness of heart disease and heart defects.  I'm sure they'll have more information that they pass out with the hats. 

I may only get a few done this year, but if I knit up all my red yarn through the year, I ought to have a bunch for next year.  Oh, and they only want cotton or acrylic yarn, and I have a bunch of Red Heart burgundy left over from my Jayne hat making days.

It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow, so my plans are to work on my bricks and knit more baby hats.  The good news is, all three of my teams -- LSU, Navy, and Texas -- are playing at different times, and all on channels I get, even Navy!  Woo Hoo!  I ought to get a lot of knitting done during three games. 

Now, let me go and find my boat head thing for that there Navy game. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Dinner

Well, I finally broke down and took an antihistamine last night.  I still can't breathe, but man I sure slept good!  The downside is I was drowsy all day at work.

Speaking of work, today was the day for our annual Thanksgiving dinner.  I'm not sure who it was the plant got to cater it, but I hope they don't get them again.  The turkey was cold and dry. The dressing was burnt on the outside and gummy on the inside.  The ham was cold -- but was actually the best part of the meal.  The mashed potatoes were runny, even before they put the gravy on them.  It just wasn't good.  Certainly not worth the horrible heartburn I had to deal with all afternoon. 

As if that weren't bad enough, they ran out of food before everyone got served.  One guy told me that by the time he got through the line, all that was left was some dressing and green beans.  We've definitely had better.

Every year, the plant gives us either a turkey or a ham.  We get to choose which one want, and I always get a turkey.  They are going to pass them out tomorrow after work.  Since I have vacation, I was planning on driving up there to get mine.  I'm only five minutes away, after all.  When I walked out of the plant this afternoon, they were handing out turkeys and hams to the tubing department.  They're the ones on that weird 4 day work week schedule, so they won't be there tomorrow to get theirs.

As I was trudging through the parking lot, I saw Production Superintendent over there where they were giving the turkeys and hams out, so I thought, "I'm going to go ask if I can get mine today.  What's the worst they can do?"  Even if they say no, I'm no worse off than I would be anyway.  So, I went over there and asked, and wonder of wonders, they let me have my turkey.  Good.  One less thing on tomorrow's list of things I intend to do but probably won't get done.

One thing on that list is to figure out what to do with that fireplace.  I bought some spray paint and painted a little patch just to see what it would look like.  Now, I'm concerned it will be too dark, and will make that corner seem dark and gloomy. 

I do know one thing, I don't like the way it looks on top of that thick, gloppy paint that's already on the bricks.  I guess, it's back to the drawing board.  I'll just have to keep working with the stripper to get most of the glop off. 

I went to the post office to mail a package to Alaska.  I thought I could get a jump on Christmas mailing, and send my sister's family's stuff early.  I'd get that service that takes like a month to arrive, but is really cheap.  Turns out, they don't do that any more.  The clerk told me how much it would cost to send it, and I was like, "Daaaang". 

I'm remembering why I started having their presents delivered directly from Amazon.

If I hadn't bought all that Harvey relief stuff as Christmas presents, that's exactly what I'd be doing. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Christmas Carols Already?

Why yes, I am singing Christmas carols already.  Why wouldn't I be?

See, here's the thing...

When you think about it, I mean really think about it, Jesus --

God Almighty




Creator of the universe and all within it

Jesus left Heaven to come here

To live with us, to die for us, to redeem us.

When you think about the magnificence

the magnitude of that event,

why wouldn't you want to sing about it 






I know I do.  Come join me.

All together now!

Emmanuel, Emmanuel, God incarnate here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel, Praise his name, Emmanuel!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wake Up

You know, blogging is hard work.  Some days, there just isn't anything to say.  I'm thinking this is one of those days.

Hmmm, what should I talk about?

Oh, I could tell you I had a bit of a wake up call yesterday.  I was at work, minding my own business, when a coworker asked me, "Is Thanksgiving next week or the week after? I say it's next week, but [Other Coworker] says it's the week after."

She had her calendar open on her phone, and held it out for me to see.  I said, "It's the fourth Thursday, so that's next week."

Wait, what?  Thanksgiving is next week!  I knew it was the 23rd, but I didn't realize the 23rd had gotten so close.   I immediately started planning my menu, which won't be much since it's only me.  Even so, I'm glad she said something, or I might have been frantically rushing to the store Wednesday evening.   As far as I know, we have to work through Wednesday, though there have been rumors to the contrary.  I've worked there long enough to know not to believe anything I hear until it happens. 

OK, what else can I talk about? 

I've been trying to get rid of some old junk that's been sitting out in my shop since I moved into this house.  Bev and James had given me their big entertainment center when they moved, so  I'd advertised my corner TV stand in one of the local yard sale groups on FB.  One lady said she was going to come pick it up this afternoon.  She never showed up or responded to my messages.  It usually takes about 6 tries to find someone who will actually come get what they say they want. But that's not what I was going to tell you.

