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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

She Got Religion

My views, thoughts, and opinions have changed over the years and since I became a Christian. This is, of course, normal and natural. However, it is sometimes too facile to explain it that way. It isn't that I changed my mind because I am a Christian, but that being a Christian has changed my mind.

I've been thinking about this for a long time. There are many people who use my faith as a way to dismiss my opinion. "Of course you think that, it's part of your religion," as though this particular topic or that one were not something that all people have to wrestle with and come to a conclusion based on their knowledge, experience, understanding, and beliefs. It is too easy to write off a view in the west by acknowledging religion as its source or, at least, a contributing factor to it. I even had a friend challenge me with the statement that I wasn't always a Christian and didn't always think this way. Of course not. The change, though, wasn't a forgetting of what I used to believe, but an education and shift to what I know now.

It can be frustrating, because the reality is that while my faith does inform my thoughts and views, I didn't simply swallow those ideas without first grappling with them myself - or considering alternate perspectives. There are things that are still difficult for me to submit to, and things that I understand now in a way I never did before my conversion. That is the way of these things. It seems that the underlying assumption in the statements about religion and points of view is that they are blindly accepted. This is not the case. It was, in fact, because of learning more or studying more that I came to most of these conclusions. It was in reading and thinking and looking to logical ends of arguments that I formulated my own position. And, yes, I do strive to form myself into the mind of the Church, but this is not an unthinking obedience, but a striving to both understand and to submit to proper authority and truth.

I have come to the point where I look at the places where I have a hard time accepting what my religion teaches, and realizing that it is because I haven't fully grasped it yet. I don't understand. So, I will submit to it, while I attempt to learn more and truly accept it. This isn't being a blind follower, it is acknowledging that I don't know everything, and that the voice and experience of the faith over the millennia may just have something to trump my smug disagreement.

When Rich and I moved from our previous church to our new one, it wasn't because of many of the superficial reasons that some who saw us leave thought. It was because there were core things we couldn't accept or teach to our children. We knew that if we stayed, the chance of real danger to our souls was slim, but the damage we could do to our children and their faith was great. We would have to contemplate telling them on the way home that what they heard in the sermon or in their Christian ed. wasn't really what we believed. And when they were older, and trying to determine what they really believed and what they would accept and reject from their faith and upbringing, we didn't want to have to explain to them why it was okay for their parents to say we believed only some of what our church taught, but it wasn't okay for them to reject any of it. We did not want to undermine their understanding of truth, or the authority of the Church. So, we had to go to a church where we could submit. To all of it. That doesn't mean it was always easy, or that we did so without any growing pains. But, we believe in the truth of Christianity, which is a religion founded on a particular Tradition and authority. A Church, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth, that has a certain hierarchy. If that is true, then we must submit to it, not expect it to conform to us.

So, yes, I got religion. And yes, it changed my views. But it was every bit a growing and learning and reevaluating and not simply a new set of ideas that were put on like a new outfit. There is a set of reasoning behind it, and a history and tradition that are far greater than my own intellect or experience.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: January 26 - February 1

It is the last week of Christmas this week. The Purification (this coming Sunday) is the closing feast of the Christmas season. We're going to have a little family feast for the eve of the Purification on Saturday, complete with Christmas carols. That is when the last of our Advent and Christmas decorations will finally come down. Our tree has been down since Epiphany, but our Nativity sets and other lights have been up still. We'll keep any lights through Sunday.

As usual, I plan our weekly menus starting on Sunday, as that is how my calendar works and it makes printing our weekly schedule simpler. You'll see lots of tangelos this week, as we were able to get a box of 28 pounds of them for an excellent price, and we've been enjoying our winter fruit. Other than that, it is still mostly simple fare. We're fighting a cold, nothing serious, but annoying, so lots of tea and honey and good, hot, food is being had here.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a recipe round up on Saturday.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014


Once upon a time I kept a blog. I wrote on a regular basis, shared my projects, recipes, posted menu plans, showed pictures of my fiber adventures. It's been a long time.

I'm hoping to open up the blog again. It would be nice to have my menu plans posted again, to show you what I've been doing with my knitting (and crocheting, and maybe sewing), and to have a place to write about my faith and thoughts. I hope there will be people to read it.

I won't try to recap last year except to say that I had an expensive "rest" in the hospital for a month, shortly after my last post, and a preemie. We were blessed that Rich was able to stay with me in the hospital the whole time, he worked part time from the hospital with his phone and iPad and next day air for some documents. The rest of our children were able to stay at home, together, with some friends of ours who moved in with their family for the entire time we were gone. Modern technology permitted us to still talk to our children at night and see each other, we did Morning Prayer together some mornings, they were able to see their baby sister. We were so thankful for that.

Our baby is doing fine now, but she's still tiny. Nejat was born last May, and much of our year has been taken up in keeping her in, keeping her safe and well, adjusting to a homeschooling life with a small child who requires much more attention and care.

Here is Nejat wearing Amira's American Girl Doll dress next to Amira in the matching one. The photo adjacent shows the doll in the same dress.

There is much to say about that, but this is not the time. Mostly I think that I will know that all is alright when I stop taking pictures to show scale. This last shot is from her baptism on the weekend of All Saints.

I made that bonnet while trying to hold her in at the hospital

Much more knitting and crocheting was finished last year than I have been able to do since we moved. That is a good sign, I think. Part of that was how much time I had, uninterrupted, in the hospital while on modified bed rest, part of that was that I was forced to take the full 40 days of rest after Nejat was born, part is that I feel settled enough here to work on creative projects. I'm on Ravelry, and have posted some new designs there (and some pdfs of my free patterns I've posted on my blogs, too): Arabian Knits Designs. I finished 27 knit or crocheted objects last year! I'm currently working on a design for a submission to another book. I hope to have good news on that score in the near future.

I have so much to write and share, and I hope I am able to exercise that discipline of regular writing again.

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