While I was waiting on her, I cleaned up a little more out in the shop.  I was going to take a picture and show you how neat it's getting, but somehow, I ended up with a picture of what I can only assume is the sky instead.

I have no idea.  I've long since given up trying to find an explanation for such things. 

I've got a few more things ready to put up for sale, but I can only deal with a limited amount of people at a time.  The good news is, I have a coworker who will take all these landscape timbers and 4 x 4s off my hands. 

He's going to swap me a load of firewood for them.  I ought to be set for quite some time, then.  Speaking of fires...

Stripping that paint off the fireplace bricks is proving more difficult than I thought.  I've tried chemical stripper, a wire brush, and my belt sander.  I know I could eventually get it all off with time and effort, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's even worth it.  I'm seriously considering just painting over it until I can afford to have the whole thing pulled down and replaced. 

I'll have to think about it.  Right now, I'm going to bed. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Dear CoWorker

You know, if you'd put as much energy into your job as you do into bouncing around like a Non-Newtonian fluid on a sub-woofer...what?

Oh, dancing?  Is that what you call that?  OK, whatever...

You know, if you'd put as much energy into doing your job as you do into dancing, we wouldn't have to be constantly redoing what you've messed up.  So, how's about you save the recreation for your own time, mmmkay?

Thank you.

That is all

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday Hymn

Would you believe, I had the hardest time finding a decent video of this song?  I'd looked at several before settling on this one, even though I'm not a big fan of the Gaithers.  The problem I was having is that they were all making it sound like a mourning dirge.  I think they were going for solemn, but what they achieved was dreary. 

This isn't supposed to be a solemn or dreary song.  It's about a day of rejoicing, and the song should sound joyful. 

Then, there were the videos that went to the other extreme:  too rocked up, too countrified.  My only other option was to choose a video that sounded like a church congregation singing.  Of those, this is the best one.

I dare you not to sing along.  Just don't sing it solemnly.  Sing and shout the victory!!

Friday, November 10, 2017

I Have Heat!

Yesterday I was chatting with a coworker, and I mentioned that my heater wasn't working.  I said, "I at least need to get someone out and see how much it'll cost to get it fixed."  He gave me a name of someone he recommended, and I said I'd give him a call. 

Then my friend said, "Those kinds of heaters have an internal switch that sometimes gets confused.  Switch it to cold, then back to heat and it'll probably come on."  I said, "I tried that, and it didn't work."  He said, "Wait at least 10 minutes."  Oh!  I'd only waited a couple of minutes.  I said I'd try it when I got home from work.  It's been set back to cool for three days.  That ought to be enough time for it to reset.  Unfortunately, the house never got cool enough last night for me to turn on the heat.  I keep it set at 65", and the inside temp never went below that. 

This morning, when I got up, the house was right at 65'.  I said, "I'm going to try it anyway."  I set the thermostat at 66', turned the heat, and held my breath.  Almost as soon as I turned the heat on, the house filled with that familiar smell.  I promise you, I don't think I've ever in my life been so excited to have a stinky house. 

I jumped up and down and squealed to the dogs, "We have that stinky smell!  We have heat!"  So, yay!  One less thing. 

More good news, I got birthday money from my mom and my sister in law!  It was enough to buy the circular saw I wanted, plus a little more.

If I pitch in a some of my own money, I can get the staple gun I want, too.  Plus, I've got my eye on some storage cabinets for the shed.  I need something to put all my power tools into.  But first, I need to get the thing cleaned out. 

Look!  I've got my first Christmas cactus bloom!

It looks like this one is going to bloom, too. 

This one should have white blooms.  It's a cutting I took from one of James' plants.  OK, in the interest of full disclosure, I broke a piece off unintentionally when I was moving it.  I stuck it into a pot, and there you go.

That's how I got most of my cuttings, actually. 

Moving right along. 

It appears one of the neighborhood dogs has absconded with my watering can.  It has to be.  I can't imagine someone stealing a watering can.  Oh, well...That's just dogs being dogs.

I suppose now that I've gotten my chainsaw fixed, I need to get back to working on that giant pile of wood in my back yard.  I think I may have messed up when I bought that little Ford Focus.  I keep seeing free firewood posted, only I don't have a truck to haul it in.  And the crown molding I want won't fit in my Focus, and the plywood I want won't fit, and the 2 x 4s and the 2 x 6s...

But what can you do?  Should have bought a truck. 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Cat Hair and Yarn

My cat, Squeaky is getting old.  As is typical of older cats, she's not grooming herself as well as a younger cat would.  I try to brush her, but the mats in her fur multiply faster than I can brush them out.  I'd been using the dogs' comb on her, but it just yanked the mats out, and was hurting her. I started looking into getting one of those de-matting combs I'd seen advertised, the ones with little blades in the teeth which cut through the mat, so I put out a call on Facebook for recommendations.  Based on those recommendations, I ordered a Furminator.  I've been working on her, and she already looks so much better.

My dear friend Sue said she had an old comb she would send me.  It's made for cats, and has teeth that rotate.

It arrived today, and the Squeaks loves it. She actually sat still and let me comb her.  This is huge! 

Also in the box, because Sue is my heart-sister and somehow knew I was having a horrible day at work, she included some of my favorite things -- yarn! 

First up, three balls of Cascade -- my preferred yarn for hats. 

Two of them are 220 Superwash wool, and the Pacific is a wool/acrylic blend. 

She also included a small ball of leftover cotton yarn in Christmas colors.

And a skein of Madelinetosh sock yarn. 

I don't know that I've ever had any Madelinetosh.  It's very nice sock yarn.  I may have to break out the sock needles once again.  But first, that yarn needs to marinate a while, and sock yarn doesn't count as stash. 

I still haven't cast on that Chroma.  I haven't found just the right pattern.  Since it's fall colors, I want something -- and I'm leaning towards a beret or a tam-- that has a pattern that kind of looks like leaves.  I'm still looking, but would welcome suggestions. 

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Does God Protect The Holy Man?

A few years ago, at work, I happened to walk up on a couple of coworkers having an intense conversation.  One of them turned to me and asked "Does God protect the holy man?"  That question, and the discussion that followed inspired my blog topic that night.

What with the recent church shooting in Texas, and the questions that follow -- How could God let this happen to his people?-- I thought it was time to post it again. 

Does God Protect The Holy Man?

Today at work, I walked up on a couple of my co-workers having an intense conversation.  As I approached, one of them turned to me and asked

Does God protect the holy man?

Well, of course, the short answer to that is no.  God allowed his own son to die, and you just don't get any holier than that.

My friend replied that God allowed that to happen to benefit mankind.  I had to agree with him.  God didn't protect his own son, because his death served a higher purpose, that being our redemption.   Sometimes, God doesn't protect us, so that our suffering can serve a higher purpose, and we may never know what that purpose is.  We just have to trust in God's plan.

My friend said, "But isn't there some verse in the Bible about God protecting his people?"  I couldn't think of one right at the time, but after I got home, I decided to try to find a verse like he was talking about.

After tearing up my house looking for my trusty concordance (yes I really do have my own concordance; it was a Christmas gift from a suitor trying to score points, and it almost worked), and finding it on the end table by my couch-- right where I'd left it, funny that-- I opened my Bible app on my iPhone and did a little searching.  I'm not sure which verse he was thinking of, but I did find John 17: 15, which says

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.

And another in 2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one

I think the most relevant one, at least in my mind is John 10:29

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.

What these verses mean is that we have eternal protection in our salvation.  What they do not mean is that we will never face troubles in this life.  See, a lot of people have this false idea that if they get saved, if they trust Jesus, if they become a Christian, nothing bad will ever happen to them.  Their lives will be all hunky dory peachy keen, they'll have plenty of money, and will sail smoothly through life until they die peacefully in their sleep at age 101.

This couldn't be further from the truth.

Jesus even said it in the Sermon On The Mount:  Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  (Matthew 5; 11) 

Not if people persecute you.  When people persecute you.

He said it even more plainly in Luke 21: 12

But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you.

This certainly doesn't imply a life of ease and comfort.  When you look at history, and even at our present times, you will see that God offers no such promise.

Think about it...

Ten of the 12 original disciples were executed (Judas having hanged himself, and John being exiled to the aisle of Patmos so he could write the book of Revelation).

Stephen was stoned to death.  Paul was executed and --as I pointed out to my friend -- there was a reason the early Christians had church services in the graveyard.  They were regularly rounded up and fed to the lions, or used as bait in bloodsports in the great arenas.  One of the emperors ( I don't remember which one-- I'm thinking maybe Nero or Claudius) used to hang Christians on poles, douse them in oil, and set them on fire to make streetlights for Rome.

Streetlights, people.

Out of people, people!

There were times when the roads outside of Rome were lined with hundreds of crucified Christians for miles upon miles. For hundreds of years, people were tortured and executed for the crime of being a Christian.  Doesn't sound like God was protecting them, does it?

Oh, but that was a long time ago, you say.  That couldn't happen today, you say.  You might want to think again on that one.  According to The Hoover Institution,

Few people realize that we are today living through the largest persecution of Christians in history, worse even than the famous attacks under ancient Roman emperors like Diocletian and Nero. Estimates of the numbers of Christians under assault range from 100-200 million. According to one estimate, a Christian is martyred every five minutes. 

Every five minutes.

A Christian dies every five minutes.  The numbers are simply staggering.  All over the world, Indonesia, The Sudan, Egypt and elsewhere -- every day I read a new report of Christians under attack.  Christians murdered just for being Christians.

Christian persecution is at an all time high these days, even here in America.  What?  You're crazy.  We aren't being persecuted for our religion here!

Think about it.  We can't pray at school any more -- at least 49 states can't.  We can't say Merry Christmas any more.  Atheists are suing to have every last hint of God removed from our public lives (while at the same time screeching about us shoving our religion down their throats). They're even trying to get our national motto off of our money, and the phrase Under God removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.   Not sure why, because they don't allow us to say the pledge any more anyway.

Chaplains in the military can't express their Christian faith.  People are being fined for holding Bible studies in their homes.  Christian groups and clubs are being banned from colleges and high schools, even though they are totally voluntary and no one is being forced to join.  Voluntary prayer walks are banned from all public properties.

Oh, but we're not being murdered for being Christians in America.  Really?  Just this year, two men were murdered in New Jersey for the simple reason that they were Christians.   In Dearborn, Michigan, Christians gathering to pray were stoned by local Muslims, while local police stood by watching and doing nothing, because they said that no laws were being broken.

But these are kind of extreme examples, aren't they?  Doesn't God protect ordinary people?

I have a couple of friends, one of the Godliest couples I know.  The husband is suffering from a horrible debilitating illness.  It has robbed him of his most of his sight, and his ability to walk.  Soon, it will take his life.  The wife owns her own business, and works herself to exhaustion providing for them, and taking care of him-- often to the neglect of her own health.  As if that isn't enough, last week, their house got struck by lightening.

Another very Godly man I knew, died of cancer at age 33, leaving behind a wife and three small children.

And still another friend of mine died earlier this month of cancer.  She was my age.

I could go on and on listing examples of bad things happening to good people that I know.

These are common, ordinary people, yet God didn't protect them.  Or did he?

Look back up at that third verse I quoted above....

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.  John 10:29

God never promised we wouldn't have troubles in this world.  He never promised that bad things would never happen, that we would never get sick, or die, or get robbed, or murdered, or raped, or have our houses burn down, or whatever.

What he did promise is that if we put our faith in him, he would be there with us through everything.  Everything.  That he would never fail or forsake us.

And that when the end comes, he would take us home.

No one, nothing, can change that.

So, the long answer to my friend's question is ultimately yes.  God does protect his children-- maybe not in the way my friend intended, but he does protect us, often in ways we can't even imagine.

On Christ the solid rock I stand...that's all the protection I need.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Readers Bearing Gifts

There I was at work, getting ready for my shift to start, when I saw Edna Who Loves To See Her Name In My Blog and another coworker, Linda, walking towards me. 

I watched them approach, and when they arrived, Linda said, "I have something for you.  It's not much, but as soon as I saw it in the store, I though of you, and had to get it for you."  She opened her hand, and gave me this:

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!  I love it!  It's even the same color as mine.  I guess I do go on about the chainsaw a bit, don't I?  What made it really funny is that I had intended to start today's post talking about -- surprise, surprise -- my chainsaw.  No, really, I was.

I was going to say that I'd planned on getting up Saturday morning and working on that pile of wood in my back yard, but it was too wet.  It had rained off and on Friday, and pretty much all night Friday night.  The wood was water logged -- get it, logged -- and the humidity was in the 95% range.  I stepped outside, and the hair instantly transformed into a giant ball of frizz, and I said, "Nope, not today."

Instead, I stayed inside and knit.  And did housework, but you don't really want to hear about my laundry, do you?  Knitting is much more interesting. 

At long last, I have finally finished the scarf from Hades.  Oh, the scarf itself isn't that bad.  It was the yarn.  This was the skein that had so many knots in it.  Final tally:  12 knots.  Twelve! 

I'm so glad to be done with it!  But it is soft and warm.  Somebody somewhere will appreciate it.

After I'd finished that horrible scarf, I was digging in my yarn closet, looking for something else to cast on, and found this ball I'd bought a year or so ago. 

It is Knit Picks Chroma in the Vermont colorway.  My first through was to cast on a scarf, but I remembered I'd only bought one ball.  OK, no problem.  I'll make a hat.  I just needed to find my circular knitting needles. 

While looking for said needles, I found this hat, which has been languishing on the needles since July.  Yes, I said July. 

I decided I needed to finish it before starting anything else, so that's what I did. 

So, that's done, and now I'm off to browse hat patterns. 



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